Forget celebrating the birth of Jesus in China this Christmas; the real gala celebration is the next day, Boxing Day, as thousands of Chinese people celebrate the 120th anniversary of one of the greatest mass murderers in history: Mao Tse-Tung., whose Great Leap Forward killed 45 million people in four years. One employee at a tourist concession in Shaoshan, where Mao was born, said, “Xi Jinping (the president) himself told the leaders here in Shaoshan, there should be no gala, no singing, no dancing and no big events,” but his warning is being ignored. The Communist party is trying to reinvent itself as a workers’ movement, but thousands of Maoists are traveling to Shaoshan wearing green revolutionary army caps.
The celebration has already started; pianist Lang Lang, already gave a concert in the village’s Mao Zedong Square, and a train of 120 camels was sent from Inner Mongolia to the village for publicity. A 200 million yuan (£20 million) solid gold statue of Mao now stands astride a grand memorial hall. Three cushions are on the floor in front of the statue so that visitors can kneel before it.
Various Chinese citizens have been quoted, thrilled by the celebration. 84-year-old Tang Ruiren, who used her family connections to Mao to found a chain of 400 “Mao Family” restaurants across China, said:
He taught us to love our country and to pay taxes. I paid 180 million yuan of taxes last year! We simply want to give people good, well-priced food. If he came back today he would be thrilled to see the village so prosperous … My grandmother helped deliver Chairman Mao and wash him. My father-in-law said he was a genius in class and every day he would take a big bowl of food to school, but not eat it and give it to others.
Chen Min, a 23-year-old nurse who works at a hospital in Changsha, said, “Mao is a god in the East. My grandmother was here in Shaoshan for the 100th anniversary, when they installed the giant bronze statue in the main square. It was winter, but she said the flowers along the road bloomed as the statue was driven by.”
Yang Biqiu, an 83-year-old visitor, said, “Mao liberated China. You cannot blame him for things like the Cultural Revolution or those other miserable times. He did not cause them himself.”
Tang Jinbo, a 53-year-old former worker in a pharmaceutical firm, who traveled to Shaoshan, belongs to a group advocating a return to Mao’s policies. She said, “In the first 30 years of Mao, there was free education, free healthcare, housing and everyone had a job. Since the reform period came, the income gap has only widened.” Another member of the group added, “If you pay close attention, you will see the fever for Maoism is getting hotter and hotter because people can see for themselves that the past used to be better,” added another of the group.