China upholds Mao’s tenets on governance

By Jiang Jie Source:Global Times Published: 2014-9-10 0:53:01

Grass-roots events commemorate 38th anniversary of Chairman’s death

Grass-roots commemorations prevailed on the 38th anniversary of the death of former Chairman Mao Zedong Tuesday when few official ceremonies were held, although analysts believe that the Party still upholds his thoughts on governance.

Many news portals on Tuesday posted an article entitled "Philosophical thoughts last forever, although the great man has long gone," which was originally printed Tuesday in the People's Daily. Media outlets also posted famous sayings and photographs of Mao on their Sina Weibo accounts. 

In contrast with the grand commemoration for late leader Deng Xiaoping in August, some found this year's commemoration of Mao was on a smaller scale.

This reignited public discussions as to whether the Communist Party of China (CPC) prefers Deng, the chief architect of China's reform and opening-up, over Mao as the nation deepens reform.

However, analysts pointed out that major official commemorative events are traditionally held every five years and Party and State leaders have never strayed from upholding Mao Zedong Thought, often attaching more significance to it instead.

Qi Xingfa, an associate professor with the School of Humanities and Social Science at East China Normal University, told the Global Times that the legitimacy of the CPC's leadership mostly relies on economic progress, whereas any downplaying of former leaders will jeopardize its governance.

President Xi Jinping visited Mao's mausoleum in Beijing along with six other members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, China's top decision-making body, on December 26 last year, the 120th anniversary of Mao's birth.

They bowed to Mao's statue at the mausoleum, but this act was not repeated at the 110th anniversary of Deng's birth this August, which indicated the "unshakeable significance of Mao as the founding father of China," according to Maoist scholar Sima Nan.

"Neither Deng nor Mao's great accomplishments can be denied. I believe that the current central leadership is finding a balance between Mao and Deng," Ma Yong, a research fellow with the Institute of Modern History at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times Tuesday.

"From anti-graft to the mass line campaign, Xi is promoting what Mao had also done. This shows the current leadership is not only preaching the words of Mao Zedong Thought but has put them into action," Sima noted.

Meanwhile, analysts agreed that the nation's widening wealth gap as well as the corrupt and bureaucratic system make some people feel nostalgic for Mao's leadership when egalitarianism and political purity prevailed.

"Such reflections are mere complaints about reality under the guise of history. The nation should be more open to Mao's profile to carry out research about Mao as a human instead of either deifying or demonizing him," Ma noted.

Posted in: Politics, China Watch

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