The Private Life of Chairman Mao
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From 1954 until Mao Zedong's death 22 years later. Dr. Li Zhisui was the Chinese ruler's personal physician. For most of these years, Mao was in excellent health; thus he and the doctor had time to discuss political and personal matters. Dr. Li recorded many of these conversations in his diaries, as well as in his memory. In this book, Dr. Li vividly reconstructs his extraordinary time with Chairman Mao. of illustrations.
concerned. He knew that Jiang Qing’s supporters were distributing guns and ammunition to the militia in Shanghai, and the party secretary of Qinghua University, Chi Qun, was working closely with Mao Yuanxin. Chi Qun was a member of Wang Dongxing’s Central Garrison Corps—Qinghua University was under military rule—and he was organizing the Beijing militia. Wang had received word that Mao Yuanxin, as political commissar of the Shenyang Military Region, was organizing an armored troop division to
interpreter, Li Yueran, are mistaken. 2 Mao’s inspiration for asserting that China would overtake Great Britain within fifteen years may have been Khrushchev’s boast that the USSR would overtake the United States within the same period. Dr. Li did not, however, hear Khrushchev’s speech. The term Great Leap Forward was first publicly used by Zhou Enlai in a speech in the summer of 1957, and the People’s Daily called for a Great Leap Forward on November 13 of that year, before Mao’s return from
Chinese medicine. They should translate some classical Chinese medicine books into modern language, with proper annotations and explanations. Then a new medical science, based on the integration of Chinese and Western medicine, can emerge. That would be a great contribution to the world.” He paused to reflect. “Even though I believe we should promote Chinese medicine, I personally do not believe in it. I don’t take Chinese medicine. Don’t you think that is strange?” I agreed that it was
smiled, so the absence of so many and the color of the few that remained were not often noticed. The laboratory tests from the prostate examination came back, revealing that he was infertile. The sperm were dead. Mao had fathered several children by his three wives, and the last of them, his daughter with Jiang Qing, Li Na, was then some fifteen years old. The infertility apparently had begun sometime in mid-life, for reasons I was never able to discern. But the problem could not be corrected.
arrived at the indoor swimming pool and looked flushed, excited, and worn out. I politely refused his offer to take a swim myself, explaining that I didn’t even have time for lunch—I was still working in the Zhongnanhai Clinic—let alone for a swim. “I haven’t eaten either,” he said smiling, “and I haven’t slept. I swam for an hour. I have taken sleeping pills three times and I still can’t sleep. Are you giving me those skimpy capsules again?” “No, the capsules are full-strength,” I assured him.