Talk:Mao Zedong/Archive 5

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Archive 4 Archive 5 Archive 6



The article states that Mao Zedong was one of the co-founders of the Communist Party of China, which from my readings is in no way true. Although he did get an early start as a supporter, it took Mao decades to rise to the top of the party. User:Courthead 05:41, 19 November 2007 (GMT -5)

I would concur with the previous poster, something is wrong with this information clearly as it directly contradicts information in the other Wiki entry for the CPC itself which says that the CPC was founded by Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhao. It states that Mao was in Shanghai, but was in a much lesser position at the time (and therefore, not a founder). (talk) 00:02, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

Rather than posting at the bottom of this far-too-long page, I'll keep this section on his early life intact. I suggest the following amendment:

On July 23, 1921, Mao, age 27, attended the first session of the National Congress of the Communist Party of China in Shanghai. Two years later, he was elected as [omit: one of the five commissars] a member of the Central Committee of the Party during the third Congress session, and named head of the Organization Department. . Later that year (1923), Mao returned to Hunan at the instruction of the CPC Central Committee and the Kuomintang Central Committee to organise the Hunan branch of the Kuomintang.[8] In 1924, after Mao apparently had joined the KMT, he was a delegate to the first National Conference of the Kuomintang, where he was elected an Alternate Executive of the Central Committee. In 1924, he became an Executive of the Shanghai branch of the Kuomintang, and Secretary of the Organisation Department.

Source: Hollingworth, Clare, Mao and the men against him (Jonathan Cape, London: 1985), p. 34. DOR (HK) (talk) 07:41, 21 May 2008 (UTC)


This part of the article is a total mess. It very often deviates from its purported subject matter, and seems more like a debate betweem pro and anti-Mao advocates. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk • contribs) 23:20, November 17, 2006

I totally agree with this. It only mentions in short bursts. Some people are merely trying to put their POV in there.

Thirded, right now it is one-sided for mao, and it wall probably change again before too long. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:48, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

Step Forward to Combat Anti-Communist Propaganda

I find this article almost totally to be a product of editions by completely anti-communist fanatics. People having some knowledge of history and dialectics should step forward to correct this. Srijon 12:31, 20 August 2007 (UTC)

I hope you also understand the theory of dialectical thinking is also to understand the flaws of people too. That means to admit the problems of a person, historical event, etc. To look at the holistic view upon the person, and analyze the actions and the result of them. I would agree there are some biases within this article, so there is much work to be done. Paracite 00:56, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

I think that every bit of information we encounter in popular bourgeois culture is biased against the proletariat. This implies that the allegations brought towards Mao are entirely false and are actually cooked up to disgrace communism. However, since there are many people who think otherwise, let each argument and supplied "fact" have its negation too written on this page. Srijon (talk) 13:47, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

Yes, since this is an American based site, usually Americans put a "magnifying glass" on the bad parts of Mao Ze Dong (Cultural revolution, and later years) and turn the "magnifying glass" around on the good parts (Leading against the Japenese, freeing China from imperialist corrupt rule and earlier years) I think it's good enough and not tooo propaganda-infested.

Cult of Mao

Does anyone know where this citation is from?:

At the 1958 Party congress in Chengdu, Mao expressed support for the idea of personality cults if they venerated figures who were genuinely worthy of adulation: “ There are two kinds of personality cults. One is a healthy personality cult, that is, to worship men like Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin. Because they hold the truth in their hands. The other is a false personality cult, i.e. not analysed and blind worship. ”

It appears in the "cult of Mao" section on this page. It'd be nice if we knew the exact source for this quotation, besides just the 1958 Party congress. Can this quote be checked or verified? Fifthcolum 07:46, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

I am fairly sure it is in the little red book, as I have def. read that before. I'll check it out. (Majin Takeru 18:48, 29 May 2007 (UTC))

Intro again

The phrase "seeking to achieve, by means of his political philosophy, the ideal of a strong, prosperous and socially egalitarian China" is uncited and completely POV; it ascribes positive motives to some of Mao's most destructive policies.

It would probably be easier to cite and support a claim along the lines of: "He instigated several major socio-political programmes (some through collectivisation), including the Anti-Rightist Campaign, the Great Leap Forward, and the Cultural Revolution, seeking to achieve, by means of his political philosophy, complete control over the Chinese economy (which was almost totally based on agriculture at the time), the brutal suppression of all domestic political opposition, amassing the means to build a military capable of projecting power abroad, etc."

I'm not suggesting the above should replace what is there but that once uncited motives are ascribed, POV is almost inevitable; the best thing would be to simply remove that phrase. Jimg 14:42, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

  • Ok. I'm removing the phrase.
The motive is obviously positive. No leader in the world seeks to destroy his own country. It is failure that made it destructive. Common sense. Aran|heru|nar 12:05, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you're trying to argue here. Many leaders, now and in history, have been driven by motives which most would consider to be negative. Egotism, greed, thirst for personal power, for example, are motives which have driven many leaders. None would be considered to be positive. There is nothing sensible about claiming that all leaders have always intended the best for the countries they rule. Jimg 00:53, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

I notice that the offending sentence has been added back in by Giovanni33. I've read the discussion below but I don't see anything which directly addresses the point I've raised. To restate; some (Mao supporters) would claim that these programs were motivated by these (largely positive) goals while others (Mao detractors) would claim that the programs were motivated by his desire to eliminate opponents, his desire to re-acquire political power or his desire to produce enough food for export in order to finance military expansion. The introduction is not the place to second guess these motives. It should be enough just to state that he introduced these programs. If you are going to ascribe motives behind Mao's actions here then both intrepretations of his motives should be included to avoid being POV. I don't think the introduction section is the place to do this. Jimg 01:30, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

No. The goals and results of his actions are more important than the actions he made. As for the motives, let's just say that a leader of a country won't try to destroy his own country, as he could not survive without it either. Eliminating opponents is to ensure that he has enough power to carry out his plans which he obviously believe to be good for the country, and one of those plans is military expansion. That said, the motive of Mao is obvious, though the effectiveness is in question, which is why the sentence included "by means of his political philosophy". Aran|heru|nar 06:16, 19 May 2007 (UTC)
No what? Where did I attempt to argue he wanted to destroy his own country? The argument is simple; you can ascribe positive or negative motivations to his actions and it is POV to present one interpretation of his motives and not the other especially when there is widely published analysis to support both. To claim that by definition that a leaders' interests are aligned with that of the countries they rule and so it's fair to include just positive motivations is sophistry. Actually I've noticed the offending sentence has been removed which renders this discussion moot unless someone resurects its again. Jimg 22:33, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

Cultural depictions of Mao Zedong

I've started an approach that may apply to Wikipedia's Core Biography articles: creating a branching list page based on in popular culture information. I started that last year while I raised Joan of Arc to featured article when I created Cultural depictions of Joan of Arc, which has become a featured list. Recently I also created Cultural depictions of Alexander the Great out of material that had been deleted from the biography article. Since cultural references sometimes get deleted without discussion, I'd like to suggest this approach as a model for the editors here. Regards, Durova 17:20, 17 October 2006 (UTC)


The article on Luo Yixiu states that she died in 1910 while this article implies that she was still alive when Mao married Yang Kaihui. Which is correct? Richard Pinch 23:02, 6 November 2006 (UTC)

I feel something is wrong

I'd like to know, why isn't there written anywhere that Mao is considered by most of the people on earth, to be a dictator? Is this too politically incorrect? (I saw the word dictator isn't even mentioned on the pag about China)

  • What do you mean by dictator? Even if Mao Zedong was worshipped, he could not act alone. He could pit one faction of the communist party leadership against another, and he could mobilise the mass, but I doubt that he was ever all-powerful. ----user talk:hillgentleman 08:07, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Has nobody read the excellently researched biography written by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday? This man was a dictator of the like of Stalin and Pol Pot and this should not be concealed for whatever considerations. - Anonymous user

The 2005 Chang-Halliday book has its own entry on Wikipedia: Mao: The Unknown Story. The talk page there is quite extensive and full of discussions on the use of POV words like "evil", "mass-murderer", "dictator" and the like. The problem with words like "dictator" is not that they describe Mao and Hitler and Stalin negatively, but rather that they are so overused as polemics that they are no longer precise descriptions. If you are consulting an encyclopedia, would you prefer the information that Mao was an "evil dictator", or (better) he was a Chinese leader who (here comes the description) undermined other contenders for the Central Committee at Zunyi, kept control of the army by pitting his rivals against each other, unleashed the Great Leap Forward and then blamed it on the weather when millions starved, etc.? Therefore, the best articles on Wikipedia dispense with the emotionally-charged terms, and provide content as the measure of the man or the event. For example, here is an excerpt from Hungarian Revolution of 1956, which recently won recognition as a Featured Article:

In 1945, Soviet Marshal Kliment Voroshilov forced the freely elected Hungarian government to yield the Interior Ministry to the Hungarian Communist Party. Communist Interior Minister László Rajk established the Hungarian State Security Police, which employed methods of intimidation, false accusations, imprisonment and torture to suppress political opposition. The brief period of multiparty democracy came to an end when the Hungarian Communist Party merged with the Social Democratic Party to become the Hungarian Workers' Party, which stood its candidate list unopposed in 1949. The People's Republic of Hungary was declared. Hungary became a communist state under the strongly authoritarian leadership of Mátyás Rákosi. The Security Police (ÁVH) began a series of purges in which dissidents were denounced as “Titoists” or “western agents”, and forced to confess in show trials. Thousands of Hungarians were arrested, tortured, tried, and imprisoned in concentration camps or were executed, including ÁVH founder László Rajk.

Now, reading this, does anyone have any doubt about the type of government that Hungary became? Was it necessary to use the terms "dictatorship", "mass-murder" or "totalitarian"? I was involved in editing this article, and to this day, people still post on the discussion page that it never says that Hungary was a dictatorship! I feel that the encyclopedic & NPOV approach of stating the facts, supported by references, and letting the reader get the full picture, produces powerful prose. Just my two cents - Ryanjo 02:05, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

Actually, I have noticed the same problem and have an explanation for it. The Mao page used to be signicantly more balanced. I was actually discussing Mao with an avowed Maoist and told him about the page. That same night the page underwent a complete overhaul and suddenly had a markedly Maoist slant. Though this is completely ridiculous, I'm under the impression that this guy not only rewrote the Mao Zedong page but also talked about it in some Maoist discussion forum, urging other Maoists to keep a watch over the page. This, of course, is not altogether different from Mao's approach to democratic discourse. In point of fact, most historians, from Margaret MacMillan to Jung and Halliday are highly critical of a great many of Mao's despotic motives and actions. I have made a few minor amendments to create a little more balance. It's ridiculous that the page begins by citing what Maoists believe without citing what most historians believe. I'm sure my edits will be wiped out the same way any perceived dissidence was wiped out during the cultural revolution.

Phil Friesen PhilFriesen 03:35, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

On your issue on believing what historians believe. The general issue is that some historians are just wrong in what they believe, not saying their mere statements are wrong, but saying their facts and accounts (yes, including Jung Chiang) are sometimes wrong. I think it would be a much better idea to root historical accounts with people who has been to China during the era who are much more competent on research. I only know of a few, but there are plenty of people, such as Han Suyin who wrote a two book biography on Mao Zedong utilizing a lot of Edgar Snow's material (she was a personal friend of Snow) and two decades of research, interviews, visiting various areas, etc. And Edgar Snow, who was a journalist, I would consider competent. Even people like W.E.B. DuBois was wrong when he denied that there were no casualties during the Great Leap Forward, when he became a communist. Just be critical of one's, especially historians, beliefs. Paracite 00:50, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

  • The biography by Jung Chang is completely fabricated. The entire book is based off of opinion, not actual facts. A quote in the book says that "Mao Tse-tung, who for decades held absolute power over the lives of one-quarter of the world's population, was responsible for well over 70 million deaths in peacetime, more than any other twentieth century leader" and claimed that he was willing for half of China to die to achieve military-nuclear superpowerdom." Mao never had absolute power over China, if he did, he would not have stepped down after the Cultural Revolution. Also the 70 million dead is completely fabricated; there was however, a tragic deathtoll of about 30 million under Chairman Mao, however, that does not give Jung the right to state that over twice as many had died. The book also says that the Communists spent more time fighting the KMT than the Imperial Japanese Army. The reason for that was because it was the KMT who refused to believe that the Japanese were a greater threat than the communists. Mao had already offered an alliance to Chiang right when the Japanese began their invasion, but Chiang quickly turned it down and continued to battle the communists. -Anonymous User

<Long string of threaded personal attacks and other bickering removed.> Article talk pages have a purpose, and that was not it. See also Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines#Behavior that is unacceptable. Picaroon 22:48, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

Sure, Mao was a dictator. Yes, millions of people died needlessly under his watch. But what is a dictator? In ancient Rome where the term originated, a dictator is a person appointed to rule in times of crisis, and China was in crisis for most of the 20th century. The Chinese as a people paid a heavy price, but Mao gave them back their dignity on the world stage. The Chinese people stood up under Mao. Mao had profound respect for America and Britain, and wanted to work with these countries and do business with them, but because he was a communist, he was not trusted and blacklisted. He had no choice but to turn to the USSR, who treated China as a client state. At the first opportunity Mao broke away from the clutches of the USSR. One can criticise Mao for mis-managing the economy, but Mao was never an economist, and as a leader relied on others. By the end of the Civil War, the talents of China had fled, to Taiwan, Hong Kong, USA, any where but China. There was virtually no one left who was fit to do the jobs of managing China. Chiang took (stole) everything he could ship to Taiwan, gold, silver, national treasures and so on. The Russians dismantled (stole) almost all the factories in Manchuria and shipped everything across the border and reassembled them in Russia. What Mao inherited was an empty shell, with 500 million people to feed, and no capital. China had to learn from scratch.

Was Mao the cruelest among the leaders of China of his time? Chiang Kai-shek had quite a few Taiwanese massacred before he moved in, just to show the locals who was boss. The warlords of that era were far worse.

The American would not help China after the war, who had not been an enemy of the US, but propped up Chiang and re-built Japan, who had killed and murdered many Americans during the war. So where is the US logic?

It is easy to blame Mao because that would hide the dirty work of others. 19:06, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

The International Herald Tribune, 30 November 2006

This article and the corresponding Chinese counterpart were featured on the front page of the 30 Nov 2006 edition of the IHT. The leader was "In China, a restrained Wikipedia" and the article was mentioned to illustrate how censorship operates in China. The conclusion is that the Chinese Mao article is guarded by the average product of the education system.

Personal anecdote: One very interesting point made in the article is the prominent role of the education system in establishing the party-approved version of history. I have had met some very educated and well traveled young Chinese, and the article is spot on: they really believe the tripe that Mao was a great man and that he saved China. My friend is doing a Ph.D. in physics at Waseda University in Japan, he speaks Japanese well, and speaks, reads, & writes English marvelously. To boot the guy is learning French as a hobby. Nevertheless when I pointed out that (even if we took the high end estimates for Nanking) Mao's Great Leap forward killed more people then did the Japanese my friend answered "it's OK to be killed by your own people, it's wrong for the Japanese to come and do it". Well, dead is dead but how can you reason with someone who thinks like that? You can't. More interesting even is when my friend went back to Shanghai for Chinese New Year and met up with his high school chums, some of them had moved abroad and had done a 180 degree turn; they went from being good Nationalist Chinese to (silent) opponents of the regime who would never return to live in China. Vincent 00:22, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

I wonder what the same Chinese gentleman thinks of the quote by Deng Xiaoping, that Mao's actions were "seventy-percent right and thirty-percent wrong". Obvious, killing one's countrymen is not in the 30% wrong, in his opinion. Not remembering (or understanding) the history of China makes it much more likely that another Great Leap or Cultural Revolution will be repeated. - Ryanjo 03:11, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

Here's the article link:[1] - Ryanjo 03:19, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

The IHT was inaccurate and misleading. We've been discussing it on the Chinese Wikipedia, and frankly most people are disappointed at this complete misrepresentation of what the Chinese Wikipedia really stands for. After all, we've been blocked three times by the Chinese government, but have never made any concessions to them. zh:User:R.O.C has sent an email to the foundation-l mailing list: [2], listing the inaccuracies in the IHT report. -- ran (talk) 23:09, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
See also the blog entries by Chinese Wikipedia editor Roadrunner, who was interviewed and then found his remarks misrepresented: [3]. -- ran (talk) 23:22, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
In any case, I've just brought the intro section of this article in the English and Chinese Wikipedias to sync with each other. -- ran (talk) 03:22, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
The question is why should Wikipedia make any concessions to the Chinese government? For that matter, how could it make them given that Wikipedia is by definition freely editable and peer reviewed? Vincent 04:00, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
No, Wikipedia shouldn't make concessions to anyone in matters of fundamental policy, and the Chinese Wikipedia hasn't. As for your second question, the Chinese Wikipedia is freely editable and peer reviewed like any other, the only barrier being the block that the Chinese government has put in place. -- ran (talk) 04:18, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

Has anyone else read the beginning of this article carefully? Wikipedia demands a certain amount of neutrality in its guidelines and someone has typed in the words "complete dickhead" in Mao Zedong's page. I had trouble editing it out so if someone could it would be better. Whatever your beliefs may be about any historical figure, this site is intended for informational purposes and not personal opinion.

Intro changes

I've reverted Wwoo22's changes to the intro - to me, at least, they don't have a neutral point of view. The fact that many people believe that Mao's policies were a failure is adequately discussed in the version that I reverted to, while the version that I reverted from seems to have overemphasized these and, in fact, made the whole introduction revolve around them. I'm not saying that the article, or even the intro, is perfect as is; I simply believe that it is more in line with the NPOV policy this way. Any other opinions? Picaroon 18:27, 17 December 2006 (UTC)


I am happy to discuss with Picaroon and John Smith on this issue to get a better "intro"; a perfect one is probably not possible.

When I saw "Mao's supporters believe...", "Supporters around the world regard..." and “His detractors hold that...”. I think the readers will get the impression that Mao has many supporters up to present time and only some detractors, not a majority, have negative view on him. I think the neutral point of view should emphasize majority view. The minority view should be mentioned but not in dominant manner.

I agree with John Smith removing that extra text “ of foreign domination..”. This goal was basically achived by Dr. Sun Yat-sen. Wwoo22 22:33, 17 December 2006 (UTC)

The objective of removing foreign control of Chinese soil wasn't achieved until December 20, 1999, when the Portugese left Macau. DOR (HK) (talk) 06:33, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

From wwoo22 to Picaroon and John Smith

I agree that my versions were a little bit POV. Thanks Picaroon for informing me the NPOV policy. It did help me.

I agree with most the facts in John Smith's version. I don't think we have big disagreement. However, the 3 sentences I mentioned above were not written in the way in terms of neutral and balanced point of view. It emphasizes the very positive side of Mao and is not the balanced view.

Unless one of you give me a good reason, I will consider revising. I just want to help here and have no other purpose. Mao's never affected my life. Sorry to talk to you this way. Wwoo22 03:26, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

Sorry, Wwoo, can you please say specifically what it is you want to change from the current version? John Smith's 11:30, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
Hello John Smith's, I think the sentence "Supporters around the world regard Mao..." placed right after "today" from previous sentence implies Mao is still popular today with quite a lot of (though literally it didn’t say it) supporter on his thought. I combined this sentence with the sentence “Mao's supporters believe…”. Wwoo22 20:11, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

Also, I want to get this English version to a better form that I can use as a base for the Chinese version that I think is pretty much lack of facts. Wwoo22 20:27, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

So can you please type out all of the bit you want to change so I can see it in more detail? John Smith's 20:53, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
Ok, no problem - looks like a good version now. John Smith's 22:52, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
I have re-wrote the introduction so that it reflects a more complete description of Mao. Changes including several points:
  • Mao is supported both inside and outside China. Maoism was and is still held in high regard in some countries.
  • He tried to spread Maoism across the world, as seen by his financial and political support of nearly all the third-world countries, many which now have Maoist parties.
  • Changed "detractors" to "critics". The word "detractor" is labelled to someone who purposefully undermine another person's success, which certainly is not the intended meaning here.
  • Changed "he is today rarely mentioned by the government" to "his influence on the Chinese government have diminished since his death". In my opinion, more accurate. Not being mentioned does not have a direct meaning.
  • Added "Mao Zedong was also a poet and a calligrapher." Two important points. Mao Zedong's poems and calligraphy are significant, whether or not it is because of his political career.
  • Re-write and combine the paragraphs about supporters and critics. The last lines of the supporters' paragraph are related to the critics, so it wouldn't be sensible to separate them. Mao wanting "a strong, prosperous and socially egalitarian China" was certainly not an idea of his supporters - it's quite obvious that any leader wants to make his own country "strong" and "prosperous".
Feel free to make comments. Aran|heru|nar 13:53, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
There was an edit conflict and I restored to my older version to make my other changes. I would suggest User John Smith's not to revert another user's good-faith contribution simply without any consultation.
As for your edit summary, I would say that Mao is held in pretty high regard with his poems and calligraphy, whether you like it or not. And yes, he is known as a military genius even to some of those who criticize him. As for being a tailor, tinker, or spy, I certainly don't think so. Poetry and calligraphy are important parts of Mao. There are quotes from Mao's poetry repeated every day in China as an Englishman would quote Shakespeare. I do not think Mao should simply be depicted as a military and political leader in his introduction. Aran|heru|nar 13:57, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
Can you please wait!!!!!! If I say I am trying to type please wait until I say it. Now I am going to ignore your above post, as I'm not going to re-edit what I have said below. Read mine first and then reply.
Point 1 is fine generally, but remove the "significant". It's too vague. It's enough to say he has supporters - no one has used a similar term for critics.
I don't see Point 2 in the intro.
Point 3 is fine.
Point 4 should be combined. The fact he is not mentioned is important, as they're trying to sideline him. Also really he has little or no influence on politics today.
Point 5 should be deleted. Lots of people do things in their spare time, but it doesn't mean it needs to be flagged up in the intro. And you've said he is "esteemed", as if he is widely regarded for it. That is nonsense.
Point 6 looks fine. John Smith's 14:12, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

From wwoo22: for record only

At this moment, I am satisfied with John Smith's version. For record, I don't agree with Aranherunar's statement "Mao Zedong's poems and calligraphy are significant". Mao's is certainly not recognized academically as superior Chinese poet or calligrapher. The statement “…quotes from Mao's poetry repeated every day in China as an Englishman would quote Shakespeare” is certainly not true. I, including my family, have the backgrounds to discuss with anyone on these two topics. Wwoo22 00:32, 20 December 2006 (UTC)

Well, the third generation is certainly more freed from Mao. But if you look closer, a lot of sentences around us are actually from Mao - simply go looking around the street and you'll find sentences like "为人民服务" posted everywhere - they seem to be traditional Chinese phrases but actually they all come from Mao. Simply look at the rest of the article and you'll find information regarding Mao's status as a poet and calligrapher - not superior to poets like Du Fu, but certainly deserving a mention. Aran|heru|nar 10:57, 20 December 2006 (UTC)
As for the new intro's other changes, they're generally acceptable. The reason I combined the two paragraphs is that their separation is ambiguous - now it's fine. I still insist the Mao should be mentioned as a poet, calligrapher, etc. in his intro, though. Aran|heru|nar 12:01, 22 December 2006 (UTC)
Why can't "writer" be a general term to be used? Everything else is mentioned below. John Smith's 13:41, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

Not Neutral

Compare the Mao entry to the Hitler entry. The opening 2 paragraphs of the Hitler entry include terms such as "totalitarian", "mass murder", "genocide" and "invasion". The opening 2 paragraphs of the Mao article discuss his supporters and ideology. Even when the tens of millions dead are finally mentioned, it is cushioned as something that critics blame him for (not as something he caused) and he is described as controversial. Murder is not controversial and starving your people in a truly totalitarian state (much more so than even NAZI Germany) is something to be blamed for. This article is not neutral because it is far softer on the figure than an unbiased account would be. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

I read the same words as you do, and I think the lead paragraph is a fairly good summary of the man. The words that you propose need to be added, like "murder" and "totalitarian", are so often used as epithets that they are imprecise. Which do you want to read in a reference work:

Mao murdered 10 million Chinese.

or, the article text under the Great Leap Forward section:

Under the Great Leap Forward, Mao and other party leaders ordered the implementation of a variety of unproven and unscientific new agricultural techniques by the new communes....This famine was a direct cause of the death of tens of millions of Chinese peasants between 1959 and 1962.

I think the answer is obvious. Ryanjo 04:02, 11 January 2007 (UTC)
To be fair, I did make a few changes to the introduction after reading his comments. Though I'm not sure the introduction is that bad. John Smith's 00:33, 12 January 2007 (UTC)WTF is the author smoking? I don't see anyone editing the George W Bush article claiming that he's "responsible for war crimes against Iraqis". We don't compare our least favorite people to Hitler. Each article should be their own case.--PCPP 05:20, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

I very much agree, any attempt I have to put factual context in this article (i.e, Mao is resposible for more death's than any other person in world history, is swiftly deleated). Facts are not POV. I can't help it if the facts are so damning. Why is the Great Leap forward given better treatment on wikipedia (and elswhere) than the Holocaust? It killed more people. 22:36, 3 February 2007 (UTC)Martin

Again, I am astonished. Read the text of the article; it clearly says: Mao and other party leaders ordered the implementation of a variety of unproven and unscientific new agricultural techniques by the new communes....The net result, which was compounded in some areas by drought and in others by floods, was that the rural peasants were not left enough to eat and many millions starved to death in what is thought to be the largest famine in human history. This famine was a direct cause of the death of tens of millions of Chinese peasants between 1959 and 1962. The Holocaust article states: The Holocaust was characterized by the efficient and systematic attempt on an industrial scale to assemble and kill as many people as possible, using all of the resources and technology available to the Nazi state. Both articles directly state that the actions of the leaders of these states caused the deaths, and also why and how. If Mao rounded them up into extermination camps as Hitler did, then this article should say that. If millions starved due to his agricultural policies, it should say that. But to say that Mao killed more people than Hitler, or the Black Plague, or the 1918 flu, or Noah's Flood, is a "factoid" for a TV game show or the Guiness Book of Records. This article elaborates on why they died, the debate over how much Mao knew, the numbers of deaths, and the repercussions.
Just for comparison to another well-known reference work, here is the 2007 Desktop Encyclopaedia Brittanica entry on Mao:
Mao Zedong, or Mao Tse-tung
born Dec. 26, 1893, Shaoshan, Hunan province, China, died Sept. 9, 1976, Beijing
Chinese Marxist theorist, soldier, and statesman who led China's communist revolution and served as chairman of the People's Republic of China (1949–59) and chairman of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP; 1931–76)
The son of a peasant, Mao joined the revolutionary army that overthrew the Qing dynasty but, after six months as a soldier, left to acquire more education. At Beijing University he met Li Dazhao and Chen Duxiu, founders of the CCP, and in 1921 he committed himself to Marxism. At that time, Marxist thought held that revolution lay in the hands of urban workers, but in 1925 Mao concluded that in China it was the peasantry, not the urban proletariat, that had to be mobilized. He became chairman of a Chinese Soviet Republic formed in rural Jiangxi province; its Red Army withstood repeated attacks from Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist army but at last undertook the Long March to a more secure position in northwestern China. There Mao became the undisputed head of the CCP. Guerrilla warfare tactics, appeals to the local population's nationalist sentiments, and Mao's agrarian policies gained the party military advantages against their Nationalist and Japanese enemies and broad support among the peasantry. Mao's agrarian Marxism differed from the Soviet model, but, when the communists succeeded in taking power in China in 1949, the Soviet Union agreed to provide the new state with technical assistance. However, Mao's Great Leap Forward and his criticism of “new bourgeois elements” in the Soviet Union and China alienated the Soviet Union irrevocably; Soviet aid was withdrawn in 1960. Mao followed the failed Great Leap Forward with the Cultural Revolution, also considered to have been a disastrous mistake. After Mao's death, Deng Xiaoping began introducing social and economic reforms. See also Jiang Qing; Liu Shaoqi; Maoism.
Wikipedia's article seems to be much more direct in holding Mao responsible for the disasters he visited on the Chinese people. Ryanjo 22:41, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

This article is still not neutral.

Ya, it seems that the Wikipedia community has more bad to things to say about our president then they do about a communist dictator like Mao Zedong. Talk about ludacris!--GorillazFan Adam 00:26, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

Mao Yuanxin

I restored him to the article, because he was at least as important as his father. You'll find him in the index of most large-sized book about Mao, including Chang & Halliday. --GwydionM 17:56, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Merge Proposal

The Wen Qimei article as it is, is nothing more than a note saying she was Mao's mother she was a devout buddhist and she was illiterate. Unless she did something far more noteworthy this could all be provided on this page.--Matt 00:37, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

I don't see why she needs her own page. In fact I don't see why she needs to be discussed, other than a simple reference. John Smith's 00:42, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
She doesn't seem to need her own page (based on what's on there at the moment) - the info that's on there could be transferred to Mao's page pretty easily. I'd say go ahead with the merge. --Cricketgirl 09:27, 29 January 2007 (UTC)
I thought hard about how to approach Wen Qimei in the merge and I decided on doing it in the genealogy section, I felt that as there were already issues regarding citation in her own article, that I was within Merge guidelines cleaning it up. I doubt that her literacy is relevant unless tied into an abiding affect it had on Mao, such as him making an attempt to educate everyone as a result of her illiteracy. I would be inclined to add a citation tag to that piece of information now however I will leave that to another editor if they feel it is neccesary.--Matt 22:54, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

This article is anti-Mao!

This article is edited by right-wing Mao haters who compares Mao to Adolf Hitler while glorifying pro-American dictators such as Suharto and Pinochet. It's a fact that many Chinese still admire Mao and this article gives the view that somehow Mao is regarded widely as a Hitler-like villain while ignoring his achievements. The views of Maoists and supporters should be acknowledged, and not disregarded as some loony leftists. --PCPP 05:31, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

"compares Mao to Adolf Hitler" -- you're right, there's no comparing them. Hitler killed 21 million, Mao 77 million (see the democide article). That 56 million difference is the same number that died in the entire second World War. Don't forget that Hitler also built the Autoban and basically took Germany out of the Great Depression. It's easy to make huge changes when you control the entire country as Mao or Hitler did, and some of things you do are bound to help. It's also a fact that there are still neo-Nazis, but I don't see that mentioned in the Hitler intro. The truth is that China would have been lucky if they had gotten Hitler instead of Mao. 18:31, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
I have seen this "Communists in China/Mao killed 77 million" line quoted many times. This is interesting because according to the Democide article, Rummel attributed most of these death to famine and subsequent loss in birthrates when Mao tried to push for the Great Leap Forward. Mao may not care about the lives of Chinese people but there are little indications that Mao actually wanted to kill 77 million Chinese. Rather, it was Mao's bad policies and general apathy in combination of bad weather which resulted in the death of these people. To say that Mao killed 77 million Chinese would also mean that President Hoover/Capitalism killed 50 million people across the globe because he actions allowed for the Great Depression in the US which which also resulted in famine and dip in birthrates to take place, or that Bush/Clinton/FEMA Chief Brown murdered the hundreds in Katrina because of their failed domestic policies. Hzzz 15:08, 17 August 2007 (UTC)
In my opinion, the article is not anti-Mao. However, it is uneven, and there are many sections that lack references. This encourages use of "weasel-words", such as Most historians and academics are highly critical of Mao, some comparing him to Hitler and Stalin. Some Chinese mainlanders and international Maoists continue to regard Mao Zedong as a great revolutionary leader... The worse section in this regard is the first five paragraphs of the Legacy section. Some of us should take a shot at cleaning up the Legacy section, maybe by organizing subsections, and getting legitimate references for the statements. Looking through the material already in the section, I came up with something like:
Legacy and influence (proposed re-named section)
  • Social policy
  • literacy
  • China's population & life expectancy
  • role of women
  • Economic initiatives
  • industrialization & collectivization
  • First Five Year Plan & Great Leap Forward
  • comparisons to Taiwan, India, Hong Kong
  • Political influence
  • anti-corruption
  • military leadership
  • mobile warfare, Long March
  • The Cultural Revolution
  • international socialism
  • relations with Comintern, Soviet party
  • writings on revolution
  • International relations
  • sanctions & embargos by the West
  • Taiwan (ROC)
  • third world revolutions
  • neighboring countries (Korea, Vietnam, India, USSR)

Initially, the existing text could be transposed, but unreferenced material would eventually need to be eliminated. I realize that most of you who regularly contribute have your hands full beating off the vandalism, but what do you think? - Ryanjo 02:46, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

  • Yes, there were good things that Mao did. However,, he was still a tyrannical dictator who killed millions and initiated cultural cleansing of Tibet. This article makes no mention of that.
Different perspectives depending on political orientation, those with an ax to grind do so anyways without merit. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Aldis90 (talkcontribs) 05:04, August 26, 2007 (UTC)


Mao is responsible for many times more deaths than Hitler through outright murder and economic mismanagment. This article chearleads for the world's greatest mass-murder (that's not an anti-Maoist phrase, it is a statistical fact. The Great Leap Forward alone was twice or more as deadly as the Holocaust. 22:37, 3 February 2007 (UTC)Martin

Please read the comments above, people have gone over this already. The article gives the facts and reasons why so many people died, and the article definitely doesn't "cheerlead" anyone. It has both the good sides and bad sides of Mao.
And about the Holocaust; it was designed to kill all the Jews in Europe. Mao most likely didn't try to kill all the people in china, thus the difference in description.Dan Guan 23:38, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
I think this is a right wing agenda to deface Mao. The only person(s) that Mao should be compared to is Stalin. They were both figureheads for the Communist world and they had both negative and positive impact through their time in power. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Takamaxa (talkcontribs) 04:02, 11 February 2007 (UTC).

The contents of this section were already discussed earlier in this talk - I'd like to motion to remove it if anyone else agrees.Salient Edge 08:00, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

OF COURSE IT IS ANTI MAO !! What else did you expect in an era of such intensified class struggle ? Each abuse and accusation they hurl at the big five (Marx-Engels-Lenin-Stalin-Mao) demonstrates how they tremble at the slightest hint of resistance(even if it is just on the web) against their foul imperialist masters.

land reform and the suppression of counterrevolutionaries

I was surprised to find that two of the bloodiest campaigns of Mao's rule (in terms of deliberate killings, anyway) were omitted from the article. I added a paragraph on these joint campaigns of repression with a plethora of sources. I'm sure it will be edited many times and perhaps deleted altogether. Although I personally view Mao as a homicidal tyrant, I did my best to avoid using POV terms such as "mass murder," "slaughter" and "genocide" --C.J. Griffin 15:10, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

With the detail and references that you supplied, I doubt that any deletion attempt would succeed. I wish we had more citations for the rest of the article. - Ryanjo 22:49, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

I'm afraid that we cannot accept these blatantly biased sources. Steven W. Mosher is a prominent rightwing anti-Mao polemicist; he has written a laughable book about "China is out to dominate the world". The U.S. State Department qualifies as propaganda, frankly. Jiang Chang does not specialize in history but is a linguist; her work is biased against Mao and contains several factual errors. The "Black Book of Communism" is a polemical work which has been exposed to contain numerous inaccuracies. R.J. Rummel's work is at best dubious and at worst unsubstantiated. and are both anti-Chinese propaganda activist web sites; hrichina received millions of dollars from the US gov. via the "National Endowment for Democracy." —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 20:31, 9 February 2007 (UTC).

Imagine, all these unsubstantiated sources, even an entire government agency! I guess all I need to see is some information proving your contention of bias. Ryanjo 01:18, 10 February 2007 (UTC)
Thanks to the several editors who reverted (talk)'s deletion rampage. Ryanjo 14:25, 10 February 2007 (UTC)
Ah, I see the banned vandal and sockpuppeteer Jacob Peters is at it again. I like the way you put it: "I'm afraid that we cannot accept these blatantly biased sources." Are you referring to your many sockpuppets, perhaps? It is interesting that you failed to mention in your inane tirade my other sources - Stephen Rosskamm Shalom, Philip Short, John King Fairbank and Roderick MacFarquhar – hardly right-wing anti-Communists. And you only provide one source – a clearly biased one at that. All you did was basically copy and paste his words. Anyways, I would also like to thank the editors who restored my contributions to this article.--C.J. Griffin 05:40, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

Frankly, it is difficult to believe that Mao taking over Tibet didn't make it into this bio in any capacity whatsoever... pro/anti/or moderate. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:42, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

Cited material removed by anon (talk · contribs) has removed cited material from the article with this edit: [4]. I do not believe this material should have been removed; however, I do not wish to edit war, and therefore I'm bringing it here for discussion. Heimstern Läufer 03:14, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

The IP has been blocked as an open proxy used by banned User:Jacob Peters. Heimstern Läufer 05:43, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

--As this issue has been dealt with I'd like to motion to remove this section from the talk page to remove general clutter Salient Edge 08:04, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

Rather than removing discussions, archive the page. Λυδαcιτγ 19:03, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

Neutrality and Deaths

Mao's image presented on this article is clearly not neutral and towards a positivistic point of view. Considering direct and indirect deaths caused by Mao's government we have 40 Million deaths on the Three years of Natural Disasters- a lame explanation for the government failure to provide basic human rights and needs to the population as stated in The other negative side that is not clearly posted in the article is the number of deaths caused by the military actions and prosecution of landlords in china.

"According to Mao: The Unknown Story, "Mao Tse-tung, who for decades held absolute power over the lives of one-quarter of the world's population, was responsible for well over 70 million deaths in peacetime, more than any other twentieth century leader" and claimed that he was willing for half of China to die to achieve military-nuclear superpowerdom."-

I have many friends from china here where I do my masters degree and I usually ask them about Mao's legacy and the answers are always biased and leading toowards a positivistic view. Most of them fail to provide any information about the invasion of Tibet and the deaths caused by Mao's regime. I do believe that the problem in this article is that this facts are being considered not be neutral but the evidence ( even from official figures ) is more than enough to state this facts clearly thus being neutral - facts -.

It should also be stated clearly that the Chinese government impose a censorship over the negative sides of Mao and also hides them from the chinese population. I do recognize that Mao made great improvements for the country but the negative sides should be clear.- As if any dictatorship could be good - Thanks for your consideration. 09:53, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

Yet another posting by an unregistered user who finds fault with the article (but obviously didn't read the article in detail, since they missed the recent addition on the "prosecution of landlords"). Also, Jung Chang and Jon Halliday are cited in the article and their statements from the book referenced several times. Statements of Halliday & Chang such as "he was willing for half of China to die to achieve military-nuclear superpowerdom" are exaggerations, impossible to back up with cites, and thus don't belong an encyclopedia article. As far as the "Three years of Natural Disasters", blaming the Yellow River flood in 1959 and the South China drought from 1958-1962 (documented by Encyclopedia Brittanica) on Mao really attributes supernatural powers to the man. The fact that Mao's policies caused millions of peasant deaths during the Great Leap forward is very well documented in this article (as anyone who took 10 minutes to read the posts in this discussion would discover). This article will not benefit from uncited claims on how many million deaths we can blame on Mao. Find citations for the information already present in, or for what you want to add to, this article. Ryanjo 19:33, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

. "The fact that Mao's policies caused millions of peasant deaths during the Great Leap forward......" The fact that this statement is well documented in this article does not make it any less untrue! Most of the material on the Great Leap Forward is nonsense propagated by various groups with a vested interest in undermining Mao's many achievements in China - not least the introduction of a democratic political system which resulted in great achievements by the people of China over a very long period of time.

Cultural Revolution and Little Red Book

I deleted the reference to the Little Red Book from the beginning of the Leadership section. That book was not published until 1964 and was popularised during the Cultural Revolution, not at the beginning of Mao's rule. It should be added in the Cultural Revolution subsection, but I'm not sure where in that section it should be added. However, I do see that the Little Red Book is mentioned in an other section about Mao's cult of personality. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 20:11, 11 February 2007 (UTC)


I'm unable to find/correct the vandalism problems on this page; can a more experienced user please remove the vandalism? 21:16, 13 February 2007 (UTC)James

There's still some problems in the article with portions having been replaced by some people with idiotic phrases (i.e. the random "i am coool" thrown into the final paragraph at the end of early life) Perhaps someone with some more experience can find what has actually been removed and clean it up? 01:19, 23 October 2007 (UTC)


I've reverted back to what seems to be the original wording ("Mao has been blamed by critics for the deaths of tens of millions of Chinese..."). User:A.J.A. and User:HongQiGong, please discuss below. Λυδαcιτγ 23:53, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

Not even TIME Magazine used as strong words as that he was responsible for all those deaths. But I suggest this as a better wording than the current one:

Mao's policies are responsible for the deaths...

Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 02:39, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

This is pov problem here. We can only say he his policies are blamed, not that he is responsible, or it would be OR. And if we say he is to blame according to..., we have to give voice to those who say he is not to blame, or there are other factors that mitigate or bring into question where blame should rest. In anycase, we can only report blame, not state as a fact he is responsible without committing OR.Giovanni33 22:35, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
Wait, what exactly are you saying is OR? Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 23:07, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
It wouldn't be OR (plenty of people have said that Mao was responsible). Possibly POV, but is there any doubt that his policies were responsible for millions of deaths? I like Hong Qi Gong's wording, although I would put it in the past tense. Λυδαcιτγ 23:15, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
It appears to be OR because we are not attributing this statement of fact to a source that meets the verification requirement. It seems that one is drawing a conclusing based on known facts about policies and results. But, to blame Mao himself one needs to make the connection, and there are different arguments/POV's regarding culpability. At most we can say he as been blamed, or that such and such believes him to be responsible. Saying Mao is responsible is either OR or POV.Giovanni33 23:28, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

Wild Swans

User:HongQiGong and User:John Smith's, you are both at three reverts in the last 24 hours, so stop reverting and discuss. For now, I removed the link, since that is how the article was before this dispute.

HQG, Wild Swans is definitely not all about the Cultural Revolution, as the Revolution begins on page 273 out of 505, in my edition. And it definitely tells a lot about Mao; one chapter is entitled "'Father Is Close, Mother Is Close, but Neither Is as Close as Chairman Mao' — The Cult of Mao (1964-1965)". On the other hand, Chang did write an entire book about Mao, which is already linked, and which I have not read. One could argue that there's no need for two books by the same author with the same POV when one is clearly more detailed than the other. I don't know whether Wild Swans has any additional info. Information from someone who has read both would be useful. Λυδαcιτγ 22:18, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

Under the reasoning that the book contains some information about Mao Zedong, we could potentially include all articles about books on modern China. This is a simple case of a Jung Chang fan trying to spam her work in articles where they don't necessarily belong. Also, just a correction, I have only reverted twice today. My first edit on this article today was not a revert. You can see my edit on this article from two days ago that I actually left that link in[5]. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 00:48, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure exactly where the line between a revert and a non-revert removal comes in (though clearly, just the fact that there were edits in between doesn't mean that it wasn't a revert). Anyway, in terms of Wild Swans, I think perhaps its usefulness is as a primary source. It's fine to read something like "China's youth had mostly been brought up during the Communist era, and they had been told to love Mao. Thus they were his greatest supporters. Their feelings for him were so strong that many followed his urge to challenge all established authority." But Chang's firsthand account is better at bringing home how pervasive Mao's influence was: "In 1965, my New Year resolution was "I will obey my grandmother" — a traditional Chinese way of promising to behave well. My father shook his head: 'You should not say that. You should only say "I obey Chairman Mao"'". Λυδαcιτγ 05:24, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

I don't see what's wrong with Wild Swans. It's a book that covers a lot of 20th century China, but especially "Mao's China". Now, Hong, I getting pretty tired with your whinging about me being a "Jung-fan" - should I accuse you of being biasedly anti her? I should also point out that the link has been there for quite some time - certainly while you edited the page. I'm not even sure if I added it in myself. John Smith's 10:31, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

About the two books. Well "Mao" is a historical work, whereas "Swans" is a personal account. So I think it's interesting to have links to both. John Smith's 12:12, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

Well, again like I said, using this rationale, we can essentially add any and all articles about books written on modern Chinese history, because most if not all books on modern Chinese history discuss at length about Mao. Wild Swans is more about the Cultural Revolution, even if it talks about young people's "love" for Mao, Mao's cult of personality was really only pertinent to the 10 years of the Cultural Revolution. This article is, or should be, about his entire life. Now if there's something specific and useful to be added from that book into the section in this article about Mao's cult of personality or his rule during the Cultural Revolution, I'm definitely not opposed to having the book listed as a footnote with the ref tag. To put it into perspective you'd understand, John Smith's, it would be like if there's a book about Unit 731 and the Japan article does not use it as a reference, but someone insists on listing the article about this book on Unit 731 in the "See also" section of the Japan article. I'm almost certain you'd be opposed to that. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 15:55, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

You cannot compare Unit 731 and Wild Swans - the former is a very specific historical reference, the latter a general biography that covers about seventy years of Chinese history. Besides Wild Swans is not just about the Cultural Revolution - there are maybe 200 pages of pre-CR, PRC history, ignoring the rest of it. Of course not every historical work that once mentions Mao should be included, but it isn't like a general history book at all. It is a fairly unique work that interjects a personal perspective of that period and of Mao's policies generally. That said, I'm not sure why you are so opposed to it due to its chapters on the Cultural Revolution. It was a very important part of "Mao's China", and he was a key part of it. It was his policy.
On a side-note, why did you accuse me of link-spamming when I didn't add the link to begin with? John Smith's 17:25, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
I see no other reason why the link should be there, other than that fans want to linkspam. Like I said, we might as well add any and all articles about books written on modern Chinese history. And my comparison is not on Unit 731 itself, but a book about Unit 731. What about a book about Japanese war crimes, that discusses Japanese history as well? How would you feel about a link to The Rape of Nanking (book) in the See Also section of the Japan article? Hey, I've read that book and it talks about Japanese history, military structure, etc etc. Point is, we shouldn't be adding in the See Also section articles on books about specific topics on Japan if those books aren't even used in reference. The same goes for Wild Swans. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 17:48, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
But, Hong, you're comparing apples and oranges. This is a page about a figure - the Japan page is about a country. A "Wild Swans" style book would not be suitable for the Japan page under any circumstances - I wouldn't stick it on the China article. It can be for an individual or historical reference. What you are effectively saying is that a book on Japanese war crimes would not be suitable for the Nanking Massacre page because it spends more time talking about Unit 731, or something. Really I think you're being just a tad too rigid in your attitudes. John Smith's 21:49, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
No, the other way around. I am effectively saying that an article about a book on the Nanjing Massacre is not suitable to be included in the See Also section of the Japanese war crimes article. The logic here is the same. An article on a book that concentrates on one specific part of an article topic need not be included in the See Also section. Do I think the books themselves are suitable references? Absolutely. Like I said, if Wild Swans can be used as a reference here in this article, by all means, add it in with a ref tag. But also like I said, your rationale for including the article about the book in the See Also section basically opens the floodgate to any and all articles about modern China, because almost no book on modern China goes without discussing Mao. On an obscure topic, I might not care, because it would probably be insignificant. But do you have any idea how much Mao has been written about? Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 22:01, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
As I said before, Wild Swans is a fairly distinct work in its style compared to those other works. John Smith's 23:08, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
And as I said before, we could be including any and all articles about books about modern China. Any anonymous editor can come in and say, such-and-such book is a "fairly distinct work" and the article about it should be included in the See Also section. And by the way, published personal accounts of life in China before it opened up is not really that unique at all. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 01:21, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

Chang's book is not anything special in terms of historiography, as her attention to historical trends is secondary to the story of her family. Its value is anecdotal. HQG, your last remark seems to imply that that there are plenty of books like Chang's, but hers is to my knowledge the most widely-read, which suggests that it offers something special. Do you disagree that reading a personal narrative about life under Mao would be useful, or do you think that Chang's book is the wrong one to link to? Λυδαcιτγ 01:45, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

I think that linking to the article about that book in the See Also section is inappropriate, as the book is not about Mao Zedong. I keep saying again and again, this rationale justifies basically any and all articles about books written on modern China or modern Chinese history, as most if not all of these books include discussions about Mao. And again, I do not oppose the book being used as a reference if applicable. But this is not the case. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 02:10, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
I disagree that every book in the See Also section must be about Mao. If it's about something else that relates to Mao and provides interesting and instructive information about him, I think it should be linked to. Like Red Star Over China, Wild Swans presents a firsthand description of one piece of Mao — in the case of Wild Swans, the effects of his policies on the Chinese people. Λυδαcιτγ 02:52, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Except that that's completely objective. Anybody could make the claim that such-and-such book is "interesting" and provide "instructive information" about Mao. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 02:55, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
There is, of course, a certain amount of objectivity in deciding to keep any source over another. But that shouldn't mean that we have to link to any source someone proposes, or that we can't link to any. I admit that I would like to include Wild Swans for subjective reasons — I think it's a good book. But even disregarding that, I think the book is valuable in a pretty objective sense as a personal account, like Red Star over China. Λυδαcιτγ 02:31, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

It was some time ago I last participated in this debate, but I agree with HongQiGong here. Why should we include an autobiographical work when there are literally tons of books out there dealing with Mao that are not mentioned? I see no reason whatsoever and we should not inundate articles with references. And why aren't Spence's or Stuart Schram's biographies mentioned?--Niohe 03:47, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

How should I know why they aren't included? Include them if you want. John Smith's 10:09, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Yes, please do add those two. I agree that we should mention many more books — especially those with a novel take on Mao. Λυδαcιτγ 02:34, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

I just rearranged the references and the external links, added a couple of titles, deleted one. Hope this will satisfactory.--Niohe 02:59, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

Excellent, but we still have the issue of Wild Swans... Λυδαcιτγ 20:00, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
No one has tried to reinsert it, so I tnink there is no problem. I see no reason why the book should be there since it is not a biography of Mao.--Niohe 01:21, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
Neither is Red Star Over China. And the reason no one has tried to reinsert it is because revert wars are undesirable — not because no one disagrees with the fact that it was taken out. Λυδαcιτγ 03:33, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
But Red Star over China is a book that is partially based on interviews with Mao, where he gives his first account of his youth. as a matter of fact it this book was the first extensive account on him in a Western language. We can have our doubts on the bias of the book, but a lot of biographies are actually based on this book - even when the remain critical of it.--Niohe 15:32, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
I see. Anyway, I don't understand why you and Hong share such an aversion to Chang, and I'm obviously not going to be able to convince you, so I suppose that if no one else feels strongly that we should keep Wild Swans it'll be left out. Λυδαcιτγ 18:31, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
I don't have any particular gripe with Chang, but if I have to take sides, I'll rather leave it out than keep it. It may be included in Cultural Revolution if it isn't already.--Niohe 18:41, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
If I have an "aversion" to Chang, I'd want to take out the link to Mao: The Unknown Story. Like I said in the beginning, Wild Swans is not a biographical work of Mao, and including that book basically justifies us including a plethora of books on modern China, because most books on modern China discuss Mao. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 19:14, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
OK, fair enough. Λυδαcιτγ 04:54, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

This wiki article of Mao is extremely bias. Mao: the Unknown Story is no more than a anti-china propaganda book. There no evidence show that 30 million people died in the famine happened between 1959 and 1962. The issue have been widely debate in chinese forums and many think that the 30 million death theory is created inside the PRC government to undermine Mao's achievement and make more chinese support PRC's change to capitalism. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 2007-02-21 19:58:46

Yes. In fact, the people who spread information about Mao and the famines are actually supporters of the PRC. Jung Chang is actually being paid off by the Chinese government to pretend she is anti-Communist. Λυδαcιτγ 20:16, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
I don't think internet conspiracy theory is going to hold much water as reliable sources here. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 20:38, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Views of historians

Mao Zedong is AWSOME!! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:09, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Hong, you yourself said "I don't think many INSIDE the PRC think this". I draw your attention to the "think". Without evidence that is personal research. And as you wish to allege the point, it is up to you to give some reason as to why you are correct. It is not up to me to prove you wrong. John Smith's 17:53, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

The contention is exactly how many historians, both inside and outside the PRC, qualify as that "most" historians hold that particular opinion of Mao. Since neither can really be verified, I've reverted to an earlier version that doesn't use weasel words. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 18:30, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
But that version has no evidence as to historians that dispute XYZ. It also still uses "weasel words" such as "many". John Smith's 18:37, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
Well, John Smith's, two wrongs don't exactly make a right, does it? We should just come up with a better way to word it instead of reverting between two versions that both have weasel words. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 18:53, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
Maybe what we need is to review the literature among historians, esp. those that specialize in China studies on the question? I would guess that most would, and a minority dispute the charges that Mao's policies or that Mao are to blame. This is just from my own reading, but not from taking a wide survey of opinion of such historians.Giovanni33 18:54, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

I've editted in another version that tries to avoid weasel words altogether. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 19:01, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

Better, but I added a citation tag. Also why just use Short's book - he's not really a historian. I put that list of death estimates in instead as that has more sources. John Smith's 19:09, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
Actually I don't know who inserted Short as a reference, but it was inserted some while ago until it got deleted recently. But if you only want to use sources from people who are academically trained historians, then we might as well blast away almost all the references in the article and only use sources like Jasper and Spence. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 19:20, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
He's still listed, just not as a source to say there is such a view from historians - the reference I inserted has more sources. John Smith's 19:22, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
Folks, could we please not keep this edit war going? We need to discuss here, not keep reverting each other. Heimstern Läufer 23:28, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
I believe John Smith's and I have come to an agreement on this. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 01:16, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
I restructured a bit, and also took out the cite needed tag, since the dispute is discussed in the body of the article. Λυδαcιτγ 04:58, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
Okay, I did a rewrite for intro hoping to satisfy both sides on this. Dunno if I solved the problem. Just stop the edit-war. Aran|heru|nar 12:24, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

I have reverted. Your version just created more problems - we were discussing a very select point that didn't require all those changes, and it had already been resolved. John Smith's 13:36, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

I support the changes by Aranherunar. They are much better and improve the flow and content of the issues. I don't think they create more problems. We should discuss this.Giovanni33 20:52, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
I don't support it. I think the current version makes it much more clear that Mao's programs are recognised to have caused all kinds of problems, but that there is dispute whether or not Mao can be personally held responsible. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 20:55, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
I disagree. The newer version was no less clear that critics blame Mao for the negatives consequences of the policies, but says so in a much more encylopedic manner. I think that both versions can be synthesized a bit to come up with something better. The current version is just badly written.Giovanni33 23:01, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
In what way do you feel it's badly written? Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 23:14, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
It does not flow smothly, its wordy, choppy:
"Historians hold that Mao's policies resulted in the deaths of tens of millions of Chinese, as well as severe damage to China's culture, society, economy and foreign relations. However, there is dispute on the degree to which Mao can be personally held responsible for the deaths under his regime."
The other version do not suffer from this but still communicates clearly these points in a more professional and encylopedic manner. I'll go back and try again with a new version that incorporates language from the latest version with this one.Giovanni33 23:42, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
The version I had reverted to was this: Although historians dispute the degree to which Mao and his policies can be held responsible, they generally believe his policiees led to the deaths of tens of millions of Chinese, [2], damage to the culture, economy and foreign relations of China.
The new version is expanded to this:
"Mao is blamed by critics both inside and outside of China for causing severe damage to the culture, society, economy and foreign relations of China, as well as the deaths of millions of Chinese[2], as a result of his several major socio-political programmes, including the Anti-Rightist Campaign, the Great Leap Forward, and the Cultural Revolution, seeking to achieve, by means of his political philosophy, the ideal of a strong, prosperous and socially egalitarian China, and to spread Maoism across the world. These programmes were largely seen as failures, while some criticize them as political purges. Mao was also often seen as a hostile figure in the West for instigating several international conflicts such as the Vietnam War, while in third-world countries and communist states he received more popularity."
I propose this compromise version that mixes elements of all three versions above:
However, Mao is blamed by critics for causing severe damage to the culture, society, economy and foreign relations of China, as well as the deaths of millions of Chinese[1], as a result of his several major socio-political programmes, such as the Anti-Rightist Campaign, the Great Leap Forward, and the Cultural Revolution, which seeked to achieve the ideal of a strong, prosperous and socially egalitarian China, and to spread Maoism across the world. These programmes are largely seen as failures by historians although they dispute the degree to which Mao and his policies can be held responsible. Mao was often seen as a hostile figure in the West, while in third-world countries he received more popularity. Although officially held in high regard in China, he is seldom mentioned by the Chinese government, whose policies have diverged greatly from those of Mao, and his influence on it has greatly diminished since his death. [2]

Giovanni33 23:57, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

There were some problem with the flow that I fixed with this version:

However, Mao is blamed by critics for causing severe damage to the culture, society, economy and foreign relations of China, as well as the deaths of millions of Chinese[2], although historians dispute the degree to which Mao and his policies can be held responsible. Major socio-political programmes, such as the Anti-Rightist Campaign, the Great Leap Forward, and the Cultural Revolution seeked to achieve the ideal of a strong, prosperous and socially egalitarian China, and to spread Maoism across the world but are largely regarded as failures. Mao was often seen as a hostile figure in the West, while in third-world countries he received more popularity. Although officially held in high regard in China, he is seldom mentioned by the Chinese government, whose policies have diverged greatly from those of Mao, and his influence on it has greatly diminished since his death. [3]Giovanni33 00:27, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

I'm still unsure how the current version is "wordy" or "choppy" or does not "flow" smoothly compared to your suggestion. And there is a problem with saying that "critics" blame Mao, as it places a possibly undue label on those who think that Mao is responsible. They could be just normal historians that do not necessarily criticise Mao. Also, your suggestion does little to delineate between his policies and this person himself. I suggest this revision:
Mao's major socio-political programmes, such as the Anti-Rightist Campaign, the Great Leap Forward, and the Cultural Revolution, have resulted in severe damage to the culture, society, economy, and foreign relations of China, but historians dispute the degree to which Mao can be personally held responsible. He was often seen as a hostile figure in the West, while in third-world countries he received more popularity. Although officially held in high regard in China, he is seldom mentioned by the Chinese government, whose policies have diverged greatly from those of Mao, and his influence on it has greatly diminished since his death.
Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 00:34, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
I see no contradiction between critics and historians, as long as its clear that his critics are legitimate critics, i.e. historians. Historians generally are critical of Mao's programs, as they are seen to have been the cause of severe damage, etc. The dispute that exists is the degree to which Mao and his policies are seen as responsible. There are other causes that contributed to the disasters that unfolded, so this is where there is disagreement--a matter of how much blame to put on both Mao and the effects of the programs. Your version above misses these points and simply says "have resulted in severe damage..." but doesn't give any attribution or proper qualification that there is dispute as to the degree which which they are blamed. The question of Mao's personal involvement and knowledge is another point.Giovanni33 00:52, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
I've edited to clarify what exactly is blamed and what is disputed, namely that Mao's policies are blamed, and whether or not Mao can be personally held responsible is disputed. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 02:40, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
Yes, the policies are blamed but there is still disagreement about the extent to which these policies are responsible for the effects that are attributed to them. In other words, how much "severe damage to the culture, society, economy,ect" are the policies themselves responsible for, as opposed to natural causes that occured and would have caused severe damaged even in the absense of these programs (although there is no dispute that the programs made it a lot worse). How much worse is still an area of dispute. This is in addition to the question of Mao's personal role and knowledge in carrying them out.Giovanni33 21:58, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
I thought it was pretty much agreed by academics and historians that his policies caused all that damage. I was not aware that some attribute it to natural causes. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 02:23, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
There is consensus that his policies led this this, precipitated it, and are mostly to blame. However, there is disagreement about how much they are to blame and how much other factors are to blame. For example, the three years of floods and bad harvests, which no one disagrees also severely damaged levels of production, or the decision of the Soviet Union to withdraw its large number of technical experts working in the country during this time.Giovanni33 03:07, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

This might be nit-picky but...

Major socio-political programmes, such as the Anti-Rightist Campaign, the Great Leap Forward, and the Cultural Revolution sought to achieve the ideal of a strong, prosperous and socially egalitarian China, and to spread Maoism across the world but are largely regarded as failures.

Can we really say that these three programmes sought to achieve all that stuff? It might be reaching too far. The Anti-Rightist Campaign, at least on the surface, sought to eliminate rightists, but it can be said that it was merely to eliminate critics of Mao and the CCP. Almost the same thing with the Cultural Revolution. Supposedly, Mao wanted to revitalise China from what he saw as bureaucratic stagnancy. But a lot of people suspect that it was to root out his critics. The Great Leap was probably the only major programme we can really say this about, that it was supposed to make China strong and prosperous. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 02:59, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

I see your point but these social/political programs did cover these other areas as well in a broader sense. For instance, the Cultura Revolution, which was in many ways a continuation and expansion of the anti-rightists movement also launched other programs such as famous barefeet doctors. See: It also sought to equalize access to higher education, however flawed their chaotic method was and what turned out in practice.
These social movements under Mao were construded and thought to be as much about the continuous development of the means of production, but through the superstructure of society, unleashing productive forces by changing people themselves, their culture ect. The economic goals are ofcourse major goal of all Marxist governments, but Mao's method subordinated strict, direct economic policy to this massive class struggle and, in the end, to political struggle carried up to the Political Bureau level. In a way this was also a way to deal with the problems of hasty agricultural collectivization and the GLF, since the political and ideological "struggle" was focused against these 1950s reformers, reaching massive proportions during the CR, even though the widespread damage it caused.
To understand this, one must see that an important goal of Maoist ideology was the inculcation of certain prescribed values in society as a whole. These included selfless dedication to the common good; an egalitarian concern, and a fervent commitment to ideal social behavior conducive to these values and goals. Thus we saw he usage of quotations and slogans--uncomplicated expressions of ideas in maxims or brief phrases understandable to all. Even with the Anti-Rightist movement, we saw a directed effort against the legal system, which like the economic system earlier was mainly copied from the Soviet Union. The new Constitution added some new rights such as the freedom to propagate atheism and to practice religion, and the "four big rights": the right to speak out freely, air views fully, hold great debates, and write big-character posters. These "new" forms of socialist revolution along with the right to strike were examples of radical political activism popularized during the Cultural Revolution that were revoked in 1979. One interesting effect from the shift from formal legal organs to local administrative control was that criminal sentences became milder. Persons found guilty were sentenced much lighter, and the death penalty was rarely imposed. Of course, legal protections and recourse for the accused were virtually eliminated in practice.
Stll your point is well taken and maybe we should edit the text to say the word, "generally," in speaking about Mao's programs, with these ones mentioned being the most destructive (also the most successful by the standards of social engineering, which was one of the goals. Even though the back yard furnaces were a complete failure, and Mao seems to have seen that, it was allowed to continue because of its social effect despite its negative economic effects.)Giovanni33 21:58, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
Great points. I'm ok with the current text if nobody else have any problems with it. But something about it feels like it's kind of far-reaching to me. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 02:23, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

What is exactly that's going to be changed and what is it going to be changed to? John Smith's 10:50, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

Again, no one disputes that the polices have been regarded as harmful. That is the consensus among historians. The area of dispute is the degree to which they were harmful. Some have much worse estimates of the harm than others; others attribute some of the harm to natural and other causes independent of Mao's policies. Therefore, the wording should say that dispute exists about the degree to which the poliices and Mao's personal knowlege of them are held responsible.Giovanni33 03:01, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
Certainly there's dispute about whether they were harmful — about the extent of the damage done to China's culture/society and economy. But is there any dispute about whether Mao's policies were responsible for the damage that was done? And if so, to whom else is responsibility attributed? Λυδαcιτγ 02:24, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
I can see how this can be a subtle point. The damage is there and the policies are blamed, yes, but the extent that they caused the damage they did is in question, as well as the extent of the damage that exists itself. Its the former point that I raise. The latter we can just site ranges. There is consensus that his policies led this this, precipitated it, and are mostly to blame. However, there is disagreement about how much they are to blame and how much other factors are to blame. For example, the three years of floods and bad harvests, which no one disagrees also severely damaged levels of production, or the decision of the Soviet Union to withdraw its large number of technical experts working in the country during this time. Accounts of the GLF that are sympathetic to Mao generally put more emphasis on these natural causes whereas others who are antagonistic to Mao dont mention other factors that worked together to have the cumulative effect they did, together with his policies.Giovanni33 02:40, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
OK, good point. What do you think of the further change I made? Λυδαcιτγ 04:25, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
I thought we had basically came to an agreement to state that it was Mao's policies that are "blamed"? Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 04:31, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

It seems to me that we are trying to make three different points:

  1. There is debate regarding the damage done during Mao's leadership
  2. There is debate regarding the extent to which Mao's policies are responsible for whatever damage was done
  3. There is debate regarding the extent to which Mao is responsible for the effects of his policies

My feeling is that the sentence as it is currently worded does not clearly communicate these three points. Perhaps we should start by focusing on the article itself, which does not seem to back up the the second two debates, only the debate about how many died during the GLF. Then it may be easier to decide how to incorporate these debates into the introduction. Λυδαcιτγ 05:02, 9 March 2007 (UTC)


The Communist Party of China article list among the chairmen of the party Liu as succeeding Mao in 1959 and being replaced by him again in 1968. I was under the impression that Liu was state president during these years, while Mao remained the party leader. Can someone in the know clear this up please? Thanks. Str1977 (smile back) 09:58, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

I assume that the info about Liu as party chairman was wrong and correct the article accordingly. Str1977 (smile back) 02:46, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
"Chairman of the Communist Party of China" is an honorary title Mao acquired in 1943. Mao was also "Chairman of the People's Republic of China" (head of state) until Liu succeeded him in 1959. (For Liu, this title is often translated as "president" so as to avoid confusion with Mao's titles.) Mao, meanwhile, retained the position of "chairman of the Central Military Commission." The top position in the CCP is "general secretary of the Communist Party of China". Deng Xiaoping held this post in 1956-1967. This made him No. 3 in China's hierarchy, after Mao and Liu. No one was appointed to succeed Liu as PRC chairman after he was denounced in 1968.
Nowadays, CMC chairman and secretary general are China's two top positions. "State president" is an empty title created in 1983. All three positions are currently held by Hu Jintao. Kauffner 07:48, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
Actually, Mao was Chairman [zhuxi] of the CCP, Chairman of the CCP Military Affairs Commission (there was no NPC equivalent during his lifetime) and a member of the CCP Politburo and its Standing Committee. After the 1976 coup d’etat, Hua Guofeng took the title of Chairman. The seniority of the Secretary-General was elevated when Hu Yaobang took the job, and the post of Chairman abolished. As for Deng Xiaoping, he most certainly was not No. 3 in the CCP in the 1950s. That would have put him above Liu Shaoqi or Zhou Enlai! DOR (HK) (talk) 06:54, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

Deificiation in folk mythology

Mao is treated as a folk-hero or even folk-god in some parts of China. Many long haul truck and bus drivers hang portraits (probably more accurately icons) of Mao near the drivers' seat to ward off accidents and bad luck (bearing legends such as "毛大帝在此" "Great Emperor Mao is here". Statuettes of Mao are also popular among some rural areas, and treated similarly to other folk heroes-cum-gods, such as Guan Yu.

There should be something about this in the article, but I can't find any material on Anyone know a reliable source that talks about this stuff? --Sumple (Talk) 23:59, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

Here is a New York Times article on the subject. Kauffner 01:35, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

He's talking about what is basically a cult religion surrounding the worship of Mao as a deity (ironically, since he was an atheist). Some taxi drivers and truck drivers in China believe that hanging a picture of him in the car will prevent them from having accidents. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 02:15, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

Julius Caesar was deified as a Roman god after his death. 20:18, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

Mao Zedong and Democracy in China

Mao and the Chinese Communist Party introduced democracy to China.This is an important contribution to Chinese society which is neglected and misunderstood in the West. For example, in 1952 Mao won nationwide elections with 103.4% of the vote!

I cant see a mention of this in this article - or in any other of the wikis on related subjects. I think it would be a useful contribution to this item to elucidate the nature of Chinese democracy and the role of Mao and the Communist Party of China in the development of democratic structures and proceses.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 2007-03-11 18:59:59

What kind of democracy did Mao and the Chinese Communist Party introduce to China?

I don't see any.

Thats because you have not looked!

Brian qwerty 14:24, 21 March 2007 (UTC)brian_qwerty

Well, if we want to nitpick, the Republic of China was the first supposedly democratic government in China, as Yuan Shikai was elected President in 1912. Mao did not introduce democracy to China - the best you can argue for is "reintroduce", although I personally doubt that you can keep a straight face while arguing that Mao's policies were particularly focused on reintroducing a democratic government in China. -- 11:41, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

Also, I would rather suggest Mao introduced nothing of the sort. You can't have democracy with only one political party. John Smith's 11:57, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

Why not? Democracy is about people making decisions about the day to day events in their lives. Mao most certainly practised this - to an extent not seen in the rest of the world before or since.

Well, for all practical purposes, it's possible. Read about politics in Singapore. Probably happens in some other countries as well. But I would use the word "democracy" lightly as far as Singapore is concerned. At any rate, Mr. would need to show us some pretty convincing evidence if he wants to introduce to the article that Mao introduced democracy to China. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 15:07, 17 March 2007 (UTC)
Hong, the Singaporean government does allow other parties to stand (they even win a few seats). The success of the ruling party is down in part to various controls & restrictions but also its general popularity. If people wanted to vote for the Opposition they could. That isn't the case with Mao's China - there never was an alternative political organisation to vote for. John Smith's 15:51, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

Oh yes there was, it is known as the KMT and they ran off to Taiwan. 21:23, 3 October 2007 (UTC)

You do know that the Chinese government essentially functions the same way in terms of political parties right? There is no law or rule that bans other party members from holding seats in local and national people's congresses, but because of various controls and restrictions, hardly anybody outside of the CCP gets elected. But it does happen from time to time. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 16:11, 17 March 2007 (UTC)
Hong, last time I looked other political parties weren't allowed to form (then or now) to challenge the CCP. That's the important point. If you want democracy you need to let people organise together - letting a few stand as "independents" at low-level isn't sufficient. Did that even happen while Mao was alive? John Smith's 19:37, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

Regarding the comment above that "Mao and the Chinese Communist Party introduced democracy to China", the following statements from past and present leadership of the CPC would not support that:

  • "In the sphere of theory, destroy the roots of ultra-democracy. First, it should be pointed out that the danger of ultra-democracy lies in the fact that it damages or even completely wrecks the Party organization and weakens or even completely undermines the Party's fighting capacity, rendering the Party incapable of fulfilling its fighting tasks and thereby causing the defeat of the revolution. Next, it should be pointed out that the source of ultra-democracy consists in the petty bourgeoisie's individualistic aversion to discipline. When this characteristic is brought into the Party, it develops into ultra-democratic ideas politically and organizationally. These ideas are utterly incompatible with the fighting tasks of the proletariat. Mao Zedong, On Correcting Mistaken Ideas in the Party (December 1929), in Selected Works, Vol. I, p. 108.
  • "For socialism to develop from immaturity to maturity … a very long process is required. It will take a long historical period for an immature, imperfect, underdeveloped socialism to gradually develop into a mature, perfect, developed system," Wen Jiabao, (March 17, 2007), quoted in the Los Angeles Times [6]

The present leadership seems to have forgotten the ideals of the earliest advocates of Chinese democracy, like Hu Shih, who wrote: "The only way to practice democracy, is to practice democracy." (Science and Democracy Defined (1921), quoted in Chinese Studies in History, Vol. 13 No 3 (Spring 1981): 70-71) - Ryanjo 23:39, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

I've talked to many Chinese about elections. At least half have never voted, don't know anything about them.

This is an interesting thought - how many people vote in Western democracies? In the UK the present government is supported by a rather small minority of the population.Democracy is not just about elections - the participative democracy in China under Mao was much more than voting from time to time and I think most Chinese felt deeply involved in the political and social events in China. Since the death of Mao there have been many changes.

Offically, the voting rate in China is over 90 percent.[7] But I have met quite a few Chinese who have never voted, so the government's numbers don't seem to correspond to reality. I was in China on election day and there are no lines at the polls anything else that would suggest that large numbers of people are voting. A billion people all voting on the same day -- It seems to me that's something you'd notice. Kauffner 08:43, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
It was election day, with big character posters all around, so I asked people, "In the election, do you support Hu Jintao or Jiang Zemin?" People were like, "Election? What election?" Typically, a Chinese ballot has one to three names, the nominees for some insignificant local position. Most voters have never heard of any of the people on the ballot just vote at random. The people who really run China, the regional and national party secretaries and the CMC chairman, are chosen by the CCP and are not subject to any form of election, not even indirectly. According to the Chinese constitution, China is a people's democratic dictatorship. Disidents tried to set up of a China Democracy Party a couple of years back and the government cracked down hard. (It was a legally registered political party -- unlike the CCP.) In his 1949 essay "On the People's Democratic Dictatorship", Mao writes:
"All the experience the Chinese people have accumulated through several decades teaches us to enforce the people's democratic dictatorship, that is, to deprive the reactionaries of the right to speak and let the people alone have that right."

What does this say about democracy in China? Criminals are treated in similar ways in most societies I think?

Mao helpfully explained that by "the people" he meant people who accept "the leadership of the working class and the Communist Party." Kauffner 09:41, 18 March 2007 (UTC)
I think the above answers the question about Mao, the CPC, and democracy in China. Sometimes I wonder if any of the random posters on this page even bother to read what Mao wrote. His political statements are widely available on the web. Ryanjo 15:11, 18 March 2007 (UTC)
If I still remember my Communist propaganda correctly, the "people" does not mean "citizens" or "nationals". Citizens who are counter-revolutionaries alienated themselves outside of "the people" and thus are not entitled to take part in the "democratic dictatorship". Thus the "democratic dictatorship" consists of "the people" dictating over the non-"people" citizenry. --Sumple (Talk) 10:07, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

Take a look at the way local people made decisions in the period when Mao was alive.Even some biographers not particularly positive about Mao have to admit there was a feeling of democracy. The one party/ multi party issue has very little to do with democracy. It is easy to lose sight of the true democracy which operated in China during the Maoist period.It is true that some people were no longer free to practise their oppression of people in China but this is found to some degree in most societies. It is just that in capitalist societies legalised robbery of ordinary people is a common and valued event. Under Mao a pattern of caring human relationships characterised social relations in China and extensive democratic participation in political and social events was the order of the day.

"there was a feeling of democracy", "some people were no longer free to practise their oppression of people in China", "Under Mao a pattern of caring human relationships characterised social relations in China"---Hmm... From the article (and referenced): "there may have been a million killed in the land reform, 800,000 killed in the counterrevolutionary campaign. Mao himself claimed a total of 700,000 killed during these early years (1949–53).", "Mao's government reversed its policy and persecuted those, totalling perhaps 500,000, who criticized, and were merely alleged to have criticized, the Party in what is called the Anti-Rightist Movement", "The (Cultural) Revolution led to the destruction of much of China's cultural heritage and the imprisonment of a huge number of Chinese citizens, as well as creating general economic and social chaos in the country". Democracy is not only standing on line and casting a ballot -- it creates protections for the rights and freedom of individuals and minorities, and places constraints on the leadership and the majority. Ryanjo 22:39, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

These figures are all somewhat suspect - there are complex issues here. There is no doubt that the Chinese Communist Party under Mao operated a participative democracy - it was from this policy, possibly more than any other, that influence was achieved. At the same time as this was happening there was a war ongoing in China and there is no doubt that many people died.There is good evidence that 650,000 people have died following the US/UK invasion of Irag - this has not stopped Western propaganda claiming that Iraq has been democratised and that this is to some degree a valid claim. I suggest that it would be possible to introduce the topic of democracy under Mao and the Commnunist Party of China and to describe the nature of this democratic process that operated. Quotations from Mao are interesting and carried enormous weight in China but are not directly relevant to an elucidation of the democratic processes - this can be based on matters of fact not third party exhortations. This seems to be a scary topic for Westerners - maybe this is at the root of the acceptance of the sheer nonsense about Mao in the Jung Chang biography. A new section on democracy in china might aid an understanding of the powerful interests at work propagating myths about Chinese people and politics - this understanding is presently very much at the "communists eat babies" level. There are many good first hand accounts of the early days of the Chinese Commnunist Party - a reading of these helps develop a richer understanding and helps counter the propaganda of Jung Chang.

I don't think anyone has brought up the issue of Iraq as a democracy, except you. (By the way, why don't you ever sign your posts?) As a "straw horse", it's a rather easy argument for you to knock down. It's also easy to say figures are suspect, when you don't provide any references to contest them. Finally, the "Western propaganda" whipping boy... give us some credit, obvious propaganda is just as transparent to us. Oh, and writings from Mao are not pertinent to whether Mao introduced or supported democracy? How convenient. Ryanjo 22:59, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
At least in theory, you can have democracy without voting or parties. The test is whether the public participates in the decision making process. ("Every man both ruler and ruled.") In the PRC, Xinhua reports that a decision has been made by a central committee, party congress, NPC, etc. Who really makes these decisions and why they pick Mr. X and not Mr. Y is a mystery even to professional China watchers. The Chinese public isn't involved and doesn't even know when a contest is going on. Kauffner 15:08, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

Mr X is now chosen by meritocracy. PRC politician are akin to civil servants who are all loosely known as 'Guan'. Good exam results, then good performance in work and meeting set targets are what is now required. 21:22, 3 October 2007 (UTC)

Why wouldn't Mao take a bath?

I've been reading the Jung Chang book and I came across this: "Mao famously refused to take a bath for quarter of a century." What was going on? Was he showing prolitarian solidarity? Is this a Hunan tradition, why they have such spicy food? No wonder all his flunkies asked him to swim in the Yangtse! Roman Emperor Julian the Apostate was also famously unbathed. I suspect Genghis Khan had personal hygene issues as well. We could create a category: Unbathed World Leaders. Kauffner 03:27, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

Kauffner, you can add Queen Elizabeth I and several English and European monarchs to your list. Washing back then in Europe was thought to cause diseases. The monarchs washed twice a year maximum. Perfumes were used to mask BO and incense were burnt in houses and rooms to hide the smells. 02:02, 3 October 2007 (UTC)

Answer: stop reading Jung Chang. geez. (Like your user page btw) --Sumple (Talk) 05:16, 22 March 2007 (UTC)
So, Sumple, did he bathe frequently or not? John Smith's 12:33, 22 March 2007 (UTC)
How on earth do I know? More to the point, how on earth does Jung Chang know? --Sumple (Talk) 10:05, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
Maybe she asked the people she interviewed. Those that lived with him would know his routine. John Smith's 00:26, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
Or maybe she just made it up. --Sumple (Talk) 00:54, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
Oh, surprise-surprise - she didn't. Maybe if you'd read the book you'd have seen her source. John Smith's 10:12, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
Oh yes, Jung Chang is renowned for the veracity and third-party verification of her sources, and her openness to opposing views. Silly me. Thanks for remindming me. I will make sure I believe whatever she writes about whoever she met next time. --Sumple (Talk) 10:57, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
Sumple, you made an assumption and got caught out on it - don't sulk about it. If you paint her the same way she is alleged to have painted Mao then by the logic of her greatest detractors you're no better than her. John Smith's 12:21, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
I made no such assumption. I know she cites sources for these dubious claims. These sources are usually very dubious. This is no different. It's funny that you should accuse me of caricaturising, because it seems to me that you have gone out of your way to exclude as much criticism of Jung Chang as possible from these articles. --Sumple (Talk) 12:50, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
So you assume she never has any credible sources - I'm not sure that's any different. And I don't censure any criticism of her. In some cases it's very justified. Whereas I haven't seen you ever say a good thing about her, so I don't think you can lecutre me on that point. John Smith's 12:57, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

The biography written by his former physician also said that he refused to brush his teeth and would only rinse his mouth with green tea. His teeth all fell out eventually. Also, he was a carrier of some STD and he refused to get treatment, but slept around with a whole bunch of women. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 15:13, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

George Washington's teeth fell out, and so did the teeth of many historical kings and queens. So what? 21:28, 3 October 2007 (UTC)

Chang writes: "Mao did not like getting into baths, or showers, and did not have a bath for a quarter of a century. Instead, his servants rubbed him every day with a hot towel." (p. 406). Her source is a Chinese-language book entitled Following the Red Sun -- I was Mao Zedong's Valet for 13 Years by Li Jiaji and Yang Qingwang, (Harbin, 1994). Kauffner 07:56, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

Its interesting to know that there is at least one statement in Jung Change which has a verifiable source. Most of her book seems to be unmitigated drivel! Mao liked to swim and I think this was a daily activity at least - maybe he felt he didnt need to take a bath as well.

According to Li's biography, Mao did not bathe but was cleaned by attendants rubbing his body with hot (wet) towels because Mao wanted to use bathing time to work. Mao would spend time reading state documents whilst attendants rubbed him clean. Mao would not have been 'dirty' as he swam regularly. Li speculated that Mao had chlamydia, which at that time was unknown to science, and as such was unproved. Li speculated that the bacteria/disease could have been passed on between actresses sharing items of clothing, and then onto Mao. But put into perspective, JFK had much more serious STD, and it was said that at times it got so bad that his penis leaked pus so badly that he had to wear diapers. 15:00, 30 September 2007 (UTC)

This wiki article of Mao is extremely bias.

Mao: the Unknown Story is no more than a anti-china propaganda book. There no evidence show that 30 million people died in the famine happened between 1959 and 1962. The issue have been widely debate in chinese forums and many think that the 30 million death theory is created inside the PRC government to undermine Mao's achievement and make more chinese support PRC's change to capitalism.

—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 19:58, 21 February 2007 (UTC).

Sorry to beat the proverbial horse with this comment. I guess I'll take a more proactive effort on this issue at a later time. For the sake of knowledge, I'm leaving my original comment as follows: I don't know about the facts expressed within this article, but the language is extremely biased at times. I'll edit this post with specifics at a later time after having further reviewed the article. I'd say we should try to avoid using words like "rescued" that are heavily laden with either positive or negative connotations. This is supposed to be an unbiased report of facts, is it not? WiseEyes 10:38, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Chang is a hugely popular author and her book got glowing reviews from a long list major publications. Certianly she has a POV, so her views should be balenced with opinions from elsewhere. Figures from China's State Statistical Bureau show a population decline for 1959-62 and the 30 million death toll estimate is derived from this. This number exaggerates the actual death toll somewhat because some people must have put off having children because of the famine. But this is the same technique used to arrive at the estimated death toll of 6 million Jews from the holocaust. Kauffner 06:31, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Kauffner, it is very surprising that for someone like you who do not usually believe in data from China to be so convinced of these figures. Currently it is estimated that there are 0.1 billion to 0.2billion people unaccounted for in the PRC. For your information 0.1bn = 100million; that is to say the unaccounted for people in the PRC is in the region of half the population of the USA (minus any illegal aliens of course). 21:01, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

Mao: The Unknown Story was written by a Chinese woman who spent most of her young life in China, schooled there, and survived the cultural revolution. She spent a over a decade researching the topic and interviewing people who were there. Hardly an "Anti-Chinese" propaganda book. More of a point of view.

Yeah, and a very biased one at that. Every western author who has written about Mao has more positive things to say. Colipon+(T) 05:39, 18 August 2007 (UTC)

'Mao: The Unknown Story': Unknown to whom? It is only unknown to the audience outside of China. Most people in China already know the actions of Mao in the book such as taking the peasants' food (leaving them hungry) and sending it to feed Vietnam and other countries. And knowledge of Mao's personal life, most people in China already know this because the leaks were authorised by, it was said, Deng Xiaoping. 20:49, 5 October 2007 (UTC)


A little misspelling can get alot of importance. I think the Mao & Nixon pic needs to be larger and Nixon's visit more important. Nixon opened up alot in Foreign Relations. 23:02, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

Inappropriate categories

I seriously doubt Mao Zedong is known for being a "Poet of the People's Republic of China". And he has no connection to the Republic of China at all. --R1es 18:52, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

Well, from the article, "Many of Mao's poems are still popular in China and a few are taught as a mandatory part of the elementary school curriculum." Mao's philosophy is also still studied, I'm pretty sure. Λυδαcιτγ 00:32, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

Popular culture

bueno pues aqui les va un chiste, esta un chino y un mexicano, le dice el chino al mexicano "nosotlos toolo chino ama a MAO" y le responde el mexicano, "nosotros tambien pero nomas de chiquitos" jajajaja!!!!

Did Mao stop opium use?

I've been doing some editing of the Opium article, but I really know very little of Chinese history. One of the better references I've cited is Yangwen Zheng, "The Social Life of Opium in China", 1483-1999, Modern Asian Studies 37,1 (2003) DOI:10.1017/S0026749X0300101X - which says that opium use persisted at high levels in China until Mao ruthlessly stamped it out in 1949. But I find myself with some lingering questions. Why did opium use also decrease in Taiwan? How much of the decline (from a 27% adult male addiction rate!) was due to the earlier Qing anti-drug efforts, Christian missionaries, or other efforts? China had very severe penalties for opium centuries before - so why did prohibition work this time? What sort of chaos ensues in a country when millions of addicts are abruptly denied their drug? And given the previous success in ending opium addiction, why is it said to be increasing since 1979? Is that increase real or only the result of increased freedom to discuss the problem? Mike Serfas 16:07, 14 May 2007 (UTC)

Well, I will attempt to answer some of those questions with my thoughts. First, the general belief to as why it went down on Taiwan during the same period of time is that since most of the product was always coming from Mainland or it's neighbors, once it was cracked down on it would hardly have viable route through the mainland to Taiwan, thus if cracked down on in the Mainland, significant reduction of product on Taiwan. As for the increase, it is not the freedom to discuss it, it is most likely a real increase. This was caused by the reforms implemented by Deng Xiaoping and his new party apparatus circa late 1970's (After Mao's death in 76'). To confirm this, easily compare the rises in things like, prostitution, aids, organized crime, government corruption and other occurrences that come with the loosening of communist party control on many aspects combined with economic reform. Also see Russia, post Soviet Union for increases in the same areas. User:Majin Takeru

Mao Zedong Intro (again)

I do not understand why we can not find even ground on this article. I really do not think Mao's biggest detractors, Rummel and Chang, need to be in the introduction. The view that he is a "Most prolific mass killer in history" Is definitely disputed. And the death tolls should show the extreme low end, if they are going to show the dubious 70,000,000 (Which Mao must of course have been so very instrumental in the deaths of these 70,000,000...) that Chang puts forth. It is ridiculous to see Chang thrown into every paragraph of this article. It is fairly well known now her book is disputed by many well known historians, least of all Short. (Majin Takeru 15:18, 14 June 2007 (UTC))

I agree. How do you propose we revise the intro? Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 15:39, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

Depending on the arguments and views here I will propose something, the intro just needs to be worked again. The article needs to stop using combined historians views, then "what Chang's book said" at the end of every other section. The intro was not that bad a few weeks ago, a lot of it is ok now, but if everyone here just wants to change the article to use only one source (Changs book) then it is hard to propose anything. (Majin Takeru 16:02, 14 June 2007 (UTC))

I agree. There are much better sources. Li Zhisui's book and Jonathan Spence's book, for example. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 17:00, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
I also agree that the intro is quite negatively biased. I'll try to fix some of the more obvious problems... Kaldari 20:38, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

Li's book is probably the best book out there on the subject of Mao. Another good example of "Chang-ing" the article as I like to call it, is the addition I added a while back on Li's thoughts regarding what Mao knew about the GLF. Now notice, two lines down, Chang's thoughts. Good thing Chang was with Mao in 1959. Either way, I think that is a pretty good fix and start. Maybe a few minor changes. I was expecting more to disagree then to agree, with the history of this intro. (Majin Takeru 12:47, 15 June 2007 (UTC))

Inaccurate date regarding proposal re: cremation in the Death section, please change


His body was later placed into the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong, although he wished to be cremated and had been one of the first high-ranking officials to sign the "Proposal that all Central Leaders be Cremated after Death" in November 1956.

Hi guys. I recently tried to verify a quote regarding this very bit over on Ten thousand years. Well, I came to the conclusion that the quote was bull and one of the reasons was this date -- November 1956. In actuality, Mao signed this (according to official CCP sources) on April 27th, 1956. Check out Talk:Ten thousand years#Quotation for links and references. If you can read Chinese, you'll find that the date is confirmed in lots of other articles, too.

I'd change it myself but I can't edit this article. Cheers! 05:56, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

If you get a username, you will be able to edit the article in 4 days. In the meantime, any other established username can edit the article if they agree with the change. Admin help isn't required. — Carl (CBM · talk) 23:08, 17 July 2007 (UTC)


Handshake of the Tyrants?

Under the postage stamp of Mao shaking hands with Stalin, the words "Handshake of the Tyrants" are written. I highly doubt that's the actual title of the stamp. I didn't want to just take it out because there's a small chance it is, but just bringing that up. 02:38, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

Good point. It was probably vandalism - the link was done wrong and there was a grammar error, thanks for pointing that out.--danielfolsom 02:48, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

"As well as his limited formal education, Mao spent six months studying independently, and then a further two years studying at a teacher training college in the United States.[9]"

Mao did not go to the United States.

First off, remember to sign your post with four tildes (~~~~), second off, the reference says he did - and the reference is more trustworthy than you or any wikipedia editor.--danielfolsom 15:02, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
The reference is wrong; Mao never studied in the US, and in fact, never even travelled there. DOR (HK) (talk) 07:00, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

The Intro Again - Sorry

I think the problem with the intro is the phrasing is too ambiguous. All the mentions of the deaths from the purges and famine fall under the subordinate clause 'critics claim' which virtually implies that the deaths are in dispute. Sure, there may be fairly heated arguments about how many died in political purges of the famine following the Great Leap forward but we're surely in the realms of 1984 style fictional history to say that it's merely a 'claim'. There's a lot of supporting evidence, not just from Chang's book, but from pretty much any history of the period. This needs sharpening up. It's not anti-Mao point, it's just simply misleading to say that someone these deaths are something critics mention, as if they are propaganda. They happened, the numbers may be in dispute. That is a separate point. And some might want to put other things on the balance sheet. But the function of the opening para is surely to summarise the best known facts relating to an individual, the headlines. For Mao, surely the Great Leap Forward is one of them. If you mention the Great Leap Forward, you have to mention the famine.

I agree however that endlessly comparing people with Hitler has no place in Wikipedia. These articles are not meant to be some top ten list and it will hopelessly skew the balance if references are inserted. Adamjamesbromley 17:35, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

China doesn't recognize the Great Leap Forward - which is why we have to say critics - because we need something to contrast china with. The first aprt says the Chinese consider him a great leader, and in this case critics cover the rest of the world.- however the subsections do go into detail--danielfolsom 18:20, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
Sure, I understand in China for reasons of policy, Mao's legacy is presentedly differently. But surely in an open society with an open database, we shouldn't self-edit because the Chinese Communist Party line is different. This is not an organisation that permits much freedom of speech or free debate, so it shouldn't then influence the content of an article. Equally the fact that large numbers of Chinese might disagree isn't a reason to be vague on matters of fact. Either the facts stand up to scrutiny or they don't. What people believe to be the case is a separate matter. I would argue that the famine resutling from the Great Leap is as much a historical fact as say the famine in Bengal in WW2. Adamjamesbromley 18:47, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
Well, again, the subsection goes into more detail, but if we don't say critics in the lead it's kinda like saying the Chinese are wrong. Although I'm not the one that added critics - see which editor did and see what his edit summary was.--danielfolsom 19:00, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
Here - I did it for you. Here's a quote of what it was before critics. "Although historians dispute the degree to which Mao can be held responsible, many outside the PRC believe his policies led to the deaths of tens of millions of Chinese, along with widespread damage to China's culture, economy and foreign relations"
It was changed to "critics" because many is a weasel word, which is against wikipedia policy - however critics is still kinda a weasel.--danielfolsom 19:14, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

Ok, I can see the reasoning for 'critics' as opposed to 'many' but I do think this intro is very generous, to the point of being unbalanced. Keeping it on the specifics, Mao's two most famous political campaigns, the Great Leap Forward and The Cultural Revolution had only negative consequences. Whatever the level of excess mortality in the GLF, the economy shrank overall and the Cultural Revolution resulted in the destruction of a huge amount of Chinese literature, temples and a wave of suicides. At the moment, it's mentioned twice how highly regarded he is in China - even that is open to debate. Perhaps just one reference and proper headlines of the Great Leap Forward the Cultural Rev.—Preceding unsigned comment added by Adamjamesbromley (talkcontribs)

Well the big thing is - historians disagree the degree that Mao can be hold responsible - and most of China is pretty much denying it happened, so you can say that the economy shrank - but China disagrees, so critics can work.--danielfolsom 22:22, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

I think what's bothering me is in this opening para you've got two mentions of how highly regarded he is, use of the word genius and then poet and calligrapher. Doesn't match the later paras on the GLF and Cultural Rev. Plus I wonder the phrasing ought to be more: 'Officially Chairman Mao is regarded both as a great war leader etc.'

Also I really am not aware of a debate over his responsibility for the GLF or the Cultural Rev. Take Mao out of the equation, neither happens. There may be some debate about the human cost, but not his direct responsibility. His decisions were carried out by a political cadre and if the most negative effects were shielde from him, he created the system where criticism led to political exile.

This opening para reads too much like PRC propaganda. The rest of the article is very robust and good. 10:08, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

Well according to China - it didn't happen, and according to a good number of historians, take mao out of the equation and it would still have happened. But seriously, I'm just explaining why it's there - 'critics' serves to contrast China - which supports him.--danielfolsom 11:00, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

Perhaps better to have a completely neutral intro that to have what we've got. What about the way they've done Kim Il Sung's intro:

Kim Il-sung (15 April 1912 – 8 July 1994) was a North Korean Communist leader from its founding in early 1948 until his death, when he was succeeded by his son Kim Jong-il. He held the posts of Prime Minister from 1948 to 1972 and President from 1972 to his death. He was also the General Secretary of the Workers Party of Korea where he exercised autocratic power. As leader of North Korea, he ended up switching from a Marxist-Leninist ideology to the Juche idea and established a personality cult. North Korea officially refers to him as the "Great Leader" and he is designated in the constitution as the country's "Eternal President". His birthday and the day of his death are public holidays in North Korea.

You could do something similar for Mao? They strike me as very similar examples.

The actual stuff on the GLF and Cultural Rev is good like I say. Maybe it should avoid the contraversy in the intro? Keep it key dates etc and links. I find the poet stuff that is odd to say the least.

First of all, sign your post with four tildes (~~~~)I wouldn't be the one changing it - it's up to the first editor to rewrite - however if he goes too far and violates NPOV then I'll have to revert.--danielfolsom 17:19, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

Apologies for forgetting to sign. Time permitting I might have a go a more neutral opener, can always revert if it's not OK. 18:31, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

The articles semi-protected, so you'd have to create an account--danielfolsom 18:56, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

I do have an account, don't I. Those last few posts were from my work computer at the BBC, doesn't display my account name. Seem to post a generic BBC address or something. Adamjamesbromley 20:30, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

Haha, no that's an IP address - you have to sign in.--danielfolsom 20:52, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for responding to my queries Daniel. There's a couple of other articles I'd like to work on that don't have the same level of controversy, I'll focus there intially. May come back to this. I can see it's a slippery one for all sorts of reasons.

Mao in USA

What referance is that? None of the biography books I read said mao Left China except in his trip to the soviet union. (Red aries 05:35, 5 August 2007 (UTC))

The reference given? What do you mean what reference? Do you know how references are put in wikipedia? It's done in foot notes, look next to the statement.--danielfolsom 05:40, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

I doubt the accuracy of your point. Unless you find some better justification from the book, I stand firm for my views. This fact is highly misleading consider that Mao dedicated his life in China to start a revolution. (Red aries 05:46, 5 August 2007 (UTC))

I didn't provide the source (obviously someone else did) - but either way there's no reason to doubt the accuracy of the source - follow Wikipedia policy. Just because you haven't been taught a fact doesn't mean the fact is wrong.--danielfolsom 05:53, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

Mao had never travelled to the USA. He would never fly for fear of assassination or accident. 21:03, 3 October 2007 (UTC)

Currency portrait

The source refers to the PD article which reports on the proposal. The article itself never mentions or implies that Mao's portrait is being replaced. I have changed the sentence objectively.

Mao in USA

Dude, look up the facts before rebutting me. Saying Mao went to USA is like saying George Washington started World War II and lead the Communist Revolution in Russia. This is not just some minor error, its a serious mistake of making up stories and changing history into a fictional story. (Red aries 08:24, 14 August 2007 (UTC))

The only Foreign country Mao went to is Soviet Russia. (Red aries 08:30, 14 August 2007 (UTC))

Without a doubt, Mao only visited the Soviet Union. Rorionb 17:33, 1 September 2007 (UTC)

Made small change to intro to make it more NPOV


I've removed this from the intro: 'a military and political genius'

It's already a pretty generous opening para, the repetition of CPC propoganda doesn't help NPOV. You've still got referencese to great leader and philosopher, poet and calligrapher which are up for debate. Could be balanced further IMO, but taking this out does help with neutrality. Adamjamesbromley 09:29, 14 August 2007 (UTC)

Actually adam that is npov - you'll notice that the first part said "great revolutionary". Technically that isn't npov either - because it says "great", but that's allowed (and so are a military and political genius) because it's how he's regarded - there's a difference between having an opinion and stating the opinion exist.--danielfolsom 14:32, 14 August 2007 (UTC)

It is not NPOV, because apart from the Communist Party of China, the claim that he was a military and political genius is not a generally held one. The intro doesnt' match the content of the rest of the article. You can't hide behind the statement that because the CPC says something it belongs in the intro to Mao. Plus let's consider the intro as a whole, you have numerous mentions of genius, great leader, poet, calligrapher. This is not balance or anything like it. Can you please cite a reliable source that would present an opening intro of Mao as such? None of the key sources listed in the article would.

We've discussed this before and I really challenge this opening para. The reason I removed the phrase is to create a more neutral intro. If you read it as it stands, the positive references to Mao are very considerable with the all the criticism under 'critics' claim.

The purpose of the article is to present facts as far as possible - an the intro should present a short summary of the key facts about Mao. Repeating the phrase genius, poet etc is nothing of the sort. If you're going to revert that edit, please don't just go it's someone's opinion. Besides, the reason I took it out, is that is is excessive to have great leader, followed by military and political genius. Do you really want this to read like propaganda? 11:38, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

Read the sentence - it says that in China he's regarded - it doesn't say he is one.--danielfolsom 14:32, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

Just following on from that. I think the only way that phrase could stay, was if you then added in somehting about critics called Mao a mass-murderer/monster. That could balance the mentions of genius. Becuase currently you have all these positive terms, then a sentence about his policies. There isn't actually a single clearly critical or negative term about Mao, it's by implication under the critics claim. Hence the issue of balance.That could be the other way of balancing it. As it stands, it is way off.

I must stress I don't believe that right wing polemics belong in Wikipedia, but neither does Communist party propaganda unless it has countering material. I would be concerned about any intro to Mao that if you removed one sentence, makes him appear similar to Gandhi. See below, I've changed nothing apart from removing the one 'critics claim' sentence.

Mao Zedong (December 26, 1893September 9, 1976) (also Mao Tse-tung in Wade-Giles; About this sound pronunciation ) was a Chinese Marxist military and political leader and philosopher, who led the Communist Party of China (CPC) to victory against the Kuomintang (KMT) in the Chinese Civil War, and served as leader of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) from its establishment in 1949 until his death in 1976. Mao is also recognized as a poet and calligrapher.[3]

Regarded as one of the most important figures in modern world history,[4] Mao is still a controversial figure today, over thirty years after his death. He is held in high regard in China where he is often portrayed as a great revolutionary leader and a military and political genius who defeated Chiang Kai-shek in the Civil War, and transformed the country into a major power through his Maoist social and economic reforms. Although still officially venerated in China, his influence has been largely overshadowed by the political and economic reforms of Deng Xiaoping and other leaders since his death.[5][6] 11:57, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

Doesnt the BBC have enough work for people? "132.185.x.x" is a BBC address. Nice to see the BBC using my tax money to be spend time pissing about on Wikipedia during working hours.

I've spent about 25 mins on Wikipedia, and we're allowed 30 mins personal use of the internet. What's with the personal abuse? I'm working all weekend for the Beeb without overtime or comp leave. And at least sign your posts, I dont' think this kind of personal stuff is appropriate. I'm only trying to improve the article. Adam 12:18, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

Atheist thinker and activist category edits.

I think that placing Mao Zedong as an Atheist thinker and activist is extrapolating his thoughts on Dialectical Materialism a bit too far. I know we can draw a line from Atheism back to Materialism via Physicalism to the Dialectical Materialism that forms the basis of Marxist communism which Mao Zedong borrowed but I would like some references about how he contributed to "Atheism". I must admit I'm not a communist so haven't read much that I remember of his works but this flip-flop of category would be solved in seconds if someone can show any reference to what was his contributions to Atheist thought or activism. The "atheism" bit can't just be a side-effect of some other philosophy but must be core, e.g. Dawkins is clearly an atheist thinker and activist too given how he campaigns specifically for atheist views whereas within the article it certainly isn't clear what Mao Zedong has contributed to "Atheism". I call it wishful thinking which would be simply solved with a link/reference showing how Mao has expanded atheism. Ttiotsw 05:55, 16 August 2007 (UTC)

That is questionable - although technically if he followed communism he was (at least supposed to be) an atheist - per the Manifesto's famous line: "Religion is the opium of the masses"--danielfolsom 15:38, 16 August 2007 (UTC)
The "Opium of the People" quote does not appear in the Communist Manifesto. It appeared in "Contribution to Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right (1843)". Karl Marx didn't claim that you had to be an atheist to be a communist, but he did believe that religion was the product of suffering and ounce the suffering of the people ended, religion would eventually dissipate. There were and are plenty of Christian Communists, who of course disagree with Marx when it comes to religion, but see no inherant conflict between Communism and Christianity.
Now, back to the issue of whether or not Mao was an atheist thinker. I think it requires more than being an atheist and and a thinker to be an atheist thinker... that being you'd have to be thinking specifically of atheism. Mao wrote alot about communism, but he wrote little of atheism.

Officially remove Mao from textbook?

I think that's a misreading mixed with wishful thinking. Please note now Chinese high school textbooks may vary from region to region, and the textbook discussed is most likely the one used only in Shanghai, in which the emphasis of the modification is to "drops wars, dynasties and Communist revolutions in favor of colorful tutorials on economics, technology, social customs and globalization", and reducing coverage on Mao is just a side effects. Mao isn't a saint anymore ever since 1979 so reducing his coverage isn't that big a deal if sufficiently justified.

More importantly, the text discussed is the World History textbook. Besides World History, the curriculum typically also requires 1) Ancient Chinese History and 2) Near and Modern Chinese History, all three requiring the same credit hours, and Mao is most likely covered in the Near and Modern Chinese History text, which I think is appropriate.

The textbooks getting the highest official endorsement are published by the "People's Education Press" and are all online. In the history section, Mao is mentioned in all related places, and there's a full section titled "Mao Zedong thoughts" dedicated to him in Book 3, Unit 4 "Important Chinese Thoughts and Theoretical Results since the 20th Century".

In any case I don't think there's an official repudiation or even distancing from Mao. If there is any, it's the adjustment from the Cultural Revolution style textbooks that all topics have to be associated with Mao. That's out of fashion soon after 1979.

Also, Mao is quite popular in China. Every time the current government is caught doing something wrong you'd hear people saying such and such would not have happened under Mao. Hwuubheain 19:16, 26 August 2007 (UTC)

mao zedong quesins 18:50, 29 August 2007 (UTC)what are the three main abuses that occured when Mao Zedong was under this dictator?

what happened to this dictator?

  • I am not sure what you mean, as no abuses occured that were authorized by Mao himself? RedChinaForever (talk) 03:43, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

Mao's Education

Mao did NOT study in the United States as indicated in the first paragraph of the Political Ideas section. Mao was one of the few major Chinese Communists who did not have any experience outside of China prior to the success of the Revolution. Mao studied at a normal instititute in Hunan, First Provincial Normal School of Hunan, as is correctly stated in the Early Life section.

Rorionb 17:18, 1 September 2007 (UTC)

"He reached Moscow on December 16, 1949, just before Stalin's seventieth birthday. This was Mao's first excursion beyond China's borders." Pp 498-99 The Search for Modern China by Jonathan D. Spence (2nd edn)

It would be hard to find any reference to say specifically that he did not study in the United States, since it is such an unusual claim.

Declan trott 09:19, 18 September 2007 (UTC)

Although Mao did not go to the USA or to the UK, from Li's biography, Mao apparently had a passion for the English language, even though he did not have any success in learning it, and he had a profound respect for these English-speaking nations. After all, his GLF plans were to catch up with the UK and USA, and not with say Germany, Japan or the USSR. Apparently he had the good Doctor Li teach him English. Apparently one of the reasons given why Mao did not succeed getting into University was that he did not have a foreign language (English). Given that Mao loved the Chinese classics, perhaps he also had a liking for the plays of Shakespeare, especially those featuring political intrigues. 20:18, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

Intro improved

Thanks to whoever it was that has revised the intro. Feels much more neutral and appropriate. Adamjamesbromley 14:18, 11 September 2007 (UTC)

Time of death

Official time is 12:10 am Sep 9. Some sources in China say he died 10 to midnight September 8, local time. They put down 10 after midnite so the day is better remember, anybody in China, anybody with some inside info, try to find out if he truly died on September 9. Let's not forget General Francisco Franco dictator of Spain, he died before midnite, but put down some important revolutionary day, so it gives a meaning to his death, symbolic power. It might have happened with this mao dictator too. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:10, 16 October 2007 (UTC)


The article claims that illiteracy after Mao's death was less then 7%, but the article on the Demographics in the Peoples Republic of China states that about 10% of China is currently illiterate. thet would mean that literacy-rate in China is currently dropping which sounds unlikely? Does anyone actually have the sources of the information on the average life-span and literacy rates before and after Mao? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:14, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

Where did you hear this, do you have evidence or just some rumor?

And he might have died Sep 8 11:50pm find out in china! 9 9, sounds fishy! But literacy 10%, I doubt it... 21:35, 29 October 2007 (UTC) 21:33, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

"blamed by critics"

Erm, what is that garbage "blamed by critics" doing in intro? We dont see such "blamed by critics" in intros of articles about Stalin, Hitler, Franco, Mussolini, Pol Pot etc. Mao initiated Great Leap and Cultural Revolution? Yes he did. Great Leap caused millions of deaths? Yes it did. Even if Mao wasn't fully aware of that how many people were dieing, then it does not change the fact, that his politics caused total disaster for China. But currently it sounds like there is only small bunch of agressive critics who blame him.--Staberinde 10:57, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

If anything, this page is opposite the POV you allege it is. Queen Victoria is not blamed for famines in the British Empire that resulted in over 50 million killed. Churchill is not blamed for a famine in Bengal that killed some 5 million. The French Government is not blamed for the Vietnamese famine. Nor are the Chinese dynasties blamed for the hundreds of famines that occurred in China. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Hadjin (talkcontribs) 22:03, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

Queen Victoria did not make policy - ergo she had nothing to do with any famines. John Smith's (talk) 19:31, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

See Suharto. Pro-American dictators always gets whitewashed on Wikipedia than anti-American dictators.--PCPP (talk) 02:54, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

Is Mao the biggest mass murderer in world history?

According to Rudolph J Rummel and others Mao is the biggest mass murderer that has ever lived on this planet. According to Rummel he and his regime murdered nearly 70 million people - in addition to those killed in action, or killed as a consequence of the policies of his totalitarian regime (hunger and so on). Stalin is the second worst mass murderer in history according to the same numbers. If this is a fact, or something in the vicinity if that is true, something dramatic should be done to this article.-- (talk) 04:28, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

The problem is there is no consensus on the exact number of deaths occured, and whether Mao alone is to be blamed.--PCPP (talk) 02:52, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

If you say this I could also argue that JFK was the biggest mass murder in history, and when he killed people, he meant to kill people.

"unnecessary loss of lives"

If one accepts the communist premise of historically necessary loss of lives, then why not conclude that all of the murderings and killings of this regime has all been unnecessary? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:36, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

I find it utterly ridiculous to blame Mao for every death that occured within the years of his rule.--PCPP (talk) 02:53, 31 January 2008 (UTC)


This is a loaded and disputed concept, and its application here is POV. I don't think WP should take a stand endorsing the concept, at all. This goes for all the articles.Giovanni33 (talk) 08:56, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

Chairman Mao proposed sending 10 million Chinese women to US

I think this newly released info about "Chairman Mao proposed sending 10 million Chinese women to US" should be added to article but as I am not an expert of the issue I would not do it myself. One source for it [8] Farmanesh (talk) 00:43, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

The proposition makes no sense. It's likely that Mao is joking.--PCPP (talk) 03:04, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

I think people in the western world sometimes just don't get Chinese jokes, that's all. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:19, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

Mao Zedong's predecessor was Zhang Wentian, not Chen Duxiu

Mao Zedong's predecessor was Zhang Wentian, not Chen Duxiu.

Zhang Wentian is correct; I've made the change.DOR (HK) (talk) 07:09, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

Cmj96007 (talk) 02:35, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

there is no cpc (communist party of china). it was the ccp (chinese communist party). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:38, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

Mao's unreferenced "millions"

Is it me or is this article in desperate need of references —Preceding unsigned comment added by Theregisteredone (talkcontribs) 22:30, 10 April 2008 (UTC)


In his twenties, Mao was used to sign “二十八画生”(the 28 brush stroke man), since his name "毛澤東" need 28 stroke to be write. Accordingly, can you please complete the article by :

  • Hao (pseudonym) : «二十八画生»

source : "28 strokes" et "二十八畫生". (talk) 17:30, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

Circumstances of his death.

The article is unclear. He is apparently revived after being placed on 'the wrong side' for breathing. The next sentence informs us of his 'lying in state'. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:42, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

Nonsensical passages

Can anyone figure out what is going on here? DOR (HK) (talk) 07:30, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

In October 1930, the Kuomintang (KMT) captured Yang Kaihui with her son, Anying. The KMT imprisoned them both and Anying, then, was later sent to his relatives after the KMT killed his mother, Yang Kaihui.[citation needed]. [OK, that much was clear.] At this time , Mao had already cohabited with He Zizhen, a 17 year old girl from Yongxing, Jiangxi where Mao went into Mountains in Jiangxi. [Why is this here?] Mao turned down an opportunity to study in France because he firmly believed that China's problems could be studied and resolved only within China. [Not to mention his poor command of foreign languages. Nevermind. Why is it in this paragraph?'] Unlike his contemporaries, Mao concentrated on studying the peasant majority of China's population.

Nonsensical redirect

Mao Zedong

 (Redirected from Li Desheng)

Huh? DOR (HK) (talk) 04:12, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia on Mao

Wikipedia on Mao

Updated June 4:

Granted, he's a controversial fellow all right, but this hit piece is just an outrageous travesty of anti-Communist propaganda:

The discussion page shows the details of the travesty, including the banning of anyone promoting an opposite point of view (a typical smarmy Wikipedia "Neutral Point of View" practice).

My World Book article on China1 and my Time-Life book, China, from 1962 (height of the Cold War) are vastly more fair than this. World Book is hardly pro-Communist and Time-Life was always fanatically anti-Communist.

Fact is, Wikipedia is run by a bunch of little libertarian shits. Jimmy Wales is a wild-eyed, fanatical libertarian crazy person, and he's using his evil website to try to poison the mind of a planet in favor of his libertarian nightmare.

That's his right, but the US "free press" (there is no free press in the US) really ought to call him on it. I've seen all sorts of MSM bullshit about Jimmy and jerk-off webcyclopedia, and every single one of them has been a fawning valentine (as we call such pieces in the journalism field).

Never once has even one article hinted that Wikipedia is grossly unfair, or that it is run by various cabals that are all tied in with the super-cabal of ultra-right libertarian Hindutva-Zionists around Wales. It might be nice to let the world know exactly what the politics of him and his creepy followers really are.

Let them know that Wales was furious that the federal government had done anything whatsoever to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina before, during and after the storm in any way whatsoever. Can you imagine?

In Wales World, there is no role for a government to play in a world-class hurricane. Need to be rescued? Call your friend who obviously has a helicopter or pay $1000's for some Israeli-cum-Halliburton mercenaries to come rescue your ass.

No government help to put up victims afterwards, to clean up the mess, or even I guess to collect the fucking bodies. Let the epidemics come. No government help to rebuild the city afterwards. Let it stay underwater oozing gators, toxic waste, mold, decaying flesh and ruined structures. All of this is the proper domain of the private sector! Can you imagine how many people would have died?

I mean, this is what we got anyway under Libertarian Lite George Bush, but in Jimmy World, things would have been incalculably worse.

Look. If that's Jimmy's worldview, no problem. Hell, there are still dedicated Pol Potists out there. But the world really ought to know what Jimmy Wales fanatical ultra political views are so they decide whether or not they agree. They should also be told how he uses his fake unbiased Webcyclopedia like Rupert Murdoch uses his media empire, to push reactionary politics in the name of "fair and balanced" bullshit.

That the "liberal media" MSM refuses to do this is worrying. It makes me wonder how reactionary they really are. Is the MSM as ultra-right as Wales, or are they just scared to talk about it? What's up?


1. Here is some text from my World Book article on China. Note how the very rightwing World Book encyclopedia is able to acknowledge that Mao did many great things:

The Communist government has achieved an impressive record of economic growth. The Communists have provided widespread job opportunities, job security and a more even income distribution to the workers...China's farm output has expanded greatly under the Communists...Production of chickens and livestock has improved significantly since 1950...

Under the Communists, industrial production has grown at an average rate of 12% per year...Since 1950, China has made great progress in educating its children. The number of children in both elementary and secondary school has increased sharply...Communist have conducted mass literacy campaigns so that now 75% of the population is literate...

All of the Communists' health programs have resulted in a population that is much healthier than before. The Communists have almost wiped out cholera, typhoid and many other horrible diseases that used to kill millions of Chinese every year.

Labels: China, Hurricane Katrina, Libertarianism, Maoism, Vast Rightwing Conspiracy, Wikipedia

posted by Robert Lindsay at 6/01/2008 01:00:00 AM

Am I to understand that you feel that Mao hasn't been given proper credit for his role as an educator? You do know that Chinese schools were all closed during the Cultural Revolution? Kauffner (talk) 13:37, 6 June 2008 (UTC)