WHEN SOMETHING DOESN'T FEEL RIGHT--TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS.
Chairman Mao died on September 9, 1976, more than ten years before I traveled to China. I’ll always wonder if the many letters I wrote him---requesting official permission to travel China’s Great Wall--- were filed-away or-- if Mao’s assistant simply tossed each one in the wastebasket before Mao ever saw them.
After meeting Steven Zhao, whose father had been The Leader of Chairman Mao’s security detail, I learned some interesting facts about the Founding Father of the Peoples Republic of China.
Steven told me that—once upon a time-- Mao and Russia’s Joseph Stalin joined forces to become close friends. Together, as communist leaders, they decided to combine their two countries---with a plan to, eventually, control the world.
Russia soon established a very-strong presence in Beijing while China did the same in Moscow. Chinese students were required to speak and write Russian--- just as Russian Schools required Russian students to speak and write Chinese.
For a number of years, there was a serious exchange of businesses, medical personnel, and educational expertise between the two countries. Somewhere along the way of this seemingly “happy” venture, Mao began to suspect China was being used. Something convinced Mao that the strong bond between Russia and China was one-sided--in Russia's favor--- so--Mao set a trap.
Stalin had been pushing for Mao to fly to Moscow and sign a formal agreement, cementing the two countries together as one but-- with both leaders holding equal control over their soon-to-be “newly-formed” country. Mao sent word that he would fly his personal plane to Moscow and arrive on a particular day. Stalin acknowledged Mao’s arrival date, saying he would have all the papers ready and-- waiting for Mao’s signature.
On the day Mao was expected to fly to Moscow, all was ready. Stalin called Mao several hours earlier to confirm that Mao would arrive in Moscow that particular day to “seal their deal.”
Just minutes after leaving Beijing’s airport--Mao’s plane exploded in mid-air. Everyone in Mao’s large circle was shocked, horrified, believing Chairman Mao had died but--those closest to the Communist Leader knew the truth. In fact, they were both relieved and impressed that Chairman Mao's premonition had been accurate.
At the last minute, Chairman Mao had selected one of his staff members to fly to Russia in his place—without alerting Stalin. Mao believed that Stalin planned to falsify his name on their “joint venture” and--after Mao’s plane crashed--Stalin could then claim both countries belonged to him--by simply producing the paperwork. Stalin could then declare himself--China's new Dictator.
Clearly, Mao was no dummy. He immediately ended all communications with Joseph Stalin. He withdrew the many Chinese Educators, Chinese Businessmen, and other Chinese Professionals from Russia before ordered all Russians to quickly-return to Russia, their homeland.
Today, there are many elegant and expensive buildings-- once owned and occupied by the Russian Government—now empty and abandoned-- in Beijing. The Russians will never be allowed to occupy any part of China—again.
After that very-close-call, Chairman Mao refused to flew anywhere—ever-again. Instead, he ordered new train locomotives and had each one mounted with his official photo. His new and ultra- fast trains took him across China and to neighboring countries-- in luxury and first-class style.
While travelingThe Great Wall, I was fortunate to enter a long-abandoned town named Datong-- where I viewed miles and miles of abandoned trains, railcars, and train memorabilia.
Using my binoculars, I spotted hundreds, if not thousands of locomotives, bearing Chairman Mao's official photo. The historic locomotives will never ‘ride the rails’ again but the power they once-represented is still obvious. I won’t easily forget how fortunate I was to view China’s enormous and historic railroad cemetery--in an old Chinese Town called Datong.
The moral of this story: Never under-estimate the Chinese when it comes to big business. Chinese People are highly-intelligent and know how to completely-focus---with no distractions.