Red letter day

Red letter day

Next year is the 120th anniversary of Mao Zedong’s birth. And it’s a date that the city of Xiangtan intends to take full advantage of. According to the Changsha Evening News the Hunanese city has announced it will spend Rmb15.5 billion ($2.45 billion) on celebrating the former leader’s birth. The money will go towards 16 “tribute-paying” projects, most of them in the city’s Shaoshan district where the Great Helmsman was born. These include some predictable outlays, such as renovating Mao’s memorial hall and beautifying the area around Mao Zedong Square. But it also seems the officials see an opportunity to spend money on projects they’ve eyed for a while, such as a new ringroad and a rail line connecting Xiangtan with the Wuhan-Guangzhou bullet train line. Nor could it be said that there is much connection between Mao’s arrival in this world and the anticipated construction of Shaoshan’s water and drainage works. Of course, like all the other local government stimulus plans announced in recent weeks (see WiC162), the big question is how this Mao extravaganza is going to be paid for.

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