Mao Zedong letter to Labour Party chief sells for £605,000

Clement Attlee received Chinese leader’s missive in 1937 urging help against Japanese

A letter written by Chinese leader Mao Zedong to British politician Clement Attlee, then leader of the Labour Party and the future British Prime Minister, sold on Monday at Sotheby’s in London to a Chinese private collector for £605,000 (€830,000).

The letter, estimated worth £100-150,000, was one of the first communications between the Communist leader and any western politician.


Dated November 1st, 1937, it was written from Yan’an, a remote part of northwestern China where the Communists established their headquarters following the Japanese invasion of the country.

After indicating Mao’s solidarity and goodwill towards the British people, the letter calls for the Labour Party’s urgent practical assistance in the fight against Japanese imperialism.


This was only the second letter signed by Mao to appear on the international auction market in recent decades.