Mao Zedong was a Chinese Marxist military and political leader, who led the Communist Party of China (CPC) to victory against the Kuomintang (KMT) in the Chinese Civil War, and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) from its establishment in 1949 until his death in 1976. In China, Mao is also recognized as a poet, calligrapher and writer.
Regarded as one of the most important figures in modern world history, Mao is still a controversial figure today, over thirty years since his death. He has supporters both inside and outside China, who regard Mao as a great revolutionary leader whose thought is the highest expression of Marxism. Supporters within China believe that the rise of China can be attributed to Mao's leadership.
However, Mao's policies are blamed by critics for causing severe damage to the culture, society, economy and foreign relations of China, as well as the deaths of millions of Chinese, although historians debate the degree to which Mao and his policies can be held responsible. Major socio-political programmes, such as the Anti-Rightist Campaign, Great Leap Forward, and Cultural Revolution, were promoted as fulfilling the ideal of a strong, prosperous and socially egalitarian China, but are largely regarded as failures. Although officially held in high regard in China, he is seldom mentioned by the Chinese government, whose policies have diverged greatly from those of Mao, and his influence on it has greatly diminished since his death.