*BLOG / Chinese

Happy 90th birthday to China’s Communist Party

When you wind it up, Mao waves his “Little Red Book” to and fro. / Daina Beth Solomon

I know you are all jealous of the Mao alarm clock I recently picked up at the Pacific Asia Museum gift shop.  When you wind it up, Mao waves his “Little Red Book” to and fro.  Happy 90th birthday to China’s Communist Party.

Yeah, right.I learned in my Communism class last semester that Mao was a pretty evil guy.  The Chairman’s actions were guided only by a desire to stay in power.  He harbored no long-term goals or plans for China, and made arbitrary decisions.  The Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap were horrific failures.

The Chinese realize this.  Yet the Party cannot completely break away from its history under Mao.  After all, Mao liberated the country.  Many saw him as a hero, and of course, he established communism.   Now, the government is stuck in a weird tangle of ideology and politics.  It must honor Mao’s legacy while denouncing many of his actions.

It’s no wonder that preparations for birthday celebrations are looking lackluster.  Some students, for instance, have been “asked” to sing paeans to Mao – efforts they find boring and useless.  Others see shades of the Cultural Revolution in renewed fervor for Mao.  And some say it’s all a guise to cover up major social problems.  Read more here in the LA Times.

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