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Old March 16th, 2010, 06:44 PM   #1
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Wink Topic about Mao from China daily


Man of red letters

By Yang Guang (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-03-16 11:05



French scholar Claude Hudelot has written on China's leadership for decades, and his new book offers a visual perspective on late Chairman Mao Zedong. Yang Guang reports

French historian and former diplomat Claude Hudelot feels a red-hot passion for understanding China's past leadership.

The centerpiece of his fascination has remained former Chairman Mao Zedong (1893-1976).
He has written several books on the late leader, such as The Long March (1971) and Mao: The Life and the Legend (2001). In addition, he has produced several film documentaries like Hou Bo and Xu Xiaobing, Photographers of Mao (2003).
The 68-year-old's newest book, The Mao Cult, focuses on visual elements related to China's foremost founding father. It features calligraphy, photographs, paintings, badges, and statues and busts of Mao. It also reveals the stories behind these images.
Hudelot created the book with French photographer Guy Gallice.
Click the image to open in full size.
Claude Hudelot's newest book, The Mao Cult, features visual elements of former Chairman Mao Zedong. Provided to China Daily
The more than 800 images were selected from more than 2,000 belonging to his and Gallice's personal collections, and from private museums in Shandong province's Qufu, Fujian province's Shantou, Jiangxi province's Jingdezhen and Hong Kong.
Hudelot's visual approach to depicting Mao differs from that of most historians, who focus on texts and documents. In addition to poring over books, he has also viewed many photos and films depicting Mao.
"I believe that not only for Mao but also for other leaders who have changed history, you have to look carefully at the images, read the poems and see the calligraphy," Hudelot says.
He explains that he strongly dislikes the bestseller Mao: The Unknown Story by Jon Halliday and Jun Chang.
"It is a book of revenge. It's too critical," he says.
"I believe when you read reports like the one on the Lushan Conference and the way he talked to Peng Dehuai, then China's Defense Minister, during the summer 1959, and then see the photo Hou Bo took of him in a bathing suit laughing with young friends by a lake at Lushan Mountain, you understand how complex this person is."
In addition to his work on Mao, Hudelot has been involved in numerous Sino-French cultural activities. He has produced many written works, radio shows and television documentaries about China.
"China is the biggest part of my life," he says. "There is no distance between China and me except the distance of the flight."
Hudelot's fascination with China began in 1964. When his father was transferred from India to work as director of the Alliance Francaise in Hong Kong, Hudelot took a train from Paris through Moscow to Beijing.
He knew nothing about the country but was impressed during the first visit.
"The Chinese were very poor and revolutionary," he says.
Click the image to open in full size.
Hudelot recalls seeing people clad in the same patched-up blue clothing, basic food, and throngs of bicycles on the streets.
"Where are all those bicycles now? They've disappeared from China and seem be showing up in Europe," he says, laughing.
He began studying Chinese after returning to France and earned a master's degree in contemporary Chinese history from the French National Oriental University in 1969.
After a brief stint as a university instructor, Hudelot became a radio producer at the French national public radio station, France-Culture.
In 1979, Hudelot returned to China with his French crew for seven weeks. They visited Beijing, Luoyang, Xi'an, Chongqing, Wuhan, Kunming, Yangzhou, Shanghai, Nanjing, Guangzhou and Hong Kong. The material they gathered was used to create a 50-hour radio program that won a national radio award in 1980.
"That was the first time a French crew had visited China," he says.
"We wanted to make a long and in-depth radio program at that very important moment, when China was really opening its doors under Deng Xiaoping."
The changes that had taken place since 1964 were immediately apparent.
"We saw more colorful clothes and women's dresses, and restaurants," he recalls.
"People were dancing at night in Kunming. You could feel the greater sense of freedom.
"But there were still no big changes in the cities, no new buildings. Life was moving forward but slowly compared to today."
The program sparked international interest in China. Serving as director of the International Arles Photo Festival, one of the most important of its kind, Hudelot organized a China-focused photo exhibition. The event featured works by more than 80 international photographers, about half of whom were Chinese.
Click the image to open in full size.
"What was very impressive about that year's festival is that through the exhibition and a 1-hour film we produced called 5 Chinese Photographers, people from not only France but also the whole world discovered Chinese photography existed."
Some Chinese photographers who captivated international attention included Wu Yinxian and Ling Fei from Beijing, Gao Yuan from Chengdu, Chen Baosheng from Shanxi, and Xia Yonglie from Shanghai.
Wu's portraits of leaders and the Red Army in Yan'an appeared on the festival catalog's cover. Chen's images of the farmers and horses in Shanxi were widely covered by French, Spanish, Italian, US and English newspapers.
The zenith of Hudelot's career was when he became the French Embassy in Beijing's cultural attach in 1993, he says.
He helped organize the first exhibition in China of works by French sculptor Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) at the National Art Museum in Beijing. More than 60 statues were displayed, including The Thinker.
News reports recorded the long lines of visitors waiting to get tickets. Some said they went seven times.
The show inspired pantomime actor Wang Deshun to create "living sculpture" performances in which he "resuscitated" Rodin's sculptures, posing like them in the nude.
Hudelot says the most important transformation he has witnessed over the decades is a shift in Chinese mentality.
"During the 1960s and 1970s, Chinese people were focused on China and their revolution," he says.
"They had no idea about the outside world, and they didn't travel at all. They were poor, and nobody was really rich. China, as a country, was on its own, isolated."
Now, Chinese people travel, and see the world through TV and the Internet. Many youth study abroad, he says.
"Some people are still poor - and in some remote regions are very poor - but many Chinese live well and some are incredibly rich."
But Hudelot believes these huge changes mainly impact urban people.
"There's one other problem worth mentioning: The young generation isn't involved in politics and doesn't want to be," he says.
"This is a complete change."
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Old March 16th, 2010, 10:58 PM   #2

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Re: topic about mao from china daily


It doesn't seem to be available in English?

I could read about Mao all day. The quintessential 'doer' when history needed one.
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Old March 17th, 2010, 04:14 AM   #3
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Re: topic about mao from china daily


let history be history! most of so called historians are not objective. I hope in the future, we can get the truth.

why do you like story about mao?
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Old March 20th, 2010, 09:15 AM   #4
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Re: topic about mao from china daily


One member here reveres Mao as being a "doer." Yeah, he sure as hell was all right; no argument from me on that point. "The Great Helmsman" managed to do in upwards of 70 million of his own countrymen as he wrecklessly steered his "Titanic" country straight into a perfect storm of his own creation: his hare-brained "Great Leap Forward" schemes that backfired completely and left in their wake famines of biblical proportions. Yet this megalomaniac merely shrugged it all off and steadfastly refused to concede defeat. Instead he pushed on relentlessly in pursuit of his utopian dreams -- his grand "social experiment" -- the pleas of his inner circle to consider the plight of the people be damned. Mao had no intention whatsover of "losing face" in the eyes of the world and in the end that's all that truly mattered.

The late, "Great" Chairman was directly responsible for more deaths than Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Kim Jong-il, and Pol Pot combined. ("Uncle Joe" placed a measly second with "only" 20-30 million dead; lightweight that he was.) The murderous bastard is today no longer worshipped as a demi-god and his personality cult is gradually fading into oblivion. He is no longer the divine inspiration to the masses as he once was, thanks be to God. Just as Stalin's red star was tarnished after his death in '53 and public adoration of him came to a screeching halt, so it goes with that monster from Hunan. Screw him and the junk he rode in on.
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Old March 22nd, 2010, 09:00 AM   #5
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Re: topic about mao from china daily


More on Mao...



I thought I just might share some of Mao's "thoughts" with the viewership. Below are a few of his quotes copied from a bio of him I read a few years back simply titled Mao; authored by Jung Chang, a Red Guard during the Cultural Revolution who left China in 1978 and eventually obtained a PHD in linguistics from the University of York, and Jon Halliday, Senior Visiting Research Fellow at King's College, University of London.

Mao was a 24 y.o. student at the time writing a series of commentaries in response to A System of Ethics, a book penned by a small-fry German philosopher by the name of Friedrich Paulsen.



Mao on morality:

"I do not agree with the view that to be moral, the motives of one's actions has to be benefiting others. Morality does not have to be defined in relation to others...People like me want to satisfy our hearts to the full, and in doing so we automatically have the most valuable moral codes. Of course there are people and objects in the world, but they are only there for me."

on responsibility and duty:

"People like me only have a duty to ourselves; we have no duty to other people," "I am responsible only for the reality that I know, and absolutely not responsible for anything else. I don't know about the past. I don't know about the future. They have nothing to do with the reality of my own self." "Some say that one has a responsibility for history. I don't believe it. I am only concerned about developing myself...I have my desire and act on it. I am responsible to no one." "A good name after death cannot bring me any joy because it belongs to the future and not my own reality. People like me are not building achievements to leave for future generations."

on conscience:

"These two should be one and the same. All our actions are driven by impulse, and the conscience that is wise goes along with this in every instance. Sometimes, conscience restrains impulses such as over-eating or over-indulgence in sex. But conscience is only there to restrain, not oppose. And the restraint is for better completion of the impulse." "I do not think that these (commands like "do not kill", "do not steal", "do not slander")have to do with conscience, I think they are only out of self-interest for self-preservation. All considerations must be purely calculations for oneself, and absolutely not for obeying external ethical codes or for so-called feelings of responsilbilty."



These are but a few of the Chairman's sick "thoughts" related in the book, but I think they serve to get the point across. Is it any wonder that a man who put down in words such utterly sociopathic thoughts would eventually wind up being responsible for more deaths than any other human being in the annals of history? What a scumbag.
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Old March 24th, 2010, 04:38 PM   #6
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Re: topic about mao from china daily


they are not all that "sick"... it is classical objectivism and could as easily have been found in the writings from Ayn Rand.

More to the point... Mao was a Chinese--- writing to influence Chinese, to whom all of these statements would seem astounding and shockingly avant guard.

The Chinese of that era were particularly enthralled with the idea of the self realized man... a man who acted on his own impulse without the weight of ancestors or peer approval crushing every rebellious thought or impulse.

Given his objectives... had Mao come out of a more wild west culture, he would have been the one arguing for civic duty and responsibility to the future... whatever notions the disaffected would react to as being radical and therefore attractive.


In truth, revolutionaries seldom have any goal other than revolution... the nature of the change is immaterial... it is in the change itself that opportunity for power lies.
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Old April 22nd, 2011, 02:23 AM   #7

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigscreeninkster View Post
It doesn't seem to be available in English?

I could read about Mao all day. The quintessential 'doer' when history needed one.
You mean the ultimate failure. There was nothing successful about fat pig Mao except death and dishonor.
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