Chinese leftists dumbfounded by lack of official support after Mao Yushi speech

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 April, 2013, 10:44am
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 August, 2013, 4:13am

The renowned liberal Mao Yushi has for many years been a hate figure for Chinese leftists for his vocal criticism of Mao Zedong's legacy.

Outrage ensued when a leftist scholar was taken away by police on Thursday after interrupting a speech by the octogenerian economist in Shenyang.

That outrage was, however, cut down by censors, when they deleted some of the more strongly worded posts on micro-blogs.Both the arrest and the censors's deletions have left prominent leftists dumbfounded as they themselves had previously supported the government's suppression of dissent.

When Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, a group around Kong Qingdong, a 73rd generation descendant of Confucius and vocal leftist, denounced the democracy activist and set up an alternative Confucius Peace Prize. The prize has since been awarded to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"Don't make friends suffer and enemies celebrate, release [Wang] immediately," Kong Qingdong called upon police in a message on his micro-blog which has been shared thousands of times. 

"Comrade Party Secretary of Shenyang Zeng Wei, Comrade Party Secretary of Liaoning Wang Min: Don't you understand [Mao] Yushi's position towards China's political system?" asked Sima Nan, a leftist Beijing-based commentator on his micro-blog.

Others shared photos of Li Zhuoran, the head of the city's Chamber of Industry and Commerce which had invited Mao Yushi to speak at the conference, calling him "the future department head for stability preservation" and demanding that he step down. 

It all started when Mao Yushi, the octogenarian economist, had allegedly criticised the Communist Party's ideological fundamentals - Marxism, Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought - in his keynote speech on "new opportunities and challenges in the development of the non-public economy" in Shenyang on Thursday.

Enraged party historian Wang interrupted the economist's speech. Police were alerted and Wang was arrested, but has since been released. The cause for the arrest was "a heated argument on academic questions," local police said on their microblog.

The auditorium in which Mao spoke was full to its brim with 500 people according to a weibo post by the local paper Commercial Daily, which has since been deleted.

In its Thursday edition, which went to the press before the event, the local paper had apologised to all those who couldn't reserve a seat for the event and promised to provide "comprehensive, in-depth coverage" the following day.

The event, however, was not mentioned in Friday's edition.

Last year, Utopia, then one of the mainland's leading leftist websites, claimed to have collected thousands of signatures calling for Mao Yushi's public persecution after he had written a critical piece on Mao Zedong.

"He is not god, and he will be removed from the altar, divested of all the myth that used to shroud him and receive a just evaluation as an ordinary man," he wrote.