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In Mao Zedong's original formulation of the concept of people's war, a revolutionary base area is a local stronghold that the revolutionary force conducting the people's war should attempt to establish, starting from a remote area with mountainous or otherwise difficult terrain in which its enemy is weak.

This kind of base helps the revolutionary conducting force to exploit the few advantages that a small revolutionary movement has—broad-based popular support can be one of them—against a state's power with a large and well-equipped army.

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