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When I first saw Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor (1987), it struck me as a remake of Doctor Zhivago. Both narratives begin in glamorous and archaic empires that fall to Communist revolutions. Of course, that could just be due to the fact that the Chinese Revolution was something of a remake of the Russian Revolution. But there are parallels specific to the two films, both of which depict Communism as recapitulating the old forms of despotism but as vulgar and brutal farces, stripped of all refinement. Both films also end on a note of hope. But what gives cause for hope is the reemergence of precisely what Communism sought to abolish. Thus both Doctor Zhivago and The Last Emperor are not just anti-Communist films, they are reactionary anti-Communist films. But in the case of The Last Emperor, this is hard to square with the fact that director Bertolucci was himself a Communist.

The Last Emperor tells the story of Puyi, who became the last emperor of the Qing dynasty in 1908 at the age of two. He was deposed in 1912 after China became a republic, which nobody bothered to tell him. He was allowed to rule on as emperor within the Forbidden City of Beijing, from which he was expelled in 1924. He then took refuge in Tientsin, where he plotted to regain his throne. Eventually, he threw in with the Japanese, in 1932 becoming the head of state of Manchukuo, the name given to Japanese-occupied Manchuria. In 1934, he was crowned emperor of Manchukuo. In 1945, he was captured by the Red Army. In 1950, he was turned over to the People’s Republic of China for trial and rehabilitation. In 1959, he was declared rehabilitated and released. He spent the rest of his life as a worker and citizen in the People’s Republic of China. He died of cancer in 1967.

The Last Emperor is based primarily on Puyi’s 1964 autobiography, From Emperor to Citizen. The script was written by Bertlolucci and his brother-in-law Mark Peploe. The Last Emperor was the first Western film to be shot within the Forbidden City. The cast included John Lone as the adult Puyi, Joan Chen as his Empress Wanrong, and Peter O’Toole as his tutor Reginald Johnston. Ryuichi Sakamoto played Japanese agent Masahiko Amakasu and composed the bulk of the music. There were nearly 20,000 extras. The Last Emperor was a critical success. It also did well in theaters, despite its 163-minute running time. It won nine Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director, as well as many other awards.

The Last Emperor works simply as a dazzling, exotic costume drama. It is astonishing to learn that at the dawn of the twentieth century, China was ruled by an absolute monarchy that had not changed much in more than 2,000 years. The emperor was revered as a quasi-divine being who mediated between heaven and earth, a conduit by which higher order infused a world perpetually haunted by chaos. The emperors had multiple wives and were attended by an army of eunuchs, who were not only castrated but had their sexual organs entirely removed, usually when they were children. The only intact man who could sleep in the palace was the emperor. When the emperors died, they were bedecked in jewels and entombed like pharaohs.

But it gets stranger yet. Even though the emperors had absolute power, they were little more than prisoners. They were never alone and were not allowed to do anything for themselves. This is dramatized most effectively on Puyi’s wedding night, when besides the empress, he was attended by six ladies in waiting who disrobed them as discreetly as possible.

Beyond that, the emperor had no contact with the world other than his courtiers and eunuchs, who used their control of information to shape policies. When a teenaged Puyi took on a Scotsman, Reginald Johnston, as his tutor, he knew almost nothing of world history or geography. The courtiers were so opposed to anything modern that they tried to veto eyeglasses for their nearsighted emperor.

However, this system became most bizarre when children became emperors. Child rulers are inevitable in monarchies, but they also reduce it to absurdity.

Hereditary monarchy has many benefits. Every social order needs a supreme executive. In normal circumstances, laws can be enforced and policies can be executed by bureaucrats, police, and judges. But in exceptional circumstances, where decisions cannot be based on settled laws and practices, executives need some discretionary power. And when the entire system is threatened by exceptional circumstances, one needs a chief executive who can decide what to do.

Sometimes terrible things have to be done to preserve society. Rioters need to be shot, for instance. But in such circumstances, ordinary policemen and officials fear to do what is necessary because their offices are conditional, and they can be blamed and punished for their missteps. Thus it is important for there to be someone who can take full responsibility during a crisis. Such a decision-maker cannot answer to any other mortal. He must be guided only by his sense of what is required by the common good. And since the common good can sometimes require killing, the decider must be immune from punishment for his actions. In short, the whole political order depends on a decision-maker who is above the law and immune to it.

An executive who can be removed from office, however, cannot employ unpopular measures even to save the nation. Thus the best executive rules for life.

But how does he attain his office? If an executive is elected—especially if the election falls during a crisis—he cannot risk doing anything unpopular either, even if it is necessary to preserve society. Thus the best executive cannot be chosen, for that means he is beholden to those who choose him, not to the public good. The best executive, therefore, must simply be born. (Or he can be chosen by lottery.) Hereditary monarchy is thus one of the best ways to confer the fullest package of executive powers.

Unfortunately, it often confers such powers upon unworthy parties. For when ultimate authority, responsibility, and immunity from punishment are reposed in the hands of a child—who is unable to understand statecraft and make decisions for himself and who cannot be held responsible for his actions, much less the actions of his underlings—monarchy becomes a farce. Decisions have to be made by other people—regents—who lack the ultimate authority or immunity of the sovereign.

The last three Chinese emperors were children when they were crowned. During the reign of the first two—the Tongzhi Emperor and the Guangxu Emperor—power was largely in the hands of the Dowager Empress Xixi, the mother of the former and the aunt of the latter. When the Guangxu Emperor began to reform China, Xixi overthrew him in a palace coup and went back to running the country. When Xixi was dying, the Guangxu Emperor was poisoned. Puyi was placed on the throne, under the control of Xixi’s faction, so that no reforms could take place even after her death.

But a new level of farce was reached in 1912, when Puyi’s regents abdicated in his name—and didn’t even bother to tell him. After all, he was a child. He wouldn’t understand. Under the articles of abdication, Puyi remained emperor within the walls of the Forbidden City. The rituals of the court continued unaltered, although they were now completely detached from the mechanisms of government.

Why did this farce continue? Part of it, surely, was superstition. The Chinese seemed unable to shake the belief that the Qing still enjoyed the Mandate of Heaven. Another part of it was the hope that the emperor would be restored, which did happen briefly in 1917. But the main part of it was probably corruption. The court provided a living for thousands. What else was a eunuch going to do in the twentieth century? The Forbidden City was a vast treasure house, which the courtiers were systematically plundering. When the teenaged Puyi ordered an inventory of the treasury, it was burned to the ground to cover the theft.

But the corruption of the Qing court came from the very top. What is corruption anyway? The purpose of government is to serve the common good. Every office should play that role. Of course, every office is staffed by officials, and every official is a mere mortal, who has his own private ends.

The only office where there is no divide between private and public interests is a hereditary monarch. His whole life, from birth to death, is dedicated to the public good. Thus he serves as an example to everyone else. But when the monarch is a puppet of scheming courtiers serving who knows what ends while merely going through the motions of serving the public good, it only makes sense for more humble functionaries to start looking out for themselves as well.

Of course they keep going through the motions of government. But their hearts are not in it. The regime has been hollowed out. It no longer serves its purpose. A hollowed-out regime can last a long time if it is not tested. When it is tested, we see whether its functionaries are willing to pull together and do what is necessary for its survival. But China was in the throes of a century of humiliations. Eventually, under the stress of foreign interventionists, domestic rebellions, ambitious politicians, and rogue generals, the regime simply collapsed.

The Last Emperor begins in 1950 when Puyi arrives at a Chinese Communist prison. But as the film unfolds, we learn that he was basically a prisoner since the age of two, when he was made the emperor.

It is astonishing that the Communists did not kill Puyi. Mao’s regime was the bloodiest in human history. What would have been one more life? Yes, the Communists believed that man is born good, does wrong only because of society, and can be reformed. But murdering their opposition was quicker and easier. There’s never been any shortage of Chinese.

Perhaps Puyi was spared for propaganda purposes. If he could be reformed, then anyone could. But Puyi was not the only Qing to be spared by the Red Chinese. His father, Prince Chun, died in Beijing in 1950—in a palace, not a prison. Many descendants of the Qing royal clan live in China to this day. Perhaps they were protected by the Mandate of Heaven after all, or at least a lingering belief in it.

It was to break with such traditions that the Cultural Revolution was launched, but on Bertolucci’s depiction, it simply ended up recapitulating the old regime as farce. One of the most spectacular scenes of The Last Emperor is Puyi’s coronation, in which thousands of Chinese nobles assemble to kowtow to the new emperor. At the end of the movie, we see hysterical Red Guards parading thought criminals through the streets and demanding they kowtow to Chairman Mao.

The end of The Last Emperor is enigmatic. The elderly Puyi buys a ticket to visit the Forbidden City as a tourist. Thinking he is alone, he tries to sit on this former coronation throne. A young boy in the red kerchief of the Pioneers stops him. Puyi tells him that he was once the emperor of China. To prove it, he rummages under the throne’s cushions and finds a cricket cage that he had hidden there. The cricket cage first appears during the coronation, when it is presented to Puyi by an official, Chen Baochen. When Chen opens the cage, the cricket emerges. Its crouched posture makes it look like it is kowtowing to the emperor too. When the boy opens the cage, the cricket reemerges. When the boy looks back at the throne, however, Puyi has disappeared. This is, of course, pure fantasy. Crickets only live a couple months. So this is a magic cricket.

ORDER IT NOW

How do we interpret this ending? First, we can ask what the cricket means. The cricket represents the reemergence of something that has gone into hibernation for a very long time. The kowtow, of course, is a symbol of imperial authority, brought back by the Red Guards. But is such authority good or bad? If Bertolucci were a liberal, he should say it is bad. But Bertolucci is supposedly a Marxist, and Marxists never had any problem with state power and its symbols.

Second, we can ask what it means to end with magic as such. Ultimately, Bertolucci doesn’t view history through Marxist lenses. Instead, he views it aesthetically. And as an aesthetic spectacle, he finds Communism lacking. The most visually spectacular parts of the film are from Puyi’s childhood: his meeting with Xixi who pronounces him the new emperor, his coronation, and his wedding. In Tientsin and Manchukuo, Puyi and his court embraced modern dress and décor, with equally spectacular results. Bertolucci portrays the People’s Republic of China, however, as utterly drab and vulgar, and not just the prisons. At the end of the Red Guard scene, we are serenaded by massed accordions and treated to some proletarian ballet. Even as degenerate drug addicts, the Qing at least had style.

One can criticize Communism from the Left, but by turning history into an aesthetic spectacle and ending with a poetic flourish, The Last Emperor repudiates Communism from the Right.

 
• Category: Arts/Letters, History • Tags: China, Hollywood, Movies 
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  1. Ron Unz says:

    Mao’s regime was the bloodiest in human history.

    That seems like total nonsense to me.

    It’s certainly true that tens of millions starved to death during Mao’s Great Leap Forward, but that was entirely unintentional, a consequence of the extremely stupid agricultural policies they adopted.

    Meanwhile, the Cultural Revolution was another gigantic disaster, but I don’t think the actual death toll was all that large, probably in the hundreds of thousands or maybe a million or so, so something like 0.1% to 0.2% of a population then pushing towards a billion. Those sorts of figures are nothing remotely like the percentages in Cambodia, Stalinist Russia, or even just mundane civil wars, let alone China’s own Taiping Rebellion of the 19th century.

    Finally, I do think something like a couple of million Chinese—landlords and such—may have been massacred after the Communists won the Civil War in 1949, but again that’s not a huge percentage, and from what I’ve read it’s not clear how much of that was encouraged rather than discouraged by the new Communist government. In fact, when the Nationalists fled to Taiwan, they soon massacred large numbers of the local elites who resented their presence, quite possibly a comparable percentage.

    Anyway, given all these historical facts, I don’t find these decisions at all surprising:

    It is astonishing that the Communists did not kill Puyi…Perhaps Puyi was spared for propaganda purposes. If he could be reformed, then anyone could. But Puyi was not the only Qing to be spared by the Red Chinese. His father, Prince Chun, died in Beijing in 1950—in a palace, not a prison. Many descendants of the Qing royal clan live in China to this day.

  2. Anonymous[940] • Disclaimer says:
    @Ron Unz

    Due to China’s huge population, the bulk of deaths under communism happened in China. In percentage terms, Mao’s China was of course not the bloodiest.

    Still, while most deaths during the Great Leap were of starvation, there was also extreme brutality for those who rose up, and there were uprisings as people became desperate. Many were beaten to death in the bloodiest ways possible.

    In percentage terms, Mao’s China was comparable to Stalin’s Russia. Stalin, like Mao, wasn’t intent on killing millions with the forced-collectivization campaign but didn’t care if they did. But Mao didn’t much care either.
    By estimates of famine deaths in Russia is around 7 million(though some go higher), with about 4 million dying in Ukraine. Great Leap Forward, by most estimates, killed somewhere between 25 to 30 million.

    Stalin’s purges cost about 500,00o lives, though estimates go as high as 650,000. In a speech in the 50s, Mao declared 800,000 people were executed. They were mostly ex-KMT officials, probably because the Korean War alarmed Mao. The death count in the anti-landlord campaign go as high as 5 million. Cultural Revolution careened out of control and probably led to the deaths(many by suicide) of around 2 million, though some estimates go as high as 3 million.

  3. “The only office where there is no divide between private and public interests is a hereditary monarch. His whole life, from birth to death, is dedicated to the public good. Thus he serves as an example to everyone else. But when the monarch is a puppet of scheming courtiers serving who knows what ends while merely going through the motions of serving the public good, it only makes sense for more humble functionaries to start looking out for themselves as well.”

    This is what happened in the UK where Elizabeth corrupted by her weak pitiful excuse for a father, her power mad mother with foul wood coloured teeth and the criminals in the court became corrupted herself so far from birth to death being dedicated to the public good her life became dedicated to “The Firm” i.e. her blood family doing well whilst destroying the very people in the country whose sweat blood and tears had actually built it by handing their jobs over to immigrants working for far lower wages and even worse to immigrants whose sole purpose in going to the UK was to destroy it by never working a solitary day in their God forsaken lives..

    She will live long enough to see her dynasty fall, it is all she deserves for her ongoing treachery.

    • Replies: @Alfa158
    , @Che Guava
  4. @Ron Unz

    It’s certainly true that tens of millions starved to death during Mao’s Great Leap Forward, but that was entirely unintentional, a consequence of the extremely stupid agricultural policies they adopted.

    You could also say that the Holodomor was entirely unintentional. It was just due to terrible famines and the entirely stupid collectivisation policies the Soviets adopted. Few, however, would accept this.
    I don’t think there is any definitive account of the motives behind the Great Leap Forward, so your statement may or may not be true.

  5. The opium entering China from India via HSBC ( Sutherland’s bank) killed how many? How many Chinese citizens were killed by European countries occuying China and in particular 1931-1945 –Japan now puts Puyi back on throne at Changchun (Muckden) and expands from Shandong Province ( awarded following WWI reparations from Germany) and occupies All NorthEast China —-31 million–saved the West from the Japanese forces. Lastly —how much money did the Chinese Emperor provide England on both Treaties of Namjing —13 million taels of silver?

    • Agree: showmethereal
    • Replies: @reading
    , @Jus' Sayin'...
  6. reading says:
    @Ron Unz

    I’m terribly sorry. I’m a low-education person. Only use translation software to chat. Sorry for the grammatical mistakes
    The Chinese Communist Party is a Leninist order of knights. The moral requirements are high.. As a matter of policy landowners were not secretly executed. It’s owned by the village. Most of them are their employees. A landowner.. Public trial… It’s what the Loyalists did during the Revolutionary War. Tarpaulin. Then glue feathers and paraded. And divide their property.. But the landowner is still legally a person… Still give him an equal piece of land.. I didn’t put them in the bathroom
    Of course, some landlords are very guilty. Or you can think of a landlord as a slave owner. The New China revolution was a slave uprising… The Red Knights are very disciplined.. Didn’t let it happen.. After the parade comes the trial…. In modern fashion.. Is very democratic, very legal…
    Many of the elite priests of the Red Knights were themselves of the landed class. Strict laws.. Many people have been slacking off since the success of the revolution. The corruption that had been fought before the revolution was soon replicated.. The Cultural Revolution can be seen as a religious war waged by the Pope of the Red Order.. The lower priests and the lax bishops. The cardinals debated.. Of course they ended up fighting… This is awkward..

    • Replies: @Franz
  7. Trinity says:

    I like how most movies always try to romanticize the Jewish Revolution in Russia/Soviet Union. I remember Babs Streisand and Robert Redford starring in that movie, “The Way We Were” where Babs played a commie activist in America set in the 1930s through 1950s. Good ole Babs was always telling how great the mass murderer Lenin was and how great Judeo-fascism aka communism was for the goyim. Babs, like Jews in real life, was trying to hoodwink America back in the day to embrace “Judeo-fascism” under the guise of a “workers paradise.” haha.

    And then I recall a great movie in my opinion from the early 2000s titled “Enemy At The Gates” based on the true story of a Russian sniper, Vasily Zaitsev, who was apparently a decorated soldier who fought the Germans at Stalingrad. While it shows Russkie leaders sending their own to slaughter or be shot by their own, it still romanticizes the Judeo-fascist led Soviets to some degree. Ed Harris, a very underrated actor IMO, plays a German major and sniper who is sent to kill Vasily. It becomes a battle of snipers which of course portrays Vasily as the “good guy” vs the German “bad guy” played by Harris.

  8. reading says:

    The trial of landlords in China. Think of the American Revolution. The treatment of those loyal to the Queen of England… Loyalists were stripped naked and tarred… Stick a feather on it and hang it. And divide his property…
    China is pretty much the same but without shedding the sticky feathers. But wearing a high hat and parading through the streets… But they are still treated as civilians after serving varying prison terms. Still give them land… Of course this process is not a year or two in the course of decades. Some slave owners conspire and are caught and executed.. Earlier when the regime was unstable the law was tougher.. . After resisting UN forces on the Korean Peninsula.. The regime became more stable, but more relaxed

  9. AntiDem says:
    @Ron Unz

    LOL between this and the ridiculous, but Beijing-approved, line that COVID was actually developed in a US Army lab at Ft. Detrick, could it be any more obvious that Ron Unz has been bought off by Chinese money?

  10. This is a very odd film review. It deals minimally with the film and discusses matters of political authority much more. It claims the film is actually a reactionary take on Pu Yi’s life, despite it being directed by a millionaire Marxist. This is based on a few scenes near the end of the film ( which may or may not have been shown when the film appeared in China ). I haven’t seen the film for reasons I will outline.

    The Last Emperor is based primarily on Puyi’s 1964 autobiography, From Emperor to Citizen. The script was written by Bertlolucci and his brother-in-law Mark Peploe.

    Actually, the genesis of the film is far more complicated. In 1986, old China hand, Brian Power ( 1918-2008) had his work on Pu Yi published. Its full title was The Puppet Emperor: The Life of Pu Yi , Last Emperor of China. I read the book, which was well-written. It was sympathetic to Johnston and the Empress, but critical, sometimes highly critical, of Pu Yi himself. The use of the word Puppet in the title sums up the essence of the criticism. Despite or because of this, it received mixed reviews from the critics.
    https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/china-quarterly/article/puppet-emperor-the-life-of-pu-yi-last-emperor-of-china-by-power-brian-london-peter-owen-1986-240-pp-1395/B03C20F5CF96B7CF0985972F35F7FFA0

    The film rights were bought by Hollywood. Indeed, on the front of the jacket, were the words: Now a Major Film, or something like that. So I was looking forward to the film. It never happened. The studio obtained permission to film in China, dumped the book and hired Champagne Marxist Bertolucci to direct. To add insult to injury, they hired a geriatric Time-Life hack to write a book of the film.
    So I never wanted to watch the film, which I strongly suspected would be little more than CCP propaganda. Lynch’s review hasn’t changed my mind.

    Strangely – or not so strangely – the story of Power’s book and the film rights has been completely memory holed. I can’t find a reference to it anywhere. Mr Power must have been very fully recompensed.

    • Replies: @John Johnson
    , @Dave Bowman
  11. Yee says:

    Of all the miseries, humiliations, suffering for a long century under imperialist boots, they made a anti-Communist film…

    • Replies: @Trevor Lynch
  12. Yee says:

    “It is astonishing that the Communists did not kill Puyi. Mao’s regime was the bloodiest in human history.…… Perhaps Puyi was spared for propaganda purposes.”

    Perhaps the West lied about Mao…

    Chinese people were most heavily armed in history in Mao’s era. There was no gun control. China’s gun control started in late 80s and 90s.

    If tens of millions really starved to dead, then no way there weren’t armed robberies all over the country. Plenty of guns around, and everyone was trained in prepare for “people’s war”.

    That said, I don’t object to anti-Communism in foreign countries. It’s not in China’s national interests to have a duplicate of USSR or China.

    • Thanks: showmethereal
  13. reading says:
    @GomezAdddams

    Don’t get so excited about these American preachers promoting themselves and belittling others. This is a sign of the animal nature of Homo sapiens.
    The United States had a agrarian revolution
    The westward movement allocated land by placing a price on the scalp of the original inhabitants.. Mexico was also allocated on the pretext that the abolition of slavery in Mexico harmed the interests of American slave owners.
    Labor issues have also been well resolved. By buying and selling African-American labor tools. Good protection of the working conditions of American agricultural planters. Guaranteed working conditions in America..
    After the new century, he opened the yellow slave plantation to East Asia. Bribing local landowners with American missionaries. Send your tribesmen to apple plantations. Toy plantations. Shirt clothing plantation.. Because of the harsh working conditions. China is the best in the world in replanting severed limbs in just 30 years. The Us empire can buy slave labor by printing dollars…
    The US government has been trying to bring factories back to the US.. Only the native Compradors of China, attached to American imperialist imperialism, captured their own tribesmen as slave overseers on plantations. Senior supervisor not satisfied.. Most of them are unresponsive… We really welcome the Us empire to move their factories back…

  14. Alfa158 says:
    @Proximaking

    The British monarchy is a purely ceremonial institution. The Monarchy has had almost zero actual political power since Charles the First was decapitated. There are symbolic activities such as after an election when the new Prime Minister has an audience with the Queen and she formally “orders” him to form a new government, but that is nothing but a charade. The Queen performs the formalities of being periodically briefed by the PM on what the government is doing but purely as a courtesy. She has no power to initiate or block legislation. The Queen has no more power than the Emperor Puyi.

    The British and American people have brought their fate down on themselves through their own apathy, stupidity and cowardice. If Elizabeth had tried to rally the British people to fight for themselves, the Monarchy would have been dissolved.

    • Replies: @Old Brown Fool
  15. @Trinity

    “Ed Harris, a very underrated actor IMO”

    True that.

    “plays a German major and sniper who is sent to kill Vasily. It becomes a battle of snipers which of course portrays Vasily as the “good guy” vs the German “bad guy” played by Harris.”

    Penance for playing the “good guy” GI sent to Germany to persecute Wilhelm Furtwangler in Taking Sides, which I saw Harris in on stage in NYC. Harris’ character calls his target “the bandleader” with typical American contempt driven by ignorance.

    It’s interesting that Furtwangler was tormented by the occupiers while Karajan not only joined the party, he joined the party twice. Now that’s what I call a real Nazi. Purely to curry favor and promotions, of course. I speculate that Furtwangler was a German man of culture, old style, while Karajan was a technician more suited to the mechanization mania of first the Nazis and then the US. So much for Heidegger’s convenient idea that the NS was a “third way” that would save Germany from both East and West.

  16. Greg, please do The Wild Bunch

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  17. @Verymuchalive

    I don’t think there is any definitive account of the motives behind the Great Leap Forward, so your statement may or may not be true.

    While Mao didn’t mean to kill all those people, the result was bloody just the same. In a way, starving to death(and watching your family and whole community starve to death and even turn to cannibalism) is worse than a bullet in the head. The thing is Mao didn’t even take responsibility. At most, he admitted to some ‘mistakes’ and pretended it was no big deal.

    An alcoholic behind the wheel may not intend to kill but if he doesn’t care and is oblivious to what may happen(and did happen), it’s technically manslaughter but close to murder. Such levels of indifference is downright pathological.

    Also, the Great Leap was a violent war on nature, human nature, history, and any sense of normality. Mao saw himself as a god who could turn mountains upside down with the power of will. People were regarded as mere pawns in the game. Harry Lime in THE THIRD MAN saw people as dots for profit, and Mao saw them as dots for ‘progress’, but the mentality was the same. People are expendable.

    And the Great Leap was possible because Mao had created an order of Fear and Terror. Even people who knew better at the outset dared not say anything because any dissent, especially following the fallout from the Hundred Flowers Campaign, meant you could end up in the gulag or worse. It was far worse than exile in Mussolini’s Italy. The Fascists sent you away but left you alone. In contrast, Mao’s minions were into ‘re-education’ and mentally tortured you until you were broken.

    People who foolishly and recklessly unleash such horrors deserve the blame. George W. Bush didn’t mean to kill all those Arabs, but that’s what happened because his hubris and stupidity blinded him. Maybe, Obama didn’t mean 100,000s of Libyans, Syrians, and Yemenese to die in the wars he instigated with Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Israel, but that’s what happened. He must bear responsibility. But the son of a bitch doesn’t even care about all those destroyed lives.

    Pathology in commonplace in politics. What made Mao especially dangerous was he was especially megalomaniacal and amassed total power. Even the spectacular disaster of Great Leap didn’t lead to his removal. And the Cultural Revolution showed how vindictive he could be. He used Red Guard thugs to attack and torture all his enemies, real and imaginary, mostly imaginary.

    • Agree: Traddles
    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
  18. @Yee

    Chinese people were most heavily armed in history in Mao’s era. There was no gun control. China’s gun control started in late 80s and 90s.

    You mean you could walk into some gun shop and buy an AK-47 in Mao’s China?

    LOL. I’m sure there were village militias in China, especially as the anti-Soviet rhetoric was heating up, but they were well-regulated and totally loyal to the state.

    • Agree: GomezAdddams
  19. @40 Lashes Less One

    Greg, please do The Wild Bunch

    No, leave Peckinpah alone.

  20. @GomezAdddams

    The opium entering China from India via HSBC ( Sutherland’s bank) killed how many?

    The Opium Wars have been a propaganda gold mine for Chinese governments since shortly after the last one ended. In fact, reasonably pure opium, particularly when smoked, as was the Chinese custom, is a relatively benign drug and was a way for the Chinese peasantry to escape the intolerable conditions they experienced during the latter days of the Qing Dynasty. On the Chinese imperial government’s side, the Opium Wars were fought to maintain a highly lucrative domestic monopoly. Powerful mandarins made enormous profits selling dangerously adulterated and almost useless opium concoctions to a peasantry desperate for relief from the life they lived. The Opium Wars broke this monopoly and allowed the British to introduce relatively pure, safe and effective opium to the Chinese masses, peasants desperate for an anodyne to their miserable existence. Compared with the adulterated product which Qing mandarins provided, British opium likely saved Chinese lives.

    • Disagree: GomezAdddams
    • Troll: d dan, showmethereal
  21. d dan says:
    @Jus' Sayin'...

    “The Opium Wars broke this monopoly and allowed the British to introduce relatively pure, safe and effective opium to the Chinese masses, peasants desperate for an anodyne to their miserable existence. ”

    You probably think that Chinese people should thank British for the opium wars. What a racist pig.

    • Replies: @Deep Thought
  22. Technomad says:

    In a lot of ways, Mao was shaped by the Imperial past far more than he probably ever really realized. Under previous dynasties, the surviving scions of overthrown imperial families were routinely kept at court, partly to prevent them being (willingly or not) leaders of rebellions aimed at putting their families back into power. Hence, under the Qing, there were Ming Dynasty-descended nobles at the Qing court.

    Dead, Puyi was (potentially, at least) a martyr; alive and on ice in Beijing, he could be rendered harmless. Despite his known homosexuality, Mao made a point of “marrying him off” to a Han Chinese woman—breaking the ancient law of the Qing Dynasty, which restricted members of the Imperial line to marrying ethnic-Manchus, to keep the race pure.

    I’m not a fan of the late Qing—they stupidly followed the model of the Ming, the first really anti-foreign dynasty in China, from whom the Qing learned how to be Chinese rulers—but I can pity Puyi as an individual. During his whole life, I don’t think he ever got to make any important decisions for himself.

    • Replies: @Trevor Lynch
    , @Che Guava
  23. Trinity says:
    @James J O'Meara

    I liked Harris in a couple of other movies. One was with Robert DeNiro where DeNiro and Harris played ex Vietnam vets called, “Jacknife.” The other movie was about the Irish mob which appears to be LOOSELY based on the real life Irish gang the Westies titled, “State Of Grace,” with Sean Penn and Gary Oldman playing alongside Harris. Both are two underrated movies IMO. Oldman can play anything from an Irish mobster to Commissioner Gordon to a wigger pimp. Who can forget Oldman playing the wigger pimp, Drexl, in the movie, “True Romance.” haha. And this years academy award for best portrayal of a wigger goes to Gary Oldman. hehe.

  24. I saw this movie about a year ago, and I thought it was really good.

    When friends ask me about it, I respond thusly: “It’s a great movie…if you’re interested in the history & politics of northeast Asia during the early-to-mid 20th century.”

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, no one I know IRL has yet watched it on that basis.

    • Replies: @Trevor Lynch
  25. Franz says:
    @reading

    The Chinese Communist Party is a Leninist order of knights.

    This is clear. There is always a religious motive, but in the modern world we use the language of Rights, Property, Freedom. At bottom each side must believe it is fighting for the survival of the universe, dying for less is unacceptable.

    The Emperor in all this must be the straight line to heaven, maintained here on earth. The belief in the Emperor must be strong. When it came about that the Emperor was either tainted or irrelevant, it was time to drop him. With much less violence than we might have thought, that’s what happened.

  26. lloyd says: • Website

    I have heard the Pentagon described as America’s Forbidden City. That was said to me by a son of a New Zealand military man. Remember New Zealand is the outpost of Five Eyes even if just the door man. I took note of the comment in this review. “It (the treasury) was burned to the ground to cover the theft.” 911 at the Pentagon? Was Puyi a literal child version of Biden? Both surrounded by courtiers controlling every movement while the Empire collapses. Chinese Communism was always ethnic and its leadership generally avoided murdering high profile Chinese. Murdering the Emperor would have been deeply shameful. Bertolucci has always shown contempt for Party Communism in his movies. His Communism is idealistic.

  27. Right_On says:
    @James J O'Meara

    Harris’ character calls his target “the bandleader” with typical American contempt

    “What do you call someone who hangs around musicians?”

    “Err, . . . a groupie?”

    “Nope. A conductor.” [Snigger, snigger]

    Old ‘joke’.
    Usually, “conductor” is replaced by “drummer”, but I’m more impressed by drummers than someone who just beats time.

  28. Yee says:

    Priss Factor,

    “You mean you could walk into some gun shop and buy an AK-47 in Mao’s China?
    LOL. I’m sure there were village militias in China, especially as the anti-Soviet rhetoric was heating up, but they were well-regulated and totally loyal to the state”

    You didn’t have to buy guns, the government gave them to you, and you could also make them yourself, it was allowed.

    Of course there were militias. Their number ran to tens of millions, which means virtually every family had a member. The whole nation was armed.

    And no, guns were not very well regulated, as proved by a soar of gun-related serious crimes in the late 80s, 10 years after Mao’s death. That’s when the government started gun control.

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  29. Right_On says:
    @Jus' Sayin'...

    John Stuart Mill’s celebrated classic On Liberty includes a plea for users of opium.

    “The prohibition of the importation of opium into China [is] objectionable, not as infringements on the liberty of the producer or seller, but on that of the buyer.”

    In the interests of full disclosure, he might have mentioned he was employed by The East India Company, which was raking in a profit from the trade.

    But your point about the Chinese not being serious about cracking down on drug use and instead wanting to maintain a monopoly on the sale of the drug is spot on. The purity and consistency of British (i.e., Indian) opium made it the go-to option for a Chinese toff re-creating himself with his concubine at the day’s end.

    • Troll: d dan
  30. MEH 0910 says:

    The Last Emperor Original Soundtrack playlist:

  31. @Yee

    You didn’t have to buy guns, the government gave them to you, and you could also make them yourself, it was allowed.

    For the asking? So, if I went to come local chief and said, “hey, gimme an AK-47 and a pistol”, he gave them to you? Or did the government give guns to certain people because they were seen as loyal to the Party?

    And how did one make a gun back then? You mean something like bottle rockets shooting out of dancing dragon eyes?

    • Replies: @Jake Dee
    , @showmethereal
  32. Yee says:

    Priss Factor,

    Every village, factory, Community, school, etc. received guns from the government, then they organized their own farmers or workers to be trained.

    How the militia was formed doesn’t really matter, the point is there were plenty of guns at the most basic level of the soceity. The later crimes showed that those guns could be used for anything other than “loyal to the Party”, for example, loot the local grain storage facilities when your village was dying of hunger.

    As for how did they make a gun, I guess you have to ask the hunters. They made quite a lot.

  33. @Jus' Sayin'...

    The problem with the Opium trade was it gave the CCP their current strategy: flood other countries with methamphetamine & Fenatyl.

    From George Floyd to the Philippines drug war, it all begins with mad Chinese scientists in the mainland in laboratories.

    The CCP has used “shabu” to waste Filipino youth & turn the country into a vassal state.

  34. @d dan

    I am prepared to forget that if, and only if, they stop complaining about fentanyl from China: 😀

    @Jus’ Sayin’…

    “The Opium Wars broke this monopoly and allowed the British to introduce relatively pure, safe and effective opium to the Chinese masses, peasants desperate for an anodyne to their miserable existence. ”

    You probably think that Chinese people should thank British for the opium wars. What a racist pig.

    https://www.usitc.gov/publications/332/executive_briefings/ebot_george_serletis_fentanyl_from_china_pdf.pdf

    I call it Retaliation in Kind!!!

    • Replies: @d dan
  35. @Anonymous

    What sources is your information coming from?

  36. An absolute monarchy is also superior to democracy/republic because in order for any enterprise to thrive, including a polity, it must have an owner. That which belongs to everyone belongs to no one and is treated as such. A young, homogeneous republic can endure for a while, but as it grows it inevitably becomes the kind of corrupt free-for-all that Imperial Rome became and that the US has now become. The similarity is not that surprising despite the distance in time and geography because such is simply the life cycle of a republic that grows to any significant size. In the US, of course, we have had (((special guests))) to accelerate and feed on the rot.

  37. Jake Dee says:
    @Priss Factor

    And how did one make a gun back then? You mean something like bottle rockets shooting out of dancing dragon eyes

    ?

    Kind of, yes.
    A village craftsman would turn out something very similar to a musket with a flintlock or matchlock mechanism. Black powder would not be difficult to come by and they could cast their own shot. Perfectly acceptable for a man hunting in the mountains or on the steppes.
    You have to remember that even in the late 20th century China social and technical conditions were very different than contemporary America with it’s 2nd amendment and concealed carry 9mm Glocks.

  38. @Ron Unz

    ‘…That seems like total nonsense to me…’

    But you merely argue that the killing wasn’t deliberate, not that it didn’t happen.

    Even if the deaths weren’t intended, they flowed from the values, policies, and structure of the regime. It strikes me that at best the distinction is akin to that between a drunk driver who kills three and a deliberate murderer. The drunk driver is not blameless, and his victims are certainly dead.

    • Agree: Rosie
  39. @Verymuchalive

    This is a very odd film review. It deals minimally with the film and discusses matters of political authority much more.

    I really enjoyed the review and it made me want to watch it again.

    To me this movie is all about imagery and production value. Sure it has historical context but you can still watch it like a Chinese Fantasia.

    I think between this and Kundun you can get a sense of how much of Chinese culture was wiped out by the Communists.

    I’d also recommend The Sand Pebbles for a look at what China was like before the war and you can also get a sense of the resentment against Westerners that the Communists exploited.

    • Thanks: Verymuchalive
  40. @Yee

    If tens of millions really starved to dead, then no way there weren’t armed robberies all over the country. Plenty of guns around, and everyone was trained in prepare for “people’s war”.

    China was a country of peasants and most peasants didn’t own guns.

    There are horrible…horrible stories of survival from that period. It is not all exaggerated.

    It really isn’t difficult to starve people or animals. Just try fasting for a day and see how much it messes with your head. You don’t realize how much energy it saps from you.

  41. Jake Dee says:

    The only office where there is no divide between private and public interests is a hereditary monarch.

    There is of course an Asian alternative to this system which has a rather long history, the reincarnated Tibetan Llamas. On his death-bed the old Llama gives suitably vague and mystic instructions as to when he will be reborn next. Then after his death and with suitable rituals, a delegation of monks leave the monastery to find the new incarnation of their old master. They will find a small group of boys who fit the criteria and take them back to the monastery for examination and education. The boy who passes all the tests will become the next high Llama at the age of 10~15. So the process will take a while but it does have some advantages. The practical upshot of all this incense burning and bell ringing is that you get a smart boy, free of genetic abnormalities, who has been trained by the previous administration from childhood for the position of chief executive officer. It also solves the problem of how a bunch of men can have a hereditary monarchy without any women.
    The foundational myth behind all of this is that the Llama has his psyche so highly developed that he can go through the whole process of death, afterlife and rebirth without losing consciousness, guided solely by his mission to bring all people to nirvana, and can be reborn exactly where he wants to be.
    So the current Dalai Llama is not the 14th Dalai Llama he is the one and only Dalai Llama who is now on his 14th lap around the track.

    • Thanks: Fred777
    • Replies: @showmethereal
  42. Blade says:
    @Ron Unz

    Ron, did you know Lenin was aware of Pavlov’s studies (and wanted to learn how psychological research could be used for Communist society)? I have read arguments on how Communists intentionally created famines to break people and make them obedient slaves to the government. Are we sure that this isn’t true? I mean if it only happened in China, the unintentional famine argument would’ve been more believable. The same happened in Ukraine, then in Kazakhstan (60% of Kazakhs died as a result, yet another genocide of Russians), then in China, then in North Korea…

    If you think from a completely materialistic point of view, and from a revolutionary’s mindset, it doesn’t seem like an entirely bad idea to force famines on people soon after the revolution (especially if people are members of a minority). Events like a huge famine, turning society upside down, wars, and so on are perfect tools to completely change societies very fast. Not to mention that though it is commonly argued otherwise (“hungry people revolt” argument), the reality is that hungry people do not have the energy or psyche to do anything. There is a good chance that CCP would not last as long as it did without completely crushing Chinese people’s spirit soon after the revolution. So, it has likely succeeded as well.

    The numbers you report are also the extreme low end of estimates, no? I thought China’s official numbers were larger than the numbers you give.

  43. d dan says:
    @Right_On

    “But your point about the Chinese not being serious about cracking down on drug use and instead wanting to maintain a monopoly on the sale of the drug is spot on.”

    Several Qinq Emperors were alerted of the harmful effects of opium. In 1729, Emperor YongZheng issued the first Edict to prohibit the selling and consumption of opium. In 1796, Emperor JiaQing issued further Edict to ban the importation and use of opium. To circumvent the Chinese law, the East India Company stopped selling opium directly. Instead, it forced Indians to plant more poppy, developed purer opium, and setup processing plants to cater for Chinese market. It then distribute licenses to multiple British merchants to smuggle opium to China, which made enforcement much difficult, and let to surges of opium uses in China within a short period of time.

    Flood of Qing court officials voiced serious concerns and proposed draconian actions against selling and uses of opium. The most famous (but not the only one) was Lin Zexu. By then, of course there were also corrupted officials who wanted to maintain their profitable status quo with British, but Emperor Daoguang was astute and determined enough to issue the most sweeping ban in 1839. After arriving in Guangzhou, Lin Zexu tried to persuade British merchants to top the illegal trade peacefully. He even wrote a letter to the Queen to reason with moral ground. The recalcitrance of British forced Lin’s hand and let to the destruction of large opium stock.

    The Qinq was consistently serious about stopping opium, but the British used its technological edge, its sanctuary of Indian plantation and processing centers, and connection with corrupted officials and criminal gangs within China to stay in the game in every steps. So, Qinq finally decided to go directly against the source: the British merchants. To Emperor Daoguang and Lin Zexu’s surprise, British went violence and started a war.

    So don’t give the fucking excuses that Chinese weren’t serious about stopping the opium. Putting lipstick on your pig face doesn’t make you look human.

    • Replies: @Right_On
  44. @Yee

    Of all the miseries, humiliations, suffering for a long century under imperialist boots, they made an anti-Communist film…

    This is a genuinely funny comment. Thank you.

    I wonder if the greatest humiliation was communism itself, a foreign ideology. The PRC is just a more successful version of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom.

    • Replies: @Deep Thought
  45. @Servant of Gla'aki

    When friends ask me about it, I respond thusly: “It’s a great movie…if you’re interested in the history & politics of northeast Asia during the early-to-mid 20th century.”

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, no one I know IRL has yet watched it on that basis.

    Tell them about the gorgeous sets and costumes, and how strange it all is

  46. “. . . the decider must be immune from punishment for his actions.”

    No, no, no, “. . . the decider must be immune TO (not FROM) punishment for his actions.”

    • Agree: Right_On
    • Replies: @Dave Bowman
  47. @Priss Factor

    I agree with almost everything you write. But the collectivisation programme had an specific political aim in the Soviet Union. It was not just a deranged war on on “nature, human nature, history, and any sense of normality”, as you say.
    That aim was the breaking and physical destruction of kulaks, Cossacks and other pastoralists, whom the Soviets saw as a threat. The Holodomor also had the aim of breaking Ukrainian nationalism as well. Its counterpart in the rest of the Soviet Union was equally lethal – Kazakhstan’s population declined by 25% during this period. Needless to say, Jewish Communists were heavily involved: unsurprising, given the Jewish hatred and contempt for the peasantry. As many as 40% of NKVD operatives in the Ukraine in the period were Jewish.

    So was the Great Leap Forward an attempt to break and physically liquidate as many kulaks and “enemies of the Revolution” as well ? One clue is the large number of European Communist “advisors” that Mao retained. The vast majority were, of course, Jews. The definitive history of Jewish influence on Mao remains to be written, but many see their hand behind the Great Leap Forward.

  48. Minor correction: The name of the empress dowager who ran (and brought to ruin) the late Qing dynasty was Cixi (慈禧) not Xixi.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empress_Dowager_Cixi

  49. @Technomad

    Dead, Puyi was (potentially, at least) a martyr; alive and on ice in Beijing, he could be rendered harmless. Despite his known homosexuality, Mao made a point of “marrying him off” to a Han Chinese woman—breaking the ancient law of the Qing Dynasty, which restricted members of the Imperial line to marrying ethnic-Manchus, to keep the race pure.

    Puyi married a Han Chinese woman, Li Yuqin, in 1943 while still Emperor of Manchukuo. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Li_Yuqin

  50. @Right_On

    The East India Company

    Antisemitic!
    That should be The BRITISH East India Company, operated by the Sassoons.

    We can see parallels with the Sacklers and the opioid epidemic in present-day USA.

  51. To what extent did Mao rule by the written word? Far more than any other political figure of his time. We do see MEIN KAMPF mentioned often in connection with Hitler but that appears to have been a one-off event at the beginning of his career whereas Mao wrote & published steadily throughout his.
    An example of Mao’s brilliance may be found in his article THE TURNING POINT IN WORLD WAR II October 12, 1942, which just now for lack of a better venue I have copied onto the degraded “alt.california” https://tinyurl.com/szwsdst7

    “All those who take a pessimistic view of the world situation should change their point of view.”

  52. How do we interpret this ending?

    This is the Eternal Han, surviving all regimes and slaughters.

  53. @Right_On

    These would make excellent arguments for the lawyers of the Colombian drug cartels.
    1. They send drugs to the USA in order to preserve the liberties of the American consumer.
    2. They only sell well because the quality is better than the crappy CIA produced ones from Afghanistan.

  54. Dumbo says:
    @Ron Unz

    but that was entirely unintentional,

    LOL!

    It’s like, collectivization caused untold misery and death, but it was unintentional, so it’s OK.

    It’s like, their Four Pest campaign to eradicate sparrows completely backfired and increased famine, but that was unintentional, so it’s OK.

    Mao was a piece of shit.

    a million (…)but again that’s not a huge percentage,

    And yet Mr. Unz panics and screams when a few thousand old and obese Americans appear to die from COVID.

    But a million Chinese massacred by Communists, that’s just an unimportant statistic, I mean, there are so many Chinese, right.

    • Replies: @Commentator Mike
  55. Lochearn says:

    The China opium racket was a Rothschild op led by Iraqi Jew David Sassoon. Who would have guessed?

    • Agree: GomezAdddams
  56. The concept of the Mandate of Heaven is the key reason Puyi survived

    The thing about the Mandate of Heaven is that it is merely heaven (think of Buddhist heaven as a more philosophical version of Mt Olympus) endorsing the current ruler because he’s taming chaos on earth. In other words, the mandate is conditional rather than absolute – if heaven decides that the emperor is failing to tame chaos, then heaven will revoke the mandate and start looking around for someone more worthy.

    Contrast the Chinese concept of a conditional mandate with the European idea of kings and queens who, sometime in the distant past, had been granted by God the absolute right to rule (and to inherent the absolute right to rule) regardless of whether any particular king or queen is good, bad or indifferent. In fact, from a European peasant’s perspective, harming a king was a mortal sin against God.

    Back to China. Blind Nellie knew that there was chaos on earth – there was civil war, invasion and famine. Then one day, along came the Communists who began to reduce the chaos. Eventually it became obvious to everyone that the Communists had received heaven’s mandate to rule – sure, life wasn’t great, but it was certainly better than it was – especially for the rural peasants.

    Because heaven’s mandate was conditional, it didn’t matter that Puyi was still alive – heaven must have sacked him and transferred its mandate to the Communists. Contrast that with the European hereditary system, say the one in imperial Russia, where it was crucial that the emperor and his entire family be killed so that it became an impossibility for the peasants to be convinced that they’re sinning against God if they don’t support the emperor, or if the emperor is dead, then his son etc.

    • Replies: @Weaver
    , @Priss Factor
  57. @Jus' Sayin'...

    The Anglo Saxon mind is fascinating and revolting in equal measure.

    But no matter. Force will do the talking.

    • LOL: Maddaugh
    • Replies: @Maddaugh
  58. Anon[705] • Disclaimer says:

    Bertolucci was one of those Communism-has-never-been-tried communists. The kowtowing cricket acknowledges the authoritarian repression of both the Qing and Mao governments.

  59. @jeff stryker

    Thank God the Austronesian Filipinos have their white saviours to keep the former American colony safe from the Chinese!

    No wonder Austronesian women are throwing themselves at the feet of their old fat white “Expats”. They are full of gratitude for giving them their freedom from the slanty eyed evil man.

    Its not the dollar bills in their fists that buys their affections, its the gratitude. Now I understand.

    • Replies: @Commentator Mike
  60. @Trevor Lynch

    I wonder if the greatest humiliation was communism itself, a foreign ideology.

    Communism is not just a foreign ideology. It is a WESTERN ideology.

    In Mao, the People’s Emperor by Dick Wilson. The author related an occasion when Mao discussed Communism with Chinese Marxist intellectuals. These intellectuals repeated the standard Marxist propaganda about what Communism was. Then Mao corrected them and said, “No, Communism is the hammer we use to destroy our enemies with!” It was the ideology weapon available at the right time.

    Kishore Mahbubani once said that CCP nowadays stands for Chinese Cultural Party in fact. Today’s China is “communist” in name only!

    Where I am, I can tune into a couple of CCTV channels. Often, you can see that what the CCP is promoting is not so much Communism but “Chinese-ism.”

    The PRC is just a more successful version of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom.

    I think there is some truth in that. If Taiping was led by a Mao, China could have had a successful revolution sooner, and therefore, been spared of the Warlords period, industrialized earlier and so could be in a better state to meet the subsequent aggression by the japs.

    Either the Taiping leaders failed to lead or the Christian hammer didn’t work as hoped.

  61. Yee says:

    John Johnson,

    “China was a country of peasants and most peasants didn’t own guns.
    ……
    Just try fasting for a day and see how much it messes with your head. You don’t realize how much energy it saps from you.”

    Yes, China was a country of peasants, so its army were all peasants. Didn’t stop them learning to fire a gun. How difficult could that be?

    Millions upon millions of people have tried fasting to lose weight… I wouldn’t say it’ll mess with your head, only it’s a battle between physical urge and mental determination not to go get food. Physical urge is very powerful so most people fail.

    So, I believe people would have looted if “tens of millions” were starved to death. After all, they could get their hand on guns, and physical urge was hard to resist.

  62. Maddaugh says:
    @Trinity

    You make some intriguing points in your comment. First Enemy at the Gates as the movie focused on a supposed sniper duel between the righteous Soviets (our ally then but enemy since LOL) and the evil German invaders (our enemy then and ally since). You have to laugh at how this old world spins though the ages.

    In fact, historians contest whether either of these two characters even existed. Extensive search of Bundeswehr archives and the Wehrmacht’s sniper school does not turn up Harris’s German Super Sniper. Several Russian historians also cannot turn up any Vassily Z. One fellow commented that the whole Vassily legend started as propaganda when the German army was almost on the riverbanks of the Volga and it looked like it would take the City. The gist is that one author after the other used the original source as a reference until it became a gospel. Hence, a researcher today could claim VZ did exist as there are hundreds of references in the history books when in fact, this piece of history may be just a piece of propaganda that ricocheted from writer to writer each using the other a reference.

    I wish I had kept the article but it looks like the piece and the author have disappeared. Siberia and the Sulphur mines perhaps ? Who knows. In any case the legend persists. What I find interesting is looking at my City, it is hard for me to imagine finding another person especially in the chaos of urban conflict and of course Jude, who was kind of a fag found and crushed the German Superman LMAO

    In any case, in the movie Jude Law (the macho super sniper) comes across as a homo but is mentored by a Jewish NKVD officer. The both want the same girl but Jude wins over the Jew. You gotta love the bullshit that comes out of Joolywood. Faggotry and Judaism combined with Communism to win the Battle LMAO.

    In any case the Battle of Stalingrad was more than some silly sniper duel as depicted by the Joolywood. Again, many historians tout it as the turning point of the war when in fact it was just the farthest east the Wehrmacht reached in Russia. The Russians, were stunned to find that even after losing the whole 6th Army in Stalingrad, the Wehrmacht under Manstein delivered a crushing blow to the Soviet Armies rushing West. Indeed Hitlers offensive power in the East was only demolished at Kursk and even in that battle, there is speculation that had Adolph persisted, the Kursk salient could have been taken by the Germans. Hence Stalingrad as the turning point of the war is, like the duel, subject to question. I guess as Churchill stated in war truth is the first to go and I would like to add bullshit is the first to come. Like the Hollowhoax truth and bunk are hard to separate………maybe !

    I look at this like the Iran Hostage crisis. In a quip, I believe Ronald Reagan stated that if the Iranians did not smarten up he was going to send in Rambo. Video sales of Rambo exploded in the Middle East. Perhaps one day, you and I will live long enough to see Rambo in Teheran battling an Iranian Jambu and the whole episode will become world class history.

    That is why I keep my \$30 per person in my Goy pocket (representing the movie entrance fee, popcorn, soda and Mars bar). I am more entertained taking a dump than looking at the the utter rubbish produced by the West Coast tribe…..and it costs me nothing except some toilet paper.

    • Agree: Trinity
  63. Marcali says:
    @Ron Unz

    The number of war dead pales in comparison with the number of people who lost their lives at the hands of their own governments. The late professor Rudolph J. Rummel of the University of Hawaii documented this tragedy in his book “Death by Government: Genocide and Mass Murder Since 1900.” Some of the statistics found in the book have been updated at http://tinyurl.com/y96tqhrl.
    The People’s Republic of China tops the list, with 76 million lives lost at the hands of the government from 1949 to 1987. The Soviet Union follows, with 62 million lives lost from 1917 to 1987. Adolf Hitler’s Nazi German government killed 21 million people between 1933 and 1945. Then there are lesser murdering regimes, such as Nationalist China, Japan, Turkey, Vietnam and Mexico. According to Rummel’s research, the 20th century saw 262 million people’s lives lost at the hands of their own governments (http://tinyurl.com/lu8z8ab).

  64. @Dumbo

    No matter how many or few they killed, under the communists the Chinese population rose from around half a billion to nearly a billion and a half. It would seem that communists are far better stewards of the nation than liberal democratic capitalists. Even in Russia and Eastern Europe, despite all the abortions, mass murders of counter-revolutionaries by the communist regimes, and emigration by reactionaries and dissidents, the population numbers were maintained fairly reasonably and even increased. It is only since the liberal democratic counter-revolutions following the demolition of the Berlin Wall that the populations in those countries began to decline, and presumably the UN population programme and the globalists will in time call for population replacement through immigration from the Third World even in those countries. And the Communists had no complications about shooting illegal border crossers who didn’t use the official border posts and possess the appropriate paperwork. Of course the communists were bastards, but at least they were good bastards as far as survival of their nations was concerned. And they did maintain national traditions within a cultural framework. Surely the democratic capitalist West is no model for anyone who cares about their nation yet it was imposed on Eastern Europe and Russia. Thankfully PR China does not copy.

    • Replies: @Weaver
    , @Priss Factor
  65. Marcali says:
    @Anonymous

    The genocide and mass murder of the Soviet Communists (rolled):

    The Civil War period till 1922: 3,284,000
    The NEP period till 1928: 5,484,000
    The collectivization period till 1935: 16,924,000
    The Great Terror period till 1938: 21,269,000
    Pre-World War II period till June 1941:26,373,000
    World War II period till 1945: 39,426,000
    Postwar and Stalin’s twilight till 1953: 55,039,000
    Post-Stalin period till 1987: 61,911,000
    (R. J. Rummel: Soviet Genocide and Mass Murder since 1917, Transaction Publisher, 1990.)
    It can be seen for instance, that before Hitler got into power at all, the Bolsheviks had murdered or otherwise eliminated about 12,000,000 human beings.

    • Replies: @sally
  66. @jeff stryker

    In Southeast Asia there were Chinese owned illegal shabu factories and also smuggling from factories in Taiwan and China. I heard that the shabu factories in mainland China were actually run by the military (just like the biggest massage parlours in Thailand used to be run by the Thai military). The situation may have changed by now as everyone has clamped down on drugs in the region and the mainland Chinese seem to have rooted out much of the corruption prevalent in the 1990s.

    • Replies: @jeff stryker
    , @Boy1988
  67. Maddaugh says:
    @The_MasterWang

    The Anglo Saxon mind is fascinating and revolting in equal measure.

    But no matter. Force will do the talking.

    You are an amusing character indeed. What could be more fascinating and revolting than making a 2 year old Emperor and locking the child away. This is why the Japanese had such utter contempt for the Chinese and subsequently made him their puppet Emperor. You Gooks have always been the flunkies and gophers for some other race.

    What could be more fascinating than the millions of Chinks flocking to the West as tourists and doing whatever it takes to gain permanent residence. What could be more revolting than Gooks committed to paying thousands to be packed into a shipping container like sardines, with one bucket to shit in, and sailing from China to the US to work as slave labour in Chinatown, or as whores for the Gangs or to live in a black area collecting bottles and cans…..in order to cover the balance.

    What can be more revolting and fascinating than yellow maggots who hunger to live among Anglo Saxons ?

    Ask around and every other race including other Asians hate you and think you guys are freaks. You better be nice to us because if the Juice and the Niggas get a grip on you pukes you will need Whitey to save you.

    But no matter. Force will do the talking.

    YAWN !!

  68. @littlereddot

    Filippinas and other Southeast Asian women (Indonesian, Thai, Vietnamese) go just as readily with Chinese, Japanese and Korean men, for marriage or short-time, as the case may warrant. Some may even prefer Asian men to whites. Japs are certainly the preferred punters, tricks, customers as they pay more than others, but some also do marry Southeast Asian girls, as do Singaporeans. There’s nothing special about whites in that regard. And Arabs have joined playing the game in the region too – nobody’s prejudiced against money in the East.

    • Replies: @littlereddot
  69. Traddles says:

    “an aesthetic spectacle”

    Yes, that sums up “The Last Emperor” very well, and also “Dr. Zhivago.” Both are such powerful, interesting and aesthetically pleasing films, which portray very well the evils of Leftism in practice. On a side note, for me, the music in “The Last Emperor” was a big plus, and an important part of its magnificent aesthetics.

    Having watched “The Last Emperor” multiple times, I was mystified by that ending. Thank you for providing a plausible interpretation of it. And thanks for such interesting reviews, Mr. Lynch.

  70. oneworld says:
    @Ron Unz

    Ron is quite accurate about deaths under the Chinese communists. The largest number of deaths occurred during the Great Leap Forward from starvation resulting from the stupidity of the economic policies of Mao rather than intentional state killing. The largest state sanctioned killing occurred during the land reforms shortly after the revolution, but the numbers there are relatively low, and a significant portion of those killed were often relatively vicious landowners. The Cultural Revolution toll, despite some high profile deaths of artists, intellectuals and dissident CCP members, were mostly due to in-fighting among the various Red Guard factions and not from a coordinated government policy. Mao himself ended up calling in the PLA to restore order when the violence, anarchy and social disruption got out of control.

    One may dislike the CCP and rightly criticize many of their policies, but as a governing group they are not characterized by intentional mass homicidal behavior.

    • Replies: @Ron Unz
  71. Traddles says:
    @Trinity

    The book Enemy at the Gates was much better than the movie. The book made great use of reminiscences by survivors of both sides, along with other sources. Highly recommended.

    • Replies: @Trinity
  72. Weaver says:
    @Marshal Marlow

    Peasants didn’t necessarily believe such things. We’re often mistaken about the past. Such arguments were used, but they weren’t necessarily believed. The Christian justification for divine right of kings would have been similar to China’s, just corrupted. You exaggerate the differences, but it’s a creation of your mind.

    One elite kills another to reduce competition. The communists slaughtered all who could replace them, leaving themselves needed and unchallenged. Then, the communists could be kings and aristocrats. If a previous elite no longer poses a threat, then it needn’t be killed by them.

    In the US, had Trump been more capable, I fully expected some CIA agent or general to kill him. Eventually his election was faked in 2020 and his media account banned. So, Trump was removed in that manner.

    • Replies: @Marshal Marlow
    , @Ed Case
  73. Trinity says:
    @Maddaugh

    A lot of these gooks and chink (((posters))) are kosher. Who can forget my personal favorite Jewy FAKE slope who went by the moniker “Chinaman.” Of course we have a legitimate gook anti-White blogger on this site named Linh Dinh who is such a tough guy that he censors “White Pussies” so he can go on about them in every article and receive no feed back other than from his boot licking ex-pats who adore everything this little commie midget wannabe dictator spews or types with his racist yellow fingers. Imagine writing about drunken whores, piss and vomit stained dive bars in turd world shithole or eating insects and trying to convince people other than fleeing ex-pats aka cowards that this type of lifestyle is Heaven on Earth. PT. Barnum said it best. There is a sucker born every minute.

    Our resident racist Yeller man claims that South Africa is “No Country For White Pussies”, a take off the excellent movie, “No Country For Old Men” which I previously requested that Mr. Lynch consider reviewing. One of the only movies that came out post 2000 that is even watchable in my opinion. Seems Linh Ding Dong claims that South Africa is not near as bad as White Nationalists claim it to be. Never mind the 70,000 plus Black on White torture, rape, mutilation type of murders. S.A. is loaded with peaceful and angelic Blacks.

    • Thanks: republic
    • Replies: @Commentator Mike
    , @Ed Case
  74. Weaver says:
    @Commentator Mike

    The US population boomed originally in the US. We weren’t under communism. Whether China’s government works well is a matter for the Chinese to consider.

  75. Weaver says:
    @Maddaugh

    Europeans, and Brits especially, are currently a slave race of the Jews. We’re miscegenating and collapsing faster than likely any race in history.

    You believe the Chinese to be lower than we are?

    Darwin had 10 children. Have you had 10 Anglo kids, raised well?

  76. TGD says:

    I must have a scatological mind, but the only part of The Last Emperor that I remember is the “poo” scene.

    • Replies: @Trinity
  77. Right_On says:
    @d dan

    Your comment is quite interesting, until the childish insult at the end.

    Lin Zexu tried to persuade British merchants to stop the illegal trade peacefully. He even wrote a letter to the Queen reasoning on moral grounds.

    Lin Zexu was the ‘Drug Czar’ of his time and place, conducting his own War on Drugs. (Bizarrely, he thought the Brits were dependent on Chinese tea and rhubarb to prevent constipation. Bizarre, as rhubarb is a common garden plant in England.) In Lin Zexu’s letter to Queen Victoria, he assumed that opium was illegal in Britain; it wasn’t.

    How we respond to JS Mill’s argument depends on how libertarian one is and how we view opium.
    All the famous Romantic poets used opium (with the exception of Wordsworth): Shelley, Byron, Keats, Thomas de Quincey, Samuel Taylor Coleridge (who favored Black Drop), Elizabeth Barrett Browning, George Eliot . . . and French Decadents, like Baudelaire. So at least some exceptional people profited from imbibing the stuff.

    (The Ptolemies also used opium, so it’s likely top totty Cleopatra did also.)

    When the British eventually cracked down on opium use in Hong Kong, users switched to heroin (it’s easier to conceal) with dire consequences.

    The Opium Wars could be compared to (and contrasted with!) Commodore Matthew Perry, and the “Black Ships” of the US Navy, forcing the opening of Japan to the outside world in 1854.

  78. @Commentator Mike

    MIKE

    There’s an amusing political horror film called BLOOD DESERT https://vimeo.com/ondemand/blooddesert that I enjoyed about some redneck oil workers who resurrect a vicious genie in the desert…worth a look.

    Shabu
    ——–

    Shabu is no longer made IN the Philippines. Duterte got his point across by shooting addicts. But for Duterte to do what the USA did in Colombia & actually BOMB shabu factories in Taiwan or China would start WWIII.

    Anyhow, the CCP learned from Anglo-Americans in Opium Wars. Same as Singapore did well because Chinese followed English systems of law.

    Also, as any cop in Philippines will tell you, shabu is not meth alone but a speedball of sorts as the Chinese lace the meth with heroin residue to make it all that more addictive.

    Sex Workers
    —————

    Of course the USA created this industry, but the reality is that when they tried to form unions for better pay the ethnic Chinese attempted to use those unions for Communism so they were outlawed. Pay is so low that the sex industry is huge.

    It has nothing to do with anyone loving Americans. They detest them. The Malaysians & Singaporeans have always paid a grudging respect for Great Britain…but everyone in Manila has always detested the Americans.

    Also, the British settled as families. They either stayed (And became Americans) or left (Malaysia) whereas the Spanish always arranged strategic marriages with the local chieftains daughters which then creates a middleman elite (Who are better educated) & the Spanish Mestizo elite remain in Manila & still run things. Lee Kuan Yew compared Philippines to Latin American for this reason, describing them as “indifferent Mestizo elite”.

    • Replies: @Commentator Mike
  79. sally says:
    @Marcali

    yes, but not shown in your post are the millions, because of the threat of being killed, ran from Soviet Communist areas into Germany.. and its satellites ..The effects of the immigration provided Hitler his platform to rise in German Political arena and that fact helps to explain the need for concentration camps.
    This is how I understand it..

  80. Trinity says:
    @Traddles

    Thanks, I enjoyed the movie once I got pass Russkies talking with English accents. haha. So if the book is better, always seems to be in most cases, I will check it out. Appreciate the 411.

    • Replies: @Traddles
  81. Ron Unz says:
    @oneworld

    Ron is quite accurate about deaths under the Chinese communists…One may dislike the CCP and rightly criticize many of their policies, but as a governing group they are not characterized by intentional mass homicidal behavior.

    Thanks. I’ll admit I’ve never closely investigated the death-toll following the end of the Civil War or that of the Cultural Revolution, so it’s quite possible that my numbers were somewhat low, but probably not hugely so. And I do think that a substantial fraction of the post-1949 rural killings were probably caused by local hatreds built up over the years and decades rather than any sort of organized top-down Communist program.

    I was very impressed by the Tombstone, the 600 page account of the Great Leap Forward written in 2008 by Yang Jisheng, a former high-ranking PRC journalist assisted by numerous other former Chinese local officials and administrators. His analysis can hardly be regarded as favorable to Mao, given that he argues the death toll was probably more than 35 million, and his book has been banned within the PRC. But there’s not the slightest suggestion that the horrific famine was intentional rather than being the product of stupidity, ideological arrogance, and stubbornness, plus a reluctance to report “bad news” by local officials.

    Here’s an approximate analogy. America has now probably suffered something like a million deaths from Covid as well as tremendous domestic disruption, but I think it was entirely due to the arrogance, incompetence, and stupidity of Trump and his officials rather than anything deliberate.

    • Replies: @oneworld
    , @Patrick McNally
  82. Trinity says:
    @TGD

    Well those little Chinese tykes do walk around with open crotch pants in case nature calls while out strolling. Little Chinese tyke will squat a drop a deuce right on the street like man’s best friend. I remember reading about how it was pretty common for rural Chinese to dig holes and squat and drop a deuce back in the days of yore just like your pet feline Fritz The Cat. We are not talking ancient history either, but 1930s-1940s. I hear peeing in public is pretty common in China as well even more common than San FranSHITco. Of course that old 1970s show “The Streets Of San Francisco” would now be titled “The Streets of Dookie.”

  83. @jeff stryker

    Actually the Japs created the sex industry in the region during WWII with their comfort women but I suppose it was run along the lines of sex slavery rather than a paid industry.

    Despite what the general perception may be, prostitution is actually illegal in Philippines and Thailand, but obviously one wouldn’t think so when walking around. What it is is really an entertainment industry which allows for people to meet but what they do, and under what conditions, is their own business. Even the bar fines are just for company but it is sort of understood what that entails. In the old days you could actually pay the boss of any shop, restaurant, hotel, factory, etc. to take their worker out for the day if she and the boss agreed to the monetary compensation for loss of labour for the day. Actually Indonesia, a Muslim country, allowed licensed brothels to operate in certain zones. Also in the old days hotel rooms in Indonesia came with a girl included but if a family checked in the girl was sent away. It was understood that a man spending time alone would require female company. Just part of the traditional culture and hospitality. Of course times have changed and are changing mostly under influence of the West.

    • Replies: @Boy1988
    , @Che Guava
  84. Che Guava says:
    @Proximaking

    In an old Peter Jackson movie, IIRC the opening, there is an old short film, which I gather was played in many Commonwealth countries that still had QEII as head of state, and in G.B. at the cinema before any newsreel or short and the feature.

    The young Liz looked pretty good, riding a horse and wearing some kind of ceremonial military uniform.

    Can’t recall the title of the Jackson film, Bad … IIRC. If you like zombie horror that doesn’t take itself seriously and want some views of N.Z. before their govts, too, were deciding to flood the place with incompatible and lazy or greedy migrants.

    I was visiting the place just after the film was made, but recognising many places when later seeing the film, even a fesh’n’cheps shop that briefly appears.

    That shop sure had delicious fesh’n’cheps.

    Back to your point, She still had and has the power to refuse to sign legislation.

    To speculate on where and when doing so would have had an effect, and the reactions, would make an interesting alt-history novel, if you can, or know of someone who would be able to write it, of course, no major publisher would touch it, whether adjusting the advantage to your people, that would be fascist, or the fall of ‘Windsor’, too radical.

    The former narrative, where Liz decides to not sign Acts of Parliament that will harm the people, is the more interesting.

    Could be a big underground hit!

    She will live long enough to see her dynasty fall

    Well, she isn’t going to live too much longer, and must be aware of the damage made by politicians to her people during her long rule.

  85. That the ultra right wing Lynch (what an apposite name) should be an apologist for monarchism should surprise only the irredeemably stupid.

  86. Traddles says:
    @Trinity

    Thanks, Trinity. The book is more of a general history of the the Battle of Stalingrad, but it does cover the sniper duel.

    I couldn’t put the book down. The stories of a lot of the Axis and Soviet soldiers in it are unforgettable, as you can imagine.

    And it was written by William Craig in the days before the topic of WWII became all-Holocaust-all-the-time with publishers, so he was able to show the humanity of the Germans in it, as well as soldiers in the other armies.

    I’m sure additional details about the battle have come to light since the book was published, but Craig was able to get some very special stories and perspectives because of his interviews with veterans. It’s similar to Cornelius Ryan’s books in that way.

  87. Boy1988 says:
    @Commentator Mike

    You are right about meth labs in South East Asia being operated by the Chinese directly or indirectly.Most of those labs can be found in Thailand , Malaysia , the Philippines and Myanmar. Besides heavily involved in the drug trade many Chinese gangs are also into illegal gambling and loan sharking. All loansharks in Malaysia are ethnic Chinese which is kind of odd in my opinion given the multiracial population of the country.Chinese gangs in Malaysia are also offering football betting, illegal lottery and slot games(via Android apps) in indonesia using the internet.sometimes it makes me wonder how dumb the Malay race are.it seems however in SEA only the shitty religion Islam can act as a balance for the dominance of the Chinese race.therefore you don’t see Malaysia or Indonesia having to deal with meth epidemic like the Philippines or becoming a sex paradise

    • Thanks: Commentator Mike
    • Replies: @showmethereal
  88. d dan says:
    @Deep Thought

    “I am prepared to forget …”

    So am I.

    I wasn’t even planning to comment on this thread with the silly review on a silly movie, until these racist pigs started to revise history, blame Chinese for the cause of the war (i.e. to maintain the “highly lucrative monopoly”), and suggest the Chinese should thank them (for the purer and safer opium, to help relieve their lives…). And of course, to add further insult, some asshole then compares this with the fentanyl problem in America.

    • Replies: @Badger Down
  89. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2565455-twilight-in-the-forbidden-city

    Twilight in the Forbidden City by Reginald Johnson was also sourced for the Movie. I have read an earlier edition and the Emperors Autobiography ( as re-education the Communists demanded self criticism as part of the reform ) Also interesting is the continuing use of Opium in the court.

    The Author Sir Reginald Fleming Johnston was a Scottish diplomat and the tutor of Puyi, the last emperor of China. Johnston was eye witness Chinese events in the crucial years of the 1920s and 1930s. Johnston was the only foreigner in history to be allowed inside the inner court of the Qing Dynasty. The author carried high imperial titles and lived in both the Forbidden City and the New Summer Palace. In 1934, Johnston looked for a residence in Scotland to retire to. He found a house on Eilean Righ, a small island in Loch Craignish, some 9 miles (15 km) NW of Lochgilphead. He moved there with his enormous library, which included a Chinese Encylopaedia in 1734 volumes and a complete collection of Buddhist scriptures in 1500 volumes. Twilight in the Forbidden City is very much a history of an entire period and not an exclusive portrait of the last Emperor of China. Twilight in the Forbidden City is prefaced by the Emperor Hsuan-T’ung himself in the year 1931 Chosen by Dowager Empress Cixi while on her deathbed, Puyi ascended the throne at age 2 years 10 months in December 1908 following his uncle’s death on November 14. Puyi’s introduction to emperorship began when palace officials arrived at his family household to take him. Puyi screamed and resisted as the officials ordered the eunuchs to pick him up. His wet-nurse, Wen-Chao Wang, was the only one who could console him, and therefore accompanied Puyi to the Forbidden City. Puyi would not see his real mother again for six years. Puyi’s upbringing was hardly conducive to the raising of a healthy, well-balanced child. Overnight, he was treated as a god and unable to behave as a child. The adults in his life, save his wet-nurse Mrs. Wang, were all strangers, remote, distant, and unable to discipline him. Wherever he went, grown men would kneel to the floor in a ritual kow-tow, averting their eyes until he passed.

    Other good books Anything by Sterling Seagrave and The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

    God’s Chinese Son: The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom of Hong Xiuquan by Spencer

  90. Boy1988 says:
    @Commentator Mike

    Actually organized prostitution in this region started way before the Japanese colonization at least in the British held territories that made up Malaysia,Singapore and the Dutch held Indonesia.In Malaya, Singapore,Sarawak and north Borneo (Sabah) the British gave permission for brothels to come into existence.The brothel owners are taxed by the British.During those era the many migrant workers from China and india and also native workers left behind their families to work far from homes.as usual some need to de-stress and visiting a sex worker is something that some people do.there are women from China,India,locals and even Japanese at that time .as for the current situation in Malaysia sex in exchange for money is not illegal under the civil law but pimping and operating a brothel is illegal.muslims can however still be prosecuted under the Sharia law for close proximity and having sex outside of marriage.(in this case it’s not the police who arrest them but religious authorities).for Indonesia well legalized brothels are getting fewer and fewer outside of bali.many were closed down.also alcohols are hard to find ouside of pubs ,touristy places ,Muslim majority areas in indonesia.in Malaysia just head go to any convenience store and you’ll find alcohol.maybe in terms of religious composition malaysia has more visible non muslim than Indonesia.indonesia is not a Muslim country but a Muslim majority country.theres a difference between a Muslim and a Muslim majority country.not sure what future holds Malaysia and Indonesia. Life is getting shittier here in Malaysia .

  91. I remember a lot of Chinese struting around like a proud Peacock after the movie debuted in New York… every chinaman should kiss Bernardo Bertolucci’s arse for making “The Last Emperor” simply because it made the otherwise lackluster people seem very exotic and sophisticated to boot and also it raised China’s prestige abroad. And you can’t buy publicity like that with all the yuan in the Forbidden City. But the ungrateful bastards won’t even offer a dog chop suey to the poor man!

  92. There is no good reason for the American people and the Chinese people to fight each other.

    Only the Illuminati U.S./British power structure and the Illuminati power structure in China? want us all to fight each other. China has been set up like the United States with excessive debt by the international bankers…. what happens when countries have huge debts…. the international bankers start wars because they have no love for the common citizens of any given country.

    So we know the Federal Reserve is owned by the Rothschilds and such. Who really owns and controls the Chinese Central Bank? I think a read a piece somewhere about Mao’s Jewish Banker.

    Remember that the Communist Revolutions in especially China, Russia were reactions to the already miserable conditions the common people experienced. Communism was a promise of something better but became Totalitarianism. ? But to some extent it did make women not just slaves?

    The movie is interesting in setting the context of the occupation of Manchuria by the Japanese.

    The Japanese people were set up by their Government. The Rothschild’s International Bankers and such just used them as Muscle against, China, Russia, Indo-China and to get the US officially into WW2. The Bankers knew that Japan could never “win”.

    • Replies: @ImaBotKnot
  93. @Commentator Mike

    No matter how many or few they killed, under the communists the Chinese population rose from around half a billion to nearly a billion and a half. It would seem that communists are far better stewards of the nation than liberal democratic capitalists.

    Population growth was bigger in India.

    And bigger now in Africa.

  94. @Marshal Marlow

    The concept of the Mandate of Heaven is the key reason Puyi survived

    US is now about Man-Date of Hell.

    Globo-homo.

  95. @jeff stryker

    The problem with the Opium trade was it gave the CCP their current strategy: flood other countries with methamphetamine & Fenatyl.

    I call that Retaliation in Kind:

    https://www.economist.com/china/2018/12/15/the-west-once-flooded-china-with-opium-china-is-returning-the-favour

    From George Floyd to the Philippines drug war, it all begins with mad Chinese scientists in the mainland in laboratories.

    That “mad scientist” was by the name of Paul Janssen, which doesn’t sound Chinese to me:

    Fentanyl was first made by Paul Janssen in 1960 and approved for medical use in the United States in 1968.[3][9] In 2015, ..

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

    The CCP has used “shabu” to waste Filipino youth & turn the country into a vassal state.

    Their country has always been a vassal state of Amelika since the latter took it from the colonial Spaniards. Both colonial masters are just as repugnant:

    The Western imperial presence – of conquest and subjugation – within Asia was buttressed on a diligently maintained myth of white superiority, a philosophy every bit as repugnant as that maintained by Imperial Japan.

    https://asiatimes.com/2021/08/the-pacific-war-eastern-empire-vs-white-supremacy/

    • Replies: @jeff stryker
  96. oneworld says:
    @Ron Unz

    Agree. I have read “Tombstone” and agree it is a non ideological and objective account of the famine caused by the Great Leap Forward. Your analogy with the U.S. COVID disaster may be a little strained, but I agree that, like what happened during the GLF, it wasn’t the U.S. government’s intention to have all those deaths.

    I think the killings during the post-1949 Chinese land reform were more the result of the Communist Government’s policy. A Chinese friend of mine from the year I attended Peking University 40 years ago, told me her father, a young CCP cadre during the land reform, recounted to her some of the ways they would execute hated landlords.

  97. @Ron Unz

    But Yang Jisheng plays the usual game of cross-pollinating from different sources to come up with something not supported by either source. On page 384 he tells us:

    “The mortality rate in Sichuan from 1958 to 1962 was 1.517 percent, 4.69 percent, 5.39 percent, 2.942 percent, and 1.482 percent.”

    Where on earth could such figures come from and how do they compare with the general data for the country at large?

    If we look at Judith Banister’s estimates for the national death rates on an annual basis we get:

    [MORE]

    1949_____38
    1950_____35
    1951_____32
    1952_____29
    1953_____25.77
    1954_____24.20
    1955_____22.33
    1956_____20.11
    1957_____18.12
    1958_____20.65
    1959_____22.06
    1960_____44.60
    1961_____23.01
    1962_____14.02

    It should immediately stand out that Yang Jisheng’s claimed figure for 1957 in Sichuan (1.517 percent) is far lower than Banister’s 20.65 per thousand. But in all of the other years Yang Jisheng’s figures for Sichuan are clearly higher than the national figures which Banister’s formulates. Why would this be? A look at the Statistical Yearbook of China 1986 shows how the official Chinese data carried broad underestimates which Banister has sought to correct:

    1949_____20
    1950_____18
    1951_____17.8
    1952_____17
    1953_____14
    1954_____13.18
    1955_____12.28
    1956_____11.4
    1957_____10.8
    1958_____11.98
    1959_____14.59
    1960_____25.43
    1961_____14.24
    1962_____10.04

    Now of course if you compare the “1.517 percent” which Yang Jisheng claims for Sichuan in 1958 with the 11.98 per thousand which the Yearbook gives as a national death rate then it’s clear that the former is higher than the latter. But in reality the “1.517 percent” is surely an underestimate just as the 11.98 per thousand is. If Sichuan really did have an especially harsh time in the years 1959-61 then it makes more sense that the death rate for 1957 should also have exceeded the national estimate of 20.65 which Banister gives.

    But that trick of combining numbers which are based off the Statistical Yearbook with revised (and more realistic) numbers such as Banister devised is how people come up with the “38 million” and such numbers. In reality what the numbers from all sources show is that Chinese mortality took an unprecedented drop in the years 1949-57 before being partly fumbled in the Great Leap Forward which led to a rise in Chinese mortality in 1958-9 that was still well below all pre-revolutionary mortality rates (and even stayed below the recorded mortality rates of Czarist Russia). The year 1960 was definitely different as this is documented as having had major natural disasters.

    “The most serious problem in 1960 was drought which had in the spring and summer affected 600 million mou… At the worst period in Shantung, eight of the provinces 12 rivers had no water in them… Shantung had also been battered by typhoons and floods… Not surprisingly in view of the drought, most of the flooding had been due to the typhoons,, more of which had hit the Chinese mainland than in any of the previous 50 years…”
    — Roderick MacFarquhar, The Origins of the Cultural Revolution, Volume 2: The Great Leap Forward, p. 322.

    That is a big part of what accounts for the leap in mortality from 22.06 (according to Banister) to 44.6 in 1959-60. The bungling caused by the Great Leap can be blamed entirely for the rise in mortality that occurred in 1958-9 over 1957, but the natural disasters of 1960 are integral to the special nature of that year (the only year on record after 1949 when Chinese mortality actually exceeded the death rate of 1949).

  98. anon[406] • Disclaimer says:

    Communist propaganda from start to finish. I don’t want to get into the argument about capitalist vs communist China and the utter stupidity of the Empress ignoring a dozen or so totally capable middle aged and young adult Imperial Princes and designating a 2 year old baby as Emperor. Or the idiocy of the Imperial family of allowing it to happen. Whether you are a Ron Unz who admires communist now capitalist China or a devotee of the old Imperial rule, Sun Yat Sen or the Nationalist government of 1920 to 1949, you must admit this movie is nothing but pure communist propaganda.

    • Disagree: Catdog
    • Replies: @Trevor Lynch
  99. Dumbo says:

    I never really liked Bertolucci all that much. Seems like a faker. Like a guy who does “art movies” but he’d probably rather be doing a Hollywood blockbuster with race-mixing and lots of explosions, and probably be a bit better at that too. I don’t know.

    Speaking of race-mixing, is there any Netflix production that DOESN’T include some race-mixing or black characters in prominent roles? The other day I saw a trailer of a Netflix version of a Japanese movie. In the Japanese movie, everybody is Japanese. In the Netflix version, the evil one is a white guy with a stupid face, and the super-genius detective is played by a Black actor… But the story somehow still takes place in Tokyo, for some reason.

    It should be caller Blackflix, or Netblax.

  100. Anon[406] • Disclaimer says:
    @Maddaugh

    Thanks for the mention of the hundreds who borrow 40 K at 30 percent interest rate to spend months in a shipping container roaming about picking up more and more slaves. They do have chemical toilets I believe. And 2 skimpy meals a day. And the woman are given morning after pills because they are often raped. Every university is America is full of Chinese Nationals citizens desperate to get out of China and bring their families. The entire west coast of America and Canada is overwhelmed by multimillionaire Chinese buying up real estate to when the next turn of the wheel of fortune comes they will have a place to live and rental income.

    Eternal question

    IF CHINA IS SO WONDERFUL WHY ARE THE CHINESE FLEEING THEIR COUNTRY TO LIVE IN AMERICA.? MULITMILLIONAIRE, BILLIONAIRE, DESPERATE PROSTITUTE OR SWEATSHOP SLAVE, ALL CHINESE WANT TO GET OUT.

  101. @Alfa158

    Even after Restoration in 1660, the monarch wielded real power; Parliament was powerless to stop the king from spending money on his favourite – the Duchess of Portsmouth; the real diminution of royal powers came in 1688, when William III agreed to take the throne in return for a reduction in its powers, and also assenting to the opening of the Bank of England with powers to issue currency. Then the Hanoverian dynasty agreed to be guided by the politicians; the one king who tried to run the country all by himself, George III, found it difficult; since then, monarchs are content to be titular heads.

    The point is, agreeing to open a central bank was the first step in diluting the powers of the king.

    • Replies: @Nancy
  102. Yee says:

    “Yang Jisheng, a former high-ranking PRC journalist assisted by numerous other former Chinese local officials and administrators. ”

    Yeah, 1 in 15 people starved to death, but only high-ranking officials know about it…

    Actually, it’s not very easy for people to starve to death. If you ingest 600 calorie per day, you won’t starve to death. 600 calorie is 173 gram rice or wheat, 63kg for a year. China’s grain production per capita was lowest in 1961, 207kg.

    • Replies: @John Johnson
  103. Che Guava says:

    Trevor, have you ever read the books?

    Don’t forget that both volumes were written under duress.

    However, the first volume is accurate history, also sometimes by techniques that are psycholigical games in prison, Puyi is gradually separated from his retinue in prison to be independent of his former servants, usually relatives. A clear reading of that, brainwashing techniques were used, lightly, but they (the prison administrators)were virtuous?

    In a way, I think those people really were.

    If you read Puyi’s account, his remaining courtiers, relatives, stuck around to dress him and so on. They were all encouraged to stop by the prison bosses. Then again, why not?

    I could go on too long, but would recomend anyoe with an interest in history to read part 1 of Emperor to Citizen, full of interest

    The second volume is strange, clearly written under just pre’-Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution times, not very interesting. stilworth ph
    She will live long enough to see her dynasty fall

  104. One of the most touching scenes in the movie was the young emperor’s ecstasy, being touched by anonymous hands through a silk screen. And the end, where he’s watering the plants. I liked that movie.

  105. @Maddaugh

    My message to you is much simpler:

    We will make you suffer.

    • LOL: GeneralRipper
    • Troll: Trinity
  106. Trinity says:
    @The_MasterWang

    You better pray that the population of planet Earth doesn’t find out the truth about 9-11 and (((covid))), there Skippy.

    • Replies: @The_MasterWang
  107. Jtgw says:

    Another interesting review! Although ideologically I don’t see eye to eye you make interesting points. Certainly a theme of the film is that liberal democracy is not easily transferred to China (nor to most non-Western nations without our levels of social trust). The Republic swiftly degenerates into feuding warlords, only to be replaced by the authoritarian KMT, Japanese and Communists in succession. You are quite right that the scene towards the end during the Cultural Revolution is pretty explicit that Chairman Mao is the new Emperor. You could add that as Puyi is watching the Red Guards parade the “reactionaries” in their red dunce hats, he spies his former prison warden among them. In the film the warden comes across as a well intentioned idealist who really believes in possibility of reformation and rehabilitation, and it’s suggested that this what prompted the charge that he was “the Emperors lackey”. One is reminded of center left liberals who now find themselves targeted by the radical progressives for adhering to outdated and racist ideas like “freedom of speech”.

  108. Che Guava says:
    @Commentator Mike

    Trevor, have you ever read the books?

    Don’t forget that both volumes were written under duress.

    However, the first volume is accurate history, also sometimes by techniques that are psycholigical games in prison, Puyi is gradually separated from his retinue in prison to be independent of his former servants, usually relatives. A clear reading of that, brainwashing techniques were used, lightly, but they (the prison administrators)were virtuous?

    In a way, I think those people really were.

    If you read Puyi’s account, his remaining courtiers, relatives, stuck around to dress him and so on. They were all encouraged to stop by the prison bosses. Then again, why not?

    I could go on too long, but would recomend anyoe with an interest in history to read part 1 of Emperor to Citizen, full of interest

    The second volume is strange, clearly written under just pre’-Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution times, not very interesting. stilworth ph
    She will live long enough to see her dynasty fall

  109. @Yee

    Actually, it’s not very easy for people to starve to death. If you ingest 600 calorie per day, you won’t starve to death. 600 calorie is 173 gram rice or wheat, 63kg for a year. China’s grain production per capita was lowest in 1961, 207kg.

    No it is actually really easy if it is done in areas where people spent thousands of years developing grain based economies and a bunch of nitwit Marxists come in and try to create communal farms. Asian economies are not like the Appalachia where Whites can scavenge in times of famine.

    Karlton Marx and Mao knew nothing about the economics of agriculture and thought that the power of Collective Communist Will would somehow fill in the details. Well millions died thanks to these knuckleheads that thought they could ignore the laws of economics.

    The CCP has already acknowledged that millions starved to death because of mistakes made with the Great Leap Forward. Whoops! So much for the communist theory of unlocking the genius within.

    Anyways the famine really isn’t controversial. The debate is around how many million.

  110. @Anon

    Eternal question

    IF CHINA IS SO WONDERFUL WHY ARE THE CHINESE FLEEING THEIR COUNTRY TO LIVE IN AMERICA.? MULITMILLIONAIRE, BILLIONAIRE, DESPERATE PROSTITUTE OR SWEATSHOP SLAVE, ALL CHINESE WANT TO GET OUT

    Defenders of China are so full of s–t.

    They tell us that the Mao era was needed yet both Taiwan and Hong Kong were able to advance without starving millions to death or torturing teachers.

    Defenders of the USSR make the same excuses. I guess both Russians and Chinese can only advance by having a government that suppresses and kills them.

    Your relatives had to be sent to a camp for years of torture to build that dam. NO OTHER WAY.

    As you point out the real measurement is how many people try to risk their lives just to escape.

    The GDR had the problem of brain drain emigration from the start and Marxists to this day do not have a solution other than build walls and shoot defectors. Marxism has been around over 100 years and they can’t even talk about this problem. Truly an alliance of losers that can’t even explain as to what happens to anyone that doesn’t want to be part of their worker’s utopia.

  111. Nancy says:
    @Old Brown Fool

    Yes, and putting that ‘diluted power’ into … whose?… hands? I think the original invesors in the nascent Bank of England are still a secret… no?

    • Replies: @Old Brown Fool
  112. Che Guava says:
    @Technomad

    He made many choices of his own free will after being out of the Forbidden City, I would recommmend the first volume of From Emperor to Citizen, as he was writing, if he lied or dissembled, the governor or others would ask him to think again about what he was writing, volume I is really a remarkable mix of memoir and history(very early)and reliable history (most).

    Choices included rejecting China, although the nationalists repeatedly offered him a special place (but not new emperor), and deciding to join Japan’s adventure (ironically, part of the thinking about that was ‘the Mongols had their time, the Manchu had theirs, now it is our time’).

    Many other choices made.

    Vol. II is also well worth reading, but for other reasons. It is only a good history of what happens within it. degenerating into mainly propaganda near the end.

  113. GeneralRipper [AKA "The Griffins"] says:
    @The_MasterWang

    My message to you is much simpler:

    We will make you suffer.

    https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/villains/images/b/b8/Emperor_Ming.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20160908214055

    LOL

    MasterWangbater is in a mood.

  114. @Trinity

    I see Schuetze is posting under Linh Dinh’s latest article. And so is TKK another of his critics. I haven’t tried since I got the message that I was banned and for what reason I have no idea. I wonder if he has reconsidered as there are quite a few critical comments being posted there.

  115. @Trinity

    You took blaming Jews to a whole new direction. A direction that I didn’t think even mentally possible. Fascinating.

  116. anonymous[251] • Disclaimer says:

    I go with the idea that China, like those Afghan Mountain tribes are always…

    They re just who they are.

    We always get lectured by preaching Lib, Neo Cons:

    “That’s just not WHO WE ARE”.

    Chinese are Chinese
    Afghan mountain tribes are Afghan.

    That’s who they are.

    Things got messed up when foreign (Devils, barbarians, do gooders, John Burch Christians) European, American and Japanese copying the Imperialists come to both China and Afghanistan and try to change things.

    I’m sure the descendants of those Han Chinese royals are very happy with China these days – kicking round eyed barbarian butts.

    Afghans Taliban looked happy riding amusement park built by fleeing Americans (Run Away) carrying their AK47s.

    We/Farstar made a funny comic about some short, hairy Taliban guy giving the departing Macho American guy the Rainbow Gay Flag:

    “Here take your flag with you”.

    Yep – Chinese are once against Chinese, Afghans Afghan. If you want to puke you’re lunch watch that worst ever pateriotard Reagan era movie “Rambo III”. Arch Amurikun patriotard Johnny Rambo goes off to Afghanistan to join the Afghan “freedom fighters’ (8th Century Muslim tribal savages) to fight the evil Russian Soviets. I think the evil Russian Soviets were Right Racists or something.

    Go figure.

  117. @Weaver

    I doubt many people actually believed it, but that doesn’t really matter because its purpose is to set norms of societal behaviour – the mechanism itself doesn’t matter.

    • Agree: Weaver
    • Replies: @Weaver
  118. @John Johnson

    They tell us that the Mao era was needed yet both Taiwan and Hong Kong were able to advance without starving millions to death or torturing teachers

    LOL, taiwan and hong kong? what usa is a paradise , because hawaii had beautiful beaches and lots of naked girls, what an idiotic camparison

    • Replies: @John Johnson
  119. @Anon

    wow that is how democracy works, me right you commie wrong

  120. Ed Case says:
    @Weaver

    Stalin never killed or imprisoned anyone who had sat in the Duma pre revolution.
    Those people woulda been a potential elternative elite.
    The reality was that the Bolsheviks were looters and wreckers, they slaughtered the peasants, herdsmen and the farmers, the real source of wealth in Russia.
    Why not, since the U.S., Canada and Australia fed Russia anyway, being happy to be paid for grain and beef in worthless Roubles.

  121. @jeff stryker

    it all begins with mad Chinese scientists

    No, as you said in your sentence immediately before that one:
    ” the Opium trade […] gave the CCP their current strategy”.

    First the (((British))) opium trade and two opium wars, then whatever you are accusing China of.

  122. Ed Case says:
    @Trinity

    Agree.
    Linh Dinh has gone from a very P.C. Bukowski to Coverin’ The Waterfront Jean Genet style, but he won’t let anyone ask him why.
    A few of those commenters praising his work might be slightly tongue in cheek but it’s still pretty funny.

  123. @d dan

    Dear Mr Dan,
    No need to feel insulted. Kindly compare this:
    https://duckduckgo.com/?q=sassoon+opium+war&t=hx&va=g&ia=web

    to this:
    https://duckduckgo.com/?q=sackler+opioids&t=hx&va=g&ia=web

    Of course, it could be coincidental, like Bill Browder, Jakob Schiff, and various wars.

  124. Yee says:

    John Johnson,

    “The CCP has already acknowledged that millions starved to death because of mistakes made with the Great Leap Forward. Whoops! So much for the communist theory of unlocking the genius within.”

    You can choose to believe what the publications tell you, or you can use common sense to analyze a problem for yourself.

    Normally, it’d be people who are suffering know about how bad the famine is but high ranking officials don’t. But this one was the other way around.

    Grannies and grandpas talked about tight rations, but not dead bodies littering roadsides, of wild dogs eating the bodies, of the stink of rotting in the air, of people overwhelming train stations or lined the roads with carts trying to go to other places… All these had happened in previous famines, but somehow missing from grannies and grandpas’ recollections of this “greatest famine of tens of millions death”.

    • Replies: @Ron Unz
    , @John Johnson
    , @ivan
  125. @Anon

    ALL CHINESE WANT TO GET OUT

    But 1,446,221,146 Chinese people live in China.

  126. Ron Unz says:
    @Yee

    You can choose to believe what the publications tell you, or you can use common sense to analyze a problem for yourself.

    Well, I think the GLF famine often tended to be fairly localized, with some areas hit extremely hard and others not so much. Obviously, villages that were almost wiped out would have fewer survivors to tell stories about what had happened.

    Based upon all my China books and readings, I’d always assumed that the GLF famine happened, especially since in the 1980s the PRC government itself publicly admitted something like 15-20 million deaths. But then a few years ago, various pro-China activists on this website argued strongly against it, and pointed me to a couple of references on the other side. So I became much less certain.

    However, a year or two ago, I happened to see a copy of TOMBSTONE on sale for \$0.25 at my monthly Palo Alto library sale, and picked it up. The 600 pages seemed exceptionally detailed, thorough, and credible, so it made a very strong case for more than 35 million deaths.

    You really should get a copy and read it for yourself, especially the 40-odd pages in which the losses are estimated in a variety of different ways. I think it’s banned in China, but I’m sure you can find a copy somewhere on the Internet.

  127. @Anon

    “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, …” but not to Amelika– unless you have already made yourself into a multi-millionaire in China. Otherwise, they will build a wall to stop you getting there– if you are non-white that is.

    If the whites were so reasonable and noble, why did they have to wipe out entire ethnic groups and grab entire continents that do not belong to them– instead of paying their way into these lands like the Chinese multi-millionaires are doing now?

    • Replies: @John Johnson
  128. @american are simpleton mind

    LOL, taiwan and hong kong? what usa is a paradise , because hawaii had beautiful beaches and lots of naked girls, what an idiotic camparison

    Hong Kong is a rock with no natural resources and their standard of living is much higher than mainland China.

    They developed their own tech industry and didn’t have to send anyone to re-education camps to do so.

    The Chinese revolution was never needed.

    Marxism is pathetic ideology for losers that haven’t taken Econ 101 and it’s unbelievable that they still stand upon massive graveyards trying to defend it.

    China has abandoned the proletariat but still has all the worker’s party regalia.

    The great worker’s paradise has 60 hour workweeks in sweatshops and no unions.

    BUT ITS MAOS BIRTHDAY GET UR RED FLAGS OUT

  129. @Yee

    You can choose to believe what the publications tell you, or you can use common sense to analyze a problem for yourself.

    The CCP isn’t a publication. It’s the only allowed party in China. I was referring to the government.

    Normally, it’d be people who are suffering know about how bad the famine is but high ranking officials don’t. But this one was the other way around.

    So you are saying the government of China and historians around the world are all wrong?

    China absolutely hates admitting mistakes and takes pride in their revolutionary history but you think their admittance of the famine is a fabrication……..why? What would be their motive?

    Grannies and grandpas talked about tight rations

    Guy on Unz says Grannies and grandpas disagreed. Well I’m convinced.

    Here is a book by a journalist whose dad died in the famine and was given multiple awards for his investigative work:
    https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tombstone-yang-jisheng/1122501361

    He believes the death toll is at the higher end at around 36 million.

    It’s considered one of the most comprehensive accounts of the famine but you would call him a liar?

  130. @Deep Thought

    “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, …” but not to Amelika– unless you have already made yourself into a multi-millionaire in China. Otherwise, they will build a wall to stop you getting there– if you are non-white that is.

    That is an inscription on a statue that was a gift from a French egalitarian. It is not a government mandate and the original founders of the country did not imagine a multi-racial state where failed third world states could dump their progeny.

    I also doubt they would have allowed foreigners to buy up properties for rentals in areas where home ownership is already low.

    If the whites were so reasonable and noble, why did they have to wipe out entire ethnic groups and grab entire continents that do not belong to them– instead of paying their way into these lands like the Chinese multi-millionaires are doing now?

    If Whites are such an awful group then stop appropriating their technologies.

    Turn off your computer and go make some tea if you get COVID.

    • Replies: @Deep Thought
  131. @Mike Tre

    Are those all that you can find? With the amount of infrastructures that China has built, there are bound to be some bad apples. The following are supposed to be the very best of the most technological country:

  132. Yee says:

    Ron Unz,

    “Well, I think the GLF famine often tended to be fairly localized, with some areas hit extremely hard and others not so much. Obviously, villages that were almost wiped out would have fewer survivors to tell stories about what had happened.”

    If it was localized, then it would have been more easily known to the people in the region. In a famine that caused 1 in 10 death in Henan in 1942, Henan people listed the offical who ruled the province one of the four scourges -河南四害 水旱蝗汤 (four scourges of Henan – flood, drought, locusts, Tang).

    Also, Chinese don’t marry people from their own village, because most villagers are relatives with the same surname. They married people from other villages. One village got wiped out, there’d be hundreds of in-laws in other villages know about it.

    • Replies: @John Johnson
  133. @anon

    you must admit this movie is nothing but pure communist propaganda.

    No, for reasons outlined in my review.

  134. @Deep Thought

    In the Pinoy’s triumvarate of American military control, Spanish-Mestizo corruption-incompetence & ethnic Chinese control of the consumer economy I would have to say the Chinese add insult by pumping the country full of shabu.

  135. @Commentator Mike

    My reply was to Jeff Stryker, who sees himself as a saviour of Austronesians in Southeast Asia. To him the Chinese are the evil yellow monster oppressing all the brown people. If you read his other posts his characterisation of the Chinese as such is quite evident. Sometimes rather than using “chinese” he uses “fujianese”. He thinks he is smart by using terms most other Westerners are unfamiliar with. But those of us who are actually from the region know he is just blowing superficial smoke up quivering Western asses.

    He doesn’t realise it is a kind of projecting of his own ethnic guilt on the Chinese, who have lived, traded and intermarried with all the peoples of the region for millenia.

    His claim to intimate knowledge of these affairs are because he has lived in the region for a few years working in the Philippines for a bit and now living in Bangkok apparently as a Farang popular with the local “entertainment” ladies. He has picked up a few anecdotes here and there and thinks he is now a fount of knowledge on these issues. You know the sort. Those who could not cut it back home, but now that he has a few American dollars, likes to think he is some kind of White Rajah in SE Asia.

    • Replies: @Commentator Mike
  136. @littlereddot

    But there are similarities between how the Chinese operate in Southeast Asia and Jews in white countries if you consider what Boy1988 wrote in comment #88 – hence “Jews of the East”. Jews also engage in such corrupting activities, and also intermarry with whites. You could argue that they are just providing services others want (loans, gambling, prostitution, etc.) but you should know that such excuses are not considered acceptable by most on the Unz Review.

    I wonder if locals who work for Western companies in Southeast Asia have better working conditions, salaries and job satisfaction than those who work for Chinese companies – it would be interesting to compare. I’m sure Chinese companies are improving and it would be great if they could overtake the Western ones in these respects but I’m not sure how they presently compare. I am critical of the Chinese in many respects, although in geopolitical terms I support them against the West and defend them from unjust criticisms of Western propaganda as well as being awed by the massive technical progress going on there but I don’t have illusions about them. There are cultural differences between different peoples/races and it is understandable that there would be friction and resentment when any one tries to impose itself on the other. It is a reality that the Chinese are not much liked by most other people in Southeast Asia, and vice versa, but of course they’re linked in mutual co-dependence and should try to get along as best they can without necessarily having to like each other.

    • Replies: @littlereddot
  137. Yee says:

    John Johnson,

    So you are saying the government of China and historians around the world are all wrong?

    Not yet. I’m just starting to question their claim, since it’s not the same I heard from family members, nor was it from my friends and classmates.

    why? What would be their motive?

    Internal power struggle. There were not many facts could be used to demonize Mao, so just create some.

    a journalist whose dad died in the famine and was given multiple awards for his investigative work:

    Western awards means little. Make something anti-Communism, you’d receive a award.

  138. @John Johnson

    That is an inscription on a statue that was a gift from a French egalitarian. It is not a government mandate and the original founders of the country did not imagine a multi-racial state where failed third world states could dump their progeny.

    “That is an inscription on a statue that was/is” for propaganda purposes only. “The original founders’” intentions was just to rob the land and the wealth of that land– which did/do not belong to them– for the enrichment of the white occupiers only. They even robbed the physical bodies of the Africans for the SAME evil purposes!!!

    If Whites are such an awful group then stop appropriating their technologies.

    WHY STOP??? The Chinese invented gun powder, the gun, the rocket, the explosive grenade, etc, etc. The whites appropriated all these CHINESE inventions/technologies, improved on them and then used them to beat the hell out of the Chinese. There is a MORAL LESSON to be learnt here!!!

    • Replies: @John Johnson
  139. @Commentator Mike

    These differences can be put down to cultural differences. People have gripes about working in Japanese and Korean companies also because of their particular peculiarities. Whenever people of different cultures first start working together, there is bound to be some adjustment.

    The gripes most people in SE Asia have about Chinese is that the Chinese are particularly practical and materialistic. They have a “god of wealth” afterall. This combined with their own internal hard working drive makes them tough bosses that expect as much of their workers as they expect from themselves.

    But the underlying fact is that working for a Chinese boss is a choice. The Chinese have never colonised any of these countries and enslaved the peoples. There was and is no systemic oppression of SE Asian peoples.

    As for the comparison with the Jews, the similarities would be that both tend to be very materialistic and also highly intelligent. To try to force some sort of moral equivalence is dubious.

    The involvement of Chinese in the illegal activities are just that…illegal gang activities. To ascribe them to be a state led “corrupting activity” as in Jeff Stryker’s shabu rant is a mistake.

    If you are familiar with Malaysia as brought up by Boy1988, then you would know that the Malays get up to different kinds of crime mostly of the physical/violent sort, burglaries, snatch thefts, robberies … that sort of stuff. Its not like the Chinese community produces all the criminals and the Malays produce only angels.

    But these are all the above is just fluff. The real reason for the negative feelings people in the west have about the Chinese currently are twofold:

    1. The demonisation of China as a prelude to war. Ten years ago, Westerners didn’t mind the Chinese half as much. Have Westerners forgotten how muslims were demonised not so long ago?
    2. The bad job China is doing at Public Relations. It is a very Chinese trait to refrain from self promotion which they see as distasteful. They expect their good works to speak for themselves, not verbal boasting. If you have Chinese friends, observe them, you will probably see what I mean. And if you can observe these traits in Chinese brought up in a Western culture, it would be doubly true of Chinese in China/Asia.

    • Replies: @jeff stryker
  140. @littlereddot

    1. Even the ethnic Chinese will work for USA companies instead of other Chinese unless members of the family business cartel. If you’ve ever been a job recruiter in SEA you know that locals will climb over their own parents to get away from Chinese employers & work for Westerners…except in Singapore.

    2. Of course the Malaysians or Indonesians have massacred the Chinese but the real issue is with Indians in Malaysia or Singapore who themselves want their hands on the power levels & the real concern is that the Indians & Chinese in Singapore will go break out into a war that draws India & China into a vassal state war.

    3. It’s less about their hard work or anything but more about treating employees like farm animals & no unions because the Ethnic Chinese tried to use these for Communism so the government outlawed unions which then allows the Chinese to pay a pittance. Koreans are also brutish employers, but pay better.

    4. Chinese don’t produce ANY street criminals. There’s no money in it & they don’t have to be street criminals. They get into drugs as it is huge money & not as street runners but at the top of the trade. Tamils are the street gangs of Kuala Lumpur.

    5. The idea of the USA invading China-or even going to war in Taiwan is silly-the Americans just cannot afford another war & young people won’t volunteer.

    6. Americans believed that Muslims were responsible for 9-11. Chinese are not terrorists or motivated by religion. It’s all sweet hard cash.

    Note: I should say Southern Chinese. Not Fukien or anything else but South Chinese merchants.

    • Replies: @ivan
    , @Boy1988
    , @littlereddot
  141. @ImaBotKnot

    Exploring the question….. When did the Illuminati Globalist Bankers begin their take over of China as a whole? Was the fall of the Last Emperor necessary to achieve this?

    [MORE]

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

    Beiyang government – refers to the government of the Republic of China which sat in its capital Peking (Beijing) between that 1912 and 1928. It was internationally recognized as the legitimate Chinese government during that time.

    The name derives from the Beiyang Army, which dominated its politics with the rise of Yuan Shikai, who was a general of the Qing dynasty. After his death, the army split into various warlord factions competing for power, in a period called the Warlord Era. Although the government and the state were nominally under civilian control under a constitution, the Beiyang generals were effectively in charge of it. Nevertheless, the government enjoyed legitimacy abroad along with diplomatic recognition, had access to tax and customs revenue, ……….. [and could apply for foreign financial loans.]

    https://www.boc.cn/en/aboutboc/ab7/200809/t20080926_1601881.html download this if interested

    After the promulgation of the Regulation of the Bank of China, the Ministry of Finance sent a formal consultation on May 23, 1913 to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, urging the latter to convey to all foreign banks that “Bank of China is the Central Bank of the Republic of China”. During the period from 1912 to 1928, Bank of China successively acted as the Central Bank of the Nanjing Provisional Government and the Northern Warlord Government (Beiyang Government).
    C. Management of repayment of foreign debts. While recognizing the large amount of foreign debts borrowed by the Qing Government, the Beiyang Government incurred massive new foreign debts – 387 loans with an approximate amount of 1.28 billion yuan during only 16 years. As the central bank, Bank of China undertook the task to pay principal and interest of foreign debts. Moreover, due to insufficient governmental appropriations, the bank had to provide advances to the government, suffering from quite a lot of losses.

    So I would say at about this point in time, Illuminati bankers started taking over Chinese finances? And asking the question…. Was the Great Leap Forward an attempt by Mao and his financial ministers to produce products for export to pay these debts?

    Again this is a backdrop to what was happening in China at the time of the Last Emperor.

    Also as far as Banking and Loans we have the very instrumental Hong Kong Bank ….

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hongkong_and_Shanghai_Banking_Corporation#History … which is today the Bank ARAMCO uses? — HSBC

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Li_Hongzhang This guy is interesting

  142. Treg says:
    @Treg

    “The Last Emperor” is truly an amazing film.
    But the film “To Live” about this same period of time, is even 100 times better. “To Live” is to China as “Gone With the Wind” is to America. You must watch “To Live” to understand what happened to China.

  143. ivan says:
    @Yee

    Your idea that the starving would immediately head to the hills with their makeshift guns makes no sense at all. For that to happen one needs a rallying point, which by that stage of Communist development would not be possible. The Bolsheviks took care to eliminate all possible centres of ideological resistance. The Chicoms did the same.

    Nehru recalled with some distress that Mao had calmly told him that he would be prepared to lose 200 millions in some war or other to pursue his ends. It is worth pointing out that the lower peasantry themselves were themselves the enforcers of the “New Order”, thus when mass starvation set in, they could not see it was Mao’s policies that had led to it. Their position was like that of the true believer in Stalin, running “if only Stalin knew” in a loop in his head, in the face of all atrocities and distress.

    • Replies: @ivan
  144. ivan says:
    @ivan

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Chinese_Life

    The above graphic novel makes clear the reality of the mass starvation imposed by Mao and his confreres. Although the main authour understood that it was the CCP that brought in all the horrors, he could not being himself to blame Mao or Communism for that. The illustrations show great artistry and the whole book is worth reading.

  145. ivan says:
    @jeff stryker

    I think you quite exaggerate. The Indians are in no position to take over anything. Racism is not a big problem in either Singapore or Malaysia.

    What is distressing though is that the Malays in Malaysia are not pulling their own weight. Their sitting with their collective arse on the enterprise of the nation, has the effect of reducing opportunities for all including the Malays themselves. For more than fifty years they or their elites have been collecting various “rents” in the name of being the “Bumiputras”. That policy had run it’s course a couple of decades back and Malaysia is in danger of being a “failed state”.

  146. @Verymuchalive

    This is a very odd film review. It deals minimally with the film and discusses matters of political authority much more

    I agree completely.

    I have found many of Mr Lynch’s very idiosyncratic reviews to be at best off-beat and un-focussed, but often also mystifying – and at times nonsensical and, in matters of interpretation, simply plain wrong. As I recall, from the many other mainstream reviews of this movie written at time of release, the bloated, overly-long and disastrously comatose production is certainly best viewed as simply a throwaway costume-drama, since it is historically completely inaccurate in a hundred different ways. The many trailers, clips and snatches which I’ve seen myself by chance now and then on other people’s televisions certainly supported those impressions. It’s clear that the nepotistic script thrown together by the degenerate Communist Bertolucci and his brother-in-law has, in their elevated wisdom, chopped the source book to pieces – and the original autobiography by Pu Yi himself has been all but completely ignored. The (typical Jew-Hollywood) result of that abortion is a thousand pieces of sub-standard, self-indulgent trash – which ties in completely with every other review I’ve ever read.

    And a ludicrous nine Oscars from the various Jew committees of west Hollywood scum who wouldn’t understand the first element of the Chinese mind or culture if it chased them down Santa Monica Boulevard tells you everything you need to know about the all-embracing, pig-ignorant, nihilistic worthlessness of Jews and Hollywood.

  147. @James J O'Meara

    Harris’ character calls his target “the bandleader” with typical American contempt driven by ignorance

    You seem to be forgetting that those words were NOT genuine “American contempt” or “ignorance” at all – but were very carefully and deliberately placed in the mouth of the American character in that play – by the play’s author, Ronald Harwood.

    Or, as he was originally born, Ronald Horwitz.

    Yes, (((you guessed it))).

  148. @Liosnagcat

    Do you know what the word “pedant” means ?

  149. @Deep Thought

    “That is an inscription on a statue that was/is” for propaganda purposes only. “The original founders’” intentions was just to rob the land and the wealth of that land– which did/do not belong to them– for the enrichment of the white occupiers only.

    And to whom did it belong? Warring tribes that would make alliances with various European powers to kill their enemies?

    If Whites didn’t take America then the Chinese or Japanese would have. There is no way it would have remained divided among tribes.

    It’s amusing how America is described as stolen but the Bantu expansion is celebrated as the flourishing of an African empire. Well the San Bushmen and other natives weren’t so thrilled with the results. But not once have I seen anyone suggest that the Bantu give it back because resentment against White progress is merely that and nothing about some global sense of justice.

    WHY STOP??? The Chinese invented gun powder, the gun, the rocket, the explosive grenade, etc, etc. The whites appropriated all these CHINESE inventions/technologies, improved on them and then used them to beat the hell out of the Chinese. There is a MORAL LESSON to be learnt here!!!

    The difference is that I don’t have a chip on my shoulder when it comes to Asians and welcome their contributions. You are the one that seems to have emotional resentments towards Whites.

    Like I said if they are so awful then turn off your computer. You must be a real masochist if you have emotional resentment towards Whites and spend time at Unz.

    They even robbed the physical bodies of the Africans for the SAME evil purposes!!!

    Well technically they bought them from African slave traders in coastal towns. It was certainly theft of life and Africa was in on it.

    • Replies: @Deep Thought
    , @Anonymous
  150. @Dave Bowman

    I have found many of Mr Lynch’s very idiosyncratic reviews to be at best off-beat and un-focussed, but often also mystifying – and at times nonsensical and, in matters of interpretation, simply plain wrong.

    I completely disagree. I find them to be a refreshing break from the mainstream and I think his interpretation is usually on target if not at least informative even if he wanders a bit much into race or politics. But he is openly biased from a political perspective which is half the point of the review. I wish mainstream reviewers would be upfront about their politics.

    As I recall, from the many other mainstream reviews of this movie written at time of release, the bloated, overly-long and disastrously comatose production is certainly best viewed as simply a throwaway costume-drama, since it is historically completely inaccurate in a hundred different ways.

    What are you talking about? It currently pulls 89% with critics at rotten tomatoes.

    The movie is designed so you can still watch it as a grand spectacle even if you don’t understand the historical context.

    But I think everyone would agree that it is too long. However compared to anything in theaters today it is a masterpiece. I watched a recent release about a team of mutants that fight a giant starfish from space. Yes a starfish. I really felt like I watched a dog’s butthole for 2 hours. I can enjoy a comic or action movie but my God it was awful.

  151. @Yee

    If it was localized, then it would have been more easily known to the people in the region. In a famine that caused 1 in 10 death in Henan in 1942, Henan people listed the offical who ruled the province one of the four scourges -河南四害 水旱蝗汤 (four scourges of Henan – flood, drought, locusts, Tang).

    Wow this review sure brought out the China defenders.

    Look the Chinese government already admitted to 20 million.

    Maybe run that by your f-king manager before posting here.

  152. This is a very strange review.. The film had little to do with communism itself. You completely ignore the Republic era from 1911 onward… If you wanted to write something against communism – then this movie didn’t make sense. Your anecdotes about China obviously show much of western propaganda doesn’t make sense. The Chinese government also wanted to highlight the wrongs of the Cultural Revolution. You do know that they had the authority to censor the film right…? But they left those things in there…

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  153. @Anonymous

    Percentage wise and in total the Taiping Rebellion was much more brutal than the intentional deaths under Mao. So the idea that Mao’s regime – as flawed as it was – was the bloodiest is plain western propaganda. In fact the Taiping Rebellion was the beginning of the end of the Qing dynasty – of which the film the Last Emperor was about.

  154. @Verymuchalive

    The Taiping Rebellion was intentional blood letting… The Great Leap Forward was ill advised agricultural policy. Why is it hard to understand the difference???

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  155. @Priss Factor

    A lot of animals were driven to near extinction because people shot them…

    And today there is still a huge militia in China. It’s just formalized now… The PAP (people’s armed police)

  156. @Jake Dee

    Yeah but Dalai Lamas needed to be affirmed by the Qing Dynasty … How did you leave that out?

  157. @Boy1988

    Those Chinese gangs were mainly run from Hong Kong and Taiwan. The PRC had stifled the gangs so they set up shop in those two territories and ran their global criminal empires. Inconvenient truth for the west. But of course that is white washed now.

  158. @John Johnson

    “They tell us that the Mao era was needed yet both Taiwan and Hong Kong were able to advance without starving millions to death or torturing teachers.”

    Pretty silly comment when you realize the KMT took the entire national treasury and currency reserves to Taiwan with them when they retreated to the island. Nor were Taiwan nor Hong Kong under grain embargo. Hong Kong was under British imperialism and most Hong Kong people were dirt poor for most of that time. The KMT even with all the riches they took had a White Terror campaign when they landed on Taiwan to quickly kill of dissent. Stop with the ideological folly and deal with reality.

  159. @John Johnson

    If Whites didn’t take America then the Chinese or Japanese would have. There is no way it would have remained divided among tribes.

    Just like other white racists, you have the mentality of the bandit.

    Did you biological father raped your biological mother– and resulting you– because he feared that, if he did not do so, other men would have done it???!!! At least, that would explain WHY and HOW you acquired such a mentality.

    Mahathir bin Mohamad said:
    .
    ‘They (the US) are all the time containing China , threatening China , and what would be the response of China? If they ( China) are threatened, then obviously they are going to prepare themselves to face the threat.
    .
    ‘We have been trading with China for over 1000 years and they never tried to conquer us. The Portuguese came to trade and colonized us. When they see China strong, they think it wants to conquer the world. They say China could re-arm. We don’t think China wants to re-arm to conquer us. There are a lot of American intentions in this area.’
    .
    http://zcomm.org/znetarticle/malaysian-peace-conference-by-maryann-keady/

    The difference is that I don’t have a chip on my shoulder when it comes to Asians and welcome their contributions. You are the one that seems to have emotional resentments towards Whites.

    The difference is that the white racists have a boulder on their shoulder even though the Chinese had done NOTHING that harmed them:

    … It is also consistent with the arguments of the most honest kind of “China hawk,” who argues that the real problem with Beijing is not that it wants to dominate the world, but that it might stop the U.S. from doing so in a unipolar manner.

    https://www.globalresearch.ca/china-real-threat-america-ruling-ideology/5733887

    {In fact, this approach should not come as a surprise, as the ongoing racial tensions in the US, started by the brutal killing of George Floyd by police officer Derek Chauvin, have exposed the true colors of the nation, which built its might on the back of slaves from Africa brought to a land formerly belonging to indigenous peoples who were now residing in reservations and had no real influence in the land taken from them.

    The white supremacist identity, which gave birth to the so-called “New World,” appears to be the US modus operandi not only in its internal dealings with non-Caucasian inhabitants (including Asian-Americans), but also external conduct toward countries like the Middle Kingdom.}

    {Failure to recognize this reality by China, or to think that the desire to destabilize the country is limited only to President Donald Trump’s administration, may be the beginning of the end of the only superpower that can prevent the US from turning rest of the world into one big reservation for the indigenous nations around the globe.}

    https://asiatimes.com/2020/07/china-needs-realism-not-wishful-thinking-on-us/

    • Agree: showmethereal
  160. @Treg

    But the film “To Live” about this same period of time, is even 100 times better. “To Live” is to China as “Gone With the Wind” is to America. You must watch “To Live” to understand what happened to China.

    I admire Zhang Yimou, the director, a good deal. This film got him in trouble with the Chinese Communist Party. Odd, though, that it is hard to find in the rest of the world.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  161. @Dave Bowman

    And a ludicrous nine Oscars from the various Jew committees of west Hollywood scum who wouldn’t understand the first element of the Chinese mind or culture if it chased them down Santa Monica Boulevard tells you everything you need to know about the all-embracing, pig-ignorant, nihilistic worthlessness of Jews and Hollywood.

    This reminds me of the Cultural Revolution scene in The Last Emperor in which the Red Guards, who are played as “hysterical gook” stereotypes bark out slogans like “Emperor’s lackey!” and “Rotten rightist!” I don’t understand the appeal of Marxoid duckspeak, or whatever form of duckspeak you are engaging in here. It sounds both hysterical and mechanical.

  162. Yee says:

    John Johnson,

    Look the Chinese government already admitted to 20 million.

    How strange only intellectuals noticed those death, but the average people who lived through it didn’t.

    In other places and other time, with 2 – 3 million death, there were scences that nobody would have missed, dead bodies at roadsides, people so thin they were just walking skeletons, large number of people trying desperately to leave, etc.

    Yet, with 20 millions deaths, all one would hear is how difficult it was to get food. None of the much more memorable horror scences common in other famines were mentioned.

    Of course it is suspicious.

    • Replies: @John Johnson
  163. @Deep Thought

    JJ is like that fat Jew who took over that Palestinian woman’s house and when she complained said “If I don’t take it someone else will”.

    • Replies: @Deep Thought
  164. @Commentator Mike

    He could be a Jew pretending to be a non-Jewish white.

  165. Weaver says:
    @Marshal Marlow

    Just to dump an uninteresting reply on you: Rome competed for emperor, the dominant contender(s) then recognized.

    I’d argue if you said water is wet.

  166. @Nancy

    It was never a secret, but I am a coward.

  167. @showmethereal

    Pretty silly comment when you realize the KMT took the entire national treasury and currency reserves to Taiwan with them when they retreated to the island.

    LOL so the left has created a “stole the gold” excuse for Taiwan as well? It couldn’t have anything to do with the Taiwanese being able to start a business in a free society?

    Oh man that is hilarious.

    While Mao was busy having innocent school teachers tortured by idiot 18 year old students the people of Taiwan were trying to figure out how to CREATE THINGS to sell to other countries. That is how their tech industry was started.

    Only later did China realize that Communism was a load of bulls–t and switched back to not only capitalism but exploitative capitalism with 60 hour work weeks. But hey like I said they still have the Mao holiday where everyone can wave a red flag. A true utopia.

    Stop with the ideological folly and deal with reality.

    The reality is that the Chinese fell for Marxism even though it should have been clear by 1925 that Marx really was just a bitter half German/half Jew that never took Econ 101 and didn’t know what he was talking about. But Asians like the Chinese and Vietnamese really liked the anti-Western aspect and signed up anyways.

    So China replaced its rich history with a 1984 type surveillance state and ironically turned back the clock on labor standards.

    The reality is that in China you aren’t allowed to talk about reality on the internet. Everything goes through a filter and too much talk of reality can lead you to a re-education camp. We saw this with COVID but US/European governments have been neutered by liberalism and don’t have the balls to talk about it.

    • Replies: @Showmethereal
  168. @Yee

    How strange only intellectuals noticed those death, but the average people who lived through it didn’t.

    It was a Chinese intellectual that interviewed thousands of average people and compiled their horrifying stories that are well beyond what a single person could conceive. That book is Tombstone and is banned in China.

    Both Ron and I cited the book independently. It is not some random work.

    Yet, with 20 millions deaths, all one would hear is how difficult it was to get food. None of the much more memorable horror scences common in other famines were mentioned.

    I’m not sure what you are saying here.

    The Chinese government said 20 million.

    The author of Tombstone puts it at 36 million.

    Tombstone is a compilation of horror scenes.

    I’m fine with 20 million. Mao’s idiocy led to 20 million deaths. Let’s leave it at that. Only 20 million. All hail Marx and Mao. Only 20 million.

  169. @showmethereal

    The KMT even with all the riches they took had a White Terror campaign when they landed on Taiwan to quickly kill of dissent.

    I believe they killed tens of thousands. And it was less about white vs red than mainlander vs islander.

    • Replies: @Showmethereal
  170. @showmethereal

    The Taiping Rebellion was intentional blood letting… The Great Leap Forward was ill advised agricultural policy. Why is it hard to understand the difference???

    In some ways, that makes the Great Leap even worse.

    Naturally, many people die in wars.

    But Great Leap was in peacetime, and it killed tens of millions.

    Also, even though Great Leap began as a mistake, it escalated into massacres because some people did rise up but were butchered without mercy.

    Take the American Civil War. Many died because it was war.

    But suppose even more people perished because the government agricultural policy was so retarded during peacetime.

    • Replies: @Showmethereal
  171. @Deep Thought

    Just like other white racists, you have the mentality of the bandit.

    The mentality of the bandit? LOL are you going to accuse me having the temperament of the grasshopper next?

    I can smell your ESL mind a mile away. No one in the west calls anyone a bandit. The word is rarely used unless referring to Smokey and the Bandit which I honestly like for being light and good natured even if it is a bit corny.

    Did you biological father raped your biological mother– and resulting you– because he feared that, if he did not do so, other men would have done it???!!! At least, that would explain WHY and HOW you acquired such a mentality.

    Oh so you are Arab and really don’t understand genetics and have weird rape and women issues.

    If my father raped my mother then the genetic dice roll would be no different than if they were married and madly in love. So your statement really doesn’t make any sense.

    People are basically a combination of their grandparents. It’s a misunderstanding of genetics to believe that you are your parents. Your parents raise you but there is something called recessive genes that you can read about on your own.

    Anyways my parents are happily married so no I don’t think my dad was trying to rape-lock my mom. But man you gave me some good laughs tonight though so thanks.

    Oh and I’m not sure why you call yourself “deep thought” when most of your post involves copy-pasting the thoughts of other people.

    • Replies: @Deep Thought
  172. @Treg

    TO LIVE is nothing like GONE WITH THE WIND. The latter is about the grand sweep of history. Scarlett is a glamorous figure and rides with the wind of history. She is always the star, the center of attention. She’s like a leopardess watching her beloved jungle burn. She’s about star power.

    In contrast, TO LIVE is about people who keep their heads low and try their best to maintain a semblance of normality. It’s like rats surviving underground. It’s about humanism.

  173. Anonymous[556] • Disclaimer says:
    @Trevor Lynch

    Odd, though, that it is hard to find in the rest of the world.

    It got wide release in the West.

    Sometimes, I wonder if the BANNED IN CHINA label was a promotional stunt to pull in more Western audiences.

    I’m guessing To Live was problematic for its depiction of Cultural Revolution, but Farewell My Concubine was also brutal its depiction.
    Blue Kite was also banned in China, but then, why did China let these projects to go through in the first place? To stamp them as ‘banned in china’ and sell them to the West?

    Yimou’s penchant for style — he began as a cinematographer — was balanced by his concern for ordinary people in his earlier films, but when he later embarked on mega-projects, it was style and nothing but. Hero is just empty spectacle, but the CCP loved it as a paean to self-sacrifice in the name of the Order. And Yimou became something like China’s Riefenstahl and did the choreography for the Olympics.

  174. Anonymous[556] • Disclaimer says:
    @showmethereal

    The film had little to do with communism itself.

    All the prison scenes are under communism.

    You completely ignore the Republic era from 1911 onward…

    In that time, Puyi was either disengaged from politics or rubber-stamping Japanese demands.

    The Chinese government also wanted to highlight the wrongs of the Cultural Revolution.

    But it put most of the blame on the Gang of Four when Mao was the real culprit.

    • Replies: @Showmethereal
  175. Anonymous[149] • Disclaimer says:
    @John Johnson

    If Whites didn’t take America then the Chinese or Japanese would have. There is no way it would have remained divided among tribes.

    Unlikely as China and Japan looked inward before the West forced their gates open. China and Japan, though so close, had less contact with one another than the West had with India and Africa.

    If Western Europeans hadn’t taken the Americas, I think the Russians would have done it, though it would have taken some time. Russians would eventually have come down Alaska and spread out like they did over Siberia.

  176. @John Johnson

    No one in the west calls anyone a bandit.

    But they ARE bandits. They even conduct banditry on their own kind:

    Post 78, https://www.unz.com/aanglin/america-gives-canada-permission-to-release-kidnapped-chinese-tech-executive/#comments

    Oh so you are Arab and really don’t understand genetics and have weird rape and women issues.

    If I were Arab, then you must be Jewish,

    People are basically a combination of their grandparents. It’s a misunderstanding of genetics to believe that you are your parents. Your parents raise you but there is something called recessive genes that you can read about on your own.

    What has all these to do with my comment? Do you know the English term “analogy”?

    Anyways my parents are happily married so no I don’t think my dad was trying to rape-lock my mom. But man you gave me some good laughs tonight though so thanks.

    “Happy marriages”– For the predatory whites only:

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

    https://www.thenation.com/article/society/slavery-american-genocide-racism/

    https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/us-history-riddled-with-massacres-genocide/2261696

    • Replies: @John Johnson
  177. Boy1988 says:
    @jeff stryker

    Well the chinese in 21st century sure don’t produce street crime.but they do in the 60s which was a time when no other ethnics in Malaysia commit crimes like wayside robberies,pickpockets,drug peddling .At that time the only crime that Malays and Indians were booked for was domestic abuse, cockfighting, causing injuries after being drunk.60s was an era where Muslims in Malaysia could openly drink alcoholic beverages,wear skimpy dresses.you mentioned even ethnic Chinese would work for American companies instead of other chinese.well not true and Chinese would very much prefer to work for their own kind in Malaysia unless working as a dishwasher, janitor ,gardener,low skilled factory worker.chinese work under other Chinese to gain experience ,build connection and therefore they don’t work for long.in short Chinese prefer to be their own boss and make their own decision

  178. Yee says:

    John Johnson,

    It was a Chinese intellectual that interviewed thousands of average people and compiled their horrifying stories that are well beyond what a single person could conceive

    That’s where I find it weird.

    For something as widespread as 36 million death, you shouldn’t need intellectuals to search for witnesses to know it had happened. It should be the collective memory of that generation.

    36 million death was more than the 30 million casualties of 8 years Japan invasion, how could anyone from that generation have missed it? Yet, none of the elderly people I and my friends asked have seen what was common in other famines.

    Also, KMT left plenty of spies all over the mainland when they fled to Taiwan. They would have made a huge stink with enough photos to line the Great Wall if the death toll was tens of million.

    30 deaths can be a secret, but you cannot hide 36 million. If it had happened, it had to been in the open. The very fact that it need intellectuals to search for witnesses spells bogus to me.

    • Replies: @John Johnson
  179. @John Johnson

    So many loud mouths who have no clue about China yet run off at the mouth. And it is no excuse that the KMT took the whole treasury to the island. If it wasnt important they would have left it on the mainland. All that money is how the island developed. If you dont understand that then you are a nimwit.
    The rest of the comment is just plain stupidity. I am no fan of Marxism or other political isms. But only ideologues could claim China was some paradise when Mao got into power. He got i to power because China was brought to its knees by the 8 Nation Alliance and the Chinese were tired of it. Many mistakes were made – but all that is done and dusted. The fact is the mainland has past Hong Kong in every way except medical care and Taiwan in every way except semiconductor manufacturing. Those are the facts and stupid snide remarks and ideological grandstanding cant change them. To deny them is simoly to be delusionsal.

    And for the record when Taiwan boomed it wasnt Taiwanese but mainlanders who went to the island with their business skills.. They and their offspring were the first to jump in line to catch the boom on mainland China. The same is true of Hong Kong. You have no clue.

  180. @Priss Factor

    It was called The White aterror. So now on Taiwan as they are becoming just like the “woke” crowd they are trying to cancel chiang kai shek. But really all he did was do on Taiwan what he wanted to do on the mainland but couldn’t. Taiwan was under martial law for 40 years. People can pretend otherwise that wasnt the case but it is. The communists were not supermen. They drove the KMT off the mainland because the average people were tired of them (and thought they were ineffective in fighting Japan). No serious review or discussion of this movie and time period can negate to discuss both the KMT AND Japanese agression to understand what happeened with the last emperor of China.

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  181. @Priss Factor

    If the US was as crowded and as poor as China at the time – many times more people would have died in the Dust Bowl (which happened because of poor farming techniques). Tens of millions died of famine in India while Churchhill was in power… Nobody calls him a murderer of the Indians. I am no fan of Mao. I just dont like hypocrisy in judgement.
    And if we are talking about China – proportionally the Taiping Rebellion was far more destructive than the Great Leap Forward.

  182. If the US was as crowded and as poor as China at the time – many times more people would have died in the Dust Bowl (which happened because of poor farming techniques).

    First, those poor farming techniques weren’t part of mandated government policy, so the US government cannot be blamed. In contrast, Mao forced his plan on the nation. He is to blame.

    Also, the US quickly took notice of the problem, and government took measures to help the people out.
    In contrast, so many died in China because of the climate of fear. Things were going badly, but everyone told Mao that things were going great, which compounded the problem. So, the Great Leap continued and did more damage.

    Tens of millions died of famine in India while Churchhill was in power

    Millions, not tens of millions, and Churchill has been blamed from certain quarters for the deaths of Indians. Most Hindus don’t see him as a hero.
    But he fought Hitler, and that means Jews like him, and Jews control the media and academia.

    • Replies: @showmethereal
  183. @Showmethereal

    It was called The White aterror.

    Whatever it was called, the main tension wasn’t ideological but political. Islanders didn’t like being pushed around by the mainlander KMT, especially as KMT was pretty corrupt and rough in those days.

    But really all he did was do on Taiwan what he wanted to do on the mainland but couldn’t. Taiwan was under martial law for 40 years. People can pretend otherwise that wasnt the case but it is.

    NO ONE is arguing with you on this. Everyone knows Chiang was a strongman dictator. Everyone knows democracy came later, but actually current democracy is worse because it made Taiwan even more slavish and servile to the US. Chiang knew he could only survive as puppet of the US, but he still had some sense of Chinese pride and autonomy. Current Taiwanese elites are western-educated cuck-dogs of the US, body and soul.

    The communists were not supermen. They drove the KMT off the mainland because the average people were tired of them (and thought they were ineffective in fighting Japan).

    Commies won because Japan weakened KMT. China under KMT was still pre-industrial and unprepared to fight Japan. But, the KMT had been very effective at destroying communism and driving the communist remnants to Yenan. Japan > KMT, but KMT > Communists. So, why did the communists win? Because in the war between KMT and Japan, KMT got crushed and pushed to the hinterlands… while communists mostly stood back and saved their own forces.

    No serious review or discussion of this movie and time period can negate to discuss both the KMT AND Japanese agression to understand what happeened with the last emperor of China.

    What is there to discuss? The movie shows that Puyi was a puppet to the Japanese, and he came to confess his sins under communism. Perhaps, Trevor Lynch would rather not discuss that because he feels more sympathy toward Japan(as ally of Nazi Germany) and wishes Japan would have prevailed in Manchuria. Maybe, maybe not.
    At any rate, the movie is mostly about Puyi within the Forbidden City, collaborating with the Japanese, and then being reformed under communism. There is very little about the KMT in the movie. KMT’s role in history is an important subject, but it’s not what the movie is about.

    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
  184. @Showmethereal

    So many loud mouths who have no clue about China yet run off at the mouth. And it is no excuse that the KMT took the whole treasury to the island. If it wasnt important they would have left it on the mainland. All that money is how the island developed. If you dont understand that then you are a nimwit.

    One thing for sure, Taiwan took a lot of the national treasures and art to Taiwan. And good thing too as they might have been destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. Still, if Taiwan insists on being independent and not part of China, it should give those treasures back.

    As for the treasury, it wasn’t that important to Taiwan’s rise. After all, similar economic rises have been seen in Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and now Vietnam. What do they all have in common? They are East Asians with Confucian heritage. And they had access to Western markets and credit.

    A lot of Boat People — sino-vietnamese — came to the US with NOTHING but many of them did well in business.

  185. @Anonymous

    So call it a review of the prison scenes then.
    Yeah and what is your point about Puyi not having power??? Yeah the Japanese played a huge part in the saga. Again – there is only brief talk of it.
    And no they do not only blame the Gang of Four (which were certainly part of the problem. Call this an anti Mao and CPC trope – but its not a serious review of the actual film and history.

  186. @Priss Factor

    I will use one comment to reply to everything rather than individually.

    1)Can’t blame the US government??? What is an agricultural department for??? The bottom line is they were naive and there were many harmful practices that led to the Dust Bowl. Again – if the US was as crowded AND as poor as China relatively at the time – many more deaths and suffering would have happened. The US was not crowded and was relatively wealthy and had a long long time of peace within its borders. Not even remotely the same. The whole issue was whether it was murder or not – as western media loves to frame the Great Leap Forward…. Mr. Unz seems one of the few westerners that can think critically. If Mao was a murderer because of poor policy in the Great Leap Forward then Churchill is a murder of millions of Indians.

    2) ummm yes the reviewer and John Johnson absolutely do not touch on what went on with the KMT. They completely gloss over it… I’m not sure what you don’t see. The fact is what serves the western superiority mindset is white washed to fit certain narratives. Just like the role the Japanese played – as was portrayed in this movie in question. Now they are trying to cancel Chiang because he no longer fits the narrative. It is insidious.
    And you are plain wrong about why the KMT lost to the CPC. That is my point… People have no clue about China. They lost not because Japan weakened them. Japan just exposed them. Do you not know how many KMT soldiers defected to the CPC…??? The KMT had a huge numbers advantage and had US weapons. The people got fed up with them and turned against them. The garbage about the CPC not fighting the Japanese is just that garbage. They had no real standing army because they were almost wiped out by the KMT. So they resulted to guerilla warfare – which is what they were good at. The same tactic used later to great success fighting others (and which they taught to Vietnam). There can be no reckoning of history without honesty.

    3) comparing Vietnamese immigrants moving to the rich US and prospering is ridiculous…. Japan had US money yes but it had many many riches that it never had to give up or pay reparations for that it stole from the rest of Asia. Many Japanese companies were allowed to keep ill gotten gains as well too in order to rebuild Japan. That is the dirty secret. The US allowed that. And for you to claim that the ROC did not use the wealth they took from the Mainland to develop the island does not pass the smell test. It’s frankly nonsense. in fact the hypocrite DPP claims now that the KMT was so rich because of corruption and taking from the local people. It’s all garbage. They were so rich because they took the wealth of the mainland with them to the island.

  187. @Yee

    30 deaths can be a secret, but you cannot hide 36 million. If it had happened, it had to been in the open.

    What did you expect them to do? Write to their local editor? The Marxists removed the free press for the people’s utopia, remember?

    China is an autocratic society and people fear speaking the truth. During the time of Mao it was even easier to make some peasant disappear. There was nothing to gain by talking about it.

    The very fact that it need intellectuals to search for witnesses spells bogus to me.

    That is how it normally works. Someone with an advanced education and excellent writing skills interviews regular people and compiles their stories.

    Read the book and decide for yourself.

  188. @Showmethereal

    So many loud mouths who have no clue about China yet run off at the mouth. And it is no excuse that the KMT took the whole treasury to the island. If it wasnt important they would have left it on the mainland. All that money is how the island developed. If you dont understand that then you are a nimwit.

    An economy is more than money. A tech industry can not be developed by simply spending gold coins from a treasure chest. The largest tech company in Taiwan was actually started by a Chinese-American who got his education in the US and came to the country with practically nothing.

    Taiwan was developing industries while Mao was trying to follow Marx even though Western Europe had given up on him before WW2. That is why the Frankfurt school was started and why we have the anti-White alliance of leftists trying to eliminate us. The left in the 20s was frustrated that Western Europeans weren’t voting for Communists so they decided to attack Western culture.

    Maybe if Mao actually paid attention to what happened in Europe he wouldn’t have starved millions with his agricultural idiocy and China/Marxists defenders today wouldn’t have to use their “stole the gold” excuse for Taiwan. Leftists in the US use the same excuse for Africa as part of their race denial narrative. Oh you see they wouldn’t be so poor if colonialists didn’t steal their resources. Because right up until colonialism everything was just peachy in Africa.

    The fact is the mainland has past Hong Kong in every way except medical care and Taiwan in every way except semiconductor manufacturing.

    Only a defender of China would actually try to take pride in a massive one party state overtaking a tiny island and a former colonial port.

    China only improved after abandoning Marxist economics. They have switched to being a one party capitalist state but without freedom of speech, freedom of the press, political freedom, union freedom and most importantly mental freedom. So yes they have surpassed their neighbors when it comes to suppressing their own people for what is a fake Marxist state. They still have all the Mao statues but don’t give a damn about the proletariat. But keep defending them. As with all forms of leftism it really doesn’t work in an open forum and is in fact counter-productive. That is why we rarely see US leftists here despite all their arrogance. They are wise enough to avoid open discussion of their theories.

    • Replies: @Showmethereal
  189. @Deep Thought

    What has all these to do with my comment? Do you know the English term “analogy”?

    If you think your bizarre comment about my dad trying to rape my mom to keep out other men was an analogy then no I don’t think you understand the term at all.

    “Happy marriages”– For the predatory whites only:

    LOL oh ok so under Shaka Zulu it was monogamous marriage bliss until those evil Whites showed up?

    What about the Aztecs or Mayans? Were those peaceful and monogamous societies?

    How many marriages did Muhammed have? What about the wives of captors that Muslims are allowed to take by force? Is that rape or marriage?

    Stop playing this silly liberal game of limited history where the earth was in a natural state of morality until Whites came along. It isn’t going to work here so don’t even bother.

    • Replies: @Deep Thought
  190. When I first saw Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor (1987), it struck me as a remake of Doctor Zhivago. Both narratives begin in glamorous and archaic empires that fall to Communist revolutions.

    Still, the differences are more striking than the similarities. Besides, the great fall of empire or civilization as backdrop has been a staple of historical epics. The stable eras of a civilization are rather humdrum and hardly make for grand drama. No wonder America’s greatest pop-historical-romance-epic is set during the Civil War: GONE WITH THE WIND. The momentous parts of any civilization are the rise or the fall OR the rise and the fall. Due to time limitation, the full span of rise-and-fall is usually relegated to books and maybe long TV historical series; movies either deal with the triumphant rise or the tragic fall. To be sure, intrinsic to any rise is a fall and vice versa. For a new order to triumph, the old one must fall. THE BIG COUNTRY is about the tragic twilight of the rancher baron era and the dawning of a more humane Mild West. (GIANT, on the other hand, is the most static historical epic ever made. So much changes but everything feels the same, not least because the aptly named Rock Hudson was more like a monument than a man.)
    Movies can treat both rise and fall on the individual level, the stuff of countless gangster movies where some punk shoots to the top only to fall spectacularly, like in LITTLE CAESAR or SCARFACE. But, movies usually deal with the front-end or back-end of civilizations. GONE WITH THE WIND, the biggest movie ever, has the fall as backdrop. (So does THE BIRTH OF A NATION.) It is tragic Southern Romanticism. The tragic element lends gravitas, a certain wisdom(as even the shallow Scarlett O’Hara learns a thing or two from her tribulations) , as well as plenty of melodrama. In that regard, DOCTOR ZHIVAGO and THE LAST EMPEROR not only resemble one another but many other historical epics with similar backdrops of tragic fall and brutal regeneration. What unites DOCTOR ZHIVAGO and THE LAST EMPEROR is their central characters aren’t the main agents of history. Zhivago tries to keep his distance from the events but is engulfed by their flames just the same. Puyi, in contrast, does try to play a role but never rises above the role of symbol or a puppet. Zhivago flees to the periphery but is dragged into the heat of battle(not least because doctors are a precious commodity in war), whereas Puyi tries to stand at the center of events but is invariably made to sit before his handlers. Still, the illusions of a poet are nobler than the delusions of a puppet.

    Movies that seem closer to THE LAST EMPEROR are GANDHI(by Richard Attenborough who was too eager-to-please to reach Lean’s level) and KUNDUN(by Scorsese whose truly remarkable work has mostly and unjustly been forgotten). It also bear some resemblance to Sergio Leone’s ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA with its scrambled chronology, and both works struggle with the conflict between truth and myth. And I’m sure Bertolucci had THE GODFATHER PART 2 in mind, a work that compares and contrasts the rise of the young Vito Corleone and Michael’s make-or-break crisis with Hyman Roth, the US government, and traitors in the family; among Luchino Visconti’s works, it is closest to LUDWIG II, story of a weak lost in dreams. The tragically lost complete version of THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS has some similarities with LAST EMPEROR as well, as it’s about some bratty spoiled rich kid as the center of attention, good and bad, but whose world, the only one he cares to know, fades before the real world transformed by industry and urbanization. What both works have in common is a sense of tragedy laced with absurdity. When the guy finally gets his comeuppance, no one is around to remember what for. He believed the Ambersons were forever, and he was like the god about town, but in the end, he’s less than somebody; he’s a nobody. His entire life was a delusion borne of a doting mother who sacrificed everything for his happiness. No one knowing or caring is perhaps crueler than the whole world pointing its finger at you, because at the very least, it would mean the world knows who you are and that you matter. His fall is less than a whimper, barely a whisper.
    What distinguishes MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS from THE LAST EMPEROR is Orson Welles approached the material in tragicomic manner. From the beginning, lightness and gaiety are paired with solemnity and gravitas. The Amberson estate is both a respectable institution completed over the years(managed by serious but unimaginative personalities) and funhouse of mirrors for the boy-prince who seems incapable of growing up. And when he finally grows up, his childhood palace is no more. In contrast, Bertolucci’s treatment is so uniformly stately in the pre-1950 scenes and so uniformly grim in the post-1950 scenes that the tragicomic dimensions of Puyi’s life go missing. As if overly grateful for having been allowed to shoot within the Forbidden City, there’s over-emphasis on the magnificence at the expense of drama. The consistently graceful style makes even the absurdities a bit heavenly. And the prison scenes tend toward the didactic and miss out on the comic irony of it all. The problem is made worse by the casting of John Lone who hardly resembles the ungainly and awkward-looking real-life Puyi. It’d be like casting Paul Newman as Woody Allen or Robert Redford as Steve Buscemi. Puyi wasn’t merely a puppet-emperor but lacked even the attractiveness that makes monarchy halfway palatable. Because John Lone plays it cool, smooth, intelligent, and sensitive, the main injustice seems to be Puyi never got to be a real emperor. In truth, Puyi looked awkward in the shoes of an emperor, real or puppet. So, his story only makes sense as tragicomedy, a blend of David Lean and Mel Brooks(or Lina Wertmuller who made SEVEN BEAUTIES). In addition, John Lone’s ‘Eurasian’ features and English-as-spoken-language in varying accents add to the ‘exoticism’. Just like DOCTOR ZHIVAGO never seems authentically Russian, THE LAST EMPEROR is ultimately an ‘Orientalist’ vision of the East(though I don’t use the term as epithet but as descriptor).

    At any rate, Bertolucci was too heavily invested in monumental filmmaking to tease out Puyi the man. (Even when Puyi learns to be just a man under prison reform, it’s a mere detail in the larger fresco.) Thus, the result is more like a procession(like those in Catholic rituals) than a narrative. Puyi becomes a puppet not only of the court, the Japanese, and the communists but also of Bertolucci’s ‘bourgeois’ appetite for middlebrow respectability. The work is ambitious but takes no real chances. Everything feels predetermined, canvassed.

    It could have been more with the sensibility of Orson Welles on MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS or even of Frank Capra on IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE. The former is about a prince about town with no special(or good) qualities, whereas the latter is about a pauper about town with superior qualities. One is a prisoner of his own vanity while the other is a prisoner of his own conscience(which at least is nobler).
    At any rate, what the two movies share is the odd sense of discrepancy between power/privilege and quality/worth. Even though THE LAST EMPEROR too is about a man caught between two(or three or more) worlds, Bertolucci is deaf to Puyi’s pulse as his ear is tuned to history as grand opera. Even the most intimate and quirky moments of Puyi’s life are rendered as spectacle, exhibition, or lesson. Its lack of textural irony makes it comparable to FORREST GUMP, which would have us suspend our doubts and earnestly believe that a total retard could be the emperor of fate.
    Another movie set in China that came out the same year was Steven Spielberg’s EMPIRE OF THE SUN that managed to both avoid and indulge in Bertolucci’s dilemma. A director has every right as ‘auteur’ to make the material his own, but it must be in sync with characters and story. Spielberg got so much right in the first third of the movie but then surrendered to fairytale whims, turning the movie into an amusement park, not unlike the bloated comedy 1941. Bertolucci never quite lost sight of the material in that way, but the total subjugation of the personal to the epochal resulted in a museum-exhibition than a memory-play. Also, Bertolucci and Peploe contrived a recurring pattern of Puyi always being abandoned, and indeed his futile pursuit of those who desert him or are taken from him reminds us of Zhivago’s pining for Lara’s fading image in the snow. But this seems an operatic imposition than a careful exhuming of Puyi’s inner life. It makes for sweeping emotions than personal truth.

    On some level, Bertolucci probably identified with Puyi. Bertolucci was a pampered bourgeois playing at Marxist. He had the eye of a fascist fashion photographer but paid lip-service to Marxist-proletarian credo, somewhat like George Lucas who is too much in love with the galacto-fascist spectacle of the Evil Empire. But then, this contradiction is probably at the core of human psyche. After all, IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE is about the dignity of the common man, but the small town community is lost without George Bailey who is exceptionally intelligent, courageous, and resourceful, in other words superior. To combat the evil rich, the common folks need George as the ‘richest man in town’. And even though Forrest Gump is supposed to represent humility and common decency, it’s almost as if he has the mandate of heaven in overcoming all crises and getting all the lucky breaks. It’s like he’s emperor dummy. But then, the French Revolution, the great movement of the People, led to the rise of Emperor Napoleon who was more powerful than all past French kings combined.

    Of course, that could just be due to the fact that the Chinese Revolution was something of a remake of the Russian Revolution.

    Again, more differences than similarities. They both gained victory in the aftermath of larger forces fatally weakening or annihilating one another. Bolshevik fortune followed the bloodletting between the Kaiser and the Tsar(and Kerensky). Likewise, Mao came to power because Japan crippled the nationalist KMT and in turn got destroyed by the US. The Sino-Japan War was a manna from heaven for the communists. Driven to near-extinction, they regained footing when KMT had no choice but to unite with them against Japan.

    But there are key differences as well between the Russian Revolution and the Chinese Revolution. Events happened so fast in Russia that even the Bolsheviks were caught off-guard. The fall of the Tsar, followed by the delegitimization of Kerensky’s Provisional government, left power in the streets for the taking for any faction with the strongest will. And it was the fanatical Bolsheviks. Fortune fell on their laps. They almost couldn’t believe it.

    Even though Mao had gained key advantages by the end of World War II, it took a long hard Civil War for the Chinese communists to finally seize control of the entire nation. In contrast, a horrendous civil war followed the Revolution in Russia.
    Also, if Mao had the advantage of the countryside, it was the Whites who held the countryside while the Reds had the cities in the Russian Civil War. However, if Mao’s message had appeal among the Chinese peasants, the Whites ultimately failed because the Russian peasants were unmoved by talks of God and Tsar. Chinese Communists won the war and then the Revolution, whereas Bolsheviks won the Revolution and then the war.

    both of which depict Communism as recapitulating the old forms of despotism but as vulgar and brutal farces, stripped of all refinement. Both films also end on a note of hope. But what gives cause for hope is the reemergence of precisely what Communism sought to abolish. Thus both Doctor Zhivago and The Last Emperor are not just anti-Communist films, they are reactionary anti-Communist films. But in the case of The Last Emperor, this is hard to square with the fact that director Bertolucci was himself a Communist.

    This is projecting one’s ideological biases on the movie. The only farcical thing in DOCTOR ZHIVAGO’s depiction of communism is when the mob loot stuff from from Zhivago’s shrunken household. Otherwise, the presentation is grim but also empathetic. Besides, Strelnikov and Yevgraf, while not exactly refined, have an air of dignity, all the more so as their styles are so impeccably British. They deserve respect as men of discipline and conviction. At the very least, they seem nobler than the partiers at the Christmas ball with their fancy dress and champagne, which is little more than fancified vulgarity.
    And there’s nothing farcical in the depiction of communist power in THE LAST EMPEROR except at the end with the Red Guards and their silly song-and-dance number. The bulk of Puyi’s experience under communism focuses on his re-education and better-late-than-never actualization as a man.

    THE LAST EMPEROR presents Puyi as having two good teachers(and friends) in his life. The Briton Reginald Johnston not only taught the boy Puyi but befriended him, and the prison official(the ‘governor’) reformed him as a man. Indeed, the latter takes umbrage when Puyi calls Johnston a liar. Whatever the distance between Johnston and the ‘governor’ in ideology and culture, they both tried to help Puyi. The ‘governor’ is offended by Puyi’s insolence toward the foreigner who went out of his way to be a confidante of Puyi. This side of Puyi is shown as petulant and egotistical, even willing to sully the name of a good friend to save his own skin. (Indeed, the most touching scenes in the movie are between Puyi and Johnston. The World regards Puyi as either an outdated symbol or a total joke as a toy-king, but to Johnston he is a lonely boy in need of a friend. Puyi is shielded from larger forces that have power over his domain, and within the Forbidden City he had only servants to contend with; it’s a world of hierarchy, masters and servants, than a world of men who could be friends. Also, Johnston has a real appreciation of Chinese history and culture, in some ways more so than the Chinese themselves for whom their culture has merely become decorative wall paper, a backdrop for their real specialty, petty corruption and inane superstition. Johnston learned of China as a theory of civilization, but the Chinese go about Chinese-ness as practice, mundane wheeling-dealing for an extra piece.
    Johnston’s homosexuality may have led to special empathy with Puyi. Puyi is imprisoned in splendor, Johnston is closeted in vanity, as homosexuality certainly wasn’t synonymous with ‘pride’ in them days. The tooty-toot nature tends toward aristocratism, as homos are often fussy and whoopsy-doo, and surely a homo who must keep his flamboyant nature in the closet is likely to identify with an ’emperor’ trapped inside what is called the Forbidden City. It’s almost as if the emperor is both the ultimate power and the ultimate taboo.

    The film makes a distinction between run-of-the-mill communist repression(driven by dogma and/or personal animus) and sincere effort to reform man in body and soul. Ric Young as the shrill interrogator represents the cold face of communist authority(further inflamed by personal animus owing to family tragedy), while the ‘governor’ represents the power of Tough Love. Indeed, he not only tries to correct Puyi of old habits but of new dogma. Upon learning that Puyi confessed to all the crimes, even ones he didn’t commit, the ‘governor’ tells him that he’s guilty only for what he did. He doesn’t want to Puyi to be just another puppet who says and does as told but someone who finally owns up to what HE did, what HE is guilty of. He is clearly meant to be the most admirable character in the movie, further illustrated when he refuses to bend under Red Guard pressure to confess to crimes he didn’t commit, which is why Puyi is moved and tries to intervene on his behalf. My guess is this isn’t based on historical fact but a case of dramatic license, borrowing from BEN-HUR, where Charlton Hestonowicz, having once been given water by Jesus, later tries to bring water to Him on the way to Crucifixion. When Puyi is finally freed, the ‘governor’ says he will remain in prison longer than him. In a way, he too is a prisoner, but that’s okay because he’s bound to what he believes to be a good cause. Free or unfree, what gives meaning to life is a sense of duty, sense of obligation. One must be ‘useful’. The real question is ‘useful to whom and for what?’ Being useful to the Japanese and being useful to the nation are both being useful, but one is treason while the other is patriotism. The characters of IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE and WOMAN IN THE DUNES are prisoners in a way, but they ultimately accept their lot because it comes with purpose and meaning.

    Of course, Puyi’s life as boy ’emperor’ with Johnston was more refined and cultured than his life in prison under the watchful eye of the ‘governor’, but this has less to do with ideology than station. Even in Imperial China, refinement was reserved for the few. Most people were dirty stinking peasants, and prison conditions would have been pretty dire.
    And even in communist China, the upper crust had it pretty good, even refined, not least because a good number of communists came from privileged families and were reasonably well-educated for the time. Indeed, one of Mao’s rationales for the Cultural Revolution was that the CCP elites were following in the footsteps of the dreaded Soviet Union in adopting ‘bourgeois’ ways.

    As for refinement and vulgarity, it’s not always easy to tell one from the other. Refinement breeds decadence that breeds excess that breeds vulgarity. The aristocrats of Europe could be plenty vulgar in their debauchery. Marquis de Sade arose among the elites, not the masses. The Chinese elite culture developed a mania for foot-binding, something the Manchus actually disdained. And Confucian scholars grew their fingernails long(and one wonders how they wiped their ass — the Edward Scissorhands Conundrum). They also came to disdain manual labor and physical exertion of any kind. They grew pale & sickly and came to rely on weird concoction of cures made of exotic animals. Simple food and exercise would have done them good, but they sat around eating refined foods, scribbling calligraphy, pondering the goldfish, and dreaming of foot-sex with ‘hooved’ women. It was perfumed rot or refined ugliness, but of course, the ‘refinement’ hid the true nature of the decay. And as often as not, ‘refinement’ is excess veiled in style.

    [MORE]

    It’s somewhat similar to the ways of the current elites. Their conceit of being so smart, well-educated, ‘more evolved’, and intellectual lends them an air of sophistication, which blinds them to how full of shit they are. Their haute cultural vanity amounts to what? Celebration of globo-homo buggery among men and planting ‘gay’ symbols in churches. George Floyd as new saint and the washing of Negro feet, something the Devil Pope is also into. Pontificating about ‘liberal democracy’ and ‘western values’ when their preferred way is anarcho-tyranny and shameless cuckery to Jewish gangsterism.
    What is trashier and more vulgar than ‘gay pride’ parades, but the current elites are convinced they are finer and more elevated because they celebrate such. (But then, there’s a long history of Western aristocracy having had their cultures corrupted by fruity influence, especially in dress and manners. It wasn’t much different in China: Consider the decrepit rich old man in FAREWELL MY CONCUBINE who serves as patron of the arts but is really a slimy bastard who wants to fondle young boys.)
    It suggests most people have weak autonomy on morality & truth and look to trend-setters for what’s ‘in’ or ‘out’. The current PC combines moral righteousness and status vanity. Why, because the elites, would-be-elites, and wanna-be-elites really thought about such matters as globo-homo and BLM? No, because Jews control the ivory tower from which they spray the cuck-goy elites with golden showers. The story EMPEROR HAS NO CLOTHES is indicative of how close refinement is to vulgarity. The Emperor walks through the streets half-naked but believes he’s garbed in the finest attire, and the people go along with the charade because of the hype. It’s the boy who notices the obvious vulgarity of it all. Most people look for cues than clues. So many ridiculous fashions came out of Paris and were imitated across Europe because insecure and shallow aristocrats lacked autonomy of taste. So, if ridiculous powdered wigs and the latest fruity dance were ‘in’, they even made their way into the Polish court. Isn’t it funny that what had been deemed haute and refined in one era later seemed gross and gaudy in another, in which it was suited only for a circus clown show?
    There was the also the problem that even most aristocrats were innately crude, stupid, shallow, and childish. So, even as they were raised with all the accoutrements of privilege, they remained trashy and stupid inside. George W. Bush and Hunter Biden were raised with lots of privilege and were sent to the best schools, but look how they turned up. But then, many aristocratic brats were hardly better because character is largely something one is born with, rich or poor, privileged or unprivileged. The utter failure of the Russian monarchy and aristocracy on the eve of the Revolution is testament to the sheer discrepancy between posture and stature. Never mistake style for substance: Mussolini’s New Rome of He-Man Italians was really a nation of ill-equipped cowards. When a civilization runs out of steam, it desperately clings to the Image of Invincibility as a crutch, a last ditch effort to fool the world(and itself) when it is but a shell of its former self. Elite self-delusion is still very much with us. Universities pride themselves as centers of rational inquiry and intellectual pursuit but have become brain cancers of the modern world. The discrepancy between refined demeanor and lowly character among the aristocrats was not unlike the discrepancy between the conceit of intellect and the betrayal of principles among the modern elites.

    For the most part, communism wasn’t about vulgarity. If anything, its overt stress on discipline, organization, and restraint frowned on conspicuous excess of any kind. Communism could be crude, brutal, and thick-skulled, and yes, their pageantry could be kitschy and tasteless, but it generally discouraged wallowing in any kind of excess(except rounding up class enemies for persecution).
    Anarchists were more into vulgarity with their spirit of revelry, which is why the likes of Antifa aren’t really of the left but essentially consumer-capitalist degenerates for whom radicalism is just a brand, a punk rock act.
    Of course, the mob will always be crude and vulgar, but that’s regardless of social system or ideology. Strelnikov and Yevgraf are many things, but they are not vulgar. Their new order isn’t about letting the mob run wild but shaping them into the New Man(and if anything, vulgarity did some good as resistance AGAINST communism: blue jeans and rock n roll). Communism could be culturally philistine, especially in its overblown propaganda. But as an ideology centered on prole pride and dignity, it tried to whip the masses into an ideal(and in that had something in common with Fascism). There was a spartan quality to communism in the stripping of frills for the essence. It was like secular Protestantism.

    And, even if we concede the refinement of aristocrats, how many people got to partake of the high-born privileges? Only a handful while the rest were denied the most basic rights(by modern standards). It was refined privilege for the few on the backs of the toiling masses. Modernity, in recognizing the dignity inherent in every man, could no longer tolerate refinement for the few based on the hardship of the many. (If communism and capitalism proved one thing, it’s that aristocratism keeps resurfacing in new variations. Still, the reason why people don’t want to return to official monarcho-aristocracy is because modern ideologies, at least in theory, recognize that all men should equally be bound by the law, whereas monarcho-aristocracy denies even this basic right.) In the advanced West, communism came to be seen as punishing well-deserved success of free individuals, but in more backward parts of the world with no tradition of Rule of Law and property rights, it could be seen as punishing undeserved wealth and privileges of reactionary and/or corrupt elites. Context matters. Surely, taking the wealth of those who work is different from taking the wealth of those who don’t work. Much of aristocratic wealth was inherited and unearned. But communism’s fatal flaw was the insistence that the bourgeoisie gained wealth by parasitism than productivity. Granted, Marx didn’t see it that way and knew all too well of the tremendous productive power of the bourgeoisie, the real problem being over-production and ruthless competition; but communist regimes hardly drew a line between the bourgeoisie and the aristocracy, not least because communism first came to power in relatively backward nations with insufficient capital development and in which aristocratic elements, often in alliance with the nascent bourgeoisie, held great sway. At any rate, communism could only be brutal because it mostly came to power in pre-industrial or at best semi-industrial nations. Karl Marx had meant for communism to inherit the wealth and industry created by capitalism, but most communist nations had to build industry, and there was no classic Marxist formula for doing that. As capitalist incentives were out of the question, the only option was ideological fervor, and when that flamed out, the whip.

    Both DOCTOR ZHIVAGO and THE LAST EMPEROR could be deemed ‘reactionary’ from the hardline communist perspective but not from a liberal/conservative one. There’s no indication in DOCTOR ZHIVAGO that Lean or Bolt hankered for the Good Old Days of Tsarist rule. Rather, the movie laments the brutality and violence of the Revolution and the Civil War. And the whole point of THE LAST EMPEROR is Puyi finally gained his humanity as a simple man, one who can tie his own shoelaces, one who is innately no better or worse than any other man. There’s no suggestion in the film that China should turn back the clock though, to be sure, there is an elegiac quality to all historical epics. For every gain, something is lost. There is a bit of irony in the title as the Last Emperor is really Mao. Mao restored humanity to Puyi but lost his own as the new god-emperor under heaven.

    When Bertolucci made THE LAST EMPEROR, he was no longer a communist. He mellowed with age and with the Age. Italian Communist Party lost its luster by the 80s. Few in the West believed in communism anymore. Also, horror stories about Mao’s China had poured out, sometimes with the approval of the new Chinese regime that invited Western scholars and journalists to interview Chinese who survived to tell the tales. So, Bertolucci who made THE LAST EMPEROR was not the same person who made 1900. He was also on the verge of turning to Buddhism, soon to be the case with Oliver Stone as well. Both men sought a certain detachment from the great betrayals of the 20th century; ideological fervor and the dream of heaven-on-earth were no longer enough. Bertolucci lost his naivete about communism, and Oliver Stone presented Mao as a dark figure in NIXON. The result was LITTLE BUDDHA and HEAVEN & EARTH.

    But even Bertolucci’s earlier communism had been more a faith than a conviction. In a way, his other movie that most resembles THE LAST EMPEROR is his first, BEFORE THE REVOLUTION, a story about a privileged bourgeois youth playing at radical chic. Bertolucci always knew of this tension, that his communism was more an article of faith(a communion) than a matter of commitment. In other words, for many 20th century Italian artists and intellectuals, communism was simply a replacement for Christianity. Something to preach but not really to practice. Something to dream of but not really to wish for.
    Most of Christian History isn’t about Europeans acting Christian but playacting Christianity through arts, music, and ceremony. The appeal of Marxism was similar to many Western elites. Just like most Christian elites didn’t want to live in an actual Christian theocracy, most Western Marxists didn’t want to live in a real communist ideocracy. They wanted communism as a matter of faith, a kind of ‘spiritual’ compass with far-off prophecy. What they really wanted was to keep living(and living-it-up) in a liberal bourgeois order where they could indulge in personal freedoms. (Consider the yacht-owning ‘communists’ in Lina Wertmuller’s SWEPT AWAY.) Indeed, it’s difficult to think of a film artist more self-indulgently bourgeois than Bertolucci. No wonder then that communism conveniently served as cover for vanity or show of atonement or both as people like Bertolucci wanted to have the cake and eat it too. It’s like white elites trying to gain extra ‘woke’ points by confessing their ‘white privilege’, which supposedly makes them even holier-than-thou for their troubled conscience.

    Perhaps, communism’s appeal to Italians was as Protestantism-by-other-means. Protestantism became associated with Northern Europe that far surpassed the Latin Catholic South in science, philosophy, industry, and even the arts. And yet, because Catholicism had become so baked into Italian life, especially with the presence of the Vatican, the Italians stuck to the Old Faith. Also, there was no sense switching to another religion in the secular age. Still, Catholicism came to be associated with corruption, bureaucracy, lethargy, indulgence, and even decadence. One big empty spiritual fashion show, like what Fellini lampooned in his ROMA.
    In contrast, communism had a hardy spartan quality. Catholic Church spoke of justice but was powerless. Fascism spoke of power but sounded weak on justice. In contrast, communism was power + justice.
    It was driven by conscience and commitment, like the stark piety of Protestantism. To many Italian intellectuals, both Mussolini’s Fascism and Catholicism were all about pomp and hype, not substance. Communism, in contrast, was about getting to the heart of things and baring the knuckles. And communism gained a lot of prestige as the main resistance against the Fascists and the Nazis in Western Europe. Maoism appealed to certain segments of Western European intellectuals because it represented a quasi-protestantism against what they deemed to be the quasi-catholicism of the Soviet Union, in which the revolutionary fire had dimmed in favor of bureaucratic stability. Furthermore, it was inspiring that ragtag communists in Cuba and Vietnam, though far out-matched materially, gave US the fight of its life. (To be sure, plenty of non-communist anti-imperialist movements succeeded as well.) Of course, the China of the Western Intellectual imagination was nothing like the real thing, one big mad-house gulag. Though Bertolucci was never exactly a Maoist(unlike his hero Jean-Luc Godard who deluded himself as one for a few years), he was nothing if not a man of fashion, and the impact of May 68 was tectonic across Europe, especially as it was followed in August by the Soviet Union’s invasion of Czechoslovakia. There was the sense in the air that Old School Leftism no longer embodied the new spirit and youthful idealism. Many turned away from the Soviet Union and began to lionize the Third World as the true hotbed of revolution and sacrifice. And China exploited this to the hilt, though the world would soon be shocked by Nixon’s meeting with Mao.

    By the time Bertolucci directed THE LAST EMPEROR, the Marxist(and Maoist) fire had run its course in Western Europe. Western leftists soured on Vietnam when the Boat People tragedy hit the news cycle. Revelations about Cambodia were even worse. Also, Soviet Union ended up with its own Vietnam in Afghanistan. And even though Ronald Reagan was supposed to be an arch-villain, there he was shaking hands and making nice with Gorby.
    And when Westerners finally gained access to China under Deng’s new policy of openness, they were shocked by accounts of the horrors. Even China scholars who’d been sympathetic to Maoism had to admit the Chairman was a monster, murderer of millions, and destroyer of culture. Bertolucci was never a thinker but a fashionista with a bird’s eye for gorgeous things. He was a follower, not a leader, of the Zeitgeist, so it’s hardly surprising that his leftism mellowed in line with the larger culture and morphed into a New Age brand of Buddhism(with Keanu Reeves playing Siddhartha in a shampoo commercial). Pier Paolo Pasolini was onto Bertolucci’s shifty character. As a fellow leftist, Pasolini once played older brother to Bertolucci but called him out as a sell-out and phony when THE LAST TANGO IN PARIS became a sensation. Pasolini was right about Bertolucci being a phony but for the wrong reasons as LAST TANGO is Bertolucci’s finest work(especially the first and last 30 minutes) with real emotional heft. (With paper-thin characters, THE CONFORMIST is for the eyes only.)

    Why did spartan-communism appeal to many Chinese? Many of Mao’s generation came to associate Old China’s culture and values as weak and ineffectual, lacking in vigor and vitality. China had refined itself into effeminacy. China not only found itself defenseless against the West but again small Japan that, perhaps due to its martial-samurai culture, had kept excessive refinement in check and was quicker to modernize. If the military caste had the most prestige in Japanese society — even with modernization and abolishment of the samurai system, the elites were mostly of samurai background — , the literati had the most respect in China. Indeed, the bureaucracy was filled with those demonstrating the finest skills in calligraphy and Confucian sophistry in eight-legged essays than by any proof of real world experience or ability. Even though the emperor was at the top, the mandate depended on being a wise father-figure for the empire. Manners mattered more than manhood among the literati-bureaucracy, and they hampered central authority with political philosophy that idealized a wise ruler as a detached figure who remained above the fray. It was made worse by court intrigue with the eunuchs and the like who more than made up for their lack of prestige(held by Confucian scholar-bureaucracy) with access to the inner circle. If Confucianists guided the rulers with ‘sage advice'(or pompous-talk), the eunuchs employed tactics of intrigue with gossip and innuendo to fuel paranoia in the court.
    In the Christian West, there was the church and the state. Church dealt with holy matters while the state dealt with worldly matters. Thus, the holy-schmoly sermonizing of the church had limited reach. In China, Confucianism was both political philosophy and political spirituality, rendering the secular realm into a spiritual(or superstitious) realm as well. Therefore, much more was at stake in being emperor. He had to be near-perfect and god-like. This meant there was less room for error for the all-wise and all-knowing emperor. To maintain this perfectionist aura, the emperor himself wasn’t allowed to do much because he would have to take the fall for mistakes. Thus, he became a prisoner of power. (Currently, Biden’s handlers increasingly prevent him from taking questions from journalists and making speeches because the cult of the man who received the most votes in US history could be marred by gaffes and slip-ups.)
    Manchus conquered China as semi-barbarians less restrained by such highfalutin niceties but were eventually seduced and lulled into the mysticism of Chinese power that, culturally speaking, was the only game in town in East Asia then. If the emperor was hemmed in by Confucian ideals, did the real power rest with the scholar-bureaucrats? No, because Confucianism instilled men with refined daintiness that made for inaction. Obsessed with manners and saving face, they were averse to rolling up their sleeves and getting their hands dirty(figuratively and literally) to do what was necessary. China was further hampered by Confucianism’s proscriptions against the merchant class. While merchants were everywhere, they were seen as lower than peasants who, though lacking in learning and manners, at least did honest work. Merchants, in contrast, were seen as parasites, and this meant successful merchants investing their wealth into turning their sons into scholar-bureaucrats than bigger merchants. So, China had plenty of business talent but was paralyzed by the kind of negative checks and balances that weakened all avenues of power. It’s no wonder then so many Chinese of Mao’s generation took to communism. The Red Way seemed to have less red tape. It was about organization and unity. Things got done according to plan and decree. It was manly and militarist. And in their struggle for power, the leaders and the led wore the same clothes, ate the same food, and worked hand-in-glove to gain victory.

    Furthermore, the Manchus feared using the nationalist card because Chinese might rise up to overthrow not only foreign devils but Manchus themselves, and indeed, during the Taiping Rebellion, the Manchus called on Western backing against the mass uprising.
    THE LAST EMPEROR suggests Chinese weakness predated Western Imperialism. After all, Puyi was the last of the Manchu emperors who ruled over China. Manchus had an ambiguous role in Chinese history, rather like the Macedonians who steamrolled over the Greeks. War-like semi-barbarian Manchus(with the help of Mongol archers) took advantage of China’s decay and divisions. (Puyi explains why he went to the Japanese; the Chinese denounced the Manchu dynasty as un-Chinese and desecrated ancestral tombs.) So, long before the challenge from the West, something had to have been rotten in China if a bunch of northern semi-barbarians could have so easily invaded and taken over. Barbarians may be brutal and backward but more than make up with their vulgarity with vitality, something missing among the Chinese(and the later Romans who found themselves utterly defenseless against the Germanic barbarians). To be sure, the Chinese prided themselves as having the superior civilization despite being conquered because invariably the conquerors came to adopt Chinese ways. But this didn’t happen with the Western Imperialists who were not only better armed but possessed their own civilizational pride.

    One’s feelings about communism isn’t only a matter of ideology but taste. Some would say communism is dull and drab, but the same could be said for Protestantism. But for true believers, the lack of color and style is more than made up by purity and piety. Indeed, its virtue insists on rejecting what are deemed the vain ornaments of narcissism. This can be no fun, but there is something to be said of the Northern Protestantism of BABETTE’S FEAST, in which the wonderful French chef-ess not only feel sorry for the drab Northerners but also admiration for their simple and selfless devotion. (Such nuanced view is missing in FANNY AND ALEXANDER where Lutheran piety is gothic hell of mental torment and physical torture, whereas the hedonistic revelers, for all their vices and betrayals, salute the audience as the true face of humanity.)
    Still, spartanism can be valued for its elemental, essential, and purist qualities. The Ancient Spartans didn’t make great art and maintained a barracks society, but their stark brutalism had an integrity all its own. Even as I acknowledge the Athenians took Greek Culture to its highest peak, my personal preference has always been for Spartans at gut level. For the same reason, I sense awe in the opening scene of THE LAST EMPEROR when the prisoners arrive at the railway station guarded by communist troops. Them fellas look like they mean business. Likewise, I can’t help feeling admiration for the National Socialists relative to the demento-freaks in Bob Fosse’s CABARET. That said, National Socialists proved how style could be both simple and attractive. There was hardly any aesthetic quality to Chinese communism. Soviets, in contrast, came up with some impressive styles. Strelnikov in DOCTOR ZHIVAGO looks masterful in black leather.

    Manchus had had the vitality to conquer China but became absorbed by China in the long run. As such, they became both masters over the Chinese and mastered by Chinese culture. This tendency of China to absorb and digest even hostile tribes that conquered it was a kind of strength, just like pagan Germanic barbarians conquered Christian Rome but were spiritually converted/conquered in turn. But with historical acceleration in the modern era, the slow digestive power could no longer guarantee the survival of China. China needed to become strong fast and head-to-toe; it had to break out of the dynastic cycle. Manchus had conquered as men with big balls but fell under the machinations of ball-less eunuchs. Mao and the communists feared falling into the same cyclical trap. Thus, a decisive break had to be made with the past. Even today, it’s what the CCP worries about the most, not least because it happened to the Soviet Union where the Communist system went the way of the Tsars.

    Given the state of China in the 20th century, it isn’t difficult to understand why refinement was anathema to the communists. Mao: “A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery; it cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentle, so temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another.” It was associated with the old way, weak privileged men with long finger nails smug in their sense of entitlement because they passed eight-legged-essay exams and hankered for sex with sickly women with bound feet. And later, refinement(or at least air of entitlement) came to be associated with Western decadence among the collaborator class. We are shown this side of Puyi as a spendthrift playboy.
    In a way, such Chinese were adopting modern modes and rising up in the world, but they were servile imitators of haute capitalism. No wonder then the communists especially targeted Shanghai for opprobrium. The communists rejected the sickly refinement of the old way and the slick materialism of the capitalist way. As a result, the communists missed out on lots of good things but also gained in unity of spirit and purpose. Current Vietnam has lots of corruption, but it seems less soul-corrupt than Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea because its communist period instilled generations with some sense of national independence, value of struggle, and martial spirit. And China’s sense of pride and sovereignty owes partly to the fact that, under communist rule, it totally severed ties from the West and built an independent power base from scratch.

    The Last Emperor works simply as a dazzling, exotic costume drama. It is astonishing to learn that at the dawn of the twentieth century, China was ruled by an absolute monarchy that had not changed much in more than 2,000 years.

    According to Jung Chang, China at the beginning of the 20th century had undergone great transformation, thanks largely to none other than Empress Dowager whose bad rap is undeserved.

    http://www.jungchang.net/empress-dowager-cixi

    Now, Jung Chang is given to hyperbole — her book on Mao is pure invective — and perhaps she’s giving the Empress Dowager too much credit just to be contrarian or a late-blooming ‘sisterist’. But, the movie’s impression of the Empress Dowager as a crusty old dragon-lady breathing her last is almost certainly the stuff of legend(though it makes for great cinema).

    Even though the emperors had absolute power, they were little more than prisoners. They were never alone and were not allowed to do anything for themselves.

    The Chinese court was an extreme case, but there are similarities with the current situation in the West. Take Joe Biden. Is he really president, the most powerful man on planet, the leader of the free world, the commander-in-chief of the lone superpower? Or is he a hapless senile puppet who does whatever the Jews tell him to? I can’t help thinking he’s more a puppet than even Puyi ever was. And even though Trump was loud and energetic, what did his four years amount to? The would-be swamp-drainer filled his administration with the likes of John Bolton, Bill Barr, Pompeo, and other beltway regulars. And Obama, the great Obama, Mr. Hope and Dreams. What did he do other than shine Jewish shoes for eight years? And look at the white goyim in the Deep State. They might as well be a bunch of eunuchs because they act like they got no balls. Chris Wray is a cuck-roach of the Jews.
    Old China was dynastic whereas the US is ‘democratic’, but in both the head of state is a virtual prisoner of the system. Genuine reform becomes almost impossible. Even when Trump tried to change a few things, he found himself in a maze going around and round, like the character in TRUMAN SHOW. Anyway, the current white cuckeroos are sure sign that you don’t need to literally lose your balls to act like a wussy maggot servant. Today’s Anglos in US, UK, Canada, and Australia might as well be castrated dogs at the feet of Jews. Or, they seem stuck in re-education camp mentality under Jewish Supremacist auspices.

    However, this system became most bizarre when children became emperors. Child rulers are inevitable in monarchies, but they also reduce it to absurdity.

    But if the emperor is an idiot, better he be a child than an adult(as others will manage affairs for the duration of his childhood). Problem is the idiot child will eventually grow to manhood and take up the mantle of power. It probably would have been better for Russia if Tsar Nicholas remained perpetually a five year old.

    Hereditary monarchy has many benefits. Every social order needs a supreme executive. In normal circumstances, laws can be enforced and policies can be executed by bureaucrats, police, and judges. But in exceptional circumstances, where decisions cannot be based on settled laws and practices, executives need some discretionary power.

    But any autocrat or dictator can do that. Authority need not be hereditary. Also, as a hereditary ruler didn’t struggle for power and earn it, he may lack the strength and cunning so intrinsic to real power. By hereditary rights in THE GODFATHER, Fredo should have been next in line after Sonny, but he got ‘passed over’ because Michael is clearly the brighter and stronger personality. Imagine an order ruled by a Fredo. (We had it with George W. Bush, and what did that do for conservatism?)

    Sometimes terrible things have to be done to preserve society. Rioters need to be shot, for instance. But in such circumstances, ordinary policemen and officials fear to do what is necessary because their offices are conditional, and they can be blamed and punished for their missteps. Thus it is important for there to be someone who can take full responsibility during a crisis. Such a decision-maker cannot answer to any other mortal. He must be guided only by his sense of what is required by the common good. And since the common good can sometimes require killing, the decider must be immune from punishment for his actions. In short, the whole political order depends on a decision-maker who is above the law and immune to it.
    An executive who can be removed from office, however, cannot employ unpopular measures even to save the nation. Thus the best executive rules for life.

    But that’s all theory. Bloody Sunday haunted Tsar Nicholas to his last day. For sure, he wasn’t let off the hook because he happened to be Tsar. If anything, even those who’d supported him came to believe he was no longer legitimate. Where is it written that a hereditary ruler is immune from punishment for taking extraordinary measures? Sure, the state over which he governs may not take actions against him, but the people might. The Shah of Iran was a monarch and employed brutal means to suppress dissent and uprisings, but he was chased out of the country just the same. Also, hereditary rulers are usually unfit to make crucial decisions because they’re usually so detached from reality.

    And, it’s far worse for a hereditary monarch to use violence because of the sentimentality factor. In the best case scenario, he’s regarded as the loving and caring father of the nation. Well, how would such a leader look if he ordered his goons to shoot a bunch of civilians? Executing a bunch of criminals or bandits is one thing. But what if people march for bread and basic rights but are gunned down at the king’s order? The people will stop looking up to him as a father figure and hate him as butcher tyrant.
    If decisive/draconian action is necessary, the best bet is to go with a self-made dictator with considerable popular backing. Lenin, Mussolini, and Hitler could take extraordinary measures because a large segment of the population looked up to them as the Man of the Hour, the savior. Unlike monarchs whose power was handed to them on a silver platter, strongmen gained power by making a compelling case before the people. Thus, the power is regarded as rightfully theirs. Indeed, unless it’s a puppet dictator installed by a foreign power, no dictator can come to power without sufficient popular and/or institutional support. There must be a critical mass of support from the anxious elites and/or angry masses. So, when Hitler made his case to the nation, plenty of German industrialists and masses decided to bet on him. When Castro purged society of traitors and class enemies, countless Cubans saw him as national hero.

    We need to approach any political theory with a grain of salt because practice never lives up to theory. Diehard communists will say communism hasn’t been discredited because REAL COMMUNISM has never been tried, and monarchists will say they only support an Ideal Monarchy, but no such thing has ever existed. It’s like the tooth fairy.

    But how does he attain his office? If an executive is elected—especially if the election falls during a crisis—he cannot risk doing anything unpopular either, even if it is necessary to preserve society.

    But what if the popular thing is bloodlust? What if majority of voters are fully supportive of rounding up ‘enemies’ and slaughtering them? How many Americans protested the terrible treatment of German-Americans during World War I? How many Americans protested the ‘internment’ of Japanese-Americans? Blood thirst can be plenty popular. Many ‘woke’ types would be fully supportive of a state that would take away the guns, free speech rights, and the properties of all ‘white supremacists’ and ‘haters’.
    Sometimes the executive rejects violent action not because it’s unpopular but too popular(and barbaric). Many Russians were angry with Putin because he didn’t take a more aggressive stance on Ukraine. If Putin were with popular opinion, he might have triggered off a major war.

    Hereditary monarchy is thus one of the best ways to confer the fullest package of executive powers. Unfortunately, it often confers such powers upon unworthy parties.

    In other words, theory doesn’t live up to practice. If hereditary rule often favors fools, idiots, and morons, what’s the use? It’s all the worse because the ruler can’t be voted out, in which case he must be assassinated and replaced by someone worthier. Just as the executive must sometimes take decisive action and kill people, there are times when someone must take extraordinary measures to murder the executive, hereditary or otherwise. At the very least, democracy allows for a legal means to vote out the moron, but unless the hereditary moron chooses to abdicate, he must be removed by force, even assassination. But then, the new boss, worthy or unworthy, has blood on his hands and established a dangerous precedent, leading to paranoia and more repressive measures to prevent a fate similar to that of the previous ruler.

    Why did this farce continue? Part of it, surely, was superstition. The Chinese seemed unable to shake the belief that the Qing still enjoyed the Mandate of Heaven. Another part of it was the hope that the emperor would be restored, which did happen briefly in 1917. But the main part of it was probably corruption. The court provided a living for thousands. What else was a eunuch going to do in the twentieth century? The Forbidden City was a vast treasure house, which the courtiers were systematically plundering. When the teenaged Puyi ordered an inventory of the treasury, it was burned to the ground to cover the theft.

    Interesting, and yet it is not unlike what we now have in the West. There is a kind of ‘superstition’ or article of faith in that the West is a ‘liberal democracy’ and about ‘human rights’. The US leads a rules-based-order. The best-and-the-brightest rule. The deep state is full of ‘adults in the room’. The power of myth and mantra.
    Now, it’s true that the US deep state has plenty of smart and accomplished people, but the ultimate power is with Jews, and the current system is really just goyim sucking up to Jewish Power. Everything else is a myth, a superstition. US is really a Jewish-controlled globo-imperialist power that violates rules all over the world, acts like a gangster state, robs the world financially, and spreads cultural degeneracy & lunacy(mostly in the form of globo-homo and BLM), but Western elites are still doped in the delusion that they represent the End of History, the mandate of the future.
    And the system continues because of corruption and mendacity. FBI cooks up lies about ‘white supremacism’ to get more funding. Pentagon looks for new enemies to feed the military-industrial complex. Especially blacks in government are leeches, and that goes from Barack Obama to some lowly manager of Diversity Affairs. So, when Trump came along and said he’s going to drain the swamp, the deep state reacted much like the eunuchs who burned down parts of the palace in the movie. Of course, Trump didn’t really mean it and just wanted some respect and acceptance from the deep state, but it was too spooked and too pissed to give him a fair deal. Jews and the deep state pulled every trick in the book to oust Trump and install senile puppet Biden who is more pathetic than Puyi.

    The only office where there is no divide between private and public interests is a hereditary monarch. His whole life, from birth to death, is dedicated to the public good. Thus he serves as an example to everyone else. But when the monarch is a puppet of scheming courtiers serving who knows what ends while merely going through the motions of serving the public good, it only makes sense for more humble functionaries to start looking out for themselves as well.

    Again, you’re confusing theory with practice. A hereditary monarch, no less than any sleazy politician, is always surrounded by opportunists, hyenas, and masters of intrigue. Also, if the monarch is less intelligent than those around him, he will never have their respect. United Germany was better off with a weak monarch and a strong chancellor in the form of Bismarck. Things got worse when Wilhelm the spoiled brat decided to be a strong ruler with none of the understanding of statecraft and diplomacy that Bismarck had in spades.

    It is astonishing that the Communists did not kill Puyi. Mao’s regime was the bloodiest in human history. What would have been one more life? Yes, the Communists believed that man is born good, does wrong only because of society, and can be reformed. But murdering their opposition was quicker and easier. There’s never been any shortage of Chinese.

    Puyi was small potatoes. Communists knew he was a puppet all his life and never wielded any real power. Also, precisely because he served the Japanese, he had no credit with the Chinese. When the Bolsheviks killed the Tsar and his family, he still had many people who respected him and longed for his return. Puyi had no such following. Even anti-communists despised him and didn’t want to touch him with a ten-foot pole. Indeed, had he fallen into American or British hands, he could have been tried for crimes against humanity and executed(as many were).
    Given his notoriety, the communists found him useful for propaganda purposes.
    In a way, Albert Speer was also spared for propaganda purposes. He played a key role in the National Socialist regime and could have been hanged like the others. But he had finer qualities and could be used as propaganda about how even respectable men could have given themselves to evil… but then were eventually rehabilitated. It’s funny how these things work out. The US executed plenty of lower-level Japanese ‘war criminals’ but spared Hirohito and spread the falsehood that he was just some absent-minded marine biologist who was manipulated by the military. US had no qualms about incinerating countless innocent babies with firebombs and nukes, BUT the man who actually played a part in Japan’s war was not only spared but even celebrated and praised as an icon of democracy: Like Puyi learned to be human under communism, Hirohito forsook his divinity and became just a man under US-sanctioned democracy.
    In fact, Hirohito had been part of the inner circle and gave his approval to many of the events that would lead to war and tragedy. The Russian director Aleksandry Sokurov made a film about Hirohito(and MacArthur) called THE SUN and, though hardly a sumptuous epic like THE LAST EMPEROR, it is a far more thoughtful treatment of history as tragicomedy. THE LAST EMPEROR, in contrast, is mostly humorless in scaling everything to be epic when, in fact, Puyi’s life was as much that of Looney Tunes and Marx Brothers(or Puyi-Herman) as grand history.

    Another problem is the Japanese aren’t given their due. Sure, they were imperialists and aggressors. Sure, they bossed Puyi around and pulled all manner of dirty tricks. But they were engaged in a global game of power(like all the great powers) and surely didn’t think of themselves as evil or villainous. But, the Japanese, like Donald Sutherland’s character in 1900, go out of their way to show they are totally evil, nasty, vicious, and no-good. Ryuichi Sakamoto, who gave a memorable performance in MERRY CHRISTMAS MR. LAWRENCE, is a cartoon baddy whose whole shtick amounts to, “I’m psychotic crazy Jap, and I roast Chinese babies for breakfast.” It make Puyi seem not only a dupe but even a victim. It isn’t very convincing.

    It was to break with such traditions that the Cultural Revolution was launched, but on Bertolucci’s depiction, it simply ended up recapitulating the old regime as farce.

    There are certain parallels between the Old Order and the New Order(with Mao as emperor), but the contrasts are more about force than farce. The old system was obviously on its last legs, robbed even of the will to survive. The cancerous deep state eunuchs had amassed too much influence, and the ruler remained in the dark.
    In contrast, Mao, even in old age, was very much in the game. He couldn’t be corralled and contained like the latter-day Manchu emperors. If anything, the horrific Cultural Revolution was proof of Mao’s will, his power to move heaven and earth.

    Following the Great Leap, Mao almost had his Puyi-moment and understandably so. The Great Leap(and the fall out with the Soviet Union) was so ruinous to China that the pragmatists in the Party sought to relegate Mao to god-emperor status shorn of direct control of the state. Mao would keep his perch as the supreme ruler of China but leave others to do the heavy-lifting of statecraft. Mao came to resent this. He complained of being ignored and not consulted on key issues. He felt like he was reduced to a symbol.
    There’s a scene in THE LAST EMPEROR when the young Puyi hears the clamor of student protest outside the walls. He wants to see them, hear them, touch them. He wants to be one with history, a participant. But his servants are also his wardens. He cannot leave and make contact with history happening beyond the walls. In contrast, Mao had the will and means to reach out to youths and turn them into his cudgel. Unlike Puyi and so many paper-emperors before him, Mao was a true emperor who not only amassed great power but wrested it back when taken from him. If the Qing dynasty in its decline was too ineffectual, Mao proved to be too effectual. Excessive weakness and excessive power are both curses.

    The end of The Last Emperor is enigmatic. The elderly Puyi buys a ticket to visit the Forbidden City as a tourist… he rummages under the throne’s cushions and finds a cricket cage that he had hidden there… This is, of course, pure fantasy. Crickets only live a couple months. So this is a magic cricket. How do we interpret this ending? First, we can ask what the cricket means. The cricket represents the reemergence of something that has gone into hibernation for a very long time. The kowtow, of course, is a symbol of imperial authority, brought back by the Red Guards.

    It’s more a dream cricket than a magic cricket. Perhaps, the real Puyi did return to the Forbidden Palace as a tourist, perhaps not. What matters is it works as a dream, maybe his final one. The cricket doesn’t represent the kowtow but Puyi himself. Just like the cricket is held inside a jar, Puyi was always contained by larger forces. He was never free. Even as emperor, he was like a queen bee trapped inside a hive or a critter in a flea circus.
    In the end, both Puyi and the cricket are free. Puyi is no longer an emperor confined within the walls of the Forbidden City, no longer a puppet of the Japanese, and no longer a prisoner of Mao. He is just himself. And the cricket emerges from the jar, old and withered but finally free. When the old Puyi stares at the throne on which he once sat as the Son of Heaven, he surely feels pangs of nostalgia. He was born emperor and, even in the twilight of the Manchus, revered by many. He once thought he was the center of the universe. But now, in his old age, he is just a man. And he is finally free. There’s something abnormal in being slave or king. Slave, though human, lives like an animal, a beast of burden. And a king, though human, plays god. As both emperor and puppet, Puyi learned what it’s like to be god and slave. Now, he’s finally a man, no more and no less. There is grief of fallenness but also relief of normality. And in this, there is also a sense of gratitude. After all, man is just a man. Man as god-emperor is a myth and can only be sustained by an illusion, and to sustain that illusion, the ‘great man’ must follow the script. It’s like Hollywood movie stars can maintain the illusion of stardom only as puppets of producers, writers, and directors. For all their fame and fortune, they must do as told for every second on the set. Sean Connery in real life was never the 007 of pop myth. Puyi as emperor was part of a pageant; there were glories to be sure, but the illusion required so much smoke-and-mirrors, so many lies, and of course, so much self-delusion.

    In a way, THE LAST EMPEROR is also about cinema itself. Akira Kurosawa was called the ’emperor’ or tenno. Bertolucci was much celebrated following the success of THE CONFORMIST and THE LAST TANGO IN PARIS. It seemed as if he could do no wrong. Francis Ford Coppola was going to change Hollywood forever, and George Lucas had dreams of empire. But in the end, it was all an illusion. Kurosawa soon found himself in the gutter, unable to make movies. The much celebrated Bertolucci fell out of favor with the excesses of 1900 and lunacy of LUNA. Francis Ford Coppola never did change Hollywood. George Lucas did create an empire and made lots of money but also became a butt of jokes. KAGEMUSHA is especially interesting on the subject of the reality and the illusion of power. In the 20th century, cinema became the most popular art, and for a time directors-as-auteurs were revered like gods and kings. But for all the talk of art and vision, so many forces conspired to tear them down. And in the end, it was an empire of illusion. There was the aptly titled HEAVEN’S GATE. Cimino thought he had the mandate of heaven to make the mother of all epics and soon found himself locked outside the gates of heaven.

  191. @Priss Factor

    Another reason the Communists won was that the Soviets occupied Manchuria very quickly, and with few losses, in 1945. Manchuria, previously occupied by the Japanese, was the most industrialised part of China. Production from Manchuria greatly aided the Communist war effort.
    Also, the Soviets remained in China for several years and military aid to the CCP was prioritised by Stalin. By contrast American aid to the KMT was much less effective.

    • Agree: Showmethereal
  192. @John Johnson

    Stop playing this silly liberal game of limited history where the earth was in a natural state of morality until Whites came along

    If the Aztecs or Mayans, etc cannot claim “natural state of morality”, what does that say about the whites whose mischiefs are global?

    • Thanks: Showmethereal
  193. @jeff stryker

    I applaud China for killing floyd.

  194. Joan Chen was so beautiful! I’d gladly have been a prisoner with her, and shared her with her girlfriend.

  195. The longer version of THE LAST EMPEROR is well worth checking out, like the extended versions of FANNY AND ALEXANDER and UNDERGROUND(Kusturica).

    https://www.reuters.com/article/film-lastemperor-dc-idUSN3025330420080131

    Repenthouse. LOL

  196. Derek Jarman the toot’s last film as he went blind from AIDS.

  197. @John Johnson

    This is the problem about ideological people… You cznt see facts for what they are because. You keep harping against communism for what? I am no comunist. You are too silly to get that I am not one. What I am against is ideological clowns who distort history to fit their views. George Washington statutes are still in the US and on the money. George was a slave owner – no?? I bet you are against cancel culture when it comes to that though. Tell me what you think of the DPP in Taiwan trying to cancel Chiang Kai Shek now…. I cant wait to hear the excuses.

    The company you speak of… I am well aware… Those things are part of a shared history. Of course money is not the only thing. You need talent also. And you may not know this but history is replete of people stealing to form industries elsewhere.. Point is no money no honey. You can have all the talent in the world and if your country is dirt poor it is dirt poor. TSMC and UMC the darlings of Taiwan got started by government susbsidy. Same with Silicon Valley in the US. Sell me another story.

    Oh I will give a caveat. The university system is also better overall in Hong Kong than on the mainland. But HK is just one city…. But of course all the schools in HK are opening campuses on the mainland… So I will give you universities in addition to the healthcare system that the mainland learns from HK still. But Taiwan? Just semiconductors. There is basically no other facet in life where either of those is still superior to the mainland (of course in a huge territory there is uneven development still). And since this is a movie review mainlanders used to LOVE HK and Taiwan movies and tv. Even those in HK and Taiwan entertainment industry will tell you they are no longer superior to the mainland.

    Bottom line is – like you – this was an ideological review rather than one all encompassing of what brought about the actual changes in China to cause such things to happen. While you clowns still argue about Mao – China marches on and on and soars and soars. Literally. You know that probe on the far side of the moon that China has which has never been done before. It was only supposed to work a few months – but it is now working for a few years and still going. Most of that tech was developed on the mainland – with Hong Kong chipping in on a few parts. So keep thinking and Mao and what he did wrong. Keep thinking about your race politics of anti white. It wont solve a thing. Well learn from Deng… It doesnt matter if the cat is black or white – as long as it kills the mice.

  198. Watch it while you can. Masterpiece.

  199. @jeff stryker

    Even the ethnic Chinese will work for USA companies instead of other Chinese unless members of the family business cartel. If you’ve ever been a job recruiter in SEA you know that locals will climb over their own parents to get away from Chinese employers & work for Westerners…except in Singapore.

    So what you are saying is “Chinese companies are bad”, but “Singaporean Chinese companies are not so bad”?????

    This is very curious. In your mind, there is the notion that the Chinese ethnicity produces companies that are so bad that even Chinese flee to US companies.

    But yet Singaporean companies, which are largely Chinese, are an exception. Therein lies the contradiction with your belief. Is this not something worth spending some time trying to reconcile?

    The reason why some Chinese were eager to work for a US company was because US companies in the past had a reputation for offering good wages and side benefits. But even then they had an equally bad reputation for hiring and firing easily. This distinguished them from other Western companies such as European. I must say that US companies since 2008 no longer have this reputation.

    Ethnic Chinese in SE Asia weigh the pros and cons of working with companies from differing cultures. The other kinds of foreign companies they are likely to come across are Japanese and Korean. But these companies require far more work hours, and even after work “socialising” time that takes up a couple more hours. On top of that there is an extremely rigid social hierarchy. This limits their attractiveness.

    Instead of comparing companies of differing racial/national origin, you should be comparing companies from countries of differing economic development. An ethnic Chinese from Malaysia will find working in a US company FAR MORE attractive than an ethnic Chinese from Singapore. This is because US companies can and will pay more than a Malaysian Chinese company. Ditto for the Singaporean company.

    People just go for jobs that pay more, and have better benefits. Jobs with companies from rich countries tend to pay more. But to sweepingly ascribe people who are seeking better conditions as escaping from Chinese companies as “climbing over their own parents to work for Westerners”….gosh that smacks of the White Saviour complex.

    Your comments are very interesting. They give me an idea of what goes on in your mind. Let me hazard a guess as to why you have this antipathy towards Chinese. Because they do not afford you the same amount of deference as your “Austronesians”.

    My guess is that you are suffering from confirmation bias. You have already believed that Chinese are bad, and everything that is somewhat nuanced or neutral, you will interpret it to reinforce your beliefs.

    You have been in SE Asia but a few years, and somehow you think you know everything. This is confirmed by your reading of the racial dynamics in Malaysia/Singapore. But I will leave it to the other commenter to correct you.

    Please, stop trying to sell yourself as an expert on SE Asian affairs when you are clearly not.

    Sawasdee Krap

    • Agree: showmethereal
    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  200. I’ve been in the Far East since 2001 & you are right about Chinese. They make lousy employees. Sullen, defiant, belligerent. I’ve fired them. They usually have an Aspie chimpout.

    Malays are more deferential & pleasant as employees-Chinese are good entrepreneurs & driven to make sales but they are lousy employees.

    Particularly the males.

    • Replies: @littlereddot
  201. @jeff stryker

    Malays are pleasant and deferential. Good for service related jobs. Not so good for professional jobs. Too laid back and with “flexible” quality self-expectations.

    Filipinos are also like that. Even the professional ones. I can give them a job to do, they nod their heads and all looks well. At the end of the day I ask for the completed work, and they tell me that they didn’t know how to do it. WTF?

    But, they make excellent service staff. Better than Thais. Maybe thats why in Dubai all service staff indoors are Filipino. Outdoors, the workers are South Asian.

    Malaysian Chinese are the best. Industrious, intelligent, flexible and hungry. That is if you are looking for people who can work with minimal supervision, and get things done on time and on budget.

    The worst are Americans. Arrogant, opinionated, entitled and think that they are Gods gift to the world because they come from USA, leaders of the free world.

    An Australian colleague once complained to me about Americans being from “another planet”. I totally agree.

    • Replies: @jeff stryker
  202. @littlereddot

    The only mainland Chinese who work in Dubai are the street hookers. At least in the majority. There are thousands of these Tiger Mommas on the pavement each night.

    Again, Chinese won’t be hired because they are lousy at being servile. Though good dictators.

    If Malaysian Chinese are so wonderful why are they killed in anti-Chinese riots? And why do local Indians dislike them?

    Didn’t Lee Kuan Yew say that if Australia joined ASEAN that Australians would be the “new white trash of Asia”. I tend to agree, I don’t think they could compete regionally so they need to remain part of the Anglosphere until Asians take over Australia completely.

    Your Australian colleagues remarks are the sour grapes of a country with an extractive economy that compares itself to another country that doesn’t give a single shite about it that has a small GDP & a small military so that the USA has to defend Australian waters-something many Australians agree with me that we should pull out of.

    Your own sour grapes are those of someone ordered around at his Kuala Lumpur servile position job by tall confident handsome Americans.

    Then again, your own antipathy to the USA may not be a result of having to personally kiss their butts in your job description but rather your “lunar holiday”-loyalty to the old Mother Country or mainland & your perception of the USA as an aggressor.

    Of course you are going to tell me this exactly what an arrogant Americans would write.

  203. Gosh, you know absolutely nothing about these places, and yet you comment about them like you are an expert. It is no point even correcting you, self appointed expert. Readers with an ounce of knowledge of the region know you are just blowing bullshit up your own ass.

    If your thinking is a sample of what the USA currently has to offer, no wonder Murkka is sinking fast. They misread everything around the world, and the country suffers as a result.

    Even the rats have jumped the good ship USS Empire, some have gone to BKK

    Go make America Great Again, or Build Back Better … if you can.

  204. @littlereddot

    An interesting facet of THE LAST EMPEROR is how East Asians, ancient and modern, tend toward power on the collective level as they are generally lackluster in qualities of individual expression. China today has been much transformed since a century ago, but it’s still a hive society where most individuals don’t amount to much on their own but may join together under proper leadership and guidance into a formidable power. Chinese lack the color and charisma to shine as idols and icons but can unite into an institutional force. It largely depends on who is at the helm

  205. @Priss Factor

    Perhaps it is not a question of lack of individualism, rather it is a focus on group benefit rather than individual benefit. Americans are always talking about their rights, few even think of the flip side coin of “rights” which is ….. Responsibility.

    The East Asians (or Confucian societies is a better way to think of them) stress responsibility. Whether it is an over emphasis on responsibility? That is arguable.

    But let me point out a big cultural aspect here you are not aware of. The “colour and charisma to shine” that you write of, and I presume you compare it with Americans? East Asians view it as loud and brash, sometimes boastful and downright arrogant. In East Asia, humility is still considered a big virtue.

    Which perspective is better? Again it is arguable. But I suspect it is all down to degree. A little individual thinking is good thing. It leads to advances in all areas of society. It led to the flowering of science and culture in the West peaking at maybe 1800? But since then, it has gotten excessive…….well you see the effects of it in the USA now.

  206. @Priss Factor

    The individualist balls-to-the-wall capitalists fled China post-1920 for Southeast Asian countries.

    For example the Fukien merchants fleeing through the Amoy port to Philippines.

    The irony about all the babble of American misdeeds by Overseas Chinese here is that it was the American & British colonization of Philippines & Malaysia that paved the way for Southern Chinese immigration & prosperity.

    In the Philippines the Spanish had laws against Chinese emigration lifted when the USA annexed the Philippines.

    By themselves Chinese tend toward dictatorship as we saw with Yew-who himself railed against Filipino “mestizos” comparing them to Latin Americans-but he was held in check by Anglo-Saxon systems of law.

    • Thanks: Johann Ricke
  207. The individualist balls-to-the-wall capitalists fled China post-1920 for Southeast Asian countries.

    There were famines and China was in turmoil at that time. Why do you think that the revolution and overthrow of the Qing happended in 1911? Because the people were happy and well fed? Starving and war weary people fled China. Not unlike the Irish and Europeans who fled to the New World for a better life.

    The capitalists left near or after the Communist victory in 1949. You are mixing the two up.

    What is interests me is whether you mix the two up in ignorance, or intentionally to manufacture a point?

    And what is your obsession with Fukienese? There are Cantonese, Hakkas, Teochews, Shanghainese, Hainanese in Southeast Asia in abundance. Why do you keep harping on Fukienese? You learned a word that makes you seem clever so now you keep using it? There, I taught you a few more. Now you can go dazzle your Western readers.

    American & British colonization of Philippines & Malaysia that paved the way for Southern Chinese immigration & prosperity

    The southern Chinese have been in the region and prospering for far longer than that. They have been mingling with the local communities long before Europe “stole” the compass from the Chinese (oh, how nice it is to use the term in reverse).

    Please, my white saviour, stop making up stuff and spinning fanciful stories to misinform the average Western reader.

    by Anglo-Saxon systems of law

    Is it for Anglo Saxon law that old white Yanks who cannot make it in Murrka flee to Bangkok?

    You hold something in such high esteem, yet you flee the place where it exists….hmmmm. You have a very interesting mind.

  208. @AntiDem

    Worse, he may actually believe that nonsense.

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