BEIJING — The People's Daily on Monday marked the 95th birthday of Mao Tse-tung by publishing confessions of failure by him.
"We were at war for decades, so the party had no experience . . . ," the late Chinese Communist Party chairman was quoted as saying.
The party newspaper printed a conversation in 1961 between the man who led the Communists to victory in China and Field Marshal Bernard L. Montgomery, the British war hero, who asked Mao to name the biggest problem in building the new state after 1949.
"The Communist Party lacked experience in dealing with the enormous problems it faced. After so many years of war, which left the country scarred everywhere, we needed to solve problems of industry and farming but did not have the experience," Mao replied.
Asked about the over-concentration of power, Mao said that because of severe shortages of food and other commodities, the Communists had no alternative in the early years after taking power.
"As things got better, we loosened central control. But localities lacked experience, and problems arose. We had no choice but to recentralize again," he said.
The article marked another cautious step in the reappraisal of a man who remains venerated in China, despite the repudiation of many of his policies.
Many statues of Mao have been removed from public places since he died in 1976. But his portrait remains over the entrance to Beijing's Imperial Palace.