The Most Terrible Villains of the Past One Hundred Years: Part 3 of 5 - Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, also known as Mao Tse-tung, was the founder and first leader of communist China. He ruled from 1943 to 1976. He was known affectionately as Chairman Mao---how sweet. This bloodthirsty maniac, like Hitler and Stalin, led many millions to their graves.
Mao came to power largely as a result of his engagement in violent revolution a la civil war. Amongst the common folk, he was able to inspire revolutionary fervor and aspirations for a communist utopia. The existing party, the Nationalists, were the target of his campaign. The leader of the Nationalists was Chiang Kai-shek. During this time, Mao greatly persecuted and oppressed those he considered a threat. Tens of thousands of suspected enemies were killed.
Mao derived inspiration and knowledge for his goals from studying Soviet communism. During the Chinese revolution and civil war, it should thus be no surprise that the Soviets backed Mao while the USA favored the Nationalists.
Over time, Mao's forces made many gains. In 1948, under Mao's orders, the People's Liberation Army was able to surround and "starve out" many Nationalist forces occupying a city called Changchun. Many thousands of civilians are believed to have perished during the siege which lasted from June until October. All throughout 1949, Kuomintang-Nationalist forces suffered great losses in battles against Mao's forces. In December of 1949, Mao's troops laid siege to the last Nationalist stronghold forcing the remaining Nationalists to flee to Formosa...which is modern day Taiwan.
Mao established the People's Republic of China on October 1, 1949.
Mao instituted "land reform" whereby landlords and well to do peasants were beaten to death at mass meetings organized by the Communist Party. The confiscated land was taken and given to poorer peasants. How can there be a well to do peasant?
There was also a campaign to suppress "counter-revolutionaries" via public executions. Those most targeted were former Nationalist officials, businessmen accused of disturbing the market, former employees of Western companies and, intellectuals whose loyalty was suspect.
The U.S. State Department estimates there may have been a million killed via the land reforms and 800,000 killed in the counter revolutionary campaign. Some estimate the number killed in the land reform campaign as being much higher. There was a policy to select at least one landlord in virtually every village for public execution so the number of deaths was more likely 2-5 million. Mao himself claimed that a total of 700,000 people were executed during the years 1949-53. In addition, at least 1.5 million people, and as many as 4 to 6 million, perished as a result of "reform". This entailed being worked and starved to death at a labor camp.
Mao played a personal role in organizing the mass repressions and established a system of execution quotas, which were often exceeded. He defended these killings as necessary for the securing of power.
Ah, but the murderous maniac wasn't finished. In 1951, he initiated two movements in an effort to rid urban areas of corruption. He did so by targeting wealthy capitalists and political opponents. A climate of raw terror developed as workers denounced their bosses, spouses turned on their spouses, and children informed on their parents. The victims were humiliated at "struggle sessions" which were meetings designed to intimidate and terrify people to the maximum. Mao insisted that minor offenders be reformed at labor camps and the worst offenders shot.
These campaigns led many to commit suicide rather than be a victim of a struggle session. In Shanghai, suicide by jumping from tall buildings was so commonplace that residents avoided walking on the pavement near skyscrapers for fear that "jumpers" might land on them.
Some of Mao's idiot policies led to famines which killed yet more millions. Communist party officials confiscated most food from farmers for the good of the state. Party leaders would also sometimes go from village to village to search for any food reserves that a farmer may have hidden. Peasants accused of hiding food were tortured and beaten to death. Most of these deaths took place under a campaign called The Great Leap Forward---thank god for progress.
After Joseph Stalin died, the USSR and China "fell out". The split was triggered by arguments over the control and direction of world communism and other disputes pertaining to foreign policy. The new Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, withdrew all technical experts and aid from China. As a result, China found itself further isolated.
In Mao's completely insane mind, he later came to believe that a revolution of culture was needed. He wished to unsettle the "ruling class"; to keep China in a state of revolution that would serve the interests of the majority and not the minority elite. Wait a minute---wasn't Mao himself part of the ruling class and elite? Well, let's overlook that pesky, inconvenient fact.
This campaign, known as the Cultural Revolution, led to the destruction of much of China's traditional cultural heritage. A huge number of Chinese citizens were imprisoned and economic and social chaos reigned. Millions of lives were ruined during this period as the Cultural Revolution pierced into every aspect of Chinese life,
Believing that certain elements of society continued to threaten the socialist framework, groups of young people known as the Red Guards were encouraged to struggle against authority at all levels of society. The communist party allowed the Red Guards to abuse and kill opponents of the regime. Schools in China were closed and young "intellectuals" living in cities were ordered to the countryside to be "re-educated" via hard labor by the peasants.
In 1969, Mao declared the Cultural Revolution to be over. Mao died in 1976.
As with Stalin, Mao was able to form a huge and pervasive cult of personality. His Image was placed on currency and within politicized art. His image became displayed almost everywhere, present in homes, offices and shops.
The Little Red Book, the name of a book filled with Mao's quotations, was widely distributed during his reign. Party members were encouraged to carry a copy with them; possession was almost mandatory as a criterion for communist party membership. People were compelled to memorize and recite his quotations. As a result of this indoctrination, the ability to think independently was largely destroyed.
Children were mis-educated from a very young age. Music from the period emphasized Mao's stature, as did children's rhymes. The phrase "Long Live Chairman Mao for Ten Thousand Years" was commonly heard during the era.
After his death, Mao's personal physician claimed Mao never bathed or brushed his teeth, rarely got out of bed, was addicted to sleeping pills and had a large number of sexual partners from whom he contracted venereal disease.
Mao was deeply involved per the Korean War and many died as a result. It was in China's interest to keep North Korea communist. To this day, North Korea remains the biggest pariah nation on the planet. The North Korean people have been hopelessly brainwashed and indoctrinated by their government...and China wants it to stay that way.
Incredibly, Mao is revered in modern day China---they love him---images of him are still pervasive. The fact that he led at least 20,000,000 Chinese to their graves is overlooked. The fact that he destroyed much of China's culture heritage is no big deal to most of the current members of the communist party.
Yes, China is still communist and mis-education is still widespread. For example, many Chinese have been made to believe that the Dalai Lama is an evil slave master and compare him to Osama Bin Laden...believe it or not.
The Chinese communist party controls the army, police, courts and media and does not permit multi-party elections at the national or local level except in Hong Kong.
There is hope for China however. With the advent of the internet and social media, information from the outside world has been seeping in for some time. Many who have not been rendered cognitively disabled as a result of indoctrination are waking up to realize how big a liar the communist party is. The communist party has spent billions censoring all information but their efforts are failing. There are multiple signs communism in China is under stress and hopefully another revolution is on the horizon. The Chinese people deserve so much more.
*wikipedia was used as a source for this hub
The following is a link to a related hub that I created:
Under Mao, Tibet Was Raped in Every Conceivable Way
- The Invasion, Occupation and Assimilation of Tibet by Communist China
What China did to Tibet is much, much worse than what Japan did in Nanking, China during WWII. A much larger percentage of the Tibetan population was wiped out per the Chinese invasion, Tibetans were scattered across the globe and, the entire country
Other Related Hubs I Have Authored
- The Most Terrible Villains of the Past One Hundred Years: Part 1 of 5 Adolf Hitler
- The Most Terrible Villains of the Past One Hundred Years: Part 2 of 5 - Joseph Stalin
- The Most Terrible Villains of the Past One Hundred Years: Part 4 of 5 - Pol Pot
- The Most Terrible Villains of the Past One Hundred Years: Part 5 of 5 - Heinrich Himmler (Includes S
- Basic Theoretical Principles of Karl Marx: Historical and Social Context