The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that the Chinese Academy of History, first established under Xi in 2019, is challenging long-held beliefs about the circumstances surrounding the death of Mao Anying, who was killed during a United Nations airstrike during the 1950-53 Korean War.
Conventional wisdom in China regarding Mao's death states that Mao was killed when he gave away his hideout by turning on a stove to cook egg fried rice. The Chinese Academy has suggested the belief insults Mao and his legacy.
"These rumormongers have tied up Mao Anying with egg fried rice, gravely dwarfing the heroic image of Mao Anying's brave sacrifice," stated a social media post from the academy, published in November, according to the Journal. "Their hearts are vicious."
The academy, operated by historian Gao Xiang, is denying a story published in a Chinese military officer's memoir in 2003. China's People's Liberation Army published the book.
Chinese citizens also could be being subjected to greater harassment online if they are suspected of insulting historical figures affiliated with the Communist Party.
A Chinese chef who demonstrated how to make Yangzhou fried rice online was heckled by Chinese audiences for making the dish last Oct. 24, the day of Mao Anying's birth anniversary.
Chef Wang Gang was accused of using his video as "malicious political innuendo" to tarnish Mao's image as national martyr, SupChina reported in November.
Xi, who began to rule without term limits in 2017, said in his outline for a new "Xi Jinping Thought" that his goal is to restore China's "past glory."
Under Xi, the Chinese Communist Party has popularized at least 10 slogans, including "building a community with a shared future for mankind," the South China Morning Post reported Wednesday.