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China: 120th Anniversary Of The Birth of Chairman Mao Marked By PRC

Picture: Wenhui lim

469px-MaoToday marks the 120th anniversary of the birth of Mao Ze Dong the first communist leader of the People’s Republic of China.

Chairman Mao is one of the most controversial leaders and international scene and one of the most about and recognised leaders from China.

This 120th anniversary of his birth many Chinese are reflecting on the legacy that he has left behind.

The general attitude towards Mao is, that he did more good than bad. They also think that if there was no Chairman Mao there would be no new China. In China, Mao Ze Dong is bigger than any religious leader from around the world.

the attitude towards Mao is changing amongst the young and the more educated. These two groups are viewing Mao Ze Dong in a more negative light then the older generations. The view of Mao being a figure from the past and his socialist ideology isn’t gelling with the younger generations.

Mao Ze Dong’s leadership of China featured many important events.

In October 1950, Mao made the decision to send the People’s Volunteer Army into Korea and fight against the United Nations forces led by the U.S. Historical records showed that Mao directed the PVA campaigns in the Korean War to the minute details.

Photo: 黄丹 Huang Dan  Wikicommons

Photo: 黄丹 Huang Dan

Starting in 1951, Mao initiated two successive movements in an effort to rid urban areas of corruption by targeting wealthy capitalists and political opponents, known as the three-anti/five-anti campaigns. While the three-anti campaign was a focused purge of government, industrial and party officials, the five-anti campaign set its sights slightly broader, targeting capitalist elements in general. A climate of raw terror developed as workers denounced their bosses, spouses turned on their spouses, and children informed on their parents; the victims were often humiliated at struggle sessions, a method designed to intimidate and terrify people to the maximum.

In January 1958, Mao Zedong launched the second Five-Year Plan, known as the Great Leap Forward, a plan intended as an alternative model for economic growth to the Soviet model focusing on heavy industry that was advocated by others in the party. Under this economic program, the relatively small agricultural collectives which had been formed to date were rapidly merged into far larger people’s communes, and many of the peasants were ordered to work on massive infrastructure projects and on the production of iron and steel. Some private food production was banned; livestock and farm implements were brought under collective ownership.

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. Combined with the diversion of labour to steel production and infrastructure projects, these projects combined with cyclical natural disasters led to an approximately 15% drop in grain production in 1959 followed by a further 10% decline in 1960 and no recovery in 1961. the great leap Forward lead to wide spread famine and resulted in the deaths of millions.

Picture: Wenhui lim

Picture: Wenhui lim

One the major events that took place in China and set the country back, which it is still recovering from, was the Cultural was concerned with the nature of post-1959 China. He saw that the revolution had replaced the old elite with a new one. He was concerned that those in power were becoming estranged from the people they were supposed to serve. Mao believed that a revolution of culture would unseat and unsettle the “ruling class” and keep China in a state of “perpetual revolution” that, theoretically, would serve the interests of the majority, not a tiny elite. It is believed that Mao launched the Cultural Revolution to wreak revenge on those who had dared to challenge him over the Great Leap Forward.

The Revolution led to the destruction of much of China’s traditional cultural heritage and the imprisonment of a huge number of Chinese citizens, as well as creating general economic and social chaos in the country. Millions of lives were ruined during this period, as the Cultural Revolution pierced into every part of Chinese life.

Opposition to Mao is subject to restriction and censorship in mainland China, the Chinese government continues to officially regard Mao as a national hero. In 2008, China opened the Mao Zedong Square to visitors in his hometown of central Hunan Province to mark the 115th anniversary of his birth.

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