Authorities in Hunan province's Shaoshan town - the birthplace of Mao Zedong - are trying to prevent 'superstitious worship' of the revolutionary leader in the lead-up to the tourist onslaught expected during the week-long National Day holiday, which starts on Monday. Chinese leaders earlier this year urged loyal tourists to take in the 'Red Tour' and visit four main Communist Party revolutionary bases as a way of instilling a deep sense of communist ideology and history in the masses. However, many mainlanders seem to have gone far beyond that and have started looking at the tours as a sort of pilgrimage because, for many, Mao is a god-like figure. This cult-like behaviour has alarmed the party, and authorities issued a ban on certain tourists activities in Shaoshan such as kowtowing or burning incense and paper money in front of images of Mao. Shaoshan's party secretary, Liu Qinglin, told the local Xiaoxiang Morning Post the ban was imposed as Mao was a communist leader, not a Buddha. As a result, local leaders have started a clean-up campaign around tourist sites, removing all cushions used for kowtowing and incense burners put in front of Mao statues by vendors. The newspaper also said local authorities had confiscated thousands of souvenirs bearing Mao's image, including necklaces, badges and amulets, and 160 poorly made Mao statues. To commemorate the revolutionary figure in a proper manner, Chinese authorities originally built a small museum in Shaoshan in 1964. It was located just around the corner from his ancestral home, which was also preserved, with all the old implements, kitchen utensils and bedroom furniture intact. By last year the museum had almost tripled in size and had attracted more than 40 million tourists. Many Chinese gave up the pilgrimage during the boom years after economic reforms in the 1990s, but the journey is now back in style. In May and June, about 10,000 tourists visited the Shaoshan site every day in the lead-up to the 80th anniversary of the Communist Party on July 1.