• Joanna Wardęga Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland


The purpose of this paper is to present how in China, a country combating religious beliefs, Mao Zedong has become a cult object and how the fondness towards the “Great Helmsman”, often adjacent to deification, is manifested in the present-day country. During his life, Mao Zedong was the central character of the political and social sphere of the People’s Republic of China. Admiring and, to some extent, identifying himself with the First Emperor of China, Mao was to become his contemporary version. The height of the personality cult occurred during the Cultural Revolution and was manifested in mass adoration of the Chairman. After his death and reckoning of merits and faults (in a 7:3 ratio, with dominance of the first ones), Mao seemed to be evanescing in the shadow in the modernizing China. The Maoists were fighting against religion, the feudal superstitions, however in recent years, in the officially atheist China, some beliefs in supernatural beings, power of religious rituals and offerings for ghosts reappear, as well as the interest in Buddhism, Taoism, syncretic sects and Christianity. Among the hope bringing powers there appears also deified Mao, as the creator of powerful China. The places connected with the Chairman, located on the route of the “Red Tourism” are visited by masses of the Chinese. Talismans with his image are supposed to provide security, good fortune and even prosperity. Mao is becoming a deity in the nationalistic pantheon of the power gaining China.

Keywords: China, Communist Party of China, Little Red Book, Mao Zedong, nationalism


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