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China Marks 30th Anniversary of Mao Zedong's Death


China is observing a low-key remembrance day for former leader Mao Zedong, who died 30 years ago Saturday.

The Chinese government is not holding any official events to mark the anniversary. Observers say Chinese leaders want to avoid stirring up bitter memories about Mao's 27-year rule, widely considered responsible for claiming tens of millions of lives.

Chinese state-run newspapers are largely ignoring the anniversary. The only front-page article appeared in the English-language China Daily, which is mostly aimed at foreigners. The article discussed Mao's legacy, but relied on the comments of foreign academics rather than Chinese scholars.

The only public sign of remembrance for Mao Saturday was in Beijing's Tiananmen Square, where thousands of visitors lined up at the Mao Zedong Mausoleum to see his body and pay their respects.

Beijing also held a private concert Friday in Mao's honor inside the Great Hall of the People.

The Chinese government officially discourages public debate about Mao. After founding the People's Republic of China on October 1, 1949, he pursued several disastrous social programs blamed for the deaths of tens of millions of people.

Mao's 1958 economic plan for rapid industrialization, known as the Great Leap Forward, triggered a severe famine.

In 1966, he started the decade-long Cultural Revolution, which led to the mass persecution of intellectuals and created social and economic chaos in China

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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