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Shaoshan, hometown of Mao Zedong

ShaoshanWelcome to visit Shaoshan, the former residence of Mao Zedong, the late president of PRC, who was the president of PRC from 1949 to 1976. The   cottage of primitive simplicity we see before us is made of adobe (sun-dried mud brick) and wood, which is very typical in south China. The cottage faces the north, with a pond of water before it and with green hills at the back of it. On Dec.26, 1893, Mao Zedong, the great leader of the Chinese people, was born here. There used to be two households living here. The thirteen houses covered with tiles on the east side belonged to Mao’s while the four thatched sheds on the west were Mao’s neighbor’s. The central room was shared by the two households.

The seven Chinese characters mean “former residence of comrade Mao Zedong”, which were inscribed by Mr. Deng Xiaoping when he visited here on April 4th, 1983. As we know, Mr. Deng is the advocator of China’s reform and open-door policy. Now let’s first go into the central room and have a close look at it.

The practical function of the central room is used to entertain guests and hold home banquet in south China. The square table and stools displayed here are all the original ones used by Mao’s family. This is a shrine placed here for worshipping Buddhist gods or ancestors. Here are two big buckets which were once used by Mao to carry water for his parents when he was young. Now let’s move to the kitchen. Most of the cooking stoves of the local families were made of mud bricks in the old days. This cooking stove is a replica made when the former residence was renovated. The reproduction of the stove is based on the recalls of the old folks of the village. (Based on the old folks’ recall, a replica of a cooking stove was made when renovation was being done of the residence). This is called “huotang” by the locals. It is a square-shaped fireplace. Southerners used this to warm the house by burning firewood in it when winter came. This hook over the fireplace was used to hold a pot of water and heat it up over the fire. When winter came, locals could also cook meals over the fireplace, sat around it, eating and chatting leisurely and cozy. In the spring of 1921, Mao Zedong came back to his home village to make preparations for the setting up of some local organizations of communist party. When sitting Mao Zedong’s Bronze Statue Squarearound this fireplace with his brothers and sisters, Mao Zeming, one of his brothers, gave him a detailed account of all the sufferings they had during the years when he was away from home. Mao Zedong comforted his brothers and sisters by saying that not only his family suffered but also many other families suffered. No family could have an easy life when the whole country was in a time of turmoil.

We should devote ourselves for the benefit of the majority, not only for our own family. Influenced by Mao Zedong, many of his family members followed the course of revolution and six of his family members died for the revolutionary cause.

Here we are in the bedroom of Mao’s parents. On Dec.26, 1893, Mao was born in this room. Hung on the wall are the two portraits of Mao’s deceased parents. Mr. Mao Shunsheng, Mao’s father, born in Oct. 1870, was a capable and hard-working peasant in the local village. His father’s industry and thrifty and his talent in bred-earning undoubtedly provide some financial basis for Mao’s studies away from home. Mao’s father died of acute typhoid at the age of fifty. Mrs. Mao, Mao’s mother, was born in 1867. She was a sweet-tempered, kind-hearted and hard-working house wife. She often offered financial aid to the needy villagers. The moral merits of his parents had a great impact on Mao Zedong during his teenage years. In 1959, Mao Zedong visited his home village. When standing before the photo of his mother, he said “I look very much like my mother”. The wooden bed displaced here is the original one. This is the bedroom once used by Mao Zedong. The photo hung on the wall is the one taken in 1919 when Mao Zedong was working in Changsha, then the provincial city and his youngest brother Mao Zetan was studying there.. At that time of the year, Mao’s mother was seriously ill and was accompanied by his brother Mao Zeming to a hospital in provincial city for treatment. It was because of this that the four family members could get together and took a photo, which was very precious now .It was in Oct. of the same year that his mother died. Due to Mao’s maternal grandmother’s careful keeping, we can see a photo so precious today.

This is the place where Mao used to study when he was young. Mao used to read by this small oil lamp at night. Mao was very clever and was keen on reading. When there were too many mosquitoes at summer night, he would place a bench beside the bed and put the oil lamp on the bench.  While reading, he protected himself with mosquito net with only his head exposed outside of the mosquito-net. During winter months, he would read far into the night in bed. He never stopped reading even when he dropped out of school from age 13 to 15 and helped his parents with some work at home. There is an attic which is seldom noticed. It was in this attic that branch of Chinese Communist Party of Shaoshan was established.  And here is the place where Mao’s placed their farming tools. Mao began to help his parents with some work at the age of six. At age of 13 from 15, due to lack of labor force, he dropped out of school and did some farming for his parents at home. That’s why we say that Mao used to a peasant for two years. The waterwheel and the stone mill displayed here are all the original tools Mao used. That’s the end of my tour narration. Now just feel free to have a look around.

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