Monday 22 January 2018

China can't let go of Mao but young won't take it as Red

As the ruling Communist Party marks its 90th birthday, Peter Foster reports from the mega-city of Chongqing

It might seem odd that a man responsible for the starvation of more than 30 million people could be chosen to promote a restaurant, but there is no mistaking the avuncular features of Mao Zedong staring from the portrait above the entrance to the 'Red Leader' Hot Pot restaurant.

"Comrades! Welcome, comrades!" breezes a pretty hostess dressed up as one of Chairman Mao's Red Guards, complete with armband and Mao lapel badge.

She is, of course, far too young to remember the Cultural Revolution, the Mao-inspired political civil war of 1966-1976 that tore her parents' generation apart. Back then "comrade" was the standard form of address; today it is only used by young Chinese as a slang word for "gay".

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