October 20, 2011

Mao Tse-Tung Killer File Part 1 of 5

[source: More or Less]

AKA Chairman Mao, AKA 'The Great Helmsman'. (Tse-Tung can also be spelt Zedong. In translation the name means 'To Shine on the East'.)

Country: China

Kill tally: As many as 45 million deaths from starvation during the 'Great Leap Forward'. Tens of thousands killed and millions of lives ruined during the 'Cultural Revolution'.

Background: The Chinese begin to emerge as a distinct civilisation around 2500 BC. China develops as an imperial power in 221 BC when rival states are unified under the First Emperor. The following 2,000 years will see a succession of dynasties, although strict cultural traditions will gradually suffocate innovation and development. The increased influence of Western powers during the 19th Century and expansionary incursions by the Russians and Japanese further weakens the imperial system, which is also faced with growing internal dissent.

The republican revolution begins among discontented army units in Wuchang in Hubei Province on 10 October 1911 and quickly spreads. By late November 15 of country's the 24 provinces have declared their independence. On 12 February 1912 the last Manchu emperor, the child Puyi, abdicates. On 10 March Yuan Shikai, the commander-in-chief of the Imperial Army, is sworn in as provisional president of the Republic of China at a ceremony held in Beijing. More background.

1912 - The Guomindang (Kuomintang or KMT - the National People's Party, or Nationalist Party) is formed in August. The party wins the majority of seats in elections held in February 1913 for the new, two-house parliament, but is forced to install the now dictatorial Yuan Shikai as president. To achieve international recognition, the new regime agrees to grant autonomy to Outer Mongolia and Tibet, which has now come under British influence.

In November Yuan Shikai makes a grab for absolute power, dissolving the Guomindang, removing its members from parliament and rewriting the constitution to make him president for life. By the time Yuan dies in 1916 China has become a theatre of conflict among "warlords" (provincial military leaders). Japan, recognising an opportunity to expand on territory annexed during the First Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95, seizes the Shandong Province (across the Yellow Sea from Korea).

1919 - On 4 May about 3,000 student gather in Tiananmen Square in Beijing to demonstrate against the Yuan Shikai government's acceptance of a clause in the 'Treaty of Versailles' settlement of the First World War that transfers Germany's rights in the Shandong Province to Japan.

The protests develop into the so-called 'May Fourth Movement'. Chinese nationalism is revitalised as intellectuals call for the modernisation and democratisation of society.

Mao is working as a library assistant at Beijing University when the movement begins. The period will mark his emergence as a Marxist-Leninist, although counter to Marxist-Leninist orthodoxy he will come to believe that the greatest potential for revolution in China lies with the peasantry rather than the urban proletariat. He returns to Changsha to promote the movement there but is forced to flee following a crackdown by a local warlord.

Also inspired by the movement, the Guomindang is reestablished in October and, with the aid of local warlords, quickly takes control of the south of China.

1920 - Mao returns to Changsha as head of a primary school and attempts to organise education for the masses. When his efforts are suppressed he turns to politics, forming a small communist group in Changsha.

1921 - The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) holds its First National Congress in Shanghai in July. The party is backed by the Soviet Union. It has only 57 members, 13 of who attend the congress. Mao participates in the meeting, acting as the recording secretary, and is appointed as the party's general secretary for Hunan Province, where on his return he begins to organise labour unions and strikes.

Meanwhile, Mao marries Yang Kaihui, the daughter of one of his teachers at the provincial normal school in Changsha and an active communist. The couple will have three sons, one of who dies as an infant. Around 1927 Mao will abandon his family to pursue his revolutionary goals.

1922 - When its alliance with the warlords collapses, the Guomindang turns to the newly established Soviet Union for help. The Soviets pledge to support both the Guomindang and the emerging CCP with their struggle for national unification. The dual support results in a Guomindang-CCP alliance, although the Guomindang vastly outnumbers the CCP, which now has only 123 members. Mao, who enthusiastically supports the alliance, works in the combined executive committees of the CCP and the Guomindang from his new base in Shanghai.

1923 - Chiang Kai-shek, a rising member of the Guomindang, is sent to Moscow for military and political training. Mao, meanwhile, becomes a full-time worker for the CCP, organising peasant and industrial unions. At the CCP's Third National Congress held at Guangzhou in June 1923 Mao is elected to the party Central Committee. By October 1925 he has become the acting head of the Guomindang's propaganda department.

1925 - Chiang, who has assumed the leadership of the Guomindang following the death of the movement's founder, launches a campaign against the northern warlords that captures half of China within nine months. However, the alliance with the CCP is beginning to crumble.

1927 - The split comes in July when Chiang turns violently on the CCP, executing many of its leaders and up to 3,500 party sympathisers. The Soviets shift their allegiance to the communists, who initiate a series of unsuccessful insurrection attempts, the 'Autumn Harvest Uprisings', including one led by Mao in Hunan Province.

Unperturbed, Mao begins to act on his belief that a successful revolution in China will have to spring from the peasantry, establishing peasant "soviets" (communist-run local governments) in the mountainous region along the border between Hunan and Jiangxi provinces. He also organises peasant and worker guerrilla forces that, by the end of the year, number about 10,000 troops, forming the nucleus of the Red Army. Mao's activities attract the attention the local Guomindang militia. He is captured and taken to be shot but manages to escape, only narrowly avoiding death.

Meanwhile, the CCP, which now has over 10,000 members on its party rolls, elects its first Political Bureau (Politburo) at its Fifth National Party Congress held in Wuhan in April and May.

1928 - Chiang and the Guomindang now control all of China. Nanking (now Nanjing) is made their capital, and will remain so for the next decade. The CCP now numbers 40,000.

Japan, meanwhile, sends troops to China to obstruct attempts by the Guomindang to unify the country. In June officers in the Kwantung (Guandong) Army, the Japanese Army unit stationed in Manchuria, begin an unauthorised campaign to precipitate a war with China. Both the Japanese high command and the Chinese refuse to take the bait.

1930 - Mao's sister and his second wife, Yang Kaihui, are executed by the nationalist governor of Hunan Province. Later the same year he marries again, to He Zichen, a schoolteacher and communist with whom he had been living since 1928. The couple will have five children. Also late in the year Mao puts down a revolt by soldiers in the small town of Futian in the Jiangxi province. It is reported that 2,000-3,000 officers and men are executed on Mao's orders.

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