Mao Tse-Dung

Copyright Michael D. Robbins 2005


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Mao Tse-Dung—Chinese Communist Leader, Statesman, Dictator, Revolutionary

December 26, 1893, Shaoshan, China. Time of birth between 7 and 9 AM, LMT. (Sources: Rodden gives 7:30 as a rectification but the Libra MC is unlikely. 8:00 AM taken as average time by Penfield. Sources for time frame: American Astrology, March, 1951 and Constellations, 1977) Died September 9, 1976, Peking, China      

(Ascendant, Capricorn; Sun in Capricorn; MC either Scorpio or Libra’ Moon in Leo; Mercury in Sagittarius; Venus in Aquarius; Mars and Uranus in Scorpio; Jupiter in Taurus; Saturn in Libra; Neptune conjunct Pluto in Gemini; NN in Aries)  

Whether or not one agrees with the Communist Ideology of Mao, his power as a representative of Shamballa must be recognized. Hitler, Lenin, Stalin and Franco were all such ‘disciples’ of Shamballa. Mao reorganized his entire nation. Hundreds of millions were subject to his will. He was a “man of destiny”—the ultimate authority figure—in the eyes of his followers, almost a god. With the double Capricorn emphasis proposed, he was indeed the “Father of his Nation” the “Great Helmsman”.    

His approximate horoscope (for a number of times of birth ranging between 7:00 AM and 9:00 AM are proposed) reveals, in part, the nature of his influence. Capricorn, which qualifies both his Sun and Ascendant, is a sign of great authority and imposition. Indeed, for the years of his rule, his will was irresistible. Saturn is the exoteric and esoteric ruler of Capricorn and it is place in Libra, the sign of law, in the ninth house of philosophy and world view. Mao’s word and will were law; his philosophical views were narrow, fixed, orthodox (a revolutionary’s orthodoxy). He remained the sole judge (Saturn in Libra) of what was acceptable in terms of Revolutionary Ideology (for his sixth ray was powerful) and what was inadmissible. Thus, he enforced, through the first ray, his structure of thought.

His personal authority reinforced by his Leo Moon. That he was a professional revolutionary is indicated by Uranus in H10. How close is Uranus to the MC? Advancing the chart by twenty or twenty-five minutes puts it very close indeed. Uranus powerful in the sign of its exaltation (Scorpio, the sign of death and resurrection). He took his nation through a death and brought it to a new birth under his own version of Communist Ideology. The passion, militancy and idealism of his thought process are strengthened by Mercury in sixth ray Sagittarius in the eleventh house of group process. It is easy to see why he proposed his own vision as the best vision for the nation. 

Mao was always willing to use force—in however detached a manner. He is responsible for the deaths of even more people than Hitler, perhaps even more than Stalin, and Stalin is said to have ‘killed’ some thirty million. An elevated Mars in Scorpio signals war and bloodshed. Pluto, one of the rulers of Scorpio is the found conjunct to Neptune, the planet of idealism, in Gemini, the sign of speech. He expressed himself through idealistic thought and was willing to kill anyone (Pluto) who opposed.        

Jupiter in Taurus in H4 shows that he improved the way of life for many of his people and was well perceived “at home”. Venus in Aquarius shows his insistence on group harmony within the “Party”—presumably after all dissidents had been purged. The tension between the prerogatives demanded by the Leo Moon and the compromises necessitated by the opposing Venus in Aquarius can easily be imagined.   

The Sun is found in the twelfth house, just as in the proposed chart of Gorvachev and in one of the proposed charts for Stalin. Frequently, those who play an important role in great social crises are found with the twelfth house Sun. They preside over the dissolution of old social structures in times of chaos and rebirth.         

Mao’s rays are definitely the first and sixth. More careful leaders (less idealistic) would not have plunged their nation into the futile self-destructiveness of the “Great Cultural Revolution”. Mao was not an economic pragmatist as so many of his successors. The fourth ray of struggle is also strongly represented in four planets found in Taurus, Scorpio and Sagittarius (the three fourth ray signs). As well, the tactical third ray cannot be missing from one who has Ascendant and Sun in Capricorn with ruling Saturn in third ray Libra.           

Although Mao drastically reorganized his nation, elevating the proletariat above the formerly privileged classes (for, he was, after all, the son of a peasant), it is hard to think that he was not one of the great and ruthless Chinese emperors of the past—returning to exert the absolute power to which he had become accustomed, but in way more in keeping with modernity.    

Did his nation profit from the Communist Revolution. Certainly many abuses were ended, and many others took their places. The answer will probably be, “Yes”, but even after fifty years, it is still too early to assess the spiritual value of the results.


A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery.

All reactionaries are paper tigers.

Communism is not love. Communism is a hammer which we use to crush the enemy.

Despise the enemy strategically, but take him seriously tactically.

I voted for you during your last election.

In waking a tiger, use a long stick.

Khrushchev should get a one-ton medal.

Let a hundred flowers bloom, let a hundred schools of thought contend.

Once all struggle is grasped, miracles are possible.

Passivity is fatal to us. Our goal is to make the enemy passive.

People like me sound like a lot of big cannons.

Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.

Politics is war without bloodshed, while war is politics with bloodshed.

Revolution is not a dinner party, not an essay, nor a painting, nor a piece of embroidery; it cannot be advanced softly, gradually, carefully, considerately, respectfully, politely, plainly and modestly.

Swollen in head, weak in legs, sharp in tongue but empty in belly.

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.

The cardinal responsibility of leadership is to identify the dominant contradiction at each point of the historical process and to work out a central line to resolve it.

The guerrilla must move amongst the people as a fish swims in the sea.

We think too small, like the frog at the bottom of the well. He thinks the sky is only as big as the top of the well. If he surfaced, he would have an entirely different view.

When the enemy advances, withdraw; when he stops, harass; when he tires, strike; when he retreats, pursue.


Mao Zedong (December 26, 1893 – September 9, 1976; Simplified Chinese: ???; Traditional Chinese: ???; pinyin: Máo Zédong; Wade-Giles: ) was the chairman of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China from 1943 and the chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China from 1945 until his death. Under his leadership, the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) became the ruling party of mainland China as the result of its victory in the Chinese Civil War. On October 1, 1949, Mao declared the formation of the People's Republic of China at Tiananmen Square.
While in power, he started a series of experiments aimed at speeding up China's economic development known as the Great Leap Forward. He forged but then later split the alliance with the Soviet Union and launched the Cultural Revolution.
Mao is widely credited for creating a mostly unified China free of foreign domination for the first time since the Opium Wars. However, critics point out that Mao's inappropriate economic policies in conjunction with the Three Years of Natural Disasters caused the famine of 1959–1961, which lead to the deaths of millions of Chinese. Mao has also been criticized for his contribution to the split with the USSR, his establishment of a one-party dictatorship, and initiating the internal turmoil during the Cultural Revolution.
Mao Zedong is still sometimes referred to as Chairman Mao (???). At the height of his personality cult, Mao was commonly known in China as the "Four Greats": "Great Teacher, Great Leader, Great Supreme Commander, Great Helmsman".

The eldest son of four children of a moderately prosperous peasant farmer, Mao Zedong was born in the village of Shaoshan in Xiangtan county (???), Hunan province. His ancestors had migrated from Jiangxi province during the Ming Dynasty and had pursued farming for generations.

Mao as a young man.
During the 1911 Revolution he served in the Hunan provincial army. In the 1910s, Mao returned to school, where he became an advocate of physical fitness and collective action.
After graduation from Hunan Normal School in 1918, Mao traveled with his high-school teacher and future father-in-law, Professor Yang Changji (???), to Beijing during the May Fourth Movement, when Yang lectured at Peking University. From Yang's recommendations, he worked under Li Dazhao, the head of the university library and attended speeches by Chen Duxiu. While working for the Peking University library as an assistant librarian, Mao acquired a taste for books, something he was to retain in later years. Also in Beijing, he married his first wife, Yang Kaihui, a Peking University student and Yang Changji’s daughter. (When Mao was 14, his father had arranged a marriage for him with a fellow villager, Luo [??], but Mao never recognized this marriage.) (See section 7 Family)
Instead of going abroad which was the path of many of his radical compatriots, Mao spent the early 1920s traveling in China, and finally returned to Hunan, where he took the lead in promoting collective action and labor rights.
At age 27, Mao attended the First Congress of the Communist Party of China in Shanghai on July 23rd, 1921. Two years later he was elected to the Central Committee of the party at the Third Congress.
During the Chinese Civil War’s first KMT-CCP united front, Mao served as the director of the Peasant Training Institute of the Kuomintang (also known as KMT or Nationalist Party). In early 1927, he was dispatched to Hunan province to report on the recent peasant uprisings in the wake of the Northern Expedition. The report that Mao produced from this investigation is considered the first important work of Maoist theory.

During this time, Mao developed many of his political theories. These ideas have had a monumental impact on generations of Chinese and have significantly affected the rest of the world.
Mao's thought transformed traditional Marxism into a political ideology that could work to win a revolution and consolidate power in China. Marxism-Leninism could only exist in concrete manifestations, meaning that it could only work if it was applied to certain situations. Mao hypothesized that peasants could form the basis of a communist revolution, but only if the party elites took the message of revolution to the grass roots and make it comprehensible to the peasant population. This meant a process of getting party cadres to understand local realities and trying to integrate the concerns of peasants with party policy, something called Mass Line.
Mao also built on the theories of Hegel and Marx to create a new theory of materialist dialectics. By applying the theory of the dialectic to real-world conflicts, then by asserting that only the empirical reality of the conflict mattered, Mao developed a type of dialectic theory that was studied for decades. It is difficult to determine the true validity of this theory, however, since so many analyses of it have been heavily influenced by political biases.
During this time, Mao also developed more practical ideas, such as a three-stage theory of guerilla warfare and the concept of the people's democratic dictatorship.

War and Revolution
Mao escaped the white terror in the spring and summer of 1927 and led the ill-fated Autumn Harvest Uprising at Changsha, Hunan, that autumn. Mao barely survived this mishap (he escaped his guards on the way to his execution). He and his rag-tag band of loyal guerillas found refuge in the Jinggang Mountains in southeastern China. There, from 1931 to 1934, Mao helped establish the Chinese Soviet Republic and was elected chairman. It was during this period that Mao married He Zizhen, after Yang Kaihui had been killed by KMT forces.
Mao, with the help of Zhu De, built a modest but effective guerilla army, undertook experiments in rural reform and government, and provided refuge for Communists fleeing the rightist purges in the cities. Under increasing pressure from the KMT encirclement campaigns, there was a struggle for power within the Communist leadership. Mao was removed from his important positions and replaced by individuals (including Zhou Enlai) who appeared loyal to the orthodox line advocated by Moscow and represented within the CPC by a group known as the 28 Bolsheviks.
Chiang Kai-shek, who had earlier assumed nominal control of China due in part to the Northern Expedition, was determined to eliminate the Communists. To evade the KMT forces, the Communists engaged in the "Long March", a retreat from Jiangxi in the southeast to Shaanxi in the northwest of China. It was during this 9600-km, year-long journey that Mao emerged as the top Communist leader, aided by the Zunyi Conference and the defection of Zhou Enlai to Mao's side. At this Conference, Mao entered the Standing Committee of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China.
From his base in Yan'an, Mao led the Communist resistance against the Japanese in the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945). Mao further consolidated power over the Communist Party in 1942 by launching the Cheng Feng, or "Rectification" campaign against rival CPC members such as Wang Ming, Wang Shiwei, and Ding Ling. Also while in Yan'an, Mao divorced He Zizhen and married the actress Lan Ping, who would become known as Jiang Qing.
During the Sino-Japanese War, Mao Zedong's strategies were opposed by both Chiang Kai-shek and the United States. The US regarded Chiang as an important ally, able to help shorten the war by engaging the Japanese occupiers in China. Chiang, in contrast, sought to build the ROC army for the certain conflict with Mao's communist forces after the end of World War II. This fact was not understood well in the US, and precious lend-lease armaments continued to be allocated to the Kuomintang. In turn, Mao spent some of the war fighting the Kuomintang for control of certain parts of China. Both the Communists and Nationalists have been criticised by academics for fighting amongst themselves rather than ally against the Imperial Japanese Army.
However, Americans sent a special diplomatic envoy, called the Dixie mission, to the Communists by 1944. According to Edwin Moise, in Modern China: A History 2nd Edition,
Most of the Americans were favourably impressed. The CCP seemed less corrupt, more unified, and more vigorous in its resistance to Japan than the Guomingdang. United States fliers shot down over North China...confirmed to their superiors that the CCP was both strong and popular over a broad area. In the end, the contacts with the USA developed with the CCP led to very little.
After the end of World War II, the US continued to support Chiang Kai-shek, now openly against the Communist Red Army, led by Mao Zedong, in the civil war for control of China as part of its view to contain and defeat "world communism". Likewise, the Soviet Union gave quasi-covert support to Mao (acting as a concerned neighbor more than a military ally, to avoid open conflict with the US) and gave large supplies of arms to the Chinese Communists, although newer Chinese records indicate the Soviet "supplies" were not as large as previously believed, and consistently fell short of the promised amount of aid.
On January 21, 1949, Kuomintang forces suffered massive losses against Mao's Red Army. In the early morning of December 10, 1949, Red Army troops laid siege to Chengdu, the last KMT-occupied city in mainland China, and Chiang Kai-shek evacuated from the mainland to Taiwan that same day.

Leadership of China

Mao declared the founding of the PRC on October 1, 1949.
After the Japanese were defeated in World War II, the Communists defeated the Kuomintang in an ensuing civil war and established the People's Republic of China on October 1, 1949. It was the culmination of over two decades of popular struggle led by the Communist Party. From 1954 to 1959, Mao was the Chairman of the PRC. He took up residence in Zhongnanhai, a compound next to the Forbidden City in Beijing, and there he decreed the construction of an indoor swimming pool and other buildings. Mao often did his work either in bed or by the side of the pool during his chairmanship, according to Dr. Li Zhisui, who claimed to be his physician. (Li's book, The Private Life of Chairman Mao, has been subject to controversy.)
Following the consolidation of power, Mao launched a phase of rapid collectivization, lasting until around 1958. The CPC introduced price controls largely successful at breaking the inflationary spiral of the preceding ROC as well as a Chinese character simplification aimed at increasing literacy. Land was redistributed from landowners to poor peasants and large-scale industrialization projects were undertaken, contributing to the construction of a modern national infrastructure. During this period, China sustained yearly increases in GDP of about 4–9% as well as dramatic improvements in quality-of-life indicators such as life expectancy and literacy.
Programs pursued during this time include the Hundred Flowers Campaign, in which Mao indicated his 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 even encouraged, since it was thought that constructive criticism would be beneficial to the Party. However, after a few months, Mao's government reversed its policy and rounded up those who criticized the Party in what is called the Anti-Rightist Movement. Authors such as Jung Chang allege that the Hundred Flowers Campaign was merely a ruse to root out "dangerous" thinking more easily.
In 1958, Mao launched the Great Leap Forward, a plan intended as an alternative model for economic growth which contradicted the Soviet model of heavy industry that was advocated by others in the party. Under this economic program, Chinese agriculture was to be collectivized and rural small-scale industry was to be promoted.
At first, the Great Leap began with tremendous success, with agricultural and steel production running very high. However, instead of maintaining the steady growth, Mao and other party leaders believed they could achieve unrealistically high quotas. A damaging number of agricultural peasants were moved to steel production. Numbers were inflated, although "they were not just lies intended for public consumption, they were actually believed." (Moise 140)
By 1959, the Great Leap Forward had become a disaster for Red China. Although the steel quotas were reached, critics point out much of the steel produced was useless, as it had been made from scrap metal. According to Zhang Rongmei, a Geometry teacher in rural Shanghai during the Great Leap Forward,
We took all the furniture, pots, and pans we had in our house, and all our neighbors did likewise. We put all everything in a big fire and melted down all the metal.
Khrushchev cancelled Soviet technical support because of worsening Sino-Soviet relations. Severe droughts also occurred, further reducing agricultural output. Unrealistic grain demands by the government, Soviet withdrawl of support, natural disasters, and an economy that had spent ten years recovering from decades of war and chaos caused famine across the nation.
There is a great deal of controversy over the number of deaths by starvation during the Great Leap Forward. A mainstream figure is that some thirty million people died during the famine that followed. In 1957, before the Great Leap, about 7–10 million people died. Due to the tremendous crop failure in 1959 caused by incompetent policies from the Great Leap Forward, around 9 to 12 million people died. According to historian Edwin Moise:
Probably there was no year when China was under Guomingdang control when the death rate was as low as 1.46 percent. The number of excess deaths...was about 2,500,000 (in 1959).
However, the policies of the Great Leap coincided with another round of natural disasters in 1960. According to Sun Yefang, the death rate was around 2.54 percent in 1960 and around 9 million "excess deaths" occurred that year. During the so-called Three Years of Natural Disasters, the excess number of deaths "reached 16 million and other sources give higher figures." (Moise 142) Finally, the Great Leap ended in 1960, as a tremendous economic failure.
The withdrawal of Soviet aid, border disputes, disputes over the control and direction of world communism, whether it should be revolutionary or status quo, and other disputes pertaining to foreign policy contributed to the Sino-Soviet split in the 1960s. Most of the problems, regarding communist unity, resulted from the death of Stalin and his replacement by Khrushchev. Stalin had established himself as the fount of correct Marxist thought well before Mao controlled the CCP, 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) leadership of "correct" Marxist doctrine would fall to him. The resulting tension between Khrushchev (at the head of a politically/militarily superior government), and Mao (believing he had a superior understanding of Marxist ideology) eroded the previous patron-client relationship between the USSR and CCP.
Following these events, other members of the Communist Party, including Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping, decided that Mao should be removed from actual power and only remain in a largely ceremonial and symbolic role. They attempted to marginalize Mao, and by 1959, Liu Shaoqi became State President, but Mao remained Chairman. Liu and others began to look at the situation much more realistically, somewhat abandoning the idealism Mao wished for.
Facing the prospect of losing his place on the political stage, Mao responded to Liu and Deng's movements by launching the Cultural Revolution in 1966. This allowed Mao to circumvent the Communist hierarchy by giving power directly to the Red Guards, groups of young people, often teenagers, who set up their own tribunals. The Revolution led to the destruction of much of China's cultural heritage and the imprisonment of a huge number of Chinese intellectuals, as well as creating general economic and social chaos in the country. It was during this period that Mao chose Lin Biao to become his successor. Later, it is unclear whether Lin was planning a military coup (or assassination), but before he could be questioned, Lin died trying to flee China (probably anticipating his arrest) in a suspicious plane crash over Mongolia. It was declared that Lin was planning to depose Mao, and he was posthumously expelled from the CCP. Mao lost trust in many of the top CCP figures.

Mao greeted United States President Richard Nixon (right) in a China visit in 1972
In 1969, Mao declared the Cultural Revolution to be over, although the official history of the People's Republic of China marks the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976 with Mao's death. In the last years of his life, Mao was faced with declining health due to either Parkinson's disease or, according to Li Zhisui, motor neuron disease, as well as lung ailments due to smoking and heart trouble. Mao remained passive as various factions within the Communist Party mobilized for the power struggle anticipated after his death. When Mao could not swim any longer, the indoor swimming pool he had at Zhongnanhai was converted into a giant reception hall, according to Li Zhisui.
As anticipated after Mao’s death on September 9, 1976, there was a power struggle for control of China. On one side were the leftists led by the Gang of Four, who wanted to continue the policy of revolutionary mass mobilization. On the other side were the rightists, which consisted of two groups. One was the restorationists led by Hua Guofeng who advocated a return to central planning along the Soviet model. The other was the reformers, led by Deng Xiaoping, who wanted to overhaul the Chinese economy based on pragmatic policies and to de-emphasize the role of ideology in determining economic and political policy.
Eventually, the moderates won control of the government. Deng Xiaoping defeated Hua Guofeng in a bloodless power struggle shortly afterwards.

Cult of Mao
One of the reasons Mao is most remembered is the Cult of Mao, the personality cult that was created around him. Mao presented himself as an enemy of landowners, businessmen and Western and American imperialism, as well as an ally of impoverished peasants, farmers and workers. Some people argue that personality cults go against the basic ideas of Marxism, but the propaganda that was inherent with most Communist regimes contradicted this, as can be seen by the Cult of Stalin.
Mao said the following about cults at the 1958 Party congress in Chengdu, where he expressed support for the idea of personality cults - even ones like Stalin's:
"There are two kinds of personality cults. One is a healthy personality cult, that is, to worship men like Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin. Because they hold the truth in their hands. The other is a false personality cult, i.e. not analysed and blind worship."
In 1962, Mao proposed the Socialist Education Movement (SEM), in an attempt to 'protect' the peasants against the temptations of feudalism and the sprouts of capitalism that he saw re-emerging in the countryside (thanks to Liu's economic reforms). Large quantities of politicised art were produced and circulated - with Mao at the centre. Numerous posters and musical compositions referred to Mao as "A red sun in the centre of our hearts" (????????) and a "Savior of the people" (??????).
The Cult of Mao proved vital in starting the Cultural Revolution. China's youth had mostly been brought up during the Communist era, and they had been told to love Mao. Thus they were his greatest supporters. Their feelings for him were so strong that many followed his urge to challenge all established authority.
In October 1966, Mao's Quotations of Chairman Mao Zedong (also known as the "Little Red Book") was published. Party members were encouraged to carry a copy with them and possession was almost mandatory in order for membership. Over the years, Mao's image became displayed everywhere, in every home, office and shop. His quotations were included in boldface or red type in even the most mundane writings.

Mao's legacy has produced a large amount of controversy. Some people emphasize the major failures such as the Sino-Soviet Split, the Great Leap Forward and the chaos of the Cultural Revolution. Most mainland Chinese believe that Mao Zedong was a great revolutionary leader, although he made serious mistakes in his later life. According to Deng Xiaoping, Mao was "seven parts right and three parts wrong", and his "contributions are primary and his mistakes secondary."
Supporters of Mao point out that before 1949, for instance, the illiteracy rate in Mainland China was 80 percent, and life expectancy was a meager 35 years. At his death, they claim illiteracy had declined to less than seven percent, and average life expectancy had increased to more than 70 years (alternative statistics also quote improvements, though not nearly as dramatic). In addition to these increases, the total population of China increased 57% to 700 million, from the constant 400 million mark during the span between the Opium War and the Chinese Civil War. Supporters also state that under Mao's regime, China ended its "Century of Humiliation" from Western imperialism and regained its status as a major world power. They also state their belief that Mao also industrialized China to a considerable extent and ensured China's sovereignty during his rule. Some of Mao's supporters view the Kuomintang as having been corrupt and credit Mao with driving them off the Chinese mainland to Taiwan.
They also argue that the Maoist era improved women's rights by abolishing prostitution, a phenomenon that was to return after Deng Xiaoping and post-Maoist CCP leaders increased liberalization of the economy. Indeed, Mao once famously remarked that "Women hold up half the heavens".
Skeptics observe that similar gains in life expectancy occurred in the East Asian Tigers, most notably Taiwan, which was ruled by Mao's opponents, the Kuomintang. Some of the gains may have simply been the result of a country no longer at war, so perhaps any regime could achieve such improvements. The regime that took over in Taiwan was composed of the same people ruling the Mainland for over 20 years when life expectancy was so low, yet life expectancy there also increased.
Mao believed that "socialism is the only way out for China," because the United States and other Western countries would not allow China to join the ranks of advanced capitalism. As if to support this theory, the United States placed a trade embargo on China that lasted until Richard Nixon decided Mao had made himself a force to be reckoned with in dealing with the Soviet Union. While the Tigers obtained favorable trade terms from the United States, most Third World capitalist countries did not, and they saw nothing like the social gains in China or the economic growth of the Tigers.
Some, including members of the Communist Party of China, hold Mao responsible for initiating the Sino-Soviet Split. The Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution were also considered to be major disasters in his policy. Still other critics of Mao fault him for not encouraging birth control and for creating a demographic bump which later Chinese leaders responded to with the one child policy.
There is more consensus on Mao's role as a military strategist and tactician during the Chinese Civil War and the Korean War. Even among those who find Mao's ideology to be either unworkable or abhorrent, many acknowledge that Mao was a brilliant political and military strategist - 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.

Remains of Mao's personality cult: one of the last publicly displayed portraits of Mao Zedong at the Tiananmen gate.
The ideology of Maoism has influenced many communists around the world, including third world revolutionary movements such as Cambodia's Khmer Rouge, Peru's Shining Path, the revolutionary movement in Nepal, and also the Revolutionary Communist Party in the United States. China 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 Mao's legacy.
In mainland China, many people still consider Mao a hero in the first half of his life, but hold that he was too idealistic after gaining power. His actions during the Cultural Revolution regarding the "Four Great Evils" polarizes many Chinese. Mao is also criticized for creating a cult of personality. However, in an era where economic growth has caused corruption to increase in mainland China, there are those who regard the era of Mao as a time of peace and equality. At the same time, contemporary views about him in the PRC are affected by bans on works that criticise Mao heavily.
In the mid-1990s, Mao Zedong's picture began to appear on all new renminbi currency from the People’s Republic of China. This is intended primarily as an anti-counterfeiting measure as Mao's face is widely recognized in contrast to the generic figures that appear in older currency.

He may be the most powerful person who has ever lived. He controlled almost a billion people for more than twenty five years. He controlled more than 9 million square kilometres of land. He controlled a country whose present value is more than $980 billion American. He overthrew an army of more than 4 million to get it, and killed many more to keep it. This project details the life of this once godlike ruler.

The socialist system will eventually replace the capitalist system; this is an objective law independent of man’s will. However much reactionaries try to hold back the wheel of history, sooner or later revolution will take place and will inevitably triumph.
"Speech at the Meeting of the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R in Celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution"
The legends of say he was born into a poor peasant family, but he was actually born on the 26th of December, 1893, in the home of a fairly well-to-do peasant in Hunan. Mao placed his humble origins in the fact his father was born poor and made his own money.
Even so, Mao did not escape village life until the age of 17 when he went to middle school in Changsha, the capital of Hunan. That year, 1911, the revolution led by Dr Sun Yat-Sen overthrew the imperial government and Mao became caught up in the political instability. He left his studies at the school and after a period in a revolutionary army he began to study at a Hunan Provincial library on his own. He became well acquainted with the works of Darwin, Mill and Rousseau before he ran out of money and joined a teaching course. There he read and loved Chinese literature, especially tales of bandits and heroes, as well as advancing his personal health and fitness which would serve him well in the future.
Instead of becoming a teacher at the completion of his course in 1918 he went to Peking and became a poorly paid assistant in the university library. There he found two allies, the library chief Li Ta-chao, and a professor of literature, Chen Tu-hsui, who were radical Marxists and later founded the Chinese Communist Party, the CCP.
The actual founding of the CCP can be dated to the ‘May 4 Uprising’ in 1919 when thousands of students took to the streets to protest against the concessions given to Japan under the Paris Peace Conference. This created a general feeling of anti-imperialist and anti-Japanese sentiment. Mao has been reported as saying "It was by this time I had become in theory, and, to some extent, in action, a Marxist."

No political party can possibly lead a great revolutionary movement to victory unless it possesses revolutionary theory and a knowledge of history and has a profound grasp of the practical movement.
"The Role of the Chinese Communist Party in the National War"
10/1938, Selected Works, Vol. II, p 208.
In 1920 Mao became principal of a primary school in Changsha, where in his spare time he helped set up the Changsha branch of the Communist Party. In 1921 he was one of 12 delegates at the ‘First Congress’ of the Communist Party at a time when national membership of the party totalled 57, and he became the CCP’s General Secretary for Hunan.
By 1925 the membership was still only 900, and the CCP had joined Sun Yat-Sen’s Nationalist party, the Kuomintang (KMT). Plans for an ambitious 'Northern Expedition' were made to bring all of China under KMT control. In March that year Sun Yat-Sen died, and the official leadership of the KMT was left vacant. But a young general, Chiang Kai-Shek, took control and the Northern Expedition preparations went ahead. Mao was an active member of the KMT and was even criticised by CCP members who thought he was too zealous. Mao preferred political activity among the peasants with the KMT to the worker-orientated CCP.
Within a year of the launch of the expedition in early 1926 almost half of China was under KMT control and Chiang Kai-Shek looked like succeeding but for the rapidly rising CCP. Mao had found that peasants were very responsive to the idea of the overthrowing of landlords; however some powerful KMT officials were landlords or relatives of landlords. Nevertheless, Mao was sent to investigate the peasant situation in Hunan in January 1927; in his report he referred to supporting insurrection among peasants against "local bullies and bad gentry" as he could not afford to affront to the landlords directly.
Mao’s political views left him fairly lonely as he had the support of neither the KMT’s right wing nor Stalin in the ‘Workers’ State’ - Karl Marx had described the peasantry as ‘the class that represents barbarism in the midst of civilisation’ - but he knew, as did Stalin, that the CCP with its rate of growth could eventually take over the KMT leadership.

A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing 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.
"Report on an Investigation of the Peasant Movement in Hunan"
3/1927, Selected Works, Vol. I, p. 28.
Chiang recognised this too. In April of 1927 he ordered a ruthless massacre of the communists and militant workers in the cities. Shanghai was the main communist city in China and it was ‘hit’ first; purges in other cities followed. Over the next few months CCP membership dropped from 60 000 to 10 000.
This was actually beneficial to Mao and his ‘peasant Marxism’ hiding in the hills in two ways. Firstly, he no longer to compete with the worker orientated urban brand of communism anymore. Secondly, because Chiang had cut down the left wing of the KMT, he was forced to lean on the right and this began to estrange the KMT from the peasants.
Impatient to respond to the purge Mao managed to gain control of 4 regiments and with this tiny force he led an assault on Changsha called the ‘Autumn Harvest Uprising’ where he expected the workers of the city would rise and conquer like good Marxists. However Mao took such great losses he and his forces were forced to draw back after just one week with only a thousand dispirited soldiers left; from then on Mao stayed in his guerilla base in the high mountains of Chingkangshan and worked outward from there. He would work through villages one by one, finding the landlords, gathering together the peasants to discuss the ‘crimes’ of the landlord, and then having the landlord executed at the hands of the peasants - with the supervision of armed Red Army guards. The offer of political stability, moderate taxes and the distribution of the landlord’s land were naturally very attractive rewards, and by February 1930 Mao was able to declare the ‘South-West Soviet Provincial Government’.
Despite Mao’s successes in the south, Chiang Kai-Shek defeated nearly all the northern warlords, and set up a stable united government that was to last until the Sino-Japanese war erupted in 1937. 1928 to 1937 has come to be regarded the ‘Nationalist decade’.
Still Chiang could not overcome the communists. The Red Army of 10 000, assembled over just 3 years, and the high rate of expansion of CCP territory forced Chiang to begin an ‘Encirclement Campaign’ in December 1930. The eager Red guerillas destroyed the KMT troops with ease. At the same time the CCP leadership, pleased with Mao’s progress, ordered him to attack the nearby cities, Changsha and Nanchang. Both attacks were disastrous and Mao was soon powerful enough to defy such orders from the CCP leadership.
Between 1930 and 1934, five ‘Encirclement Campaigns’ were launched; all failed but the last, which blockaded the base to near starvation. Mao broke out with 85 000 troops and 15 000 Party officials, who were forced to begin the ‘Long March’, a legendary epic of retreat from the harassment of KMT forces. In the first three weeks 25 000 men died; only 20 000 men, some recruited en route, arrived at Yenan base a full year later. The marchers saw 11 provinces, 6000 miles and 200 million people; they endured endless skirmishes with KMT troops, propaganda campaigns in villages and food shortages. In 1935 when the marchers captured Tsunyi, the Chinese Politburo elected Mao Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party.
Mao still had his HQ in a cave, and if it had not been for the Japanese invasion two years later, Mao may never have been able to defeat Chiang who had enough troops to defeat Mao in any prolonged confrontation. Nevertheless, on a visit to rally his troops in the north east, Chiang Kai-Shek was arrested by a young KMT army general who had read of Mao’s attempts to unite the warring parties to defeat the Japanese and was frustrated with Chiang turning a blind eye to the Japanese invasion of Manchuria and north eastern China. Mao surprised everyone by sending Chou En-lai, one of his long time friends and right-hand man, to plead for Chiang’s life, to prove to everyone defeating the Japanese was to be given absolute priority. Chiang was forced to agree to a shaky alliance in 1937 to slow down Japan’s invasion; Japan only stepped up its campaign.
From 1937 until 1945 Chiang was forced to juggle his forces between combat with the Japanese to maintain national support and the CCP to stop them from gaining power. Meanwhile Mao was in his element, because although the Japanese had destroyed cities and transport routes, they lacked the manpower to move into the countryside and affect the peasants, so his power was almost untouched. But when America entered the war in 1941 Chiang was sure of the ultimate defeat of the Japanese and so began to channel more and more materials to the anti-communist effort, although chronic bribery and corruption within the KMT meant the general population sympathised with Mao.
When America ended the war in 1945 it gave most of its surplus war materials to Chiang, who needed them; they were faced with a Red Army of 1 million and a People’s Militia (guerillas) of 2 million; the KMT may well have been beaten in straight combat. Mao received most of the captured equipment of the Russians from their Japanese prisoners in Manchuria.
There were attempts at negotiation between Mao and Chiang but they produced nothing and full-scale civil war began in 1946. Initial victories by Chiang meant nothing as Mao retreated in good order and turned to harass. Corruption and inflation sabotaged the KMT effort. In 1949 Peking fell and Chiang was forced to withdraw to Formosa. The People’s Republic of China was declared on the 1st of October in 1949.
A well disciplined party armed with the theory of Marxist-Leninism, using the methods of self-criticism and linked with the masses of the people; an army under the leadership of such a Party; a united front of all revolutionary classes and all revolutionary groups under the leadership of such a Party - these are the three main weapons with which we have defeated the enemy.
"On the People’s Democratic Dictatorship"
30/6/1949, Selected Works, Vol. IV, p. 422.
Aged 56, Mao now was Chairman of the most powerful political party to have existed to date. While he was not always the only leader in power - he shared eminence with Chou En-lai, Lin Piao and Liu Shao-chi - the central theme of the intense ideological work carried out amongst the people was the exaltation of Mao himself.
In the first years of the Communist regime, conservative estimates of the number killed for voicing their opinions of the Communist party stand at around 3 million; hostile estimates are much higher. Dissenters were taken prisoner, executed or told ‘You are sick, comrade’, and subjugated to formidable brainwashing procedures.
Agrarian reform was high on the agenda; production was only 75% of what it was in 1936 and famine loomed. About a third of the peasants had been integrated into the ‘landlordless’ system and to snap the rest into place, Mao ordered, ‘the greatest reform in history’ (in terms of people involved), the Agrarian Reform Law. It literally exterminated the landlord class, and the land was handed out to delighted peasants. The system was considerably successful but that could partly be put down to a run of good seasons.
Economic reforms placed heavy emphasis on manufacturing and mining. Transport and communications, especially railways (to allow the movement of food around the country), were rebuilt with speed, and education and health were expanded. By 1952 the government claimed the economy was at pre-civil war levels.
The first Five Year Plan was launched in 1953. Foreign visitors were pleasantly shocked at the rate by which the country had transformed. Mao, however, was not so pleased and in 1955 ordered the collectivisation of farming - farming families were forced into ‘producer cooperatives’ where tools and materials were pooled, seen as the ideal socialist arrangement. A run of bad seasons as well as the ensuing confusion made peasants seriously disillusioned about the system.
The Hundred Flowers Campaign
The Communist Party does not fear criticism because we are Marxists, the truth is on our side, and the basic masses, the workers and peasants, are on our side.
Speech at the Chinese Communist Party’s National Conference on Propaganda Work
12/3/1957, 1st pocket edition, p. 14.
In response to Krushchev’s secret speech in 1956 detailing Stalin’s ‘crimes’, Mao delivered a speech intended for intellectuals promising new freedom of speech and the elimination of the Party’s single ‘line’. ‘Let a Hundred Flowers Bloom, Let All the Schools of Thought Contend’, said Mao.
However Mao became concerned when he observed the November 1956 revolt in Hungary which would have overthrown the Communist government there but for the military intervention of Russia, which was caused by a similar relaxation of censorship. Still, the discussion went ahead on the 8th of May 1957, with the inclusion of criteria for ‘distinguishing between fragrant flowers and poisonous weeds’, the main one of which was that ‘words and actions can be judged right if they…tend to strengthen, not cast off or weaken, the leadership of the Communist Party.’
A huge torrent of criticism flowed out; attacks on the most basic philosophies including many along the line of ‘the old ruling class has been overthrown to make way for a new one’, and complaints that the party officials were acting like plain clothes police meant Mao terminated the idea in just 6 weeks, arresting all the dissenters and either brainwashing them, sending them to work in the fields or having them otherwise silenced.

Relations with the USSR deteriorated rapidly in 1957 and 58; Krushchev accused Mao of straying from true Marxist doctrine. In 1960, Russian technicians and economic aid were withdrawn and the Russians accused the Chinese of wanting to start a nuclear war. China responded by attempting to form a third world superpower by aligning other communist Asian nations, but this was largely a failure.
Instead of continuing the Five Year Plan that had succeeded from 1953-7, Mao decided on a far more ambitious ‘Great Leap Forward’. Mao wanted to do in a decade what Russia had done in four. By the end of 1958 he had succeeded in driving almost the entire population into ‘communes’, organised, self-governing and self sufficient groups of 5 000 to 10 000 households. In rural areas 26 000 communes replaced the 750 000 collectives already in place. Soon urban communes were abandoned as impractical, but efforts to make rural communes work were far more wholehearted. Families were forced into military-type lifestyles, women were compulsory participants in communal work, hours were long and meal breaks were short. It has been spoken of as ‘the three bitter years’, however, the failure was never fully acknowledged to save face with Russia. For the first time since 1935, Mao was demoted from the top job, replaced by Liu Shao-chi. In 1960 farmers returned to the previous system of collectives; communes remained as administrative centres. In 1962 a third Five Year Plan was forged.
The Cultural Revolution
Study Chairman Mao’s writings, follow his teachings and act according to his instructions.
Lin Piao
In 1964, Quotations from Chairman , better known as The Little Red Book, was published. It was compiled by the young Army Marshal Lin Piao. It contains hundreds of excerpts from Mao’s writings and speeches, covering most communist philosophy. In 1966 it began a huge wave of slogans, quotes and mottos in what has been called the Cultural Revolution, almost certainly started by Mao himself in an attempt to regain the leadership. Thousands of youths left studies and jobs to join the ‘Red Guards’, basically a marauding band who knew the quotations off by heart, opposed revisionism, careerism, bureaucracy and every other thinkable transgression against Marxist-Leninism, all which led to anarchy in a previously composed, organised society. They ruthlessly attacked ‘bourgeois’ professors, ‘bureaucrats’ and ‘non-revolutionary’ industry. Different groups within the Reds often argued and sometimes fought over interpretations of the red book, and the situation was only resolved in 1969 when the army was brought in to quell the crisis. Many of the revolutionaries were sent back to their jobs; others were sent to work in the fields to ‘learn from the peasants.’
A similar revolution occurred in the Party leadership; Mao’s successor, Liu Shao-chi, suddenly admitted to many ‘crimes’ against Marxist-Leninist-Maoism, and was subsequently ridiculed and made a symbol of hate for the Red Guards. Mao was reinstated as leader and his greatest ally, the Army, made up half of the party leadership elected at the Ninth Congress. The Army commander was Lin Piao, who was soon designated as Mao’s intended successor.
Yet Lin was killed in a plane crash in 1971, allegedly while trying to escape from an assassination attempt on Mao. Suddenly all the little red books, each with a glowing preface by Lin were tarnished. Mao himself denounced the book as not nearly as influential as it was supposed to be.
The Army’s power in the leadership was drastically reduced again, and soon China began to establish positive relations with the USA. President Nixon visited Peking in 1972 and began diplomatic ‘normalisation’ by changing its policy on Taiwan, still governed by Chiang Kai-Shek. President Ford visited in 1975 to reaffirm this so called Shanghai Communique.
Mao passed away on the 9th of September 1976.
A savage battle was fought over the leadership after Mao’s demise; eventually Deng Xiaoping was elected party chairman and proceeded to put far more conservative economic policies in place, as well as liberation of freedom of speech and the press, although open attacks on the Party were still not tolerated. He died in 1997, and today China’s head of state is Jiang Zemin.
Comrade is the greatest Marxist-Leninist of our era. He has inherited, defended and developed Marxist-Leninism with genius, creatively and comprehensively, and has brought it to a higher and completely new stage.
Lin Piao, 16/12/1966
Mao is one of three peasants in China’s history who has risen to rule its billion or so people in a single lifetime. He destroyed Nationalist power, unified China and oversaw the greatest social reform in man’s history. He is recognised as a leader in Marxist doctrine, and his theories have been acclaimed in many third-world unindustrialised nations.
He did, indeed, develop Marxist-Leninism comprehensively, changing it from the traditional worker orientated system to a joint worker-peasant society. This was far more suited to the region, as the ‘broad masses’ of Asian nations were peasants in unindustrialised countries where food was considered far more important than political freedom. Countries affected by the Communist movement in Asia include Indonesia, East Timor, Malaysia, Laos, Mongolia, Cambodia, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, North & South Korea and Vietnam.
He will also be remembered as a military tactician. His adaptation of guerilla techniques from the writings of ancient military experts stood him in good stead in the civil war, which he probably would have lost in any other circumstances.
It was only recently that China commemorated the 20th anniversary of Mao’s death, and from news coverage of that we can see many Chinese people still worship Mao as a demi-god, and the saviour of their people. And, indeed, living standards in China have risen substantially in the past 50 years - in a country where there is a one-child policy in place, expenditure on children’s toys has multiplied four-fold from pre-one-child days. There is much less abject poverty as a result of reforms, and today China is making serious efforts to improve human rights, the most recent of which is the promise to sign the Human Rights Declaration of the United Nations.
However, generally the reforms have leveled out China with the result that now, while there are no beggars on the street, the vast majority of the population still live in relative poverty and spend most of theirs days tilling fields or doing menial work in factories, the main enjoyment of comfort by Western standards being restricted to Party officials and some factory owners.
Mao also maintained relative isolation from the rest of the world, with only shaky and shallow relations with the USSR and belated exchanges with the US in the 1970’s just before his death. Otherwise China only tried to align itself with other poorer, peasant-based nations fit for socialist reforms.
Mao will be remembered as a socialist, a poet, a military strategist and ruthless ruler. He has earned his place among the most powerful rulers of the world.


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