"My name looks sticky, but there were a lot of people called Jango at the time," Ma told CNN. "It was about growth and people growing up with the nation."
On Tuesday, it has been 70 years since the Communist Party leader Mao Zedong announced the founding of the People's Republic of China at the door of Beijing Tiananan on October 1, 1949.
marks the beginning of one of the most turbulent periods in modern Chinese a story that will lead China from a weak and impoverished nation to one of the most powerful in the world.
Chinese citizens who turn 70 with the communist state on Tuesday witnessed famine, political chaos, rapid economic change and unprecedented wealth.
CNN talks with three of them before the Communist Party's big day ̵
The three men may have experienced the same events shaped by the same political decisions in a one-party state. But despite their shared experience, their views on the past differ significantly – especially with regard to the country's controversial founder – President Mao Zedong.
"The Mao Zedong era was a great era," says farmer Wu. "Although Mao's later life caused some chaos in China, his contribution is indisputable."
But Ma, on the other hand, said when he thought of Mao, he thought only of the Great Famine and the chaos of the Cultural Revolution.
The Chinese people were bloodied and bruised when Mao declared the People's Republic of China in 1949. The country was in perpetual conflict. more than 20 years, beginning with the outbreak of civil war between nationalists and communists in 1927 and later, in 1937 with the Japanese.
But for Xiao Jaenven, his memories of the early days of the People's Republic are almost idyllic.  Of a relatively wealthy family called by the petty bourgeoisie of the Communist Party, Xiao's house was located in the area of the Chinese capital, Dongcheng, just a few blocks from Tiananmen Square.
He grew up in a large courtyard of about 14 families in Beijing Hut, traditional alleys that have been part of downtown for centuries.
"We were like a big family. The doors were always open and you could come in without an invitation. Our kids played together as siblings," Xiao said, remembering the long afternoons of ping pong and Chinese chess.
Xiao even remembers some of the earliest national day parades on October 1, smaller versions of the holiday table that closed Beijing for weeks in 2019
"The parade went near our hut to Chang Avenue. I remember it was a really big scene and I felt happy when people they touched my head and looked at me, "he said.
On the other side of the capital, Ma and his family lived in a very different area. was part of the Hui minority community and grew up in Niuji, an ethnically diverse neighborhood in the southwest of the city.
Ma grew up without her parents – his father died of tuberculosis and his mother was left to marry again.
"The absence of my parents allowed me to be naughty and the schools in the past were less rigorous and assigned less homework. Several Hutong children went to school together and hung out after school, playing marbles, "he said.
But over their heads, the Communist Party was planning a new campaign that would put the country in one of the worst famines in history and change the whole
Towards the end of the 1950s, Mao began to make plans for a radical change to his still-new regime in order to catch up with the rapidly industrialized countries of the world. leap forward.
Still living in his Beijing neighborhood of Niuji at the time, Ma remembers playing games with his classmates every day after school.
"We went to get edible wild herbs from farmland. There were all sorts of edible wild herbs … Life was hard during that time, but we didn't feel that way when we were young,
Even richer families were not immunized. In the heart of downtown Xiao, he watched his two grandparents die, a death he believed to be related to starvation.
His previously comfortable family survived mostly from remnants of bean curd, a by-product that you usually eat with his pigs, and he remembers his clothes becoming more ragged.
"We ate in a large dining room in the neighborhood. During the three-year period, there was not enough grain, let alone meat, "he said.
" (The government) tells people that hunger is due to debts to the Soviet Union, as well as natural disasters. So people accepted it and decided to go through this difficulty with our nation. "
Wu grew up in a poor rural village near Shi'an city in Hubei province. He comes from eight generations of farmers and witnessed the effects of the Great Leap Forward first hand.
"The Chinese Communist Party did not want to starve people. . But many people were still starving, "he said.
Ultimately, and industrial and agricultural policies were halted, and Mao quietly clung to the levers of power loosened by his fellow Communist Party leaders, but fearful of losing his power, Mao soon embarked on one of the most radical policies so far – the Cultural revolution.
The cult of personality
By building a fanatical cult of personality around him and his ideas, Mao plans to cling to power. The result was a country thrown into chaos when rival groups of young Mao supporters known as the Red Guard tore China apart with the blessing of their leader.
The Cultural Revolution began in 1966, when all three men were only 17 years old. Wu said he is happy to join the Red Guard because he believes they are providing patriotic service to people and the country.
Meanwhile, in Beijing, Xiao stated that he initially participated in the movement by drawing posters and joining rallies, but slowly he noticed that the old communities were beginning to disintegrate with the mass movement.
All three men remember being amazed by the rapid changes that have taken place in China. It began with small changes, such as allowing farmers to preserve and sell their surplus produce, but progressed to skyscrapers, stock markets and unprecedented wealth.
Now living in a new apartment in Beijing, Xiao saw that life around him was changing rapidly, as people could suddenly afford consumer goods that looked like luxury before.
"In the 1990s, when life began to improve, the goal was those few basic household appliances – refrigerator, color TV, washing machine and air conditioning. life began to modernize. Later, people took it to another level – buying apartments and cars. I bought an apartment and a car. Life was really better then, "he said.
For Xiao, the greatest joy came when he finally managed to take the restarted entrance test for" gao ", which was suspended, along with his education, by the Cultural
Although Gaokao is now a scandalous exam that terrifies hundreds of thousands of Chinese students e ver, a year for Xiao was a chance for a new life.
"Who is not ready to change fate? All of us knew that going to university will change our fortunes, "he said.