Mao Zedong (26 December 1893 – 9 September 1976) was a Chinese Communist leader. Mao led the Communist Party of China (CPC) to victory against the Kuomintang (KMT) in the Chinese Civil War, and was the leader of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) from its establishment in 1949 until his death in 1976. Commonly referred to as Chairman Mao, he has been regarded as one of the most important figures in modern world history, and named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.
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Mao Zedong remains a controversial figure to this day, with a contentious and ever-evolving legacy. However, Mao's socio-political programs, such as the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution are blamed for causing severe damage to the culture, society, economy, and foreign relations of China. Mao's policies and political purges in the first decades of the People's Republic are widely attributed to the deaths of between 40 to 70 million people.
During the Cultural Revolution, Mao became the focus of a personality cult. A number of the Chinese people regard Mao as the savior of the nation, who laid the military, political, economic, technological and cultural foundations of modern China.
Mao is officially held in high regard in China where he is known as a great revolutionary, political strategist, and military mastermind who defeated Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek in the Chinese Civil War, and then through his policies transformed the country into a major world power. Additionally, Mao is viewed by many in China as a poet, philosopher, and visionary. However, attitudes towards Mao have changed since Deng Xiaoping took power and initiated market-economic reforms in 1978, but the official party line makes a distinction between Mao's contributions to the Communist revolution and the "errors" he committed later in life. His portrait continues to be featured prominently on Tiananmen Gate and on all Renminbi bills.