Even today, villagers in Hunan province enthusiastically recount three "miracles" that supposedly happened in 1993 on the 100th anniversary of Mao's birth.
According to local legend, the lorry transporting his bronze statue stalled as it passed through the eastern province of Jiangxi, giving rise to the myth that Mao's spirit wanted to spend the night at the place where he started a revolutionary uprising against the troops of the then ruling Kuomintang party.
Also on that day, the sun and the moon shone brightly in the morning above his home village and azaleas flowers miraculously flourished in mid-winter, residents said….
Mao is revered across the officially atheist China in much the same way the Virgin Mary is viewed by many Christians as a guardian and protector…."My mother doesn't believe in God or the Buddha, she puts all her trust in Chairman Mao all her life," said 27-year-old IT engineer Xiao Biqiang, who bowed at Mao's bronze figure on behalf of his sick mother.