Mao Zedong – Chinese Communist leader
Mao Zedong was a Chinese state and political figure of XX century, the main theoretician of Maoism. Having joined in his youth the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), in 1930s Zedong became the leader of the Communist areas in Jiangxi Province. After the Long March he managed to take the leading positions in the CCP. Mao ruled China from 1949 until 1976.
Mao Zedong was born on December 26, 1893 in the village of Shaoshan in southeastern China. He was the son of a prosperous farmer from the Hunan Province in central China.
Mao briefly served in the army during the Chinese Revolution (1911-12).
After school he worked as a library assistant at National Beijing University. There he became involved in the May Fourth Movement of 1919.
In July 1921 Mao was one of 12 men who formed the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Shanghai. He started a communist revolution among peasants in the countryside.
Between late 1927 and late 1934 Mao headed a Communist base area in the Jiangxi region.
In 1949 Mao took control of the whole country. He led the People’s Republic of China as chairman of both the CCP and the government. As the senior leader he began to form his own cult of personality.
Mao tried to transform China’s economy. In 1958 he started a program called the Great Leap Forward, which dragooned the people into communes and wrecked the economy with wildly unrealistic programs. As a result, about 30 million people died in a Mao-made famine, the greatest in human history.
In 1966 Mao began a movement called the Cultural Revolution which weakened China.
Mao Zedong died on September 9, 1976 in Beijing.
Mao was undoubtedly the key figure in China in the 20th century and one of the century’s most important movers and reformers.
As for his personal life, the Chinese leader had countless number of women. And what about the wife? Mao had four wives: Luo Yixiu (1907-1910), Yang Kaihui (1920-1930), He Zizhen (1930-1937) and Jiang Qing (1938-1976).
There is very little information about his first wife. The groom was 14 years old and the bride was 18. Newlyweds were distant relatives, and the marriage was arranged by their fathers. The young man refused to live with his wife and soon ran away from home. She moved to her parents, and died of dysentery at the age of 20.
Yang Kaihui was the second wife of Mao. They got married in 1920. Her father taught at a school in Beijing, and the future head of state at one time was his pupil. Yang gave birth to three children.
In October 1930 Yang Kaihui and her son were kidnapped. They wanted her to renounce her husband and communist ideology. But she refused. On November 14, 1930 at the age of 29 Mao Zedong’s second wife was executed in front of her 8-year-old son.
In May 1930 20-year-old He Zizhen became his third wife. The new wife was actively involved in a guerrilla war, and was considered an experienced fighter. She gave birth to 3 daughters and 3 sons. Some children died in childhood, others were separated from their family. Only biography of one daughter named Li Ming is known. She was born in 1936. In 2007, she participated in the opening of the memorial dedicated to the memory of her mother.
In 1937 He Zizhen was sent to Moscow for treatment. But, most likely, Mao just wanted to get rid of his wife. Zizhen lived in Russia and worked at a university. She died in Shanghai in 1984 at the age of 73.
In November 1938 Chinese leader married 24-year-old Jiang Qing. She was born in the family of a simple carpenter. At the age of 16, she left home with a troupe of wandering actors. Then she acted in theaters and films. In 1931 she met student-biologist Yu Qiwei. He was in the Communist Party and was 3 years older than the girl. In 1932, young people began to live together. In 1933, Jiang Qing joined the Communist Party. Soon Yu was arrested, and the girl fled to Shanghai.
Since the end of 1934 she began performing in theaters in Shanghai under the stage name Lan Ping. Soon she became a well-known actress. In March 1936 she married actor Tang and gave birth to two children. One day her husband saw his wife with her lover, Yu Qiwei, who was released from prison. She left her husband and children and fled with Yu Qiwei to the Communists, where the girl was fascinated by Mao Zedong. She started attending Marxist-Leninist Institute, where the future leader of China was a lecturer. On November 28, 1938 Mao married Qing.
In 1949 the People’s Republic of China appeared on the world map. Mao became a recognized leader and his wife received the status of the first lady of the country. The couple had a daughter.
Mao appointed her Deputy Director of the Central Revolutionary Group on Cultural Affairs. And in 1966, Jiang became a serious political figure in the country. Qing was one of main ideological inspirers of Cultural Revolution (1966-1976).
Everything changed on September 9, 1976. Mao Zedong died. On October 6 his widow was arrested. The last wife of the Great Helmsman was sentenced to death, but then in 1983 it was replaced with life imprisonment. In 1991 she was diagnosed with throat cancer and released for health reasons. On May 14, 1991 the woman committed suicide.