March 5, 2010 / 7:23 AM / 9 years ago

Mao impersonator crowd pleaser at China's parliament

Wang Guoxin, a painter and impersonator of the late Chinese leader Mao Zedong, poses for picture inside the Great Hall of the People during the opening ceremony of the National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing March 5, 2010. REUTERS/Nir Elias

BEIJING (Reuters) - The familiar figure of Chairman Mao Zedong clad in a grey Mao suit with hair slicked back mixed with the masses, or at least the mass media, at the opening ceremony of China’s annual session of parliament on Friday.

Military officers and Chinese reporters flocked to take photos with the “Mao” impersonator, who treated them to some of Mao’s most famous sayings — complete with high-pitched accent and raised hand — before posing for photos.

“The key thing is accuracy. Other impersonators don’t quite capture Mao’s essence,” Wang Guoxin told Reuters before launching into “The government of the People’s Republic of China is founded!” in the accent of Mao’s home province, Hunan.

“I’ve got that essence, because Hubei and Hunan are very close, so I am able to capture it,” said Wang, a portrait painter from the neighboring province of Hubei.

He is not a member of the Communist Party that Mao headed for decades, but belongs to the politically toothless Chinese Peasants’ and Workers’ Democratic Party. (Reporting by Lucy Hornby; Editing by Benjamin Kang Lim and Sugita Katyal)

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