Mao Zedong quotes

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Mao Zedong

Birthdate: 26. December 1893
Date of death: 9. September 1976

Mao Zedong , also known as Chairman Mao, was a Chinese communist revolutionary who became the founding father of the People's Republic of China, which he ruled as the Chairman of the Communist Party of China from its establishment in 1949 until his death in 1976. His theories, military strategies, and political policies are collectively known as Maoism.

Mao was the son of a wealthy farmer in Shaoshan, Hunan. He had a Chinese nationalist and anti-imperialist outlook early in his life, and was particularly influenced by the events of the Xinhai Revolution of 1911 and May Fourth Movement of 1919. He later adopted Marxism–Leninism while working at Peking University, and became a founding member of the Communist Party of China , leading the Autumn Harvest Uprising in 1927. During the Chinese Civil War between the Kuomintang and the CPC, Mao helped to found the Chinese Workers' and Peasants' Red Army, led the Jiangxi Soviet's radical land policies, and ultimately became head of the CPC during the Long March. Although the CPC temporarily allied with the KMT under the United Front during the Second Sino-Japanese War , China's civil war resumed after Japan's surrender and in 1949 Mao's forces defeated the Nationalist government, which withdrew to Taiwan.

On October 1, 1949, Mao proclaimed the foundation of the People's Republic of China , a single-party state controlled by the CPC. In the following years he solidified his control through land reforms and through a psychological victory in the Korean War, as well as through campaigns against landlords, people he termed "counter-revolutionaries", and other perceived enemies of the state. In 1957 he launched a campaign known as the Great Leap Forward that aimed to rapidly transform China's economy from agrarian to industrial. This campaign led to the deadliest famine in history and the deaths of an estimated minimum of 45 million people between 1958 and 1962. In 1966, Mao initiated the Cultural Revolution, a program to remove "counter-revolutionary" elements in Chinese society which lasted 10 years and was marked by violent class struggle, widespread destruction of cultural artifacts, and an unprecedented elevation of Mao's cult of personality. The program is now officially regarded as a "severe setback" for the PRC. In 1972, Mao welcomed American President Richard Nixon in Beijing, signalling the start of a policy of opening China to the world. After years of ill health, Mao suffered a series of heart attacks in 1976 and died at the age of 82. He was succeeded as paramount leader by Premier Hua Guofeng, who was quickly sidelined and replaced by Deng Xiaoping.

A controversial figure, Mao is regarded as one of the most important and influential individuals in modern world history. He is also known as a political intellect, theorist, military strategist, poet, and visionary. Supporters credit him with driving imperialism out of China, modernising the nation and building it into a world power, promoting the status of women, improving education and health care, as well as increasing life expectancy as China's population grew from around 550 million to over 900 million under his leadership. Conversely, his regime has been called autocratic and totalitarian, and condemned for bringing about mass repression and destroying religious and cultural artifacts and sites. It was additionally responsible for vast numbers of deaths with estimates ranging from 30 to 70 million victims.

Works

„Be resolute, fear no sacrifice and surmount every difficulty to win victory.“

—  Mao Zedong

Chapter 19 https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/mao/works/red-book/ch19.htm; originally published in The Foolish Old Man Who Removed the Mountains (June 11, 1945), Selected Works, Vol. III, p. 321.
Quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong (The Little Red Book)
Original: (zh) 下定决心,不怕牺牲,排除万难,去争取胜利。

„The more books you read, the more stupid you become.“

—  Mao Zedong

Speech (26 June 1965), quoted in Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, Mao: The Unknown Story (2005), p. 507
1960s

„We should support whatever our enemies oppose and oppose whatever our enemies support.“

—  Mao Zedong

Fánshì dírén fǎnduì de, wǒmen jiù yào yǒnghù; fánshì dírén yǒnghù de, wǒmen jiù yào fǎnduì.
If the enemy opposes, we must support it; if the enemy supports it, we must oppose it.
Chapter 2 https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/mao/works/red-book/ch02.htm, originally published in Interview with Three Correspondents from the Central News Agency, the Sao Tang Pao and the Hsin Min Pao (September 16, 1939), Selected Works, Vol. II, p. 272.
Quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong (The Little Red Book)
Original: (zh_Hant) 凡是敵人反對的,我們就要擁護;凡是敵人擁護的,我們就要反對。

„Strategically we should despise all our enemies, while tactically we should take them all seriously.“

—  Mao Zedong

Speech http://books.google.com/books?id=ftv7ks-Ehq0C&q=%22strategically+we+should+despise+all+our+enemies+while+tactically+we+should+take+them+all+seriously%22&pg=PA789#v=onepage in Moscow at the meeting of Communist and Workers Parties of Socialist Countries https://www.marxists.org/history/international/comintern/sino-soviet-split/other/1957declaration.htm (18 November 1957)

„Marxists should not be afraid of criticism from any quarter. Quite the contrary, they need to temper and develop themselves and win new positions in the teeth of criticism and in the storm and stress of struggle. Fighting against wrong ideas is like being vaccinated -- a man develops greater immunity from disease as a result of vaccination. Plants raised in hothouses are unlikely to be hardy. Carrying out the policy of letting a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend will not weaken, but strengthen, the leading position of Marxism in the ideological field.“

—  Mao Zedong

" VIII. ON "LET A HUNDRED FLOWERS BLOSSOM LET A HUNDRED SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT CONTEND" AND "LONG-TERM COEXISTENCE AND MUTUAL SUPERVISION" "
On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People
Original: (zh-CN) 马克思主义者不应该害怕任何人批评。相反,马克思主义者就是要在人们的批评中间,就是要在斗争的风雨中间,锻炼自己,发展自己,扩大自己的阵地。同错误思想作斗争,好比种牛痘,经过了牛痘疫苗的作用,人身上就增强免疫力。在温室里培养出来的东西,不会有强大的生命力。实行百花齐放、百家争鸣的方针,并不会削弱马克思主义在思想界的领导地位,相反地正是会加强它的这种地位。

„Maybe you're afraid of sinking. Don't think about it. If you don't think about it, you won't sink. If you do, you will.“

—  Mao Zedong

Swimming advice to physician Zhisui Li (1966), quoted in The TIME 100 (13 April 1998) http://www.time.com/time/time100/leaders/profile/mao.html

„I ask, on this bondless land
Who rules over man's destiny?“

—  Mao Zedong

Changsha (1925)
Context: Alone I stand in the autumn cold
On the tip of Orange Island,
Xiang flowing northward;
I see a thousand hills crimsoned through
By their serried woods deep-dyed,
And a hundred barges vying
Over crystal blue waters.
Eagles cleave the air,
Fish glide under the shallow water;
Under freezing skies a million creatures contend in freedom.
Brooding over this immensity,
I ask, on this bondless land
Who rules over man's destiny?

„Marxist philosophy holds that the law of the unity of opposites is the fundamental law of the universe. This law operates universally, whether in the natural world, in human society, or in man's thinking. Between the opposites in a contradiction there is at once unity and struggle, and it is this that impels things to move and change. Contradictions exist everywhere, but they differ in accordance with the different nature of different things. In any given phenomenon or thing, the unity of opposites is conditional, temporary and transitory, and hence relative, whereas the struggle of opposites is absolute.“

—  Mao Zedong

On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People
Original: (zh-CN) 马克思主义的哲学认为,对立统一规律是宇宙的根本规律。这个规律,不论在自然界、人类社会和人们的思想中,都是普遍存在的。矛盾着的对立面又统一,又斗争,由此推动事物的运动和变化。矛盾是普遍存在的,不过按事物的性质不同,矛盾的性质也就不同。对于任何一个具体的事物说来,对立的统一是有条件的、暂时的、过渡的,因而是相对的,对立的斗争则是绝对的。

„A revolution is not a dinner party“

—  Mao Zedong

Chapter 2 https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/mao/works/red-book/ch02.htm, originally published in Report on an investigation of the peasant movement in Hunan http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/mao/selected-works/volume-1/mswv1_2.htm (March 1927), Selected Works, Vol. I, p. 28.
https://www.marxists.org/chinese/big5/nonmarxists/mao/19270300.htm.湖南農民運動考察報告
Quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong (The Little Red Book)
Context: A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery. It cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentle, so temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another.

„Contradiction and struggle are universal and absolute“

—  Mao Zedong, book On Contradiction

On Contradiction (1937)
Context: Contradiction and struggle are universal and absolute, but the methods of resolving contradictions, that is, the forms of struggle, differ according to the differences in the nature of the contradictions. Some contradictions are characterized by open antagonism and others are not. In accordance with the concrete development of things, some contradictions, which were originally non-antagonistic, develop into antagonistic ones, while others which were originally antagonistic develop into non-antagonistic ones.

„Every Communist must grasp the truth: Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.“

—  Mao Zedong

Chapter 5 https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/mao/works/red-book/ch05.htm, originally published in Problems of War and Strategy (November 6, 1938), Selected Works, Vol. II, p. 224.
Quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong (The Little Red Book)
Original: (zh) 枪杆子里面出政权

„Today, two big mountains lie like a dead weight on the Chinese people. One is imperialism, the other is feudalism.“

—  Mao Zedong

The Foolish Old Man Who Removed the Mountains (1945)
Context: There is an ancient Chinese fable called "The Foolish Old Man Who Removed the Mountains". It tells of an old man who lived in northern China long, long ago and was known as the Foolish Old Man of North Mountain. His house faced south and beyond his doorway stood the two great peaks, Taihang and Wangwu, obstructing the way. He called his sons, and hoe in hand they began to dig up these mountains with great determination. Another graybeard, known as the Wise Old Man, saw them and said derisively, "How silly of you to do this! It is quite impossible for you few to dig up those two huge mountains." The Foolish Old Man replied, "When I die, my sons will carry on; when they die, there will be my grandsons, and then their sons and grandsons, and so on to infinity. High as they are, the mountains cannot grow any higher and with every bit we dig, they will be that much lower. Why can't we clear them away?" Having refuted the Wise Old Man's wrong view, he went on digging every day, unshaken in his conviction. God was moved by this, and he sent down two angels, who carried the mountains away on their backs. Today, two big mountains lie like a dead weight on the Chinese people. One is imperialism, the other is feudalism. The Chinese Communist Party has long made up its mind to dig them up. We must persevere and work unceasingly, and we, too, will touch God's heart. Our God is none other than the masses of the Chinese people. If they stand up and dig together with us, why can't these two mountains be cleared away?

„Our God is none other than the masses of the Chinese people.“

—  Mao Zedong

The Foolish Old Man Who Removed the Mountains (1945)
Context: There is an ancient Chinese fable called "The Foolish Old Man Who Removed the Mountains". It tells of an old man who lived in northern China long, long ago and was known as the Foolish Old Man of North Mountain. His house faced south and beyond his doorway stood the two great peaks, Taihang and Wangwu, obstructing the way. He called his sons, and hoe in hand they began to dig up these mountains with great determination. Another graybeard, known as the Wise Old Man, saw them and said derisively, "How silly of you to do this! It is quite impossible for you few to dig up those two huge mountains." The Foolish Old Man replied, "When I die, my sons will carry on; when they die, there will be my grandsons, and then their sons and grandsons, and so on to infinity. High as they are, the mountains cannot grow any higher and with every bit we dig, they will be that much lower. Why can't we clear them away?" Having refuted the Wise Old Man's wrong view, he went on digging every day, unshaken in his conviction. God was moved by this, and he sent down two angels, who carried the mountains away on their backs. Today, two big mountains lie like a dead weight on the Chinese people. One is imperialism, the other is feudalism. The Chinese Communist Party has long made up its mind to dig them up. We must persevere and work unceasingly, and we, too, will touch God's heart. Our God is none other than the masses of the Chinese people. If they stand up and dig together with us, why can't these two mountains be cleared away?

„The army must become one with the people so that they see it as their own army.“

—  Mao Zedong

Such an army will be invincible....
On Protracted Warfare (1938)

„A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another.“

—  Mao Zedong

Chapter 2 https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/mao/works/red-book/ch02.htm, originally published in Report on an investigation of the peasant movement in Hunan http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/mao/selected-works/volume-1/mswv1_2.htm (March 1927), Selected Works, Vol. I, p. 28.
https://www.marxists.org/chinese/big5/nonmarxists/mao/19270300.htm.湖南農民運動考察報告
Quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong (The Little Red Book)
Context: A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery. It cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentle, so temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another.

„Weapons are an important factor in war, but not the decisive factor; it is people, not things that are decisive.“

—  Mao Zedong

On Protracted Warfare (1938)
Context: Weapons are an important factor in war, but not the decisive factor; it is people, not things that are decisive. The contest of strength is not only a contest of military and economic power, but also a contest of human power and morale. People necessarily wield military and economic power.

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