Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
Mao Zedong

Mao Zedong

Overview
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao (December 26, 1893 September 9, 1976), was a Chinese
Han Chinese
Han Chinese are an ethnic group native to China and are the largest single ethnic group in the world.Han Chinese constitute about 92% of the population of the People's Republic of China , 98% of the population of the Republic of China , 78% of the population of Singapore, and about 20% of the...

 Communist
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

 revolutionary
Revolutionary
A revolutionary is a person who either actively participates in, or advocates revolution. Also, when used as an adjective, the term revolutionary refers to something that has a major, sudden impact on society or on some aspect of human endeavor.-Definition:...

, guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare and refers to conflicts in which a small group of combatants including, but not limited to, armed civilians use military tactics, such as ambushes, sabotage, raids, the element of surprise, and extraordinary mobility to harass a larger and...

 strategist, Marxist
Marxism
Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

 political philosopher
Political philosophy
Political philosophy is the study of such topics as liberty, justice, property, rights, law, and the enforcement of a legal code by authority: what they are, why they are needed, what, if anything, makes a government legitimate, what rights and freedoms it should protect and why, what form it...

, and leader of the Chinese Revolution. He was the architect and founding father of the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 (PRC) from its establishment in 1949, and held control over the nation until his death in 1976. His theoretical contribution to Marxism–Leninism, along with his military strategies and brand of policies, are collectively known as Maoism
Maoism
Maoism, also known as the Mao Zedong Thought , is claimed by Maoists as an anti-Revisionist form of Marxist communist theory, derived from the teachings of the Chinese political leader Mao Zedong . Developed during the 1950s and 1960s, it was widely applied as the political and military guiding...

.
Mao rose to power by commanding the Long March
Long March
The Long March was a massive military retreat undertaken by the Red Army of the Communist Party of China, the forerunner of the People's Liberation Army, to evade the pursuit of the Kuomintang army. There was not one Long March, but a series of marches, as various Communist armies in the south...

, forming a Second United Front with Kuomintang
Kuomintang
The Kuomintang of China , sometimes romanized as Guomindang via the Pinyin transcription system or GMD for short, and translated as the Chinese Nationalist Party is a founding and ruling political party of the Republic of China . Its guiding ideology is the Three Principles of the People, espoused...

 (KMT) during the Second Sino-Japanese War
Second Sino-Japanese War
The Second Sino-Japanese War was a military conflict fought primarily between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan. From 1937 to 1941, China fought Japan with some economic help from Germany , the Soviet Union and the United States...

 to repel a Japanese
Empire of Japan
The Empire of Japan is the name of the state of Japan that existed from the Meiji Restoration on 3 January 1868 to the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of...

 invasion, and later leading the Communist Party of China
Communist Party of China
The Communist Party of China , also known as the Chinese Communist Party , is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China...

 (CPC) to victory against Generalissimo
Generalissimo
Generalissimo and Generalissimus are military ranks of the highest degree, superior to Field Marshal and other five-star ranks.-Usage:...

 Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek was a political and military leader of 20th century China. He is known as Jiǎng Jièshí or Jiǎng Zhōngzhèng in Mandarin....

's KMT in the Chinese Civil War
Chinese Civil War
The Chinese Civil War was a civil war fought between the Kuomintang , the governing party of the Republic of China, and the Communist Party of China , for the control of China which eventually led to China's division into two Chinas, Republic of China and People's Republic of...

.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Mao Zedong'
Start a new discussion about 'Mao Zedong'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Recent Discussions
Quotations

谁是我们的敌人?谁是我们的朋友?这个问题是革命的首要问题。

Who are our enemies? Who are our friends? This is a question of the first importance for the revolution.

江山如此多娇,引无数英雄竞折腰。惜秦皇汉武,略输文采;唐宗宋祖,稍逊风骚。一代天骄,成吉思汗,只识弯弓射大雕。俱往矣,数风流人物,还看今朝。

The country is so beautiful, where so many heroes had devoted their lives into it. Sorry that the Qin Emperor or the Han Wu Emperor lacks a sense for literacy; while the founders of the Tang and Song dynasties came short in style. The great man, Genghis Khan, only knew how to shoot eagles with an arrow. The past is past. To see real heroes, look around you.

一切反动派都是纸老虎。看起来反动派的样子是可怕的,但是实际上并没有什么了不起的力量。从长远的观点看问题,真正强大的力量不是属于反动派,而是属于人民。

All reactionaries are paper tigers. In appearance, the reactionaries are terrifying, but in reality they are not so powerful. From a long-term point of view, it is not the reactionaries but the people who are really powerful.

"You are dictatorial." My dear sirs, you are right, that is just what we are. All the experience the Chinese people have accumulated through several decades teaches us to enforce the people's democratic dictatorship, that is, to deprive the reactionaries of the right to speak and let the people alone have that right.

s:The People's Democratic Dictatorship|The People's Democratic Dictatorship, speech (30 June 1949) commemorating the 28th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party

Ours is a people's democratic dictatorship, led by the working class and based on the worker-peasant alliance.

On the Correct Handling of Contradiction (1957)
Encyclopedia
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao (December 26, 1893 September 9, 1976), was a Chinese
Han Chinese
Han Chinese are an ethnic group native to China and are the largest single ethnic group in the world.Han Chinese constitute about 92% of the population of the People's Republic of China , 98% of the population of the Republic of China , 78% of the population of Singapore, and about 20% of the...

 Communist
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

 revolutionary
Revolutionary
A revolutionary is a person who either actively participates in, or advocates revolution. Also, when used as an adjective, the term revolutionary refers to something that has a major, sudden impact on society or on some aspect of human endeavor.-Definition:...

, guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare and refers to conflicts in which a small group of combatants including, but not limited to, armed civilians use military tactics, such as ambushes, sabotage, raids, the element of surprise, and extraordinary mobility to harass a larger and...

 strategist, Marxist
Marxism
Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

 political philosopher
Political philosophy
Political philosophy is the study of such topics as liberty, justice, property, rights, law, and the enforcement of a legal code by authority: what they are, why they are needed, what, if anything, makes a government legitimate, what rights and freedoms it should protect and why, what form it...

, and leader of the Chinese Revolution. He was the architect and founding father of the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 (PRC) from its establishment in 1949, and held control over the nation until his death in 1976. His theoretical contribution to Marxism–Leninism, along with his military strategies and brand of policies, are collectively known as Maoism
Maoism
Maoism, also known as the Mao Zedong Thought , is claimed by Maoists as an anti-Revisionist form of Marxist communist theory, derived from the teachings of the Chinese political leader Mao Zedong . Developed during the 1950s and 1960s, it was widely applied as the political and military guiding...

.
Mao rose to power by commanding the Long March
Long March
The Long March was a massive military retreat undertaken by the Red Army of the Communist Party of China, the forerunner of the People's Liberation Army, to evade the pursuit of the Kuomintang army. There was not one Long March, but a series of marches, as various Communist armies in the south...

, forming a Second United Front with Kuomintang
Kuomintang
The Kuomintang of China , sometimes romanized as Guomindang via the Pinyin transcription system or GMD for short, and translated as the Chinese Nationalist Party is a founding and ruling political party of the Republic of China . Its guiding ideology is the Three Principles of the People, espoused...

 (KMT) during the Second Sino-Japanese War
Second Sino-Japanese War
The Second Sino-Japanese War was a military conflict fought primarily between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan. From 1937 to 1941, China fought Japan with some economic help from Germany , the Soviet Union and the United States...

 to repel a Japanese
Empire of Japan
The Empire of Japan is the name of the state of Japan that existed from the Meiji Restoration on 3 January 1868 to the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of...

 invasion, and later leading the Communist Party of China
Communist Party of China
The Communist Party of China , also known as the Chinese Communist Party , is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China...

 (CPC) to victory against Generalissimo
Generalissimo
Generalissimo and Generalissimus are military ranks of the highest degree, superior to Field Marshal and other five-star ranks.-Usage:...

 Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek was a political and military leader of 20th century China. He is known as Jiǎng Jièshí or Jiǎng Zhōngzhèng in Mandarin....

's KMT in the Chinese Civil War
Chinese Civil War
The Chinese Civil War was a civil war fought between the Kuomintang , the governing party of the Republic of China, and the Communist Party of China , for the control of China which eventually led to China's division into two Chinas, Republic of China and People's Republic of...

. Mao established political and military control
Chinese reunification
Chinese reunification refers to the bringing together of all of the territories controlled by the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China under a single political entity...

 over most of the territory formerly contained within the Chinese Empire and launched a Campaign to Suppress Counterrevolutionaries. He sent the Communist People's Liberation Army
People's Liberation Army
The People's Liberation Army is the unified military organization of all land, sea, strategic missile and air forces of the People's Republic of China. The PLA was established on August 1, 1927 — celebrated annually as "PLA Day" — as the military arm of the Communist Party of China...

 into Xinjiang and Tibet but was unable to oust the remnants of the Nationalist Party from Taiwan. He enacted sweeping land reform
Land reform
[Image:Jakarta farmers protest23.jpg|300px|thumb|right|Farmers protesting for Land Reform in Indonesia]Land reform involves the changing of laws, regulations or customs regarding land ownership. Land reform may consist of a government-initiated or government-backed property redistribution,...

, by using violence and terror to overthrow landlords before seizing their large estates and dividing the land into people's commune
People's commune
The people's commune was the highest of three administrative levels in rural areas of the People's Republic of China during the period of 1958 to 1982-85 until they were replaced by townships. Communes, the largest collective units, were divided in turn into production brigades and production teams...

s. The Communist Party's final victory had come after decades of turmoil in China, which had included Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

, a brutal invasion by Japan and a protracted civil war. Mao's Communist Party ultimately achieved a measure of stability in China, though Mao's efforts to close China to trade and market-commerce, and eradicate traditional Chinese culture
Cultural Revolution
The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, commonly known as the Cultural Revolution , was a socio-political movement that took place in the People's Republic of China from 1966 through 1976...

, have been largely rejected by his successors.
Mao styled himself "The Great Helmsman" and supporters continue to contend that he was responsible for some positive changes which came to China during his three decade rule, these included: doubling the school population, providing universal housing, abolishing unemployment and inflation, increasing health care access, and dramatically raising life expectancy. A prodigious cult around Mao's personality was built up, and community dissent was not permitted. His Communist Party still rules in mainland China, retains control of media and education there and officially celebrates his legacy. As a result of such factors Mao is still officially held in high regard by many Chinese as a great political strategist, military mastermind, and savior of the nation. Maoists further promote his role as a theorist, statesman, poet, and visionary
Visionary
Defined broadly, a visionary, is one who can envision the future. For some groups this can involve the supernatural or drugs.The visionary state is achieved via meditation, drugs, lucid dreams, daydreams, or art. One example is Hildegard of Bingen, a 12th century artist/visionary and Catholic saint...

, while anti-revisionists continue to defend most of his policies.

In foreign policy, Mao initially sought to align China with Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

's Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 - though the Communist nations diverged
Sino-Soviet split
In political science, the term Sino–Soviet split denotes the worsening of political and ideologic relations between the People's Republic of China and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics during the Cold War...

 after Stalin's death and towards the end of Mao's rule China began to open to trade with the West. Elsewhere, Mao sent Chinese forces to war against the United Nations in the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

 and saved the North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

n regime of Kim Il-sung
Kim Il-sung
Kim Il-sung was a Korean communist politician who led the Democratic People's Republic of Korea from its founding in 1948 until his death in 1994. He held the posts of Prime Minister from 1948 to 1972 and President from 1972 to his death...

 and, despite financial woes in China, financed and supported Communist insurgencies across Asia - in Burma, Cambodia and elsewhere.

Mao remains a controversial figure to this day, with a contentious legacy that is subject to continuing revision and fierce debate. Nationwide political campaigns led by Mao, such as the Great Leap Forward
Great Leap Forward
The Great Leap Forward of the People's Republic of China was an economic and social campaign of the Communist Party of China , reflected in planning decisions from 1958 to 1961, which aimed to use China's vast population to rapidly transform the country from an agrarian economy into a modern...

 and the Cultural Revolution
Cultural Revolution
The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, commonly known as the Cultural Revolution , was a socio-political movement that took place in the People's Republic of China from 1966 through 1976...

, are often considered catastrophic failures. Mao encouraged population growth and China's population almost doubled during the period of his leadership (from around 550 to over 900 million), his rule from 1949 to 1976 is believed to have caused the deaths of 40 to 70 million people. Severe starvation during the Great Chinese Famine, mass suicide
Suicide
Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death. Suicide is often committed out of despair or attributed to some underlying mental disorder, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, alcoholism, or drug abuse...

 as a result of the Three-anti and Five-anti campaigns
Three-anti/five-anti campaigns
The Three-anti Campaign and Five-anti Campaign were reform movements originally issued by Mao Zedong a few years after the founding of the People's Republic of China in an effort to rid Chinese cities of corruption and enemies of the state...

, and political persecution during both the Anti-Rightist Movement
Anti-Rightist Movement
The Anti-Rightist Movement of the People's Republic of China in the 1950s and early 1960s consisted of a series of campaigns to purge alleged "rightists" within the Communist Party of China and abroad...

 and struggle session
Struggle Session
A struggle session was a form of public humiliation used by the Communist Party of China to enforce a reign of terror in the Mao Zedong era to shape public opinion and to humiliate, persecute, and/or execute political rivals, so-called class enemies...

s all resulted from these programs. His campaigns and their varying disastrous consequences are further blamed for damaging Chinese culture and society, as historical relics were destroyed and religious sites were ransacked.

While Mao's stated goals of combatting bureaucracy
Bureaucracy
A bureaucracy is an organization of non-elected officials of a governmental or organization who implement the rules, laws, and functions of their institution, and are occasionally characterized by officialism and red tape.-Weberian bureaucracy:...

, encouraging popular participation, and stressing China’s self-reliance
Self-sufficiency
Self-sufficiency refers to the state of not requiring any outside aid, support, or interaction, for survival; it is therefore a type of personal or collective autonomy...

 are generally seen as laudable—and the rapid industrialization that began during Mao's reign is credited for laying a foundation for China’s development in the late 20th century—the harsh methods he used to pursue them, including torture and executions, have been widely rebuked as being ruthless and self-defeating. Mao is still regarded as one of the most important figures in modern world history, and was named one of the 100 most influential
Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century
Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century is a compilation of the 20th century's 100 most influential people, published in Time magazine in 1999....

 people of the 20th century by Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

 magazine.

Early life



Mao was born on December 26, 1893, in Shaoshan
Shaoshan
Shaoshan is a county-level city in Xiangtan, Hunan Province, noted as the birthplace of Mao Zedong, founder of the People's Republic of China. Shaoshan was an important base during the Chinese Communist Revolution....

, Hunan Province, China. His father was a poor peasant who became a prosperous farmer and grain dealer. At age 8 he began studying at the village primary school, but left school at 13 to work on the family farm. He later left the farm to continue his studies at a secondary school in Changsha, the capital of Hunan province. When the Xinhai Revolution
Xinhai Revolution
The Xinhai Revolution or Hsinhai Revolution, also known as Revolution of 1911 or the Chinese Revolution, was a revolution that overthrew China's last imperial dynasty, the Qing , and established the Republic of China...

 against the Qing Dynasty
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China....

 broke out in 1911 he joined the Revolutionary Army in Hunan. In the spring of 1912 the war ended, the Republic of China
Republic of China (1912–1949)
In 1911, after over two thousand years of imperial rule, a republic was established in China and the monarchy overthrown by a group of revolutionaries. The Qing Dynasty, having just experienced a century of instability, suffered from both internal rebellion and foreign imperialism...

 was founded and Mao left the army. He eventually returned to school, and in 1918 graduated from the First Provincial Normal School of Hunan.

Following his graduation, Mao traveled to Beijing, where he lived with Yang Changji, his college teacher and future father-in-law, who had taken a position at Peking University
Peking University
Peking University , colloquially known in Chinese as Beida , is a major research university located in Beijing, China, and a member of the C9 League. It is the first established modern national university of China. It was founded as Imperial University of Peking in 1898 as a replacement of the...

. Yang recommended him highly: "These two people [Mao and Cai Hesen
Cai Hesen
Cai Hesen was an early leader of the Chinese Communist Party, and a friend and comrade-in-arms of Mao Zedong. His courtesy name was Run Huan , and he was also known as He Xian , Zhe Ying , and Lin Bin...

 ] are rare talents in China and will have a great future." At his recommendation, Mao worked as an assistant librarian at the University Library under the curatorship of Li Dazhao
Li Dazhao
Li Dazhao was a Chinese intellectual who co-founded the Communist Party of China with Chen Duxiu in 1921.-Early life:...

, who would come to greatly influence Mao's future thought. Mao registered as a part-time student at Beijing University and attended a few lectures and seminars by intellectuals, such as Chen Duxiu
Chen Duxiu
Chen Duxiu played many different roles in Chinese history. He was a leading figure in the anti-imperial Xinhai Revolution and the May Fourth Movement for Science and Democracy. Along with Li Dazhao, Chen was a co-founder of the Chinese Communist Party in 1921. He was its first General Secretary....

, Hu Shi, and Qian Xuantong
Qian Xuantong
Qian Xuantong was a Chinese linguist.-Biography:Born in Huzhou, Zhejiang, Qian was named 錢夏錢夏 at birth, and was given the courtesy name Deqian trained in traditional Chinese philology. After receiving his university education in Japan, Qian held a number of teaching positions in mainland China...

. After moving back to Changsha, he became headmaster of a school and involved in provincial cultural and educational agitation. He renewed his friendship with Yang Kaihui
Yang Kaihui
Yáng Kāihuì , who was the second wife of Mao Zedong from 1920 to 1930, was born in a small village named Bancang, in Changsha, Hunan Province, on November 6, 1901. She had three children with Mao Zedong, named Mao Anying, Mao Anqing, and Mao Anlong...

, Professor Yang's daughter, eight years younger than he, and the two became lovers, then married despite Mao's earlier marriage with Luo Yixiu
Luo Yixiu
Luó Yīxiù was the first wife of Mao Zedong from 1907 until her death in 1910. She was from the town of Shaoshan, Hunan province, China.It was an arranged marriage, but Mao was far too ambitious to simply settle down to the normal life of a farmer and family man. He insisted on leaving the area in...

 arranged by his father at home, which Mao never acknowledged. (In October 1930, the Kuomintang
Kuomintang
The Kuomintang of China , sometimes romanized as Guomindang via the Pinyin transcription system or GMD for short, and translated as the Chinese Nationalist Party is a founding and ruling political party of the Republic of China . Its guiding ideology is the Three Principles of the People, espoused...

 (KMT) captured Yang Kaihui
Yang Kaihui
Yáng Kāihuì , who was the second wife of Mao Zedong from 1920 to 1930, was born in a small village named Bancang, in Changsha, Hunan Province, on November 6, 1901. She had three children with Mao Zedong, named Mao Anying, Mao Anqing, and Mao Anlong...

 as well as her son, Mao Anying
Mao Anying
Mao Anying was the eldest son of Mao Zedong and Yang Kaihui. Educated in Moscow, he was killed in action by an air strike during the Korean War.-Early life:...

). A number of his friends and future colleagues took advantage of the Mouvement Travail-Études to study in France, but Mao, perhaps because of a lack of ability to learn languages and the requirement to learn French, turned down the opportunity.

On July 23, 1921, Mao, age 27, attended the first session of the National Congress of the Communist Party of China
National Congress of the Communist Party of China
The National Congress of the Communist Party of China is a party congress that is held about once every five years. The National Congress is theoretically the highest body within the Communist Party of China, but in practice important decisions are made before the meeting. Since 1987 the National...

 in Shanghai. Two years later, he was elected as one of the five commissars of the Central Committee of the Party during the third Congress session. Later that year, Mao returned to Hunan at the instruction of the CPC Central Committee
Central Committee of the Communist Party of China
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China is the highest authority within the Communist Party of China. Its approximately 350 members and alternates are selected once every five years by the National Party Congress....

 to organize the Hunan branch of the Kuomintang after KMT premier Sun Yat-sen
Sun Yat-sen
Sun Yat-sen was a Chinese doctor, revolutionary and political leader. As the foremost pioneer of Nationalist China, Sun is frequently referred to as the "Father of the Nation" , a view agreed upon by both the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China...

 began a policy of active cooperation with the Chinese Communists.

In 1924, he was a delegate to the first National Conference of the Kuomintang, where he was elected an Alternate Executive of the Central Committee. That year he became an Executive of the Shanghai branch of the Kuomintang and Secretary of the Organization Department.

For a while, Mao remained in Shanghai, an important city that the CPC emphasized for the Revolution. However, the Party encountered major difficulties organizing labor union movements and building a relationship with its nationalist ally, the KMT. The Party had become poor, and Mao became disillusioned with the revolution and moved back to Shaoshan. During his stay at home, Mao's interest in the revolution was rekindled after hearing of the 1925 uprisings in Shanghai and Guangzhou. His political ambitions returned, and he then went to Guangdong, the base of the Kuomintang, to take part in the preparations for the second session of the National Congress of Kuomintang. In October 1925, Mao became acting Propaganda Director of the Kuomintang.

In early 1927, Mao returned to Hunan where, in an urgent meeting held by the Communist Party, he made a report based on his investigations of the peasant uprisings in the wake of the Northern Expedition. His "Report on the Peasant Movement in Hunan" is considered the initial and decisive step towards the successful application of Mao's revolutionary theories.

Political ideas


After graduating from the First Provincial Normal School of Hunan, the highest level of schooling available in his province, Mao spent six months studying independently. Mao was first introduced to communism while working at Peking University
Peking University
Peking University , colloquially known in Chinese as Beida , is a major research university located in Beijing, China, and a member of the C9 League. It is the first established modern national university of China. It was founded as Imperial University of Peking in 1898 as a replacement of the...

 as a library assistant, and in 1921 he attended the organizational meeting of the Communist Party of China (or CPC).

Other important influences on Mao were the Russian revolution
Russian Revolution of 1917
The Russian Revolution is the collective term for a series of revolutions in Russia in 1917, which destroyed the Tsarist autocracy and led to the creation of the Soviet Union. The Tsar was deposed and replaced by a provisional government in the first revolution of February 1917...

 and, according to some scholars, the Chinese literary works: Outlaws of the Marsh and Romance of the Three Kingdoms
Romance of the Three Kingdoms
Romance of the Three Kingdoms, written by Luo Guanzhong in the 14th century, is a Chinese historical novel based on the events in the turbulent years near the end of the Han Dynasty and the Three Kingdoms era of Chinese history, starting in 169 and ending with the reunification of the land in...

. Mao sought to subvert the alliance of imperialism and feudalism
Feudalism
Feudalism was a set of legal and military customs in medieval Europe that flourished between the 9th and 15th centuries, which, broadly defined, was a system for ordering society around relationships derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labour.Although derived from the...

 in China. He thought the KMT to be both economically and politically vulnerable and thus that the revolution could not be steered by Nationalists.

Throughout the 1920s, Mao led several labour struggles based upon his studies of the propagation and organization of the contemporary labour movements. However, these struggles were successfully subdued by the government, and Mao fled from Changsha, Hunan
Hunan
' is a province of South-Central China, located to the south of the middle reaches of the Yangtze River and south of Lake Dongting...

 after he was labeled a radical activist. He pondered these failures and finally realized that industrial workers were unable to lead the revolution because they made up only a small portion of China's population, and unarmed labour struggles could not resolve the problems of imperial and feudal suppression.

Mao began to depend on Chinese peasants who later became staunch supporters of his theory of violent revolution. This dependence on the rural rather than the urban proletariat to instigate violent revolution distinguished Mao from his predecessors and contemporaries. Mao himself was from a peasant family, and thus he cultivated his reputation among the farmers and peasants and introduced them to Marxism.

His two 1937 essays, 'On Practice' and 'On Contradiction', are concerned with the practical strategies of a revolutionary movement and stress the importance of practical, grass-roots knowledge, obtained through experience.

Both essays reflect the guerrilla roots of Maoism in the need to build up support in the countryside against a Japanese occupying force and emphasise the need to win over hearts and minds through 'education'. The essays, excerpts of which appear in the 'Quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong', warn against the behaviour of the blindfolded man trying to catch sparrows, and the 'Imperial envoy' descending from his carriage to 'spout opinions' .

War




In 1927, after a large-scale purge of Communists
Shanghai massacre of 1927
The April 12 Incident of 1927 refers to the violent suppression of Chinese Communist Party organizations in Shanghai by the military forces of Chiang Kai-shek and conservative factions in the Kuomintang...

 from the Kuomintang in Shanghai that ended their alliance during the Northern Expedition, Mao conducted the Autumn Harvest Uprising
Autumn Harvest Uprising
The Autumn Harvest Uprising was an insurrection that took place in Hunan province and Jiangxi province, China on September 7, 1927, led by Mao Zedong, who established a short-lived Hunan Soviet....

 in Changsha as commander-in-chief. Mao led an army, called the "Revolutionary Army of Workers and Peasants", which was defeated by the KMT forces and scattered after fierce battles. Afterwards, the exhausted troops were forced to leave Hunan for Sanwan, Jiangxi, where Mao re-organized the scattered soldiers, rearranging the military division into smaller regiments.

Mao also ordered that each company must have a party branch office with a commissar
Commissar
Commissar is the English transliteration of an official title used in Russia from the time of Peter the Great.The title was used during the Provisional Government for regional heads of administration, but it is mostly associated with a number of Cheka and military functions in Bolshevik and Soviet...

 as its leader who would give political instructions based upon superior mandates. This military rearrangement in Sanwan, Jiangxi initiated the CPC's absolute control over its military force and is considered to have had a fundamental and profound impact upon the Chinese revolution. Later, the army moved to the Jinggang Mountains, Jiangxi.

In the Jinggang Mountains, Mao persuaded two local insurgent leaders to pledge their allegiance to him. There, Mao joined his army with that of Zhu De
Zhu De
Zhu De was a Chinese militarist, politician, revolutionary, and one of the pioneers of the Chinese Communist Party. After the founding of the People's Republic of China, in 1955 Zhu became one of the Ten Marshals of the People's Liberation Army, of which he is regarded as the founder.-Early...

, creating the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army of China, Red Army in short. Mao's tactics were strongly based on that of the Spanish Guerrillas during the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

.

From 1931 to 1934, Mao helped establish the Soviet Republic of China and was elected Chairman of this small republic in the mountainous areas in Jiangxi. Here, Mao was married to He Zizhen
He Zizhen
He Zizhen was the third wife of Mao Zedong from May 1930 to 1937.- Biography :He Zizhen was born in Yunshan , Jiangxi, during Qing Dynasty China, and joined the Communist Youth League in 1925. She graduated from the Yongxin Girls' School and joined the Communist Party of China in 1926...

. His previous wife, Yang Kaihui
Yang Kaihui
Yáng Kāihuì , who was the second wife of Mao Zedong from 1920 to 1930, was born in a small village named Bancang, in Changsha, Hunan Province, on November 6, 1901. She had three children with Mao Zedong, named Mao Anying, Mao Anqing, and Mao Anlong...

, had been arrested and executed in 1930, just three years after their departure.

In Jiangxi, Mao's authoritative domination, especially that of the military force, was challenged by the Jiangxi branch of the CPC and military officers. Mao's opponents, among whom the most prominent was Li Wenlin, the founder of the CPC's branch and Red Army in Jiangxi, were against Mao's land policies and proposals to reform the local party branch and army leadership. Mao reacted first by accusing the opponents of opportunism and kulak
Kulak
Kulaks were a category of relatively affluent peasants in the later Russian Empire, Soviet Russia, and early Soviet Union...

ism and then set off a series of systematic suppressions
Anti-Bolshevik League incident
The Anti-Bolshevik League incident, or AB League Incident , was a period of political purge in the territory of a Chinese Communist revolutionary bases in Jiangxi province. Mao Zedong accused his political rivals of belonging to the Kuomintang intelligence agency "Anti-Bolshevik League"...

 of them.

It is reported that horrible methods of torture were employed under Mao's direction. and given names such as 'sitting in a sedan chair', 'airplane ride', 'toad-drinking water', and 'monkey pulling reins.' The wives of several suspects had their breasts cut open and their genitals burned. Short (2001) estimates that tens of thousands of suspected enemies, perhaps as many as 186,000, were killed during this purge. Critics accuse Mao's authority in Jiangxi of being secured and reassured through the revolutionary terrorism, or red terrorism.

Mao, with the help of Zhu De
Zhu De
Zhu De was a Chinese militarist, politician, revolutionary, and one of the pioneers of the Chinese Communist Party. After the founding of the People's Republic of China, in 1955 Zhu became one of the Ten Marshals of the People's Liberation Army, of which he is regarded as the founder.-Early...

, built a modest but effective army, undertook experiments in rural reform and government, and provided refuge for Communists fleeing the KMT purges in the cities. Mao's methods are normally referred to as guerrilla warfare; but he himself made a distinction between guerrilla warfare (youji zhan) and mobile warfare
Mobile warfare
*For various forms of wars based on mobility, see Maneuver warfare.*For the specific military methods of Mao Zedong, yundong zhan, see Mobile Warfare....

 (yundong zhan).
Mao's doctrines of guerrilla warfare and mobile warfare were based upon the fact of the poor armament and military training of the Red Army which consisted mainly of impoverished peasants, who, however, were fired by revolutionary passions and the aspiration for a communist utopia.

Around 1930, there had been more than ten regions, usually entitled "soviet areas", under control of the CPC. The relative prosperity of "soviet areas" startled and worried Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek was a political and military leader of 20th century China. He is known as Jiǎng Jièshí or Jiǎng Zhōngzhèng in Mandarin....

, chairman of the Kuomintang government, who waged five waves of besieging campaigns against the "central soviet area." More than one million Kuomintang soldiers were involved in these five campaigns, four of which were defeated by the Red Army led by Mao. By June 1932 (the height of its power), the Red Army had no less than 45,000 soldiers, with a further 200,000 local militia acting as a subsidiary force.

Under increasing pressure from the KMT Encirclement Campaigns
Encirclement Campaigns
Encirclement Campaigns is a term used to describe several different campaigns launched by forces of the Chinese Nationalist Government against forces of the Communist Party of China during the Chinese Civil War. The campaigns were launched between the late 1920s to the mid-1930s with the goal of...

, there was a struggle for power within the Communist leadership. Mao was removed from his important positions and replaced by individuals (including Zhou Enlai
Zhou Enlai
Zhou Enlai was the first Premier of the People's Republic of China, serving from October 1949 until his death in January 1976...

) who appeared loyal to the orthodox line advocated by Moscow and represented within the CPC by a group known as the 28 Bolsheviks
28 Bolsheviks
The 28 Bolsheviks were a group of Chinese students who studied at the Moscow Sun Yat-sen University from the late 1920s until early 1935, also known as the "Returned Students". The university was founded in 1925 as a result of Kuomintang's founder Sun Yat-Sen's policy of alliance with the Soviet...

.

Chiang, who had earlier assumed nominal control of China due in part to the Northern Expedition, was determined to eliminate the Communists. By October 1934, he had them surrounded, prompting them to engage in the "Long March
Long March
The Long March was a massive military retreat undertaken by the Red Army of the Communist Party of China, the forerunner of the People's Liberation Army, to evade the pursuit of the Kuomintang army. There was not one Long March, but a series of marches, as various Communist armies in the south...

", a retreat from Jiangxi in the southeast to Shaanxi
Shaanxi
' is a province in the central part of Mainland China, and it includes portions of the Loess Plateau on the middle reaches of the Yellow River in addition to the Qinling Mountains across the southern part of this province...

 in the northwest of China. It was during this 9600 kilometres (5,965.2 mi), year-long journey that Mao emerged as the top Communist leader, aided by the Zunyi Conference
Zunyi Conference
The Zunyi Conference was a meeting of the Communist Party of China in January of 1935 during the Long March. This meeting involved a power struggle between the leadership of Bo Gu and Otto Braun and the opposition led by Mao Zedong. The result was that Mao left the meeting in position to take...

 and the defection of Zhou Enlai to Mao's side. At this Conference, Mao entered the Standing Committee of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China
Politburo of the Communist Party of China
The Central Politburo of the Communist Party of China or Political bureau of the CPC Central Committee , formerly as Central Bureau before 1927, is a group of 24 people who oversee the Communist Party of China...

.

In 1936 Manchurian warlord and Chiang's former ally Zhang Xueliang
Zhang Xueliang
Zhang Xueliang or Chang Hsüeh-liang , occasionally called Peter Hsueh Liang Chang in English, nicknamed the Young Marshal , was the effective ruler of Manchuria and much of North China after the assassination of his father, Zhang Zuolin, by the Japanese on 4 June 1928...

 decided to conspire with the CPC and kidnapped Chiang Kai-shek
Xi'an Incident
The Xi'an Incident of December 1936 is an important episode of Chinese modern history, taking place in the city of Xi'an during the Chinese Civil War between the ruling Kuomintang and the rebel Chinese Communist Party and just before the Second Sino-Japanese War...

 in Xi'an
Xi'an
Xi'an is the capital of the Shaanxi province, and a sub-provincial city in the People's Republic of China. One of the oldest cities in China, with more than 3,100 years of history, the city was known as Chang'an before the Ming Dynasty...

 to force an end to the conflict between KMT and CPC. To secure the release of Chiang, the KMT was forced to agree to a temporary end to the Chinese Civil War
Chinese Civil War
The Chinese Civil War was a civil war fought between the Kuomintang , the governing party of the Republic of China, and the Communist Party of China , for the control of China which eventually led to China's division into two Chinas, Republic of China and People's Republic of...

 and the forming of a United Front
Second United Front (China)
The Second United Front was the alliance between the Kuomintang and Communist Party of China during the Second Sino-Japanese War or World War II, which suspended the Chinese Civil War from 1937 to 1946....

 between the CPC and KMT against Japan. The alliance took place with salutary effects for the beleaguered CPC after relentless attacks by Chiang's forces. CPC agreed to form the New Fourth Army
New Fourth Army
The New Fourth Army was a unit of the National Revolutionary Army of the Republic of China established in 1937. In contrast to most of the National Revolutionary Army, it was controlled by the Communist Party of China and not by the ruling Kuomintang. The New Fourth Army and the Eighth Route Army...

 and the 8th Route Army which were nominally under the command of the National Revolutionary Army
National Revolutionary Army
The National Revolutionary Army , pre-1928 sometimes shortened to 革命軍 or Revolutionary Army and between 1928-1947 as 國軍 or National Army was the Military Arm of the Kuomintang from 1925 until 1947, as well as the national army of the Republic of China during the KMT's period of party rule...

.

During the Sino-Japanese War, Mao advocated a strategy of avoiding open confrontations with the Japanese army and concentrate on guerrilla warfare
On Guerrilla Warfare
On Guerrilla Warfare is Mao Zedong’s case for the extensive use of an irregular form of warfare in which small groups of combatants use mobile military tactics in the forms of ambushes and raids to combat a larger and less mobile formal army...

 from his base in Yan'an
Yan'an
Yan'an , is a prefecture-level city in the Shanbei region of Shaanxi province in China, administering several counties, including Zhidan County , which served as the Chinese communist capital before the city of Yan'an proper took that role....

, while leaving the KMT to take on the brunt of the fighting and suffered tremendous casualties. Instead Mao directed the CPC forces to concentrate on absorbing, and eliminating if necessary, Chinese militia behind enemy lines. This led to intensified conflicts between KMT and CPC forces, and the fragile alliance broke down after the New Fourth Army Incident
New Fourth Army Incident
The New Fourth Army Incident , also known as the Wannan Incident , occurred in China in January 1941 during the Second Sino-Japanese War, during which the Chinese Civil War was in theory suspended, uniting the Communists and Nationalists against the Japanese...

 in January 1941.

Mao further consolidated power over the Communist Party in 1942 by launching the Shu Fan movement
Shu Fan movement
The Sufan movement launched in 1955 was one instance of a recurring, politically charged atmosphere in official organisations and social life in the People's Republic of China under Mao Zedong. The term sufan is short for 肅清暗藏的反革命分子, and can roughly be taken as referring to a 'purge' of...

, or "Rectification" campaign against rival CPC members such as Wang Ming
Wang Ming
Wang Ming was a senior leader of the early Chinese Communist Party and the mastermind of the famous 28 Bolsheviks group. Wang was also a major political rival of Mao Zedong during the 1930s, opposing Mao's nationalist deviation from the Comintern and orthodox Marxism and Leninism lines...

, Wang Shiwei
Wang Shiwei
Wang Shiwei was a Chinese journalist and literary writer. He became famous for his contribution to the Chinese history of modern revolution and to Chinese modern literature...

, and Ding Ling
Ding Ling
Dīng Líng was the pseudonym of Jiǎng Bīngzhī , also known as Bīn Zhǐ , a Chinese woman author from Linli in Hunan province. She was awarded the Soviet Union's Stalin second prize for Literature in 1951....

. Also while in Yan'an, Mao divorced He Zizhen and married the actress Lan Ping, who would become known as Jiang Qing
Jiang Qing
Jiang Qing was the pseudonym that was used by Chinese leader Mao Zedong's last wife and major Communist Party of China power figure. She went by the stage name Lan Ping during her acting career, and was known by various other names during her life...

.

Mao also greatly expanded CPC's sphere of influence in areas outside of Japanese control, mainly through rural mass organizations, administrative, land and tax reform measures favoring poor peasant
Peasant
A peasant is an agricultural worker who generally tend to be poor and homeless-Etymology:The word is derived from 15th century French païsant meaning one from the pays, or countryside, ultimately from the Latin pagus, or outlying administrative district.- Position in society :Peasants typically...

s; while the Nationalists attempted to neutralize the spread of Communist influence by military blockade of areas controlled by CPC and fighting the Japanese at the same time

In 1944, the Americans sent a special diplomatic envoy, called the Dixie Mission
Dixie Mission
The United States Army Observation Group, commonly known as the Dixie Mission, was the first U.S. effort to establish official relations with the Communist Party of China and the People's Liberation Army, then headquartered in the mountainous city of Yan'an...

, to the Communist Party of China. According to Edwin Moise, in Modern China: A History 2nd Edition:
Most of the Americans were favorably impressed. The CPC seemed less corrupt, more unified, and more vigorous in its resistance to Japan than the KMT. United States fliers shot down over North China...confirmed to their superiors that the CPC was both strong and popular over a broad area. In the end, the contacts with the USA developed with the CPC led to very little.


After the end of World War II, the U.S. continued their military assistance to Chiang Kai-shek and his KMT government forces against the People's Liberation Army
People's Liberation Army
The People's Liberation Army is the unified military organization of all land, sea, strategic missile and air forces of the People's Republic of China. The PLA was established on August 1, 1927 — celebrated annually as "PLA Day" — as the military arm of the Communist Party of China...

 (PLA) led by Mao Zedong in the civil war
Chinese Civil War
The Chinese Civil War was a civil war fought between the Kuomintang , the governing party of the Republic of China, and the Communist Party of China , for the control of China which eventually led to China's division into two Chinas, Republic of China and People's Republic of...

 for control of China. Likewise, the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 gave quasi-covert support to Mao by their occupation of northeast China, which allowed the PLA to move in en masse and took large supplies of arms left by the Japanese's Kwangtung Army.

In 1948, under direct orders from Mao, the People’s Liberation Army starved out the Kuomintang forces occupying the city of Changchun
Changchun
Changchun is the capital and largest city of Jilin province, located in the northeast of the People's Republic of China, in the center of the Songliao Plain. It is administered as a sub-provincial city with a population of 7,677,089 at the 2010 census under its jurisdiction, including counties and...

. At least 160,000 civilians are believed to have perished during the siege
Siege of Changchun
The Siege of Changchun was a siege operation launched by the People's Liberation Army during the Chinese Civil War against the city of Changchun, defended by the Nationalist forces...

, which lasted from June until October. PLA lieutenant colonel Zhang Zhenglu, who documented the siege in his book White Snow, Red Blood
White Snow, Red Blood
White Snow, Red Blood is a book by Zhāng Zhènglóng , an officer in the People's Liberation Army, that was published in August, 1989 by the People's Liberation Army Publishing House. It concerns the history of the People's Liberation Army during the Chinese Communist Revolution...

, compared it to Hiroshima
Hiroshima
is the capital of Hiroshima Prefecture, and the largest city in the Chūgoku region of western Honshu, the largest island of Japan. It became best known as the first city in history to be destroyed by a nuclear weapon when the United States Army Air Forces dropped an atomic bomb on it at 8:15 A.M...

: “The casualties were about the same. Hiroshima took nine seconds; Changchun took five months.”

On January 21, 1949, Kuomintang forces suffered great losses in battles against Mao's forces. In the early morning of December 10, 1949, PLA troops laid siege to Chengdu, the last KMT-held city in mainland China
Mainland China
Mainland China, the Chinese mainland or simply the mainland, is a geopolitical term that refers to the area under the jurisdiction of the People's Republic of China . According to the Taipei-based Mainland Affairs Council, the term excludes the PRC Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and...

, and Chiang Kai-shek evacuated from the mainland to Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

 (Formosa).

Leadership of China


The People's Republic of China was established on October 1, 1949. It was the culmination of over two decades of civil and international wars. From 1943 to 1976, Mao was the Chairman of the Communist Party of China
Chairman of the Communist Party of China
The Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China was the head of the Communist Party of China . In 1982, it was succeeded by the General Secretary of the Central Committee.-History and functions:...

. During this period, Mao was called Chairman Mao or the Great Leader Chairman Mao . Mao famously announced: "The Chinese people have stood up"

Mao took up residence in Zhongnanhai
Zhongnanhai
Zhongnanhai is an area in central Beijing, China adjacent to the Forbidden City which serves as the central headquarters for the Communist Party of China and the State Council of the People's Republic of China. The term Zhongnanhai is closely linked with the central government and senior Communist...

, a compound next to the Forbidden City
Forbidden City
The Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty. It is located in the middle of Beijing, China, and now houses the Palace Museum...

 in Beijing, and there he ordered the construction of an indoor swimming pool and other buildings. Mao often did his work either in bed or by the side of the pool, preferring not to wear formal clothes unless absolutely necessary, according to Dr. Li Zhisui
Li Zhisui
Li Zhisui was Mao Zedong's personal physician and confidante. After immigrating to the United States, he wrote a biography of his experiences with Mao entitled The Private Life of Chairman Mao .Weeks after he announced on a TV interview that he was going to write another memoir, Li died of a...

, his personal physician. (Li's book, The Private Life of Chairman Mao
The Private Life of Chairman Mao
The Private Life of Chairman Mao: The Memoirs of Mao's Personal Physician is a memoir by Li Zhisui, one of the physicians to the former Chinese leader Mao Zedong, which was first published in 1994. Li had emigrated to the United States in the years after Mao's death...

, is regarded as controversial, especially by those sympathetic to Mao.)

In October 1950, Mao made the decision to send the People's Volunteer Army
People's Volunteer Army
The Chinese People's Volunteer Army was the armed forces deployed by the People's Republic of China during the Korean War. Although all units in the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army belonged to the People's Liberation Army , the People's Volunteer Army was separately constituted in order to...

 into Korea and fought against the United Nations forces led by the U.S. Historical records showed that Mao directed the PVA campaigns in the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

 to the minute details.
Along with land reform, during which significant numbers of landlords and well-to-do peasants were beaten to death at mass meetings organized by the Communist Party as land was taken from them and given to poorer peasants, there was also the Campaign to Suppress Counterrevolutionaries, which involved public executions targeting mainly former Kuomintang officials, businessmen accused of "disturbing" the market, former employees of Western companies and intellectuals whose loyalty was suspect. The U.S. State department
United States Department of State
The United States Department of State , is the United States federal executive department responsible for international relations of the United States, equivalent to the foreign ministries of other countries...

 in 1976 estimated that there may have been a million killed in the land reform, 800,000 killed in the counterrevolutionary campaign.

Mao himself claimed that a total of 700,000 people were executed during the years 1949–53. However, because there was a policy to select "at least one landlord, and usually several, in virtually every village for public execution", the number of deaths range between 2 million and 5 million. In addition, at least 1.5 million people, perhaps as many as 4 to 6 million, were sent to "reform through labour"
Laogai
Laogai , the abbreviation for Láodòng Gǎizào , which means "reform through labor," is a slogan of the Chinese criminal justice system and has been used to refer to the use of prison labor and prison farms in the People's Republic of China . It is estimated that in the last fifty years more than...

 camps where many perished. Mao played a personal role in organizing the mass repressions and established a system of execution quotas, which were often exceeded. Nevertheless he defended these killings as necessary for the securing of power.

Starting in 1951, Mao initiated two successive movements in an effort to rid urban areas of corruption by targeting wealthy capitalists and political opponents, known as the three-anti/five-anti campaigns
Three-anti/five-anti campaigns
The Three-anti Campaign and Five-anti Campaign were reform movements originally issued by Mao Zedong a few years after the founding of the People's Republic of China in an effort to rid Chinese cities of corruption and enemies of the state...

. A climate of raw terror developed as workers denounced their bosses, wives turned on their husbands, and children informed on their parents; the victims often were humiliated at struggle sessions
Struggle Session
A struggle session was a form of public humiliation used by the Communist Party of China to enforce a reign of terror in the Mao Zedong era to shape public opinion and to humiliate, persecute, and/or execute political rivals, so-called class enemies...

, a method designed to intimidate and terrify people to the maximum. Mao insisted that minor offenders be criticized and reformed or sent to labor camps, "while the worst among them should be shot." These campaigns took several hundred thousand additional lives, the vast majority via suicide.

In Shanghai, suicide by jumping from tall buildings became so commonplace that residents avoided walking on the pavement near skyscrapers for fear that suicides might land on them. Some biographers have pointed out that driving those perceived as enemies to suicide was a common tactic during the Mao-era. For example, in his biography of Mao, Philip Short
Philip Short
Philip Short is a journalist and author.He was born in Bristol on 17 April 1945. He studied at Queens' College, Cambridge. After graduation, he spent from 1967 to 1973 as a freelance journalist, first in Malawi, then in Uganda. He then joined the BBC as a foreign correspondent. He worked there for...

 notes that in the Yan'an Rectification Movement, Mao gave explicit instructions that "no cadre is to be killed," but in practice allowed security chief Kang Sheng
Kang Sheng
Kang Sheng , Communist Party of China official, oversaw the work of the People's Republic of China's security and intelligence apparatus at the height of the Cultural Revolution in the late 1960s. He was a close associate of Mao Zedong and remained at or near the pinnacle of power for decades...

 to drive opponents to suicide and that "this pattern was repeated throughout his leadership of the People's Republic."

Following the consolidation of power, Mao launched the First Five-Year Plan (1953–58). The plan aimed to end Chinese dependence upon agriculture in order to become a world power. With the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

's assistance, new industrial plants were built and agricultural production eventually fell to a point where industry was beginning to produce enough capital that China no longer needed the USSR's support. The success of the First-Five Year Plan was to encourage Mao to instigate the Second Five-Year Plan, the Great Leap Forward, in 1958. Mao also launched a phase of rapid collectivization. The CPC introduced price controls as well as a Chinese character simplification
Simplified Chinese character
Simplified Chinese characters are standardized Chinese characters prescribed in the Xiandai Hanyu Tongyong Zibiao for use in Mainland China. Along with traditional Chinese characters, it is one of many standard character sets of the contemporary Chinese written language...

 aimed at increasing literacy. Large-scale industrialization projects were also undertaken.

Programs pursued during this time include the Hundred Flowers Campaign
Hundred Flowers Campaign
The Hundred Flowers Campaign, also termed the Hundred Flowers Movement, refers mainly to a brief six weeks in the People's Republic of China in the early summer of 1957 during which the Communist Party of China encouraged a variety of views and solutions to national policy issues, launched...

, in which Mao indicated his supposed willingness to consider different opinions about how China should be governed. Given the freedom to express themselves, liberal and intellectual Chinese began opposing the Communist Party and questioning its leadership. This was initially tolerated and encouraged. After a few months, Mao's government reversed its policy and persecuted those, totalling perhaps 500,000, who criticized, as well as those who were merely alleged to have criticized, the party in what is called the Anti-Rightist Movement
Anti-Rightist Movement
The Anti-Rightist Movement of the People's Republic of China in the 1950s and early 1960s consisted of a series of campaigns to purge alleged "rightists" within the Communist Party of China and abroad...

. Authors such as Jung Chang
Jung Chang
Jung Chang is a Chinese-born British writer now living in London, best known for her family autobiography Wild Swans, selling over 10 million copies worldwide but banned in the People's Republic of China....

 have alleged that the Hundred Flowers Campaign was merely a ruse to root out "dangerous" thinking.

Others such as Dr Li Zhisui have suggested that Mao had initially seen the policy as a way of weakening those within his party who opposed him, but was surprised by the extent of criticism and the fact that it began to be directed at his own leadership. It was only then that he used it as a method of identifying and subsequently persecuting those critical of his government. The Hundred Flowers movement led to the condemnation, silencing, and death of many citizens, also linked to Mao's Anti-Rightist Movement, with death tolls possibly in the millions.

Great Leap Forward



In January 1958, Mao Zedong launched the second Five-Year Plan, known as the Great Leap Forward, a plan intended as an alternative model for economic growth to the Soviet model focusing on heavy industry that was advocated by others in the party. Under this economic program, the relatively small agricultural collectives which had been formed to date were rapidly merged into far larger people's communes, and many of the peasants ordered to work on massive infrastructure projects and the small-scale production of iron and steel. Some private food production was banned; livestock and farm implements were brought under collective ownership.

Under the Great Leap Forward, Mao and other party leaders ordered the implementation of a variety of unproven and unscientific new agricultural techniques by the new communes. Combined with the diversion of labor to steel production and infrastructure projects, this and cyclical natural disasters led to an approximately 15% drop in grain production in 1959 followed by a further 10% reduction in 1960 and no recovery in 1961 (Spence, 553).

In an effort to win favor with their superiors and avoid being purged, each layer in the party hierarchy exaggerated the amount of grain produced under them. Based on the fabricated success, party cadres were ordered to requisition a disproportionately high amount of the true harvest for state use primarily in the cities and urban areas but also for export. The net result, which was compounded in some areas by drought and in others by floods, was that the rural peasants were not left enough to eat and many millions starved to death in the largest famine
Famine
A famine is a widespread scarcity of food, caused by several factors including crop failure, overpopulation, or government policies. This phenomenon is usually accompanied or followed by regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, and increased mortality. Every continent in the world has...

 in human history. This famine was a direct cause of the death of some 30 million Chinese peasants between 1959 and 1962 and about the same number of births were lost or postponed. Further, many children who became emaciated and malnourished during years of hardship and struggle for survival died shortly after the Great Leap Forward came to an end in 1962 (Spence, 553).

The extent of Mao's knowledge of the severity of the situation has been disputed. According to some, most notably Dr. Li Zhisui, Mao was not aware that the situation amounted to more than a slight shortage of food and general supplies until late 1959.


"But I do not think that when he spoke on July 2, 1959, he knew how bad the disaster had become, and he believed the party was doing everything it could to manage the situation"

Hong Kong-based historian Frank Dikötter
Frank Dikötter
Frank Dikötter is a Dutch historian and author of Mao's Great Famine. The book won the 2011 Samuel Johnson Prize. Dikötter is Chair Professor of Humanities at the University of Hong Kong, where he teaches courses on both Mao and the Great Chinese Famine, and Professor of the Modern History of...

, who has sifted through well over a thousand documents in recently (2005–2009) opened Chinese local and regional party archives, challenges the notion that Mao did not know about the famine until it was too late:

"The idea that the state mistakenly took too much grain from the countryside because it assumed that the harvest was much larger than it was is largely a myth – at most partially true for the autumn of 1958 only. In most cases the party knew very well that it was starving its own people to death. At a secret meeting in the Jinjiang Hotel in Shanghai dated March 25, 1959, Mao specifically ordered the party to procure up to one third of all the grain, much more than had ever been the case. At the meeting he announced that 'When there is not enough to eat people starve to death. It is better to let half of the people die so that the other half can eat their fill.'"


In Hungry Ghosts, Jasper Becker
Jasper Becker
Jasper Becker is an author, commentator and journalist who has spent two decades as a foreign correspondent in China. - Journalism :In 1995, he joined the staff of the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post. He was later promoted to the senior position of Beijing bureau chief, which meant he was...

 notes that Mao was dismissive of reports he received of food shortages in the countryside and refused to change course, believing that peasants were lying and that rightists and kulaks were hoarding grain. He refused to open state granaries, and instead launched a series of "anti-grain concealment" drives that resulted in numerous purges and suicides. Other violent campaigns followed in which party leaders went from village to village in search of hidden food reserves, and not only grain, as Mao issued quotas for pigs, chickens, ducks and eggs. Many peasants accused of hiding food were tortured and beaten to death.

Whatever the case, the Great Leap Forward led to millions of deaths in China. Mao lost esteem among many of the top party cadres and was eventually forced to abandon the policy in 1962, also losing some political power to moderate leaders, notably Liu Shaoqi
Liu Shaoqi
Liu Shaoqi was a Chinese revolutionary, statesman, and theorist. He was Chairman of the People's Republic of China, China's head of state, from 27 April 1959 to 31 October 1968, during which he implemented policies of economic reconstruction in China...

 and Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping was a Chinese politician, statesman, and diplomat. As leader of the Communist Party of China, Deng was a reformer who led China towards a market economy...

. However, Mao and national propaganda claimed that he was only partly to blame. As a result, he was able to remain Chairman of the Communist Party, with the Presidency transferred to Liu Shaoqi.

The Great Leap Forward was a disaster for China. Although the steel quotas were officially reached, almost all of the supposed steel made in the countryside was iron, as it had been made from assorted scrap metal in home-made furnaces with no reliable source of fuel such as coal. This meant that proper smelting
Smelting
Smelting is a form of extractive metallurgy; its main use is to produce a metal from its ore. This includes iron extraction from iron ore, and copper extraction and other base metals from their ores...

 conditions could not be achieved. According to Zhang Rongmei, a geometry teacher in rural Shanghai during the Great Leap Forward:


"We took all the furniture, pots, and pans we had in our house, and all our neighbors did likewise. We put everything in a big fire and melted down all the metal."


Most of the dams, canals and other infrastructure projects, which millions of peasants and prisoners had been forced to toil on and in many cases die for, proved useless as they had been built without the input of trained engineers, whom Mao had rejected on ideological grounds.

The worst of the famine was steered towards enemies of the state, much like during the 1932–33 famine in the USSR. As Jasper Becker
Jasper Becker
Jasper Becker is an author, commentator and journalist who has spent two decades as a foreign correspondent in China. - Journalism :In 1995, he joined the staff of the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post. He was later promoted to the senior position of Beijing bureau chief, which meant he was...

 explains:


"The most vulnerable section of China's population, around five per cent, were those whom Mao called 'enemies of the people'. Anyone who had in previous campaigns of repression been labeled a 'black element' was given the lowest priority in the allocation of food. Landlords, rich peasants, former members of the nationalist regime, religious leaders, rightists, counter-revolutionaries and the families of such individuals died in the greatest numbers."


At the Lushan Conference
Lushan Conference
The Lushan Conference , officially the 8th Plenum of the Eighth Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, began on July 2, 1959 and was an informal discussion about the Great Leap Forward...

 in July/August 1959, several leaders expressed concern that the Great Leap Forward had not proved as successful as planned. The most direct of these was Minister of Defence and Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

 General Peng Dehuai
Peng Dehuai
Peng Dehuai was a prominent military leader of the Communist Party of China, and China's Defence Minister from 1954 to 1959. Peng was an important commander during the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Chinese civil war and was also the commander-in-chief of People's Volunteer Army in the Korean War...

. Mao, fearing loss of his position, orchestrated a purge of Peng and his supporters, stifling criticism of the Great Leap policies. Senior officials who reported the truth of the famine to Mao were branded as "right opportunists." A campaign against right opportunism was launched and resulted in party members and ordinary peasants being sent to camps where many would subsequently die in the famine. Years later the CPC would conclude that 6 million people were wrongly punished in the campaign.

The number of deaths by starvation during the Great Leap Forward is deeply controversial. Until the mid 1980s, when official census figures were finally published by the Chinese Government, little was known about the scale of the disaster in the Chinese countryside, as the handful of Western observers allowed access during this time had been restricted to model villages where they were deceived into believing that Great Leap Forward had been a great success. There was also an assumption that the flow of individual reports of starvation that had been reaching the West, primarily through Hong Kong and Taiwan, must be localized or exaggerated as China was continuing to claim record harvests and was a net exporter of grain through the period. Because Mao wanted to pay back early to the Soviets debts totaling 1.973 billion yuan
Chinese yuan
The yuan is the base unit of a number of modern Chinese currencies. The yuan is the primary unit of account of the Renminbi.A yuán is also known colloquially as a kuài . One yuán is divided into 10 jiǎo or colloquially máo...

 from 1960 to 1962, exports increased by 50%, and fellow Communist regimes in North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

, North Vietnam
North Vietnam
The Democratic Republic of Vietnam , was a communist state that ruled the northern half of Vietnam from 1954 until 1976 following the Geneva Conference and laid claim to all of Vietnam from 1945 to 1954 during the First Indochina War, during which they controlled pockets of territory throughout...

 and Albania were provided grain free of charge.

Censuses were carried out in China in 1953, 1964 and 1982. The first attempt to analyse this data in order to estimate the number of famine deaths was carried out by American demographer Dr Judith Banister and published in 1984. Given the lengthy gaps between the censuses and doubts over the reliability of the data, an accurate figure is difficult to ascertain. Nevertheless, Banister concluded that the official data implied that around 15 million excess deaths incurred in China during 1958–61 and that based on her modelling of Chinese demographics during the period and taking account of assumed underreporting during the famine years, the figure was around 30 million. The official statistic is 20 million deaths, as given by Hu Yaobang
Hu Yaobang
Hu Yaobang was a leader of the People's Republic of China who served as both Chairman and Party General Secretary. Hu joined the Chinese Communist Party in the 1930s, and rose to prominence as a comrade of Deng Xiaoping...

. Yang Jisheng
Yang Jisheng
Yang Jisheng is a Chinese journalist and author of Tombstone , a comprehensive account of the Great Chinese Famine during the Great Leap Forward. Yang joined the Communist Party in 1964 and graduated from Tsinghua University in 1966. He promptly joined Xinhua News Agency, where he worked until...

, a former Xinhua News Agency
Xinhua News Agency
The Xinhua News Agency is the official press agency of the government of the People's Republic of China and the biggest center for collecting information and press conferences in the PRC. It is the largest news agency in the PRC, ahead of the China News Service...

 reporter who had privileged access and connections available to no other scholars, estimates a death toll of 36 million. Frank Dikötter estimates that there were at least 45 million premature deaths attributable to the Great Leap Forward from 1958 to 1962. Various other sources have put the figure between 20 and 46 million.

On the international front, the period was dominated by the further isolation of China; Sino-Soviet split
Sino-Soviet split
In political science, the term Sino–Soviet split denotes the worsening of political and ideologic relations between the People's Republic of China and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics during the Cold War...

 resulted in Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev led the Soviet Union during part of the Cold War. He served as First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964, and as Chairman of the Council of Ministers, or Premier, from 1958 to 1964...

 withdrawing all Soviet technical experts and aid from the country. The split was triggered by arguments over the control and direction of world communism and other disputes pertaining to foreign policy. Most of the problems regarding communist unity resulted from the death of Stalin and his replacement by Khrushchev. Only Albania under the leadership of Enver Hoxha
Enver Hoxha
Enver Halil Hoxha was a Marxist–Leninist revolutionary andthe leader of Albania from the end of World War II until his death in 1985, as the First Secretary of the Party of Labour of Albania...

 openly sided with China against the Soviets, which began an alliance between the two countries which would last until the Sino-Albanian split
Sino-Albanian split
The Sino-Albanian split in 1978 saw the parting of the People's Republic of China and People's Socialist Republic of Albania, which was the only Eastern European nation to side with the PRC in the Sino–Soviet split of the early 1960s.-History:...

 after Mao's death in 1976.

Stalin had established himself as the successor of "correct" Marxist thought well before Mao controlled the Communist Party of China
Communist Party of China
The Communist Party of China , also known as the Chinese Communist Party , is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China...

, and therefore Mao never challenged the suitability of any Stalinist doctrine (at least while Stalin was alive). Upon the death of Stalin, Mao believed (perhaps because of seniority) that the leadership of the "correct" Marxist doctrine would fall to him. The resulting tension between Khrushchev (at the head of a politically/militarily superior government), and Mao (believing he had a superior understanding of Marxist ideology) eroded the previous patron-client relationship between the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
Communist Party of the Soviet Union
The Communist Party of the Soviet Union was the only legal, ruling political party in the Soviet Union and one of the largest communist organizations in the world...

 and the CPC. In China, the formerly favourable Soviets were now denounced as "revisionists" and listed alongside "American imperialism" as movements to oppose.

Partly surrounded by hostile American military bases (reaching from South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

), China was now confronted with a new Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 threat from the north and west. Both the internal crisis and the external threat called for extraordinary statesmanship from Mao, but as China entered the new decade the statesmen of the People's Republic were in hostile confrontation with each other.

At a large Communist Party conference in Beijing in January 1962, called the "Conference of the Seven Thousand," State Chairman Liu Shaoqi denounced the Great Leap Forward as responsible for widespread famine. The overwhelming majority of delegates expressed agreement, but Defense Minister Lin Biao
Lin Biao
Lin Biao was a major Chinese Communist military leader who was pivotal in the communist victory in the Chinese Civil War, especially in Northeastern China...

 staunchly defended Mao. A brief period of liberalization followed while Mao and Lin plotted a comeback. Liu and Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping was a Chinese politician, statesman, and diplomat. As leader of the Communist Party of China, Deng was a reformer who led China towards a market economy...

 rescued the economy by disbanding the people's communes, introducing elements of private control of peasant smallholdings and importing grain from Canada and Australia to mitigate the worst effects of famine.

Cultural Revolution


Mao was concerned with the nature of post 1949 China. He saw that the revolution had replaced an old elite with a new one. He was concerned that those in power were becoming estranged from the people they were supposed to serve. Mao believed that a revolution of culture would unseat and unsettle the "ruling class" and keep China in a state of 'perpetual revolution' that served the interests of the majority, not a tiny elite. Liu Shaoqi
Liu Shaoqi
Liu Shaoqi was a Chinese revolutionary, statesman, and theorist. He was Chairman of the People's Republic of China, China's head of state, from 27 April 1959 to 31 October 1968, during which he implemented policies of economic reconstruction in China...

 and Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping was a Chinese politician, statesman, and diplomat. As leader of the Communist Party of China, Deng was a reformer who led China towards a market economy...

, then the State Chairman and General Secretary, respectively, had favored the idea that Mao should be removed from actual power but maintain his ceremonial and symbolic role, with the party upholding all of his positive contributions to the revolution. They attempted to marginalize Mao by taking control of economic policy and asserting themselves politically as well. Many claim that Mao responded to Liu and Deng's movements by launching the Cultural Revolution
Cultural Revolution
The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, commonly known as the Cultural Revolution , was a socio-political movement that took place in the People's Republic of China from 1966 through 1976...

 in 1966. Some scholars, such as Mobo Gao, claim the case for this is perhaps overstated. Others, such as Frank Dikötter, hold that Mao launched the Cultural Revolution to wreak revenge on those who had dared to challenge him over the Great Leap Forward.

Believing that certain liberal bourgeois elements of society continued to threaten the socialist framework, groups of young people known as the Red Guards
Red Guards (China)
Red Guards were a mass movement of civilians, mostly students and other young people in the People's Republic of China , who were mobilized by Mao Zedong in 1966 and 1967, during the Cultural Revolution.-Origins:...

 struggled against authorities at all levels of society and even set up their own tribunals. Chaos reigned in many parts of the country, and millions were persecuted, including a famous philosopher, Chen Yuen. During the Cultural Revolution, the schools in China were closed and the young intellectuals living in cities were ordered to the countryside to be "re-educated" by the peasants, where they performed hard manual labor and other work.

The Revolution led to the destruction of much of China's traditional cultural heritage and the imprisonment of a huge number of Chinese citizens, as well as creating general economic and social chaos in the country. Millions of lives were ruined during this period, as the Cultural Revolution pierced into every part of Chinese life, depicted by such Chinese films as To Live, The Blue Kite
The Blue Kite
The Blue Kite is a film directed by Tian Zhuangzhuang in 1993. Though banned by the Chinese government upon its completion , the film soon found a receptive international audience...

 and Farewell My Concubine. It is estimated that hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, perished in the violence of the Cultural Revolution.

When Mao was informed of such losses, particularly that people had been driven to suicide, he is alleged to have commented: "People who try to commit suicide — don't attempt to save them! . . . China is such a populous nation, it is not as if we cannot do without a few people." The authorities allowed the Red Guards to abuse and kill opponents of the regime. Said Xie Fuzhi
Xie Fuzhi
Xie Fuzhi was a Communist Party of China military commander, political commissar, and national security specialist. He was born in 1909 in Hong'an County, Hubei and died in Beijing in 1972. He was married to Liu Xiangping...

, national police chief: "Don't say it is wrong of them to beat up bad persons: if in anger they beat someone to death, then so be it." As a result, in August and September 1966, there were 1,772 people murdered in Beijing alone.
It was during this period that Mao chose Lin Biao
Lin Biao
Lin Biao was a major Chinese Communist military leader who was pivotal in the communist victory in the Chinese Civil War, especially in Northeastern China...

, who seemed to echo all of Mao's ideas, to become his successor. Lin was later officially named as Mao's successor. By 1971, however, a divide between the two men became apparent. Official history in China states that Lin was planning a military coup or an assassination attempt on Mao. Lin Biao died in a plane crash over the air space of Mongolia, presumably in his way to flee China, probably anticipating his arrest. The CPC declared that Lin was planning to depose Mao, and posthumously expelled Lin from the party. At this time, Mao lost trust in many of the top CPC figures. The highest-ranking Soviet Bloc intelligence defector, Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa
Ion Mihai Pacepa
Ion Mihai Pacepa is the highest-ranking intelligence official ever to have defected from the former Eastern Bloc. He is now a United States citizen, a writer, and a columnist....

 described his conversation with Nicolae Ceauşescu
Nicolae Ceausescu
Nicolae Ceaușescu was a Romanian Communist politician. He was General Secretary of the Romanian Communist Party from 1965 to 1989, and as such was the country's second and last Communist leader...

 who told him about a plot to kill Mao Zedong with the help of Lin Biao
Lin Biao
Lin Biao was a major Chinese Communist military leader who was pivotal in the communist victory in the Chinese Civil War, especially in Northeastern China...

 organized by KGB
KGB
The KGB was the commonly used acronym for the . It was the national security agency of the Soviet Union from 1954 until 1991, and was the premier internal security, intelligence, and secret police organization during that time.The State Security Agency of the Republic of Belarus currently uses the...

.

In 1969, Mao declared the Cultural Revolution to be over, although the official history of the People's Republic of China marks the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976 with Mao's death. In the last years of his life, Mao was faced with declining health due to either Parkinson's disease
Parkinson's disease
Parkinson's disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system...

 or, according to Li Zhisui, motor neurone disease
Motor neurone disease
The motor neurone diseases are a group of neurological disorders that selectively affect motor neurones, the cells that control voluntary muscle activity including speaking, walking, breathing, swallowing and general movement of the body. They are generally progressive in nature, and can cause...

, as well as lung ailments due to smoking and heart trouble. Some also attributed Mao's decline in health to the betrayal of Lin Biao. Mao remained passive as various factions within the Communist Party mobilized for the power struggle anticipated after his death.

This period is often looked at in official circles in China and in the West as a great stagnation or even of reversal for China. While many—an estimated 100 million—did suffer, some scholars, such as Lee Feigon and Mobo Gao, claim there were many great advances, and in some sectors the Chinese economy continued to outperform the west. They actually go so far as to conclude that the Cultural Revolution period actually laid the foundation for the spectacular growth that continues in China. During the Cultural Revolution, China exploded its first H-Bomb (1967), launched the Dong Fang Hong satellite (January 30, 1970), commissioned its first nuclear submarines and made various advances in science and technology. Health care was free, and living standards in the countryside continued to improve.

Death: Mao's final week and days


Mao had been in poor health for several years and had declined visibly for at least six months prior to his death and there are unconfirmed reports that he quite possibly died from Lou Gehrig's disease.

At five o'clock in the afternoon of September 2, 1976, Mao suffered a heart attack, far more severe than his previous two and affecting a much larger area of his heart. X-rays indicated that his current lung infection had worsened, and his urine output dropped to less than 300 cc a day. Mao was awake and alert throughout the crisis and asked his team of doctors, several times, whether he was in danger. His condition continued to fluctuate and his life hung in the balance.

Three days later, on September 5, Mao's condition was still critical, and Hua Guofeng called Jiang Qing back from her trip. She spent only a few moments in Building 202 (where Mao was staying) before returning to her own residence in the Spring Lotus Chamber.

On the afternoon of September 7, Mao's condition took a turn for the worse. Jiang Qing went to Building 202 where she learned the news. Mao had just fallen asleep and needed the rest, but she insisted on rubbing his back and moving his limbs, and she sprinkled powder on his body. The medical team protested that the dust from the powder was not good for his lungs, but she instructed the nurses on duty to follow her example later. The next morning, September 8, she went again. She demanded the medical staff to change Mao's sleeping position, claiming that he had been lying too long on his left side. The doctor on duty objected, knowing that he could breathe only on his left side, but she had him moved nonetheless.

Mao's breathing stopped and his face turned blue. Jiang Qing left the room while the medical staff put him on a respirator and performed emergency cardiopulmonary resuscitation
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation is an emergency procedure which is performed in an effort to manually preserve intact brain function until further measures are taken to restore spontaneous blood circulation and breathing in a person in cardiac arrest. It is indicated in those who are unresponsive...

. Mao barely revived and Hua Guofeng
Hua Guofeng
Su Zhu, better known by the nom de guerre Hua Guofeng , was Mao Zedong's designated successor as the Paramount Leader of the Communist Party of China and the People's Republic of China. Upon Zhou Enlai's death in 1976, he succeeded Zhou as the second Premier of the People's Republic of China...

 urged Jiang Qing not to interfere further with the doctors' work, as her actions were detrimental to Mao's health and helped cause his death faster. Mao's organs were failing fast and he fell into a coma shortly before noon where he was put on life support machines. He was taken off life support over 12 hours later a few minutes after midnight on September 9, 1976. September 9 was chosen to let Mao die on because it was an easy day to remember being the ninth day of the ninth month of the calendar.

His body lay in state at the Great Hall of the People
Great Hall of the People
The Great Hall of the People is located at the western edge of Tiananmen Square, Beijing, People's Republic of China, and is used for legislative and ceremonial activities by the People's Republic of China and the Communist Party of China. It functions as the People's Republic of China's...

. A memorial service was held in Tiananmen Square
Tiananmen Square
Tiananmen Square is a large city square in the center of Beijing, China, named after the Tiananmen Gate located to its North, separating it from the Forbidden City. Tiananmen Square is the third largest city square in the world...

 on September 18, 1976. There was a three-minute silence observed during this service. His body was later placed into the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong
Mausoleum of Mao Zedong
The Chairman Mao Memorial Hall , commonly known as the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong, or the Mao Mausoleum, is the final resting place of Mao Zedong, Chairman of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China from 1943 and the chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China from 1945...

, even though he had wished to be cremated and had been one of the first high-ranking officials to sign the "Proposal that all Central Leaders be Cremated after Death" in November 1956.

As anticipated after Mao’s death, there was a power struggle for control of China. On one side was the left wing led by the Gang of Four, who wanted to continue the policy of revolutionary mass mobilization. On the other side was the right wing opposing these policies. Among the latter group, the restorationists, led by Chairman Hua Guofeng
Hua Guofeng
Su Zhu, better known by the nom de guerre Hua Guofeng , was Mao Zedong's designated successor as the Paramount Leader of the Communist Party of China and the People's Republic of China. Upon Zhou Enlai's death in 1976, he succeeded Zhou as the second Premier of the People's Republic of China...

, advocated a return to central planning along the Soviet model, whereas the reformers, led by Deng Xiaoping, wanted to overhaul the Chinese economy based on market-oriented policies and to de-emphasize the role of Maoist ideology in determining economic and political policy. Eventually, the reformers won control of the government. Deng Xiaoping, with clear seniority over Hua Guofeng, defeated Hua in a bloodless power struggle a few years later.

Legacy


In mainland China, Mao is still revered by many supporters of the Communist Party as the "Founding Father of modern China" and credited for giving "the Chinese people dignity and self-respect." Among Chinese dissidents there however, as well as among many Chinese people living in ant-Communist Taiwan and across the Chinese diaspora, Mao is often reviled as brutish ideologue. In the West his name is generally associated with tyranny and his economic theories widely discredited - though to some political activists he remains a symbol against capitalism and western influence. Even in Mainland China, key pillars of his economic theory have been largely dismantled by market reformers like Deng Xiao Ping and Zhao Ziyang
Zhao Ziyang
Zhao Ziyang was a high-ranking politician in the People's Republic of China . He was the third Premier of the People's Republic of China from 1980 to 1987, and General Secretary of the Communist Party of China from 1987 to 1989....

 who succeeded him as leaders of the Communist Party.

Though the Chinese Communist Party, which Mao led to power, has rejected in practice the economic fundamentals of much of Mao's ideology, it retains for itself many of the powers established under Mao's reign: it controls the Chinese army, police, courts and media and does not subject itself to multi-party elections. Thus it is difficult to gauge the true extent of support for Mao's Party and legacy within mainland China. For their part, the Chinese government continues to officially regard Mao as a national hero. In 2008, China opened the Mao Zedong Square to visitors in his hometown of central Hunan Province to mark the 115th anniversary of his birth.

There continue to be disagreements on Mao's legacy. Former official Su Shachi, has opined that "he was a great historical criminal, but he was also a great force for good." In a similar vein, journalist Liu Bin Yan has described Mao as "both monster and a genius." Some historians claim that Mao Zedong was "one of the great tyrants of the twentieth century", and a dictator comparable to Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 and Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

, with a death toll surpassing both. In The Black Book of Communism
The Black Book of Communism
The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression is a book authored by several European academics and edited by Stéphane Courtois, which describes a history of repressions, both political and civilian, by Communist states, including genocides, extrajudicial executions, deportations, and...

, Jean Louis Margolin writes that "Mao Zedong was so powerful that he was often known as the Red Emperor... the violence he erected into a whole system far exceeds any national tradition of violence that we might find in China." Mao was also frequently compared to China's First Emperor Qin Shi Huang
Qin Shi Huang
Qin Shi Huang , personal name Ying Zheng , was king of the Chinese State of Qin from 246 BC to 221 BC during the Warring States Period. He became the first emperor of a unified China in 221 BC...

, notorious for burying alive hundreds of scholars
Burning of books and burying of scholars
Burning of the books and burying of the scholars is a phrase that refers to a policy and a sequence of events in the Qin Dynasty of Ancient China, between the period of 213 and 206 BC. During these events, the Hundred Schools of Thought were pruned; legalism survived...

, and liked the comparison. During a speech to party cadre in 1958, Mao said he had far outdone Qin Shi Huang in his policy against intellectuals: "He buried 460 scholars alive; we have buried forty-six thousand scholars alive.... You [intellectuals] revile us for being Qin Shi Huangs. You are wrong. We have surpassed Qin Shi Huang a hundredfold." As a result of such tactics, critics have pointed out that:
Mao's English interpreter Sidney Rittenberg
Sidney Rittenberg
Sidney Rittenberg is an American journalist, interpreter and scholar who lived in China from 1944 to 1979. He worked closely with People's Republic of China founder Mao Zedong, military leader Zhu De, statesman Zhou Enlai, and other leaders of the Chinese Communist Party during the war, and was...

 wrote in his memoir The Man Who Stayed Behind that he believes Mao never intended to cause the deaths and suffering endured by people under his chairmanship. In his remarks on the matter Rittenberg has declared that Mao "was a great leader in history, and also a great criminal because, not that he wanted to, not that he intended to, but in fact, his wild fantasies led to the deaths of tens of millions of people." Li Rui
Li Rui (Communist Party of China)
Li Rui is a retired politician of the People's Republic of China from the ruling Communist Party and latterly a writer and vocal advocate of democratic reform in China.-Early career:...

, Mao's personal secretary, goes further and claims he was dismissive of the suffering and death caused by his policies: "Mao's way of thinking and governing was terrifying. He put no value on human life. The deaths of others meant nothing to him." Biographer Jung Chang
Jung Chang
Jung Chang is a Chinese-born British writer now living in London, best known for her family autobiography Wild Swans, selling over 10 million copies worldwide but banned in the People's Republic of China....

 goes further still and argues that Mao was well aware that his policies would be responsible for the deaths of millions. While discussing labor-intensive projects such as waterworks and making steel, Chang claims Mao said to his inner circle in November 1958: "Working like this, with all these projects, half of China may well have to die. If not half, one-third, or one-tenth – 50 million – die." Thomas Bernstein of Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

 argues that this quotation is taken out of context, claiming:
The Chinese original, however, is not quite as shocking. In the speech, Mao talks about massive earthmoving irrigation projects and numerous big industrial ones, all requiring huge numbers of people. If the projects, he said, are all undertaken simultaneously “half of China’s population unquestionably will die; and if it’s not half, it’ll be a third or ten percent, a death toll of 50 million people.” Mao then pointed to the example of Guangxi provincial Party secretary, Chen Manyuan (陈漫远) who had been dismissed in 1957 for failing to prevent famine in the previous year, adding: “If with a death toll of 50 million you didn’t lose your jobs, I at least should lose mine; whether I should lose my head would also be in question. Anhui wants to do so much, which is quite all right, but make it a principle to have no deaths.”

Chang and Halliday take literally Mao’s penchant for talking about mass death in highly irresponsible, provocative, callous and reckless ways, exemplified by his famous remark that in a nuclear war, half of China’s population would perish but the rest would survive and rebuild. In 1958, when ruminating about the dialectios of life and death, he thought that deaths were beneficial, for without them, there could be no renewal. Imagine, he asked, what a disaster it would be if Confucius were still alive. “When people die there ought to be celebrations.” In December 1958 he remarked that “destruction (miewang 灭亡, also to dying out) [of people] has advantages. One can make fertilizer. You say you can’t, but actually you can, but you must be spiritually prepared.” As the authors rightly note, these kinds of remarks could well have justified the indifference of lower-level cadres to peasant deaths."

The accusation that Mao deliberately exposed China’s peasants to mass death during the GLF is not, however, plausible. It is true that, in his zeal to advance, he was willing to inflict severe, sometimes extraordinary hardships on peasants. But large-scale famine threatened a core claim to legitimacy of the regime. Implicit in the communist “liberation” was the promise that China’s history of famine was a thing of the past. Thus, when Mao finally began to grasp the scope of the 1960 famine, he strongly supported corrective measures. On a more practical level, Mao was acutely sensitive to the absolute necessity of preserving the peasants’ “enthusiasm for production,” meaning that at a minimum their subsistence needs had to be met.

In sum, understanding Mao's complex and contradictory motives is a daunting undertaking.
He concludes, however, that "[Mao's] willful abdication of his duty as the country's undisputed leader makes him directly responsible for the immense catastrophe that ensued."

Jasper Becker
Jasper Becker
Jasper Becker is an author, commentator and journalist who has spent two decades as a foreign correspondent in China. - Journalism :In 1995, he joined the staff of the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post. He was later promoted to the senior position of Beijing bureau chief, which meant he was...

 and Frank Dikötter reach a different conclusion on the basis of new evidence. Becker notes that "archive material gathered by Dikötter... confirms that far from being ignorant or misled about the famine, the Chinese leadership were kept informed about it all the time. And he exposes the extent of the violence used against the peasants":

Mass killings are not usually associated with Mao and the Great Leap Forward, and China continues to benefit from a more favourable comparison with Cambodia or the Soviet Union. But as fresh and abundant archival evidence shows, coercion, terror and systematic violence were the foundation of the Great Leap, and between 1958 to 1962, by a rough approximation, some 6 to 8 per cent of those who died were tortured to death or summarily killed — amounting to at least 3 million victims.

Countless others were deliberately deprived of food and starved to death. Many more vanished because they were too old, weak or sick to work — and hence unable to earn their keep. People were killed selectively because they had the wrong class background, because they dragged their feet, because they spoke out or simply because they were not liked, for whatever reason, by the man who wielded the ladle in the canteen.


Dikötter argues that CPC leaders "glorified violence and were inured to massive loss of life. And all of them shared an ideology in which the end justified the means. In 1962, having lost millions of people in his province, Li Jingquan compared the Great Leap Forward to the Long March
Long March
The Long March was a massive military retreat undertaken by the Red Army of the Communist Party of China, the forerunner of the People's Liberation Army, to evade the pursuit of the Kuomintang army. There was not one Long March, but a series of marches, as various Communist armies in the south...

 in which only one in ten had made it to the end: 'We are not weak, we are stronger, we have kept the backbone.'"

Regarding the large-scale irrigation projects, Dikötter stresses that, in spite of Mao being in a good position to see the human cost, they continued unabated for several years, and ultimately claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of exhausted villagers. He also notes that "In a chilling precursor of Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, villagers in Qingshui and Gansu called these projects the 'killing fields'."

The United States placed a trade embargo on the People's Republic as a result of its involvement in the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

, lasting until Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

 decided that developing relations with the PRC would be useful in dealing with the Soviet Union.

Mao's military writings continue to have a large amount of influence both among those who seek to create an insurgency and those who seek to crush one, especially in manners of guerrilla warfare, at which Mao is popularly regarded as a genius. As an example, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) followed Mao's examples of guerrilla warfare to considerable political and military success even in the 21st century. Mao's major contribution to the military science is his theory of People's War, with not only guerrilla warfare but more importantly, Mobile Warfare
Mobile Warfare
Mobile Warfare is the correct English term for Mao Zedong's main military methods. For the general topic of military mobility, see maneuver warfare....

 methodologies. Mao had successfully applied Mobile Warfare in the Korean War, and was able to encircle, push back and then halt the UN forces in Korea, despite the clear superiority of UN firepower. Mao also gave the impression that he might even welcome a nuclear war. Soviet historians have written that Mao believed his country could survive a nuclear war, even if it lost 300 million people.

"Let us imagine how many people would die if war breaks out. There are 2.7 billion people in the world, and a third could be lost. If it is a little higher it could be half ... I say that if the worst came to the worst and one-half dies, there will still be one-half left, but imperialism would be razed to the ground and the whole world would become socialist. After a few years there would be 2.7 billion people again"


But historians dispute the sincerity of Mao's words. Robert Service
Robert Service (historian)
Robert John Service is a British historian, academic, and author who has written extensively on the history of Soviet Russia, particularly the era from the October Revolution to Stalin's death...

 says that Mao "was deadly serious," while Frank Dikötter claims that "He was bluffing... the sabre-rattling was to show that he, not Khrushchev, was the more determined revolutionary."

Mao's poems and writings are frequently cited by both Chinese and non-Chinese. The official Chinese translation of President Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

's inauguration speech used a famous line from one of Mao's poems. John McCain
John McCain
John Sidney McCain III is the senior United States Senator from Arizona. He was the Republican nominee for president in the 2008 United States election....

 misattributed a campaign quote to Mao several times during his 2008 presidential election bid, saying "Remember the words of Chairman Mao: 'It's always darkest before it's totally black.'"

The ideology of Maoism has influenced many communists, mainly in the Third World
Third World
The term Third World arose during the Cold War to define countries that remained non-aligned with either capitalism and NATO , or communism and the Soviet Union...

, including revolutionary movements such as Cambodia
Cambodia
Cambodia , officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia...

's Khmer Rouge
Khmer Rouge
The Khmer Rouge literally translated as Red Cambodians was the name given to the followers of the Communist Party of Kampuchea, who were the ruling party in Cambodia from 1975 to 1979, led by Pol Pot, Nuon Chea, Ieng Sary, Son Sen and Khieu Samphan...

, Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

's Shining Path
Shining Path
Shining Path is a Maoist guerrilla terrorist organization in Peru. The group never refers to itself as "Shining Path", and as several other Peruvian groups, prefers to be called the "Communist Party of Peru" or "PCP-SL" in short...

, and the Nepalese revolutionary movement. Under the influence of Mao's agrarian socialism and Cultural Revolution
Cultural Revolution
The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, commonly known as the Cultural Revolution , was a socio-political movement that took place in the People's Republic of China from 1966 through 1976...

, Cambodia's Pol Pot
Pol Pot
Saloth Sar , better known as Pol Pot, , was a Cambodian Maoist revolutionary who led the Khmer Rouge from 1963 until his death in 1998. From 1976 to 1979, he served as the Prime Minister of Democratic Kampuchea....

 conceived of his disastrous Year Zero
Year Zero (political notion)
The term Year Zero, applied to the takeover of Cambodia in 1975 by Pol Pot, is an analogy to the Year One of the French Revolutionary Calendar. During the French Revolution, after the abolition of the French monarchy , the National Convention instituted a new calendar and declared the beginning of...

 policies which purged the nation of its teachers, artists and intellectuals and emptied its cities, resulting in the Cambodian Genocide.

Mao rescued the outgunned North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

n regime of Communist Dictator Kim Il Sung during the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

 by sending in Chinese troops against United Nations troops advancing up the peninsula, following North Korea's failed invasion of South Korea. The conflict remains unresolved and North Korea, now in dire economic straits and subject to famine and political repression, is still under the rule of Kim family.

The Revolutionary Communist Party, USA
Revolutionary Communist Party, USA
The Revolutionary Communist Party, USA , known originally as the Revolutionary Union, is a Maoist Communist party formed in 1975 in the United States. The RCP states that U.S...

 also claims Marxism-Leninism-Maoism as its ideology, as do other Communist Parties around the world which are part of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement
Revolutionary Internationalist Movement
The defunct Revolutionary Internationalist Movement was an international Communist organization which upheld a version of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism founded in 1984 sought to "struggle for the formation of a Communist International of a new type, based on Marxism-Leninism-Maoism"...

. China itself has moved sharply away from Maoism since Mao's death, and most people outside of China who describe themselves as Maoist regard the Deng Xiaoping reforms to be a betrayal of Maoism, in line with Mao's view of "Capitalist roader
Capitalist roader
In Maoist thought, a capitalist roader or is a person or group who demonstrates a marked tendency to bow to pressure from Bourgeois forces and subsequently attempts to pull the Revolution in a capitalist direction....

s" within the Communist Party.

As the Chinese government instituted free market economic reforms starting in the late 1970s and as later Chinese leaders took power, less recognition was given to the status of Mao. This accompanied a decline in state recognition of Mao in later years in contrast to previous years when the state organized numerous events and seminars commemorating Mao's 100th birthday. Nevertheless, the Chinese government has never officially repudiated the tactics of Mao. Deng Xiaoping, who was opposed to the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, has to a certain extent rejected Mao's legacy, famously saying that Mao was "70% right and 30% wrong".

In the mid-1990s, Mao Zedong's picture began to appear on all new renminbi
Renminbi
The Renminbi is the official currency of the People's Republic of China . Renminbi is legal tender in mainland China, but not in Hong Kong or Macau. It is issued by the People's Bank of China, the monetary authority of the PRC...

 currency from the People’s Republic of China. This was officially instituted as an anti-counterfeiting measure as Mao's face is widely recognized in contrast to the generic figures that appear in older currency. On March 13, 2006, a story in the People's Daily
People's Daily
The People's Daily is a daily newspaper in the People's Republic of China. The paper is an organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China , published worldwide with a circulation of 3 to 4 million. In addition to its main Chinese-language edition, it has editions in English,...

 reported that a proposal had been made to print the portraits of Sun Yat-sen
Sun Yat-sen
Sun Yat-sen was a Chinese doctor, revolutionary and political leader. As the foremost pioneer of Nationalist China, Sun is frequently referred to as the "Father of the Nation" , a view agreed upon by both the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China...

 and Deng Xiaoping.

In 2006, the government in Shanghai issued a new set of high school history textbooks which omit Mao, with the exception of a single mention in a section on etiquette. Students in Shanghai now only learn about Mao in junior high school.

Public image


Mao gave contradicting statements on the subject of personality cults. In 1955, as a response to the Khrushchev Report that criticized Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

, Mao stated that personality cults are "poisonous ideological survivals of the old society", and reaffirmed China's commitment to collective leadership
Collective leadership
Collective leadership or Collectivity of leadership , was considered an ideal form of governance in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics...

. But at the 1958 Party congress in Chengdu, Mao expressed support for the personality cults of genuinely worthy figures; not those that expressed "blind worship".

In 1962, Mao proposed the Socialist Education Movement (SEM) in an attempt to educate the peasants to resist the "temptations" of feudalism and the sprouts of capitalism that he saw re-emerging in the countryside from Liu's economic reforms. Large quantities of politicized art were produced and circulated — with Mao at the center. Numerous posters, badges
Chairman Mao badge
Chairman Mao badge is the name given to a type of pin badge displaying an image of Mao Zedong that was ubiquitous in the People's Republic of China during the early period of the Cultural Revolution, from 1966 to 1971. The term is also used for badges associated with Mao that do not actually have...

 and musical compositions referenced Mao in the phrase "Chairman Mao is the red sun in our hearts" and a "Savior of the people" .

In October 1966, Mao's Quotations From Chairman Mao Tse-Tung, which was known as the Little Red Book was published. Party members were encouraged to carry a copy with them and possession was almost mandatory as a criterion for membership. Over the years, Mao's image became displayed almost everywhere, present in homes, offices and shops. His quotations were typographically emphasized
Emphasis (typography)
In typography, emphasis is the exaggeration of words in a text with a font in a different style from the rest of the text—to emphasize them.- Methods and use :...

 by putting them in boldface or red type in even the most obscure writings. Music from the period emphasized Mao's stature, as did children's rhymes. The phrase "Long Live Chairman Mao for ten thousand years
Ten thousand years
The use of the phrase "ten thousand years" in various East Asian languages originated in ancient China as an expression used to wish long life to the Emperor, and is typically translated as "long live" in English...

" was commonly heard during the era, which was traditionally a phrase reserved for the reigning Emperor
Emperor of China
The Emperor of China refers to any sovereign of Imperial China reigning between the founding of Qin Dynasty of China, united by the King of Qin in 221 BCE, and the fall of Yuan Shikai's Empire of China in 1916. When referred to as the Son of Heaven , a title that predates the Qin unification, the...

.
Mao also has a presence in China and around the world in popular culture, where his face adorns everything from t-shirts to coffee cups. Mao's granddaughter, Kong Dongmei, defended the phenomenon, stating that "it shows his influence, that he exists in people's consciousness and has influenced several generations of Chinese people's way of life. Just like Che Guevara's image
Che Guevara in popular culture
Appearances of Argentine Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara in popular culture are common throughout the world. Although during his lifetime he was a highly politicized and controversial figure, in death his stylized image has been transformed into a worldwide emblem for an array of causes,...

, his has become a symbol of revolutionary culture." Since 1950, over 40 million people have visited Mao's birthplace in Shaoshan
Shaoshan
Shaoshan is a county-level city in Xiangtan, Hunan Province, noted as the birthplace of Mao Zedong, founder of the People's Republic of China. Shaoshan was an important base during the Chinese Communist Revolution....

, Hunan.

Ancestors


His ancestors were:
  • Mao Yichang (毛贻昌, born Xiangtan
    Xiangtan
    Xiangtan is a city in China's Hunan Province that is located on the lower reaches of Xiang river. The hometowns of several founding leaders of the Chinese Communist Party, including Mao Zedong, Liu Shaoqi, and Peng Dehuai are in the Xiangtan Municipal District, as well as the hometowns of Qing...

     October 15, 1870, died Shaoshan
    Shaoshan
    Shaoshan is a county-level city in Xiangtan, Hunan Province, noted as the birthplace of Mao Zedong, founder of the People's Republic of China. Shaoshan was an important base during the Chinese Communist Revolution....

     January 23, 1920), father, courtesy name Mao Shunsheng (毛顺生) or also known as Mao Jen-sheng
  • Wen Qimei (文七妹, born Xiangxiang 1867, died October 5, 1919), mother. She was illiterate and a devout Buddhist. She was a descendant of Wen Tianxiang
    Wen Tianxiang
    Wen Tianxiang , Duke of Xinguo, was a scholar-general in the last years of the Southern Song Dynasty. For his resistance to Kublai Khan's invasion of the Song, and for his refusal to yield to the Yuan Dynasty despite being captured and tortured, he is a popular symbol of patriotism and...

    .
  • Mao Enpu (毛恩普, born May 22, 1846, died November 23, 1904), paternal grandfather
  • Lady Luo (罗氏), paternal grandmother
  • Mao Zuren (毛祖人), paternal great-grandfather

Wives


Mao Zedong had several wives who contributed to a large family. These were:
  1. Luo Yixiu
    Luo Yixiu
    Luó Yīxiù was the first wife of Mao Zedong from 1907 until her death in 1910. She was from the town of Shaoshan, Hunan province, China.It was an arranged marriage, but Mao was far too ambitious to simply settle down to the normal life of a farmer and family man. He insisted on leaving the area in...

     (罗一秀, October 20, 1889–1910) of Shaoshan
    Shaoshan
    Shaoshan is a county-level city in Xiangtan, Hunan Province, noted as the birthplace of Mao Zedong, founder of the People's Republic of China. Shaoshan was an important base during the Chinese Communist Revolution....

    : married 1907 to 1910
  2. Yang Kaihui
    Yang Kaihui
    Yáng Kāihuì , who was the second wife of Mao Zedong from 1920 to 1930, was born in a small village named Bancang, in Changsha, Hunan Province, on November 6, 1901. She had three children with Mao Zedong, named Mao Anying, Mao Anqing, and Mao Anlong...

     (杨开慧, 1901–1930) of Changsha: married 1921 to 1927, executed by the KMT in 1930; mother to Mao Anying
    Mao Anying
    Mao Anying was the eldest son of Mao Zedong and Yang Kaihui. Educated in Moscow, he was killed in action by an air strike during the Korean War.-Early life:...

    , Mao Anqing
    Mao Anqing
    Mao Anqing was the last known surviving son of Mao Zedong. He was the second son of Chairman Mao and his wife, Yang Kaihui. He lived his life in the shadow of his father, and suffered from a mental illness...

    , and Mao Anlong
  3. He Zizhen
    He Zizhen
    He Zizhen was the third wife of Mao Zedong from May 1930 to 1937.- Biography :He Zizhen was born in Yunshan , Jiangxi, during Qing Dynasty China, and joined the Communist Youth League in 1925. She graduated from the Yongxin Girls' School and joined the Communist Party of China in 1926...

     (贺子珍, 1910–1984) of Jiangxi: married May 1928 to 1939; mother to Mao Anhong, Li Min
    Li Min
    Li Min , original name Mao Jiaojiao , is the daughter of Mao Zedong, former chairman of the Chinese Communist Party and the Peoples' Republic of China and his second wife, He Zizhen...

    , and four other children
  4. Jiang Qing
    Jiang Qing
    Jiang Qing was the pseudonym that was used by Chinese leader Mao Zedong's last wife and major Communist Party of China power figure. She went by the stage name Lan Ping during her acting career, and was known by various other names during her life...

    : (江青, 1914–1991), married 1939 to Mao's death; mother to Li Na
    Li Na (daughter of Mao Zedong)
    Li Na , or Li Ne, is the daughter of Mao Zedong and his fourth wife Jiang Qing, and their only child together. Her surname is Li rather than Mao, because her father used the pseudonym "Li Desheng" for a period of time during the Chinese Civil War....


Siblings


He had several siblings:
  • Mao Zemin
    Mao Zemin
    Mao Zemin , also using Zhoubin as his alias, was born in Xiangtan, Hunan province. He was the head of the state bank of the Red State in Ruijin and also the Minister of National Economic Department. He was a younger brother of Mao Zedong , and joined the Communist Party of China early on...

     (毛泽民, 1895–1943), younger brother, executed by a warlord
  • Mao Zetan
    Mao Zetan
    Máo Zétán was the younger one of Mao Zedong's two brothers. He joined the Communist Party of China in 1923. In 1927, he participated in the Nanchang Uprising, retreating with the Communists to the Jinggang Mountains at its completion...

     (毛泽覃, 1905–1935), younger brother, executed by the KMT
  • Mao Zejian (毛泽建, 1905–1929), adopted sister, executed by the KMT

Mao Zedong's parents altogether had six sons and two daughters. Two of the sons and both daughters died young, leaving the three brothers Mao Zedong, Mao Zemin, and Mao Zetan. Like all three of Mao Zedong's wives, Mao Zemin and Mao Zetan were communists. Like Yang Kaihui, both Zemin and Zetan were killed in warfare during Mao Zedong's lifetime.

Note that the character ze (泽) appears in all of the siblings' given names. This is a common Chinese naming convention.

From the next generation, Zemin's son, Mao Yuanxin
Mao Yuanxin
Mao Yuanxin was the liaison between Chinese leader Mao Zedong and the Communist Party's Central Committee in the former's ailing years, when he was no longer able to regularly attend political functions...

, was raised by Mao Zedong's family. He became Mao Zedong's liaison with the Politburo in 1975. Sources like Li Zhisui (The Private Life of Chairman Mao
The Private Life of Chairman Mao
The Private Life of Chairman Mao: The Memoirs of Mao's Personal Physician is a memoir by Li Zhisui, one of the physicians to the former Chinese leader Mao Zedong, which was first published in 1994. Li had emigrated to the United States in the years after Mao's death...

) say that he played a role in the final power-struggles.

Children


Mao Zedong had a total of ten children, including:
  • Mao Anying
    Mao Anying
    Mao Anying was the eldest son of Mao Zedong and Yang Kaihui. Educated in Moscow, he was killed in action by an air strike during the Korean War.-Early life:...

     (毛岸英, 1922–1950): son to Yang, married to Liu Siqi (刘思齐), who was born Liu Songlin (刘松林), killed in action
    Killed in action
    Killed in action is a casualty classification generally used by militaries to describe the deaths of their own forces at the hands of hostile forces. The United States Department of Defense, for example, says that those declared KIA need not have fired their weapons but have been killed due to...

     during the Korean War
    Korean War
    The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

  • Mao Anqing
    Mao Anqing
    Mao Anqing was the last known surviving son of Mao Zedong. He was the second son of Chairman Mao and his wife, Yang Kaihui. He lived his life in the shadow of his father, and suffered from a mental illness...

     (毛岸青, 1923–2007): son to Yang, married to Shao Hua
    Shao Hua
    Shao Hua , formerly known as Zhang Shao Hua , born Chen Anyun , was a Chinese photographer and a major general in the People's Liberation Army...

     (邵华), son Mao Xinyu
    Mao Xinyu
    Mao Xinyu , born Saturday, January 17, 1970, is a Chinese historian and military officer, and grandson of Mao Zedong.-Career:Mao Xinyu graduated from the History Department of Renmin University of China in 1992. He works as a researcher at the People's Liberation Army Academy of Military Sciences,...

     (毛新宇), grandson Mao Dongdong
  • Mao Anlong (1927–1931): son to Yang, died during the Chinese Civil War
    Chinese Civil War
    The Chinese Civil War was a civil war fought between the Kuomintang , the governing party of the Republic of China, and the Communist Party of China , for the control of China which eventually led to China's division into two Chinas, Republic of China and People's Republic of...

  • Mao Anhong (b. 1932): son to He, left to Mao's younger brother Zetan
    Mao Zetan
    Máo Zétán was the younger one of Mao Zedong's two brothers. He joined the Communist Party of China in 1923. In 1927, he participated in the Nanchang Uprising, retreating with the Communists to the Jinggang Mountains at its completion...

     and then to one of Zetan's guards when he went off to war, was never heard of again
  • Li Min
    Li Min
    Li Min , original name Mao Jiaojiao , is the daughter of Mao Zedong, former chairman of the Chinese Communist Party and the Peoples' Republic of China and his second wife, He Zizhen...

     (李敏, b. 1936): daughter to He, married to Kong Linghua (孔令华), son Kong Ji'ning (孔继宁), daughter Kong Dongmei (孔冬梅)
  • Li Na
    Li Na (daughter of Mao Zedong)
    Li Na , or Li Ne, is the daughter of Mao Zedong and his fourth wife Jiang Qing, and their only child together. Her surname is Li rather than Mao, because her father used the pseudonym "Li Desheng" for a period of time during the Chinese Civil War....

     (李讷, Pinyin: Lĭ Nà, b. 1940): daughter to Jiang (whose birth given name was Li, a name also used by Mao while evading the KMT), married to Wang Jingqing (王景清), son Wang Xiaozhi (王效芝)


Mao's first and second daughters were left to local villagers because it was too dangerous to raise them while fighting the Kuomintang
Kuomintang
The Kuomintang of China , sometimes romanized as Guomindang via the Pinyin transcription system or GMD for short, and translated as the Chinese Nationalist Party is a founding and ruling political party of the Republic of China . Its guiding ideology is the Three Principles of the People, espoused...

 and later the Japanese. Their youngest daughter (born in early 1938 in Moscow after Mao separated) and one other child (born 1933) died in infancy. Two English researchers who retraced the entire Long March route in 2002–2003 located a woman whom they believe might well be one of the missing children abandoned by Mao to peasants in 1935. Ed Jocelyn and Andrew McEwen hope a member of the Mao family will respond to requests for a DNA test.

Personal life


There are few academic sources discussing Mao's private life, which was very secretive at the time of his rule. However, after Mao's death, his personal physician Li Zhisui
Li Zhisui
Li Zhisui was Mao Zedong's personal physician and confidante. After immigrating to the United States, he wrote a biography of his experiences with Mao entitled The Private Life of Chairman Mao .Weeks after he announced on a TV interview that he was going to write another memoir, Li died of a...

 published a memoir of unique insight into Mao's private life: The Private Life of Chairman Mao
The Private Life of Chairman Mao
The Private Life of Chairman Mao: The Memoirs of Mao's Personal Physician is a memoir by Li Zhisui, one of the physicians to the former Chinese leader Mao Zedong, which was first published in 1994. Li had emigrated to the United States in the years after Mao's death...

, which claims that Mao chain smoked cigarettes, never bathed or brushed his teeth, rarely got out of bed, was addicted to sleeping pills and had a large number of sexual partners from whom he contracted venereal disease.

Having grown up in Hunan
Hunan
' is a province of South-Central China, located to the south of the middle reaches of the Yangtze River and south of Lake Dongting...

, Mao spoke Mandarin
Standard Mandarin
Standard Chinese or Modern Standard Chinese, also known as Mandarin or Putonghua, is the official language of the People's Republic of China and Republic of China , and is one of the four official languages of Singapore....

 with a heavy Xiang Chinese accent that is very pronounced on recordings of his speeches.

Writings and calligraphy


Mao was a prolific writer of political and philosophical literature. He is the attributed author of Quotations From Chairman Mao Tse-Tung, known in the West as the "Little Red Book" and in Cultural Revolution China as the "Red Treasure Book" (红宝书): this is a collection of short extracts from his speeches and articles, edited by Lin Biao
Lin Biao
Lin Biao was a major Chinese Communist military leader who was pivotal in the communist victory in the Chinese Civil War, especially in Northeastern China...

 and ordered topically. Mao wrote several other philosophical treatises, both before and after he assumed power. These include:
  • On Guerrilla Warfare
    On Guerrilla Warfare
    On Guerrilla Warfare is Mao Zedong’s case for the extensive use of an irregular form of warfare in which small groups of combatants use mobile military tactics in the forms of ambushes and raids to combat a larger and less mobile formal army...

     (《游击战》); 1937
  • On Practice (《实践论》); 1937
  • On Contradiction (《矛盾论》); 1937
  • On Protracted War
    On Protracted War
    On Protracted War is a work comprising a series of speeches by Mao Zedong given from May 26 to June 3, 1938, at the Yenan Association for the Study of the War of Resistance Against Japan...

     (《论持久战》); 1938
  • In Memory of Norman Bethune (《纪念白求恩》); 1939
  • On New Democracy
    New Democracy
    New Democracy or the New Democratic Revolution is a Maoist concept based on Mao Zedong's "Bloc of Four Social Classes" theory during post-revolutionary China which argues that democracy in China will take a decisively distinct path from either the liberal capitalist and/or parliamentary democratic...

     (《新民主主义论》); 1940
  • Talks at the Yan'an Forum on Literature and Art (《在延安文艺座谈会上的讲话》); 1942
  • Serve the People
    Serve the People
    "Serve the People" or "Service for the People" is a political slogan which first appeared in Mao-era China. It originates from the title of a speech by Mao Zedong, delivered on September 8, 1944. The slogan was also widely used in the United States by students and youth during the Asian American...

     (《为人民服务》); 1944
  • The Foolish Old Man Who Removed the Mountains (《愚公移山》); 1945
  • On the Correct Handling of the Contradictions Among the People (《正确处理人民内部矛盾问题》); 1957


Mao was also a skilled Chinese calligrapher with a highly personal style. In China, Mao was considered a master calligrapher during his lifetime. His calligraphy can be seen today throughout mainland China. His work gave rise to a new form of Chinese calligraphy called "Mao-style" or Maoti, which has gained increasing popularity since his death. There currently exist various competitions specializing in Mao-style calligraphy.

Literary works


Politics aside, Mao is considered one of modern China's most influential literary figures, and was a prolific poet, mainly in the classical ci
Ci (poetry)
Ci is a kind of lyric Classical Chinese poetry using a poetic meter based upon certain patterns of fixed-rhythm formal types. For speakers of English, the word "ci" is pronounced somewhat like "tsuh"...

 and shi
Shi (poetry)
Shi is the Chinese word for "poetry" or "poem", anciently associated with Chinese poetry. In modern times, shi can and has been used as an umbrella term to mean poetry in any form or language, whether or not Chinese; but, it may imply or be used to refer certain classical forms of poetry, for...

 forms. His poems are all in the traditional Chinese verse style.

As did most Chinese intellectuals of his generation, Mao received a rigorous education in Chinese classical literature. His style was deeply influenced by the great Tang Dynasty
Tang Dynasty
The Tang Dynasty was an imperial dynasty of China preceded by the Sui Dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period. It was founded by the Li family, who seized power during the decline and collapse of the Sui Empire...

 poets Li Bai
Li Bai
Li Bai , also known in the West by various other transliterations, especially Li Po, was a major Chinese poet of the Tang dynasty poetry period. He has been regarded as one of the greatest poets in China's Tang period, which is often called China's "golden age" of poetry. Around a thousand existing...

 and Li He
Li He
Li He , courtesy name Changji , was a short-lived Chinese poet of the late Tang Dynasty, known for his unconventional and imaginative style.-Biography:...

. He is considered to be a romantic
Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

 poet, in contrast to the realist
Literary realism
Literary realism most often refers to the trend, beginning with certain works of nineteenth-century French literature and extending to late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century authors in various countries, towards depictions of contemporary life and society "as they were." In the spirit of...

 poets represented by Du Fu
Du Fu
Du Fu was a prominent Chinese poet of the Tang Dynasty.Along with Li Bai , he is frequently called the greatest of the Chinese poets. His greatest ambition was to serve his country as a successful civil servant, but he proved unable to make the necessary accommodations...

.

Many of Mao's poems are still popular in China and a few are taught as a mandatory part of the elementary school curriculum. Some of his most well-known poems are: Changsha
Changsha (poem)
Changsha is a poem written by Mao Zedong in 1925. It is considered by many Chinese to be of high literary quality and one of the best of Mao's poems.-External link:*....

 (1925), The Double Ninth (1929.10), Loushan Pass (1935), The Long March (1935), Snow (1936), The PLA Captures Nanjing (1949), Reply to Li Shuyi (1957.05.11), and Ode to the Plum Blossom (1961.12).

See also


  • Maoism
    Maoism
    Maoism, also known as the Mao Zedong Thought , is claimed by Maoists as an anti-Revisionist form of Marxist communist theory, derived from the teachings of the Chinese political leader Mao Zedong . Developed during the 1950s and 1960s, it was widely applied as the political and military guiding...

  • Mao suit
    Mao suit
    The modern Chinese tunic suit is a style of male attire known in China as the Zhongshan suit , and known in the West as the Mao suit...

  • Chairman Mao badge
    Chairman Mao badge
    Chairman Mao badge is the name given to a type of pin badge displaying an image of Mao Zedong that was ubiquitous in the People's Republic of China during the early period of the Cultural Revolution, from 1966 to 1971. The term is also used for badges associated with Mao that do not actually have...

  • Mao's Little Red Book
  • Poetry of Mao Zedong
    Poetry of Mao Zedong
    Mao Zedong , the first Chairman of the Communist Party of China and leader of the People's Republic of China for nearly 30 years, wrote poetry, much of it at the time of the Red Army's epic retreat during the Long March of 1934-1936....

  • Mausoleum of Mao Zedong
    Mausoleum of Mao Zedong
    The Chairman Mao Memorial Hall , commonly known as the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong, or the Mao Mausoleum, is the final resting place of Mao Zedong, Chairman of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China from 1943 and the chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China from 1945...


  • Mao Tse-tung: Ruler of Red China
    Mao Tse-tung: Ruler of Red China
    Mao Tse-tung: Ruler of Red China by Robert Payne, Schuman, 1950 This book was published shortly after Mao came to power. Fifteen years before the Cultural Revolution, he anticipated Mao's wider interests:...

  • The Private Life of Chairman Mao
    The Private Life of Chairman Mao
    The Private Life of Chairman Mao: The Memoirs of Mao's Personal Physician is a memoir by Li Zhisui, one of the physicians to the former Chinese leader Mao Zedong, which was first published in 1994. Li had emigrated to the United States in the years after Mao's death...

  • Mao: The Unknown Story
    Mao: The Unknown Story
    Mao: The Unknown Story is a 2005 biography of Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong written by the husband and wife team of writer Jung Chang and historian Jon Halliday, and depicts Mao as being responsible for more deaths in peacetime than Adolf Hitler or Joseph Stalin.In conducting their research...

  • Mao's Great Famine
    Mao's Great Famine
    Mao's Great Famine: The History of China's Most Devastating Catastrophe, 1958–62, is a 2010 book by professor and historian Frank Dikötter about the Great Chinese Famine of 1958–1962....

  • Hungry Ghosts: Mao's Secret Famine
    Hungry Ghosts: Mao's Secret Famine
    Hungry Ghosts: Mao's Secret Famine, is a book written by Jasper Becker, Beijing bureau chief for the South China Morning Post. It was published by Holt Paperbacks in 1998.-External links:**** The Future of Freedom Foundation...

  • Mao Xinyu
    Mao Xinyu
    Mao Xinyu , born Saturday, January 17, 1970, is a Chinese historian and military officer, and grandson of Mao Zedong.-Career:Mao Xinyu graduated from the History Department of Renmin University of China in 1992. He works as a researcher at the People's Liberation Army Academy of Military Sciences,...

  • Shaoxing wine
    Shaoxing wine
    Shaoxing wine is one of the most famous varieties of huangjiu, or traditional Chinese wines, fermented from rice. It originates from the region of Shaoxing, in the Zhejiang province of eastern China. It is both drunk as a beverage as well as widely used in Chinese cuisine...



Further reading


  • Cheek, Timothy, ed. Mao Zedong and China's Revolutions: A Brief History with Documents (The Bedford Series in History and Culture. NY: Palgrave, 2002).
  • Cheek, Timothy, ed.A Critical Introduction to Mao (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010 ISBN 9780521884624).
  • Dikötter, Frank. Mao's Great Famine
    Mao's Great Famine
    Mao's Great Famine: The History of China's Most Devastating Catastrophe, 1958–62, is a 2010 book by professor and historian Frank Dikötter about the Great Chinese Famine of 1958–1962....

    : The History of China's Most Devastating Catastrophe, 1958–62. Walker & Company, 2010. ISBN 0802777686
  • Chinese Writers on Writing featuring Mao Zedong. Ed. Arthur Sze
    Arthur Sze
    Arthur Sze is a second-generation Chinese American poet.-Background:Sze was educated at the University of California, Berkeley, and is the author of eight books of poetry...

    . (Trinity University Press, 2010).


Annotated writings




External links


General

Commentary
|-
|-
|-
|-
|-
|-
|-
|-
|-
|-