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China marks Mao’s 120th birthday

Beijing, Dec 27 (): China is celebrating the 120th birthday of Mao Zedong, the founder of modern China. Top leaders of the country including President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang visited the Mao mausoleum in Beijing to pay their respects.

Thousands stood in line through at night near his childhood home in Shaoshan, Hunan, to watch a huge fireworks show which is said to have lasted for four hours. Many more people made the journey to the village to mark the anniversary.

While celebrating the 120th anniversary of the birth of the late Chinese leader on Thursday, the Chinese President said that the Communist Party of China (CPC) will hold the banner of Mao Zedong Thought foreverin following the Chinese nation’s renovation. He praised Mao and other members of the older generation of revolutionaries as “great figures” in fighting national and class domination, as well as standing at the wave front of the positive tide in the Chinese nation and world.

Xi also hailed Mao as “a national hero and great patriot” and the fundamental of the first generation of the Chinese leadership.

The greatest contributions of Mao are that he led the people and the party to find the correct path of New-Democratic Revolution, concluded the anti-feudalism and anti-imperialism tasks, established the basic socialism and the PRC system, attained vital success in socialist construction, and pooled experiences and created conditions for China’s exploration of building socialism with Chinese characteristics, said Xi.

In his speech, Xi also pointed out some negative aspects of the past leader. Once in power, however, many of the policies Mao directed proved disastrous. The so-called “Great Leap Forward” of collectivised farming and rapid industrialisation led to nationwide famine which killed between 10 million and 35 million people.

The decade-long ‘Cultural Revolution’ from 1966, which he launched to purge political opponents, dragged on for 10 years and ruined the lives and educations of a whole generation, making Mao a controversial figure in China.