to find a clear leadership role for himself, and after Stalin's death, all he wanted to do was to avoid being criticized by his successors after his death. This was because he saw how Khruschev criticized Stalin after his death in the secret speech of 1956.
Between 1949 and 1976, the only thing Mao did to maintain his "value" was to instigate endless political movements to circumvent the government and party leadership, whom he felt ignored and sidelined him, and rally the people to his stupid policies. Many of these policies, such as the Great Leap Forward, contributed to the deaths of millions of innocent Chinese:
Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Tombstone: The Great Chinese Famine, 1958-1962
Mao had no interest in the construction of the Chinese economy, and came damn near to destroying it on numerous occasions.
If it wasn't for Deng Xiaoping's reforms in 1978, the Chinese Communist party would have been overthrown by the Chinese long ago. Deng knew that the only way for the People's Republic to survive was to introduce radical economic reforms which would give the Chinese people much more room to apply their entrepreneurial skills.
In order to avoid a split within the Chinese Communist party, and in order to maintain its legitimacy, unlike Khruschev who criticized Stalin, he did not openly criticize Mao, instead choosing to ignore him. In the place of Mao, the Gang of Four were tried and punished for Mao's excesses.
So the real question shouldn't be if Mao would be proud of China today, but "Should China be proud of Mao?"
Added 11/5/12: I have just read this review of the book Tombstone published by the New York Review of Books, and thought that it was so good that it should be appended to my answer:
China: Worse Than You Ever Imagined