Category: Mass Murder
Date: 1943 - 1975
Crime: As the leader of the Communist Peoples Republic of China, his policies and political purges are said to have resulted in the deaths of between 50 and 70 million people, yet he is regarded as one of the most influential figures in modern world history.
Biography: Mao was born on December 26, 1893 in Hunan. As a youth he loved to swim in local streams and carried on this physical activity for the rest of his days. His youth was spent in a China that appeared to be coming apart at the seams. The ruling dynasty seemed unable to control the social and economic unrest that was sweeping the nation. In 1911, Mao enlisted in the military fighting on the side of the revolutionaries who were determined to overthrow the ruling dynasty. After the revolution, he returned to school to finish his studies. In the 1920's, Mao was introduced to Communist principles and engrossed himself in the subject, even serving as a commissar with the party and charged with organizing in his native Hunan. In the early 30's, he established the Soviet Republic of China and began his military domination and suppression of those that opposed his views. He is said to have instituted violent forms of torture and suppression, ultimately leading to the deaths of more than 180,000 soldiers of the Red Army. After World War II, with the United States supporting Mao's opposition, while the Russians secretly supported Mao, his People's Liberation Army conducted a siege in the city of Changchun, leading to the deaths of at least 160,000 civilians. Mao's People's Republic of China was established on October 1, 1949, after which his relentless campaigns of repression and targeted executions against anyone who was considered not loyal to the Republic. In the late 50's, Mao instituted an economic program called 'The Great Leap Forward' which reduced agricultural development in favor of industrial development. This led to the Great Chinese Famine which caused the deaths of tens of millions. This was followed by Mao's Cultural Revolution in 1966, whereby schools were closed and millions were prosecuted in an attempt to protect against liberal influences against the socialist framework. This so-called revolution was declared over by Mao in 1969, but historians agree that the violence and persecution continued right up until Mao's death of a heart attack in 1976.