In judg­ing Chair­man Mao ‘an over­all view is re­quired’

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By AN BAIJIE an­bai­jie@chi­nadaily.com.cn

A his­tor­i­cal and over­all view should be taken while pass­ing judg­ment on Chair­man Mao Ze­dong, Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping said on Thurs­day.

It has been the Chi­nese peo­ple’s great­est dream for cen­turies to achieve na­tional re­ju­ve­na­tion, and Mao led the peo­ple to achieve na­tional in­de­pen­dence and de­feat the in­vaders, Xi said at a sym­po­sium in Bei­jing to com­mem­o­rate the 120th an­niver­sary of Mao’s birth. Mao died on Sept 9, 1976. Mao made se­ri­ous mis­takes dur­ing the “cul­tural rev­o­lu­tion” (1966-76), and the mis­takes were not only be­cause of per­sonal rea­sons, but also due to com­plex in­ter­na­tional and do­mes­tic fac­tors, which should be judged from an over­all and his­tor­i­cal per­spec­tive, Xi said.

Build­ing so­cial­ism in China was an un­prece­dented en­deavor in Mao’s era, and the Chi­nese lead­ers then, with no ex­am­ples to fol­low, had to blaze trails all on their own, Xi said.

Lead­ers should nei­ther be wor­shipped like gods, nor be de­nied com­pletely due to their mis­takes, and the mis­takes should be­come a valu­able his­tor­i­cal les­son for the Party, Xi stressed.

Call­ing Mao “a great pa­triot and na­tional hero”, Xi said, “Mao changed the face of the na­tion and led the Chi­nese peo­ple to a new des­tiny”.

Xi men­tioned in his speech that para­mount leader Deng Xiaop­ing used to say that the ban­ner of Mao Ze­dong Thought could not be cast away, or the Party’s glo­ri­ous his­tory will be chal­lenged.

Be­fore the sym­po­sium, the seven mem­bers of the Party’s top-rul­ing body vis­ited Mao’s mau­soleum in Tian’an­men Square, bow­ing three times in front of Mao’s seated statue and pay­ing a visit to the body of Mao.

In an ar­ti­cle pub­lished on Mon­day, Peo­ple’s Daily said that Mao Ze­dong Thought serves as a light­house that di­rects the peo­ple to­ward the great re­ju­ve­na­tion of the Chi­nese na­tion.

The ar­ti­cle was au­thored by Leng Rong, head of the CPC Cen­tral Com­mit­tee’s Party Lit­er­a­ture Re­search Of­fice.

To com­mem­o­rate Mao’s birth­day, a 50-episode TV se­ries started si­mul­ta­ne­ously on China Cen­tral Tele­vi­sion and Hu­nan Satel­lite TV on Wed­nes­day evening.

Huang Li, a Bei­jing na­tive who vis­ited Mao’s mau­soleum on Thurs­day, said that Mao rid China of the tag of “sick man of East Asia” and “laid a very good in­dus­trial foun­da­tion for the econ­omy to­day”.

Gao Xiang, sec­re­tary-gen­eral of the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sciences, said that Mao’s his­tor­i­cal con­tri­bu­tions should not be de­nied be­cause of his mis­takes.

Ai Silin, pres­i­dent of Ts­inghua Univer­sity’s School of Marx­ism, said that com­mem­o­rat­ing Mao’s birth­day is im­por­tant for the Party’s on­go­ing “mass-line” cam­paign since Mao made many com­ments and gave in­struc­tions on how to get close to the peo­ple.

Mao had said that get­ting close to the peo­ple and serv­ing the peo­ple is what made the Com­mu­nist Party of China dif­fer­ent from other par­ties, and the prin­ci­ple re­mains un­changed to­day, he said.

In June, the CPC Cen­tral Com­mit­tee launched the year­long “mass-line” cam­paign to bridge gaps be­tween gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and the pub­lic, dur­ing which the au­thor­i­ties pledged to clean up un­de­sir­able work styles such as for­mal­ism, bu­reau­cracy, he­do­nism and ex­trav­a­gance.

The Party’s top anti-graft agency said in Novem­ber that it had cut con­fer­ence ex­pen­di­ture for the first eight months of this year by 84 per­cent and re­cep­tion ex­penses by half amid ef­forts to im­prove work style and fight cor­rup­tion.

It said in a cir­cu­lar re­leased on Mon­day that gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials must shun high-end clubs where they might en­joy them­selves with din­ing and other en­ter­tain­ment, with some even en­gag­ing in power-for-money or power-for-sex deals. Hou Liqiang con­trib­uted to this story.

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