Monday, April 21

Due to technical difficulties there may not be a Pundita post for the rest of the week -- CNN, BBC, Jack Cafferty are you out there?

2:30 PM Update
The earlier update explains why I added CNN and Jack Cafferty to the title (The Beeb knows why I included them). A few more clarifications: CNN, you have already kowtowed once. Now they're demanding you kowtow twice and they will demand a third kowtow, just so everybody in China knows that the CCP controls CNN. And maybe a fourth kowtow for good measure.

You've been in China for how many years? And you still don't know how the Chinese think. If they threaten to throw you out, reply that in that case you'll have no choice but to sit on the air every night and read chapters from the book I mention below.

You know what happened with CNN in Iraq. The excuse was that it was better to get some news to the outside world than none at all. But the upshot was a completely distorted view of what was happening there. You know the horrific consequences. You have repeated that mistake in China. But this time you have a chance to help dismantle the myth that the Western news media helped modern China's communist party create.

1:45 PM Update
I have added the keywords CNN, BBC and Jack Cafferty to the title in hopes this post will come to the attention of a CNN producer who wrote me several months ago but whose name I can't recall, and I seem to have lost his email address. But if he's reading this:

CNN, please do not make matters worse and apologize again to China's government. Don't apologize to anyone. Stand firm. If you need moral support -- please contact Kenneth Whyte, the Editor-in-Chief of Maclean's magazine, which is Canada's only national newsweekly. Click on this link to a Maclean's article to understand why I suggest Whyte.

If you need more moral support, I can't promise I'll be putting up another post but if I do it might be some help.

Re the tone of my letters (see below) if I had been thinking straight when I posted them, I would have mentioned to readers that a specific incident within the past 24 hours set me off. The problem is that I have said almost nothing about myself during all the years of this blog. Pundita is a big mystery as far as the public is concerned. So the outburst seemingly comes out of nowhere. That's not the way it is; my outburst has been building for -- let's see, about 40 years.


"Calm down. You don't want walk away after the work you've put into the blog. Just say what you think, that's the best you can do.

"What the [deleted] you mean, calm down? I'm calm, I'm just [deleted] finished, that's all. What's the use?

What am I supposed to write? "Dear Mr. and Ms. America, dear World, I think you're pieces of shit because you have no problem buying toys and machinery from Death Camp, Inc."

What do you want me to go on saying? What's there to say?

"Most people don't know what's really going on in China. How about if we talk? I'll find some time today. Just don't do anything rash. If you delete the blog you're going to regret it. Promise me you'll take off for a few days to cool down before you hit the delete button.

"Do you understand that this keeps happening with China, over and over again? Like a grotesque version of Groundhog Day. What the [deleted] does the world have against the Chinese that they're willing to support genocidal regimes in that country? Over and over again?

Why China? You go back in time you see it's not about the money, it's not about cheap goods, it's not about triangulation, and it's not about leftist ideaology because each generation keeps coming up with a different excuse for why they do it to China. The latest is "China is the future."

Maybe it's the Christians working on successive US governments to keep looking the other way but then that would be a rational reason: We wanna convert the heathens so don't lean too hard on their leaders.

Okay; that would be the height of evil but it would make sense. I no longer think there is sense at work with regard to China.

The worst part is that the West is not just a fellow traveler; the praise that Westerners have heaped on China has been used by the regimes to convince millions of Chinese that they're on the right track. This is how Mao was able to get away with murdering 70 million Chinese.

"As long as you're going to kill off the blog why don't you put up something to explain how you feel, then take a little time to calm down?

Note to reader: I have taken the advice but while I started on the project to remove all these symbols €™ from the following, I didn't finish. The symbol is used for apostrophes and dashs. The other problem is that Enzo's comments on Windschuttle's review are not clearly blocked out in my copy of the piece at Simon World. So it's really easier to read the article at Simon World, which also provides links.

Windschuttle was wrong -- I was wrong in 2005 when I first mentioned his review and agreed with him. He wrote "If any single book in our own time has the capacity to change the course of history, this is it."

Nah. Didn't happen. Won't happen. Americans and Europeans have seen to it that the information in that book is suppressed. To blame this only on the media or politicians is a cop-out.

I'm going to sign off before I change my mind about publishing this post.

"You are on the individual archive page of Mao and the maoists. Click Simon World weblog for the main page.

Mao and the maoists
This review of Mao: The Unknown Story by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday is also the chance to remind the bloody history of the man whose gigantic portrait still overlooks Massacre Square, whose statues still stand in chinese villages, towns and cities, whose political heritage CCP has never repudiated.

Keith Windschuttle starts and ends his piece highlighting the responsibility of western intellectuals and journalists for praising the barbarism of Mao era and for lying against every evidence:

Snow's book played a major role in converting public opinion in both America and Europe towards a more favorable view of Mao. Its biggest impact, however, was within China itself, where it had a profound influence on radical youth. Red Star over China and the Mao autobiography were quickly translated into Chinese and widely distributed. Many young, urban, middle-class Chinese men and women who read Snow’s books were converted. They cut their long hair short -- still a daring and eyebrow-raising gesture in the 1930s -- and joined the Communist Party. By 1941, thanks to the reputation Mao had earned from the Long March, party membership had grown to some 700,000.

Edgar Snow was the first, but he was far from being the only Western writer or artist to succumb to Maoism.

Instead, the West was fed a steady diet of propaganda from respectable political leaders and writers who asserted the opposite. The future Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau visited in 1960 and wrote a starry-eyed, aptly titled book, Two Innocents in Red China, which said nothing about the famine. Britain's Field Marshal Montgomery visited in both 1960 and 1961 and asserted there was “no large-scale famine, only shortages in certain areas.” He did not regard the shortages as Mao's s fault and urged him to hang on to power: "China needs the chairman. You mustn't abandon this ship."

The United Nations was completely ineffectual. Its Food and Agricultural Organization made an inspection in 1959, declaring that food production had increased by 50 to 100 percent in the past five years:

"China seems capable of feeding [its population] well.” When the French socialist leader, François Mitterand, visited in 1961, Mao told him: "I repeat it, in order to be heard: There is no famine in China."

Mitterand dutifully reported this assurance to a credulous world. At the same time, Mao enlisted three writers he knew he could trust—Edgar Snow, Han Suyin, and Felix Greene—to spread his message through articles, books, and a celebrated BBC television interview between a fawning Greene and Chou En-lai.

Among Western intellectuals, Mao’s most enthusiastic supporters came from the French Left. Simone de Beauvoir visited China in 1955 and declared: “The power he [Mao] exercises is no more dictatorial than, for example, Roosevelt’s was. New China’s Constitution renders impossible the concentration of authority in one man’s hands.” She wrote a lengthy book about her visit entitled The Long March. During the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s, her consort Jean-Paul Sartre praised the “revolutionary violence” of Mao as “profoundly moral.”

This was the regime western intellectuals (and politicians) appreciated and excused:

Chang and Halliday calculate that over the course of his political career from 1920 to 1976, Mao was responsible for the deaths of 70 million Chinese. This is more than the total killings attributable to Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin combined. The biggest single number of Chinese dead was the 38 million who perished in the famine of the four years from 1958 to 1961, during the so-called Great Leap Forward.

Westerners have known since Jasper Becker’s path-breaking 1996 book Hungry Ghosts: China’s Secret Famine that the famine killed between 30 and 40 million people. Becker attributed this to Mao’s ideological folly of conducting an ambitious but failed experiment in collectivization. Chang and Halliday produce new evidence to show it was more sinister than that.

Mass homicide on the scale of the Great Leap Forward was something that Mao prepared for. He told the 1958 party congress it should not fear but actively welcome people dying as a result of party policy. It was a common theme of his at the time. In Moscow in 1957 he said: “We are prepared to sacrifice 300 million Chinese for the victory of the world revolution.” On the prospect of another world war, he told the party in 1958: “Half the population wiped out—this happened quite a few times in Chinese history. It’s best if half the population is left, next best one-third.” Hence, Mao’s eventual career tally of 70 million deaths was actually much less than he anticipated.

Mao used precisely the same model in the so-called Cultural Revolution of 1966–1968. Party historians and sympathetic Western academics, then and now, rationalize this event as Mao’s attempt to revive the revolutionary spirit and arrest pro-capitalist and anti-socialist tendencies. In reality, Chang and Halliday show, it was yet another purge of Communist officials designed to terrorize the party and secure Mao’s leadership. Indeed, Mao himself thought of it as the Great Purge. Its principal targets were those party leaders who thought Mao’s attempts at collectivization and industrialization during the Great Leap Forward were a disaster.

But what were the main differences between Mao and the other totalitarian mass murderers of the XX century?

What made Mao the greater monster was not just the sheer quantity of his killings. It was because so many of his victims came not only from his real and imagined enemies but also from his own supporters. Chang and Halliday make it clear that Mao built his political power out of a life-long strategy that easily outdid even Stalin in waging murder and terror among his own Communist Party comrades.
Mao’s innovation to the Soviet system was to turn this persecution into public display. Mass rallies, public denunciations by informers, and public confessions of being AB (anti-Bolshevik) became the order of the day. Mao used this accusation to purge the party hierarchy of anyone who disagreed with him or whom he thought potentially disloyal.

Unlike Hitler and Stalin, who used secret police to arrest and interrogate victims, Mao used all those not yet accused to spy on, guard, interrogate, arrest, and punish those already accused. The Yenan settlement became a self-perpetuating totalitarian state. No outside press or radio communication was permitted. No letters could be sent or received from the outside world: Indeed, letters were construed as evidence of spying. Humor, sarcasm, and irony were banned. The regime invented a new catch-all offence, “Speaking Weird Words,” which meant any comment that could be interpreted as a complaint or a wisecrack could have its speaker accused of being a spy or traitor. Two years of this regime transformed the once young and passionate volunteers into robots, capable of enunciating nothing but bland echoes of the party line.

Mao and CCP today:

Chang and Halliday finish their biography with a gloomy reminder. In the face of today’s renewed bout of Western enthusiasm for China and its purported miracle economy, they use their epilogue to emphasize just how little has changed politically. Today, Mao’s portrait and his corpse still dominate Tiananmen Square in the heart of the Chinese capital. The current Communist regime declares itself to be Mao’s heir and fiercely perpetuates his myth.

Ever paid a visit to Mao's Mausoleum? So much for "socialist political democracy"...


In the past, books about China have played a major role in altering its politics. Edgar Snow’s Red Star over China was important in winning domestic support for the Chinese Communist Party. Chang and Halliday’s book will be impossible to ignore. It will no doubt be banned in China, but will still circulate secretly and be more sought after for that. The tens of thousands of Chinese students now studying at Western universities will see it in the bookstores.

The story its authors tell is so awful it will both shock the Chinese people and confirm many of the private anecdotes and rumors passed down within families. Rather than being the man who made the ancient Middle Kingdom stand up again, Mao was the one who brought it to its knees. This is a powerful story which Mao’s heirs will have great difficulty denying or suppressing. Just as Snow’s book helped install the regime, Chang and Halliday’s could help bring it down. If any single book in our own time has the capacity to change the course of history, this is it.
Dedicated to the CCP (and sometimes Mao) apologists that still today people the world and the blogosphere.

posted by Enzo on 10.20.05 at 10:32 PM in the China history, education & culture category

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