Collective Amnesia

It really is one of the most interesting anomalies, the way that China’s leaders today gloss over those little blips in the Great Helmsman’s career. You know, little things, like the near-asphyxiation of all the nation’s brain cells during the Cultural Revolution, or the needless deaths of some 40 million during the Great Leap Forward. It’s as though they’ve been expunged from the record.

An article in today’s People’s Daily quotes Hu Jintao singing Mao’s praises:

“Comrade Mao Zedong and other revolutionaries of the elder generation had not only made historical achievements by realizing national independence and liberation but also left us with precious spiritual wealth,” said Hu, stressing such revolutionary spirit and tradition, which were fostered through arduous struggles, remain a strong spiritual strength for overcoming difficulties and risks of all kinds in our way forward.

On the occasion this year of the 110th anniversary of the birth of Mao, all party members and the general public should be encouraged to learn from the lofty spirit of the older generation of revolutionaries in order to further push forward the grand cause of seeking better lives for the public, for which the party has been striving for decades, said Hu.

(No wonder they get along so well with North Korea. It’s the same type of gobbledy-gook language I saw in that tragi-comic advertisement yesterday.)

I really can’t think of anything comparable. Most societies that have suffered so deeply from the misdeeds of megalomaniacal mass murderers come to terms with the issue eventually, toppling their statues and exposing the crimes. None that I know of has managed to hold out as long as Madman Mao. Can they be so desperate for heroes that this is the best they can come up with? I think I’ll marvel over this one for years to come.

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