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.
were suffering desperately in the struggle against the Japanese invasion. Critical though he was, Wang was no Trotskyite, and when I read Wild Lilies years after my conversation with Mao, I knew that Wang’s accusations had been correct. He had been criticizing the same corruption I saw later in Zhongnanhai. The degeneration of the party had begun as early as Yanan, I realized. We stopped first in Jinan, Shandong, and then traveled on to Shanghai, where we were hosted by one of Mao’s most ardent
his loss of face. His vital signs were normal, and he did not even have to be taken to the hospital. Li Yinqiao still did not break the friendship. Ye Zilong was still unhappy. “Mao does not say outright he wants me to leave, but doesn’t let me do anything for him either,” he complained. Mao began criticizing Ye before other members of the staff. Ye Zilong began looking for a way out and talked to Beijing mayor Peng Zhen about finding a job with him. Ye continued to gossip about Mao, and the
political situation and seek his advice. I wanted to encourage him to return to Group One. Wang was meeting with Zhou Enlai when I arrived at the Xiling Hotel late one night. Zhou was tense and not happy to see me. “Do you know what time it is?” the premier asked. “Why have you come?” “I want to report to Comrade Wang Dongxing on the Chairman’s health over the past several months,” I replied. “Why do you have to make your report so late at night?” Zhou demanded. Wang Dongxing interjected,
States had remained aloof. Official contact between the American government and the Chinese Communist party had not begun until the 1930s, more than a decade after the party’s founding, but unofficial contacts with Americans had always been friendly. Mao liked Edgar Snow, though he was certain the journalist worked for the CIA. And he greatly respected Dr. George Hatem, the Lebanese-American who had treated the communist troops, joined the party, and stayed in China after liberation to become a
occasional bronchitis, itchy skin, corns on his feet, or lack of appetite. He was so frequently constipated that one of his bodyguards administered an enema every two or three days, and his bowel movements were a daily topic of discussion. A normal bowel movement became cause for celebration among his staff. For me, however, the most nerve-racking problem was Mao’s persistent insomnia. He was a man of tremendous energy. In his iconoclasm and refusal to accept routine, Mao rebeled against time