In November, just a month shy of the 120th anniversary of Mao Zedong's birth, a controversial collection of the revolutionary Chairman's words will be republished in China for the first time in decades. Formally titled Quotations from Chairman Mao—but better known as the "Little Red Book," which is indeed how it appears—the manifesto was first published in 1966, at the height of Maoism.
So does it also mark a resurgence of the communist leader's ideology?
Some have likened China’s mass line rectification campaign—an attempt to disavow corruption and reinforce the Communist Party’s ties with the masses—to Mao’s “mass line” campaigns to purge the party of corrupt leaders.
While The Guardian additionally points to a recent "self-criticism session," borrowed from the Mao handbook:
The re-emergence of Quotations from Chairman Mao—better known as the Little Red Book—comes amid an official revival of the era's rhetoric. China's leader, Xi Jinping, has embraced Maoist terminology and concepts, launching a "mass line rectification campaign" and this week even presiding over a televised self-criticism session.
But researcher Chen Yu, who edited the volume, outright denies there's any political significance, noting that the new volume is different than the one in circulation decades ago:
"Linking the publication of this book with the Cultural Revolution is totally wrong," Chen said. "It is merely a publication of scientific research, not a re-publishing of the previous Quotations from Chairman Mao."
And, indeed, the book's physical properties reflect that much: according to one report, it is neither little nor red. Yu spent two years editing it and cobbling together Mao's "most inspiring" quotations.