I'm currently writing a book for Oxford University Press tentatively titled Resurrecting Mao: Revolution and Reform in 21st Century China, which springs from my interest in understanding how Mao Zedong's legacy still impacts contemporary China. Specifically, I am researching the 毛派, or the Maoist (sometimes called neo-Maoist) movement and how it is impacting China's political environment. This movement first came to my attention in 2011 when the octogenarian economist and intellectual Mao Yushi (茅于轼) wrote a blog post entitled "Returning Mao Zedong to Human Form" (把毛泽东还原成人) which excoriated modern China's founding father. Soon thereafter, he came under a vicious and sustained attack by an organization called Utopia (乌有之乡), which advocates that the Communist Party of China hold firm to its Maoist and revolutionary origins and ideals. In the months that followed Mao Yushi's essay, Utopia or its supporters held denunciation rallies, phoned in death threats, and submitted a petition to the government calling for Mao Yushi's arrest that was signed by more than 50,000 citizens. Having grown up in the US, where the Mao as Monster thesis is pretty well settled, this was a fascinating, and worrying, spectacle to behold.
In the coming months, I will be posting more in this space about the book, and I hope to use the blog section as a way of sounding out some of my half- (and pre-) baked ideas. I'm writing the book to answer a series of questions I have both about Mao Zedong, the role of historical memory in China, and the future of the country's political development. As such, I welcome any and all comments and thoughts you might have!