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Mao Zedong is considered the founder of mordern China REUTERS

A Chinese official was fired from his job after he posted messages online criticising the founder of modern China, Mao Zedong. Zuo Chunhe, the deputy director of the the Shijiazhuang Bureau of Culture, Radio, Film, TV, Press and Publication lost his position over the remarks he posted on Weibo, China's version of Facebook.

In his post, Zuo called Mao "the devil" and compared the annual celebrations held to commemorate his birthday "the world's largest cult activity".

Following his dismissal on 16 January, the Shijiazhuang Bureau of Culture, Radio, Film, TV, Press and Publication released a statement announcing that Zuo had been sacked for "posting wrong remarks" that were in "serious violation of political discipline".

According to the Global Times, he was also given a major administrative warning and ordered to reflect on his mistakes. His account on the social media site was also deleted.

Mao is revered by the ruling Communist Party as the founding father of the People's Republic of China and his image is printed on every yuan banknote. Public criticism of the leader is not tolerated in the country.

Earlier this month, a professor was forced to retire for posting comments against Mao on his 123<sup>rd birth celebrations. Deng Xiaochao, 62, an art professor at Shandong Jianzhu University posted a statement on Weibo on 26 December suggesting that the leader was responsible for a famine that led to 3 million deaths and the Cultural Revolution in which 2 million died.

Deng's comments led to protests from Mao supporters who claimed that all critics were "enemies of the people".