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Mao Zedong Is The God Of China
By: RSS/News FeedsHungZai Team

People look at a six-meter (20-foot) bronze statue of former Chinese leader Mao Zedong in his home village of Shaoshan, in China’s central province of Hunan in August 2006. Mao, architect of the Cultural Revolution that killed millions and took China to the brink of collapse, is still revered by many across China as a god-like figure.

“Come on, make a wish to Chairman Mao,” said a woman to her two young children as they bowed to a six-meter (20-foot) bronze statue of Mao Zedong in his home village of Shaoshan.

“We come here every year to pay our respect — Chairman Mao is a great man,” said the woman in her thirties who declined to give her name.

She is just one of hundreds of tourists who flock daily to the birthplace of Mao, who died 30 years ago on September 9, to pray at his statue, believing his divine power can grant them peace and protection.

Mao, architect of the Cultural Revolution that killed millions and took China to the brink of collapse, is still revered by many across China as a god-like figure.

At a family-run restaurant in the southern village, relatives played mahjong next to a life-sized bronze statue of Mao beneath a poster depicting the “great leader” speaking to the patriarch during a visit in the late 1950s.

Asked why the family offer incense to the figure, one woman said: “It is a show of respect — after he died, he became a god and so are his parents.”

Even today, villagers in Hunan province enthusiastically recount three “miracles” that supposedly happened in 1993 on the 100th anniversary of Mao’s birth.

According to local legend, the lorry transporting his bronze statue stalled as it passed through the eastern province of Jiangxi, giving rise to the myth that Mao’s spirit wanted to spend the night at the place where he started a revolutionary uprising against the troops of the then ruling Kuomintang party.

Also on that day, the sun and the moon shone brightly in the morning above his home village and azaleas flowers miraculously flourished in mid-winter, residents said.

“I believe his spirit really came back… he is still watching over us,” said 37-year-old farmer Guo Dongru.

Mao is revered across the officially atheist China in much the same way the Virgin Mary is viewed by many Christians as a guardian and protector.

Drivers dangle his picture in their cars, people make incense offerings to his statues in their homes and travelers carry Mao lucky charms to ensure a safe journey.

“These 24-carat gold-plated wallet-sized ‘protection cards’ have absorbed the spirit of Mao and can grant you safety wherever you go,” said a sales assistant at the Mao Zedong museum shop in the village.

“Only 38 yuan (4.75 dollars).”

In the capital of Beijing, Mao’s portrait still hangs prominently on the gate of Tiananmen Square, the symbolic center of China’s political power. And hoards of Chinese tourists make pilgrimages there to see his embalmed body.

Numerous Mao-backed movements, like the “Great Leap Forward,” a disastrous attempt at speedy industrialization, and the Cultural Revolution, led to tens of millions of deaths and the persecution of innocent people.

But ask anyone on the streets of China today and they would say Mao was “a great figure,” even among those who acknowledge his faults.

In the Mao family ancestral temple at his birthplace, a bronze bust of the former leader stood on a table, amid an adornment of cigarettes, rice wine and floral offerings.

Tour guides encouraged people to make an offering before leading them to a one-meter-tall stone they said Mao was dedicated to as an infant, and whose divine blessings led to his charmed life.

“Mao stayed healthy and sturdy throughout numerous wars and tumults — touch this if you want to get the same blessings,” said a tour guide as a flock of tourists rushed to touch the stone.

Analysts said such worship of Mao in communist China where the regime keeps a tight control on ideology, restricts free flow of information and debate of historical issues, is to be expected.

“Now people view Mao Zedong as a legendary figure like any other folk gods,” said Xu Youyu, a philosophy professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing.

“Under a system where no debate of Mao has been allowed, their adoration comes as no surprise,” he said.

And paradoxically, to those who were educated under communist China’s atheist philosophy, Mao offers spiritual comfort.

“My mother doesn’t believe in God or the Buddha, she puts all her trust in Chairman Mao all her life,” said 27-year-old IT engineer Xiao Biqiang, who bowed at Mao’s bronze figure on behalf of his sick mother.

“It is a solace to her.”

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