Tibetans revere Chairman Mao like Buddha

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Portraits of Mao Zedong are hung on the walls of many homes in Tibet. Mao Zedong never took himself for a god and opposed people to deify him, but Tibetans revere him like Buddha.

Tenzin is a herdsman in Palgon County, Nagchu Prefecture. His parlor wall is filled with pictures of Mao. "We had nothing in the past. Chairman Mao let us serfs turn over a new leaf and live prosperous lives," said Tenzin.

Zhanan, head of Palgon County, said that more than 90 percent herdsmen in Nagqu Prefecture hung Chairman Mao's portraits at home.

Tseten is a famous knife artist in Lhazê County, Shigatse City. In his home, there is a shrine to Mao. "Before, blacksmiths were among the lowest status in Tibet, referred to as 'black bones', Chairman Mao liberated us, and I appreciate that from the bottom of my heart." Tseten said.

For those Tibetans who suffered from hunger and oppression, being able to have enough food to eat and get freedom are their dreams. It is Chairman Mao that helps them achieve these dreams.

The ordinary people of Tibet believe Chairman Mao gave them cows, sheep, and land, and also that he bestowed happy lives upon them.

Che Minghuai, research scholar of the Communist Party history, said that Mao Zedong and the Communist Party brought an era of equality in Tibet. Without the peaceful liberation of the region and democratic reforms, serfs at the lowest status would not have been able to own personal freedoms. Furthermore, Tibet's socio-economic development could not have achieved such dramatic changes.

In contrast to their fathers, youths in Tibet no longer regard Mao Zedong as a deity. However, they still worship him as a great man.

Meizhen, a Tibetan girl who graduated from an inland university, said she admired Mao's intelligence and competence.

A Tibetan soldier named Lhapa Tashi said his biggest dream is to become a great strategist like Mao.

No matter how the times change, Mao Zedong will always be considered great in the hearts of Tibetans.