China and the New Maoists

Brown, Kerry and Simone Van Nieuwenhuizen. China and the new maoists. London : Zed Books, 2016. ISBN : 978-1-78360-759-4.

Forty years after his death, Mao remains a totemic, if divisive, figure in contemporary China. Though he retains an immense symbolic importance within China’s national mythology, the rise of a capitalist economy has seen the ruling class become increasingly ambivalent towards him. And while he continues to be a highly visible and contentious presence in Chinese public life, Mao’s enduring influence has been little understood in the West.

In China and the New Maoists, the authors seek to change that, by closely examining the vocal figures in China today who claim to be the true ideological heirs to Mao, from academics to activists. They also explore efforts by the state to draw on Mao’s image as a source of legitimacy even as the state attempts to control and sanitize his influence. Featuring interviews with many key proponents of the new Maoism movement, including those involved in the rise of cyber-activism and the wider protest movement in China, China and the New Maoists provides an insightful, on-the-ground look at the current social and ideological pulse of China.

The battle for Mao’s historical legacy will likely play a crucial role in determining China’s political future, and this book provides a fascinating portrait of a country undergoing dramatic upheavals while still struggling to come to terms with its past.

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Monique Abud

Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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Monique Abud

Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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