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Mao Zedong

Political Leader

Born: 26 December 1893
Died: 9 September 1976 (Natural causes)
Birthplace: XiangTan, Hunan Province, China
Best known as: Head of the People's Republic of China, 1949-76
Mao Zedong (also Mao Tse-Tung) was the world's most prominent Chinese communist during the 20th century. Mao's Red Army overthrew Chiang Kai-Shek in 1949, and the communists seized power of mainland China. Ruthless and ambitious, Mao turned China into a world military power and created a cult of personality, forcing the distribution of his image and his "Little Red Book" (a collection of political maxims) upon the Chinese people. His campaign to export communism made China a threat to the West and led to confrontations in Southeast Asia and Korea. Under Mao's rule China endured a series of economic disasters and political terrorism, but for more than 25 years Mao was China, as far as the rest of the world was concerned. After his death, leaders like Deng Xiaoping steered the country away from pure communism, and the Cult of Mao began to disappear. These days Mao is ranked among the worst of 20th century dictators. alongside Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler.

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