Sunday, December 28, 2008

China Commemorates Mao's Birthday

China commemorates Mao’s birthday


CHINA marked the 115th anniversary of the birth of revolutionary Mao Zedong on Friday, with "long-life" noodles and a foot race in the iconic leader’s hometown, state Press said.

Thousands of people gathered in Mao’s birthplace of Shaoshan village to commemorate the "Great Helmsman", who founded the People’s Republic in 1949 and served as China’s leader until his death in 1976, Xinhua news agency said.

"Chairman Mao is always alive in our hearts and we eat his birthday noodles every year," the report quoted Shaoshan village official Mao Yushi as saying.

Mao was born on December 26, 1893.

Nearly every Shaoshan villager ate a bowl of long noodles for breakfast, a traditional birthday meal that symbolises long life, the report said.

The local government set up 20 tables outside village offices offering free noodles to all-comers, it added.

Among those paying tribute in Shaoshan was Mao Xinyu, Mao’s grandson.

A marathon was also held starting from Mao’s residence and winding through the village, an event that also commemorated the 2008 Beijing Games and the Olympic torch relay that took place throughout China ahead of the Games.

Although many historians say Mao’s 27-year rule brought disaster to the nation due to his extreme Marxist ideology, many Chinese still revere him as the founder of new China.

In Beijing, nearly 20 000 people visited Mao’s Mausoleum where the late leader’s body lies in state on Tiananmen Square, including Mao’s elder daughter Li Min, the report said.

"I visit Mao’s Mausoleumn twice every year, on September 9 and December 26," Kang Diantong, a 74-year-old Beijing retiree was quoted as saying, referring to the dates Mao died and was born. — AFP.

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