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Prologue: Time, space and memories re-written

On 21 September 1949, Mao Zedong made one of the iconic speeches of the twentieth century. That day, he stood before the First Plenary Session of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and made his famous declaration zhongguo renmin zhancilai le ‘the Chinese People have stood up’, prefixed by the equally revealing assertion ‘our nation will never again be an insulted nation’.