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Mao Zedong Thought on open course website

IANS  |  Beijing 

More than 3,100 students from 120 countries and regions have been studying "Introduction to Mao Zedong Thought", given by Tsinghua University since September 15 via edX, an open course website.

The top 10 countries and regions include the US, Britain, India, Canada, France, Spain, Australia, with the US providing almost a quarter of registered students.

According to Shi Xuelin with Tsinghua University online office, as "Mao Zedong" was so frequently searched online, the university was inspired to offer the course, reported Xinhua.

"We think Tsinghua has very excellent teaching faculty in this regard and the course itself has strong Chinese characteristics," said Shi.

When Feng Wuzhong, associate professor with Tsinghua's School of Marxism, offered the course on open course website Xuetangzaixian this spring, more than 5,000 students from across China signed up.

When the class was offered on edX, he spent more than a half year optimizing the course to suit foreign students. Feng said he was "question-oriented" in teaching each class.

Key chapters include how China developed Marxism based on domestic conditions, the reasons modern China would embark upon a path of socialism and the experiences and lessons China learned along the way.

"I hope this course can help students across the world obtain a general knowledge of the thought of Mao Zedong and also help them understand how Chinese teachers and students view him and his theories," Feng said.

Commonly revered by the Chinese as Chairman Mao, Mao Zedong who died in 1976 had developed Marxism-Leninism based on Chinese conditions, and led the Communist Party of China (CPC) to victories and the Chinese people to build the new China in 1949. Time Magazine once named him as one of the 100 most important people of the 20th century.

Amelie Encore, a student from New York, left a message on the course's discussion forum, saying that Mao ranked among the great men of history.

"It is wonderful for people around the world to have the opportunity to learn from a most authentic source of the Thought and Working Principles (of Mao), which have made unique and remarkable achievements of the CPC," her note reads.

First Published: Sun, October 11 2015. 09:34 IST