5. Chairman Mao Was Also a Classical Poet
Mao Zedong led the Chinese Communist Party from 1935 until his death in 1976, and ruled China from 1949 until his demise. During his years in power, he was responsible for the deaths of tens of millions Chinese, killed outright by his followers, or starved to death because of his disastrous economic policies. However, in addition to being a prolific mass murder, Mao was also a prolific writer and poet. Incongruously, for somebody so politically radical and revolutionary, Mao liked to compose verses in classical Chinese forms.
His education, like most intellectuals of his era, was heavy on classical Chinese literature. However, while most of Mao’s contemporaries moved on to modern styles and themes, he stuck with the old. From his youth, he composed poetry in the classical style, and his image as a poet played a significant role in shaping his public persona. He was actually considered a good poet, and not just by critics in China, who would have been foolhardy to pan his poetry, but also by critics outside China and thus beyond his clutches. His poetry tended to be on romantic end of things, rather than the more modern realist genre, and hearkened back to the style of the Tang Dynasty, of the 7th to 9th centuries.