Remembering Chairman Mao's 1st Wife Yang Kaihui

November 17, 2016
By Women VoiceEditor: Joyce Dong
Remembering Chairman Mao's 1st Wife Yang Kaihui

Yang Kaihui (back), her sons Mao Anying and Mao Anqing [Women Voice]

 

The 86th anniversary of the death of Yang Kaihui (1901-1930), the first wife of Chairman Mao (1893-1976), fell on November 14. People have kept alive memories of the early revolutionary martyr in various ways over the past decades.

Yang Kaihui's Death

On November 14, 1930, refusing to reveal Mao's whereabouts or break off her relationship with him, Yang, at the age of 29, a native of central China's Hunan Province, was killed by a local Kuomintang warlord.

People's Daily, the flagship newspaper of the Communist Party of China (CPC), published an article on July 15, 2009 titled "Chopping off the Head Is Like the Passing of a Breeze," giving an introduction to Yang's life.

According to the article, Yang's father Yang Changji began to teach at No.1 Hunan Normal School in 1913. At that time, his students Mao Zedong and Cai Helin, both young pioneers, often visited his family and exerted a great influence on Yang.

In 1918, her father got a position at Peking University and he moved his family to Beijing. Later, Mao also went to the city to organize a half-study and half-work movement in France.

Under Mao's assistance, the young woman read a large number of progressive magazines including the New Youth and New Tide, opening a new horizon to herself. Like-minded, they gradually fell in love.

Later, the pair got married in the winter of 1920, but she was arrested in October 1930. Under brutal torture, she never betrayed Mao nor the Party, the article describes.

"You can kill me if you like, but you would never get anything from my mouth… Even if the seas run dry and the rocks crumble, I would never break off relations with Mao Zedong", and "I prefer to die for the success of Mao's revolution career," she told her captors.

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