Who Is the Most Famous Person in Chinese History?
I am taking an Asian history class and I have an interesting assignment ahead of me for the end of the semester. I am supposed to write a 10 page paper on who I think was the most famous person in Chinese history. While I can certainly pick someone myself, I am curious about what Chinese people think? Who do they think was the most famouos person in their history? And how about you?
Thanks so much,
Hannah in B.C.
Jean answers Hannah’s question
Thank you for a very interesting question. Actually, I have asked this very same question in my ESL classrooms throughout China. As you might well expect, the most common and almost ‘automatic’ answer is Mao Zedong. This does not necessarily mean that students love Chairman Mao; they just happen to think that he is the most ‘well-known’ man in Chinese history because of his status as the founder of present day China.
The students who do not quickly shout out the name ‘Chairman Mao’ bring up other notable names in Chinese history such as the ancient philosopher Confucius and China’s beloved first premier, Zhou Enlai. A few students have even mentioned Deng Xiaoping as China’s most famous person since it was he who opened the doors and pushed China down its present path of development.
To answer your question clearly, it would seem that Chairman Mao is China’s most famous person according to the people with whom I have talked to here.
Oh, and you asked me who I thought was China’s most famous person? Since I tend to judge famous people based on their merits and not just on their notoriety, I would have to go with Deng Xiaoping. He is the leader who opened China up to the world and made it possible for teachers like me to come and have the adventure of a lifetime!
Hope that helps
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