Mao Zedong, the founding father of the People's Republic of China, was a controversial figure. His Marxist–Leninist theories, military strategies and communist ideas, especially his “Great Leap Forward” campaign, where he attempted to rapidly transform China's economy from an agrarian economy to an industrial one, led to widespread famine resulting in the death of an estimated 45 million people. Through starvation, forced labor and executions, Mao killed a total of 70 million Chinese during his 27-years tenure as the Chairman of Communist Party of China.
But in mainland China, Mao is still revered by many supporters of the Communist Party and respected by the majority of the general population for bringing unity and stability to the country, and for laying the foundation for China to become a world power. In their hearts, Mao Zedong represents the embodiment of fairness and justice. It’s a fact that during his rule, status of women rose, education and health care improved, and life expectancy increased. It’s no surprise then, that his portrait still stares out over Beijing’s Tiananmen Square and his face still appears on banknotes. There is even a gigantic bust of a Young Mao Zedong in Orange Isle, in Hunan.
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