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Pictures of Xi and Mao hung together in his old home

Posted October. 30, 2017 07:52,   

Updated October. 30, 2017 08:06


Taking a step into a cave home where Chinese President Xi Jinping lived at the age of 15, the portrait of Mao Zedong and a propaganda poster saying “Let’s march forward under the banner of Mao Zedong!” hung up on the wall came into view behind a blanket and oil lamp. Xi was sent to Liangjiahe Village, Yanchuan County, Shaanxi Province in 1969 to work as a farmer as part of the “Down to the Countryside Movement.”

A step further into a little space less than 10 square meters, this reporter was greeted with the framed black and white photograph of President Xi in his youth. One meter away from his picture, the picture of Mao Zedong with a phrase “Long live Mao Zedong!” was posted on the wall.

President Xi had his name and ideology “Xi Jinping Thought for the New Era of Socialism with Chinese Special Characteristics” enshrined into the party’s constitution Tuesday, becoming the second leader of the country to be honored in such a way after Mao Zedong. According to the state-owned Xinhua News Agency on Friday, President Xi also made it an obligation on the members of the Standing Committee, the top decision-making body, to report their work to himself, further solidifying his grip on power.

Looking at the pictures of the two leaders on a day when the principle of collective leadership engineered by former President Deng Xiaoping was officially replaced with the one-man leadership system left me with an odd feeling. Next to me, Chinese visitors to Xi’s old home were eager to take photos of their former and current leaders one after the other.

Wan-Jun Yun zeitung@donga.com · Dong-Yeon Jung call@donga.com