Talk:Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung

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NPOV line[edit]

"With an insane amount of propaganda flooding the entire, one would simply surrender to the fact that Mao and his book were the only way of life." -- Great work on this article, but this line is not NPOV.

Maybe you're right -- Gups
Yeah, no amount of propaganda is insanebut alot is insane.
It may be "considered to be one of the most printed books in history." But the reason was its compulsory distribution. That should be mentioned otherwise the statement is misleading.Royalcourtier (talk) 06:08, 23 April 2015 (UTC)

Add quotes?[edit]

And, how about actually having a representative sample of the quotes? As in hadith, it really helps to get a feel for what these are about

Hong Baoshu[edit]

In China at the Cultural Revolution, the book was called "红宝书(Hong Baoshu, the Precious Red Book)". It may be the origin of the western name "The Little Red Book". -- Sunzx 10:41, 19 Jun 2004 (UTC)

I'm removing this sentence[edit]

Worldwide its publication is a distant second to the Bible (or third if all publications and printings of the annual Ikea catalog is counted as a book).

because comparing a book and catalogs is absurd. If one added up all of the catalogs that Sears printed over the years, it would probably be first or second on that list, also. —tregoweth 19:16, Apr 4, 2005 (UTC)

I've actually put this back in, although I arrived from 'Bad Jokes and Other Deleted Nonsense', and so I haven't been part of this discussion until now. I've added a couple of sources, including one from the Evening Standard (which compares its distribution to that of the Bible; something which appears in Wikipedia's own article on Ikea).-Ashley Pomeroy 17:44, 12 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I deleted without noticing that you just reentered it. Hower i think it realy a bad joke and it should be deleted. (July 13 2005)
I agree that catalogs and books are apples and oranges. We should keep Ashley's link though, since it gives estimates for the number of Bibles and LRBs in circulation. --Carl 10:04, 14 Apr 2005 (UTC)


I have always heard, and thought it was common sense, that many of these quotes were either fabricated or stolen and then attributed to Mao. It's beyond reasonable dispute that the book was a propaganda tool, so it is logical that it would seek to portray Mao as a sage leader full of insight and wisdom, and that many common Chinese people would not be able to tell a true Mao quote from a fake one. But I haven't seen anything to this effect in the article. I think this is something worth looking into. --BDD 15:22, 21 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I'm holding a copy in my hand right now, every single quote is sourced so I find it unlikely. I have no doubt that Mao was reasonably intelligent and charismatic so I see no reason why they all couldn't be his. Besides, it's more a book of Guidelines for Happy Little Communists than it is a philosophical work. Radix 02:20, 6 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I'm holding a copy in my hand right now and comparing randomly selected quotes to a more detailed compilation of Mao Zedong's writings. If this is fabricated or stolen work, it is an impressive piece of fabrication given that the little snippets in the Red Book are seamlessly part of much longer (and far more tedious) wholes. --MTR (严加华) 01:14, 9 October 2005 (UTC)

The UMass Dartmouth thing[edit]

This story is pretty obviously crap - the monitoring described is logistically impossible, and the story is terribly sourced - only two sources, neither of whom have first hand information. This is not an acceptable source for Wikipedia. Phil Sandifer 03:43, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

It seems fairly well-known; I had heard of this before I saw it on Wikipedia. It doesn't have to be true to be on Wikipedia (although I would assume the story is true, and find this claim that it's BS rather odd), just NPOV and verifiable. Everyking 04:51, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
And from a remotely reputable source. Have you read the newspaper article in question? It asserts things that are impossible (That there's government monitoring of every library user), is based on two sources both of whom only have second hand information, and, furthermore, the story is implausible - there are a billion copies of the Red Book in print. The government would be stupid to let a suspected terrorist know that they were onto him because he read a book that there are a billion copies of - particularly because, were he actually in any way a Chinese operative, he would have already read the book. The newspaper article is one of the single worst pieces of journalism I've ever read - it's just a crappy source, and one that has no place in Wikipedia, particularly considering the failure of this story to be verified today in national media - the ALA and the UMass library are both failing to find any evidence that it's true. Phil Sandifer 05:00, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
OK, let's see if it shows up in any sources you consider more reputable; in that case we'll restore, if not, we'll leave it out. Everyking 05:13, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

Indeed, this was confirmed false. Isn't prudence wonderful? Phil Sandifer 02:21, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

I've added it recently, and with reputable sources. Also, as a UMD student and writer for the student newspaper, I can guarantee you The Torch is reputable. ;) -- LGagnon 23:10, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

And to the person who thought this wasn't worth mentioning: A lot of things "not worth mentioning" already get into Wikipedia, and deservingly so. This is just another freak incident, but one that is worth noting. -- LGagnon 23:12, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

This is not one of the thousand most important things to say about this book. It thus should be removed until all thousand of the others are included - otherwise it makes Wikipedia look stupid. Phil Sandifer 00:55, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
FWIW, I do not favour the story being included in the article. CRCulver 01:16, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
So because there are more important things, we don't mention it? There's no logic in that. If there are more important things to say about it, add them. Don't delete a piece of its history just because other things haven't been said yet. And "stupid" is not a justification. When you have a real legit reason to remove it, mention it here. Otherwise don't delete the section just because of your as-of-yet not fully explained POV. -- LGagnon 01:26, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
This is not a POV issue, and it's offensive to say that it is. This is utter trivia, and does not belong in this article. Maybe - MAYBE - it deserves mention in the UMass Dartmouth article. Perhaps in its own. But it's just not sufficiently relevent to the topic of this article to include. Wikipedia is not a random collection of facts. This is a random fact. It is not a piece of the book's history - it's a stupid prank. Phil Sandifer 01:34, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
You tried to justify removing it because "it's stupid". That is a POV, and the one I was refering to. Trivia is mentioned in a lot of articles, and normally isn't removed. This was a big incident that was talked about nationally, not something small and insignificant. It's not a random fact; it brought the book into the news at a time when most people were not talking about it. Prank or not, it is a part of the book's history, and you have yet to give a good reason why it is not. Try giving a fact that backs your argument. And "stupid" is not a fact; it's an opinion, and an unjustified one at that. -- LGagnon 02:06, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
I am uncertain how to argue with such wholesale unreasonableness as this. Phil Sandifer 02:07, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
Just give some real reasons for removing it. I'm sure you are capable of expressing more than "it's stupid". A Wikipedia article is supposed to include all information on a subject, especially that which can be backed up by sources. I gave 5 legit sources to a nationally known event that was the only major event involving the book in the media. It has every right to be here. If you think it doesn't, please explain why we are forgoing editing as usual, and say more than "it's stupid". Give more reasons, and give why these reasons matter. -- LGagnon 04:10, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
No, a Wikipedia article is emphatically not supposed to include all information on a subject. In the very beginning, there was some interesting in creating here the "allwiki", but eventually the community decided to impose stricter rules of encyclopedic value. Ephemera like the UMass story aren't encyclopedically valuable. CRCulver 04:27, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
While I understand your desire to put news about your University in a more prominant position, I suspect that your partiality to your school is clouding your judgment here - this really isn't that important outside of the local context, and even less so months after the event. It really is excessive to cover it, and unimportant ephemera. That similar ephemera exists in other articles is a reason to fix them too, not to break this one. Phil Sandifer 06:00, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Came here from RfC. My opinion is that this incident is far too trivial for this article. AndyJones 09:36, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

The section in question strikes me as a good candidate for its own article, perhaps linked from this page. Ultimaga 02:29, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

Apologies. I deleted without reading the discussion, but still feel that if I send my students to this page they will not find the UMassDartmouth thing either recent or relevant. I will try to get back in a while with a few references, and then perhaps the incident can be restored?


I've removed the stuff about the Ikea catalogue because it's wrong. If we start to include catalogues and periodicals in the listings then Ikea is a long way from being the most-published catalogue. The short version of the Sears Roebuck catalogue beats it (250 million) and I would be prepared to bet that plenty of others do too. Yellow pages for example. DJ Clayworth 21:43, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

How many books were printed?[edit]

This article talks of "well over a billion" while the Chinese WP talks of more than 5 billions. That more than just a little difference. My gut feeling is that 1 billion is low given that China itself had a population of about 800 million at the time, but 5 billions? Could someone please bring forth evidence either way. Berox 21:56, 26 March 2006 (UTC)

It's around 1 billion

Mao Tse Tung?[edit]

I am aware that the English translation spells it Mao Tse-Tung but I think that it should be changed to Mao Zedong or at least it should be simply Chairman Mao. No one ever said Chairman Mao Tse Tung.

Response: It is Mao Zedong because of the new Chinese Piyin style. Mao Tse-Tung is derived from the Wade-Giles. The Chinese made the Piyin so this basically makes the Wade-Giles version outdated. Paracite 04:43, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
Counter reply: "The Little Red Book" was published before Pinyin was officially adopted by the PRC. Although you are correct, that "the Wade-Giles version is now outdated," the spelling "Mao Tse-Tung" was in fact the official version of his name at that time as used by the official PRC Printing Office. -- We do not change the spelling used by Shakespeare match contemporary dictionaries, nor should we change the spelling of Mao's name as it was spelled when published. Do not change historical facts. Charvex (talk) 16:32, 14 February 2011 (UTC)


The description of this book as obligatory reading material for every citizen is very similar to Ruhnama, although arguably the influence of the latter is rather smaller. Does anyone know more similar read-or-get-your-ass-kicked books? They could make a category, although, i can't come up with a name for it. ("Books the reading of which is required by law"?...) --Amir E. Aharoni 21:23, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

Harmful Books List[edit]

"In 2005, Quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong was listed at #3 in the conservative magazine Human Events' Ten Most Harmful Books of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries." (

Why is this here? That link is incredibly NPOV 14:11, 28 September 2006 (UTC)
I'm going to have to back you up on this one. I don't see how what Human Events thinks is relevant to this book, and not coming from America, I don't see how what Human Events thinks is relevant to anything. Also, the article on "Human Events" itself is a stub, so Wikipedia backs me up on the irrelevance of "Human Events". I had never even heard of the stupid magazine until linking to it from this article. Man, that irritates me.
The 'Human Events most harmful books' reference should be deep sixed. To give you an idea of what their list is like, it also lists 'The Feminine Mystique,' Kinsey's 'Sexuality in the Human Male,' and Keynes' magnum opus on economics as being roughly on a par with this and 'Mein Kampf.' To me, it has all the value as if another poster had left behind a link from Worker's World Daily lauding it as the greatest book ever written. I don't think an encyclopedia entry is the proper spot for polemicist drivel; therefore, I'm just removing the reference. --Dh100 19:33, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
I should point out that, a few weeks ago (early Sept. '06), the harmful book line was in this article without even identifying that Human Events is a partisan magazine. Glad it's been deleted.
I dislike Mao, but I find this list totally not neutral at all. Froggy helps ;-) 07:02, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
I find this list of "harmful" books very interesting and useful, as well as the list of the "worst" books by Intercollegiate Studies Institute. I already read a few of that books before discovering these lists. After finding out with these lists, I know better which are the next books important to read, and I have already bought one of tham, which previously I didn't know. 19:33, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

Quotations of Mao Zedong decreasing illiteracy?[edit]

Because of the societal requirements, not legal, of having to read from the Quotations of Mao Zedong would it increase literacy? This can be mentioned in the opposing views of "counter productive" argument. Paracite 04:46, 10 November 2006 (UTC)


Theres a lot of pictures on this article, especially considering its fairly short. Could they be rearranged, removed, or made smaller to make the page look more organized? <3Clamster 16:03, 27 February 2007 (UTC)


Why not just "Quotations of Chairman Mao"? Because that is the Chinese title, isn't it? Colipon+(T) 04:54, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

what edition is the pictured book?[edit]

I have a book with the same cover as this one, but there are a few missing pages near the beginning, so I have no date or edition information. 28 Jul 2007

Nevermind, edition information is at the back of the book, not the front. In case others are interested, the copy I have with this cover is a 1968 edition. I've given it to my brother, so that's all the information I have. - 29 Jul 2007

The illustration should really be of the standard edition with the standard title 毛主席语录;- is that book with 最高指示 even the same book? I have a copy (Nov 68)- I'll take a photo and upload it later, I think I have to register first though (sigh). 11:57, 22 October 2007 (UTC)

I have a copy of the 1967 edition, which has no image or color printing on the cover. It's simply embossed plastic with the standard title and star. I'll try to take a decent photo of it but, since it's colored red on red, I'm not too optimistic. This sort of basic cover was often portrayed in propaganda photos of Red Guard cadres and other study groups. (What we really need is an image like this one
But not that book; that's something else again; the title 毛泽东选集 translates something like 'Selected Works of Mao Zedong' and he says it's 1424 pages. My 毛主席语录 has 270. The cover has the title in gold and a picture of him. I'll get around to it soon, have to start an account. 17:15, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
People are so deluded in a way that they'd always believe that jesus is their god, *phht*, what lozers!!! *sigh* oh well you guys suck anyway. BTW, according to, 最高指示 translates to "highest instruction", so it's possible that the current illustration might not even be the same book. JXM 21:55, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
"最高指示" was another name used for referring to the actual quotations themselves, so it's not a different book. User:Kveerlarka 23:09, 13 July, 2008 —Preceding comment was added at 04:09, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
I added a scanned image of my 1966 Edition published by the official PRC Printing Office (and purchased in China) which has the gold letters and his photo on the cover. (FR.Wikipédia has the cover of the similar edition in French.) I will scan some more photos from inside the book and post them soon. Charvex (talk) 16:46, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

IS the Little Red Book in Public Domain?[edit]

I'm attempting to start a Librivox project to record the Quotations of Mao Tse tung as an audiobook. However before the project can begin I need to be sure that it is in public domain. Now while I realize the book was published in 1966 as far as I know the English translation was done by a government agency of the PR of China "Foreign Language Press". Since the 1980s I'm not aware of any new printings from that body. I would think that it would be in public domain just from it being a government document and thats further strengthend by the government basically abandoning any claims for the last 30 years. In addition just about every English translation currently availible in the web makes clear that it is in the public domain. --Jacobin1949 23:44, 3 September 2007 (UTC).

Total Print[edit]

I have updated the total number printed. There are various sources that state this number is anywhere from 5-6.5 billion. I have included one of the sources in the reference section at the bottom of this page. Others can be found here on wikipedia, in the list of best selling books article. [1](Majin Takeru (talk) 13:02, 18 June 2008 (UTC))

I have referenced the "bestselling books" list page several times over the last year, and found that Quotations had ballooned from about one billion copies to 6.5 billion copies. I seriously question the ability to produce 5 - 6.5 billion copies of a book from the 60's to today, because the population of China itself would not justify that amount of output. I think there is a gross miscalculation, either much lower or much higher. I have found a citation from the BBC News mentioning one billion, and have added such to the page. It seems almost fishy that a book's production would have a discrepancy of over 4-5.5 billion copies over what it was originally mentioned at (1 billion). lidstrom82 (talk) 4:07, 20 June 2008 (UTC))
I referenced another book, not just the wikipedia best sellers page, in the section to. Actually multiple sources say 5- 6 billion. Go look at the link added in references. (Majin Takeru (talk) 17:27, 21 June 2008 (UTC))
Hey Majin, I looked at the list of bestselling books page and realized that Quotations reportedly had 1-6.5 billion printed, not sold. Therefore, it didn't belong at the top of the list, and number of copies sold is not in question - it's how many were printed. It's certainly within the realm of possibility that billions have been printed, but considering the population of China, why print 5-6 times the amount of today's population, assuming it was even less when the book was originally printed? Besides, from what is said about the forced distribution of the book back in the 60's, it kind of taints its status as a 'bestseller' if consumers had little choice in the matter when it had an initial printing of 1 billion in the 60's. - this explains that 900 million copies have been printed. There's clearly a discrepancy of a few billion, and that's just how many were printed, let alone 'sold.' All that goes to say that I'm fine with whether it's been printed 900 million or 6.5 billion times either way. I'm just flabbergasted at why it was implied as the bestselling book of all time when the number of copies printed is in question - at a range that is quite staggering. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Lidstrom82 (talkcontribs) 20:37, 21 June 2008 (UTC)
Well, I see what you are saying. Most printed / Best sold, doesn't really matter to me. Most printed is fine as well, and I noticed that on the best selling page too. As far as forced distribution, I would have to say sure, but what most people forget is that most of the population of China supported Mao and the Cultural Revolution at the time. Even the two faced, quick turner Jung Chang used to thump capitalist roaders over the head with her own copy of "Quotations". Point being, people forget to realize the the Chinese of the time supported Mao. Point is, if that book was printed in those numbers it should be noted, it is still amazing. The Chinese exported the book in over 10 different languages and at numbers in the millions as well, so the those numbers should be factored in. Its also worth mentioning that from 1966 to well into the late 70's, Maoism was global, which various parties claiming Mao Zedong Thought peppered throughout the world. (Majin Takeru (talk) 21:00, 21 June 2008 (UTC))

I have two sources for you, one here, , and one here . I had added one of the sources in the external links section of this page. I see no reason why the numbers should not be included. The massive number printed alone makes it a worthy of note. (Majin Takeru (talk) 23:46, 22 June 2008 (UTC))

Readership Today[edit]

How many people read the little red book today? (talk) 09:06, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

I do. -- 李博杰  | Talk contribs 05:19, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

Rename this article[edit]

I propose to rename this article to what it is popularly known as in the English language - the Little Red Book, or at least get rid of the "Zedong" in the current article title. Colipon+(Talk) 16:59, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

No. The title of the article should be the same as that used on the cover of the book as published at that time by the official PRC Printing Office (with the Wade-Giles spelling): "Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung". Although Pinyin ("Zedong") is the English translation version used today, it was not when the book ws published. Wikipedia should not change historical facts. Charvex (talk) 16:53, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

more Alternative Chinese names[edit]

specifically Quotations from Mao Zedong (simplified Chinese: 毛泽东语录; traditional Chinese: 毛澤東語錄; pinyin: Máo Zédōng yǔlù) and the abbreviation (simplified Chinese: 毛语录; traditional Chinese: 毛語錄; pinyin: Máo yǔlù) for both the original and this alternative title.
where should we weave them into the article? 华钢琴49 (TALK) 22:10, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

This is the English Wikipedia. Alternate Chinese names are not necessary for English readers any more than alternate Polish spellings are for articles about Polish subjects. Charvex (talk) 17:03, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
These are not even alternative Chinese names, they're alternative romanizations of the same name. And they're not necessary in this article; the article Mao Zedong already discusses these spellings. It would not be reasonable to replicate that discussion in every article that happens to mention Mao. rʨanaɢ (talk) 17:06, 14 February 2011 (UTC)


I completely rewrote this article because it was brief and inadequate. I mostly based it on the ZH.Wikipédia article of the same name, cited. The previous citations by other authors to books in the Czech language (which I do not read) and English language websites have been retained, and I incorporated them into the text. Note: There is a really bizarre number for the total publication of this book (6.5 billion!) which is not corroborated in any other sources - and frankly, seems preposterous to me - but since it had a cited source, I have left it in and stated it is not confirmed by Chinese figures. --- Bien amicalement, Charvex (talk) 10:35, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

Thoughts Of Chairman Mao[edit]

It is not only to many Chinese people that the book is known as the "Thoughts of Chairman Mao" - it is also widely so known in the West, and is the title I searched for. Cyclopaedic (talk) 09:24, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

Ok. I checked Google and your alternate name does occur, so I created a Redirect so you can find it by that name. - Tchao, Charvex (talk) 11:13, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

See also - relevance?[edit]

What's the relevance of including Ruhnama and Mein Kamph in the See also list? They seem rather off-topic, no? jxm (talk) 17:48, 6 March 2014 (UTC)

Hanyu Pinyin was created in the 1950s. The Little Red Book was published in the 1960s... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:59, 18 December 2015 (UTC)