China Guide

Cult of Mao – Who is Mao Zedong?

Cult of Mao

Mention Mao Zedong and you are likely to get a variety of responses from those who believe that he was the “savior of the nation” to those who blame him for causing the deaths of millions. These extreme views reflect people’s ideas on his political ideals and from his contribution as a communist leader.

Mao grew up in the Hunan Province where he subsequently joined the Revolutionary Army. After finishing with the Army he joined his college teacher who was to become is future father in law in his travels to Beijing and then Shanghai. While in Shanghai he committed to reading which introduced him to the ideas within communist theories. From here he made his mark within the Central Committee of the Communist Party and worked his way up to acting Propaganda Director of the Kuomintang.

His status manifested into the creation of a personality cult which seeped into everyday life of the Chinese. He was regarded as the working class leader who helped them overcome the ‘three evils’ of imperialism, capitalism and feudalism. One of his proposals was to educate the peasants to stare clear of these ‘evil’ temptations.

While these policies along with his military strategies and contributions to Marxism Leninism gave him an almost God like status to some, others had very contradicting thoughts about him. A large portion of Chinese believed that through his work he laid the foundations of modern China and idolised him as the person who transformed China into a world super power. Conversely there are those who blame Mao for causing the deaths of millions while damaging China’s culture and economy. His political theories were believed to have cost up to 70million deaths within thirty years of his influence.

Either way, Mao Zendong has been a major influential player in world history for better or worse, and was even been named one of the 20th century’s most important people by Time Magazine. Playing a large part in the Cultural Revolution, Mao’s image was turning up everywhere from people’s homes, in shop windows, on mugs and other propaganda material.

To this day, people have opinions on his actions however in the end whether you like it or not, he was a revolutionary whose collective contributions have been unified into Maoism.