Mao Tse-Tung: Emperor of the Blue Ants

Mao Tse-Tung: Emperor of the Blue Ants

Mao Tse-Tung: Emperor of the Blue Ants

Mao Tse-Tung: Emperor of the Blue Ants

Excerpt

"Western people used to say that China has 'masses' but no 'society and that since Chinese 'society' is more than two thousand years old, it is a type of society which does not meet modem needs. Facing the matter honestly, this is not untrue. Consider our evil and inferior customs which are dead rules for dead things cruel and contrary to human nature! There is no path left for human expression. We human beings are like dogs and sheep, not conscious whether we are living or dead. . . .

"Real learning gives one individuality and independence. The Renaissance and Reformation in the Western world show how scholars there declared their independence of tradition. . . . Through this magazine we desire to co-operate with students . . . throughout the country to fight for spiritual emancipation. Our hope is . . . that they will have personality enough to conquer our society rather than to be conquered by it."

(New Tide , Peking, January 1, 1919, quoted by Chow Tse-tsung, op. cit., pp. 59-60.)

The nine Hunanese students who travelled with Mao from Changsha to Peking in the summer of 1918, were full of excitement and enthusiasm. They were all bound for France under the work-and- study scheme. After learning a smattering of French they would go by steerage to France where they would earn their keep and school fees by working in factories, as dishwashers or anything. They would join the thousands of Chinese students who were already in France through similar schemes, and they would have an opportunity of organising the tens of thousands of Chinese labourers who had been sent to France as China's contribution to the war-effort of the Western powers.

But Mao who had helped to organise the France-bound work- and-study group was staying behind. He had borrowed enough money for his railway fare to Peking, but in the capital he had to look for work at once. He could not raise enough money to pay for his steerage passage to Europe. From his unsuccessful attempts at learning English, he knew that he was not a good linguist. So he . . .

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