|Home > East Asia >
Mao remembered as corruption rises
On September 9, 1976, the death of Mao Zedong, then leader of China, was announced. Twenty-seven years later, Mao has become a popular topic again. Unlike in the 1990s when nostalgia was the primary reason for the remembrance of Mao, nowadays people praise him to express their dissatisfaction with the current situation of corruption and income polarization in society.
Since Mao passed away, there has been many a time when Mao and his style became popular again. The first time was in the late 1980s. People sang Communist songs from the 1950s and wore pins with Mao’s image.
In the early 1990s, the “Mao Movement” reached a peak. Many books on Mao were published, movies produced, and conferences held to discuss Mao. An actor who looked like Mao was in hot pursuit. Thousands of people went to visit Mao’s hometown. Songs from the 1950s again occupied the top of the chart. When asked by a newspaper, people said that the songs reminded them not only of Mao, but also of their own youth. It was a nostalgic sentiment that drove the trend.
But, now, the remembrance of Mao is more a reflection of people’s dissatisfaction with the present.
A lot of Chinese people are unhappy with the ways things are due to social problems such as corruption, income polarization, and large-scale layoffs. Besides those that are avid Mao followers, laid-off workers, farmers, and all those who are unsatisfied with the present are joining forces in remembering Mao and criticizing the current situation in China.
“This reform and that reform. In the end, we common folks didn’t get anything. We are still dirt poor.” On the occasion of the 27th anniversary of Mao’s death, people posted such articles of criticism on Internet forums in China.
The Hong Kong Apple Daily reports that a Shanghai merchant complained that before, Mao didn’t have any personal property despite his high position, but now today’s officials are all quite wealthy. Their children have many privileges over ordinary people. “In the old times, government officials followed the rules. Now they can do anything as long as they have money.”
Another Internet post read, “The state of the government itself determines whether it can be effective in curbing corruption. The malfunctioning government does not deal with corrupt officials, but tries to keep ordinary folks from talking about current issues…Mao was against corruption. When the Communist Party took over the country, corrupt officials were executed.”
Although Mao had started many political movements that brought suffering to people, compared with today, crime was low, there was no unemployment, and very few officials were corrupt. Because of that, many people felt they missed the old times.
Analysts point out the sorrow of China is not just its physical suffering, but also its “withering soul.” After decades of living in a society with warped values, Chinese people have changed from kind-hearted to completely self-centered. Now people do all they can to compete and fight with others. The “market economy” combined with corrupt officials exacerbates social inequity, resulting in imbalance in the social structure and degeneration of moral values.
|© Copyright 2002-2007 AFAR|