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  • Jul 12, 2014
  • Updated: 3:28am
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POLITICS

Mao Zedong was no god, says Xi Jinping, in delicate balancing act

President tells the party faithful they should move forward but not forget the past on the 120th anniversary of Mao Zedong's birth

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 December, 2013, 3:20am
UPDATED : Friday, 27 December, 2013, 9:18am

President Xi Jinping attempted a balancing act on the 120th anniversary of Mao Zedong's birth yesterday, praising the late Communist Party leader's teachings while acknowledging he was "not a god".

In a speech at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing to commemorate Mao's birth, Xi told party leaders that historical failures could not be blamed on individuals, nor could one person be credited with an era's success.

"Revolutionary leaders are men but not gods," Xi said. "We should not worship them like gods … but we should not negate them completely because they made mistakes.

"[We should] move forward, but can't forget the path that we have travelled."

Xi spoke after leading the other six members of the supreme Politburo Standing Committee to Mao's mausoleum, where they bowed three times before the late party patriarch's marble statue.

The anniversary speech was closely watched for insights into the direction of the ruling party under Xi, who serves as its general secretary as well as the state's president. Xi's defence of Mao's legacy and adoption of Mao-era slogans and organisation techniques have worried party liberals, reformists and activists who hoped he might crack open the door to political reform.

Analysts said Xi appeared to be trying not to lean to the right or left. "The remarks are a response to the recent ideology debates of the left and the right," said Pu Xingzu, a political scientist at Fudan University. "Xi is sending a message that he won't follow the old path of Maoism nor go astray towards Western democracy."

Xi said the party should embrace the "spirit" of Mao Zedong Thought - a guiding party doctrine including class struggle and constant revolution - to ensure its six-decade rule continues.

Xi said Mao's teachings can be summed up as "being practical and factual, staying close to the ordinary people and staying independent and autonomous".

The remarks elaborated on previous party statements on Mao Zedong Thought, but appeared to defend Xi's own policies, including an anti-corruption campaign and a more assertive foreign policy.

"All the diseases that could damage the party's advanced nature and purity should be seriously treated, and all the tumours that breed on the healthy skin of the party should be resolutely removed," Xi said. "To stay independent and autonomous means that Chinese people should take things into their own hands … No race and country can rely on external force or follow others to achieve their own revival."

Official ceremonies were held across the country, especially in Mao's home province of Hunan . But some unofficial events were banned. An organiser of annual "red songs" concerts to celebrate Mao's birthday in Hunan said they had been banned, although they could go to Mao's hometown of Shaoshan to pay tribute as individuals.

Others paid tribute in Beijing at the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong in Tiananmen Square.

Additional reporting by Zhuang Pinghui and Laura Zhou

 

Video: China marks Mao's birth with noodles and songs

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This article is now closed to comments

lib_prc

I figured it out...Mr. Mao was uniquely positioned to sing like Frank Senatra, "I did it my way!"...
jeffrey.forsythe.52
Mao was a brutal monster directly responsible for the murder of twenty million of his own people. He once said that he wanted to see his country covered by a wave of red. He got his wish and his inhuman ways are still being practiced today by the cruel Chinese Communist Party. The blood-thirsty CCP in using slavery, torture, organ harvesting and murder in its attempt to eliminate the more than fifty million innocent Falun Gong practitioners who live in Mainland China. These are the facts concerning Mao and his filthy Party.
superdx
Mao was a not even particularly smart. He was in fact kind of dumb. Of the Four Pests campaign, he said to kill all the sparrows because they ate grain and seeds. Well guess what, sparrows eat ****s too, which are even bigger threats to agriculture. Sparrows were decimated, ****s thrived, and more countrymen died from famine. Yes, kill all the birds. I find the current CCP government in fact not much smarter than this. Keep it up, China Dream.
peye3515
16 year old's. Hard to argue with someone who was present and is still living to tell the tale.
pgrath1
Mao Zedong was not a god. But he was able to have sex with 5 16 year-olds all at the same time.
req
So many ways for a Sage to achieve immortality. I like Silvio Berlusconi....
rpasea
How about butcher? Until China recognizes that Mao was not only not a god but a m u r d e r e r and tyrant, how can they move forward? Mao ranks up there with Pol Pot.
chuchu59
Of course Mao is no God. He was a brutal person with his hands full of the blood of ordinary civilians. God is all-merciful and forgiving. Mao is not.
the sun also rises
of course, Chairman Mao is no god and he never was as he was also just a human being. An intellectural turned revolutionist who overthrew the Chiang Kai-shek's ruling Kuomintang government in 1949 and founded the People's Republic of China,another Chinese dynasty just like Han Dynasty's Liu Bong and Ming Dynasty's Chu Yuen-chiang only ! The founder of a new dynasty: the Communist Dynasty which is still an autocratic ruling regime like the Qin Dynasty when the founders' descendants inherited their ancestors' wealth and prestiges or titles.Corruption is rampant or even more serious than late Qin Dynasty !
tobychun
Actually he was a peasant turned revolutionary, he absolutely hated intellectuals. Apart from murdering more people than Hitler and Stalin, he also destroyed thousands of years worth of Chinese philosophy that was wiped out during the cultural revolution. This wasn't only a loss to China but a loss to the world. China could have been a benevolent and peaceful world leader without this small **** syndrome they have today, but that opportunity is now lost. They are *still* trying to recover from 50 years of Mao and reverse the damage he did.

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