CHINA: A Letter from Mao

During the tumultuous upheavals of the Cultural Revolution, Mao Tse-tung's Little Red Book of Quotations from Chairman Mao became the Bible of Communist China. Now a letter has surfaced indicating that Chairman Mao himself had grave reservations about the cult of personality that engulfed him and his words in the mid-1960s.

Writing, probably from Hangchow, to his wife Chiang Ching on July 8, 1966, Mao said: "I have never believed that those booklets of mine possessed so much magic. Now, thanks to this babbling, the whole nation has been caught up in it. I expressed disagreement with my friend, but what...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!