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Mao Zedong

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Mao Zedong [Mao Tse-Tung] (1892-1976) was a Communist revolutionary and leader. Much of his early career was spent in a couple decades of struggle with Chiang Kai-Shek's Kuomintang, a struggle that continued even during Japan's war on China in the 1930's and 40's. But he came to power in 1949, making the Kuomintang flee to Taiwan, and liberating China from foreign domination for the first time since the Opium Wars of the 19th century.

In the 1950's, he started a "Hundred Flowers" campaign, calling for alternate opinions about his rule. But he thought that many of them were little better than weeds, and he then started an "Anti-Rightist Campaign" against them. And in 1958, he started a "Great Leap Forward", featuring collectivization and small-scale indutry; it turned out to be a "Great Leap Backward" for many Chinese, causing massive famines.

In the 1960's, he split with the Soviet Union, charging that its leaders had strayed from The True Communist Path with their departures from Stalinism and their softness on the "imperialists". Also in that time, he ordered the "Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution", in which "Red Guards" loyal to him declared war on established Party officials, causing a bloody and destructive civil war.

In that time, Mao was elevated to divinity in an official personality cult, with a "Little Red Book" of quotations from him being widely distributed. This site contains an abundance of examples of Mao personality-cult artwork, some of it being rather obvious about deifying him.