Old China Meets New China
Mao Xinyu, grandson of Mao Zedong, arrives at the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, March 3, 2013.
Photo Credit: European Press Photo Agency, 2013
What makes Mao Xinyu, the only surviving grandson of Mao Zedong, threatening to China’s new leaders is not his championing of his grandfather’s old political theories. Instead, it’s the striking image he projects – an image sometimes comically at odds with the effort by new Communist Party head Xi Jinping to revamp the government’s reputation for bloat and indulgence.
Mr. Mao is an expansively rotund man, which makes him easy to spot among the thousands of delegates who pour into Beijing for the annual gatherings of the National People’s Congress, China’s rubber-stamp parliament, and its advisory body, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Congress. His gravitational pull was hardly diminished at the opening of this year’s NPC, as reporters rushed to surround him on the red-carpeted steps inside Beijing’s Great Hall of the People.
“Everyone has great hopes for me and a desire for me to be an even better official,” the 43-year-old said in response to questions about the online criticism he’s faced in recent years.
One example of that criticism: a post from an anonymous user of Sina Corp.’s Weibo microblogging platform that was widely reposted Monday. “My mum told me since I was little: ‘A military uniform looks good on everyone,’” the user wrote under a photo of Mr. Mao, a major general in the People’s Liberation Army, walking through a crosswalk in his uniform. “(After) showing her this picture, she finally admitted defeat.”Although the story is humorous, Mao's grandson is good-natured about his size. His name carries with it a history, a political legacy of his grandfather's policies, which might be both good and bad. For now, although it is unlikely that he will become a political leader in today's China, he did say something noteworthy that has populist appeal: “The crux of anti-corruption lies in giving the masses more democratic rights and more powers of oversight,” the website of the official Xinhua news agency quoted him as saying on Monday. “These basic rights should belong to the people (and) it is frustrating when (such rights) aren’t given respect or are trampled upon by the leaders.”
You can read the rest of the article at [WSJ]