China to celebrate Mao's birthday, but events scaled back
BEIJING (REUTERS) - China celebrates the 120th birthday of Mao Zedong, the founder of modern China, on Thursday, but will be scaling back festivities as President Xi Jinping embarks on broad economic reforms which have unsettled leftists.
Mao has become a potent symbol for leftists within the ruling Communist Party who feel that three decades of market-based reform have gone too far, creating social inequalities like a yawning rich-poor gap and pervasive corruption.
In venerating Mao, they sometimes seek to put pressure on the current leadership and its market-oriented policies while managing to avoid expressing open dissent.
While members of the party's elite inner core, the Politburo Standing Committee, are likely to attend a high-profile event in Beijing to mark the anniversary, activities nationwide have been toned down, two sources with ties to the leadership told Reuters.