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Mao Zedong's infamous mango cult - Vivian Jiang


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In August 1968, factory workers overheard news of a mandatory meeting. Whispered rumors described shipments of a gift from the country’s Communist leader, Chairman Mao Zedong. And sure enough, managers soon distributed a gift to every factory worker– a glass box encasing a golden wax replica of a mango. What was the meaning behind this unusual offering? Vivian Jiang investigates.

Additional Resources for you to Explore

To learn more about propaganda art and visual media during the Cultural Revolution, read this book by Stefan Landsberger. Music, especially Chinese traditional music, was not spared during the Cultural Revolution. To learn about how music was impacted during this time, read this book that examines propaganda music. Watch the movie Farewell My Concubine, a dazzling and tragic historical drama about Peking opera set against the backdrop of 20th-century Chinese history, including its forced evolution during the Cultural Revolution.

Interested in learning more about the history of mangos outside of China? Listen to this podcast episode dedicated to mangos from Gastropod, a show about the intersection of food, history, and science. They also have a fascinating episode on the birth and rise of American Chinese food. And for a more mouth-watering journey through global food history, check out this TED-Ed Lesson on the history of dumplings. 

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Meet The Creators

  • Educator Vivian Jiang
  • Director Kayu Leung
  • Narrator Pen-Pen Chen
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Senior Producer Anna Bechtol
  • Associate Producer Sazia Afrin
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Senior Editorial Producer Dan Kwartler
  • Fact-Checker Paige Downie

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