30 June 2022
New ThinkChina Analysis: The Rise and Fall of Wu Manyou
For a long time in China, the dissemination of stories about heroes had been a mainstay of Confucian education. While in the past it was mostly emperors, military officers, officials, poets and virtuous widows who were upheld as models worthy of emulation, towards the end of the 1930s, the Chinese Communist Party started its own cult of revolutionary martyrs and heroes in Yan’an. This essay by Bo Ærenlund Sørensen, Assistant Professor at the University of Copenhagen, tracks the spectacular rise and fall of Wu Manyou, one of the earliest labour heroes, who was singled out by Mao Zedong himself for his achievements.