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Dressed in the drab military uniform that symbolized therevolutionary government of Communist China Mao Zedongs body still lookedpowerful like an giant rock in a gushing river An enormous red flagdraped his coffin like a red sail unfurled on a Chinese junk illustratingthe dualism of traditional China and the present Communist China thattypified Mao 1 A river of people flowed past while he lay in state duringthe second week of September 1976 Workers peasants soldiers and studentsunited in grief brought together by Mao the helmsman of modern China 2He had assembled a revolutionary government using traditional Chineseideals of filial piety harmony and order Maos cult of personalityparty purges and political policies reflect Maos esteem of thesetraditional Chinese ideals and history Mao was born on December 26 1893 in Shao Shan a village in HunanProvince 3 His family lived in a rural village where for hundreds of yearsthe pattern of everyday life had remained largely unbroken 4 Maos fatherthe son of a poor peasant during Maos childhood however prospered andbecome a wealthy land owner and rice dealer 5 Yet the structure of Maosfamily continued to mirror the rigidity of traditional Chinese society Hisfather a strict disciplinarian demanded filial piety 6 Forced to do farmlabor and study the Chinese classics Mao was expected to be obedient Onthe other hand Mao remembers his mother was generous and sympathetic 7Mao urged his mother to confront his father but Maos mother who believedin many traditional ideas replied that was not the Chinese way 8 Mao inhis interviews with historian Edgar Snow reports how during his childhoodhe tried to escape this traditional Chinese upbringing by running away from The rebellion Mao claims to have manifested might have distancedMao physically from his family but traditional Chinese values were deeplyingrained shaping his political and personal persona His fathersharshness with dealing with opposition his cunning his demand forreverence from subordinates and his ambition were to be seen in how
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