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Mao Zedong

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Mao in 1939, summarising his entire modus operandi: "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun."
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Opiates for the masses
From each
To each
Perhaps no man is responsible for as many deaths in this century as Mao. More than 50 million people starved to death in the vast famine he visited on his country in 1960 and 1961. And 30 years ago, fighting for his political life, he issued a stream of exhortations that led China into the Cultural Revolution -- 10 years of madness, forced labor, exile, countless suicides and millions of killings. As Mao sought to tear down the Communist Party he had built, he managed to savage Chinese society, to obliterate its culture, to turn student against teacher, friend against friend, children against parents, all in a frenzy of political hysteria and denunciations.
—Edward A. Gargan in 1996[1]

Mao Zedong (Wade-Giles: Mao Tse-tung; Simplified Chinese 毛泽东; Traditional Chinese 毛澤東), known also as Chairman Mao, was a Chinese Communist dictator, Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party and military leader who founded the "People's" Republic of China[note 1] through his victory in the Chinese Civil War, unifying the country for the first time since the Qing Dynasty fell in 1911. He is also well known for being a megalomaniac who committedWikipedia severalWikipedia crimes against humanity. While overshadowed by a certain other communist dictator, where he is known, it is for the horrific starvation of his people, destruction and annihilation of culture and history, and throwing China into the industrial age pit, expecting it to climb out, as Stalin also did with the USSR. While the current government in China has since reversed his policies and largely undid his destruction, Mao is still decorated and celebrated by many in China as a hero due to his role in ending China's Century of humiliation.Wikipedia

Mao was born on December 26, 1893, into a prosperous peasant family; still one of only 3 peasants to rule all of China.[2] He started his career as a physical education instructor. This qualified him as a member of the intelligentsia, at least within his community. As a young man, he read many different Chinese translations of Western works, particularly those of Karl Marx. It was after this that he began his life as a radical. He had prosperous beginnings, such as in denouncing imperialism which had ravaged China for nearly a century, but this belies his most sinister theory, which would soon burst wide open as he became leader of China.

Like Maximilien Robespierre, Mao presented a rare combination of "charisma, intellect, and brilliant interpersonal and organizational skills". While he is a downright brilliant military leader who wrote the book on guerilla warfare and saved the CCP from nearly being destroyed by the Kuomintang, the Peter Principle applies, which meant that he is criminally incompetent when it came to actually running a country. His rule from 1949 to 1976 is believed to have caused the deaths of 40 to 70 million people and the untold numbers of Eurasian tree sparrows and river dolphins, making Mao the most prolific mass killer in human history, ahead of Genghis Khan, Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin (unless you go by percentage of population killed as a means of measuring democides,Wikipedia in which case Pol Pot, Hitler, Francisco Nguema of Equatorial Guinea, and King Leopold's Congo managed to be even worse).[3] Notwithstanding proportional measurement, his attempt to radically transform China through destruction of Chinese cultural heritage should not be ignored, and it can be argued that the excesses of Chinese society today, such as the "profit above all" hypercapitalist mentality, largely stem from social trauma of the Cultural Revolution.

In other words, calling Mao one of the most destructive and incompetent men in history can be justified in every measure, and sadly enough, there are plenty of leaders in Chinese history which could give Mao a run for his money. The current leader is as powerful as Mao was, and is now President for Life, meaning, stacked on top of the Tiananmen Square Massacre and reopened reeducation camps, that the future of China looks bleak, as hopes of democracy and stability has been lost in the dark.

Early political work[edit]

The mini-megalomaniac

In 1911, the Xinhai or Nationalist Revolution overthrew the Emperor. China (to a large degree) disintegrated into warlordism after initial attempts to introduce a parliamentary democracy failed. Mao spent the first few years of his adulthood as a self-proclaimed anarchist and was involved in running an anarchist bookshop for several years; he was introduced to Marxism via a university study group and rapidly warmed to the new ideology. Mao joined the newly established Chinese Communist Party in 1922, although he was not (as was later claimed) one of its founding members.[note 2] Also contrary to some popular sources, he never worked as a teacher after his introduction into the party, but as a librarian.[4] Through his close connection with the party founders, he was able to achieve the position of Director of Propaganda[5] in a short-lived allied CCP-KMT government. After the breakdown of the alliance between the Communists and Nationalists[note 3] and the beginning of the Chinese Civil War, Mao took the opportunity to create a small communist breakaway state (the Chinese Soviet Republic), which was eventually crushed by the Nationalists under Chiang Kai-shek.

To avoid total destruction, Mao and his forces began the "Long March". Moving through the mountains of western China, they evaded the Nationalist forces, preserved a significant military strength, and founded a new stronghold in the Yan'an area in Central China.

Students in Beijing during the May Fourth Movement

The war was put on a theoretical hold during World War II, when the Japanese invaded China, and the various Chinese factions nominally formed a united front. However, Chiang Kai-shek was still determined to destroy the Communists and spent as much time attacking Mao as he did the Japanese. The Communists did the same in response.

By the time the war with the Japanese ended, Mao had become an accomplished guerrilla leader. After efforts to form a post-war unity government quickly ended, mostly due to Chiang's intransigence and Mao outright ignoring Stalin's orders to negotiate with Chiang, the Civil War resumed. Mao's army, being much smaller and very lightly armed, was expected to be demolished. Instead, utilizing Mao's skills in guerrilla conflict, antipathy to the corruption and brutality of the Nationalists' warlord supporters, and large amounts of Soviet aid, the Communists managed to destroy or capture large parts of Chiang's forces. Indeed, by the end of the war, most of the Communist forces were using arms taken from Chiang, and this is not helped by the fact that Chiang's forces laundered US military aid sent to them to combat the CCP. In 1949, Chiang's forces were forced to retreat to the island of Taiwan, after first looting its gold reserves.[6] In Tiananmen Square, on October 1, Mao proclaimed the founding of the People's Republic of China.[note 4] Chiang, being stuck in Taiwan with bare minimal American aid, failed several times in his attempts to restart the Chinese Civil War before his death in 1975.

Leader of the People's Republic[edit]

Korean War[edit]

After consolidating the Communist hold on China, Mao next got involved in Kim Il Sung's attempt to unify the peninsula. As UN forces under US command approached the Yalu river in December 1950, Mao decided to intervene. He snuck many of his men behind American lines (which was rather easy, as the Americans were racing so fast to the Yalu that they did not bother with basic security), and ambushed them.

After some initial success, the Chinese forces were eventually forced into a conventional war along (more or less) the 38th parallel. The Chinese military, being fit with leftovers from the Sino-Japanese War, were not equipped to fight a conventional war with a better-armed foe, and many more Chinese forces died than UN forces (among the casualties was Mao's own son). The issue of repatriation of POWs delayed the settlement of the Korean War until 1953. (The armistice was signed just after Stalin's death, leading many to speculate that he was forcing the continuation of the war.)

Many within China considered the war a victory, in that they had prevented the US from taking any North Korean (or Chinese) territory. It was an especially sweet victory since the US was the preeminent military power in the world. However, the leadership understood how dearly the war cost China and asked Mao to step down from day-to-day domestic government work while maintaining him as the figurehead and foreign relations chief.

Great Leap Backward Forward[edit]

Here you have your Great Leap Forward Famine. Thanks Mao...
Be it a great, medium, or small leap forward, we probably will leap forward. If not a great leap forward, we will make a small leap forward.
—Mao in a speech in 1959, not understanding how industry works[7]
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.
—Mao literally said thisWikipedia in 1959. Defend this one, Tankies.

Under the leadership of Zhou Enlai and the moderates, China prospered for a few years. Chinese farmers had long complained about the neglect of the Kuomintang regime and the lack of progress in land reform. Many farmers, with government support, undertook experiments with collectivization and achieved promising results. To Mao, this suggested that the whole country could collectivize in all respects and achieve even more. He stepped up and called for a "Great Leap Forward" in January 1958. The original goals of the Great Leap Forward were grand, with the intention of using the vast manpower of the country to create new infrastructure, enabling the creation of steel plants, and increasing agricultural production. Mao hoped to industrialize China into becoming a rival of the US and UK. Highways and dams were built by brute labor, household goods were melted down to make steel, and farms were thrown together into collectives. Intellectuals and professionals were also encouraged to change their professions to farming, regardless of their actual talent. It was thought that advanced engineering techniques were not needed if enough brute force could be used. At first, the reports were positive, and Mao rewarded those that said they succeeded best. He also pushed for more to be done and at a faster rate. However, many of these reports were completely fabricated. The infrastructure that was built was shoddy (at best), and many people died in creating them. The steel plants were useless, with much usable iron and steel ending as scrap.

However, the worst catastrophe was in agricultural production. While China has always had a large population, and many issues with feeding its people,[note 5] the purportedly bad weather and the forced collectivization caused one of the largest famines ever, on par with the Holodomor. Estimates vary as to the death toll, but median figures are in the >20,000,000 area. Economically, the economy lost almost 30% of its value in 1961, leaving it below where it started prior to the Great Leap Forward. As the catastrophe became evident, Mao took full responsibility and turned the government back over to the moderates. Again, he was the face of foreign policy. He publicly denounced Khrushchev[note 6] and Soviet "revisionism", and was partially responsible for the Sino-Soviet split of the early 1960s. After this, Mao began to challenge the Soviet leadership as to whom should lead the communist world, often supporting foreign rival communist groups. This split allowed Richard Nixon to slowly repair US relations with China, previously strained by the Korean War.

That really should tell you just how heartless and incompetent Mao probably was, and he may have only stepped down to save face.

The Cultural Annihilation Revolution[edit]

Mao stayed in the background until 1966 when he came forward to denounce new "bourgeois" elements in China and called for a "Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution." He advocated purging of the Four Olds-"old customs, old culture, old habits, and old ideas." He also called on the youth and the factory workers to step forward and enforce the Cultural Revolution. In essence, Mao thought that the moderates inside the CCP were gradually transforming the party into another Kuomintang, mired by bureaucratic corruption, so he attempted to restart the "revolutionary zeal" from the early days of the CCP. From the perspective of most observers, what resulted was as near a mobocracy as has been seen in recent times. The government figures warred in the courts of public opinion and used revolutionary cadres and other groups to punish opponents. Mao and his followers developed a "cult of Mao" throughout the country. It was at this time that Mao's "Little Red Book" (Quotations From Chairman Mao Tse-Tung) became ubiquitous, along with pictures of Chairman Mao. Quotations From Chairman Mao, in fact, became the best-selling book of all time written by a non-deity (estimated sales in the 1 to 6 billion range).[8] Hymns were composed to Mao, and people throughout the country had to sing and participate, or else be denounced.

The subtitle of this section entails what is perhaps one of the worst crimes of this movement. China's heritage was left in ashes, history flattened, such as the unfathomable number of Buddhist statues, texts and monasteries that were laid to waste.[9][10] Red Guards also overran tens of thousands of households in an effort to "destroy anything bourgeois", which is code for the destruction of important Chinese heritage and history, which inevitably led to Mao becoming the core of Chinese History. In one bizarre incident, the remains of a Ming Dynasty emperor were dragged out and denounced before being burnt.[11] If that wasn't enough, there were plenty of purges going on, as well. The Stinking Old NinthWikipedia was the phrase used to describe many groups of people that were targeted by the Revolution, who were then persecuted and/or killed. The death toll could possibly go as high as 20 million for this event, and even the lowest of low estimates puts it in the lovely hundreds of thousands.[12]

Amusingly enough, one Chinese tradition that Mao did not denounce was traditional Chinese medicine,[13] despite its actual lack of supporting scientific evidence. Mao was privately skeptical of TCM, but was also ignorant of modern medicine and thus promoted its usage as a means of fostering Chinese nationalism. TCM became popular in the Western world following Nixon's 1972 trip to China, and the Chinese government still promote TCM to this day as part of promoting nationalism.

In 1969, Mao may have recognized what he had unleashed and called for an end to the revolution. However, he did nothing to actually end it. This has been blamed on both senility and malevolence on his part (senile malevolence or malevolent senility? You decide). His wife, former actress Jiang QingWikipedia, with the rest of the Gang of FourWikipedia enthusiastically continued the Cultural Revolution, and it did not officially end until Mao's death on September 9, 1976. Despite his wish to be cremated, his body was preserved and can be seen in the "Maosoleum" in Tiananmen Square.

Following his death, Mao was initially succeeded by Hua GuofengWikipedia, who purged the Gang of Four but attempted to retain the Maoist system. As a result, he was outmaneuvered by Deng Xiaoping who implemented market reforms and much of the modernizations in China today.

Impact and legacy[edit]

Crazy men gotta stick together
Had Mao died in 1956, his achievements would have been immortal. Had he died in 1966, he would still have been a great man but flawed. But he died in 1976. Alas, what can one say?
Chen YunWikipedia[14]

Mao's impact on China is hard to overestimate. Many Chinese consider him to be the founder of the modern Chinese state. He is remembered as the guerrilla hero who destroyed the imperialist invaders, as well as the fascistic and corrupt Chiang Kai-shek and his gang of warlords. Strangely enough, the state that Chiang founded is now liberal and democratic (it happened after he and his son died, although some of his policies had made it more feasible), unlike the state that the destroying hero founded. And equally strangely, the state that Mao founded was left in mass stagnation and social upheaval at the time of his death, and only recovered by completely reversing his policies and introducing capitalist reforms, arguably creating a corrupt capitalist oligarchy that his arch-nemesis Chiang would feel at home in. While today's Chinese Communist Party still claim Mao's legacy, in reality he is gradually being written out of official documents. Chinese leaders following Mao went out of their way to prevent personality cults inside the party,[note 7] and the one-child policy is one of the measures introduced to stem China's population growth and avoid another mass famine. However, Mao's cult still somewhat persist in the country, notably among Mao's home province (mostly for tourism purposes), as well as from Chinese who lamented the excesses that capitalist reforms brought to the country. However, unlike Neo-Stalinists in Russia which well serve Vladimir Putin's nationalist agenda, the Chinese government actively discourage such groups from forming, and a common view among Chinese is that while Mao did achieve a positive legacy in ending China's nearly a century of internal upheaval and foreign colonialism, as well as somewhat modernizing the country and granting more rights to women and the peasantry, he achieved it at a high and unnecessary cost of lives.

With all that said, the current CCP leadership prefer to ignore Mao's existence and only mention him in passing, since his radicalism and penchant for social rebellion prove to be inconvenient for a conservative party aiming at maintaining social stability and economic growth, and suppressing dissent, at all costs. And yet since Mao founded the country and greatly influenced an older generation, they can't get simply rid of him either since that would destroy the legacy of the party — after all, Mao earned the leadership of the country by winning the Chinese Civil War. Unsurprisingly, Chinese dissidents, from labor organizers to Hong Kong protestersWikipedia, often use Mao era slogans ironically to remind the current party leadership that Mao supported rebellion in times of injustice.[15] In a further twist of irony, in 2018, Maoist students celebrating Mao's birthday were arrested by Chinese police.[16]

One of the more infuriating aspects about his legacy is the insistence that he did nearly destroy the country twice. He was capable of extreme cruelty in service to ideology, and was responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of his own people — it's not for nothing that a common phrase is "Mao killed more Chinese than the Japanese in World War II".[note 8] And he is not without historical precedents: Qin Shi HuangWikipedia, a Chinese emperor who reigned around 230 BCE, was equally infamous for unifying China from warring kingdoms into becoming its first Emperor, instituting radical reforms, and the mass execution of scholars. The comparison is not lost on Mao: "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."[17]

Outside of China, he is regarded as an anti-colonialist liberator or a horrible despot. Of course, he could also be considered both. During Mao's rule, he sent medical professionals and military aid to anti-colonial movements in Africa and Asia. In the litany of Communist dictators, he is normally listed right after Stalin. Yet in the annals of anti-capitalist heroes of disaffected youth in both China and the Western world, he's also right after Che Guevara. Much of this has more to do with capitalism's own issues than Mao himself. With that said, Mao isn't above engaging in realpolitik, having recognized Augusto Pinochet's right wing regime for fear of giving Chiang a new ally, at the time where the largely majority of communist states rightfully severed relations.[18] Remind them of this fun fact whenever you see a Maoist or alt-rightist.


Mao's tragedy and his grandeur were that he remained to the end in thrall to his own revolutionary dreams. Where Confucius had taught harmony – the doctrine of the mean – Mao preached endless class struggle, until it became a cage from which neither he nor the Chinese people could escape. He freed China from the straitjacket of its Confucian past. But the bright Red future he promised turned out to be a sterile purgatory.
—Philip Short[19]
See the main article on this topic: Maoism

Mao started as an orthodox Marxist, placing a great deal of emphasis on liberating the working class. However, in the course of his career, he laid out a considerably different vision, known as Mao Zedong Thought or Maoism. He tended to claim it was just an extension into an agrarian society, but others see it as a radically different version of communism. Maoism draws as much from China's history of radical peasant revolts as Karl Marx. Since China then was largely an agrarian country which lacked industrialization and thus a disaffected urban working class support base, many of Mao's initial support came from peasants wanting land reform and an end to the dominance of landed gentry.

During the 1960s-70s, Maoism became fashionable among some Western youth who felt alienated under capitalism but found orthodox communist groups too conservative for their tastes, often descending into outright punch-ups and other hostilities with the pro-Soviet groups. Today, there are still some self-professed Maoist movements, most notably in India (NaxalitesWikipedia), where they are fighting a guerilla campaign against the Indian government, as well as Nepal (NCPWikipedia), who despite winning their civil war, participates in a parliamentary democracy.[20] The Maoist CPPWikipedia is engaged in a decades long insurgency against the Filipino government, and the current Chinese government responded by massively sending aid to Philippine's strongman leader Rodrigo Duterte, demonstrating how communist they really are.

Mao Zedong and the dark era of sparrows[edit]

Such a cute bird too

Besides condemning to death millions of people, Mao Zedong is also responsible for one of the greatest bird massacres in history. In 1958, Mao declared sparrows (specifically the Eurasian tree sparrowWikipedia) an enemy of the state and started the Great Sparrow campaign (also known as the Kill a Sparrow campaign).[21] Officially, it was called the Four Pests campaign and was meant to eliminate rats, flies, mosquitoes, and sparrows. Sparrows were included on the list because they ate grain seeds, causing disruption to agriculture. Peasants were told to go out to the fields, screaming at the tops of their voices and making noise in every possible way. The birds were frightened and took off, and since the hubbub went on steadily, the sparrows did not dare to land. People also carried tall sticks and chased away birds from the trees. Constant flying and escaping exhausted the sparrows soon and they simply fell down and died. The method was highly effective, and millions of sparrows were slaughtered.

However, by April 1960, the National Academy of Science found that sparrows ate insects more than seeds. Given Mao's own peasant background, how he didn't know this fact is beyond us. Mao declared "forget it", and ordered the end of the campaign against sparrows, and replaced its position in the Four Pests with cockroaches. By this time it was too late: with no sparrows to eat them, locust populations ballooned, swarming the country and compounding the problems already caused by the Great Leap Forward and adverse weather conditions, leading to the Great Chinese Famine in which around 30 million people died of starvation. Nice one, Mao!

Mao also contributed to the possible extinction of the baijiWikipedia river dolphin by encouraging people to eat them, since he disliked locals venerating the animal, although pollution caused by his successors' industrialization campaigns, as well as the construction of the Three Gorges DamWikipedia, did it no favors.


Perhaps unsurprisingly, Mao has his own fans and admirers in much the same way as Stalin does, both among tankies and Chinese nationalists.. Most argue on the premise that "Mao was trying his best". However, incompetence cannot be served as an excuse to let tens of millions just drop dead. Even if you take them at their word, mass manslaughtering tens of millions does not make the deaths any more acceptable to any rational human being. And there's the old saying, "the road to hell is paved with good intentions", which can describe Mao's regime to a T.

There are two primary forks to Mao Apologism, which are...

"Mass killings under Mao's rule were unintentional"[edit]

The most common tactic Maoists play is that Mao was not responsible for many millions of deaths only because all the people who died only did so because of failed experiments, poor decision making, and massive mismanagement. In reality, before and after the Great Famine mass killings, forced relocations, executions, prison labor and all the other repressions typical of a communist dictatorship had taken place. It's also worth noting that just because Mao and the CPC did not intend for the Great Famine to cause 15-45 million deaths does not necessarily absolve them from responsibility. Even some in the Communist Party of China admit the famine was 70% "human error".[22]

According to professor Andrew Walder, the per capita death rate in the China from political repression was 2 to 4 time lower than Stalin's Soviet Union.[23](For comparison Stalin is responsible over 2.7 to 8.5 million deaths from such causes as Gulags, the Great Purge, and ethnic deportations--and excluding famine and war crimes-- out of a population of 148,656,000 in 1926[24] and 182,321,000 in 1951[24] suggesting a death rate of roughly 1.4% to 5.718% for political repression in the Soviet Union. If Walder's claims are applied to China's population at the beginning of Mao's rule (1947--544,359,000[25]) a death toll of over 1.9 to over 15.56 million is suggested and of applied to China's population at the end of Mao's rule (1976--933,032,000[25]) a death toll of over 3.265 to over 26.675 million is suggested. The actual total is likely between these figures.)

Estimates for Individual events include:

  • During the land reform campaign 1 to 4.5 million landlords were exterminated by radicalized peasants[26]
  • Less than 7.5[23] to 27[27] million are estimated to of perished in Laogai camps.
  • 712,000[28] to 2 Million[29] are estimated of been killed during the Campaign to Suppress Counterrevolutionaries.
  • 144,000[30] to over 1,000,000[31][32] are estimated to of been killed from the genocide of Tibet. Overlaps with the Cultural Revolution and Famine. 86,000 perished during the Tibetan Uprising though.[33]
  • Based on the roughly 67,000[34] deaths from such causes in Xinyang (and 13,500 deaths in Shimen)[34] Frank Dikötter estimated that 2.5 Million were murdered and 1 to 3 Million committed suicide[35] during the Great Leap Forward aside from those who died of famine.
  • The Cultural Revolution alone is suspected to be anywhere from 1,600,000 to 20 Million deaths.
    • Best estimates suggests Chinese authorities executed bare minimum 1,600,000 innocents during the period of the Cultural Revolution.[23][36]

Total: 12,598,000 to 59,999,999

"He united, modernized and industrialized China"[edit]

Most Mao apologists will have a technique whereby they don't deny mass killings under Mao Zedong. Apologists will point out that during his brutal regime China showed remarkable economic growth and dramatically improved indices of social welfare, with life expectancy doubled. They also point out that China always had devastating famines throughout its history which regularly killed millions.[note 9][38] Still, the question occurs whether these were improvements that would have been greater under a less oppressive regime, as even King Leopold II greatly industrialized Belgium and expanded its public works, Hitler brought inflation under control and made automobiles more affordable to the German people[39][40] and restored pride in the German nation after its defeat in the Great War, and Stalin certainly created modern technology and massive industry and factories.[41] This argument is also eerily similar to arguments used by some in the Western world to defend apartheid, colonialism, and right-wing dictatorships (such as Winston Churchill's role in the Great Bengal Famine of 1943, and Augusto Pinochet's neoliberalism-flavored atrocities), which many communists (and most decent people) rightfully abhor.

Furthermore, many economists such as Amartya Sen argued that while poor farming methods and bad weather contributed to the famine, it was unnecessarily exacerbated by the totalitarianism under Mao. Sen argued, "It is hard to imagine that anything like this could have happened in a country that goes to the polls regularly and that has an independent press. During that terrible calamity the government faced no pressure from newspapers, which were controlled, and none from opposition parties, which were absent."[42]

This argument becomes even more fucking strange when you realise that none of the attempts at building industry actually worked/were sustainable. Apparently, the tankies like to forget that it was Deng Xiaoping who modernized China, turning it into the industrial and economic powerhouse that it is today. Just have a look at the GDP and GDP per capita right after Mao's death in 1976. The country could not have been in a worse state than it was that year, and the fact that China is a functioning country today is a miracle given the damage. So, pretty much all of the credit for the modern state of China goes to Deng. Mao did sweet FA.

Personal life[edit]

Sweet potato tastes good; I like it.
—Mao Zedong[43]

Mao was a prolific writer in both modern (BaihuaWikipedia) Chinese articles on policies and traditional poems. While serving with the Republican army, Mao spent much of a half year studying in the Changsha provincial library; he also briefly worked as a librarian's assistant at Peking University.[2] It is known that he had a taste for Qing Dynasty Chinese popular fiction, often giving out novels as gifts to his subordinates and children.

Mao's favorite sport or leisure activity was swimming in the wild; he swam kilometers in the Yangtze river multiple times after he became chairman. He was an alcoholic (during a period of depression at any rate) and a chain smoker, for which he cleaned his teeth by rubbing green leaves on them, leaving a faint greenish tinge.[44]:99

Like many people, Mao loved mangoes. However the fanaticism of the Cultural Revolution took the fruit to a new height, becoming a symbol of Mao's supposed love for the working people.[45]

Some sources speculate that he was a womanizer and an ephebophile who had sex with teenage girls in the belief that it would prolong his life.[46][47] He also had monorchism,[note 10] or at least had an undescended testicle.[44]:100

While efforts to modernize China during the late Qing Dynasty introduced homophobic attitudes and laws into China,[48] Mao further criminalized homosexuality, based on Stalin's puritanical views, which regarded it as a disorder.[49][50] Li ZhisuiWikipedia, Mao Zedong's personal physician, alleged in The Private Life of Chairman MaoWikipedia that Mao had sex with attendants and guards, but concluded that it was merely "an insatiable appetite for any form of sex."[51] It was not until 2001 that homosexuality was declassified as a mental illness in China.

See also[edit]


  1. One word only: Bullshit.
  2. He was supposed to be a delegate to the party's second congress, but somebody gave him bad directions and he couldn't find the address of the meeting.
  3. where Chiang Kai-shek, in his infinite wisdom, decided to massacre allied communists in one swoop
  4. A name which, of course, totally makes it true, and 100% more people-centric!
  5. in fact, several small famines occurred under Chiang Kai-shek which killed several million
  6. Notably, Khrushchev had denounced Stalin after Stalin's death.
  7. Although Xi Jinping is dangerously reversing the sensible advice
  8. Not that it justifies ANY Japanese atrocities, which still exceed Mao's in terms of sheer brutality. See Unit 731 as an example.
  9. For instance, former US ambassador to China John Leighton Stuart estimated that 3-7 million Chinese died yearly from starvation in the late 1940s.[37]
  10. That is, being one-balled


  1. Witness to Mao's Crimes - New York Times
  2. 2.0 2.1 Mao Tse-tung by Lewis Call (archived from April 15, 2015).
  3. Jonathan Mirsky. "A bleak anniversary: Mao the mass murderer." New York Times. 2004, January 9.
  4. Yes, people made a few "nasty teacher" jokes.
  5. Schram, Stuart (1966). Mao Tse-Tung. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-14-020840-5.
  6. Beijings ‘Theft of the Century’: Where Did China’s Gold Go? Vision Times, 23 December 2016.
  8. See the Wikipedia article on Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung.
  9. Beijing Record, page 446
  10. Ten Years of Turbulence: The Chinese Cultural Revolution
  11. "China's Reluctant Emperor". The New York Times. Shelia Melvin. Sept. 7, 2011. Archived from the original on February 25, 2022.
  13. Chinese Medicine in Early Communist China, 1945-1963: A Medicine of Revolution by Kim Taylor (2005). Routledge. ISBN 041534512X.
  14. "Big bad wolf". The Economist. 31 August 2006. Retrieved 28 July 2015. 
  15. Chairman Mao is making an appearance at the Hong Kong protests Quartz. August 28, 2019.
  16. Leading Chinese Marxist student taken away by police on Mao's birthday Reuters. December 26, 2018
  17. Mao Zedong. "Speeches At The Second Session Of The Eighth Party Congress". Retrieved June 28, 2016. 
  18. “Chile and China: Building Relations Beyond Trade?”
  19. Philip Short, Mao: The Man Who Made China (2017)
  20. "Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) homepage." Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). 2011 July 17.
  21. The secret life of sparrows The Independent. 2006 August 2 (archived from June 6, 2008).
  22. Great Chinese Famine
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2
  24. 24.0 24.1 Andreev, E.M., et al., Naselenie Sovetskogo Soiuza, 1922-1991. Moscow, Nauka, 1993. ISBN 5-02-013479-1
  25. 25.0 25.1
  26. The Legacy of Mao Zedong is Mass Murder
  27. Chang, Jung and Halliday, Jon. Mao: The Unknown Story. Jonathan Cape, London, 2005. p. 338: By the general estimate China's prison and labor camp population was roughly 10 million in any one year under Mao. Descriptions of camp life by inmates, which point to high mortality rates, indicate a probable annual death rate of at least 10 per cent.
  28. Yang Kuisong (March 2008). "Reconsidering the Campaign to Suppress Counterrevolutionaries". The China Quarterly. 193: 102–121. doi:10.1017/S0305741008000064.(subscription required)summary at China Change blog
  29. Yang Kuisong (March 2008). "Reconsidering the Campaign to Suppress Counterrevolutionaries". The China Quarterly. 193: 102–121. doi:10.1017/S0305741008000064.(subscription required)summary at China Change blog
  30. Smith 1997, p. 600–1 n. 8 Smith Jr., Warren W., Tibetan Nation: A History Of Tibetan Nationalism And Sino-Tibetan Relations (1997) Westview press ISBN 978-0-8133-3280-2
  32. Smith Jr., Warren W., Tibetan Nation: A History Of Tibetan Nationalism And Sino-Tibetan Relations (1997) Westview press ISBN 978-0-8133-3280-2
  33. Smith Jr., Warren W., Tibetan Nation: A History Of Tibetan Nationalism And Sino-Tibetan Relations (1997) Westview press ISBN 978-0-8133-3280-2
  34. 34.0 34.1 Dikötter (2010). pp. 294, 297. Dikötter, Frank (2010). Mao's Great Famine: The History of China's Most Devastating Catastrophe, 1958–62. Walker & Co. ISBN 0-8027-7768-6
  35. 45 million died in Mao's Great Leap Forward, Hong Kong historian says in new book. South China Morning Post. 5 September 2010.
  36. Mass Atrocity Endings|China: The Cultural Revolution
  37. Great Famine
  38. "Heaven, Observe!". Time. February 6, 1928. 
  39. Hitler and 'his Volkswagen': Tracing the 80-year old history of the Beetle. Deutsche Welle. 26 May 2018.
  40. See the Wikipedia article on Volkswagen.
  41. The truth about Mao by Andrew McIntyre (2006) National Observer 67(Summer):49-55 (archived from November 20, 2008).
  42. Amartya Sen (1999). Development as freedom. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-289330-7. Retrieved 14 April 2011. 
  43. See the Wikipedia article on Cultural Revolution. "Workers were supposed to "grasp revolution and promote productions", while peasants were supposed to raise more pigs because "more pigs means more manure, and more manure means more grain". Even a casual remark by Mao, "Sweet potato tastes good; I like it" became a slogan everywhere in the countryside."
  44. 44.0 44.1 The Private Life of Chairman Mao by Li Zhisui (1996) Random House. ISBN 0679764437.
  45. Moore, Malcolm (7 March 2013). "How China came to worship the mango during the Cultural Revolution". Retrieved 28 September 2015. 
  46. Was Chairman Mao a Pedophile? And how would Tom Clancy know, anyway? by Cecil Adams (Feb 21, 2014 12 AM) Washington City Paper.
  47. Mao's girl and me: An encounter with one of the Chairman's underage lovers by Jonathan Mirsky (29 October 2011) The Spectator.
  48. Gay sex in China: where communist puritanism meets colonial baggage Ilaria Maria Sala. South China Morning Post. September 15, 2018
  49. "China: Information on Treatment of Homosexuals". 14 June 2002. 
  50. "A History Of Homosexuality In China". 12 July 2019. 
  51. "Mao's Private Life and Sexual Activity § Mao's Sexual Activity". November 2016.