A photograph of a 5-year-old girl made her famous in China
Little Li Zhensheng the young girl with unusually fair hair tied in ponytails, dancing with her arms upraised and surrounded by smiling, clapping soldiers.
They were at the Red Guard Stadium in Harbin, in northern China, along with hundreds of thousands of Communist Party cadres, workers, peasants and other soldiers who had gathered for a marathon conference on the teachings of Chairman Mao Zedong. This was 1968, nearly two years into the Cultural Revolution, Mao's attempt to purge Chinese society of supposed bourgeois elements and escalate his own cult of personality. The conferees seemed to be trying to outdo one another in their professions of love for their nation's leader.
On April 28, 1968, the last day of the 23-day gathering, a 5-year-old kindergartner was performing the "loyalty dance," as it was known. In front of the soldiers in the stadium stands, she skipped in place and sang:
No matter how close our parents are to us, they are
not as close as our relationship with Mao
How absurd. The girl certainly was lovely and eager to please, but the photojournalist found the excess of zeal discomforting. "They had to love him to the extreme."
In the cult of Mao, everyone was expected to perform the loyalty dance, from miners to office workers to toddlers to old ladies whose feet had been bound. "The movements were always toward the sky, that way you could show how respectful you were to Mao and everyone knew how to dance it."
Now not to worry, the Loyalty Dance is alive and well today with the Tea Party. Please join along with Sarah Palin and the Teabaggers so you too can follow along to the Tea Party Loyalty Dance!!