Chairman Mao is like Jesus to us

Not really related to anything, but I found it interesting. Chinese students in New Zealand have been protesting this image of Chairman Mao from a student newspaper


I suspect that the protests have as much to do with recent anti-Chinese incidents mentioned in the story, as well as other things published recently in the paper as with the image. I was a bit surprised to see Mao being the thing that touched so many students off. Not real surprised, of course, since Mao’s reputation in China has always been quite different than that in the West. One student said that. “Chairman Mao is like Jesus to us” Mao of course is not the first Chinese revolutionary leader to be compared to Jesus. Sun Yat-sen compared himself to Jesus on his deathbed. For lots of non-Chinese Mao is the Chinese Jesus, i.e. an iconic figure who stands for “China” even for those who know nothing else about the place. Apparently at least in this context some Chinese students agree.

Via Volokh


  1. The historical Jesus bears little resemblance to Mao. Paraguay’s Francisco Solano Lopez is a more apt comparison. Except that in Mao’s case, he won his war, but destroyed his country with the peace.

  2. That’s not the point, of course, of any of the comparisons or analogies above.

    Though one could perhaps argue that Mao was Jesus, Peter, Constantine and Torquemada, all rolled into one….. never mind. The issue here is the sanctity of iconic historical figures in the present, not pointless parallelism.

  3. The shadow of Mao is still above our nation`s mind.
    That could explain why so many people in China hate Japen,and
    the western world, because mao taught us, all the poverty and
    tragedy was brought by the foreigners. And himself and his party
    is the god who save Chinese people from the invade and deprive,
    Even now,Those material are still in chinese history textbook,
    which be used by pupils and middle-school students. Besides,there
    is only one kind of textbook which made by the government education
    department for the whole middle-school students.
    So don`t blame the chinese people, Actually we are victims too.

  4. Perhaps the real issue is that in democracies, no historical icon is sacrosanct. Neither Marx, nor Jesus, nor Chairman Mao. If overseas students have a problem with that, they can vote with their right of transfer, as some of the students mentioned in the article specifically noted. Let’s hope that the university stands its ground.

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