Mao Zedong Ideology

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The bedrock of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) carries the firm imprint of its architect, Mao Zedong. Revered to the extent of a semi-divine individual, he ruled with irrefutable authority and possessed an extraordinary cult of personality. The mark of the Great Helmsman, which was altogether political, cultural, and ideological, had dramatically defined the country. However, his tenure was contingent on his own mortality. Mao’s death in 1976 spurned a political crisis in which the question was no longer whom but Mao? Instead, after twenty-seven years, the question posed was who after Mao? Thus, the PRC had fallen victim to the Achilles heel of communist regimes — the predicament of succession. As with all Leninist systems, succession …show more content…
The PRC is blatantly classified as such a system as it fulfills the prescribed characteristics: rule under a single party, commitment to the Marxism-Leninism ideology, and an overwhelming portion of the economy placed into the public’s hands (Lovell 2). In contrast to pluralistic, Western democracies, authoritarian states lack the institutionalized mechanisms such as free and fair elections that allocate the timely transfer of power. Moreover, the shortcoming of the Leninist party system adopted by the PRC is in the concentration of power at the Center, particularly in a “core leader” unrestrained by checks and balances on his power (Lieberthal 148-149). At the end of the leader’s tenure, the system lacks a means to ensure a smooth succession at that level; it is absent of a mechanism that propels a successor into quick lateral entry into the political arena. The implications of this are vast when succession is contingent on the incumbent as opposed to the institution — the death of a core leader, prompted by age, ill health, or misfortune, could be the catalyst for political turmoil. Indeed, Chinese leadership transitions since the 1880s during the Qing dynasty have been largely characterized by political disruption and social chaos, as evidenced by rebellions, weak rulers dominated by the influence of relatives, and internal corruption (21). Given the adoption of such a model in conjugation with the country’s historical precedents, the problematic nature of transferring power was

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