Thousands Fainted in “Grief” at Mao Zedong’s Memorial Service

Mao Zedong's funeral held in Tiananmen Square.

Mao Zedong's funeral held in Tiananmen Square.

The most discussed article of the day on Chinese web portal NetEase…

From NetEase:

Secret Revealed About Mao Zedong’s Tiananmen Memorial Service: 3000 People Fainted in “Grief” On the Spot

Summary: On 1976 September 9, Mao Zedong died from illness and at 3pm on September 18, a memorial/mourning service was held at Tiananmen Square, filled with millions of people. During the 20-30 minutes after the entire square stood in a moment of silence and the funeral music began broadcasting, over 3200 participants from different squads suddenly fainted from “extreme grief”, one after another collapsing to the ground, bringing disorder to their formations, causing chaos and nervousness on the scene.

Comments from NetEase:

krassnitzer [网易广东省佛山市手机网友]:


网易广东省江门市手机网友 ip:218.14.*.*:

[They] faint easily? This is a disease, and must be treated!

网易河南省平顶山市手机网友 ip:61.158.*.*:

If Kim Jong-un of today’s North Korea were to die, I bet it would also be like this.


I lived through that era, and I can still see the scenes of that time in my mind.

网易吉林省长春市手机网友 ip:221.9.*.*: (responding to above)

Is it like today’s North Korea?

网易内蒙古呼和浩特市手机网友 ip:218.202.*.*:

More shaken than by their own loved ones dying, brother [referring to self] is astonished.

一个正常球迷 [网易辽宁省抚顺市网友]:

What’s the meaning of adding “” around grief?

网易陕西省手机网友 ip:117.136.*.*:

They were that excited and happy?

丁x [网易广东省东莞市网友]:

What was wrong with him? All he did was not go along with the world mainstream and choose ZB-ism [资本 zi ben, capitalism] and instead hope to use his own strength to establish so-called GC-ism [共产, gong chan, communism], doing class struggle, so yes, he was very idealistic. Everyone has grandfathers and grandmothers. You can go have them talk about their feelings and talk about the days of their youth. What qualifications do we post-90s generation and post-80s generation have to comment on him?

网易山东省滨州市网友 ip:60.215.*.*:

Definitely must of been the true feelings of the people of that era!

网易美国手机网友 ip:69.182.*.*:

Chairman Mao is a great teacher! A lifelong idol!

网易俄罗斯手机网友 ip:82.162.*.*:

The times are already different, is there any point to bringing these things up still?

网易福建省泉州市晋江市手机网友 ip:58.23.*.*:

Reveals the true feelings of the people! Chairman Mao, the great man of a generation~

网易内蒙古手机网友 ip:117.136.*.*:

What’s the point of this news [article]?

网易甘肃省兰州市网友 ip:61.178.*.*:

I ask that netizens think for a moment. If everyone was completely ignorant of the outside world, believed that they came upon a good life because of a certain person, that 2/3 of the people in the world were living in an abyss of suffering…and now that certain person has departed [died], wouldn’t everyone be very heart-broken, possibly fainting from grief/sorrow?
Take a look at North Korea, the documentaries of the deaths of the last two generations of leaders, which is actually just a mirror of us.

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Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.

  • don mario

    i wonder if the same amount of people ‘fainted’ at tiananmen sq in 89 too…

    • Terrik

      Fainted out of grief that they could ever have defied their supreme leaders.

  • ESL Ninja

    Thousands fainted from boredom at reading this article…

  • ESL Ninja

    Anyone else think that Mao was a bit of a cunt?

    • SonofSpermcube

      Everyone else thinks that Mao was a bit of a cunt.

    • mr.wiener

      Is the bear a catholic? Does a pope shite in the woods?

      • Comebackkid13

        You must be British? I heard these two phrases for the first time the other day from my expat-Brit friend, I had no idea what he was on about.

        They appear to be a little different, though…hah

        • mr.wiener

          I’m an Aussie.

    • FYIADragoon

      There is no one with decent access to historical information who would disagree. Unfortunately for you, most of China lacks that access.

    • A Gawd Dang Mongolian

      I don’t think he was a cunt. He was an dick. If he was a cunt, he’d have been fucked over by Nixon because as we all know, cunts get fucked by dicks.

      • mr.wiener

        But sometimes pussies get so full of shit they become assholes, because at the end of the day there is only 2 inches difference between a pussy and an asshole.

  • SonofSpermcube

    That sort of phenomenon is a display of loyalty; one’s participation in it or lack thereof is a test of loyalty. No one really believes KJI/KJU have super powers. No one really believed (at that point, anyway) that Mao was the most perfect leader ever. But displaying your denial of these assertions is a display of your lack of loyalty to the party.

    It isn’t limited to totalitarian states (though it is more or less limited to authoritarian ones, or authoritarian wings in non-authoritarian states). Do you really think that American politicians, particularly on the right, believe half the crap they say they believe? They have to say that there are five lights in order to display their ideological purity to the tea party mob, or to conservative media kingmakers.

    Does a fraternity pledge really want to be hazed?

    The closer you get to the spotlight, either of public attention or of the specific attention of those who are demanding loyalty from you, the more you have to meet that expectation; and the more absurd the assertion you support or the more absurd the spectacle you make of yourself in support of a person or position, the more unassailable your loyalty is.

  • DaiRuiKe

    China would be much better off today had Jiang Jieshi and the Guomindang won the Chinese Civil War. Would never have been a cultural revolution and China’s current economic rise may have come 30 years earlier.

    • Germandude

      Well, see. We have already enough problems concluding history that has happened, so why do you think your thesis is the obvious “how it would’ve been”.

      To bring an example of this kind of interpreting being built on thin ice:

      There are many historians that believe that if Germany hadn’t attacked Russia, Russia would’ve turned against Germany a bit later. Their “evidence and arguments”? Germany’s huge successes, territorial gains and captured Russian equipment in the first week of the attack. Their argument is based on the Russian “defensive” positions, actually being a widely lined-up thin layer of material, fuel storages and the positions of their troops. Rather than an in-depth defensive line to slow down enemy advances.

      The best thing about this theory? It cannot be denied as well as not proven. Just like your theory of China being better off today under the Guomindang.
      Yes, I also like to think that, however, it is as criticism-resistant as the theory of a potential Russian march to the west in the ’40s.

      Let’s stick to reality please, it’s challenging enough.

    • WangDN

      Rubbish. Dumb westerns see chiang kai shek as the defeated hero of the chinese civil war. Truth is he was ruthless military leader, who ruled an inept and brutal army (there’s a reason so many people joined the communists, Mao didn’t win the civil war by himself!)

      When chiang fled to Taiwan he ruled the country as a military dictatorship (under permanent martial law) until his death in 1975. During this period he instigated the “white terror”, murdering, torturing and imprisoning anyone who was considered an enemy of the KMT, and oppressing indigenous Taiwanese people. It wasn’t until AFTER chiang’s death that the green shoots of democracy and freedom, and indeed economic development, took hold. And it has not been until very recently that there has been a real opposition force to challenge the rule of the KMT.

      The reason Taiwan is so great (and it is, I just came back from an extended period there), is because the Taiwanese people pulled themselves up from authoritarianism and fought for democracy and embraced internationalism. You can still see this today, with the large number of protests going on throughout Taipei on an extremely regular basis.

      If China is ever going to be as good as Taiwan (in terms of civil rights, living standards etc.) It will happen because of the people working for change. Not because of this or that leader

      • don mario

        i don’t think there is such a biased western view of jiang. from anyone who knows the slightest about him anyway.. but its pretty fair to assume china wouldn’t of been as much of a fucked up shit hole and would of developed 30 years earlier if the commies were taken out of the picture after the war) it’s common sense.

        and as someone who has lived in taiwan and china let me tell you this. taiwan is NOT ‘so great’ it is a far cry from that. unfortunately chinese culture just breeds selfish retards. taiwan has its own host of messed up problems. BUT. it is another world away from the shit hole of china. if china was as great a place as taiwan it would be a far better place than it is today. it would still have a lot problems but it would still have some greatness to it, and most importantly it would have hope. thanks to the ccp assholes there is no hope anymore for either china or taiwan.

      • don mario

        taiwanese protest but nobody gives a rats ass if they are taken over by the CCP. trust me, you give them too much credit.

      • DaiRuiKe

        Jiang Jieshi was a far better man than Mao Zedong, and a KMT victory, despite the corruption in the party, would have ended up being better for China. Jiang led China through World War II, he recognized Imperial Japan’s motives and correctly identified them as a threat to China as early as 1928. He spent 4 years leading China alone with only some Soviet military supplies to help, and for eight years he kept 2/3 of the Chinese people and 3/4 of China’s land free from Japan’s military terror. KMT brutality during that period often came out of necessity. Jiang Jieshi had to fight a defensive war because Japan’s 1,000,000 troops and weapon supplies were far superior than what China’s forces had available. Jiang also managed to maintain a relatively stable Chinese economy for the first four years of WWII fighting the Japanese alone, which is remarkable considering China lost 90% of their industries at the time due to the Japanese occupation.

        Jiang Jieshi was dealt a weak hand from the beginning, fighting the Japanese all by himself with no help from Europe or America. He repeatedly sent messages to the Soviets asking them to send troops into China to help fight the Japanese – and this is when he knew that the Soviets were supporting the Chinese Communists with money and weapons. The Communists sat back and let the KMT do the vast majority of the fighting against the Japanese so as to weaken their forces and give Mao Zedong a better chance of usurping power.

        The White Terror was bad no doubt, but it was nowhere near the number of deaths that Mao caused. A grand total of between 4,000 and 5,000 Taiwanese were killed by Jiang’s regime for being suspected communist sympathizers during the White Terror, which is peanuts to the atrocity of Mao’s reign. The high deaths caused by Jiang Jieshi previously on the mainland were due to military necessity in a defensive war against the Japanese, unlike the number killed by Mao which had to do with CCP ineptness and corruption. Not counting the 700,000 or so that Mao had executed, at least 45 million people were worked, starved or beaten to death in China over the four years of Mao’s Great Leap Forward – that’s only 10 million less than the worldwide death toll of WWII.

        Also, despite the White Terror, Jiang’s 25 year rule over Taiwan ended up benefiting the country a great deal. By the time of his death in 1975, Taiwan had already began moving from low skilled industries to an export-oriented economy, its per capita income rose from a couple hundred a year to somewhere between $10k – $12k, health and education improved phenomenally, the income disparity became one of the lowest in the developing world, etc. These were reforms that started during Jiang’s 25 year rule over Taiwan.

        Had Jiang Jieshi prevailed in 1949 instead of Mao Zedong, the Chinese people would be better off. China would have started their economic rise years earlier. Millions of Chinese would not have died early deaths, from Mao’s executions to the Great Leap Forward. The Cultural Revolution that set China back in education and science for a good 10 years would have also been avoided.

        Jiang Jieshi had a lot of faults and acted like a d!ck plenty of times, but it’s ridiculous to compare him to the sick individual that was Mao Zedong.

    • Tamil Tiger

      that’s so true.

  • arterius2

    One thing I noticed about the Chinese culture is that… Chinese people love to faint, not sure if they’re just pretending or actually fainted, especially on TV series, you will always get a few people who would get into a heated argument, and all of a sudden, the loser of the argument — suddenly faints! or some grandmother hears some ill-fated news, and immediately she falls down like a brick! Every time I see this, I laugh so hard because the acting skills are so bad, and they always try to put their hand up on their forehead before they collapse it looks so fake and forced.

    its almost like, the loser’s way out of an argument, can’t win an argument? just faint! it always works, they’ll rush you to the hospital and give you IV drips! because yes, human -especially the Chinese, are so easy to lose consciousness.

    I mean if this is true. This could possibly be developed into some sort of an Anti-Chinese weapon by the Japanese or US or something, you wouldn’t need any weapons of destruction, just simply broadcast some ill-fated news to a bunch of Chinese soldiers and they would all fall flat on their face like corpses! what a peaceful solution to war machines!

    • mr.wiener

      They will only faint if other people are there to see them faint.

    • Tamil Tiger

      When they see Japanese during the war, they fainted too, that’s why their women were raped, LOL.

      • mr.wiener

        Not funny.

      • Karma is coming to bite you on the ass (literally).

      • A Gawd Dang Mongolian

        No, when they see Japanese, said Japanese disappear and the pigs are suddenly very well fed.

        So the moral of the story: don’t faint.

      • Comebackkid13

        What the…, this is probably the most fail comment I have read on ChinaSmack, JapanCrush, or KoreaBang.

    • Mateusz82

      Why, I declare! All this excitement over the loss of our dear leader has given me a most terrible case of the vapors. I shall retire to my fainting couch.

  • firebert5

    “What qualifications do we post-90s generation and post-80s generation have to comment on him?”

    Well, certainly not innate human rights. Your in China.

    • masonman

      Most countries aren’t faring much better. Do you trust your country’s media to be giving you an accurate portrayal of the state of human rights?

      • IsurvivedChina

        umm… yes!

        • masonman

          Good luck with that. Popular media is always known for its total obsession with truth and facts! They are never biased, and they never twist stories to suit a narrative or agenda!

          • IsurvivedChina

            by an accurate account i meant that the media is free to report, mainstream news channels of course have an agenda to pacify the masses and often retort to feeding them with non sequential random facets of shit… but there are avenues of truth available to those who know how to read between the lines. So yes, I do trust some news channels and I believe they are reporting the truth.

          • masonman

            The most important information to look at is the information the media outright avoids. In America they will talk about prison labor in China, they wont talk about how America has more prisoners than any other country in the world. They will talk about the Chinese in Tibet, they wont talk about the American drones in Pakistan.

            This is what they do. “Our country is better, because you don’t actually know anything about our country that doesn’t sound good.”

  • A Gawd Dang Mongolian

    Replace “grief” with-actually forget it. The implication is already there. Why even bother?

  • xiaode

    There have been millions of people staying at this place… in the beginning of September… at this time it could still reach 25-30 degree… they stay there for about 30 min (maybe longer)… maybe the sun was shining on their heads the whole time…

    No surprise that many of them collapsed. They would most likely also collapse if they would be there for the memorial of 喜羊羊…

  • calmpalm

    I just feel this site Chinasmack is slowly dying.

    • They call me “Laowei”

      The same was said of SNL in 1979.

  • IsurvivedChina

    Can this be, still? Mao Tse-tung, who was responsible for the peacetime deaths of perhaps 70 million of his fellow Chinese? how can so many people still be duped?

    • Tamil Tiger

      Maybe they just love murderers.

      • IsurvivedChina

        lest we forget!

  • FYIADragoon

    Last poster nailed it. I have no room to troll or provoke in this article.

  • Kai

    Corruption was already there and at least initially there were some visible improvement especially in the eyes of his supporters.

    Yeah, the land was stolen and redistributed to those who had no land, who were the overwhelming masses. There’s a reason why communism appeals to the have-not majority.

    At least initially and in many places, people were getting fed like they weren’t before. That’s why a lot of Chinese have misleading nostalgia about communal kitchens/canteens and such.

    To understand why a lot of Chinese don’t completely hate Mao, you have to put yourself in their shoes and historical circumstance. It just isn’t as obvious as we want to believe it is.

    • Tova Rischi

      Thank you. So many people overlook that…

  • Kai

    It’s a three page article Fauna spared you from leaving you just the main detail that the Chinese netizens themselves were primarily responding to.

  • ESL Ninja

    Thousands Farted in “Relief” at Mao Zedong’s Memorial Service

  • Mateusz82

    If I was starving and always terrified of arbitrary “reeducation through labor… and/or shooting”, I’d faint too.

  • Mateusz82

    Japan is a tiny island that was devastated with firebombing, and not one, but two nuclear bombs… and they still ended up far more prosperous than China.

    • Guest

      Oh say does that Star Spangled Banner yet waaavvvvee…

    • Comebackkid13

      Oh say does that Star Spangled Banner yet waaavvvvee…

      They are where they at because of America’s state building skills. Same with Korea

      • Mateusz82

        The lack of insane and brutal dictatorship that rewarded loyalty instead of competence could have helped out.

  • China

    have u ever thought why the PRC didnt get any aid while the ROC got it?
    Taiwanese China is best china

    • Emilio Kléber

      sorry i didn’t see your reply at the time.

      well, North Korea had a higher standard of living than South Korea until the 1970s due to the foreign aid they were getting. That didn’t make North Korea best Korea.

  • Dalaomei

    It was the smell that made them faint!