Mao Zedong (毛泽东)
In 1893, Mao Zedong was born into a rich peasant family in the province of Hunan. Having moved to Beijing for schooling, he encountered Marxist theory and became a founding member of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Mao believed, however, that Marxism should be adapted to Chinese circumstances. During the Second Sino-Japanese War, Mao's power in the party became undisputed and the CCP grew enormously in size. He led the party to win the civil war with the Nationalists. Mao's rule brought rapid industrial growth and greater equality in rural areas but also brutal political oppression and a horrific famine.