For about a year and a half, mango imagery dominated Chinese propaganda posters, textiles, enamelware, and common household goods such as pencil tins and mirrors.
One week after Mao dissolved the Red Guards, Pakistan's foreign minister, Mian Arshad Hussain, and his wife met with the Chairman. And because China is a gift-giving society, Mr. Hussain brought a case of mangoes with him, in the same way that you or I might stop off at the liquor store on the way to a party to pick up a bottle of wine so we don't arrive empty handed.
The next day, Mao delivered a message to the workers, who were still stationed at Qinghua University, designating them as the 'permanent managers' of the nation's education system. Accompanying the message was the untouched case of Pakistani mangoes. In the days to come, much would be made of Mao’s 'refusal to eat the fruit,' which was interpreted as 'a sacrifice' on the Chairman's part 'for the benefit of the workers.'