Mao’s China: The Characteristic Features of Mao’s Policy


The Cold War period is featured with the greatest ever division of the world into two camps: Capitalistic and Socialistic. Every country chose following geographic position, personal preferences, or the pressure of world leaders. In the case of China, Communists came to power due to the international help of the Soviet Union.

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Totalitarianism as an integral part of the Cold War period

What is a feature of the ‘totalitarianism’ notion as it was invented in the works of Friedrich and Brzezinski is the total abandon of social and financial relations shaped in a society. Totalitarianism for Brzezinski and Friedrich is a natural thing of the state which obtained complete control over the civil community and directs it in accordance with its corporate interests (Friedrich and Brzezinski, 1967). It is featured by the supremacy of single principles, ruling mass party, the independent control by a dictator, which establishes the structure of terror has control over communication outlets and controls the financial system. Friedrich, Brzezinski, and lots of other scientists after them used this term for relating post-WW1 fascist countries and socialist states such as Soviet Union, China, Vietnam, Cuba, etc.


After the Chinese Civil War and the success of Mao Zedong’s Communist powers over the Kuomintang armies of Chiang Kai-shek, who fled to Taiwan, Mao announced the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in October 1, 1949. Mao’s first aim was a complete overhaul of the land possession structure and wide land reforms. China’s old feudal structure of landowner of farmland and peasant employees was replaced with a more equivalent sharing system supporting less prosperous peasants. Mao imposed heavy importance on class struggle and hypothetical work, and in 1953 started different campaigns to repress former landlords and entrepreneurs. Foreign speculation was mainly eliminated.

The Communist ideology controlled the state. Social, political, financial, cultural, and scholarly actions were in some way regulated by Mao. Mao set lots of rules according to which the people had to live, and which featured Chine as a totalitarian state.

He took as an example the Soviet model of financial development and social reforms until 1958, and then tore the relations with the USSR and started his ‘Great Leap’, which motivated the foundation of rural industry. In July of 1946, Chiang started a full-scale war against the Communistic regime in China. They repressed a group of rebellious peasants, murdering thousands in Shanghai which some evaluate to be up to 25000 communists.


In conclusion, it is necessary to emphasize the notion, that paper reveals, shows that those specialists, who condemn Mao’s China as ‘totalitarian’ and antidemocratic fail to capture essential democratic and free inclinations which were features of Mao’s originated policies and consequently are ideologically prejudiced and counterfeit.

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The past of China after Mao brightly confirmed that bureaucratization and market attitude against which Mao resisted were confirmed to be more influential than democratic regulations, nevertheless, this does not show that these enhancements are progressive for the Chinese population.


Barnouin, Barbara. 1993, Ten years of turbulence: the Chinese cultural revolution. Publication of the Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva. London; New York: Kegan Paul International; New York: Distributed by Routledge, Chapman & Hall Inc.

Blanchette, Jude. “Mao: The Unknown Story.” The Cato Journal 25.3 (2005): 639.

Dal Lago, Francesca. “Personal Mao: Reshaping an Icon in Contemporary Chinese Art.” Art Journal 58.2 (1999): 46.

Friedrich, Carl and Brzezinski, Z. K., 1967, Totalitarian Dictatorship and Autocracy. 2nd edition.

Guo, Sujian. Post-Mao China: From Totalitarianism to Authoritarianism?. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 2000.

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Mcmanus, John F. “How China Became Communist: To Understand Why Mao Triumphed, It Is Necessary to Look beyond the Battlefields in China to the Fateful Decisions Emanating from Yalta and Washington.” The New American. 2008: 35.

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NerdyRoo. (2021) 'Mao’s China: The Characteristic Features of Mao’s Policy'. 26 October.

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