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Library Module Reading List (2020-21) - updated through Week 5 only

Mao Zedong and Modern China, 1949-Present, 2021/22, Semester 1
Dr Adam Cathcart
Tutor information is taken from the Module Catalogue

There is no core text required for purchase. However, the following texts would be useful for students seeking broader treatment of the course material:

Frank Dikotter, The tragedy of liberation : a history of the Chinese revolution, 1945-57 (London: Bloomsbury, 2013)

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The Siege of Changchun, 1948

Core reading: Frank Dikötter, Preface and Chapter 1 (‘Siege’), The Tragedy of Liberation, pp.  xi-xvi, 3-8.

Reference reading: Andrew Jacobs, ‘China is Wordless on Traumas of Communists’ Rise,’ New York Times, 1 October 2009.


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The Civil War in the Northeast, 1945-1948

Core Reading:

Frank Dikötter, Chapter 2 (‘War’), The Tragedy of Liberation, pp. 9-38.

Mao Zedong, ‘Build Stable base Areas in the Northeast (December 28,1945)’ Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung, Vol. IV (Beijing: Peking Foreign Languages Press, 1965), pp. 81-86. 


Reference Reading:

Harold Tanner, “Guerrilla, Mobile, and Base Warfare in Communist Military Operations in Manchuria, 1945-1947,” The Journal of Military History, Volume 67, Number 4 (October 2003), pp. 1177-1222.

 Andrew Bingham Kennedy, “Can the Weak Defeat the Strong? Mao’s Evolving Approach to Asymmetric Warfare in Yan’an,” The China Quarterly, no. 196 (Dec. 2008), pp. 884-899.

Frederick Whyte, “Chungking or Yenan: The Choice Before China,” Pacific Affairs, Vol. 19, No. 2 (1946), pp. 199-202.


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Land Reform, 1947-1952

Core Reading: Frank Dikötter, Chapter 4 (‘The Hurricane’), The Tragedy of Liberation, pp. 84-102 [print edition page nos.].

Mao Zedong, ‘Report of an Investigation into the Peasant Movement in Hunan,’ Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung Vol. 1 (Beijing: Peking Foreign Languages Press, 1965), pp. 23-62. 


Reference Reading: 

Secondary Reading

Brian DeMare, ‘Casting (Off) Their Stinking Airs: Chinese Intellectuals and Land Reform, 1946–52,’ The China Journal Vol.67 (2012) 109-130.

Marco Fumian, ‘Zhou Libo’s fiction and “The Hurricane”,’ Routledge

Handbook of Modern Chinese Literature (London: Routledge, 2018), 318-328.

Frank Li, ‘Land Redistribution in Communist China,’ Pacific Affairs Vol. 21, No. 1 (March 1948), 20-32. 

Fangchun Li, ‘Mass Democracy, Class Struggle, and Remolding the Party and Government during the Land Reform Movement in North China,’ Modern China Vol. 38, No. 4 (July 2012), 411-445. 

James Kai-sing Kung, ‘The Political Economy of Land Reform in China’s “Newly Liberated Areas”: Evidence from Wuxi County,’ The China Quarterly, No. 195 (Sept. 2008), 675-690. 

Tanaka Kyoko, ‘Mao and Liu in the 1947 Land Reform: Allies or Disputants?’ The China Quarterly, No. 75 (Sep., 1978), 566-593.

Primary Sources 

(Mao’s Selected Works) 

Mao Zedong, ‘Rent Reduction and Production Are Two Important Matters for the Defence of the Liberated Areas (November 7, 1945)’ Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung, Vol. IV (Beijing: Peking Foreign Languages Press, 1965), pp. 71-74. 

Mao Zedong, ‘Policy for Work in the Liberated Areas for 1946 (December 15, 1945)’ Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung, Vol. IV (Beijing: Peking Foreign Languages Press, 1965), pp. 75-80. 

Mao Zedong, ‘Different Tactics for Carrying Out the Land Law in Different Areas (February 3, 1948),’ Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung, Vol. IV (Beijing: Peking Foreign Languages Press, 1965), pp. 193-196. 

Mao Zedong, ‘Correct the "Left" Errors in Land Reform Propaganda (February 11, 1948),’ Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung, Vol. IV (Beijing: Peking Foreign Languages Press, 1965), pp. 197-200. 

Mao Zedong, ‘Essential Points in Land Reform in the New Liberated Areas (February 15, 1948),’ Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung, Vol. IV (Beijing: Peking Foreign Languages Press, 1965), pp. 201-202.



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The Campaign to Suppress Counterrevolutionaries, 1950-1951

Core Reading: Frank Dikötter, Chapter 5 (‘The Great Terror’), The Tragedy of Liberation, pp. 84-102.

Julia Strauss, “Paternalist Terror: The Campaign to Suppress Counterrevolutionaries and Regime Consolidation in the PRC, 1950-1953,” Comparative studies in society and history., Vol. 44, No. 1 (Jan. 2002), pp. 80-105.

Reference Reading

Yang Kuisong, “Reconsidering the Campaign to Suppress Counterrevolutionaries,” The China quarterly.., 193 (March 2008), pp.102-121.

Yang Kuisong, ‘How a “Bad Element” was Madeː The Discovery, Accusation, and Punishment of Zang Qiren,’ in Maoism at the Grassrootsː Everyday ʟife in China’s Era of High Socialism, ed. Jeremy Brown and Matthew Johnson (ʜarvard University Press, 2015), pp. 19-50. [online book] 

Julia Strauss, “Morality, Coercion, and State Building by Campaign in the Early PRC: Regime Consolidation and After, 1949-1956,” The China quarterly. (2006). 

Theodore Hsi-En Chen and Wen-Hui C. Chen, ‘The ‘Three-Anti’ and ‘Five-Anti’ Movements in Communist China, Pacific Affairs, Vol. 26, No. 1 (mar., 1953), pp. 3-23.

Aminda M Smith, ‘Thought Reform and the Unreformable: Reeducation Center and the Rhetoric of Opposition in the Early People’s Republic of China’, The Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 72, No 4 (2013), pp 937-958.

Michael M. Sheng, ‘Mao Zedong and the Three-Anti Campaign (November 1951 to April 1952): A Revisionist Interpretation’, Twentieth-Century China, Vol. 32, No. 1 (2013), pp. 56-80.

L, Xiaobo, “Sugar-Coated Bullets from Enemiesː Corruption in the Early ʏears,” Chapter 2 in Cadres and Corruptionː The Organizational Involution of the Chinese Communist Party (Stanford University Press, 2000), pp. 31-72. [Not currently available.]

Adam Cathcart, ‘Revisiting Mao’s Role in the ‘Three-Anti’ Campaign, Sino-Mondiale (blog), []

Mao Zedong, “The Party’s Mass Line Must Be Followed in Suppressing Counter-revolutionaries,” Selected works of Mao Tse-Tung., Volume 5, May 1951 [ ]

Mao Zedong, “Strike Surely, Accurately, and Relentlessly in Suppressing Counter-Revolutionaries,” Selected works of Mao Tse-Tung., Volume 5, September 1950 - January 1951 [ ]




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Week 5


The Korean War

Core Reading: Frank Dikötter, Chapters 6 & 7 (‘The Bamboo Curtain’ & ‘War Again’), The Tragedy of Liberation, pp. 103-152.

Reference Reading

Sang Won Kim, ‘The Chinese Civil War and Sino-North Korea Relations, 1945-50,’ Seoul Journal of Korean Studies, vol. 27, no. 1 (June 2014), pp. 91-113.   OCR REQUESTED BY LIBRARY (HT 05/02/2021) 

Kim Chun-seon, ‘The Settlement and Repatriation of Koreans in Northeast China after Liberation,’ Korea Journal, Vol.44. No.4 (Winter 2004), pp.85-111. 

Charles Kraus, "Bridging East Asia’s Revolutions: The Overseas Chinese in North Korea, 1945-1950," The Journal of Northeast Asian History, vol. 11, no. 2 (Winter 2014): 39-70.

Adam Cathcart,“Nationalism and Ethnic Identity in the Sino-Korean Border Region of Yanbian, 1945-1950,” Korean Studies, Vol. 34 (December) 25-53.

He Di, “The Most Respected Enemy: Mao Zedong’s Perception of the United States,” The China quarterly., no. 137 (March 1994), pp. 144-158.

Hao Yufan and Zhai Zhihai, “China’s Decision to Enter the Korean War: History Revisited,” The China quarterly.,, no. 121 (March 1990), pp. 94-115.

The Bonds of Brotherhood: New Evidence of Sino-North Korean Exchanges, 1950-1954,” with Charles Kraus, Journal of Cold War studies., Vol. 13, No. 3, 27-51.

Chen, J (1992), "China's Changing Aims During the Korean War, 1950-1951." Journal of American-East Asian Relations 1 (1) : 8-41.

Sergei Goncharov, Uncertain partners : Stalin, Mao, and the Korean War (Stanford University Press, 1993).

Dandan Zhu, “The Hungarian revolution and the origins of China's Great Leap policies, 1956–57,” Cold war history.., (2011) Volume 12, Issue 3.

Mao Zedong, “Important Talks with Guests from Asia, Africa, and Latin America,” Foreign Languages Press, Peking review.., 1960, pp 2-8. [Online: ]

Mao Zedong, “On The Question Of Whether Imperialism And All Reactionaries Are Real Tigers (December 1, 1958),” Peking review.., Nos. 37 & 38, September 13, 1977. [Online: ]


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Approaches to Mao Studies 

Core Reading: TBA






Core Readings:


Melvyn Goldstein, A history of modern Tibet. Vol. 2, The calm before the storm, 1951-1955, Chapter 1.


Anna Louise Strong, When serfs stood up in Tibet, Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 1959.[online: ]


Adam Cathcart, “Love Song of the Foreign Imperialist: Teaching Tibetan History to American Students in the PRC,” ASIANetwork Exchange, 2012. Available online at:

Reference Readings:

Melvyn Goldstein, The snow lion and the dragon : China, Tibet, and the Dalai Lama (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997).

Tsering Shakya, Dragon in the land of snows : a history of modern Tibet since 1947 ( London : Pimlico, 1999 ) .

Ling Nai-min, Tibetan Sourcebook (Hong Kong: Union Research Institute, 1964). See especially Document 33, “The Dalai Lama’s Report at the Inaugural Meeting of the Prepatory Committee for the Autonomous Region of Tibet,” Ren min ri bao., 25 April 1956, pp. 144-155.

Panchen Lama, A poisoned arrow : the secret report of the 10th Panchen Lama : the full text of the Panchen Lama's 70,000 character petition of 1962, together with a selection of supporting historical documents. (London: Tibet Information Network, 1997).

Clare Harris and Tsering Shakya, eds., Seeing Lhasa : British depictions of the Tibetan capital, 1936-1947 (London: Serindia, 2003).

Hisao Kimura and Scott Berry, Japanese agent in Tibet : my ten years of travel in disguise (London: Serindia, 1990).

V.B. Karnik, ed., China invades India : the story of invasion against the background of Chinese history and Sino-Indian relations. (Bombay: Allied Publishers, Ltd., 1963). Fascinating patriotic text. Many details and the perspective is key.

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The Great Leap Forward

Core Readings:


Chris Bramall, Agency and Famine in China's Sichuan Province, 1958–1962, The China quarterly.., Volume 208 (December 2011), pp 990-1008.


David Bachman, “Chinese Bureaucratic Politics and the Origins of the Great Leap Forward,” Journal of contemporary China.. (Summer 1995).


Zhou, Xun. Forgotten voices of Mao's great famine, 1958-1962 : an oral history New Haven : Yale University Press, 2013.

Reference Reading:

Kimberley Ens Manning and Felix Wemheuer, eds . Eating bitterness : new perspectives on China's Great Leap Forward and famine (Vancouver : UBC Press, 2011).

Becker, Jasper. Hungry ghosts : China's secret famine (London : John Murray, 1997).

Frederick C. Tiewes and Warren Sun, China's road to disaster : Mao, central politicians, and provincial leaders in the unfolding of the great leap forward, 1955-1959 (Armonk, New York: East Gate/M.E.Sharpe, 1999). – An excellent and multi-layered account of the factors that led to China’s famine, and Mao’s personality at the center of the storm. Authoritative look at the weakening of party moderates like Chen Yun; highly recommended.

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Week 9:

The Cultural Revolution

Core Readings:


Robert Jay Lifton, Revolutionary immortality : Mao Tse-tung and the Chinese cultural revolution (London : Weidenfeld& Nicolson, 1969).  


Andrew G. Walder, Fractured rebellion : the Beijing Red Guard movement (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2012).

[9.3.] Melvyn Goldstein, On the Cultural Revolution in Tibet : the Nyemo Incident of 1969 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009).

Reference Readings

Feng Jicai, Ten years of madness : oral histories of China's Cultural Revolution (San Francisco : China Books & Periodicals, c1996).

Li Zhensheng, Red-color news soldier; introduction by Jonathon Spence (London :Phaidon, 2003).

Mao Zedong, “Bombard The Headquarters (August 5, 1966),” Peking review.., No. 33, 11-3-1967. [Online: ]

Roxanne Witke: Comrade Chiang Ch'ing Tells Her Story, tid=17122&keyword=chiang  

Mao Zedong, “Talk on Putting Military Affairs Work into Full Effect and Cultivating Successors to the Revolution,” June 16, 1964,

Kuo-kang Shao, Zhou Enlai and the foundations of Chinese foreign policy (Macmillan, 1996). Well-documented, sparsely written, and even-handed.

Simon Leys, The Chairman's new clothes : Mao and the cultural revolution, translated by Carol Appleyard and Patrick Goode (London: Allison & Busby, 1977). Peerless and virtuosic; also originally written in French as Les Habits Neufs du Preisdent Mao.

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Week 10–

There is no seminar this week.

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Week 11 –

Nationalism and Memory

Core reading

Mobo Gao, The battle for China's past : Mao and the Cultural Revolution (Pluto Press, 2008)  

Josh Kurtzlantzick, “China’s Repressed Memory of the Cultural Revolution: Silent Revolution,” New republic. (online),

This list was last updated on 20/01/2021