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Mao Zedong

"Politics is war without bloodshed. War is politics with bloodshed."

Mao Zedong was the first head of state of the People's Republic of China, leading the Chinese Communist Party from 1935 and overseeing the establishment of the Peoples' Republic of China in 1949, ruling it until his death in 1976.

Mao was born in Hunan Province in December 26, 1893. He was quite a rebellious lad, and had Abusive Parents. He managed to scrape enough money together from working on the family farm to get himself into high school. When the 1911 revolution got going he joined the local (Hunan-ese) revolutionary forces for a time, returning to high school once it was over so he could graduate. He later got job as a librarian at the Beijing University library, studying there on the side. It was in Beijing that he came in contact with Chinese Marxists.

Mao later married Yang Kaihui, who was the daughter of his favorite professor, despite the fact that Mao was already married. It didn't end well for Yang, who was killed by Chiang's regime (the Kuomintang) in 1930.

In 1921 Mao went to attend the foundation of the first (unified) Communist Party of China (CCP) in Shanghai. He soon became a low-tier leader, his contact with socialist thinkers shaping his thoughts on communist ideology.

When the Guomindang/Kuomintang (GMD/KMT) under Chiang Kai-Shek purged the socialists from its ranks during the course of its campaign to unify the country, he began to work against it and helped lead attacks on and uprisings against the GMD such as those in Changsha in the late 1920s and the early 1930s, but they proved to be ill-advised and were quickly crushed with much brutality. He fled to Jiangxi province with some survivors and helped found a Chinese Soviet Republic there. After exterminating several other such Soviet Communes the GMD was poised to crush the Soviet in 1934, whereupon Mao and his troops staged a breakout and fled the province, cutting a swathe of destruction across the countryside as they took what they needed to survive at gunpoint. A tenth of this force, and Mao, eventually made it to an isolated Soviet in the mountains of Yan'an after completing what has become known as 'The Long March'. Mao managed to install himself as the leader of the Yan'an Soviet, and used this position to claim leadership of the CCP at the Zunyi Conference of 1935. Chiang was poised to destroy the Soviet, with a good chance of success, when the Warlord General Zhang Xueliang (son of the late Zhang Zuolin, 'The Tiger of the North') kidnapped him and forced to him to agree to an alliance with the communists against Japan, who invaded Manchuria in 1931. Chiang gave his word and called off the offensive, establishing 'the United Front'.

In practice this treaty was more or less ignored by both sides, with GMD and Communist guerillas rarely co-operating and both parties' forces involved in an active stand-off along their shared border. The 'Hundred Regiments Offensive' of 1944 yielded some early successes for the Peoples' Liberation Army, but the manoeuvre soon proved disastrous when they attempted to hold their positions in open warfare. When Japan surrendered in 1945, Mao and Chiang swiftly moved to set themselves up for the resumption of the civil war, even as the USA tried in vain to force the two to negotiate on forming a national government together. The USSR also hedged its bets and gave support to both sides, but timed their withdrawal from formerly-Japanese Manchuria to allow the Communists to take up good positions there. Mao stalled for time and Chiang played along until he felt his forces were ready, whereupon he launched a massive offensive against the Yan'an Soviet and wiped the Communist Party off the map within just a few months.

Mao and his troops, however, had merely retreated into the countryside. The GMD soon proved to have spread the troops of their various factions far too thinly across the countryside, their attempt to secure Manchuria despite its massive size and the Communists' greater influence over the countryside soon proving fatal to the forces - Chiang's best - that were ordered to hold their positions there. Mao knew very well that the peasantry was deeply distrustful of what the Communist Party stood for - they associated Communism with the Soviets - but unlike the GMD he was very careful to avoid antagonising them and he won the very poorest peasants over with programmes of rent-reduction and moderate land re-distribution from the wealthy and unpopular.

By mid-1947 the country suffered hyperinflation as the short-sightedness of the GMD's economic policies - they tried to balance their huge budget deficits by printing money instead of, say, making a serious attempt at re-centralising their administration and thereby correcting gross corruption at the local levelnote  - began to tell, which made the Communists' reasonable credentials as a governing body look that much more attractive. With Manchuria secured for and its economy stabilised by the Communists, the Peoples' Liberation Army began to fight open battles with the GMD. They made great use of their superior manoeuvrability and intelligence - the product of a huge network of peasant-sympathisers who had been antagonised by the GMD - to crush or - more often - force the surrender of entire GMD formations one unit at a time. After a further two years of fighting, The Peoples' Republic of China was declared on October 1, 1949, whereas the Chiang and his remnant forces retreated to the island of Taiwan.

In 1949, China's economy was still in a deep depression with industrial production still at less than a quarter of 1937 (pre Second Sino-Japanese War) levels, and the banking and financial sectors more or less completely wiped out by the Guomindang's post-war economic mismanagement and the hyperinflationary spiral that followed. The treasury also had almost zero precious metals in it, the GMD having tried its darnedest to ship every single bar of their gold and silver reserves to their new capital at Taipei - and the Soviets take what's left, as the first of many payments they demand in return for their economic and technical assistance in rebuilding the Chinese economy. This is extremely galling to say the least, as the loss of a full 'half' of China's pre-war industry is their fault; when the Soviets liberated Manchuria from Emperor Puyi's (Japanese-controlled) puppet regime, they stripped the region of absolutely everything of worth, right down to office furniture... leaving tens if not hundreds of thousands of inner-city Manchurians to starve and freeze (to death) during the winter of 1946, as the Soviets had stolen the factories they used to work in and the power plants that used to provide them with electricity.

Nevertheless, Mao's Party proceeded to revolutionize Chinese society - starting with former Guomindang soldiers and regime personnel, who were put into re-education (through hard labour) camps for the next few months-to-years. They were joined by the Communists' political opponents - such as the democratic liberals and moderate socialists - and members of the 'bourgeoisie' and 'landlord' classes. Most adult landlords were publicly executed after the show-trials that exposed their 'Crimes Against The Peasantry', but not all adolescent- and child-landlords were killed and in fact many were simply subjected to re-education (through hard labour). That said, virtually all of the more 'dangerous' and/or 'unreformable' enemies of the regime (like adult landlords) were executed; if you were sent to a camp, it was because the regime thought you could be made to be of use to them in the future.

The land that was thus freed up was redistributed, largely to the poor, this measure securing the CCP a solid base of support which made up for their tentative control over the (somewhat, if not openly, hostile) towns and cities. Generous funds were allocated to a programme of national schooling for all the country's children, and Chinese characters were simplified/standardised to make reading and writing them easier. In 1951, fearing that the North Koreans would lose in the Korean War when the US-led United Nations taskforce (the USSR had momentarily dropped out of the UN and its Security Council in protest) curb stomped their way up the Korean peninsula, Mao and his generals unleashed a Zerg Rush of 'Chinese People's Volunteers' against the UN troops, saving Kim Il Sung's regime from defeat at the hands of the UN.

Although China's economy had finally recovered 1937-levels of production and was growing admirably in the first several years after the war (industrial production was growing 19% per year and national income 9% per year, though only 10% of GDP was accounted for by 'modern' industry and services at the time), this wasn't enough for Mao, who decided that China must surpass the Soviet Union in industrial production in 15 years or less. He dubbed the Second Five-Year Plan of 1958-1963 'The Great Leap Forward', declaring that it would be a grand crusade to grow the Chinese economy. The ill-advised setting and hilariously heavy-handed insistence on meeting unrealistic growth and 'growth'-targets from above, lack of impartial reports and the suppression of protests from below, environmental degradationnote  and nigh-hilariously idiotic denial by the all levels of party-leadership that anything was wrong resulted in some 16-to-46 million citizens dying - chiefly from starvation-related diseases like Beriberi.

We can't say the 'real' figure with certainty, as the CCP's official policy is that the famines and resultant epidemics were not at all or even in part the result of their organisation's callousness and incompetence. Also, sorting out 'normal' deaths from the 'extra-ordinary' ones caused by the famines is a teensy bit difficult - with a population of more than five hundred million at the time, a natural death-rate of 1% of the total per-annum would give a figure of more than 15 million people 'naturally' dying over that period. Access to CCP Archives is thus denied to researchers who ask for it on the grounds that what they're searching for doesn't exist - and most researchers know better than to ask. Officially the famines and epidemics were and are still blamed on poor Fedual/Guomindang-era environmental management and poor weather, the period being dubbed the "Three Years of Natural Disasters". It didn't help that Mao's China had a schism with Nikita Khrushchev's Soviet Union - the "Sino-Soviet Split". This resulted in a complete withdrawal of Soviet technical assistance as the two fought small-scale, but increasingly intense, skirmishes along and across their mutually-disagreed-upon borders.

When the results of the Great Leap Forward became known to the party at large in 1961 the five-year plan was aborted in favour of a disaster-control (i.e. famine-relief) effort spearheaded by Deng Xiaoping, Mao's credibility as a governor was severely undermined and he resigned his position as Chairman. Consequently, official control of the party went to slightly less radical figures like Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping. Mao described himself as "dead ancestor" - praised but never consulted. In 1966, Mao made a comeback from the shadows of the party - The Cultural Revolution. History was revised and Liu and Deng were blamed for the 'Three Years of Natural Disasters' and subjected to re-education. Mao's newest Grand Crusade to completely destroy China's 'Feudal' and 'Reactionary' heritage of Daoism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and the Abrahamic religions. Mao's chosen pilgrims were the Red Guards, young ideological-extremists (largely students) who destroyed - or tried to destroy - pretty much every legacy of China's history pre-1949. They did a pretty good job, actually, but the Party leadership soon realised that the movement was getting way out of hand - the Red Guard were so convinced of their own (ideological) righteousness that they were actually beginning to criticise the Army and the higher echelons of the Party for being insufficiently communist. In the end, the People's Liberation Army was used to break up the movement - and some Red Guard even fought back. However, the movement was soon crushed and thousands of Party members, including Liu Shaoqi, were Mis-blamed for the failures of the Cultural Revolution and sentenced to re-eudcation or death. Mao slipped back out of the spotlight and into the shadows once more, from which he continued to influence the Party Leadership and its decision and ensure its Mao-ist orthodoxy.

Mao was increasingly senile - if not outright mentally ill - by the 1970s, and his wife Jiang Qing and three of her associates later took on a relatively prominent role within the party by 'speaking' for Mao until he died in 1976. Mao's immediate successor, Ma 'Two Whatevers' Guofangnote  turned on Jiang and her associates, who were accused of causing the entire cultural revolution by themselves - comfortably ignoring the massive popularity of the Red Guard movement - and 'purged' (executed) as 'The Gang of Four'. Deng Xiaoping, who was later re-habilitated, came to the fore for the third time and this time took leadership of the party from Ma on the basis of experimental economic reforms that could well mean the end of communism. This was totally unacceptable to Maoists within the party, but such was the legacy of the Great Leap Forward and The Cultural Revolution that Ma was toppled and Deng was in 1978 able to proclaim the SEZ - Special Economic Zone - experiment. Mao's cult of personality was still so strong that, despite the supremely dubious legacy, Deng felt unable to publicly criticise Mao for his failures until 1981. To this day, there are some who stil regard Mao - and not Sun Yat-sen/Zhongshan - as the Founding Father of modern China. This may be because the former's pretty-darn-obvious-to-us bungling is not quite so obvious in China, wherein all textbooks are still written by the Department of Education - and wherein the kiddies are told that Mao was fundamentally a good guy who made some mistakes. According to Deng, Mao was "seven parts right and three parts wrong". Like numerous party figures before and since, Deng found it very convenient in political terms to blame the Gang of Four for Mao's actions.

Deng Xiaoping managed to undo much of Mao's excesses, and later launched his campaign of To Get Rich Is Glorious, changing China's economy from a socialist based one into a market economy, which allowed for greater private enterprise and ownership. As such, today's China lies closer to Chiang Kai-shek's vision than Mao's own. In spite of this, Maoist memorabilia and "Red Tourism" to Mao's hometown still remain popular today in China due to nostalgia.

Mao is also well known as a poet and military leader, and author of several books dealing with guerrilla warfare and political theories. The most well known is Quotations from Chairman Mao, better known as the Little Red Book, one of the most printed books of all time.

Tropes Embodied by Mao

  • A Million is a Statistic: "Let us imagine how many people would die if war breaks out. There are 2.7 billion people in the world, and a third could be lost. If it is a little higher it could be half ... I say that if the worst came to the worst and one-half dies, there will still be one-half left, but imperialism would be razed to the ground and the whole world would become socialist. After a few years there would be 2.7 billion people again".
    • Note that historians still debate whether he was serious when he said this, or if it was just sabre-rattling (see Deadpan Snarker below).
  • ArchEnemy: to Chiang Kai-Shek.
  • Artistic License - Economics: the Great Leap Forward was intended to surpass Britain's industrial capacity at that time for a period of 15 years. It actually started well and had the right idea - initially. (Josef Stalin had, after all, managed a similarly rapid industrialization at a huge human cost). But numerous factors soon ruined the whole thing. Local officials inflating numbers and not reporting failures caused negative results to not be seen until too late. Mao getting overconfident and pushing production quotas upwards meant that farmers ended up abandoning their crops or melting their farming tools to meet the quotas. And the unchecked (but low quality) industrialization destroyed rivers or woods that fed the local ecosystem, destroying China's agricultural productivity and ultimately causing the starvation deaths of tens of millions of people.
    • The exact numbers are sketchy, but estimates range from 16.5 to 46 million - as with Stalin, there are almost as many estimates as there are authors. When we add victims of purges, labor camps and the invasion of Tibet, the death toll of Mao's regime could be anywhere up to 78 million, which is more people than died in all of World War 2 (though when we average all estimates we get "only" 45.7 million deaths). Incidentally, this makes Mao's regime the deadliest in the history of humanity in terms of sheer numbers. However, since China had a much larger population than the USSR or Nazi Germany, and Mao ruled a long time, you could make an argument that regimes like Hitler's, Stalin's, the Khmer Rogue and the Congo under Leopold were even worse than Mao's China since they killed off a larger percentage of their population.
    • Note that China is well known for its deadly famines and rebellions long before Mao. The Anshi Rebellion during the 700s was estimated to have killed 34 million people, half of China's population at the time, while the Taiping Rebellion during the 19th century killed at least 20 million people. Mao's predecessor Chiang Kai-Shek presided over the deadly 1942 Henan famine, which killed over three million - not that, of course, the Guomindang had any money to spare for famine relief given the debilitating expense of the war. Even Chiang's loyal troops in the Henan salient (the province was surrounded by the Japanese on three sides, and had to be supplied by ox-cart) were consistently underfed.
    • Made even worse after you realize that, after Mao was made aware of the problem, he still decided to keep it going for several years.
  • Badass Bookworm: Had no personal combat skills, but he was both an exceedingly callous and shrewd politician and a man fairly well-read in The Classics (courtesy of his position as Beijing University Librarian) and Marxist philosophy (again, largely due to his time in University). He made conscious efforts to emulate Sun Tzu in his writings on military tactics, though he was smart enough to appreciate his shortcomings as a military leader and leave the campaign- and strategic-planning to Lin Biao and his other Marshalls.
    • He and most of his cabinet - especially Zhou Enlai - liked to style themselves as bureaucrats of The Confucian Mode, a school which emphasized breadth of knowledge.
  • Bad Boss: His treatment of Liu Shaoqi and Zhou Enlai, among others, both of whom died of abuses by Red Guards.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Let's just say that he had a very, very unusual approach to ethics. Even his personal physician, when interviewed after Mao's death, said that Mao simply didn't think like other people.
  • Dead Guy on Display: His embalmed body is on display in a mausoleum in Beijing, (even though back in 1956, he signed a proposal that all central leaders should be creamated after death). Some claim that the body is actually just a wax sculpture (Mao died at the height of the Sino-Soviet split and the Russian enbalmers were notedly lackadaisical with their work).
  • Deadpan Snarker: He had a sarcastic sense of humor, to the point that it can sometimes be very difficult to tell whether he was advocating extreme measures or merely being snarky.
    Nikita Khruschev: "The difference between you and I, is that I came from peasant stock, but you are the son of a wealthy landlord"
    Mao: "Well, there is one similarity; each of us is traitor to his class."
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Many people, especially in mainland China, prefer to focus on his achievements in unifying the country and defeat of the GMD, rather than his political purges and excesses in the Cultural Revolution. (The official position of the Chinese Communist Party is that about two-thirds of what he did was good. His picture is still on the gate into the Forbidden City, and on all the banknotes.)
  • Ego Polis:
    • His hometown in Hunan as well as Beijing and Shanghai became essentially monuments to Mao till his death despite not one city in China was renamed as Mao Zedong City like in the case of his Vietnamese counterpart Ho Chi Minh (this renaming occured after Ho's death). note 
    • At one time, it was illegal in China to not have a picture of Chairman Mao or a copy of his book in your house.
    • Even today, it's not uncommon to get into a Chinese taxi and see a lucky charm with Mao's face dangling from the windscreen. There's a lot of Mao memorabilia around, especially in his home province of Hunan, and it comes in all sorts of forms - from badges and statues to calendars with teddy bears posed next to the Great Helmsman.
  • Epic Fail:
    • The Great Leap Forward started off well, being based on successful 1930s industrialization of the Soviet Union, but a number of factors caused it to crash and burn. Thus, it would have been more aptly described as the Great Leap Backward. Mao's entire campaign could be seen as this - he was a revolutionary hero and a master at gaining and maintaining political power over the world's biggest population, in other words, a good war leader. Unfortunately, he was quite incompetent at actually ruling the population. This was helped by him becoming increasingly paranoid and possibly certifiably insane during the later years of his life.
    • Many of the agricultural "innovations" used for the Great Leap were based on the ideas of the now discredited Soviet biologist Trofim Lysenko.
    • The Hundred Flowers Movement: Sometime after the establishment of the People's Republic, Mao felt that free expression of complaints and criticisms was part of a Socialist utopia and declared complete freedom on the matter. It...didn't go well. The movement was aborted and many people found themselves subjected to exile or re-education. There is still debate on whether Mao genuinely wanted to "let the thousand flowers bloom" or trick to expose people who were critical of the regime. For all we know, it went Just as Planned.
  • Farm Boy: Averted. Mao's father was born a very poor peasant, but managed to become a very well educated, wealthy Self-Made Man farmer.
  • Freudian Excuse:
    • ALL of his brothers and sisters either died young or were executed by the Kuomintang or local warlords.
    • He didn't get along with his father but his dad wasn't abusive either, by the standards of his time and culture.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Who would've guessed that a librarian would become one of the most notorious dictators in world history?
  • Full-Circle Revolution: In many ways, Mao ended up being another link in a long chain of emperors and dictators who ruled China with an iron fist and under whose rule millions died, including his predecessor Chiang Kai-Shek. Mao's regime was different, however, in that it was far stronger than anything that had come before it - the central governments of the Chinese Empires had been notoriously weak, and Chiang's Guomindang had never managed to establish control over more than six of China's provinces (the others being controlled by 'friendly' warlords). Mao's was the first Chinese regime to make all the country's regional and local governments (except of course Taiwan) obey it in all things.
  • Iconic Outfit: The Mao Suit, although in China it's called the Zhongshan Suit, named after Dr. Sun Yat-sen.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Supposedly, he never brushed his teeth because tigers never brushed theirs.
  • Just Following Orders: Jiang Qing, Mao's wife, claimed this after he died.
    "I was Chairman Mao's dog. I bit whomever he asked me to bite."
  • Kavorka Man: According to his personal doctor, he didn't believe in brushing teeth, and gargled with tea instead. Reportedly, this caused his teeth to turn green. Also according to his personal doctor, he never partook in any reproductive hygiene, which led to the spread of ST Ds among the women he slept with. He claimed he didn't need to bother, that "he bathed himself in the bodies of women."
  • Lowest Common Denominator: Some of his writings, particularly the so-called Little Red Book, were written with an audience of peasants and poor workers in mind.
  • Majored in Western Hypocrisy: Averted, he enrolled in and dropped out of half a dozen high schools and professional schools. He did most of his studying by himself, while he was a librarian at Peking University. Unlike most of his cabinet, he never went to university or went overseas.
  • Necessary Evil: Mao still has numerous admirers in mainland China today, especially among the older generation. While Mao had his excesses, the same can also be said of Chiang Kai-shek's government and the warlord cliques he was allied with, as well as Imperial Japan.
  • Never My Fault: Quite similar to Stalin when it came down to this, Mao was one of those leaders who would never admit to their own error for fear of damaging their authority, but because the people needed someone to blame, it was usually the other government officials who got blamed. This is quite ironic considering that a large number of his famous quotations (from the Little Red Book) are devoted to promoting the qualities of humility, mercy and self-criticism. However, he stepped down as Premier when he found out the results of the Great Leap Forward, in order to avoid the spotlight.
  • Rebel Leader: He was one during the Chinese civil war and the war against Japan. Although propaganda has certainly overstated his wartime success, Mao is still considered an authority on guerrilla warfare, his doctrines being followed by Che Guevara and Ho Chi Minh.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: As the last Guomindang and anti-Communist holdouts were exterminated (in 1950), there was a round-up of Guomindang and Warlord personnel and troops, and political dissidents. Most were put through re-education (through labour) camps, but those personnel and troops deemed a threat to the regime were liquidated alongside the country's landlord families, who were given public show trials for their Crimes Against the People and executed (though the [young] children of landlord parents were sometimes spared on the grounds that they could be re-educated to love the peasantry). Also, the Cultural Revolution he initiated.
    • He provides the page quote for that trope.
  • The Starscream: Following the split with Nikita Khrushchev, he attempted China's displacement of Joseph Stalin's Soviet Union as the most powerful Communist country.
    • Mao also had a tendency to regard his successors as this (and after Krushchev's secret speech denouncing Joseph Stalin after the latter's death, feared the same would happen to him as well), hence his Bad Boss treatment of some party members unfortunate enough to become his Number Two.
  • Un-Person: To Lin Biao. Even though in early propaganda he is shown as Mao's successor and appeared alongside, if you flip through older books post-1971, you will see Lin's face and name neatly scribbled out by dutiful readers. Although in recent years, Lin has been reappraised for his military skills among China's "Ten Marshals".
    • During the Cultural Revolution, Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping was officially purged and denounced as capitalist running dogs, which saw the death of the former. Following the end of the revolution, the former has been politically rehabilitated, while Deng is admired today as the architect of China's economic reforms.
    • Ironically, the modern CCP is trying to distance itself away from Mao's legacy, and in recent school textbooks Mao only bears one paragraph's mention.
  • Values Dissonance: Reception of Mao's legacy greatly differ between those living in China and those living outside of it. Let's leave it at that.
  • Warrior Poet: Mao wrote quite a few poems during the war against the Nationalists and Japan. The poems are generally considered to be of surprisingly good literary quality, though their veracity is doubtful. It is also claimed that he was a skilled calligrapher; many Chinese institutions still use Mao's calligraphy as logo.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer: Mao had an obsession with starting Revolutions whenever problems turned up. In essence, his philosophy is closer to those of Leon Trotsky than Joseph Stalin. It's ironic considering that Mao idealized Stalin and was a staunch anti-Trotskyist (for his part, Stalin had a very low opinion of Mao, considering him a "caveman Marxist" and originally favoured Chiang-Kai Shek - despite the fact that Chiang was openly anti-communist!).

In Fiction

  • Forrest Gump (the book) saved him from drowning.
  • The Simpsons: The episode "Goo Goo Gai Pan" had the Simpson family go to China, and on the way they visit Mao's mausoleum. When Homer came up to Mao's body, he said to it quietly: "Aww, look at him. He's like a little angel that killed 50 million people. Yes you are! Yes you are!" This episode was Banned in China.
    • Note that in Real Life you cannot approach Mao's corpse, you have to march past reverently. There are so many people who come to see him that you really can't stop. Rumor is because the embalmer did a very poor job, and they don't want anyone to find out.
  • In a Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch, Mao appears on a quiz show along with Karl Marx, Lenin and Che Guevara.
  • In one of the early Spider-Man comics by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, Harry Osborn tells Peter Parker that he's about as popular at Empire State University as Mao. This meant that he was unpopular, as it was before the college fad for Marxism in the late 1960s.
  • In the OVA of The Legend of Koizumi, Koizumi's aura is so powerful, it actually causes Mao to rise from the grave so he and Koizumi can engage in a Mahjong battle. Mao teams up with Pol Pot for the match. Mao loses the match, but earns Koizumi's respect as a Worthy Opponent.
  • Z.G. Li and Joy meet him in Dreams Of Joy, which takes place in China during the 1950s.
  • Playable in Civilization I to IV. One of the more peaceful leaders, but he's quick to take offense if you ally with anyone he doesn't like. Tends to sink to the bottom of the list near the endgame.
    • Ironically in the Chinese version of Civilization IV, he was replaced by Emperor Tang Taizong.
  • The modern opera Nixon In China naturally features Mao (along with Jiang Qing, Zhou Enlai, and of course Richard and Pat Nixon).
  • The movie Nixon features Mao as someone who, during the meeting with Nixon, shows disinterest in politics and diplomacy and more in how Kissinger gets so many girls, to which Kissinger responds with the immortal phrase: "Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac".

Malcolm XUseful NotesMarie Antoinette
Sir Thomas MoreHistorical-Domain CharacterMaria Theresa

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