Mao: The Real Story

Alexander V. Pantsov and Steven I. Levine, two China experts with superb credentials, have written a biography of Mao that is sweeping, fine in detail, well written, engrossing and ultimately problematic.

Mao: The Real Story is a book I highly recommend to anyone who wants to understand Mao’s life and times. It draws heavily on Russian and Chinese archives that have only recently been made available, and this is what makes the book special. The relationship between Mao and Stalin threads through nearly the entire book, at least from the point when Mao became a leader in the Communist party, and their relationship helps shed insight into many of Mao’s most important decisions, like entering the Korean War, cozying up to the Guomindang in the late 1930s and joining with them to fight the Japanese. Stalin was Mao’s Great Teacher and mentor, and most importantly his banker — even when Mao violently disagreed with his Soviet masters, he had little choice but to go along, as they controlled the purse strings. The Chinese Communist Party would scarcely have existed without Stalin’s generosity. As usual with Stalin, he used China as a means of fulfilling his own agenda, namely the spreading of Stalinist-style communism, and for more practical purposes such as keeping the Japanese busy with China so they’d be less inclined to attack the Soviet Union.

When the publisher sent me a review copy of the book I was intimidated, and wondered if I could read it; it is nearly 600 pages long. But once I started I quickly got swept up and finished it within a week. That is not to say it’s easy; it isn’t. There are so many names and so much minutiae I had trouble keeping up with who was who; I was constantly flipping back to double-check. Some of these details could almost certainly have been spared.

It was fascinating to learn of Mao’s transformation from an idealistic youth, inspired by anarchism and the promise of democracy, to an ideologue who cared nothing for the lives of his people and who was convinced of his infallibility, with tragic consequences. We watch him grow and develop, and pretty soon we can’t help but to be repulsed. As he became a hardened communist, he had basically one modus operandi, namely to slash and burn, to destroy, to encourage chaos, to weed out enemies, to promote endless class struggle and violence. He did relatively little building, and that which he did build often ended in catastrophe.

Throughout his life in the revolution Mao manipulated the basest of human emotions. It was not brotherly love that he conveyed, but rather enmity and universal suspicion. “Down with the landlords!” “Down with rich peasants!” “Down with the bourgeoisie, merchants and intellectuals!” “Down with those who are not like us!” “Down with the educated, with businesspersons, with the talented!” Down with all of them, down with them, down.

The story the authors tell of the early years of the Cultural Revolution is particularly upsetting, as Mao proclaims, “In the final analysis, bad people are bad people, so if they are beaten to death it is not a tragedy.” Mao’s use of “class struggle” to eliminate his perceived enemies was coldly and ruthlessly calculated, as was everything Mao ever did as a communist leader. He discarded people like worn-out shoes, and he looked on absolutely everyone with suspicion. He was, especially in his later years, a miserable, lonely man held captive by the very class struggle he so cunningly initiated. Enemies were everywhere.

And yet Mao did unify the country and make it independent. There is more to him than just pure badness. But here I believe the authors actually cut him too much slack. In trying to be balanced and to take the middle road, they take pains to say Mao was “complex, variegated and multifaceted” and a different kind of murderous dictator than Stalin. This argument was for me one of the weakest parts of the book: they claim Mao is different from the Bolshevik ideologues because he was “not as merciless” as Stalin. Many if not most of Mao’s enemies in government were allowed to live. “He tried to find a common language with all of them after forcing them to engage in self-criticism. In other words, he forced them to ‘lose face’ but also kept them in power.” Okay, it’s good he didn’t kill them, but he did make many of their lives miserable (think Liu Shaoqi banished and living in misery in a single room with a dirty stretcher on the floor). And think of the millions he did kill by inciting students to attack their teachers, and by doing nothing for years to stop the misery in the countryside thanks to the Great Leap Forward. It was almost contradictory for this book to reveal just how awful a person and a ruler Mao was, to examine all the misery he created for millions, and then to argue he was “multifaceted.” After reading the book you would not arrive at this conclusion, which the authors express in the epilogue. They really can’t have it both ways.

Other small things: the Great Leap Forward is given very little space and I would have liked to learn more about how Mao reacted to the plight of the starving, and more about his decision to end it. Its coverage of the early years of the Cultural Revolution is superb, rich in detail and deeply disturbing, as it should be. But then the book seems to shift gears; we learn the Red Guards were called off, but we don’t learn nearly enough about the last five years of the CR. At this point the book focuses instead on Mao’s efforts to build ties with the United States, and the CR seems to be forgotten.

That doesn’t makes this any less of an important and impressive book. I highly recommend it to anyone who isn’t afraid of long books and who has a thirst for understanding how Mao lived and thought, how he could have done what he did. For this, Mao: The Real Story is invaluable. It is especially impressive that the authors were able to take such a wealth of new materials, along with other sources like the diaries of those who knew Mao, and weave it all into a compelling and page-turning narrative. The book is imperfect, but it is also indispensable.

Let me just add as a side note that I am well aware of how defensive Chinese people, my good friends included, are of Mao, and I understand that. I understand also that they don’t like foreigners to tell them what they should think of Mao. I talked with my Chinese teacher about Mao just last week, and she told me that the GLF and the CR were unfortunate mistakes but dismissed them with the words that “we all make mistakes.” (She also corrected me when I referred to him as “Mao” without the “Chairman,” and told me Chinese people would never leave that out.) But as with any great figure of history, Mao is fair game and it would do a disservice to history not to explore his life and try to understand “the real story.” I only wish the book would be available in China, in Chinese.

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 204 Comments

Whenever I hear of another Mao biography I experience the same wave of cynicism as when I hear of a new book or documentary about Hitler. What can they POSSIBLY add to what’s already out there? If this is based on new sources then it will be worth a read. I would, however, like to read some in-depth analysis of Mao by Chinese writers – preferably some who were alive at the time. To dismiss it all as ‘he was 70% good, he made mistakes but he unified China’ just seems so lame from a country that claims to have 3000 years of civilisation. Yes, I’d like to see Mao analysed more critically by Chinese writers, and also I’d like to see the Chinese look inward at their own responses to Mao -from the top echelons of the Party, to the small cadres and the laobaixing. Were the Chinese Mao’s willing executioners? And how did he manage to constantly get the better of China’s smartest and toughest revolutionaries such as Zhou Enlai, Deng Xiaoping and Zhu De?

December 11, 2012 @ 7:09 am | Comment

It was the Russian material that made this unique, cables and communiques and records of conversations. As I said, Stalin is the co-star of the book and there’s lots of insight re. his influence on Mao, which was huge.

December 11, 2012 @ 7:53 am | Comment

Without Chairman Mao, there would not be New China. That is much more than a truism. It is TRUE. The Chairman will forever be a great national hero as far as the Chinese is concerned.

Look at the first 30 years of the U.S.A. The founding fathers were much more murderous and systemically more despicable than Mao – wiped out over 95% of the native population in ethnic cleansing, and enslaved 1/3 of its denizens for many decades. Womanizers most of them, preying on the weakest of society (Jefferson kept black mistress and her children were slaves). Yet that does not detract from the fact that they are and will remain revered founding fathers of the nation.

Under Chairman Mao, thousand years old bad habits were yanked from the roots. Women liberated, superstitions erased wholesale (at least for a generation or three), literacy went from 15% to 85% (even though it took simplification of the Chinese characters to do it). 3 or 4 years in Korea bought over 60 years of substantial peace – even the sole superpower does not dare invade China anymore. The Chairman literally was the singular force that made the Chinese people and the Chinese nation stand up again, after three centuries of defeat and national shame. Chairman Mao brings back national pride. His mistakes are what they are, but do not detract from the fact that he is a GREAT MAN. Not GOD, but a great man, and a national hero to the Chinese.

December 11, 2012 @ 10:17 am | Comment

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Moreover, Mao is an expert military strategist. Even though in later years he never directly participate in actual battles. his classic military tactics, such as “encircle post and hit the enforcement” is today taught in military academies all over the world. Under his command, the Chicoms decimated a 10 million strong army of the KMT, which has much superior ordnance (supported by American air cover) but concreto military training. The same brilliance was repeated in the Korean War. After Chairman Mao, nobody seriously believed that China is the “Sick Man of the East.” Instead, Montgomery (the same that defeated Rommel the Desert Fox) stated that “you’d have to be crazy to fight the Chinese on land.”

In addition, Chairman Mao is probably the most talented Chinese leader in literature and poetry in thousands of years. His poems befit the power of a king. No, he did not write drivel like “Greenleaves”. His poems are powerful calls to action.

Westerners have no concept of Chinese history. Famines are part of history. That is part of the experience, and such is not blamed on the leaders. What determines whether a leader is good or bad, is governed by what the leader achieved for the China nation.

December 11, 2012 @ 10:29 am | Comment

“Westerners have no concept of Chinese history. Famines are part of history. That is part of the experience, and such is not blamed on the leaders.”

So what you are trying to say is that people outside of China have not been taught by the CCP and so are free to know the real history of China without the propaganda and that they can put the blame where it is due because the CCP does not control that information?

I know of overseas Chinese that tell of the brainwashing they received at school.

December 11, 2012 @ 11:22 am | Comment

Zhu, the problem with Mao is he built in zero, and I mean zero, auto-corrective mechanisms into his leadership style. That’s what he learned from Stalin–self-correction? Bah, throw them all in the Gulag!

This had two main effects–one material, one psychological.

Materially, while a personality cult worked fine (so long as you didn’t speak up) when he was lucid, even you should admit that China was seriously fucked by Mao’s ideas from 1967 or so. Down with the experts? Down with people who can handle complex decisions in favor of promoting people like Chen Yonggui into the Politburo? From 1967 to 1978, China had 11 wasted years largely because of Mao’s decisions.

And aside from the material aftereffects, China also suffers from a paucity of mature politico-economic thought because of Mao, and what thought there is–whether it be pushed by the government or by dissidents–is often superficial and wholly disjointed. Again, this is not to say other nations have done much better–they haven’t, in spite of all the advantages intellectuals overseas have enjoyed–but the root of the issue is that in order to deal with its challenges, Chinese ideologues must do better than their counterparts elsewhere; Mao did his damnedest to ensure that they would do worse.

December 11, 2012 @ 11:47 am | Comment

Is Mao a great man? what did Mao accomplished from 1949 to 1976? besides countless “anti”-movements, the Great Leap in which millions died, and the Cultural Revolution….? How many of his comrades such as Liu Sahoqi, Chen Yi, Luo Reqin…. being persecuted by him? Why was his wife and the G of 4 were arrested and persecuted immediately after his death. What would China be like if Mao is still alive? The purpose of a revolution is to make a nation better, but Mao did not. More people were persecuted and died in his PRC than in any period of China’s history. Many biographies on Mao have published, but I am uncertain if the said new biography is worth of reading besides its use of the Russian sources. Mr. Zhu, was Mao really briliant in the Korean War? And……? Mr. t_co, your comments are excellent.

December 11, 2012 @ 12:18 pm | Comment

By the way, is the so-called New China really better than the “Old” China, or the Nationalist China now on the island of Taiwan? The propsoe of a nation is more than what Hitler and Stalin had made their countries stong and mighty…..

December 11, 2012 @ 12:32 pm | Comment

Wow, not only is zoolander a CCP butt-kisser, but he is a full-patch Mao worshiper as well. He truly is the real deal, and a true believer. You’d think the CCP could scare up a job for a talent like that…say, spokesman for the Railway Ministry.

Oh, and I love this part. When good things happen in China, it’s because of CCP leadership. When shit happens, it’s because shit happens, and “such is not blamed on the leaders”. That’s a level of devotion that might even leave the HH boys green with envy.

December 11, 2012 @ 1:04 pm | Comment

Mao is a great MAN. Man has flaws. He is not a GOD. Even the Chicoms tell it like it is with the 70/30 attribution.

Before Mao, China was never really independent. Mao showed that China can stand on China’s own two feet, and does not have to beg – no matter how tough life gets. Mao brought back the pride.

Look at the sad, needy life of Chiang, Kaishek, having to send his wife into prostitution to beg for American “aid”. China under Mao no longer had to ask for anyone’s support.

Even Chairman Mao’s mistakes served a positive function – it is a stark reminder to all the generations of Chinese leaders to stay away from ideology, other than Mr. Deng’s “amplify what works, and discard what does not”, and that has served China and the Chinese extremely well.

Yes Chairman Mao the MAN, made mistakes. But that does not detract from his greatness. China is now on her way back to the stage where she belongs.

December 11, 2012 @ 1:32 pm | Comment

“Even Chairman Mao’s mistakes served a positive function”
—his fuck ups were a cautionary tale, so they turned out to be a good thing? Well gee, forget 70/30, let’s just score it 100%. When he did good, he did good. When he fucked the pooch, he was still doing good. Man, does the kool-aid flow thick and heavy in your neck of the woods, or what? So you’re a CCP AND a Mao butt-kisser? Wow, you sure keep your pucker occupied.

December 11, 2012 @ 1:49 pm | Comment

zhuzhu: Mao showed that China can stand on China’s own two feet, and does not have to beg – no matter how tough life gets. Mao brought back the pride.

Look at the sad, needy life of Chiang, Kaishek, having to send his wife into prostitution to beg for American “aid”. China under Mao no longer had to ask for anyone’s support.

Patently absurd. Did you read my review? A large part of this book is about Mao’s constantly begging the Soviet Union for money, technology and military support. The USSR provided the engineers that helped China get on its feet, and the technology and expertise that ultimately led to its attaining a nuclear weapon. From before the Long March until Stalin’s death in 1953 Mao was constantly on his knees soliciting Soviet assistance. China and Mao were constantly “asking for support” and when the USSR stopped providing it under Khrushchev, pulling out its engineers and ending its work on Chinese projects, China suffered serious economic damage. China was an economic basket case until Deng cleaned up Mao’s mess. Mao started off so well in the early 1950s and had such an opportunity to bring China to greatness. His cult of personality instead dragged China into chaos, famine and intellectual asphyxiation. He is China’s tragedy, the cause of unparalleled grief and death. China has yet to fully recover.

December 11, 2012 @ 2:08 pm | Comment

@Richard 13

You’d have as much luck trying to convince the Chinese that Mao is not a great MAN, as trying to argue that democracy is someone GOOD for China at this stage of development.

China under Mao learned self reliance – China did not dissolve into chaos after the Russians yanked the experts. China went into high gear and in a few short years came up with first the U235 bomb, and then in just another few short years the 300 MTon hydrogen bomb. The rest, as they say, was history.

December 11, 2012 @ 2:26 pm | Comment

I never said Mao wasn’t a great man. It depends on how you define “great.” I think his greatness in terms of initiating change in China is undeniable. But was he good?

You’d have as much luck trying to convince the Chinese that Mao is not a great MAN,

That says much more about the Chinese educational system and Mao’s glorification by the government than anything else. Witness my Chinese teacher, whom I love, telling me the Great leap Forward was “just a mistake.” Oops. And that is totally typical. Mao’s crimes against humanity have been airbrushed from the Chinese consciousness, one of the greatest propaganda coups in world history.

I notice how you are ignoring the facts I brought up in my earlier comment — facts — about Mao begging the USSR for aid for more than two decades. Do you still stand by your preposterous statement that Mao “does not have to beg – no matter how tough life gets”? Because it is historically false.

December 11, 2012 @ 2:32 pm | Comment

China and Mao were constantly “asking for support” and when the USSR stopped providing it under Khrushchev, pulling out its engineers and ending its work on Chinese projects, China suffered serious economic damage. China was an economic basket case until Deng cleaned up Mao’s mess.

The truth is a lot more complicated than that, Richard. China did suffer economic losses from Khrushchev pulling out the engineers, but those were mostly overcome by 1964 thanks to the skills of Deng Xiaoping and Liu Shaoqi. The real economic losses to China occured after 1967, as ideology and the Gang of Four’s craziness trumped empirical evidence in decision-making. It culminated in things like “Learn from Dazhai in Agriculture” in the mid-70s and the elevation of uneducated peasants into the Politburo based on their ability to cheat the brigade production system.

Mao, it could be said, was led astray by the Gang of Four and Lin Biao, but to a large extent, those five fed off his pre-existing flaws and Stalin-worship. In the end, China would have been much better off had Mao made a graceful exit to do something he was pretty good at, like writing poetry, in 1965, and let Liu Shaoqi, Deng, and Zhou take up the helm of Chinese governance then.

December 11, 2012 @ 2:43 pm | Comment

Yes, China ultimately overcame the loss of the engineers. But my point is a matter of fact — that Mao begged for Soviet assistance and was dependent on it for decades, and when he lost it there were consequences.

I agree that the Gang of Four misled Mao, but the Gang wasn’t even operational until long after the worst of Mao’s misdeeds had been committed.

December 11, 2012 @ 2:47 pm | Comment

If we want to be positive on Mao, we can say he was a big-picture guy and a self-assured ideologue–great guy to start a revolution and shake things up, but not the right guy to handle the complicated and detail-intensive mission of bootstrapping the Chinese economy absent a viable export market. The funny thing is that for all the things Mao picked up from Stalin–paranoia, self-aggrandizement–he never picked up on the three things that made Stalin an effective leader–his keen sense for detail, hyper-structured, almost OCD-esque, habits, and his ability to accept the advice of others when it was clear he wasn’t the smartest guy in the room (even if he did eventually purge them). (Before Stalin took power, he was referred to as Comrade Card-Index for his ability to memorize the personnel placement of hundreds of Soviet cadres.) That’s why Stalin could get away with dictating state-directed economic policy, and Mao couldn’t, and why Stalin had to ride the coattails of Lenin in creating a popular revolution and had to borrow from Lenin and Trotsky for many of his ideas, whereas Mao did nearly all the pre-1949 “marketing” for the CPC on his own.

December 11, 2012 @ 2:53 pm | Comment

Yes, China ultimately overcame the loss of the engineers. But my point is a matter of fact — that Mao begged for Soviet assistance and was dependent on it for decades, and when he lost it there were consequences.

Right–my point was that China as an economic basketcase wasn’t due to the withdrawal of Soviet assistance but due more to the Cultural Revolution.

December 11, 2012 @ 2:54 pm | Comment

One book that will continue to count should be Stuart Schram’s biography of Mao. Pantsov’s name didn’t sound familiar to me, but he speaks and reads Russian, and so does Levine. One of my first unforgettable reading experiences re China was written by a Russian intellectual and dissident, Vitaly A. Rubin, who wrote Ideologiia i kul’tura drevnego Kitaia (Individual and State in Ancient China). By writing it, Rubin felt that

… living in the second half of the twentieth century in the USSR, I could derive for myself something of essential value in Chinese writing of five centuries B.C. I felt, moreover, that these ideas could be most relevant for me because, despite the differing circumstances in which we live, what unites us is more important.
[.....]

I believe it is also possible to solve questions of interpretation in the field of intellectual history by addressing one’s own interior experience. An awareness of my own place in history helps me orient myself in many theoretical controversies, and the study of ancient Chinese culture convinces me that man at that time confronted the same problems as he does now.

Levine translated Individual and State in Ancient China into English in the 1970s. It probably passed censorship because the philosophers he discussed were too “ancient” to be deemed “subversive”. Many Russians without much interest in China were thrilled when reading, and the publishing house then was reprimanded for “relaxation of ideological vigilance”.

An account of Mao’s role during the past century (from a Russian perspective, too) will probably contain some real news. But while “The Real whatever” may be good for marketing, it may make the book look rather old within about a decade. Maybe later editions will appear under a new title.

December 11, 2012 @ 3:04 pm | Comment

Anyhow, the real challenge is how to repair the damage Mao did to China’s chattering classes. In a normal society, those people function to create ideas and are defined by the merits of those ideas; in China, they are defined by their support of or opposition to the Party. That’s not healthy. There are bigger–far bigger–issues for China than simply supporting or opposing the CPC. The Party is a means for China to solve those issues–it should not dominate the national discourse, except in the question of whether it is the right tool to do so.

December 11, 2012 @ 3:19 pm | Comment

It draws heavily on Russian and Chinese archives that have only recently been made available, and this is what makes the book special.

Depends which archives you’re talking about, but Jung Chang and John Halliday had access to new Chinese archives years ago – not sure about the Russian archives. I’m not suggesting that this new book is not worthwhile, though.

By the way, do you have to caveat your blog entries so frequently on topics like this? You shouldn’t have to apologise for having a different opinion on a topic from many Chinese people.

December 11, 2012 @ 4:17 pm | Comment

“. . . yet Mao did unify the country and make it independent.”

Haven’t read the book, but if this is actually what they claim then I would question this. Mao only ‘unified the country’ by winning the civil war after he had played a significant role in dividing it by starting the civil war in the first place. The heavy lifting of bringing Manchuria back under the rule of a Chinese state was done by Chang Kai-Shek and the USSR, all the international zones that had proliferated throughout China in the years following the Opium Wars had returned to ROC rule after the Japanese surrender. Most significantly, it was the ROC, not the PRC, that unified Taiwan with the mainland, and it was Mao who presided over the loss of Taiwan. Had the ROC suceeded in the civil war, they would likely have attempted the recovery of Tibet and Xinjiang just as the CCP did, and likely via the same means.

Much the same goes for the idea that Mao made China ‘independent’. The ROC was dependent on the United States for support against the Japanese and the communists, but it was far from the ‘puppet’ or ‘semi-colonial’ state that later mainland Chinese historians assert it to have been. A simple look at the diaries of Joseph Stillwell shows just how little influence America had over the ROC even during the years when it was most dependent on US support. The ending of the international zones happened under ROC rule – the only colonies on mainland China left after 1945 were the ones which also survived Mao’s rule: Hong Kong and Macao. If the commonly touted images of rich foreigners riding rickshaws through the streets of cities like Shanghai whilst Chinese starved are proof of China’s semi-colonial status in those years, then China now is also semi-colonial for the modern equivalent of this can be seen still.

December 11, 2012 @ 6:11 pm | Comment

Thanks for the review. Definitely a book to look out for.

Every time I hear a Party official hint at foreign forces ‘interfering’ in China’s affairs I think of the CPSU’s role in setting up and funding the CCP.

I’m also fascinated by the claim from some sources that it was the Russians who proposed the brilliant innovation of declaring the peasants to be a revolutionary class and sent Mao off to write his famous report (ie, which became the basis of ‘Maosim’).

Plus the Stalin-Mao relationship, if ‘relate’ is what mass murderers do to each other.

Hey @Zhuubaajie are a you a real person are someone’s wacky invention as a way of generating comments?

December 11, 2012 @ 7:04 pm | Comment

If the commonly touted images of rich foreigners riding rickshaws through the streets of cities like Shanghai whilst Chinese starved are proof of China’s semi-colonial status in those years, then China now is also semi-colonial for the modern equivalent of this can be seen still.

The preferred nomenclature these days is feudalism.

December 11, 2012 @ 7:26 pm | Comment

The greatest tragedy of modern China is that the wrong side, the greater of two evils, won the civil war.

No amount of effort here will get zhuubaajie from “truthiness” to actual truth.

December 11, 2012 @ 8:34 pm | Comment

@Richard 15

Yes I stand by my assertion that Mao taught (actually trained) the Chinese to be self-reliant. When the Russians were “helping”, they sent in rejects and discarded machinery painted over, and engineering info intentionally doctored. When they left, their experts ripped out core pieces of equipment and took their documentation with them. Mao’s China was left with not much than 1949, EXCEPT the willingness to work hard even during hardship. 一不怕苦,二不怕死 (Not afraid of hardships, not afraid of death) was much more than a slogan. It was drilling into that generation of Chinese, and the social contract to bear the burden of three generations, and to do the work of two, was very much a Mao creation.

Mao brings back what is enduring and endearing in the Chinese spirit, and that is GOOD. Mao has done harm to individuals, but he enabled a whole nation. For that the Chinese will forever be thankful.

On your point that “Mao’s crimes against humanity have been airbrushed from the Chinese consciousness, one of the greatest propaganda coups in world history”, what nation does not airbrush their founding fathers? You learned about the horrid DETAILS of the policies and practices of ethnic cleansing and intentional breaking of treaties with the natives, and the purposeful extermination of Americans (and those were the ones in America first – much earlier than the Whites)? Did you elementary school teach you that Jefferson picked an underage black mistress, and kept the children as slaves? Did your school NOT airbrush the brutalities of black slavery under the American founding fathers? In comparison, the ethnic cleansing (100% cut down to 2% today) and the slavery (1/3 of the population). These same men, Washington, Hamilton, Jefferson, Franklin, etc., ALL supported not giving women any rights – American women at time of founding of America could not vote, could not own property, and were just slightly better than slaves. And they were half of society.

At China’s stage of development right after 1949, China NEEDED a cleansing of thousands of years of bad habits. Chairman Mao brought about those changes, and yanked the old classes from the roots – landowners, mai-bans (trading class for foreigners), etc., so that society can start anew. Yes, individuals suffered, but the nation was given a new lease on live and development. China never looked back, and is still forging ahead. In another 20 years this will be the biggest economy on Earth. Mao built the foundation, and each and every Chinese is today enjoying the results.

Mao was both good and bad. He made mistakes, but those do not and cannot detract from his greatness and goodness. The great man never indulged in opulence (his office in Zhongnanhai was always spartan, and he only had his books to entertain. He even offered up his first born son, who was bombed and killed by Americans in Korea. Mao cared – the concept of making the Chinese people’s lives better is pervasive in all of his writings. His intentions were good.

December 12, 2012 @ 1:57 am | Comment

If you ask the real Chinese, Mao is a HISTORICAL FIGURE. The founding father of New China, and one to be revered, much as how founding fathers are revered in America. But Mao is relatively insignificant in the everyday life in China. Folks are more interested in whether CURRENT policies and reforms will lead to better income, better jobs, better lives, better education, better health care, better everything – and the CPC led SWCC is delivering swimmingly – at least MUCH BETTER than any other political system TODAY.

China has 8.4% growth, NO OTHER major economy does. It is MY OPINION that Mao’s big picture foundation allows China to do well since Deng took the reins and put in the additional reforms. You can disagree, but that is your opinion.

Most Chinese (actually every single one that I have personally talked to) agree that the attack on Mao is an attack on the legitimacy of the Chinese government, and is part of Western propaganda to subvert the Chinese nation.

December 12, 2012 @ 2:08 am | Comment

Mao’s “goodness”, kinda like the gooey caramel goodness in a caramilk bar?

Man, listening to the zookeeper is like having your iPod on the file that says “ccp propaganda”, set to repeat. That guy must drink his kool-aid by the gallon.

“truthiness”- I like that. It’s the “truth” zoo lander feels in his gut region, immediately after downing his daily dose.

December 12, 2012 @ 2:19 am | Comment

Well, they sure did get a “cleansing.” Do you see the cleansing of the four olds as a good thing for China? Do you think the cleansing of the people’s brains so that all they thought of was Mao and perpetual revolution was a good thing? Was “cleansing China’s great ancient relics and temples and grave sites a good thing? I see no “goodness” in Mao. None. Greatness, maybe. Big, big difference.

Yes, China became more independent after the Soviets left; they really had little choice, did they? And they remained an isolated backwater for years.

We are taught that Jefferson kept slaves. A new book came out a few weeks ago about how bad Jefferson was. Whether true or fales, we are all free to read about it. Are such resources available in China about Mao? Here’s an excerpt:

Over the subsequent 50 years, a period of extraordinary public service, Jefferson remained the master of Monticello, and a buyer and seller of human beings.

Rather than encouraging his countrymen to liberate their slaves, he opposed both private manumission and public emancipation. Even at his death, Jefferson failed to fulfill the promise of his rhetoric: his will emancipated only five slaves, all relatives of his mistress Sally Hemings, and condemned nearly 200 others to the auction block. Even Hemings remained a slave, though her children by Jefferson went free.

Nor was Jefferson a particularly kind master. He sometimes punished slaves by selling them away from their families and friends, a retaliation that was incomprehensibly cruel even at the time. A proponent of humane criminal codes for whites, he advocated harsh, almost barbaric, punishments for slaves and free blacks. Known for expansive views of citizenship, he proposed legislation to make emancipated blacks “outlaws” in America, the land of their birth. Opposed to the idea of royal or noble blood,

Imagine a book in China looking at Mao so critically. Here the information is available for anyone to see. Jefferson’s sins have not been airbrushed, even if in elementary school the teachers paint a rosy picture. Not in high school or college.

FOARP, even inf the heavy lifting was done under Chiang, Mao did wipe out the warring factions and make China, ultimately, independent of foreign powers, for better or worse.

Raj, yes, I do have to caveat everything because there is often more than black and white. Deal with it.

Zhuzhu, I am still waiting for you to retract your outspoken and absurd claims that Mao never begged for support. Is there a reason you are ignoring this?

December 12, 2012 @ 2:25 am | Comment

How do we get from Mao to 8 percent growth? As if that could ever have happened under Mao. Mao set no foundation for a robust open economy and foreign trade. Quite the contrary, capitalism was a mortal crime, a rightist notion. Merchants were persecuted, often to death.

December 12, 2012 @ 2:30 am | Comment

China has 8.4% growth, NO OTHER major economy does. It is MY OPINION that Mao’s big picture foundation allows China to do well since Deng took the reins and put in the additional reforms. You can disagree, but that is your opinion.

Deng literally overturned every single Maoist economic policy. Every. Single. One. He rehabilitated the vast majority of people whom Mao had branded as rightists and cultural counter-revolutionaries, while jailing the Gang of Four. Deng didn’t build on Mao’s foundation so much as he went at it with a sledgehammer and picked up the pieces. The only thing Mao did that Deng continued was a rapprochement with the United States.

December 12, 2012 @ 2:49 am | Comment

Zhu, it’s fair to have your own opinions on Mao, but there are facts about him that China needs to acknowledge. Even if that means people reflexively disagree with those facts–they still need to acknowledge them.

December 12, 2012 @ 2:51 am | Comment

@Zhu, Mao, a great poet and quite possibly a top 10 ever in the Chinese history, will have to concede inferiority to Li Yu (李煜), the last emperor of Late Tang (后唐).

Any leaders facing the pressure China had faced in the 50s and on, would want to have atomic bombs and hydrogen bombs. The same motivation can be said about India and Pakistan in the 90s and Iran now. It doesn’t take much genius to want to get them. The scientists behind Chinese’s bombs were educated in the KMT era and most of them went overseas. If not for the protection of Zhou Enlai, the scientists behind the hydrogen bomb program might not have survived the CR.

When the generations educated in the Mao’s era, especially those who should’ve been in colleges during the CR, reached their mostly productive ages, China had tremendous difficulty to produce decent quality military wares and in the 80s and the 90s China was effectively an “empty fortress”. Once the page is turned and the generation first went through college education under Deng, China has rapidly produced the likes of J-10, J-20 and J-31. Methinks the quality, and specially the performance/price ratio of them will eventually be proven world-beating.

More or less, Mao was a product of his surroundings when he grew up. He had total 4 years of formal education, and never quite trusted those who were better educated than him — as opposite to his other Asian peer tyrants such as Chiang and Rhee. Among a couple of other reasons, this is why today mainland China is lagging behind Taiwan and South Korea.

December 12, 2012 @ 3:03 am | Comment

@FOARP, quite possibly the first post of yours (other than topics in sports) that I totally agree. The problem in China though, was that it was so poor (85% illiteracy rate and all), the communism vision of a totally egalitarian society held so much appeal to the mass. There was no surprise that the communist revolutions succeeded in some of the poorer nations. As a nation, you have to walk through the process to realize that communism is just a pipe-dream. The upside, or the downside depending on how left you are, is that China quite possibly is the most pro-capitalism and pro-free trade society.

December 12, 2012 @ 3:12 am | Comment

@t_co (#32): How do you view the argument that a lot of foundational infrastructure was built during Mao’s rule? It might have been due to the more practical-minded people like Deng and Liu, but at least China had something to build on when the reforms started. This is where India, for example, is still lagging far behind.

Unlike some others here, I don’t think China has some sort of super-government that will lead from victory to victory using hitherto unknown economic laws that only its wise masters can understand. What China has done, has been done before – it’s the scale, and the extra organisation needed, that makes it remarkable. Hence I also praise CCP when praise is due, and not just “they just got out of the way and everything grew because the Chinese are the most entrepreneurial people in the world.”

December 12, 2012 @ 3:14 am | Comment

@JR,

Color me dubious about a book that was written by a Russia dissident on China decades ago, with a such a grandiose title “Individual and State in Ancient China”. How did he view the change of the power of emperor and the power of prime minister from Han, to Tang, to Song, to Ming to Qing? — BTW, this can be a trick question. How did view the judiciary checks and balances among the several branches in Song Dynasty, and the evolution of them, and compare them to Tang? How did he view the sinification processes and the differences of Northern Wei, Liao and Jin?

By you raving such a book, color me dubious on your overall level of knowledge to comment on modern-day Chinese topics intelligently.

December 12, 2012 @ 3:21 am | Comment

@JXIE 34

“@Zhu, Mao, a great poet and quite possibly a top 10 ever in the Chinese history, will have to concede inferiority to Li Yu (李煜), the last emperor of Late Tang (后唐).”

In use of language from the technical sense, perhaps. But Li, Yu’s poetry is that of a tragic loser – a king that lost his kingdom and his women, and ultimately his own life. Mao was anything but a loser, his 与天斗,与地斗,与人斗,其乐无穷 pretty much reflected the needs of a nation facing obstacles all around. Would China have been better off with a Mao or a Li, Yu?

December 12, 2012 @ 3:50 am | Comment

Color me dubious about a book …

I’m not going to play paintball with you, and leave it to everyone to draw his or her own conclusions, jxie.

December 12, 2012 @ 4:29 am | Comment

@JR, upon re-reading your comment and googl’ing the book, its full title is considerably less ambitious: “Individual and State in Ancient China: Essays on Four Chinese Philosophers”. The relationship between individual and the state in the ancient China, is a VERY complicated topic. What gets me sometimes it’s the binary view by some of the forum members where China came from and China will go to.

If you have a time-machine, and don’t mind the lack of modern niceties from dentistry, health science to products made from the likes of plastics, which era would you rather go back to? Or better yet, if you can carry with you a few defense-only atomic bombs that can save a past empire, which would you rather go back to?

To me there is no contest, I would want to go back to Song, for its arts, for its poems, for its then highest living standard in the world, for its laissez faire attitude toward commerce, for its “don’t kill ministers” founding principle that allowed low-ranking officials to veto emperors’ directive for the good of the society at large, and most importantly for its tolerance, before the anger and misgiving toward foreigners developed in Ming, and the master/slave mentality developed in Qing. I want to go back to, in my mind, the apotheosis of Confucianism in the past, and want to see if it can develop its own path toward its own brand of modernity.

Oh, there was a national welfare system too. The Confucian ideal is that elderly and orphans must be supported by the society. The laws in Song required family youngsters to support their elderly and orphans related to them, with the state serving as a backstop. Such an arrangement proved to be solvent for centuries — unlike their Western counterparts that probably will end up bankrupt their societies.

Well, of course I don’t have a time machine. But I want the current Chinese system to have a Chinese renaissance/rejuvenation, and re-discover what’re good within the Chinese civilization and culture, instead of some half-cooked juvenile attempts like the Charter 08. At its current form, the CCP is my friend. JR, your stated “cold-warlike” attitude toward it would mean you are my intellectual enemy (sans paint-guns). That’s that.

December 12, 2012 @ 6:03 am | Comment

@jxie 40

“But I want the current Chinese system to have a Chinese renaissance/rejuvenation, and re-discover what’re good within the Chinese civilization and culture, . . .”

Well said. It is the hope of most Chinese, and it is being brought to fruition by the CPC. Warts and all, this polity is probably the most reform minded and adaptable in Chinese history in the last 1,000 years. In areas it may not be changing fast enough, but it is changing fast, and mostly for the better.

December 12, 2012 @ 6:51 am | Comment

The prognosis is good. Xi, the new president, is much more outgoing in outlook than Chairman Mao. Xi stated that China cannot develop with close doors. That signals substantial interactions with the whole world, to adopt best practices, and also to showcase what is good in Chinese culture and Chinese practices.

Here’s an interesting angle – China is graduating from attracting FDI to seeking targets for investing overseas.

______________________________________

Partnership between Invest Ottawa and state-owned ZDG aims to help local tech startups enter Chinese market

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/small-business/sb-tools/small-business-briefing/10-million-china-backed-tech-incubator-launches-in-ottawa/article6201196/

Ottawa tech startups interested in entering the Chinese market have $10-million and Canada’s first China-backed tech incubation centre to help their efforts.

Invest Ottawa, the city’s economic development agency, and the state-owned Zhongguancun Development Group (ZDG) have partnered to open the ZDG Ottawa International Incubation Centre, the second such centre to open in North America, following a similar one in Silicon Valley last year. ZDG, created by Beijing’s municipal government and with $11-billion in assets, has committed an initial $10-million in funding.

The centre will be housed in a 1,600-square-foot space at Invest Ottawa’s headquarters and will help startups with funding of China-based research and development, marketing and office expansion, a release said.

“We’re treating this as a very ambitious startup eerprise in its own right. ZDG has a plan to invest up to $1.5-billion [in technology companies] worldwide over the next five years, and we see toay’s $10-million announcement as a starting point for Ottawa,” said Invest Ottawa chief executive officer Bruce Lazenby in a release.”

December 12, 2012 @ 6:58 am | Comment

Seriously, is the zoo-keeper a pop-up ad paid for by the CCP? Chinese progress would be great, and the CCP’s role would still be incidental. If Chinese people were given the choice, I wonder if they’d find the CCP necessary at all?

December 12, 2012 @ 7:02 am | Comment

I agree the Charter is more aspirational in nature, and is not a procedural cookbook. I wonder if that’s why folks like Jxie find it under-cooked? But then I’d have to ask, what were they expecting? It seems reasonable to formulate some goals first, before laying out specifics about how to achieve them. I don’t understand the demand for a blueprint without a vision first. That’s cart before horse to me.

December 12, 2012 @ 7:06 am | Comment

“If you have a time-machine, and don’t mind the lack of modern niceties from dentistry, health science to products made from the likes of plastics, which era would you rather go back to? Or better yet, if you can carry with you a few defense-only atomic bombs that can save a past empire, which would you rather go back to?”

“Well, of course I don’t have a time machine. But I want the current Chinese system to have a Chinese renaissance/rejuvenation, and re-discover what’re good within the Chinese civilization and culture, instead of some half-cooked juvenile attempts like the Charter 08. At its current form, the CCP is my friend.”

Should accept the view that Charter 08 is juvenile from someone whose position on the CCP is based on the desire for a time machine and role-play?

Conflict with China is of a political nature, not based on China’s “civilization and culture.” This is easily discerible by the fact that the CCP is poorly representative of civilization and culture.

December 12, 2012 @ 7:45 am | Comment

@Jxie. A Song type renaissance is a recursive, backward looking project, unsuited to 21st century China seeking its place in a globalised world much of which revolves around the digital economy where perceptions are formed. Poetry notwithstanding.

Wouldn’t a rejuvenation today be best served by a total hands off approach to the internet.

To be sure, it would give rise to a rancorous cacophony at first, but in the longer term the Chinese vox pop would be able to discern the difference between drivel and those cultural currents which are worth developing and expanding.

It is less about historical recovery and more about those positive and recent cultural strands which are presently lurking outside CPC management.

December 12, 2012 @ 7:53 am | Comment

Some are already comparing President Elect Xi to Chairman Mao.

“All in all, Mr. Xi appears to be a change-oriented nationalist. His energetic and straightforward style, his apparent commitment to fighting corruption and his determination to reinvigorate at least economic reform should buy the government time to tackle some of China’s difficult problems in 2013.”

China would celebrate another generation of capable, dedicated leaders.

December 12, 2012 @ 8:42 am | Comment

@KT 45

A totally hands off approach to the internet? Where can you find that?? Censorship is everywhere, albeit to different degrees. Kiddie porn is off limits even in America. Through its control of ICANN, America decides what sites in the whole world can exist online (and what undesirable sites should be expunged).

December 12, 2012 @ 8:46 am | Comment

To 46:
we’ll see about Xi. He hasn’t had time to do much good or bad yet. How does that quote compare him to the dead dog Mao?

December 12, 2012 @ 8:57 am | Comment

Banning kiddie porn sites is “censorship”? Give me a break. Kiddie porn is a serious crime, illegal in any form, be it magazines, movies, etc. You think it should be allowed on the Internet, even if it destroys and traumatizes its victims?

There is precious little censorship in the US. You can download porn to your heart’s content. You can still visit the US government’s nemesis, Wikileaks. Thousands of sites in the US call for the overthrow of the US government, the return of Nazism and just about anything you can think of, and they’re allowed to run. The only sites that get banned aside from child pornography sites are those that advocate violence — not sites that say violence is good or that show violent things (there are zillions of those), but sites that actually encourage visitors to kill. There is no comparison to censorship in the West with that in China, where even this microscopic blog is blocked.

But let’s get back to Mao. Do you still maintain he never asked other countries for money?

December 12, 2012 @ 10:33 am | Comment

If Mao is so evil, as evil as Hitler or Stalin. Why is Obama administration a big fan of him?

1) His communications director openly said she admires Mao. (can you imagine any Western public figure openly admiring Hitler or Stalin?)

2) White house Christmas tree has Mao’s picture as one of the items hanging. (can you imagine White house having hitler or stalin picture hanging on the tree?)

December 12, 2012 @ 11:57 am | Comment

Some are already comparing President Elect Xi to Chairman Mao.

Who?

@Jxie. A Song type renaissance is a recursive, backward looking project, unsuited to 21st century China seeking its place in a globalised world much of which revolves around the digital economy where perceptions are formed. Poetry notwithstanding.
Wouldn’t a rejuvenation today be best served by a total hands off approach to the internet.
To be sure, it would give rise to a rancorous cacophony at first, but in the longer term the Chinese vox pop would be able to discern the difference between drivel and those cultural currents which are worth developing and expanding.
It is less about historical recovery and more about those positive and recent cultural strands which are presently lurking outside CPC management.

Not sure. China has never really, actually, critically–neutrally–examined its own historical philosophies. It would be neat to see a real renaissance take place. I mean, the Italians didn’t exactly go wrong to look at what the Romans and Greeks did.

That being said, I totally agree a rejuvenation today would be best served a loosening of internet and media controls, but I don’t see that happening in the near future–not because the Party Center is paranoid of new media, but because (to return to my old saw) censorship is big business; censoring search results generates what I would say to be hundreds of millions of RMB in revenues.

December 12, 2012 @ 12:15 pm | Comment

@Richard 49

Between the years 1949 up till the break with the USSR by the early 1960′s, Mao did ask the USSR for money. He got about $300 MM (not clear whether it was Rubees or US$ equivalent) in 1950 from Stalin. China also got more financial support (usually in the form of outdated machinery set at high prices from the USSR) during the ’50s. Russia provided materiels during the Korean War, but chalked those down as loans also. As far as I know, Russia provided very little in grants or aid. Mao’s China had to tighten belts to repay the Russian Big Brother.

China was truly on her own after the early ’60s, after the USSR pulled out the “experts” and demanded payback of loans. Mao refused to beg. The Chinese suffered through famines and nobody offered help. China survived. Technology had to be imported, and no doubt the people’s rations got cut to support the effort. But China survived.

Those are facts, and my interpretation.

December 12, 2012 @ 12:17 pm | Comment

Funny, Red Star, I don’t remember anyone saying Mao was as bad as Hitler or Stalin. What are you referring to?

December 12, 2012 @ 12:18 pm | Comment

@Richard 49

On removing internet controls – it is rationally a nonstarter.

Chicoms looked at Symantec’s 2009 internet survey showed that the most popular search words for American children searching the internet, the 4th and 5th were “sex” and “porn” respectively. The system simply has failed the people, and as a direct result, the medical fact is that over 90% of Americans carry incurable STD (the herpes virus, according to the CDC – actually in a 2005 study the reported number was over 95% in the subjects tested).

As a direct result of the prevalence of porn on the internet in America, half of the population, nee the “fairer sex”, is perennially seen only as “c*nts” and valued accordingly. Today, the biggest application on the American side of the Internet is porn. You don’t believe me, try these search words and count the number of hits: FM, FFM, FF, MM, MMMMMMM, bi, trans, rape, barely legal, S&M, BDSM, snuff, etc. As a result, America is also a much more violent society. I think it was in a NPR interview a couple of years back, that the new chief of police in LA (Beck?) was talking about the use of social media like Facebook and Twitter by organized crime for “Internet Banging”. It’d give anyone rational pause, to open up the Net to such irresponsibility mistaken for freedom.

December 12, 2012 @ 12:27 pm | Comment

The bottom line on Mao for most Chinese, is that Mao is a national hero, the founding father of China. What gall is it and what right do foreigners presume, to attack Chairman Mao?

December 12, 2012 @ 12:31 pm | Comment

Chicoms looked at Symantec’s 2009 internet survey showed that the most popular search words for American children searching the internet, the 4th and 5th were “sex” and “porn” respectively. The system simply has failed the people, and as a direct result, the medical fact is that over 90% of Americans carry incurable STD (the herpes virus, according to the CDC – actually in a 2005 study the reported number was over 95% in the subjects tested).
As a direct result of the prevalence of porn on the internet in America, half of the population, nee the “fairer sex”, is perennially seen only as “c*nts” and valued accordingly. Today, the biggest application on the American side of the Internet is porn. You don’t believe me, try these search words and count the number of hits: FM, FFM, FF, MM, MMMMMMM, bi, trans, rape, barely legal, S&M, BDSM, snuff, etc. As a result, America is also a much more violent society. I think it was in a NPR interview a couple of years back, that the new chief of police in LA (Beck?) was talking about the use of social media like Facebook and Twitter by organized crime for “Internet Banging”. It’d give anyone rational pause, to open up the Net to such irresponsibility mistaken for freedom.

Zhu, the internet is not the cause of promiscuity or violence. It is simply a reflection of whatever cultural trends already exist in a society. Banning the internet to fix those symptoms is about as effective as breaking all the mirrors in your house upon finding out you are ugly.

Plus, if you look at what Chinese people use the internet for, it’s not really for “moral” stuff either. The most popular Chinese mobile app (I know this because it uses the same cell phone geo-location technology one of our Chicago startups used) is Momo, which lets people chat with nearby strangers on a real-time basis for the purpose of hooking up. It got 10 million users in 10 months, the fastest growth rate of any mobile app anywhere in the world.

December 12, 2012 @ 12:44 pm | Comment

“The Chinese suffered through famines and nobody offered help”

1: That’s because the famines went largely underreported and were covered up by the authorities. Shabad, writing in 1959 marvelled at the reported over-production of grain.

2: As to your notion of Mao as “just a MAN” – where do you draw the line? Theoretically with your line of reasoning, all crimes are forgivable as we are “just” people. You cite the Founding Fathers of the US and make negative aspersions, yet they laid the foundation for one of the most prosperous nations on Earth. Why do you not excuse their mistakes with the same “just a MAN” argument?

3: At what point do you view the CPC as becoming unnecessary? What level of development achieved (supposedly) under the auspices of the CPC renders them irrelevant, in your view? What kind or level of mishandling of affairs would it take to make you believe that they have become an encumbrance?

December 12, 2012 @ 12:53 pm | Comment

@Narsfweasels:

2. The comparison with the American founding fathers is to show that what Mao did (all within the first 30 years of the birth of New China) was not so bad, compared to the founding fathers of America.

3. When the Chinese achieve per capita GDP of mayhap 3/4 that of Americans, it is no longer a luxury to experiment with whatever political system, and the CPC can proudly retire as the sole party in power. How bad would the CPC have to screw up before the Chinese people get upset enough to do something? Probably 2% growth for a decade would do it.

December 12, 2012 @ 1:27 pm | Comment

How bad would the CPC have to screw up before the Chinese people get upset enough to do something? Probably 2% growth for a decade would do it.

2% growth for three or four years would bankrupt numerous cities and double the youth unemployment rate. A decade? That’s frightening. The Party is not that resilient.

December 12, 2012 @ 2:41 pm | Comment

@t_co 59

Worry not. Only if China adopts multi-party gridlock like America would the growth rate slow down to 2% a year.

With the world’s economy recovering (assuming that the American banksters do not repeat a 2008), it would not be surprising to see China’s economy growth get back to 10% a year. China today is uniquely endowed to take maximum advantage of globalization, by massively growing trade with the developing world. The merchandise mix is well suited for emerging middle class folks all around the globe. Most of the developed world is priced out of competition, and thus not able to participate much in the growth of developing nations.

December 12, 2012 @ 3:25 pm | Comment

@t_co 56

“Zhu, the internet is not the cause of promiscuity or violence. It is simply a reflection of whatever cultural trends already exist in a society.”

I would have to respectfully disagree with you on that one, unless you believe that American children are born with the conviction that all women are “c*nts” and nothing more. Environment is everything where it comes to culture, and the porn culture in America is irresponsibility mistaken for freedom. It breeds extreme contempt for women not only in America, but also demonstrates itself in rapes wherever American troops go, with the misconduct protected against prosecution under SOFAs. It breeds widespread STD.

December 12, 2012 @ 3:30 pm | Comment

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2012/12/11/study-income-inequality-skyrockets-in-china-now-among-worlds-highest/

The zoo-man likes his growth stats. Here’s something else that’s growing: China’s income inequality. 8% growth it might be, but only some people are seeing that 8%…CCP cronies, perhaps? Comrade Wen’s second cousin thrice removed?

December 12, 2012 @ 3:37 pm | Comment

@SKC 62

With the government’s taxing powers, a GINI index can be whatever the government wants it to be. It is just a question of redistribution.

A number of these nouveau riche got rich illegally, and move their money offshore beyond the reach of Chinese law. Reforms are needed. Remove all statute of limitations on monetary crimes, such as corruption, and do treble damages across the board. Add a 10% whistle-blowing provision. Do it for a decade, and things will get fixed.

December 12, 2012 @ 4:05 pm | Comment

“Do you still maintain he never asked other countries for money?”

Who knows, but Mao told Kissinger that he would throw in 10 million Chinese women, until an interpreter told him to shut his face since it was not a good look.

While Mao was making this offer for all the wrong reasons, it might have been a good idea in terms of improving the Western gene pool.

December 12, 2012 @ 4:14 pm | Comment

“GINI index can be whatever the government wants it to be.”
—so the CCP wants China’s income inequality to be the fifth (or seventh) highest in the world? Interesting. I’m sure Chinese people are very happy about that.

” Reforms are needed.”
—what? For those smart leaders of yours? What are they waiting for? This problem didn’t just crop up yesterday; it’s been foreseeable for years. And I believe the good Comrade Wen was giving blustery speeches about corruption not too long ago… I wonder how that turned out…pretty well for him and his family, it would seem.

December 12, 2012 @ 4:36 pm | Comment

Probably 2% growth for a decade would do it.

Ha! 6% for a couple of years and all bets are off.

December 12, 2012 @ 4:43 pm | Comment

Virtually NONE of zhu’s assertions on anything — even random passing comments on SOFA rules for US troops or STD infection in the US — fact check at all. All false. I’d rather read the Global Times or its sister publications, which are more intellectually honest (yes, they are) and to some degree reflect official thinking. I almost miss Cookie Monster.

December 12, 2012 @ 8:31 pm | Comment

Guys, why are you even letting this fool troll you?

December 12, 2012 @ 10:11 pm | Comment

@slim 67

If there be any take away, at least consider how grating and shrill your anti-China comments sound to the average Chinese.

Are you saying that Herpes is not a STD? Or that the CDC does not report that over 90% of Americans carry the virus? Or are you asserting that SOFAs do not keep American servicemen who raped locals from being prosecuted in the local courts?

What exactly are you saying? That Zhuubaajie is wrong, and you tried Google-ing “FM, FFM, FF, MM, MMMMMMM, bi, trans, rape, barely legal, S&M, BDSM, snuff” on the American internet and found NO ENTRIES in return? Or that “sex” and “porn” and “c*nt” are not top search words for American kids as young as 6?

December 13, 2012 @ 1:05 am | Comment

@SKC 65

What are they waiting for? The right time, the right strategy, the right plan, etc. What do I know, I only write comments.

Beijing is the most responsive major government. But China is the biggest ship there is, and plans have to be carefully made and executed, lest there be unintended consequences. But reforms are going at very impressive speeds already.

Xi has Mao’s charisma, and all eyes are on him to push through major programs that are going to again transform China in a major way. The press use the term “Zhong Xing” – but that is not really appropriate since China was never in decline after Chairman Mao – it was a steady, peaceful rise for 34 years, all without any major dips.

The truth about Mao is that he swept away all obstacles so that New China can rebuild at a comfortable, urgent speed, which still continues today. That’s another reason why the Chinese people revere the Chairman.

December 13, 2012 @ 1:13 am | Comment

Firstly, there is a burning desire to view Mao as “complex and multifaceted”. Otherwise the unpleasant question arises, why did the Chinese put up with his policies and even willingly participated in them? It helps that Mao is a much better calligrapher than Hitler was a watercolor painter.

Second, of course it’s moot to ask the question “what if” in history. Anyway, would the good things that are attributed to him, not have happened likewise in a Republic of China, after the Japanese had been beaten? Surely there are no more women with bound feet in Taiwan these days and the literacy rate is just as high.

December 13, 2012 @ 2:04 am | Comment

Should I ban the spam bot zhuzhu? He hasn’t broken any rules, but he is spamming. I’ll give him another chance but if he keeps repeating the same mantra I’m going to lose patience. Yourfriend’s comments at least have some variety.

December 13, 2012 @ 3:40 am | Comment

The truth about Mao is that he swept away all obstacles so that New China can rebuild at a comfortable, urgent speed, which still continues today. That’s another reason why the Chinese people revere the Chairman.

Sure, by 1956 or so. So what the hell was Mao doing for the next 20 years of his rule? Like I said, the man did not know when to just get out of the way and let more capable administrators take his place.

December 13, 2012 @ 4:02 am | Comment

When I mention income inequality, I could count on the cookie man to bring up wealth inequality instead. But with the zookeeper, it’s “they’re working on it…and oh the CCP is great, and Mao was the most awesome-est in the whole wide world…”. Like Richard says, at least the others have a slider or a hanging curve, but all zoolander has is the “fastball”…and even that tops out at 60mph. But he does like to speak on behalf of “average Chinese”. I guess since he’s already speaking for them, he figures he doesn’t actually need to ask them for their opinion.

December 13, 2012 @ 4:07 am | Comment

@Richard 72

It is your blog and you set the rules. But do define spamming. I am responding to issues raised with my views and facts and cites. How am I spamming?

Fact that you disagree with me does not make my views spamming. Or maybe it does in America?

December 13, 2012 @ 4:09 am | Comment

Getting back to the topic on hand. It is Richard’s thesis that Mao is BAD, and devoid of goodness. He granted that Mao may be “great”, depending on how you define it, because he did make big changes in Chinese society.

“Throughout his life in the revolution Mao manipulated the basest of human emotions. It was not brotherly love that he conveyed, but rather enmity and universal suspicion. “Down with the landlords!” “Down with rich peasants!” “Down with the bourgeoisie, merchants and intellectuals!” “Down with those who are not like us!” “Down with the educated, with businesspersons, with the talented!” Down with all of them, down with them, down.”

It wasn’t clear whether that was what Richard wrote, or what caught his eye. But it is a fair expression of someone’s opinion, obviously.

The “basest of human emotions.” That certainly is a tall order, and requires some examination. Putting it in context, Mao was in power in New China only 27 years (New China debuted in 1949, and Mao died in 1976). So his “reign”, if you can call it that, was in the context of the first years of the founding of the new polity. How did his actions and planning compare with those of the founding fathers of America?

Most Americans think of founding fathers as lofty persons – actually deified persona, great people who did great things. Yes, indeed they did LARGE things. Population of natives vs. whites in 1776? We don’t really know. The first census was taken in 1790, which reported 3.93 million in total, with 760K black slaves (about 20%). The estimate is that the population of the 13 colonies were about 2.5 million, with a similar percentage being black slaves. Most scholars writing at the end of the 19th century estimated the pre-Columbian population at about 10 million.

Then with their lofty declarations that everyone is born equal, the founding fathers of America set out to exterminate the natives, and keep more black slaves, and prevent women from voting or having property rights. They did BIG things for America, certainly. They were very effective also. The Black Hills carvings is truly diabolical and symbolic of the ruthless predation – they must have consulted with FengShui masters – have the white faces sitting atop the dragon-vein of the native mountain ranges and sacred burial grounds, thereby forever symbolically breaking the backs of native America joss. With the foundation built by the American founding fathers, who are still revered by all Americans, natives were wiped out and blacks remained slaves for many, many years.

In percentage comparison, in terms of efficacy in wiping out the hapless and helpless, Mao was a dwarf compared to the American founding fathers.

So why do you begrudge the Chinese people’s respect for Chairman Mao as founding father, while you continue to revere your own? It does not make rational sense.

December 13, 2012 @ 5:01 am | Comment

Is that considered spamming?

December 13, 2012 @ 5:04 am | Comment

“So why do you begrudge the Chinese people’s respect for Chairman Mao as founding father”
—but do they? “respect”, that is.

Was China in 1949 comparable to the New World in the 1600′s, or to the advent of the US in 1776? Is so, how so? China was the 5000 year civilization yada yada. “America” was a newly/recently discovered continent.

December 13, 2012 @ 5:22 am | Comment

@SKC: 78

1776 was not the dark ages. I was not there, but I presume that by 1776 Europeans did treat other Europeans as human beings. I assert that the conduct by whites against the natives in America, and against the blacks of America, evinced much more of that “basest of human emotions” that Richard was blabbing about.

December 13, 2012 @ 5:33 am | Comment

At the risk of drifting off topic, I will correct myself:

1776 was not the dark ages. I was not there, but I presume that by 1776 Europeans did treat other Europeans as human beings. I assert that the conduct and plots by American founding fathers against the natives in America, and against the blacks of America, evinced much more of that “basest of human emotions” that Richard was blabbing about. In comparison Mao was not as BAD. To the extent that American founding fathers are revered by Americans, so should Mao be, in view of all the great things he accomplished for the Chinese nation.

December 13, 2012 @ 5:37 am | Comment

“evinced much more of that “basest of human emotions” that Richard was blabbing about.”
—actually, Richard was quite specific about which base emotions he was referring to. He was talking about the hatred that Mao stirred up in one Chinese person towards another. Those don’t really apply (at all) to the Washington’s and Jefferson’s of the world.

Early American treatment of natives should not be lauded. They’re also not comparable to the specific crap that Mao did.

December 13, 2012 @ 6:05 am | Comment

@SKC 81

So one kind of BADness is different from another, and they cannot be compared? Mao should be singled out for badmouthing? WHY? Because he is Chinese, and Westerners rightfully cannot allow the Chinese can have a national hero to revere?

This is more than just shaking my snout. This should be poignant – do unto others, Richard.

December 13, 2012 @ 6:17 am | Comment

To be fair, it IS very much about FACE and about Chinese culture, which Westerners (even someone like Richard) rudely ignore, and self-righteously assume they can ignore.

Mao is a Chinese national hero. It may very well be well and good and justified for the Chinese to analyze and criticize him behind close doors, it is NOT kosher for foreigners to do so. Good and bad are not objective factual things like the temperature in a room – they are value judgments. Most Chinese would take serious umbrage with a foreigner opining negatively on a Chinese national hero.

December 13, 2012 @ 6:25 am | Comment

“So one kind of BADness is different from another, and they cannot be compared?”
—sure there are different kinds of “bad”. That should go without saying. You can compare anything you want, but valid comparisons require that you compare comparables. I’m just sayin’.

“Mao should be singled out for badmouthing?”
—not necessarily. You can badmouth Washington all you want, for whatever bad stuff he did. The “comparing” part, however, is rather pointless. Mao did bad stuff. That requires no comparison. Now, if Richard said Mao was the worst person in human history, THEN you can compare away. And remember, even if someone did stuff that was worse than Mao does NOT make the stuff Mao did any LESS bad. You CCP apologists often get tripped up on what should be a basic point of logic.

“Westerners rightfully cannot allow the Chinese can have a national hero to revere?”
—oh puh-lease. If he is truly a Chinese national hero, are Chinese people so weak-minded that they would change their attitude based on what Westerners say about Mao? Again, your lack of confidence and conviction is showing through. If Mao was universally revered in China as much as you like to think he was, then some westerners dissing him should have absolutely no effect.

“it is NOT kosher for foreigners to do so”
—huh? That is lame apologist-speak. If it’s crap, it’s crap. Doesn’t matter who’s telling it. Only those of weak mind and poor principles take issue with the messenger, rather than the message.

December 13, 2012 @ 7:01 am | Comment

Should I ban the spam bot zhuzhu? He hasn’t broken any rules, but he is spamming.

He hasn’t broken any rules. Doesn’t this answer your own question, Richard?

I wrote on the “Peaceful-Rise” thread (#7) that zhubajie didn’t appear to be “terribly welcome”. You said he was indeed welcome (#18). My point then was this: When you find someone’s attitude or behavior disgusting, you should be frank about that. The problem with people like zhu – it’s a point he refers to himself – is that they are pretty much about “face”. Just their face, of course, even if they suggest that they can speak in the name of more than a billion people. When you tell them that they are welcome, they will feel at home.

Obviously, you make people feel at home, and still kick them out. Contrary to what zhu says (#75), that isn’t censorship. It’s the right of a blogger. But the best way to deal with “spammers” (I’d use different and – in my view – more descriptive – words, but understand that you probably don’t want to read them here) is to show them the contempt they deserve, and then to ignore them. Zhu spammed much more in the beginning, than now.

Attention spells reward. So does banning: “Oh, I’m so American-dissident/ so victim-of-American-censorship / too clever (virtuous, reasonable, thought-provoking) to be tolerated” (tick the line of choice, or add any of your own).

Obviously, someone who thinks that he can speak “for China” will also believe that a blogger’s decisions are America’s decisions. I think they call that negative self-verification.

Sois humain. If you ban zhu, where else can he go?

December 13, 2012 @ 7:32 am | Comment

“it is NOT kosher for foreigners to do so.”

Mao was a murdering genocidal maniac. The people who love him are brainwaashed by his murderous henchmen.

Sorry, had to be done, really couldn’t resist it ;-)

December 13, 2012 @ 7:33 am | Comment

correction: Obviously, you can make people feel at home.

December 13, 2012 @ 7:35 am | Comment

The people who love him are brainwaashed by his murderous henchmen.

That may be true. But they are still people who are responsible for their own talk. I wouldn’t blame Mao or his henchmen for a lot of things, but not for that – especially because those who glorify him invite the henchmen back again.

December 13, 2012 @ 7:37 am | Comment

@justrecently 85

Zhuubaajie actually goes everywhere where there are lies being told about China. Huffpost, New York Times, CNN, The Economist, etc. I also love going to redneck or neocon sites.

December 13, 2012 @ 8:00 am | Comment

@SKC 84

It is OK for me to badmouth my parents, it is not OK for you to do so. If you don’t even understand that, you are not very Chinese, despite being born and raised in Hong Kong.

December 13, 2012 @ 8:04 am | Comment

“It is OK for me to badmouth my parents, it is not OK for you to do so. .”

In which case there is no future or function for the justice system in any state: you are effectively saying no-one has the right to judge another without a prior relationship. If you cannot call someone a criminal because you are not related to them, nor have any kind of connection to them, then judges and magistrates have been wrong for the last several thousand years. :/

December 13, 2012 @ 9:06 am | Comment

“It is OK for me to badmouth my parents, it is not OK for you to do so.”

Your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries.

December 13, 2012 @ 9:52 am | Comment

“Zhuubaajie actually goes everywhere where there are lies being told about China”

Sooooo, this wumao thingy, it’s commission based, you say? Hmmmm, interesting…

December 13, 2012 @ 9:54 am | Comment

Tanks – China: 0. USA: 149.
Vehicles: China 0: USA 3800 (1 per 4 soldiers)
Armored vehicles – China: 0 . USA 35.
Artillery: China 66. USA: 300.
Mobile rocket launchers: China: 27. USA: 550.

When a weak nation is invaded by a stronger one, that the weak can resist with all its might until the last breath is already an heroic feat. For a weak nation to challenge a strong one by going outside of her own borders, that had never been tried before.

When Man Anying, his son, was killed on the battlefield in Korea. Mao himself, upon being delivered the news, said famously: “Hundreds of thousands gave their lives on that battlefield, we can’t dwell on just one person. What happened happened, let’s move on. I’m the leader of the nation, I’m the one who decided to send our troops to Korea. If my son doesn’t go, how can I convince the nation to support this war? He’s Mao Zedong’s son, there can be no other way.’

When Mao shook hand with the mother of Huang Jiguang, another PLA soldier who gave his life in Korea, we saw no sadness on the mother’s face, only smiles.

Why? Because she knew. She knew that of the arsenal of heroes who were forever resting on that battlefield, her son was among them, but so was Mao Zedong’s. The person now shaking her hands and sending his condolenscnes, was also a family of the war hero. From this mother we saw a spirit larger than life, a spirit of fearlessness, a spirit of sacrifice, a spirit of idealism, a spirit of a hero, a spirit of a mother.

Those are also the spirits of Mao.

Mao belongs to China, but he also belongs to the world. He is of the Chinese people, but also of the world’s people.

[ Huang ji guang's mother shaking hands with Mao, 1954 ]

http://i0.sinaimg.cn/book/excerpt/sz/2008-06-23/U2883P112T3D239013F1819DT20080623144433.jpg

December 13, 2012 @ 10:20 am | Comment

To 84,
The Chinese thing is to not air a family’s own issues out in the open, and to keep things in house. So if you said “my dad is a douchebag” in public, that would indeed not be very Chinese. But once it is out in the open, like with mao’s idiotic misdeeds, there is nothing un-Chinese about calling an ass an ass. Those who think it is wrong for non-Chinese to criticize Mao are almost uniformly ccp apologists or Mao worshipers. Of course, you happen to be both.

So if the reasons why you dad deserves bad-mouthing is a matter of public knowledge, then he’s fair game to anyone and everyone. Once again, if the message is legit, don’t blame the messenger.

December 13, 2012 @ 10:21 am | Comment

Oops, sorry, that was to #90.

December 13, 2012 @ 10:22 am | Comment

Mao is a Chinese national hero. It may very well be well and good and justified for the Chinese to analyze and criticize him behind close doors, it is NOT kosher for foreigners to do so. Good and bad are not objective factual things like the temperature in a room – they are value judgments. Most Chinese would take serious umbrage with a foreigner opining negatively on a Chinese national hero.

I would imagine Deng to be far more worthy of praise than Mao was.

December 13, 2012 @ 10:22 am | Comment

Now, if you’re saying you are just cursing at your dad like some delinquent teenager, then no, I wouldn’t join in on that. But the criticisms of Mao are not the flippant musings of delinquent teenagers.

December 13, 2012 @ 10:26 am | Comment

To T-co,
agreed. Deng is the one who ushered in China as we know it today. And he had only 1 really bad day. Mao had thousands of bad days (like all of GLF and CR, at a minimum).

December 13, 2012 @ 11:20 am | Comment

agreed. Deng is the one who ushered in China as we know it today. And he had only 1 really bad day. Mao had thousands of bad days (like all of GLF and CR, at a minimum).

I’d say Deng had a few more than just 1 really bad day. The entire buildup to events on June 4th could have been handled in a more adroit manner, and it was in some degree due to Deng’s (and the other elders’) reluctance to force the upper leadership to come to a consensus in May that eventually caused the protest to harden into something tragic. A lot of the reason why the student leadership got so extreme in the latter half of Tiananmen was because the Party leadership wasn’t negotiating with them in good faith. The main reason the leadership wasn’t negotiating with them in good faith was because Li Peng and Zhao Ziyang couldn’t agree on a common set of negotiating positions to take, or whether negotiations were even important at all. That reason for that was because Deng held ultimate authority and didn’t put his foot down until the end of May.

But yes, other than that blunder, Deng pretty much played every hand he was dealt in the best manner possible, not necessarily for himself, but for China. That combination of skill and good intentions is a rarity amongst contemporary leaders.

December 13, 2012 @ 11:44 am | Comment

Zhu, jolly good show, chap! You have really livened up the debate here.

‘What gall is it and what right do foreigners presume, to attack Chairman Mao?’

My thoughts entirely! What right do foreigners have to criticise the beloved helmsman? And by extension, what right do foreigners have to criticise anything Chinese? The rest of the world should learn from China and from the richness of China’s ancient history and culture. And While China is not currently the centre of the world, it soon shall be again! Then all the foreigners will come to pay homage to, and learn from, China. But foreigners should know their place. It is unacceptable for them to criticise China in anyway, for any criticism on any aspect of Chinese history, politics or government (favourite topics of the foreigners), is a vicious attack on the Chinese people and will hurt the feelings of the Chinese people. Instead, we should all do our best to ensure that any discussion of China in foreign circles centres firmly around the many positive aspects of modern China and the sincere efforts that the government is making to bring about a harmonious society. We should steer threads towards these positive aspects, and I recommend using articles from Xinhua, the beloved and truthful news agency of the Chinese people, as inspiration.

December 13, 2012 @ 12:16 pm | Comment

Dear All,

As Gil points out, you are being trolled. Zhu is well versed in the dark arts of trolling. This guy literally wrote the textbook on trolling. He contributes nothing. A number of users have pointed out floors in his argumentation or refuted, with evidence, his assertions. Don’t hold your breath for a reply though, the classic troll will just ignore you and try and change the subject of the thread and begin arguing about something else.

December 13, 2012 @ 12:18 pm | Comment

I am assuming that you guys (including Richard, or especially Richard, who has a book to sell) are interested in China, enough to spend your time commenting and writing.

When I was younger and running with the fenqing crowd of yore, we often debate over how best to effect changes. For those of us who are not party members, clearly we can only make suggestions. There were two schools of thought. One goes the Ai, Wei Wei and LXB way – when they meet a CPC “guan”, they cuss the poor guy out, “*&^*&^#&, %$#@^_, you must do this and that and that . . . .” (finger wagging to boot). The other school befriends the “guan”, and puts in suggestions after a bottle or two of “er guo tou”.

WHO do you think the “guan” listens to?

December 13, 2012 @ 1:06 pm | Comment

Besides, Xilin (102), why the flute do you believe that the average Chinese would or should listen to laowai badmouthing Chairman Mao, or for that matter, anything Chinese?? This is especially an issue if you are doing it IN CHINA, as Richard volunteered (as what he did with his Chinese teacher – I am assuming that was in China).

You come into my house, and you don’t even have the courtesy to keep your dirty mouth shut? No, not even Rudd can pull it off with his fluent Chinese and years of relationship (zhengyou or no). WHY are you surprised when the Chinese treat you like the leper you are?

There clearly is a different cultural perception. But I have lived on 4 continents – nobody, Westerner, Easterner, whatever, takes such “liberty” as what is demonstrated on this blog – all this gratuitous assertions on how bad China is. Why? You don’t think it hurts? You can’t even stand the little I write about America. Is it because the Chinese are too kind to hit back?

December 13, 2012 @ 1:16 pm | Comment

Now, back to the topic of the thread.

Mao must present a real problem for the current ‘communist’ government because they have to appear to revere him as a national hero, but go against virtually all that he stood for.

It would be like the government in Fahrenheit 451 revering Dickens.

There’s a huge protrait of Mao in Tiananmen, but you can’t sing ‘Red songs’.

December 13, 2012 @ 1:31 pm | Comment

Mao must present a real problem for the current ‘communist’ government because they have to appear to revere him as a national hero, but go against virtually all that he stood for.
It would be like the government in Fahrenheit 451 revering Dickens.
There’s a huge protrait of Mao in Tiananmen, but you can’t sing ‘Red songs’.

Not really. After all, the America of today (centralized, industrialized, superpower with a high-intensity economy) goes against much of what Thomas Jefferson and George Washington stood for (decentralized, agrarian, isolationist state with a pastoral economy), yet America is able to use them as symbols with which to inspire and rally its citizenry. This is because some core aspects of Mao’s ideology, such as the unshakeable conviction that China is sovereign and need not obey other countries (major reason for the Sino-Soviet split), as well as his belief in the fundamental goodness of the average Chinese person, are still valuable today.

December 13, 2012 @ 1:43 pm | Comment

To xilin,
#102 was fantastic stuff.

And this: “the classic troll will just ignore you and try and change the subject of the thread and begin arguing about something else.” – truer words have ne’er been said.

If I didn’t enjoy chasing these idiots around and whacking them with logic like a game of whack-the-mole, I probably would be put off too.

++++++++++++

To 104,
you know what the cadre is thinking? ‘cool, free drinks’. What’s some low level schmuck going to do? He’s there for his own benefit, and to line his own pockets.

To 105,
if the “average Chinese” doesn’t like it, he doesn’t have to listen. It’s his choice. Isn’t choice grand? Of course, you wouldn’t know, since you want to remove that option from them.

“takes such “liberty” as what is demonstrated on this blog”
—dude, take a pill, and grow a pair. Enough with the victim mentality/hurt feelings nonsense. That’s just lame. You know why it’s stupid to write about America all the time on this blog? Cuz it’s a freakin blog about China. Go ahead, let that sink in, and maybe teach that to a couple of your cohorts. The whole lot of you seem to have trouble grasping that basic concept. Where you guys need to go is to the Blog on America, since that fascinates you so.

December 13, 2012 @ 1:44 pm | Comment

Zhu suffers from the worst case of representitis I’ve ever seen. All things Chinese represent China, and the Chinese have the sole right to determine what all things Chinese represent.

What worries me, though–and this alludes to By the Clock’s youth as disclosed on a previous thread–is why, with this power, everything around him turns into phalli, whether deeply erotic or painful.

December 13, 2012 @ 1:45 pm | Comment

“as well as his belief in the fundamental goodness of the average Chinese person”

…..

“are still valuable today”

…..

December 13, 2012 @ 1:48 pm | Comment

Zhu suffers from the worst case of representitis I’ve ever seen. All things Chinese represent China, and the Chinese have the sole right to determine what all things Chinese represent.
What worries me, though–and this alludes to By the Clock’s youth as disclosed on a previous thread–is why, with this power, everything around him turns into phalli, whether deeply erotic or painful.

Way to be a smug, self-righteous troll. You’re the only person on this blog who likes to ascribe neuroses to other commenters. Maybe you know them so well because your therapist described this “phallic envy” as a key issue in your therapy sessions?

December 13, 2012 @ 1:54 pm | Comment

“as well as his belief in the fundamental goodness of the average Chinese person”
…..
“are still valuable today”
…..

Care to elaborate, oh Handler of Phallic Ellipsis?

December 13, 2012 @ 1:57 pm | Comment

Conflict with China is of a political nature, not based on China’s “civilization and culture.”

I’m interested to see what drives this “conflict of a political nature” then. What is the big political sticking point and how does it drive a conflict of interest between China and, say, Japan?

December 13, 2012 @ 2:00 pm | Comment

@t_co

If an ellipsis (or a hand) means a phallus to you too, this seems to be a theme amongst the apols.

Mao believed the Chinese were material, tools.

Chinese today also display no fundamental belief in the goodness of their fellow citizens. Once again, you are doing an overseas thing.

December 13, 2012 @ 2:05 pm | Comment

If an ellipsis (or a hand) means a phallus to you too, this seems to be a theme amongst the apols.

Apols?

December 13, 2012 @ 2:13 pm | Comment

Chinese today also display no fundamental belief in the goodness of their fellow citizens. Once again, you are doing an overseas thing.

Doesn’t matter if the belief is there or not right now–it needs to be there to foster social trust. Since social trust improves social welfare, then the Chinese government would be justified in fostering that sort of belief.

December 13, 2012 @ 2:15 pm | Comment

Mao believed the Chinese were material, tools.

Is that mutually exclusive with believing in the goodness of the Chinese people, or do you just get off on your glib logical fallacies at night?

December 13, 2012 @ 2:17 pm | Comment

@Handler:

“Chinese today also display no fundamental belief in the goodness of their fellow citizens.”

What the flute? Is that what your kind thinks?

I watch TV shows on Charming China, and almost all of the programs show the goodness of the Chinese and their belief in the goodness of their fellow citizens. If you want to actually know China, watch some China soap operas and learning something, instead of just reading neocon or neoliberal gibberish.

December 13, 2012 @ 2:32 pm | Comment

If you want to actually know China, watch some China soap operas and learning something, instead of just reading neocon or neoliberal gibberish.

Not sure soap operas are such a good idea overall, but for him, they’d be a good place to start.

For the rest of us, just get to know some Chinese people really well, and listen to their actual aspirations.

Oh, and just fyi Zhu, they don’t call it gibberish–they call it talking points.

December 13, 2012 @ 2:39 pm | Comment

Again, do you know why the average Chinese would never trust a foreigner that badmouths anything China – especially one who attacks the legitimacy of Chairman Mao?

It is more than face. It is painfully learned truth – such gweilo are bad news, especially if they take the time to learn Chinese and learn Chinese culture. Experience again and again disappoint.

Take Kevin Rudd, the self appointed “zhengyou” that took the time to learn the language and the culture.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/rudd-may-come-unstuck-over-china-relations/story-e6frg6zo-1225966571679

Turns out that (not unexpected, but disappointing never the less) behind close doors, he was plotting with Americans to use force against Beijing. Zhengyou indeed – more like two faced with three daggers (两面三刀). BTW,THAT is exactly the general impression most Chinese have, of gweilo who badmouth Chairman Mao.

December 13, 2012 @ 3:59 pm | Comment

SK, short of banning them, there is only one sure way of stopping trolls: don’t feed them. A troll’s sole purpose is to derail threads, whether they do this for ideological or purely malicious reasons. Trolls are part of the internet age and a rather unpleasant product of anonymity on the web. It’s depressing how malevolent people can be when they are anonymous. Though there may appear to be evidence of an ideological stance with some trolls, I think it’s often just the case that they just get a kick out of pissing people off.

December 13, 2012 @ 4:05 pm | Comment

t_co

“Way to be a smug, self-righteous troll. You’re the only person on this blog who likes to ascribe neuroses to other commenters.”

Not only is that not true, but I didn’t seriously describe any neuroses. He clearly gets quite a charge out of the puissance of the CCP, and his sensitivity (pain) is alluded to above.

“Is that mutually exclusive with believing in the goodness of the Chinese people, or do you just get off on your glib logical fallacies at night?”

It is mutually exclusive.

“Doesn’t matter if the belief is there or not right now–it needs to be there to foster social trust.”

No, it does matter. Just as it matters that Mao did all he could to eradicate it and social trust, nowhere so well as the in the CR. Zhu watches TV, sees propaganda, and swallows it whole.

A-pols. That’s a use of the alpha privative. An understanding of Greek roots will carry you the rest of the way.

December 13, 2012 @ 4:11 pm | Comment

zhu ba jie / “spam”

Richard, I agree with JR. You see, if things go wrong in China, zhu ba jie will be invited back to the motherland to contribute to whatever wonderful big things. And if the Communist Party is in Khmer Rouge mode then, you will never see him on your blog again. Enjoy his bullshit while he lasts, and respect his unhappiness, because HE knows better than anyone else.

And no, I’m not going to have a discussion with the “China reforms” scholars here.

Greetings to King Tubby.

December 13, 2012 @ 4:18 pm | Comment

T_co, granted, Jefferson and Washington had different ideologies from those which are dominant in the America of today. But that was hundreds of years ago. Mao was in power less than fifty years ago. And it’s not just about Mao’s ideology, it’s about his actions. Do you not think Mao has a rather more checkered past than either Jefferson or Washington?
But let’s not get sidetracked by yet another comparison with the Yanks. The legacy of Mao and his centrality in the modern Chinese consciousness does present a problem for the Chinese government. If he is revered then people will read his works, study his ideology and maybe even take a critical look at some of what he did and the resulting repercussions. That’s where it gets complicated. To put it simply, does a rich, urban, ruling elite want the people reading about class struggle?
So, remember Bo Xilai and his cultural programmes? And have you heard about the Beijing ‘Red Songs’ concert being cancelled?

December 13, 2012 @ 4:35 pm | Comment

Not only is that not true, but I didn’t seriously describe any neuroses. He clearly gets quite a charge out of the puissance of the CCP, and his sensitivity (pain) is alluded to above.

Sounds like you’ve made a dead cold read there, Dr. Phil, and over the internet, nonetheless. *snark* I’m not sure Zhu’s affection for the CCP has anything to do with phalli, but I’d love to hear more about this. Do avoid French though.

It is mutually exclusive.

Prove it.

No, it does matter. Just as it matters that Mao did all he could to eradicate it and social trust, nowhere so well as the in the CR. Zhu watches TV, sees propaganda, and swallows it whole.

No, it doesn’t matter. My original point–that Mao is valuable as a symbol to promote social trust and unity in China–stands because you didn’t address it directly. Then you’re trying to change the subject to your own subjective evaluation of Mao’s record on China’s social trust. Finally you follow it with a non sequitur and ad hominem.

A-pols. That’s a use of the alpha privative. An understanding of Greek roots will carry you the rest of the way.

The onus is on you to define it, since you introduced the term.

And finally, you still haven’t answered one of my burning questions:

I’m interested to see what drives this “conflict of a political nature” then. What is the big political sticking point and how does it drive a conflict of interest between China and, say, Japan?

December 13, 2012 @ 4:38 pm | Comment

To put it simply, does a rich, urban, ruling elite want the people reading about class struggle?
So, remember Bo Xilai and his cultural programmes? And have you heard about the Beijing ‘Red Songs’ concert being cancelled?

To put it simply, does a rich, urban, ruling elite want people reading about secession due to feelings of unfair taxation?

I mean, I hate to play the equivocation card as much as you do here, but this is one of those things where people–American, Chinese, Arab–can freely read without necessarily being spurred to action. Given how porous China’s censorship controls are (they’re mainly designed to make money rather than do a good job at censoring people) I really doubt the Party feels that freedom of reading is a severe threat to its rule. If you live in China and you really want to read Bao Tong’s memoirs or the Tiananmen Papers, you can do it with a few clicks of the mouse, thanks to P2P torrents.

What’s more, an official endorsement of Mao does not imply an endorsement of the ideology. Again, the Party’s done a reasonably good job of weeding out Mao’s less savory aspects and promoting a good image for him in the populace. The results are clear: to the average Chinese, Mao is not a symbol of class struggle, but rather of Third World sovereignty against a predatory West and national awakening against the decreptitude of feudalism.

December 13, 2012 @ 4:46 pm | Comment

And it’s not just about Mao’s ideology, it’s about his actions. Do you not think Mao has a rather more checkered past than either Jefferson or Washington?

Of course I agree–Mao was a despot that committed involuntary manslaughter on millions of his own people in his drive to fulfill his national vision. The key word in that sentence is despot. Neither Jefferson nor Washington ever had the chance to push any of their ideals as hard or as far as Mao did, and Americans should be thankful for that.

Mao had decently patriotic and welfare-oriented intentions but he fucked up pretty hard in the implementation and didn’t know when or how to make a graceful exit for more capable leaders. And by fucked up hard, I mean… like really hard. That’s why the statement “Mao had good intentions but he made mistakes” is technically correct, because it doesn’t touch on the magnitude of those errors. But if Chinese can critically look at Mao’s legacy while also appreciating and absorbing his good intentions, that’ll be the best outcome. To reject his love for country because of his mistakes would be to toss the baby out with the bathwater.

December 13, 2012 @ 4:54 pm | Comment

‘To put it simply, does a rich, urban, ruling elite want people reading about secession due to feelings of unfair taxation?’

It may be a problem for the government in America, but that wasn’t the subject of my post. I was talking about China. I tried to no avail to find evidence of the American government trying to ban the Tea Party or cancel Revoutionary Song concerts. Now, do we have to keep doing the America thing? There is a big world outside of China and America, you know?

If Mao or Maoist thought doesn’t present a problem for the government, then why was the ‘Red Songs’ concert cancelled? I agree that simply reading Mao’s works or singing songs from his era doesn’t guarantee that people will be spurred on to act on it. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible. The very fact that the concert was cancelled indicates that the government are worried that it might be possible.

December 13, 2012 @ 5:08 pm | Comment

If Mao or Maoist thought doesn’t present a problem for the government, then why was the ‘Red Songs’ concert cancelled? I agree that simply reading Mao’s works or singing songs from his era doesn’t guarantee that people will be spurred on to act on it. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible. The very fact that the concert was cancelled indicates that the government are worried that it might be possible.

I read that ban as more an indication that the Party Center didn’t like what Bo was doing in Chongqing. If Bo had been telling everyone in Chongqing to moonwalk, they probably would have banned that, too.

Just out of curiosity, Xi, did you do debate in high school?

December 13, 2012 @ 5:13 pm | Comment

And why didn’t the party like what Bo was doing in Chongqing? Because he was promoting ‘Red Culture’ and Maoist-era socialist ethics. Which ties back to my original point (106).

And no, I did not do debate in high school.

December 13, 2012 @ 5:54 pm | Comment

And why didn’t the party like what Bo was doing in Chongqing? Because he was promoting ‘Red Culture’ and Maoist-era socialist ethics. Which ties back to my original point (106).

No, not really. The Party didn’t like what Bo was doing in Chongqing because he was trying to build support for a Standing Committee seat outside of the quiet lobbying channels normally used by prospective candidates. The ‘Red Culture’ stuff was simply one manifestation of that.

That, and he stepped on quite a few toes in his tenure there… as well as unfinished business from the Cultural Revolution itself (Wu Yi never forgave Bo for how he treated his mother and father in ’67 and ’68).

December 13, 2012 @ 6:35 pm | Comment

@t_co – I don’t buy Mao as a patriot: at the very least it only makes sense if you look at what happened after he became leader (and hence love of country became somewhat self-serving), and not before, when he gave little sign of favouring his country either over self-interest or ideology. Whilst the KMT certainly threw the first blow with their purge of leftists, and fighting began with Zhou En-lai’s uprising in Nanchang, the “two Chinas” era arguably began with Mao’s Autumn Harvest Uprising and the founding of the Hunan Soviet.

Mao’s dispute with the USSR during the 1960′s was, of course, not the first Sino-Soviet conflict. Wars were fought by China against the USSR in 1929 and 1934. Can we see any evidence that Mao sided with Chinese forces against the USSR? I am unaware of any commentary on this subject. At the very least, given an opportunity to stand with his country against his ideological interests, he appears to have demurred. We may also examine his relations with Sheng Shicai, who converted Xinjiang into a virtual colony of the USSR, but who Mao appears to have had close relations until Sheng turned on the communists (and killed Mao’s brother who had been sent as an ambassador to him).

Zhang Xueliang’s example of someone willing to put country above self-interest or ideology is something quite rare in the history of any country. Mao was not a patriot in the sense that Zhang was – I would instead rank him as a figure for whom the nearest British equivalent is Cromwell.

December 13, 2012 @ 7:40 pm | Comment

Zhu,

If Mao had died of a heart attack in 1949, after the revolution, then we could justifiably consider him a great man for reuniting China. Although even to do that we would have to discard all the murders (of fellow communists) that he committed along the way.

Nothing he did after the Revolution had any value to China. Nada, zero, zip, zilch. It was all a waste, from all the virgins he deflowered to all the murders, the lost years, the wasted years, the generations tossed away.

China will be a strong country on the day it faces up to the monster that Mao was.

December 13, 2012 @ 10:55 pm | Comment

t_co

“Sounds like you’ve made a dead cold read there, Dr. Phil, and over the internet, nonetheless. *snark*”

Seriously, who cares? Only someone with a distinct sensitivity would be pissed over an observation that Zhu likes his biggest and strongest, no matter how much it hurts. This is especially true since his commentary testifies to that profusely. Actually, it’s cute that you’d share a little aside with Zhu about “talking points” when that is precisely all Zhu has, and when he leaves tracks of those points all throughout the intertubes. If you don’t mind being birds of a feather with the Zhu man, so be it.

“Prove it.”

Are you trying to gain street cred as a contrarian by pretending using people like things and seeing them as little more than material can still mean you believe in their fundamental goodness? A government’s belief in the fundamental goodness of any people *can only* be recognized by its willingness to allow/encourage them to pursue their own lives, their own ends, their own activities. It necessitates trust in their practices and consideration of their perspectives, hesitation at intervening in their lives and wariness of the potential distortion attempted direction can cause. Any other belief in “goodness” would not be fundamental. A belief in fundamental goodness is, in a word, the anti-legalist view of government, which is essentially the anti-CCP view of government, a hectoring form of social engineering. Relevant evidence of this is certainly found in something as mundane as Mao’s dismissal of farmers as ignorant yokels who didn’t even know the first thing about agriculture, their livelihood, but virtually every act of “cleansing” during the Cultural Revolution should make you realize that if anyone distrusted Chinese people more than Mao, Mao probably killed him out of jealousy. Is it possible you are so inane as to try to assert Mao believed in the goodness of the Chinese people based on what he said about the political designation Renmin?

“No, it doesn’t matter. My original point–that Mao is valuable as a symbol to promote social trust and unity in China–stands because you didn’t address it directly.”

Yes, it does matter. Your original point was not that Mao himself is valuable as a symbol. It was that “some core aspects of Mao’s ideology” (e.g. “his belief”) were still valuable today; so stepping back and claiming you were just referring to Mao as a “symbol” is obviously as inaccurate as the notion that Mao believed in the fundamental goodness of the Chinese people.

Moreover, the idea that Mao himself, a figure who personally set about completely undermining social trust in China, should or will be used as a “symbol to promote social trust” is doltish, crass, inept and, as the CCP likes to say, doomed to fail.

“And finally, you still haven’t answered one of my burning questions:

I’m interested to see what drives this “conflict of a political nature” then. What is the big political sticking point and how does it drive a conflict of interest between China and, say, Japan?”

That’s a burning question? Look, I know there is ample testimony to your flamboyant bitterness over Japan, but I see Japan as exceptional in the realm of China’s conflicts (you do too), and thus it would be rather illogical to suggest proof via China’s relationship with Japan, though certainly that is still in part driven by internal politics. The sticking points between China and the US, on the other hand, are restricted to China’s treatment of its citizens, its brazen acts of nuclear proliferation, and the desire for regional military supremacy. All major priorities of the CCP or PLA. All extensions of politics. There is simply nothing cultural about it.

Now, as with the time I pointed out China’s sullied history with slaves and regional tribes, are you going to threaten to go wild with an illogical counter-offensive?

“Not sure soap operas are such a good idea overall, but for him, they’d be a good place to start.

For the rest of us, just get to know some Chinese people really well, and listen to their actual aspirations.”

Dude, my grandma’s 打卤面 will completely blast yours off the table. Chinese distrust for their countrymen is prevalent to an almost absurd degree, papered over with the thinnest coating of inauthentic nationalist tissue. The rise to the whole 素质 discourse is simply the most obvious manifestation of this. Many if not most, in fact, consider both the distrust and the “quality” problems to stem from Mao’s period, so I’m surprised you’d even attempt to argue otherwise.

December 13, 2012 @ 11:57 pm | Comment

Oh, and I really liked Sam’s thoughts on a related issue over at The Useless Tree.

http://uselesstree.typepad.com/useless_tree/2012/12/yang-jisheng-is-a-confucian-sage-and-mao-zedong-was-an-inhumane-qin-shihuangdi-wannabe.html

December 14, 2012 @ 12:11 am | Comment

#105
why the flute do you believe that the average Chinese would or should listen to laowai badmouthing Chairman Mao, or for that matter, anything Chinese?? This is especially an issue if you are doing it IN CHINA, as Richard volunteered (as what he did with his Chinese teacher – I am assuming that was in China).

False. I had the discussion with my teacher over Skype, here in the USA. I never bad-mouthed Mao; I wouldn’t do that with a Chinese person. We were discussing him, quite calmly and politely, and I asked her about Mao’s legacy and what the CR and GLF did to that legacy. I didn’t say Mao was bad. She replied that these were mistakes, but that we all make mistakes. I did not argue at all, but told her I respected her opinion.

This thread is something else. I wish Handler and t_co would tone it down, and I wish zhuzhu would stop spamming, and that is what he is doing. He says in #76, Fact that you disagree with me does not make my views spamming. Or maybe it does in America? I never, ever ban someone for disagreeing with me. Jxie, Jing, The Clock, Yourfriend and many others comment here and never get banned or deleted, because although I often disagree with them they are at least interacting and not blasting the same message over and over again. And there can’t be any “censorship” on this site because I am not a government entity; this site is my personal hobby and comments are strictly a courtesy. There is no guarantee of freedom of speech here or on any blog. If I were the government and I stopped newspapers from printing negative stories that would be censorship.

The fact that you, zhuzhu, freely admit you go from site to site to transmit your message is telling. And since you repeat ad nauseum the same mantra, hundreds of times, without truly interacting is spamming in my book, and determining what is spamming is my decision and only my decision. And I’m not banning you, at least not yet, but warning you.

In the comment above, Handler recommends this link. I would like each of you to go there. It was written by a China lover, one of the smartest on the Internet. It pretty well sums up my feelings about Mao and the GLF.

December 14, 2012 @ 1:42 am | Comment

Stomping on Mao is silly. It just alienates the Chinese who read this, and confirms the widespread that Westerners mean no good towards China and the Chinese.

Mao didn’t care?? Mao was inhumane? Mao was a monster?

1949 1976
(when Mao died)
Literacy 15% 70%
Life expectancy 41 65

Mao was clearing doing SOMETHING right.

December 14, 2012 @ 2:58 am | Comment

I wish Handler and t_co would tone it down

Got it. That being said though, what set me off about Handler was how he started ascribing mental issues and penis envy to someone because he disagreed with their posts. Call Zhu a troll, call him thickheaded, sure. Call him someone with penis envy and a neurotic complex? I thought we tried to maintain some shred of decorum on this site? Anyhow, so long as he doesn’t back down from that statement, I am fully justified ripping into this 3rd-rate graduate student with everything I’ve got.

Seriously, who cares? Only someone with a distinct sensitivity would be pissed over an observation that Zhu likes his biggest and strongest, no matter how much it hurts. This is especially true since his commentary testifies to that profusely. Actually, it’s cute that you’d share a little aside with Zhu about “talking points” when that is precisely all Zhu has, and when he leaves tracks of those points all throughout the intertubes. If you don’t mind being birds of a feather with the Zhu man, so be it.

Oooooh, look here. Now you’re switching to ad hominems (“distinct sensitivity”). You never return to your point proving how Zhu has the sort of phallic issues you previously mentioned. Then you somehow try to smear by association. Well, two can play at this game.

Your heavy reliance on bad debating habits reminds me of Nathan Langston from the FP comment boards–only his obsession is with ascribing scatological issues with people rather than phallic issues; every time someone threatens to prove him wrong, he starts ascribing fecal incontinence to them.

A government’s belief in the fundamental goodness of any people *can only* be recognized by its willingness to allow/encourage them to pursue their own lives, their own ends, their own activities.

“Can only?” That’s not necessarily true. This is an inadequate statement that deserves greater proof. And since it’s the linchpin of you’re entire argument, it means that the entire long paragraph you just posted is impotent.

Yes, it does matter. Your original point was not that Mao himself is valuable as a symbol. It was that “some core aspects of Mao’s ideology” (e.g. “his belief”) were still valuable today; so stepping back and claiming you were just referring to Mao as a “symbol” is obviously as inaccurate as the notion that Mao believed in the fundamental goodness of the Chinese people.

Sure, I’ll bite. Since your proof (of the mutual exclusivity of the intrinsic goodness of people and Mao’s view of people as tools to accomplish something) didn’t make it, then you still haven’t adequately addressed my point.

That’s a burning question? Look, I know there is ample testimony to your flamboyant bitterness over Japan, but I see Japan as exceptional in the realm of China’s conflicts (you do too), and thus it would be rather illogical to suggest proof via China’s relationship with Japan, though certainly that is still in part driven by internal politics.

Let’s back up a second. You said

“Conflict with China is of a political nature, not based on China’s “civilization and culture.””

You didn’t say “some conflict” or even “most conflict”. Your statement, by lack of a qualifier, implies that all conflict with China is of a political nature.

Now, because you concede Japan can’t fit into your neat little theory, you want to package it into the box of “exceptions”–and–push the burden of proof on me.

That’s illogical. I don’t have to disprove an absolute statement by proving the absolute negative. All I have to do is raise a counterexample.

The sticking points between China and the US, on the other hand, are restricted to China’s treatment of its citizens, its brazen acts of nuclear proliferation, and the desire for regional military supremacy.

I agree that Chinese desires for regional military supremacy have raised consternation with the US. China’s treatment of its citizens? Not so much, as Chiang (along with numerous other right-wing dictators, such as Pinochet) was just as vicious as the current Party but had the undying love and adulation of the United States right up until he died in 1975.

As for nuclear proliferation, I haven’t seen that point get raised much in Sino-US dialogues. Perhaps you’re confusing China’s nuclear program with A.Q. Khan in Pakistan or Russia’s assistance with Iran? China has actually been fairly decent in keeping its own nuke technology under control, and usually responds to US State Department requests to shut down export of nuclear technology to “rogue states”.

All major priorities of the CCP or PLA. All extensions of politics. There is simply nothing cultural about it.

looool. Not sure why oppressing people is priority of the Party, or why nuclear proliferation to countries bordering China is the priority of the PLA. The only priority of both that bothers the US is regional military supremacy.

But it takes two to tango. Chinese aspirations to regional hegemony bother the US because the preventing the rise of an independent regional hegemon is a major priority of the American national security establishment.

So yes, it is political–but an outgrowth of policies on both sides of the Pacific.

Dude, my grandma’s 打卤面 will completely blast yours off the table. Chinese distrust for their countrymen is prevalent to an almost absurd degree, papered over with the thinnest coating of inauthentic nationalist tissue. The rise to the whole 素质 discourse is simply the most obvious manifestation of this. Many if not most, in fact, consider both the distrust and the “quality” problems to stem from Mao’s period, so I’m surprised you’d even attempt to argue otherwise.

Mmmmmm. 打卤面 is awesome. I actually don’t cook Chinese food all that well, so I’d be happy to learn how she does it. Promise me you’ll ask her for a recipe and share it here?

I’m not sure what the relevance of Chinese “distrust” (if it exists, which you haven’t proven) for their countrymen has to do with using Mao and Mao’s beliefs to build trust between Chinese people.

Finally, you still haven’t clarified this statement:

A-pols. That’s a use of the alpha privative. An understanding of Greek roots will carry you the rest of the way.

What do you mean?

December 14, 2012 @ 5:56 am | Comment

“It just alienates the Chinese who read this”
—works just fine for me, no alienation here. Of all the things you need to learn, zookeeper, speak for yourself and not for others.

BTW, Rudd was silly to talk about force. But besides that, everything he said seemed pretty reasonable. He’s a friend of China. He’s probably not a friend of the CCP. There is no contradiction there whatsoever (and since you’re dense, let me spell it out for you: CCP is not China, and CHina is not CCP).

December 14, 2012 @ 7:10 am | Comment

@t_co

“I thought we tried to maintain some shred of decorum on this site?”

Your record would say otherwise. Comparing the call for evidence to justify castigating a man’s record or putting a man in jail with…Holocaust denying…is about as heinous as a person can be, t_co. Don’t confuse your unctuousness with decorum.

“Now you’re switching to ad hominems (“distinct sensitivity”). You never return to your point proving how Zhu has the sort of phallic issues you previously mentioned. Then you somehow try to smear by association. Well, two can play at this game.”

Are you a cartoon? Great, go ahead. I promise I won’t feel pain.

“Your heavy reliance on bad debating habits”

In the majority of instances where we’ve had exchange or conflict, t_co, my “bad debating habits” amount to you trying to do a drive-by on one of my comments in the rather childish assumption that *everything* is a debate. When we have debated you’ve shown errant logic (the embassy bombing), preposterous claims, and an unwillingness to submit proof (remember the debate on Vietnam?), not unlike Zhu.

“Can only?” That’s not necessarily true. This is an inadequate statement that deserves greater proof. And since it’s the linchpin of you’re entire argument, it means that the entire long paragraph you just posted is impotent.”

It is necessarily true, and highlighted for that very reason. You’ve made the mutual exclusivity an fairly easy fit since you’ve defined the belief as one in fundamental goodness, not a goodness capable of being achieved through proper shepherding. This necessitates the view that people are good in an unmanipulated state. The function of government is manifold, no doubt, but all government save self-government is an act of manipulation (whether overt or covert) that presumes the need for intervention. The belief that people are material and tools to be shaped by a government is the furthest extension of this presumption, and it precludes a belief in the value of an unmanipulated state, making any authentic belief in the fundamental goodness unrecognizable.

“Sure, I’ll bite.”

You haven’t bitten…you have misrepresented your position.

“You didn’t say “some conflict” or even “most conflict”. Your statement, by lack of a qualifier, implies that all conflict with China is of a political nature.
Now, because you concede Japan can’t fit into your neat little theory, you want to package it into the box of “exceptions”–and–push the burden of proof on me.
That’s illogical. I don’t have to disprove an absolute statement by proving the absolute negative. All I have to do is raise a counterexample.”

An easy fix. I’ll submit that I should have used a qualifier and intended no absolute claim, though I’m not so certain there is anything cultural in China’s conflict with Japan. That view would suggest that territorial claims are not pursued because of the political advantage gained therein, and that sudden civilizational shifts lead to their quelling.

“China’s treatment of its citizens? Not so much, as Chiang (along with numerous other right-wing dictators, such as Pinochet) was just as vicious as the current Party but had the undying love and adulation of the United States right up until he died in 1975.”

Very much, I’m afraid. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find any other single issue which caused such persistent conflict between China and the US since Tiananmen. The US has spent valuable political capital trying to address this issue and extract concessions from the PRC. And your reference to Jiang indicates that your insistence on proper debating habits (and logic) is highly selective and largely a convenience. Evidence of US dissatisfaction and disgust (“undying love and adulation”? Don’t be a clown.) with Jiang during his reign is legion, and since Jiang isn’t reigning or even alive today, it is only logical to compare him (and any US support for him) with the Party during his own epoch. Things don’t appear quite as equivocal then.

“As for nuclear proliferation, I haven’t seen that point get raised much in Sino-US dialogues. Perhaps you’re confusing China’s nuclear program with A.Q. Khan in Pakistan or Russia’s assistance with Iran? China has actually been fairly decent in keeping its own nuke technology under control.”

No, it hasn’t. There is confusion, but it is of China’s making. The tie to Pakistan is firmly established, which reflects further on China’s suspected dealings with North Korea.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jamyang-norbu/who-created-pakistans-nuc_b_864124.html

http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB114/index.htm

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/nuke/RL31555.pdf

“looool. Not sure why oppressing people is priority of the Party, or why nuclear proliferation to countries bordering China is the priority of the PLA. The only priority of both that bothers the US is regional military supremacy.

But it takes two to tango. Chinese aspirations to regional hegemony bother the US because the preventing the rise of an independent regional hegemon is a major priority of the American national security establishment.”

You know, many wonder the same thing about China’s priorities, but it takes a special type of person to find them amusing. Yeah, of course it takes two to tango. But it only takes one to oppress people and to supply nuclear weapon technology and material to Pakistan.

“So yes, it is political–but an outgrowth of policies on both sides of the Pacific.”

Great. We are in agreement. Cuz, you know, there for a moment I thought you were going to travel with jxie in his civilizational time machine.

“Finally, you still haven’t clarified this statement.”

Yeah, you’re right.

@Richard

I guess that was him ripping into me. My apologies if you think my response went too far, but I don’t think I’ve been hostile to t_co yet. I suspect that is more than he can say.

December 14, 2012 @ 9:49 am | Comment

Look at the sad, needy life of Chiang, Kaishek, having to send his wife into prostitution to beg for American “aid”.

That about a former Chinese first lady who ralleyed American support for China in the Japanese war. And I have seen no objection to that from t_co. But he does take offense when zhuu is fed some of his own medicine.

December 14, 2012 @ 11:02 am | Comment

@JR

I think this is what Zhu was referencing.

http://www.welmer.org/2009/07/03/madame-chiang-and-wendell-willkie-scandal-in-chungking/

December 14, 2012 @ 11:09 am | Comment

t_co: so Mrs Chiang – allegedly – had an affair (with an American), and “scratched someone’s face with her long fingernails”. And you think that this is what zhu was referring to.

Let’s suppose that this is what zhu meant. And let’s suppose that the article is accurate. What’s your point? That Chiang sent his wife into prostitution?

December 14, 2012 @ 11:31 am | Comment

Let’s suppose that this is what zhu meant. And let’s suppose that the article is accurate. What’s your point? That Chiang sent his wife into prostitution?

My point is that Zhu’s accusations have at least some basis in reality. In contrast, I’m not sure what Handler was smoking when he started ranting against Zhu.

December 14, 2012 @ 12:47 pm | Comment

My point is that Zhu’s accusations have at least some basis in reality.

If those accusations are true – and if I took your approach -, I could accuse Mrs Clinton of having sent her husband into prostitution, just as well.

You don’t mind rants, t_co – not as long as they go into the “right direction”. But if a rant’s political color is undesirable (in your view), people are “posting flamebait”, or “smoke something”.

December 14, 2012 @ 1:17 pm | Comment

You don’t mind rants, t_co – not as long as they go into the “right direction”. But if a rant’s political color is undesirable (in your view), people are “posting flamebait”, or “smoke something”.

That’s not true.

http://www.pekingduck.org/2012/06/the-great-leap-forward-on-film/#comment-177790

I’m still fairly surprised that Richard would open up the comment thread to let this comment through, when it quite frankly is just as leaky and lacking in informative value as, say, one of Math’s/The Clock’s rants.

I dislike all ranting.

—-

The other thing is that while Zhu might be huffing and puffing against historical figures who can at least be debated with some amount of facts, Handler is ranting and raving against other people on the internet where his accusations hold no informative value whatsoever. There is a distinction, however marginal it might be.

December 14, 2012 @ 1:46 pm | Comment

The book review which Handler and Richard link to above is well worth a read.

However, in it Sam Crane states that the author, Yang Jisheng, is a ‘Confucian Sage’ who displays ‘Confucian values’ by dedicating the book to his father, who died of starvation in the Great Chinese Famine.

Is wanting to tell the truth Confucian? Is wanting to make sense of your father’s death Confucian? Is wanting to honour your father Confucian? Would not a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, an aethiest or just an average, decent human being want to do these things?

There are tonnes of books written by children of soldiers who fought in the Second World War and there are tonnes written by children of people who died or survived the Holocaust.

Is Sam Crane saying that Yang is doing this purely because he is Confucian? If not, why mention it?

As for the comparison between Qin Shihuang and Mao, I’d have to say that in terms of loss of life and general murder, Mao takes it. But in terms of general governance, Qin is famous for standardising measurements, language and most importantly, unifiying China. Mao is famous for the disastrous GLF, the tragic CR and, in his eyes, he failed to unify China.

December 14, 2012 @ 1:46 pm | Comment

I dislike all ranting.

Then why do you suggest that handler smoked something, t_co?

… against historical figures who can at least be debated with some amount of facts

You think of the Chungking affair as a fact, t_co? Or what’s the fact there? Why should people take less offense from a “prostitution” allegation against a first lady, than from “phallic envy” assumptions?

There is a distinction, however marginal it might be.
The margin, in my view, is that between being sensitive about one’s own honor (collective or individual), and being blind to the honor of others. Nationalism, for example, tends to be very sensitive about the former, and negligent with the latter.

I agree with handler that unctuousness should not be confused with decorum.

December 14, 2012 @ 2:03 pm | Comment

To xilin,
Sam Crane’s site has a Confucian theme. So I’m not surprised that he would make such references with regards to his topics of choice, in this case Yang.

I would say those traits you listed are Confucian but not necessarily the exclusive domain of Confucianism. I interpret Sam as saying that Yang is being Confucian in his book, but not necessarily exclusively Confucian.

December 14, 2012 @ 2:08 pm | Comment

“Handler is ranting and raving against other people on the internet where his accusations hold no informative value whatsoever. There is a distinction, however marginal it might be.”

I wouldn’t call two terse comments ranting and raving, particularly compared to someone who spent three posts trying to explain that it’s ok to imply “the West” may have created SARS (“the jury is still out”) as a biological weapon… because you can find hits on Google.

The oddest thing about this is I didn’t anticipate any response from Zhu, and certainly didn’t want one. That at least clears my conscience of any self-doubt. Your over the top reaction couldn’t have been anticipated either, but I think it may just qualify as raving. We’ll see about the ranting element.

December 14, 2012 @ 2:11 pm | Comment

BTW, how does this conversation reflect on Zhu’s decision to replace the word fuck with flute? Happy Holidays.

@Xilin

“Is Sam Crane saying that Yang is doing this purely because he is Confucian? If not, why mention it?”

Probably to remind people that the aspects of Chinese culture many people in China revere (as opposed to those they rarely discuss) call for a reckoning with Maoism and its apologists: that such a reckoning is a legitimate one culturally no less than logically.

December 14, 2012 @ 2:24 pm | Comment

Hi Richard, I think the “dating and marriage” chapter in your commendable book could be updated by some fresh comments from this thread, next edition.

OK, OK, it was just a suggestion.

December 14, 2012 @ 3:33 pm | Comment

While it’s true that Mao was one of the exemplary mass murdering SOBs of the 20th century, lets have a bit of perspective. Think about Nixon and Kissinger. Mass murderers of equal proportion in SE Asia.

Nixon was equally insane. Paranoid with tape decks covering his every word. Bourbon booze hound. Totally corrupt. Beat his wife Pat. And spent his last days in office wandering the White House at night talking to the portraits of his predecessors.

Kissinger was/is an equally verminous political creature.

About the only difference between the three is that Nixon and the German Jew Kissinger got to write their whitewash memoirs, and partially reinvent themselves for a US public with its very short popular memory.

December 14, 2012 @ 5:05 pm | Comment

Name the East Asian leader: Knowingly lets millions of his countrymen starve to score political points.

Actually, that would make a good Family Feud question.

December 14, 2012 @ 8:12 pm | Comment

Survey says….!

December 15, 2012 @ 2:35 am | Comment

KT: About the only difference between the three is that Nixon and the German Jew Kissinger

Do you want to be permanently banned? This is incredibly unacceptable, the kind of thing the anti-Semetic Hong Xing would say. Why are you stating his religion?

I wouldn’t put Nixon in the same category as Mao and neither would anyone with any sanity. I hate the guy and can’t forgive him for the bombing of Cambodia, but under his watch the US opened relations with China, ended the Vietnam war, established the Environmental Protection Agency, etc. He had blood on his hands, but let’s keep it in perspective.

t_co, I wouldn’t say Handler was ranting. A lot of the comments here can be interpreted as rants, including some of your own and some of mine. I think JR makes some very valid points on this topic.

#52, Tai De, let me know what you have in mind.

Looks like Zhuzhu has disappeared; I did not ban him.

December 15, 2012 @ 2:57 am | Comment

@Richard. I did think twice about that, believe me. However, given the Kissinger family’s fortunate departure from Nazi Germany before the Holocaust, you would think that Kissinger would have retained an awareness of mass murder on an industrial scale during his term as Secretary of State.

He and Nixon played the good cop – bad cop – their way of ending the Great Patriotic War – in the carpet bombing of North Vietnam and Cambodia. Both countries are also still living with the consequences of Agent Orange and other defoliants. If the US had not interfered in internal Cambodian politics (Lon Nol), it is also highly unlikely that Pol Pot would have obtained the required traction for his ghastly social experiment.

As for the EPA. That is nothing unusual. Most, if not all developed Western nations, have an agency performing similar functions.

If anything, Nixon and his boover boys went a long way to trashing the Constituting and destroying the social fabric of the nation. To be sure a free press played a significant role in bringing about his resignation, but so to did the general youth rejection of the conformist Eisenhower years.

Feminism, environmentalism, gay rights and equal opportunity would not have become the forces they subsequently did if not for 60s youth culture. It is now easy to look back and deride those years, sort of killed off by Manson, but they did unleash great creative forces in American culture.

William Shawcross is a good read.

December 15, 2012 @ 5:24 am | Comment

Whatever – you know that comparing Nixon to Mao is over the top. And I hate Nixon. Two very different kinds of bad. Nixon wanted so badly to be a great president but he was a paranoid, scheming liar. Yes, he broke the law and trashed the Constituion and did vile things. But his legacy on the US hardly compares to the GLF and the CR. Don’t you think? And there’s still no excuse for referring to “the German Jew Kissinger.” Making such comparisons is something I expect from yourfiend in one of his tu quoques.

Next topic.

December 15, 2012 @ 7:54 am | Comment

I’s just lurking. Once the points are made, there is no reason to insert myself unless there are new facts or new way to argue, or new issues to address. Besides, I am not going to demean myself to respond to the childish personal attacks here.

The pigheaded has standards.

December 15, 2012 @ 8:34 am | Comment

New ways to argue? From you? Don’t make me laugh. You’re a one trick pony with one broken record on repeat.

December 15, 2012 @ 10:33 am | Comment

It is not hard to understand why Americans hate Mao and seek to destroy his image, no blows too low.

Mao literally is the ONLY national leader that was able to lead a military to beat, no, trounce, the American military not only once, but twice, in major wars that ran on for years (directly in Korea, and indirectly in Vietnam). The American military still could not figure out how Mao did it, and is deadly concerned that a PLA armed with Mao thought is invincible (which it is).

That’s why you see these decades long attempts to smear the great Man. If they can’t beat Mao while he lived, they have to sneakily try to destroy the aura and the spirit post mortem.

No blow too low.

December 15, 2012 @ 11:51 am | Comment

Main-lining kool-aid like it’s nobody’s business. Mao worship in and of itself is weird. Mao worship at zookeeper levels bespeaks an extent of indoctrination that I previously didn’t think was possible.

Mao has aura and spirit? Please. If he does have a spirit, I hope it’s getting its ass kicked every day by the other spirits whose earthly blood was on his hands.

December 15, 2012 @ 12:10 pm | Comment

Zhu,

Not following you. What two wars did Mao beat the US in? The only war I can recall in which American soldiers fought Chinese soldiers was the Korean War. The result of that war is an impoverished North Korea that is China’s biggest foreign policy headache, and a wealthy South Korea that threw off military dictatorship for electoral democracy a few decades ago. I think in hindsight, we can call that a win for the US.

Are you thinking of the Vietnam War? North Vietnam was primarily a Soviet client, not a Chinese client state. And today, Vietnam regards the US as a primary bulwark against Chinese aggression.

In any event, the Chinese owe the US a huge debt for defeating the Japanese in World War II. Indeed, the US would not even have been dragged into the War if FDR hadn’t embargoed oil to Japan to try to pressure Japan to end its war of aggression against China. That embargo led directly to Pearl Harbor and the US entry into WWII. If the US had not entered the war and defeated Japan, all or most of China would still be under Japanese rule.

December 15, 2012 @ 1:19 pm | Comment

@Doug 163

To begin with, I have always said that Mao to most Chinese is just a piece of history. The Chairman will forever be honored as the founding father of New China, to be revered as a national hero. So it is hard to understand WHY Westerners are so gungho to seek to besmirch the great Man’s memory.

But if you wish to address paying back old debts, China has more than paid back whatever was “owed.”

In the last 34 years, well priced Made in China was the most effective (some say the only effective) poverty alleviation program in the world – including in America.

IF Beijing, despite what she did for America over the last 30 years, is still considered NOT A FRIEND, no amount of attempt at generating goodwill will make any difference. Look at the record:

- helped topple the USSR

- delivered well priced Made in China goods to hold back inflation; the savings to American consumers are worth over $50 Billion a year at least

- recycled most of the trade dollars (not just trade profits) to buy treasuries and GSEs at ridiculously low rates, thereby providing Americans with dirt cheap financing FOR DECADES ($1.32 trillion invested at about 2.5%, just the interest differential between that and the CIC returns of 11% – worth over $110 Billion a year)

- opened the Chinese markets so that by 2010 American companies were making over US$100 Billion in profits annually in and from China

WHAT other ally has done for America what China had done in the last 30 years? Today American car companies sell more car in China than in any other market. How many American cars did the Japanese buy? The Koreans? The Germans? India (don’t make me laugh!)?

Don’t be ingrates.

December 15, 2012 @ 2:22 pm | Comment

However, given the Kissinger family’s fortunate departure from Nazi Germany before the Holocaust, you would think that Kissinger would have retained an awareness of mass murder on an industrial scale

That’s not a valid criticism of Kissinger, KT. Someone in his situation can draw that conclusion, maybe – but one can also draw the conclusion that one doesn’t want to be powerless ever again – and one can draw tons of other conclusions, too. One can even choose to draw no conclusions at all. The best thing that can happen is that a man frees himself from his trauma. In an ideal situation (which may be real or not), Kissinger was a free man, in a free society, when he was secretary of state/national security adviser. He didn’t have to be a member of the Nixon administration.

No idea what Kissinger thought when Nixon – allegedly – called him “my Jew boy”. What makes Nixon much less scary than Mao is that there was a political system – and a society – that put the brakes on him.

As for the difference between Mao and Kissinger/Nixon, I doubt it makes a big difference who of the two “decides” to get you killed. On the receiving end, it may feel the same.

December 15, 2012 @ 4:33 pm | Comment

Doug, I think it can be useful to address comments by zhu bajie, but to get entrenched in discussions with him is not. You made a reasonable point by mentioning America’s role in WW2, but you will never see people like zhu acknowledge that they may have reason to cherish that role. When zhu tries to turn “win-win” arrangements into something the U.S. would owe China for, I think it’s obvious for any reasonable reader to see his problem, and one should let his kind of stuff speak for (or rather against) itself.

Maybe this is what keeps nationalism and praise of human-rights violations / crimes against humanity on different sides going. Blaterskites like zhu hide in the shadow of a third power (the Soviet Union, for example, when it comes to Vietnam) and keep shouting “you lost! Against! Us!“, and they fume when nationalists elsewhere hide in the shadow of the US and play the same kind of “game” against them. Japanese nationalists could be a case in point. Those wouldn’t concede anything either, and have the nerves to denounce Russia for not simply handing the Kuril Islands “back”. You can only do that when you have an extremely beautified picture of your country’s role in the past.

People like zhu aren’t mad at Japan for its atrocities – if they were, they’d be mad at Mao, too. They are mad at Japanese nationalists because those dare to steal their patent on loudmouth tactics – and because it doesn’t cost anything to be mad at Japan, anyway.

I’d rather talk about people of zhu’s kind (and the issues they bring up), than with them. Whenever it becomes personal, it becomes endless.

December 15, 2012 @ 5:31 pm | Comment

“Tai De, let me know what you have in mind.” (cmt 156)

I believe that you know what I mean, Richard. But if you don’t, or insist (and don’t worry, I’m ready to oblige, of course), don’t blame me for re-heating the phallic debate once again.

You wrote that comments are strictly a courtesy on your blog. But I believe they are also useful for your blog, even if they are nasty. That’s where I’d like you to make it clear what you have in mind. What sort of comments do you want to have?

December 15, 2012 @ 6:11 pm | Comment

Sorry, o/t

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/15/world/asia/opposition-to-labor-camps-widens-in-china.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

“And in a widely circulated recent essay, the vice president of the Supreme People’s Court, Jiang Bixin, argued that the government must act within the law if it is to survive. “Only with constraints on public power can the rights and freedoms of citizens be securely realized,” he wrote.”

“China’s incoming president, Xi Jinping, has not yet weighed in on the issue, but reform advocates are encouraged by a speech he gave this month talking up the widely ignored protections afforded by China’s Constitution, which include freedom from unlawful detention and the right to an open trial. “We must establish mechanisms to restrain and supervise power,” Mr. Xi said.”

“Until now, China’s powerful security establishment has staved off any erosion of its authority, warning of calamity if the police lose their ability to detain perceived troublemakers without the interference of judges or defense lawyers. ”

THe Charter among other things called for a meaningful constitution that was respected. People like Jxie characterized that as half-baked. I wonder how he would describe the status quo?

December 16, 2012 @ 2:19 am | Comment

Just to get back on topic somewhat, and to give “credit” where “credit” is due…

” the system that Mao Zedong created in the 1950s to take down suspected class enemies and counterrevolutionaries. “

December 16, 2012 @ 2:21 am | Comment

I support Mao. I made my comfortable living along with the return of Hong Kong, and the growth of China. So my opinions are first person, not regurgitated from reading Gordon Chang. I look back at my life and there are no substantial regrets. We thank the Chairman for what he was – a historical figure, a beloved and revered national hero. Whomever seeks to ravish the great Man’s image and memories, to server whatever purpose, in my book are enemies of the Chinese nation.

Those who exiled themselves, no matter whether it was SKC or the Dalai 14, get exactly what they deserve. In the middle of the night there must be such self doubts and regrets of “what if.” Life is about choices. I believe I made the right ones. Have you?

December 16, 2012 @ 5:11 am | Comment

@justrecently 166

There is “win-win” and there is “you win so much more”. By your “logic”, anything other than war would be “win-win”, which makes no sense.

Ingrates.

December 16, 2012 @ 5:14 am | Comment

Two crazed killers entered two elementary schools. One in China. One in America. Both harmed over 20 children.

All of the children survived in China. Most of those in America perished.

What was the difference?

Mao, and single party meritocracy, mean that no civilians get to have guns – only the government has guns. So when crazed people craze, sticks and stones can only do so much damage (knives a little more, but not by much).

December 16, 2012 @ 5:20 am | Comment

America’s surrender to the NRA and the laxity of gun safety is tragic, and I blame my government for it, and the gun-loving culture that is so prevalent here. That doesn’t alter the fact that Mao was, to paraphrase Deng Xiao Ping, 30 percent bad — and that’s a big percentage. (And I would flip those two percentages around.)

December 16, 2012 @ 5:58 am | Comment

@Richard 173

“Bad” is your opinion. Deng never said “bad”. The expression used was “七分功三分过”.

70% merits 30% mistakes.

Mistake is not a value judgment like “bad”. Mistake is making the wrong decision, but without the bad intent. Bad is bad, with intent to do harm.

December 16, 2012 @ 7:52 am | Comment

I said I was paraphrasing — mistakes to me are bad. I know of few good ones. And that’s a lot of mistakes, if you want to take Deng literally.

December 16, 2012 @ 8:49 am | Comment

“So my opinions are first person”
—and that’s great. There are 1.3 billion “first persons” who deserve to exercise their own opinions, just as you feel inclined to. If you want to ass-kiss Mao’s spirit, knock yourself out. But no one else has to.

” We thank the Chairman …”
—where the hell did you get “we”? If you want to ass-kiss that moron, fly at’er. Just don’t pretend to speak for anybody else.

” In the middle of the night there must be such self doubts and regrets of “what if.””
—nope. Best decision I ever made. The hockey is much better in Canada than in HK, both for playing it and watching it (though less so with the latter this season).

” I believe I made the right ones. Have you?”
—absolutely. Besides, I’ve never liked kool-aid. But hey, somebody’s gotta drink that garbage, so I guess that’s where you find your usefulness.

So, what about Mao legacy with the “re-education through labour” bullshit? I guess besides the CR and GLF, the lack of rule of law is a good legacy to have in the history books.

December 16, 2012 @ 9:24 am | Comment

Don’t feed the trolls. I don’t know why people persist in trying to debate with someone who obviously isn’t interested in debate.

Example:

Zhu: China has defeated America in two wars.
Doug: Which two wars? Shouldn’t China be greatful for the US defeating the Japanese?
Zhu: (No response on wars) The US should be grateful for Sino-US trade.

It might seem clever to point out obvious flaws in someone’s argumentation, and a reasonable person will probably will respond if you do so, but a troll will just jump to another subject.

Trolls have the last laugh, because they get to steer the thread everytime someone responds to them.

On the subject of Mao as a military tactician, I’d say he’s a military genius comparable to Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig. Compare US casualties to those of the PVA. I think the Korean war was effectively fought to a stalemate. A victory for neither side. But at what human cost did this come to China?

Concerning another conflict, Mao’s biggest military task and aim after 1949 was to ‘take back’ Taiwan. He never succeeded in doing this.

So how can Mao be hailed as a great military leader when, in the two greatest Chinese conflicts of the post war period, he failed to kick America out of Korea and he failed to ‘take back’ Taiwan?

December 16, 2012 @ 11:59 am | Comment

Trolls have the last laugh, because they get to steer the thread everytime someone responds to them.

Depends, xilin. I think the best way to deny zhu the satisfaction of human interaction is to talk about him – just the way you’ve done -, rather than with them.

It’s not only the feel of steering a thread which turns zhu on – it’s the attention, too. His self-styled (or me-and-my-chairman-Mao-styled) cmt #170 might ben an example. Where else than on these threads would zhu’s life look so “great”?

December 16, 2012 @ 4:00 pm | Comment

Among Bo Xilai’s supports, who have different illusions about Bo or the Chongqing Model, but all worship Mao, speak just Zhu,the Pigsy. Don’t take those people too seriously. They usually don’t know what they’re talking about.

December 16, 2012 @ 8:39 pm | Comment

@KT “A Song type renaissance is a recursive, backward looking project, unsuited to 21st century China seeking its place in a globalised world much of which revolves around the digital economy where perceptions are formed. Poetry notwithstanding.”

It’s a renaissance, not a full-blown resurrection. When did the Western societies become bearable to many minorities or women? No more than decades ago — to some black Americans only 4 years ago. Those who were called founding fathers, also were slave owners and misogynists who built a mass murdering nation — but it didn’t stop the basic human goodness to evolve it into something much better centuries later.

There are two somewhat different trains of thought: one is the what-if scenario in which Song never fell, to satisfy one’s intellectual curiosity — bear in mind they would have had more than 1000 years to evolve; the other is if new and improved Confucianism has a place in today’s world. On the 2nd question, not only my answer is a resounding yes, but I will also go one step further and claim the new and improved Confucianism is what this world desperately needs, before we mess it up so bad that we render ourselves extinct as a species.

December 17, 2012 @ 12:25 am | Comment

@jxie. Re this renaissance. Think about it this way. If you offered the male half of the Chinese population today the choice between a book of Song poems and a couple of Sora Aoi dvds (a Hermes scarf for women), what would the great majority choose?

If you started preaching this renaissance in China in such terms, the PSB would pick you up quick smart.

December 17, 2012 @ 4:27 am | Comment

JR, as ever you are the voice of reason and are one of those few bloggers who always keep their cool.

Jxie, please could you tell us what you mean by ‘new and improved Confucianism’ (my own thoughts are that Confucianism is incompatible with gender equality and as such not suited to the modern world).

As for the idea that Confucianism ‘is what this world desperately needs, before we mess it up so bad that we render ourselves extinct as a species’, well, I disagree. There’s an awful lot wrong with this world, but in the last decade, there were fewer deaths (as a % of population) by disease, famine, and war than in any other period over the past 300 years. The global death rate is going down.

Perhaps some think that Confucianism could bring about a more peaceful world. Well, did it have such a lasting effect in China? In terms of global death toll, the biggest war was WW2, in second place were the Mongol conquests and then the next three are all Chinese.

If you’re referring to environmental problems, I’d agree with you; we are destroying the environment. But how could Confucianism help that and why would Confucianism, as a system, be necessary to protect the environment?

December 17, 2012 @ 12:55 pm | Comment

Personally I am not sold on the idea of religion being able to save the world – but then again Confucianism was never simply a religion.

December 17, 2012 @ 6:00 pm | Comment

A religion is just a set of beliefs – if you believe in Confucianism, it’s a religion.
I have a feeling we are OK as a species in the survival stakes – we are all getting older on average and obesity is now a bigger killer than disease in many parts of the world.
It’s not a set of beliefs we need to save ourselves, it’s common sense and a decent education. Mind you, the US has education too but there’s still a shitload of people there that believe in some magical being in the sky….

December 18, 2012 @ 5:41 am | Comment

Sorry for the absence, I’ve been a little preoccupied. In the meantime, you can check out this new book review of a new book on China.

I just started watching Homeland. Like opium.

December 18, 2012 @ 1:33 pm | Comment

Spooky! I just watched the first episode last night.

Your link just goes to a review of your book (which I have already read).

In the meantime, you can check out the reception of KT’s inaugural post at the Beijing Cream. He got quite the roasting in the comments section.

December 18, 2012 @ 2:37 pm | Comment

Your link just goes to a review of your book Yes, that was the point. I was being a bit tongue in cheek.

Do you have a link to the Beijing cream post?

December 18, 2012 @ 3:37 pm | Comment

@ Xilin. Get a life. You sound like the teachers pet and/or the classroom snitch.

December 18, 2012 @ 4:24 pm | Comment

I was a big nut for 24. Need to decide if I want to similarly invest in Homeland. Of course the reviews are spectacular, and Danes and Patankin are great actors.

December 18, 2012 @ 4:29 pm | Comment

http://beijingcream.com/2012/12/newtown-and-guangshan-no-one-is-happy-with-their-governments-response/

The gun control vs lack thereof angle is obviously interesting. All manner of people including Michael Bloomberg have been pointing out that the US has the highest rate of gun crime in the industrialized world.

But the discrepancy in government reaction is also interesting. Obama is in Newtown within 48 hours. I wonder where Xi has been. The introspection and navel gazing is everywhere you look on US TV and media. I wonder where that has been in CHina.

December 18, 2012 @ 4:38 pm | Comment

@SKC 190

Gun deaths are not “interesting”. They are gross (huge) human right violations (if you are dead, you no longer have any “human” rights to speak of). The CDC reports over 30,000 gun deaths each year in America. Ere ye jerks argue that 20,000 of those are suicides – consider that trying to cut yourself to death is so painful and slow, most would give up.

Yet the built-in gridlock politics of multi-party democracy means that America cannot cure the gross flaw in its constitution after more than 200 years.

If it were up to Mao, he would have fixed it in a week.

Obama should BE there because ALL 24 children DIED.

All of the Chinese children are recovering nicely, thanks to the capable leadership of the CPC.

December 19, 2012 @ 1:04 am | Comment

I will bet you dollars to peanuts, that in America there WILL BE another mass killing in a school, or ten, before anything meaningful can be done about this madness of allowing all comers to own guns.

Multi-party gridlock will do that to society. It is a systemic flaw that cannot be fixed. That’s why Mao did not opt for multi-party, because he wants steady and sustained improvements for China.

December 19, 2012 @ 1:10 am | Comment

“Gun deaths are not “interesting””
—learn to read, moron. I didn’t say gun deaths are interesting; I said the debate it has reignited over gun control is interesting.

“if you are dead, you no longer have any “human” rights to speak of”
—that’s true, and Mao was certainly no stranger to needlessly eliminating human rights.

“If it were up to Mao, he would have fixed it in a week.”
—well, maybe not that fast. It did take him several years to kill millions in the CR and GLF.

“All of the Chinese children are recovering nicely, thanks to the capable leadership of the CPC”
—where do i find the barf bag? I’m sure the CCP has a good supply of those, no?

And again, the OCD fixation with the US with CCP stooges like you. Yeah, the US has gun control issues, which are indeed noteworthy. Do you know why that’s noteworthy? Because it’s unique in the industrialized world. There’s more to the world than the US system. I would’ve thought the CCP would teach idiots like you some basics like that before they send you folks out into the blogsphere to make fools of yourselves.

December 19, 2012 @ 2:34 am | Comment

“Multi-party gridlock will do that to society.”
—in this case, completely wrong. THe problem is with Americans themselves and their gun fetish. The inability of the politicians to compromise on gun control in the US merely reflects the plurality of opinion among American citizens.

We have a multi-party system in Canada, and we have gun control. Your premise is once again fundamentally flawed, as it always is.

December 19, 2012 @ 2:40 am | Comment

@SKC 193

America is No. 1. China is No. 2 in many things. If not compare and contrast America, then what? Canada?

2013 is a pivotal year. Gary Locke is doing his best to entice Chinese investments into America. States are spending millions trying to entice job creating business investments. With the money will come Chinese culture and Chinese ideas. Get used to it.

December 19, 2012 @ 3:56 am | Comment

” If not compare and contrast America, then what? ”
—again, the stupidity is mind-numbing. Before you decide with whom you should compare, you first need to determine whether ANY comparison is in fact necessary. In most cases, the answer is NO. Furthermore, in most cases, folks like you introduce comparison as a tu quoque, which, if you didn’t already know, is a logical fallacy.

If we say the CCP sucks in certain aspects, “comparing” doesn’t make the CCP suck any less in those aspects. But instead of recognizing tu quoque for the logical fallacy that it is, you CCP apologist types use it as an excuse instead. How very lame.

“With the money will come Chinese culture and Chinese ideas. Get used to it.”
—I have no problem with that. It’s the CCP I can do without.

December 19, 2012 @ 7:29 am | Comment

SKC – I really, really don’t understand why you bother debating with Zhu. Obvious trolls are obvious – don’t feed them.

December 19, 2012 @ 8:50 am | Comment

@Richard, here’s the link to KT’s inaugural post over at Beijing Cream.

@KT, what suprised me more than how many comments you attracted (31 so far, which must be a record for Beijing Cream) was why someone with intellect and insight would dedicate their first post to such a mundane subject and then go on to cram it full of negativity.

When I saw that you were blogging there I looked forward to reading what you had to say. Sadly, your post left me dissappointed.

December 19, 2012 @ 9:23 am | Comment

Xilin, that’s hardly a record. If you want to see the granddaddy of all Beijing Cream threads go here — an astonishing pileup of comments, some of them quite ferocious.

December 19, 2012 @ 9:27 am | Comment

I think a review of blogs has a greater potential to attract comments than anything else – bloggers and their fans who feel that a “verdict” isn’t fair, or who feel left out, are likely commenters, for example. My main objection to such reviews is that they are about media referencing media, rather than stories. (The comments seem to confirm that.)

But if I were condemned to read several blog reviews a day – if I really, absolutely had to read them -, I’d wish that at least half of them were written by KT. He hits nerves.

December 19, 2012 @ 10:18 am | Comment

@Richard, I take it back; KT did not get anything like a record number of comments, just a few more than usual. I never knew they got that many comments before, most posts I read get none and some get two or three. Still, I really did find the number of comments that KT got suprising. Did you read his post?

December 19, 2012 @ 10:18 am | Comment

Yes, I read it. I may not agree with all his opinions, but it’s an interesting piece.

December 19, 2012 @ 10:20 am | Comment

@JR, ‘I’d wish that at least half of them were written by KT. He hits nerves.’

He writes interesting comments, has a unique style, and hits nerves (though he sometimes goes to far and ‘blots his copybook’), which is why I was dissappointed with his choice of subject.

December 19, 2012 @ 10:23 am | Comment

I am putting this thread to pasture. There’s a new open thread above.

December 19, 2012 @ 1:11 pm | Comment

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