Grandson of Chinese leader Mao Zedong killed in North Korea crash: reports

Neither China nor North Korea have confirmed the reports

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Mao Xinyu (second from left).

Mao Xinyu (second from left). (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The only grandson of Chinese Communist Party leader Mao Zedong (毛澤東) might have been one of the 36 fatal victims of a bus crash in North Korea last month, unconfirmed reports said Tuesday.

The accident attracted international attention as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visited two Chinese survivors in hospital, a rare admission by local media of negative news such as traffic accidents.

At the time, Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) asked his Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its embassy in Pyongyang to use “all necessary means” to help the survivors and handle the affairs of the fatalities.

Reports have now been emerging out of South Korea that the reason for all the attention might have been the identity of one of the Chinese victims.

Major General Mao Xinyu (毛新宇), 48, is a grandson of Mao Zedong, who ruled China with an iron fist from 1949, when Kuomintang leader Chiang Kai-shek fled to Taiwan, until his death in 1976.

While his descendants initially kept a low profile, in 2009, Mao Xinyu was promoted to become China’s youngest general, a feat which provoked accusations of nepotism. In the following years, his impressive girth, his speeches and calligraphy and his career turned him into somewhat of a laughingstock on Chinese social media.

Reports of his death in the bus crash have not received any comment from either Chinese or North Korean official sources.