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China: Return of Maoists in Anti-Japan Protests Brings Anxiety

Maoist protesters became a major spectacle in the series of anti-Japanese protests in China that took place between September 15 – 18, 2012, with Chairman Mao's portraits and nostalgic slogans praising the nation's founder standing out in the crowds.

To many intellectuals the Maoists’ return to the Chinese political scene carries the bitter memories of the rounds and rounds of political campaigns and prosecutions, such as the Cultural Revolution, in Chinese history. That's why the incident of an 80-year-old man being beaten up by a Maoist Professor Han Deqiang during the rally in Beijing on September 18, has caught a lot of attention on Chinese micro-blogging platforms in the past few days.

Maoist leftists in the anti-Japan protests

Lao Ye shared [zh] his observations in his micro-blog about the return of Maoists in the anti-Japan Rally in Beijing:

The Maoist protesters stood out in the anti-Japan rally with their red banner and Chairman Mao's portraits. Photos from Lao Ye on Weibo.

The Maoist protesters stood out in the anti-Japan rally with their red banner and Chairman Mao's portraits. Photos from Lao Ye on Weibo.

【从“小平您好”到“毛主席,人民好想您”】9月18日,北京学生和群众举行抗曰游荇。毛泽东的画像和标语异乎寻常的多。有学生打着“毛主席,人民好想您”的横幅。84年学生打着“小平您好”的横幅,曾作为历史的一个标志。但是今天,没有看到任何人举邓的画像或标语。这种变化值得关注

[From "Xiaoping Nihao" to "Chairman Mao, People really miss you"] On September 18, among the Beijing students and mass demonstrators, quite a number of them were holding Mao's portraits and banners. One of the most popular banners was “Chairman Mao, people really miss you”. Back in 1984 students were holding “Xiaoping nihao”. The banner had become a historical sign of a new era [economic reform]. Today, we can't see anyone holding Deng's portraits or slogans. Such change has some implications.

Incidentally, a drama happened during the rally in Beijing. While the Maoist protesters were chanting “Chairman Mao, people really miss you”, an 80-year-old anti-Japan protester yelled at them: “Miss my ass!”

One of the protesters beat up the old man and called him a “traitor”. A blogger later identified [zh] the attacker to be Han Deqiang, a famous Chinese nationalist and founder of Maoist website “Utopia“, who teaches at the Beihang University in Beijing.

Later, an aggressive statement [zh] written by Han was circulated widely in many blogs and forums:

我一向反對打人,一向主張和平說理。但是,遇到不講理的人,遇到造謠、誹謗、污蔑開國領袖,破壞中國人民團結,給日本當漢奸的人,我忍無可忍,不能再忍!寧可為此被拘留,也不能讓這等漢奸放肆、猖獗!…… 在群情激憤聲討小日本、想念毛主席的游行隊伍中,不容許出現這種明目張膽的漢奸言論。今後如果在游行隊伍中遇到這樣的漢汗,該出手是我還會出手!犯了法的,我認罪伏法,但絕不認錯。

Usually I am against violence and pro rational and peaceful discussion. But when confronted with someone unreasonable, who makes defamatory remarks to our nation's founder with the intention to destroy Chinese people's unity and to serve the Japanese interest as traitor, I could not remain silent. I would rather be arrested than letting them showing off and creating a scene… This rally is an occasion to protest against little Japan and to remember Chairman Mao, I would not allow the presence of such outrageous traitor's talk. If I come across this again in future rally, I would do the same thing. I broke the law, I would accept its rule. But I would never apologize.

You may find it surprising that quite a number of netizens have actually expressed their supports for Han [zh]:

@张宏良:【支持韩德强正义之举,坚决打击汉奸】全世界所有国家都有捍卫信仰自由的权利,美国一部影片侮辱了伊斯兰的信仰,形成世界反美风暴。为什么唯独中国人民没有信仰自由?没有信仰毛主席的自由?没有捍卫自己信仰的自由?为什么专门立法允许任意侮辱毛主席?而人民群众却没有任何捍卫自己信仰的法律权利?

Zhang Hongliang: [Support Han Deqiang's just action in cracking down on the traitor without hesitation] Every country has rights to defend their religion. The American film that insulted Islamic belief has resulted in waves of anti-US protests. Why only in China don't we enjoy religious freedom? Why can't we have the freedom to believe in Chairman Mao? And the right to defend our beliefs? How can we allow the law to give liberty to those people who insult Chairman Mao? While people don't have the legal rights to defend their beliefs?

天马101:红潮的来临,摧毁了一切妄想变色中国的阴谋破产。美国及一切国内西奴走狗妄图在中国的阿拉伯自由之春没有迎来。却迎来了一场一切反动派谈之色变的毛泽东思想大潮。这不是以他们意志为转移的,人民向往的春天之风使他们始料不及!也一定会让那些过高估计中国汉奸西奴力量的外国势力重新评价中国人民!

Tianma101: The red wave has destroyed the conspiracy that attempted to change China. The United States and its slaves in China attempted to bring the Arabic Spring to China but what they see now is a big wave of Maoist thought returning and the anti-revolutionaries’ faces have turned pale. Such a wave cannot be changed with their will. People have created their own spring. This would make the foreign powers re-evaluate the influence of their slaves in China.

汪海林:事实上,近年来毛左被捕被禁言的不少,一有机会依旧上街公开打出旗帜和画像,这种勇气是yy公知所不能比的,敢于上街亮出身份并表达自己政治观点,是脱离键盘党和嘴炮党的必经之路。

Wang Hailin: The fact is in the past few years, many Maoist opinions have been repressed and censored. It is thus very courageous for them to take the opportunity and bring their banners and Mao's portraits to rally in the streets. To express one's opinion in the street is a concrete step [of action] rather than mere online talking.

Of course there are also opinions against the aggressive Maoists; below is a selection of skeptical voices [zh]:

范晓杨:与日本的军国主义相比,毛左给中国带来的危害更大,更值得我们警惕

Fan Xiaoyang: When compared with Japanese militarism, the harm that Maoist Leftists have brought to China is much bigger. We have to be aware of this.

伯林2011:毛时代让中国人的智力、道德以及整个社会的文明水准都急剧倒退,可以说是前所未有的野蛮时代。然而在这几天的闹剧之中,仍只有毛式语言能堂而皇之的粉墨登场。乌有等网站虽曾被封,但毛左的言论自由度依然很大,他们可以公然叫嚣杀汉奸,公开打人,相比之下,自由派则备受打压,文明和民意不能上街。

Berlin2011: During Mao's era, the intelligence and morality of the society and civilization was regressing rapidly. We can even say that we entered a dark age of barbarianism. In the past few days, only the Maoists could appear in the protest scenes. Even though Utopia had been blocked several times, Maoist Leftists enjoy freedom of speech to a large extent. They could call out loud for the killing of traitors and even beat up people. On the other hand, the liberal is repressed. They could not express their ideas in the rally.

张林峰微博:【政治生态】2012是毛左势力走向衰落的开始。毛左势力将呈现极端化、暴力化与边缘化特征。他们也即将迎来内部分化的阶段。

Zhang Lifeng: [Political ecology] The Maoist leftists are losing their power in 2012. That's why they have become so extreme, violent and marginalized. They will probably have internal conflict and will spilt up soon.

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