Interesting earlier life about Zedong Mao.

The following was the expert from the reporter and journalist Edgar Snow’s memoir.

Snow, Edgar, Red Star Over China, New York: Grove Press, Inc., 1968.

“I had never before seen so many children together. Most of them were sons of landlords, wearing expensive clothes; very few peasants could afford to send their children to such a school. I was more poorly dressed than the others. I owned only one decent coat-and-trousers suit . . . . Many of the richer students despised me because usually I was wearing my ragged coat and trousers. However, among them I had friends, and two especially were my good comrades.”

“Feeling expansive and the need for a few intimate companions, I one day inserted an advertisement in a Changsha paper inviting young men interested in patriotic work to make a contact with me. I specified youths who were hardened and determined, and ready to make sacrifices for their country. To this advertisement I received three and one half replies. One was from Lu Shiang-lung, who later was to join the Communist Party and afterwards to betray it. Two others were from young men who later were to become ultrareactionaries. The ‘half’ reply came from a non-committal youth named Li Li-san. Li listened to all I had to say, and then went way without making any definite proposals himself, and our friendship never developed.”

“But gradually I did build up a group of students around myself, and the nucleus was formed of what later was to become a society that was to have a widespread influence on the affairs and destiny of China. It was a serious-minded little group of men and they had no time to discuss trivialities. Everything they did or said must have a purpose. They had no time for live or ‘romance’ and considered the times too critical and the need for knowledge too urgent to discuss women or personal matters. . . . I built up a wide correspondence with many students and friends in other towns and cities. Gradually I began to realize the necessity for a more closely knit organization. In 1917, with some other friends, I helped to found the Hsin-min Hsueh-hui. It had from seventy to eighty members, and of these many were later become famous names in Chinese communism and in the history of Chinese Revolution.”

“Most of these societies were organized more or less under the influences of Hsin Ch’ing-nien [New Youth], the famous magazine of the literary renaissance, edited by Ch’en Tu-hsiu.

“I did not want to go to Europe. I felt that I did not know enough about my own country, and that my time could be more profitably spent in China. . . . My office was so low that people avoided me. One of my tasks was to register the names of people who came to read newspapers, but to most of them I did not exist as a human being. Among those who came to read I recognized the names of famous leaders of the renaissance movement . . . in whom I was intensely interested. I tried to begin conversations with them on political and cultural subjects, but they were very busy men. They has no time to listen to an assistant librarian speaking southern dialect. . . . But I was not discouraged. I joined the Society of Philosophy, and the Journalism Society, in order to be able to attend classes in the university.”

“While I was working in the library I also met . . . now vice-chairman . . .; vice-Minister of Education in Naking. . .
“My own living conditions in Peking were quite miserable, and in contrast the beauty of the old capital was a vivid and living compensation.  . . . When we were all packed fast on the k’ang there was scarcely room enough for any of us to breathe. I used to have to warn people on each of me when I wanted to turn over.”

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