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Mao Zedong

An official portrait of Mao ZedongAn official portrait of Mao ZedongMao Zedong (also written as Mao Tse-tung, 1893–1976), sometimes called Chairman Mao, was a Chinese Communist revolutionary and leader. From 1935, he was leader of the Chinese Communist Party, and founded the People’s Republic of China in 1949. He was also responsible for the disastrous policies of the "Great Leap Forward" (1958–1961) and the "Cultural Revolution" (1966–1969), which resulted in the deaths of millions of people. Mao remains one of history's most controversial figures. Despite the death toll of his rule, for many Chinese people he is still the man who united their country and brought about much needed modernization.

Mao aged about 17Mao aged about 17


Mao was born on 26th December 1893 in Shaoshan, Hunan Province. His father had been a poor peasant, but had become wealthy through buying and selling grain. The young Mao attended primary school, then, at the age of 13, he was put to work on his father’s farm. His father also arranged for him to be married to the 17-year-old daughter of a local landowner. Mao rebelled against the marriage, and refused to acknowledge the woman, Luo Yigu, as his wife. She died in disgrace in 1910.

In 1907, at the age of 13, Mao was expelled from school for arguing with his teachers.

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