China: Riding on Chairman Mao's head

On Feb19,a set of pictures that shows a girl riding on the head of Chairman Mao was circulated around the internet. Of course, what she rides is just a statue erected on the plaza in Hunan, Mao's hometown. However, the story with the pictures immediately secured the headline position in various portal websites; in particular, over 50000 comments were left after the story in Netease.

Girl riding on Map\'s statue. Picture from Hunan Online Address:

Maomania is not waning away. Though books and researches today more clearly reveal to Chinese his mistakes that results in millions of death during the Great Leap Forward, and critiques float not rarely on the internet, Mao has still a solid support among Chinese. Recently, as Russia sank a Chinese ship and Philippine claims sovereignty over islands at south sea, people grow more reminiscent of Mao's iron-hand foreign policies.

In Netease’ reply page of this news story, the single comment that is bumped to the top by 27000 times is a curse from a Qingdao netizen


Look at those people, just the goddamn bumpkins. Ill-bred.

Someone from Jiangsu said:


So uneducated!

Interestingly, this comment takes a leading position too:


Click support/bump if you wanna have sex with her, click “oppose” if not.

Support[17322] Oppose[8823]

However, when we proceed to another popular site, Tianya, which is famous for its agitated atmosphere, and powerful “flesh search engine”, more moderate voices, nonetheless, are frequently heard.

油条大果子 thinks people are overacting:

草,有什么可上纲的? 不就是骑块石头照个像吗? 什么新生活? 现在还不比以前呢? 以前最起码还能成立个工会政党什么的,现在让吗?

F**k, why so big a deal? Just a picture with a girl riding on a stone. Mao brought us new life? It is not better than before. At least we could still organize something like labor union and parties before, but are we allowed to do so now?

An intense debate was then kicked off.

什锦糖cici thinks we don't have to be so harsh to Chairman Mao


Mao is our founding father!
Even though he might have done something wrong, you don't have to be so harsh!

wo草泥马 rebuked:


Come on, why attacking the girl? It is nothing but a piece of stone, isn't it?
The Communist party itself has ruined and burned numerous statues of Chinese historic heroes.

我是散户我怕谁呀 followed, comparing Mao to Saddam:



A founding father? What has he founded? A country of corruption, dictatorship and careless treatment of people?
A war criminal he is. Someday it will be just like the statues of Saddam toppled down in Iraq.

However,baino5 appealed people to show respect to a past leader:


Whatever complaints you may bear against the government and the country, it has nothing to do with the incident. Along your line of argument, the bone ash of your father is nothing but soil, so that I can pee on it?

Several people agree with the point, saying a grave is not to be for fun.
But qwerty_a ridicules the point, thinking that putting statues for public memory is another matter.


Ha, so you put your family cemetery at the center of the plaza?

Finally,如是我译 speaks boldly:



He rides on millions of people for his entire life.
Why can't people ride on him for a while?

Translator: If you are interested to know more about Mao and his legacy, I recommend you to visit Utopian world, the political and cultural base of modern leftism in China, which has numerous articles advocating Mao's thought and ideals.


  • […] Some translated comments about this topic by Chinese netizens on NetEase are available at Global Voices Online. […]

  • You may not agree with how Mao ran China, but to disrespect him like this is too much. He’s the founder of the PRC. I can see how this infuriated netizens. At least a Laowai did not do this. Girl, get off Mao. He’s had his share of mistresses already. He’s tired.

    And even though I did not like Bush, I certainly would not throw a shoe at him. Ok, maybe one.

  • Dhyana

    Mao is a controversial person, people like him cannot be measured and defined with normal morality standards. However the problem with this girl is not “insulting” but riding—

    i think the “riding on a person’s statue” per se is a very bad behavior, regardless to whom is being rid. People posting those comments are putting too much personal sentiments into the case.

    Besides, may i ask why you guys never translate some “normal” blog posts about China, or at least something other than these free-speech, human-right, political-sensitiveness blogs. For example, i seldom see Globalvoiceonline post some cultural issues about China, like the posts about Japan; rather it is endlessly these harsh posts that make China look really weird a country.(I am not saying these posts are not important, but they should not be the only ones.)

    • briefcandle

      China is a weird country, a preposterous society exaggeratedly described in Catch-22.
      everything absurd can happen in china.

      and I think by reading this reports, u can somehow understand which way chinese are behaving, although most of them have been deprived of culture and been engraved by infuriated sentiment.

  • […] Some translated comments about this topic by Chinese netizens on NetEase are available at Global Voices Online. […]

  • Chad

    OK, riding on Mao is a fact, anger and applause is also a fact, which can’t be ignored by both Chinese and foreigners.

    In my opinion, such facts like riding on some leader’s statue have always been happening in China, few of which attract public attention like this one. It is put there, if you are a child unaware of what it stands for, dare you say that you won’t climb and ride on it for fun?

  • karze

    Mao never had respect for lives of millions. He killed million just to retain his power and even tried to rid 5000 year old Chinese culture.

  • Dhyana

    To Chad, that is partly what i was talking about. If this happen in Europe and the statue is not Mao, but Stalin(well his statues are too high to climb on) or Napoleon or Caesar. Would the rider be approved? I do not think so. So this is the problem with education of basic behaviors, it shouldn’t be too much politicalized.

    About the controversy about Mao, i think we Chinese people often had the tendency of polarizing a person. Mao should be responsible for the destruction of traditional culture and many unnecessary death, but not the only one to blame. He is not a plain power-addicted bastard, he was a poet and smart warlord; he was however too idealistic when dealing with politics(somewhat like Hitler). The problem after all, is not only his problem, but the entire country’s problem, the Chinese culture up-until-recent never had the tradition of respecting life. (Neither did the ROC period and Dynastic eras.)

    • @Dhyana
      Thanks Dhyana for your opinions.
      Indeed we should not forget that there are always more stuff other than harsh controversies and intense social conflicts in China.

      But meanwhile, I observe that a great many cultural events today are tied to or based on politics or the clamp of speech freedom. The more forcefully the cultural creativity is pressed, the more powerfully it rebounds.

      “Push-up,” “Eluding the cat”, parody of CCTV’s building fire can all be interpreted in a cultural level, while they more or less take a political flavor. Other pure cultural topics, such as discussions on Confucianism, are also trapped in intense debates, in no way peaceful. Perhaps, that’s the characteristic of a rapidly changing country? We are doubting, debating and questioning.

      But that’s not my excuse for not writing on the less “aggressive” topics. I will take your advice and take a more careful look on that aspect. I sincerely hope you may email me some suggested topics if possible, or, just join us to give space to your voice too. PS me if you are interested in further discussions with me.


  • knights

    LOL! how pathetic! worry about your economic situation before you worry about a kid riding on a statue ;-)

  • Charlie1111

    Although the girl and her parents might just want to take a picture out of respect to Chairman Mao, the act was inappropriate. I don’t have much an issue as there are people like that. But I do want to point out that, the selection of comments by this website can be improved. On a sensitive topic like this in China, there are thousands of comments on the web, if not more. I don’t think selecting the profanity-laden comments is a way to present a good discussion. I saw many comments like that on US websites. But they will be deleted soon after wards. From the few comments selected on this topic, we can see that a few of them are full of profanity. I think people will focus more on the topic at hand if fewer of these comments are used.

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