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Mao Zedong and his three American friends

CPC Encyclopedia

In his life Chairman Mao Zedong got to know a lot of foreign friends, including Edgar Snow, Anna Louise Strong and Agnes Smedley, the three Americans from across the Pacific Ocean. His friendship with them lasted for decades.

Edgar Snow: First western reporter who had close contact with Chairman Mao

Mao Zedong and his three American friends

Edgar Snow was born in Kansus, Missouri in July 17, 1905, and graduated from the School of Journalism, Missouri University. He arrived in Shanghai in July of 1928. From 1928 to 1932, Edgar Snow worked as a correspondent for several foreign newspapers in Shanghai. In 1931, Edgar Snow got acquainted with Madame Soong Qing-ling through the introduction of Agnes Smedley, a progressive American female writer. 

In July 1936, with the help of Mme Soong Qing-ling, Edgar Snow and Dr. George Hatem arrived in Yan'an, the then capital of the Chinese revolution in Northwest China's Shaanxi Province. In July 1937, Edgar Snow made four months of careful observations in Yan'an and interviewed with Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai and other leading figures of the Communist Party of China (CPC) as well as senior leaders of the Red Army like Peng Dehuai and Xiao Jinguang. His interviews with Mao Zedong had not only dispelled his previous doubts and misgivings about China and given birth to the book "Red Star Over China," but also cultivated a life-long friendship with the leaders of the CPC. "He made a study of our situation and helped the world to understand us," said the late Chinese leader Mao Zedong in 1938 during the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1937-1945). "And we shall always remember this great deed he had done for our country."

As a close friend of Mao, Edgar Snow later came to China again in 1939, 1965 and 1969 when he stood beside Mao on the Tian'anmen Rostrum on the National Day celebration. With truthful accounts of the Chinese revolution, Mao Zedong and his people, "Red Star Over China" has been translated into more than 20 languages and is considered the first book to introduce the Chinese revolution to the western world. In 1941, Edgar Snow was banned to do interview in China by the Kuomintang government after he gave a truthful report on the Southern Anhui Incident and he was thus forced to leave China. [more]

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