In many parts of China, the masses held their own spontaneous celebrations of Mao's 120th birth anniversary (December 26, 1893). However, these were not welcomed by higher authorities in many cities: venues were denied and police called.
Whilst the Communist Party of China asserts that Mao Zedong Thought remains its guiding ideology, it has systematically reversed the direction that China was taking under Chairman Mao, namely, the socialist road. The CCP has completely rejected what Comrade Jose Maria Sison of the Communist Party of the Phillipines has identified as the defining characteristic of Mao Zedong Thought: "...what brings Maoism to the level of the third stage in the development of the revolutionary theory and practice of the proletariat is Mao's theory and practice of continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat through the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in order to combat revisionism, prevent the restoration of capitalism and consolidate socialism."
It is very instructive to compare the bowdlerised version of Mao Zedong Thought in the Chinese Party's statement (via the link above), with Sison's excellent and highly creditable statement here.
Here are a selection of photos and comments put together from Chinese websites. They indicate that ownership of the legacy of Mao Zedong remains a highly contested matter, with ordinary people determined to hold on to the revolutionary, working class orientation of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought against the so-called "market socialism" and privatisation carried out by the capitalist-roaders at the highest levels of Party leadership.
Organisers first tried to book the Wuchang Peasant Movement Institute because of its obvious connection as an historical revolutionary site but were denied the venue by the police.
With one day to go, they then arranged to book the Conference Hall of the Wuhan Baofeng Hotel at a cost of 2000 yuan. However, at 9 o'clock that night the hotel management rang and told them that the private room could not be booked for a public function. Challenged, the hotel manager stated that he had "been informed of this by the higher authorities".
Participants had no option but to hold an impromptu footpath display of Mao Zedong posters which was kept under scrutiny by security officers.
Commemorative activities were held in Shenzhen, described by one Chinese netizen as a "window on the revisionists' restoration of capitalism in China". Others revived memories of the prolonged labour disputes in the city and surrounds, including the tragic suicides of the Foxconn employees who jumped to their deaths from windows in the company's buildings.
On Sunday Dec 22, two groups of people who had come to show their respect for Chairman Mao were arrested in Donghu Park. Later more were arrested as they sang revolutionary songs eulogising Mao Zedong. People were arrested while singing the national anthem! When one elderly person was taken away by police he was rescued by the masses.
On December 26, some three thousand people converged on Zilingshan in People's Square to pay their respects to Chairman Mao. Two hundred police were on hand to "maintain order", but it was the plainclothes police who did everything to try and obstruct the singing of songs and recitation of poetry. Despite this, people bowed towards a statue of Chairman Mao three times and sang songs such as "The East is Red" and "Sailing Seas Depends On The Helmsman". Speeches were made on the spot.
At 9:00, an old man came among young people. He said that the Mao era had been fair, there were no privileged cadres and the masses could have opinions without retaliation. Now, the corrupt officials run amok, and people are not allowed to speak out. Many of our people can not afford housing, while officials buy mansions in the United States.Compared with previous years' celebrations, young people accounted for a considerable proportion of those attending.
Earlier, on December 6, Ai Yuejin, founder of the pro-Mao Utopia website and bookshop had arrived at Zhengzhou's Xinzheng Airport to begin a series of lectures about Mao Zedong in the city. On arrival he was met buy the police and taken to the airport police centre. He thought at first that this was a very high level reception on the part of the organisers of his lecture tour, but was very quickly told that his talks could not proceed in Zhengzhou. He was asked to show his ID and grilled about his political views before being allowed to leave the airport.
At the Dukang Hotel on Tongbai Road where his first lecture was scheduled to be held, he found that the rented first floor lecture hall doors had been locked and was told by staff that there was a power circuit failure. He was advised by security officers to find another venue, but 300 people had turned up and they decided to occupy the hotel lobby and use it for the lecture.
(Above: Ai Yuejin prepares to deliver his talk on Mao Zedong from the first floor balcony of the Dukang Hotel while the foyer, below, begins to fill with admirers of Chairman Mao.)
4. Other places: a small selection of photos from other places where commemorations were held under similar conditions of difficulty:
Above: Shaanxi Province
Above: Near Mao's birthplace, Changsha
Above: Luohe in Henan Province
Above: Shandong Provincial capital, Jinan
Above: in Yunnan Province