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Essential Question

Mao Tse Tung was the 1st Chairman of the Communist Party of China from its beginning
in 1949 until his death in 1976. During this time period Mao made a multitude of changes in
China causing a varying range of positive and negative effects. Mao led the Chinese Communist
Revolution in an attempt to liberate the people of China from their oppressors and unifying
China, leading to the government of China run by Chiang Kai-shek, fleeing to Taiwan. This was
just beginning in the series of events that started Mao's rule of China. Secondly, Mao Tse Tung
believed in the Marxist theory and equal rights for all, so one of his first changes was to improve
women's rights in China so that the women who "Hold up half the sky" as quoted by Mao could
fully participate in all sphere of society. Thirdly, Mao strived to improve literacy rates, education
levels, and health care in China; in fact literacy rates reached an astonishing 66% from its
previous of >20% which was among the highest among poor developing nations. Hundreds of
millions of Chinese citizens were immunized, as a result of this average life expectancy reached
65. As a result of this by 1978, China's human development index was already closing in on
much more developed nations. Although not everything Mao Tse Tung put into effect was a
Great Leap Forward for China, such as the Great Leap Forward Plan which ended in complete
and utter failure resulting in an estimated death of 30 million Chinese citizens. The Great Leap
Forward was a plan designed to increase both agricultural and industrial production levels to
compete against the greater levels in Western society. Large farm communes were established
that took the place of local governments, hospitals, and schools. The farms were very
unsuccessful as they were too large to be manageable, not considering the fact that competition
between the communes led to the government taking too much food and leaving the population
of these communes to starve. Another reason he is a very controversial leader for China was the
censorship that he placed over his people, covering up anything that could damage his reputation
in the Cult of Mao. Overall Mao was a leader just like any other with both positive and negative
moments, but the massive positive effect he had on China laid the structure for turning China
into the superpower it is today.