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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies



Do you know that a basket of mangoes can change the course of history? That’s exactly what happened on the fifth of August 1968, when Chairman Mao gave a basket of mangoes to the Workers’ Mao Zedong Thought Propaganda Team sent to university campuses to quell the escalating armed Red-Guard factionalism (the mangoes had been given to him by the Pakistani foreign minister). A mango fever ensued that enveloped the whole country, and the mangoes played a crucial role in delegitimating the red guards (the mangoes were not for them!). Tens of thousands mango replicas travelled up and down the country in reliquary-like containers held in parades by reverential revolutionary-committee members. This is a crucial chapter at the height of the Cultural Revolution that has heretofore been neglected even by experts on that period of China’s political history. Dr Chau has written about Mao's Mangoes in several publications. 

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