China to set quality control standards on Chairman Mao knick-knacks

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The face of Chairman Mao is possibly the most reproduced in the world, printed, as it is, on every banknote in China and on countless mementoes around the land.

Officials fear, however, that a huge number of Mao knick-knacks on the market fail to show proper respect for the man revered as the founding father of modern China. That is why the Quality and Technology Supervision Bureau in Mao Zedong’s native Hunan Province is planning to put new standards in place before next year. Any image of the Great Helmsman will need to make sure that his avuncular features are accurately reproduced, including the mole on his chin.

Tian Haiming is an avid collector of Mao memorabilia, living in a house whose every room is crammed with statues of the leader who was born a few hundred yards away in the village of Shaoshan. He served as a consultant on the new Mao standards. “About 20 portraits of Mao from different stages in his life and career will be set as the standard,” he said.

Rules will be set for busts as well as for famous portraits of the late Chairman standing with one hand raised to greet Red Guards in Tiananmen Square during the Cultural Revolution, or posed with his hands behind his back and the wind whipping his coat as he stands on the beach at his favourite seaside resort of Beidaihe.

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