Shades of Mao 1990s
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.
KeywordsBurning Folk Mist Monopoly Ancient Icon
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- 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