‘50 Shades of Red’ reveals Mao’s interest in US hegemony, proletariat and bondage

Share

By HEI MAO
Culture Correspondent

Mao scans the paper for details of serialisation rights

Mao scans the paper for details of serialization rights

HONG KONG (China Daily Show) – Explicit diaries believed to be written by Jiang Qing, Mao Zedong’s fourth and possibly least-worse wife, are to be released by a Hong Kong publisher this week.

The first volume, entitled Put Down Your Whip: The Memoirs of Jiang Qing (1932-1966) – after her first role as a young stage actress – are expected to capitalize on the ongoing popularity of ‘erotic’ novel-film 50 Shades of Gray, publishers say.

But while the original play – about a woman escaping Japanese-occupied northeast China – might prove disappointing for theatergoers seeking on-stage titillation, the Jiang diaries are anything but, early reviews suggest.

Critics given early access to the manuscripts, believed stolen by a disgruntled bureaucrat from China’s State Archives, report that its contents are disturbing, with one saying that, “Mao and Jiang’s courtship rituals were, to say the least, unconventional.”

Jiang writes frankly about her first meeting with Mao – whom she quickly nicknames ‘Ze Dong’ – after arriving in Yan’an, then-headquarters of the Chinese Communist Party’s insurgency, in 1938. An account of their first meeting describes an exchange in which she demands that he prove his dedication to Marxist-Leninist Theory by “digging a well deep to her proletarian heart.”

Instead, Mao chides Jiang for her bourgeois individualism, offering to re-educate her class by striking hard at “black elements” beneath her petticoats.

Rather than the conventional jungle knee-trembler typical of those times, events instead take a surprising turn. Mao confesses that he isn’t “a hearts-and-flowers kind of guy,” biking Jiang to a hidden bedroom-cum-cave, filled to the stalactites with bondage paraphernalia. There follows what Jiang terms a “revolutionary experience.”

In traditional Chinese culture, actors and performers were viewed alongside prostitutes and thieves in the lowest social classes. When Mao married Jiang, he ordered that all her films be destroyed – thus sparing millions from having to watch them on state television.

With the publication of this controversial text however, historians are bound to wonder exactly how Mao spent his extended periods of “self-criticism.”

An upcoming second volume, We Never Stopped Revolting, is expected to cover the turbulent Cultural Revolution years up until Mao’s death in 1976, after complications resulting from a heart attack, lung infection and autoerotic exhaustion.

“The Blessed Chairman dies the way he lived,” notes Jiang in the final pages of the text, “with anti-reactionary ideology in his heart and clothes pegs on his nipples.”

Excerpt from We Never Stopped Revolting: The Memoirs of Jiang Qing (1966-1976)

July 1st, 1976

The doctors tell me that his condition is steadily worsening and that Ze Dong may not be long under the heavens. Imagine my surprise then, on entering his bedchambers this morning, to find him already strapped into the Sling, clad in his favorite chaps and with Helmsman limply in hand.

“I’ll take bottom today, pet,” he dribbled weakly. “The safe word is… ‘Proletariat.’”

 Stay up to date with Chinese publishing news @chinadailyshow on Twitter

Share

Similar stories: