Mao on typos and birthday celebrations

At last, the comprehensive reading of Mao has begun. So it is time to begin a series of posts on ‘reading Mao’.

To begin with, Mao’s approach to typographical errors at the press:

Our papers talk about the mass line every day, yet frequently the mass line is not carried out in the work of the newspaper office itself. For instance, misprints often crop up in the papers simply because their elimination has not been tackled as a serious job. If we apply the method of the mass line, then when misprints appear, we should assemble the entire staff of the paper to discuss nothing but this matter, tell them clearly what the mistakes are, explain why they occur and how they can be got rid of and ask everyone to give the matter serious attention. After this has been done three times, or five times, such mistakes can certainly be overcome (Selected Readings, p. 356).

Then the approach to birthdays:

Guard against arrogance. For everyone in a leading position, this is a matter of principle and an important condition for maintaining unity … Celebration of the birthdays of Party leaders is forbidden. Naming places, streets and enterprises after Party leaders is likewise forbidden. We must keep to our style of plain living and hard work and put a stop to flattery and exaggerated praise (Selected Readings, pp. 368-9).


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