Ma Renzhong in 1952
|2nd State Chairman of Xiaodong|
24th June 1947 – 7th September 1959
|Preceded by||Wu Jinmo|
|Succeeded by||Li Zhaozheng|
|President of the Legislative Council|
4th September 1942 – 24th June 1947
|Preceded by||Post established|
|Succeeded by||Wu Junji|
|Minister of Finance|
13th October 1940 – 4th September 1942
|Preceded by||Post established|
|Succeeded by||Shao Guiren|
|Member of the State Presidium of Xiaodong|
13th October 1940 – 7th September 1959
|Born||August 16, 1886|
Xingjuan, Anqian Province, Xiaodong
|Died||September 7, 1959 (aged 73)|
|Political party||Xiaodong Regeneration Society|
|Alma mater||University of Baiqiao|
- This is a Xiaodongese name; the family name is Ma (马).
Ma Renzhong (Xiaodongese: 马任重, Mǎ Rénzhōng; August 16th 1886 - September 7th 1959 aged 73) was a Xiaodongese statesman and technocrat who served as State Chairman of Xiaodong from 1947 to his death in 1959. He also served as President of the Legislative Council from its creation in 1942 to 1947, Chairman of the Xiaodong Regeneration Society from 1942 to 1959 and Minister of Finance from 1940 to 1942.
Born into the wealthy Xiaodongese landowners family in 1886, Ma entered into the state bureaucracy through the imperial examination system. Ma prior to the Great War was aligned to the reformist section of the bureaucracy that supported nationalist expansionism and the shift from the imperial, aristocratic-dominated state to one more industrialised and led by bureaucrats. During the Great War Ma worked in both the Ministry of Revenue and the Ministry of Munitions. In 1934 the new Munitions Minister, Lu Keqian, appointed Ma as Secretary of the Ministry making him the highest ranking bureaucrat in the ministry. As a result Ma became extremely close to Lu - during Lu's attempted coup in 1934 known as the July Incident Ma supported his superior and accompanied Lu in his flight to Zorasan. Ma became a founding member of the Xiaodong Regeneration Society and was its inaugural secretary giving him control over the organisation's structure.
Following the Corrective Revolution and the Xiaodongese Civil War Ma retained his importance as one of Lu's closest confidents. He was seen as the de facto leader of the "Armament Clique", a loose collection of bureaucrats and officials who had aligned with Lu starting from his days in the Ministry of Munitions compared to the "Ukyou Clique" of military officers who had first aligned with Lu during the invasion of Senria. Following the end of the civil war Lu appointed Ma Minister of Finance (1940-1942) and Chairman of the Economic Reconstruction Committee (1940-1947). Under his economic stewardship, post-war austerity was pushed until 1942 when the state began massive infrastructure spending and industrialisation. In 1942 he became Chairman of the Regeneration Society and President of the Legislative Council, becoming the leading civilian politician after State Chairman Wu Jinmo and one of Lu's most senior aides.
Lu's death in 1947 sparked a power struggle between the differing groups that supported his rule. Ma quickly became the highest civilian official thanks to his control over the Regeneration Society which he attempted to entrench as the most important organ of the state. In 1947 Wu stepped down as State Chairman, with Ma becoming his replacement after outmanoeuvring premier and general Zhou Hongkui. Initially seen as an interim leader, by 1948 Ma had established himself as the foremost leader of the regime after suppressing an alleged coup by military figures and consolidating Xiaodong into a one-party state.
As State Chairman Ma's style of leadership was based on consensus, using his position as a first amongst equals. Ma followed Lu's economic modernisation and industrialisation policies, fuelled by state investment whilst spearheading a new foreign policy initiative known as the Three Fundamentals. Under his rule Ma toned down the revolutionary aspects of the regime that had been apparent under Lu, pushing for moderate conservative social policies and overturning some of the more progressive policies pursued by Lu. During his time in office Xiaodong experienced a period of sustained growth known as the "Decade of Development" (starting around 1950 and lasting into the 1960's) although by the early 1960's it had become apparent that such wealth was concentrated in the hands of a small socio-economic elite. In 1958 Ma had a deliberating stroke that led him to pass power onto his preferred successor, vice-premier Li Zhaozheng, over premier Chen Xuechang. In 1959 he died of another stroke with Li formally succeeding him as State Chairman.
Ma is regarded favourably by historians, who credit him with modernising the Xiaodongese economy and overseeing over a decade of solid economic growth as well as being an effective statesmen internationally. However, he has in recent years been criticised for being instrumental in the creation of the Xiaodongese one-party state and being discriminatory towards ethnic minorities. Whilst Ma was never accused of corruption himself he was said to have in the creation of the single-party tolerated the increasingly corrupt underpinnings of such a state that would become apparent under his successor.