Chinese Communist leader and theorist. A founder of the Chinese Communist Party (1921), he commanded troops in the Chinese Civil War (1927–1949) and proclaimed the People's Republic of China in 1949. As party chairman and the country's first head of state (1949–1959), he initiated sweeping but misguided economic, agricultural, and industrial reforms that resulted in widespread starvation. He continued as party chairman after 1959 and was a leading figure in the Cultural Revolution (1966–1969). In the 1970s he consolidated his political power and established ties with the West.