Mao Zedong

Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong 1963 (cropped).jpg
Mao in 1963
Chairman of the Communist Party of China
In office
March 20, 1943 – September 9, 1976
DeputyLiu Shaoqi
Lin Biao
Zhou Enlai
Hua Guofeng
Preceded byZhang Wentian
Succeeded byHua Guofeng
Chairman of the People's Republic of China
In office
September 27, 1954 – April 27, 1959
PremierZhou Enlai
DeputyZhu De
Succeeded byLiu Shaoqi
Chairman of the Central Military Commission
In office
September 8, 1954 – September 9, 1976
DeputyZhu De
Lin Biao
Ye Jianying
Succeeded byHua Guofeng
Chairman of the Central People's Government
In office
October 1, 1949 – September 27, 1954
PremierZhou Enlai
Personal details
Born(1893-12-26)December 26, 1893
Shaoshan, Hunan, Qing Empire
DiedSeptember 9, 1976(1976-09-09) (aged 82)
Beijing, People's Republic of China
Resting placeChairman Mao Memorial Hall, Beijing, People's Republic of China
Political partyCommunist Party of China
Other political
Kuomintang (1925–1926)
Spouse(s)Luo Yixiu (1907–1910)
Yang Kaihui (1920–1930)
He Zizhen (1930–1937)
Jiang Qing (1939–1976)
Children10, including:
Mao Anying
Mao Anqing
Mao Anlong
Yang Yuehua
Li Min
Li Na
Alma materHunan First Normal University

Paramount Leader of
the People's Republic of China

Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong (Chinese characters).svg
"Mao Zedong" in Simplified (top) and Traditional (bottom) Chinese characters
Simplified Chinese
Traditional Chinese
Courtesy name
Simplified Chinese
Traditional Chinese

Mao Zedong[a] (ŋ/;[2] December 26, 1893 – September 9, 1976), also known as Chairman Mao, was a Chinese communist revolutionary who became the founding father of the People's Republic of China, which he ruled as the Chairman of the Communist Party of China from its establishment in 1949 until his death in 1976. His theories, military strategies, and political policies are collectively known as Maoism.

Mao was the son of a wealthy farmer in Shaoshan, Hunan. He had a Chinese nationalist and anti-imperialist outlook early in his life, and was particularly influenced by the events of the Xinhai Revolution of 1911 and May Fourth Movement of 1919. He later adopted Marxism–Leninism while working at Peking University, and became a founding member of the Communist Party of China (CPC), leading the Autumn Harvest Uprising in 1927. During the Chinese Civil War between the Kuomintang (KMT) and the CPC, Mao helped to found the Chinese Workers' and Peasants' Red Army, led the Jiangxi Soviet's radical land policies, and ultimately became head of the CPC during the Long March. Although the CPC temporarily allied with the KMT under the United Front during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945), China's civil war resumed after Japan's surrender and in 1949 Mao's forces defeated the Nationalist government, which withdrew to Taiwan.

On October 1, 1949, Mao proclaimed the foundation of the People's Republic of China (PRC), a single-party state controlled by the CPC. In the following years he solidified his control through land reforms and through a psychological victory in the Korean War, as well as through campaigns against landlords, people he termed "counter-revolutionaries", and other perceived enemies of the state. In 1957, he launched a campaign known as the Great Leap Forward that aimed to rapidly transform China's economy from agrarian to industrial. This campaign led to the deadliest famine in history and the deaths of 20–45 million people between 1958 and 1962.[3][4][5] In 1966, Mao initiated the Cultural Revolution, a program to remove "counter-revolutionary" elements in Chinese society which lasted 10 years and was marked by violent class struggle, widespread destruction of cultural artifacts, and an unprecedented elevation of Mao's cult of personality. The program is now officially regarded as a "severe setback" for the PRC.[6] In 1972, Mao welcomed American President Richard Nixon in Beijing, signalling the start of a policy of opening China to the world. After years of ill health, Mao suffered a series of heart attacks in 1976 and died at the age of 82. He was succeeded as paramount leader by Premier Hua Guofeng, who was quickly sidelined and replaced by Deng Xiaoping.

A controversial figure, Mao is regarded as one of the most important and influential individuals in modern world history.[7][8] He is also known as a political intellect, theorist, military strategist, poet, and visionary.[9] Supporters credit him with driving imperialism out of China,[10] modernising the nation and building it into a world power, promoting the status of women, improving education and health care, as well as increasing life expectancy as China's population grew from around 550 million to over 900 million under his leadership.[11][12] Conversely, his regime has been called autocratic and totalitarian, and condemned for bringing about mass repression and destroying religious and cultural artifacts and sites. It was additionally responsible for vast numbers of deaths with estimates ranging from 30 to 70 million victims through starvation, prison labour and mass executions.[13][14]

Early life

Youth and the Xinhai Revolution: 1893–1911

Mao Zedong was born on December 26, 1893, in Shaoshan village, Hunan Province, China.[15] 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.[16] Mao's mother, Wen Qimei, was a devout Buddhist who tried to temper her husband's strict attitude.[17] Mao too became a Buddhist, but abandoned this faith in his mid-teenage years.[17] At age 8, Mao was sent to Shaoshan Primary School. Learning the value systems of Confucianism, he later admitted that he didn't enjoy the classical Chinese texts preaching Confucian morals, instead favouring popular novels like Romance of the Three Kingdoms and Water Margin.[18] 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.[19]

Mao Zedong's childhood home in Shaoshan, in 2010, by which time it had become a tourist destination

While working on his father's farm, Mao read voraciously[20] 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.[21] Interested in history, Mao was inspired by the military prowess and nationalistic fervour of George Washington and Napoleon Bonaparte.[22] 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.[23] 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.[24] At age 16, Mao moved to a higher primary school in nearby Dongshan,[25] where he was bullied for his peasant background.[26]

In 1911, Mao began middle school in Changsha.[27] 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.[28] In Changsha, Mao was influenced by Sun's newspaper, The People's Independence (Minli bao),[29] and called for Sun to become president in a school essay.[30] 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.[31]

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.[32] 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.[33] 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.[34]

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.[35] 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.[36] Viewing himself as an intellectual, years later he admitted that at this time he thought himself better than working people.[37] 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.[38] 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.[39]

Mao Zedong in 1913

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.[40] 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.[41] Mao published his first article in New Youth in April 1917, instructing readers to increase their physical strength to serve the revolution.[42] 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.[43]

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.[44] 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.[45] In spring 1917, he was elected to command the students' volunteer army, set up to defend the school from marauding soldiers.[46] 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.[47] 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.[48] Mao graduated in June 1919, ranked third in the year.[49]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Mao Zedong
Alemannisch: Mao Zedong
አማርኛ: ማው ፀ-ቶንግ
العربية: ماو تسي تونغ
aragonés: Mao Zedong
অসমীয়া: মাও জেদং
asturianu: Mao Zedong
Aymar aru: Mao Zedong
azərbaycanca: Mao Tszedun
Bân-lâm-gú: Mô͘ Te̍k-tong
башҡортса: Мао Цзэдун
беларуская: Маа Цзэдун
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Мао Дзэ-дун
Bikol Central: Mao Zedong
Bislama: Mao Zedong
български: Мао Дзъдун
Boarisch: Mao Tse-tung
bosanski: Mao Zedong
brezhoneg: Mao Zedong
буряад: Мао Цзэдун
català: Mao Zedong
Чӑвашла: Мао Цзедун
čeština: Mao Ce-tung
Chi-Chewa: Mao Zedong
Cymraeg: Mao Zedong
dansk: Mao Zedong
davvisámegiella: Mao Zedong
Deutsch: Mao Zedong
eesti: Mao Zedong
Ελληνικά: Μάο Τσετούνγκ
español: Mao Zedong
Esperanto: Mao Zedong
estremeñu: Mao Zedong
euskara: Mao Zedong
Fiji Hindi: Mao Zedong
føroyskt: Mao Zedong
français: Mao Zedong
Gaeilge: Mao Zedong
Gàidhlig: Mao Zedong
galego: Mao Tse Tung
贛語: 毛澤東
गोंयची कोंकणी / Gõychi Konknni: Mao Zedong
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Mô Chhe̍t-tûng
хальмг: Мау Зедоң
한국어: 마오쩌둥
հայերեն: Մաո Ցզե Դուն
हिन्दी: माओ से-तुंग
hrvatski: Mao Ce-tung
Ilokano: Mao Zedong
Bahasa Indonesia: Mao Zedong
interlingua: Mao Zedong
íslenska: Maó Zedong
italiano: Mao Zedong
Basa Jawa: Mao Zedong
Kabɩyɛ: Mao Zedong
ქართული: მაო ძედუნი
қазақша: Мау Зыдоң
kernowek: Mao Zedong
Kiswahili: Mao Zedong
kurdî: Mao Zedong
Кыргызча: Мао Цзэдун
Ladino: Mao Tse-tung
لۊری شومالی: مائوتسئ تونگ
Latina: Mao Zedong
latviešu: Mao Dzeduns
Lëtzebuergesch: Mao Zedong
lietuvių: Mao Dzedongas
Livvinkarjala: Mao Zedong
la .lojban.: ma'os. dzedon.
lumbaart: Mao Zedong
magyar: Mao Ce-tung
македонски: Мао Це Тунг
Malagasy: Mao Zedong
Malti: Mao Zedong
მარგალური: მაო ძედუნი
مازِرونی: مائو
Bahasa Melayu: Mao Zedong
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Mò̤ Dĕk-dŭng
монгол: Мао Зэдун
မြန်မာဘာသာ: မော်စီတုန်း
Nederlands: Mao Zedong
日本語: 毛沢東
нохчийн: Мао Цзэдун
norsk: Mao Zedong
norsk nynorsk: Mao Zedong
occitan: Mao Zedong
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Mao Zedong
پنجابی: ماؤ زے تنگ
Patois: Mao Zidong
ភាសាខ្មែរ: ម៉ៅសេទុង
Piemontèis: Mao Zedong
Plattdüütsch: Mao Zedong
polski: Mao Zedong
português: Mao Tsé-Tung
Ripoarisch: Mao Zedong
română: Mao Zedong
Runa Simi: Mao Zedong
русиньскый: Мао Цзедун
русский: Мао Цзэдун
саха тыла: Мао Цзэдун
संस्कृतम्: माओ त्से-तुंग
Scots: Mao Zedong
shqip: Mao Zedong
sicilianu: Mau Zitung
සිංහල: මාඕ සේතුං
Simple English: Mao Zedong
slovenčina: Mao Ce-tung
slovenščina: Mao Cetung
Soomaaliga: Mao Zedong
српски / srpski: Мао Цедунг
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Mao Tse-tung
suomi: Mao Zedong
svenska: Mao Zedong
Tagalog: Mao Zedong
татарча/tatarça: Mao Tzıduñ
тоҷикӣ: Мао Тседун
Türkçe: Mao Zedong
українська: Мао Цзедун
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: ماۋزېدوڭ
Vahcuengh: Mauz Cwzdungh
vèneto: Mao Zedong
vepsän kel’: Mao Czedun
Tiếng Việt: Mao Trạch Đông
Volapük: Mao Zedong
Võro: Mao Zedong
文言: 毛澤東
Winaray: Mao Zedong
吴语: 毛泽东
ייִדיש: מאא צעטאנג
Yorùbá: Mao Zedong
粵語: 毛澤東
žemaitėška: Mauo Dzeduns
中文: 毛泽东