According to Chinese media reports, it has been a trend in recent years for young Chinese people to start re-reading the Selected Works of Mao Zedong. In Tsinghua University library lending records, Mao’s anthology has been at the top of the list since 2017; in 2019 and last year, it ranked first for two consecutive years. Radio Free Asia further interviewed a number of professors and students, and the latter believed that very few students were really interested in Mao’s thought, and that more than 90% of them were doing it for academic credit.
I don’t really agree that more than 90% of them are interested in credits. Some students are doing it for credits, and there should be other reasons. If it’s for political exams, it’s more for the Xi Jinping theory of the new era. The Chinese Communist Party has always advocated a “thick focus on the present and a thin focus on the past,” as evidenced by the fact that Xi Jinping takes up a quarter of the pages of the recently compiled “A Brief History of the Chinese Communist Party. If young students read Mao’s Selected Works and compare it with Xi’s speeches, they will feel the obvious contrast: first, there are many things they did not know in Mao’s Selected Works, unlike Xi Jinping who repeatedly talks about things that are familiar to everyone; second, Mao’s Selected Works has more classical content and is written in a much more interesting way, while Xi Jinping’s stuff is plainly uninteresting and tastes like chewing wax.
Mao Zedong has a Chinese cultural background, quoting scriptures are digested and expressed in their own language. Xi Jinping has an elementary school level and does not know ancient languages, so his speeches and articles are written by his staff, and he does not even read them beforehand, which is why there are jokes about reading “kuan nong” as “kuan yi”. He reads the speech as if it were the political study of the household group when reading the editorial of the People’s Daily, picking it up and reading it. Because it is not written by himself, it lacks emotion, no funny and humorous, can only read the scriptures according to the word, and even read the wrong or not read out.
In September last year, Xi Jinping stressed China’s determination to overcome Wuhan pneumonia at the “Commendation Ceremony”, but suddenly he said, “The whole nation should cheer for hot dry noodles. When he read “hot dry noodles”, he stopped for a moment. Because he had no first-hand experience of epidemic prevention, he did not know why he had to cheer for the hot dry noodles, and his staff’s attempt to create a “pro-people” image for Xi Jinping was thus defeated. A similar situation occurred in February, when Xi Jinping gave a speech at the “National Poverty Eradication Conference” and said that China’s battle against poverty had been fully won. In the course of his speech, he suddenly paused for 3 seconds before frowning and blurting out “pepper noodles”, making people confused.
The Chinese Communist Party was founded 100 years ago, Mao Zedong from the beginning to the warped 55 years, of which 41 years he could almost control the entire party. Xi Jinping has only been in power for less than 10 years, but he wants to say that he is even greater than Mao Zedong, taking up a quarter of the space, which can be described as “an ant to shake a big tree, ridiculous and not self-respecting”. The Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda for 100 years will only make young people read Mao’s election more often and disdain Xi Jinping.
However, there are basically only four volumes of Mao’s Selected Works, from 1921 to 1949, when the Communist Party was founded. Mao’s original articles and speeches were embellished when they were compiled into Mao’s anthology, and fortunately there are still original versions of those articles or speeches back then, so you can find which ones have been tampered with. For example, the speech of the Sixth Plenary Session of the Sixth Central Committee in 1938, “On the New Stage,” was included in Mao’s anthology with a new title and many changes to its content, including the deletion of the glorification of “Chairman Jiang” to prove that Wang Ming was a surrenderist and that he was the correct line.
After Mao’s death, his successor, Hua Guofeng, in order to show his loyalty to Mao, foolishly published the fifth volume of Mao’s Selected Works, and threatened to publish the sixth volume. The fifth volume, which covers the anti-rightist period from 1949 to 1957, contains many of Mao’s ultra-leftist statements, such as instructions for many political movements, including the criticisms and remarks of the “Hu Feng counter-revolutionary group”, which was later rehabilitated. In order to cover up Mao’s crimes, the fifth volume was soon discontinued, and I do not know if it is now easily available in Chinese libraries. It is fortunate that the sixth volume was not published, otherwise all those absurd remarks about the Great Leap Forward and thanking the Japanese Imperial Army would have come out for the young people of today to see.
To commemorate the centenary of the Communist Party, it would be more practical to publish the complete works of Mao Zedong, so that Mao Zedong, from the early years of the establishment of Hunan Province to the death of Deng Xiaoping “can not be relied on ah”, will see the light of day again. As for the loyal waste for Xi Jinping’s speech, not to mention the lack of Mao Zedong’s literary talent and nationalism, even Xi Jinping is too lazy to read, it is better to throw into the garbage to recycle, but also some environmental protection.