Mao and His Mango

(Lesley) In 1968, an act of diplomacy between the Government of Pakistan and China’s Chairman Mao set off a series of actions that would create a cult around the mango fruit. Chairman Mao did not taste this fruit. Instead, he passed it on to workers as a symbol of his gratitude for their allegiance to him. What followed was a stunning spread of the mango throughout China. Set against the backdrop of famine and the “Four Pests,” the worship of this single fruit created complexity and controversy in 20th century China.

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