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China marks 120th anniversary since Mao Zedong birth

December 26, 2013, 14:06 UTC+3 BEIJING

According to a public opinion poll conducted by the Huanqiu Shibao newspaper, Mao has great authority with China’s population

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BEIJING, December 26. /ITAR-TASS/. By the traditional visit to the Memorial Hall (Mausoleum) of Mao Zedong, his family and friends, admirers of the late Chinese leader, mark on Thursday the 120th anniversary since his birth. His daughters Li Na and Li Min, grandson Mao Xinyu honored his memory, bowing three times to Chairman Mao Statue made of white marble.

Mao Zedong, who is called “the father of New China,” was born on December 26, 1893 in the village (now city) Shaoshan in Hunan Province and died in Beijing on September 9, 1976. On the occasion of the current date, Chinese television broadcasts a series of 50 episodes about the life and activities of the “Great Helmsman,” his ideas and spiritual heritage. He is shown there as an outstanding revolutionary, strategist and commander. Publishers have released a number of books about Mao Zedong. Exhibitions, symposium and theatrical performances are held at his birthplace and in other related locations.

According to a public opinion poll conducted by the Huanqiu Shibao newspaper, Mao has great authority with China’s population: 85% of respondents believe that he had more merits than mistakes, and 90% in that or other way expressed reverence and respect for the former national leader.

The survey involved over 1,000 people from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and other cities. Almost 90% of respondents expressed the view that the main merit of Mao was the creation of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), 60% of pollsters noted his “devotion to his people and the struggle for the establishment of a just political system.” 55% of respondents believe that Mao Zedong “played a huge role in strengthening China’s position in the international arena.” Half of those polled recognize his achievements in turning the country into a nuclear power, 48% highly assess the role of the former leader in the foreign policy, in the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the United States. 46% of respondents recognize the importance of his activity for the development of China’s industry and economy.

In addition, pollsters blamed Mao for his mistakes in the implementation of his destructive “Cultural Revolution” (1966-1976), his Great Leap Forward economic policy (1958-1961), the promotion of his personality cult. Overall, more than 90% of respondents believe that the era of Mao Zedong still has a significant impact on today’s China. Xinhua News Agency reports that in China, especially in rural areas, the personality of Mao has become a myth: many people worship him and regard him as a “protector” in their earthly affairs. During the recent anti-Japanese demonstrations in Beijing, hundreds of protesters carried portraits of the late leader, alluding to his firmness in defending the national interests and his kinship with the common people.

The ideas of Mao Zedong nominally remain one of the most important elements of the country’s political theory, although the practice of reforms implemented by the ruling 85-million-strong Communist Party of China has drifted far away from the directives of the “Great Helmsman” of the country’s revolution.

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