Nearly four decades after his death, Mao Zedong remains a controversial figure in Chinese Communist Party history, raising as he does questions of legitimacy. Over the past year the issue of how the Mao years should be evaluated in comparison to the reform years has been raised and discussed by Xi Jinping and others. This discussion apparently responds to divergent opinions in the party and seems to reflect Xi Jinping’s determination to define China’s ideology and its limits.

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