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More than one million people gather at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing for the funeral of Mao Zedong, the leader of the Chinese Communist Party and chairman of the People’s Republic of China since 1949.
Mao, who died on September 9, 1976, at the age of 82, was born on December 26, 1893, to a peasant family in the Hunan province of central China. Trained to be a teacher, he helped found the Chinese Communist Party in 1921. After they claimed victory in a civil war with the nationalist party following WWII, Mao founded the People’s Republic of China and became its leader.
During an eight-day mourning period after his death, more than 1 million people paid their respects, as Mao’s body, in a flag-draped coffin, lay in state. At the start of the 30-minute public funeral in Tiananmen Square, a three-minute moment of silence was observed in honor of the leader, with reports that nearly all of China’s 800 million residents stood in silent tribute.
The ceremony included music from an army band that played a funeral march, China’s national anthem and the Communist “Internationale” and was televised live to the nation, which was a Chinese broadcast first. No foreign leaders were allowed to attend the service or the mourning period.
Hua Guofeng, China premier and Communist party first vice chairman who served as Mao’s immediate successor, delivered the eulogy. "It was under Chairman Mao's leadership that the disaster-plagued Chinese nation rose to its feet," he said. "The Chinese people love, trust and esteem Chairman Mao from the bottom of their hearts.”
READ MORE: What Was Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution?
The Messed Up Truth Of Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong: The Communist revolutionary and founding father of the People's Republic of China. The man who dragged "The Middle Kingdom" kicking and screaming into his particular brand of The Future, which sometimes involved plenty of actual kicking and screaming. As the New York Review of Books tells us, he was a tyrant whose policies and decisions caused the deaths of an estimated 42.5 million people . though the Los Angeles Times estimates the figure could be as high as 80 million people, which incidentally means his death toll may well be higher than Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler put together.
While most people are at least passingly familiar with the atrocities of Hitler and Stalin, there's a possibility you may have missed the ones Chairman Mao committed. After all, he did his thing in "distant" China, and thus avoids being mentioned in some of the more Europe-centric history writings. Let's fix that by taking a long, hard look at the messed up truth of Mao Zedong.
10 Horrible Facts About Mao Zedong’s Policies and His Personal Life
Mao Zedong, founding father of the People’s Republic of China, is known for holding a very grim record. His tenure as Chairman of the Communist Party of China has the most incidences of excess mortality in human history. Through executions, purges, and forced labor, it’s estimated up to 70 million people died. He’s also known for developing a cult of personality where his image was worshiped, books of his quotations were mass produced, and he was referred to as “the Great Leader Chairman Mao.”
Lesser known is that Mao was also responsible for some very strange policies and downright shocking behavior in his personal life, as you’ll see in this list of 10 horrible facts about Mao.
1. In 1962, Mao started a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl. She was a member of the Chinese Air Force’s cultural troupe which performed to entertain Mao and other high-ranking officials. In 1971, the girl told her parents about the relationship which led her father to write an angry letter to Mao. The letter was returned by a postal worker who warned it could earn the father a death sentence.
Image source: Wall Street Journal
The relationship between the girl and Mao lasted five years. Before the father learned about the relationship, he had been a Mao supporter and was proud of his daughter for entertaining the Chairman. But once the daughter told him the whole story, he was outraged. His family had unsuccessfully tried to talk him out of sending the letter. Apparently, following the postal worker’s warning, the father decided to swallow his outrage.
In 1997, the girl wanted to turn her story into a book and was seeking a $1 million book deal. A major publishing house was interested in the story but was not willing to pay that price, so the deal fell through.(source)
2. When the Soviet Premier Khrushchev made a state visit to China in 1958, Mao held a meeting in his pool because he knew Khrushchev couldn’t swim. Mao did it because he felt the Soviets disrespected him when he visited Moscow in 1949.
During the visit to Moscow, Mao had expected to be treated as a guest of honor. So he considered it an insult when he was given the same treatment as the many other guests who were there to celebrate Stalin’s 70th birthday. For instance, he was only allowed a short meeting with Stalin.
So when Khrushchev visited China, Mao took his revenge in several ways. They included housing Khrushchev in an old hotel with no air-conditioning, and chain-smoking during their meetings because he knew Khrushchev hated it. When Mao insisted they hold a meeting in his pool, Khrushchev stayed in the shallow end and Mao swam laps. Mao then suggested Khrushchev join him in the deep end, and he was provided with a flotation device. Observers said Khrushchev still struggled to stay afloat.
In Khrushchev’s memoirs, he tried to play down the humiliating event, writing “of course we could not compete with him when it came to long-distance swimming” and that “most of the time we lay around like seals on warm sand or a rug and talked.”
But later, in a speech to a group of artists and writers, Khrushchev was more honest about the incident. “Between us, I basically flop around when I swim. I’m not very good at it. But he swims around, showing off, all the while expounding his political views. It was Mao’s way of putting himself in an advantageous position.”(source)
3. In 1956, Mao launched the Hundred Flowers Campaign, encouraging citizens to freely express criticisms of national policy. But then he used the opportunity to target critics of his regime and send them to prison labor camps.
Mao had said “The policy of letting a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools of thought contend is designed to promote the flourishing of the arts and the progress of science,” and that “criticism of the bureaucracy is pushing the government towards the better.”
In the spring of 1957, millions of letters were sent to the premier’s office and other authorities. Citizens also shared their criticism through magazine articles, posters, and rallies. Some of the major complaints included the country’s low standards of living, economic corruption in the government, and the unfair privileges enjoyed by Party members.
There is some debate among historians about whether Mao originally planned to punish the critics, or if he only decided later to take advantage of the opportunity. But either way, the end result was the same — citizens were more reluctant to criticize Mao and the government in the future.(source)
4. In 1968, the Pakistani foreign minister presented Mao with some mangoes. At the time, few people in China had ever seen a mango. Mao used the fruit was a propaganda tool, sending them as gifts to institutions such as a university and a factory, causing large celebrations. The gift became a symbol of Mao’s support for workers. The government then produced replica mangoes that became popular attractions.
One of the mangoes was given to a textile factory where it was displayed on a newly-built altar. After the peel began rotting, the mango was boiled in water and a spoonful of mango water was given to each worker in the factory. They also made a wax replica of the mango as a centerpiece in the factory. Later, more replica mangoes were sent on tour around China.
Since mangoes became a symbol for Mao’s support, they were not to be taken lightly. When a dentist in a small village compared a mango to a sweet potato, he was executed for malicious slander.(source)
5. In 1973, Mao purposed exporting Chinese women to the United States. At first, he offered to send “thousands” of women and later upped the offer to 10 million. Mao believed sending the women would lead to bilateral trade between the two countries and would also ease China’s overpopulation problems. He said China was a “very poor country” and “what we have in excess is women.”
Image credit: China Daily via china.org.cn
Mao made the offer at a meeting with US national security advisor Henry Kissinger. The offer drew laughter from officials at the meeting, and Kissinger joked that the US did not have any quotas or tariffs for imported Chinese women. He later added, “It is such a novel proposition, we will have to study it.”
The assistant Chinese foreign minister warned Mao if the offer ever became public knowledge “it would incur the public wrath.” Mao said he wasn’t worried because he didn’t expect to live much longer anyway, saying “God has sent me an invitation.” Mao died three years later. Mao’s offer only became known to the public in 2008 when the US State Department released documents about the meeting.(source)
6. In 1958, Mao introduced the Four Pests Campaign where he ordered the extermination of rats, flies, mosquitoes, and sparrows. But the killing of sparrows led to an explosion in the population of locusts which contributed to the Great Chinese Famine. According to some accounts, as many as 45 million people died of starvation.
Sparrows were targeted in the campaign because they eat seen grain and fruit. So, it was expected that killing sparrows would improve agricultural output. But the plan overlooked the fact that sparrows also eat insects. So, the extermination of sparrows actually resulted in lower rice yields. Once the mistake was apparent, sparrows were taken off the list and replaced with bedbugs, but the damage had already been done.(source)
7. The three-story-tall portrait of Mao in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square is repainted annually to keep it looking fresh. The repainting of the portrait was meant to be kept top secret. According to art historian Wu Hung, “It is not just a painting. It represents Mao himself,” and “nobody is allowed to ask who did the image. It just magically appears.”
Image source: publicdomainpictures.net
A portrait of Mao was first displayed there in 1949 when the People’s Republic of China was founded. Because the painting is exposed to sunlight and temperature changes, it would fade and crack if not repaired.
There are two identical portraits that are swapped once a year, so, when one is removed for repainting, it can be immediately replaced with the other. Originally, the repainting was done in a temporary tent. Since the 1970s, the repainting has been done in a permanent art studio with no windows. The studio is entirely made of metal to prevent fires. The artists allowed to work on it make a lifelong commitment, as they have been told they are never allowed to paint anything but communist leaders.(1,2)
8. According to Mao’s personal physician, women that caught sexually transmitted diseases from the Chairman were “proud to be infected.”
In 1996, Mao’s former personal physician published a biography entitled The Private Life of Chairman Mao. In the book, Dr. Li Zhisui wrote that Mao infected several women with the STD trichomonas vaginalis, and that “the illness, transmitted by Mao, was a badge of honor, testimony to their close relations with the Chairman.”
When the doctor suggested Mao protect his sexual partners by taking some antibiotics, Mao replied “If it’s not hurting me, then it doesn’t matter. Why are you getting so excited about it?”(source)
9. Mao claimed he needed to sleep with many women to help him live longer.
Another fact revealed in Zhisui’s book is that late in Mao’s life, he became an advocate for Taoist sexual practices because it provided an excuse for pursuing sex. Mao argued that to aid his declining yang (meaning the male essence and source of strength and longevity), he required the waters of yin (meaning vaginal secretions).(source)
10. Mao had terrible personal hygiene. For example, he never brushed his teeth and rarely cleaned his genitals.
Zhisui’s book also says that instead of brushing his teeth, Mao would rinse his mouth out with tea in the morning, and eat the leaves. This was a custom followed by many peasants in southern China. When Zhisui suggested Mao use a toothbrush, he replied: “A tiger never brushes his teeth.”
Regarding the cleaning of his private parts, Mao reportedly said: “I wash myself inside the bodies of my women.” However, he did have attendants who sometimes bathed him, dressed him, and combed his hair.(source)
During Mao's lifetime, the English-language media universally rendered his name as Mao Tse-tung, using the Wade-Giles system of transliteration for Standard Chinese though with the circumflex accent in the syllable "Tsê" dropped. Due to its recognizability, the spelling was used widely, even by the Foreign Ministry of the PRC after pinyin (Hanyu Pinyin) became the PRC's official romanization system for Mandarin Chinese in 1958. For example, the well-known booklet of Mao's political statements, The Little Red Book, was officially entitled Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung in English translations. While the pinyin-derived spelling "Mao Zedong" is increasingly common, the Wade-Giles-derived spelling "Mao Tse-tung" continues to be used in modern publications to some extent. 
Youth and the Xinhai Revolution: 1893–1911
Mao Zedong was born on December 26, 1893 in Shaoshan village, Hunan.  His father, Mao Yichang, was a formerly impoverished peasant who had become one of the wealthiest farmers in Shaoshan. Growing up in rural Hunan, Mao described his father as a stern disciplinarian, who would beat him and his three siblings, the boys Zemin and Zetan, as well as an adopted girl, Zejian.  Mao's mother, Wen Qimei, was a devout Buddhist who tried to temper her husband's strict attitude.  Mao too became a Buddhist, but abandoned this faith in his mid-teenage years.  At age 8, Mao was sent to Shaoshan Primary School. Learning the value systems of Confucianism, he later admitted that he did not enjoy the classical Chinese texts preaching Confucian morals, instead favouring popular novels like Romance of the Three Kingdoms and Water Margin.  At age 13, Mao finished primary education, and his father united him in an arranged marriage to the 17-year-old Luo Yixiu, thereby uniting their land-owning families. Mao refused to recognise her as his wife, becoming a fierce critic of arranged marriage and temporarily moving away. Luo was locally disgraced and died in 1910. 
While working on his father's farm, Mao read voraciously  and developed a "political consciousness" from Zheng Guanying's booklet which lamented the deterioration of Chinese power and argued for the adoption of representative democracy.  Interested in history, Mao was inspired by the military prowess and nationalistic fervour of George Washington and Napoleon Bonaparte.  His political views were shaped by Gelaohui-led protests which erupted following a famine in Changsha, the capital of Hunan Mao supported the protesters' demands, but the armed forces suppressed the dissenters and executed their leaders.  The famine spread to Shaoshan, where starving peasants seized his father's grain. He disapproved of their actions as morally wrong, but claimed sympathy for their situation.  At age 16, Mao moved to a higher primary school in nearby Dongshan,  where he was bullied for his peasant background. 
In 1911, Mao began middle school in Changsha.  Revolutionary sentiment was strong in the city, where there was widespread animosity towards Emperor Puyi's absolute monarchy and many were advocating republicanism. The republicans' figurehead was Sun Yat-sen, an American-educated Christian who led the Tongmenghui society.  In Changsha, Mao was influenced by Sun's newspaper, The People's Independence (Minli bao),  and called for Sun to become president in a school essay.  As a symbol of rebellion against the Manchu monarch, Mao and a friend cut off their queue pigtails, a sign of subservience to the emperor. 
Inspired by Sun's republicanism, the army rose up across southern China, sparking the Xinhai Revolution. Changsha's governor fled, leaving the city in republican control.  Supporting the revolution, Mao joined the rebel army as a private soldier, but was not involved in fighting. The northern provinces remained loyal to the emperor, and hoping to avoid a civil war, Sun—proclaimed "provisional president" by his supporters—compromised with the monarchist general Yuan Shikai. The monarchy was abolished, creating the Republic of China, but the monarchist Yuan became president. The revolution over, Mao resigned from the army in 1912, after six months as a soldier.  Around this time, Mao discovered socialism from a newspaper article proceeding to read pamphlets by Jiang Kanghu, the student founder of the Chinese Socialist Party, Mao remained interested yet unconvinced by the idea. 
Fourth Normal School of Changsha: 1912–19
Over the next few years, Mao Zedong enrolled and dropped out of a police academy, a soap-production school, a law school, an economics school, and the government-run Changsha Middle School.  Studying independently, he spent much time in Changsha's library, reading core works of classical liberalism such as Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations and Montesquieu's The Spirit of the Laws, as well as the works of western scientists and philosophers such as Darwin, Mill, Rousseau, and Spencer.  Viewing himself as an intellectual, years later he admitted that at this time he thought himself better than working people.  He was inspired by Friedrich Paulsen, whose liberal emphasis on individualism led Mao to believe that strong individuals were not bound by moral codes but should strive for the greater good, and that the "end justifies the means" conclusion of Consequentialism.  His father saw no use in his son's intellectual pursuits, cut off his allowance and forced him to move into a hostel for the destitute. 
Mao desired to become a teacher and enrolled at the Fourth Normal School of Changsha, which soon merged with the First Normal School of Changsha, widely seen as the best in Hunan.  Befriending Mao, professor Yang Changji urged him to read a radical newspaper, New Youth (Xin qingnian), the creation of his friend Chen Duxiu, a dean at Peking University. Although a Chinese nationalist, Chen argued that China must look to the west to cleanse itself of superstition and autocracy.  In his first school year, Mao befriended an older student, Xiao Zisheng together they went on a walking tour of Hunan, begging and writing literary couplets to obtain food. 
A popular student, in 1915 Mao was elected secretary of the Students Society. He organized the Association for Student Self-Government and led protests against school rules.  Mao published his first article in New Youth in April 1917, instructing readers to increase their physical strength to serve the revolution.  He joined the Society for the Study of Wang Fuzhi (Chuan-shan Hsüeh-she), a revolutionary group founded by Changsha literati who wished to emulate the philosopher Wang Fuzhi.  In spring 1917, he was elected to command the students' volunteer army, set up to defend the school from marauding soldiers.  Increasingly interested in the techniques of war, he took a keen interest in World War I, and also began to develop a sense of solidarity with workers.  Mao undertook feats of physical endurance with Xiao Zisheng and Cai Hesen, and with other young revolutionaries they formed the Renovation of the People Study Society in April 1918 to debate Chen Duxiu's ideas. Desiring personal and societal transformation, the Society gained 70–80 members, many of whom would later join the Communist Party.  Mao graduated in June 1919, ranked third in the year. 
Beijing, Anarchism, and Marxism: 1917–19
Mao moved to Beijing, where his mentor Yang Changji had taken a job at Peking University.  Yang thought Mao exceptionally "intelligent and handsome",  securing him a job as assistant to the university librarian Li Dazhao, who would become an early Chinese Communist.  Li authored a series of New Youth articles on the October Revolution in Russia, during which the Communist Bolshevik Party under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin had seized power. Lenin was an advocate of the socio-political theory of Marxism, first developed by the German sociologists Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, and Li's articles added Marxism to the doctrines in Chinese revolutionary movement.  Becoming "more and more radical", Mao was initially influenced by Peter Kropotkin's anarchism, which was the most prominent radical doctrine of the day. Chinese anarchists, such as Cai Yuanpei, Chancellor of Peking University, called for complete social revolution in social relations, family structure, and women's equality, rather than the simple change in the form of government called for by earlier revolutionaries. He joined Li's Study Group and "developed rapidly toward Marxism" during the winter of 1919. 
Paid a low wage, Mao lived in a cramped room with seven other Hunanese students, but believed that Beijing's beauty offered "vivid and living compensation".  At the university, Mao was snubbed by other students due to his rural Hunanese accent and lowly position. He joined the university's Philosophy and Journalism Societies and attended lectures and seminars by the likes of Chen Duxiu, Hu Shih, and Qian Xuantong.  Mao's time in Beijing ended in the spring of 1919, when he travelled to Shanghai with friends who were preparing to leave for France.  He did not return to Shaoshan, where his mother was terminally ill. She died in October 1919 and her husband died in January 1920. 
New Culture and political protests, 1919–20
On May 4, 1919, students in Beijing gathered at the Tiananmen to protest the Chinese government's weak resistance to Japanese expansion in China. Patriots were outraged at the influence given to Japan in the Twenty-One Demands in 1915, the complicity of Duan Qirui's Beiyang Government, and the betrayal of China in the Treaty of Versailles, wherein Japan was allowed to receive territories in Shandong which had been surrendered by Germany. These demonstrations ignited the nationwide May Fourth Movement and fueled the New Culture Movement which blamed China's diplomatic defeats on social and cultural backwardness. 
In Changsha, Mao had begun teaching history at the Xiuye Primary School  and organizing protests against the pro-Duan Governor of Hunan Province, Zhang Jingyao, popularly known as "Zhang the Venomous" due to his corrupt and violent rule.  In late May, Mao co-founded the Hunanese Student Association with He Shuheng and Deng Zhongxia, organizing a student strike for June and in July 1919 began production of a weekly radical magazine, Xiang River Review (Xiangjiang pinglun). Using vernacular language that would be understandable to the majority of China's populace, he advocated the need for a "Great Union of the Popular Masses", strengthened trade unions able to wage non-violent revolution. [ clarification needed ] His ideas were not Marxist, but heavily influenced by Kropotkin's concept of mutual aid. 
Zhang banned the Student Association, but Mao continued publishing after assuming editorship of the liberal magazine New Hunan (Xin Hunan) and offered articles in popular local newspaper Justice (Ta Kung Po). Several of these advocated feminist views, calling for the liberation of women in Chinese society Mao was influenced by his forced arranged-marriage.  In December 1919, Mao helped organise a general strike in Hunan, securing some concessions, but Mao and other student leaders felt threatened by Zhang, and Mao returned to Beijing, visiting the terminally ill Yang Changji.  Mao found that his articles had achieved a level of fame among the revolutionary movement, and set about soliciting support in overthrowing Zhang.  Coming across newly translated Marxist literature by Thomas Kirkup, Karl Kautsky, and Marx and Engels—notably The Communist Manifesto—he came under their increasing influence, but was still eclectic in his views. 
Mao visited Tianjin, Jinan, and Qufu,  before moving to Shanghai, where he worked as a laundryman and met Chen Duxiu, noting that Chen's adoption of Marxism "deeply impressed me at what was probably a critical period in my life". In Shanghai, Mao met an old teacher of his, Yi Peiji, a revolutionary and member of the Kuomintang (KMT), or Chinese Nationalist Party, which was gaining increasing support and influence. Yi introduced Mao to General Tan Yankai, a senior KMT member who held the loyalty of troops stationed along the Hunanese border with Guangdong. Tan was plotting to overthrow Zhang, and Mao aided him by organizing the Changsha students. In June 1920, Tan led his troops into Changsha, and Zhang fled. In the subsequent reorganization of the provincial administration, Mao was appointed headmaster of the junior section of the First Normal School. Now receiving a large income, he married Yang Kaihui in the winter of 1920. 
Founding the Chinese Communist Party: 1921–22
The Chinese Communist Party was founded by Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhao in the French concession of Shanghai in 1921 as a study society and informal network. Mao set up a Changsha branch, also establishing a branch of the Socialist Youth Corps and a Cultural Book Society which opened a bookstore to propagate revolutionary literature throughout Hunan.  He was involved in the movement for Hunan autonomy, in the hope that a Hunanese constitution would increase civil liberties and make his revolutionary activity easier. When the movement was successful in establishing provincial autonomy under a new warlord, Mao forgot his involvement.  By 1921, small Marxist groups existed in Shanghai, Beijing, Changsha, Wuhan, Guangzhou, and Jinan it was decided to hold a central meeting, which began in Shanghai on July 23, 1921. The first session of the National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party was attended by 13 delegates, Mao included. After the authorities sent a police spy to the congress, the delegates moved to a boat on South Lake near Jiaxing, in Zhejiang, to escape detection. Although Soviet and Comintern delegates attended, the first congress ignored Lenin's advice to accept a temporary alliance between the Communists and the "bourgeois democrats" who also advocated national revolution instead they stuck to the orthodox Marxist belief that only the urban proletariat could lead a socialist revolution. 
Mao was now party secretary for Hunan stationed in Changsha, and to build the party there he followed a variety of tactics.  In August 1921, he founded the Self-Study University, through which readers could gain access to revolutionary literature, housed in the premises of the Society for the Study of Wang Fuzhi, a Qing dynasty Hunanese philosopher who had resisted the Manchus.  He joined the YMCA Mass Education Movement to fight illiteracy, though he edited the textbooks to include radical sentiments.  He continued organizing workers to strike against the administration of Hunan Governor Zhao Hengti.  Yet labor issues remained central. The successful and famous Anyuan coal mines strikes (contrary to later Party historians) depended on both "proletarian" and "bourgeois" strategies. Liu Shaoqi and Li Lisan and Mao not only mobilised the miners, but formed schools and cooperatives and engaged local intellectuals, gentry, military officers, merchants, Red Gang dragon heads and even church clergy. 
Mao claimed that he missed the July 1922 Second Congress of the Communist Party in Shanghai because he lost the address. Adopting Lenin's advice, the delegates agreed to an alliance with the "bourgeois democrats" of the KMT for the good of the "national revolution". Communist Party members joined the KMT, hoping to push its politics leftward.  Mao enthusiastically agreed with this decision, arguing for an alliance across China's socio-economic classes. Mao was a vocal anti-imperialist and in his writings he lambasted the governments of Japan, the UK and US, describing the latter as "the most murderous of hangmen". 
Collaboration with the Kuomintang: 1922–27
At the Third Congress of the Communist Party in Shanghai in June 1923, the delegates reaffirmed their commitment to working with the KMT. Supporting this position, Mao was elected to the Party Committee, taking up residence in Shanghai.  At the First KMT Congress, held in Guangzhou in early 1924, Mao was elected an alternate member of the KMT Central Executive Committee, and put forward four resolutions to decentralise power to urban and rural bureaus. His enthusiastic support for the KMT earned him the suspicion of Li Li-san, his Hunan comrade. 
In late 1924, Mao returned to Shaoshan, perhaps to recuperate from an illness. He found that the peasantry were increasingly restless and some had seized land from wealthy landowners to found communes. This convinced him of the revolutionary potential of the peasantry, an idea advocated by the KMT leftists but not the Communists.  He returned to Guangzhou to run the 6th term of the KMT's Peasant Movement Training Institute from May to September 1926.   The Peasant Movement Training Institute under Mao trained cadre and prepared them for militant activity, taking them through military training exercises and getting them to study basic left-wing texts.  In the winter of 1925, Mao fled to Guangzhou after his revolutionary activities attracted the attention of Zhao's regional authorities. 
When party leader Sun Yat-sen died in May 1925, he was succeeded by Chiang Kai-shek, who moved to marginalise the left-KMT and the Communists.  Mao nevertheless supported Chiang's National Revolutionary Army, who embarked on the Northern Expedition attack in 1926 on warlords.  In the wake of this expedition, peasants rose up, appropriating the land of the wealthy landowners, who were in many cases killed. Such uprisings angered senior KMT figures, who were themselves landowners, emphasizing the growing class and ideological divide within the revolutionary movement. 
In March 1927, Mao appeared at the Third Plenum of the KMT Central Executive Committee in Wuhan, which sought to strip General Chiang of his power by appointing Wang Jingwei leader. There, Mao played an active role in the discussions regarding the peasant issue, defending a set of "Regulations for the Repression of Local Bullies and Bad Gentry", which advocated the death penalty or life imprisonment for anyone found guilty of counter-revolutionary activity, arguing that in a revolutionary situation, "peaceful methods cannot suffice".   In April 1927, Mao was appointed to the KMT's five-member Central Land Committee, urging peasants to refuse to pay rent. Mao led another group to put together a "Draft Resolution on the Land Question", which called for the confiscation of land belonging to "local bullies and bad gentry, corrupt officials, militarists and all counter-revolutionary elements in the villages". Proceeding to carry out a "Land Survey", he stated that anyone owning over 30 mou (four and a half acres), constituting 13% of the population, were uniformly counter-revolutionary. He accepted that there was great variation in revolutionary enthusiasm across the country, and that a flexible policy of land redistribution was necessary.  Presenting his conclusions at the Enlarged Land Committee meeting, many expressed reservations, some believing that it went too far, and others not far enough. Ultimately, his suggestions were only partially implemented. 
The Nanchang and Autumn Harvest Uprisings: 1927
Fresh from the success of the Northern Expedition against the warlords, Chiang turned on the Communists, who by now numbered in the tens of thousands across China. Chiang ignored the orders of the Wuhan-based left KMT government and marched on Shanghai, a city controlled by Communist militias. As the Communists awaited Chiang's arrival, he loosed the White Terror, massacring 5000 with the aid of the Green Gang.   In Beijing, 19 leading Communists were killed by Zhang Zuolin.   That May, tens of thousands of Communists and those suspected of being communists were killed, and the CCP lost approximately 15,000 of its 25,000 members. 
The CCP continued supporting the Wuhan KMT government, a position Mao initially supported,  but by the time of the CCP's Fifth Congress he had changed his mind, deciding to stake all hope on the peasant militia.  The question was rendered moot when the Wuhan government expelled all Communists from the KMT on July 15.  The CCP founded the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army of China, better known as the "Red Army", to battle Chiang. A battalion led by General Zhu De was ordered to take the city of Nanchang on August 1, 1927, in what became known as the Nanchang Uprising. They were initially successful, but were forced into retreat after five days, marching south to Shantou, and from there they were driven into the wilderness of Fujian.  Mao was appointed commander-in-chief of the Red Army and led four regiments against Changsha in the Autumn Harvest Uprising, in the hope of sparking peasant uprisings across Hunan. On the eve of the attack, Mao composed a poem—the earliest of his to survive—titled "Changsha". His plan was to attack the KMT-held city from three directions on September 9, but the Fourth Regiment deserted to the KMT cause, attacking the Third Regiment. Mao's army made it to Changsha, but could not take it by September 15, he accepted defeat and with 1000 survivors marched east to the Jinggang Mountains of Jiangxi.  
Jung Chang and Jon Halliday claim that the uprising was in fact sabotaged by Mao to allow him to prevent a group of KMT soldiers from defecting to any other CCP leader.  Chang and Halliday also claim that Mao talked the other leaders (including Russian diplomats at the Soviet consulate in Changsha who, Chang and Halliday claim, had been controlling much of the CCP activity) into striking only at Changsha, then abandoning it. Chang and Halliday report a view sent to Moscow by the secretary of the Soviet Consulate in Changsha that the retreat was "the most despicable treachery and cowardice." 
Base in Jinggangshan: 1927–1928
The CCP Central Committee, hiding in Shanghai, expelled Mao from their ranks and from the Hunan Provincial Committee, as punishment for his "military opportunism", for his focus on rural activity, and for being too lenient with "bad gentry". They nevertheless adopted three policies he had long championed: the immediate formation of Workers' councils, the confiscation of all land without exemption, and the rejection of the KMT. Mao's response was to ignore them.  He established a base in Jinggangshan City, an area of the Jinggang Mountains, where he united five villages as a self-governing state, and supported the confiscation of land from rich landlords, who were "re-educated" and sometimes executed. He ensured that no massacres took place in the region, and pursued a more lenient approach than that advocated by the Central Committee.  He proclaimed that "Even the lame, the deaf and the blind could all come in useful for the revolutionary struggle", he boosted the army's numbers,  incorporating two groups of bandits into his army, building a force of around 1,800 troops.  He laid down rules for his soldiers: prompt obedience to orders, all confiscations were to be turned over to the government, and nothing was to be confiscated from poorer peasants. In doing so, he molded his men into a disciplined, efficient fighting force. 
Revolution is not a dinner party, nor an essay, nor a painting, nor a piece of embroidery it cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentle, so temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another.
When the enemy advances, we retreat.
When the enemy rests, we harass him.
When the enemy avoids a battle, we attack.
When the enemy retreats, we advance.
Mao's advice in combating the Kuomintang, 1928  
In spring 1928, the Central Committee ordered Mao's troops to southern Hunan, hoping to spark peasant uprisings. Mao was skeptical, but complied. They reached Hunan, where they were attacked by the KMT and fled after heavy losses. Meanwhile, KMT troops had invaded Jinggangshan, leaving them without a base.  Wandering the countryside, Mao's forces came across a CCP regiment led by General Zhu De and Lin Biao they united, and attempted to retake Jinggangshan. They were initially successful, but the KMT counter-attacked, and pushed the CCP back over the next few weeks, they fought an entrenched guerrilla war in the mountains.   The Central Committee again ordered Mao to march to south Hunan, but he refused, and remained at his base. Contrastingly, Zhu complied, and led his armies away. Mao's troops fended the KMT off for 25 days while he left the camp at night to find reinforcements. He reunited with the decimated Zhu's army, and together they returned to Jinggangshan and retook the base. There they were joined by a defecting KMT regiment and Peng Dehuai's Fifth Red Army. In the mountainous area they were unable to grow enough crops to feed everyone, leading to food shortages throughout the winter.  
Jiangxi Soviet Republic of China: 1929–1934
In January 1929, Mao and Zhu evacuated the base with 2,000 men and a further 800 provided by Peng, and took their armies south, to the area around Tonggu and Xinfeng in Jiangxi.  The evacuation led to a drop in morale, and many troops became disobedient and began thieving this worried Li Lisan and the Central Committee, who saw Mao's army as lumpenproletariat, that were unable to share in proletariat class consciousness.   In keeping with orthodox Marxist thought, Li believed that only the urban proletariat could lead a successful revolution, and saw little need for Mao's peasant guerrillas he ordered Mao to disband his army into units to be sent out to spread the revolutionary message. Mao replied that while he concurred with Li's theoretical position, he would not disband his army nor abandon his base.   Both Li and Mao saw the Chinese revolution as the key to world revolution, believing that a CCP victory would spark the overthrow of global imperialism and capitalism. In this, they disagreed with the official line of the Soviet government and Comintern. Officials in Moscow desired greater control over the CCP and removed Li from power by calling him to Russia for an inquest into his errors.    They replaced him with Soviet-educated Chinese Communists, known as the "28 Bolsheviks", two of whom, Bo Gu and Zhang Wentian, took control of the Central Committee. Mao disagreed with the new leadership, believing they grasped little of the Chinese situation, and he soon emerged as their key rival.  
In February 1930, Mao created the Southwest Jiangxi Provincial Soviet Government in the region under his control.  In November, he suffered emotional trauma after his wife and sister were captured and beheaded by KMT general He Jian.    Mao then married He Zizhen, an 18-year-old revolutionary who bore him five children over the following nine years.   Facing internal problems, members of the Jiangxi Soviet accused him of being too moderate, and hence anti-revolutionary. In December, they tried to overthrow Mao, resulting in the Futian incident, during which Mao's loyalists tortured many and executed between 2000 and 3000 dissenters.    The CCP Central Committee moved to Jiangxi which it saw as a secure area. In November it proclaimed Jiangxi to be the Soviet Republic of China, an independent Communist-governed state. Although he was proclaimed Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars, Mao's power was diminished, as his control of the Red Army was allocated to Zhou Enlai. Meanwhile, Mao recovered from tuberculosis.  
The KMT armies adopted a policy of encirclement and annihilation of the Red armies. Outnumbered, Mao responded with guerrilla tactics influenced by the works of ancient military strategists like Sun Tzu, but Zhou and the new leadership followed a policy of open confrontation and conventional warfare. In doing so, the Red Army successfully defeated the first and second encirclements.   Angered at his armies' failure, Chiang Kai-shek personally arrived to lead the operation. He too faced setbacks and retreated to deal with the further Japanese incursions into China.   As a result of the KMT's change of focus to the defence of China against Japanese expansionism, the Red Army was able to expand its area of control, eventually encompassing a population of 3 million.  Mao proceeded with his land reform program. In November 1931 he announced the start of a "land verification project" which was expanded in June 1933. He also orchestrated education programs and implemented measures to increase female political participation.  Chiang viewed the Communists as a greater threat than the Japanese and returned to Jiangxi, where he initiated the fifth encirclement campaign, which involved the construction of a concrete and barbed wire "wall of fire" around the state, which was accompanied by aerial bombardment, to which Zhou's tactics proved ineffective. Trapped inside, morale among the Red Army dropped as food and medicine became scarce. The leadership decided to evacuate. 
The Long March: 1934–1935
On October 14, 1934, the Red Army broke through the KMT line on the Jiangxi Soviet's south-west corner at Xinfeng with 85,000 soldiers and 15,000 party cadres and embarked on the "Long March". In order to make the escape, many of the wounded and the ill, as well as women and children, were left behind, defended by a group of guerrilla fighters whom the KMT massacred.   The 100,000 who escaped headed to southern Hunan, first crossing the Xiang River after heavy fighting,   and then the Wu River, in Guizhou where they took Zunyi in January 1935. Temporarily resting in the city, they held a conference here, Mao was elected to a position of leadership, becoming Chairman of the Politburo, and de facto leader of both Party and Red Army, in part because his candidacy was supported by Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin. Insisting that they operate as a guerrilla force, he laid out a destination: the Shenshi Soviet in Shaanxi, Northern China, from where the Communists could focus on fighting the Japanese. Mao believed that in focusing on the anti-imperialist struggle, the Communists would earn the trust of the Chinese people, who in turn would renounce the KMT. 
From Zunyi, Mao led his troops to Loushan Pass, where they faced armed opposition but successfully crossed the river. Chiang flew into the area to lead his armies against Mao, but the Communists outmanoeuvred him and crossed the Jinsha River.  Faced with the more difficult task of crossing the Tatu River, they managed it by fighting a battle over the Luding Bridge in May, taking Luding.  Marching through the mountain ranges around Ma'anshan,  in Moukung, Western Szechuan, they encountered the 50,000-strong CCP Fourth Front Army of Zhang Guotao, and together proceeded to Maoerhkai and then Gansu. Zhang and Mao disagreed over what to do the latter wished to proceed to Shaanxi, while Zhang wanted to retreat east to Tibet or Sikkim, far from the KMT threat. It was agreed that they would go their separate ways, with Zhu De joining Zhang.  Mao's forces proceeded north, through hundreds of kilometres of Grasslands, an area of quagmire where they were attacked by Manchu tribesman and where many soldiers succumbed to famine and disease.   Finally reaching Shaanxi, they fought off both the KMT and an Islamic cavalry militia before crossing the Min Mountains and Mount Liupan and reaching the Shenshi Soviet only 7,000–8000 had survived.   The Long March cemented Mao's status as the dominant figure in the party. In November 1935, he was named chairman of the Military Commission. From this point onward, Mao was the Communist Party's undisputed leader, even though he would not become party chairman until 1943. 
Jung Chang and Jon Halliday offered an alternative account on many events during this period in their book Mao: The Unknown Story.  For example, there was no battle at Luding and the CCP crossed the bridge unopposed, the Long March was not a strategy of the CCP but devised by Chiang Kai-shek, and Mao and other top CCP leaders did not walk the Long March but were carried on litters.  However, although well received in the popular press, Chang and Halliday's work has been highly criticized by professional historians. 
Alliance with the Kuomintang: 1935–1940
Mao's troops arrived at the Yan'an Soviet during October 1935 and settled in Pao An, until spring 1936. While there, they developed links with local communities, redistributed and farmed the land, offered medical treatment, and began literacy programs.    Mao now commanded 15,000 soldiers, boosted by the arrival of He Long's men from Hunan and the armies of Zhu De and Zhang Guotao returned from Tibet.  In February 1936, they established the North West Anti-Japanese Red Army University in Yan'an, through which they trained increasing numbers of new recruits.  In January 1937, they began the "anti-Japanese expedition", that sent groups of guerrilla fighters into Japanese-controlled territory to undertake sporadic attacks.   In May 1937, a Communist Conference was held in Yan'an to discuss the situation.  Western reporters also arrived in the "Border Region" (as the Soviet had been renamed) most notable were Edgar Snow, who used his experiences as a basis for Red Star Over China, and Agnes Smedley, whose accounts brought international attention to Mao's cause. 
On the Long March, Mao's wife He Zizen had been injured by a shrapnel wound to the head. She traveled to Moscow for medical treatment Mao proceeded to divorce her and marry an actress, Jiang Qing.   Mao moved into a cave-house and spent much of his time reading, tending his garden and theorizing.  He came to believe that the Red Army alone was unable to defeat the Japanese, and that a Communist-led "government of national defence" should be formed with the KMT and other "bourgeois nationalist" elements to achieve this goal.  Although despising Chiang Kai-shek as a "traitor to the nation",  on May 5, he telegrammed the Military Council of the Nanking National Government proposing a military alliance, a course of action advocated by Stalin.  Although Chiang intended to ignore Mao's message and continue the civil war, he was arrested by one of his own generals, Zhang Xueliang, in Xi'an, leading to the Xi'an Incident Zhang forced Chiang to discuss the issue with the Communists, resulting in the formation of a United Front with concessions on both sides on December 25, 1937. 
The Japanese had taken both Shanghai and Nanking (Nanjing)—resulting in the Nanking Massacre, an atrocity Mao never spoke of all his life—and was pushing the Kuomintang government inland to Chungking.  The Japanese's brutality led to increasing numbers of Chinese joining the fight, and the Red Army grew from 50,000 to 500,000.   In August 1938, the Red Army formed the New Fourth Army and the Eighth Route Army, which were nominally under the command of Chiang's National Revolutionary Army.  In August 1940, the Red Army initiated the Hundred Regiments Campaign, in which 400,000 troops attacked the Japanese simultaneously in five provinces. It was a military success that resulted in the death of 20,000 Japanese, the disruption of railways and the loss of a coal mine.   From his base in Yan'an, Mao authored several texts for his troops, including Philosophy of Revolution, which offered an introduction to the Marxist theory of knowledge Protracted Warfare, which dealt with guerilla and mobile military tactics and New Democracy, which laid forward ideas for China's future. 
Resuming civil war: 1940–1949
In 1944, the Americans sent a special diplomatic envoy, called the Dixie Mission, to the Chinese Communist Party. According to Edwin Moise, in Modern China: A History 2nd Edition:
Most of the Americans were favourably 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 which 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 (PLA) led by Mao Zedong during the civil war. Likewise, the Soviet Union gave quasi-covert support to Mao by their occupation of north east China, which allowed the PLA to move in en masse and take large supplies of arms left by the Japanese's Kwantung Army. [ citation needed ]
To enhance the Red Army's military operations, Mao as the Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party, named his close associate General Zhu De to be its Commander-in-Chief.
In 1948, under direct orders from Mao, the People's Liberation Army starved out the Kuomintang forces occupying the city of Changchun. At least 160,000 civilians are believed to have perished during the siege, which lasted from June until October. PLA lieutenant colonel Zhang Zhenglu, who documented the siege in his book White Snow, Red Blood, compared it to Hiroshima: "The casualties were about the same. Hiroshima took nine seconds Changchun took five months."  On January 21, 1949, Kuomintang forces suffered great losses in decisive battles against Mao's forces.  In the early morning of December 10, 1949, PLA troops laid siege to Chongqing and Chengdu on mainland China, and Chiang Kai-shek fled from the mainland to Formosa (Taiwan).  
Mao proclaimed the establishment of The People's Republic of China from the Gate of Heavenly Peace (Tian'anmen) on October 1, 1949, and later that week declared "The Chinese people have stood up" ( 中国人民从此站起来了 ).  Mao went to Moscow for long talks in the winter of 1949–50. Mao initiated the talks which focused on the political and economic revolution in China, foreign policy, railways, naval bases, and Soviet economic and technical aid. The resulting treaty reflected Stalin's dominance and his willingness to help Mao.  
Mao pushed the Party to organize campaigns to reform society and extend control. These campaigns were given urgency in October 1950, when Mao made the decision to send the People's Volunteer Army, a special unit of the People's Liberation Army, into the Korean War and fight as well as to reinforce the armed forces of North Korea, the Korean People's Army, which had been in full retreat. The United States placed a trade embargo on the People's Republic as a result of its involvement in the Korean War, lasting until Richard Nixon's improvements of relations. At least 180 thousand Chinese troops died during the war. 
Mao directed operations to the minutest detail. As the Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), he was also the Supreme Commander in Chief of the PLA and the People's Republic and Chairman of the Party. Chinese troops in Korea were under the overall command of then newly installed Premier Zhou Enlai, with General Peng Dehuai as field commander and political commissar. 
During the land reform campaigns, large numbers of landlords and rich peasants were beaten to death at mass meetings organised by the Communist Party as land was taken from them and given to poorer peasants, which significantly reduced economic inequality.   The Campaign to Suppress Counter-revolutionaries  targeted and publicly executed former Kuomintang officials, businessmen accused of "disturbing" the market, former employees of Western companies and intellectuals whose loyalty was suspect.  In 1976, the U.S. State department estimated as many as a million were killed in the land reform, and 800,000 killed in the counter-revolutionary campaign. 
Mao himself claimed that a total of 700,000 people were killed in attacks on "counter-revolutionaries" during the years 1950–1952.  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" 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.  He defended these killings as necessary for the securing of power. 
The Mao government is generally credited with eradicating both consumption and production of opium during the 1950s using unrestrained repression and social reform. [ citation needed ] Ten million addicts were forced into compulsory treatment, dealers were executed, and opium-producing regions were planted with new crops. Remaining opium production shifted south of the Chinese border into the Golden Triangle region. 
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. Whereas the three-anti campaign was a focused purge of government, industrial and party officials, the five-anti campaign set its sights slightly broader, targeting capitalist elements in general.  Workers denounced their bosses, spouses turned on their spouses, and children informed on their parents the victims were often humiliated at struggle sessions, where a targeted person would be verbally and physically abused until they confessed to crimes. Mao insisted that minor offenders be criticised and reformed or sent to labour 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 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 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 (1953–1958), which aimed to end Chinese dependence upon agriculture in order to become a world power. With the Soviet Union's assistance, new industrial plants were built and agricultural production eventually fell [ clarification needed ] to a point where industry was beginning to produce enough capital that China no longer needed the USSR's support. [ citation needed ] The declared success of the First-Five Year Plan was to encourage Mao to instigate the Second Five-Year Plan in 1958. Mao also launched a phase of rapid collectivization. The CCP introduced price controls as well as a Chinese character simplification aimed at increasing literacy. Large-scale industrialization projects were also undertaken.
Programs pursued during this time include the Hundred Flowers Campaign, 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, however, Mao's government reversed its policy and persecuted those who had criticised the party, totaling perhaps 500,000,  as well as those who were merely alleged to have been critical, in what is called the Anti-Rightist Movement. Authors such as Jung Chang have alleged that the Hundred Flowers Campaign was merely a ruse to root out "dangerous" thinking. 
Li Zhisui, Mao's physician, suggested that Mao had initially seen the policy as a way of weakening opposition to him within the party and that he was surprised by the extent of criticism and the fact that it came 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, resulting in deaths possibly in the millions. [ citation needed ]
Great Leap Forward
In January 1958, Mao launched the second Five-Year Plan, known as the Great Leap Forward, a plan intended to turn China from an agrarian nation to an industrialized one  and 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 that had been formed to date were rapidly merged into far larger people's communes, and many of the peasants were ordered to work on massive infrastructure projects and on the production of iron and steel. Some private food production was banned, and 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. The combined effect of the diversion of labour to steel production and infrastructure projects, and cyclical natural disasters led to an approximately 15% drop in grain production in 1959 followed by a further 10% decline in 1960 and no recovery in 1961. 
In an effort to win favour with their superiors and avoid being purged, each layer in the party hierarchy exaggerated the amount of grain produced under them. Based upon the fabricated success, party cadres were ordered to requisition a disproportionately high amount of that fictitious harvest for state use, primarily for use in the cities and urban areas but also for export. The result, compounded in some areas by drought and in others by floods, was that rural peasants were left with little food for themselves and many millions starved to death in the Great Chinese Famine. The people of urban areas in China were given food stamps each month, but the people of rural areas were expected to grow their own crops and give some of the crops back to the government. The death count in rural parts of China surpassed the deaths in the urban centers. Additionally, the Chinese government continued to export food that could have potentially been allocated to the country's starving citizens. These factors led to the deaths of an estimated 52 million citizens.  The famine was a direct cause of the death of some 30 million Chinese peasants between 1959 and 1962.  Furthermore, 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. 
The extent of Mao's knowledge of the severity of the situation has been disputed. Mao's physician believed that he may have been unaware of the extent of the famine, partly due to a reluctance to criticise his policies, and the willingness of his staff to exaggerate or outright fake reports regarding food production.  Upon learning of the extent of the starvation, Mao vowed to stop eating meat, an action followed by his staff. 
Hong Kong-based historian Frank Dikötter,  challenged the notion that Mao did not know about the famine throughout the country 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 "To distribute resources evenly will only ruin the Great Leap Forward. 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."  
Professor Emeritus Thomas P. Bernstein of Columbia University offered his view on Mao's statement on starvation in the March 25, 1959, meeting:
Some scholars believe that this shows Mao's readiness to accept mass death on an immense scale. My own view is that this is an instance of Mao's use of hyperbole, another being his casual acceptance of death of half the population during a nuclear war. In other contexts, Mao did not in fact accept mass death. Zhou's Chronology shows that in October 1958, Mao expressed real concern that 40,000 people in Yunnan had starved to death (p. 173). Shortly after the March 25 meeting, he worried about 25.2 million people who were at risk of starvation.  But from late summer on, Mao essentially forgot about this issue, until, as noted, the "Xinyang Incident" came to light in October 1960. 
In the article "Mao Zedong and the Famine of 1959–1960: A Study in Wilfulness", published in 2006 in The China Quarterly, Professor Thomas P. Bernstein also discussed Mao's change of attitudes during different phases of the Great Leap Forward:
In late autumn 1958, Mao Zedong strongly condemned widespread practices of the Great Leap Forward (GLF) such as subjecting peasants to exhausting labour without adequate food and rest, which had resulted in epidemics, starvation and deaths. At that time Mao explicitly recognized that anti-rightist pressures on officialdom were a major cause of "production at the expense of livelihood." While he was not willing to acknowledge that only abandonment of the GLF could solve these problems, he did strongly demand that they be addressed. After the July 1959 clash at Lushan with Peng Dehuai, Mao revived the GLF in the context of a new, extremely harsh anti-rightist campaign, which he relentlessly promoted into the spring of 1960 together with the radical policies that he previously condemned. Not until spring 1960 did Mao again express concern about abnormal deaths and other abuses, but he failed to apply the pressure needed to stop them. Given what he had already learned about the costs to the peasants of GLF extremism, the Chairman should have known that the revival of GLF radicalism would exact a similar or even bigger price. Instead, he wilfully ignored the lessons of the first radical phase for the sake of achieving extreme ideological and developmental goals. 
In Hungry Ghosts: Mao's Secret Famine, Jasper Becker 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 cause of the disaster, Mao lost esteem among many of the top party cadres. He was eventually forced to abandon the policy in 1962, and he lost political power to moderate party leaders such as Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping. Mao, however, supported by national propaganda, claimed that he was only partly to blame for the famine. As a result, Mao was forced to step down as President of the Chinese Communist Party on April 27, 1959, but was able to remain in his top position as Chairman of the Communist Party, with the Presidency of the party and the state transferred to Liu Shaoqi.
The Great Leap Forward was a tragedy for the vast majority of the Chinese. 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 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 neighbours did likewise. We put everything in a big fire and melted down all the metal.
The worst of the famine was steered towards enemies of the state.  As Jasper Becker 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 a large Communist Party conference in Beijing in January 1962, dubbed the "Seven Thousand Cadres Conference", State Chairman Liu Shaoqi denounced the Great Leap Forward, attributing the project to widespread famine in China.  The overwhelming majority of delegates expressed agreement, but Defense Minister Lin Biao staunchly defended Mao.  A brief period of liberalization followed while Mao and Lin plotted a comeback.  Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping 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. 
At the Lushan Conference in July/August 1959, several ministers 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 veteran General Peng Dehuai. Following Peng's criticism of the Great Leap Forward, Mao 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-wing opportunism was launched and resulted in party members and ordinary peasants being sent to prison labor camps where many would subsequently die in the famine. Years later the CCP would conclude that as many as six 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 the 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 have been localised 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 totalling 1.973 billion yuan from 1960 to 1962,  exports increased by 50%, and fellow Communist regimes in North Korea, North Vietnam 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 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 under-reporting during the famine years, the figure was around 30 million. The official statistic is 20 million deaths, as given by Hu Yaobang.  Yang Jisheng, a former Xinhua News Agency 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 at between 20 and 46 million.   
Split from Soviet Union
On the international front, the period was dominated by the further isolation of China. The Sino-Soviet split resulted in Nikita Khrushchev's withdrawal of all Soviet technical experts and aid from the country. The split concerned the leadership of world communism. The USSR had a network of Communist parties it supported China now created its own rival network to battle it out for local control of the left in numerous countries.  Lorenz M. Lüthi argues:
The Sino-Soviet split was one of the key events of the Cold War, equal in importance to the construction of the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Second Vietnam War, and Sino-American rapprochement. The split helped to determine the framework of the Second Cold War in general, and influenced the course of the Second Vietnam War in particular. 
The split resulted from Nikita Khrushchev's more moderate Soviet leadership after the death of Stalin in March 1953. Only Albania openly sided with China, thereby forming an alliance between the two countries which would last until after Mao's death in 1976. Warned that the Soviets had nuclear weapons, Mao minimized the threat. Becker says that "Mao believed that the bomb was a 'paper tiger', declaring to Khrushchev that it would not matter if China lost 300 million people in a nuclear war: the other half of the population would survive to ensure victory". 
Stalin had established himself as the successor of "correct" Marxist thought well before Mao controlled the Chinese Communist Party, 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 Marxist doctrine would fall to him. The resulting tension between Khrushchev (at the head of a politically and 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 and the CCP. [ citation needed ] In China, the formerly favoured Soviets were now denounced as "revisionists" and listed alongside "American imperialism" as movements to oppose. [ citation needed ]
Partly surrounded by hostile American military bases in South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan, China was now confronted with a new threat from the Soviet Union 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 China were in hostile confrontation with each other. [ citation needed ]
Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution
During the early 1960s, Mao became concerned with the nature of post-1959 China. He saw that the revolution and Great Leap Forward had replaced the old ruling elite with a new one. He was concerned that those in power were becoming estranged from the people they were 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, theoretically, would serve the interests of the majority, rather than a tiny and privileged elite.  State Chairman Liu Shaoqi and General Secretary Deng Xiaoping favoured the idea that Mao be removed from actual power as China's head of state and government but maintain his ceremonial and symbolic role as Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party, with the party upholding all of his positive contributions to the revolution. They attempted to marginalise 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 Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in 1966. Some scholars, such as Mobo Gao, claim the case for this is 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 struggled against authorities at all levels of society and even set up their own tribunals. Chaos reigned in much of the nation, and millions were persecuted. During the Cultural Revolution, nearly all of the schools and universities 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 labour and other work.
The Cultural 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 the creation of 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 and Farewell My Concubine. It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of people, perhaps millions, perished in the violence of the Cultural Revolution.  This included prominent figures such as Liu Shaoqi.   
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, 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 a reported 1,772 people murdered by the Red Guards in Beijing alone. 
It was during this period that Mao chose Lin Biao, 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 had become apparent. Official history in China states that Lin was planning a military coup or an assassination attempt on Mao. Lin Biao died on September 13, 1971 in a plane crash over the air space of Mongolia, presumably as he fled China, probably anticipating his arrest. The CCP 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 CCP figures. The highest-ranking Soviet Bloc intelligence defector, Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa described his conversation with Nicolae Ceaușescu, who told him about a plot to kill Mao Zedong with the help of Lin Biao organised by the KGB. 
Despite being considered a feminist figure by some and a supporter of women's rights, documents released by the US Department of State in 2008 show that Mao declared women to be a "nonsense" in 1973, in conversation with Kissinger, joking that "China is a very poor country. We don't have much. What we have in excess is women. Let them go to your place. They will create disasters. That way you can lessen our burdens."  When Mao offered 10 million women, Kissinger replied by saying that Mao was "improving his offer".  Mao and Kissinger then agreed that their comments on women be removed from public records, prompted by a Chinese official who feared that Mao's comments might incur public anger if released. 
In 1969, Mao declared the Cultural Revolution to be over, although various historians in and outside of China mark the end of the Cultural Revolution—as a whole or in part—in 1976, following Mao's death and the arrest of the Gang of Four.  In the last years of his life, Mao was faced with declining health due to either Parkinson's disease  or, according to his physician, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis,  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 mobilised for the power struggle anticipated after his death.
The Cultural Revolution is now officially regarded as a "severe setback" for the PRC.  It is often looked at in all scholarly circles as a greatly disruptive period for China.  Despite the pro-poor rhetoric of Mao's regime, his economic policies led to substantial poverty.  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. 
Estimates of the death toll during the Cultural Revolution, including civilians and Red Guards, vary greatly. An estimate of around 400,000 deaths is a widely accepted minimum figure, according to Maurice Meisner.  MacFarquhar and Schoenhals assert that in rural China alone some 36 million people were persecuted, of whom between 750,000 and 1.5 million were killed, with roughly the same number permanently injured.  In Mao: The Unknown Story, Jung Chang and Jon Halliday claim that as many as 3 million people died in the violence of the Cultural Revolution. 
Historian Daniel Leese notes that in the 1950s Mao's personality was hardening:
The impression of Mao's personality that emerges from the literature is disturbing. It reveals a certain temporal development from a down-to-earth leader, who was amicable when uncontested and occasionally reflected on the limits of his power, to an increasingly ruthless and self-indulgent dictator. Mao's preparedness to accept criticism decreased continuously. 
During his leadership, Mao traveled outside China on only two occasions, both state visits to the Soviet Union. His first visit abroad was to celebrate the 71st birthday of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, which was also attended by East German Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers Walter Ulbricht and Mongolian communist General Secretary Yumjaagiin Tsedenbal.  The second visit to Moscow was a two-week state visit of which the highlights included Mao's attendance at the 40th anniversary (Ruby Jubilee) celebrations of the October Revolution (he attended the annual military parade of the Moscow Garrison on Red Square as well as a banquet in the Moscow Kremlin) and the International Meeting of Communist and Workers Parties, where he met with other communist leaders such as North Korea's Kim Il-Sung  and Albania's Enver Hoxha. When Mao stepped down as head of state on April 27, 1959, further diplomatic state visits and travels abroad were undertaken by President Liu Shaoqi, Premier Zhou Enlai and Deputy Premier Deng Xiaoping rather than Mao personally.
Mao's health declined in his last years, probably aggravated by his heavy chain-smoking.  It became a state secret that he suffered from multiple lung and heart ailments during his later years.  There are unconfirmed reports that he possibly had Parkinson's disease  in addition to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.  His final public appearance—and the last known photograph of him alive—had been on May 27, 1976, when he met the visiting Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.  He suffered two major heart attacks, one in March and another in July, then a third on September 5, rendering him an invalid. He died nearly four days later, at 00:10 on September 9, 1976, at the age of 82. The Communist Party delayed the announcement of his death until 16:00, when a national radio broadcast announced the news and appealed for party unity. 
Mao's embalmed body, draped in the CCP flag, lay in state at the Great Hall of the People for one week.  One million Chinese filed past to pay their final respects, many crying openly or displaying sadness, while foreigners watched on television.   Mao's official portrait hung on the wall with a banner reading: "Carry on the cause left by Chairman Mao and carry on the cause of proletarian revolution to the end".  On September 17 the body was taken in a minibus to the 305 Hospital, where his internal organs were preserved in formaldehyde. 
On September 18, guns, sirens, whistles and horns across China were simultaneously blown and a mandatory three-minute silence was observed.  Tiananmen Square was packed with millions of people and a military band played "The Internationale". Hua Guofeng concluded the service with a 20-minute-long eulogy atop Tiananmen Gate.  Mao's body was later permanently interred in the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong in Beijing.
Mao remains a controversial figure and there is little agreement over his legacy both in China and abroad. He is regarded as one of the most important and influential individuals in the twentieth century.   He is also known as a political intellect, theorist, military strategist, poet, and visionary.  Supporters generally credit and praise him for driving imperialism out of China,  having unified China and for ending the previous decades of civil war. He is also credited for having improved the status of women in China and for improving literacy and education. In December 2013, a poll from the state-run Global Times indicated that roughly 85% of the 1045 respondents surveyed felt Mao's achievements outweighed his mistakes. 
His policies resulted in the deaths of tens of millions of people in China during his 27-year reign, more than any other 20th-century leader estimates of the number of people who died under his regime range from 40 million to as many as 80 million,   done through starvation, persecution, prison labour and mass executions.   However, supporters point out that, in spite of this, life expectancy, education and health care improved during his period of rule.   His supporters claim that he rapidly industrialised China however, others have claimed that his policies such as the "Great Leap Forward" and the "Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution" were impediments to industrialisation and modernisation. His supporters claim that his policies laid the groundwork for China's later rise to become an economic superpower, while others claim that his policies delayed economic development and that China's economy underwent its rapid growth only after Mao's policies had been widely abandoned. China's population grew from around 550 million to over 900 million under his rule while the government did not strictly enforce its family planning policy, leading his successors such as Deng Xiaoping to take stricter policies to cope with the overpopulation crisis.   Mao's revolutionary tactics continue to be used by insurgents, and his political ideology continues to be embraced by many Communist organizations around the world. 
— Chen Yun, a leading Communist Party official under Mao and Deng Xiaoping 
In mainland China, Mao is revered by many members and supporters of the Communist Party and respected by a great number of the general population as the "Founding Father of modern China", credited for "giving the Chinese people dignity and self-respect."  Mobo Gao, in his 2008 book The Battle for China's Past: Mao and the Cultural Revolution, credits him for raising the average life expectancy from 35 in 1949 to 63 by 1975, bringing "unity and stability to a country that had been plagued by civil wars and foreign invasions", and laying the foundation for China to "become the equal of the great global powers".  Gao also lauds him for carrying out massive land reform, promoting the status of women, improving popular literacy, and positively "transform(ing) Chinese society beyond recognition."  Scholars outside of China also credit Mao for boosting literacy (only 20% of the population could read in 1949, compared to 65.5% thirty years later), doubling life expectancy, a near doubling of the population, and developing China's industry and infrastructure, paving the way for its position as a world power.   
However, Mao also has many Chinese critics. Opposition to him can lead to censorship or professional repercussions in mainland China,  and is often done in private settings such as the Internet.  Critical attitudes were apparent when a video of Bi Fujian insulting him at a private dinner in 2015 went viral, with Bi garnering the support of 80% of Weibo users in a poll amidst backlash from state affiliates.   In the West, Mao is often reviled as a tyrannical ideologue and his economic theories are widely discredited—though to some political activists he remains a symbol against capitalism, imperialism and western influence. Even in China, key pillars of his economic theory have been publicly dismantled for the most part by market reformers like Deng Xiaoping and Zhao Ziyang, 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 permit multi-party elections at the national or local level, except in Hong Kong and Macau. Thus it is difficult to gauge the true extent of support for the Chinese Communist Party and Mao's legacy within mainland China. For its part, the Chinese government continues to officially regard Mao as a national hero. On December 25, 2008, China opened the Mao Zedong Square to visitors in his home town of central Hunan Province to mark the 115th anniversary of his birth. 
There continue to be disagreements on Mao's legacy. Former Party 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 Binyan has described Mao as "both monster and a genius."  Some historians argue that Mao Zedong was "one of the great tyrants of the twentieth century", and a dictator comparable to Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin,   with a death toll surpassing both.   In The Black Book of Communism, 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 frequently likened to China's First Emperor Qin Shi Huang, notorious for burying alive hundreds of scholars, and personally enjoyed the comparison.  During a speech to party cadre in 1958, Mao said he had far outdone Qin Shi Huang in his policy against intellectuals: "What did he amount to? He only buried alive 460 scholars, while we buried 46,000. In our suppression of the counter-revolutionaries, did we not kill some counter-revolutionary intellectuals? I once debated with the democratic people: You accuse us of acting like Ch'in-shih-huang, but you are wrong we surpass him 100 times."   As a result of such tactics, critics have pointed out that:
The People's Republic of China under Mao exhibited the oppressive tendencies that were discernible in all the major absolutist regimes of the twentieth century. There are obvious parallels between Mao's China, Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. Each of these regimes witnessed deliberately ordered mass 'cleansing' and extermination. 
Others, such as Philip Short, reject such comparisons in Mao: A Life, arguing that whereas the deaths caused by Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia were largely systematic and deliberate, the overwhelming majority of the deaths under Mao were unintended consequences of famine.  Short noted that landlord class were not exterminated as a people due to Mao's belief in redemption through thought reform.  He instead compared Mao with 19th-century Chinese reformers who challenged China's traditional beliefs in the era of China's clashes with Western colonial powers. Short argues, "Mao's tragedy and his grandeur were that he remained to the end in thrall to his own revolutionary dreams . He freed China from the straitjacket of its Confucian past, but the bright Red future he promised turned out to be a sterile purgatory.  In their 2013 biography, Mao: The Real Story, Alexander V. Pantsov and Steven I. Levine assert that Mao was both "a successful creator and ultimately an evil destroyer," but also argue that he was a complicated figure who should not be lionized as a saint or reduced to a demon, as he "indeed tried his best to bring about prosperity and gain international respect for his country." 
Mao's English interpreter Sidney Rittenberg wrote in his memoir The Man Who Stayed Behind that whilst Mao "was a great leader in history", he was 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, 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." 
In their 832-page biography, Mao: The Unknown Story, Jung Chang and Jon Halliday take a very critical view of Mao's life and influence. For example, they note that Mao was well aware that his policies would be responsible for the deaths of millions. While discussing labour-intensive projects such as waterworks and making steel, 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 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, Chén Mànyuǎn ( 陳漫遠 ) 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." 
Jasper Becker notes, "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 and 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.
Dikötter argues that CCP 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 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, lasting until Richard Nixon decided that developing relations with the PRC would be useful in dealing with the Soviet Union.
The television series Biography stated: "[Mao] turned China from a feudal backwater into one of the most powerful countries in the World . The Chinese system he overthrew was backward and corrupt few would argue the fact that he dragged China into the 20th century. But at a cost in human lives that is staggering." 
In the book China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know published in 2010, Professor Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom of the University of California, Irvine compares China's relationship to Mao Zedong to Americans' remembrance of Andrew Jackson: both countries regard the leaders in a positive light, despite their respective roles in devastating policies. Jackson forcibly moved Native Americans, resulting in thousands of deaths, while Mao was at the helm during the violent years of the Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Forward: 
Though admittedly far from perfect, the comparison is based on the fact that Jackson is remembered both as someone who played a significant role in the development of a political organization (the Democratic Party) that still has many partisans, and as someone responsible for brutal policies toward Native Americans that are now referred to as genocidal.
Both men are thought of as having done terrible things yet this does not necessarily prevent them from being used as positive symbols. And Jackson still appears on $20 bills, even though Americans tend to view as heinous the institution of slavery (of which he was a passionate defender) and the early 19th-century military campaigns against Native Americans (in which he took part).
At times Jackson, for all his flaws, is invoked as representing an egalitarian strain within the American democratic tradition, a self-made man of the people who rose to power via straight talk and was not allied with moneyed interests. Mao stands for something roughly similar. 
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. [ citation needed ] 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. [ citation needed ] 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 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. [ citation needed ] In 1957, Mao also gave the impression that he might even welcome a nuclear war. 
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 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's inauguration speech used a famous line from one of Mao's poems. 
The ideology of Maoism has influenced many Communists, mainly in the Third World, including revolutionary movements such as Cambodia's Khmer Rouge,  Peru's Shining Path, and the Nepalese revolutionary movement. Under the influence of Mao's agrarian socialism and Cultural Revolution, Cambodia's Pol Pot conceived of his disastrous Year Zero policies which purged the nation of its teachers, artists and intellectuals and emptied its cities, resulting in the Cambodian genocide. 
The Revolutionary Communist Party, USA also claims Marxism–Leninism-Maoism as its ideology, as do other Communist Parties around the world which are part of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement. 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 roaders" 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 organised 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 currency from the People's Republic of China. This was officially instituted as an anti-counterfeiting measure as Mao's face is widely recognised in contrast to the generic figures that appear in older currency. On March 13, 2006, a story in the People's Daily reported that a proposal had been made to print the portraits of Sun Yat-sen and Deng Xiaoping. 
Mao gave contradicting statements on the subject of personality cults. In 1955, as a response to the Khrushchev Report that criticised Joseph Stalin, Mao stated that personality cults are "poisonous ideological survivals of the old society", and reaffirmed China's commitment to collective leadership.  But at the 1958 Party congress in Chengdu, Mao expressed support for the personality cults of people whom he labelled as 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 politicised art were produced and circulated—with Mao at the centre. Numerous posters, badges and musical compositions referenced Mao in the phrase "Chairman Mao is the red sun in our hearts" ( 毛主席是我們心中的紅太陽 Máo Zhǔxí Shì Wǒmen Xīnzhōng De Hóng Tàiyáng )  and a "Savior of the people" ( 人民的大救星 Rénmín De Dà Jiùxīng ). 
In October 1966, Mao's Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung, 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 emphasised by putting them in boldface or red type in even the most obscure writings. Music from the period emphasised Mao's stature, as did children's rhymes. The phrase "Long Live Chairman Mao for ten thousand years" was commonly heard during the era. 
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, his has become a symbol of revolutionary culture."  Since 1950, over 40 million people have visited Mao's birthplace in Shaoshan, Hunan. 
The YouGov survey found that, in 2016, 42% of American millennials have never heard of Mao Zedong.   According to the CIS poll, in 2019 only 21% of Australian millennials were familiar with Mao Zedong. 
- Máo Yíchāng ( 毛貽昌 , born Xiangtan October 15, 1870, died Shaoshan January 23, 1920), father, courtesy nameMáo Shùnshēng ( 毛順生 ) or also known as Mao Jen-sheng
- Wén Qīmèi ( 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.
- Máo Ēnpǔ ( 毛恩普 , born May 22, 1846, died November 23, 1904), paternal grandfather
- née Luó ( 羅氏 ), paternal grandmother (given name not recorded)  [a]
- Máo Zǔrén ( 毛祖人 ), paternal great-grandfather
Mao Zedong had four wives who gave birth to a total of 10 children. They were:
- (October 20, 1889 – 1910) of Shaoshan: married 1907 to 1910 (1901–1930) of Changsha: married 1921 to 1927, executed by the KMT in 1930 mother to Mao Anying, Mao Anqing, and Mao Anlong (1910–1984) of Jiangxi: married May 1928 to 1937 mother to 6 children (1914–1991), married 1939 until Mao's death mother to Li Na
- (1895–1943), younger brother, executed by a warlord (1905–1935), younger brother, executed by the KMT (1905–1929), adopted sister, executed by the KMT
Note that the character zé ( 澤 ) appears in all of the siblings' given names. This is a common Chinese naming convention.
From the next generation, Zemin's son, Mao Yuanxin, was raised by Mao Zedong's family. He became Mao Zedong's liaison with the Politburo in 1975. In Li Zhisui's The Private Life of Chairman Mao, Mao Yuanxin played a role in the final power-struggles. 
Mao Zedong had a total of ten children,  including:
- (1922–1950): son to Yang, married to Liú Sīqí ( 劉思齊 ), killed in action during the Korean War (1923–2007): son to Yang, married to Shao Hua, son Mao Xinyu, grandson Mao Dongdong
- Mao Anlong (1927–1931): son to Yang, died during the Chinese Civil War
- Mao Anhong: son to He, left to Mao's younger brother Zetan and then to one of Zetan's guards when he went off to war, was never heard of again (b. 1936): daughter to He, married to Kǒng Lìnghuá ( 孔令華 ), son Kǒng Jìníng ( 孔繼寧 ), daughter Kǒng Dōngméi ( 孔冬梅 ) (b. 1940): daughter to Jiang (whose birth surname was Lǐ, a name also used by Mao while evading the KMT), married to Wáng Jǐngqīng ( 王景清 ), son Wáng Xiàozhī ( 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 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. 
Through his ten children, Mao became grandfather to twelve grandchildren, many of whom he never knew. He has many great-grandchildren alive today. One of his granddaughters is businesswoman Kong Dongmei, one of the richest people in China.  His grandson Mao Xinyu is a general in the Chinese army.  Both he and Kong have written books about their grandfather.
Mao's private life was kept very secret at the time of his rule. However, after Mao's death, Li Zhisui, his personal physician, published The Private Life of Chairman Mao, a memoir which mentions some aspects of Mao's private life, such as chain-smoking cigarettes, addiction to powerful sleeping pills and large number of sexual partners.  Some scholars and some other people who also personally knew and worked with Mao, however, have disputed the accuracy of these characterisations. 
Having grown up in Hunan, Mao spoke Mandarin with a marked Hunanese accent.  Ross Terrill noted Mao was a "son of the soil . rural and unsophisticated" in origins,  while Clare Hollingworth asserted he was proud of his "peasant ways and manners", having a strong Hunanese accent and providing "earthy" comments on sexual matters.  Lee Feigon noted that Mao's "earthiness" meant that he remained connected to "everyday Chinese life." 
Sinologist Stuart Schram emphasised Mao's ruthlessness, but also noted that he showed no sign of taking pleasure in torture or killing in the revolutionary cause.  Lee Feigon considered Mao "draconian and authoritarian" when threatened, but opined that he was not the "kind of villain that his mentor Stalin was".  Alexander Pantsov and Steven I. Levine wrote that Mao was a "man of complex moods", who "tried his best to bring about prosperity and gain international respect" for China, being "neither a saint nor a demon."  They noted that in early life, he strove to be "a strong, wilful, and purposeful hero, not bound by any moral chains", and that he "passionately desired fame and power". 
Mao learned to speak some English, particularly through Zhang Hanzhi, his English teacher, interpreter and diplomat who later married Qiao Guanhua, Foreign Minister of China and the head of China's UN delegation.  However, his spoken English was limited to a few single words, phrases, and some short sentences. He first chose to systematically learn English in the 1950s, which was very unusual as the main foreign language first taught in Chinese schools at that time was Russian. 
Mao was a prolific writer of political and philosophical literature.  The main repository of his pre-1949 writings is the Selected Works of Mao Zedong, published in four volumes by the People's Publishing House since 1951. A fifth volume, which brought the timeline up to 1957, was briefly issued during the leadership of Hua Guofeng, but subsequently withdrawn from circulation for its perceived ideological errors. There has never been an official "Complete Works of Mao Zedong" collecting all his known publications. 
Mao 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" ( 紅寶書 ): first published in January 1964, this is a collection of short extracts from his many speeches and articles (most found in the Selected Works), edited by Lin Biao and ordered topically.
Mao wrote prolifically on political strategy, commentary, and philosophy both before and after he assumed power. The most influential of these include:
- Report on an Investigation of the Peasant Movement in Hunan ( 《湖南农民运动考察报告》 ) March 1927
- On Guerrilla Warfare ( 《游擊戰》 ) 1937
- On Practice ( 《實踐論》 ) 1937
- On Contradiction ( 《矛盾論》 ) 1937
- On Protracted War ( 《論持久戰》 ) 1938
- In Memory of Norman Bethune ( 《紀念白求恩》 ) 1939
- On New Democracy ( 《新民主主義論》 ) 1940
- Talks at the Yan'an Forum on Literature and Art ( 《在延安文藝座談會上的講話》 ) 1942
- Serve the People ( 《為人民服務》 ) 1944
- The Foolish Old Man Who Removed the Mountains ( 《愚公移山》 ) 1945
- On the Correct Handling of the Contradictions Among the People ( 《正確處理人民內部矛盾問題》 ) 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 specialising in Mao-style calligraphy. 
As did most Chinese intellectuals of his generation, Mao's education began with Chinese classical literature. Mao told Edgar Snow in 1936 that he had started the study of the Confucian Analects and the Four Books at a village school when he was eight, but that the books he most enjoyed reading were Water Margin, Journey to the West, the Romance of the Three Kingdoms and Dream of the Red Chamber.  Mao published poems in classical forms starting in his youth and his abilities as a poet contributed to his image in China after he came to power in 1949. His style was influenced by the great Tang dynasty poets Li Bai and Li He. 
Eagles cleave the air,
Fish glide in the limpid deep
Under freezing skies a million creatures contend in freedom.
Brooding over this immensity,
I ask, on this boundless land
Who rules over man's destiny?
Some of his most well-known poems are Changsha (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).
Mao has been portrayed in film and television numerous times. Some notable actors include: Han Shi, the first actor ever to have portrayed Mao, in a 1978 drama Dielianhua and later again in a 1980 film Cross the Dadu River  Gu Yue, who had portrayed Mao 84 times on screen throughout his 27-year career and had won the Best Actor title at the Hundred Flowers Awards in 1990 and 1993   Liu Ye, who played a young Mao in The Founding of a Party (2011)  Tang Guoqiang, who has frequently portrayed Mao in more recent times, in the films The Long March (1996) and The Founding of a Republic (2009), and the television series Huang Yanpei (2010), among others.  Mao is a principal character in American composer John Adams' opera Nixon in China (1987). The Beatles' song "Revolution" refers to Mao: ". but if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao you ain't going to make it with anyone anyhow. "  John Lennon expressed regret over including these lines in the song in 1972. 
The China of the mid-20th century looks remarkably different when compared to the modern-day nation. Prior to the 1980s, China was going through a period of social upheaval, poverty, and dictatorship under Mao Zedong.
Beginning in the late 1970s, China’s share of global exports stood at less than 1%. The country had few trade hubs and little industry. In 1979, for example, Shenzhen was a city of just around 30,000 inhabitants.
In fact, China (excluding Taiwan* and Hong Kong) did not even show up in the top 10 global exporters until 1997 when it hit a 3.3% share of global exports.
|Year||Share of Global Exports||Rank|
*Editor’s note: The above data comes from the UN, which lists Taiwan as a separate region of China for political reasons.
In the 1980s, several cities and regions, like the Pearl River Delta, were designated as Special Economic Zones. These SEZs had tax incentives that worked to attract foreign investment.
Additionally, in 1989, the Coastal Development Strategy was implemented to use strategic regions along the country’s coast as catalysts for economic development.
The 1990s and Onwards
By the 1990s, the world saw the rise of global value chains and transnational production lines, with China offering a cheap manufacturing hub due to low labor costs.
Rounding out the ‘90s, the Western Development Strategy was implemented in 1999, dubbed the “Open Up the West” program. This program worked to build up infrastructure and education to retain talent in China’s economy, with the goal of attracting further foreign investment.
Finally, China officially joined the World Trade Organization in 2001 which allowed the country to progress full steam ahead.
References & Further Reading
Daqing Z., Unschuld, P. "China's Barefoot Doctor: Past, Present, and Future." The Lancet. 29 Nov. 2008, Volume 372, Issue 9653: 1865-1867.
Editors. A Barefoot Doctor's Manual: The American Translation of the Official Chinese Paramedical Manual. Philadelphia: The Running Press, 1977.
Editors. A Barefoot Doctor's Manual: A Concise Edition of the Classic Work of Eastern Herbal Medicine. Philadelphia: The Running Press, 2003.
MacFarquhar, R., Fairbank, J. The Cambridge History of China, Volume 15, Part 2. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991. 651-652.
Valentine, V. "Health for the Masses: China's Barefoot Doctors." NPR. National Public Radio, 4 Nov. 2005. Web. 17 May. 2011. <http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4990242>
Yihong P. Tempered in the Revolutionary Furnace: China's Youth in the Rustication Movement. Lanham: Lexington Books, 2003. 47-48.
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1 million people attend funeral of Mao Zedong - HISTORY
The people, and the people alone, are the motive force in the making of world history.
"On Coalition Government" (April 24, 1945), Selected Works, Vol. III, p. 257.*
The masses are the real heroes, while we ourselves are often childish and ignorant, and without this understanding, it is impossible to acquire even the most rudimentary knowledge.
"Preface and Postscript to Rural Surveys" (March and April 1941), Selected Works, Vol. III, p. 12. *
The masses have boundless creative power. They can organize themselves and concentrate on places and branches of work where they can give full play to their energy they can concentrate on production in breadth and depth and create more and more undertakings for their own well-being.
Introductory note to "Surplus Labour Has Found a Way Out" (1955), The Socialist Upsurge in China's Countryside, Chinese ed., Vol. II.
The present upsurge of the peasant movement is a colossal event. In a very short time, in China's central, southern and northern provinces, several hundred million peasants will rise like a mighty storm, like a hurricane, a force so swift and violent that no power, however great, will be able to hold it back. They will smash all the trammels that bind them and rush forward along the road to liberation. They will sweep all the imperialists, warlords, corrupt officials, local tyrants and evil gentry into their graves. Every revolutionary party and every revolutionary comrade will be put to the test, to be accepted or rejected as they decide. There are three alternatives. To march at their head and lead them? To trail behind them, gesticulating and criticizing? Or to stand in their way and oppose them? Every Chinese is free to choose, but events will force you to make the choice quickly.
"Report on an Investigation of the Peasant Movement in Hunan" (March 1927), Selected Works, Vol. I, pp. 23-24. *
The high tide of social transformation in the countryside, the high tide of co-operation, has already reached some places and will soon sweep over the whole country. It is a vast socialist revolutionary movement involving a rural population of more than 800 million, and it has extremely great and worldwide significance. We should give this movement active, enthusiastic and systematic leadership, and not drag it back by one means or another. Some errors are unavoidable in the process this is understandable, and they will not be hard to correct. Shortcomings or mistakes found among the cadres and the peasants can be remedied or overcome provided we give them positive help.
On the Question of Agricultural Co-operation (July 31, 1955), 3rd ed., p. 1. *
The masses have a potentially inexhaustible enthusiasm for socialism. Those who can only follow the old routine in a revolutionary period are utterly incapable of seeing this enthusiasm. They are blind and all is dark ahead of them. At times they go so far as to confound right and wrong and turn things upside down. Haven't we come across enough persons of this type? Those who simply follow the old routine invariably underestimate the people's enthusiasm. Let something new appear and they always disapprove and rush to oppose it. Afterwards, they have to admit defeat and do a little self-criticism. But the next time something new appears, they go through the same process all over again. This is their pattern of behavior in regard to anything and everything new. Such people are always passive, always fail to move forward at the critical moment, and always have to be given a shove in the back before they move a step.
Introductory note to "This Township Went Co-operative in Two Years" (1955), The Socialist Upsurge in China's Countryside, Chinese ed., Vol. II.
For over twenty years our Party has carried on mass work every day, and for the past dozen years it has talked about the mass line every day. We have always maintained that the revolution must rely on the masses of the people, on everybody's taking a hand, and have opposed relying merely on a few persons issuing orders. The mass line, however, is still not being thoroughly carried out in the work of some comrades they still rely solely on a handful of people working in solitude. One reason is that, whatever they do, they are always reluctant to explain it to the people they lead and that they do not understand why or how to give play to the initiative and creative energy of those they lead. Subjectively, they too want everyone to take a hand in the work, but they do not let other people know what is to be done or how to do it. That being the case, how can everyone be expected to get moving and how can anything be done well? To solve this problem the basic thing is, of course, to carry out ideological education on the mass line, but at the same time we must teach these comrades many concrete methods of work.
"A Talk to the Editorial Staff of the Shansi-Suiyuan Daily" (April 2, 1948), Selected Works, Vol. IV, pp. 241-42. *
Twenty-four years of experience tell us that the right task, policy and style of work invariably conform with the demands of the masses at a given time and place and invariably strengthen our ties with the masses, and the wrong task, policy and style of work invariably disagree with the demands of the masses at a given time and place and invariably alienate us from the masses. The reason why such evils as dogmatism, empiricism, commandism, tailism, sectarianism, bureaucracy and an arrogant attitude in work are definitely harmful and intolerable, and why anyone suffering from these maladies must overcome them, is that they alienate us from the masses.
"On Coalition Government" (April 24, 1945), Selected Works, Vol. III, p. 315.
To link oneself with the masses, one must act in accordance with the needs and wishes of the masses. All work done for the masses must start from their needs and not from the desire of any individual, however well-intentioned. It often happens that objectively the masses need a certain change, but subjectively they are not yet conscious of the need, not yet willing or determined to make the change. In such cases, we should wait patiently. We should not make the change until, through our work, most of the masses have become conscious of the need and are willing and determined to carry it out. Otherwise we shall isolate ourselves from the masses. Unless they are conscious and willing, any kind of work that requires their participation will turn out to be a mere formality and will fail. There are two principles here: one is the actual needs of the masses rather than what we fancy they need, and the other is the wishes of the masses, who must make up their own minds instead of our making up their minds for them.
"The United Front in Cultural Work" (October 30, 1944), Selected Works, Vol. III, pp. 236-37. *
Our congress should call upon the whole Party to be vigilant and to see that no comrade at any post is divorced from the masses. It should teach every comrade to love the people and listen attentively to the voice of the masses to identify himself with the masses wherever he goes and, instead of standing above them, to immerse himself among them and, according to their present level, to awaken them or raise their political consciousness and help them gradually to organize themselves voluntarily and to set going all essential struggles permitted by the internal and external circumstances of the given time and place.
"On Coalition Government" (April 24, 1945), Selected Works, Vol. III, pp. 315-I6.
If we tried to go on the offensive when the masses are not yet awakened, that would be adventurism. If we insisted on leading the masses to do anything against their will, we would certainly fail. If we did not advance when the masses demand advance, that would be Right opportunism.
"A Talk to the Editorial Staff of the Shansi-Suiyuan Daily" (April 2, I948), Selected Works, Vol. IV, p. 243.
Commandism is wrong in any type of work, because in overstepping the level of political consciousness of the masses and violating the principle of voluntary mass action it reflects the disease of impetuosity. Our comrades must not assume that everything they themselves understand is understood by the masses. Whether the masses understand it and are ready to take action can be discovered only by going into their midst and making investigations. If we do so, we can avoid commandism. Tailism in any type of work is also wrong, because in falling below the level of political consciousness of the masses and violating the principle of leading the masses forward it reflects the disease of dilatoriness. Our comrades must not assume that the masses have no understanding of what they do not yet understand. It often happens that the masses outstrip us and are eager to advance a step and that nevertheless our comrades fail to act as leaders of the masses and tail behind certain backward elements, reflecting their views and, moreover, mistaking them for those of the broad masses.
"On Coalition Government" (April 24, 1945), Selected Works, Vol. III, p. 316. *
Take the ideas of the masses and concentrate them, then go to the masses, persevere in the ideas and carry them through, so as to form correct ideas of leadership - such is the basic method of leadership.
"Some Questions Concerning Methods of Leadership" (June 1, 1943), Selected Works, Vol. III, p. 120.
In all the practical work of our Party, all correct leadership is necessarily "from the masses, to the masses". This means: take the ideas of the masses (scattered and unsystematic ideas) and concentrate them (through study turn them into concentrated and systematic ideas), then go to the masses and propagate and explain these ideas until the masses embrace them as their own, hold fast to them and translate them into action, and test the correctness of these ideas in such action. Then once again concentrate ideas from the masses and once again go to the masses so that the ideas are persevered in and carried through. And so on, over and over again in an endless spiral, with the ideas becoming more correct, more vital and richer each time. Such is the Marxist theory of knowledge.
We should go to the masses and learn from them, synthesize their experience into better, articulated principles and methods, then do propaganda among the masses, and call upon them to put these principles and methods into practice so as to solve their problems and help them achieve liberation and happiness.
"Get Organized!" (November 29, 1943), Selected Works, Vol. III, p. 158.
There are people in our leading organs in some places that think that it is enough for the leaders alone to know the Party's policies and that there is no need to let the masses know them. This is one of the basic reasons why some of our work cannot be done well.
"A Talk to the Editorial Staff of the Shansi-Suiyuan Daily" (April 2, 1948), Selected Works, Vol. IV, p. 241.
In all mass movements we must make a basic investigation and analysis of the number of active supporters, opponents and neutrals and must not decide problems subjectively and without basis.
"Methods of Work of Party Committees" (March 13, 1949), Selected Works, Vol. IV, p. 380.
The masses in any given place are generally composed of three parts, the relatively active, the intermediate and the relatively backward. The leaders must therefore be skilled in uniting the small number of active elements around the leadership and must rely on them to raise the level of the intermediate elements and to win over the backward elements.
"Some Questions Concerning Methods of Leadership" (June 1, 1943), Selected Works, Vol. III, p. 118.
To be good at translating the Party's policy into action of the masses, to be good at getting not only the leading cadres but also the broad masses to understand and master every movement and every struggle we launch - this is an art of Marxist-Leninist leadership. It is also the dividing line that determines whether or not we make mistakes in our work.
"A Talk to the Editorial Staff of the Shansi-Suiyuan Daily" (April 2, 1948), Selected Works, Vol. IV, PP 242-43.
However active the leading group may be, its activity will amount to fruitless effort by a handful of people unless combined with the activity of the masses. On the other hand, if the masses alone are active without a strong leading group to organize their activity properly, such activity cannot be sustained for long, or carried forward in the right direction, or raised to a high level.
"Some Questions Concerning Methods of Leadership" (June 1, 1943), Selected Works, Vol. III, p. 118.
Production by the masses, the interests of the masses, the experiences and feelings of the masses - to these the leading cadres should pay constant attention.
Inscription for a production exhibition sponsored by organizations directly under the Central Committee of the Party and the General Headquarters of the Eighth Route Army, Liberation Daily of Yenan, November 24, 1943.
We should pay close attention to the well being of the masses, from the problems of land and labour to those of fuel, rice, cooking oil and salt. All such problems concerning the well being of the masses should be placed on our agenda. We should discuss them, adopt and carry out decisions and check up on the results. We should help the masses to realize that we represent their interests and that our lives are intimately bound up with theirs. We should help them to proceed from these things to an understanding of the higher tasks which we have put forward, the tasks of the revolutionary war, so that they will support the revolution and spread it throughout the country, respond to our political appeals and fight to the end for victory in the revolution.
"Be Concerned with the Well-Being of the Masses, Pay Attention to Methods of Work" (January 27, 1934), Selected Works, Vol. I, p. 149. *
China is guilty of mass genocide against 1.2 million people of Tibet
The current dilemma and future path of Chinese regime is not that of a son is continuing the legacy of his father. But following a "dead man's dead legacy".
Dharamshala — The Chinese government is guilty of mass genocide against the Tibetan people and we must urge the international community, governments and individuals to openly stand by Tibet and its people. We are not saying all Chinese are bad, or guilty of killing 1.2 million Tibetans, just their current government.
The crime of genocide is defined in international law in the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide.
"Article II: In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
Article III: The following acts shall be punishable:
(b) Conspiracy to commit genocide
(c) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide
(d) Attempt to commit genocide
(e) Complicity in genocide.
The Genocide Convention was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 9 December 1948. The Convention entered into force on 12 January 1951. More than 130 nations have ratified the Genocide Convention and over 70 nations have made provisions for the punishment of genocide in domestic criminal law. The text of Article II of the Genocide Convention was included as a crime in Article 6 of the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
According to the Central Tibetan Administration, "Tibetans were not only shot, but also were beaten to death, crucified, burned alive, drowned, mutilated, starved, strangled, hanged, boiled alive, buried alive, drawn and quartered, and beheaded." According to The Black Book of Communism, the Chinese Communists carried out a cultural genocide against the people of Tibet. Jean-Louis Margolin states that the killings were proportionally larger in Tibet than China proper, and that "one can legitimately speak of genocidal massacres because of the numbers involved."
Adam Jones, another western scholar, from Canada specializing in genocide, notes that after the 1959 Tibetan uprising, the Chinese authorized struggle sessions against reactionaries, during which ". communist regime denounced, tortured, and frequently executed enemies of the people." These sessions resulted in over 92,000 deaths out of a population of about 6 million. These deaths, Jones stresses, may be seen not only as a genocide but also as 'eliticide' – "targeting the better educated and leadership oriented elements among the Tibetan population."
We must know that China is still a regime both authoritarian and totalitarian that violates not only the rights of Tibetan and Mongolian Buddhists and Muslim Uighur, but also its own Chinese citizens— increasing the sense of terror among the people and repressing any dissent. Some very heartbreaking attention-grabbing facts:
· 1.2 million Tibetans have been slaughtered since the Chinese occupation.
· Over six thousand monasteries and temples and historical structures looted and destroyed beyond repair.
· Tibet's ecosystem has been severely damaged: vast regions of forest have been removed whilst numerous wildlife species decimated just for food by the Chinese.
· Tibet's substantial mineral resources have been pillaged and continues to this date.
· One quarter of China's nuclear missiles are stationed in Tibet.
· China is using Tibet as a dumping ground for nuclear waste.
· Some four hundred thousand Chinese troops are based in Tibet.
· Over 8 million Chinese colonists have moved into Tibet in a step to dominate the Tibetans.
· A secret Chinese document in 1992 revealed plans to swamp the Tibetan population with even more Chinese.
· Forced abortions, many in late pregnancy, and sterilization of Tibetan women is not uncommon.
· Hundreds of Tibetan political prisoners are being held including the Panchen Lama.
· Over 150,000 Tibetans are in exile worldwide, including India and Nepal.
· In 1959, the international Commission of Jurists found that genocide had been committed in Tibet.
· Nomads are forced to end their traditional way of life.
· Chairman Mao wanted to blow-up the Potala - as they did with the Chakpori - to break the Tibetan spiritual spirit.
· Forced to denounce His Holiness the Dalai Lama, their own spiritual and temporal leader, his chosen Panchen Lama Gedun Choekyi Nyima Tibetans must pledge their allegiance to the Chinese government. Failure to do so can result in imprisonment or other forms of severe punishment. Celebrating birthday celebration of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, commemorating anniversaries or festivals, and possessing an image of His Holiness the Dalai Lama or Tibetan flag is still illegal in Tibet today.
· More than 80% of Tibetans in Tibet still live below the poverty line. Trulku Tenzin Delek Rinpoche's case is one example of the human rights abuses being carried out the regime on the roof of the world.
We must fight for our fundamental rights that Tibet will rise again one day as the spiritual center of the world, but our struggle must be more practical and vigilant to the end.
The regime in Beijing permits no individual freedom and also seeks to subordinate all aspects of the individual's life to the authority of the government. Chinese dictator Mao Zedong coined the term totalitario between the late 1940s and the early 50s to describe the new fascist state of China, which he further described as: "CCP" and its's "control system." He drew almost everything from Soviet and other totalitarian states. After World War II, China's "totalitarian" regime had become synonymous with absolute and oppressive single-party government.
Unfortunately, as the governments of many countries today, when they focus on power, commerce, and self gain, without any further sense of concern towards the fundamental principles of democratic governance, Human Rights and freedom of expression— whether intentionally or negligently, they ignore millions of people who sacrifice their individual liberty for these principles, who inspired millions and millions of these free nations and societies.
At same time, as Tibetans, we must appreciate the love, friendship and supports we have received from the international community, including governments and individuals and remember their the long expressions of solidarity toward Tibet and its freedom cause. But we must continue to widen our freedom struggle that justice must one day prevail for the thousands of Tibetan people who have sacrificed their lives, to realise the dream of Tibet.
Many defense analysts argue that there is fears that China is using its rising military and economic might to threatening neighbors with might, as it repeatedly exerts its influence, including the South China Sea. China is often distinguished from dictatorship, despotism, or tyranny by its supplementing of all political institutions with new ones and its sweeping away of all legal, social, and political traditions.
The media in China is highly and strictly censored by a system in which the state holds total control over society and seeks to control all opinions of public. Therefore, there won't be official reports about unpleasant happenings and unsanitised views of events.
Tibetans, Uighurs and Mongolians are now the minority groups in their own countries, a very sad fact indeed. But we must be practical and recognize that merely expressing within ourselves is not enough and we will never succeed. If we fail, much of our purpose in living in exile is lost. Of course our struggle against Chinese repression and occupation must go hand in hand with Mahatma Gandhi's method of nonviolent resistance. We should always be ready for one goal that is in all reality practical and thus achievable — to show how peaceful solutions can work.
While meeting with Chinese scholars, students, and various representatives of organisations in the past decades, His Holiness the Dalai Lama repeatedly expressed that there is a growing understanding of the Tibetan issue and a growing interest in Tibetan Buddhism among the mainland Chinese.
China has a population of more than 1.3 billion people. There are around three million Buddhists in China and that the number is still increasing, that the understanding of the Tibetan issue as well as sympathy towards Tibetans among Chinese in mainland China is growing.
The 1.3 billion people, including Chinese, Tibetans, Uighurs and Mongolians must fight together against the totalitarian regime to liberate themselves from the backward-stricken system and society, in an effort to create real reform, openness, social policy and to join the free loving world. So that almost a quarter of world population one day will be able to enjoy social life of human rights, including the economy, education, art, science, private life, and morals of citizens.
However the general public in China knows their life is uncertainty and their future is unknown. Many leading scholars and activists, including writers, journalists, lawyers, educators, artists and rights advocates have expressed their disapproval over all the promises of government, regarding openness and political reform in China, saying "all are nothing but empty words." They also have expressed their passion for what they are doing. Without that passion, they think it will be like a fish on dry sand. We also know news and opinions spread in the Chinese internet swiftly in late 2008 and earlier 2010, despite their life-threatening risks involved, specially many censored post in different forums new posts appeared. So we also must remember those freedom-loving Chinese people who sacrifice for the sake of freedom of expression and democracy.
The world must remember the history that China is still a nation whose collective destiny is tied to the fate of former dictators, including Stalin and Mao— who perpetrated crimes against humanity and mass murder in the last 100 years. The current dilemma and future path of Chinese regime is not that of a son is continuing the legacy of his father. But following a dead man's dead legacy— Stalin and his Soviet Communism who's collapse was hailed by the free world as a great victory for freedom. The Soviet's failure to become a world power proves a point that China must take notice to: without justice, freedom, morality, dignity and equality, the dream of all those hardliners in Beijing, who dare to seek the world's superpower status, will surely never come true.
In our struggle for freedom we must remember this history and realize that China's authoritarian and totalitarian practices have an expiration date, just like the Soviet Union, it's a ticking time bomb waiting for collapse. As history tells us, a state cannot thrive while denying the rights of its citizens. So while we cannot allow China to get away with the mass genocide of 1.2 million Tibetans, and we must continue to push the free world to stand for the values they flaunt, only time will speak the truth.
New York Times apologizes for sharing previous obituary referring to China's Mao as 'one of history's great revolutionary figures'
Despite nothing being factually wrong with the story about the Tea Party, the Times once again caved to left-wing pressure and a Twitter mob, says Fox News media analyst Howard Kurtz, host of 'Media Buzz.'
The New York Times has apologized after referring to former Chinese leader Mao Zedong as “one of history’s great revolutionary figures.”
The Times’ shared its obituary to Mao -- who died on Sept. 9, 1976 -- to mark the anniversary of the People's Republic of China founder’s death.
“Mao Zedong died on this day in 1976. The Times said he ‘began as an obscure peasant’ and ‘died one of history’s great revolutionary figures,’ a tweet sent with the obituary read.
The 1976 obituary stated: “After establishing the Chinese People’s republic, Mao launched a series of sweeping, sometimes convulsive campaigns to transform a semi-feudal, largely illiterate and predominantly agricultural country encompassing almost four million square miles into a modern, industrialized socialist state.”
A short time later, the outlet posted another tweet apologizing for the remark, which read: “We’ve deleted a previous tweet about Mao Zedong that lacked critical historical context.”
Mao founded the People's Republic of China in 1949 and ran it virtually uncontested until his death on Sept. 9, 1976.
His reputation was deeply tarnished by the chaos and destruction of the ultra-radical 1966-1976 Cultural Revolution. Some estimates state Mao is responsible for the deaths of at least 45 million people.
Author Frank Dikötter wrote for History Today in 2016 that Mao is “one of the greatest mass murderers in history, responsible for the deaths of at least 45 million people between 1958 and 1962.”
“It is not merely the extent of the catastrophe that dwarfs earlier estimates, but also the manner in which many people died: between two and three million victims were tortured to death or summarily killed, often for the slightest infraction,” the piece read.