Consuming Fragments of Mao Zedong: The Chairman’s Final Two Decades at the Helm

  • Michael Schoenhals
Part of the Mass Dictatorship in the 20th Century book series (MASSD)


Nikita Khrushchev was not to Mao’s taste. The CCP Chairman showed no craving for gulyâskommunizmus. He hungered for something different. In the remarkable art film The Ming Tombs Reservoir Fantasy from 1958 (in which Mao appears briefly in person), we are served a sampling of what it may have been.1 Set in 1978, ten years after the liberation of Taiwan and with New China well into the ‘higher phase of communist society [when]. .. all the springs of co-operative wealth flow more abundantly’, the film has young revolutionaries gathering in the shade of a tree from the branches of which grow bananas, apples, pears, loquats, lychee. .. and living among farmers who each rear an average of 365 pigs a day (!) to meet some of the dietary needs of a population that has found a cure for cancer (massive quantities of Turfan grapes) and whose members live to the ripe old age of well past a hundred.2 It is a unique record of the Utopia of Mao’s Great Leap Forward, a sweet Chinese dream of plenty.


Cultural Revolution Edible Wild Plant Great Leap Communist Society Dinner Party 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 4.
    Edward O. Wilson, Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998), pp. 88–90.Google Scholar
  2. 7.
    Richard J. Parmentier, The Sacred Remains: Myth, History, and Polity in Belau (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987).Google Scholar
  3. 9.
    Slightly abbreviated definition of metaphor lifted from Bernard Dupriez, A Dictionary of Literary Devices (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1991), p. 276.Google Scholar
  4. 10.
    Sun Mingshan (ed.), Lishi shunjian III (A Moment in History III) (Beijing: Qunzhong chubanshe, 2004), p. 191.Google Scholar
  5. 14.
    Cheng Hua (ed.), Zhou Enlai he tade mishumen (Zhou Enlai and His Secretaries) (Beijing: Zhongguo guangbo dianshi chubanshe, 1992), p. 178Google Scholar
  6. 15.
    Stuart Schräm (ed.), Mao’s Road to Power: Revolutionary Writings 1912–1949, vol. 6 (Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 2004), p. 606.Google Scholar
  7. 16.
    Michael Schoenhals, ‘Mao Zedong: Speeches at the 1957 “Moscow Conference”’, The Journal of Communist Studies vol. 2, no. 2 (June 1986), 113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 25.
    Roderick MacFarquhar, The Origins of the Cultural Revolution 2: The Great leap Torward 1958–1960 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1983), pp. 218–21.Google Scholar
  9. 33.
    Roderick MacFarquhar and Michael Schoenhals, Mao’s last Revolution (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2006), p. 259.Google Scholar
  10. 38.
    William S. Burroughs, Nakedlunch (New York: Grove Press, 1966), pp. xxi–xvGoogle Scholar
  11. 62.
    Quoted in Charles E. Jarvis, Visions of Kerouac. 2nd edition (Lowell: Ithaca Press, 1974), p. 7.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Michael Schoenhals 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Schoenhals

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations