There would seem to be something ideologically incongruous about honoring the godfather of Chinese communism with a giant golden statue, but the story of the Mao colossus of Zhushigang gets worse with each new detail. The imposing 120-foot statue, made from steel and concrete covered in gold paint, towers over the surrounding trees.
The region where Maozilla sits is currently impoverished, one of the poorest areas in China… making the expense of 3 million yuan (a little under half a million U.S. dollars) on a creepy monument a slap in the face to struggling residents. Some of them reportedly donated to the construction project, which makes the whole affair even more horrifying.
As bad as things are in Henan province these days, they were a lot worse when Chairman Mao Zedong was in power, as his “Great Leap Forward” starved millions of rural Chinese to death. Mao’s 60 million victims make him the undisputed champion of the 20th Century’s triumvirate of genocidal evil, leaving Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin in the dust. This hundred-foot statue could be realistically seated upon a throne of bones from Mao’s victims in Henan, built to scale.
On the bright side, the UK Telegraph says much of the funding for the statue came from “entrepreneurs,” a class of people Mao’s philosophy made very little room for, and young people have taken to snapping selfies in front of the statue with their smartphones. The obnoxious monument is described as symbolizing a disturbing resurgence of Maoism in China, but in truth it could not be more disrespectful of his ideology if they installed a pay toilet between his giant golden ankles.
Then again, the Left’s notions of “equality” and “social justice” always make copious allowances for god-kings, Great Men, and swarms of aristocrats with lavish lifestyles. Cults of personality are utterly inseparable from fascism, communism, socialism, and every other form of collectivism. You will never find a single collectivist government that lacks demigod Great Leaders who flaunt all notions of equality and class-war envy with impunity, including the Left in America and Europe. The golden Mao statue of Zhushigang (and its much smaller, but even more expensive, solid-gold counterpart in Mao’s hometown of Shaoshan) are just particularly obnoxious manifestations of collectivist worship.
One of the major reasons for that personality-cult worship is that collectivism requires vast amounts of power to be invested in a very small group of people, with no significant restraint. That “very small group” always devolves to a single tyrannical figure, because all forms of power sharing are seen as “roadblocks” to fulfilling the Great Leader’s vision and doing the urgent work of The People. If the machinery of government moves too slowly for the Great Leader’s taste, he has a sacred duty to work around it.
Liu Jianwu, the dean of China’s Mao Zedong research centre, said the statue appeared to have been designed to “commemorate a leader”.
“In contemporary China, Mao Zedong represents the embodiment of fairness and justice,” Liu claimed. “In the hearts of ordinary people, Mao represents fairness and justice. So people hold these kinds of emotions towards him.”
[…] Mao’s favourite revolutionary opera was recently remade for stage and screen while a professor at one of China’s top universities has started offering an online course on “Mao Zedong Thought”.
In 2013, Xi marked the 120th anniversary of the chairman’s birth by promising to “hold high the banner of Mao Zedong Thought forever”.
“Mao is a great figure who changed the face of the nation and led the Chinese people to a new destiny,” Xi said.
Dean Liu at least had the presence of mind to say that building giant golden statues of Mao felt wrong, and suggest others should not “imitate” the colossus of Zhushigang.
The best way to hang onto power in a world full of elections and popular uprisings, even as the performance of the absolute rulers grows increasingly disappointing, is to keep the Little People from asking too many questions. Unquestioning reverence for a tyrant shrouded in myth, generations after his death, is an effective strategy for keeping the Chinese people submissive to centralized authority, even as their nation is buffeted by the material and intellectual winds of the 21st Century. Rarely has the dead hand of the past been so huge, or shiny.