Socialism, Health, Soviet Sport and
the Cultural Revolution
As leader of the Communist Party of China from 1934 until his death in September 1976, Mao Zedong is in part remembered for two mass campaigns, namely the Great Leap Forward of 1958 and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution of 1966. The first ended with famine while the second ended in chaos. Both movements began from a rational and intellectual attempt to create a humane and to some extent democratic alternative to what Mao viewed as the problem of Stalinism. The Communist Party under Mao seized control of mainland China in October 1949. Mao's experience of power was not unlike that of Lenin since both were devoted to the idea of communal socialism and both to some extent were involved in building an alternative state. While Lenin died early, Mao lived to launch a protest against the system he had helped to create. From the 1950s to the 1970s China could be represented as a patriarchal family in which the state controlled everything under the rule of the Party, compared to say the 1980s when the family could no longer be completely held together and the parsimonious division of the family assets becomes inevitable.
The CCP divided the future development of Chinese society into at least two successive stages, namely the bourgeois-democratic revolution and the socialist revolution. The 'new democracy' was the term used to describe the first of these phases. Its policies and orientation emanated from an essay by Mao Zedong first published in 1940 and titled Mao's writing On New Democracy (Mao, 1967, 2: 339–84). This outlined the principles of a transitional system in which a temporary alliance of workers, peasants, petty bourgeoisie and national bourgeoisie would co-exist under CCP leadership. The period of New Democracy effectively came to an end with the socialist transformation of industry and the drive for