Mao Zedong

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Let a hundred flowers bloom: let a hundred schools of thought contend.
All reactionaries are paper tigers.
Politics is war without bloodshed, while war is politics with bloodshed.
One cannot advance without mistakes... It is necessary to make mistakes. The party cannot be educated without learning from mistakes.

Mao Zedong (or Mao Tse-tung in Wade-Giles; Simplified Chinese: 毛泽东; Traditional Chinese: 毛澤東; December 26, 1893September 9, 1976) was the Chairman of the Communist Party of China from 1943 until his death. He was also a founder of the People's Republic of China.

Quotes[edit]

  • 谁是我们的敌人?谁是我们的朋友?这个问题是革命的首要问题。
    • Who are our enemies? Who are our friends? This is a question of the first importance for the revolution.
    • Analysis of the Classes in Chinese Society (March 1926), Selected Works, Vol. I, p. 1.
  • A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery. It cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentle, so temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another.
  • 江山如此多娇,引无数英雄竞折腰。惜秦皇汉武,略输文采;唐宗宋祖,稍逊风骚。一代天骄,成吉思汗,只识弯弓射大雕。俱往矣,数风流人物,还看今朝。
    • The country is so beautiful, where so many heroes had devoted their lives into it. Sorry that the Qin Emperor or the Han Wu Emperor lacks a sense for literacy; while the founders of the Tang and Song dynasties came short in style. The great man, Genghis Khan, only knew how to shoot eagles with an arrow. The past is past. To see real heroes, look around you.
    • Qinyuanchun - Snow(沁园春•雪) (1936)
  • Many people think it impossible for guerrillas to exist for long in the enemy's rear. Such a belief reveals lack of comprehension of the relationship that should exist between the people and the troops. The former may be likened to water the latter to the fish who inhabit it. How may it be said that these two cannot exist together?
    • On Guerilla Warfare (1937), Chapter 6 - "The Political Problems of Guerilla Warfare"
    • This is usually aphorized as "The people are the sea that the revolutionary swims in," or an equivalent.
  • 革命的集体组织中的自由主义是十分有害的。它是一种腐蚀剂,使团结涣散,关系松懈,工作消极,意见分歧。它使革命队伍失掉严密的组织和纪律,政策不能贯彻到底,党的组织和党所领导的群众发生隔离。这是一种严重的恶劣倾向。
    • Liberalism is extremely harmful in a revolutionary collective. It is a corrosive which eats away unity, undermines cohesion, causes apathy and creates dissension. It robs the revolutionary ranks of compact organization and strict discipline, prevents policies from being carried through and alienates the Party organizations from the masses which the Party leads. It is an extremely bad tendency.
    • "Combat Liberalism" (7 September 1937), later quoted in Quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong (The Little Red Book) (1964), Ch. 24.
  • Marxism comprises many principles, but in the final analysis they can all be brought back to a single sentence: it is right to rebel.
    • Speech marking the 60th birthday of Stalin (20 December 1939), later revised as "It is right to rebel against reactionaries."
  • 一切反动派都是纸老虎。看起来反动派的样子是可怕的,但是实际上并没有什么了不起的力量。从长远的观点看问题,真正强大的力量不是属于反动派,而是属于人民。
    • All reactionaries are paper tigers. In appearance, the reactionaries are terrifying, but in reality they are not so powerful. From a long-term point of view, it is not the reactionaries but the people who are really powerful.
    • Talk with the American Correspondent Anna Louise Strong (August 1946), Selected Works, Vol. IV, p. 100.
  • "You are dictatorial." My dear sirs, you are right, that is just what we are. All the experience the Chinese people have accumulated through several decades teaches us to enforce the people's democratic dictatorship, that is, to deprive the reactionaries of the right to speak and let the people alone have that right.
  • 斯大林是我们最伟大的慈父与导师,我谨以中国人民和中国共产党的名义庆祝斯大林同志的七十寿辰,祝福他的健康与长寿!全世界工人阶级和国际共产主义运动的领袖——伟大的斯大林万岁!
      ——1949年12月21日毛在莫斯科庆祝斯大林70岁生日大会上的讲话。
    • Stalin is our greatest father and teacher. In the name of Chinese people and Chinese Communist Party, we celebrate comrade Stalin's seventy birthday. May he be in the best health and live a long life! Leader of both the world's working class and Communist Internationale — Ten thousand years of life to Stalin!
    • Speech on the seventieth birthday of Stalin (21 December 1949)
  • Stalin made mistakes. He made mistakes towards us, for example, in 1927. He made mistakes towards the Yugoslavs too. One cannot advance without mistakes... It is necessary to make mistakes. The party cannot be educated without learning from mistakes. This has great significance.
    • Said to Enver Hoxha, on his visit to China in 1956, as quoted in Hoxha's (1986) The Artful Albanian, (Chatto & Windus, London), ISBN 0701129700
  • Ours is a people's democratic dictatorship, led by the working class and based on the worker-peasant alliance.
    • On the Correct Handling of Contradiction (1957)
  • 百花齐放,百家争鸣 (Simplified Chinese), 百花齊放,百家爭鳴 (Traditional Chinese), bǎihuāqífàng, bǎijiāzhēngmíng (Pinyin)
    • "Let a hundred flowers bloom; let a hundred schools of thought contend" is the policy for promoting progress in the arts and the sciences and a flourishing socialist culture in our land.
    • Slogan used at the start of the Hundred Flowers Campaign of open criticism of the communist government that began in late 1956 and ended in July 1957.
  • 假如办十件事,九件是坏的,都登在报上,一定灭亡。那我就走,到农村去,率领农民推翻政府,你解放军不跟我走,我就找红军去。【在庐山会议上的讲话(1959年7月23日)】
    • If we did ten things, nine were bad and got disclosed by the newspapers, we will be over. Then I will go, to the countryside, lead the peasant and revolt. If the Liberation Army do not follow me, I will get the Red Army. (July 23, 1959)
    • Speech at the Lushan Conference (23 July 1959)
  • Maybe you're afraid of sinking. Don't think about it. If you don't think about it, you won't sink. If you do, you will.
  • All the rest of the world uses the word "electricity." They've borrowed the word from English. But we Chinese have our own word for it!
    • Quoted in Khrushchev Remembers (1970), p. 474
  • Politics is war without bloodshed, while war is politics with bloodshed.
    • On Protracted War, May 1938, from 'Mao's Selected Works, Vol. II', Section 64 pg. 153
  • People who try to commit suicide — don't attempt to save them! . . . China is such a populous nation, it is not as if we cannot do without a few people.
    • As quoted in Mao's Last Revolution (2006) by Roderick MacFarquhar and Michael Schoenhals, ISBN 0674023323

Quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong (The Little Red Book)(1964)[edit]

Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.
  • 不怕打,一聽打仗我就高興,北京算什麼打?無非冷兵器,開了幾槍。四川才算打,雙方都有幾萬人,有槍有炮,聽說還有無線電。
    • Translation: On Cultural Revolution Red Guards fighting among themselves: Not afraid of war, I am always happy upon knowing that there are people fighting among themselves. What happened at Beijing was nothing! Using some swords or spears, maybe firing a few shots. Sichuan was something: tens of thousands people were involved with guns and canons, even wireless.
  • 凡是敵人反對的,我們就要擁護;凡是敵人擁護的,我們就要反對。
    • We shall support whatever our enemies oppose and oppose whatever our enemies support.
    • Chapter 2
  • 枪杆子里面出政权
    • Every Communist must grasp the truth: Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.
    • Chapter 5
The revolutionary war is a war of the masses; it can be waged only by mobilizing the masses and relying on them.
  • 美国垄断资本集团如果坚持推行它的侵略政策和战争政策,势必有一天要被全世界人民处以刑。其他美国帮凶也将是这样。
    • If the U.S. monopoly capitalist groups persist in pushing their policies of aggression and war, the day is bound to come when they will be hanged by the people of the whole world. The same fate awaits the accomplices of the United States.
    • Chapter 6
  • 革命战争是群众的战争,只有动员群众才能进行战争,只有依靠群众才能进行战争。
    • The revolutionary war is a war of the masses; it can be waged only by mobilizing the masses and relying on them.
    • Chapter 8
  • 没有一个人民的军队,便没有人民的一切。
    • Without an army for the people, there is nothing for the people.
    • Chapter 9
  • 我们的原则是党指挥枪,而决不容许枪指挥党。
    • Our principle is that the Party commands the gun, and the gun must never be allowed to command the Party.
    • Chapter 9
  • Not to have a correct political point of view is like having no soul…
    • Chapter 12; originally published in "On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People" (27 February 1957)
  • 下定决心,不怕牺牲,排除万难,去争取胜利。
    • Be resolute, fear no sacrifice and surmount every difficulty to win victory.
    • Chapter 19
  • 要使文艺很好地成为整个革命机器的一个组成部分,作为团结人民、教育人民、打击敌人、消灭敌人的有力的武器,帮助人民同心同德地和敌人作斗争。
    • [Our purpose is] to ensure that literature and art fit well into the whole revolutionary machine as a component part, that they operate as powerful weapons for uniting and educating the people and for attacking and destroying the enemy, and that they help the people fight the enemy with one heart and one mind.
    • Chapter 32
  • (論國民黨) 有很多的頑固分子,他們是頑固專門學校畢業的。他們今天頑固,明天頑固,後天還是頑固。什麼叫頑固?固者硬也,頑者,今天、明天、後天都不進步之謂也。這樣的人,就叫做頑固分子。要使這樣的頑固分子聽我們的話,不是一件容易的事情。
    • (Referring to the Kuomintang) There are many stubborn element, graduates in the specialty schools of stubbornness. They are stubborn today, they will be stubborn tomorrow, and they will be stubborn the day after tomorrow. What is stubbornness (huan'gu)? Gu is to be stiff. Huan is to not progress: not today, nor tomorrow, nor they day after tomorrow. People like that are called the stubborn elements. It is not an easy thing to make the stubborn elements listen to our words.
    • 《新民主主义的宪政》《毛泽东选集》第二卷 Selected Works of Mao Zedong [specific citation needed]
  • 我这个人是被许多人恨的,特别是彭德怀同志,他是恨死了我的;不恨死了,也有若干恨。我跟彭德怀同志的政策是这样的:『人不犯我,我不犯人;人若犯我,我必犯人。』过去跟我兄弟也是这样。
    • 庐山会议实录
    • I am hated by many, especially comrade Pang Dehuai, his hatred is so intense that he wished me dead. My policy with Pang Dehuai is such: You don't touch me, I don't touch you; You touch me, I touch you. Even though we were once like brothers, it doesn't change a thing.


Misattributed[edit]

  • It's always darkest before it's totally black.
    • This is a humorous misattribution that US Senator John McCain has sometimes used since at least January 2000, but there is no indication that Mao actually ever made such a comment, which is a joke referencing the common English proverb "It's always darkest before the dawn." It has also been humorously misattributed to Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Quotes about Mao Zedong[edit]

  • [Mao] has played politics with Asian cunning. ... [and] has always been a master at concealing his true intention. ... I was always on my guard with him.
    • Nikita Khrushchev, as quoted in A. Doak Barnett (1977) China and the major powers in East Asia, page 352
  • We spoke at length and We really liked Mao Zedong. A lot. He gave Us a very good impression, as Paul VI did. He is a good and very serious leader, and his people have done well to embrace him.
  • Mao was like a father to me.
  • Mao Zedong! Amazing man! Imagine him and his followers wandering through China day and night, fighting for their goal. What an effort. He has also written beautiful prose and excellent poems.
    • Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden in Damernas Värld 34/1972 answering the question "which man has made the most influence on you?" Translated from Swedish.

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