The Chinese Government's move to make Mao Ze Dong's grandson, Mao Xinyu, a major general in the People's Liberation Army (PLA), has been greeted with both curiosity and ridicule.
Instead of praise, the 40-year-old is facing ridicule as a pudgy underachiever shamelessly riding the coattails of a relative many consider China's greatest statesmen.
Critics have unleashed a barrage of vitriol, the Los Angeles Times reports.
On Tuesday, the Internet carried unflattering pictures of Mao Xinyu, an academic who has spent most of his career researching the exploits of his famous grandfather, who died in 1976.
Some showed him in his military uniform, his beefy neck bulging over his collar. There was an undated snapshot of him decked out in a flannel shirt, signing copies of his book "Grandpa Mao Tse-tung"
His adversaries questioned his intelligence, and even his handwriting.
"To have such an unqualified person become a general in China's military, it's an insult to the [People's Liberation Army,]" the L.A. Times quoted Pu Zhiqiang, a lawyer and human rights activist, as saying.
"Those promoted in the future as generals should feel humiliated by this," Pu added.
"This is a natural elevation. Mao's many achievements earned him the right to be promoted," Bao Guojun, a spokesman for the PLA's Academy of Military Sciences, where Mao works as a historian, told reporters this week.
Mao Xinyu's father was Mao Anqing, offspring of one of the Chairman's numerous marriages.
The younger Mao graduated from the history department at the People's University in Beijing and received a doctorate from the Academy of Military Sciences. A blogger who has supported the socialist doctrine, Mao is married with two children, an anomaly in a nation with a strict one-child policy.
In an interview last fall with a Chinese newspaper, Mao spoke of his military service and famous forebear.
"It was after joining the army that I began to really understand Grandpa," he said. "As a soldier, I regard him as our leader and commander in chief."
"If Mao Xinyu deserves to be a general, he needs to show us he has done something," said Liu Shanying, a professor at the Institute of Political Sciences under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
He added: "So far, we haven't seen any results from his studies. He hasn't come up with any new ideas about his grandfather's theories. From an academic view, he lacks achievement." (ANI)