Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Thursday, December 18, 2003

Mao Zedong Thought in Chinese university students' eyes

Though fascinated with the film "Infernal Affairs" from Hong Kong, the pop band "F4" from Taiwan and bluetooth cell phones, university studnets in China still like to say "swear by Chairman Mao" when expressing their firm stand.


Nowadays, in China's universities, the film "Infernal Affairs" from Hong Kong, the pop band "F4" from Taiwan and bluetooth cell phone are the hot topics among students born in the 1980s. However, when trying to express their firm stand, studnets still like to say "swear by Chairman Mao."

In fact, the influence of Mao Zedong, who was born 110 years ago, on the youth is not merely represented in what they say.

Cheng Haowen, an astronomic major at Nanjing University in east China's Jiangsu Province said that what is precious in Mao Zedong lies in the theories of "seeking truth from facts" and "combining theory with practice." Although Mao Zedong made some mistakes in his later years, this makes younger generations more realize the importance of "seeking truth from facts" theory he advocated.

As Mao Zedong and his thought are under objective evaluations in China's society, Mao Zedong Thought is casting subtle influence on our basic attitudes in being a human and studying, this university student born in 1985 said.

China's Ministry of Education changed the undergraduate compulsory course "The History of Chinese Revolution" which tells the process of China's democratic revolution to "Introduction to Mao Zedong Thought" in 1999. This means that Chinese university students must spend 40 credit hours in learning Mao Zedong Thought and pass the test of this subject when taking graduate school entrance examinations.

However, in the early period of the reform, there were different opinions among many university students. Su Yingyun, a junior majoring Chinese at Nanjing University, once thought that nowadays, when Mao Zedong's era has come to an end and the theory of the Communist Party of China is further developing, it is not necessary to learn Mao Zedong Thought so in depth.

However, after comprehensive studies, Su Yingyun's idea changed greatly. He said that one can not know about China in the 21st century without knowing about Mao Zedong.

It is a common view of Su Yingyun and his fellow students that as a socialist who was inspired by Chinese classical works such as "Sunzi's Art of War", Mao Zedong took renovating China's society as his starting point, and creatively developed the Communist theory which originated from the West. This is his greatness which is different from ordinary revolutionists.

Guo Zhiqiang from Nanjing University said that Mao Zedong's political ideas, which were to some extent influenced by theories in the West, are deeply rooted in Chinese traditional culture.

Only Confucius's "Analects" is comparable to Mao Zedong's influence on the Chinese society, said Lin Jia from the Institute of Software of Nanjing University. Today, when computer chips have developed into Pentum processor, we still need to learn the binary system. Also, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the theory of "Three Represents" or any development in the theories of the Communist Party of China, whatever, must all look for their origins in Mao Zedong Thought and they are all inheriting and supplementing Mao Zedong Thought.

Different from the students who mainly focus on Mao Zedong's individual charisma and contribution. Wang Mingsheng, who teaches "Introduction of Mao Zedong Thought" at Nanjing University thought that Mao Zedong Thought is the scientific theory system of the Communist Party of China and is the crystallization of the whole party's collective wisdom.

To the students' reasonable understanding of Mao Zedong Thought, Wang Mingsheng expressed his agreement. "Mao Zedong Thought can truly become a thought system influential to the actual society only when the youth know about it through their thinking and analysis and thus accept it.

By PD Online staff member Gao Lanrong

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