Man Held in Attempt to Set Fire to Mao Portrait in Beijing – Ching-Ching Ni
The Los Angeles Times reports on the vandalism of Mao’s portrait in Tiananmen Square and subsequent arrest of an alleged perpetrator:
The suspect was identified as Gu Haiou, 35, an unemployed man from the far western Chinese city of Urumqi, capital of the restive Xinjiang autonomous region, home to ethnic Uighurs…
China, with its booming capitalist-style economy and rising level of personal freedom, has turned much of the austere communism of the Mao era on its head. But the image of Mao remains sacrosanct, and its defamation is a serious crime.
This is interesting to me because a story like this can be read in so many different ways. On one extreme, it’s actually a very simple narrative: A crazy man wanted to damage a symbol of authority. It’s like when, every few years, someone tries to climb over the fence around the White House. Man gets arrested, damage is cleaned up. Case closed. That’s the story Xinhua will tell you, if it ever gets around to it.