Great Reader Mao Tse-tung
A daughter of Mao Tse-tung or Mao Zedong (1893-1976) and his second wife, Li Min (1936-), wrote a book about her father: My Father Mao Tse-tung.
In this book, Li Min revealed that Mao was an extensive reader. In fact when Mao died, he left about 700,000 books in his house.
Mao's daughter wrote: "One day my father told me that once he had been reading a book while marching. Then it started rain. But my father never stopped reading. Eventually a soldier walking behind him said to him that he had better put on a bamboo hat. So, my father asked the soldier to go and buy a bamboo hat in a nearby village for him. But the soldier said that Mao had one on his back."
Mao Zedong was a great reader.
One day he read a thesis a Japanese professor wrote in a specialty journal on socialism. Mao said to the husband of Li Min, "This professor wrote a right thing. Material can be divided into smaller parts infinitely. Science develops through branching and dividing. You have to study various fields of science but you must also learn from the real world."
However as is well known, Mao suppressed intellectual persons and cultural figures during the Cultural Revolution observed in China in the late 1960s and the first half of 1970s. The then top leader of China Mao Zedong regraded professors, authors, artists, and other highly-educated people as the enemy of farmers and other less-educated Chinese people. Mao even advised that Chinese people should not read much.
Mao's strategy influenced Pol Pot (1925-1998) of Cambodia who executed more than one million intellectuals in the country.
Why did Mao try to destroy communities of Chinese intellectuals? It is thought that Mao was afraid that learnt men would be more influenced by the Soviet Union. Mao Zedong knew that the USSR was more advanced than China in terms of modern culture, science, and technology. He must have thought that the more Chinese people learnt, the more they would respect Russians. But farmers who could not fully read and write would never be enchanted by advanced science of the Soviet Union.
Probably Mao thought that he would lose power if those who studied Western culture and mastered modern technology took key positions in the Chinese Government and the Chinese Communist Party. Mao Zedong who never studied abroad had no confidence in his ability to lead the nation and at the same time save his face in handling Western cultural works. Mao must have looked like a fool who was just good at Chinese cultural heritage but so poor in understanding the modern science and economy. Accordingly, he must have suppressed intellectuals and professors in China to prevent a possible coup.
Mao read and studied Western cultural works enough to be able to judge that he was not a master of Western culture. But he could not lead other Chinese leaders in advancement of the nation along with Westernization or the Russian style technological development. So, Mao decided to eliminate those intellectuals who could replace him in progress of the society.
Eventually no Chinese politicians became associates with or spies of the Soviet Union. No critical civil war took place in China. Soviet influences as well as Western influences on China were prevented.
Only a great reader such as Mao Zedong could understand power of books, so that he would try to stop people from reading books to secure his status and his ideal state of the nation, provided he had dictatorial power.
Today, however, China has become an industrial power, though through great import of modern and Western culture and science via Japan, since Mao Zedong never regarded Japan as a real enemy.
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Act 11:7 And I heard a voice saying unto me, Arise, Peter; slay and eat.
Act 11:8 But I said, Not so, Lord: for nothing common or unclean hath at any time entered into my mouth.
Act 11:9 But the voice answered me again from heaven, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.