• Fri
  • Dec 19, 2014
  • Updated: 11:14pm

Mao's achievements outweigh mistakes: state media poll

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 25 December, 2013, 12:05pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 25 December, 2013, 3:34pm

More than 85 per cent of respondents in a Chinese state media survey said that Mao Zedong's achievements outweigh his mistakes, as the country prepares to mark 120 years since the "Great Helmsman's" birth.

Mao's legacy remains mixed in China, where he is revered for the 1949 founding of the People's Republic but authorities have called for restraint in commemorating the anniversary.

Mao is blamed for the deaths of tens of millions due to famine following his "Great Leap Forward" and the decade of chaos known as the Cultural Revolution.

Since his death in 1976, the Chinese Communist Party's official line has been he was "70 per cent right and 30 per cent wrong".

But participants in the survey conducted Monday and Tuesday by the Global Times newspaper, which is close to the ruling party, seemed to hold an even more favourable view of Mao.

Asked "Do you agree that Mao Zedong's achievements outweigh his mistakes?" 78.3 per cent of respondents in the Global Times survey said they agreed, 6.8 per cent strongly agreed and only 11.7 per cent disagreed. About three per cent said they did not know.

Nearly 90 per cent of those surveyed said that Mao's "greatest merit" was "founding an independent nation through revolution".

China's ruling Communist Party heavily censors accounts of Mao's 27-year-long rule, and there has never been a full historical reckoning of his actions in the country.

Younger and better-educated Chinese were more likely to be critical of Mao, the Global Times said, while older respondents and those with a high school or vocational school education were more likely to revere him.

One potential reason for the Mao nostalgia among older and less-well-educated respondents could be China's widening wealth gap, the paper suggested.

"Fairness being the second most popular of Mao's merits makes sense as it's part of the reason that people miss the Mao era, because the wealth gap was not as big as now," Zhao Zhikui, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

The newspaper surveyed 1,045 respondents over 18 by telephone and online in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Xi'an, Changsha and Shenyang.

Video: In China, hundreds of entrepreneurs attend meeting for Mao’s 120th anniversary


Related topics

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

Is this a joke? It's thought that more people died under Mao than Stalin!
It's a poll. By the CHINESE media, on the CHINESE people, restricted from most, if not all outside sources. How more biased can it get?!
If only the people of China were allowed to know of all his mistakes
It's so sad. The truth is seeking truth of history never been allowed. As a mainland Chinese, I have nowhere to learn truth of many history events like about Tibet and Cultural Revolution. But we know some more or less, and like many youngsters, we hate Mao, whom almost destory the whole nation and nation's culture plus kills tens of thousands people.
Views are different between elders. Needless to say those who has been persecuted(mostly the rich at that time) they against Mao. But basiclly elders they admire Mao or at least accept Mao era. My mom lost her oppotunity to go to college at that time, this was her wholelife's regret. While she never blame Mao, but just seen this as her and her generation's destiny. Even after learning some truths of Mao's rulling, still my parents never blame Mao and his mistakes, I guess partly they won't betray their past, besides as many others, they hate unfairness and wealth gap of current era.
My husband's Mom, lived in rural and had no idea about outside world, has been completely brainwashing. Chairman Mao is her belief, she often said like this. Actually many rural elders had same belief as her. Sadly noone could convince them what they believe was wrong. That's why what we youngsters could do is silence when they keep talking about Mao's achivements and Mao is the people's saviour BlaBla……
There are different opinions on one thing, but basically the more fact one could learns, the more correct views he can get. What do you expect young people could reflect and learn from elder? For elders whom less know about fact, furthermore they don't want to correct anymore. For most of them, their opinions has been stereotyped when they were young. When you talk with them, what you can get is they suffers a lot during that times, and Mao is the greatest, that's all. Three Years tragedy for them indeed is natural disaster instead of man-caused. At least younger ones try to learn more, to know how the truth is, and reach their own conclusion. Yes younger generation didn't experience that crazy era, if you are saying one is no right to view if he didn't experience?
As for what you said brainwashed by western media, this is so ridiculous, do you think mainlanders could seen unfavourable views from western medias under such strict public opinion watchdogs? If criticism would be affected by western world, do you think currently wide-spread non-public criticism on governments,corruption,pollution,education,food safety, social welfare,wealth gap etc all brainwashed by western?
If only I could type these in Chinese but without being shielded.
From the result, we understand why The Communist Party is still ruling China.
"No one man can terrorize a whole nation unless we are all his accomplices.?
? Edward R. Murrow
I think basically Mao was dictator, he exploited the poor and uneducated mass to achieve his goal. He destroyed the rich culture of ancient China. Look what he done to the people of Tibet. In the name liberating Tibet he destroyed the ancient nation of Tibet. More than 1 million Tibetans died as a direct result of his action, thousands of temples and monasteries were turned rubble and the riches of Tibet were looted and transported to China. For Tibetans he was devil in human form.
Well, I guess I am one of the remaining 15% though I am Chinese.
I believe that even (or in particular ? ) the cadres in Beijing know that such survey is worth nothing and serves purely as a propaganda exercise.
Any survey about Mao conducted in China has its great limitation because people in China only know about Mao what the government wants them to know (same applies about the June 4th massacre) . Only few mainlanders will be able to have an overall informed picture of Mao and his achievements and cruelties.
When looking at the sheer number of people killed (****www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive/article-2091670/Hitler-Stalin-The-murderous-regimes-world.html) and the cruelties done to mankind under Mao's leadership, there is no achievement that could possibly compensate for what he has done to mankind.
Hitler was responsible for "only" half the number of killed people but imagine the worldwide uproar if Germany today commemorates Hitler the way China does with Mao ! And what were the Jews for Hitler were the bourgeois for Mao.
Perhaps it is time for you to reflect again why your parents generation, who had first-hand experience and supposedly suffered the most under Mao, are not as ready to dump Mao as the so-called younger generation, who suffered the least and can hardly recall the Mao era? Could it be that YOU too are brainwashed by western media and cannot place him in a proper perspective?
Want prove of western brainwashing take a look a your i phone and the BMW's cruising around.
Perhaps if you read Tibetan history, you realize that it was as bloody as anywhere (Europe, China, the Americas) even before the communist takeover in 1950. Every nation under the sun is changing and being changed in the past 200-300 years, as a result of penetration of Western influence into "uncivilized oriental" regions and the disintegration of indigenous cultures.
"More than 1 million Tibetans died as a direct result of his action". Even the total Tibetan population was less than 1 million in the 1950s. Spare the readers such gross lies would you?
Tibet is an entirely different matter all together. if one studies, which apparently you have not, the natural borders of countries - from a defense perspective, geographical features and what not, require that certain contiguous lands be part of one power. Hence, this is why Poland has been invaded countless times and will be invaded again - as it sits on a flat plain between Germany and Russia. If Tibet were so called independent - it would in fact become a de facto puppet state of India and Indian troops and armour would have full use of it. Thereby leaving China's flank readily open for attack. Every person and country needs to face their geographical and genetic destiny. If you're 150cm - it's not likely you're going to play in the NBA - stop harming yourself with fantasy. If you're located between two big powers - which happen to be Indian and China, well then you are Tibet. Accept your destiny and make the best of it. Fighting and denying will just make it all worse.
Nonsense...the Chinese are true believers in authentic data gathered by legitimate means! Hence the CCP's oft repeated slogan, "Seek truth from facts."


SCMP.com Account