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Tribute to a great man

By Ma Lie (China Daily)

09:21, May 03, 2012

The Mao Zedong Exhibition Hall is a five-story building with thousands of items on display. Ma Lie / China Daily

Shaanxi businessman spends millions on a memorial hall for Chairman Mao

For Zhang Deben, the greatest thing in the world would be able to donate his museum in Xi'an to his country.

That was back in 2005, when Zhang's idea was that the museum - or Mao Zedong Exhibition Hall with its display of memorabilia of the late Chairman Mao Zedong and other leaders that Zhang had collected, would be a great place for a"red education" and could teach visitors a lot about the history of China's leaders. But Zhang wasn't expecting very good results.

In fact, Zhang does have the museum, now, located in the southern suburbs of the city of Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi province in Northwest China. And, when China Daily spoke with the 60-year-old farmer-turned-entrepreneur, sitting in his 40-square-meter office on the third floor of the museum, he explained that he intends to make every effort to improve the collection and then donate it to the county, free of charge.

He went on to explain that he received a document from the local cultural bureau, dated March 13, saying that his museum had been designated one of the city's key cultural projects to be improved.

"So, I think my efforts of many years are being appreciated," he said.

Zhang says that the museum opened to the public, for free, on Dec 23, 2007 and has had more than 140,000 visitors - from retired people, primary and middle school students, and college students to soldiers and governmental officials.

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