He Zizhen, 1947
September 20, 1910|
Yunshan, Jiangxi, Qing Dynasty
April 19, 1984 (aged 73)|
Shanghai, People's Republic of China
|Political party||Communist Party of China|
|Children||6, including Yang Yuehua and Li Min|
Early life and career
He Zizhen was born in Yunshan (云山, now Yongxin County), Jiangxi, during Qing Dynasty China and joined the Communist Youth League in 1925. She graduated from the Yongxin Girls' School and joined the Communist Party of China in 1926.
He Zizhen was introduced to Mao Zedong at Jinggangshan by Yuan Wencai, a classmate of her elder brother, in the spring of 1928. An expert in guerrilla warfare and a capable fighter, He Zizhen was also an excellent shooter who earned the nickname of "Two-Gunned Girl General." When they married, Mao did not divorce his second wife Yang Kaihui and Yang was not arrested yet.
He Zizhen had three daughters and three sons with Mao Zedong, but except for their daughter, Li Min, all of them either died young or were separated from the family. Their eldest daughter, who was left to a local family in Fujian, was found and recognized by He Zizhen's brother in 1973, but never had the chance to meet Mao or He.
While He Zizhen was in Russia, Mao met and married his fourth wife, Jiang Qing. Upon her return to China in 1947, she found she could not hope to fulfill any sort of political role in Beijing. She later became the chair of Zhejiang Province Women's Union. In 1984, He Zizhen died alone in Shanghai.
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