Shades of Mao 1990s

  • Geremie Barmé
Part of the The Bedford Series in History and Culture book series (BSHC)


While the Chinese Communist party tries to limit Mao’s aura and intellectuals use him to push their reform agendas, the ordinary people of China also have space in their hearts — and in their temples — for Chairman Mao. Geremie Barmé, the doyen of China pop and unofficial politics, opens the window to the devotional uses of Mao, as well as the irreverent, with two examples from his book Shades of Mao. The first selection, by Xin Yuan, is an assessment from the Hong Kong press of Mao’s role as a virtual deity in China’s enduring popular religious traditions. The second selection is a punning rhyme that reflects Mao’s meaning to today’s working poor in China.


Chinese Communist Party Cultural Revolution Reform Agenda Floating Population Religious Observance 
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  1. Xin Yuan, “A Place in the Pantheon: Mao and Folk Religion,” and “Musical Chairman,” both from Geremie R. Barmé, Shades of Mao: The Posthumous Cult of the Great Leader (Armonk, N.Y.: M. E. Sharpe, 1996), 195–200, 283–84.Google Scholar

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© Bedford/St. Martin’s 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Geremie Barmé

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