The Great Leap Forward: Liars and Deniers

[Note: I am ten days late to this story due to my being away on vacation. Pardon me while I catch up.]

No one knows better than I do that over the past couple years this site has become top-heavy with posts about the Great Leap Forward. The truth is it’s a topic of unending fascination for me and one that will mystify and sadden me nearly as much as twentieth century acts of genocide like the Holocaust and the forced starvation in the Ukraine under Stalin or the crimes against humanity of Pol Pot. Each of these is unique, of course. Mao was no Hitler or Stalin. A key differentiator is that there was no grand design for exterminating farmers in China, and Mao derived no pleasure from news of the mass starvation, even if he could have shown a bit more empathy. That’s not to say, however, that the tragedy wasn’t caused by Mao and his reckless policies. There is simply no doubt it was, as Liu Shaoqi dared to say nearly in so many words, to his political undoing.

The reason I’m resurrecting the topic again is two excellent posts over at Sam Crane’s incredibly insightful and beautifully written blog. You’ll find one here and another here.

In the first post, the blogger walks us through the patterns of GLF-denial and revisionism and the spurious claims that the high estimates of those who died could only be concoctions of the West used to vilify China. He writes,

I will not link to these sites, because I do not want to advance their project; moreover, they are an insult to the countless victims of the CCP’s horrific assault on rural society… [T]here will always be uncertainty about the true toll. But GLF denialists are pursuing a political agenda: to protect Mao Zedong from bearing responsibility for the massive loss of Chinese lives. They are not simply engaged in an honest search for the truth. They are trying to obfuscate and divert. We cannot let them.

And he doesn’t let them. (I won’t link to deniers either — you can find plenty of these fenqing arguments right here on my blog if you look up old posts on the GLF.) Some of the most fastidious and reliable of the researchers into the GLF are respected Chinese scholars. He cites Tombstone author Yang Jisheng, who shatters the preposterous myth that the horrific death toll was the result of famines (when hasn’t China had a famine?) or the Sino-Soviet split. Those often-trotted-out explanations are pure BS.

The key reason is political misjudgment. It is not the third reason. It is the only reason. How did such misguided policies go on for four years? In a truly democratic country, they would have been corrected in half a year or a year. Why did no one oppose them or criticize them? I view this as part of the totalitarian system that China had at the time. The chief culprit was Mao.

I realize that many Chinese people, to some extent understandably, take offense when a Westerner criticizes Mao. It’s too bad; there is too much to criticize to just leave it alone and not remember. I remember all those who brought about great suffering, including my former president. So we shouldn’t have to walk on eggshells when it comes to Mao.

Sam’s follow-up post is just as interesting, a response to the commenters in his first post:

I knew this was going to happen. Was it George Bernard Shaw who said: “Never wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pigs like it”? That is where I find myself now. In my previous post, I criticized Great Leap Famine denialists, knowing full well that this would likely spark an attack against me personally. And, lo and behold, like clockwork, it has.

Not everyone who questions the numbers is a denialist, and Sam is careful to make this clear.

But it is rather obvious that a particular subset of that criticism is denialist. This is difficult for ideologically- and politically-motivated people to grasp, because they think only in black and white terms. So let me be painfully clear: not all critics are denialists, but all denialists are rooted in a political agenda that keeps them from maintaining an open and, ultimately, critical attitude. They are apologists.

He goes through the various denialist strategies, like pointing to issues with the 1953 census as proof the death rate couldn’t be as high as claimed. And then there’s the fenqings’ complete and total denial of the latest research to come to light by researchers like Yang. As we’ve seen in previous threads, the denialists talk right over this evidence. And Sam is right: it’s all to perpetuate the myth of a magnanimous and blameless Mao. (And let’s not forget that standing by Mao’s side and implementing the GLF with gusto were Deng and Zhou Enlai.)

Please go and read the two posts, and do not miss the comments, some of which inadvertently prove Sam’s points, shifting the conversation away from the evidence toward a personal attack against the messenger. What a surprise.

______________

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: 56 Comments

Are you sure it isn’t more about defending the Party than it is the Helmsman? Pretty sure that’s a more immediate concern for the fenqing. Having the Party starve the country like that is a pretty big inconsistency in the ‘CCP as the savior of China’ narrative, and we can’t have that, can we?

February 22, 2013 @ 8:42 am | Comment

Surely this topic has now been flogged to death.

A far more contemporary topic would be China’s environment. Is is totally beyond redemption?

Could I mount a class action against Beijing and its SOE’s when Sino pollution starts impinging on my pristine backyard?

February 22, 2013 @ 2:57 pm | Comment

@KT If the Party can fix China’s pollution problem, I think Richard could forgive it for the GLF

That being said, the GLF is a pretty damning indictment of putting too much authority in the hands of someone incompetent, and then removing the ability to hold him or her to account. However, it shouldn’t really color our views of the contemporary Party, which has come a long way in terms of matching competence with influence and increasing accountability. (Ofc, it still has a long way to go)

February 22, 2013 @ 3:45 pm | Comment

Haven’t even bothered reading the above comments, but would I be right in saying that they represent a predictable division along ethnic lines, with some ethnic-Chinese siding with critics of Mao?

February 22, 2013 @ 9:01 pm | Comment

@FOARP

There are 4 comments, each less than 200 words long. Are you seriously that lazy?

February 22, 2013 @ 9:56 pm | Comment

Richard,
Thanks.
Best,
Sam Crane

February 22, 2013 @ 11:07 pm | Comment

@t_co – Do you doubt it? As for my prediction – OK, so it hasn’t happened yet, but are you going to bet against it happening in the next week or so? I’m just going on past form here.

February 22, 2013 @ 11:38 pm | Comment

I don’t think this will devolve into that kind of thread this time, only because there are active threads already going on at Useless Tree and at the other blog. I was late to the party this time.

KT, that’s a very big IF. And it’s also not true; I can “forgive” the GLF just like I can forgive the Haditha massacre or Stalin’s Terror (not equating, just saying I can’r forgive evil acts).

February 22, 2013 @ 11:51 pm | Comment

@Richard

The Haditha massacre was a pale flicker compared to Stalin’s terror or the GLF in terms of death toll, so no, it doesn’t really belong there. In terms of intent or prior knowledge of the consequences, though, the GLF doesn’t fit with Haditha or the purges either. The Cultural Revolution–now that would fit better with the “unforgivable sin of Mao Zedong”, if there was one. It is the one thing I, myself, hold the most against Mao.

February 23, 2013 @ 12:50 am | Comment

I mean, basically Mao was a novice in the field of economics and basic agriculture, who didn’t know how to take criticism well or delegate effectively. In any other developing country such characteristics would simply make him a profoundly ineffective leader, but he also managed to wall himself off with an echo chamber in terms of policymaking, and turn all his subordinates into unflinching yes men (by making an example of Peng Dehuai). Add in rising population, declining food surplus, and extreme application of Party discipline, and you had all the ingredients for the GLF.

But was that evil? Negligent–sure. Fatal–perhaps. Maybe even murderous. But evil? Not as much as other mass-fatality acts, insofar as an act of involuntary homicide does not carry with it the same condemnation as murder.

The real point here isn’t how and to whom to assuage guilt–although if there is one, the blame should be laid squarely at the feet of Mao, since he was responsible for both his own ignorance and his own autocratic tendencies–the point is: has China learned all the lessons of ten, twenty, maybe even thirty million dead? And if not, what more should China be learning?

February 23, 2013 @ 12:58 am | Comment

t_co, about Haditha I carefully wrote: “not equating, just saying I can’t forgive evil acts).” Of course it doesn’t compare to the Holocaust or Stalin’s terror. It was just another example of something that shouldn’t be whitewashed and “forgiven” – I threw it in because I don’t want the trolls to claim I ignore bad things done by Americans, as they always try to argue, falsely. There was no equivalency drawn between any of those things except to say they should not be forgotten.

the point is: has China learned all the lessons of ten, twenty, maybe even thirty million dead? And if not, what more should China be learning?

I think the country’s leaders did indeed learn their lessons and I want to think they could never again try to create a state-run utopia in the style of the GLF. But as for the masses, they are being shielded from the truth, as they are shielded from anything that makes Mao look bad. How can they possibly be learning lessons from the GLF when it isn’t taught and the truth is whitewashed?

February 23, 2013 @ 1:19 am | Comment

t_co, about Haditha I carefully wrote: “not equating, just saying I can’t forgive evil acts).” Of course it doesn’t compare to the Holocaust or Stalin’s terror. It was just another example of something that shouldn’t be whitewashed and “forgiven” – I threw it in because I don’t want the trolls to claim I ignore bad things done by Americans, as they always try to argue, falsely. There was no equivalency drawn between any of those things except to say they should not be forgotten.

Fair enough, and the point is taken. I didn’t get the “not equating” part. Now I do. The sentence just seemed odd to me because Haditha was such an obviously smaller tragedy than the GLF or the purges.

February 23, 2013 @ 6:27 am | Comment

“Mao was a novice in the field of economics and basic agriculture” – I hear that excuse from my Chinese students frequently. It’s not even half true. Mao was not an ignorant peasant. He was well educated by any standard. He read widely among Western philosophers and historians and probably compared favorably in his knowledge of the world of ideas to any of his contemporaries among world leaders (neither Roosevelt nor Truman were as well read as Mao). Thus, I don’t think it’s accurate to excuse the GLF on Mao’s educational failures or lack of knowledge. No, the GLF, like the Cultural Revolution, was the product of Mao’s fanatical commitment to radical egalitarianism.

February 23, 2013 @ 2:43 pm | Comment

Having just completed Pantzov’s monumental biography of Mao I can say that everything Doug says is true. This is just another deflection tactic, whether intentional or not.

February 24, 2013 @ 1:13 am | Comment

Having just completed Pantzov’s monumental biography of Mao I can say that everything Doug says is true. This is just another deflection tactic, whether intentional or not.

Richard, I beg to differ. Did Mao understand the relationship between man-hours of agricultural labor per acre and crop yields per acre? Did Mao know how much his industrialization methods would cut into those man-hours? Did Mao know how much agricultural tools would improve agricultural productivity, and properly calculate the balance? Did Mao understand the concept of economies of scale and why his distributed industrialization plan (backyard furnaces) was inherently stupid? Did Mao understand the tendency for his own lower-level officials to inflate grain yields to get promoted? And most importantly, did he believe the people around him who did understand those concepts, or did he dismiss their advice?

And it’s true–China does deserve an honest reckoning regarding its founding father, which means bias from both sides needs to be held in check. Unless you can say that Mao understood all those concepts pretty damn well and/or he uncritically took in the advice of agricultural experts before embarking on the GLF, you can’t say that this line of reasoning is a deflection tactic, which is why using that sort of language only belies an inherent bias towards Mao, intentional or not.

February 24, 2013 @ 1:34 am | Comment

@Doug

Simply being well-read regarding Western philosophers and historians does not make one an expert in agricultural production or developmental economics.

February 24, 2013 @ 1:36 am | Comment

Whatever. This argument is yet another distraction and deflection. Mao was a very smart man. I can’t say what his level of agricultural expertise was, but it is wholly, totally irrelevant to the idiocies and horrors of the GLF. I won’t even go there. Mao received reports of what was happening and he did nothing. He didn’t need to have a PhD in rice farming to know something was dreadfully, tragically wrong. Let’s drop this topic. Thanks.

February 24, 2013 @ 2:41 am | Comment

@Richard

Fair enough. I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

February 24, 2013 @ 6:06 am | Comment

@ Richard. I certainly was not arguing against your points re Mao and the GLF.

Just that this topic has been done to death: you are just pressing t_co and others buttons.

Furthermore, even if China became a fully fledged democracy tommorrow, the environmental legacy of pre-Mao, Maoist and post-DJP economic policies will slowly but surely strangle the Chinese people, giving them morbidity statistics which will make Haiti and DRC look good by comparison.

Any sympathy for their predicament? None at all, since any culture which continues to exist outside calendrical time/progressive change and trends reaps its own reward.

(And, I don’t buy Chinese white goods.)

February 24, 2013 @ 6:28 am | Comment

KT, I’m not pushing anyone’s buttons. I agree, the GLF has been discussed to death, but I’m going to keep putting up posts about it when I read new material that interests me. No one needs to comment on it if they find it boring.

February 24, 2013 @ 7:46 am | Comment

I believe Mao have good knowledge on agriculture, he knew exactly some of the reporetd crop were bullshit, however he thought he could apply his military strategies to economy and he didnt foresee the impact of starving could be that huge, he made mistake. But most Chinese opine that Mao did more good than bad, hence not many Chinese accept the Westerners view of evil, so dont impose this view to Chinese. And i believe there is no firm number on death in GLF, many inflated the number for not knowing reason, we can read elots of retort on Yang Jisheng

February 24, 2013 @ 1:35 pm | Comment

so by that theory, if I save ten people and then kill five, I’m still a hero? Awesome. Love Chinese theory.

February 24, 2013 @ 2:04 pm | Comment

The same was true of Churchill – he was a great war leader, no doubt about that. But the public just didn’t trust him with the post-war economic rebuilding.

So the same could be said of Mao: maybe he was a great revolutionary leader, but if he honestly lacked the knowledge, then he was a fool for believing his plans would come to fruition – literally and figuratively.

February 25, 2013 @ 11:52 am | Comment

“Did Mao understand the relationship between man-hours of agricultural labor per acre and crop yields per acre? Did Mao know how much his industrialization methods would cut into those man-hours?”

If Mao didn’t understand this (stripped of fancy language: “less farming = less crops”) then he had no business being leader of a country. The simple fact is that Mao was of course aware of this. As someone who consciously modelled himself on Stalin and who had studied Stalin’s reign in detail, he was also almost certainly aware of what had happened when similar policies were implemented in the USSR (i.e., mass starvation). He chose to go ahead anyway, relying on pseudo-scientific hocus-pocus to cover the glaring hole in his plan before its implementation, and a strict black-out on any reporting of the famine as well as forcible requisitioning of food from peasants to ensure food for the cities whilst it was in progress.

In view of this, the naviety defence cannot be maintained. Any appreciation of Mao’s actions during the famine must concede that:

1. He knew, or should have known, that a famine was going to happen.

2. He knew about the famine whilst it was in progress.

3. He did not prevent the famine occuring.

4. He did not ameliorate the famine whilst it was in progress.

February 25, 2013 @ 5:08 pm | Comment

Pravda, relying on an ‘academic’ whose main schtick seems to be trying to justify Stalin’s rule, and who reaches his figures for a US ‘famine’ during the Great Depression by assuming a decrease in population in the exact same period (1932-33) when the real famine in the USSR that he denies happened. Here’s his proof:

““According to the US statistics, the US lost not less than 8 million 553 thousand people from 1931 to 1940. Afterwards, population growth indices change twice instantly exactly between 1930-1931: the indices drop and stay on the same level for ten years. There can no explanation to this phenomenon found in the extensive text of the report by the US Department of Commerce “Statistical Abstract of the United States,” the author wrote.”

This is nonsense. US population growth decreased as a result of the depression, but the causes for this are entirely known – fewer people getting married, fewer people having children during a time of economic difficulty, and this analysis is born out by the decrease in fertility rates during the period. They are not caused by a significant increase in mortality rates – in fact these remained steady at around 11 deaths per thousand people per year, a rate slightly less than that in 1925.

Contrast this to China during the GLF, where we see not only a crash in fertility rates, but a significant increase in mortality. Oh, and reports of large-scale famine from across the country.

Funny thing is, it is possible to imagine that a famine might have occurred in the US had the farmers been forced to stay on the land and denied any aid during the Great Dust Bowl of 1934-36. Of course, as readers of Steinbeck know, that at least did not happen.

February 26, 2013 @ 3:38 pm | Comment

For comparison, the Chinese mortality rate rose steadily from 1957 (10.80 deaths per thousand people – comparable to the US during the Great Depression) to 1958 (11.98 – above the rate reported for any year in the US since the Spanish Flu) to 1959 (14.59 – more than any year in the US in the last 100 years) to 1960 (25.43 – more than ever reported in the US). In 1961 the rate fell to 14.24, then in 1962 it fell to 10.2.

We might quibble over the exact figure for those who died in famine, but the clear fact is that reported Chinese mortality in 1959 was 35% higher than in 1957, and was 2.35 times larger in 1960 than it was in 1957. No mere statistical anomaly can explain such a large multi-year increase. Reports from across China report large scale deaths from famine at the same time – that this increase in mortality is the result of this reported famine is deeply uncontroversial.

These statistics are not the invention of some shady organisation, they are the ones published by the National Bureau of Statistics of China. They show an increase in deaths from 1957 (6 884 000) to 1958 (7 826 000) to 1959 (9 717 000) to 1960 (16 964 000). The only reason to deny the tale these statistics tell is that the people who do so wish to avoid coming to certain conclusions. What conclusions? Well, some very simple things are known:

1) Many of the same policies that Mao attempted to implement in the GLF were implemented in the USSR under Stalin, and a famine is known to have occured immediately following the implementation of these policies.

2) Various officials reported to Mao during 1959-60 that his policies were causing famine. These included Peng Dehuai (you know, the guy who commanded China’s army in the Korean War) here’s a poem he wrote:

“Grain scattered on the ground,
potato leaves withered;
Strong young people have left to make steel;
Only children and old women reap the crops;
How can they pass the coming year?
Allow me to raise my voice for the people!”

Very clearly Peng is saying here that Mao’s policies would cause famine – I guess he must have been paid off by the NED or something.

3) Mao was forced to abandon the supposedly-successful GLF in January 1961.

4) China continued to export food throughout the GLF period, and refused offers of aid.

The only conclusion one can draw from the above is that by far the most likely cause of the famine was Mao’s policies. There is no other plausible cause for such high mortality rates. Drought occurred in parts of northern China in 1960, but increased mortality and wide-spread reports of famine were already seen in 1958-59, and persisted in 1961. Even if you want ignore all this and place the blame solely on the drought, you have to admit that Mao could have asked for assistance, but didn’t, and could have ended exports, but didn’t.

February 26, 2013 @ 8:38 pm | Comment

Pravda as a source here, channeled by HongXing, and pug_ster as the denier/liar standard-bearer, digging his hole ever deeper, over at The Useless Tree!

More kitten and whale PIX, please!

February 27, 2013 @ 12:57 am | Comment

Two definitions of Starvation

What is death starvation? If one stops eating, and dies directly as a result, that’s death by starvation.

Does the ’30 million dead during GLF’ meet above defintion of death by starvation? If it does, give me one example, just one single example of someone who died meeting that criterion. No, what you read in a book does not count. Who do you know personally, or their direct relative who died like that during GLF?

What, I’m splitting hairs with the definition, playing semantics?
Fine. let’s say: if one stops eating but gets hit by a car 10 days later because he was too hungry to walk properly and see clearly, let’s be call that ‘death by starvation’ too. Happy?
With the 2nd definition, perhaps most people in China in those years were in a state of hunger, and most died indirectly as a result.

If you go with the 2nd criterion, then you have to be consistent: a third world, a poor nation, with its food supply issue not fully resolved, naturally will have most of its citiznes living in hunger and poverty, and the average life span is short as a result. It’s pretty natural and unsurprising to conclude then, that in any third world poor nation, most seniors’ deaths were indirectly as result of hunger, so most senior citizens in poor third world countries starved to deaths (going with the 2nd defintion).

So, going with this defintion, ever since the founding of People’s Republic in ’49, before Chinese economic reforms in early 80′s, most of Chinese seniors’ starved to death.

So statisically, we can claim that from 1940 to 1980, several hundred million people starved to death. Surely, the that number will delight many of you here, come on, go write another instant best seller.

Going along with this definition, during the reign of KMT, during the reign of Qing Dynasty, the average life span of a Chinese man was 40 years, and was called ‘Sick Man of the East’, why ‘Sick Man’, well the Chinese man back then was thin, short, scrawny, weak, due to lack of nutrition. Then, we can claim that most seniors starved to death during the entire reign of KMT and Qing.
Most of today’s Indian senior citizens in poor provinces starve to death too then.

Today’s world population is 5,6 billion, 3/2 of them live in poor places with malnutrition and lack of food. That is, 4 billion people will starve to death, again, going by the 2nd definition.
Going by the 2nd defintion, my dad starved to death too, even though he died only 5 years ago. Well when he was young, food was not abundant, he ate rice with pickeld cucmbers for years, causing malnutirtion, which led to his short life span when he died. So he also starved to death, otherwise he could’ve lived till 90 years old.

All in all, if use the 2nd definition, we have to be consistent and rigorous.

But then, with the 2nd definition, how is death rate in GLF any different from death rate in any deaths in any poor third world country? How is the death rate any different from any other period in China’s own history? Why selectively choose a 3 year window of a specific country, if by the 2nd defintion, we already established that the data in that window is completely unremarkable compared to the universe of data?

February 27, 2013 @ 9:08 am | Comment

That’s derperiffic, Clock.

P.S. The 2nd definition of derperiffic, not the first.

February 27, 2013 @ 12:07 pm | Comment

It’s also a repost of a Math comment that’s been posted on this site multiple times, and torn to shreds for the nonsense that it is every time it’s appeared. Clock – try harder.

February 27, 2013 @ 2:21 pm | Comment

@Richard – If there’s one thing I disagree with in your post it’s this: There really was no essential difference between Mao’s responsibility for the GLF famine and Stalin’s responsibility for the Ukrainian famine. In both cases, as far as it is possible to ascertain, the respective dictator was simply indifferent to famine deaths, and failed to prevent them happening or ammeliorate the situation whilst the famine was in progress. In both cases the prime cause was the attmept to implement pretty much the same policies. In fact, Mao was arguably more culpable than Stalin since Mao was following in Stalin’s footsteps and should have learned the lessons of the Ukrainian famine.

February 27, 2013 @ 9:29 pm | Comment

FOARP, there is one important differentiator. If you read Timothy Snyder’s wonderful book Bloodlands he goes into detail as to how Stalin engineered the famine with malice. Stalin wanted people to starve, sadist and monster that he was. The famines were strikingly similar and Mao certainly should have learned from the Ukraine and there’s no way to let him off the hook for his blindness. But I see a big difference between disinterest and malice. I don’t believe Mao wanted people to die, especially because he saw a large peasant population as essential for providing the labor that would fulfill his vision of a new utopia, the Great Leap Forward.

And all of you should read Snyder’s book. Horrifying but essential for understanding the still relatively unknown story of the butchery perpetrated by both Hitler and Stain in Eastern Europe.

February 28, 2013 @ 2:19 am | Comment

@ KT

“Any sympathy for their predicament? None at all, since any culture which continues to exist outside calendrical time/progressive change and trends reaps its own reward.”

Don’t even know what this means, but is it similar to saying that the kids in Connecticut reaped their own reward by being born into a culture that worships gun ownership?

And didn’t you already hint that this won’t just be “their predicament”? Not only do pollutants (and carbon) travel, but in a future world flooded with Chinese environmental refugees, they will affect you, much more so than the sadly forgotten Pacific Islanders whose homelands are endangered by rising sea levels.

February 28, 2013 @ 6:17 pm | Comment

@ xsc

Thoughtful reply. Thanks.

Your para 3. You are totally correct re pollutants and carbon, and the environmental picture is even worse if you read Chinadialogue on a regular basis. China is already exporting environmental refugees, judging by reports of its super rich acquiring second passports and exporting their wealth.

As for environmental refugees becoming a mass phenomena, that is highly unlikey, given China’s bellicose statements and negative relationships with its neighbours. We are more likely to see some type of military conflict situation arise which will destroy whatever economic progress China has achieved in the past thirty years. (Even the hidebound military dictatorship in Burna has come to the realisation that the global future will not be organised around this recent ascendency, and I don’t need to mention Vietnam, Taiwan and South Korea.)

As for Beijing’s attempt to stabilise its relations with the “Stans on its Western border via the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, forget it, as they are highly unstable political entities which, in the long run, are more likely to flood the Middle Kingdom with drugs and Islamic fundamentalism.

China’s so-called 5,000 years of history is a mind-set prison. Dynasties rise, collapse in civil strife and are then replaced, but the same old cultural mentality – ways of making sense of the world – remain unchanged. Despite providing the world with it digital toys and other widgets, Hegel was right: China continues to vegetate in the teeth of time, since it continues to believe in its own cultural exceptionalism. However, Sino exceptionalism this time round turns it into a global menace as it has the finances to greatly expand its military assets.

March 1, 2013 @ 7:14 am | Comment

@…given China’s bellicose statements and negative relationships with its neighbours. We are more likely to see some type of military conflict situation arise which will destroy whatever economic progress China has achieved in the past thirty years.

The only hostile relationship is Japan, nobody comes close to it.

China doesn’t need military shenanigans against Japan. The squeezing of Japanese exports and diminishing of Japan’s relevance in the world’s economic stage is quite enough.

March 1, 2013 @ 9:02 am | Comment

@Clock: “Today’s world population is 5,6 billion, 3/2 of them live in poor places with malnutrition and lack of food.”

So three halves of the world population live in poor places? I suppose you mean two thirds (2/3)?

March 1, 2013 @ 12:45 pm | Comment

@Jason,

By the ‘squeezing of Japanese exports’, were you referring to Sora Aroi?

March 1, 2013 @ 10:05 pm | Comment

By the ‘squeezing of Japanese exports’, were you referring to Sora Aroi?

I’m sure you’d like to squeeze Sora Aoi, Xilin.

March 1, 2013 @ 10:37 pm | Comment

Mao was the man that kicked out the white imperial filth out of China. Without Mao, China would still be under colonial rule. Mao gave China back to the Chinese people from colonial rule. Chinese people will always be grateful to Mao for ending the ‘century of humiliation’ and defeating the United States in the Korean War and kicking the Americans out if North Korea. China is the only country to have humiliated the US military in war. China spanked the overrated and overhyped US military once China entered the Korean War. Americans were running back to South Korea like the dogs they are.

The white goons have always wanted to control China but Mao and the CPC put an end to this. This is why the white goons want to collapse the CPC and install the white man’s own puppet government to keep the white imperialism alive and well into the 21st century!

With the CPC in charge China has an independent foreign policy that will counterbalance western colonialism and imperialism all over the world. This is what petrifies the west. A powerful and independent China is the white man’s worst nightmare.

The CPC need to crackdown on Anti-CPC foreigners and domestic traitors. It’s time to get tough on these foreign trash.

March 2, 2013 @ 8:51 am | Comment

Poe!

March 2, 2013 @ 12:11 pm | Comment

@ Hero Mao.

Newsflash.

Are you aware of HCM and The Great Patriotic War….and they did it in full view of Western/David Brinkley media.

General Vo Nguyen (aka Smith in English) Giap and his military proteges totally humiliated the PLA in 1979. I’m on bad internet here, but the PLA General in charge was also responsible for the PLA debacle in Korea in 1954. I suggest you read War Trash by Ha Jin.

Your grasp of historical fact is contemptable.

Anyway, all young Vietnamese people have embrassed the Trung Sisters, and they hate your guts.

March 2, 2013 @ 2:01 pm | Comment

General Pham Van Dong (not to be confused with the South Vietnamese politician of the same name) ranks with Zhukov, Roskossovsky, Vatutin, Koniev, Tito and Mannerheim (Fin).

What do you have to offer. Jackie Chan?

March 2, 2013 @ 2:32 pm | Comment

@KT

Peng Dehuai deserves mention for beating the US and ROK forces back from the Yalu with a severely underequipped and even underfed army. Also, Sun Li-Gen was a KMT commander who fought very well against the Japanese.

@Hero Mao

The real question is: sure, sovereignty for China is good, but at what cost? Mao gave China sovereignty, but then burnt through tens of millions of lives in his quest to mold the Chinese nation to his vision. Why couldn’t he have just gotten the hint and made room in 1960 for more refined and more managerial colleagues?

March 2, 2013 @ 2:49 pm | Comment

@t_co

I’m quite sure those two deserve to be included.
Killing people on an industrial scale is a science, and has bugger all to do with dash, invigorating speeches to the troops or even political ideology.

March 2, 2013 @ 3:59 pm | Comment

General Pham Van Dong (not to be confused with the South Vietnamese politician of the same name) ranks with Zhukov, Roskossovsky, Vatutin, Koniev, Tito and Mannerheim

Killing people on an industrial scale is a science…

??? The USSR practically perfected industrial-era warmaking to a high art…

March 3, 2013 @ 1:11 am | Comment

” Mao gave China sovereignty”

Dubious. It’s pretty hard to point to any concrete achievements Mao made in the diplomatic field – pretty much everything Mao is given credit for (e.g., ending extra-territoriality, ending the foreign concessions) was actually achieved by the KMT.

March 4, 2013 @ 2:44 am | Comment

It’s pretty hard to point to any concrete achievements Mao made in the diplomatic field – pretty much everything Mao is given credit for (e.g., ending extra-territoriality, ending the foreign concessions) was actually achieved by the KMT.

Not sovereignty in that sense–sovereignty in the sense of completely stamping out opium importation and consumption, eliminating prostitution (for a while, at least), pursuing a violently anti-American and anti-Western tack in his foreign policy from 1949 to 1972, etc. That’s sovereignty in act, as opposed to sovereignty in name. Not many leaders can be said to have achieved that for their nations…

March 4, 2013 @ 6:42 am | Comment

@ King Tubby

Re your comment on “pollutants and carbon” (#35) &c.

Isn’t current global carbon pollution largely the result of the activities of Western nations since the industrial revolution? And don’t those nations still produce several times as much CO2 emissions per capita as China does?

I think that, if a “class action” is called for here, it would be fairer to bring one in the opposite direction to what you suggest in post #2. You have no more right to pollute our world than the Chinese do.

March 4, 2013 @ 7:38 am | Comment

@ jer

Point partially accepted, but I was having a windup there.

Personally, my carbon footprint is almost zero. Solar just about everything except the motor.

Whatever, where I live is totally pristine environmentally, and I was contrasting it with the life killing atmosphere in Beijing and lesser Chinese cities.

Whether developed or developing, it is incumbent on all nations to seriously address the issues NOW….your finger pointing amounts to empty politics.

March 4, 2013 @ 9:35 am | Comment

Not many leaders can be said to have achieved that for their nations…

What? Enacting and enforcing laws, and having a foreign policy are hardly rare amongst national leaders.

March 4, 2013 @ 10:30 am | Comment

“Not sovereignty in that sense–sovereignty in the sense of completely stamping out opium importation and consumption, eliminating prostitution (for a while, at least), pursuing a violently anti-American and anti-Western tack in his foreign policy from 1949 to 1972, etc. That’s sovereignty in act, as opposed to sovereignty in name. Not many leaders can be said to have achieved that for their nations…”

Opium importation ended way before 1949, the opium consumed after the 1920′s (and now) was domestically produced across China, even in the communist base areas controlled by Mao, production which he was complicit in whilst it benefited his organisation. Prostitution (and much other economic activity, both unjustifiable and justifiable) may have been ended by Mao, but he was a libertine in his own personal life and whatever changes he may have made were quickly undone. Anti-westernism (and anti-everything else) is no real assertion of sovereignty and brought no benefit to the Chinese people.

Set against this Mao’s total isolation of China, his loss of Taiwan, etc etc etc.

March 4, 2013 @ 3:00 pm | Comment

“Not many leaders can be said to have achieved that for their nations…”

Odd how this meme is only seemingly applied to authoritarian leaders. Hitler got Germany back on it’s feet, you know, and that Mussolini chap did wonders for rail travel in Italy….

On does wonder how much of these adulatory snippets are the result of maybe a hint of propagandistic marketing…

Not, of course, that anyone would fall for such blunt tools of public opinion formation, eh? Oh, hang on…http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar/04/china-humble-soldier-social-harmony

March 5, 2013 @ 7:36 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

March 6, 2013 @ 9:04 am | Comment

Another cut/paste comment Clock? Try harder.

March 6, 2013 @ 7:41 pm | Comment

Well, my class action may grow legs after all.
http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/12/new-book-tackles-china-and-its-environmental-exports/

March 13, 2013 @ 4:45 am | Comment

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