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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 November, 2003, 16:17 GMT
China releases new-look Mao songs
Chairman Mao
Mao still has godlike status in parts of China
China's authorities want to inject new life into a song collection by former leader Mao Zedong, by releasing a brand new version sung by 20-year-olds.

The recording has been compiled to mark the 110th anniversary of the birth of the revolutionary.

The state-run Beijing Times said the songs, which include a rap track, were being released in an effort to extend Mao's legacy to Chinese youth.

It says the album contains old-time favourites like "The East is Red".

"Ten years ago, the album 'A Red Sun' brought a crimson tide of songs rushing through our music industry," the newspaper said.

"This year ... the China Record Company has finished the production of the powerfully red 'Mao Zedong and us'."

China is planning to celebrate the anniversary in various ways, with at least two films being made, stamps issued and several books published.

They include a book by Mao's own grandson, Mao Xinyu, called Grandfather Mao Zedong.

Mao, who ruled China from 1949 until his death in 1976, is considered the founder of Chinese Communism and the modern Chinese state.

Correspondents say he still has godlike status in some parts of China.

However, he was also responsible for the Cultural Revolution, a 10-year campaign of violence and chaos begun in 1966 to renew the spirit of Communism.

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