October 04, 2005

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Mao or Mao

Stumbling around Xinhua, I came across a forum titled Mao Zedong, a forever warm memory. The page holds 15 comments, all in praise of the Great Helmsman. One that stands out:

jjg: My father and grandfather were wronged and persecuted for 5 and 20 years, respectively. But I still think that Mao's merits outweigh his demerits….We can never forget that he helped lay the foundation for the growth of the People’s Republic of China.
And another links past with present:
Dhgsk: Mao Zedong is remembered not for the mistakes he made, but for the work style of "serving the people wholeheartedly"pursued by the Chinese Communist Party under his leadership….People have longed for a government that does its utmost to improve their well-beings. Fortunately, the current central leadership gives us that hope.
By way of contrast, there is Mao: The Untold Story by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday. The wikipedia entry on the Chang/Halliday book summarises its findings:

According to the book "Mao Tse-tung, who for decades held absolute power over the lives of one-quarter of the world's population, was responsible for well over 70 million deaths in peacetime, more than any other twentieth century leader" and claimed that he was willing for half of China to die to achieve military-nuclear superpowerdom.

Chang and Halliday argue that despite being born into a peasant family, Mao had little concern for the welfare of the Chinese peasantry. They hold Mao responsible for the famine resulting from the Great Leap Forward and claim that he exacerbated the famine by allowing the export of grain to continue even when it became clear that China did not have sufficient grain to feed its population. They also claim that Mao had many political opponents arrested and murdered, including some of his personal friends, and argue that he was a more tyrannical leader than had previously been thought.

The entry also has links to various reviews of the book and some of the disputed points in the book.

I imagine this book won't be available in China, nor will it get it's own Xinhua page.

posted by Simon on 10.04.05 at 11:32 AM in the China history, education & culture category.


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China 2005. Appalling.



posted by: Enzo on 10.04.05 at 11:09 PM [permalink]

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