Ten of millions died under his regime, perhaps more than 65 million people altogether
I shudder at how leftists insist China --- not to mention the Soviet Union --- wasn't really "communist." So-called "actually existing socialism" perverted and abandoned true communism (basically, utopian Marxism was never really tried), or so they say.
That's all lies. Monstrous lies, from the monstrous left.
In any case, from Sergey Radchenko, at Foreign Policy, "Mao the Man, Mao the God":
Mao Zedong was dying a slow, agonizing death. Diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) in July 1974, he gradually lost control of his motor functions. His gait was unsure. He slurred his speech and panted heavily. The decline was precipitous. In 1956 Mao, then 62 years old, predicted he’d live until year 2000 before going up “to see Marx in Heaven.” In 1966 the septuagenarian swam in the murky waters of the Yangtze River to demonstrate his strength and vitality. But by 1976, on the 27th and final year of his reign, the “Great Helmsman” could breathe only when lying on his side, surrounded by doctors and nurses.Still more.
In his final months, Mao rarely received visitors. One of the last foreigners to see him alive was New Zealand’s Prime Minister Robert Muldoon, on April 30, 1976. The record of their conversation comes from New Zealand’s archives, and has just been published for the first time.
Before he was allowed to see the Chairman, his Chinese hosts asked Muldoon to be gentle with his handshake. According to Muldoon’s record, Mao “was assisted, almost lifted, from his armchair to a standing position,” to shake hands with him and his party only to “slump back in it in a state of seeming collapse.”
“What emerged from Mao’s mouth,” the record continues – “were occasional grunts and groans as he struggled to get out the necessary word. The interpreter/nurse, intelligent and gentle, would decipher these noises – sometimes seeming to peer into his larynx – and decipher them (presumably in Mandarin) to a male interpreter who put them into polished, often colloquial, English.” It was a sorry and shocking sight, and a poignant reminder of the horrific consequences of a man’s failure to part with political power.
Just days after meeting Muldoon, Mao suffered a heart attack, then one more in June, then again in early September. He died on September 9, at the age of 82.
It took years for Beijing to walk back the deification of the People’s Republic founding leader – to show that he was in fact “Man, Not God,” as the English language title of a Mao biography written by the leader’s former chief of bodyguards has it.
But the Chinese, and Mao himself, could be almost forgiven for thinking otherwise – especially during Mao’s last decade.
“Long live Chairman Mao! Love live Chairman Mao Zedong! Long, long live Chairman Mao!” Adulating worshippers crowded Tiananmen Square in the center of Beijing, hoping for a glimpse of Mao’s friendly and imperious face. By launching the Cultural Revolution in 1966, Mao wanted to tap into the Chinese people’s enthusiasm for him to feed the fading vigor of Communist revolution and to transform the ruling Chinese Communist Party – which he felt had grown rotten on the inside.
The Cultural Revolution upended China, causing chaos and misery. The mob ruled the streets in a hysterical orgy of violence. Hundreds of thousands were killed or driven to suicide, among them China’s president and Mao’s rival Liu Shaoqi, who died in prison in 1969. Mao delighted in the storm he unleashed. “All under the heaven is great chaos,” he told an Australian Communist visitor in 1968, linking unrest in China with student demonstrations in Europe and in the United States. China, Mao felt, was at the center of a new global revolution.
But it did not take long before Mao’s delight turned to disillusionment. In 1969 he called on the army to restore a semblance of order, appointing Minister of Defense Lin Biao as his heir-apparent. But Lin Biao, too, disappointed Mao. In 1971 he fled north after the uncovering of his son’s plot to assassinate Mao. Lin never made it: his plane crashed in Mongolia.
Aware of unleashing a chaos that he was no longer able to control, and fearful of Soviet invasion, Mao turned to the United States...
And if you haven't yet, pick up your copy of The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression.
In other words, get the full story.