Reading Red Star Over China by Edgar Snow, I noted that Mao Zedong was married four times. His first wife gets only a passing remark in the book. She was called Luo, she was some 4 to 6 years older than Mao, and it was an arranged marriage that Mao did not take seriously.

Googling I found little else other than she died just one or two years later.

Can anyone elaborate on the relationship between Mao and Luo? Also, what happened to her? Why, when and how did she die?


What I can find from Chinese sources all seem to have been derived from the one source, which seems reasonably reliable. It says that:

  • She married Mao when he was 14 and she 18.
  • She died of dysentry some time in the spring of 1910, when she was 20.
  • She had a good relationship with the Mao family. Mao Zedong, after some initial awkardness owing to his youth, also grew to have a good relationship with her. He also had a good relationship with her family. In the years following her death until as late as 1959, he visited her family several times.
  • Thanks for the link, I could just about read part of it. The source complains that Edgar Snow made an error in saying that, "...I never lived with her - and do not think she is my wife." However, could that have been a euphemism for saying the marriage was not consummated? Oct 27 '11 at 5:04
  • 1
    The Chinese translation of the English translation of Mao's Chinese (or broken English) answer doesn't seem to suggest it (although my Chinese is far from good enough to pick up any such hints anyway). As the link says, it's quite likely that what Snow recorded was different to Mao's actual words. I think it's plausible that this seemingly nonsensical response was intended to refer to consummation but got grossly distorted due to language difficulties between Mao and Snow.
    – lins314159
    Oct 27 '11 at 9:24

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