China officially ignored the 30th anniversary of the death of Mao Zedong on Saturday, a sign that observers say reveals authorities’ fears that bitter memories could unleash a wave of discontent.
In the capital Beijing, the central government did not organize any commemorations for the man who established the People’s Republic in 1949 and was once known across China as the “great leader” and the “great helmsman.”
State television made no mention of Mao, who died in 1976, while the People’s Daily published only two short news briefs on Internet remembrances and the construction of a new museum at his birthplace.
The Beijing Daily reported on an unofficial memorial concert held Friday at the Great Hall of the People”China’s most recognized political building”which hosts the annual legislative session but is often rented out for private functions.
No editorials or retrospectives were found in the capital’s major newspapers. [Full Text]
Xinhua, via China Daily, published an article “Chinese commemorate 30th anniversary of death of late Chairman Mao.” See also “China invents a new Mao myth” from the Times Online:
They came to praise their famous son under a miserable grey drizzle yesterday, but nothing could dampen the spirits of the Mao clan as they took pride in a new, if subtle, rehabilitation of the village boy from central China who shook the world.
Thirty years to the day after his death at the age of 82, the anniversary exposed how the memory of Mao Tse-tung has become a potent political issue between “reformers” and “leftists” arguing over the direction of the world’s fastest-growing economy.
Yesterday’s edition of the People’s Daily in the capital carried an extremely rare article by Mao’s surviving son, Anqing, headlined “Memories of my father”. It praised Mao as a selfless leader who hated corruption and refused to promote his relatives to positions of power.