A Living Legend, Mao Zedong’s Grandson – Máo xīnyǔ (毛新宇)


As the youngest Major General in the Chinese military (in any military, for that fact) and Chairman Mao’s only grandson, Máo xīnyǔ (毛新宇) has received tremendous ridicule.  In June 2009, he was promoted to the position of Major General at the age of 40–which has been starkly criticized as being an act of nepotism because of his widely known incompetence.  Others who support the move said that by paying respects to Mao’s grandson, the people of China are, therefore, paying respects to the Chairman himself.  Máo xīnyǔ has publicly admitted that being Mao Zedong’s grandson has influenced his promotion (毛新宇:晉陞少將有家庭因素).

The position, Major General, is what one might call a one star general, an officer that could be in charge of an entire garrison.  Somebody at this rank would be an average of 45-50 years old, and only about 3% of Colonels will reach Major General.  Considering these odds, it is understandable the outrage of the public.  Although Xīnyǔ is not in charge of a garrison, he is still a professor of Mao Zedong Thought at Guangzhou University at the Songtian Professional College.

This is only compounded by how truly incompetent Xīnyǔ truly is in so many ways.  Below is a supposed example of his calligraphy:

Now, compare Máo xīnyǔ’s with the well-known, modern calligrapher Táng xīndé’s (唐新德) work below:


For the Chinese, handwriting is extremely important, especially if  a person is supposed to be a scholarly individual leading a classroom.  Furthermore, Máo xīnyǔ defiles the military uniform with his overweight stature and his lack of military bearing.  Whether Mao’s grandson has acquired any proper military training or experience is anybody’s guess, as many of xīnyǔ’s colleagues in the ranks of the Chinese military have detested the decision to promote him to major general.

Concerning Máo xīnyǔ’s teaching, he has been quoted as claiming that Mao Zedong was a “perfect man.”   Xīnyǔ’s biased opinion actually contradicts the current official understand that Mao Zedong was “70 percent right, 30 percent wrong.”  Of all people, Xīnyǔ–a man related to Mao Zedong and obviously of outstanding character–should know what being a descendant of “perfection” is like, giving him the entitlement to teach about his grandfather, right?  I will let you decide for yourself on that matter.

George Washington and Mao Zedong

One thing is certain, Mao has had an incredible and indisputable influence on the Chinese.  Even though he has been dead for decades, people line up in the extremest of weather in Beijing to pass through the mausoleum where Mao’s body is put on display (given only about ten seconds of viewing time).  Complete morons that are an embarrassment to the Chinese public like Xīnyǔ are given special status and privilege simply because they are related to Mao.  And even though Mao’s idiotic policies killed off tens of millions of humanity’s precious lives, there is no stopping the Chinese people’s love and admiration for Mao.

Let’s take a moment to really consider the notion of this.  Honestly, it is quite impossible for me to conceive this sort of admiration.  Even though I don’t agree with the comparison myself, some Chinese have told me that Mao Zedong is like George Washington.  I personally don’t think that these two characters in history are comparable, but perhaps the admiration Americans have for George Washington may be about the same that the Chinese have for Mao Zedong.

Here is where I have troubles comparing these two individuals: George Washington led a war against the “oppressive” and foreign British colonizers, leading to independence for the Americans.  He was the first president of the United States, elected democratically.  Mao Zedong led a band of rebels targeting to kill fellow Chinese.  These rebels waited for the Japanese to weaken their enemies during WWII, and then launched a bloody civil war following WWII (the Chinese civil war actually started in 1927 and cost the lives of almost ten million people).  During his 25-year reign, Mao refused to give up total control, killing off everyone he saw as a competitor.

Is it just me or are George Washington and Mao Zedong about as polar opposite as physics permits?


6 thoughts on “A Living Legend, Mao Zedong’s Grandson – Máo xīnyǔ (毛新宇)

  1. I enjoyed reading this. It seems to be the case that China is pursuing a dual policy of eradicating corruption and nepotism on one hand, but perpetuating or ignoring them on the other.
    The issue of the legacy of Mao is complex and very interesting. My own experiences of visiting China since 1993 is that Mao’s flaws are generally much more widely acknowledged


  2. Apologies, I published the prior comment too early. I also intended to say that there are good grounds to argue that China needed a radical break from the colonial exploitation that had contributed to it being called “The Sick Man of Asia’ for a century. 1949 was an opportune time and for all the ups and downs and disasters, China is no longer the same Sick Man.
    I’m not attracted by the analogy of Mao and George Washington much either. Mao and Ho Chi Minh, or Mao and Mexico’s Emiliano Zapata are much closer.


    • Agreed on the analogy! The biggest problem I have with the claims that Mao was such a hero is that from the 20’s, Mao continued to fight with the Nationalist Party until 1949, only deepening the “sickness” that the Chinese were experiencing for another 20-30 years. It seems counter productive to me that his aims were then to “reconstruct” culture, agriculture, values, and education through policies that sometimes resulted in violent movements. Sure, the Chinese at the time had no idea what Mao was really up to until afterwards (hindsight is 20/20, after all).


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