Chinese salute late leader Mao Zedong in Shaoshan amid CPC's centennial
Published: Jul 01, 2021 10:02 PM
Many people come from across the nation to Chairman Mao Zedong's hometown in Shaoshan, Central China's Hunan Province to pay respects to the late leader on Thursday, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC. Photo: Cui Fandi/GT

Many people come from across the nation to Chairman Mao Zedong's hometown in Shaoshan, Central China's Hunan Province to pay respects to the late leader on Thursday, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC. Photo: Cui Fandi/GT

Video: People's Daily

It was around 6 am, despite heavy rain, when some elderly visitors who wore emblems showcasing their membership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) for more than 50 years, stood with hundreds of other people in front of the statue of the late leader Mao Zedong, singing, laying flowers and bowing. This was the scenario in Mao's hometown of Shaoshan, Central China's Hunan Province on Thursday, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC.

While a grand ceremony to celebrate the Party's centennial was held at Tiananmen Square in Beijing on Thursday morning to express Chinese people's excitement and joy for the CPC's achievements, many people came from across the nation to Mao's hometown to pay respects to the great leader. 

An elderly Party member from Central China's Henan Province who came to the Shaoshan Mao Zedong Memorial Museum told Global Times that it was a special honor to come to Mao's former residence on such a special day to pay homage to the great leader.

"I came all the way with the Party and know very well what the Party has done for us," he said, adding, "We will never forget Mao Zedong and will always be grateful to the Party. I believe that under today's leaders, the Party and the country can also achieve more."

A local resident surnamed Xia told the Global Times that although it rained for days in Shaoshan, the spontaneous celebrations by locals and tourists had been going on for days, and the anniversary atmosphere pervaded the whole city.

The square was decorated early, with flowers and greenery to form a design marking the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Party that was erected at the entrance of the square, and many visitors posed for pictures with it. The Mao Zedong Memorial Museum also offered special souvenirs related to the anniversary, including cultural shirts and badges.

When addressing the grand ceremony, Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, mentioned Mao's name multiple times.

"Chinese Communists, with comrades Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao as their chief representatives, have made tremendous and historic contributions to the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. To them, we express our highest respect," Xi said.

"Let us take this moment to cherish the memory of comrades Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Liu Shaoqi, Zhu De, Deng Xiaoping, Chen Yun and other veteran revolutionaries who contributed greatly to China's revolution, construction and reform, and to the founding, consolidation and development of the CPC," Xi said. 

Xi cited a poem written by Mao in his address. "Our minds grow stronger for the martyrs' sacrifice, daring to make the sun and the moon shine in the new sky."

"It is significant and meaningful to commemorate Mao and show Chinese people's love and respect for the late Chinese leader, for he participated in the founding of the CPC, saved it from crisis, started to practice China's way of combining Marxism with China's reality, and laid a solid political foundation for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation," Su Wei, a professor at the Party School of the Chongqing Party Committee, told the Global Times. 

Su said that although there were setbacks in China's development, Mao led China through the most difficult period and made decisions that were crucial for China's later rise. More importantly, the idea of adapting Marxism with Chinese context has been passed on to generations of Chinese leaders. 

"As we celebrated the Party's centenary, we should also take Mao's words to heart. The achievements the Party and the Chinese people made over the past 100 years are the prelude, with the climax being anticipated in the future," Su said, noting that hopes lie in the young people of China. 

Despite some mistakes in the later years of his life, Mao's remarkable achievements have taken on more extraordinary historical significance and will be long remembered in Chinese history and by the Chinese people, analysts said.

In a large-scale celebration broadcast on China Central Television on Thursday night, a colored high-definition video of Chairman Mao delivering a speech at the founding ceremony of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1949 was also inserted.   

On the big screen, Mao walked up to the Tiananmen Rostrum, waved to the jubilant people, and announced the official establishment of the PRC. 

Many netizens said that they were deeply moved by the video. "Chairman Mao on the screen is looking up at the prosperous China in 2021. This scene made me cry," one netizen wrote.

A video showing a fireworks display in Changsha, capital city of Hunan on Wednesday night also went viral on social media. After climbing high in the sky, the fireworks bloomed, lighting up the statue of Mao Zedong standing firmly at the center of Juzizhoutou, or Orange Isle, looking like he was watching the splendid views along with the cheering crowds.

Many netizens, especially young people, commented that their eyes were filled with tears when seeing the moment that Mao's face was lit up by the fireworks. "It was like he was enjoying the prosperity together with us and seeing the new world that he and many other revolutionary martyrs dreamed of and strove for their entire lives," a netizen wrote. 

Aside from the elderly, young people joined the crowd in Shaoshan. Staffers at the Mao Zedong Memorial Museum told the Global Times that the number of visitors to Chairman Mao's former residence increased significantly in the period leading up to the 100th anniversary. 

At the same time, the proportion of young people among the visitors also increased. 

"From their expressions and conversations, one can clearly feel the young people's identification with their home country," said a museum employee.

A young visitor told the Global Times that she was very excited to be able to visit the great man's residence on this day and feel his spirit. 

"This is my second year after joining the Party, and I'm lucky to have joined the family so early. I hope to give my strength to the Party and contribute to the rejuvenation of the nation," she said.

A university student from Beijing told the Global Times that she chose to come to Chairman Mao's residence on this day because of his yearning for the spirit of the Party.  

"When I came here, I felt the spiritual inheritance of the Party from generation to generation," she said.

"During the past two years of the COVID-19 epidemic, I personally felt the appeal of the CPC and the contributions of the Party members, which inspired me to join the Party. 

"Coming to the hometown of the great leader showed me the origin of this spirit, and I also hope to pass on this spirit," she added.