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Xi Jinping and Mao Zedong
Xi Jinping and Mao Zedong
Andrej Mrevlje*

NEW YORK — For some years now, I have been observing China from a distance, never going back to the country that I called my third home for many years. Back then, during my long stays in China, I learned a lot about the country and its culture. In the past, foreigners had to travel to cities like Beijing to experience Chinese culture, but these days, China travels to us. Modern China is here with us, on our streets, in our households and universities, even in the White House. This past week, Xi Jinping, the 62-year-old Chinese leader, visited the U.S. He is the most powerful man in China, a country that hopes to replace the United States on the World's throne.

In the late '70s, I first travelled to Beijing as a student, curious about a general lack of outside information on the country. In 1966, the country had entered a huge political turmoil, which escalated into a civil war and ended with complete isolation that lasted more than a decade — and general disconnectedness that lasted far longer. Mao Zedong, the dictator leading the country at the time, named this period the Great Cultural Revolution. In spite of such a lofty and noble term, I prefer to think that Mao actually started a civil war not to consolidate his power, as many think, but to eradicate Confucianist values that persisted in the society even after the Communist party took over in 1949. And yet, despite this iconoclastic spin on the Cultural Revolution, I doubt that Mao would have launched it if the Soviet Union had not turned its back on China in 1960, retrieving all the help it had sent and recalling Russian experts from the country. So after many years, China had to stand on its own, had to find its own way and place in the world. It was at that time that Mao started promoting the idea of the "Third World," made up of poor and underdeveloped countries exploited by the developed capitalist world. The so-called Third World was on the periphery of the world's capitalist society, and it could only be liberated with the creation of a new economic system and an independent market, parallel to the one dominated by the rich and developed first- and second-world countries, argued Mao.

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War In Ukraine, Day 90: Three Months Since The Start Of A War That’s Changed The World

Vladimir Putin had planned to roll through Ukraine and splinter the West. While it has not gone according to plan, the destruction and uncertainty left in the path of the invasion has shaken the world.

A soldier of special forces of Ukraine displays his tattoos

Anna Akage and Emma Albright

Few will forget waking up to the news that Thursday morning in February. It was, exactly three months ago, in the pre-dawn hours of Feb. 24, when Vladimir Putin sent his armies, missiles and fighter jets across Ukraine’s borders, from points north and east, launching a full-scale invasion of a sovereign nation of 44 million.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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It has, by all accounts, not gone as Putin had planned: the Ukrainian military resisting the much larger, better-equipped Russian invaders; the West unified in its support of Kyiv, through arms shipments and harsh sanctions against Moscow; steadily rising opposition at home.

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