Hong Kong actress Carina Lau Kar-ling stirred a war of words on the mainland’s biggest microblog on Sunday after she posted a photo of herself in Tiananmen Square, with the giant portrait of Mao Zedong looming over her.
In what appears to be her first visit to Beijing’s Tianamen Square, Lau wrote: "48 years... I'm finally here!"
She also quoted from a Communist Party red song: “The East Is Red, the sun in my heart!”
Her post referenced the revolution song The East Is Red, which idealises Mao as China’s sun and was widely sung during the decade-long Cultural Revolution in the 1960s.
The post on the Sina Weibo  microblogging platform was made on a verified account, indicating that it is officially tied to Lau. It elicited strong responses from online supporters and critics.
“Why show respect to a nation-founding leader in whose reign thousands of innocent nationals were starved to death?” one comment said.
Another Weibo user said anyone who dared post something that praised Adolf Hitler in Germany would have faced much harsher criticism.
And, apparently referring to the June 4, 1989, crackdown, another person wrote: “One must beware of tanks here.”
But many more posts appeared to support Lau, who was born in Jiangsu province and was a gymnastics athlete before coming to Hong Kong in 1980 to act. Lau won Hong Kong Film Award’s best actress honour in 2011.
One of her supporters commented: “How nice it is that you have a piece of China heart.”