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The Great Helmsman Goes Swimming  By Roger Hudson 
It is July 16th, 1966 and the 72-year-old Chairman Mao has chosen to join 5,000 other swimmers in Wuhan’s 11th annual Cross-Yangtze Competition. He is out to demonstrate that he is still vigorous, fit to lead his last revolution, which he has already set in motion, but which is soon to accelerate until seemingly out of control. Surrounded by six swimming bodyguards, accompanied by giant portraits of himself and by placards asking for 10,000 years of life for him, he stays in the water for 65 minutes, drifting some ten miles downstream with the powerful current.