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Mao Reconsidered, Part Two: Whose Famine?
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Starving Chinese Child, 1946, Life Magazine
Starving Chinese Child, 1946, Life Magazine

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In 1910…a series of bad harvests in Hunan led to outbreaks of famine and some desperate Hunanese formed a group under the slogan ‘Eat Rice Without Charge’ and seized stores of rice from the wealthier farmers. Among the shipments they seized was one that Mao’s father was sending to the county town of Xiangtan. Mao later recalled the ambiguity that this primal clash between family obligation and social desperation had aroused in him: he could not sympathize with his father–who continued to export rice from his farm in Shaoshan to the bigger county town markets despite the local famine–nor would he condone the violence of those who seized the property of others.–Jonathan Spence. Mao, A Life.

Judging from the copious comments, it appears that Part One of this trilogy demonstrated conclusively that Mao Zedong did more good for more people than anyone in history. In Part Two, we examine the common belief that–whether through malice, indifference or incompetence–Mao also did great harm by starving millions of people to death.

But before we dive into the details, let’s run a plausibility check: How likely is it that the greatest benefactor mankind has ever known would maliciously starve millions of his fellow countrymen to death and, in so doing, destroy the survivors’ trust in him? How likely is it that a peasant like himself, who knew famine well, failed to notice? How likely is it that the greatest logistician in military history–who for decades fed millions of men on the march while retaining the loyalty of the peasants who fed them–could not manage to share available food among the people he’d previously saved? Not only does Mao’s record suggest the likelihood is almost zero: so does common sense. People with decades of compassionate behavior don’t–even in movies–suddenly become bloodthirsty monsters or indifferent psychopaths. And nor, as we shall see, did Mao.

The Great Leap Forward

It all began with his promise to redivide China’s land. For Mao, real revolutions occur in human hearts and minds; changing the ownership of assets was, he said, cosmetic, “To divide up the land and give it to the peasants is to transform the property of the feudal landlords into the individual property of the peasants, but this remains within the limits of bourgeois revolution. To divide up the land is nothing remarkable. MacArthur did it in Japan. Napoleon divided up the land, too. Land reform cannot abolish capitalism, nor can it lead to socialism”.

Nevertheless, he kept his wartime promise and, in 1950, redistributed all of China’s agricultural land to her 300 million peasants and, in 1953, announced a Five Year Plan, the first step on a gradual path to collectivize the country’s semi-subsistence agriculture through cooperative work organizations. The newly-landed peasants gave the plan a mixed reception: a third of villages radically socialized their lives (some, like Huaxi Village, still do so) a third simply went along with it and a third dragged their feet or rejected it outright.

The Plan, however, produced insufficient excess to feed the rapidly doubling population and the millions of newly urbanized industrial workers who’d left their farms and worse, it produced new inequalities. Mao told colleagues, “As is clear to everyone, the spontaneous forces of capitalism have been growing in the countryside in recent years, with newly rich peasants springing up everywhere and many well-to-do middle peasants striving to become rich. On the other hand, many poor peasants are still living in poverty for lack of the means of production, some are falling into debt and others selling or renting out their land. If this tendency goes unchecked it is inevitable that polarization in the countryside will only worsen”. He reminded them that China was in a race against time, “You say China is a big country with a huge population, huge land and socialism, which you say is a superior system. Well then, prove it. If you can’t surpass the U.S. in sixty years, what good are you? China will lose its citizenship of the planet”.

Insisting that the way lay forward, not back, he proposed doubling down.

Communications were rudimentary, the government inexperienced, goal-setting amateurish and Beijing’s capacity to coordinate implementation was primitive, yet Mao was under relentless pressure. He had already doubled food production and halved the death rate but, by 1958, the birth rate had quadrupled and he was racing to simultaneously modernize the country and feed new mouths while struggling under the West’s crushing food, financial and technology embargo and constant threats of nuclear attack. As a matter of survival, he insisted, China must develop agriculture and industry simultaneously and, to compensate for the lack of capital and technology, combine popular enthusiasm and virtuous exertion in what he termed a Great Leap Forward.

Innovative and enormously ambitious it would, he promised, overcome the growing threats of famine and foreign aggression while educating rural people about industrial production. Communalized peasants and workers would share responsibilities, communal child care and kitchens would free women to join the workforce and local, communal development would make reliance on expensive, nationwide infrastructure to transport finished goods unnecessary. Peasants ‘walking on two legs’ would develop light industry in the countryside while simultaneously erecting dikes, building dams and expanding irrigation. Increased agricultural productivity would free up labor for local manufacturing and, in the absence of capital, labour-intensive rural industries would meet local needs: locally produced cement would build local dams that, through locally made irrigation equipment, would water crops in soil enriched by locally made fertilizer.

Despite the obstacles, in three years, the Great Leap Forward raised coal production thirty-six percent, textile production thirty per cent, electricity generation twenty-six per cent and fixed national assets by forty percent. Nine of the ten biggest reservoirs in China today were built then. The gigantic Xinfengjiang Reservoir, one of thousands and a source of great national pride, holds ten cubic meters of clean water for every Chinese, has generated billions of kilowatts of electricity, powered rural and urban development and played a vital role in flood control and irrigation for the entire Guangdong and Hong Kong region, which depends on it to this day. Of all the industrial projects China would launch in the next fifteen years, two-thirds were founded during the Great Leap. Even failed experiments like backyard steel furnaces, which did not operate year-around and did not impact farm harvests, did little damage to the economy.

The people directly experienced improvements. According the the US National Institutes of Health, the rise in life expectancy under Mao “ranks among the most rapid, sustained increases in documented global history. These survival gains appear to have been largest during the 1950s, with a sharp reversal during the 1959-61 Great Leap Famine, that was then followed by substantial progress again during the early 1960s”. Given this extraordinary performance, can Mao be blamed for ‘the sharp reversal during the 1959-61 Great Leap Famine’ and, if so, to what extent?

Note the rise in mortality after Mao
Note the rise in mortality after Mao

But there was a severe famine in China in 1961-62 and the Chinese press called it the most severe since 1879. Grain harvests fell by a third: from two hundred million tons in 1958 to 170 in 1959, to 143 in 1960, to 147 in 1961 and did not fully recover until 1965. The entire Hunan region flooded and the spring harvest in southwest China’s rice bowl been lost to drought, ushering in a three-year El Nino event that would devastate the nation’s cropland. As harvests declined the death rate rose: from twelve per thousand in 1958 to 14.6 in 1959, to 25.4 in 1960, then to 14.2 in 1961.

Mao felt the impact personally. In late 1958 his wife, Jiang Qing[1]Gao, Mobo. The Battle for China’s Past: Mao and the Cultural Revolution (pp. 89-90). Pluto Press. Kindle Edition., and the cook prepared a family banquet for their teenage daughter, Li Na, when she came home from boarding school. The girl was so hungry and ate so fast that Mao and Jiang Qing stopped eating and watched as she devoured everything on the table. The cook and Jiang Qing were sobbing and Mao stood up and walked out to the courtyard, lost, not knowing what to say.

Yet propaganda officials were reluctant to change their sunny predictions[2]Wu Faxian (2006), (Difficult years: Wu Faxian memoirs, volume 2), Hong Kong: 2006. Chairman Mao: several important historical events and episodes that I was personally involved in), Beijing: Xinhua chubanshe. In Gao, Battle for China’s Past. so, as spring planting began in April 1959, Mao wrote directly to provincial, district, county, commune brigades and village production teams begging them not to boast about production ‘for at least ten years as boastful, unrealistic rhetoric, dahua gaodiao, is dangerous because food is the number one priority and food shortages have such widespread effects’.

Thanks to ration books and Mao’s logistical mastery, everyone had something to eat every day. Journalist Sidney Rittenberg recalled that Party members were forbidden to stand in line to buy food–they were to let the people go first–and remembered a cadre who broke the rule and repented, “They had a big meeting where she made a self-criticism, weeping, weeping, weeping, saying, ‘I’m not a good communist, I put my children’s health above the health of the masses’. Can you imagine that today? Anything even remotely similar? Today it’s ‘get mine.’”.

In an era when life expectancy was still only fifty-eight people over sixty, weakened by lifetimes of famine and disease, suffered cruelly. In Gao Village, Mobo Gao says that, after 1949, the only suicide in his village occurred during the Great Leap, “A woman hanged herself because of family hardship. The Great Leap Forward years were the only time in anybody’s memory that Gao villagers had to pick wild vegetables and to grind rice husks into powder to make food… Throughout my twenty years in Gao village, I do not remember any particular time when my family had enough to eat… as a rural resident, life was always a matter of survival. However, the Great Leap Forward made life even more difficult”.

In A Curtain of Ignorance, Felix Greene tells of traveling through China at the height of the famine in 1960, “With the establishment of the new government in Peking in 1949, two things happened. First, starvation–death by hunger–ceased in China. Food shortages, and severe ones, there have been; but no starvation. This is a fact fully documented by Western observers. The truth is that the sufferings of the ordinary Chinese peasant from war, disorder and famine have been immeasurably less in the last decade than in any other decade in the century”.

Ridiculing the Great Leap Forward as ‘The Great Leap Backward,’ Edgar Snow, who had seen authentic death from hunger in pre-Mao China, saw no famine, “Were the 1960 calamities actually as severe as reported in Peking, ‘the worst series of disasters since the nineteenth century,’ as Chou En-lai told me? Weather was not the only cause of the disappointing harvest but it was undoubtedly a major cause. With good weather the crops would have been ample; without it, other adverse factors I have cited–some discontent in the communes, bureaucracy, transportation bottlenecks–weighed heavily. Merely from personal observations in 1960 I know that there was no rain in large areas of northern China for 200 to 300 days. I have mentioned unprecedented floods in central Manchuria where I was marooned in Shenyang for a week…While Northeast China was struck by eleven typhoons–the largest number in fifty years–I saw the Yellow River reduced to a small stream…Throughout 1959-62 many Western press editorials continued to refer to ‘mass starvation’ in China and continued to cite no supporting facts. As far as I know, no report by any non-Communist visitor to China provides an authentic instance of starvation during this period. Here I am not speaking of food shortages, or lack of surfeit, to which I have made frequent reference, but of people dying of hunger, which is what ‘famine’ connotes to most of us, and what I saw in the past”.

What were the effects of food shortages?

If we take twelve deaths per thousand–Mao’s proudest achievement to that point–as our benchmark, then famine-related deaths from 1959-61 total 11.5 million. But this seems suspiciously high because average grain production per head remained comfortably above India’s, and China’s peak death rate, 25.4, matched India’s 24.8 that year and India experienced no general famine in that decade.

Without communal distribution–which India lacked–the impact would have been worse. And, without the 46,000 communally constructed reservoirs, the effects of later droughts would certainly have been disastrous, as William Hinton remembers in Fanshen, “When this author spent three weeks in China in 1983, visiting several communes–which still existed then–he was told every time, ‘we built our water conservation system during the Great Leap’”.

We must also remember that the Great Leap relied on a gigantic migration of the fittest young villagers to new urban industries and the entry of women into the workforce–both of which suppressed the birth rate, which was further suppressed because nutritional deficits also affect fertility: the Dutch famine of 1944-45 and the Bangladesh famine of 1974-75 cut fertility in half, as famine always did in China.

Cui Bono?

There were influential people, inside China and out, who wished to discredit Mao and who took to exaggerating–and even fabricating–statistics to make a gloomy picture darker. In assembling their arguments, Mao’s critics evidence a population deficit (fewer people around than expected) and impute births and deaths which may not have occurred.

Historical famine fabrication is a simple matter, as historian Boris Borisov, employing the same techniques as Mao’s critics, demonstrated in Famine killed 7 Million People in the U.S.A., a horrifying account of American famine deaths during the Great Depression:

“Few people know about five million American farmers–a million families–whom banks ousted from their land because of debts during the Great Depression. The U.S. government did not provide them with land, work, social aid, or pensions and every sixth American farmer was affected by famine. People were forced to leave their homes and wander without money or belongings in an environment mired in massive unemployment, famine and gangsterism. At the same time, the U.S. government tried to get rid of foodstuffs which vendors could not sell. Market rules were observed strictly: unsold goods categorized as redundant could not be given to the poor lest it damage business. They burned crops, dumped them in the ocean, plowed under 10 million hectares of cropland and killed 6.5 million pigs. Here is a child’s recollection: ‘We ate whatever was available. We ate bush leaves instead of cabbage, frogs too. My mother and my older sister died during a year’ (Jack Griffin)…The U.S. lost not less than 8,553,000 people from 1931 to 1940. Afterwards, population growth indices change twice, instantly. Exactly between 1930-31 the indices drop and stay on the same level for ten years. No explanation of this phenomenon can be found in the extensive report by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Statistical Abstract of the United States”.

Real famines are difficult to hide. Until Professor Borisov reported it, no-one had heard of a famine during the Great Depression yet, when one million people starved to death in colonial Ireland in 1846-47, the world knew immediately and when three million died in the 1943-44 Bengal famine the news raced around the globe. The idea that eight million died in the USA or thirty-million died in China without anyone’s noticing seems farfetched. After all, China’s weather-related harvests were no secret and China’s El Nino also brought drought throughout the Prairie wheat belt and reduced Canada’s 1961 crop from 490 million to 262 million bushels. Yet nobody starved to death in Canada.

Taking advantage of the world wide grain shortage, the United States Government blocked grain shipments to China and assigned the CIA to monitor the success of the embargo. The Agency reported:

ECONOMIC SITUATION IN COMMUNIST CHINA. National Intelligence Estimate. Director of Central Intelligence. 4 April 1961. CONCLUSIONS: The Chinese Communist regime is now facing the most serious economic difficulties it has confronted since it consolidated its power over mainland China. As a result of economic mismanagement, and, especially, of two years of unfavorable weather, food production in 1960 was little if any larger than in 1957 at which time there were about 50 million fewer Chinese to feed. Widespread famine does not appear to be at hand, but in some provinces many people are now on a bare subsistence diet and the bitterest suffering lies immediately ahead, in the period before the June harvests. The dislocations caused by the ‘Leap Forward’ and the removal of Soviet technicians have disrupted China’s industrialization program. These difficulties have sharply reduced the rate of economic growth during 1960 and have created a serious balance of payments problem. Public morale, especially in rural areas, is almost certainly at its lowest point since the Communists assumed power, and there have been some instances of open dissidence.

PROSPECTS FOR COMMUNIST CHINA: National Intelligence Estimate. Director of Central Intelligence.2 May 1962. CONCLUSIONS: The future course of events in Communist China will be shaped largely by three highly unpredictable variables: the wisdom and realism of the leadership, the level of agricultural output, and the nature and extent of foreign economic relations. During the past few years all three variables have worked against China. In 1958 the leadership adopted a series of ill-conceived and extremist economic and social programs; in 1959 there occurred the first of three years of bad crop weather; and in 1960 Soviet economic and technical cooperation was largely suspended. The combination of these three factors has brought economic chaos to the country. Malnutrition is widespread, foreign trade is down and industrial production and development have dropped sharply. No quick recovery from the regime’s economic troubles is in sight.

GreatFamineBookForty-five years later, a miracle happened: A sensational book, Mao’s Great Famine: The History of China’s Most Devastating Catastrophe, claimed to have discovered forty-five million famine deaths. Reviews in the Western media were ecstatically horrified: Must rank as one of the most powerful, moving and yet frightening insights into The Great Leap Forward. Readers cannot help but be distressed by this book for when one tragedy leads to another and then another you cannot read this historical truth without being moved. Of course the tragedies that are revealed involved tens of thousands of citizens leading to the largest human disaster of all time.

But when a curious reader asked why the author had photoshopped a wartime 1946 Life Magazine photo on his book cover to portray a famine that occurred fifteen years later, he confessed that he could find no photographs of a Great Leap famine.

Then another reader observed that the crucial quote the author attributed to Mao seemed utterly unlike Mao’s known statements: “When there is not enough to eat, people starve to death. It is better to let half the people die so that the other half can eat their fill”. An archive check revealed it was from the transcript of a meeting convened to cut the number of ambitious Great Leap enterprises in half and the ‘people’ who would starve were not people at all, but large industrial projects.

The book insisted that, had Mao maintained his 1953 growth rate, China’s population would have been twenty-seven million higher in 1961 and attributed the gap to famine deaths. But University of Chicago demographer Ping-ti Ho pointed out that the 1953 figures are not from a census, but from provincial estimates showing a highly dubious population increase of thirty percent between 1947 and 1953–a period of warfare, famine and intense revolutionary struggle–suggesting that the twenty-seven million ‘missing’ people probably never existed.

As Professor Borisov’s article demonstrates, historical demography is more art than science and the claims of tens of millions of famine deaths are based, as British historian Gwydion Madawc Williams suggests, on ‘comparing Mao to Mao in order to condemn Mao’ by using leaps of faith and suspensions of disbelief. The process works like this:

  • Use the lowest death rate attributed to Mao as the baseline but don’t tell readers that the baseline was Mao’s accomplishment.
  • Note the increased death rate during the Three Bad Years.
  • Ignore the fact that people were better off in 1961 than in the previous 100 years.
  • Ignore the weather.
  • Ignore the fact that life expectancy was fifty-six and almost all the dead were over sixty.
  • Ignore the exodus of workers moving to cities.
  • Ignore the fall in birth rates when women join the labor force.
  • Ignore the fall in fertility that accompanies food shortages.
  • Ignore universal food rationing.
  • Ignore the USSR’s withdrawal of aid in 1960.
  • Ignore the fact that the peasants, armed for the first time in history, showed no discontent.
  • Ignore the grain embargo.
  • Mistranslate the key statement attributed to Mao.
  • Select an evocative famine image from a previous era.
  • Fit a linear time trend to the falling death rate.
  • Claim deaths should have continued to decline steeply.
  • Blame famine for the difference.
  • Blame Mao for the famine.

Victor Marchetti, formerly of the Office of the Director of the CIA, testified that the Agency provided eighty-million dollars annually to The Asia Foundation for ‘anti-communist academicians to disseminate a negative vision of mainland China’. The academician author of Mao’s Great Famine received $2 million from the US and UK Governments.

Conclusion

However severely his critics judge Mao, he did not initiate the Great Leap with the aim of killing anyone and claiming that he did obscures his accomplishments and even a superficial investigation like the present one demonstrates the opposite. Historian Han Donping, who lost two grandparents during the Great Leap, later traveled through Shandong and Henan provinces, sites of the worst shortages. Yes, farmers told him, the apparent abundance in 1958 led to carelessness in harvesting and consuming food and, insidiously, to the assumption that the government had absolved them of responsibility for their own food security. “I interviewed numerous workers and farmers in Shandong and Henan and never met one who said that Mao was bad. I talked to a scholar in Anhui who grew up in rural areas and had done research there. He never met one farmer that said Mao was bad nor a farmer who said Deng Xiaoping [Mao’s successor] was good”. As Gwydion Williams dryly observes, had the peasants’ faith in Mao been shaken, “Would the survivors have shown the enthusiasm for Mao’s Cultural Revolution that they demonstrated from 1966 onwards?”

In reality, China’s population increased from 650 million in 1958 to 680 million five years later, so Mao’s actions cannot be compared to the vengeful murder of 10 million Congolese by the armies of King Leopold, nor the death of 35 million Chinese at the hands of Japan’s imperialist armies during 1937-45, nor the policy-driven famines created by the civilised British administrations in India, Ireland and Persia. But the narrative of ‘Mao the monster’ is assiduously cultivated, and at great expense, to prove that socialism is a failure. But direct, comparisons suggest precisely the opposite.

In their Hunger and Public Action, Amartya Sen and Jean Dreze wrote, “Comparing India’s death rate of 12 per thousand with China’s of 7 per thousand, and applying the difference to the Indian population of 781 million in 1986, we get an estimate of excess mortality in India of 3.9 million per year. This implies that every eight years or so more people die in India because of its higher regular death rate than died in China in the gigantic famine of 1958-61. India seems to manage to fill its cupboard with more skeletons every eight years than China put there in its years of shame.” [my emphasis]. Sen and Dreze conclude, “Starvation deaths and excessive deprivation are newsworthy in a way the quiet persistence of regular hunger and non-extreme deprivation are not”. In democratic India today, two million children starve to death every year and nobody notices.

Instead of ‘How Many People Died Because Of Mao?’ it is fairer to ask, ‘How Many People Lived Because Of Mao?’ If it’s reasonable to attribute all unnatural deaths in China since 1949 to him, then it’s reasonable to attribute the billions of lives beyond the 1949 life expectancy to him, too. In reality, bad weather, famines and the US embargo caused most of the deaths and even today’s neo-liberal globalization is inflicting more death and suffering world wide than the Great Leap.

Notes

[1] Gao, Mobo. The Battle for China’s Past: Mao and the Cultural Revolution (pp. 89-90). Pluto Press. Kindle Edition.

[2] Wu Faxian (2006), (Difficult years: Wu Faxian memoirs, volume 2), Hong Kong: 2006. Chairman Mao: several important historical events and episodes that I was personally involved in), Beijing: Xinhua chubanshe. In Gao, Battle for China’s Past.

 
• Category: History • Tags: American Media, China, Great Leap Forward, Mao Zedong 
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  1. Dan Hayes says:

    Mr/Dr Roberts:

    You state that Part One of your trilogy conclusively demonstrated Mao did more good than anyone else in history. My reading of Part One did not lend credence to your enthusiastic statement/evaluation.

    There are myriad statements/arguments in Part Two which deserve serious consideration. Let’s see what a more careful reading reveals!

    • Agree: Grandpa Charlie
    • Replies: @whorefinder
    , @Joe Wong
  2. Bankotsu says:

    On the Ostensible Sources of Mao Zedong’s Utopia: Kang Youwei & Saneatsu Mushanokoji

    “The Young Mao was influenced by Kang Youwei’s The Great Harmony and the Japanese warrior Mushanokoji Saneatsu’s New Village (Atarashikimura) Movement. Mao had joined with others to plan a “New Village” in Yuelushan where thinkers could work and study together and share their assets and the fruits of their labor. He had never had the opportunity to put that plan into practice.

    In 1958, Mao believed the time had finally come. He had written “When Kang Youwei wrote The Great Harmony, he had not and could not have found a road to that Great Harmony.” Mao believed he had found that road in the communes [of the Great Leap Forward]….”

    The first and most general discovery is that the connection between Maoism and the sources discussed in this essay has attracted very little attention in the English-language evaluation of Maoist Communism. Chinese and Japanese sources are outside of the scope of this essay, but, in English at least, it seems that remarkably little attention has been paid to this aspect of the legacies of Mushanokoji (武者小路 實篤, also writ Mushakoji) and Kang Youwei (康有為, also writ K’ang Yu-Wei). Both names remain famous, but their significance for Maoism –specifically– seems to have escaped notice in English.

    As a preliminary warning, we must note that both Mushanokoji and Kang Youwei are now remembered as anti-Comminsts. This is itself a reason why their importance for Mao’s ideology may have been overlooked or under-rated. The purpose of this paper is to make the almost-paradoxical suggestion that these “anti-Communist” texts need to be reexamined as proto-Communist sources, influencing the development of Communism in China….

    http://a-bas-le-ciel.blogspot.sg/2014/12/Kang-Youwei-Saneatsu-Mushanokoji-Mao-Zedong.html

    • Replies: @Joe Wong
    , @Godfree Roberts
  3. But before we dive into the details, let’s run a plausibility check: How likely is it that the greatest benefactor mankind has ever known would maliciously starve millions of his fellow countrymen to death and, in so doing, destroy the survivors’ trust in him?

    Founding Fathers spoke of liberty and stuff. They still had slaves and ruled a nation that waged on Indians.
    Christian Civilization spoke of love and peace but conquered and killed millions.
    Buddhist civilizations preached peace and harmony but were ruthless in wiping out millions.
    Truman sounded like a nice guy but dropped nukes.
    Lenin spoke of justice but was utterly ruthless.
    Japanese spoke of brotherhood of all Asians against Western imperialists but acted horribly in China and Indonesia.
    Theory and Practice are two different things. People say one thing, do another. It’s like Harvey Weinstein. He says he loves feminists… meaning he loves to grab their ass.

    But when a curious reader asked why the author had photoshopped a wartime 1946 Life Magazine photo on his book cover to portray a famine that occurred fifteen years later, he confessed that he could find no photographs of a Great Leap famine.

    Of course. Few Chinese had cameras nor the means to develop the film. Also, you could get in BIG trouble if you documented the horrors under mao. If Nazis had own, how many photos of dead Shoah victims exist? Close to zero. When Stalin was killing millions, very few photos got out. Before Vietnamese drove out the Khmer Rouge, few people had any real idea what was happening under Pol Pot and gang.

    Even today, most people are ignorant of all the horrendous farm murders in South Africa.

    I recommend PRISONER OF MAO.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Pasqualini

    LIFE AND DEATH IN SHANGHAI was a huge best-seller but few speak of it anymore.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_and_Death_in_Shanghai

    SON OF THE REVOLUTION is also very revealing. Co-author Shapiro went to China as an idealist socialist but she had to face the music when she heard the stories.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liang_Heng

    Godfree Roberts’ gushing Mao worship are reminiscent of the writings of the now utterly discredited Han Suyin and early Dick Wilson, who wrote very favorable books on Mao — THE LONG MARCH and PEOPLE’S EMPEROR — but later revised his views in light of revelations under Deng’s reforms. His short bio of Zhou En-Lai sees Mao for what he was: an impetuous tyrant with bloodlust.

    Mao’s actions cannot be compared to the vengeful murder of 10 million Congolese by the armies of King Leopold, nor the death of 35 million Chinese at the hands of Japan’s imperialist armies during 1937-45,

    You warn against exaggerating the victims of the GLF but then go with a dubious number of Congolese and nutty figure of Chinese killed during Japanese invasion.
    Belgians acted horribly in the Congo and many died, but 10 million is a very uncertain figure.
    And most historians think about 5 million died as the result of Japanese invasion. Highest estimate is 20 million. 35 million? Sheesh.

    CHINA MISPERCEIVED is essential reading about academic and media bias.

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/1991/05/30/the-myth-of-maos-china/

    https://www.firstthings.com/article/1991/04/the-inscrutable-sinologists

    Robert Payne was a popular biographer of many of the giants of the 20th century. In the end, his skeptical views were closer to the mark than the portraits presented other ‘more distinguished’ writers.

  4. Heros says:

    I don’t know why Mr “Godfree Roberts” (communism=godfree) is so worried about Mao, but he does his argument no good when he links to sensationalist pieces claiming “genocide” by Leopold in the Congo or the victors truth imposed on the Japanese in WWII.

    I don’t know how many died, and certainly the author doesn’t either. When cultural Marxists make claims rounded up to the 10′s of millions it certainly doesn’t pass the stink test, and when authors writing with a clear agenda reference them as if they are accurate then they loose all credibility.

    • Replies: @Alden
  5. Mao Zedong is still widely revered in China, especially amongst the working class, despite the West’s best attempts to tarnish his legacy. I value their opinion of the man over those of people who would have preferred to see China remain a desperately poor and weak nation.

    • Agree: Godfree Roberts
  6. The published diaries of Harold L Ickes do not mention hunger deaths in the thirties, but he does mention labour etc. camps where those who went there got decent food.
    I did not read the article very well, what exactly happened in China and why is not easy to ascertain now.
    What I do not see mentioned is that very deep plowing was part of the Great Leap Forward, destroying arable land.
    What I also do not see mentioned is the horrible fact that in poor societies food is the limiting factor in population growth.
    In poor societies children are the old age care, when they are young, they also contribute to the family income, in rich societies children are a burden, and have a limited or no role in taking care of the elderly.
    The way to stop the population growth on this overpopulated earth thus is to make anyone prosperous, the problem is that there are insufficient resources to accomplish this.
    Thus dying of hunger will remain a regulator, I fear.

  7. drtien says:

    As an antidote to this Maoist propaganda, I would recommend, “Tombstone”, by Yang Jisheng. Mao’s accomplishments, some undeniably great, have to be balanced by his failures, i.e., the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, which were disastrous for China and its people. Most of the authors quoted by Mr. Roberts, like Bill Hinton and Felix Greene, were diehard Maoist apologists.

    I lived in China at the end of the Maoist era and it was not an impressive place nor society to be proud of. No one knew this better than the Chinese who had seen a bit of the outside world.

    • Replies: @chinesemom
  8. Norumbega says:

    I’ve long felt that the usual claims of 23 or 40 million deaths due to Mao are short on evidence. Stephen Shalom’s Deaths in China Due to Communism: Propaganda Versus Reality (1984) I still feel is the best starting point for an objective analysis of the broader topic. But I never tracked down a key source on food crisis of 1961, an unpublished study by US Census Bureau researcher John S. Aird, a specialist in Chinese demography (who incidentally appeared to be a harsh critic of China’s one-child policy). The citation is: John S. Aird, Reconstruction of an Official Data Model of the Population of China, U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Foreign Demographic Analysis Division, Washington, D.C., 15 May 1980, unpublished. The basic finding (from memory) was that certain data from the 1964 (?) census would support a 23 million persons shortfall but that other data from the same census (including age-cohort data) strongly contradicted this as being a realistic number of famine deaths – suggesting that in major part the former discrepancy was likely to be a result of breakdowns in the organization of the census itself. It was expected that the 1982 census might provide a limited amount of new data pertinent to the problem, though more difficult to interpret after the passage of time.

    Maybe a careful new analysis post-Aird would raise the number of famine victims from what Aird found realistic – but this isn’t what I have seen. One would expect to see at least a citation of Aird’s work, and an argument as to where he may have been mistaken. Later demographic articles I looked up years ago just cited huge numbers of famine victims as if there were no question. Same with Becker’s (?) book Mao’s Secret Famine (which also treated accounts of travelers in China such as Greene and Snow condescendingly as ideologically blinkered rather than as possibly realistic).

    Another source interested persons might want to consult is y.Y. Kueh, Agriculture and Instability in China, 1931-1990: Weather, Technology and Institutions, Oxford, 1995. He remarks that at one point the food crisis of 1961 was regarded in China as 70 percent weather, 30 percent mismanagement, whereas under Deng the percentages attributed were the reverse (30/70) – and more recent portrayals speak as if it should be considered 100% mismanagement due to Mao.

  9. But before we dive into the details, let’s run a plausibility check: How likely is it that the greatest benefactor mankind has ever known…

    Hard to believe that was written by”God-free.”

    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
  10. Thanks for examining this issue. And as a Chinese who was born around that time and followed this debate in Chinese forums and social media since the very beginning, I totally agree with your analysis.

    I believe the death toll of the famine from 1959 to 1962 has been greatly exaggerated by pro-Western and anti-Mao intellectuals in China. The 30 million death toll number (the lower estimation number by those who tried to discredit and demonize Mao) has been controversial in Chinese social media and BBS since the very first day it was made up and circulated in Chinese language forums. The estimation was first made by a Chinese journalist who doesn’t have any formal math training beyond high school level. Many people don’t agree with this number not only because the all of the estimation methods used are questionable, but also the number doesn’t conform to people’s life experience of that time.

    For example, 30 million would count as about 5% of total population of that time, together with normal death rate of the period(between 1-1.2% annually), there should be about 8% death of population in three years, which means one death in every 13 people. But most people in Chinese forums debating this number couldn’t tell anybody they personally know of died during that period, not to mention starve to death, even most of those who ardently argue for this number couldn’t tell. I have over hundred relatives across China, none of them died during those years. My father was a mid-level official at time (building and managing a new factory) in Beijing with relative high salary, the food ration was so little for him that he had edema; still he voluntarily reduced his own salary to help country go through this period, like many communist cadres did at the time. My mother was a student at an elite college. She told me her period stop due to malnutrition, so did many of her female school mates. Even with so little food for them, my mother and her female classmates shared their food ration with their male classmates. This is widely happened and what we heard the most from people who went through that time, not the death.

    In past ten year, and special since Wechat got popular in China, I asked many people how many relatives or people they personally know of died during those year. In my college Wechat group (about 120 people), only one person from poorest province said several of his closed relatives dead, another from one of hardest hit province said his old grandma dead. In my high school classmate group, only one person said his grandmother died, another said that there were death in his home village including two of his relatives, but he didn’t give total number of his relatives in the village so I couldn’t tell if that exceed 5%(in rural China, people usually have large extended family).

    Over the years, I also asked the same question to several maids of my aging relatives in Beijing. Those maids are all from poor rural countryside in China, only one from a poorest province said her grandparents dead during those three years.

    My aunt was sent from Beijing to rural countryside in Henan province (one of the hardest hit province by the famine) to help, she told me that she only heard of people starved to death, didn’t witness any.

  11. @Priss Factor

    Robert Payne was a popular biographer of many of the giants of the 20th century. In the end, his skeptical views were closer to the mark than the portraits presented other ‘more distinguished’ writers.

    Skepticism rocks. Hagiography generally stinks. Thanks for the tip. Some of Payne’s works can be found here. (HT to RU.):

    Author: Robert Payne
    Total Archives: 138 Items – 54 Books, 4 Articles, 80 Reviews

    http://www.unz.org/Author/PayneRobert/

  12. karalan says:

    I’ve lived in China for the past 6 years and have met several old folks who recall the Mao era with fond nostalgia.

  13. TG says:

    Missing the point entirely.

    Check out the entry on “Ma Yinchu” in wikipedia for the real story. Now there is a hero.

    Mao pushed for massive population growth, and while it is true that the communists did massively increase harvests, it wasn’t enough to keep up with an exponentially growing population. And this is what happens whenever the elites consider the people to be cattle, to be bred according to elite whims…

    • Replies: @chinesemom
  14. So the genius Mao redistributed land to the peasants at a time in world history when farming elsewhere was becoming increasingly mechanized with fewer farmers producing greater yields? And Mao’s redistribution meant that most farms became subsistence farms? Producing no surplus, famine for the general population ensued. And for this Mao is hailed as a progressive, compassionate leader of men?

    • Agree: whorefinder
    • Replies: @chinesemom
  15. For me, the most obvious and main reason for the famine to happen is due to Mao and the Communist’s success, not their failure or crimes: they greatly reduced poverty, improved public health system so that they dramatically reduced infant mortality and increased people’s life expend icy, which resulted explosion of Chinese population in a very short time.

    For several hundred years, China had been having difficulties to feed its people. Like what Mr. Unz said in his How Social Darwinism Made Modern China ( http://www.unz.com/runz/how-social-darwinism-made-modern-china-248/), “enormous population growth of recent centuries had gradually caught up with and overtaken China’s exceptionally efficient agricultural system, reducing the lives of most Chinese to the brink of Malthusian starvation”.

    Before Deng’s reform, even most relatively well-off Chinese (like my family, before and after Mao took power in 1949) couldn’t afford to eat as well as Black slaves in the US (meat, fish and food with protein were rare and expensive). But less than ten years after Mao took power, Chinese population increased from around 450 million to 600 million. How could an already stretched Chinese agricultural system feed these suddenly increased extra 150 million people, before green revolution and under the US embargo? Disaster bound to happen with or without those mistakes made by the Communists during the Great Leap Forward. Chinese agricultural system and the young and inexperienced Chinese government were not equipped to handle this kind of situation.

    Again, my own family is a good example to prove this. Both of my parents are from relatively well to do families in big cities in China before Mao took power in 1949. My father had nine siblings, two of them died of disease before age 30, another before age 40, all before 1949. None of his siblings who were alive at 1949 died before age 70, many passed age 90. My mother experienced two plagues at very young age, she witnessed the deaths of her three closed relatives who lived with my grandparents. After 1949, none of her family members was dead of premature deaths.

  16. @karalan

    What those old folks thought era before Mao?

    I lived my childhood in Mao era, I didn’t like it. But from what my parents told me about their childhood before Mao, I think I’m less willing to trade my time with theirs, even I was discriminated against at school due to my parents were persecuted.

    My fear during the childhood was discrimination, my parents’ fear were death, death of closed family members, deaths on the street. During my father’s childhood, there were several time’s when he opened the door of his house in the morning, there was a dead body fell in front of it. And this was Beijing, the biggest city in old China

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Joe Wong
  17. @ThreeCranes

    Farming machines don’t fall from sky. At 1949, China couldn’t even make a screw on our own, we didn’t have the technology nor knowledge to make those farming machines. Jiang Kai Shek government took all the national treasury to Taiwan, left new government with no money. Not to mention that many factories were destroyed by Jiang’s government and China was under the Western countries total embargo.

    In 50′s, my father, just a high school graduate in his 20s (few people got high school education at the time), was put in charge to build several factories, like pharmaceutical, rubber and plastics, from scratch.

    Chinese communists really built China from nothing.

  18. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @chinesemom

    American cities have a population that experiences the same fears of mid 20th century China. American CEOs and finance “communists” have built a system of total exploitation with at least half if its own population trained with disinformtion to endlessly support with slogans and well entrenched dogma.

    • Replies: @whorefinder
  19. whorefinder says: • Website
    @Dan Hayes

    Communists gonna commie, which always includes lying.

    It is amusing how the satanic institution known as communism keeps producing so many useful idiots willing to double down on the evil and lie their heads off. The Big Lie is truly alive and well on the Left.

    • Agree: Dan Hayes
  20. Greg Bacon says: • Website

    Godfree, your hero was also a serial rapist, who loved young Chinese virgins kidnapped from their families.

    Mao had about 15 places for his dalliances with women, other than Zhongnanhai, that were well know by his close guards and many top leaders of the Communist party.

    These cases are only a drop in the ocean. For those women who were well known before being raped, they still struggled to have a life afterwards, but the unknown girls that were selected from the masses, after being seduced and sexually exploited, they were either sent to the remote corners of China, or to isolated islands, to remain anonymous for the rest of their lives. It might be possible that some of them may think that their story should be told.

    https://www.ifjc.org/node/1907

    As your hero would say, “love, let alone sexual pleasure, was seen as a bourgeois predilection that threatened to distract the masses from class struggle, food production and industrialization

    Mao’s own lifestyle contradicted the policy of his government. “As Mao got older,” Li wrote, “he became an adherent of Taoist sexual practices which gave him an excuse to pursue sex not only for pleasure but to extend his life. He claimed he needed the waters of yin—or vaginal secretions—to supplement his own declining yang—or male essence, the source of his strength, power and longevity.

    Mao’s sex drive seem to increase as he got older. In the 1960s, Li said, he often went to bed with three, four or five women simultaneously. When Mao was told he was infertile, he responded, “‘So I’ve become a eunuch, have I?,’” Li wrote, “not understanding that it meant his sperm was abnormal not that his sexual desires were reduced.” [Source: "The Private Life of Chairman Mao" by Dr. Li Zhisui, excerpts reprinted U.S. News and World Report, October 10, 1994]

    http://factsanddetails.com/china/cat11/sub76/item132.html

    Mao also didn’t like to bathe, since he compared himself to a tiger and since tigers don’t bathe, why should Mao? Can you imagine being a young and pretty Chinese virgin having this foul-smelling thug swarming over your body?

    Yes, another Great Leap forward for Commies who slaughtered around 100 million in the 20th Century, meaning your heroes aren’t any better than capitalists.

    Serial rapist, mass murderer, yes, just the kind of person we all should emulate. I imagine your Antifa fans eat this propaganda up, but to those who can still read and think for themselves, it doesn’t get us aroused, like it does some.

    Godfree? God Free? Who says Commies don’t have a sense of humor!

    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
  21. whorefinder says: • Website
    @George Orwell

    lol. The irony of your name v. your words is breathtaking. Thank you for confirming the Left really is ignorant to a man.

  22. whorefinder says: • Website
    @Anonymous

    rofl.

    American cities have a population that experiences the same fears of mid 20th century China.

    China wasn’t full of randomly-violent blacks; it was full of higher-IQ, non-randomly-violent Chinese.

    Race matters, kiddo.

  23. Mao was a mass murder just as was Stalin and Hitler and Pol Pot and all the other mass murders and this is what comes of communism and the deep state and we may see it here if the deep state and the Zionist neocons have their way.

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  24. @drtien

    Tombstone’s estimation methods have been discredited by a Chinese math professor, and many so called “fact” and data in the book were proved to be false or fabrications.

    • Replies: @Zach
    , @drtien
  25. Notwithstanding the article linked to, nobody other than Francis Boyle, and certainly nobody in Ireland, believes that the Great Famine was “a policy of mass starvation in Ireland with the intent to destroy in substantial part the national, ethnical and racial group known as the Irish People”, nor, as far as I know, did the world know immediately. It was indeed “policy-driven” as Mr Roberts says. However, the policy wasn’t a policy of extermination but the rigid application of liberal (in the European sense) political dogma, the then “new-fangled” ideology whose popularity was at its height in the 1840s, particularly in Britain, well on the way at that time to becoming the most powerful country the world had ever seen. “Market forces” would solve the problem and the government shouldn’t intervene. Those who could not earn their living on the land would find other work, so went the argument. The potato crop failed all over Europe at that time. Public intervention helped people in continental Europe and liberal dogma worked reasonably well in the rest of the UK. In rural Ireland, farms consisted of large estates farmed by sharecroppers. There was no money economy. When the potato crop failed, tenants had no cash to buy alternative food nor had they the strength to cultivate the grain with which they paid their rent, hence the tenants were evicted and the landlords went bankrupt! The British government was simply too blindly locked in to its liberal ideology to accept that for a long time, by which time many people had died, many had emigrated and the British government had lost the loyalty of its Irish citizens forever. There seem to be parallels there to Mao’s situation.

  26. A brilliant article and a marvelous demonstration of how distorted our view of history can become.

  27. @George Orwell

    Many Russians would like to have Stalin back. When I lived in Germany, there were many that would have liked to have Hitler back. Given that the lines of communication are still owned by the Chinese Communist Party, It doesn’t surprise me a bit that many still revere Mao.

  28. Hu Mi Yu says:
    @chinesemom

    I believe the death toll of the famine from 1959 to 1962 has been greatly exaggerated by pro-Western and anti-Mao intellectuals in China.

    I grew up in the US and read several English language news publications cover-to-cover during the 1960s. The MSM was totally dominated by anti-Mao propaganda. One thing I remember clearly was the contradiction between extreme hardship in China, and the longevity statistics. The per capita GDP was rated at at US$400, but the longevity was nearly 60. This was much higher than in other poor countries at the time and comparable to the expectancy in developed nations. For $400 you couldn´t pay the property taxes for a roof over your head in the US. So I concluded that there was something horribly wrong with the statistics.

    Looking back it seems that much of the anti-Chinese atmosphere at the time was driven by the British. They wanted to keep their colony in Hong-Kong, and to expand the dismemberment and plundering of China. They had a huge influence on the American press and our political elites: especially the circle around President Eisenhower. This led to emergency World War II taxes and the military draft continuing into the Vietnam War era.

    • Replies: @German_reader
    , @chinesemom
  29. @chinesemom

    Sounds familiar just like tens of millions dead Soviet citizens. Looks like made up at exactly same place.

    • Replies: @hyperbola
  30. hyperbola says:

    Looking back it seems that much of the anti-Chinese atmosphere at the time was driven by the British. They wanted to keep their colony in Hong-Kong, and to expand the dismemberment and plundering of China.

    By then the “brits” had been plundering China for a long time already and the “american” elite was also involved early.

    The Jewish Opium Trade and Britain

    http://satyricon20.tripod.com/sat33-Sassoon.htm

    Controller Houses Of The East India Company: EIC Series Part IV

    http://greatgameindia.com/controller-houses-east-india-company-eic-series-part-iv/

    Of course, those same “elites” (right down to the very same narcotrafficking banks) and their abuse/corruption is still protected by the governments of the UK and the US.

    HSBC, too big to jail, is the new poster child for US two-tiered justice system

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/dec/12/hsbc-prosecution-fine-money-laundering

    HSBC Helped Terrorists, Iran, Mexican Drug Cartels Launder Money, Senate Report Says

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/afontevecchia/2012/07/16/hsbc-helped-terrorists-iran-mexican-drug-cartels-launder-money-senate-report-says/#30a844d55712

    Outrageous HSBC Settlement Proves the Drug War is a Joke

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/outrageous-hsbc-settlement-proves-the-drug-war-is-a-joke-20121213

    Death, drugs, and HSBC

    https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/death-drugs-and-hsbc-355ed9ef5316

    • Replies: @Grandpa Charlie
  31. @chinesemom

    Not without some help from the Soviet union but still good job. User and China both did Well, but chinese elites happened to be wiser.

    • Replies: @chinesemom
  32. hyperbola says:
    @Sergey Krieger

    Stalin’s Jews
    We mustn’t forget that some of greatest murderers of modern times were Jewish

    https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3342999,00.html

    Here’s a particularly forlorn historical date: Almost 90 years ago, between the 19th and 20th of December 1917, in the midst of the Bolshevik revolution and civil war, Lenin signed a decree calling for the establishment of The All-Russian Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counter-Revolution and Sabotage, also known as Cheka.

    Within a short period of time, Cheka became the largest and cruelest state security organization. Its organizational structure was changed every few years, as were its names: From Cheka to GPU, later to NKVD, and later to KGB.

    We cannot know with certainty the number of deaths Cheka was responsible for in its various manifestations, but the number is surely at least 20 million, including victims of the forced collectivization, the hunger, large purges, expulsions, banishments, executions, and mass death at Gulags….

    ….. And us, the Jews? An Israeli student finishes high school without ever hearing the name “Genrikh Yagoda,” the greatest Jewish murderer of the 20th Century, the GPU’s deputy commander and the founder and commander of the NKVD. Yagoda diligently implemented Stalin’s collectivization orders and is responsible for the deaths of at least 10 million people. His Jewish deputies established and managed the Gulag system….. In 1934, according to published statistics, 38.5 percent of those holding the most senior posts in the Soviet security apparatuses were of Jewish origin. ….

  33. Zach says:
    @chinesemom

    Links for discredited methods and facts proven false?

    • Replies: @chinesemom
  34. Sam J. says:

    In fifty years they’ll be telling us the killing in Cambodia wasn’t really killing…per say. The problem was that the capitalist left the ground bumpy and everyone tripped and died striking their heads on the ground.

    No one seems to be able to come up with an idea of what would have happened if China had a Democratic Republic for the same period of time as they had Communism. I suspect that deaths would have been drastically lower and the living conditions would have been vastly better by this time. That’s where the true deficit lies.

    Communist no matter where they reside seem to be fond of mass murder. If not through efforts to control the population then through incompetence.

    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
  35. hyperbola says:

    Pretty clear that “god-free” is a typical propagandist. Apart from the “trick” that you identified, amongst many other sleights of hand there is this:

    According the the US National Institutes of Health, the rise in life expectancy under Mao “ranks among the most rapid, sustained increases in documented global history….

    In fact, the “evidence” is NOT endorsed by the NIH per se, but is only an article published by four authors and INDEXED amongst the millions of publications that PubMed indexes every year. A clear attempt to mislead readers.

    And, actually the authors of that study state this:

    “Overall, we find that the expansion of education during the 1950s together with large-scale public health campaigns jointly explain roughly 50-70 per cent of the reduction in China’s infant and under-five mortality rates between 1960 and 1980. …. “

    That is, it was NOT Mao’s agricultural reforms that most affected mortality (and these “average” gains were primarily reductions in infant mortality ), but rather the educational level of their mothers.

    At that point I decided that nothing much “god-free” had to say was dripping with credibility and gave up on his screed.

    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
  36. @Zach

    Here are the links of some articles refuting Yang’s book published in Chinese media by math professor Sun Jing Xian

    http://www.guancha.cn/history/2013_09_11_171787.shtml

    http://www.guancha.cn/SunJingXian/2013_08_25_167986.shtml

    http://www.mzfxw.com/e/action/ShowInfo.php?classid=18&id=61357

    This article chronicled how this 30 million number came out and spreaded:

    http://www.cwzg.cn/history/201610/31906.html

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  37. @Sergey Krieger

    Yes, Soviet Union aided China with 156 projects which laid foundation for Chinese industrialization. Those are real helps that China desperately needed.

  38. J1234 says:

    Mao deniers….they really need their own convention. I’d love to attend. Really.

  39. @Hu Mi Yu

    They had a huge influence on the American press and our political elites: especially the circle around President Eisenhower.

    Yeah, the British had so much influence on Eisenhower that he publicly humiliated them during the Suez crisis and ended any illusions they may have had about continuing their empire.
    Just bizarre what some people come up with.

  40. The U.S. government did not provide them with land, work, social aid, or pensions and every sixth American farmer was affected by famine.

    You might want to read up on The New Deal.
    Programs that provided work for Americans:
    1933 Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) …
    1933 Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) …
    1933 Public Works Administration (PWA) …
    1933 Civil Works Administration (CWA) …
    1935 Works Progress Administration (WPA) …
    1935 National Youth Administration (NYA) …

    Social Security was put in place in 1935.
    Commodities were given out by the Federal government. My grandfather, who lived in a coal camp and worked in the mines, would tell of the powdered milk, cheese, rice, and other dry goods the Feds would hand out. He would never eat rice after WW2 because he said he got sick of it during the Depression.
    I had great uncles that were sent to different points in the US for work under the CCC.

    • Agree: Grandpa Charlie
    • Replies: @Alden
  41. @Hu Mi Yu

    The per capita GDP was rated at at US$400, but the longevity was nearly 60. This was much higher than in other poor countries at the time and comparable to the expectancy in developed nations. For $400 you couldn´t pay the property taxes for a roof over your head in the US. So I concluded that there was something horribly wrong with the statistics.

    Yes, at 1976 when Mao was dead, Chinese life expectancy was around 65, close to Western Europe, but the per capita GDP was at bottom of the world rank, lower than India. GDP growth during Mao’s era was evened out by the rapid growth of population. But last 30 years economic growth in China was greatly benefited from this youthful population.

    • Replies: @phil
  42. Ron Unz says:

    Well, I’ll have to admit that until a couple of months ago, I’d have vaguely said there was a 90% that at least 30-35M Chinese had died during the famine produced by the Great Leap Forward. That’s mostly because “everybody said so” and in fact a few years back the NYT had favorably reviewed a new book published in China claiming that the true total was more like 45-50M. I suppose it’s all still possible, but I’m now much, much more cautious and skeptical about these sorts of figures.

    I’d admit, I didn’t really find the Godfree Roberts articles themselves too persuasive in debunking these claims, but I read through some of the links within or in the comment-threads, and the based on those, the case for strong doubts seems much stronger. The first-hand claims of “chinesemom” and a couple of other commenters also seem pretty credible to me. It’s a sad testament to the American MSM that the views of a pseudonymous Internet commenter often seem far more reliable than the considered judgment of The New York Times.

    That being said, my net appraisal of Mao hasn’t really changed too much since it’s always been in the vicinity of the “70% Good/30% Bad” official verdict of the CCP. As the Amartya Sen quote indicates, even a very large GLF body-count really isn’t much compared to the preceding decades of perennial starvation in China and the ongoing decades of very high regular death rates in India. But on the negative side, Maoism didn’t work very well economically, as proven by China’s vastly greater economic and technological growth once Dengism took over in the late 1970s. Basically, I think Mao would have a much better place in Chinese history if he’d accidentally tripped and broken his neck in the late 1940s.

    Incidentally, here’s a link to a book about Old China written published in 1911 by E.A. Ross, one of America’s greatest early sociologists. It’s more than a century old so obviously many of its stylistic and ideological aspects seem antiquated, but I found its description extremely persuasive and seemingly accurate, and I’d be very interested in getting the opinion of some of the knowledgeable people reading this thread:

    http://www.unz.com/book/e_a_ross__the-changing-chinese/

  43. the greatest benefactor mankind has ever known

    I don’t know about that and generally I’m not into glamorizing individuals, but any pushback against mass-zombifying anticommunist industry is to be commended.

    Moreover, to confront mass-zombifying anticommunist industry on its own terms and its own level of hyperbola, ‘the greatest benefactor mankind has ever known’ sounds about right.

  44. phil says:
    @chinesemom

    Put differently, a communist regime was unable, after 26 years, to generate growth in production sufficient to improve real per capita living standards to an appreciable extent. With reforms approved in December 1978 (adopted after Deng Xiaoping met with Lee Kuan Yew in November 1978), economic freedom increased by more than 50 percent during the next two decades. The “one-child policy” was also adopted.

    China’s agricultural production accelerated. Starvation deaths became a thing of the past.

    • Replies: @Joe Wong
  45. Alden says:
    @Heros

    The horror stories about the Belgians in the Congo were British propaganda because the British wanted to keep Africa divided between France and Britain and wanted no more competition.

    It has as much credence as the stories of Belgian babies being used for bayonet practice during WW1.

  46. @Norumbega

    I’ve long felt that the usual claims of 23 or 40 million deaths due to Mao are short on evidence. Stephen Shalom’s Deaths in China Due to Communism: Propaganda Versus Reality (1984) I still feel is the best starting point for an objective analysis of the broader topic.

    The communist government statistics on the victims of GLF were close to useless.

    Still, as China loosened up and scholars spoke to villagers who lived during the era, they got a sense of the scale of the disaster. For example, in many villages people said 10% of the population died. In some places, it was even higher.

    Now, the problem is extrapolating a nation-wide figure from those local cases. Clearly, some regions suffered more than others. And the countryside suffered more than cities.
    Still, because GLF was a national policy and affected every Han-dominant region of China, one could roughly say most of China suffered a great setback as a result.

    Peng Dehuai certainly saw horrible stuff when he returned to his hometown village. He spoke honestly and was purged and later driven to sickness and death during the Cultural Revolution.

    https://www.britannica.com/biography/Peng-Dehuai

    The problem with Godfree Roberts is his personality, his need to revere some kind of god-figure and see history in terms of grand heroes and villains.

    Also, he’s into White Man’s Compensation Complex.
    White history in relation to non-whites has been, on the one hand, contemptuous and arrogant. There were plenty of whites who called Hindus ‘wogs’ and Chinese ‘chinks’ or ‘chinamen’.
    But there was another side of white attitude that sought to compensate for the bad manners of the brazenly imperialist and ‘supremacist’ whites. And this led them to exaggerate and even romanticize non-whites as a people of higher wisdom and nobility.

    The Brits were especially partial to this duality. One bunch of Brits would call non-whites bloody-this and bloody-that. But another bunch of Brits would be rather embarrassed by such bad manners and incivility. And yet, such uncouth abrasiveness was also necessary to spread British civilization. It’s like the tough-talking prison officer in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. He’s loud, brash, intimidating, and insulting, but it’s in the name of maintaining The Order as the unruly derelicts must be beaten down and kept in their place. He is like a trained barbarian serving The Order against unruly barbarians. Trained dog protecting sheep from wolves.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyalYXU-LH4

    So, the British had a similar kind of attitude to the non-whites. On the one hand, Brits wanted non-whites to recognize and respect Brits as a people with nice manners and superior civilization. And in this sense, Brits wanted to get along with non-whites with mutual respect. But if Brits only acted nice and kindly, the non-whites would see it as weakness and reject the advancement of British imperialism. Some non-white cannibals might even eat British folks. So, the British Order had to have a Tough Guy squadron who barked at non-whites, beat them down, and show who’s boss.

    And once the non-whites were battered into submission and showed respect to British power, the more genteel British elites would step in to shake hands, pass out gifts, compliment the locals, and etc. So, the practice of British ‘bourgeois’ manners relied on the threat of the iron fist and lashing tongue. (This even applied to elite British schools where young ones were instilled with a sense of hierarchy and duty under the iron heel of upper class mates. The idea was proper people could only be molded from discipline and disdain of deviance.)
    But there was more. As British society was idealistic and patronized a system of free inquiry and moral rectitude, independent British scholars and writers came to study non-white civilizations and find things of great worth. And in time, they might even sympathize more with non-whites as hapless victims of British Hypocrisy that invoked civilizing mission to explore and exploit other lands and folks. They could be so generous in attitude because the non-white had already been quelled and pacified by the martial arm of the British Order. It’s like people who teach inmates in prison tend to be more sympathetic because they don’t have to deal with the often brutal business of keeping the order. White Libby sympathy for black thugs exists only because cops do the dirty job of maintaining order. So, white cops must use brutality to keep blacks thugs in line, the white libbies see and bemoan the brutality… even though it’s being applied to protect the white libbies from black thugs.

    Anyway, an entire cottage industry developed in Britain where moral worth was to be determined by one’s sympathetic relation to non-whites. We see this with C.S. Lewis who devoted his life to helping this Jewish woman. And his story was made into a movie by Richard Attenborough who made biopics of Gandhi and Biko: mostly hagiographic but well-made. In the anti-imperialist age, Brits got into the habit of showing off a new kind of superiority by harping on the moral failing of British empire and British society. So, a British guy who sided with non-whites against the empire was the goody. And the British guy who welcomes non-white colonizers into UK was the jolly good fellow who partly redeemed his stained white blood.

    Lean was more interesting than Attenborough because he understood the ambiguity of the British on the world stage. It’s like Lawrence is both an old school imperialist and a sympathetic Orientalist. And the Arabs are admirable in a way but also cruel and barbaric.
    No such ambiguity exists in Attenborough’s universe… even though Gandhi does have its moments.
    Godfree Robert gives us an Attenboroughean view of Mao.

    http://www.history.ac.uk/reviews/review/1116

    • Replies: @Vinteuil
  47. nsa says:
    @Ron Unz

    Harry Franck vagabonded the planet with his Kodak in the early 1900′s….usually on foot. He recorded his observations and adventures in his numerous popular travel books. These books are readily available on amazon for a pittance, and easily the best descriptions in English of faraway lands at that time. The many black and white photos alone are worth the money. Several of his books describe the actual China (and the western “concessions”), Mongolia, Japan, SE Asia, and India…..all mostly observed by vagabonding on foot. For those few interested in the truth, simply read his books.

  48. @chinesemom

    Chinese communists really built China from nothing.

    But this could be said of many nations.

    US was a wilderness. So, whites built US out of nothing.

    Japan was feudal and backward when US and UK forced it open. Japanese industry was built on nothing.

    There was little industry in Iran, India, Indonesia, and etc. So, all their modern economies were built from nothing.

    The thing is Mao built so little. Compare what Taiwan and HK accomplished in contrast to Mao’s China. Granted, Taiwan and HK were connected to world trade, but what was the essence of global wealth? Capitalism, esp Anglo-capitalism.
    If Mao had allowed more individual initiative and profit motive, so much more could have been done.

    • Replies: @Vidi
  49. @chinesemom

    Here are the links of some articles refuting Yang’s book published in Chinese media by math professor Sun Jing Xian

    Every nation has taboos.

    In the US, it’s difficult to speak honestly about issues sensitive to Jewish, black, and homo concerns.

    In China, the taboos are about Mao’s record.

    While China has loosened up and has a number of good scholars, the TABOO still forbids honest discussion of certain key issues.

    • Agree: utu
  50. @DESERT FOX

    Pol Pot got to do everything he wanted.

    Many believe that 2 million out of 7 million died as a result.

    Now, Maoism wasn’t that extreme, but it was far more extreme than even Stalinism.

    If Pol Pot had pushed Maoism than Pol-Pot-ism, maybe 1 million out of 7 million would have died.

    Using that logic, suppose 1/7 of Chinese died during the GLF. Horrible.

    Btw, even though Mao didn’t intend to kill millions, he is responsible just the same, esp as he created a system of repressive silence where everyone was afraid to speak the truth. Prior to GLF, Mao’s many campaigns and purges sent a clear message: If you say ANYTHING WRONG, you are a bad egg and will be crushed. And this was driven home esp after the Hundred Flowers Campaign. For a brief spell, it seemed like a China Spring. Indeed, the state pressured people to criticize the system. And people did… only to discover that those who’d spoken up were sent to gulags or worse. Some were executed.
    So, when GLF came around, the only allowed expression was ENTHUSIASM. So, even when things were going to hell, no one said anything lest he be denounced as class enemy or saboteur. So, even when the countryside was starving, the cadres and bosses were sending Mao glowing reports and shipping foods to the countryside to prove what a great success GLF was.

    Now, the US isn’t THAT crazy, but why was there such a silence about White Death from opioids? Because PC created a culture of anti-white enmity. So, any notion that white working class needs special attention became anathema. Same logic as with Maoist repression albeit with far less brutality. (Also, so many Americans are being destroyed by culture of excess promoted by mass media. Obesity, not starvation, is the killer in America.)
    And there is also self-censorship, as with that David Putnam fool. He had this data showing that Diversity is no good, but he didn’t release his study for a long time.
    And there is hardly discussion of white farmers being murdered in South Africa or Palestinian plight in West Bank. If anything, the whore politicians support shutting down BDS.

    Now, suppose an American Mao create a culture of fear where no one dares to oppose or criticize the wisdom of the Great Leader. Suppose Ameri-Mao cooks up some harebrained scheme to collectivize agriculture. Suppose farm output decreases but cadres wanna prove to Great Helmsman Ameri-Mao that it’s a great success. Suppose they send much of the food to Washington DC while most of America go with less food. Suppose entire families starve. Suppose your grandparents, mother, sister, cousins, and etc starve. Suppose you and your pa remain alive by resorting to cannibalism of your own kids.

    Wouldn’t that be a great crime? Mao was a killer. He didn’t just make mistakes. He was a monster who must burn in hell for all eternity.

    That said, one cannot deny his greatness, his status as titan of the 20th century. It’s hard to think of another leader who started so low and reached so high and got to play god.
    But it was a horror show.

    • Replies: @DESERT FOX
  51. I’ve been skeptical about gratuitous China-bashing too.

    But thousands of years ago there were river systems all over the world, including the Yellow in China that produced enough grain to store over periods of drought.

    Every time I hear this “bad weather caused famine” excuse it’s as if it was the first time bad weather happened in ten thousand years of human history.

    Yeah, bad weather is something nobody ever thought of before, and to this day there are places like North Korea where bad weather still causes famines.

    It isn’t really fair that communism causes bad weather, putting such an enormous advantage to capitalism.

    • Replies: @Alden
    , @Vidi
  52. This is Part Two of a hoax, no doubt sponsored by Mr. Unz as a social science experiment, that has proven quite popular with “Progressives” of every stripe. Even the name of the author contains a joke!

  53. hot damn, 54 comments later, most are trash :) it is 2017, retards are still stuck in ideological la la land.

  54. @German_reader

    suez canal is suez canal, but what if british and american interests converge? what if it was in the american interest that the european colonies in asia continues to thrive? :) the perfect example is french indo china and all the countries that slowly gained their independence after ww2.

    • Replies: @German_reader
  55. drtien says:
    @chinesemom

    I don’t think Yang Jisheng has an ideological axe to grind, and arguing if the 30 million figure is precise is a fool’s errand, since there are no good statistics or even data available and researchers can only make more or less accurate inferences. That said, only a determined apologist for Mao can dispute that the Great Leap Forward was an economic disaster, and contributed to widespread undernourishment and significant starvation in that time period. The anecdotes that relatively privileged CCP cadres were severely rationed should be a clear sign that the less powerful and politically connected were in desperate straits. Indeed, pampered and protected foreigners, some of whom I personally knew, living in China at that time have clear memories of food shortages, so imagine the lot of poor peasants!

    I certainly agree that the MSM in the U.S. and the West unceasingly present a highly distorted and negative picture of China, and Ron Unz is in good company in his judgment that Mao’s biography would read much more favorably had that accident occurred, though 1957 would be a better year for it. Just ask the ghost of the great Peng Dehuai, the fearless and incorruptible commander who fought MacArthur to a stalemate in Korea, and had the guts to tell Mao the truth and paid for it. Not until Deng Xiaoping gain power did China really start to move forward.

  56. Alden says:
    @Chris Mallory

    My parents were born in 1917 and 1910. They were middle class and didn’t suffer during the depression. But they and their parents were extreme fans of FDR and his programs. All their friends who were their age and young adults and teens during the depression honestly thought Roosevelt and his programs saved the country from starvation. So did their parents generation.

    All the school text books from 1940 to about 1980 put great emphasis on how Roosevelt saved the country. FYI, Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty program was just a copy of Roosevelt’s programs.

    The war on poverty would have worked had we not imported about 100 million poor people and sent hundreds of millions of jobs overseas since 1965.

    And all my high school and college teachers were great fans of Roosevelt and his programs as well.

    Roosevelt programs even handed out clothes, especially winter coats, boots, mittens and scarves.
    And of course there were lots of jobs. My Mom went from college graduation to working for the welfare department in about 2 weeks. And she went to college on some sort of Roosevelt program.

    Economists claim that the depression programs didn’t work to revitalize the economy. But most people who lived through it weren’t interested in the fantasy land of economics. They just wanted and needed the welfare and other programs.

    The sentences about farmers starving to death during the depression sound like the sort of anti American falsehoods Jilles Dysktra keeps posting from his edition of Mao’s Little Red Book.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  57. Alden says:
    @Backwoods Bob

    Great comment. Poor pitiful Russia during the 1920′s and 30′s. The bad weather just stopped at the borders of Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria. Those countries had just enough heat, sunshine and rain to have plentiful harvests while 200 yards away drought and cold caused famine in Russia.

    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji
  58. Vidi says:
    @Priss Factor

    The thing is Mao built so little.

    As the saying goes, if one wants to be a billionaire, the first million dollars is always the hardest to make. Mao laid the foundation for China’s future growth.

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  59. To an extent, Godfree Roberts’ view of the Chinese is condescending. But then, Chinese seem to share his view of themselves.

    I mean NO ONE would support a white leader ruling over a white nation like Mao ruled over China.
    How many people are singing praise to Stalin or Hitler these days? But pro-Mao views still exist.

    Mao played the role of god-emperor over humble folks who didn’t know what was good enough for them. He was to Chinese people what God in the Old Testament is to the Hebrews. Initially, Mao was like Zeus, the top god. But then he decided to be the ONLY GOD.

    It’s understood that God is so wise, so noble, so good, so great, so everything wonderful that it aint right to question Him. Even if His actions destroy countless lives, it was for the greater and higher good that isn’t fathomable to mortals. (Even so, there is a place for the individual in the Old Testament, as when Job questions God’s terrifying silence in face of all the horrors.)

    And Roberts’ view of China is in this mythic sweeping manner. It’s like a Biblical account, or Hollywood version of Moses, the TEN COMMANDMENTS. Mao wasn’t just a leader of a nation but a man of destiny, the liberator with the new mandate of heaven. Roberts gives us a sermon, a eulogy, a prayer.
    We cannot judge Mao’s by the standards of ordinary men.
    Even his mistakes were heroic and awesome. Even if innocents got killed, he meant well, and the blame should really fall on those who just didn’t understand him and follow through on his plans.

    To see China in this manner, we have to pretend that Chinese are not individuals with personal dreams and conscience. No, they are props in some historical pageant, like the troupes in the 2008 Beijing Olympics going through their routines and drills.
    There is no sense of individual lives affected by Mao’s policies. According to Godfree-ism, Mao was the only individual that mattered. Mao was China, China was Mao, and everyone else in China existed only to obey him, appreciate him, and thank him for saving them from everything bad. And according to Godfree-ism, ONLY MAO could have done it. This is really an insulting view. So, Chinese are so hopeless that only this one man, Mao, could have brought glory? So, if Mao hadn’t been born or died as a kid, China would be a land of women with bound feet living under Japanese rule?
    It’s like those Bruce Lee movies where all the Chinese are totally helpless without him. Japanese kick Chinese butts, and only good old Bruce can restore pride and order by kicking Japanese butt. Lee was seen as Chinese hero but his movies are actually quite insulting because they imply that, without the grace of Bruce, Chinese would just get their asses whupped by runty Japanese.

    This is why the East fell behind. Individuals were seen as faceless masses who should submit to the Great god-emperor. People are not individuals but bricks and mortals or cannon fodder for Grand History. Granted, this kind of mentality also led to disasters of Napoleon, Stalin, and Hitler in the East. So many romantics saw Napoleon as beyond good and evil, a titan whose feats could not be measured on the human scale. And Oliver Stone has a similar view of Alexander.
    This is history seen as Permanent War. In war, it is true that individualism must surrender to team effort, and men, even lots of men, must be willing to sacrifice their lives at the command or even whim of Great Commanders like Patton, Rommel, Zhukov. And communist view of history was warlike, with great men leading the masses in a war against injustice and capitalism.

    When Mao was at war, it was understandable why he did what he did. But once he presided over China at peace, he was still in war-footing. He couldn’t tolerate any power or freedom but his own. Everyone else existed just to serve Maoism. In contrast, the US developed because individuals could strive for their own greatness, like with Bell, Edison, Wright brothers, Hollywood moguls and directors, Coca-Cola makers, Colonel Sanders, and whoever made IBM.

    The sad thing is too many Chinese agree with Godfree-ism. They still revere Mao because they see themselves as a confused lumpen-folks who would be lost without a Strong Hand, a god-figure. They think, “Chinese Peepul no have sense. They stand in front of tank and near turn to pancake. State must guide Chinese Peepul where to walk.”

    Of course, it’s good to have a strong government, esp in a huge nation like China. And it’s good for a people to be united by sense of ethnos, history, and culture. But for a mature and sane people, the main emphasis must be the worth of each Chinese person than the notion that Chinese people exist to be used as clay by some godlike figure who is beyond common morality. Such mentality is Raskolnikovism. Also, ultra-justice-ism turns into nihilism. If an ideology or movement feels it is soooooooo good and wonderful, then it ironically turns anti-humanist because humanity is secondary to the mania of ‘saving’ it. So, if millions of individual humans are sacrificed in the name of Humanity, it’s deemed okay. This was Eric Hobsbawn’s logic behind his support of Stalinism. It is a miserable view of the world.

    Nazism and Marxism were both anti-humanist for different reasons. Nazism said some races were god-races and had the divine right to treat lesser races as subhumans. And Marxism-Leninism had ideological hubris of what was necessary for mankind. In the name of fulfilling this destiny, any number of people could be sacrificed. Only humanism is a brake on both kinds of hubris: radical identity or radical ideology.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  60. Vidi says:
    @Backwoods Bob

    It isn’t really fair that communism causes bad weather, putting such an enormous advantage to capitalism.

    Capitalism’s great advantage is that a famine under it can cut the population by a quarter, making the survivors richer (see the Irish potato famine in the 1850s). It’s really too bad for Western propagandists that the drought in the late 1950s actually raised the population of China.

    • Replies: @Backwoods Bob
  61. @Astuteobservor II

    the perfect example is french indo china

    The Americans merely supported the French there out of fear of communism (with quite a bit of reluctance), but they were always opposed in principle to the continuation of European imperialism and regarded it as harmful and favoring the spread of communism (that attitude is captured quite well in Graham Greene’s “The quiet American” where the titular character is engaged in efforts to create a “third force” between French colonialists and communists), e.g. they pretty much forced the Dutch to end their attempt at suppressing the Indonesian independence movement.

    • Replies: @utu
    , @Astuteobservor II
  62. Vinteuil says:
    @Ron Unz

    “…my net appraisal of Mao hasn’t really changed too much since it’s always been in the vicinity of the “70% Good/30% Bad” official verdict of the CCP.”

    Noted.

  63. @Alden

    Poor pitiful Russia during the 1920′s and 30′s. The bad weather just stopped at the borders of Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria.

    They had famines, hunger riots, especially Poland and Romania. But they were not communist countries, so no reason for you to grieve over them. In fact, apparently hunger is a serious problem in central and eastern Europe today.

    • Disagree: German_reader
  64. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Priss Factor

    How many people are singing praise to Stalin or Hitler these days? But pro-Mao views still exist.

    Tankies and neonazis are still a reliable if minor bloc that’s has remained steady for decades.

  65. @Vidi

    Mao laid the foundation for China’s future growth.

    No, Mao held back growth.

    The idea that had-it-not-been-for-Mao-there-would-have-been-no-future-growth has no basis in reality.

    Japan, Taiwan, South Korean, Singapore, and etc didn’t have a Mao, but they had lots of economic growth.

    Your argument is a fallacy. It’s like saying Gandhism and Nehruism led to India’s rise since the 90s. No, Gandhism was about wearing loincloth and making cotton with a wheel. Nehruism was about central planning in a much-divided nation where the state could barely fix toilets in the capital.

    Incredibly, Indian economy in the early 90s was behind that of South Korea. Gandhism and Nehruism held India back. India sprung to life with market economics.

    Same goes for China. FAR MORE would have been done in China had the KMT won. Chinese love to make money. They are corrupt and scoundrel-like but energetic and hardworking. And Mao held those energies back. He channeled Chinese energies toward chanting slogans from the Little Red Book and driving sparrows crazy.
    Thankfully, Maoism lasted only a quarter of a century. It might have Chinese work ethic more had it gone on for 70 yrs like Soviet communism. Also, one good thing about the Cultural Revolution was it shattered state bureaucratic power so much that Chinese began to organize their own economic plans after Mao died. The state was in shambles.

    Now, one could argue that it makes no sense comparing Japan with China since Japan could trade with the advanced world. After all, if Japan had been frozen out of trade with US and Europe and rest of ‘free world’, it would have been greatly hampered. True enough.

    But Mao failed on so many levels. He could still have made more economic progress by staying close to Soviet Union. But after Stalin died, he wanted to be numero uno, and it pissed off Soviets. And China lost Soviet aid at a crucial time.
    Still, China could have at least made some economic progress with an incentive program.
    Consider…. After GLF, China has no ties with the West and even lost good relations with the USSR. It was pretty much all alone… but Deng and Liu Shaochi enacted incentives in agriculture, and China was once again, almost overnight, able to produce enough food to feed everyone.
    So, even without access to world markets, plenty could have been done during the Mao era… had it not been for Mao’s meddling. Deng and Liu were good engineers of the state. They were stewards whereas Mao was a stewer who cooked up some crappy brew.
    Mao was better as warlord than engineer. But he thought he knew everything, and he meddled in state affairs for which he had no patience and knowledge. Things got SO BAD in the GLF that there was some degree of pushback from colleagues which made Mao semi-retire. He was still number one in China but day-to-day running of the state was left up to Liu, Deng, and Zhou.. whose moderate policies made Chinese economy recover instantly after Mao’s madness. But Mao reacted with hurt pride and destroyed China once again, this time intellectually and culturally.

    Also, it’s wrong to use the analogy of million dollars and billion dollars. Mao had a ‘million dollars’ when he inherited China. And he squandered it all. Chinese Communists could rely on Soviet aid, took over all bourgeois industry, took over machines and weapons left over from Japanese and Americans. and etc. Also, as Hong Kong remained in British hands and did business with the mainland, China did have some access to foreign currency.
    They even had German beer in Tsingtao. And with so many empty coke bottles, they had the stuff to make eyeglasses out of.
    Mao blew the million dollars and even prevented the saving for pennies.
    It was after Mao died that Chinese began to save pennies that were turned into dollars into tens of dollars into 100s of dollars and etc. Real wealth begins small.

    • Agree: Grandpa Charlie
    • Replies: @Vidi
    , @Mao Cheng Ji
  66. utu says:
    @German_reader

    is engaged in efforts to create a “third force”

    By doing false flag terror attacks.

  67. @German_reader

    doesn’t matter what the excuse or rationale is. they still supported continuation of colonialism for it’s own interests. if the new govt is not in the american interest, the colonies would continue, with american support. if it is, your dutch scenario happens. this is also 100% relevant to the recent color revolutions in the ME and ukraine. and the various “regimes” us supports currently/recently.

  68. While per usual I appreciate the contrary perspective…

    demonstrated conclusively that Mao Zedong did more good for more people than anyone in history.

    …we are clearly dealing with the ramblings of a religious fanatic. Or a mental patient.

    Communist religious fanatics, similar to libertarian religious fanatics, wildly misattribute all social progress to communism (instead of capitalism for the libertarians) when it is quite routine in many types of societies–and almost always with a lower body count. The author’s hatred of the KMT and assertion that things would be far worse if they had won is certainly puzzling in light of the real historical record of Taiwan since the KMT was ejected from the mainland.

    I suppose the author might state that’s all down to the preceding Japanese colonizers?

    This sort of grotesque apologism is quite common with respect to Joseph Stalin (who was considerably more competent than Mao), so I suppose it was only a matter of time before someone took the same approach with Mao.

    • Agree: German_reader, utu
  69. utu says:
    @Ron Unz

    The first-hand claims of “chinesemom” and a couple of other commenters also seem pretty credible to me.

    I read all “chinesemom” comments and she does not appear credible to me. She is not a blatant propagandists or denialist like some commenters here when it comes to Stalin crimes but she has rather rosy outlook and great need for “harmony” where no bad things really ever happen and people are good to each other by sharing food and cutting their own salaries to help the less fortunate. Her background is privileged. Probably not from the top nomenclature echelon but still from “intelligentsia” of true believers who benefited from the system the most. Her father was manager who was building new factories and mother attended an elite college. Most deaths occurred among peasants and neither she nor her family had first hand connection to them. Her private survey of asking a question to 120 something acquaintances if they had anybody in their families who died of hunger is ridiculous. It is just like asking your upper middle class friends if they knew anybody who had bad experience with police.

    • Agree: German_reader
    • Replies: @Ron Unz
  70. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    How likely is it that the greatest benefactor mankind has ever known would maliciously starve millions of his fellow countrymen to death and, in so doing, destroy the survivors’ trust in him?

    I dunno, the communists didn’t seem to have much of a problem with killing/starving people in various cities (e.g. Changchun in 1948) prior to gaining complete control over the country. I doubt they lost any sleep over Fuyang.

  71. @Vidi

    It “reduced the population”. Yeah – because under capitalism you can emigrate, whereas under communism they force you to starve to death.

    Talk about dishonest rhetoric.

    • Replies: @Vidi
  72. @Priss Factor

    Greatness is not a term that should be used with Mao and he was a tool of the Zionists who disarmed Chiang and armed Mao, and this led to the blood bath that they knew would follow and this allowed the communists to take over and the same has happened here in America and possibly the blood bath is yet to come.

    • Replies: @James Kabala
  73. Vinteuil says:

    I’m forever being told that the Chinese are way smart. And yet, they fell hard for this evil clown, Mao.

    I mean, have you ever spent a few minutes perusing the Little Red Book?

    It’s painfully, embarrassingly stupid. The guy simply hadn’t a clue about his own supposed ideology, which he attempted, with little success, to copy from Western models. By comparison, even Stalin was an intellectual giant.

    Leszek Kołakowski, in *Main Currents of Marxism,* just kind of throws up his hands when it comes to Mao, and his childish nonsense. How could anybody ever have taken him seriously?

    But, then, we’re talking about a nation full of people who believe that the more, and more slowly, the dog suffers as you torture it to death, the better its meat tastes.

  74. Vidi says:
    @Priss Factor

    The idea that had-it-not-been-for-Mao-there-would-have-been-no-future-growth has no basis in reality.

    I didn’t say that without a Mao, China would not have grown. I don’t think that Godfree said that either. I think it’s very typical of a propagandist like you to attack something neither of us said.

    China may have grown anyway. But it could easily have crashed instead. Mao did well to get the country going.

    What I did say was this:

    As the saying goes, if one wants to be a billionaire, the first million dollars is always the hardest to make.

    so of course you ignored that part. Getting the giant ship called China moving was by far the hardest part of the job. Deng Xiaoping and his successors had it easy by comparison.

    No, Mao held back growth.

    So what if Mao wasn’t perfect?

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  75. @Vinteuil

    I’m forever being told that the Chinese are way smart. And yet, they fell hard for this evil clown, Mao. I mean, have you ever spent a few minutes perusing the Little Red Book?

    ROTFL.

    True enough. But keep in mind Germans fell for Hitler. And Russians allowed themselves to be ruled by a Georgian bandit.

    But most embarrassing of all, once-great Anglos now revere Mandela and MLK and see ‘genius’ in The Nasty Coates.

    At least Mao was a Chinese leader over the Chinese. White gentiles have let themselves be ruled by globalists, and they worship homos and Negroes.

    As for the Little Red Book, it has a few good stuff, like ‘political power grows out of the barrel of a gun’ and ‘revolution is not a tea party’ and ‘with collectivism, you get eggrolls’.

    • Replies: @Vinteuil
  76. @Vidi

    I didn’t say that without a Mao, China would not have grown. I don’t think that Godfree said that either.

    You implied as such. Even the center-rightist Niall Ferguson says that without Mao, there would be no modern China. Where does he get this?

    China may have grown anyway. But it could easily have crashed instead. Mao did well to get the country going.

    GLF and Cultural Revolution are not examples of a nation crashing?

    The only reason China remained as one was because it was a closed society under Mao. So, even as Chinese economy and culture crashed, it was a nation of Chinese ruled by Chinese. Well, that was something.

    • Replies: @Vidi
    , @Godfree Roberts
  77. Wally says:
    @Priss Factor

    said:

    ” If Nazis had own, how many photos of dead Shoah victims exist? Close to zero.”

    Of course. That’s because the claims about the Germans in WWII are easily debunked Zionist lies.
    That is why violent, racist, & privileged Jewish supremacists demand censorship.

    There are some laughable fake photos, however:

    https://forum.codoh.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=11427

    We’re talking about an alleged ’6M Jews & 5M others’ … 11,000,000.
    There is not a single verifiable excavated enormous mass grave with contents actually SHOWN, not just claimed, (recall the claim of 900,000 buried at Treblinka, 1,250,000 at Auschwitz, or 250,000 at Sobibor, 34,000 at Babi Yar) even though Jews claim they still exist and claim to know exactly where these alleged enormous mass graves are.

    Below is where free speech on the impossible ‘holocaust’ storyline is actually illegal, violators go to prison for Thought Crimes.
    An admission that it doesn’t stand up to scientific, logical, & rational scrutiny.

    https://forum.codoh.com/download/file.php?id=1858

    http://www.forum.codoh.com

  78. Nerg says:
    @Norumbega

    The uncle of a close friend lived in a prison camp where 300.died.per.day of starvation. To this day he cannot eat tomatoes, the only food he had for 3.months.

    • Replies: @Joe Wong
    , @utu
  79. Wally says:
    @Priss Factor

    said:
    “The darkest side of Maoism. Mao’s Himmler and death squads.”

    What “Himmler death squads”?
    There were however legal executions by both sides of non-uniformed combatants, aka: terrorists.

    The Industry now claims that ca. 2,000,000 Jews were shot by the Einsatzgruppen into huge pits, so, anyone, please show us the actual excavations, the enormous mass graves, & remains that are claimed to exist, their locations are allegedly known.
    Is that:
    100 graves of 20,000?
    200 graves of 10,000?
    400 graves of 5,000?
    500 graves of 4,000?
    1000 graves of 2000?
    2000 graves of 1000?

    http://www.codoh.com

    • Troll: Vinteuil
    • Replies: @German_reader
  80. utu says:

    You implied as such. Even the center-rightist Niall Ferguson says that without Mao, there would be no modern China. Where does he get this?

    I do not know where Ferguson get it from but the way I see it moving society to the so-called modernity requires brutal measures. In the west it happened during the Industrial Revolution where peasant mentality was crushed. All what they believed in that kept them in one place tied to land where they could live self-sufficient but poor lives was destroyed. They had to learn to work for wages and look at the clock and compute their efficiency. The ones who could not adjust or were the surplus labor were sold as slaves or indentured servants to the New World. In Soviet Russia they did it through famine and dekulakization. Ethnic classic also helps people to modernized. The connection to ancestral land must be broken and most importantly a private property of land has to be abolished for the lower classes. This is what Mao did. Kuomintang would have followed much gentler road like some Catholic countries that went the opposite direction by making a land reforms and giving the land to poor and landless peasants.

  81. @Wally

    Do you seriously have to advertise your stupid Holocaust denial forum even in a thread that isn’t about Nazis or WW2, but about Mao’s China, on the other side of Eurasia???
    This level of obsessiveness is just annoying.

    • Replies: @utu
    , @Wally
    , @Sam J.
  82. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Vinteuil

    The Little Red Book was a book of quotations and slogans for peasants with basic literacy, not an exposition of political ideology.

  83. Joe Wong says:
    @Bankotsu

    It seems the Japanese not only rewriting history to white wash their war crimes, they also want to rewrite Chinese history to take the credit on Chinese successful struggle against the corrupted Qing and its compradors as well as the barbaric unrepentant war criminal Japanese and the western imperialists.

  84. Ron Unz says:
    @utu

    I read all “chinesemom” comments and she does not appear credible to me…Her background is privileged…It is just like asking your upper middle class friends if they knew anybody who had bad experience with police.

    Well, perhaps. I meant that her remarks and claims seemed reasonably honest and sincere, rather than being deceitful or propagandistic. Assuming, they are reasonably accurate, the next question is interpreting them.

    She suggested that relatively few Chinese people on Social Media seem to have direct, first-hand claims of relatives or other people they knew you died of starvation during GLF, and offhand it sounds like those circles are not necessarily limited to elites. As far as I know, the GLF is still considered a huge disaster by Chinese officialdom, so they’re far less likely to be heavily policing social media than on other, touchier subjects. And these days, a large fraction of all Chinese, including those from a peasant family background are on social media.

    The Chinese professor who wrote that book sharply criticizing the GLF said that two of his grand-parents had died in the famine that resulted. It seems to me that if 5% of the entire national population had died of starvation in the GLF a couple of generations ago, I’d think many, many more present-day Chinese would have direct accounts of close relatives who suffered that same fate, and would be voicing their complaints on social media, just like they angrily complain about so many other things.

  85. @Ron Unz

    if 5% of the entire national population had died of starvation in the GLF a couple of generations ago, I’d think many, many more present-day Chinese would have direct accounts of close relatives who suffered that same fate, and would be voicing their complaints on social media, just like they angrily complain about so many other things.

    this is gold right here.

  86. Joe Wong says:
    @Dan Hayes

    As data showed Chinese population increased from 650 million in 1958 to 680 million five years later, while the Irish potato famine from 1845-1852 reduced Irish population by 20–25%. It shows massive famine only reduces population not increases population. Massive death caused by Great Leap Forward is a fake news just like the fabricated phantom WMD created by the American, its objective is to harm the Iraqis and other tens of millions in the Middle East and its intention is evil.

    The population growth proved whatever Mao did whether it was Great Leap Forward or something else it is necessary with the best intention to rejuvenate China, while the West under the USA leadership was imposing crushing food, financial and technology embargo and constant threats of nuclear attack against China without provocation, it proved whatever the West did it was premeditated with evil intention.

    By comparing what Mao did to China and what the West under the leadership of the USA did to China, one can conclude that Mao did more good to China than anyone (perhaps we should say the West) else in history during that time.

    • Agree: Dan Hayes
    • Disagree: German_reader
  87. @Priss Factor

    Hi, PF!

    Here you are, still trying to chart a rational and moderate course through the churning waters of partisan and even Communist waters.

    For my part in this discussion, I have to say that this Godfree article surprises me in that there is no mention of the Russian (soviet) Lysenko’s influence on Chinese agriculture during the period that is the focus of Godfree’s article.

    Lysenkkoism, 1958
    Trofim Lysenko was a Soviet agricultural expert who in 1958 drafted an eight-point agricultural ‘constitution’ for China, which every farmer had to follow.

    Three Bitter Years, 1959-1961
    As a result of Mao’s agrarian changes, production fell – whilst terrified officials reported huge increases! The result was widespread famine which killed perhaps 30 million Chinese

    — historian John D. Clare

    http://www.johndclare.net/China6.htm

  88. Joe Wong says:
    @Priss Factor

    Li Zhisui’s book provided invaluable propaganda coup for the American and their lackeys against China, isn’t it? I guess CIA and the American’s old days of colonialism and cold war deep state would not idling and let such God sent opportunity to demonize Mao and China gone by without doing a thing or two. Hinting deporting Li Zhisui back to China would get Li Zhisui to say whatever the CIA wants him to say, perhaps Li Zhisui was not even in the US by his own will, …

  89. @DESERT FOX

    “Mao was a tool of the Zionists” is a new level of ridiculousness even for the comments on this site. (Although the article itself was pretty much just as bad, albeit from the opposite side.)

    • Replies: @DESERT FOX
  90. Vidi says:
    @Backwoods Bob

    [Capitalism] “reduced the population”. Yeah – because under capitalism you can emigrate, whereas under communism they force you to starve to death.

    Talk about dishonest rhetoric.

    No dishonesty. I misread the following page

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Famine_(Ireland)

    which says “During the famine, about one million people died and a million more emigrated from Ireland,[4] causing the island’s population to fall by between 20% and 25%.”

    So an eighth of Ireland’s population died in the potato famine, whereas China’s population actually went up during the famine of the late 1950s. No matter how you try to hide the cruelty of capitalism, you fail.

    • Replies: @Anon
  91. Vidi says:
    @Priss Factor

    I didn’t say that without a Mao, China would not have grown. I don’t think that Godfree said that either.,

    You implied as such. Even the center-rightist Niall Ferguson says that without Mao, there would be no modern China. Where does he get this?

    I am not surprised that you choose to misinterpret my words. What I said was “Mao did well for China”. You preferred to hear that “Only Mao could have helped China”. You adopted a loser’s tactic, preferring to attack something you invented, rather than honestly addressing my point:

    What I did say was this:

    As the saying goes, if one wants to be a billionaire, the first million dollars is always the hardest to make.

    so of course you ignored that part. Getting the giant ship called China moving was by far the hardest part of the job. Deng Xiaoping and his successors had it easy by comparison.

    it’s useless to speculate what someone else might have done. The fact is that Mao was what China had, and he successfully did the hardest part: he got country to start moving.

  92. @James Kabala

    The Zionists backed Mao and Stalin and Hitler and are in control of the U.S. lock stock and gun barrel, do some research.

  93. Joe Wong says:
    @phil

    The West did not improve real per capita living standard for decades when they started industrial revolution until they waged reckless war to invade, plunder, ransack, steal, cheat, … from rest of world, if communist regimes follow the West’s lead we will no ending wars.

    • Agree: Godfree Roberts
    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  94. Joe Wong says:
    @Nerg

    Nerg, do you know tomato was not a cheap food in China during that time? The uncle of your close friend could have tomato for 3 month, it is either he was lying or you are lying. Prison camp where 300.died.per.day, perhaps you miss up it with Guantanamo Bay or other barb wired penitentiaries dotted the US interior.

  95. I wonder if anyone has tried to examine declassified U2 reconnaissance film from PRC to see if there was any increase in the number of graves near villages during the time periods of interest?

    https://www.airspacemag.com/military-aviation/lin-xus-obsession-117339135/

  96. @Alden

    Roosevelt’s grasp of economics was poor, but not many economists saw reality with the clarity of Keynes, who was horrified at Roosevelt’s premature and very damaging attempt to terminate budget deficits in or from 1936-7. Roosevelt certainly didn’t mean to maintain high unemployment and it seems unreasonable to assume that Mao was indifferent to famine and starvation.

  97. @Joe Wong

    Lousy history. Try looking at some dates, including those of the East India Company which flourished well before the Industrial Revolution. And, as in the case of chinesmom’s reference to rapidly expanding Chinese population under Mao, factor in the UK’s rocketing population growth (unlike France as a matter of interest).

    • Replies: @Joe Wong
    , @Wizard of Oz
  98. @Ron Unz

    Consistently with your judgment and the significance chinesemom points to of huge and ralid population growth I would add an a priori consideration which I don’t think has been mentioned. Would one not expect even a sensitive man who had led his army and party through the 20 years of travails be likely to shrug off many bad things with “you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs” or similar tough commonplace truisms?

    • Replies: @Astuteobservor II
  99. Mao’s Cultural Revolution was horrible in wiping out culture.

    But US is now guilt too. By destabilizing the Middle East and North Africa and indirectly aiding or advantaging Alqaeda, ISIS, and other Jihadi elements, the US has pretty much turned the Muslim World into the Wild West in which philistine lunatics can go around smashing ancient monuments, statues, artifacts, and etc.

    The fact that the US media have overlooked the extent of this madness and US role in it goes to show what a sick nation this is. US lost the moral right to condemn Cultural Revolution. It’s especially tragic since the Middle East is the cradle of civilization. It is mythic and rich… but the US, under the power of the GLOB, created conditions that led to extensive iconoclasm.

    Also, US has raised generation of morons on PC who see no value in US history and heritage and wanna smash everything. And NYT pushes this agenda too. Not only are American monuments vandalized or removed but Anti-white Hate Hoax Defamations are the rule of the day. And even when the vandals turn out to be black, Jewish, non-white, or the weather, whites must get on their knees and grovel. And cucky ‘good whites’ berate other whites for being insufficiently rehabilitated. PC whites sound like Chinese who underwent brainwashing under Mao. They sound like rabid true believers.

    But worst of all, PC is pushing genetic vandalism. It tells white people that their race sucks and exists only to serve other races and be womb-colonized by blacks.
    This Interracial Revolution will be the end of the white race.

    Culture can be reconstituted even after destruction. 80% of Warsaw was destroyed by Nazis, but Poles rebuilt much of their heritage. Some German cities were blasted to smithereens but their medieval buildings were rebuilt.

    But suppose Poles had been racially colonized by other races. End of Poland.

    • Replies: @Vinteuil
  100. utu says:
    @Ron Unz

    I agree that “her remarks and claims seemed reasonably honest and sincere” but there is a problem with her methodology and I think there is a confirmation bias issue in her case.

    It seems to me that if 5% of the entire national population had died of starvation in the GLF a couple of generations ago, I’d think many, many more present-day Chinese would have direct accounts of close relatives who suffered that same fate

    It was not evenly distributed. Deaths occurred in clusters including whole families and villages leaving smaller percentage of unaffected relatives, witnesses and survivors than demographically expected. The equation for the number of degrees of separation will be distorted.

    Also I can imagine there might some stigma attached because survivors feel guilty and what is worse they might be considered to be guilty by those who weren’t there. I remember a Chinese dissident coming to the US after being in a camp in China and all what he talked about was his guilt because he survived depriving other prisoners of food. I really admired his brutal honesty which I haven’t seen among German concentration camp survivors, though the issue was also talked about though rather quietly. The stigma of the presumption of guilt was definitively attached still in 1950s and 1960s. The Holocaust survivors became celebrities much later.

    Also I am sure there are social and political pressures. If the deaths could be blamed on foreign enemy, say, the Japanese I am sure many more witnesses (including the false ones) would have come up and the each dead would have been counted twice or thrice.

  101. @Priss Factor

    Japan, Taiwan, South Korean, Singapore, and etc didn’t have a Mao, but they had lots of economic growth.

    Ironically, they also had ‘lots of economic growth’ because of Mao. Mao and Stalin.

    The Cold War is why they had growth. Without it, they would’ve been robbed blind and left on a side of the road.

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  102. utu says:
    @Nerg

    Tomatoes in China?

    • Replies: @silviosilver
  103. utu says:
    @German_reader

    I agree with you but there is a connection. The number of victims always depend on who does the counting. Winners or losers? Victims or perpetrators?

    • Replies: @German_reader
  104. @Bankotsu

    Yes, Mao memorized Kang’s entire Great Harmony and often quoted from it.

  105. @Priss Factor

    Mao has stats. You don’t.

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  106. @Priss Factor

    Li Zhisui was never Mao’s private doctor. Nor does Mao’s record bear any resemblance to Himmler and nor did Mao use ‘death squads’.
    Mao’s achievements are thoroughly documented. The allegations are just that: allegations.

    • Replies: @robt
  107. @Norumbega

    As I said in the article, historical demography is more art than science. Anyone can ‘reconstruct’ a famine, as Professor Borisov did (tongue in cheek, I suspect) though it was censored in the USA.

  108. @jacques sheete

    In Part One of this trilogy, I laid out the documented evidence that Mao was history’s greatest benefactor. Did you disprove any of my claims, or do you confine yourself to childish ad hominems?

  109. @chinesemom

    Yes, your account fits my experience of asking Chinese friends about their families at the time, too.

  110. @karalan

    I think most do. That would explain those 10 million who visit his birthplace each year, too,

  111. @Greg Bacon

    The Great Leap forward didn’t kill anyone, and Mao saved millions of lives during the famine. As to his sexual behavior, that’s just the usual nonsense one hears about all leaders.

  112. @Sam J.

    “No one seems to be able to come up with an idea of what would have happened if China had a Democratic Republic for the same period of time as they had Communism.”

    Sure they have. It’s called ‘India’.

    • Replies: @kauchai
  113. @hyperbola

    And where do you think the ““ expansion of education during the 1950s together with large-scale public health campaigns jointly explain roughly 50-70 per cent of the reduction in China’s infant and under-five mortality rates between 1960 and 1980″ came from?

    • Replies: @hyperbola
  114. @Ron Unz

    ‘Maoism didn’t work very well economically, as proven by China’s vastly greater economic and technological growth once Dengism took over in the late 1970s.’

    Mao grew the economy 7.2% annually, on average, for 24 years. Deng’s reforms bumped that up by 40% but all the post-Deng growth was built on Mao’s infrastructure.

    • Replies: @phil
  115. @Thorfinnsson

    Did you read Part One? Can you refute its claims? Until you do, my contention that Mao was history’s greatest benefactor remains proven.

    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
  116. @Vinteuil

    Here are some typical quotes from the Little Red Book. Which of them are painfully, embarrassingly stupid?

    Pay attention to uniting and working with comrades who differ with you. This should be borne in mind both in the localities and in the army. It also applies to relations with people outside the Party. We have come together from every corner of the country and should be good at uniting in our work not only with comrades who hold the same views as we but also with those who hold different views.

    Guard against arrogance. For anyone in a leading position, this is a matter of principle and an important condition for maintaining unity. Even those who have made no serious mistakes and have achieved very great success in their work should not be arrogant.

    In the political life of our people, how should right be distinguished from wrong in one’s words and actions? On the basis of the principles of our Constitution, the will of the overwhelming majority of our people and the common political positions which have been proclaimed on various occasions by our political parties and groups, we consider that, broadly speaking, the criteria should be as follows: (1) Words and actions should help to unite, and not divide, the people of our various nationalities. (2) They should be beneficial, and not harmful, to socialist transformation and socialist construction. (3) They should help to consolidate, and not undermine or weaken, the people’s democratic dictatorship.
    (4) They should help to consolidate, and not undermine or weaken, democratic centralism.
    (5) They should help to strengthen, and not discard or weaken, the leadership of the Communist Party.
    (6) They should be beneficial, not harmful, to international socialist unity and the unity of the peace-loving people of the world.

    It is necessary to criticize people’s shortcomings but, in doing so, we must truly take the stand of the people and speak out of wholehearted eagerness to protect and educate them. To treat comrades like enemies is to take the stance of the enemy.

    • Replies: @Vinteuil
  117. @Priss Factor

    Mao grew the economy 7.2% annually for 24 years. Nobody in world history has ever matched that.

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  118. Anon • Disclaimer says: • Website
    @Vidi

    How the Irish famine gets blamed on capitalism when it was the result of anti-free market socialist -style legislation is pretty typical of left propaganda: blame capitalism for leftist sins.

    Has UNZ become an outlet for Commie lies now?

    • Replies: @Vidi
  119. @Grandpa Charlie

    The New York Times reported[1] the visit of a team of American agronomists, quoting Nobelist Norman Borlaug, “You had to look hard to find a bad field. Everything was green and nice everywhere we traveled. I felt the progress had been much more remarkable than I expected”. The delegation’s leader, plant geneticist and father of the Green Revolution, Sterling Wortman, described the rice crop, “Really first rate. There was just field after field that was as good as anything you can see. They’re all being brought up to the level of skills of the best people. They all share the available inputs”.

    Wortman’s Green Revolution was then lowering world grain prices, destroying millions of small farms throughout the developing world, ruining farmers and communities, causing millions of suicides and creating vast shanty towns of homeless people that persist in to this day. Mao called this an example of misguided development and compared it to the USSR’s centralized model of industrialization which, during its development dash forty years earlier, had located gigantic cement and fertilizer plants in cities and built expensive highways to deliver their products to the countryside.

    This time, Mao insisted, they would build small plants locally to save money and create local jobs. Work teams constructed 1,500 chemical fertilizer plants and thousands of farm machinery factories. The peasants exploited the increased productivity from Wortman’s innovations by manning local industrial enterprises where they learned skills without leaving their communities and GDP grew fifty-eight percent over the decade (compared to America’s thirty-four percent). The population grew fifty percent and industrial output rose fifty-eight percent, outpacing both Germany’s thirty-three percent and Japan’s forty-three percent during their development phases.


    [1] New York Times, September 24, 1974

    • Replies: @Joe Wong
  120. @Wizard of Oz

    Would one not expect even a sensitive man who had led his army and party through the 20 years of travails be likely to shrug off many bad things with “you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs” or similar tough commonplace truisms?

    wiz, you do realize your counter fell flat?

    ron’s conclusion. read it again.

    if 5% of the entire national population had died of starvation in the GLF a couple of generations ago, I’d think many, many more present-day Chinese would have direct accounts of close relatives who suffered that same fate, and would be voicing their complaints on social media, just like they angrily complain about so many other things.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  121. Joe Wong says:
    @Godfree Roberts

    At the beginning of PRC, majority of Chinese did feel liberated from the yoke of the abusive imperialists, barbaric unrepentant war criminal Japanese and their corrupted compradoes like KMT. Majority Chinese were emphasistic to rebuild China under the new regime. Though harvests were good and plentiful, but the people did not get their fair share, because CCP needed to take the surplus of the harvest to pay back the weapons they bought from USSR to fight the Korean war. Rumors said the Russian was arrogant, the criteria on the food as payment was high, half of the food was rejected and ended up as spoilage due backward in shipping and storage facilities, so the Chinese under constant pressure to cut back on their rations for the payment to USSR, then the emphasism was gone, and the collective commune policy made thing worse.

    Though there was no massive death caused by the Great Leap Forward, but the GLF was not positive on China during that time, GLF gave the old days of colonialism imperialists the God sent opportunity to demonize China via fake news supported by their Massive Death Toll hypnosis and books and articles full of cold War ideology.

    China did not get rid of its final resident western imperialist until the break with USSR.

  122. @Mao Cheng Ji

    The Cold War is why they had growth. Without it, they would’ve been robbed blind and left on a side of the road.

    China and India’s biggest economic growth came AFTER the Cold War. Explain.

    Now, Russia was robbed blind but it was because (1) Russians were drunken bums (2) Russians lost work ethic after 70 yrs of communism (3) Russians handed over elite institutions to globalists.

    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji
  123. @Godfree Roberts

    You are using outdated CIA estimates.

    There was virtually no economic growth under Mao.

    Sure, as population grew, economy was bound to grow. More mouths, more hands, more economy.
    But it also meant that, on a per capita basis, Chinese had less and less. Also, Mao kept coming up with crazy ideas. In the late 50s, it was killing all the sparrows.
    Then in the early 70s, it was forcing Chinese to grow nothing but wheat or rice. Not even small veggie gardens were allowed.
    Also, Mao had no sense of nature or beauty. Upon coming to the power, the communists ordered every last tiger to be killed in China.

    Now, there was some economic growth early on because so much of China had been wrecked during the war with Japan and then in the Civil War. So, peace brought some growth.

    Under Maoism, agricultural output remained the same… even as population expanded. (Rising population is NOT a sign of economic success. Notice that poorest Africa will see the highest population growths. Should we sing praises to African governments? All Asian nations had explosive population growths when they were poorer. Also, the reason why Mao wanted more people is he felt he would need them for cannon fodder in the next war with US or USSR.)
    But under Deng’s reforms, the agricultural output doubled in the first few yrs.

    Also, look at any industry. Auto industry, TV industry, radio industry, heavy machines industry, and etc. China didn’t just lag behind in technology but in production. A Chinese auto company was still making 1950s models. It was producing maybe 100 cars a year.

    It was a land of bicycles.

    CIA over-estimated Chinese economic growth because China was totally closed and the West got only propaganda.

    In the early 70s when US and China opened up relations, Zhou had to emphasize to Westerners how poor China was because all these starry-eyed Westerners arrived singing praises to Maotopia.

    • Replies: @Joe Wong
    , @Godfree Roberts
  124. @Godfree Roberts

    Mao has stats. You don’t.

    You mean like the stats sent to him during the GLF? Even as food production was decreasing, his lackeys sent him glowing reports of agricultural boom.
    So, the cities demanded even more food — even for export and foreign aid — while the countryside starved.

    The stats were cooked in Mao’s China. People sent the Chairman what he wanted to see and hear.
    When men like Peng Dehuai defied Mao and said it like it is, Mao had them destroyed.

    Also, Mao preferred RED OVER EXPERT. (PC imposed a milder form of it in the West.)
    So, country bumpkins could make steal in backyard furnaces. Mao knew better than experts. So, if he said sparrows have to be wiped out, they have to be wiped out.

    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
  125. @utu

    True to some extent, but I’m generally sceptical about claims of historical revisionists that atrocities or other historical events have been completely made up. More likely is exaggeration, omission of context or distorting spin; e.g. one area where historical revisionism could be potentially interesting imo is German colonial atrocities and war crimes in Belgium during WW1 which have to some extent probably been misrepresented in Anglophone literature. But denying that nothing happened at all would be absurd imo (German troops really did massacre the Herero, and they did commit war crimes in Belgium). Same with larger issues such as Mao’s record here…some revisionism may be potentially illuminating and provide a new perspective. But Mao as the greatest benefactor ever, all his misdeeds just Western propaganda? Gimme a break, that’s just silly.

    • Replies: @utu
  126. Joe Wong says:
    @Priss Factor

    Your lies is consistent with the trait of western culture since crusaders, fabricating stories from the worst possible imagination in your brain then portray them on others as matter of facts, so that the West can wage reckless wars on those allegations to wreck havoc on societies on the moral high ground.

    “the communists ordered every last tiger to be killed in China.” then how do you reconcile the fact that there is a health and growing population of tigers in the forests and mountains in China? There were stories that western missionaries killed Chinese children then told the villagers to convert to Christian, otherwise tiger will eat their children too, such stories must be true if your story can be taken seriously.

    Killing sparrows because sparrows were consuming large amount of grain while China was short on grain to feed its people when China did not have other means to control out of control pests. But comparing to the West which using harmful chemicals like DTT, Agent Orange, GMO, etc. to control pests and weeds, killing sparrows by hands in China is way more environmental friendly. Chinese only killed sparrows, unlike the West they not only kill pests and weeds they also kill human beings by the generations with massive numbers with their toxic pest and weed control chemicals and Frankenstein style of GMO technologies for profits.

    We know the green gas generated by cars is the main culprit to threaten the survival of human species, bicycle is one of the main tools to cut down green gas, you are belittling bicycle shows you are either out of date, uneducated or simple a moron who does not care about the well-being of humanity.

    • Replies: @anonymous
    , @Vinteuil
  127. Wally says:
    @German_reader

    [I ask for Moderator understanding.
    I'm reposting this because it curiously did not show up as being a reply to 'German_reader']

    Who’s being stupid here?

    Priss Factor brought up the fake ‘Himmler death squads’ nonsense, not me. Pay attention.

    You wouldn’t have a chance in a real debate with me or any other informed Revisionists.
    Hence your ignorant name calling.

    In fact 16 countries, including Germany, ban free speech on the subject because the laughable ‘holocaust’ narrative won’t survive rational, scientific scrutiny.

    Only lies need censorship.

    see the ‘holocaust’ scam debunked here:

    http://codoh.com

    No name calling, level playing field debate here:
    http://forum.codoh.com

    We’re waiting.

    • Troll: German_reader
  128. According to the Chinese government’s own statistics (original link now seems to lack detailed data for the 1952-69 period; one wonders why): Annual deaths were running at around 7 million by 1957, a substantial reduction from 10 million in 1950 – the Communists can count it as an achievement, though it was due to the introduction of modern basic medicine, vaccinations, obstetrics, etc., so was going to happen under any stable regime anyway.

    Deaths in subsequent years: 1958 – 7.8 million; 1959 – 9.7 million; 1960 – 17.0 million; 1941 – 9.4 million, then dropped to a new constant of 6.5 million.

    Adding up – approximately 16 million excess deaths, relative to the baseline 7 million annual deaths (18 million if you took 6.5 million as the baseline) , if you go by the Chinese government’s own statistics. That’s a floor of around 2.5% of the Chinese population.

    Of course there may well have been substantial unregistered natality/mortality during that period. Soviet demographic data shows excess mortality of 1.8 million in the Holodomor, vs. many of the modern serious estimates clustering around 3 million. If the same relationship holds for GLP, then 30 million – that is, close to 5% of the Chinese population – would seem to be realistic.

  129. @Thorfinnsson

    On economics, yes.

    I’ll give Mao one thing, though. He was considerably more competent on the national question. There would be no war against “Han chauvinism”, no separate national republics (two of them admitted to the UN alongside the USSR), no artificial division of the Chinese people based on Warring States borders.

  130. @Godfree Roberts

    I think they were pretty comprehensively refuted there, though the Great Server Wipe may have deleted most of them.

  131. @drtien

    Out of curiosity, do you think that many patriotically-minded Chinese reflexively defend Mao just because his critics are associated with anti-Chinese liberals and Westerners with their own axes to grind?

    FTR, this is completely my impression with Lenin and especially Stalin for Russians. And I agree with you that Mao was at 7/10 in 1957; by his death, 3/10 at best.

  132. @Priss Factor

    China and India’s biggest economic growth came AFTER the Cold War. Explain.

    Explain what? Probably not true, and it has nothing to do with the comment you’re replying to. Are you just venting? Then go on, by all means.

  133. utu says:
    @German_reader

    When it comes to alleged atrocities the post WWII Germans will always stand on the side of the fessing up to the allegation of the crime. So your opinion on Chinese atrocities because you are the post WWII German can’t be given too much weight. You are inclined to see everybody fessing up. Misery likes company. Nevertheless I agree with you that this article on Mao can’t be taken seriously. The author suffers a serious case of delusional attachments. How many people actually died because of Mao? It is very possible that less than what it was claimed in the West. But so far nobody, including the commenters here, convinced me that it was so. Personally I do not care whether it was 5% or 1%. By arguing about numbers whether it was 5% or 1% a more important issue is left from discussion. Why did they die? It is always presented as a case of mismanagement and neglect at worst. But is it possible it was much worse, that there was an actual intent. Perhaps something similar to Holodomor?

    • Replies: @Anon
  134. @Anatoly Karlin

    but that still doesn’t answer ron’s conclusion.

    The Chinese professor who wrote that book sharply criticizing the GLF said that two of his grand-parents had died in the famine that resulted. It seems to me that if 5% of the entire national population had died of starvation in the GLF a couple of generations ago, I’d think many, many more present-day Chinese would have direct accounts of close relatives who suffered that same fate, and would be voicing their complaints on social media, just like they angrily complain about so many other things.

    if a child was 10 at the time, it will be 60-80 years old now. that is alot of eye witnesses for any serious researcher.

  135. @Astuteobservor II

    I wasn’t “counter[ing]” – just throwing in another reason for considering the possibility that Mao was a lotbless of a monster than we have been accustimed or encouraged to think…. BTW I recall reading many years ago of Mao supposedly shrugging off the loss of a hundred million people if there was a nuclear war. Context must often have included the population explosion of uneducated peasants. (The brutal one child policy didn’zt start till 1979-80 I have now noted but it doesn’t mean population growth wasn’t on Mso’s mind).

    • Replies: @Astuteobservor II
  136. anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Joe Wong

    “the communists ordered every last tiger to be killed in China.” then how do you reconcile the fact that there is a health and growing population of tigers in the forests and mountains in China?

    There is a stable population of Siberian tigers (nearly all are in Russia), but the iconic South China tiger (the ‘Amoy’ subspecies that was targeted by the communists during the GLF) hasn’t been photographed or recorded in over 40 years, and is presumed extinct in the wild.

  137. @Wizard of Oz

    but ron’s conclusion is already about the worst possible case? if 5% is real, where are all the witnesses? that is already the worst case scenario. if not a counter, your previous comment is 100% redundant.

    The brutal one child policy

    like, come on. I expected better of you wiz.

  138. Vidi says:
    @Anon

    How the Irish famine gets blamed on capitalism when it was the result of anti-free market socialist -style legislation is pretty typical of left propaganda: blame capitalism for leftist sins.

    Another popular loser’s tactic: if capitalism looks cruel compared to socialism, change the meaning of “capitalism”.

    Has UNZ become an outlet for Commie lies now?

    Attacking the forum is another popular loser’s tactic.

  139. Vinteuil says:
    @Priss Factor

    “…keep in mind Germans fell for Hitler. And Russians allowed themselves to be ruled by a Georgian bandit.

    “But most embarrassing of all, once-great Anglos now revere Mandela and MLK and see ‘genius’ in The Nasty Coates.”

    Well, indeed.

    The people of Leibniz & Goethe & Beethoven were seduced by Hitler. The people of Dostoevsky & Shostakovich & Nabokov were seduced by Stalin. The people of Purcell & Hume & Galton now grovel before Tennessee Coates.

  140. Vinteuil says:
    @Priss Factor

    “…an entire cottage industry developed in Britain where moral worth was to be determined by one’s sympathetic relation to non-whites. We see this with C.S. Lewis who devoted his life to helping this Jewish woman…”

    Not to mention E.M Forster, and his American opposite number, Tennessee Williams.

  141. @Priss Factor

    Where are your stats? What are their sources?

  142. @Priss Factor

    Where are your stats? What are their sources?

  143. Vinteuil says:
    @Priss Factor

    “80% of Warsaw was destroyed by Nazis, but Poles rebuilt much of their heritage. Some German cities were blasted to smithereens but their medieval buildings were rebuilt.”

    And it only took them a couple of decades. And sometimes they rebuilt better than the originals.

    Meanwhile, in Haiti…

  144. Joe Wong says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    East India Company was 1% of the 1%, saying flourishing East India Company was the flourishing of the other 99.99% is like saying flourishing Bill Gate is the flourishing of the rest of the Americans, your extrapolation is indeed extra ordinary beyond logic that defies the laws of physics.

    Besides, are you saying the appalling scenes the ordinary people lived in described in the Oliver Twist and David Copperfield are fake and lies?

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  145. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @utu

    @ whether there was actual intent

    Regardless of particular instances, I think it is an inherent flaw of Communism as political ideology and program to be implemented.

    Its central tenets go against human nature. They are in this sense, simply false, and have to be imposed by force. In addition, it is an ideology in which the individual has no intrinsic value, he is subordinated  to the State. Since the end of communism, the ultimate good to which it tends, is Communism itself (the achievement of an utopic political system), then anything that stands in the way can and should be swept away. If the thing that stands in the way is a few million people, that is just a detail. Always the future greater good.

    Of course a leader with such extreme antisocial attitudes and lack of conscience corresponds to the modern definition of a sociopath. Old women grasp it quicker and just call Mao a monster.

  146. Vinteuil says:
    @Godfree Roberts

    “Which of them are painfully, embarrassingly stupid?”

    Seriously? All of them. I mean, are you *trying* to prove my point?

    Mao is just so low rent.

    Today I lectured on J. S. Mill’s *Utilitarianism*

    Now, I disagree with J. S. Mill on just about every point – but he’s at least interesting to disagree with.

    Mao isn’t. He was a completely derivative thinker – and derivative of the lowest dregs of Western thought.

  147. Vinteuil says:
    @Joe Wong

    “Killing sparrows because sparrows were consuming large amount of grain while China was short on grain to feed its people when China did not have other means to control out of control pests. But comparing to the West which using harmful chemicals like DTT, Agent Orange, GMO, etc. to control pests and weeds, killing sparrows by hands in China is way more environmental friendly. Chinese only killed sparrows, unlike the West they not only kill pests and weeds they also kill human beings by the generations with massive numbers with their toxic pest and weed control chemicals and Frankenstein style of GMO technologies for profits.”

    Joe, my friend – are you, by any chance, being paid for this?

    • Replies: @Joe Wong
  148. @Wizard of Oz

    No I was just dealing with a little bit of your ranting rubbish. It is beyond my interest in what you are saying to tell whether you are trying to say that the average Brit didn’t become better off than most people until his country went to other countries (which, when) and stole stuff. It could be interesting to read a learned person making a subtler version of such a case but I am not holding my breath waiting on it from you.

    • Replies: @Vinteuil
  149. Eagle Eye says:
    @Ron Unz

    I have heard from older Chinese that they were very grateful to the U.S. for its actions during the Korean War during which two of Mao’s sons – those most likely to become political heirs – died.

    But for the Korean War, China might have ended up with a Kim Il-Sung type communist dynastic system. In other words, continuation of ancient Qin dynasty practices in the “modern era.”

    • Replies: @Joe Wong
  150. kauchai says:
    @Priss Factor

    ” Belgians acted horribly in the Congo and many died, but 10 million is a very uncertain figure.”

    That’s being very nice. To be more precise, Leopold II hacked off their hands, feet and even heads when they could not fulfill their quotas of gold, copper, diamonds, ivory, rubber, etc, etc. The bastard did not even spare little children when it was deemed appropriate because he needed the fathers to work in his mines and plantations. (Please google the picture of a father gazing down at the hands and feet of his daughter after they were hacked off and the ubiquitous pictures of little boys without a hand)

    “…nutty figure of Chinese killed during Japanese invasion.”

    As for the nips, this race of people deserve to be crown the most evil incarnate of the devil. Bayonetting babies, slitting open the stomachs of pregnant women, raping and then shoving hard objects into the vaginas of their victims, injecting horse blood into their human subjects just to see if it can work, experimenting with all known pathogens at the time that includes; syphillis, gonorrhea, malaria, typhoid, bubonic plague, tuberculosis, etc. Limbs were sown off and reattached to another person, organs were transplanted unnecessarily, human subjects were used to test their biological weapons. Entire rivers, dams and wells were poisoned. There is still a big cache of chemical weapons in northeast china waiting the these f*ckers to clear.

    Ok so we will not argue about numbers. But can we learn how to differentiate the circumstances and actions between the GLF and these atrocities?

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  151. Beckow says:
    @Ron Unz

    You are not taking into account the necessary infrastructure build-up that Mao did. Not just physical infrastructure, but medical, education, social, etc…

    What Roberts – and commenters – describe is intimately familiar to most people who grew up in the old socialist world. The way Western media – and unfortunately most people in the West – misunderstand it is almost beyond reason. The Cold War propaganda in the West has been so thick, and so accepted, that even attempting to have a discussion is almost pointless.

    The story as experienced by our grandparents was very different: after hundreds of years of misery for most people (90% plus in most societies) they suddenly had normal lives with more reliable food, employment, some minimal medical care, education for all, small pensions for the elderly, and infrastructure that worked. The oppression and censorship in the new one-party states was not new in those societies, it was just a new version of the same system that had existed there before the socialists took over. In most places, the state oppression was actually much more pervasive before the revolutions. For most people the socialist changes improved their lives, they lived longer, healthier lives, had more children, better housing, etc… It was a success. The ones who escaped to the West were disproportionally from the small elite that lost its privileged status, or aspiring opportunists willing to say whatever it would take to please Westerners. They were not credible witnesses, they had personal agendas, but almost all Western understanding was based on their experiences.

    The strongest argument that I have heard against the socialists is that the good things were going to happen anyway (as they did e.g. in Western Europe or Japan), and the bad stuff could had been avoided. That overlooks the fact that Western welfare states were built directly as a response to socialist revolutions. I think after a few hundred years of misery the idea that the elites were just about to change and provide decent lives for all is naive. What we have seen since the gradual dismantling of socialist states in the last 20-30 years shows that Western capitalism will naturally return to its dog-eats-dog state if not confronted with an alternative. We are about to relive the ugly, miserable past, at least partially because so many in the West believe their own propaganda.

    • Agree: Mao Cheng Ji
    • Replies: @Astuteobservor II
  152. Vidi says:
    @Vinteuil

    Mao isn’t [interesting]. He was a completely derivative thinker – and derivative of the lowest dregs of Western thought.

    Who isn’t derivative? Isn’t the whole point of learning to benefit from others’ thinking?

    I disagree that Mao was completely derivative, and I really don’t care whether he was or not.

    My opinion is that he was overall quite good for China: people there are vastly better off than they would have been if he had never been born. By uniting the country, he probably saved millions of lives which would otherwise have been lost to internecine fighting. By lifting China up from total destitution, he successfully did the hardest part of economic development in making the correct initial moves.

    So China’s success is largely due to Mao; this should qualify him as one of the giants of the twentieth century.

  153. @Vinteuil

    Mill was addressing the 1% in a peaceful, prosperous country.

    Do you understand who Mao is talking to?

    Are you aware of their circumstances?

    Has any leader offered such counsel to angry, illiterate people in the midst of a revolution?

    Ever?

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  154. @kauchai

    Ok so we will not argue about numbers. But can we learn how to differentiate the circumstances and actions between the GLF and these atrocities?

    Chinese had elaborate ways of torture too. After all, the CCP accused the KMT of carrying out all sorts of cruel atrocities against communist heroes and martyrs.
    And according to communist accounts, Chiang was a genocidal maniac who wiped out entire villages to defeat the communists. Philip Short’s book on Mao surmises that the KMT sent death squads to wipe out entire villages. Supposedly, 100,000s of people were exterminated.
    To be sure, other accounts say those people weren’t killed but just fled.

    And according to certain accounts, communists also carried out horrendous tortures. They used water cannon in women’s vaginas. They cut off breasts. They doused water on men and kept them out in the winter cold.
    Also, the Chinese used ‘cauliflower’ technique to deal with people who rose up during the GLF. Some starving peasants rebelled,and how were they dealt with? Their heads were split open with shovel, and it was called the ‘cauliflower’.

    In some ways, what the CCP did was worse than what the Japanese did.
    Japanese were nasty imperialists and acted accordingly as murderous vermin. BUT they were in China to take over and kick butt. They came to terrorize and dominate. So, even though what they did in places like Nanking was atrocious, it was in keeping with their imperialist goals. Also, the Japanese were desperate. They had to win the war fast and were frustrated by Chinese resistance.

    In contrast, Mao’s horrors happened in a time of peace and social order. Time was on Mao’s side IF he had been patient and diligent. But he treated peace-time like war time.
    Also, Mao came to power in the name of making conditions better for the Chinese. But he acted with reckless abandon and used Chinese people like so many ants of history.

    If someone means to do you harm and does you harm, it’s bad but consistent.
    But if someone claims to do good but does horrible things, then it’s just total hypocrisy.

    The Core of Mao was egotism and power-mania. And deep down inside, he knew it. He was a megalomania from childhood. Partly, he rebelled cuz he wanted a more just and modern order in China. But he also rebelled cuz it was ‘I did it my way’ from the beginning. From early age, he wanted the world to revolve around his big fat ego. Social Justice was his rationale to gain supreme power. It’s like Jim Jones. He was about LOVE… but everyone had to love and obey him. He was addicted to power and knew it. He didn’t see himself as a moral leader of a humble people. He saw himself as a godlike giant using people like so many toy soldiers. He was like Hitler and Patton in this regard. It’s like what he said to Nixon. He understood that the logic of power is evil, and he reveled in it. “History is a symptom of our disease.”

    It’s not good enough to say Mao meant well. Khmer Rouge meant well too, I suppose.

    In the end, a person is judged by what he does, not what he claims to do.
    At the very least, if Mao had retired after GLF and apologized to the nation for his folly, we might cut him some slack. Instead, he destroyed the very people who restored economic order in China and then carried out the Mother of all Culture Wars resulting in incalculable destruction of Chinese culture. I mean even the Japanese and Western Imperialists didn’t destroy Chinese Culture like Mao’s ISIS-like Red Guards did.

    Of course, Maoists will try to rationalize and argue, well… Mao meant well.
    NO, he was a megalomaniac who saw people as expendable fodder.
    And even if he meant well, he was responsible for millions of deaths and permanent destruction of so much Chinese treasures.

    He was a monster. I don’t know why the Chinese feel a need to worship these Great Monsters. Are the Chinese such a servile race of ants that they must have some great god to serve and obey? Chinese have yet to become true humans like John Wayne in STAGECOACH and George Bailey in IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE. If Chinese had been like Wayne or Bailey, they could have avoided tyrants like Mao.

    Chinese will never be truly human unless they can proudly say, ‘We Chinese Peepul have value as human beings without submission to some great god-man.’

    Also, if Chinese want to worship something, go with God. Whether God exists or not, at least He is greater than any man or man-made social order.
    In Chinese culture, the highest authority was the state and ruler. So, Chinese never developed a sense of justice higher than human authority. So, the father-figure of the nation came to be revered. This was the dark side of Confucianism, and even though Mao hated Confucianism, Maoist politics was in the tradition of Confucian belief that Human Authority is the highest authority.
    This is why so many East Asians in the West are such toadies of PC. Their mindset has no sense of truth or value above that of Human Power. So, if the dominant institutions in the West say ‘homo fecal penetration’ is wonderful, yellows in US and EU just go along.

    Yellow dogs.

    • Replies: @kauchai
    , @Joe Wong
  155. Godfree Roberts’ views may now be considered ‘alternative’ but such were once common in the mass media in the 1970s prior to revelations of what really happened in the 1980s.

    Also, the revisions were not the work of CIA or some such. Most people who rushed to China when it opened up were leftists, socialists, and sympathizers. They held more-or-less positive view of Mao. But when they heard the stories from ordinary Chinese, they were shocked and heart-broken… but they had enough character to write the truth and change their minds about Maoism.

    Most China-Scholars were either liberal or leftist. Even those who were critical of Mao thought he was a better alternative than KMT.

    In the 1970s, all Western visitors to China were led around to see Potemkin villages. Even ‘ordinary people’ in the street were carefully choreographed…. like how things are in North Korea today. My father who read Western media told me Mao was a very great man. Sure he broke a few eggs but his achievements were truly epic and etc.

    There was Shirley Maclaine singing hosannas to Mao.
    Books by Han Suyin were taken seriously. These were more myth-making than history.
    Columns by Sydney J. Harris gave glowing reports.
    There were books that argued that Mao’s GLF had actually ameliorated mass starvation caused mainly by nature and withdrawal of Soviets.

    How do I know this? I entered college in 1985 with special interest in Soviet and Chinese history, and I looked through the available books. And most were sympathetic to Mao’s regime and even when critical, cautiously so. Typical were the works of Stuart Schram, Ross Terrill, Orville Schell, etc.

    In truth, China scholars prior to Deng’s reforms in the 80s had little go on as Mao’s society was utterly closed and totalitarian. They might as well have been studying Mars. This is why almost all books prior to the 80s are now close to worthless. It’s especially painful to read Edgar Snow’s account of his visit in the late 50s or early 60s. He was led around and show only nice things, and he wrote he saw no signs of mass hunger. Geez. Some journalism.

    Not untypical were books like CHINA, DREAM OF MANKIND?

    https://www.amazon.com/China-Tore-Ulf-Axel-Zetterholm/dp/0895890003

    Godfree Roberts’ retro-views are ‘alternative’ only because they are so outdated and debunked. It’s like entering a time machine and reading 70s accts of Mao’s achievements.

    It’s like the scene in BARBARIAN INVASIONS. This Western Mao-worship can only exist from afar. It’s like white suburban kids worshiping Jamaican thugs or inner city gangsta hoodlums. Or Jewish radicals like Fay Stender romanticizing black criminals and ending up dead. http://thezman.com/wordpress/?p=620
    (If Western leftists admired Mao due to distance of space, young Chinese worship Mao because of distance of time. They grew up in New China that whitewashed Mao as some super-nationalist hero and made Japanese the mother of all evil. This is rather odd considering that Mao hardly vilified the Japanese, He focused on the US and later USSR. If anything, he thanked Tanaka cuz it was Japanese invasion that opened the way for communist victory.)

    It’s not enough to be ‘alternative’ or ‘contrarian’. I mean Wally the Shoah-desecrator has ‘alternative’ views. There was never shortage of alternative radical views in America, from far right to far left. If you wanna be honest, you need an independent and skeptical mind, and Godfree Roberts has none. In this day and age, he still trusts Mao’s stats. I can trust Mao’s fats but not stats. I trust he ate too much and got fat.

    For independence and integrity, try Simon Leys, who esp deserves respect because he refused to bend over to homomania as well. Leys went against the grain. And a good rule to go by is NEVER WORSHIP MAN.

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2013/08/15/simon-leys-man-who-got-it-right/

    • Agree: Vinteuil
    • Replies: @Priss Factor
    , @utu
  156. @Joe Wong

    See #151 meant as a reply to you.

    • Replies: @Joe Wong
  157. @Godfree Roberts

    Joe Wong won’t like you saying it was a “peaceful prosperous country” assuming he knows who Mill was and when he wrote.

    • Replies: @Joe Wong
  158. kauchai says:
    @Priss Factor

    You would make a great horror FICTION writer, i would even declare you better than stephen king. Where are the proofs of those “fantastic tortures” of the CCP? Yes, i realize there are a lot of nips militarist apologists out there who wouldn’t think twice of resurrecting those demons again. This time around, we are going to nuke their collective ass back to their goddess of the sun, amaterasu. No more playing around with “Little Boy” and “Fat Man”, and that goes to their apologists too.

  159. kauchai says:
    @Vinteuil

    “Western thought…” = Heads i win, tails you lose.

  160. @Grandpa Charlie

    What I said by way of introducing material about Lysenkoism introdued in 1958 (and effects lasting into 1962) –

    “For my part in this discussion, I have to say that this Godfree article surprises me in that there is no mention of the Russian (soviet) Lysenko’s influence on Chinese agriculture during the period that is the focus of Godfree’s article.” — Grandpa

    From your rejoinder, which skips to the year 1974 (Mao died in 1976), I can only conclude that there is no defense that can be made of Mao respecting the pernicious influence of Lysenkoism on agricultural practices in China under Mao. — other than that somehow the ultimate outcome (as observed in 1974, towards the end of Mao’s life) was benign. But — in light of the unchallenged description of the results of Lysenkoism –that happy ending (1974) can only indicate that Mao’s influence a decade earlier did not help to advance the benign ultimate outcome but actually retarded it.

    You may say, ‘Well. that proves it doesn’t it, that there is more good to be said about Mao than bad?’ To me, however, what the Lysenkoism history indicates for agriculture is what Prisss Factor summarizes (at #67) about Mao’s influence on industrialization;

    Mao laid the foundation for China’s future growth.

    No, Mao held back growth.

    The idea that had-it-not-been-for-Mao-there-would-have-been-no-future-growth has no basis in reality.

    Japan, Taiwan, South Korean, Singapore, and etc didn’t have a Mao, but they had lots of economic growth.

    Therefore, I conclude, about agriculture specifically and progress generally, that Mao was a great leader but also was an egregious ideologue, and as such did more harm than good, notwithstanding your claims.

    I do buy that the Chinese people are great and that China today is very strong, and even that the CCP has made very wise decisions and continues to demonstrate great wisdom in its decision-making … but Mao Zedong? How shall I put it? How about this: NOT SO MUCH?

    Mao Zedong? A rigid ideologue who was, however, sometimes capable of learning from mistakes, a political opportunist who nonetheless was capable of reining in the family-and-tong-connected corruption that doomed the KMT to failure as possible successor to Sun Yat-sen, and, an imperfect and greatly over-rated dictator who was however (like Stalin) a great geo-military strategist (or was that really just Zhou Enlai?)

    More good than bad? I don’t know, to me that’s an imponderable, but the two articles so far by Godfree are anything but clear and convincing evidence that Mao was the greatest man who ever lived. That honor must be withheld, pending final evaluation of Dear Leader Kim Jong-un?

    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
  161. utu says:
    @Priss Factor

    Very good point. I am glad you making them here. It seems that nobody here is able to take a principled position anymore.

  162. Joe Wong says:
    @Vinteuil

    When the West can’t argue with the facts, they resort to ad hominem response, is that all left in the West’s intellectual tank?

    • Replies: @Vinteuil
  163. “Some non-white cannibals might even eat British folks. ”

    Ladies and gents, behold – “going full retard”.

    Protip – If you don’t want get eaten by cannibals, the easiest way to do so is to leave their island.

    “White Libby sympathy for black thugs exists only because cops do the dirty job of maintaining order. ”

    True. If only the blacks weren’t forcibly imported into the Americas. Oh wait.

    Consider it in this way. Every white gunned down by a black, is a slight restoration of the cosmic balance of justice in the universe. And there is no easy way for you to get out of this dynamic.

  164. Joe Wong says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    The West has successfully imposed their Eurocentralist version of world history with manufactured consent on the rest of the world under the gun point in the last couple of hundred years, they never discuss the atrocities, war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes against peace they have committed let alone crictizing them.

    The unrepentant war criminal Japanese has been denying their beastly barbaric war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes against peace relentlessly with fabricated narratives because they see the West has been getting away from their crimes with lies why can’t they.

    For the humanity sake, we cannot let lying, hypocrisy, unrepentantness and barbarism become the final form of civilization, the truth of world history must be told, the manufactured consent of the Eurocentralist’s world history must be exposed, so that humanity can avoid these sins to become a better of us.

  165. @Beckow

    The ones who escaped to the West were disproportionally from the small elite that lost its privileged status, or aspiring opportunists willing to say whatever it would take to please Westerners. They were not credible witnesses, they had personal agendas, but almost all Western understanding was based on their experiences.

    haha, this reminded of news I read about this “billionaire” chinese guy escaping and living in manhattan right now and talking whatever he needs to please the usa to stay.

  166. Joe Wong says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    John Stuart Mill is an Eurocentralist, he is provincial and ignorant of other civilizations in the world, if he knows Confucianism his puzzles and his theory would not exist.

    Mill said that for two thousand years very little progress has been made toward developing a set of standards by which to judge moral right and wrong. On the contrary, more than two thousand year ago Confucianism established that 仁、恕、誠、孝 was the standard to judge moral right and wrong.

    Mill said people do not often try to make a list of general laws, or a priori principles, that are the foundation of morality, and he said there is no standard human actions could be judged for morality. On the contrary the classics of Confucianism 四書 《论语》、《孟子》、《大学》、《中庸》 stipulate the standard human actions to be judged for morality.

    The fundamental flaw of Mill’s Utilitarianism theory is that he assumes all human beings are sane in nature, but history has shown us not all human beings are sane in nature, a lot of them in fact are evil, they use morality as facade to white wash or even glorify their sins and evil behaviors like psychopaths. The harm the West has done to the world in the last couple hundred years proves that Mill’s assumption is flawed, not to mention the West is still bombing, killing and waterboarding on the fabricated phantom WMD allegation as humanitarian intervention, as well as insisting dragging the whole world into the zero-sum cold war era by sowing discords, stirring up animosities and obfuscating their harmful behavior as creating democracy and protecting human rights.

  167. Joe Wong says:
    @chinesemom

    China is such big country it is hard to summarize things in one sentence. Of course under Mao era, time was tough to the old days middle class and up if it was not a disaster, but to the rural areas I think they were better off than before PRC was established for the majority of them.

    Nowadays China’s huge internal migration caused by seeking better income, while in the old days the huge China’s internal migration was caused by famine and wars, the difference is day and night.

    What is troubling is the old days suffering in China was caused by the West’s imperialism; instead of easing the obstacles for Chinese to pull themselves out the suffering they caused, the West under the USA leadership is still trying to cripple China recovering, if not trying to put China back to their happy time, the dark age of unequal treaty era, with new cold war and dangerous hostile military adventurism as the British has done hundred years ago in the Opium Wars.

    The West particular the Ango’s behavior makes one wonder a lot about the nature of Western culture and civilization.

  168. @Joe Wong

    I am reminded of discussions over employment and performance of research staff for committees where I (correctly) pointed out that failures of language, even though not always gross, were indicative of deficiencies in reasoning. Are you an immigrant to the US (or elsewhere in the West) embittered by your failure to find employment that meets your hopes?

    • Replies: @Joe Wong
  169. hyperbola says:
    @Godfree Roberts

    Large scale expansion of education was a phenomenon seen throughout the world post-WWII. Nothing to do with “Mao as hero”.

    Here for example is an article about similar developemts in Peru.

    ….. Only in the post-World War II period was significant progress achieved in spreading education to the majority of school-age children in Peru. During the years of 1944 through 1962, a joint organization of educators from Peru and the United States created and funded the Servicio Cooperativo Peruano-Norteamericano de Educación (SECPANE), which aimed to increase educational access for Peru’s Andean Native Americans. During its 18 years of existence, SECPANE instituted many initiatives, including the creation of central resource schools, well-provided with both equipment and staff, which served as hubs for a network of smaller schools.

    Read more: Peru – History Background – Education, Educational, Percent, and Nation – StateUniversity.com http://education.stateuniversity.com/pages/1186/Peru-HISTORY-BACKGROUND.html#ixzz4yWWzNZJo

    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
  170. Vinteuil says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    Just curious – who were you meaning to reply to?

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  171. phil says:
    @Godfree Roberts

    :Mao grew the economy 7.2% annually, on average, for 24 years.”

    This is pure fantasy. Please give us the real per capita GDP figure for the beginning of the 24-year period and the real per-capita GDP figure at the end of the 24-year period, expressed in constant or chained US dollars, converting Chines currency into dollars at purchasing-power-parity currency rates. Compare your figures to the World Bank’s figures; Angus Maddison’s figures have been harmonized with the World Bank’s. Then explain any discrepancies between your figures and the World Bank’s. Give your data sources.

    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
  172. @chinesemom

    Thank you for your fact-based, well-reasoned, reply.

  173. Vinteuil says:
    @Joe Wong

    “John Stuart Mill is [a Eurocentrist]…”

    Mill was an Englishman writing for an English speaking audience in the mid 19th century. Why would he take an interest in Confucius? Did 19th century Chinese philosophers take an interest in Aristotle?

    “Confucianism established that 仁、恕、誠、孝 was the standard to judge moral right and wrong.”

    No doubt benevolence, forgiveness, honesty & filial piety are good things – believe it or not, certain Western thinkers were writing similar things at about the same time as Confucius!

    But, as a “standard to judge moral right and wrong,” this sort of thing just won’t do. Why are these good things? Are they always good things? Are they the only good things? What if they conflict, sometimes?

    The answers to such questions aren’t obvious. That’s why we need moral philosophers, like Plato & Aristotle & Epictetus & Hume & Kant & Mill.

    Confucius was not a moral philosopher. No more than Moses or Jesus of Nazareth.

  174. Vinteuil says:
    @Joe Wong

    “Mill said people do not often try to make a list of general laws, or a priori principles, that are the foundation of morality, and he said there is no standard human actions could be judged for morality.”

    Really? He did? Can you provide me with a citation?

    Seems fairly unlikely, since Mill always wrote reasonably clear & grammatical English.

    “On the contrary the classics of Confucianism 四書 《论语》、《孟子》、《大学》、《中庸》 stipulate the standard human actions to be judged for morality.”

    OK, whatever you say.

    It’s interesting that you seem to revere Mao & Confucius in equal measure. I mean, what’s up with that?

    I guess it’s just the price you pay for the life you lead.

    • Replies: @Joe Wong
  175. Hu Mi Yu says:
    @German_reader

    Yeah, the British had so much influence on Eisenhower that he publicly humiliated them during the Suez crisis and ended any illusions they may have had about continuing their empire.

    Eisenhower and the US were overloaded with crisis at that time. The simultaneous Hungarian uprising humiliated the US.

    Hong Kong remained a part of the British Empire for roughly fifty years. There were attempts to keep it to the end, however feeble.

    Eisenhower thought he could invade anywhere and be successful.

  176. Vinteuil says:
    @Joe Wong

    “Mill…assumes all human beings are sane in nature”

    Wrong.

    “…history has shown us not all human beings are sane in nature, a lot of them in fact are evil, they use morality as facade to white wash or even glorify their sins and evil behaviors like psychopaths.”

    Right.

    “The harm the West has done to the world in the last couple hundred years proves that Mill’s assumption is flawed…”

    Wrong.

    “…the West is still bombing, killing and waterboarding on the fabricated phantom WMD allegation as humanitarian intervention, as well as insisting dragging the whole world into the zero-sum cold war era by sowing discords, stirring up animosities and obfuscating their harmful behavior as creating democracy and protecting human rights.”

    Mostly right. But drop the mention of waterboarding. Trivial. Makes you look silly.

    • Replies: @Joe Wong
  177. Joe Wong says:
    @Priss Factor

    Priss Factor, so you are jealous, resentful and fear of Chinese achievements which make you fear that the White will be returned to the days of miserable life under the Mongol conquest or Moors conquest? But you are blaming the wrong guy, you should blame your folks and your forebears who should know better about “chickens come home to roost” before they embarked on the rampages around the world, or you should blame your parents for bringing you to this world too late and missing the boat of good old days of murdering and plundering with impunity.

    Your ranting against Chinese is misguided, it is the Japanese who destroyed the White supremacy by defeating the large British and American armies in Asia with their smaller forces, sinking the almighty Anglo gunboats to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, death marching the British and American POWs and abusing and humiliating the British and American in their inhumane concentration camps. In addition it is the Japanese steal American jobs and destroyed American industries and turned the American industrial belt into rust belt. To get the American jobs back you and your comrades should destroy all shops and factories bear Japanese names like Toyota, Honda, Sony, etc. in the USA and UK. Perhaps dropping another two nuclear bombs on Japan will be a effective way to stop the Japanese from the American by kicking the butts?

    Anyhow it is the Muslims and Moors are ravaging the White’s domains, they want to get back what used to be belonging to them but it was stolen from them by unscrupulous means. You should focus the threat in your face, creating more enemies with fake news and moronic troll is not helpful in dealing the treat you are facing at all.

    BTW people call you guys White/Pink skin pigs or Gweilo in case you don’t know.

    • Replies: @Vinteuil
    , @Priss Factor
  178. Antiwar7 says:

    Massive strawman argument by the author: “let’s run a plausibility check: How likely is it that the greatest benefactor mankind has ever known would maliciously starve millions of his fellow countrymen to death…?” It doesn’t have to be malicious. More like the typical leader: think they know it all, and better than anyone else, and they’re always right. That’s extremely dangerous when mixed with having power over other people.

  179. Joe Wong says:
    @Vinteuil

    The West is in the business of bombing, killing and waterboarding on the fabricated phantom WMD allegation as humanitarian intervention, but you should know not everybody is like the West.

    How about google what Mill said about utilitarianism to find out yourself?

    Indeed one should pay the price for the life he leads, for better or for worse, it is his or their choice, a democratic way of life; unlike the West particular the American insists on imposing their way of life on you by bombing, killing and waterboarding on the fabricated phantom WMD allegation then claim their atrocities as humanitarian intervention, for whatever they do, it is necessary with good intention, then rob you and enslave you blind on the moral high ground.

    • Replies: @Vinteuil
  180. Vinteuil says:
    @Joe Wong

    “…sparrows were consuming large amount of grain while China was short on grain…”

    Wow. you’re more Maoist than Mao. Even he, evil, creepy dumbshit that he was, eventually figured out that his anti-sparrow campaign was making things worse instead of better.

    The “four pests campaign” was like something out of Europe’s middle ages. But the (allegedly) high I.Q. Chinese people fell all over themselves to wipe out those naughty, grain-eating sparrows, at Mao’s command – with predictably disastrous results.

    • Replies: @Joe Wong
  181. Vinteuil says:
    @Joe Wong

    this is must reading for anybody interested in where Joe Wong is coming from.

    • Replies: @Joe Wong
  182. Joe Wong says:
    @Vinteuil

    Is Waterboarding(torturing) getting under the Eurocentralist’s skin? Making their claim they are the final form of civilization a hypocrisy, the worst sin Jesus identified?

    • Replies: @Vinteuil
  183. Joe Wong says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    A lot of locals working in the Japanese or Korean companies in the USA expressed similar resentments too saying they are not appreciated, and not given chances to develop their potentials. But the Japanese and Korean management complained those locals were greedy, unreasonable, lazy, old dog mentality and abusive, it is very stressful to manage the locals to the extend that their safety and health are in jeopardy. Are you one of them?

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  184. Vinteuil says:

    Is there a Chinese “hasbara?”

    Everybody here knows about Israel’s Hasbara – guys paid by the government of Irael to promote Israeli interests on the internet. You can spot them from a mile off.

    I wonder if there might not be Chinese equivalents – and I wonder if unz.com might not have grown just big enough to attract their attention…

  185. Joe Wong says:
    @Vinteuil

    Exposing the real history is a crime?

  186. Vinteuil says:
    @Joe Wong

    Joe, believe me: I sympathize with your position. It can’t be easy, defending positions that you know to be untenable. You’re just doing you’re best.

    • Replies: @Joe Wong
  187. Joe Wong says:
    @Vinteuil

    “Black Death” wiped out half of the European population in the Europe’s middle age, if the European was as smart and scientific as they claimed they would indeed implement “four pests campaign” to control the rats spreading the Black Death killing them, instead of letting corps rotten openly in the cities and got themselves nearly wiped out of existence. Talking about making disastrous results nobody can beat the European even today like threatening Russia with nuclear war, accelerating environmental deterioration by denouncing Pairs Environment agreement as hoax.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  188. Vinteuil says:
    @Joe Wong

    “…their claim they are the final form of civilization…”

    Are we talking about Fukuyama, here, or what?

    “…hypocrisy, the worst sin Jesus identified?”

    No, I don’t think that’s right – but I’m not all that up on Jesus.

  189. Joe Wong says:
    @Vinteuil

    Your jealousy, resentment and fear of Chinese achievements is loud and clear.

    • Replies: @silviosilver
  190. Joe Wong says:
    @Eagle Eye

    Mao has only one son during that time. Your rejoicing-on-other’s-misfortune indeed reflects the nature of the western culture.

  191. @Joe Wong

    Not close. Unsurprisingly you have a tin ear. As it happens we are having a family celebration to which a couple of Chine and a couple of Japanese people have been enthusiastic acceotances even to the extent of long distance travel.

    • Replies: @Joe Wong
  192. utu says:

    Discussion and arguments about the number of dead caused by Mao and his communist regime diverts attention from the actual brutality of the regime and its real intentions. Why the famine was caused and how it was enforced? Could you escape the famine or were you forcefully quarantined in famine areas to assure your death? The deaths were not accidental. It was not a well intentioned experiment that failed as often it is presented. It was a part of terror campaign to subjugate peasants to the communist regime. In this campaigns several millions were beaten and tortured to death. When thinking of China famine the analogy of Holodomor and dekulakization in Stalin’s Soviet Union should be used. Mao was doing what Stalin has already tested on peasants in Ukraine and everywhere else in the Soviet Union. Peasant always were the most resistant to leftist revolutions. French revolutionaries committed massacres bordering on genocide during the war in the Vendée. Bolsheviks used poison gas against their peasants who resisted their rule.

    • Replies: @Vidi
    , @Grandpa Charlie
  193. @Joe Wong

    That you are profoundly ignorant about science and the European Middle Ages is so clear that your rant casts doubt on your sanity.

  194. @Vinteuil

    To Joe Wong as I later indicated successfully – setting off another rant. Interesting that he has more or less admitted to a colossal chip on his shoulder, clearly one of those people who angrily blames others for the consequences of his own shortcomings..

    • Replies: @Joe Wong
  195. @Joe Wong

    Priss Factor, so you are jealous, resentful and fear of Chinese achievements which make you fear that the White will be returned to the days of miserable life under the Mongol conquest or Moors conquest?

    Two Wongs don’t make a white.

    Listen, NO ONE here is being anti-Chinese. If anything, the anti-Maoists are discrediting the Chairman because he did so much harm to the Chinese. No one denying that China has a great history and should be a great nation. If anything, it was Mao who killed millions of Chinese and destroyed so much of Chinese culture and heritage. (But apparently, you don’t care about any of that. You only care about childish pride and national machismo. Mao acted big like Mussolini, and that’s supposed to make you feel like a man. How silly.)

    Anti-Maoists are not saying China shouldn’t rise in the world. They are saying Mao did more harm to China. As for China’s recent rise, it owes entirely to Deng and reformers, not to Mao. Now, imagine if China had been ruled by sane or at least saner people like Zhou and Deng from the beginning. Or imagine if China had been ruled under neo-Confucian Christo-fascism of Chiang who did very well by Taiwan. Indeed, it was the overseas Chinese who provided most of the investment in the 80s and 90s, and they made a lot of money because Mao couldn’t put his claws around them.
    Or imagine of Lee Kwan Yew or someone like that had control over China. He would have done so much, and China could now be the biggest economy in the world.
    Mao knew guerrilla warfare and political maneuvering/intrigue, but he didn’t know economics and never bothered to learn. Also, he was a degenerate gambler with history like Hitler. Lucky for him, China was too big for anyone to conquer unlike Germany(when things began to go south for Hitler). Also, as China didn’t invade other nations, there was no reason to invade China. But in one regard, Mao was worse than Hitler. Hitler didn’t know much about economics and stuff, and so, he left that stuff to others who knew. He left it up to the experts. In contrast, Mao had to meddle in every affair from cultural to economic. And he made a mess of everything. And experts were too afraid to say NO to him.

    Also, you and pro-Maoist Chinese Peepul come across as rather pathetic in your Mao Worship. Do you mean to tell me that the Chinese people are so stupid and hopeless that, if not for Mao, China would still be in shambles? Really? The fate of a billion people depended on the whims of a SINGLE man? Out of all those Chinese, ONLY MAO could have fixed China and set it on the right course?
    If so, Chinese must be worthless.

    All nations had their share of great men, but even without them, a truly great nation is a great nation because the people have worth and work well as a community. But you tell me that China would have been totally lost if not for Mao.

    Two Wongs don’t make a white.

  196. @phil

    China’s Historical GDP for 1952 –present: the annual data of China’GDP: published on China NBS: National data – annual – national accounts – Gross Domestic Product; Figures for the current year 2015 are based on the Statistical Communiqué of the People’s Republic of China on the 2016 National Economic and Social Development.

    (SNA2008): China NBS / Bulletin on Reforming China ‘s GDP Accounting and Data Release System: stats.gov.cn (12-Jan-17) or China NBS Announcement: GDP Revision according to SNA2008 (Chinese), China revises Historical GDP according to SNA2008; see finance.qq.com, sina.com.cn

    Purchasing power parity (PPP) for Chinese yuan is estimate according to IMF WEO (April 2017) data; Exchange rate of CN¥ to US$ is according to State Administration of Foreign Exchange, published on China Statistical Yearbook.

    You can see the figures here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_GDP_of_China#cite_note-SNA2008-1

    • Replies: @silviosilver
  197. @hyperbola

    ‘Large scale expansion of education was a phenomenon seen throughout the world post-WWII. Nothing to do with “Mao as hero”.’

    No? China’s literacy rate is 50% higher than India’s–and India was incomparably richer when Mao was in charge.

  198. phil says:

    Your rhetoric is reckless and irresponsible.

    Communism is not a recipe for economic growth. There are many other countries besides China that experienced economic stagnation under communism. North Korea’s economy is a joke compared to South Korea’s, with North Korea having been the invader in the case of their war. East Germany’s economy was a joke compared to West Germany’s. The countries of Eastern Europe are now seeing their average living standards gradually converge toward those in the West as the yoke of communism has been lifted.

    In 1975, Chile’s average living standards were far behind Venezuela’s. Since that time, Chile has grown strongly while Venezuela is in crisis. The reason? Venezuela now has a lower degree of economic freedom (i.e., a lesser degree of capitalism) than China had in 1980.

    Judith Banister has studied China’s population for decades. She is a brilliant scholar and not someone to be casually thrown aside. Her work does show a fall in Chinese mortality before 1958, but then a crisis at the time of the Great Leap Forward. Mortality rates then resumed their fall and China’s population grew rapidly.

    War, invasion, etc. are zero-sum or negative-sum games. They do not result in net wealth creation. Capitalism, as Marx acknowledged, contributed to unprecedented economic growth and net wealth creation, not just transfers of wealth from victims to aggressors. (As Gregory Clark has emphasized, Britain also benefited from a change in the nature of its people.) The world as a whole is much richer now because of innovation and other positive-sum games that have occurred during the last 200+ years. As a more-open China participates in worldwide trade, it improves the well-being of other countries as well as itself.

    • Replies: @Joe Wong
  199. Vidi says:
    @utu

    Godfree Roberts wrote:

    China’s literacy rate is 50% higher than India’s–and India was incomparably richer when Mao was in charge.

    utu wrote:

    Discussion and arguments about the number of dead caused by Mao and his communist regime diverts attention from the actual brutality of the regime and its real intentions. Why the famine was caused and how it was enforced? Could you escape the famine or were you forcefully quarantined in famine areas to assure your death? The deaths were not accidental.

    So utu, China’s government was saying “we will teach you, then we will kill you”. Why would the government bother to invest so much in education if they we going to kill the people anyway? Do propagandists like you even run your rantings past the laugh test?

    • Replies: @utu
  200. @utu

    Tomatoes in China?

    I’m not sure if you are expressing genuine surprise, but China is by far the world’s biggest tomato producer. According to FAO stats, this was also true in 1961.

    • Replies: @utu
  201. @Godfree Roberts

    I could find nothing in the links you provided to verify your claim of 7.2% annual GDP growth from 1952-1976.

    The geometric average for those years based on the data table in Wikipedia is 6.4%. This is most likely based on the economic measure favored by communist countries called “Net Material Product (NMP),” which unlike GDP ignored services.

    Angus Maddison in his OECD monograph Chinese Economic Performance in the Long Run made a series of adjustments to the Chinese NMP series to bring them into line with international national accounting norms. This series was then adjusted again to enable international comparisons based on purchasing power parity (the gold standard in international economic comparison) using the 1990 Gheary-Khamis international dollar.

    According to this standard, total Chinese GDP grew about 4% annually from 1952-76. The more important measure (with respect to living standards) of per capita GDP grew at a substantially lower rate, some 1.9% annually – a rate exceeded by most developed western countries, by all European communist countries, and by developing countries such as Brazil and Indonesia, over the same time period.

    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
    , @Vidi
  202. @Joe Wong

    Your jealousy, resentment and fear of Chinese achievements is loud and clear.

    It says a lot about Godfree Roberts that, rather than condemn this malarkey, he performs the unz.com equivalent of upvoting it.

  203. Joe Wong says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    Are Gordon Chang, Minxin Pei, Harry Wu, or staff from NTDTV, etc. at your party, they all will sing the tune to satisfy your Eurocentrism superiority. If those mentally colonized bananas in the USA is not enough to fill your choirs, Taiwan has nearly thirty millions of them to fill the stands for you too.

  204. @silviosilver

    If you compare the starting points of China, India, Brazil and Indonesia over the same time period it is quite clear that Angus Maddison’s methodology is inadequate. At its end point–Mao’s retirement–China demonstrated a growth rate almost 100% greater, in line with the standard, accepted figures I quoted.

    To quote Harvard’s professor of Chinese Studies, John King Fairbank, “The simple facts of Mao’s career seem incredible: in a vast land of 400 million people, at age 28 with a dozen others to found a party and in the next fifty years to win power, organize, and remold the people and reshape the land–history records no greater achievement. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, all the kings of Europe, Napoleon, Bismarck, Lenin–no predecessor can equal Mao Tse-tung’s scope of accomplishment, for no other country was ever so ancient and so big as China. Indeed Mao’s achievement is almost beyond our comprehension”. – The United States and China

    • Replies: @silviosilver
  205. kauchai says:

    “Communism is not a recipe for economic growth. ”

    But communism is not responsible for the 1 million innocent iraqis who died being bombed to pieces. Half of this number were children who died of malnutrition and lack of medicine due to the empire’s sanction because the empire decided to bring “democracy” to iraq and free the middle-east from tyranny.

    Communism is also not responsible for the destruction of Afghanistan, Libya and Syria.

    Communism is not responsible for the million refugees flooding europe today.

    In most democracies, leaders popularity plummets immediately after being elected. Corruption by the high and mighty are not brought to account. In fact the opposite happened. The media is enlisted to confused and obfuscate and after a period of time, the perpetrators were quietly let off the hook. Some even were bold enough to re-enter public office.

    China does not need this type of abstract hot air ideology. Go sell it some where else.

    As for Judith Banister, she was just a typical stat hack who was tasked with creating a false flag story by her empire paymasters to vilify and demonize china. Her entire work was based on faulty and highly erroneous census data from the early 1950′s period which was released by the Deng government in early 1980′s. She herself admitted this much. To this day, nobody has questioned why Deng decided to release these data which every country would classify as state secret. If Banister was worth her salt as a statistician, she would have rejected the job.

  206. A very fine book about the China Experience is actually a novel. THE CALL by John Hersey whose parents were missionaries there. Hersey’s articles on his parents in the New Yorker are also worth seeking out.

    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1982/05/10/homecoming-i-the-house-on-new-china-road

    Anyway, THE CALL locates the personal in the whirlwind of history.

    I think there is something in us that longs to see history as a pageant of grand heroes and villains. A story of great men. Men like Alexander the Great and Napoleon have long been admired. Even the terrifying Genghis Khan was seen as an awe-inspiring figure.

    Romanticism of the 19th century glorified the cult of Napoleon, and Wagner and Nietzsche inspired many to see history on the grandest of scales.

    So individual lives were secondary — too humdrum, bourgeois, or petty — to History as pageant and destiny. There was an addiction to myth of great heroes and/or great themes. A future to be decided by prophets and giants. Communism prophesied revolution founded on the wisdom of Marx to be carried out by titans like Lenin and Stalin.
    Or nations like Germany insisted on their Place in the Sun. They had to fulfill their rightful destiny to become a great power, maybe the greatest. As the emperors and empires were collapsing or in disarray, the vacuum was waiting to be filled by new possibilities.

    And such excitement defined Europe in the first half of the 20th century. It led to WWI, Communism, Fascism, National Socialism, and then WWII. But WWII was so utterly catastrophic — even the victors, UK and USSR, were exhausted and depleted — that the West embarked on a mostlyl humanist path, at least before the rise of consumerism and hedonism in the 60s that ignited a new kind of nihilism mixing youth culture and radical chic.

    For the first half of the 20th century, it was deemed justifiable and necessary to sacrifice countless individual lives for the greater glory or the higher good. So men were sent to die in wars by the droves. So, Stalin was willing to kill millions to build industry and utopia in the USSR. Hitler was willing to go to any length to create his vision of the ultimate civilization, an empire ruled by Aryans superior in beauty, health, and ability.

    But after the catastrophe of WWII, a new sobriety informed European life and culture. Individual lives mattered. People were no longer expendable for glory or utopia. Even the Soviet Union began to humanize after the death of Stalin. Gulag were closed down and the essential theme of USSR became Social Humanism. Neo-realism defined European cinema for a decade.

    And yet, the hunger for Grand History lingered in the psyche of the West. People were no longer willing to tolerate it in their own world. They’d gone through enough hell from favoring towering giants over little people.

    But such history seemed to be happening in the Third World. Since non-white folks were far away, they could be abstracted into the faceless or collective supporting cast of history to be decided by titans. And since the Third World had so much to catch up to the West, maybe it made sense to accelerate history at a manic pace.
    Maybe the East and the Third World needed the giants.. like Mao and Che.
    And from afar, Westerners could see Chinese history as something more akin to weather with storms and hurricanes. They could admire the force of history without paying heed to the little people at its mercy. Or, they could assure themselves that the thunderous forces were rejuvenating the little people since communism is, after all, about ‘social justice’ and The Worker.
    Those ‘progressive’ themes masked a lot of horror… like in Cambodia where Khmer Rouge carried out the most horrible experiment in the name of ‘equality’.

    THE CALL is a necessary corrective to the temptation of Grand History. Even though the main character doesn’t gain power or influence, he journeyed to China with the impossible ambition of evangelizing the whole nation. He thought in epic terms. But in the end, what matters is the personal, the human. DOCTOR ZHIVAGO and SIBERIADE presented similar themes.

    From the first chapter:

    We are to see in this missionary… a constant tension between the trembling side and the part of him which is granite. Between the possible saint and the mere healthy man. What is moving in his story, what may in the end be thought to redeem the obvious failure of his mission in China, is his lifelong struggle to subdue the greater but sicker saint in himself and give himself to a more modest state of being: one of balance, sanity, serenity, and realized human love in the face of a shifting and violentt and mostly hateful world.

    PS: Of course, the era we live in now is not about individuals subsuming their identities and personalities in the service of the higher good or great leader. Rather, it’s about universal vanity of excessive hedonism. People worship Homomania as their main cult because homos and trannies are boundless in their narcissism and self-indulgence. The masses, in celebrating the vapid megalomania(laced with melodramatic self-pity)of homos, get to partake in the delirium and stoke their own fantasy egos as celebrity-wanna-be’s.
    This prophecy was foreseen by Pier Paolo Pasolini who identified ‘consumism’ as the universal ‘fascism’ of every individual sold on self-worship by worshiping decadents who worship themselves.

    https://www.newyorker.com/culture/richard-brody/pasolinis-theorem

    • Replies: @Vinteuil
    , @chinesemom
  207. Vidi says:
    @silviosilver

    I could find nothing in the links you provided to verify your claim of 7.2% annual GDP growth from 1952-1976.

    The data is there on the same page. Here’s a link directly to the relevant table on that page:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_GDP_of_China#Annual_GDP

    The geometric average for those years based on the data table in Wikipedia is 6.4%.

    It seems you found the table anyway. I get 6.44% as the compound (“geometric”) average, so you’re pretty close. Mao’s 6.4% growth rate is excellent.

    This is most likely based on the economic measure favored by communist countries called “Net Material Product (NMP),” which unlike GDP ignored services.

    I know you want to denigrate China’s economic indicators, but the truth is that financial services (like banking) are almost irrelevant in a socialist economy. (Whereas they are roughly 20% of a capitalist economy.) So why include them?

    Angus Maddison in his OECD monograph Chinese Economic Performance in the Long Run made a series of adjustments to the Chinese NMP series to bring them into line with international national accounting norms. This series was then adjusted again to enable international comparisons based on purchasing power parity (the gold standard in international economic comparison) using the 1990 Gheary-Khamis international dollar.

    According to this standard, total Chinese GDP grew about 4% annually from 1952-76. The more important measure (with respect to living standards) of per capita GDP grew at a substantially lower rate, some 1.9% annually – a rate exceeded by most developed western countries, by all European communist countries, and by developing countries such as Brazil and Indonesia, over the same time period.

    Since Maddison’s method is bogus — trying to fit a socialist economy into a capitalist mold — I am not surprised that he had to hack and slash. Garbage in, garbage out.

    • Replies: @silviosilver
  208. utu says:
    @Vidi

    You are so naive. And callous on top of it. For you the subject of millions of starved to death and millions of murdered is a laugh test. Do you know why people were starving? It was not because of bad harvest or particularly bad farming technique. The farmers were forced to surrender what they produced. All products of their labor were confiscated. Nothing was left for them. Don’t you understand? It was a mass murder. Pure and simple.

    • Replies: @Joe Wong
    , @Vidi
  209. utu says:
    @silviosilver

    Yes, it was genuine. I thought they did not play a significant role in Chinese cuisine. That they are a big producer now is a different story. Most of it is processed into a paste and exported.

  210. Joe Wong says:
    @phil

    Judith Banister’s massive death toll hypothesis is a hypothesis, not fact, but she portrayed it as a fact and she did not take action to disperse it is a hypothesis not a fact, and her number becomes the given truth to demonize Great Leap Forward(GLF) and China even till today as the majority comments here demonstrated.

    Chinese paid very heavy price to get herself bootstrapped into modernization during the GLF, but Judith Banister turned Chinese sacrifice in the difficult and hard self rejuvenation into a proof that China remained a Orientslist nation and diverted the attention to the evil and harmful sanctions and embargoes imposed on China by the USA and its lackeys for their toxic Cold War ideology and deadly imperialist punishment for anyone who dares to defy their domainance and deny their greedy exploitation.

    All notorious murderers in the Nazi and imperial Japan camp are brilliant scholars, scientists and engineers, the smarter they are the deadly they are. Personal achievement does not guarantee their moral integrity, it is a fallacy to equateing brilliancy to integrity. You are furthering her crime by insisting her brilliant scholar credential is the proof that her fabricated GLF allegation for cold war propaganda is fact.

  211. Joe Wong says:
    @utu

    Mass murder with intention and plan, nobody can beat the western democracies, the genocides to the natives in the Americas and Australia, two world wars, conquests in Africa and Asia, the number of people starved to death , poisoned to death, tortured to death, killed and maimed are in the hundreds of millions if not billion, all for the western democracies’ greed and burnt up in their mentally retarded imperialist war games.

    • Replies: @silviosilver
  212. @Godfree Roberts

    If you compare the starting points of China, India, Brazil and Indonesia over the same time period it is quite clear that Angus Maddison’s methodology is inadequate.

    I’m sorry, but you’ll have to explain what you mean, because this is not clear at all. All of those countries were at an abysmally low level of development around 1950. China had just gone through over a decade of devastation, that’s true, but then that should mean that China’s growth should have been even greater, as simply rebuilding what has been ruined is always easier than building something you’ve never built before.

    Also, you claimed earlier that no other country has ever matched China’s alleged growth rate of GDP of 7.2% annually for 24 years from 1952-76. Even if that was actually GDP growth (it assuredly wasn’t), that growth rate was exceeded by both Japan and S. Korea over the same period. S. Korea of course was roughly as devastated as China at the beginning of that period, which makes for an excellent comparison.

    At its end point–Mao’s retirement–China demonstrated a growth rate almost 100% greater, in line with the standard, accepted figures I quoted.

    A growth rate 100% greater than what?

    And those really are not “standard, accepted figures.” I think you just googled around and found what you thought was a good statistical story and went with that. Otherwise I can’t understand why you provided that utterly irrelevant Wiki link as a reference.

    • Replies: @Vidi
    , @Godfree Roberts
  213. Joe Wong says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    You are not listening, aren’t you? The British calls the American uneducated colonials, you are not listening proves the British is right.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  214. @Joe Wong

    The declines in native population in the Americas and Australia were not the result of intentional genocide. The historical record is quite clear on this.

    The two ‘world’ wars were not inflicted by Europeans on the rest of the planet. From a global perspective, they are best considered European civil wars – just the way we consider ancient wars fought in the territory that is today China. From this perspective, I think you are being too modest: the Chinese were hardly slouches when it came to slaughtering each other. Just the Taiping Rebellion alone took about 10% of Chin’as population – comparable to Europe in WWII – and it accomplished that feat without the advantage of modern weaponry.

    Today, Europeans are unmatched in humility. No major population group in world history has ever done so much to show contrition – in deed, not just word – for historical wrongdoings, going well beyond the call of moral duty. European historians do all they can to avoid giving sole credit to Europeans for the wonders of modern technology, instead pretending it somehow all emerged from “contacts” with the non-European world. European political leaders would rather lose an arm than give the impression they care more for their own people than they do for non-Europeans. I wonder if the Chinese will be this humble in the much anticipated “Asian Century.”

    • Replies: @Joe Wong
  215. @Joe Wong

    I would be justified in not listening to you, but you have a worse problem. You apparently listen but you have such a tin ear, at best, or are so thick at worst, that you don’t understand. You must be the only frequent commenter on UR who thinks I am American.

    As it happens I was at dinner this evening with, inter alios, a Tamil medical specialist, an Bengali trial lawyer and a Chinese language tutor all very happy and successful in Australia. They offer the clue to the source of your bitter unhappiness and twisted perspetives. In each case their Rnglish is perfect.

    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji
  216. Joe Wong says:
    @silviosilver

    Yes, the bombing, killing and waterboarding on the fabricated WMD allegation carried out by the West under the leadership of the USA since Columbus time is humanitarian intervention, as the immanence of the ‘Western existence, culture and value’ whatever the West does it is necessary with good intention.

  217. @Wizard of Oz

    You have a serious problem, thinking that westernized natives provide some sort of genuine, direct view into the native soul.

    In reality, westernized (or wannabe westernized) natives, representing (for the most part) the phenomenon known as ‘zealous convert’, provide nothing more than a grotesque caricature of the most ignorant western delusions.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  218. Joe Wong says:
    @silviosilver

    So does the psychopath say, it is not his fault, it is the victim running into his knife.

  219. Vidi says:
    @utu

    You are so naive. And callous on top of it. For you the subject of millions of starved to death and millions of murdered is a laugh test.

    No, the laugh is on you, for claiming that the government intentially starved the people to death, after carefully educating them.

  220. Vidi says:
    @silviosilver

    All of those countries were at an abysmally low level of development around 1950. China had just gone through over a decade of devastation, that’s true, but then that should mean that China’s growth should have been even greater, as simply rebuilding what has been ruined is always easier than building something you’ve never built.

    Rebuilding is not easier if the original builders have been killed. Also, most countries rebuild by borrowing heavily from foreigners in order to import the first, most crucial foreign goods, like food, cement, and iron. (The Europeans got their rebuilding money for free from the Marshall Plan.) China was under American embargo and had to do it all herself — which makes Mao’s rapid economic growth even more remarkable.

    Also, you claimed earlier that no other country has ever matched China’s alleged growth rate of GDP of 7.2% annually for 24 years from 1952-76. Even if that was actually GDP growth (it assuredly wasn’t), that growth rate was exceeded by both Japan and S. Korea over the same period. S. Korea of course was roughly as devastated as China at the beginning of that period, which makes for an excellent comparison.

    South Korea and Japan are horrible comparisons, as both received enormous quantities of aid from the U.S.; China not only did not, she was under U.S. embargo, and could not even borrow for reconstruction. Mao managed to grow China’s economy by 6.4% a year anyway, and sustained that excellent growth rate for decades. Godfree’s quote was right: “Indeed Mao’s achievement is almost beyond our comprehension”.

  221. @Vidi

    I know you want to denigrate China’s economic indicators, but the truth is that financial services (like banking) are almost irrelevant in a socialist economy. (Whereas they are roughly 20% of a capitalist economy.) So why include them?

    It is not my intention to wantonly denigrate China. I am happy to give credit where it’s due. Even though I detest China’s political system, I have no problem acknowledging its leaders’ excellent record of economic management since Mao’s passing. I also think the eastern European communist economies performed adequately up until 1980 or so – far better than China under Mao, at any rate.

    “Services” goes much further than simply financial services like banking. It includes things like health care, education, housing, public utilities, insurance, consumer telecommunications, and consumer transport. These are hardly inconsequential!

    • Agree: Grandpa Charlie
  222. @Mao Cheng Ji

    And you seem to share Joe Wong’s probĺem because you are totally mistaken in what you imagine I tbink. I know many happy balanced Australians of many ethnic and racial backgrounds who simply don’t have Joe Wong’s sad state of mind (and yours?). At lunchtime yesterday I heard a Latin American Anglophile former academic quote a distinction between “anywhere people” and “somewhere people” You might care to follow it up as I haven’t yet and you may find that the problem of the Joe Wongs is that they are lacking something that is required to be an anywhere person.

    BTW what do you make of the many millions of Indians whose first language, at least after early infancy, is English? And do any medieval and earlier analogies come to mind?

    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji
  223. @Vidi

    Chinesemom has cited enormously rapid rise in population after 1949 (and led me to finding to my surprise that Mao never got round to anything like the one child policy). I wonder how far that growth rate under Mao that you cite is just a reflection of that population growth. BTW where do those growth figures come from? I would be interested to see how the series and the calculationstook account of the Great Leap Forward period for example.

    • Replies: @Vidi
  224. @hyperbola

    ‘hyperbola’ continues great gathering of related links (see, #31) . In the instant case ($31), we see that international narco-trade was the foot-in-the-door for what has now become WTO globalization and the pattern of subversion of national governments (with their democratic tendencies) by corporate multi-nationals (MNCs).

    Regarding Mao Zedong, it seems likely that he can be credited, at least in large part, with strict or even draconian laws that wiped out opium addiction in China, at least among the working class, although it probably continued with those among the very rich who had collaborated with the Communists during the Civil War. There, it seems likely, many were able to continue to live happy lives while limiting their use of opium to the proverbial two pipes per day.

    As for HSBC, I suggest that it originated with the notorious San Francisco branch of the Bank of Shanghai. That branch of the Bank of Shanghai — back in the hay day of USA’s practically unlimited $$$ support of the failing and utterly corrupted Nationalist (KMT or GMD) battle with the Communists over who would inherit the good name of Sun Yat-sen — that San Francisco branch of the old Bank of Shanghai had greater dollar deposits in toto than any other bank in California!

    It was a great racket while it lasted: from Washington through appropriations by Congress, to Nationalist entities in China, to the Bank of Shanghai, to the S.F. branch, and finally, what was left, back to Congress. That was what was known back then as the China Lobby — possibly even more powerful then than the Israel lobby is today. (The old China Lobby: Henry Luce, the Dulles brothers, TIME-LIFE, both RC and American protestant churches.) The Nationalist cause was mostly good or well intentioned but it failed completely due to the Chinese emphasis on complete primacy of the family (and, in business matters, the tong). Here again, it appears that Mao Zedong (perhaps under the influence of the writings of Kang Youwei) must be credited with the necessary reform.

    Of course, the old China Lobby had been infiltrated all along by Communists and was turned over entire to the New China Lobby by Henry Kissinger when he met with Zhou Enlai in Beijing in 1971. That influence (New China lobby) continues stronger than ever through the quisling Neocons, whose godfather is Kissinger. Meanwhile, the Israel interest took over as the major determining power in US foreign policy, but the Neocon faction continued and still continues to exercise veto power on behalf of the PRC, particularly on all NSC-level decisions affecting the Asia-Pacific theater or US-China trade.

    “Yet none dare call it treason.”

  225. @Joe Wong

    I think you are becoming an ever more outrageous troll daring/taunting all to call you. I mean “under the leadership of USA since Columbus time” !!!!

    The vernacular Australian expression “you’re having a lend of us” comes to mind. Pull the other one mate.

  226. Vinteuil says:
    @Priss Factor

    “…imagine [i]f Lee Kwan Yew…had control over China…”

    Everybody in the world would be queuing up for admission.

  227. Vidi says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    Chinesemom has cited enormously rapid rise in population after 1949

    China’s population growth averaged 2% per annum during the 24 years in question (1952 to 1976). So during Mao’s chairmanship, the GDP per capita grew at 4% a year, which is absolutely fantastic.

    (and led me to finding to my surprise that Mao never got round to anything like the one child policy).

    The one-child policy began in 1979, which means that the planning for it likely started years before, when Mao was still alive.

    Mao wasn’t perfect, but there’s no doubt that he was overall extremely good for China.

    • Agree: Godfree Roberts
    • Replies: @Grandpa Charlie
  228. @Vidi

    “The performance of centrally planned eastern European economies is well established. During the European “Golden Age” of economic growth in the 1950s and the 1960s, planned economies were able to achieve relatively high growth rates. In the subsequent decades, primarily in the 1980s, the performance of planned economies became dismal.” — from Kukic, “Socialist growth revisited: Insights from Yugoslavia” (Dubrovnik, Croation National Bank, 2015)
    old.hnb.hr/dub-konf/21-konferencija/yes/kukic.pdf

    We can hardly expect any Croation source to actually specify growth rates beyond “relatively high” — but I recall an article on Yugoslavia in the National Geographic from c. 1950 (after the Tito-Stalin split) that reported sustained annual double-digit growth over more than a few years — although not for as long as 24 years. Maybe Tito should share with Mao the title of greatest leader of the postwar period?

    The fact is — and every unbiased economic historian knows it — that nationalist communism can achieve extraordinarily high economic growth when coming out of a war, as long as workers remain inspired and motivated, and as long as there is no problem arising from boycotts, etc., by the major global powers.

    In that context, there is really nothing egregious about growth of pre-Deng China. Nothing that would cause any unbiased person to sing high praises to Mao … or to Tito, for that matter. The praise should be for the unsung heroes, the working-class heroes. Further, we can hardly overstate the economic support given by the Soviet Union regarding “first, most crucial foreign goods” like cement, steel, machine tools … and … oh yes, hydroelectric dams!

    It’s just plain ridiculous to claim that China was starting from scratch considering all that China inherited not only from Russian but also from Japanese capital improvements:

    The Sui-ho Dam (now Supung Dam or sometimes Shuifeng Dam) on the Yalu River (40°28′N 124°58′E), at the time the fourth largest in the world, had been constructed in 1941 by Japan.… Its reservoir storage capacity was more than 20 billion cubic meters, and the Japanese had built six turbine generators each with a capacity of 100,000 kilowatts. The dam’s generating facilities provided power for much of western North Korea and for the Port Arthur and Dairen regions of northeast China.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attack_on_the_Sui-ho_Dam

    Yes, US/UN air force knocked out the dams, but that was in response to actions of DPRK which would not have occurred without the active support of Stalin and of Mao himself. Furthermore, nothing either in Manchuria or in China itself was bombed during the Korean war. Indeed, the USA has never bombed anything in China — not in all of history — unless you would like to claim damage done against the Japanese occupation in support of Chinese resistance to the Japanese.

    As the Grateful Dead sang, on the Workingman’s Dead album (1970) –

    “A working-class hero is something to see.”

    Maybe China still has some of those working-class heroes. USA? Not so much. (It remains to be seen whether Trump will be able to bring any of that greatness back!)

    Credit where credit is due!

  229. Vinteuil says:
    @Priss Factor

    Jeez, Priss – can’t agree, can’t disagree, can’t call you a troll, can’t lol – I guess we need another button to push here: crazy must read.

    • Replies: @Presocratic
  230. @Grandpa Charlie

    We can hardly expect any Croation source to actually specify growth rates beyond “relatively high” — but I recall an article on Yugoslavia in the National Geographic from c. 1950 (after the Tito-Stalin split) that reported sustained annual double-digit growth over more than a few years — although not for as long as 24 years. Maybe Tito should share with Mao the title of greatest leader of the postwar period?

    There is no need to turn to obscure sources like the Croatian National Bank for data. The most complete historical GDP statistics I have found are the series compiled by Angus Maddison and, separately, The Conference Board. Links to spreadsheets of each can be found here and here. (There is some surprising – and obviously wrong – data in the latter concerning the post-communist period for some countries, but all in all the data from the two sources mostly agree with each other, particularly on growth rates.)

    According to this data, countries in eastern Europe from 1952-75 grew at the following annual rates (per capita):

    Albania 3.3%
    Bulgaria 4.9%
    Czechoslovakia 3.1%
    Hungary 3.1%
    Poland 3.6%
    Romania 4.6%
    Yugoslavia 5.2%
    Soviet Union 3.3%

    (Population growth over this period was about 1% annually, so add that to get the growth rates of total GDP.)

    Some of these growth rates were rather impressive, although all occurred in the least developed countries of pre-war Europe.

    Note also that the best of these growth rates were matched or exceeded by poorly developed non-communist countries, Portugal, Spain, and Greece over this period.

    In contrast to eastern Europe, China’s economic growth rate accelerated in the 1980s. If China’s per capita GDP was growing at 4% per annum as Vidi wishes to claim, we really must wonder whence the impetus for pro-market economic reform? We can be sure that if the Soviets were growing at 4% per annum throughout the 80s (or even the 70s), reformers like Gorbachev never would have had a look-in.

    The above data files tell us that by 1952 China had regained its pre-war per capita GDP of $550 (1990 international dollars). If the economy then grew at 4% per annum, by 1976 this would have been $1410 (1990 international dollars). We know that beginning with Deng’s reforms, the growth rate in China has averaged about 6.2% per annum. Therefore, growing $1410 at 6.2% for the next 40 years would make China’s per capita GDP in 1990 international dollars $15,638.

    This would put China today at the level of Japan, France, UK, Netherlands in the mid-1980s. For all China’s advancement, I don’t know anyone who’d claim China has moved that far ahead just yet. Most estimates put China today at those countries’ level in the early 70s. Therefore the conclusion must be that a per capita growth rate of 4% from 1952-76 did not occur in China.

  231. @Vidi

    “Mao wasn’t perfect, but there’s no doubt that he was overall extremely good for China.” — Vidi

    Look, Vidi, I can live with the “beyond a reasonable dot” and I can live with the “clear and convincing” standard of proof … but I can only accept the “balance of probabilities” standard when it is imposed by a situation where a judgment must be rendered in the clear interest of justice. I see no such necessity for judgment here: it’s all opinion and settles nothing. Mao isn’t on trial here, so what’s the point?

    What I see is a general phenomenon involving 20th Century populist revolutions — such as are generally considered to be Communist by the CIA since they always seem to involve some degree of nationalization or of socialization. That’s really the topic, not ‘Chairman Mao’!
    .
    Take, for example, the Nicaraguan revolution (1978-1979) against the dictatorial regime of Somoza. As the Sandinistas discovered, once the people feel that they have been liberated, they naturally tend to have a lot of babies. After all, in the case of Nicaragua, it had been many decades since poor people could have children that would not be enslaved at birth — girls would be taken to work in whore houses in order to pay back their father’s debts. That was the system under Somoza and earlier.

    Mao undoubtedly understood what was happening. He knew that a population explosion was inevitable, and would result in food shortages. He probably had even studied the works of Malthus. But he was powerless to do anything about it, so he grabbed at a straw: the crackpot theories of Lysenko, who after all had been a favorite of Stalin. Mao probably believed in Stalin, to some extent, something about how Stalin had on balance done more good than evil compared to any other European leader ever — since Napoleon?. So why not believe in Lysenko? He tried that, and it was a disaster. So he went on to other things, leaving unredolved matters to his successors.

    The China Communist Party went on to other approaches to the Malthusian dilemma, notably the approach of Ma Yinchu … basically a Malthusian approach. In short, that has worked, people have complained, they don’t like the one-child policy, but it has worked.

    So what I say is that Ma Yinchu wasn’t perfect, but there’s no doubt that he has been overall extremely good for China. — Grandpa

  232. @silviosilver

    It is understandable that you find it hard to believe what I wrote about Mao.

    Virtually all Western sources claim that Mao’s tenure was a ‘disaster’ and make many personal attacks on Mao as well. But that is normal propaganda: delegitimize the founding father and you weaken the legitimacy of all that follows. You can see the same mechanism at work today on Dr. Putin who is, without doubt, the best leader Russia has ever had and has the support and respect of 85% of his people–when our leaders have the support of 30% of theirs.

    Let’s look at your main questions:

    You said, All of those countries were at an abysmally low level of development around 1950..but then that should mean that China’s growth should have been even greater, as simply rebuilding what has been ruined is always easier than building something you’ve never built before. China was much, much poorer than is Afghanistan today. In 1945, the nation was convulsed by civil war, Russia had taken Mongolia and a piece of Xinjiang, Japan occupied three northern provinces, Britain had taken Hong Kong, Portugal Macau, France pieces of Shanghai, Germany Tsingtao, and the U.S. shared their immunities and profits. China was agrarian, backward, feudalistic, ignorant and violent.

    Of its four hundred million people, fifty-million were drug addicts, eighty percent could neither read nor write and life expectancy was thirty-five years. Peasants paid seventy percent of their produce in rent, women’s feet were bound, desperate mothers sold their children in exchange for food and poor people sold themselves, preferring slavery to starvation. The Japanese had killed twenty-million and General Chiang Kai-Shek wrote that, of every thousand youths he recruited, barely a hundred survived the march to their training base. U.S. Ambassador John Leighton Stuart reported that, during his second year in China, ten million people starved to death in three provinces.

    When Mao stepped down in 1974, the invaders, bandits and warlords were gone, life expectancy was sixty-seven, the population had doubled, literacy was eighty-four percent, wealth disparity had disappeared, electricity reached poor areas, infrastructure was fully restored, the economy had grown five hundred percent, drug addiction was a memory, women were liberated, girls were educated, crime was rare and everyone had food and shelter and, thanks to his massive dam and irrigation projects, China’s 750,000 square miles of arable land had grown to two million.

    Jerome Meisner says, “The higher yields obtained on individual family farms during later years would not have been possible without the vast irrigation and flood-control projects–dams, irrigation works and river dikes–constructed by collectivized peasants in the 1950s and 1960s. Steel production rose from 1.4 to thirty-two million tons; coal from sixty-six to 617 million tons; cement from three to sixty-five million tons; timber from eleven to fifty-one million tons; electricity from seven to 256 billion kwh.; crude oil from nothing to 104 million tons; and chemical fertilizer from thirty-nine thousand to 8.7 million tons.

    Mao’s China produced jet aircraft, locomotives, oceangoing ships, ICBMs and hydrogen bombs and had a satellite in orbit. By some key social and demographic indicators, China compared favorably even with middle income countries whose per capita GDP was five times greater”. He reunited, reimagined, reformed and revitalized the largest, oldest civilization on earth, modernized it after a century of failed modernizations, liberated more women than anyone in history and ended thousands of years of famines.

    India today, with its staggering illiteracy and millions of annual deaths from starvation, has still not caught up with Mao’s China.

    You said that China’s growth rate was exceeded by both Japan and S. Korea over the same period. China was under crushing embargoes that excluded it from technology, finance, food and participation in world bodies throughout Mao’s tenure while Japan and S Korea were–and remain–American-occupied colonies that were given every assistance. I know, because I lived in both countries, as a guest of the US Government, in the 1960s. With that kind of support–which Mao repeatedly requested–Mao woud obviously have outgrown both.

    Those really are not “standard, accepted figures.” According to you chosen source, Angus Maddison himself, his estimates are ‘mere conjecture’. Most peer reviewed evaluation of Angus Maddison’s work have dubbed them ‘nothing more than an educated guess’ or at best ‘far fetched speculation’. Read China’s Reform Period Economic Growth: Why Angus Maddison Got It Wrong and What That Means, by Carsten Holz, which is free. Unlike Angus Maddison, Professor Holz is a specialist in Chinese statistics. His conclusion? “Angus Maddison’s growth estimates for China in the reform period constitute no alternative to the official data”.

    The sources I referenced are accepted by virtually all international bodies.

  233. @silviosilver

    According to Angus Maddison himself, his estimates are ‘mere conjecture’.

    Most peer reviewed evaluation of Angus Maddison’s work have dubbed them ‘nothing more than an educated guess’ or at best ‘far fetched speculation’. https://www.amazon.com/Economics-Making-Sense-Modern-Economy/dp/1118010426/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1510893904&sr=8-2&keywords=Economics%3A+making+sense+of+the+Modern+Economy.&dpID=51ebxGABDuL&preST=_SY291_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch

    Read China’s Reform Period Economic Growth: Why Angus Maddison Got It Wrong and What That Means, by Carsten Holz, which is free. Unlike Angus Maddison, Professor Holz is a specialist in Chinese statistics. His conclusion? “Angus Maddison’s growth estimates for China in the reform period constitute no alternative to the official data”. http://carstenholz.people.ust.hk/Maddison/Holz—Why-Maddison-Got-It-Wrong-paper-2Dec04.pdf

  234. @Wizard of Oz

    Wasn’t it you earlier denying the obvious because some ethnically Ukrainian professor told you that the earth is flat? Now it seems like a pattern, a bubble you created for yourself; all I’m saying.

    Yes, people of all ethnic and racial backgrounds westernize. But that’s a small minority. Many, hundreds of thousands times more — don’t. And they will never accept sanctimonious ‘the white man’s burden’-style western ‘narratives’. That’s just a fact of life.

  235. Vidi says:
    @Grandpa Charlie

    We can hardly expect any Croation source to actually specify growth rates beyond “relatively high” — but I recall an article on Yugoslavia in the National Geographic from c. 1950 (after the Tito-Stalin split) that reported sustained annual double-digit growth over more than a few years — although not for as long as 24 years. Maybe Tito should share with Mao the title of greatest leader of the postwar period?

    Growth in tiny countries can jump, as all it takes is a lucky break. In contrast, sustaining the growth of a country as immense as China, for decades, was not a matter of luck. Mao’s job was one or two orders of magnitude more difficult than Tito’s, and was done commendably.

    The fact is — and every unbiased economic historian knows it — that nationalist communism can achieve extraordinarily high economic growth when coming out of a war, as long as workers remain inspired and motivated, and as long as there is no problem arising from boycotts, etc., by the major global powers.

    Not all socialist governments succeeded; many such societies — in Africa, for instance — have failed. The ones in Eastern Europe were initially quite rich compared to China; their high growth is not surprising. Mao rescued an enormous country as initially poor as those in Africa, and his achievement is almost beyond imagining.

    • Replies: @Grandpa Charlie
  236. Vidi says:
    @silviosilver

    There is no need to turn to obscure sources like the Croatian National Bank for data. The most complete historical GDP statistics I have found are the series compiled by Angus Maddison and, separately, The Conference Board. Links to spreadsheets of each can be found here and here. (There is some surprising – and obviously wrong – data in the latter concerning the post-communist period for some countries, but all in all the data from the two sources mostly agree with each other, particularly on growth rates.)

    I would say that Maddison’s data is surprising! For example, his “adjusted” GDP results (on which the GDP/capita numbers that you cite are based) has India growing faster than the U.S. during the 24 post-WW2 years under discussion, and I would say that was a pretty big mistake. In general, his conclusions look so obviously massaged as to be useless.

    • Replies: @Grandpa Charlie
  237. @silviosilver

    I followed your links and when I arrived at “All data flat file (.txt) — original version,” I searched for Yugoslavia and found absolutely nothing between Yemen and Zambia!

    There is nothing wrong with citing Croatian National Bank-sponsored conference. After all, Croatia was right there (in Yugoslavia) during the period 1950 until retirement of Mao. I was attracted to the article by the title, Socialist Growth Revisited: Insights from Yugoslavia and I still think that having this review from Croatia is almost like citing something positive about Mao by a Taiwanese source!

    I have no interest beyond evaluating Godfree’s article. However, I am happy to see that we agree that there was nothing stupendous about growth rate during Mao’s hegemony.

    Thank you for the links and your analysis.

  238. Vidi says:

    Look, Vidi, I can live with the “beyond a reasonable dot” and I can live with the “clear and convincing” standard of proof … but I can only accept the “balance of probabilities” standard when it is imposed by a situation where a judgment must be rendered in the clear interest of justice. I see no such necessity for judgment here: it’s all opinion and settles nothing. Mao isn’t on trial here, so what’s the point?

    It’s not “all opinion”; the objective data is that Mao grew the economy of a giant country by 6.4% a year — starting from African levels — and kept it up for decades. Considering how many growth spurts in other, smaller lands have fizzled out, what Mao did defies imagining.

    Mao undoubtedly understood what was happening. He knew that a population explosion was inevitable, and would result in food shortages. He probably had even studied the works of Malthus. But he was powerless to do anything about it, so he grabbed at a straw: the crackpot theories of Lysenko, who after all had been a favorite of Stalin. Mao probably believed in Stalin, to some extent, something about how Stalin had on balance done more good than evil compared to any other European leader ever — since Napoleon?. So why not believe in Lysenko? He tried that, and it was a disaster. So he went on to other things, leaving unredolved matters to his successors.

    As I wrote earlier, China’s one-child policy started in 1979, which means that the planning for it probably began some years before that, under Mao.

    So what I say is that Ma Yinchu wasn’t perfect, but there’s no doubt that he has been overall extremely good for China.

    Ma Yinchu may have been quite good for China; Zhou Enlai and Chen Yun may have been too. I have no doubt that many people contributed, who were probably great in their own right. But the fact is that Mao was the one who made most of the right decisions, so I give a lot of the credit to him.

    • Agree: Godfree Roberts
    • Replies: @Grandpa Charlie
  239. @Grandpa Charlie

    As I recall. “A working-class hero is something to see” morphs into “A working-class hero is something to be” by the end of the song.

  240. @Vidi

    “conclusions look so obviously massaged as to be useless.” — Vidi

    That could and should be said about much of what Godfree and others cite as to growth rates during Mao’s hegemony.

  241. @Mao Cheng Ji

    As to your first par. why should I bother to consider what may be vaguely flowing round your mind when you can’t be bothered to do more than ruminate aloud?

    As to your second par. So what? What’s your point? (It certainly doesn’t bear on a diagnosis of the Joe Wong syndrome as a personal failing).

    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji
  242. @Vidi

    “Mao rescued an enormous country as initially poor as those in Africa, and his achievement is almost beyond imagining.” — Vidi

    Calm down, Vidi, you begin to sound like a Godfree clone! I mean, do you really suppose that I have said or intimated that all socialist governments succeeded? NO, I NEVER DID! That is just a distraction from you so you can try to pull your “almost beyond imagining” meme on me — it ain’t gonna work! And, btw, how can you discount positive input from the Soviets down to zero? Get real!

    Well, whatever, but you are not even close to convincing me that what is called for is applying the “preponderance of the probabilities” standard of proof. I guess the problem you and Godfree have in convincing me is that I never have been a “true believer” either in the religion of Maoism or in the religion of anti-Communism. So when you shine that bright light of “almost beyond imagining” — it’s just somebody shining an annoying bright light into my eyes and not at all a bright light on the evidence.

    Take your burden of guilt and leave us sane people here at UR to think as we do — as free thinkers.

    Mao doesn’t need any help from me, and the kudos go not to Mao but to the working-class heroes that actually did the job.

    Enough is enough.

    • Replies: @Vidi
  243. @Vidi

    It’s not “all opinion”; the objective data is that Mao grew the economy of a giant country by 6.4% a year — starting from African levels — and kept it up for decades. Considering how many growth spurts in other, smaller lands have fizzled out, what Mao did defies imagining. — Vidi

    Hero worship is ridiculous if not disgusting, at least when it “defies imagining.”

    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
    , @Vidi
  244. @Mao Cheng Ji

    “Yes, people of all ethnic and racial backgrounds westernize. But that’s a small minority. Many, hundreds of thousands times more — don’t. And they will never accept sanctimonious ‘the white man’s burden’-style western ‘narratives’. That’s just a fact of life.” — Mao Cheng Ji

    Let’s see: that’s going to work out to many times more than hundreds of billions of people who “will never accept sanctimonious white man’s burden-style western narratives.”

    Well, from the ultimate sanctimonious white man, I suppose, try this:

    East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
    Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God’s great Judgment Seat;
    But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
    When two strong men stand face to face, tho’ they come from the ends of the earth!

    – Rudyard Kipling: The Ballad of East and West

  245. @Wizard of Oz

    As to your first par. why should I bother to consider what may be vaguely flowing round your mind when you can’t be bothered to do more than ruminate aloud?

    You don’t have to. I’m just pointing out to the weakness (imo) of your argumentation: you know some people, who are ethnically Chinese (or Ukrainian), and you presume that their personal opinions on China (or Ukraine)-related subjects are authoritative.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  246. @Mao Cheng Ji

    Someone possessed of simple certainties might be able to tell me how to react to the Indian No.1 bestseller (in guess what language) by Shastri Tharoor “An Era of Darkness – The British Empire in India” which has been given to me as a birthday present by a charming young Indian couple of highly qualified professionals, one of whom sounds like an educated Yorkshireman and the other like an educated Australian (which she now is I guess). What would my first Australian ancestor – an Irish rebel and convict – suggest should be my approach and starting point? Set aside ridiculous low class racial prejudices for which appearance, especially skin colour, was and still to a considerable is, the trigger, are we not in à era when it is possible to argue without rancour that it was fortunate that the creation of the modern powered by the scientific and industrial revolutions (an inevitable outcome of those revolutions) was perhaps more happily mediated by liberalising evangelically influenced Britain than absolutist Spain, France, Prussia or Russia. No doubt that is contestable but maybe the more perceptive and intelligent comment would be that the ignoring of the mathematics of demography and its causes in, inter alia, modern medicine, food production and distribution and contraception are much more important.

  247. Have I detected a huge hole in this paean to Mao – which I am happy to agree seems to suggest reasons not to class him with Stalin, Hitler or Pol Pot (without descending to comparisons with African despots)?

    I refer to complete absence of discussion, or even mention of the deception involved in, the Let a Hundred Flowers Bloom Campaign? BTW if Mao is to be praised how much credit shluld go to his Western influences like Marx and Lenin? Perhaps it makes him greater that he achieved beneficial changes despite that unfortunate Western influence….

    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
  248. @Godfree Roberts

    One could reasonably argue that the Indians were dissipating, and continue to dissipate the national wealth that the Brits tapped but left behind.

    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
  249. @The Alarmist

    God, what an awful thought! Probably correct, though.

    Perhaps because, before the Brits arrived, there was no ‘India’ and no national feeling.

    ‘India’ is only 70 years old, and acting like the child it still is..

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  250. @Wizard of Oz

    I’ve not researched it in detail but my impression of the Hundred Flowers thingie is that Mao invited the intellectuals–China’s long-privileged class–to jump into the national dialog about the country’s future and was (rightly, in my opinion) horrified at their naivety, cluelessness and self-assurance.

    He dealt with them much as he dealt with the Red Guards after they, too demonstrated naivety, cluelessness and self-assurance and compounded it with immaturity and violence: sent them back to school.

    Your impression?

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    , @Hu Mi Yu
  251. @Grandpa Charlie

    What do the statistics Vidi quoted have to do with ‘hero worship’?

    • Replies: @Grandpa Charlie
  252. @Mao Cheng Ji

    “Authoritative” is ambiguous. I don’t regard them as authoritative in the sense of being so expert and knowledgeable that I ought to accept their accounts against any but overwhelming evidence. But i do give some weight to evidence provided by people whom I know personally, to be knowledgeable and honest.

  253. @Godfree Roberts

    My impression is to be disappointed that someone whose articles I have now accepted as giving me reason to make distinctions in favour of Mao in comparison with a number of other dictators should be content to pass so blithely over those aspects of Mao’s style of government.

    And I am surprised that you do not make the very obvious distinction between the intellectuals of the Hundred Flowers invitation and the ignorant young thugs that Mao let loose in the Cultural Revolutionn

    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
  254. @Godfree Roberts

    How sure are you that Chinese felt significantly more unified or behaved as if they did? Warlordism and linguistic fracture didn’t disappear for long when the first Emperor (the one who desroyed the books not in the approved script and created the most monumental tomb) unified a lot of what is now China.

    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
  255. @Wizard of Oz

    I don’t understand your question because this thread is not coherent in that way. Can you quote me and re-ask the question?
    Thanks

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  256. @Wizard of Oz

    I very much understand your point of view though I believe that it results from having heard only one side of the Mao narrative.

    That narrative, familiar to us all, is “Mao the Monster, The Fuckup, the Egomaniac, Mass-Murderer”. Take your pick.

    After having studied the matter for 60 years my contention is that this is bullshit, entirely bullshit. It is cut from the same cloth as “Putin the Evil” and “Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction,” for the same reasons: those stories all fit the narrative: other people and societies are dreadful and we should fear them and not visit them or talk to them but just and do as we’re told.

    Ron initiated American Pravda because we all need to hear the other side of everything. Because there is always another side and even another, and another.

    My trilogy is another side of the Mao story that you need to take in and consider with an open heart.

    Naturally, I contend that the evidence points to my narrative about Mao being closer to what we generally call ‘the truth’ than the New York Times’ narrative.

    Evidence like Mao’s stats, which were astonishing; his face is on every goddam banknote; every president praises the guy (our media assure us that it’s ‘lip service’ (as if); and three thousand people visit his birthplace every day–ten million a year–rain or shine, seven days a week despite official attempts to discourage them. Stuff like that–and that’s less than 10% of my evidence–is what’s missing from the Times. Their narrative is pure rhetoric and zero evidence.

    • Replies: @The Alarmist
    , @Vinteuil
  257. @Godfree Roberts

    If Mao was as evil and/or inept as Western authorities make him out to be, the Chinese would have sent him down the memory hole like they did with a few of his successors. What China accomplished in the face of being frozen out of the world economy by the west is nothing short of amazing, and Mao deserves some credit.

  258. Hu Mi Yu says:
    @Godfree Roberts

    I’ve not researched it in detail but my impression of the Hundred Flowers thingie is that Mao invited the intellectuals–China’s long-privileged class–to jump into the national dialog about the country’s future and was (rightly, in my opinion) horrified at their naivety, cluelessness and self-assurance.

    He dealt with them much as he dealt with the Red Guards after they, too demonstrated naivety, cluelessness and self-assurance and compounded it with immaturity and violence: sent them back to school.

    I interviewed a refugee from China in the early 1980s. What he said was that Mao decided to close the universities and sent the students to work in the fields. They probably were not much help at the time, but (imo) this ensured that the next generation of Chinese leaders understood agriculture.

    I asked if he had witnessed any of the horrors reported in our press, and he gave a graphic description of food shortage in Beijing. Then in tears he said that Red Guards had confiscated a painting of his ancestors claiming he worshiped them. He had to thank them for showing him the error of his ways; otherwise he would have been shot.

  259. @TG

    Check out the entry on “Ma Yinchu” in wikipedia for the real story. Now there is a hero.

    Mao pushed for massive population growth, and while it is true that the communists did massively increase harvests, it wasn’t enough to keep up with an exponentially growing population. And this is what happens whenever the elites consider the people to be cattle, to be bred according to elite whims…

    It is not really true. The birth rate in 50′s wasn’t higher than earlier decades. Mao didn’t make any policies to push for population growth. Only that in 50s and 60s, it was difficult for people to get abortion or sterilization. But these procedures were new concept to Chinese, only people in cities thinking about doing that.

    During 1980′s, many Chinese indeed blamed Mao’s criticizing and persecuting of Ma Yinchu (马寅初)for the massive increasing of Chinese population. But Ma proposed his New Population theory around 1957; China’s population had already increased about 30% (150 million) by then. Chinese government started advocate for family planning in early 1973′s by telling people “one is okay, two are just enough, three are too many (一个不少,两个正好,三个多了)”.

    Even if Mao accepted Ma’s theory, I don’t see how Chinese government could stop people from having children except forced sterilization, which was infeasible and inhuman, especially in 50s and 60s when China was so poor and backward, lack of hospitals and doctors in rural area. A maid from poor rural countryside once told me that women who had sterilization procedure wouldn’t be able to do hard field work. I don’t know how did she get this idea, but obviously people in her village believed in this. She told me this before “one child” policy came out.

  260. @Priss Factor

    I first noticed you because this comment of yours:
    http://www.unz.com/plee/what-if-it-wasnt-one-china-vs-two-chinas-what-if-there-was-no-china/#comment-1470969. I’m quite impressed with what you said about familism in Chinese culture and agree with you, except the part about Mao. I agree with a lot of what you said in this thread about Chinese culture and Chinese people. I even think some of your views on traditional Chinese culture and people are much better than many current Chinese elites. But somehow, your view on Mao and modern China are almost all wrong.

  261. @Priss Factor

    Do you mean to tell me that the Chinese people are so stupid and hopeless that, if not for Mao, China would still be in shambles? Really?

    I do believe that if not for Mao, China would still be in shambles like India, if not worse. India started better off than China in almost every measure, not to mention that they had much more arable land, less people to be fed, and massive aids from Soviet Union and western countries.

    This LA time’s article is really worth to read: How China Beat India in Race for Success (http://articles.latimes.com/1997/aug/10/news/mn-21296). It opened my eyes when I first read it 20 years ago. What happened in the last 20 years has proven this article to be insightful and predictive:

    But most unsettling to India is an increasing realization that China’s rapid advance is not due merely to economic steps.

    Many experts now believe that China’s ability to move ahead so far and so fast is partly attributable to earlier, more brutal reforms–particularly land reform measures–forced at gunpoint in the totalitarian 1949-76 rule of Mao.

    But particularly in the early stages of Communist rule, in the 1950s, the country benefited from the land redistribution, introduction of compulsory universal education, adoption of simplified Chinese characters that led to greater literacy, and the introduction of health and welfare policies and other reforms that helped restore the country’s spirit and self-respect.

    Although it is much more controversial today, the Communist crackdown on religion, superstition, secret societies, triads and clans may also have helped the country break the cycle of endemic poverty.

    “China’s relative advantage over India,” argues Harvard economist Amartya Sen, a native of India’s West Bengal, “is a product of its pre-reform [pre-1979] groundwork rather than its post-reform redirection.”

    India leaders tried to learn from Deng Xiao Ping’s success and started economic reform in 1991. Twenty six years has passed, how much do they succeeded?

    • Replies: @Ron Unz
  262. @Godfree Roberts

    I was merely picking up on your contrasting of China and India (even if there was underlying it an element of the ironical or whimsical) as having a unity and sense of self, or not. In short I would be interested in a contrast and compare answer on India and China….

  263. @Priss Factor

    “All nations had their share of great men, but even without them, a truly great nation is a great nation because the people have worth and work well as a community. But you tell me that China would have been totally lost if not for Mao.

    “Two Wongs don’t make a white.” — PF

    I would have hit AGREE button but for the bit about two wongs and a white — which is too cute by half. However, you definitely have nailed Mao worship, of which we have been treated too much by half by Godfree and others in this comment thread. A shameless and stupid cult of personality — although perhaps not so horrifically ridiculous as the DPRK’s cult of Kim Jong-un.

    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
  264. Another unmentioned on what is implicit but not the original subject is the deep rooted differences between China and India that can be tagged with the words “caste” (culturally and genetically), “religion” and “genetics”. Imagine an Indian Mao? What would his background and education have been? Where would Marx’s Western ideas have come in to the picture? (Can we suppose a charismatic but cunning graduate of LSE in its best Marxist days who had somehow risen to the top of the pre-partition army by deciding to concentrate on first participating in the defeat of the Japanese. Then the coup against Mountbatten, Nehru and Jinnah with the inspiring view of keeping India unified….).

  265. @Hu Mi Yu

    Lovely what the human mind can achieve in comforting rationalisation!

    “the next generation of Chinese leaders understood agriculture”! LOL!

    A pity no one thought to suggest a cheaper more scientifically designed process for this great transformation! British 18 year olds doing a gap year as jackeroos on Australian cattle and sheep stations comes to mind….

    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
  266. @drtien

    I don’t think Yang Jisheng has an ideological axe to grind, and arguing if the 30 million figure is precise is a fool’s errand, since there are no good statistics or even data available and researchers can only make more or less accurate inferences.

    I do believe Yang had an ideological axe to grind. He was the deputy editor of the journal Yanhuang Chunqiu, which was loved by anti-Mao, anti-chinese-system and pro-West camp, hated by the other side in China. I believe it was closed last year by Xi’s government. His book is full of fabrications and falsehood as it was proved by a math professor Sun Jingxian.

    Nobody denies that there were a lot of mistakes were made during the GLF, nobody denies that there was a famine, and there were people died of it. The questions need to be asked are what mistake did Mao and the Communists made, how and why did they made those mistakes, and how much those mistakes contributed to that famine. My answer is not much. The famine mainly caused by the rapid growth of Chinese population, about 150 million in less than 10 year. Overstretched Chinese agriculture system couldn’t feed these many people any more. In math term, it had become an unstable system; tiny disturbance could cause the whole system to collapse. Had GLF happened in any country, the famine wouldn’t have happened.

    My college classmate, who had several family member died during that famine, told me that his parents and other villagers told him the famine in his village was cause by “大锅饭” (communal pot) — the whole village eat together and could eat as much as they want to. So, letting peasants to eat enough could cause a famine. What kind of a crime is this?!!!

  267. Ron Unz says:
    @chinesemom

    I do believe that if not for Mao, China would still be in shambles like India, if not worse…This LA time’s article is really worth to read: How China Beat India in Race for Success (http://articles.latimes.com/1997/aug/10/news/mn-21296). It opened my eyes when I first read it 20 years ago. What happened in the last 20 years has proven this article to be insightful and predictive:

    Actually, the notion that despite its then-backwardness, China would gradually reclaim its place as one of the world’s leading economic powers was pretty common among Western experts over one hundred years ago. The huge wars and other disasters of the first half of the 20th century (plus, in my opinion, economic Maoism) retarded this process by a few decades, leading to very different and totally mistaken Western expectations in the 1960s and 1970s. But the weight of the historical evidence was still exactly what it had been 100+ years ago, so I don’t really think Mao really deserves too much of the economic credit. I discussed all of this in an article a few years back:

    http://www.unz.com/runz/how-social-darwinism-made-modern-china-248/

    In fact, once Deng implemented his much more sensible policies in the late 1970s, I pretty much expected to see China’s recent trajectory, and The Economist published a long letter of mine in 1986 pointing out these likely future developments:

    http://www.unz.com/runz/far-east-2/

    • Replies: @chinesemom
  268. @Ron Unz

    I disagree with you on this. I’ll talk more about this later.

    It seems that some of my replies won’t be able to pass the system

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  269. @utu

    ” It was not a well intentioned experiment that failed as often it is presented. It was a part of terror campaign to subjugate peasants to the communist regime. In this campaigns several millions were beaten and tortured to death. When thinking of China famine the analogy of Holodomor and dekulakization in Stalin’s Soviet Union should be used. … Bolsheviks used poison gas against their peasants who resisted their rule.” — utu

    If indeed the Red Army used poison gas during the Russian Civil War, (which is hardly a proven or universally acknowledged historical fact) it was likely never a tool used in the context of collectivization or in the later dekulakization campaign. There, ‘utu’ simply over-reaches. Setting that aside, ‘utu’ does make a valid point.

    There are scholars who claim that every famine, upon analysis, can be shown to have been preventable if better distribution and sharing had been implemented. That would be in the context of prevention of mortality, but not necessarily in the context of malnutrition. Opponents of population control will always make their claims that every famine could have been prevented with better distribution and therefore was always caused by those in control of the system of distribution. E.g., malnutrition in USA’s Great Depression was very real and could have been prevented and was largely eliminated by measures begun even during the Hoover administration and continued during the New Deal of FDR. Nonetheless, there clearly are situations where the cure to famine involves greater sharing as well as improvements in the system of distribution. That is to say, at some point, the Malthusian imperative will come into play. There are limits.

    OTOH, it is true that the peasant class generally is often inimical to collectivization. It’s relevant that in initial attempts to ‘reform’ land ownership — which had already been reformed under Tsar alexander III

    • Replies: @utu
  270. Vinteuil says:
    @Godfree Roberts

    “…his face is on every goddam banknote; every president praises the guy (our media assure us that it’s ‘lip service’ (as if); and three thousand people visit his birthplace every day–ten million a year–rain or shine, seven days a week despite official attempts to discourage them.

    Yup.

    The Chinese people really are just that gullible.

    But you’re not.

    You’re trolling.

    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
  271. @Grandpa Charlie

    Calling the Mao cult ‘A shameless and stupid cult of personality’ suggests that you’re accepting the MSM narrative about it.
    Mao frequently discussed it, and did so with foreign visitors, too, who found it offensive or puzzling. He saw its dangers and understood its uses, too, and was quite candid about both.
    If you think it’s a shameless and stupid cult, compare it to the shameless and stupid cult around President FDR: then it doesn’t seem so shameless and stupid, does it?
    FDR was worshipped because he saved ordinary men and women from destitution by acting bravely and decisively at a critical moment in the country’s history.
    But FDR’s brave and decisive actions were only about 1% as brave and decisive (and successful) as Mao’s. The Mao worship thing was a perfectly natural reaction from people who had been reduced to destitution and domination for 100 years.

    • Replies: @Grandpa Charlie
  272. @Hu Mi Yu

    Yes, that sounds typical. And it’s why Mao sent the Red Guards back to school so quickly! They were immature and were over-reacting, as adolescents tend to do.

  273. @Wizard of Oz

    ‘“the next generation of Chinese leaders understood agriculture”! LOL!’

    Hu Mi Yu probably meant, ““the next generation of Chinese leaders understood rural life”.

    That’s what they were sent down to understand. The ones who understood went on to run China and the ones who didn’t wrote books whose basic complaint was, “Mao Wanted to Turn Me (daughter of a privileged scholar-official) into a peasant!” This is, quite literally, what one author said.

    Two of the next generation of Chinese leaders who did come to understand rural life are PM Li and Chairman Xi.

    Xi spent seven bitter years in a poor village, lost a sister, saw his father imprisoned and, guess what? He says it was the best thing that ever happened to him. And millions of poor rural Chinese heartily agree: he’s now personally ensuring that rural poverty is eliminated by 2020.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  274. @Vinteuil

    What’s the point of your comment? That 1.4 billion Chinese are suckers but you really know the truth? That sounds like imperialist chutzpah mixed with condescending racism under an umbrella of ignorance about Chinese political history and culture.
    If you have something to contribute to the discussion, let’s hear it. But empty self-flattery wastes time and dulls attention.

  275. @Godfree Roberts

    I think I understand the restated case in answer to my rather uncivil jibe to be that they got to understand what an appalling life a rural life was in late 1960s China and thus saw tbe necessity of the urbanisation which is at the core of China’s transformation. How far did Mao understand what was needed and how it would lead to the actual future remains a question in my mind and also whether there were not alternative ways to achieve the good ends. As to how beneficial it was I suppose depends on one’s attitude to Xi in particular. I set aside the foreign policy questions (where, in relation to both US handling of relations with both Russia and China over the last 25 years I could weep at lost opportunities by insular Americans). I mean the tendency to go beyond mere Communist-Party-as ruling-class government (a return perhaps to an era before fantasies about enfranchising the masses in an egalitarian democracy) to something like dictatorship.

  276. @chinesemom

    I”m both intrigued and astonished that you have comments (“replies”) for us that won’t “pass the system”. How so? Are they in virtual reality 3D?

    You have provided serious comment and prompted Ron’s serious comment. Please don’t disappoint.

  277. @Anatoly Karlin

    Annual deaths were running at around 7 million by 1957, a substantial reduction from 10 million in 1950 – the Communists can count it as an achievement, though it was due to the introduction of modern basic medicine, vaccinations, obstetrics, etc., so was going to happen under any stable regime anyway.

    It didn’t happen in India and many other stable developing countries.

    Deaths in subsequent years: 1958 – 7.8 million; 1959 – 9.7 million; 1960 – 17.0 million; 1941 – 9.4 million, then dropped to a new constant of 6.5 million.

    Sun Jingxian, a math professor, did a research on this several years ago and concluded that the abnormality of the official data was caused by the mass migration during GLF:

    http://www.guancha.cn/SunJingXian/2013_08_25_167986.shtml

    Of course there may well have been substantial unregistered natality/mortality during that period. Soviet demographic data shows excess mortality of 1.8 million in the Holodomor, vs. many of the modern serious estimates clustering around 3 million. If the same relationship holds for GLP, then 30 million – that is, close to 5% of the Chinese population – would seem to be realistic.

    Don’t forget that you used official data to get your number. If you consider there may have been substantial unregistered deaths in that period, then you have to assume that there were substantial unregistered deaths during previous and following years of that period, you have to increase your baseline number by about the same magnitude.

  278. @Vinteuil

    Jeez, Priss – can’t agree, can’t disagree, can’t call you a troll, can’t lol – I guess we need another button to push here: crazy must read.

    Priss is indeed a must read, whether one agrees or disagrees. An almost cosmic force of ideas, polemics, assessments, interpretations. Does he ever stop thinking, ruminating, reading, analyzing and writing?

    • Replies: @silviosilver
  279. @chinesemom

    I’m trying to make sense of your last paragraph. It seems like a reference to some combination of the Highland Enclosures and thr Tragedy of the Commons.

    As it is you seem to be ignoring the fact that you can have such a communal pot but not enough to prevent it being emptied and staying empty when the strong take what tbey want to the exclusion of the weak.

  280. China has gone far, far beyond dictatorship.

    Their governance model democratizes policy-making, while ours democratizes leadership choosing.

    After studying our mode of participation in our nation’s governance and comparing it to theirs, I feel theirs is a more productive way to involve democratic (non-expert ) opinion. Personnel selection, as you know from your own experience hiring people, is unfathomably difficult and fraught because mistakes and be horrendously costly sometimes impossible to undo.

    Here are the two models of democratic intervention. Which do you think is more likely to produce the best national outcomes for the most citizens:

    We vote to elect a few hundred people with no experience or expertise and trust them to come up and implement policies without further input from us.

    Or,

    They elect 3,000 volunteer representatives who elect a personnel committee to work with the administration’s HR experts (the Organization Department) to choose the most successful leadership candidates based on their published, 30-year, verifiable track records. After several rounds of everyone indicating their least favored candidate, the top seven, the Steering Committee, is offered to all 3,000 volunteers for final confirmation.

    This seven man Steering Committee, with a combined 200 years’ successful governance experience, filters the data from thousands of Trial Spots (local government experiments with taxes, education, pensions, unemployment and housing) and asks our 3,000 volunteers to publicly discuss them with their constituents.

    After everyone has examined and discussed the data underlying these policy experiments, our 3,000 volunteers vote on whether to implement them nationwide or send them back for further trialling.

    China being China, a consensus-mad society, the Steering Committee rarely advances legislation until they’re pretty damn sure it will pass. But, even then, our 3,000 volunteers can and do stall it–sometimes for years–if it doesn’t fly with the good folks back in Shithole, Xinjiang. Consensus, baby, it’s all about consensus.

    Though this sounds interminably lengthy, China has still managed to pass more progressive legislation in the past ten years than the USA in the last century. That’s why they’re racing past us.

    And that’s why 95% of Chinese trust their government: it’s transparent and it does what they want it to.

    Which, in my eyes, makes their government a democracy and ours a serial autocracy.

  281. @Presocratic

    I think Priss is a she, not sure though. Outstanding commenter, no two ways about it. Ludicrously overrates the toughness of blacks vis-a-vis whites as well black men’s sexual desirability to white women too. Utterly immune to objective counter-arguments on these points, unfortunately. But other than that, Priss is usually a must read.

  282. @Godfree Roberts

    According to Angus Maddison himself, his estimates are ‘mere conjecture’.

    Most peer reviewed evaluation of Angus Maddison’s work have dubbed them ‘nothing more than an educated guess’ or at best ‘far fetched speculation’.

    That’s only regarding estimates of the distant past. It certainly doesn’t apply to the twentieth century.

    I am aware that he came under fire for his estimates. Much of this is driven by an ideological divide among economic historians. On one side are those like Gregory Clarke (of “A Farewell to Alms” fame) who maintain that Europe experienced no sustained per capita growth (and associated rise in living standards) until the 19th century, and on the other side are those who (like Maddison) claim that Europe did experience sustained per capita growth beginning in the later middle ages. The divide is ideological in part because of differences regarding where one standards with respect to European exceptionalism. Those who claim that Europe was exceptional never put the argument in hereditarian/IQ terms (of the form popular on this site), but they are partial to beliefs in European cultural superiority. Unsurprisingly, they more readily detect signs of economic superiority in Europe before the industrial revolution. Internationalist equalitarians, on the other had, vehemently deny that Europe was ever superior before the industrial revolution, typically offering China as a candidate for that title. As an “exceptionalist”, I am disinclined to put much stock in equalitarian dismissals of Maddison’s work.

    Read China’s Reform Period Economic Growth: Why Angus Maddison Got It Wrong and What That Means, by Carsten Holz, which is free.

    Carsten Holz’s paper deals exclusively with the period 1978-1995, and Maddison’s revisions to official Chinese data for those years. It has nothing to say about the period we’re considering here, 1952-76.

    Fundamentally, the problem is reconciling your claimed growth rate from 1952-76 – a period for which data is murky – with the growth rate from 1976-present – a time period for which the data is more readily available and much less controversial.

    Data from three prestigious sources – the CIA, IMF and World Bank – are in agreement that Chinese per capita GDP (in terms of purchasing power parity) is today about $15,000. As noted in Holz’s paper, estimates of Chinese growth since 1978 do vary somewhat, ranging from a low of 6% per annum to a high of 10%, with much of the discrepancy arising from disagreements on the per capita GDP level at the start of the period. Nonetheless, even if we use the figure the most favorable to your case – 6% – we arrive at a per capita GDP in (2016 PPP dollars) of about $1500. (If use 10%, we arrive at lower number in 1978, implying a lower growth under Mao.)

    If per capita GDP growth under Mao was as high as you claim (7.2% – 2% for population growth = 5.2%), then per capita GDP in 1952 would had to have been $444. (This is counting back from 1976, not 1978). Is this credible?

    I am looking The Conference Board’s “Total Economy Database” (which I tried to link to in another post, evidently unsuccessfully). This data puts Chinese per capita GDP in 1978 at $1350, in 2011 PPP dollars – a lower figure, but comparable for our purposes.

    If China’s per capita GDP in 1952 was $444, this means that in 1952 it was slightly poorer than: Burkina Faso ($594), Ethiopia ($484), Malawi ($498), Mozambique ($445); and more than twice as poor as poverty-stricken Bangladesh ($1037) and war-torn S.Korea ($1204).

    In my opinion it is simply not credible that Chinese per capita GDP was $444 in 1952, and I must therefore reject your claim that the Chinese economy grew at an annual rate of 7.2% under Mao.

  283. Vidi says:
    @Grandpa Charlie

    Calm down, Vidi, you begin to sound like a Godfree clone! [...] NO, I NEVER DID!

    Ah, shouting in frustration that anyone could possibly be successful at contradicting your infallible opinions?

    I mean, do you really suppose that I have said or intimated that all socialist governments succeeded? NO, I NEVER DID!

    Nobody is accusing you of saying that all socialist governments succeeded. However, here is what you did say:

    The fact is — and every unbiased economic historian knows it — that nationalist communism can achieve extraordinarily high economic growth when coming out of a war….In that context, there is really nothing egregious about growth of pre-Deng China. Nothing that would cause any unbiased person to sing high praises to Mao

    I contradicted that by saying, in effect, that merely being socialist is not sufficient to ensure high growth rates. Mao did an extraordinary thing in rapidly raising an enormous country from African levels of poverty.

    That is just a distraction from you so you can try to pull your “almost beyond imagining” meme on me — it ain’t gonna work! Get real!

    Of course, you are perfectly free to jam your fingers into your ears when the truth is too painful to hear.

    • Replies: @Grandpa Charlie
  284. Vidi says:
    @Grandpa Charlie

    Hero worship is ridiculous if not disgusting, at least when it “defies imagining.”

    If you define the telling of the truth as “hero worship”, that’s your problem.

  285. utu says:
    @Grandpa Charlie

    Yes, famines are preventable or can be mitigated and ameliorated. But this was not my point. There was no attempts nor desire to mitigate the famine. I claim that in some regions famine was the tool used to break down the peasants. Failure of crops was only one side of the equation. Forced confiscation of crops was the other side. These confiscations had to be carried out through the barrel of a gun.

    • Replies: @Grandpa Charlie
  286. @chinesemom

    The questions need to be asked are what mistake did Mao and the Communists made, how and why did they made those mistakes, and how much those mistakes contributed to that famine.

    I don’t think it makes sense to talk about it in terms of ‘mistakes the Communists made’, any more than talking about ‘mistakes the Jacobins made’ . Revolution, revolutionary socioeconomic transition is not a chess game, it’s a dialectical process.

  287. @silviosilver

    If China’s per capita GDP in 1952 was $444, this means that in 1952 it was slightly poorer than: Burkina Faso ($594), Ethiopia ($484), Malawi ($498), Mozambique ($445); and more than twice as poor as poverty-stricken Bangladesh ($1037) and war-torn S.Korea ($1204).

    It is a murky period, I agree.

    I have little difficulty believing that, after 100 years of civil and foreign wars, warlords, rape, pillage and looting, China was that poor.

    I saw South Korea in 1967 when the country was, in my eyes, still little more than barren earth and beggars in rags.

    China sufferings were similar to SK’s but lasted a hundred years longer, and China was subjected to a murderous embargo while S Korea received copious aid from the first day.

    • Replies: @phil
  288. robt says:
    @Godfree Roberts

    Do you mean Li Zhisui was a liar and just made up the whole 700+ pages of the book?
    Are we parsing definitions?
    Do you mean that the title “private doctor” is not correct, i.e. should it be said that he is one of Mao’s doctors because, like anyone, and especially those with total power and resources, Mao would consult with more than one doctor? Could it be possible that he had more than one ‘private doctor’?
    I see commentary that few people in China knew of the book, which is likely because it was banned.

  289. Vidi says:

    Do you mean Li Zhisui was a liar and just made up the whole 700+ pages of the book?

    Li could have made it all up, or at least the most sensational parts of it. Defectors usually have a grudge to settle with their previous country: remember the Iraqi defectors like Ahmad Chalabi who swore that Saddam Hussein had WMDs? Well, he didn’t; as the world learned to its great cost, Chalabi and his ilk were lying. Similarly, anything Li wrote should be suspect.

    • Agree: Godfree Roberts
    • Replies: @robt
  290. Communism, China and Mao have been a polemical free fire zone since before you and I were born, (just as Russia and its leader is today and the USSR and its leaders were yesterday). Last week, the New York Times published an article, “Xi Jinping a Thug? Not So Fast” applying the same epithet to the reserved and gentlemanly Xi as it has applied to the reserved and gentlemanly Putin for years. (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/15/opinion/xi-jinping.html

    Mao was a giant, so he got giant-sized lies told about him, that’s all.

    Professor Frederick Teiwes, a Western academic specializing in the study of Maoist China, was also critical of The Private Life of Chairman Mao, arguing in his book The Tragedy of Lin Biao: Riding the Tiger during the Cultural Revolution 1966-1971 that, despite Li’s extensive claims regarding the politics behind the Cultural Revolution, he was actually “on the fringe” of the events taking place in the Chinese government. He went on to criticise the book as being overtly and polemically “anti-Mao”, being “uncritical” in its outlook and being “dependent on the official sources” to create a picture of the revolution. He characterised Li’s book as offering nothing new but “recycling widely available information and interpretations”. (https://www.amazon.com/Teiwes-Tragedy-Biao-Frederick-C/dp/0824818113.

    In 1995, a Chinese language book was published in Hong Kong titled Lishi de Zhenshi: Mao Zedong Shenbian Gongzuo Renyuan de Zhengyan (meaning The Truth of History: Testimony of the personnel who had worked with Mao Zedong). It was written by three people who had known Mao personally: his personal secretary Lin Ke, his personal doctor from 1953 to 1957, Xu Tao and his chief nurse from 1953 to 1974, Wu Xujun. They argued that Li did not only not know Mao very well, but that he presented an inaccurate picture of him in his book.

    The trio attack Li’s claim that he had been Mao’s personal physician in 1954, instead presenting copies of a document from Mao’s medical record showing that Li only took on the responsibility for caring for Mao on 3 June 1957. Wu goes on to argue that whilst much of Li’s memoir is devoted to talking about Mao in the period between 1954 and 1957, Li was not his general practitioner during this period, and therefore would not have had access to the personal information that he claimed.

    Lin, Xu and Wu also criticise a number of Li’s other claims as being impossible. For instance, whilst Li claimed that he was present at exclusive meetings for high-ranking Communist Party members such as the CCP Politburo Standing Committee meetings, Lin et al. argued that it would have been an extreme breach of protocol for him to be allowed into these events, though it is difficult to conclude that this would have been impossible. In one particular case, Li claimed to have witnessed a public argument between Mao and Deng Xiaoping at the CCP Eighth Party Congress in September 1956, with the latter criticising the use of personality cult centred around Mao in China, which Li alleged Mao favoured. Lin et al. argue, however, that Mao himself had publicly criticised the personality cult in April 1956, when he stated that it was a lesson to be learned from the regime of Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union. Lin et al. therefore believe that the debate between Mao and Deng that Li was referring to simply never happened, though not everyone would draw the same conclusion.

    They also criticise some of Li’s claims regarding Mao’s personal life, for instance challenging his assertion that Mao was sterile, in which they are supported by Professor Wu Jieping, who was another of Mao’s medical care-givers. They theorise that Li had fabricated this story in order to explain why Mao did not have many illegitimate children with the many women that, Li controversially claimed, he had sexual intercourse with.

    Another Chinese critic of Li’s work was Qi Benyu, who was formerly a member of the Cultural Revolution radicals in Beijing. Qi had been arrested and imprisoned at Mao’s order in 1968, subsequently spending the next eighteen years in prison. Despite his persecution at the hand of Mao however, Qi criticised Li’s portrayal of the Chinese leader, claiming that “aside from his account of the support-the-left activities (zhi zuo) in which he [Li] personally participated, most of the Cultural Revolution part of his memoirs consists of stuff gleaned from newspapers, journals and other people’s writings. To make Western readers believe that he had access to core secrets, Li fabricated scenarios, resulting in countless errors in his memoirs”.

    Having lived in proximity to Mao for a number of years, Qi remarked that during this time he heard no rumour of Mao ever having extra-marital affairs despite the fact that other senior Party members were known to, and that Mao was always respectful towards “female comrades”. Due to this and other reasons, Qi believed Li’s claim that Mao had affairs was a lie.

    The Private Life of Chairman Mao was presented as revealing new information about Mao, but historian Mobo Gao has argued, “For those who are familiar with the literature in Chinese, there was in fact very little that was really new in the book when it hit the Western market. For the significant figures and events described in Li’s book, memoirs and biographies published previously in China and Hong Kong have revealed as much, if not more.”

    For a more thorough debunking, read Manufacturing History: Sex, Lies and Random House’s Memoirs of Mao’s Physicianby DeBorja, Q. M. and Xu L. Dong (Eds.)

  291. DB Cooper says:

    While it is true that most of the ‘reporting’ on China by the Western media are just nonsense (ethnic repression, religious repression, expansionism…etc. but sounds about right to the Western audience, but that says more about the West than about China), Godfree Roberts has gone to the other extreme. Mao was a petty, vicious and vindictive person who manipulated himself back into power using the pretext of ‘Cultural Revolution’ after being marginalized by almost a decade because of the massive famine caused by the Great Leap Forward. He also cultivated the cult of Mao. There is a high chance that had not his son got killed during the Korean War today’s China will be a bigger version of North Korea ruled by Mao’s grandson, just like Kim Jong Un.

  292. robt says:
    @Vidi

    GR states unequivocally that: “Li Zhisui was never Mao’s private doctor. ”

    I would be interested in knowing the evidence for this statement of fact, considering that there is a body of historical evidence, documentation, and acknowledged interaction with leading Chinese figures of the time including appearing in many photographs taken with Mao over many years, that indicates that he was someone well-known to Mao.
    One does not repeatedly wander into the private residence and presence of Mao over the course of 20 years or so to have their photo taken with him, nor do they appear side by side with Mao at public events if they were not close to him in some way, but Li is not referred to in any way other than Mao’s doctor in his interactions with other professionals or major actors of the day.
    Either he was or was not the (or ‘a’) private doctor of Mao. Whether the more lurid details of Li’s book are exaggerated or not is irrelevant, as are observations about Western propaganda, especially in the media, regarding China’s history since 1949.
    I have chosen to reply to your observations as GR chose not to reply to mine directly but merely to agree with yours, though I would appreciate knowing the basis for his statement should he wish to offer one.

  293. phil says:
    @Godfree Roberts

    According to the recent Version 9.0 of the Penn World Tables, China’s real per capita GDP in 1952 was $900, given what a US dollar could buy internationally in 2011. In 1976 it was $1335. The average annual rate of growth from 1952-1976 was 1.66%. From 1978-2014, the average annual rate of growth was just over 6.05%. South Korea was at $1617 in 1967. From 1967-2014, the average annual rate of growth was more than 6.7%.

    Relative to the trend in the years before 1958, the cumulative shortfall in China’s population from 1958-1961 was more than 25 million people.

    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
  294. @Godfree Roberts

    “What do the statistics Vidi quoted have to do with ‘hero worhip’?” — Godfree Roberts

    Godfree asks disingeuously.

    You don’t like “hero worship,” Godfree, maybe it hits a sensitive nerve? Then I’ll rephrase the question for you: What do statistics cited by Vidi have to do with a cult of personality? Duh, Godfrey, duuuuuh? Remember when self-respecting working men had no use for ANY cult of personality? I do. I remember, That’s what grandparents are for: to remember.

    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
  295. @utu

    “Yes, famines are preventable or can be mitigated and ameliorated. But this was not my point. There was no attempts nor desire to mitigate the famine. I claim that in some regions famine was the tool used to break down the peasants. Failure of crops was only one side of the equation. Forced confiscation of crops was the other side. These confiscations had to be carried out through the barrel of a gun.” — utu

    My comment that you address was truncated somehow, so I could not continue my remarks, which were to be mainly on the case of the Soviet Union and dekulakization, how the Communist Party in Russia ultimately split into the CP per se and the party representing country people, etc., but we are supposed to be talking about China here in this comment stream.

    Anyway, utu, I was agreeing with you, that you make a valid point. And I certainly did understand your point, that the peasant classes generally find themselves on a collision course with repressive Communist power and Communist ‘reform’. That’s where men like Kang Sheng enter the picture, and it gets ugly.

    So, utu, keep up your good work. Truth will out.

  296. “If you define the telling of the truth as “hero worship”, that’s your problem” — Vidi

    I define the telling of anything that is “beyond imagining” (your words) as untruth. As Yogi Satchidananda once said, what one has done, all can do. What one has imagined, all can imagine.

    Your problem — not mine — is the problem of the cult of personality, in this case, the cult of Mao. Any cult of personality is out of place anywhere in what Marx calls the class of free producers.

  297. @Vidi

    “Nobody is accusing you of saying that all socialist governments succeeded.” — Vidi at #289

    “Not all socialist governments succeeded” — Vidi at #241

    I thunk that when, in a comment addressed to me, you begin a paragraph and a new subject, “Not all socialist governments succeeded,” the clear implication is that you are indeed accusing me of “saying that all socialist governments succeeded.” That’s what is known as a strawman fallacy in logic — you assign to me a position I never expressed and then you try to make me look bad by refuting what I never said.

    But now, Vidi, you double down on your strawman fallacy. Just as I never said or implied that “all socialist governments succeeded” so also I never said that “merely being socialist is sufficient to ensure high growth rates.” So, Vidi, please restrict yourself to discussing what I have said, not what you say I said.

    Here’s what I said:

    “nationalist communism can achieve extraordinarily high economic growth when coming out of a war….In that context, there is really nothing egregious about growth of pre-Deng China.”– Grandpa

    I gather that your real points are that (1) China is much larger than Yugoslavia, and, (2) the period of Mao’s peacetime hegemony was longer than anybody else’s, longer than Tito’s in Yugoslavia, which isn’t true. Or are you claiming that the growth of Yugoslavia from 1945-1980 was so much less than that of China from 1950-1975 that Tito’s accomplishment (really the accomplishment of the peoples of Yugoslavia) is so much less than Mao’s accomplishment (really accomplishment of the peoples of China) that we cannot compare the two? No, I think that you have no clear argument other than that China is bigger. (Therefore, Mao is greater than Tito, and Mao is therefore the greatest.)

    Okay, China is very big.

    So go ahead, Champ, knock yourself out. Your guy is bigger than anybody, has more people. Has bigger numbers. All that and a bag of fortune cookies. So your guy wins. Hurray. Hurray.

  298. @Grandpa Charlie

    As Ian Welsh said today, “When real leadership meets real mission, people fall over themselves to join. They want to belong. They believe. They will work for virtually nothing. They will beg to be part of something bigger than themselves. Most Americans have NEVER experienced this. They cannot understand it at a gut level. It is alien to them.

    I’m old enough to remember when self-respecting working men worshipped FDR.

    FDR’s programs and their impact were feeble compared to Mao’s.

  299. @phil

    People can advance different models, as Angus Maddison did, for different purposes, but they cannot advance different verifiable facts.

    When Mao stepped onto the world stage China was convulsed by civil war, Russia had taken Mongolia and a piece of Xinjiang, Japan occupied three northern provinces, Britain had taken Hong Kong, Portugal Macau, France pieces of Shanghai, Germany Tsingtao, and the U.S. shared their immunities and profits. he country was agrarian, backward, feudalistic, ignorant and violent. Of its four hundred million people, fifty-million were drug addicts, eighty percent could neither read nor write and life expectancy was thirty-five years. Peasants paid seventy percent of their produce in rent, women’s feet were bound, desperate mothers sold their children in exchange for food and poor people sold themselves, preferring slavery to starvation. The Japanese had killed twenty-million and General Chiang Kai-Shek wrote that, of every thousand youths he recruited, barely a hundred survived the march to their training base. U.S. Ambassador John Leighton Stuart reported that, during his second year in China, ten million people starved to death in three provinces.

    As Jerome Meisner observes, “The higher yields obtained on individual family farms during later years would not have been possible without the vast irrigation and flood-control projects–dams, irrigation works and river dikes–constructed by collectivized peasants in the 1950s and 1960s. Steel production rose from 1.4 to thirty-two million tons; coal from sixty-six to 617 million tons; cement from three to sixty-five million tons; timber from eleven to fifty-one million tons; electricity from seven to 256 billion kwh.; crude oil from nothing to 104 million tons; and chemical fertilizer from thirty-nine thousand to 8.7 million tons. Mao’s China produced jet aircraft, locomotives, oceangoing ships, ICBMs and hydrogen bombs and had a satellite in orbit. By some key social and demographic indicators, China compared favorably even with middle income countries whose per capita GDP was five times greater”.

    Under crushing embargoes Mao grew GDP by 7.3 percent annually and left the country debt-free. When he stepped down in 1974 he had reunited, reimagined, reformed and revitalized the largest, oldest civilization on earth, modernized it after a century of failed modernizations, liberated more women than anyone in history and ended thousands of years of famines.

    Harvard’s professor of Chinese Studies, John King Fairbank, summarized[1] his legacy: “The simple facts of Mao’s career seem incredible: in a vast land of 400 million people, at age 28 with a dozen others to found a party and in the next fifty years to win power, organize, and remold the people and reshape the land–history records no greater achievement. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, all the kings of Europe, Napoleon, Bismarck, Lenin–no predecessor can equal Mao Tse-tung’s scope of accomplishment, for no other country was ever so ancient and so big as China. Indeed Mao’s achievement is almost beyond our comprehension”.

    Stop quibbling.


    [1] The United States and China

    • Replies: @phil
  300. @Godfree Roberts

    Calling the Mao cult ‘A shameless and stupid cult of personality’ suggests that you’re accepting the MSM narrative about it.

    Mao frequently discussed it, and did so with foreign visitors, too, who found it offensive or puzzling. He saw its dangers and understood its uses, too, and was quite candid about both.

    If you think it’s a shameless and stupid cult, compare it to the shameless and stupid cult around President FDR: then it doesn’t seem so shameless and stupid, does it?

    FDR was worshipped because he saved ordinary men and women from destitution by acting bravely and decisively at a critical moment in the country’s history.

    But FDR’s brave and decisive actions were only about 1% as brave and decisive (and successful) as Mao’s. The Mao worship thing was a perfectly natural reaction from people who had been reduced to destitution and domination for 100 years.

    – Godfree Roberts

    Yes, that’s interesting. But I would suggest that the cult of Mao was a natural reaction from people who had been worshiping an emperor-god for thousands of years as a “perfectly natural” tradition. I hope that I would never hold up the cult of FDR or the cult of JFK or the cult of Reagan as anything to want to bolster or further, which is what you seem to do in the case of the cult of Mao — or maybe it’s just how others here discuss Mao’s accomplishments as beyond imagining and object to any possible comparison in any respect. It reminds me of how some (too many) Americans these days misuse the word “incredible”!

    Really, I should say that I consider every cult of personality to be shameless and stupid. All cults are counterproductive to the furtherance of enlightenment, in my opinion.

  301. @Godfree Roberts

    As Ian Welsh said today, “When real leadership meets real mission, people fall over themselves to join. They want to belong. They believe. They will work for virtually nothing. They will beg to be part of something bigger than themselves. Most Americans have NEVER experienced this. They cannot understand it at a gut level. It is alien to them.” — Ian Welsh, quoted by Godfree

    I agree with that quote from welsh, and that’s much better than all the gushing about Mao’s (China’s) accomplishments being beyond imagining, which makes no sense at all.

    You see, Dr. Roberts, I haven’t meant to quibble, I’ve meant to understand.When I brought up a kind of counter example with Tito’s Yugoslavia, I was expecting that comment would be with me in trying to find what Tito and Mao had in common — instead I met with a stonewall anof rejection. It just couldn’t be that China falls within any system of understanding that applies to some country in Europe.

    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
  302. @Godfree Roberts

    As Ian Welsh said today, “When real leadership meets real mission, people fall over themselves to join. They want to belong. They believe. They will work for virtually nothing. They will beg to be part of something bigger than themselves. Most Americans have NEVER experienced this. They cannot understand it at a gut level. It is alien to them.” — Ian Welsh, quoted by Godfree

    I agree with that quote from welsh, and that’s much better than all the gushing about Mao’s (China’s) accomplishments being beyond imagining, which makes no sense at all.

    You see, Dr. Roberts, I haven’t meant to quibble, I’ve meant to understand.

    When I brought forward what might be considered a kind of counter-example in the case of Yugoslavia, I expected that comment would probably ignore my remarks or, hopefully, would focus on similarities and differences between China and Yugoslavia. For example, comparing the Nazi occupation with the Japanese occupation or the way that USA, including even the CIA, had found Tito acceptable but not Mao, as useful in containing the Soviets. The role of the old China Lobby and the corruption in the development of that divergence of attitude toward China as compared with the attitude of the CIA toward Yugoslavia. And so forth. In other words, I would have hoped that people would use the comparison (Yugoslavia/China) to advance our understanding. Instead I met with a stone wall of rejection. All of those who were on the Godfree side could only insist that to even bring up Yugoslavia was some kind of stupid game. Godfrey himself chided me to “stop quibbling.” (I was quibbling? What about the reply I got that my Croation source was too arcane somehow and I should have used some other data set?) What I ran into was a rejection of the very notion that China could be compared to any other country. It was as though China could not possibly be thought of as coming under the same set of principles as any other country or society.

  303. phil says:
    @Godfree Roberts

    It is not mere “quibbling’ to highlight where your presentation is directly contradicted by the World Bank, Ivy League, and Stanford researchers. No one denies that China went through great convulsions before 1949. No one denies that, in terms of consolidating and deploying power in a vast a populous country, no one matches Mao. But in terms of improving average living standards, South Korea, Deng Xiaoping, and others in East Asia did far better. You repeatedly refer to Mao as having promoted the development of infrastructure that led to additional gains in living standards later, but others did better in developing infrastructure as well–and without inflicting as much needless suffering with ridiculous political campaigns.

    • Replies: @phil
    , @Godfree Roberts
  304. phil says:
    @phil

    Early on, Lee Kuan Yew was a member of the Socialist International. He identified “capitalism” with colonialism, and he hated British colonial rule in Singapore. He attended meetings of the Socialist International in Eastern European, communist countries. However, he also learned from Hong Kong, which had free and open markets, and ultimately concluded that Singapore would have to engage in large-scale privatization of state-owned enterprises. Capitalism did, after all, have its merits. Although he never believed in a simple philosophy of laissez-faire, he was emphatic in his meetings with Deng Xiaoping in November 1978 that China needed major changes. Deng was certainly never a classical liberal, but he was pragmatic enough to move China decisively away from Maoism.

    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
  305. @Grandpa Charlie

    While I am a huge fan of Tito, I don’t think there’s enough known here about Yugoslavia, or enough commonality between the two countries to make for useful comparisons.

    • Replies: @Grandpa Charlie
  306. @phil

    ‘South Korea, Deng Xiaoping, and others in East Asia did far better’?

    South Korea was and remains an occupied nation and was given enormous help by its occupying power.

    Mao’s 24 years were under a murderous embargo and constant threats of nuclear attack.

    Deng’s reforms, post-embargo, boosted Mao’s GDP growth rate by 50%. But Deng never had the trust of the people and his reforms came at a terrible cost to national morale.

    Today no-one there has a good word for Deng; everyone visits Mao’s birthplace.

  307. @phil

    “It is not mere “quibbling’ to highlight where your presentation is directly contradicted by the World Bank, Ivy League, and Stanford researchers. ”

    I call it quibbling because merely waving in that general direction is a distraction, a quibble.

    The measurement rules I chose are the most readily accessible and commonly quoted and, thus, sufficiently robust for a brief article like mine.

    Your question conceals numerous complexities and I think that, outside academia–whose track record in this field sucks anyway–it’s easier and safer to rely on China’s official stats because
    (a) China has been gathering stats for 3,000 years and
    (b) Every investigator I’m aware of has said they’re solid. (The media’s bs about ‘China’s dodgy stats’ is a coverup for their 50 years of failed predictions of doom).

    If you want to choose a different set of measurement rules, do so, then make your entire case based on those rules–which requires considerable sophistication and expertise in several areas–not least of which are the dark arts of measuring GDP, demography and history. [The quality of China's GDP statistics. by Carsten A. HOLZ ⁎ in China Economic Review].

    China will add 6.6%, or $1.5 Tn, to its economy this year, making its official 2017 GDP $23 Tn.

    China currently understates its GDP (and, ergo, its growth) by 15%–30% depending on who you talk to. (http://https://piie.com/blogs/realtime-economic-issues-watch/china-already-number-one-new-gdp-estimates. So if its economy is really 30% bigger, then its real GDP will be $30 Tn, bigger than Japan and America combined and growing three times faster and twice as smoothly.

    That huge, smooth, fast-growing economy rests on Mao’s foundation which, unlike ours, have never been shaken, let alone stirred.

    Looking back through the lens of economic habits, practices, stats and reports, we can impute the scale of Mao’s achievement. He’s called the founder of modern China because he designed and laid the foundation on which the economy and civil society rests. In doing so, he rejected, for example, the Soviet practice of building gigantic, centralized industrial facilities in the name of ‘efficiency’ and instead created the most decentralized (to this day) economy on earth. And that’s less than 1% of his foundational role.

    Given that Mao was a talented businessman in his youth (his father was) and, like most Chinese, given to understatement, I suspect that China’s GDP may always have been understated by 15%–30%. Mao probably always did 15%–30% better than the official figures. Certainly, China still uses some of Mao’s methodology: they grossly undervalue domestic real estate in GDP calculations because Mao didn’t want ‘the market’ to screw with it.

    • Replies: @Joe Wong
  308. Joe Wong says:
    @Godfree Roberts

    I am shocked, you guys are still at it back and fore. I think you fell into the trap of the first rule of propaganda, i.e. it is always about others never about oneself. People like Wizard of Oz always talks about others never talk about themselves, if you follow him he will lead you into wild goose chase with all kind of Eurocentrism fabrications to no end.

    People like Wizard of Oz is dinosaur, he lives in a world with mindset belonging to the past, stalled in the old days of colonialism and constrained by the zero-sum Cold War mentality. As an Aussie he feels particular vulnerable living in an area surrounded by a sea of Asians, he worries a lot about chickens coming home to roost.

    Anyhow good luck trying to reason with Eurocentrist bigot like Wizard of Oz, an Aussie.

    • Replies: @phil
  309. I actually find it useful for my book. I need to constantly be reminded of the different ways people think about these things. Then I can anticipate them in the manuscript.
    That won’t convince anyone who doesn’t want to be convinced, like him, but it future-proofs the book from similar attacks and saves me time downstream.

  310. phil says:
    @Joe Wong

    We can leave Europe and “eurocentrism” entirely out of the discussion. On a long-term basis, China is an East Asian nation and, with a lag, is following the development path of other East Asian nations. The “lag” is mostly due to the legacy of communism. Economic freedom went from below-4 on a 10-point scale to more than 6 from 1980-2000. Further economic reforms are needed. South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan are still far ahead. Other East Asian countries did not have a communist legacy and did a better job than China did. If North Korea can get rid of its communist leadership, it, too, can develop rapidly. I am “East Asian-centric” and not “Eurocentric” in believing that East Asia has the highest average IQ of any world region, plus a formidable work ethic.

    • Replies: @kauchai
  311. kauchai says:
    @phil

    The “lag” is mostly due to the legacy of communism.

    How do you explain china’s growth and development for the last 40 years? The CPC still runs it. It is not a “democracy”. It doesn’t practice “universal suffrage”.

    The empire’s containment of china is evident for all who are willing to see and listen. From 1949 onwards, the empire had been desperate to subjugate china – a carry over from the unsuccessful western and jap conspiracy from the opium wars era. Right on from Mao’s declaration of the new PRC, the CIA couldn’t wait one more second to create chaos and regime change by starting the 1959 riots in Tibet with CIA trained tibetan agitators.

    See below excerpts from the 1969 released Pentagon Papers:

    “…the February decision to bomb North Vietnam and the July approval of Phase I deployments make sense only if they are in support of a long-run United States policy to contain China.”

    “China—like Germany in 1917, like Germany in the West and Japan in the East in the late 30′s, and like the USSR in 1947—looms as a major power threatening to undercut our importance and effectiveness in the world and, more remotely but more menacingly, to organize all of Asia against us.”

    “there are three fronts to a long-run effort to contain China (realizing that the USSR “contains” China on the north and northwest): (a) the Japan-Korea front; (b) the India-Pakistan front; and (c) the Southeast Asia front.”

    AND RECENTLY:

    Empire backed 2014 “Occupy Central” in Hong Kong

    See “String of Pearls: Meeting the Challenge of China’s Rising Power Across the Asian Littoral”

    NED (National Endowment for Democracy – CIA covert front) support for the Uighur terrorists in Xinjiang:

    International Uyghur Human Rights and Democracy Foundation – $187,918. To advance the human rights of ethnic Uyghur women and children. The Foundation will maintain an English- and Uyghur-language website and advocate on the human rights situation of Uyghur women and children.

    International Uyghur PEN Club – $45,000. To promote freedom of expression for Uyghurs. The International Uyghur PEN Club will maintain a website providing information about banned writings and the work and status of persecuted poets, historians, journalists, and others. Uyghur PEN will also conduct international advocacy campaigns on behalf of imprisoned writers.

    Uyghur American Association – $280,000. To raise awareness of Uyghur human rights issues. UAA’s Uyghur Human Rights Project will research, document, and bring to international attention, independent and accurate information about human rights violations affecting the Turkic populations of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

    World Uyghur Congress – $185,000. To enhance the ability of Uyghur prodemocracy groups and leaders to implement effective human rights and democracy campaigns. The World Uyghur Congress will organize a conference for pro-democracy Uyghur groups and leaders on inter-ethnic issues and conduct advocacy work on Uyghur human rights.

    THINGS TOOK A SUDDEN CHANGE AFTER THE NIXON MOMENT IN 1972. CHINA WAS “EMANCIPATED” FROM THE EMBARGO AND WESTERN AND JAP BUSINESSES COULDN’T WAIT TO STEP OVER EACH OTHER TO GET A SLICE OF CHINA.

    THAT MY FRIEND, IS THE REAL REASON WHY CHINA DID NOT DO AS WELL AS YOU PERCEIVED IT AND IT IS ALSO THE REASON WHY CHINA IS DOING SO WELL TODAY DESPITE THERE BEING NO “DEMOCRACY” AND NO “UNIVERSAL SUFFRAGE”.

    COMMUNISM HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT! CHINA IS NOT EVEN COMMUNIST TODAY. NEITHER IS IT A DEMOCRACY. WELCOME TO THE NEW “AGE” FOR THE HUMAN RACE. TO HELL WITH IDEOLOGIES!

    • Replies: @luba
  312. This comment thread is ridiculously too long by half. Topic drift, anyone?

    What we need now is somebody to write “FDR reconsidered”

    Even self-styled ‘progressives’ these days accept without objection the stupid “FDR did Pearl Harbor” meme left over from when the GOP was totally desperate to cut FDR’s legacy down to size just so as to make a little breathing room for themselves in Congress. Of course, self-styled ‘radicals’ instinctively pile on with Republican reactionaries … exactly why, I never did understand except that the instincts of radicals always cause them to join hands with reactionaries in their meaningless mutual dance around real electoral politics and majority American opinion. (Yes, I know there are no real electoral politics anymore, nor is there any majority American opinion … but I am a old f*rt writing here about stuff that is far beyond the memory of almost anyone posting here at Unz … or anywhere else.)

    The idiots post pedantically that FDR and Gen. Marshall “knew” about that the Japanese Imperial forces would attack on or about 7 December … but the idiots couldn’t figure out (1) that FDR (nor anyone else) had any idea or information as to where the attack would be, so they were thinking it would be maybe Philippines, plus almost every intelligence officer (all but one, who was not a big dog, so nobody paid him any attention) was hampered by their lack of imagination, in that the whole thing was really unimaginable, distances involved etc., and also, (2) Washington did inform everybody including commanders at Pearl about that there would be an attack (with as much detail as they could without compromising USA’s decisive advantage of having broken the Japanese diplomatic code).

    BTW: I may be the only person following Roberts here at Unz.com who immediately made the association from the name ‘Godfree’ to Arthur Godfrey, the radio announcer who covered the funeral procession in Washington and famously wept on air as the casket passed where Godfrey was stationed. No, Godfrey wasn’t the announcer on the newsreel youtube link, but the CBS radio coverage was live and listened to by almost everybody in this country. I was just a kid, but I remember it vividly. Of course, to most of y’all, it never happened because it was pre-TV and so, yeah right, it never happened. No wonder you have no idea when you swallow the anti-FDR line complete with hook and sinker!

    https://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/additions-to-national-recording-registry-2015/6/

  313. @Godfree Roberts

    I’m old enough to remember when self-respecting working men worshipped FDR. — GR

    I’m an octogenarian who lived in this country (USA) during the later years of FDR’s presidency, although I was just a kid, true. I would agree that some self-respecting working men more-or-less “worshipped” FDR, but for the most part, working men respected FDR, just as they respected themselves. And very importantly, FDR respected them and their efforts. I still think that there’s a difference between a country like China with its centuries or millennia of emperor-worship, and I do mean worship, and a country like America where individual liberty and religious freedom, separation of church and state, have been prized and lived by so many … and still are by some.

    Okay, maybe I just don’t understand China and I am too “centric” or whatever.

  314. DB Cooper says:
    @Grandpa Charlie

    “I still think that there’s a difference between a country like China with its centuries or millennia of emperor-worship, and I do mean worship, and a country like America where individual liberty and religious freedom, separation of church and state, have been prized and lived by so many … and still are by some.”

    Wrong. You confusing Japan with China. Japan has emperor worship, China does not. Traditionally Chinese believe the emperor is the son of heaven but this son of heaven can lost the ‘Mandate of Heaven’ if he misrule.

    • Replies: @Grandpa Charlie
  315. @Grandpa Charlie

    Agreed. But then we quickly get into the cultural weeds. Did any Chinese actually ‘worship’ an emperor? I doubt it. Many Chinese chopped off emperors’ heads, that’s for sure.
    But people’s relationship to Mao went beyond their relationship to any emperor, and was much more personal, thanks to the media and literacy: he saved everyone’s life because, until he came along, no-one was safe from one day to the next. Then, after saving them from death, he gave them food and money and homes and jobs and safety and security and an education and pride.

    I re-quote Harvard’s John King Fairbank*: “The simple facts of Mao’s career seem incredible: in a vast land of 400 million people, at age 28 with a dozen others to found a party and in the next fifty years to win power, organize, and remold the people and reshape the land–history records no greater achievement. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, all the kings of Europe, Napoleon, Bismarck, Lenin–no predecessor can equal Mao Tse-tung’s scope of accomplishment, for no other country was ever so ancient and so big as China. Indeed Mao’s achievement is almost beyond our comprehension”.

    So maybe a little worship was in order.


    * The United States and China

  316. @Grandpa Charlie

    Well.Dr. Roberts, you have won me over with your Mao-like perseverance.

    Thinking it over, I would say that what FDR did was that, by his leadership, he made it possible for working men to gain back their self=respect. Maybe that’s the kind of thing that Mao did for the Chinese.

  317. @DB Cooper

    “Wrong. You [are] confusing Japan with China. Japan has emperor worship, China does not. Traditionally Chinese believe the emperor is the son of heaven but this son of heaven can lose the ‘Mandate of Heaven’ if he misrule.” — DB

    Thank you, DB, I probably was confusing Japan with China! Good point.

    I may have been overly impressed by the scene towards the end of the film The Last Emperor where the man who was the last emperor was embarrassed by an old peasant who insisted on kowtowing even though this was after the revolution and after the “emperor” was already retiring from his job as a gardener. Anyway, I’m not sure if kowtowing should be thought of as worship or just as a formal show of respect.

  318. @Godfree Roberts

    “I don’t think there’s enough known here about Yugoslavia, or enough commonality between the two countries to make for useful comparisons.” — GR

    As for what is “known here”, it’s true that I am not an expert and I could not find much in the way of links to data on Yugoslavia during the Tito years. There may be such links and such data: I just could not find them — I am not organized as a professional historian. I don’t expect GR to do that work, but I did think that my comments might bring someone out of the woodwork.

    As to commonalities, the two nations had each fought their way out of brutal occupations by a much better armed enemy, both had some air support from the USA in that respect, both had charismatic leaders, both had to fight against tough and well-armed counter-revolutionary opponents even as they had to fight off wehrmacht (or Japanese) occupiers.

    As for the significance of a Yugoslav example, it has been estimated that Toto’s partisans effectively kept 20 wehrmacht divisions tied down even as they were desperately needed tor the crucial German attempt to break through the Soviet encirclement at Stalingrad. Just as the accomplishments of the Yugoslav partisans in WW 2 should not be casually written off, so too development accomplishments of post-war Communist Yugosslavia should not be arbitrarily deemed insignificant. No historical comparison is ever perfect, but there are enough commonalities in this case to justify serious consideration.

    My thesis, so to speak, is that it perhaps should be expected that when a Communist state emerges victorious coming out of a war of liberation, fairly spectacular development results may be “normal” given the drive and energy unleashed within the people. This wouldn’t make Mao less praiseworthy, just less singular.Not completely without parallels.

    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
  319. Wade says:
    @Joe Wong

    Yes, the bombing, killing and waterboarding on the fabricated WMD allegation carried out by the West under the leadership of the USA since Columbus time is humanitarian intervention

    I agree with you on this. I’m very bitter about the Iraq war. But this without a doubt was foisted upon an unsuspecting public by a US’s Zionist clique which is basically still in charge although the figureheads have changed. It is the same reason why we entered WWI as well.

    I don’t know what it says about us that we fell for it. However, I do not feel good about it in the least.

  320. @Grandpa Charlie

    “the two articles so far by Godfree are anything but clear and convincing evidence”

    What evidence that I presented is inaccurate or misleading? Where lies its inadequacy?

  321. @silviosilver

    The IMF prepared figures for China’s and the US economy 1952-2016.

    Both fit my narrative and personal observations.

    Does one seem less credible to you than the other? If so, why?

  322. luba says:
    @kauchai

    Don’t forget CIA has been providing financial and military training to Dalai Lama and his followers to start uprising against CPC, to destablise China via gurrilla wars along China-India borders from later 1950s till 70s when US decided to make alliance with China against USSR, and to provide media propaganda/coverage from wall to wall to brainwash its people and to discredit PRC/CPC .

    CIA helped and coodinated Dalai Lama’s escape to India in 1959, paid Dalai Lama 180,000 USD per year, gave (now is done through NED) 2-3 million USD to so-called Tibetan exile government annually.

    There are tons of video and documents about CIA’r role in abetting the Tibetan separatists.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wU9FKVd-rv0

    Korea war started on June 25th June, US entered the war on June 27th and bombed Northeast (Manchuria) on 27th and 29th, August. MacArthur wanted to invade China, even thinking to nuke China to submission. This is one of the main reason he was later fired. This is why China took part in Korean War becasue of its own national sovereignty under attacks from US and its allies.

    Mao had expressed his desire to work US but was turned down due to US’s allegic reaction to commies. The Western did what they could to put embargos and sanctions against China, just like what they did to Iraq, Iran and North Korea.

    US did not even recognise PRC offically until 1979!

    Few Westerners know the evil and shameful role their governments played in trying to kill off PRC.

  323. Sam J. says:
    @German_reader

    Fair is fair. If we have to listen to this lying Holahoax story everywhere then you should should be informed that it’s a lie everywhere.

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