The Mao Era in Objects

Source: Geremie Barmé, Shades of Mao: the posthumous cult of the great leader (Armonk, NY: M.E Sharpe, 1996), 130.

'Central Department of Propaganda Circular Concerning the Withdrawal from Circulation of Quotations from Chairman Mao (12 February 1979)

A request has recently been received from the State Publishing Bureau inquiring how best to dispose of the huge number of Quotations from Chairman Mao, single-sheet quotations of Chairman Mao and portraits of the Chairman with the legends “Long live Chairman Mao” and “Eternal life to Chairman Mao” that exist. It is the Department’s considered opinion that:

1.Quotations from Chairman Mao was produced by Lin Biao in an attempt to amass political capital. In it Mao Zedong Thought is taken out of context and distorted. Since its publication this book has had a widespread and pernicious influence. To eliminate the impact of Lin Biao and the “Gang of Four” the Xinhua and Guoji [International] Bookstores will halt all sales of Quotations in Chinese, minority and foreign languages forthwith. All remaining copies, apart from a small number to be kept by provincial Xinhua Bookstores for future use by the relevant organizations, are to be pulped.

Single-sheet quotations from Chairman Mao are to be dealt with in a similar manner and pulped.

2. Our embassies overseas and diplomatic staff, delegations visiting foreign countries and units working with foreigners are no longer to provide copies of Quotations in any language. If foreigners request this book they should be provided with Selected Works of Mao Zedong or single volumes of Chairman Mao's writings.

As for bookstores run by foreign friends that still have stocks of Quotations it is advisable to let them dispose of that stock. We will no longer replenish supplies.

3. Portraits of Chairman Mao which carry outdated legends like “Long live Chairman Mao” and “Eternal life to Chairman Mao,” or which are yellowed and damaged, are to be withdrawn from sale and pulped.'