Mao’s Miracles

In this video, Leonard shares with us some “Mao miracles”. An old veteran on the Long March claimed on CCTV that when they ran out of petrol and diesel to power their motors and charge their batteries, they used pig fat! While many netizens mocked this obvious untruth, someone went all the way to prove that pig fat can be burned to generate energy.

The most interesting part is of course the somewhat convincing defence of that veteran’s claim that pig fat could power generators and recharge batteries. It’s like a case of smart people defending myths and mistakes to perpetuate blind faith among the gullible. It doesn’t just happen in China.

The apologist brought out a classic Stirling engine which is a heat engine that is operated by the cyclic compression and expansion of air at different temperatures, resulting in a net conversion of heat energy to mechanical work. It is an example of an external combustion engine without steam. The apologist for that lying veteran showed that burning pig fat could power such an engine.

Stirling engine

Leonard pointed out that the Long March took place between 1934-1936 while the Stirling engine had been largely replaced by the internal combustion engine in the 1920s. A Stirling engine that would meet the requirements of Mao’s army would have to weigh a ton. Could an army constantly on the move over rough terrain be lugging a few of these monsters? Besides, the photo of the generator found on the PLA’s website is actually a very much more portable internal combustion engine which decidedly cannot burn pig fat.

Before you laugh too loud, note that China has enacted a Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Protection of Heroes and Martyrs in 2018. This law effectively makes it a crime to 歪曲中国近现代历史,丑化、诋毁、贬损、质疑英雄烈士 “distort modern Chinese history”, vilify, slander, pass derogating remarks and cast doubts on “heroes” and “martyrs”.


Only the “distorting modern history” part is specific. It means that the only history that is real is the one told by the Party. The rest can mean a lot of things and that includes doubting that Mao inspired non-medical staff to cure deaf and non-verbal kids from the curse of Liu Shaoqi. All you have to do is to keep repeating 毛主席万岁.