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Digital Subscriptions > Outdoor Swimmer > January 19 > CHAIRMAN OF THE RIVERS

CHAIRMAN OF THE RIVERS

A life-long swimmer, Mao Zedong used his athletic achievements for political gain.
Postcards celebratimng Chairman Mao’s swimming feats

MAO UNDERSTOOD THAT HIS SWIMMING SKILLS MIGHT HELP PAINT HIMSELF IN A GLOWING LIGHT

Born to a wealthy farmer in Hunan province in 1899, Mao Zedong served as the first Chairman of the Communist Party of China from the party’s founding in March 1943 until his death in September 1976. An opportunist, a showman, a savvy propagandist and an oftencalculating tyrant, Mao ruled through a mix of manipulation and paranoia, terror and ruthless policies. Though he is often credited with expelling imperialism from China and modernising what had been a vast and largely insular domain into a world power, these advances came at the cost of intense ethnic repression, destruction of religious and cultural artifacts and sites, and an estimated 30 to 70 million lives.

During his reign, Mao hid behind a curtain of cultivated personality; the details of his own day-to-day life were not discussed, rather the propagandistic public persona as the saviour of his people was burnished regularly through the use of universally glowing news reports, posters and other media.

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About Outdoor Swimmer

In our January issue we tell the strange outdoor swimming history of Mao Zedong, we test a chilly willy combobulator and ponder the female gender bias in cold water swimming, leap off a waterfall in Yorkshire while discussing ways to combat the winter blues, and take up stand-up paddleboarding. Plus, our pick of our favourite events in 2019 to help you plan your new year adventures, and our resident Olympian Cassie Patten gives her top tips for motivation to help you achieve your swim goals. And just in case it all gets too much, we look at how to avoid burnout and show you how to strengthen your shoulders and avoid rotator cuff injuries.