Norman Bethune (1890-1939) was a Canadian surgeon and ardent Communist. In 1938, after fighting in the Spanish Civil War for the Republican cause, he traveled to China and joined Mao and the Communists who were headquartered at Yan’an. He served as a surgeon in a mobile operating unit on the front lines in Northern China, and saved many lives while working under harsh conditions. He died in action in 1939 from septicemia. After his death, Bethune was admired by many Chinese and held in high regard by Mao, who wrote an important essay about him at the start of the Cultural Revolution.