Mao Zedong
Mao Tse-tung - panoramio.jpg

In office
March 20, 1943 – September 9, 1976
Deputy Liu Shaoqi
Lin Biao
Zhou Enlai
Hua Guofeng
Preceded by Zhang Wentian
Succeeded by Hua Guofeng

In office
September 27, 1954 – April 27, 1959
Premier Zhou Enlai
Deputy Zhu De
Succeeded by Liu Shaoqi

In office
September 8, 1954 – September 9, 1976
Deputy Zhu De
Lin Biao
Ye Jianying
Succeeded by Hua Guofeng

In office
October 1, 1949 – September 27, 1954
Premier Zhou Enlai

Born December 26, 1893(1893-12-26)
Shaoshan, Hunan, Qing Empire
Died September 9, 1976 (aged 82)
Beijing, People's Republic of China
Political party Communist Party of China
Other political
Kuomintang (1925–1926)
Spouse Luo Yixiu (1907–1910)
Yang Kaihui (1920–1930)
He Zizhen (1930–1937)
Jiang Qing (1939–1976)
Children 10, including:
Mao Anying
Mao Anqing
Mao Anlong
Yang Yuehua
Li Min
Li Na
Alma mater Hunan First Normal University
Signature Mao Zedong signature

Mao Zedong[lower-alpha 1] (December 26, 1893 –September 9, 1976), commonly known as Chairman Mao, was a Chinese communist revolutionary who became the founding father of the People's Republic of China, which he ruled as the Chairman of the Communist Party of China from its establishment in 1949 until his death in 1976. His theories, military strategies, and political policies are collectively known as Maoism.

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

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

A controversial figure, Mao is regarded as one of the most important and influential individuals in modern world history.[4][5] He is also known as a political intellect, theorist, military strategist, poet, and visionary.[6] Supporters credit him with driving imperialism out of China,[7] modernising the nation and building it into a world power, promoting the status of women, improving education and health care, as well as increasing life expectancy as China's population grew from around 550 million to over 900 million under his leadership.[8][9] Conversely, his regime has been called autocratic and totalitarian, and condemned for bringing about mass repression and destroying religious and cultural artifacts and sites. It was additionally responsible for vast numbers of deaths with estimates ranging from 30 to 70 million victims.[10][11]


  1. "Mao Zedong". Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary.
  2. . Xinchaoshe Press. 2010. pp. 21. ISBN 9789861677309. 
  3. "Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of Our Party Since the Founding of the People's Republic of China," (Adopted by the Sixth Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on June 27, 1981 Resolution on CPC History (1949–81). (Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 1981). p. 32.
  4. Webley, Kayla (February 4, 2011). "Top 25 Political Icons". Time.,28804,2046285_2045996_2045849,00.html. 
  5. "Mao Zedong". The Oxford Companion to Politics of the World. Retrieved on August 23, 2008. 
  6. Short 2001, p. 630 "Mao had an extraordinary mix of talents: he was visionary, statesman, political and military strategist of cunning intellect, a philosopher and poet."
  7. "Chinese Leader Mao Zedong / Part I". Retrieved on April 2, 2015. 
  8. Ebrey, Patricia Buckley (2010). The Cambridge Illustrated History of China. Cambridge University Press. p. 327. ISBN 0-521-12433-6. 
  9. Atlas of World History, by Patrick Karl O'Brien, Oxford University Press US, 2002, pp 254, link
  10. Short 2001, p. 631
  11. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Fenby

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