A video-clip of Chairman Mao Memorial Mausoleum as seen and filmed from the South, from Shenyang Gate.
Visitors stream out of the Mausoleum after their Brief visit. The lady at the loudspeaker gives instructions for visitors to the Mausoleum.
The view from the South underneath ShenyangMen giving a good impression of the size of Mao's Mausoleum.
Abandoned South Facade of Chairman Mao Memorial Hall with closed gate after passing of opening hours.
Visitors in front of Chairman Mao Memorial Hall's Southern Facade in November 2003.
A "United" National Front
Between 1920 and 1926 AD, China experienced major upheavals which reset the Political Stage for the entire Nation. The period started with the Guangzhou and Shanghai uprising which established a Revolutionary Government in Guangzhou (Canton) in South China led by Dr. Sun Yat-Sen and his still organizing KuoMinTang Party and was followed by a period known as the "Northern Expeditions". During this short period the country briefly seemed to Unite politically under KuoMinTang Flag and went to war against the Warlords of North-China and Beijing in an effort to reunite the nation under one Government.
The foundations of the events in this period were layed when Western Powers refused recognition to the new KuoMinTang Government leaving the Chinese to seek help from their only other
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Rise of Chiang Kai-Shek
The next important event was the Death of the Father of the Revolution Dr. Sun Yat-Sen in 1925 AD.
The Death of Dr.Sun left a large power-gap at the top of the KuoMinTang that imploded the party and exposed the large rift between the left and right wing elements.
In short: Until the Time of Sun Yat-Sen's Death, Chiang Kai-Shek was merely the military Leader of the KuoMinTang and the favorite pupil of Dr. Sun Yat Sen. However not known as a political thinker and generally right wing he had not been identified as a promising unifying leader. He was therefor considered low in rank within the KuoMinTang.
The Death of Dr. Sun however completely altered the situation as the party broke up and reorganized itself along the national elements of Power and along Ideological lines.
As Leader of the new National Military under a Leaderless Government and Party, Chiang moved up in rank becoming Commander-in-Chief of the National Revolutionary Army in 1925 AD. Although the Presidency went to communist Wang Jingwei,
Chiang now suddenly gained prominence. Due to his power over the Military Apparatus and status as a right-wing sympathizer he rapidly grew into a position of that of Frontman of the right wing clique within the KuoMinTang.
To sustain the KuoMinTang success as well as to strengthen the personal position of Chiang, 1926 AD saw the launching of the Northern Expeditions against the Northern Warlords who were by then thoroughly in the way of National Unity and KuoMinTang Powers. The military successes gained in the "Northern Expeditions" resulted in considerable national exposure for the General and empowered him to become an inspiring National Leader.
possible international ally and financier, the Soviet Union. The KuoMinTang, which already had strong inspiration from the Russian Revolution, was forced to turn to the Soviet Union for international aid and finance.
It would go to far to explain all the historical details here, however in the following period the KuoMinTang became strongly influenced by the Russian Communist Party, who at the time was very interested in establishing what became known as the Communist International, the international league for workers and revolutionaries vying for world revolution. Among things, starting in 1923, the KuoMinTang Party Organization was revised along the lines of the Russian Communist Party which in turn had the result that the Communist Party of China urged its members to become members of the KuoMinTang as well, thereby cooperating within the party on a National Platform.
The South Facade of Chairman Mao Memorial Hall looks out towards ShenyangMen Gate leaving enough space for a large crowd.
Mao Zedong Political Work in Shanghai
What happened in 1925 and 1926 in Shanghai basically proved that the Communists were potentially capable of organizing the millions of downtrodden common workers against the interest of those who had fallen into power after the 1911 AD Revolution. These Families and Men in power formed the right wing of the KuoMinTang of the 1920's, which was not going to sit idly by and watch its political and financial interests undermined. The Right Wing had already violently disrupted Union activities. Both parties were agreeing to cooperate but meanwhile had been set on a collision course and everyone was aware of this.
The Communist Party had agreed to cooperate with the KuoMinTang in the interest of National Unity (against independence of the provinces under warlord flags, the de facto annexation of the Manchurian Provinces by Japan and obvious Japanese Hostility), as well as with the aim of reforming the party and Nation from within, if possible.
In so doing, for the time being, they chose strengthen their power-base within the National Front, in order to later attempt to take Leadership over this Party by mobilizing the common folk and breaking the powers of the right wingers.
Visitors dwell around the Southern Statues and fencing of Chairman Mao Memorial Hall.
By merging with the KuoMinTang, the Communist were able to insert their own People on high positions within the National Political Organization under establishment nationwide. For instance, it was with the assistance of the Communist International (Comintern) and Chinese Communist Party co-founders Li Dazhao and Chen Duxiu that Dr.Sun was able to establish a working Kuomintang government in Guangzhou at all, as well as found the Whampoa Military Academy an institute essential for providing leadership for the National Revolutionary Army.
Some later very important members of the Communist Party, Zhou Enlai and Ye Jianying served as political instructors in the Military Academy. Dr. Sun's favorite Chiang Kai-shek, a later notorious man and right-winger, was appointed the first principal of the academy, and ironically Chiang was to receive military training in Moscow.
Chairman Mao Memorial Hall's in the Evening. Southern Facade as seen from the South-East, from Qianmen Dongdajie's Old Station in November 2003.
View of the Mao Zedong Mausoleum at TiananMen Square with The Great Hall of the Peoples in the Background.
As many times before in China, the previously proclaimed high principles of National Unity went out the door. Chiang Kai-Shek was a shrude military Man and a political opportunist.
The warlords had been the first obvious adversaries in the grand political game for China that had begun, but soon others would learn about Chiang's intentions as well.
Thus, the year 1927 saw a grave drama and turning point in Chinese Political Life. At this point the situation in the North was reasonably secured and the success of the Victories in the Northern Expeditions had had payed off politically by solidifying Chiang as the Leader of the Right Wing KuoMinTang.
Even before the warlords were out of the way, a powerbase had been created for the KuoMinTang and its right wing military Leadership under heading of the Generalissimo. Their was only one party that could head any further opposition.
Monumental Statue of a group of Chinese Revolutionaries led by a soldier of the Peoples Liberation Army.
Chiang's Shanghai Surprise
The April 12 1927, Incident was an all out attack against the communist party, its members and sympathizers that occured in Shanghai. It is therefor also known as the Shanghai Massacre. On orders of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek troops of the KuoMinTang National Army of Bai Chongxi collaborated with criminal elements in the City to first break a number of strikes going on in Shanghai, after which they moved on to arrest anyone associated with the communist party. And that was not all. A national emergency had been declared claiming that the communists had staged a coup by proclaiming Government in Wuhan. Immediatly after purging the City of Shanghai from Communist influence, the Army went on to purge all area's alligned with Generalissimo Chiang. Many high ranking members of the Communist Party, including Li Dazhao who was caught inside the Russian Embassy in Beijing, were arrested and executed.
It was in fact an anti-revolutionary coup
The Chinese Communist Party agreed to become part of the larger KuoMinTang National Organization, the so called "United National Front".
In theory, this created a national front and platform for the implication of new political idea's and organization on a Nationwide Basis. There was however considerable disagreement between participating factions and a weak foundation due to mutual distrust and conflicting Political Ideals.
The KuoMinTang based National Front, in principle had many high ideals of National Interest such as a parliamentary democracy with freedom of speech proposed by father of the 1911 Revolution Dr. Sun Yat-Sen and was much inspired by such figures as Madame Soong Ching-Ling, the widow of Dr. Sun.
In all practicalities however, there was a continuous strife between right wingers and representatives of the more conservative middle and upper class on the one hand, and the radical left wing represented by the Communist Party on the other hand.
The critical fact, as would proven, was that China had just emerged from its Feudal Era and that its first "democratic government" had ended sorely in the total denial of democratic principles (Yuan Shi- Kai attempted to crown himself Emperor) followed by a free for all for those in high positions and the beginning of the warlord era.
No one in China had experience with Democratic Principles; the well educated political elite had only idealistic or more usually self-interested plans, and the nameless millions of peasants and uneducated city workers had only recently tasted something of their political powers, mainly due to the work of the communist party and cadres.
Only now, under the new National Front of a revived KuoMinTang did China seem to emerge from this Warlord Era and Political Chaos.
Or so it seemed. Underneath the thin layer of proclaimed unity lay a situation in which the Communists wanted radical reform and had idea's clearly irreconcilable with the interest of the far less reform willing right wing, representative of the land-owning class, industrialists, bankers and merchants.
What happened next was a tragic but fascinating game of Chinese (and International) Politics that delivered two main political streams and two strong Leaders that would vow for the ultimate say and rule in China. One of these two strong leaders was Mao Zedong.
"Father of the Nation" Dr. Sun Yat Sen, on Stamp
Chairman Mao Tse Tung (Zedong) on a portrait from The Cultural Revolution
Details of the crafted fencing surrounding the Memorial Hall, victory laurels surround a giant (red) star.
Although attention for the Chairman and the Revolution have dwindled somewhat since the advent of the new Millenium, at the South Exit of Mao Zedong Memorial Hall small vendors still sell drinks and Mao Zedong Souvenirs such as stamps, pins, postcards, the little red book, the quatations of Mao, and other communist era collectibles.
By the beginning of the 1930's, Mao Zedong, as a founding Member of the outlawed Communist Party and the head of a revolutionary government in operation in two provinces was clearly a wanted Man. His Life was constantly in danger and the KuoMinTang Government. Secret Police as well as the Army were after him and his associates.
The year 1930 was to see the first of many tragic personal events for Mao as his wife, Yang Kaihui was captured and murdered by the KuoMinTang right wing Government. Although his son Anying was spared and sent to relatives, due to the outbreak of a lengthy civil war and ongoing economic misery the boy was left to beg on the streets for years to come. It was only one of the many sacrifices made by the chairman for his Revolution.
The betrayal of Shanghai had dealt the Communist Party, the Left Wing and in fact the entire Nation a heavy blow. The Initial success of a National Alliance of modern political thinkers had ended in a disastrous break up and finally wound up establishing power in the hands of General Chiang Kai-Shek, now the President of the KuoMinTang National Government with its Capital in Nanjing. The Communist had failed to dominate the political events and had been butchered. Under Leadership and by suggestion of Mao Zedong the communist party had succesfully shifted its work to the
countryside establishing de facto liberated area's in Jiangxi and Hunan. Mao was now the Leading Communist Party thinker and strategist as well as the commander in chief of the Red Army.
From 1931 to 1934, Mao helped establish the Soviet Republic of China based in the Jinggang Mountains of Jiangxi, a small Socialist Republic of which Mao was elected Chairman. In between of a brutal purge within the Communist factions of the Republic that left Mao's legacy tainted by accusations of mass torture and murder and the encirclement actions launched by an increasingly worried KuoMinTang National Government against the "Soviet Area's" ruled by the Communist Party, Mao Zedong, since 1930 a widower , still managed to find a new Love in a girl named He Zizhen. He was married to her and she became his 2nd wife (Mao never confirmed the first arranged married planned by his father in Hunan).
Post Revolution China - After 1949 AD
The Revolution in the Countryside - Rise of Mao Zedong
Already a founding Member and Leading Cadre beforehand, the death of so many high ranking cadres gave futher importance to the voice of Mao Zedong. In the aftermath of the Shanghai Massacres those who had advocated cooperation with the KuoMinTang in a National Front were discredited leaving a new strategy to be divised and Names established.
After the debacle with the Establishment of a Leftist Government, Mao Zedong hurried back to Hunan Province, where in front of an urgent meeting of the remaining Communist Party Leadership he reported on his experiences of Peasant Uprisings following the Northern Expeditions and before the Shanghai Massacre.
According to Mao's inspired speach it was not the Cities but the countryside where lay the largest option for success of the Communist Party. He had thought it
Mao Today - Legacy for China
hold high the banner the great red banner of mao zedong thought to wage the great proletarian cultural revolution -->
Instructions for Visitors to the Mausoleum Hall and Opening Hours displayed on a large sign at the South Side of Mao Zedong Memorial Hall.
The most famous and widely used photo of Mao, taken by american journalist Edgar Snow at Pao An, Shensi Province in 1936. Mao, who never liked wearing hats, is wearing Snows five pointed hat just for the occasion.
Another important role was played by Mao Zedong who functioned as high ranked KuoMinTang Executive working in the City of Shanghai, which at the Time was a hotbed of Revolutionary activity and particularly a Communist Party Bulwark.
Mao, who as a member of the Communist Party belonged to the radical left wing of the KuoMinTang, was instrumental in the organization of local workers and others into Unions, who could then use their powers to issue demands on those in power, generally speaking the right wing. The Shanghai Unions were so effective that they could disrupt any form of economic activity in the City at will.
Not everyone was happy with the successful strikes that yielded higher pays, shorter hours and better conditions for local workers. The political organization and education of the anonymous millions of unskilled workers and peasants was still frowned upon by many in a China emerging from the 1000 years of Feudal Rule. The Unions were hated by Factory Owners, international companies and their bankers who didn't need economic disruptions and emancipation of their workforce. They were an eye sore to the Right Wing KuoMinTang Members, and led to considerable frictions in society as well as within the National Party. These tensions were about to come to a Head.
Importantly, the new Chinese KuoMinTang of the 1920's had lost the support of many democrats involved in earlier political events. Therefor, although in theory still adhering to some of Dr. Sun's idealistic democratic proposals, the new Government formed by the KuoMinTang in Guangzhou was to be organized along a single party line, aiming to establish a centralized one party state with one ideology - Three Principles of the People, which were Nationalism, Democracy, and People's Livelihood.
Echoes of the Feudal Traditions were still lingering in China. The rush into democracy had backfired again. First by failing in 1911 AD and 1913 AD, demonstrating the impossibility of one-man-one-vote in a politically ignorant society and resulting in the break up of China into its provinces. And yet again in the 1920's by stepping away from western revolutionary thought derived from the French and American Revolutions and instead creating the basis of a totalitarian state run more according to Russian / Soviet examples and -depending on historical viewpoint- the strong Chinese Tradition of the Centralized Government under an Imperial Dynasty.
It was an important step with major consequences for the future of the Chinese Nation. The communists would cooperate with the Soviet Union through the ComIntern and mobilize the common citizenry, while the right wing of the KuoMinTang would foster alliance with the West, adopted Capitalism and set to work on solidifying the positions of the Chinese Wealthy and Powerful by means of the works of the KuoMinTang Party, its Army and a tutelage by Government in which the State would teach the still politically ignorant Citizens how to behave in a Democracy made by the KuoMinTang.
Obviously, this construction left a lot of political space to be interpreted and both wings of the party were eager to agree to this severely dressed down version of democracy based on incredibly vague principles. In fact, it was the beginning of a benevolent Dictatorship by the KuoMinTang that would soon turn into a deadly fascistoid Regime.
A quiet moment at the South Facade of the Mao Zedong Memorial Hall. Streams of visitors have come and exited here, now only the Guards remain.
And opposition was exactly what it gave.
In January 1927, the communist party President Wang Jingwei and his leftist allies within the KuoMinTang Party organized a revolt that captured the city of Wuhan (on the Jiangtse River). Immediately thereafter the President of the "National United Front" Party Wang Jingwei declared the seat of National Government to be there.
Following up with moves, starting on the 3rd of March 1927 the Left Wingers of mainly the Communist Party and workers led by Zhou Enlai launched an armed uprising in the major industrial city of Shanghai, defeating the joint warlord forces of the Zhili clique and Shandong. The victorious workers organized by the Communist Party occupied urban Shanghai except for the international settlements taking the City of Shanghai for the Left Wing as well. The Communist were about to equal the successes of Chiang and the Right Wing achieved by means of the Northern Expeditions. In fact, they were creating their own powerbases and suddenly vying to establish a Government headed by the Left Wing and the Communists.
Generalissimo Chiang sent down the trusted army of Bai Chongxi, a close ally of himself.
Thus, in an act of betrayal on the Holy Cause of National Unity, the Army went to work on subduing the communists and their party. The Largest Massacre occured in Shanghai, the largest industrial city and harbor in China as well as the most prominent communist bulwark, the city where Mao Zedong had been stationed. It would end with the dominance of General Chiang Kai-Shek and the Right Wing of the Party, which went on to establish a Capital in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province in 1928.
performed by the right wing of the KuoMinTang, now encouraged under Military Leadership of Generalissimo Chiang. Although communist party members did revolt in several cities of the Nation, the KuoMinTang Army moved swiftly to complete the coup and communist party members nationwide suddenly found themselves on the run and/or sought by the Law. It was the dawn of a new China as a new right wing Government forced itself on the People.
Many Communist Party Members were dead and the others found themselves on the run. Over a thousand Communists were arrested, some 300 were officially executed, and more than 5,000 went missing. For the time being, their organization had been broken and during the year 1927 Wuhan and other Cities were lost. The pieces of the Communist Party Organization retreated from the Cities back to their earlier established basis in the country-side. One such base had been established during the year 1923 AD by none other than Mao Zedong in his home Province of Hunan. And Mao Zedong had so far survived the purges (Mao had earlier left Shanghai for Hunan, only to head to Guangdong during the 1925 AD uprisings there, which revived his interest in the Urban Revolution).
The Communist Party had lost the Cities of China but would retreat to the countryside for further actions.
through thoroughly during his stays in Hunan and in his speech before the Parties Central Committee he claimed to be sure of his case.
The event, which took place early in the year 1927, for the first Time truely established Mao's Leadership and Vision within the Party pitting a failed strategy of urban revolution along traditional lines of marxist-leninist expectation against the special circumstances of China with its overwhelmingly rural population leaving, according to Mao, the alternative of a Peasant Based Revolution. It was truely the beginning of the sucess of what would later be sanctified as "Mao Zedong" thought.
Under Mao the peasants would be mobilized to overthrow the failing social system and his speech and proposal so reinvigorated the Communist Cause and Movement in China that young revolutionaries from the entire Nation would become drawn to this cause.
The Volunteers of the Peoples Liberation Army and the Peoples themselves March to a forever Victory at the South Facade of the Mao Zedong Mausoleum Hall.
The Communist Party had tried the Urban Revolution (proposed by Moscow) and had lost, however the majority of Chinese Citizens lived in the rural area's where they numbered in the countless millions. According to Mao Zedong it was their voice that should be heard and their forces mobilized to fight the Chinese proletarian Revolution into completion. The Civil War that followed upon the Shanghai Massacre would be fought from the Provinces.
The first battles of the 10-year Chinese Civil War began with armed Communist insurrections in Changsha, the Capital of Mao's Hunan province, Nanchang in Jiangxi Province and in Shantou and Guangzhou in southern Guangdong Province. During the Nanchang Uprising in August 1927, Communist soldiers under Zhu De, the later legendary General of the Communist 8Th Route Army, were defeated and escaped from Kuomintang forces by withdrawing inland and westward to the mountains of western Jiangxi.
Not much later, in September 1927, Mao Zedong led a small peasant army in what became known as "the Autumn Harvest Uprising" in his native Hunan Province where he previously built a powerbasis of sorts among the peasantry and local workers. Ill conceived and clearly outgunned by the Military of the KuoMinTang, the Hunan uprising was defeated without much of a fight and Mao's and his volunteer forces retreated to southward towards Jiangxi Province as well. In Jiangxi Province Mao reorganized his scattered forces, including arrangements for a communist party cadre with overriding powers to be assigned to each section of the army. In this act Mao established firm political control by the communist party over his army, a legacy that would last until today. When in the following weeks Mao and Zhu De joined forces inside Jiangxi they formed the first elements of what would become the People's Liberation Army. This First Army was known as the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army of China, which established base in the Jinggang Mountains.
For the time being safe from the reach of the Nationalist Army in this rough and remote region, the two joined forces to establish the first revolutionary base area in the Chinese Nation.
Oddly, the China Communist Party Central Committee -under direct guidance from Moscow- was only forced to flee Shanghai in 1933 AD, by the time of which Mao had established a first peasant- based soviet in Jiangxi and a second one in Hunan Province.
And thus, Mao had put his earlier theories into a succesful practice completing the shift of the emphasis of the Communist Party's Operations from the urban proletariat in tha factory and harbor cities to the countryside's abundant, poor and powerless peasantry. It was the countryside where the people's war would be fought. And the Peasants would lead in the Victory.
Meanwhile, while the so called 'Shanghai Center' was still being led by Moscow and towed their line, whereas the new Revolutionary Base in Jiangxi mainly followed the line set by Mao Zedong who now presented an alternative power-center. In this important period, Mao Zedong would make sure that communications between his group and the official party leadership, were strictly under his own control, monopolizing information within his group. Furthermore, he repeatedly feigned a loss of contact at crucial moments of decision, allowing him what he sought most - complete freedom of hand.
Although the National Government had mobilized no less than 5 whole armies to encircle and annihilate the communist party base area's, at first the attacks had only limited results. It would be until 1934 AD when the KuoMinTang Armies finally managed to gain dominance.
The Long March
By October 1934 the KuoMinTang had the Communist Forces surrounded, ...
Victory over Japan - The End Battle for China
Chairman Mao as a Young Man, now a cheap souvenir
Soundbonus: Traditional Chinese Folk Song of the Revolution "My Motherland", by Wei Li and the Far Eastern Music Ensemble.
Former Residences of Mao Zedong and other Mao related sites in Beijing :
Former Residences of Mao Zedong are in the correct order of Time; His 1st modest quarters at Beancurd Pond Lane, secondly Mao Zedong Former Residence in Caishikou, now the Hunan Guild Hall. Much later upon his victorious return to Beijing Mao and other Leaders resided in the Fragrant Hills before moving on to Zhongnanhai in the Xicheng District.
Of the many Mao Zedong related sites the first and foremost might be Mao Zedongs personal train parked at the China National Railway Museum in northwest Chaoyang. Equally thrilling and ever popular the so called Beijing Underground City, a Mao Zedong inspired underground complex built in the 1960s to have Beijing citizens survive a direct nuclear attack and aftermath.