Mao and the mango

By Elaine Dunn -

Mango Poster MangoOnPlateThe Chinese love fruits, fresh fruits.  It is no surprise, then, that many fruits are charged with symbolism, each specifically representing longevity, wealth, prosperity, fertility, etc.  Of the ones that have achieved iconic stature are peaches, oranges, pomegranates and grapes.  And then, there’s the mighty mango.  Mao’s mango.  

During the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s, idealistic middle school, high school and university students throughout the country learned the sayings of Chairman Mao Zedong by heart.  They adored Mao and carried his red-cover book of sayings - the famous little red book - with them everywhere and called themselves Red Guards.  Their mission was to defend Chairman Mao’s thoughts.  Mao completely encouraged their fervor.  

Not only did these Red Guards relish in destroying everything that linked or belonged to the past, they harbored animosity against other groups in their zest to demonstrate their supreme support of Mao.

 In the spring of 1968, the rivalry between two particular units of Red Guards based at Tsinghua University - the Jinggangshan Corps and the Fours - came to a head.  In vying for Mao’s “blessing,” they threw stones, spears and acid at each other, attempting to prove their group was more loyal to Mao and his teachings.  This was known as the Hundred Day War. 


Red Wing delegation to visit sister city Quzhou

By Tao Peng, contributor

The formal sister city relationship between Red Wing and Quzhou, China, has a history that dates back to 1994. 

Why Red Wing, Minnesota?  Actually, the story goes all the way back to WWII and the Dolittle Raiders -- an April 1942 U.S. mission that bombed Tokyo with B-25s launched off an aircraft carrier in the Pacific. After the bombing, the Dolittle Raiders - a select group of airmen under mission commander Lieutenant Colonel James H. Doolittle - were supposed to fly on to Chinese airfields to refuel.  


Dragon Boat Festival: Carnival on water in Hong Kong

By Elaine Dunn

The fifth day of the fifth lunar month is when Chinese the world over traditionally celebrate Dragon Boat Festival – a day that commemorates the suicide of the scholar and statesman Qu Yuan, around 278 B.C.  China Insight covered the folklore surrounding this day, also known as DuanWu Festival in its “What’s the occasion” series in June 2013. 


25 years after Tiananmen Square

By Elaine Dunn


Ask any college-aged person in China about the Tiananmen Square Massacre and chances are (s)he will not know much.  This is by design.  The Chinese government has enforced silence about the incident and treats what took place on June 3 and 4 as a “revolutionary riot.”  

That night, the tanks not only crushed the students physically, they also squelched any hope for political liberalization.

Student activists were full of hope for political reform the night of June 3, 1989.  By the following morning, that hope had been completely shattered, with numerous dead and injured.  How many deaths?  The world may never know as the Chinese government still maintains that June 4, 1989, is "much ado about nothing" and a "strictly internal affair."


Suirenshi (燧人氏), the inventor of fire

By Elaine Dunn

Have you ever heard of Shangqiu City? Didn’t think so. I wager that no other China Insight reader has ever heard of this place either, let alone its native son, Suirenshi (燧人氏)! Should I be wrong on this score, do email me (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and let me know.  I’ll be glad to report how many emails I received in next month’s column.

The cradle of fire
Shangqiu (商丘) is at the junction of

[More ...]

Search (copy)