About Me

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Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Mao and His Dancing Partners

In my previous post, a follow up to my review of The Mao Case by Qiu Xiaolong I discussed Mao's love of books and his poetry. While his literary pursuits caught me off guard I was even more suprised in the book to learn that Mao was an avid dancer. After learning some of the details the reasons for his pleasure in dancing became clear.

In the book Mao establishes a relationship with Shang, a beautiful actress, when she became his dancing partner on trips to Shanghai.

It was contradictory for Mao to be involved in dancing in Communist China for, as set out in the book:

     Even in the official publications, Mao's passion for dancing has
     been acknowledged. After 1949, social dancing was condemned
     and banned as part and parcel of th bourgeois lifestyle, but within
     the high walls of the Forbidden City, Mao still danced to his
     heart's content. According to the interpretation given in The
     People's Daily, Mao worked so hard for China that these
     parties were necessary to provide relaxation for our great
     leader. But that's nonsense. As for what happened after he
    danced with Shang, I don't think I have to go into graphic details.

Being married to Madam Mao was no restraint upon Mao.

From a review of The Private Life of Chairman Mao by his personal physician, Li Zhisui:

     In 1961, a year of severe famine, Mao still attended twice weekly
     ``dance parties'' where he had his pick of female companions.
    At the same time, a huge room was set aside for Mao to entertain
    his harem at the cavernous Great Hall of the People on the edge
    of Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

While Mao's appetite for women is far from startling I was disturbed to read about his desire for teenagers.

Jonathan Mirsky in The Spectator on one of Mao's dancing partners who was 14 years old:

     Mao, Ms Chen told me, danced as if on rails, pushing his partner
     straight ahead across the room and back again. At some point,
     she discovered, Mao would invite a girl into his bedroom, ‘to
     make him his tea’. Then there would be sex. She had plenty
     to say about the Great Helmsman’s virility and stamina.

I will not add more about his teenager dancing partners.

Mao's status in China, as illustrated by his interactions with women, was summed up by Qiu Xiaolong:

     Mao was more than an emperor - he was a communist god.
     Women ran to him not the other way round.


  1. Bill - Some of this is really disturbing. Such a difference between the life he was advocating for the people (and the one he purported to live himself) and what actually happened. I think that's just as unsettling...

    1. Margot: Thanks for the comment. A communist god with feet of clay.

  2. A while back I read a very good biography of Mao, by Jung Chang. It was very long, and I must admit to having skimmed some of it, but it was a fascinating story - you might enjoy it if you have time. Your interest has obviously been aroused!

    1. Moira: Thanks for the coomment. I actually have the biography on the shelf in front of me waiting to be read but I know not when that will happen!