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Zedong Mao Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (4)  | Trivia (17)  | Personal Quotes (12)

Overview (4)

Born in Shao-shan, Hunan, China
Died in Peking, China  (after a heart attack)
Nicknames The Great Helmsman
Chairman Mao
Height 5' 9" (1.75 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Tse-tung Mao, along with Yat-sen Sun and Kai-Shek Chiang, was one of the most important figures to modern Chinese history. Born to a peasant family--his father was a farmer--in Shaoshan, China, on December 26, 1893, Mao was raised in the grinding poverty of rural Hunan province, where he developed a hatred of the Imperial Chinese government while still a boy. In 1911 Mao left school to join the revolution against Manchu rule. In the years that followed, Mao grew increasingly more radical, and in 1921 became one of the founding members of the Chinese Communist Party. When a power struggle between the Communists and Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists erupted into open warfare in 1927, Mao proclaimed "political power grows out of the barrel of a gun" and eagerly joined the fight. Badly outnumbered by Chaing's army, the Communists were slowly driven out of eastern China and, on the brink of defeat, Mao led a retreat to the mountains of the northwest in 1934, a 6,000-mile trek that became known as "The Long March". Mao emerged as one of the top field commanders and became the chairman of the Chinese People's Communist Party.

After forming a new headquarters at Yenan, Mao remodeled the shattered Red Army into a powerful guerrilla force. By 1937 they were fighting the invading Japanese army from their bases in Manchuria. Striking a truce with the Nationalists, the Communists formed an uneasy alliance with Chaing's army to fight the invading Japanese. After the defeat of Japan in World War II in 1945, Mao's forces soon renewed their struggle against the Nationalists for control of China. By striking where Chiang was weak and cultivating the support of the rural peasants, the Communists were able to negate the Nationalist army's overwhelming superiority in men and materials, and by late 1948 the tide had turned against Chiang. In January 1949 Peking fell to the Red Army, forcing Chaing to flee into exile in Taiwan. In October, 1949 Canton, the last Nationalist stronghold, surrendered and on December 7, 1949, the last Nationalists fled to Taiwan, leaving Mao as the undisputed leader of the newly formed People's Republic of China.

Mao established control on China with a "rule of law" similar to the one in the Soviet Union and began to rebuild the war-torn country. A cunning, intelligent and frequently ruthless leader, Mao slowly helped China grow to become a world power. Relations with the US remained cold, and Mao sent Chinese "volunteers"--who were actually regular troops of the Chinese army--to fight with his Communist allies in North Korea in the early 1950s when they were on the verge of defeat after having initially invaded South Korea. Relations remained cold after China tested its first nuclear weapon in the late 1950s. Mao's so-called "five-year plans" to rebuild the farming and industrial economy cost the lives of millions of peasants and political opponents who spoke out against his policies. As relations with the Soviet Union deteriorated in the late 1960s, relations with the US slowly improved and in 1972 the US and China officially established diplomatic relations, with the US officially recognizing the People's Republic of China.

As he got older, Mao's legendary large appetite resulted in his being grossly overweight by age 60, and his being a heavy smoker also contributed to his growing health problems, but he still remained in firm control of his country. Mao died in 1976 at age 82.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Matthew Patay (qv's & corrections by A. Nonymous)

Spouse (4)

Qing Jiang (28 November 1938 - 9 September 1976) ( his death) ( 1 child)
He Zizhen (1930 - 1937) ( divorced) ( 6 children)
Yang Kaihui (1920 - 1930) ( her death) ( 3 children)
Luo Yixiu (1907 - 11 February 1910) ( her death)

Trivia (17)

Chairman (chief of state) of the People's Republic of China (1949-1959).
Attended the Hunan First Normal School (early 1910s).
Officially hailed "the Great Leader, great mentor, great helmsman and great commander" of the Chinese people during the Cutural Revolution (1966-1976).
His radical ideology has inspired countless revolutions far beyond China's borders, including guerilla activities in Nepal, Peru, Philippines, and student protests/demonstrations/riots in Europe during the late 60s, the most prominent one in France, between May and August, 1968.
As a reaction to the Maoist insurrection in Paris and Lyon in May, 1968, the Charles de Gaulle administration decided to reorganize tertiary education in France. During the reorganization, the prestigious architecture school of Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts was split from the school and divided into several smaller schools.
A personal pal of French Existentialist philosopher and Nobel Laureate Jean-Paul Sartre, who got arrested for distributing inflammatory Maoist newspapers in 1970.
Inspired countless European film directors, including Jean-Luc Godard (aka "Jean Luc Godard"), a professed Maoist in the late '60s.
Considered by many to have been the single most powerful leader in the world's history, as absolute ruler of one-fourth of humankind, whose voice was revered as divine revelation and who has successfully brainwashed/convinced most of his dissidents into believing that it was they, not he, who were wrong, during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), a period in which his "Little Red Book" outsold the Bible.
Henry Kissinger, when he learned of the death of Mao, commented that if Mao were to join God in Heaven, it would be "too powerful a combination".
Contrary to popular belief, Mao did not oppose to the right to bear arms. In fact, during his rule, many adult Chinese joined militia organizations and kept at least one rifle at home. It was after his death the Chinese government started implementing gun restrictions.
Still worshipped as a god by some Chinese, especially peasants and taxi drivers, with his photos being used as charms.
Received Soviet Chairman of the Council of Ministers (i.e. Prime Minister) Nikita Khrushchev (1894-1971) in his swimming pool to show his defiance for the latter. During the meeting, Mao asked Khrushchev to jump into the pool and swim with him. Khrushchev was extremely embarrassed as he didn't have a swimming suit with him at the time.
His "great leap forward" campaign of 1959-1962 created what is considered the worst man-made disaster--a mass famine due to the attempt to turn China into a planned agrarian economy, which resulted in the deaths of over 20 million people by starvation.
He launched the Cultural Revolution in 1966, which caused widespread chaos throughout China and led to purges of "disloyal elements" at all levels of society.
Mao once worked as an assistant to the chief librarian of the University of Peking. He was passed over for advancement, which spurred him to join the Chinese Communist Party, where he hoped to get ahead faster.
Following his death it was disclosed that he had large "pleasure gardens" stocked with hundreds of women.
Cat owners not infrequently name their cats "Chairman Meow" as a joke.

Personal Quotes (12)

Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.
Women hold up half the sky.
Marxism consists of thousands of truths, but they all boil down to one: It's right to rebel against reactionaries.
I learned to hate my father.
People who are liberals look upon the principles of Marxism as abstract dogma. They approve of Marxism, but they are not prepared to practice it in full; they are not prepared to replace their liberalism by Marxism.
It's always darkest before it becomes totally black.
We think too small, like the frog at the bottom of the well. He thinks the sky is only as big as the top of the well. If he surfaced, he would have an entirely different view.
Communism is not love. Communism is a hammer which we use to crush the enemy.
Letting a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend is the policy for promoting the progress of the arts and the sciences and a flourishing culture in our land.
To read too many books is harmful.
An army without culture is a dull-witted army, and a dull-witted army cannot defeat the enemy.
A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery. It cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentle, so temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. A revolution is an insurrection an act of violence by which one class overthrows another.

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