May 03, 2005

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China's Khrushchev

A little while back Joel had a piece on China's connection to de-Stalinization. It begins:

THE YEARS 1956 and 1957 marked the first serious crisis in global communism during the Cold War with many significant events. Nikita Khrushchev's secret speech at the Twentieth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) in February 1956 revealing Stalin's crimes shocked the communist world and initiated a course of de-Stalinization...
Where is China's Khrushchev? Will there be a Chinese leader brave enough to question Mao's legacy and begin the de-Maoification of China's Communist Party? Can China continue to avoid facing its modern history?

The sooner the de-deification of Mao begins the better. But how? Where is China's Khrushchev?

posted by Simon on 05.03.05 at 04:12 PM in the


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De-maoification if you will has already begun, but its patchmeal. Hence the Mao was 70% correct, 30% incorrect approach.

posted by: J on 05.03.05 at 05:08 PM [permalink]

When you mention the title "Where is China's Khrushchev", someone's name will come up automatically. Sorry, that position is filled already.
Once upon a time during the cultural revolution, Liu Shaoqi was initially attacked not by name but as China's Krushchev. Everybody knew who it was, see for example this poster:
Nikita Krushchev was known in China not for his speech against Stalin, but for revisionism. That is what everyone will think of immediately. So you should look for another iconic figure other than Krushchev.

posted by: eswn on 05.03.05 at 05:27 PM [permalink]

I'm more thinking of a circuit-breaker, a big name making the big speech renouncing Mao and what he did. And I don't think it's at 30%...more like 10%.

posted by: Simon on 05.03.05 at 05:28 PM [permalink]

ESWN - point taken but it is Krushchev's deed I'm pointing to, not the man himself. It is revisionism - that's the whole point. China needs to adress it's view of Mao in history.

posted by: Simon on 05.03.05 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

Well, it was a secret speech Nikita made. So who's to say it hasn't secretly happened in China?

I would suggest the book, 'The Tiananmen Papers' by Zhang Liang as a step in Krushchev's direction. The book was smuggled out of China and is purportedly authored by someone who was a part of the debate on how to handle the Tiananmen protests. It's reveals deep divisions at the top of the Chinese leadership.

It doesn't address Mao's horrors, but it does address Tiananmen. Some dispute its authenticity, but it is largely thought to be real. Of course, the real watershed moment would be a public disclosure of Maoism and Tiananmen's horrors. Not happening.

posted by: Marcus Cicero on 05.04.05 at 12:51 AM [permalink]

Does Deng Xiaoping count?

posted by: praktike on 05.04.05 at 01:48 AM [permalink]

Yes, Praktike, Deng Xiaoping should count! Deng said 'to hell with ideology', a direct repudiation of Mao's SOP. But then, after much dilly-dallying, he crushed the demonstrators in Tiananmen, just as Khrushchev, after much dilly-dallying and Thatcherlike spine-strengthening advice from Chinese leaders, crushed the Hungarian revolt. Khrushchev only looks better because hindsight gets sharper with distance.

posted by: Joel on 05.04.05 at 12:44 PM [permalink]

Have u ever been to China? have u ever learned about Chinese modern history?
well, i'm from China. and there were actually many people or leaders that are, as u called, china's khruchnev. and china's situation is completly different than the soviet's. Mao was not entirlly like Stalin.

posted by: Meng on 05.26.05 at 12:34 PM [permalink]

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