Forty years after Mao Zedong passed away, the country and its people are still struggling with the legacy of its former leader. Time to get clear on that legacy, writes Zhang Lijia, author of her autobiography“Socialism Is Great!”: A Worker’s Memoir of the New China on her weblog, and time to move on and change into a modern society.
The liberal-minded, highly educated people and those whose families suffered during a series political campaigns don’t like him, even hate him.
Some leftists love him, particularly those who are not doing so well in the reform era. They nostalgically associated Mao with the eras when there was supposedly more equality little corruption.
Some nationalistic people also like Mao, viewing him as a man who let Chinese people to stand up and give them an identity.
Plenty of farmers view him as the best emperor China ever had. In the countryside, many households hung Mao’s portrait.
What I find incredible is that even some people who did suffer under Mao’s regime refuse to hold him responsible for the disasters, perhaps because the personality cult and the god-like statue Mao enjoyed.
I remember there have been several surveys among the young people and Mao kept coming up as the most admired leaders – obviously students don’t learn the whole truth at school.
I sincerely hope that the authorities would allow people to know what he did exactly and the damage and what kind of person he was. Only then can China move on and drive towards a modern society.
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