Dave Stevenson blog

Forbidden city, Beijing

Chaiman Mao is everywhere in China. Not as a venerated icon, you understand, but as a tourist nick-nack. The Little Red Book has been translated into English, French and German, and you can buy Mao wristwatches at virtually every market stall. My favourite was the Mao watch whose second-hand was Mao’s arm, giving the illusion that the deceased chairman was waving like a loon.

Perhaps the only in-the-wild examples of Mao are the giant portrait in Tiananmen Square, and the actual corpse a few hundred metres south. The mausoleum (or Maosoleum, as we chucklingly called it) closes around midday, and our indifferent approach to alarm clocks meant we missed both days we were there. So it was that our world tour of dead communist leaders went unfinished.

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