Mao Zedong

China
1949–1976
Heart attack, 1976
Communist
Chairman
Mao Zedong
毛泽东
Mao.jpg
Official 1960–1966 portrait of Mao Zedong
1st Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China
In office
June 19, 1945 – September 9, 1976
1st vice-chairman Liu Shaoqi
Lin Biao
Zhou Enlai
Hua Guofeng
Preceded by Himself (as Central Politburo Chairman)
Succeeded by Hua Guofeng
1st Chairman of the Central Politburo of the Communist Party of China
In office
March 20, 1943 – April 24, 1969
Preceded by Zhang Wentian
(as Central Committee General Secretary)
Succeeded by Himself (as Central Committee Chairman)
1st Chairman of the CPC Central Military Commission
In office
August 23, 1945 – 1949
September 8, 1954 – September 9, 1976
Preceded by Position created
Succeeded by Hua Guofeng
1st Chairman of the National Committee of the CPPCC
In office
September 21, 1949 – December 25, 1954
Honorary Chairman
December 25, 1954 – September 9, 1976
Preceded by Position Created
Succeeded by Zhou Enlai
1st Chairman of the People's Republic of China
In office
September 27, 1954 – April 27, 1959
Premier Zhou Enlai
Deputy Zhu De
Preceded by Position Created
Succeeded by Liu Shaoqi
Member of the
National People's Congress
In office
September 15, 1954 – April 18, 1959
December 21, 1964 – September 9, 1976
Constituency Beijing At-large
Personal details
Born (1893-12-26)December 26, 1893
Shaoshan, Hunan
Died September 9, 1976(1976-09-09) (aged 82)
Beijing
Resting place Chairman Mao Memorial Hall, Beijing
Nationality Chinese
Political party Communist Party of China
Spouse(s) Luo Yixiu (1907–1910)
Yang Kaihui (1920–1930)
He Zizhen (1930–1937)
Jiang Qing (1939–1976)
Religion None (atheist)
Signature
Mao Zedong
Simplified Chinese 毛泽东
Traditional Chinese 毛澤東
Hanyu Pinyin Máo Zédōng
[mɑ̌ʊ tsɤ̌tʊ́ŋ]
Chairman Mao
Chinese 毛主席

Mao Zedong (simplified Chinese: 毛泽东; traditional Chinese: 毛澤東; pinyin: Máo Zédōng, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung About this sound listen), commonly referred to as Chairman Mao (December 26, 1893 – September 9, 1976), was a Chinese communist revolutionary, and political theorist. The founding father of the People's Republic of China from its establishment in 1949, he governed the country as Chairman of the Communist Party of China until his death. In this position he converted China into a single-party socialist state, with industry and business being nationalized under state ownership and socialist reforms implemented in all areas of society. Politically a Marxist-Leninist, his theoretical contribution to the ideology along with his military strategies and brand of policies are collectively known as Maoism.

Born the son of a wealthy farmer in Shaoshan, Hunan, Mao adopted a Chinese nationalist and anti-imperialist outlook in early life, particularly influenced by the events of the Xinhai Revolution of 1911 and May Fourth Movement of 1919. Coming to adopt Marxism-Leninism, he became an early member of the Communist Party of China (CPC), soon rising to a senior position. In 1922, the Communists agreed to an alliance with the larger Kuomintang (KMT), a nationalist revolutionary party, whom Mao aided in creating a revolutionary peasant army and organizing rural land reform. In 1927 the KMT's military leader Chiang Kai-shek broke the alliance and set about on an anti-communist purge; in turn, the CPC formed an army of peasant militia, and the two sides clashed in the Chinese Civil War. Mao was responsible for commanding a part of the CPC's Red Army, and after several setbacks, rose to power in the party by leading the Long March. When the Empire of Japan invaded China in 1937, sparking the Second Sino-Japanese War, Mao agreed to a united front with the KMT, resulting in a CPC-KMT victory in 1945. The Chinese Civil War then resumed, in which Mao led the Red Army to victory as Chiang and his supporters fled to Taiwan.

In 1949 Mao proclaimed the foundation of the People's Republic of China, a one-party socialist state controlled by the Communist Party. After solidifying the reunification of China through his Campaign to Suppress Counterrevolutionaries, Mao enacted sweeping land reform, overthrowing the feudal landlords before seizing their large estates and dividing the land into people's communes. He proceeded to lead a nationwide political campaign known as the Great Leap Forward from 1958 through to 1961, designed to modernize and industrialize the country, however agrarian problems worsened by his policies led to widespread famine. In 1966, he initiated the Cultural Revolution, a program to weed out counter-revolutionary elements in Chinese society, which continued until his death.

A deeply controversial figure, Mao is regarded as one of the most important individuals in modern world history.[1] Supporters praise him for modernizing China and building it into a world power, through promoting the status of women, improving education and health care, providing universal housing and raising life expectancy.[2][3] In addition, China's population almost doubled during the period of Mao's leadership,[4] from around 550 to over 900 million.[3] As a result, Mao is still officially held in high regard by many Chinese as a great political strategist, military mastermind, and savior of the nation. Maoists furthermore promote his role as a theorist, statesman, poet, and visionary, who has inspired revolutionary movements across the globe.[5] In contrast, critics have labeled him a dictator whose administration oversaw systematic human rights abuses, and whose rule is estimated to have caused the deaths of 40–70 million people mainly through starvation, forced labor and executions, placing his rule at the top of the list of most people killed by democide in human history.[6][7][8][9]
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