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Saturday, December 26, 1998 Published at 12:58 GMT

World: Asia-Pacific

Mao goes multimedia

Remembering Mao: books, films and a new CD-ROM

China is commemorating the 105th anniversary of the birth of the revolutionary leader Chairman Mao by publishing a multimedia version of his political thoughts.

[ image: Mao Tse-tung: China's strongman]
Mao Tse-tung: China's strongman
The official compact disc version of Mao's theories is illustrated with thousands of pictures and video clips from official archives - not to mention 20 volumes of Mao Tse-tung's political writings.

Wei Jianxing, a member of the Chinese Communist Party's powerful Politburo, presided over the launch of the CD-ROM.

Although the radical communist leader's policies have been revised since his death in 1976, the ruling Communist Party continues to use Mao's legacy to reinforce its own legitimacy.

Mao memorabilia

[ image: Remembering Mao on the 100th anniversary of his birth in 1993]
Remembering Mao on the 100th anniversary of his birth in 1993
Selected thoughts and sayings of the late leader are also being reissued to mark the event and Chinese television is running a six-part documentary his early life.

Chairman Mao ruled China for three decades up to his death. He is particularly remembered for his "Little Red Book".

The book was a feature of the "Cultural Revolution" instigated by Mao in the 1960s, and became a mantra for the country's youth.

China remembers Mao every year on 26 December, but amid the celebrations there is dissent.

Voice of dissent

This year, a dissident called on Beijing to close the late leader's mausoleum and take down his portrait from the centre of Tiananmen Square.

"Every year on 26 December, the newspapers are full of positive things about Mao but I call on people to speak the truth," said Gao Hongming, an activist who recently attempted to stand as a candidate in local elections.

"In creating New China, Mao did much successful work, but after the revolution he made a lot of errors and his greatest crime was his personal dictatorship," wrote Mr Gao in an open letter addressed to the parliament, government and ruling Communist Party.

Mao's mausoleum continues to attract thousands of visitors a day who join lengthy queues to file past his embalmed body, displayed in a glass coffin draped with a Chinese flag.

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