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A Letter from Mao zedong's son

12 September 2011

Mao Zedong is one of the most visionary and courageous men in human history whose massive social and economic reform project was aiming at creating a new template for a higher civilization based on mass democracy and mutual cooperation, which if succeeds, shall not only help China to rejuvenate but assist the entire humanity to enter a brand new era.

However, though being a superman, Mao was still a mortal, and like all mortals, his position on earth was classified as casual and he could be dismissed at any minute without prior notice by the Fate - a force of balance shaped by all causes and expressed through consequences. And he was dismissed just like that from his rank this month 35 years ago in the middle of his reforming task. In fact, it was at a time when the reform encountered the toughest challenges and was in a bit of a mess.

He left with an unfinished business and left as a worried man, for he somehow foresaw that in a foreseeable future there would be no mortal in China, and in the entire world, who would fully appreciate his vision and possess an equal level of courage that matches his and have a same degree of willingness for self-sacrifice that he had, to push through this unprecedented reform. 

In the next 30 years or so, half a dozen men took his position by turns, with another half a dozen in the co-pilot's seat previously occupied by China's, arguably, best ever prime minister Zhou Enlai. Some of them were/are rather noble, others were/are pretty wrecked, but all more or less have chosen by option or by chance to go down the safe and easy path by pressing the CTRL+Z button to return China to the default template defined by the nations of rich+powerful+shallow+unjust. It was actually a situation China was miserably in before 1949 under a puppet government of the West led by the Nationalist Party now headed by America's page boy Ma Ying-jeou in Taiwan Province. But bizarrely, such "undo" actions are called "reform (改革)".

So here we are. China now is a country rich in material (distributed unevenly) but destitute in spirit  (seriously), for it has traded its soul (the faith in its own cultural tradition) and long term benefit (which can only be achieved through genuine reform) for a fast-food style short term gain (by downloading other people's free template that is embedded with Trojans, viruses, worms, adware and spyware while access to the source code is denied).

A nation is very much like an individual, at any given time, its fortune is fixed in amount. You get an easy ride, you pay double price, since in this universe there is no such a thing called free lunch - for whatever you receive you will have to pay in cash right away or pay by credit card which will be charged later on with high interest. Therefore those nations and those individuals who use their powerful position to seal bargain deals for themselves and their families and their affiliates through force (by means of wars in the name of promoting democracy and freedom) or by trick (by way of corruption who “苟利自家名与利,岂因社稷避趋之”) are in fact squandering their own fortune which is like to board on a bullet train heading straight downwards - an expedited approach to liquidation.

On the other hand, when a powerful country sincerely respects other nations, like what was advocated by Mao Zedong - "深挖洞、广积粮、不称霸" (Dig deep caves, store lots grains, never bully other countries); "中国应该为世界作出较大的贡献“ (China shall contribute more to the world community); and when an individual in power has a genuine concern towards his fellow citizens than just to recite offhandedly other people's old lines, an upward journey to attain a better and sustainable future can be assured.

Here is a gracious example from Mao Zedong's eldest son Mao Anying.  


Mao Anying was born in 1922. At the age of 8 he accompanied his mother to prison when she was arrested by the Nationalist Party government and later to the execution field where she was killed; at the age of 11 he slept on Shanghai street at night and sold newspapers during the day to support himself and his younger brother when they became homeless; and at the age of 28 he went to the frontline in North Korea when America tried to bring the war to China's doorstep and subsequently fell on the battleground for defending nation's border security. (Ask Clintons, and Bushes, and Rumsfeld, and Cheney where their sons and daughters are when young Americans die in Iraq and in Afghanistan?)

The following is a letter written by Mao Anying which is addressed to his cousin. The letter was dated on 24 October 1949, weeks after his father became the supreme leader of the newly established PRC.

The original letter has six pages, here are the photo images of three pages that are credited to amateur relic collector Wang Jinchang  (王金昌):



The following are English translation of the excerpt from the letter: 

Uncle wishes my father to help him to secure a position in Changsha government office, which makes me feel terribly embarrassed for him. We are now in a new era, and the old social custom that one could expect to be elevated to prominence through personal relationship is out of date. One among many things that set the new China and the old China, the CCP and the Nationalist Party, Mao Zedong and Chiang Kai Shek, and Mao Zedong's relatives and Chiang Kai Shek's relatives world apart is that when Chiang and his government consider it is all right to seek special benefit for themselves and their families, we think it's plainly wrong. The time when the ruling group can enjoy privileges in the society has gone, and gone forever. Now is an era when everybody is fundamentally equal and no one should live at other people's expense. In this regard, Chinese people have already won a critical battle. But my uncle doesn't seem to have comprehended the change, and I just hope he will understand it soon, otherwise he might not be able to keep up his pace with the rest in the nation. Our fighting for freedom is not just to liberate a special few, but all people in the country. The problems you've experienced in life need to be resolved, but you should not expect to receive special treatment, for the public interest must be taken into the first consideration. My personal view,  uncle's promotion cannot be arranged, and I will write a letter to let him know what I think.

The Nationalists always accuse Communists of being cold blooded robots. If they refer to the fact that we do not seek to help our own relatives and friends to make money and gain fame, yes, we are exactly what they accused of. But we are not cool-blooded. We love our people, especially the ordinary Chinese who work hard but live rough. And we love our parents, children, sponsors and relatives, and love them dearly, but that should not be used as excuse to seek privilege.

I love my grandma, and I guess she must be very upset with me right now for refusing to take special care of our extended family. I have no choice but to endue her wrath, because I'm just an ordinary member of a great organization and I'm not in the position and have no right to do something that betrays CCP's principle. As for my father, he is the strongest opponent to this old practice and regards it as being unfair and unjust.

I believe you've already begun to work on your new job. My suggestion is to start out at bottom level, learn from others, and don't try to bite off more than what you can chew. I didn't know this basic life wisdom before and thus experienced many setbacks. Now I become a bit wiser in terms of how to better serve our people. 

Serving the people is a thing easy to say than to do, particularly for someone like us who have read a few books therefore tend to think we know almost everything under the sun, which makes our ego easily inflated and from time to time we would get above ourselves. 

舅父“希望在长沙有厅长方面位置”一事,我非常替他惭愧。新的时代,这种一步登高的“做官”思想已是极端落后的了,而尤以为通过我父亲即能“上任”,更是要不得的想法。新 中国之所以不同于旧中国,共产党之所以不同于国民党,毛泽东之所以不同于蒋介石,毛泽东的子女妻舅之所以不同于蒋介石的子女妻舅,除了其他更基本的原因之 外,正是由于此:皇亲国戚仗势发财,少数人统治多数人的时代已经一去不复返。靠自己的劳动和才能吃饭的时代已经来临了。在这一点上中国人民已经获得根本的 胜利。而对于这一层,舅父恐怕还没有觉悟。望他能慢慢觉悟。否则很难在新的中国工作下去。翻身是广大群众的翻身,而不是几个特殊人物的翻身,生活问题要整 个解决,而不可个别解决。大众的利益应该首先顾及,放在第一位。个人主意是不成的。我准备写封信将这些情形坦白告诉舅父他们。

反 动派常骂共产党没有人情,不讲人情,而如果他们所指的是这种帮助亲戚朋友同乡同事做官发财的话,那么我们共产党正是没有这种人情不讲这种人情。共产党有的 是另一种人情,那便是对人民的无限热爱,对劳苦大众的无限热爱,其中也包括自己的父母子女亲戚在内。当然,对于自己的近亲戚,对于自己的父、母、子、女、 妻、舅、兄、弟、姨、叔是有一层特别感情的,一种与血统、家族有关的人的深厚感情的。这种特别的感情共产党不仅不否认,而且加以巩固并努力于倡导它走向正 确的与人民利益相符合的有利于人民途径。但如果这种特别感情超出了私人范围并与人民利益相抵触时,共产党是坚决站在后者方面的,即“大义灭亲 ”亦在所不惜。

我爱我 的外祖母,我对她有深厚的描写不出的感情,但她也许现在在骂我“不孝”骂我不照顾杨家,不照顾向家;我得忍受这种骂,我不会也决 不能违背原则做事。我本人是一部伟大机器的一个极普通平凡的小螺丝钉,同时也没有“权力”没有“本钱” 更没有“志向”来做这些扶助亲戚高升的事。至于父亲,他是这种做法的最坚决的反对者,因为这种做法是与共产主义思想、毛泽东思想 水火不相容的,是与人民大众的利益水火不相容的,是极不公平,极不合理的。

关 于怃恤烈士家属问题,你的信已收到了,事情已转到组织部办理,但你要有精神准备:一下子很快是办不了的,干部少事情多,湖南又才解放,恐怕会拖一下。请你 记住我父亲某次对亲戚说的话:“生活问题要整个解决,不可个别解决”这里所指的生活问题主要是指经济困难问题,而所谓整个解决主 要市值工业革命,土地改革,统一的烈士家属怃恤办法等。意思是说应于广大的贫苦大众的一样的来统一解决生活困难问题,在一定时侯应与的百万贫苦大众一样地 来容忍一个时期,等待一个时期,不要指望一下子把生活搞好,比别人好。当然,饿死是不至于的。

你 现在可能已开始工作了吧,望从头干起,从小干起,不要一下子就想负个什么责任,先要向别人学习,不讨厌做小事作技术性的事。我过去不懂这个道理曾碰过许多 钉子,现在稍许懂事了——应该为人民好好服务,而且开始稍许懂得应该怎样为人民好好服务,应该以怎样的态度为人民服务了。





Prev: A Summer Story in Chongqing
Eight Banners Soaked in Shame



Mao Anying with his mother and younger brother Anqing

Mao Anying and his wife Liu Siqi


Mao Anying's Grave in North Korea


Mao Zedong

An poem in classic style from Chinese cyber space:


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