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Mao : The most Influential Figure in 20th China

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ame: Ng Ka Cheung Class: 4A (43)

Mao : The most Influential Figure in 20th China

■Mao declared the establishment of the People's republic of China

Having great contributions to China in terms of politics, economy, society, ideology and diplomacy, Mao is entitled the Most Influential figure in 20th Century China

Mao Zedong was born on December 26, 1893. In 1920, he became a Marxist. In 1921, he became a founding member of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). In 1927, the Guomingdang (GMD) fought against the CCP. Mao retreated to Chingkang Mountains. In 1934, he led the long march and consolidated his power. In 1937, the CCP and GMD fought against Japan. After China defeated Japan, a civil war began and the CCP won in 1949 as Mao established the People's Republic of China (PRC). Mao was the chairman. Then he launched the land reforms

and other movements in


950s. He launched the Great Leap Forward in 1958. It failed and Mao temporarily withdrew to the second line. In 1965, Mao thought he lost control. He started the Cultural Revolution to regain his power. Many leaders and people were persecuted. It continued until his death in 1976.

Mao had profound influences over the development of China. He is the most influential figure in terms of politics, society, economy, ideology

and diplomacy.

Politically speaking, Mao established the PRC. He has been the leader of China for 27 years. He overthrew the corrupted Nanjing Government and created a better ruling power. This paved the way of the modernization of

China under the PRC.

Economically speaking, he launched the land reforms and redistributed the land to the peasants. The landlords, who have hindered the development of China for thousands of years, vanished from the scene. Mao solved this problem and freed the peasants. Furthermore, he helped the mechanization of agricultural production. 0.5 million of machines were introduced. 40% arable land was irrigated. As a result, the industrial and agricultural production had an amazing increase. Industrial production increased by 3800%. Agricultural and industrial production increased by 2.3% and 11% per year respectively. The economy developed rapidly despite the disruption of the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution. This helped the economic reform under Deng Xiaoping rule.

■Agricultural program
ndustrial and agricultural production of China


1952 (million tones)

1976 (million tones)







Electricity generated

7 (billion kw/hr)

133 (billion kw/hr)




Up next page: China industry








Growth of 4 countries in industrialization



Economic growth per 10 years













Socially speaking, He raised the education standard. Many schools were built. In 1966-76, the number of students increased from 0.116 billion to 0.15 billion, junior secondary students increased from 15 million to 58 million.

The medical system also improved. The average life span of Chinese increased form 35 years old in 1949 to 65 years old in mid-1970s. China also modernized in

■Mao and Tanaka Kakuei

■Up: China corn production 1960-1982

■China wheat production


term of technology. China could create nuclear bombs, missiles and satellites. This helped the modernization

since China had more

talents and technology.

Ideologically speaking, Mao created the Maoism. He applied Marxism In China. His thought is the

basic principle of PRC. This provided the basic direction to the development of China.

Diplomatically speaking, more than 83 foreign countries recognized China, including Britain, France, USSR, India and Japan. This helped the modernization of China as she could have foreign aid.

Mao, however, committed faults. He launched many mass movements. Many people were persecuted and the society was unstable. Further growth of economy was obstructed.

However, the effects of the mass movements were exaggerated. Most of us believed that the economy and education were destroyed. However, the

agricultural production still increased by 3% per year and the number of student increased by 34 million.

The industry of China also developed. It was the 6th Economy in the world -- in 1949, China's economy was just similar to Belgium in terms of scale.

Diplomatically, China returned to the United Nations in 1971. We must not neglect the great

contributions Mao made in various aspects.

In conclusion, Mao helped the modernization of China. Despite the mistakes he committed, he still had significant contributions to the modernization of China.

Mao is absolutely the most influential figure in China in terms of politics, society and economy and diplomacy. Among the other influential figures in China, like Sun Yixian and Deng Xiaoping, Mao was

■Left: follow Mao is victory Up: Mao in currency Down: Mao in Tiananman Square

the most influential.

Compared with Sun, Mao had more influences in terms of economy, society and ideology. He helped the development of economy and raised the educational and hygienic

levels. Ideologically speaking, although Sun created the Three People's Principles (nationalism, democracy and

Socialism), most of them

were not implemented. The Nanjing

Government did not give democracy to the people; socialism, ironically, was achieved by Mao. Indeed, Sun had great contribution to China as he overthrew the Qing. However, Sun failed to create a stable ruling power. His power was seized by Yuan Shikai. Mao, in contrast, established the PRC and has ruled China for 27 years. Mao had greater influences on China compared with Sun.

Compared with Deng, Mao had more influences in terms of politics and ideology. Mao created the PRC and His thought was the basic principle of the PRC. Deng, on the other hand, focused on economy and had fewer influences on politics. Indeed, Deng contributed a lot on the modernization and the economic development of China. However, the modernization and economic development of Deng were based on the progress of Mao. Socially speaking, Mao raised education level and produced talents. This helped the modernization program of Deng. Diplomatically speaking, the openness policy was based on the progress of Mao in foreign affairs. All in all, the achievements

of Deng was based on the

achievements of Mao. Moreover, Mao had more influences in

politics and ideology.

All in all, Mao Zedong affected China in politics, economy, society, diplomacy and ideology. He is absolutely the most influential figure

in 20th century China.

Data sources and reference:

1. Immanuel C.Y. Hsu, The Rise of Modern China, 6th edition (Oxford, 2000)

2. John King Fairbank, The Great Chinese Revolution 1800-1985 (Picador, 1986)

3. John King Fairbank, The United States & China, 4th edition (Harvard, 1979)

4. Maurice Meisner, Mao’s China and After: A History of The People’s Republic, 3th edition (Free Press, 1999)

5. Los Mitchison, China in the twentieth century, 1st edition (Oxford, 1970)






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