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Exhibiting the PastHistorical Memory and the Politics of Museums in Postsocialist China$
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Kirk A. Denton

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780824836870

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824836870.001.0001

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Heroic Models and Exemplary Leaders

Heroic Models and Exemplary Leaders

Memorial Halls

(p.152) Chapter 7 Heroic Models and Exemplary Leaders
Exhibiting the Past

Kirk A. Denton

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter looks at two kinds of memorial halls: those devoted to upstanding average people (Lei Feng) and those devoted to leaders (Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping). In the post-Mao era, the memorial halls for Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping have taken on particular political meaning. To be sure, these halls project state power, but more importantly they mark a concerted effort to present to the public the benign human and moral face of that power. But exemplary as they may have been, great leaders such as Zhou or Deng do not serve as good role models for the average person. This is where Lei Feng fits in. He was an average guy, a rank-and-file soldier with little education, from an impoverished background. The example of Lei Feng suggests that anyone could follow in his footsteps to become a man of socialist virtue. The discussions cover the Lei Feng Memorial Hall in Fushun, the Zhou Enlai Memorial Hall in Huaiʻan, and the Deng Xiaoping Memorial Hall in Guangʻan (Sichuan).

Keywords:   memorial halls, Lei Feng, Zhou Enlai, Deng Xiaoping

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