Young Pioneer Tours

Fallen Heir: Mao Anying

Who was Mao Anying?

Mao Anying was the eldest son of Mao Zedong (sometimes spelled Mao Tse-tung) the leader of the People’s Republic of China from its inception in 1949 and chairman of the Communist Party of China from 1935.

Mao’s family life could – and does – have whole books written about it. He married Luo Yixiu, a woman from his local town, when he was just 14, in the traditional form of arranged marriage. In 1921 he married Yang Kaihui, mother to Mao Anying, Mao Anqing and Mao Anlong. She was executed by the Guomindang Nationalists in 1930. By this time Mao had already married his third wife, He Zhizhen, who travelled with him on the Long March to Yan’an. But it was his last wife, Jiang Qing – later arrested as one of the Gang of Four after Mao’s death – who was the most well-known.

Birth of Mao Anying

It’s fair to say Mao Anying was born in turbulent times and lived a turbulent life. Born in 1922, Anying was educated in Moscow, using the name Sergei Yun Fu. Anying, along with his brother Anqing, fought in the Soviet Red Army on the Eastern Front against Nazi Germany during World War Two.

In 1950, General Mao Anying was part of the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army who took part in the “Resist America, Aid Korea” campaign, otherwise known as the Korean War. He was a secretary and Russian translator for the commander Peng Dehuai.

Mao Anying

How did Mao Anying die?

Anying died in Korea on 25th November 1950. The US Air Force, acting in concert with the United Nations, dropped napalm on the area Anying was in, killing him along with many others. Some sources suggest he was illegally cooking and thus alerted the attention of the US bombers, but it is likely that this was a rumour created amid the Chinese political battles of the mid-1970s.

Where is Mao Anying Buried?

He was interred in a cemetery for Chinese volunteers in Hoechang County, on the outskirts of Pyongyang. Some sources suggest his remains were later transferred to Beijing, but the cemetery itself can still be visited and is a great way to see rural North Korea.

Would Mao Anying have been leader of China?

This is very hard to say, but he was certably thought of very fondly by Chairman Mao. It is more than likley that he would have been in some kind of leadership position had he survived the Korean War.

It should though also be noted that those espousing Maoism after his death, namely the Gang of 4 did not exactly fare well as China began to open under Deng Xiaoping.

What about Mao’s other son?

The only serving son of Chairman Mao was Mao Anqing, brother of Mao Anying. Mao Anqing allegedly suffered from mental illness, perhaps schizophrenia. He was a communist party member and worked as a translator, but never got involved in politics. They had one son in 1970, Mao Xinyu.. Mao Anqing died in 2007.

Mao Xinyu has also largely remained out of politics, although he a member of the PLA, before teaching Mao Zedong thought at Guangzhou University. He has two daughters, but remains the last surviving male heir to the Mao dynasty. He speaks often about his grandfather through his teaching work. He has also written several books, including a number about his grandfather.

Join the Chairman Mao & Nanjiecun Collective Village Revolutionary China tour for an in-depth look at China’s communist past and present, and the DPRK Political Interest tour to see the Hoechang County cemetery and Pyongyang’s revolutionary history for yourself. For those interested in Mao, you can visit his mausoleum on our Ultimate Leaders Tour

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