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Home >> China
UPDATED: 19:42, April 02, 2007
Mao's son, eminent, ordinary
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A smiling Mao Anqing, the second son of late Chinese leader Mao Zedong, looks out of a picture frame with his wife Shao Hua and his father, the founder of new China.

The two-meter high picture, hung at the entrance of Beijing's Western Hill service center where Mao Anqing's mourning hall was set up, looked down on those who had come to pay their last respects to the last surviving son of Mao Zedong.

Hundreds of Chinese attended the funeral of Mao Anqing -- who died on March 23 at the age of 84 -- at the Babaoshan Revolutionary Cemetery in western Beijing Monday morning. But few could tell his story because this man was as discreet as he was eminent.

"Only when he died did it become clear how little the public knew of him. Most people could not recognize him and had no idea of his achievements," said a commentary in Monday's People's Daily, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party of China.

Modest by nature, Mao Anqing seldom mentioned his work and achievements even to his wife Shao Hua, a major general of the People's Liberation Army (PLA). His wife only became aware of the range of Mao Anqing's translations of Marxist-Leninist works and books on political science when she began collecting her husband's work in his later years.

"He translated a number of Russian works and published a series of articles in just a few years," said his wife, praising his command of the Russian language.

"He was a good man," said one of Mao Anqing's acquaintances who is a Red Army (the former PLA) veteran.

"A lot of work he did remained unknown to the public, " Shao said.

"He underwent many hardships but did not want to talk about them or write a biography," she added.

More than 80 pictures by Mao's wife, who is a professional photographer, line the wall of the mourning hall, capturing Mao Anqing's simple and modest lifestyle.

He was a great admirer of his wife's photography, so Shao became his unofficial photographer in her spare time.

The slightly blurred images trace his footprints through the country's old revolutionary bases, factories, mines, impoverished villages, schools and army units, where the studious researcher amassed firsthand research material on the country's development.

He might never have achieved the fame of his elder brother Mao Anying, who became a household name after being killed in 1950 by a bomb in Korea where he served in the volunteer army, but his life still merits respect and honor.

Source: Xinhua

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