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Home >> China
UPDATED: 07:39, December 27, 2006
Mao Zedong still draws crowds on 113th birth anniversary
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Thirty years since the death of Mao Zedong, founder of the People's Republic of China, public reverence for him remains strong.

The 113th anniversary of his birth in Shaoshan Village, central China's Hunan Province, on Tuesday, saw public displays of respect.

Outside his mausoleum in Beijing's Tian'anmen Square, long queues of tourists had already formed at 8:30 a.m. in the chilly winter air.

"Mao Zedong was a great leader. He was only human and made mistakes, but they were outweighed by his merits," said a retired August First Film Studio worker, who was in the queue.

"We should evaluate Mao by taking all his achievements and mistakes into consideration," said the senior citizen, who hoped younger generations would learn more about Chinese history and Mao.

"Mao Zedong was the savior of the Chinese people," said an elderly woman, who had visited Mao Zedong Memorial Hall at least a dozen times before.

A student of advanced media and mass communications studies at the elite Beijing University said Mao was full of charisma, but not perfect.

"Many Chinese people still revere him as a god who will protect them when in need," said the female student.

In Shaoshan, where Mao was born into a farmer's family, 20 restaurants offered free noodles -- a Chinese symbol of longevity -- to all customers.

A rally was organized at the Shaoshan Plaza near Mao's childhood home to celebrate the anniversary, while 10,000 people took part in a commemorative run near the railway station.

Construction also began on an art museum for Mao.

With a budget of 13 million yuan (1.63 million US dollars), donated by the government of Changsha City, the provincial capital of Hunan, the museum will be built near the Martyrs' Cemetery of Shaoshan. It will have a total floor space of 4,800 square meters in a pyramid design. It is scheduled to be completed and opened later next year.

Source: Xinhua

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