Mao Anying was the son of Mao Zedong. He fought for China in various wars, before ultimately being killed in the Korean War. Mao Zedong did not know about his death for about two months, despite being the head of government of China. Mao had originally groomed Anying to succeed him as the head of China but after Anying died none of Mao’s other children or wives were fit to succeed him so he appointed non-relative successor Hua Guofeng.
27. When Hua Guofeng arrived in Beijing in February 1971, he was virtually unknown. Yet just five-and-a-half years later he succeeded Mao as China’s paramount leader, catapulted over the heads of veteran revolutionaries, seasoned senior administrators, and accomplished Marxist theoreticians.
28. Mao Zedong was personally struck by the loss of his son, Mao Anqing, during the Korean War, a war he had effectively started. North Korea and China commemorated each other’s support in their struggle against the United States and there is a Chinese soldiers’ cemetery north of Pyongyang.
29. After Mao Zedong promised that China’s steel production would one day surpass England’s and America’s, many children born in China in 1958 and 1959 were named ‘Chaoying’ (Surpass England) or ‘Chaomei’ (Overtake America).
30. In 1959, Nikita Khrushchev described Mao Zedong to a Chinese diplomat as an “old boot that needs to be thrown out.” ‘Old boot’ in Chinese meant prostitute, which led Chinese officials to believe Mao had been insulted as an ‘old whore’ due to misinterpretation.
31Mao Zedong's STDs
Mao Zedong infected several women with an STD. However, the young women were proud to be infected. The illness transmitted by Mao was a badge of honor and testimony to their close relations with the Chairman, according to his doctor.
32. No one in China expected that Chairman Mao would die, so there were no preparations at all for his death. Mao’s body was drained of fluids, injected with formaldehyde, and it was said his head swelled up “like a football.”
33. Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward campaign intended to turn China from an agrarian nation into an industrialized one. To win favor with their superiors and avoid being purged, each layer in Mao’s party exaggerated the amount of grain produced under them. Therefore the state requested a disproportionately high amount of that fictitious harvest for state use. Farmers were left with little food for themselves. Millions starved and many resorted to cannibalism. There were reports of people eating the dead and parents eating their own children.
34. The Four Pests Campaign of 1958 was the first action taken in Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward. With this, he intended to eliminate rats, flies, mosquitoes, and sparrows from China. He suspected that a single sparrow consumed four pounds of grain per year. The program was successful in eliminating sparrows, but it had the unintended effect of bug populations exploding that ate all the crops due to the fact that their natural predator was no more. 20 million Chinese died as a result of the ensuing famine. Despite the widespread famine, China continued to be a net exporter, as Mao sought to maintain face and convince the world of the success of his plans. Foreign aid was refused.
35. Mao Zedong declared South Asian tigers as “enemies of the people” and as a result of several “anti-pest” campaigns that were launched by him, these animals were brought to the brink of extinction.
36Taiwan's North Korean Connection
North Korea exists because Taiwan exists: China was prevented by the US 7th Fleet from invading Taiwan in June 1950, so Mao Zedong announced China would enter the Korean war with the invasion force originally intended for Taiwan, and by October this force saved North Korea from imminent defeat.
37. In 1956, Mao Zedong was so angry with Kim Il Sung that he told Moscow he might use the 400,000 Chinese troops still in North Korea to “help Kim Il-sung correct his mistakes,” a thinly veiled proposal to depose him. However, Mao later came to regard Kim as a loyal son, to the point of promising him that if the United States attacked the North, Kim could use China’s northeastern provinces as a rear area under his own command.
38. Mao Zedong killed anywhere between 40-70 million of his own people (as much as the Bubonic plague, which is more than Hitler and Stalin combined) and yet is still considered one of the most important individuals in modern world history.
39. Tian Han, the lyricist for China’s national anthem, was later denounced and accused of criticizing Chairman Mao Zedong and the CCP with his play, ultimately dying in prison during the Cultural Revolution.
40. China only has a single time zone. It used to have five, but in 1949 Mao Zedong changed the entire country’s zone to Bejing’s time to promote ‘national unity.’
Mao Zedong’s granddaughter Kong Dongmei earned a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1999 and is on the list of China’s wealthiest. As the president of a cultural company, with a bookshop aimed at protecting Communist culture, Kong has capitalized on her grandfather's name.
42. In 1973, Mao Zedong told USA’s National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger that China had an excess of females and offered the U.S. 10 million Chinese women. He further said, “They give birth to children and our children are too many.” Kissinger in response replied: “It is such a novel proposition, we will have to study it.”
43. The culture of the People’s Republic of China before 1978 was highly influenced by the personality cult of Mao Zedong. Most people were required to recite quotations of Chairman Mao and printed material at that time usually quoted Mao’s words in bold as well as in the preface. In fact, the book “Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung,” which included quotations from Mao, could be found in bookstores in 117 countries and territories around the world by 1967. Some sources claim that over 6.5 billion printed volumes of it have been distributed to date. It was essentially an unofficial requirement for every Chinese citizen to own, read, and carry at all times.
44. Mao Zedong only traveled outside China twice in his 28-year leadership, both times to the Soviet Union.
45. During China’s 1st National People’s Congress in 1954, Mao Zedong won the Chairmanship Election with 1210 in favor, 0 against and 0 abstain. There were 1226 deputies to Congress.
46Mao's View on Evolution
Mao Zedong rejected evolution by natural selection and instead believed that animals evolved as a result of continual effort. He believed that you should be able to make your future kids’ necks longer by stretching yours.
47. When they were young communists, Mao Zedong was jealous of his 2nd in command Zhou Enlai’s good looks. Similarly, Mao’s future wife Jiang Qing was jealous of Zhou Enlai’s adopted daughter Sun Weishi’s beauty and popularity with men. Lin Biao who was a Marshall in CCP proposed to her. Lin Biao’s wife Ye Qun was also jealous of Sun. Decades later, during the Cultural Revolution, Mao and Jiang Qing locked up Sun Weishi, where she was tortured, gang-raped, and was eventually found dead naked with her arms and legs still shackled. When Zhou found out, he was shattered and ordered an autopsy, but Mao and Jiang immediately ordered Sun to be cremated. At the time, Lin Biao had become Mao’s designated successor, but he and Ye Qun would die less than 3 years later under strange circumstances in a plane crash (allegedly in a failed attempt to defect to the Soviet Union).
48. Many Chinese competed to see who was more loyal to Chairman Mao when he died. Groups of people wept in front of Mao’s portraits, beating their chests, screaming and howling as if in a wailing competition.
49. On October 6, 1976, after the death of Mao Zedong, the ‘Gang of four,’ a political faction of Communist party officials (headed by Mao Zedong’s last wife), who had total control over media and played a crucial role in the Cultural Revolution, were arrested. Jiang Qing, Mao Zedong’s widow was tried and sentenced to death. Though her sentence was commuted to a life sentence, she eventually committed suicide.
50. The official portrait of Mao Zedong in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square measures 6 x 4.6 meters and it must be re-painted and re-hung every year to this day due to the effects of weather and air pollution. Official Artist Ge Xiaoguang has been responsible for painting it since he was 18 in 1971 (as of January 2022).