'Grandson Mao' Rises Through Army Ranks

Chairman's heir becomes youngest-ever general
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 25, 2009 1:21 AM CDT
Mao Xinyu, left, the grandson of late Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong, walks through Tiananmen Square.   (AP Photo/Greg Baker, File)
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(Newser) – Chairman Mao's grandson and only surviving male heir looks unlikely to ever become China's Great Helmsman, but he is rising through the ranks of the People's Liberation Army. At the age of 39 he's the nation's youngest-ever general. Mao Xinyu has no memories of his famous grandfather, who died in 1976, but he fiercely defends his legacy and maintains a staunchly patriotic blog.

"Grandson Mao" is given respectful treatment by the traditional media, but bloggers are prone to mock his weight—220 pounds—and his often unkempt appearance, reports the New York Times. Mao has kept a low profile compared with the children of other heavyweights in the Chinese Communist Party, and has sometimes complained about the pressures of the family legacy. "As a descendant of the Leader, I do have a lot of stress,” he told a Chinese newspaper. “I feel that people are always watching my behavior, so I must do good.”