Since my sister mentioned impressive gates with pictures of dictators on them, I thought I’d bring back this old image. I must say that seeing it in person was impressive. Not because I am a fan of Mao. I think he was a terrible human being and the Chinese people have been far better served since his passing.
He will always be remembered in Chinese history, both the good and the bad. Like Chiang Kai-shek, he did play a role in resisting the Japanese. But he also subjected his people to famine and starvation. It is said that some 30 million people died during his rule. And then, there was the Cultural Revolution which shook Chinese culture to its core.
Someone asked some Chinese students what they thought of Chiang Kai-shek, the former ruler of China forced into exile in Taiwan. One opined that had Chiang stayed in power Chinese would have everything that they have now, but they would have accomplished it sooner and fewer people would have died. One should make no mistakes, though. Chiang’s regime was repressive, too. As another student put it, “Chiang Kai-shek was a major figure who made major mistakes. Just like Chairman Mao”.
I am happy to have Gwanghwamun restored to its full glory. And I really love what the city has done with Sejong-ro (Sejong Street). Here’s a shot of it.