Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book almost became the most printed book in the history of the world. Almost a billion copies were printed and sold and it is still being sold today, but it is not number one. It is almost number one.
The Communist party promoted the “Little Red Book” to be used by every citizen who supported the revolution. Communist disciples were expected to read and learn the contents of the Little Red Book, quote it, and teach it to others. Time was set aside in schools and factories for people to study and recite passages from the book.
Still, there was another Book that the people wanted more.
The Little Red Book (LRB) became a symbol of oppression during the Cultural Revolution of 1966–69 when armies of “red guards” held their copies aloft as they marched in support of Chairman Mao and were instrumental in ruthlessly crushing Christian teachings.
Mao’s LRB is admired by many, even in America. In fact, many leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States promoted the book to their followers. It is clear that Mao would not have liked BTJ’s Underground Printing House, when he wrote, “To read too many books is harmful.”
Mao’s LRB also contrasted directly with the Biblical teaching of “love others as you love yourself.” Instead, Mao wrote, “When there is not enough to eat, people starve to death. It is better to let half of the people die so that the other half can eat their fill.” In case there was confusion about this, he continued on, “Deaths have benefits. They can fertilise the ground.”
He was a real lover of humanity, writing “Don’t make a fuss about a world war. At most, people die… Half the population wiped out – this happened quite a few times in Chinese history… It’s best if half the population is left, next best one-third.”
Mao’s LRB book taught that morality does not come from the Bible and it is not given to us by God. It is developed by those in power. If one has the power, they can shape morality into what ever they want it to be. According to the LRB, “Morality comes at the end of a gun.”
It was important for the Communist leadership to gain trust, or faith, in their followers, and one way of doing that was to tell them how to think, and teach them what to say. If they could not develop trust, then they created fear.
In the end, Mao ruled by fear. His book did not sell almost a billion copies because people wanted to buy it. The book sold a billion copies because they were forced to own it – at the barrel of a gun.
And still, the number one book in China today is not Mao’s Little Red Book. It is the Bible.