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Mao pop culture
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As with many international political figures, the face of Chairman Mao Zedong now graces T-shirts, bags, clocks and watches. His image has transformed into a modern day pop-icon, a move that is being embraced by young people but comes with a word of caution from older generations.

On August 18, 1966, Zhu Chengying was a student at Beijing University of Post & Telecommunication and along with thousands of others she went to Tiananmen Square to listen to an address from Chairman Mao. She told the Global Times that the growing trend of Mao accessories is a good way to remember him but people should be careful not to over-exploit his image.

"Reinterpreting Mao's image is easier for younger generations to remember the old days. But we shouldn't distort the leader's image," Zhu said.

Zhu recalled being part of the crowd waving to Mao for his speech that marked the start of Dachuanlian, when the Communist Party of China encouraged young people to travel around the country and talk about their revolutionary experiences.

"That day was one of the happiest moments in my life," Zhu said. "Tiananmen Square was full of students and we were so proud to meet our leader."

As the Cultural Revolution gathered steam, Mao's image quickly became ubiquitous in China. Led by youth groups like the Red Guards, the Cultural Revolution witnessed a concerted effort to deify Mao. His picture, quotations and badges with his portrait, Da Zibao, could be seen everywhere.

"Pinning Chairman Mao badges slightly above the heart at that time meant to show our loyalty to our leader and some even pinned the badges directly into their skin to show that they put Chairman Mao in their heart," said 59-year-old Zhou Guangming, who traveled to Beijing from his hometown in southwest Guizhou Province during the Cultural Revolution.

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