At the beginning of the twentieth century, an interesting and special period began in Chinese history when the powerful western countries were trying to dominate China as much as possible. Their ambition grew when they found abundant resources in China and their invading action was aroused due to the incompetence of the Qing government. Gradually, some regions of China became semi-colonies. On the one hand, Chinese people’s human rights were deprived under the colonial domination, resulting in Chinese people’s resent to these western countries. On the other hand, the invasion of the Western Powers also brought modern thought and led many thinkers and activists to look for the best ideology among these thoughts to extricate China from semi-colonial and semi-feudal status, fighting for China’s own development. The most outstanding one among these thinkers and activists in this special period was Mao Zedong who was famous for his theory of “Asian Marxism” which emphasized on mass power, social classes and peasant involvement to establish a strong defense against the capitalist enemies. This great thought should was attributed by his path of education that enabled he to witness many significant social movements organized by the poor, to study the publications about the Western ideas, and to discuss with people with unique insights about Chinese social movements during the first two decades in the 20th century. Therefore, this essay aims to research on Mao’s path of education that changed his concern and reflection on the society and politics and finally helped him develop into an outstanding activist and thinker. Body Paragraphs
In the early period of Mao’ receiving education, the first book attracted his attention and stirred up his interest of continuing study was “Words of Warning”. After giving up learn the Classics in school when he was thirteen due to lack interest, he still pondered over the book “Words of Warning”. This book discussed the weaknesses of China through showing its lack of Western applications1. Therefore, Mao was deeply influence by the idea that importing western facilities to China and educating people the modern culture could unite the power of China and save the country. Thanks to the slight influence of the Classics which has a common saying “Every man alive has a duty to his country”, Mao wanted to save his country through studying Western culture. Despite the disapproval of his father at the beginning, Mao did not give up his decision but studied with a Law student for one and a half year (Snow 1969, 129).
Later Mao studied in the little Chinese School and became an antitheist under the guidance of the “radical teacher” in this school who “wanted to get rid of gods” and “urged people to convert their temples into schools.” However, Mao’s mother was devout believer of Buddhism and always gave her children religious instruction. Before learning in this school, Mao and his mother were in the same religious “party” and used to worship Buddha (Snow 1969, 128). His idea about gods started to change due to his extensive reading. But what fundamentally shifted him into an unbeliever was the influence of this “radical teacher”. Mao admired this teacher who conducted intrepid actions to challenging the traditional thoughts of Chinese people. The thoughts of this “radical teacher” coincided with the ideas in “Words of Warming” which made a great impact on Mao by putting a strong emphasis on educating people for raising the power of the country. Thus, Mao could easily agree with the view of this teacher even it was a little bit radical to require people to completely give up the traditional religious beliefs (Snow 1969, 131).
During this period, Mao was also affected by the movements organized by the poor, leading to his rebellious mind. The first movement affecting him was an insurrection in the city brought by hundreds of people that were suffering from the starvation and haughtiness...
Bibliography: Snow, Edgar. Red star over China. Grove Press, 1968.
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