China Pharmaceutical King and Extreme Admirer of Mao Zedong Dies

July 21, 2021 Updated: July 21, 2021

Xu Jingren, chairman of Yangtze River Pharmaceutical Group, China’s top-ranked pharmaceutical company, recently died of a heart attack at the age of 77. His sudden death once again drew attention to a phenomenon observed before: worshipping the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s head “Chairman Mao” brings people bad luck.

Before his death on July 12, Xu had repeatedly appeared on the rich list. For example, in 2020, with 47 billion yuan ($7.05 billion) in assets, he ranked 91st on the “Hurun Rich List.” This year, he and his family ranked No. 705 on the “Forbes Global Rich List” with $4.1 billion in assets.

Xu was a celebrity not only because he was the chairman of the top Chinese pharmaceutical giant, but also because of his extreme admiration for former Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Mao Zedong.

Born in Taizhou, Jiangsu Province, on Sept. 15, 1944, Xu Jingren joined the CCP in 1965 and had been an admirer of Mao thought.

He named the Yangtze River Pharmaceutical Group Plaza “Dongfanghong (The East Is Red) Plaza” and built a 12.26-meter-high statue of Mao Zedong in the center of the square.

The East Is Red is a famous CCP song that portrays Mao Zedong as the “great savior” of the people. It was one of the most important CCP songs before and during the Cultural Revolution.

According to, when the bronze statue was completed on July 1, 2006, Xu Jingren specially invited Mao’s daughter Li Min and granddaughter Kong Dongmei to unveil it.

Xu Jingren also hung a two-story statue of Mao Zedong in the Exhibition Hall of the Yangtze River Pharmaceutical Group.

In addition, each year on the CCP’s “birthday” of July 1, Xu Jingren would summon his employees to hold a ceremony to swear new party members into the Party at the “Dongfanghong Square” and sing praises for the CCP.

According to Chinese media, Xu Jingren had a sudden death during a business trip. He was heading to Xinjiang with a sales team to conduct some investigations on July 10 and died of a heart attack on the way.

Chinese people started to take notice of the phenomenon after four actors who played Mao Zedong all died of sudden deaths.

The four actors were: Gu Yue, who died of a sudden myocardial infarction in 2005 at the age of 68; Wang Lixian, who died of a car accident in 2006 at the age of 52; Ma Yufei, who died in a car accident in 2008 at the age 51; and He Mingzhi, who died of liver cancer in 2009 at the age of 51.

Not only Xu Jingren himself, but his company Yangtze River Pharmaceutical Group also suffered some setbacks recently.

Founded in 1971, Yangtze River Pharmaceutical Group is headquartered in Taizhou City, Jiangsu Province. It currently employs more than 16,000 people, has more than 20 member companies, and has a marketing network all over China.

In 2020, the group’s brand value was 50.595 billion yuan ($7.59 billion), and it won 24 international QC gold awards from 2015 to 2020. From 2014 to 2019, it ranked first in the top 100 Chinese pharmaceutical industry companies for 6 consecutive years. It produces more than 300 regulatory drugs that are marketed in 58 countries.

Recently, it became a target of the “anti-monopoly campaign” of the CCP authorities, and was issued the highest penalty ticket in the history of similar companies.

On April 15 this year, the CCP’s State Administration of Market Supervision imposed a 3 percent fine of 764 million yuan ($115 million) on its 2018 sales volume of 25.467 billion yuan ($3.82 billion) for violating the Anti-Monopoly Law.

In an interview with The Epoch Times, Li Yanming, a current political commentator in the United States and an expert on China, said that the medical system controlled by the former CCP leader Jiang Zemin is being purged by Xi Jinping, and Xu Jingren’s death may be linked to the sky-high penalty he received.

In addition, Li Yanming said, Xu Jingren himself and Yangtze River Pharmaceutical’s repeated bad luck may have something to do with Xu’s worship of Mao.