Mao resurrectedSHIN KYUNG-JIN
The author is the Beijing bureau chief of the JoongAng Ilbo.
“Mao Zedong’s great and romantic imagination has scientific ground. Water management gets an important position among projects building the frame of new China. Water management is a priority for state management,” said Chinese President Xi Jinping at a South-North Water Diversion Project follow-up meeting on May 14. The project is to divert the water from the Huang He to Beijing. On May 16, People’s Daily wrote a cover story on the comment. Xi is frequently citing Mao. He also mentioned Mao at the ministerial meeting at the Central Party School of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on Jan. 11.
“In any complex, grave and terrible conditions, a military leader needs to independently and self-reliantly organize and use his power. You always become passively pushed by the enemy. It is important to recover an active status quickly. If you don’t recover the active status, the next is failure. A leading status is not imagination. It is specific and material.”
The guidance, which reminds me of the U.S.-China relations of the past three years, appears in the chapter on the “problem of concentrating troops” in the “Problems of Strategy in China’s Revolutionary War” written by Mao in 1963.
Xi continued his remarks, “We need to stand on our feet. Domestic circulation needs to be smooth so that poison cannot penetrate, and by building an unbreakable body like a diamond, China can survive and grow vigorously even in the vortex of international situations.”
Xi ordered China to be “impenetrable by 100 poisons and unbreakable like a diamond,” which is often used to describe martial masters in hero fantasies. The address he made at the Central Party School in January was published on Qiushi, CPC Central Committee’s journal, on May 1. It is highlighted as a sneak-peek into the address celebrating the centennial of the CPC on July 1.
Xi cited Mao on his address in October 2020 to mark the 70th anniversary of China’s intervention in the Korean War. “If your first punch goes well, you can dodge 100,” Mao said before the first battle against the Korea-U.S.-UN joint forces on Oct. 27, 1950.
Zhongnanhai, located adjacent to the western wall of the Forbidden City in Beijing, is site of the central headquarters of the CPC and the State Council of China, as well as the residential district for party and state leaders. The central gate, Xinhuanmen, has slogans, “Long live the great Communist Party of China!” and “Long live the invincible Mao’s thoughts!” They are the symbol of the Chinese’s undefeatable and infallible myth that defeated Kuomintang despite being outnumbered.
With the party centennial approaching, Mao lying in the Tiananmen Square is coming back to life. The Democratic Party in the U.S. is 193 years old, and the Republican Party is 168 years old.