China's Xi Jinping notes Mao's 'mistakes' on 120th anniversary
SHAOSHAN (AFP) - Communist China's president Xi Jinping acknowledged on Thursday its founding father Mao Zedong made "mistakes", as admirers celebrated the 120th anniversary of the late leader's birth with noodles and fireworks.
Mao is the centrepiece of the ruling party's pantheon and commands reverence among many Chinese, including some frustrated by the current state of the nation, but is also condemned by those who say his political and economic campaigns caused tens of millions of deaths.
The combination left authorities looking to mark the occasion with a tricky balancing act.
"Mao is a great figure who changed the face of the nation and led the Chinese people to a new destiny," Mr Xi said in Beijing, according to the official news agency Xinhua.