Mao Zedong has been one of the most controversial and alienating figures in history. While his actions caused the death of countless millions in China (and not to mention the wiping out of an entire generation of intellectuals), there is also no doubt that they set a chain of events that led to the country’s present status as that of an emerging superpower. Though it’s been decades since his death,Chairman Mao is still revered, and even worshipped by some of the people of his country.
With his death, Mao, like Che Guevara, became a cult icon, appearing on everything from t-shirts to some of the most prestigious art galleries in New York.
Online magazine US-China Today has compiled a photo series of Mao’s representations throughout global pop culture.
While millions still revere the Chairman and his leadership in the early years of the Republic, his less-official reputation has been built around cheeky allusions and kitschy garb dispersed throughout global culture. Mao’s legacy and his mark on modern China may be determined less by historians than the cultural purveyors that reproduce and reimagine his image.