Archive for the Mao Zedong Category

Xinhua Insight: “Mao fans, minority worship?” – Deification, sober appreciation of Chairman Mao [Xinhua / Sweet & Sour Socialism Essential Archives]

Posted in Buddhism, China, Economy, Education, Employment, Labor, Mao Zedong, Mao Zedong, Myanmar, PLA, Sweet and Sour Socialism Essential Archives on January 24, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Xinhua writers Wang Jiaquan, Li Huaiyan

XISHUANGBANNA, Yunnan, Dec. 25 (Xinhua) — Chairman Mao is another God in the largely Buddhist hamlet of Man’en, where most ethnic Dai villagers enshrine the founding father of New China at home, though the “great helmsman” was de-deified after the end of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976).

A large portrait of Mao Zedong hangs high in the living room of Ai Pa, with a smaller image of a senior Myanmar monk by its side. This arrangement was a suggestion from the Buddhist clergyman, who presided over a prayer service for Ai’s new house in 2000.

When Ai requested a portrait from the monk to be used as a “home guardian” after the ceremony, the monk insisted his image be placed in a subordinate position to that of Mao, saying that Mao was a real savior and guardian of the ethnic Dai people.

Loving almost all Mao things, from his quotations to the passionate red songs, Ai Pa remains a loyal Mao fan even though his family suffered during the Mao era.

Ai’s family was classified as a landlord during the land reform in the 1950s, and his father fled to neighboring Myanmar only a few days after Ai’s birth in 1957 in fear of penalties as denouncement campaigns against landlords swept Menghai County in Xishuangbanna, southwest China’s Yunnan Province.

As the descendant of a landlord, Ai Pa had to face discrimination when he grew up. He was rejected when he registered to join the People’s Liberation Army.

Indeed, Ai does think his family was wronged. “My ancestors were all poor peasants. It was not until my grandpa reclaimed some wasteland that our family began to own some paddy fields and hire a few laborers,” he says.

However, all the adversities have not resulted in a resentful Ai Pa. “A Buddhist should not return grudge for grievance,” says the 56-year-old man.

In addition, he says, he admires Chairman Mao because the late leader was a man who truly wanted to do good for the people, and he appreciates the value of equality that emerged in the Mao era.

Most villagers owned no land before the land reform in Xishuangbanna, where the feudal lord claimed ownership of all land and peasants had to shoulder the heavy and inescapable burden of taxation, according to He Ming, an ethnic studies professor at Yunnan University in Kunming.

Ai Pa recalls that when he was a child, old people in the village told him that Chairman Mao was like the Monkey King in the traditional Chinese fairy tale of the Pilgrimage to the West, who was invincible and was commissioned by the Heaven to bring fairness and equality to the world.

WHY NOT MAO?

Three decades into China’s reform and opening-up drive, Man’en, as well as many other remote villages, has witnessed drastic economic and social transformation.

Satellite television broadcasts, mobile phones, motorcycles, cars, highways and the Internet have shortened the distance between them and the outside world. And yet Mao has remained an icon in the hamlet that has more than 6,000 villagers.

A Mao portrait bought in Beijing is always regarded as a very precious souvenir for local villagers, while Mao’s mausoleum is usually a must-go for their maiden trips to the national capital, says Ai, who is also chief of Man’en village.

Like Ai Pa and his fellow villagers, the ethnic Blang people in Jiliang, another village with a population of over 2,000 in Menghai, are also Mao worshipers. They have his images printed on glazed bricks on the outside walls of their new homes.

However, these ethnic minority hamlets are not isolated cases. A survey by the Horizon Research Consultancy Group in 2008 in 40 Chinese cities and towns, including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, showed that 11.2 percent of respondents enshrine Mao Zedong at home, way ahead of those that worship the Buddha, God of Wealth, and other gods.

In the words of Huang Jisu, a sociologist, playwright and cultural critic, Mao worship is a quite complicated phenomenon and has a strong social background, and is also related to personal experiences.

However, Huang doesn’t believe there is a geographical, age or social class division in regard to people’s attitude toward Mao.

For example, Huang says, there are also Mao fans in big cities like Beijing and Shanghai, while some young people in universities also admire him. Huang also notes that it is not rare for entrepreneurs and millionaires to admire Mao.

However, Huang stresses that admiration for Mao does not necessarily mean the admirers want to go back to the Mao era.

“It’s quite natural for Mao, such a great man, to have admirers. Just as pop stars can have so many fans, why not Mao?” says 58-year-old Huang, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing.

As for Mao fans, Huang says, ordinary people psychologically need a great person to hold in high esteem, and Mao has filled – and fills – that need.

In Huang’s view, the greatest good that Mao did for the nation was the Chinese revolution he led, which ended the nation’s survival crisis that had lasted a century.

PASSION IN LENS

Both Sun Yat-Sen and Chiang Kai-shek failed to lead the nation out of that crisis, and Mao was an unrivaled great man of his century, Huang says.

Sun Dahong, a photographer who has published an album featuring ethnic Mao fans, argues that the modern passion for Mao has nothing to do with a personality cult.

“It’s never a political fervor that creates blind followers like those during the Cultural Revolution, but a kind of spontaneous affection or emotion that has sprouted at the grassroots and passed from generation to generation,” says Sun, a former provincial deputy police chief of Yunnan…

…”There have always been concerns that today’s society is one without belief, but I have rediscovered it among the ordinary people. Mao worship is an instinctive expression of their emotion and perhaps even reflects a higher level of spiritual need,” Sun says.

“To his worshipers, Chairman Mao stands for auspice and victory, represents social justice and is a man that leads them to common wealth. So they believe in, respect and love Chairman Mao,” Sun says.

Also a Mao fan, Sun actually shares some similarities with Ai Pa. Sun’s mother, a provincial cadre in Yunnan, was persecuted to death during the Cultural Revolution when Sun and his younger brother were both in Shanxi Province receiving reeducation from local peasants.

His mother’s death has been a lingering anguish but Sun has never blamed or hated Chairman Mao. After all, he says, blames for personal grievances should not all go to a policy maker.

As for Mao’s errors, a controversial topic, Sun would like to quote a man he met in Dehong, an autonomous prefecture of ethnic Dai and Jingpo, when shooting his album:

“Chairman Mao’s contributions and merits are like a majestic mountain, but his faults can be measured in just a handful of earth.”

Huang Jisu agrees that Mao’s mistakes should be put under critical analysis, but he argues that criticism should be based on facts instead of rumors or even slanders.

“For such an epoch-making man, he is always a giant, no matter what the comments are, be it praise or censure,” Huang says.

Excerpted by Zuo Shou

Full article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/indepth/2013-12/25/c_132994178.htm

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THE DEBATE CONTINUES OVER CHINA’S ROLE IN AFRICA – Leading African analyst say Beijing is doing good work on the continent [Libya 360°]

Posted in Africa, Assassination, China, Hillary Clinton, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Libya, Mao Zedong, Somalia, State Department, Sudan, USA, Zimbabwe on July 14, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Abayomi Azikiwe

July 2, 2012

A recent op-ed piece in the New York Times by Dambisa Moyo takes a firm position that the role of the People’s Republic of China in Africa is a positive one. This comes amid the growing U.S., U.K. and French military interventions on the continent which has resulted in the massive destruction of Libya, Somalia and Ivory Coast.

She notes in the Times that “Despite all the scaremongering, China’s motives for investing in Africa are actually quite pure. To satisfy China’s population and prevent a crisis of legitimacy for their rule, leaders in Beijing need to keep economic growth rates high and continue to bring hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.” (NYT, June 27)

This same writer goes on to point out that “China needs arable land, oil and minerals. Pursuing imperial or colonial ambitions with masses of impoverished people at home would be wholly irrational and out of sync with China’s current strategic thinking.” Yet even though the U.S. and other NATO countries are facing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression with high unemployment and rising poverty, the imperialist aims of the West are clearly guiding its foreign policy toward Africa.

This statement by Moyo comes a year after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited the Southern African nation of Zambia where she arrogantly told the government and people that “China’s foreign assistance and investment practices in Africa have not always been consistent with generally accepted international norms of transparency and good governance, and that it has not always utilized the talents of the African people in pursuing its business interests.” (Reuters, June 10, 2011)

This statement came at the same time that the U.S. along with its NATO allies were bombing Libya on a daily basis. Libya was prior to the overthrow of Gaddafi the prosperous and stable country on the continent.

Despite the objections by the African Union as spelled out in numerous resolutions and public statements calling for a negotiated settlement of the Libyan crisis, Washington and its NATO partners totally ignored the will of the governments and people of the continent and continued the war that resulted in regime-change and the assassination of Col. Muammar Gaddafi. These actions in Libya follow a historic pattern of slavery, colonialism, neo-colonialism as reflected in modern times through Washington’s opposition to all genuine national liberation movements and progressive governments in Africa.

Refuting Clinton’s assertion, Zambian President Rupiah Banda noted that “Our country has been in a close relationship with China since before independence (in 1964).” The president continued saying that China had assisted numerous African states in dealing with the global financial crisis which originated in the U.S.

Differences in Approach

China Daily took notice of one of Clinton’s statement that was made in neighboring Tanzania as well warning that a “new colonialism in Africa from foreign investors and governments interested only in extracting natural resources to enrich themselves” was underway. (China Daily, June 17, 2011) Although the top U.S. diplomat did not mention China by name, the implications were obvious.

According to China Daily, “The most ironic thing is that Hillary Clinton apparently does not know the significance of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania in the history of China-Africa relations. It is the site where China built its first railway for Tanzania and Zambia” during the early 1970s under the leadership of Chairman Mao.

The China Daily continues saying that its “government invested in the project that has benefited the local people tremendously, and Chinese workers endured the extreme weather conditions and made huge sacrifices in completing this railway project in the most difficult terrain. That railway project sets China apart from Western nations that were involved in Africa earlier than China.”

Other scientific transfers of technology have the potential to address the agricultural crisis in Africa. The Desert Control Research Institute of Gansu has dispatched 10 scientists to Niger and Nigeria to implement a water resource preservation program sponsored by both the Chinese government and the United Nations. (Xinhua, July 2)

The Chinese scientists are doing research and training local personnel in Niamey, Dosso, Tahousa, Maradi and Zinder in south Niger as well as in Kano state in Nigeria. The project is designed to address the problem of scare water resources which impacts agricultural development and animal husbandry that are caused by drought and the expansion of the deserts.

In contrast the U.S. under the Clinton administration established what is known as the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). The U.S. Congress has been inconsistent in providing provisions for investments by corporations which have opened factories in several countries…

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How a smoggy Chinese city turned green – Shenyang, capital of Liaoning province [Guardian]

Posted in China, Environmental protection, Liaoning Province, Mao Zedong, Pollution, Shenyang on December 14, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

* Shenyang – once a key in Mao Zedong’s push to industrialize China – has begun to emerge from its smoggy past, cleaning up its factories and expanding its green spaces *

Christina Larson for Yale Environment 360, part of the Guardian Environment Network

17 October 2011

Almost every day of his childhood, He Xin remembers the skies in his hometown of Shenyang being gray. “If I wore a white shirt to school, by the end of the day it would be brown,” recalls He, who was born in 1974, “and there would be a ring of black soot under the collar.”

He grew up in Shenyang (population 8 million), the capital of northeastern China’s Liaoning province, a city famous for its heavy industry and manufacturing — and soot and pollution. Growing up, the view he remembers most vividly was looking out over Shenyang’s fabled Tiexi industrial district, home to several large iron and steel plants and the site of China’s first model workers village: “When I was a teenager, if I climbed a tall building to look out over Tiexi, all I would see was a forest of large smokestacks, chimneys, and dark, billowing smoke.”

But today all that is gone. No longer standing are Tiexi’s iconic smokestacks and its blocks of red brick workers’ dormitories, with their rows of coal-fired chimneys atop. Now He is the vice president of the environmental consultancy BioHaven and splits his time between Shenyang, Beijing, and St. Louis. To him, Shenyang looks almost unrecognizable today.

“It’s not perfect, but the air is cleaner… almost like it’s not in China,” he said, adding: “The only thing the same is the statue of Chairman Mao.” He was referring to the saluting bronze figure [in] downtown People’s Park, one of the largest statues of Mao Zedong in China.

If the city long known as the “elder brother” of industry for its central role in Mao’s drive to industrialize China in the 1950s and ’60s has recently made strides to clean up its act, He isn’t the only one to take notice. Last November, the Urban China Initiative (UCI), a think tank co-founded by McKinsey & Co., Columbia University, and Beijing’s Tsinghua University, released its first “Urban Sustainability Index” for China. The index assessed sustainability in 112 cities by looking at 18 environmental indicators — from air pollution to waste recycling to mass transit — for the years 2004-2008. Among Chinese cities, Shenyang emerged as a leader in environmental improvement…

Excerpted / edited by Zuo Shou

Full article link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/oct/17/smoggy-chinese-city-green

China to celebrate CPC’s 90th birthday [Xinhua]

Posted in Beijing, China, CPC, Income gap, Mao Zedong, Mao Zedong, Reform and opening up, Shanghai on July 1, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

BEIJING, June 30 (Xinhua) — The birthday party for a billion people comes Friday when the the Communist Party of China (CPC) celebrates its 90th anniversary.

Yet many official activities and completely voluntarily personal celebrations have been underway well ahead of the day.

In southwest Sichuan Province, a group of elderly people sing revolutionary songs. Some play musical instruments such as the electronic keyboard and Chinese lute, while others dance, waving their fans.

Their leader, 70-year-old Li Changrong, made hand-written copies of more than 300 songs.

In the Fangshan district of Beijing, 62-year-old Liu Xiuhua spent a week making a double-sized embroidery of the party flag.

In Langfang of north Hebei Province, 69-year-old Yuan Jintong spent 46 years collecting paper clips, photos, books and badges–a personal scrapbook capturing the history of the Communist Party. Yuan is considering exhibiting his collection.

Revolutionary songs are heard from the Yangtze River to the Tibetan Plateau, while a movie about the birth of the Party, “Beginning of the Great Revival,” raked in 200 million yuan in a fortnight.

In east Zhejiang Province, a new memorial opened Thursday in memory of the first National Congress of the Party. The memorial covers 2.73 hectares near Nanhu Lake in Jiaxing and features more than 800 items from the first party members.

Nine decades ago, 13 individuals met and founded the Communist Party in a brick-and-wood building in the French concession area of Shanghai, though the meeting was eventually moved to a boat on Nanhu Lake.

CHANGES OF LIFE

In nine decades, party membership has grown to 80 million, roughly the population of Germany, and China has become the second largest economy in the world.

People vividly recall the changes the party brought to their lives.

Zhang Huifen, a retired factory worker in Beijing, has been a party member for 30 years.

“When I was in the middle school in the 1970s, our food quota was 0.25 kilograms of wheat flour and rice,” she said. “The peanuts could be seen just at the Spring Festival.”

Zhang still preserved some ration coupons, which were a symbol of China’s planned economy. People then had to use both cash and coupons to buy daily necessities.

“When I bought pork, I would choose the fat meat,” she recalled. “Not because I liked to eat fat meat, but I can make oil with it, and there was never enough oil.” She said that the young people nowadays are too choosy in food.

Qiao Lin, 54, is jealous of today’s girls and their beautiful clothes.

“When I started work at the age of 18, my trousers and shoes were patched,” she said. But she improvised by choosing pretty patterns when sewing.

“We needed coupons to buy cloth, and the colors of cloth were always blue, white and black,” she said.

Fortunately, Qiao said she was not too old for the fashion. “There are so many beautiful clothes and cosmetics in the shopping malls that I can buy.”

Zhang also mentioned how money has changed throughout her life.

In the 1970s, the bank notes featured tractors, railways and soldiers, and now the pictures on the renminbi are of scenery across China–and Chairman Mao reigns supreme on every bill.

Although both Zhang and Qiao admitted that problems remain under CPC rule, such as corruption and the huge gap between rich and poor, they agreed that life is becoming better.

Sinicize Marxism for Chinese socialism: Xi [China Daily]

Posted in China, CPC, CPC Central Committee (CPCCC), Deng Xiaoping, Mao Zedong, Mao Zedong, Marx, Reform and opening up, Scientific Outlook on Development, Socialism with Chinese Characteristics on June 20, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

June 20, 2011

BEIJING – Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping on Monday called for efforts to push forward the sinicization of Marxism while sticking to the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

The Communist Party of China (CPC), guided by scientific theory, has combined adherence to the basic tenets of Marxism with adaptation to Chinese circumstances in revolution, construction and reform. It has pushed forward the sinicization of Marxism to ensure the Party’s guiding ideology and basic theory advance with the times, Xi said.

It’s the primary reason the CPC has grown and expanded over the past 90 years and led the people to notable achievements, said the vice president, who is also a member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau.

The sinicization of Marxism generates two major theoretical results, which are the philosophy of Mao Zedong and the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, including Deng Xiaoping’s Theory, the Three Represents and the Scientific Outlook on Development, Xi said.

In order to push forward the sinicization of Marxism, the Party shall take a scientific attitude toward Marxism and properly handle the dialectical unity of adherence and development, Xi said.

CPC members shall maintain the lofty aims of communism in mind, focus on what they are doing, and value the practices and creations of the people, he said.

Party members shall keep a close eye on changes in the world with broad vision and learn from all the achievements of civilization, while equipping themselves with the theoretical innovations.

Xi made the remarks at a national forum on party building in Beijing.

Article link: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2011-06/20/content_12737838.htm

Hu Jintao’s message to Fidel [Granma Internacional]

Posted in CPC Central Committee (CPCCC), Cuba, Deng Xiaoping, Fidel Castro, Havana, Hu Jintao, Jiang Zemin, Mao Zedong, Sino-Cuban friendship on April 28, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Beijing, April 19, 2011

Havana

Esteemed Fidel Castro Ruz:

On the occasion of the closing of the 6th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba, allow me to convey, in the name of the Communist Party of China’s Central Committee, and my own, our most sincere respect and cordial greetings.

The 6th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba, held on the 50th anniversary of the proclamation of the socialist nature of the Cuban Revolution, has been a Congress worthy of its legacy and looking to the future.  Over the past 50 years, as founder and promoter of the Revolution and the development of Cuba, you, with no fear of foreign pressure, have led the Cuban people in protecting the sovereignty and dignity of the nation, persevering resolutely along the path to socialism, registering successes in the construction of socialism which have attracted the attention of everyone.  You have, therefore, garnered not only the respect and support of the Cuban people, but also the admiration of the world’s peoples.

You are an eminent revolutionary, theorist, strategist and statesman. 51 years ago during the gathering of more than a million Cubans in the Plaza de la Revolución in Havana, you decisively declared the establishment of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the People’s Republic of China, making Cuba the first country in Latin America to do so, opening a new era of Chinese-Cuban and Chinese-Latin American relations.  You have always been involved in the promotion of friendship between China and Cuba, following closely the progress of China’s development and offering fraternal help and support, making important contributions to the continuing development of friendship and cooperation between the two parties and countries.  It is with satisfaction that today we can confirm that the friendship between China and Cuba, initiated and cultivated jointly by the comrades Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, yourself, Raúl and other Party leaders, has established deep roots within the hearts of our people and has entered a new period of comprehensive development.

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“Detained: Ai Weiwei, Con Artist” by Yoichi Shimatzu [The 4th Media]

Posted in Beijing, Belgium, China, Corruption, CPC, Deng Xiaoping, Diplomat, Egypt, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Iran, Japan, Law enforcement, Liu Xiaobo, Mao Zedong, Mao Zedong, Netherlands, Nobel Peace Prize, Police, Shanghai, Syria, Thailand, USA, Western nations' human rights distortions, Zhang Yimou 张艺谋 on April 12, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Lots of essential facts here about Ai Weiwei, stripped of Western propaganda.  This article really slams him, the invective sometimes employed is probably in proportion to Western sources’ knee-jerk sanctification of shady Ai.  -  Zuo Shou 左手

BEIJING – Anger is essential to the modern Chinese male character, which is so strikingly "un-Asian" compared with, say, a Japanese with his cool dispassion toward lethal risks or the Thai with his elegant aesthetic of combat as a dance to the death. On the streets of Beijing, it’s not uncommon to see a burly bloke belly-bump a police officer while bellowing vulgarities. In most places, it’s the cops who bully the civilians; only in China is it the other way around.

The recently detained artist Ai Weiwei is an exponent of the macho gesture, Beijing-style. His life work is a rendering of the rude shove, the slamming door, spit and cigarette butts on polished marble floors and tussles in the subway. The leitmotif of one of his art series is the middle figure superimposed over images of China’s national monuments.  Like the enraged man on the street, the artist brutalizes symbols of authority.

Surprisingly, his recent arrest at Beijing’s airport while trying to board an overseas flight did not stem from his controversial art, radical political views or an assault complaint but was related to a drab and dreary case of financial irregularities involving his new Shanghai studio. Though to his ardent supporters the charges may look like a set-up by the police, Shanghai is rife with commercial scams related to land and zoning codes.  Details of the case are by law kept from media release until conviction, and Ai Weiwei himself has never provided answers to the charges, choosing instead to make counter-accusations of political persecution.

Shanghai Gang

Ai Weiwei’s alleged violation of property regulations, like  the myriad of other less-publicized cases in Shanghai, has its origins in those heady days when the municipality was led by municipal party chief Chen Liangyu, who has since been arrested for embezzlement and property fraud.  Chen wooed anyone in the cultural field who had connections with the West in the drive to win approval for the city’s bid for a World Expo. Often Chen took personal charge by inviting a guest to a private dinner, such as one this author sat in on, to promise that a successful effort to bring over cultural heavyweights from the U.S. and Europe would be rewarded generously.

In 2000, Ai Weiwei, who had studied at Parsons School of Design and familiar figure in New York’s avant garde art scene, was invited to curate a group show in Shanghai.  His radical anti-authoritarian opinions were received with enthusiasm by Chen’s cultural circle, which included neo-conservative critics of the Cultural Revolution, who in an earlier era would have been deemed capitalist roaders. The city gates were flung open, and the artist got his pick of real estate.

A series of property scandals, triggered by mass evictions of long-time residents, eventually led to the arrest of Chen and his associates.  Land titles transferred under his regime have since been reviewed, and hundreds of prosecution cases filed. Ai Weiwei’s new studio, which was among the questionable properties[,] was torn down like many other illegal structures. There’s nothing extraordinary about this sort of corruption, except for its politicized defense by Ai Weiwei and his foreign sponsors, including the American ambassador to China.

As the Shanghai case illustrates, Ai Weiwei is not only an artist, architect, filmmaker, curator, social critic and dissenter, he is also a low-end property developer with an apparently sloppy ledger book, rife with shady accounting practices. To some he’s a great artistic talent, but as a businessman he’s known for skirting the rules.  His loosely administered property dealings have long raised eyebrows among academic artists and municipal officials in Beijing.

Now, as the hidden associations with Shanghai’s boss, who abused political power to evict thousands of residents from their homes, come out, the truth is blowing apart Ai Weiwei’s phony "anti-corruption" crusade. No wonder he keeps his fat mouth shut about the sordid details.

Readymade Rebel

Whatever his claims of political persecution, the fact is that Chinese authorities have shown nearly infinite latitude toward this artistic maverick and social rebel. Their muted acceptance of his barrage of insults illustrates how, at the gut level, the Chinese are more democratic than their ultra-polite and class-conscious peers in Japan, Thailand and India.

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