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Mao thirty years after
by Thanos Kalamidas
2006-09-14 09:29:17
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The year 2006, among others internationally, has become important for China. It marks thirty years since the death of Mao Zedong, thirty years without the man that connected his life with the future of this great Asian nation. He was the man who made the Cultural Revolution and gave a new meaning altogether to the word 'cultural'.

I’m not sure what the Chinese people are thinking, but the Chinese states, unsure whether extended celebrations and memorials would offend, have kept the event quiet. No memorials in Peking, no endless hours of documentaries on Chinese television. The only memorial in his honor was online in the jungle of the internet, the resurgence of a museum in his birth town and the mention of the two above in a small paragraph in the inner pages of the newspaper ‘Republic’s Daily’.

From the early years in 1959 till the years of the Cultural Revolution in 1969, over thirty million people died in the name of Mao’s communism. Could a memorial to Mao occur by ignoring the memory of all these people and how a state that balances between a twisted capitalism and controlled communism would be able to react to that? One memory China definitely doesn’t need again is the memory of the Tiananmen Square and any memorial would lead there.

With a population of nearly 1.4 billion people, there are the ones who remember the good old days, feeling the disappointment of the new situation and missing the old leader. However, in the case of China, these people are not in the hundreds, like Russia or other former communists states, they are in the millions. This has probably made the state pray for this year to go fast and people to focus on the coming Olympic Games. The main power of Mao’s reminder is coming from the agricultural ruling areas where he pumped his power all his years.

Yet, how can you make a memorial to Mao in a country where Wal-Mart supermarkets are everywhere, including an office for the Communist Party of China in every single mall they have built. Chinese President Hu Jintao seems happy with the whole situation believing that the presence of the office in every capitalist mall assures the continuation of the state’s power despite international financial pressure and globalization.

Thirty years after the death of Mao Zedong the only ones who really remember what he really did are the online encyclopedias. In another thirty years he'll probably be remembered as that funny guy in the weird shirt stood next to President Nixon in a photograph. Nixon will be remembered definitely, he’s the one who taught everybody that there are no honest politicians and that’s how history will remember him. Mao, on the other hand, the jokes about his super active sexual life will survive and nothing more. Today’s Chinese state works hard on that anyway.


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Asa2006-09-13 14:45:17
Maybe they should honour Mao by changing the name of China's Wal-Marts to Wal-Mao.

No? Ok, then.

Thanos2006-09-14 19:27:21
with the situation in the new ...style communism of China, nothing would surprise me!!!

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