BEIJING,December 26(Xinhua) – Tens of thousands of Chinese flocked to Shaoshan and Tian’anmen Square, two major shrines for Mao Zedong, as well as other public venues on Monday, burning incense, eating noodles and singing “red songs” to mark the late leader’s 118th birthday.

Normally, the mausoleum of Mao on the Tian’anmen Square in Beijing is closed on Mondays for maintenance, but today tens of thousands swarmed to the mausoleum to pay their respects.

In front of the mausoleum’s south gate, about 20 people, who wore red-star caps and pinned Mao badges, faced the shrine and sang “The East Is Red,” which extols the deeds of Chairman Mao and was a well known anthem for every city and village’s public address system during Mao’s reign.

After bowing three times, the group punched their fists in the air while hailing “Long Live Chairman Mao.”

“Chairman Mao is our great savior. Chairman Mao genuinely loved the underprivileged and hard-working people,” said a tearful Nie Yeping, a 57-year-old woman from the southwestern city of Chongqing. (Courtesy: Ganashakti)