Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Friday, December 19, 2003

Mao's little red books still have influence on Chinese

Though no adorer of late Chinese leader Mao Zedong like her father and grandfather, Chen Di, 20, has still found occasion to turn to Mao's famous "little red book".


Though no adorer of late Chinese leader Mao Zedong like her father and grandfather, Chen Di, 20, has still found occasion to turn to Mao's famous "little red book".

A computer science student at the prestigious University of Wales in Britain, Chen said that Mao's indoctrination to "study hard and make progress every day" was worth following.

Acknowledging that she had never memorized Mao's quotations, Chen Di said the indoctrination of Mao, which was still inscribed on a few school walls today, was impressed in her mind as a primary school girl.

"As a student from China, I hope my efforts can help me win respect from my foreign teachers and schoolmates," she said. "And this indoctrination of Mao's is just what I need now. I feel encouraged every time I think of it."

In the 1960s and 70s, China saw a fervor of Mao adoration, which Chongqing-based sociologist Yu Ping interpreted as god-like worship.

"Mao's indoctrination were printed into handy, little red pamphlets for the whole country to study and even to learn by heart."

With a circulation of approximately 5 billion copies in different languages, the little red pamphlets, called the "Quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong", were a world best seller in the 1960s.

Chen Di's father, Chen Jizhi, now turning 50, can still remember which chapter or column of Mao's works an indoctrination is from. The father said that it was a fashion to brandish the little red pamphlet when he was a kid.

A general manager of a large state-owned enterprise, Chen Jizhi said he takes Mao's indoctrination "Serve the people wholeheartedly" as a motto.

A retiree from a former military industry enterprise, Chen Di's grandfather Chen You'an, born in 1927 and now in his mid 70's, was convinced that Mao's indoctrination and thought played a crucial role in encouraging the Chinese people to overcome the difficulties they encountered in the building up of new China.

However, Chen Di said she could not fully understand the admiration and affection her father and grandfather showed for Mao.

"People today should rethink what Mao said in the past," Chen Di said. "As some of Mao's ideas should still be valued today, I also believe some have no value in this different age."

She said she had her own understanding of Mao's words. His emphasis on going in for investigation and studies before making conclusions, Chen Di said, reflected his philosophic thinking.

Sociologist Yu Ping said Mao's great contribution to the development of China could never be denied, and that his military philosophic and literary talents still influenced Chinese society and in the world.

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