Mao legacy lives on in rural China

Last Updated: Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - 14:52

Nashan: It is perhaps
an open theatre like nowhere else in the world as it comes
alive every night recapturing the spirit of China`s ruling
CPC`s early uprising led by its founder Mao Zedong.

The unique theatre, which has a sprawling lake attached
to it with vast expanse of land surrounded by mountains,
performs the same play every night based on Mao`s early
struggle against Kuomintang and local landlords in 1927.

Kuomintang, the then nationalist party headed by Chiang
Kai Sheik, was regarded as a group of reactionaries by Mao,
who vanquished it completely, driving its leaders and cadre to
Taiwan.

The theatre presents the play using live ammunition,
modern lighting and sound effects with over 600 actors, mostly
drawn from local village, emerging from the bushes and rocks
with red flags, enthralling perhaps a few thousand audience
who come from nooks and corners of China, to just get a feel
of it.

The lead actor playing Mao`s role appears with a slogan
"Comrades, let us unite for the last time for a better
tomorrow," sending a subtle message that the revolution was
not over, even after the 62-year rule by CPC.

In a way, it was a unique experience for a group of
Beijing-based foreign correspondents to watch this show as CPC
celebrates the 90th anniversary of its founding this year to
drum up the sagging revolutionary spirit of Mao`s era.

Though CPC moved away from Mao`s hardline Marxist polices
over three decades ago to embrace more liberal economic
ideology of his successor Deng Xiaoping, his legacy lingered
on as party grappled to deal with the growing rich-poor
divide, a by-product of its economic reforms.

The spirit of Mao is very dominant in this Jianxi
province as he launched its early struggle from its famous
Jingganshan mountain ranges.

On the lush green mountains, his look alike is still
cashing on Mao`s legacy, charging 50 Yuan (USD seven) for a
photograph from tourists.

But barely five-hour drive from here to Nanchang, the
scene dramatically changes.

Nanchang, in the recent past, had a contrasting history
as it was caught between the legacy of Zhou Enlai, the former
Prime Minister who remained steadfast follower of Mao, and
that of Deng, the moderate.

The bustling city flaunting its affluence with
countless multi-story buildings, expansive roads and flyovers
has contrasting museums of both Zhou and Deng.

While it was Zhou, who won a major victory against
Kuomintang forces in 1927 which lead to the birth of Peoples
Liberation Army (PLA), Deng was exiled here to a tractor
machine tool factory by Mao, denouncing him as a "capitalist
roader" for questioning his cultural revolution and advocating
economic reforms.

The tractor tool factory was converted into a museum
carefully preserving the painful three years Deng spent as a
"fitter" there along with wife and five children, including
his handicapped son, who later became the Vice Chairman of the
National People`s Congress.

"It is perhaps a difficult period of our revolutionary
history. Though Deng was sent here to spend time with ordinary
workers, care was taken by Mao that his physical safety and
bare needs were taken care of," an official, who guided the
foreign media around the place, said while declining to
identify herself.

In contrast, however, Zhou`s "Nanchang Uprising
Memorial," a 1920s star hotel which was converted into party
headquarters and living quarters of the former Prime Minister
had an affluent look.

Though caught up in purges, Deng the survivor took
control of the party after Mao`s death and came up with a new
ideological line, "Socialism with Chinese characteristics,"
which largely meant widespread economic reforms under the
Marxist framework of the party.

Deng`s line changed the face of China, which last year
emerged as the second largest economy, while CPC basked in its
glory.

CPC officials say both Mao and Deng were the pillars
of China`s success in their own way.

While Mao laid foundation with his revolutionary
polices, Deng brought about economic stability and progress,
Zhou Guan, Vice Mayor and senior party official of Nanchang,
said highlighting CPC`s ability to keep up with times.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - 14:52

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