The Chairman is pleased

Mao Smoking

How is the cult of Mao doing? Well, this is a statue of the Great Helmsman at Yuhuashan in Nanjing. It is part of a rather temporary-looking exhibit on his life under the revolutionary memorial. The exhibit itself is not much of a plug for his continued importance. There is a barker outside urging you to come in, and the signs all emphasize that it’s free, unlike special areas at a lot of Chinese monuments. There are a bunch of pictures and text and stuff like that and this statue. As you can see, the Chairman is smoking, as he often was. He has a real cigarette in his hand and on the table in front of him are a bunch more, which I think are offerings. They are all different brands, and there is a break in the chain that surrounds that statue so you can go up and offer him one, not that I saw anyone do that. So, Chinese people may no longer be willing to offer their red, red hearts to Chairman Mao, but some of them will at least bum him a smoke.


  1. This reminds me of David Brinkley’s remark that Mao in his tomb is “peasant under glass” (quoted in my posting on farmers and peasants). The image projected here is not too rural!

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