A very polarizing leader. There’s good and bad with Mao. Alot of these answers seem to be biased too much in one way or another, I’ll try to be as fair as I can here:
Good things Mao did:
-improve life expectancy of the average Chinese
-improve literacy rate of the average Chinese, I must admit Simplified Chinese is much easier to learn to read and write
-unite Chinese under one dialect, Standard Mandarin making it easier to communicate
-overall raised the living conditions of most Chinese people. The Chinese nobles of before of course, saw their living conditions get worse and their nobility stripped but for the average Chinese I believe it improved from pre-Japanese war to Mao-era
-Got rid of stupid superstitions like Feng Shui from the Chinese mainland. Unfortunately it still exists in Taiwan and HK.
-Free housing + healthcare + education made possible by… communism! Of course its soviet-style so the quality wasn’t very good but it was free..
Now the bad things that Mao did:
-he was a terrible economic policy maker. The Great Leap Forward was a disaster that caused the famine of millions
-The Cultural Revolution was even worse, it destroyed 1000s of years of Chinese culture and tradition, purged many creative artists and scholars and prevented many people like my parents from attending university
-The One Child policy, while successfully reducing population growth, now has caused a gender imbalance in China with more males than females, and this combined with the ‘women hold up half the sky’ BS, has led to gender inequality in China where the women have more power then the men do. And no, they still don’t hold up half the sky or even pay for half the bill.
-Of course with communism its all about everyone being equal so during the Mao era, no one was allowed to own anything really, it was all state owned. So yeah you want to buy something that other’s don’t have? You couldn’t!
-Another problem with communism style government is government decides what job you do. If you wanted to be a singer or musician? Good luck. Mao says you have to work in the field you work in and you can’t do anything about it.
-Religion is banned. Atheists will probably appreciate Mao for this but I think getting rid of religion means that you one have one less way for you to connect with a community. Sometimes people who aren’t religious go to church to connect with other people. I think China could be better served by a better sense of community amongst its people.