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Daily History

September 9 1976 Mao Zedong dies

On September 9th 1976, Chinese revolutionary and statesman Mao Zedong, who had been suffering from Parkinson’s disease and other health problems, died in Beijing at the age of 82.

The Communist leader and founder of the People’s Republic of China is considered one of the most influential figures of the 20th century.

Mao was born into a peasant family in the village of Shaoshan in China’s Hunan province on December 26, 1893. During the 1911 Revolution, he was a soldier in the revolutionary army, which eventually defeated the Qing Dynasty.

After serving in the army, he resumed his education and eventually moved to Beijing, where he studied Marxist social and political thought. In 1921, he attended the first session of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which was held in Shanghai.

He went on to found the Hunan branch of the CCP and organise workers’ strikes. Marxism held that cultural revolution would be brought about by urban workers; however, Mao came to believe that China’s millions of peasants were the key to change.

In 1934, during his long civil war with Chiang Kai-Shek and his nationalist government, Mao broke through enemy lines and led his followers on the Long March, a trek of some 6,000 miles to northern China. There, he built up his Red Army and fought against the Japanese invaders.

In 1945, civil war resumed, and in 1949 the Nationalists were defeated. On October 1, 1949, Mao proclaimed the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Under Mao’s leadership, the Communist Party took control of China’s media and executed its political enemies, including business owners, landlords, former government officials and intellectuals. In 1958, Mao launched the Great Leap Forward, an economic initiative aimed at boosting the country’s agricultural and industrial production.

The program involved the establishment of large farming communes, which would free up more workers for industrial jobs. Instead, the plan failed as grain production declined and millions of Chinese died due to famine. In 1966, Mao launched the Cultural Revolution, in an attempt to wipe out China’s old customs and ideas, promote Mao’s teachings and purge the Communist party of his political enemies.

Mao urged students and other young people to join the Red Guards, who in turn shut down schools, churches, temples and museums and tortured or killed academics and other authority figures who were viewed as capitalists and anti-revolutionaries. The Cultural Revolution resulted in widespread chaos and civil unrest.

Despite these failures, Mao maintained fanatical followers all across China and, as the founder of modern China, remains one of the most influential figures of the 20th century. After his death, Deng Xiaoping emerged as China’s leader. Today, Mao’s embalmed remains are housed in a mausoleum in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

This Day In History

About Craig Hill

Teacher and Writer. Writing has been cited in New York Times, BBC, Fox News, Aljazeera, Philippines Star, South China Morning Post, National Interest, news.com.au, Wikipedia and others.


10 thoughts on “September 9 1976 Mao Zedong dies

  1. Mao killed millions of Chinese people.

    Posted by Brad Stanton | September 9, 2012, 01:23
    • I don’t believe Craig is denying that. The point of the article is just that he was influential, much like Emperor Qin who established the first ruling dynasty over the entire country and gave it is name. He was also a monster, but his mark on history can’t is still undeniable.

      Posted by storiesbywilliams | September 9, 2012, 12:11
  2. Good, succinct life summary of Mao.

    Posted by swabby429 | September 9, 2012, 02:44
  3. A leader with profound contempt for those he led.
    ‘I wash myself inside the bodies of my women.’

    Posted by Gregoryno6 | September 9, 2012, 07:55
  4. Reblogged this on China Daily Mail.

    Posted by China Daily Mail | September 9, 2012, 09:53
  5. Reblogged this on OyiaBrown and commented:
    I understand this influential figure was responsible for the death of some 40 million.

    Posted by OyiaBrown | September 9, 2012, 21:31
  6. He was an evil nutcase.

    Posted by shovonc | September 9, 2012, 23:33
  7. a major cause and continuing cause of suffering. sad to say he was not the first or the last

    Posted by pdlyons | September 16, 2012, 03:02


  1. Pingback: Through a Thwarted Cinematographer's Eye, China's Cultural Revolution - NYTimes.com | A Day Without Photos - September 11, 2012

  2. Pingback: China 63 years on… they’re in Melbourne now « Teh's Tales, Ian's Yarns - October 3, 2012

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