10. Born December 26, 1893, Mao Zedong served as the leader of China’s Communist Party (CCP) from 1935 until his death in 1976. He led China’s communist revolution and was the Chief of State from 1949 to 1959. Mao Zedong grew up in a farming village and began middle school in Changsha, a city that was heavily involved in the revolution to overthrow Emperor Puyi, an absolute ruler. During the Xinhai Revolution, Mao joined the rebel army as a soldier, but did not participate in fighting. Mao later moved to Beijing where he worked under Li Dazhao who was an early chinese communist. Influenced by Li and the May Fourth Movement, Mao established a branch of the Communist party in Changsha. The newly formed CCP entered an alliance with the Nationalist Party, but it was short lived as the CCP almost collapsed after Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek expelled all communists from positions in the Nationalist Party. However, Mao formed an army of peasants and was able to defeat Chiang Kai-shek to take control of China. After the second Sino-Japanese War the end of the civil war between Nationalists and Communists, Mao founded the People’s Republic of China.Mao Zedong’s actions were extremely influenced by the Soviet Union and Stalin. Both rulers oppressed anything that could weaken their power, yet they had different methods of keeping control. Mao used his power to enact the Agrarian Reform Law, where the land of landlords was redistributed among poor peasants and the lower classes. This reduced economic inequality significantly, but the campaign resulted in the mass murder and extreme abuse of wealthy landlords. Peasants were encouraged to participate in the beatings of the rich, linking them to Mao’s actions. This is in sharp contrast to Stalin’s policy, where the NKVD secret police were used to arrest and execute kulaks. Similarly to Stalin, Mao pushed for industrialization and collectivization, which eventually caused the Great Chinese Famine. He, too, set impossibly high quotas. Private farming was prohibited, much like in the Soviet Union, and people were forced into labor. Mao regarded any criticism of his policies as a crime, and imprisoned those who dared to speak out against him. He also tried to purge the intellectuals and revive revolutionary ideals during the Cultural Revolution. Shutting down schools, Mao enlisted the help of the youth to form groups called the ‘Red Guards’ that attacked scholars, former Nationalists, and those with Western ties. Many communist leaders were removed from power and killed, as Mao felt that they were not radical enough. The Cultural Revolution continued for a decade, up to the death of Mao Zedong in 1976.