| A man checks his cellphone in front of a portrait of Mao Zedong in Beijing. (AFP)
Beijing, Nov. 28: In a desperate appeal to China’s fashionable youth, the Chinese Communist Party has approved the repackaging of Mao Zedong as a rap artist.
Mao’s favourite exhortation — the Two Musts — is to be set to music and released alongside pop versions of all the Great Helmsman’s old slogans, such as The East is Red and Serve the People.
The rap album to honour the 110th anniversary of Mao’s birth next month follows another record, A Red Sun, released to mark his centenary.
The Beijing Times said yesterday: “Ten years ago, the album A Red Sun brought a crimson tide of songs rushing through our music industry. This year, the China Record Company has finished the production of the powerfully red Mao Tse-Tung and Us.”
The Two Musts were: “To preserve modesty and prudence and to preserve the style of plain living and hard struggle”.
They formed a key part of Mao’s professed, though unpractised, passion for peasant life.
As Mao’s anniversary on December 26, 1893 approaches, the party is keen to use the opportunity to revive interest in his ideology, increasingly regarded as irrelevant by younger, more money-oriented, generations.
Nevertheless, a surge of Mao kitsch — to go alongside the plastic Little Red Books, Mao medallions, and Mao clocks (with his waving arms as hands) on sale at stalls all over the country — is also expected to mark the date.
The country is preparing for a surge of Mao kitsch as the anniversary approaches.
He is still revered for unifying the country after the civil war and introducing Marxism, but reviled for disasters such as the Cultural Revolution.