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The GT reporter stands in front of the Shaoshan train station in Shaoshan Alessio Romagnoli Jersey , Hunan Province. Photo: Li HaoGT

Two visitors kneel as they show their respects to Mao at the Mao Zedong Bronze Statue Square in Shaoshan on September 8. Photo: Li HaoGT

Editor's Note: This year the In-Depth team traveled the world to report news from where it was happening. Today we'd like to share with you the experiences of two reporters who visited scenes of conflict - both physical and ideological - and wrote about how locals are dealing with the changes transforming Chinese society.

Columns of Red Army soldiers and Red Guards holding up signs emblazoned with Chairman Mao's face marched behind two Mao impersonators who led the procession, arms linked. A woman in her 50s, who had tied up her hair into two ponytails and wore a Red Guard uniform, danced energetically to revolutionary songs in the background, with an ecstatic smile on her face. For a moment, I wondered if I had stumbled into a Red China-themed costume party.

It was September Alessandro Plizzari Jersey , and I was in the Mao Zedong Bronze Statue Square in Shaoshan, Mao's birthplace, to cover the 40th anniversary of his death. Before I arrived, I was expecting a sad, solemn occasion on the square, which is traditionally used by Maoists as an open-air memorial during his anniversaries. And yet in reality Alessandro Guarnone Jersey , it was more like a throwback to the days of his leadership, with a lot enthusiasm and noise.

Many people who came to commemorate Mao are farmers and workers, people who feel left behind by the rapid economic growth that followed the reform and opening-up. This is why there were a lot of rural elements displayed on this day of mourning - one countryman cried so hard that he collapsed on the ground before the statue of Mao, reminding me of dramatic funeral practices in rural China. Another man paid 50,000 yuan ($7,190) to hire a local lion dance troupe to mark the occasion Cheap AC Milan Jerseys , and the effect was almost comical when the man, dressed in an ostentatious white suit, approached the square followed by a progression of dragon-holding dancers.

I saw a chaotic mixture of personality cult and religion. One man in his 60s named Ma Zhi'an told me today's China needs Maoism to reduce growing inequality. I was about to label him mentally as a typical follower of Mao before he showed me pictures of himself photoshopped against the tacky background of a lotus seat and began to talk about reincarnations. It turned out that he was a member of a rural folk religion and Mao Zedong is one of the "gods" he worships. Not far away from him, several Buddhist monks and nuns wearing Mao badges joined a group of former soldiers, and together they sang a chorus of "The East is Red."

Midnight was approaching, but some diehards held their ground Suso Jersey , and I met a teacher from Changsha, Hunan who was waiting for the specific moment when Mao stopped breathing 40 years ago, a few minutes past 12 o'clock, when she planned to spray baijiu (China's favorite hard liquor) on the ground as her unique way of mourning. She said Mao shouldn't bear the blame of starting the Cultural Revolution (1966-76) because if he hadn't launched it, he would have been usurped. "I'm a counterrevolutionary by today's standards. Don't write my name down," she said when I asked to quote her.

Shaoshan Riccardo Montolivo Jersey , it turns out, is the place to be if you want to understand the growing idolization of Mao in the post-Mao era, which is part of a growing ideological rift in China. People say Donald Trump winning the US presidency has uncovered deep divides in America. In China, there is an ideological divide that is no less sharp and even more fundamental. I follow several group chats on WeChat, China's most popular messaging app, and I have found that whether it's a group of lawyers Ricardo Rodriguez Jersey , journalists or factory workers, there is no other topic as controversial as the evaluation of Mao, which can almost unfailingly lead to a hostile debate and even rage from either side.

In one liberal chat group that consists mostly of journalists and lawyers, when someone posted something that praised Mao, he was immediately kicked out of the group after members mocked him as brainwashed. Similarly, Maoists pile bile on anyone who they think has smeared their great leader Patrick Cutrone Jersey , calling them "American running dogs." Social media is also contributing to this divide. On microblogging site Weibo, the antagonism between leftists and rightists has soared at an alarming rate in the past years.

Well-meaning, reasoned public discussion on Mao's legacy, however, is still absent due to a huge ideological and belief gap and constraints on open discussion on this sensitive topic. And yet without it, people can't learn from history and this will pose alarming uncertainties to the future of China.

TIRANA Niccolo Zanellato Jersey , June 28 (Xinhua) -- Albania's ruling Socialist Partychairman Edi Rama pledged to undertake sweeping reforms that wouldspeed up Albania's path towards European Union membership.

Rama, who will serve another four-year term as country's PrimeMinister after a landslide victory in the June 25 parliamentaryelections, made the remarks Tuesday evening as thousands ofSocialist Party supporters gathered at the capital's main square tocelebrate the victory, which gave Rama 74 seats in Albania's140-seat parliament.

"Albanians spoke. They decided to give us the parliamentarymajority so that we govern alone and show what we can do. Theseresults will bring us closer to the accession talks with theEuropean Union, which we expect to be commenced by the end of thisyear," Rama told the crowd after Chief election officer KlementZguri confirmed the final official preliminary results fromSunday's vote confirming that the Socialists won 48 percent ofvotes or 74 seats.

On the other hand Mattia De Sciglio Jersey , he said that after first term, much remainsto be done, noting that new government will get back.

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