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Chairman Mao-style calligraphy contest attracts 3,200 ahead of anniversary
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A Mao Zedong-style calligraphy contest has attracted more than 3,000 entries from around China, organizers confirmed on Tuesday, a day ahead of the 114th anniversary of the great man's birth.

The organizing committee, based in Shaoshan City, Hunan Province, where Mao was born in 1893, announced the first-ever contest had received more than 3,200 calligraphy pieces from around the country since it opened in October.

All the contestants, the oldest aged 92, submitted poems and articles they had created by imitating Mao's handwriting font, characterized by powerful and free-style strokes.

Chairman Mao, who died in 1976, was also widely regarded as a calligrapher and poet.

The contest was held to "carry forward the advanced culture of the Chinese nation" and "mark the birth anniversary of Chairman Mao", according to the organizing committee.

Besides the calligraphy contest, other activities to mark Mao's birth on Wednesday in Shaoshan included a relay race involving 10,000 contestants, a vocal performance with the theme praising the greatness of the late leader and a firework display.

(Xinhua News Agency December 26, 2007)

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