Mao, who lived from 1893 to 1976, was influential in the rise of Communist Party to power and the foundation of the People’s Republic of China. As a leader in China, Mao made various economic, social, and political reforms that were motivated by freeing the people of China from poverty and exploitation. Mao played a role in erasing all capitalist institutions to create a socialist economy in China. However, the reputation of Mao was tarnished by the turmoil and the devastation of the ultra-radical Cultural Revolution in China.
Understanding the legacy of Mao is important in enlightening readers about the historical events that occurred in China and its neighboring nations. In spite of the tarnished reputation, Mao’s legacy is identified in many ways through his achievements that helped in the freedom of the ancient Chinese people and the people today who make reference to his achievements (Waldron, 2000).
Mao’s legacy has been recognized by the subsequent generations to have a great influence in the country today.
As opposed to the notion that his legacy is centered on political and economic devastation of China, Mao’s legacy remains in today’s very different China in various ways. The legacy of the leader includes both his procedures and his democratic principles that leave the Chinese people alienated according to their age and views of Mao.
Mao is still honored in the modern China today. It is because of the respect that the people of China have shown towards the Mao’s figure that the country receives millions of visitors who travel to explore the birthplace of the hero. The birthplace of the former Chinese leader, in the village of Shaosha, in the province of Hunan receives a large number of people annually. A special mausoleum where Mao’s embalmed corpse lies was made at the extensive Tiananmen Square in the City of Beijing. Other evidence that shows how much the figure is still revered in China is the hanging portrait at the iconic gate of Tiananmen. It is at the gate that Mao declared the founding of the new communist state in 1949. Additionally, the visage of Mao is still seen from every value of the currency used in China (Schwartz, Isadore & Mao, 1951).
The symbols of respect to the former leader in China are all suggestions of how Mao has grown to be an essential figure of state today. The figure is still revered in the modern industrial and increasingly capitalistic China. The modern China still shows respect despite veering greatly from the leader’s superlative of a major socialist nation that believed in maintaining the virtues that benefit the peasants and unrestricted morals.
Mao also made the achievement of uniting China to be a military state. The fractious China was united into one by conquering Chiang Kai-Shek’s pro-independence government. Mao was successful in beating those who specialized in war and applying his leadership skills in the marginal western regions of China. Under the influence of Mao, the state grew, absorbing British colonies and the Portuguese into one nation. The efforts of Mau led to China’s aggressive movement to claim the whole of China’s South Sea. Although the move has sparked conflict with the country’s southern neighbors, Mau’s legacy is undisputable as his movement captured territories that are currently being controlled by China (Schwartz, Isadore & Mao, 1951).
Mao played a role in advocating for stringent Communist Party control over all phases of life. Although his dictatorial state forms part of his past ideas, Mao maintained a firm stands on political power. In his struggle to maintain grip over political power, several demonstrations were witnessed in Beijing to support democracy and avoid constant harassment and persecution in the country. Mao’s legacy remains in the history of China as many activists are currently operating in the country to ensure the protection of human rights. The activists have made constant reference to the historical activities that were part of the leadership of Mao (Schwartz, Isadore & Mao, 1951).
Mao managed to establish a powerful military system in China. The political power that came from the military action and the people’s liberation army has remained the trend in China as the military has played a major role in ensuring a stable political power for those in leadership. The People’s Liberation Army has maintained the concept of political power despite calls to shift focus to the government (Schwartz, Isadore & Mao, 1951).
The People’s Liberation Army has maintained monopoly power alongside being a rising power in local and worldwide armed forces affairs. The Party’s Liberation Army has millions of members, being the world’s leading armed forces body. There are tactics for the membership of the PLA to shrink by 300,000. The powerful military of the People’s Liberation Army is growing at a time when the years of twofold digit economy has grown in the country’s military budget. The budget of the military is recognized as the world’s second largest, a factor that has transformed the army into a proficient force that relies on technology. With no engagement in any conflict since 1979, the powerful military remains the legacy of Mao in establishing an efficient military force (Raskin, 2009).
Mao is also remembered for his systematic weaknesses, a factor that must have been vital in his policies of making decisions. From the events that Mao went through such as the economic and political devastation of China, it is clear that not all was a smooth sailing. During his lifetime, Mao went through frustrations that irregularly paved paw to events of conflict despite the security being in place to suppress the frustrations. Mao unleashed nationalism that could force the Chinese government to take certain positions regarding the implementation of its goals in the society. The economic tensions, which were part of the systematic weaknesses, also linger in the China today (Raskin, 2009).
Older Chinese remember Mao for his positive contribution to the freedom of China from the Japanese imperialism and desolation from the various governments that have been in control. Mao’s legacy is noted from his opinion about the socialist party aim, which is to form an extensive radical countrywide joint front. According to his views, there was the need for various groups in China to unite and gain back their territory. Mao’s influence in the freedom of the people of China was useful in determining the future of China. His legacy in uniting the people of China was, therefore, based on nationalism to create a communal struggle in the country. The communist struggle was against the people of Japan and its army (Tse-Tung &Mao, 1961).
The strong reverence by the people for the leaders is the country is influenced by the views that Mao gave concerning the freedom of the people. The legacy of Mao is held by the older people who experienced the subjugation of the Japanese. The older people distinguish the freedom that Mao ensured to China through rebellion. Additionally, many people dispute that Mao’s financial policies confines the unrestricted spirit of his leadership. The former Chinese leader is remembered for class struggle as he despised the capitalist system. According to Mao, the capitalist system was used to divide the people into socio-economic classes. Having taken power from the wealthy business owners, Mao put emphasis on how he stood for the waged people during his reign (Zagoria, & Schram, 1984).
Mao is also remembered as a hero for remaining connected with the people until the great movement that was considered a leap forward. His belief was that the self-less, collective interest of the people could amplify the pace of economic growth to a level that is advanced than the previous level. Although some people may dispute that he renounced his value of classless views and decided to desire for control rather than ensuring the betterment of the people’s working conditions, it is evident that Mao’ impact in controlling the economy had an influence in the government’s spending, more so in the heavy industry (Zedong, 2013).
It is by controlling the economy that Mao gained political power. Mao’s legacy in economic betterment can be framed as putting all the enterprises under the control of the state. Before his move, the private and commercial activities were outlawed, leading to unfair business practices in China. It is the legacy of Mao that led to the government investing in immense production by the waged class in the heavy industry. Mao established plans that the government could use to sustain the industry. However, the plans by the government to increase its agricultural output were shuttered due to poor weather conditions. The unrealistic expectations that were made by Mao have been used by economic experts in relaying plans for the constantly growing Chinese population (Cheek, Knight, Zedong, & Thompson, 1991).
There is a rift in the modern economic system in China as younger people differ with the older generation. China’s current government has drifted away from Mao’s economic plan by changing its policy on exportation and the deregulation of the economy. The use of the new system has brought prosperity to the country as citizens can now increase their personal spending on consumer items.
Mao’s legacy is remembered by the young people when comparison is made on the older system and the existing economic system. The younger people view free enterprise as greater in offering individual liberty. On the contrary, the old people who understand the politics of Mao recognize that workers in the world today do not have the opportunity to receive some benefits that existed in the past, under the leadership and influence of Mao (Keith, & Schram, 1985).
For instance, the old system required that workers could not be involved in the payment of medical funds as well as pension funds. Workers were also assured of job security as they could not be fired from their jobs. An analysis of the different systems reveals that Mao’s democratic scheme of ruling offered job protection and a stable future. In the economic plan for the modern China, the future is uncertain as workers do not know their fate on employment.
Mao is remembered for having controversial views on the freedom of the people of China. Younger Chinese desire to have the system that is used in the Western world, an aspiration that differs with that of the old. Older people are noted to be nostalgic for the period when Mao was in power in China. A society that encouraged freedoms that coincided with capitalism was against the views of Mao. His legacy of favoring the community as a whole and moving on the well-off society towards achieving unity is explained in the error of the contemporary capitalistic nation (Dittmer, 1980).
The existing Chinese government today recognizes the legacy that Mao left behind by implementing some of the thoughts of the former leader. Mao is said to have contributed in scheming the result of his own heritage by brainwashing his followers through his plans for the country. As noted, the self created legacy exists in today’s school textbooks and official media sites reminding readers about the existing public materials which portray his contribution to the growth and development of China. The freedom that Mao fought for the people of China, and his policies are still used as reference by the government even as new policies are suggested to match the requirements of the digital world (Dittmer, 1980).