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Maoism or Mao Zedong Thought (毛澤東思想) is a political and military doctrine developed by Mao Zedong. The theory extends the communist theories of Marxism-Leninism, especially in the area of conducting a peoples' war. Post-Mao, the doctrine has been employed by Pol Pot of the Cambodian Khmer Rouge, the Shining Path of Peru, and various communist and revolutionary groups in the developed world. Unlike earlier forms of Marxism-Leninism in which urban proletariats are the seen source of revolution and largely ignores the countryside and, Maoism focuses on the peasantry as a revolutionary force, which can be mobilized by the Communist Party. Furthermore, unlike other forms of Marxism-Leninism in which large scale industrial development is seen as a positive force, Maoism tends to distrust urban industrialization in favor of distributed rural industrialization in the case of China or active deindustrialization as in the case of the Khmer Rouge.

Ironically, despite being listed as one of the four cardinal principles, the government of the People's Republic of China has discarded revolutionary Maoism as an official ideology. Although Mao Zedong himself is regarded in the official history as a great revolutionary leader for his role in fighting the Japanese and creating the People's Republic of China, Maoism as implemented after 1958 is regarded as an economic and political disaster. Specifically, within Chinese Marxist ideology, Maoism is regarded as committing the errors of left deviationism and being based on a cult of personality.

Some, including many in the Chinese democracy movement and human rights activists see many of the repressive aspects of the current PRC government as the result of Maoism.

The consensus view among both Western and Chinese scholars is that Maoism was an economic disaster. Some conservative scholars, which include most who are sympathetic to the current Chinese government, argue that Maoism was a disaster because it created revolutionary instablity which impeded economic growth. Liberal scholars tend to fault Maoism for its dictatorial and anti-democratic nature.

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