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♠ Mao Zedong ♠

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Mao Zedong (Listeni/ˈmaʊ zəˈdʊŋ, dzə-/), also transliterated as Mao Tse-tungand commonly referred to as Chairman Mao (December 26, 1893 – September 9, 1976), was a Chinese communist revolutionary and founding father of the People's Republic of China, which he ruled as an autocratstyled the Chairman of the Communist Party of China from its establishment in 1949, until his death in 1976. His Marxist–Leninisttheories, military strategies, and political policies are collectively known asMaoism or Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.

Born the son of a wealthy farmer in Shaoshan, Hunan, Mao adopted aChinese nationalist and anti-imperialist outlook in early life, particularly influenced by the events of the Xinhai Revolution of 1911 and May Fourth Movement of 1919. Mao adopted Marxism–Leninism while working atPeking University and became a founding member of the Communist Party of China (CPC), leading the Autumn Harvest Uprising in 1927. During theChinese Civil War between the Guomindang (GMD) and the CPC, Mao helped to founContent d Army, led the Jiangxi Soviet's radical land policies and ultimately became head of the CPC during the Long March. Although the CPC temporarily allied with the GMD under the United Front during theSecond Sino-Japanese War (1937–45), after Japan's defeat China's civil war resumed and in 1949 Mao's forces defeated the Nationalists who withdrew to Taiwan.

On October 1, 1949, Mao proclaimed the foundation of the People's Republic of China (PRC), a one-party state controlled by the CPC. In the following years Mao solidified his control through land reform campaigns against landlords, and perceived enemies of the state he termed as "counter-revolutionaries". In 1957, he launched the Great Leap Forwardcampaign that aimed to rapidly transform China's economy from anagrarian economy to an industrial one. The campaign led to a widespread famine, whose death toll is estimated at between 18 and 45 million. In 1966, he initiated the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, a program to remove "counter-revolutionary" elements of Chinese society that lasted 10 years and which was marked by violent class struggle, widespread destruction of cultural artifacts and unprecedented elevation of Mao'spersonality cult.[1] In 1972, Mao welcomed American President Richard Nixon in Beijing, signalling a policy of opening China, which was furthered under the rule of Deng Xiaoping (1978–1992). Mao suffered a series of heart attacks in 1976, dying in that September, aged 82. He was succeeded as Paramount leader by Hua Guofeng (1976–1978), who was quickly sidelined and replaced by Deng.

A controversial figure, Mao is regarded as one of the most important individuals in modern world history,[2] and is also known as a theorist, military strategist, poet and visionary.[3] Supporters credit him with drivingimperialism out of China,[4] modernising China and building it into a world power, promoting the status of women, improving education and health care, and increasing life expectancy as China's population grew from around 550 million to over 900 million during the period of his leadership.[5][6] In contrast, critics consider him a dictator comparable toAdolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin who severely damaged traditional Chinese culture, as well as a perpetrator of systematic human rights abuses who was responsible for an estimated 40 to 70 million deaths through starvation, forced labour and executions, ranking his tenure as the top incidence of democide in human history.[7][8][9]

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