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Mao: The Unknown Story (Jung, Halliday) …....   [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2012-12-28 12:55:31 |Display all floors
seneca Post time: 2012-12-28 11:36
And you give "Mao's records" much credit???

Where are his "records" published?

I have just had another post to QQ number disappear so I am not sure if this is even a worthwhile venture responding in this forum anymore ............

But  ........  

Just to add my conviction: Even if her figures prove to be shaky, no one can claim Mao was NOT responsible for colossal losses of human life!


Well first of all the word colossal is a relative term here as China has a colossal population and maybe if one were to think in terms of percentage and match that to what the French did in their revolution to their own neighbours (est one million) then the word 'colossal' might not seem so appropriate.

Many of the figures are basically guesswork and some go for high and some go for low  .........

For the higher figures they are probably easier to discredit using logic than others  ..............

no one can claim Mao was NOT responsible


I would claim that the word 'responsible' does not take into account the awful excesses that humans are capable of, and would use the word 'catalyst' .............

Certainly Mao unleashed society to mayhem and chaos, but it was the cruelty in the participants that took things to a level where it involved death ..........

We see this in Wild Swans where people form packs and humiliate others of THEIR choosing and maybe for vendetta and spite. The fact that some of these humiliations ended in death and were ignored by the authorities is a testament to the brutality in people. This was not the State, army or the police doing this but ordinary people unleashed  ...........

A good example of this is the brutality that overtook Poland and West Russia in early WWII where people factionalised and beat others to death. Then when the Russians swept over that same area after 1943 it was the turn of the bullies to become the victims. Again in 1945 when 6 million Germans had to leave their homes for the Westward expansion of Poland many of these were starved and beaten to death.

People have a natural propensity to become viscous animals when not restrained, even William Golding made that point in 'Lord of the Flies' that without societal restraints violence becomes a way of life.

I would say that Mao was the catalyst for what happened and he understood the basic nature of humans,  if you refer to the last article #15 it can be seen there that people were supposed to humiliate those who were to become victims, not necessarily kill them.

As far as I am aware Mao's speeches told the people to root out and humiliate the 'running dogs' and their 'lackeys', not kill them. Then as groups became factions starting with the students with the Reds, Blacks and Greys, the whole thing became a competition (I suppose) to prove the most loyal to the Party.

It is accepted that Mao was instrumental in starting what became a movement of chaos, but the idea that he was 'responsible' for each of the deaths without sanctioning the idea at least verbally, is I believe to take the guilt of those individuals or groups that killed and place that blame conveniently in one place.

However, he is certainly responsible for allowing initially adolescents to vent their frustrations on society and later other age groups, and I am sure that he knew that the upper echelons would fall under the weight of this onslaught. Whether he knew that 'the people' were so viscous towards their own neighbours is yet another matter.

To take your point: Definitely guilty in letting lose a time of chaos believing that the top echelons of society would fall to facilitate further revolution, but it cannot be stated as sure that the result was more than he had anticipated. Another, factor was the 'Gang of Four' and just how fanatical they had become at that time when Mao was in his last years. Certainly, we know from empirical evidence that Madame Mao and the others were fanatics who took Mao's ideas even further down the line and vied for favour to become the new heir.

I believe your idea is a simplistic one and I would say the same of my own opinion here as I think many things conflate together at this juncture in time associated with politics, greed and avarice and all of which play a part in what became the chaos of that time ..........



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Post time 2012-12-28 12:56:10 |Display all floors
468259058 Post time: 2012-12-28 06:34
New year is coming.
Happy the coming New year.

Answered but disappeared  ...........   


What the world needs is more geniuses with humility, there are so few of us left  -   Oscar Levant

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Post time 2012-12-28 16:04:52 |Display all floors
seneca Post time: 2012-12-27 19:32
She "lies" beautifully and truthfully whereas you are lying like a fat, morose crocodile.

You are so naive.
If capitalism promotes innovation and creativity then why aren't scientists and artists the richest people in a capitalist nation?

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Post time 2012-12-28 17:48:40 |Display all floors
This post was edited by honkam at 2012-12-28 19:07

Mao was misquoted by Frank Dikkoter part 2
Some might argue, that setting any grain quota at all, at a time of food shortage was in some sense a ‘crime’. However, this would be very simplistic.For one thing, food had to be redistributed to areas most in need. Han Dongping, a Professor at Warren Wilson College in the USA did some research into the effects of the famine in the Great Leap Forward in Jimo county in Shandong. On the subject of famine relief he noted that:
‘In 1960, six southeast provinces donated 215,000 kilos of grain,650,000 kilos of dried vegetables and large quantities of winter clothes toJimo County…In the same year, Qingdao municipal government provided Jimo County with …. 125,000 kilos grain, and over half of the households in Jimo County benefited…In November of 1960, a Shanghai municipal delegate brought to Jimo 60,000 kilos of grain, 650,000 kilos dried sweet potatoes and other relief materials.. In 1961, Shandong provincial government donated 15,000 tons of grain to Jimo and provided 200 grams of grain per villagers each day before the next harvest.’(2).Han Dongping’s evidence comes from interviews with local farmers and local official records that he studied.
It is true that not all of the grain collected from rural areas was redistributed to famine areas. However, urban dwellers had to be fed. Some food exports were necessary to buy the raw materials and machinery needed to prevent industry and transportation collapsing. A collapse of the transportation system and the urban economy would have just made famine relief and recovery harder while creating more hunger in the urban areas. If the record of Mao’s speech is authentic, it may be that Mao believed that some reduction in quotas would be enough to allow a fairly high quota for famine relief and for the needs of the cities and industry, without the quotas themselves leading to more hunger.(Whether this was objectively speaking correct is a question beyond the scopeof these comments.)
Any statements made here about the other documents Dikotter quotes from have to be even more tentative, as these were not viewed by my correspondents.However, I believe that something can still be said about how Dikotter evaluates them. Dikotter (p.328) writes that investigation teams fanned out over the country from October 1960, to investigate the behaviour of provincial leaders during the Great Leap Forward. These investigations led to the removals of many provincial leaders. The rightists, Deng Xiaoping, Zhou Enlai, Peng Zhen and Liu Shaoqi made investigations at this time. We must remember that LiuShaoqi was in charge of the day to day running of the government by 1960 and would have overseen the process of ‘investigation’.
The majority of the allegations Dikotter makes regarding atrocities committed during the Great Leap Forward, such as beatings and torture, appear to be taken from these documents. This leads to two problems. Firstly, although Dikotter lifts a great many anecdotes and statistics from these documents, his direct quotes from them tend to be rather brief. In addition, Dikotter does not tell us very much about the particular document he is quoting from at any one time. This makes any kind of evaluation of them, very difficult. Rather worryingly, some of the documents Dikotter quotes from were bought in ‘chaotic flea markets’ (page 345). He says that he only quoted ‘very few’ of these but we really need to know which of his quotations do come from the documents he acquired in this way. In addition there would be nothing to stop Dikotter putting these documents on the internet or circulating copies.
Also, assuming that the evidence Dikotter cites of atrocities are taken from the results of investigations, what we have are indictments used in a series of political struggles, with Liu Shaoqi ultimately presiding over the whole process of the investigation. The purpose of these indictments, accordingto Dikotter, seems to have been to get rid of local leaders blamed for implementing Mao’s line in an over-zealous manner. One possible thesis is that the intended effect of these removals would have been to oust more left-wing leaders in favour of more right-wing leaders, which would increase Liu Shaoqi’spower base. Overall, a stream of reports from the investigation teams to the centre documenting atrocities would clearly strengthen Liu and the political line he represented, while weakening Mao. Of course, bourgeois authors tend to argue that Liu Shaoqi only became a rightest, once he saw that the Great Leap Forward was a failure. But this begs the question somewhat. Could it not be that when he saw problems with the Great Leap Forward occurring he sensed that he could use this in a competition for power with Mao? Could not encouraging investigation teams to exaggerate the failures of the Great Leap Forward have been part of his strategy? Dikotter should at least consider such possibilities but he does not.

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Post time 2012-12-28 18:05:06 |Display all floors
This post was edited by honkam at 2012-12-28 19:12

Mao was misquoted by Frank Dikkoter part 3
Dikotter presents documentary accounts that he believes, show evidence for very serious crimes. He claims that mass violence was used against the population in the Great Leap Forward by local officials and their militias.This charge simply cannot be upheld without corroboration. Such allegations could only be proved if they were backed up by a sufficient quantity of mutually corroborative witness statements and by forensic evidence such as mass grave evidence. Without such evidence it is not possible to ‘convict’ any individual or a political regime of mass murder or genocide. Indeed the lack of such evidence, at least of a sufficient quantity of documented witness evidence,would give good reason for doubting the archival evidence.
It must also be said that some of the stories that have emerged from purported Party documents inthe past have been outlandish in the extreme. For example, Jasper Becker unearthed a ‘party record’ that claimed a Party Secretary in Qisi, Henan had boiled 100 children to make fertilizer. He quoted this in his book HungryGhosts This prompted Berlusconi’s infamous jibe at a political rallyin 2006 about the Chinese ‘boiling babies for fertiliser’ that led to censurefrom the Chinese government.
Having said all this, the existence of the local party documents Dikotter has found is a matter of some interest and it must be hoped that the current onerous conditions on access and reproduction will be eased in the future. If nothing else, they may help illustrate the line of thinking and the different world-views of the two lines of the Chinese Communist Party during the Great Leap Forward.
Another positive feature of the book is the way Dikotter puts his own ideological cards on the table when he states in his preface that:‘In a far more general way, as the modern world struggles to find a balance between freedom and regulation, the catastrophe unleashed at the time[of the Great Leap Forward] stands as a reminder of how profoundly misplaced is the idea of state planning as an antidote to chaos.’ (p.xii).
All historians can and should strive for objectivity. However, history can never be an exact science, so it is always very useful to know the political leanings of any historian when evaluating their work. Dikotter’s honesty about his right-wing ideological framework is genuinely refreshing.However, little positive can be said about the aspect of his work the reviewers have got most excited about-his Great Leap Forward ‘statistics’. The national figures Dikotter tries to come up with for deaths by hunger and violence and figures for the destruction of housing are frankly of little value.

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Post time 2012-12-28 18:21:38 |Display all floors
This post was edited by honkam at 2012-12-28 19:21

Mao was misquoted by Frank Dikkoter part 4

Dikotter wants to establish a new ‘headline’ figure for Great Leap Forward deaths of 45 million. To understand how Dikotter tries to do this it must be understood that he is discussing two separate sets of documentary evidence concerning the death toll. One is an estimate of 32 million excess deaths by Cao Shuji, who bases his figure on a survey of reports drawn up by local Communist Party branches into Great Leap Forward deaths. These reports were produced in 1979, when the Party line had swung decisively and finally against the principles of the Great Leap Forward. The second set of documentary evidence consists of the documents in the local Party archives that Dikotter himself has discovered, that were discussed above-the reports of the investigation teams sent by the central government to investigate the provinces from 1960-62. Dikotter calculates that the excess death tolls he has found in the local Party archives, compiled from 1960-62 tend to be 50% higher than those in the reports Cao Shuji cites, which were compiled in 1979. Therefore Dikotter decides the death toll must have been 45 million. Dikotter favours the reports he has found from 1960-62 from the investigation teams over the reports given by the local branches of the Communist Party in 1979 because he believes the latter would have given more conservative figures for deaths, as they were trying to hide things.
This reasoning is not very convincing. Why would there have been any remaining reason for local Party officials to try to hide the figures in 1979,if the Great Leap Forward deaths had supposedly been investigated nearly twenty years before by the central government? Moreover, the Party as a whole was in no way trying to hide Great Leap Forward deaths in 1979. As I said in ‘Did Mao Really Kill Millions in the Great Leap Forward?, senior Party leaders openly attacked the Great Leap Forward. Marshal Ye Jian ying made a speech about disasters in the Great Leap Forward in 1979. A Party resolution talked of ‘serious losses to our country and our people between 1959 and 1961’. Local party organisations would certainly have been aware of the new line when compiling their 1979 reports and would have known that they were expected to go along with the new political line on the Great Leap Forward. If the choice really was between endorsing a figure of 32 million and a figure of 45 million,then Dikotter’s book really gives us no real reason for choosing one figureabove another.
However, the main problem is the reliability of any death rate estimateat all for China from 1958-1961. This point is illustrated by Dikotter’s rather selective faith in the available demographic data for the Great Leap Forward.Dikotter decides to round up Liu Shaoqi’s baseline figure of 0.8% deaths a year before the Great Leap Forward to 1% (p. 329). Dikotter decides that any number of deaths above this figure in the Great Leap Forward, were excess deaths. By extrapolating the excess deaths he finds on a local level to the country as a whole he calculates the 45 million deaths figure. Dikotter’s figures seem to be based on figures gathered by the local investigation teams. ‘Liu Shaoqi’s 1%’is more or less the ‘baseline’ death rate figure in the demographic figure sreleased in the early 1980s by the Deng Xiaoping regime. The Deng Xiaoping figures show up to 16.5 million excess deaths, due to increases from the baseline figure in 1959-1961 (with a high of 2.5% in 1960). The death rate figures were presented at a public academic gathering in China in 1981. ‘Liu’s1%’ might be seen as corroboration of the Deng Xiaoping figures that emerged more than twenty years later. But Dikotter cannot accept the Deng Xiaoping figures in full, as the Deng Xiaoping figures for 1959-1961 imply a death tolla lot smaller than the one he is proposing. So Dikotter has a problem. If Dikotter believes Liu knew a true death rate figure for years prior to 1960, he must also believe a comprehensive system of death registration was in place during the Great Leap Forward, despite the fact that the records of these death registrations seem to have been hidden from all eyes ever since. Therefore Dikotter must accept the baseline figure of 1% given by Liu Shaoqi but then assume that the death registration information that shows 45 million deaths for1958-1961 has been deliberately hidden by the Chinese authorities. But if the Chinese authorities are in the business of hiding and manipulating population figures about this period, why does Dikotter insist that the 1% baseline figure must be true? What are his grounds for saying that the one figure should be accepted, while the other Deng Xiaoping figures must have been falsified? It mightbe said that the other documents Dikotter has found corroborate the 45 million figure but this is not really so. As Dikotter book illustrates, Liu stated openly in a speech that 0.8% should be used as the baseline when making calculations of excess deaths that occurred in the Great Leap Forward.Therefore the figures that appear in the documents Dikotter has seen in the archives, cannot be used as any kind of corroboration as they were probably drawn up following Liu’s instructions. The investigation teams most likely came up with a total number of deaths in a province-by whatever means-and then subtracted ‘Liu’s 1%’ to get a figure for excess deaths.

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Post time 2012-12-28 18:52:56 |Display all floors
This post was edited by honkam at 2012-12-28 19:30

Mao was misquoted by Frank Dikkoter part 5


As I showed in ‘Did Mao Really Kill Millions…’ it is not clear at all where death rate figures for the Great Leap Forward came from. This makes any of the figures given for the Great Leap Forward death toll, from the 16.5million figure, to the estimates of local investigation teams, to Dikotter’s 45million, mere speculation. Judith Banister, a leading western demographer of the Great Leap Forward period, expresses severe doubts about death rate figures for China in the 1950s and 1960s (3). It does not seem that there was anything like a comprehensive national death registration scheme at this time. People who have examined local population records for the Great Leap Forward seem to havefound records of population changes but I have not seen examples of locally kept death toll figures (4). Could it be that when asked for death toll figures, local officials simply offered some variant on population change figures, having nothing else at their disposal? But a population change figure for a given locality provides absolutely no guide to the number of deaths inthe Great Leap Forward.
This was a time of massive movements of population as workers migrated from their villages to the towns or to construction sites or left their locality to find food when famine struck. If you just take figures for every area where population decreased and assume that this was part of a national death trend, then you might come up with a figure of 45 million.Overall, then, it must be asked where the local investigation teams got all their death rate figures from, given the lack of comprehensive death registration.
I think there is a much more sensible account of what happened in the Great Leap Forward, than the apocalyptic version given by the Jasper Becker,Jung Chang and Frank Dikotter side of the debate. Firstly, we should, like Banister, accept that the 1% baseline figure is too low. Banister discusses the official figure of 10.8 deaths per thousand in1957, given in 1981. She writes:
‘This is an unrealistic claim. Of course, the PRC made great strides inmortality reduction in the 1950’s. As of 1957, the patriotic public health campaigns had reduced the level of filth and the number of disease-carrying pests. A large proportion of China’s midwives had received instruction in modern midwifery. There were many epidemic-control stations monitoring infectious diseases and specialized centers attacking particular diseases….Yet underlying health conditions in China remained poor…This population might have achieved acrude death rate below 20 per thousand by 1957, but not nearly so low as the official death rate of 10.8.’(5).
We can perhaps speculate a little about why Deng Xiaoping figures givesuch a low death rate figure for 1957 and such a high rate for 1960. Liu Shaoqi announced his ‘1%’ (or 0.8%) in a speech in his home town, just as he was starting his political campaign against the line of the Great Leap Forward.Once Deng Xiaoping consolidated his power after the death of Mao, he asked forstatistics to be put together concerning Great Leap Forward deaths. The workers compiling the statistics would have known of Liu’s 1% baseline figure and this became their own baseline for the figures released in 1981. This is not necessarily a matter of complete conspiracy. Maybe Liu said the figure was 1% because this had been the figure the Party had wanted to give in the late 1950sto celebrate its achievements. Maybe given the euphoria of the time the Party thought they actually had achieved such a low figure. However, maybe Liu just invented it in 1960 because it made the death rate figures look worse than they were, thus undermining his political rival Mao. When it came to compiling population statistics in the late 1970s, perhaps researchers, finding nothing else to work on, came back to Liu’s low figure and decided to adopt a figure that was roughly equivalent. It was after all a figure that had been endorsed by the Head of State at the time. Demographers can make assumptions on thinner grounds than this when faced with a paucity of hard evidence. Once the 1% is accepted as a baseline, demographers have the problem of trying to come up witha series of birth rate and death rate figures that in some way correlates with the census figures of 1953 and 1964. The obvious solution is to push all the deaths which you cannot account for, given the 1% baseline rule, into the famine periods. Thus the researchers came up with the death rate figures in1981 which gave rise to the 16.5 million death toll statistic.
Writers on the Great Leap Forward are routinely taking these figures and extrapolating from them to reach even higher figures, which they then give the status of fact. Without some idea of how the 1981 death rate figures were actually calculated, they are of little use for such purposes. Once you adopt a sceptical attitude to the Deng Xiaoping figures, other death rate figures suchas Dikotter’s and Banister’s begin to look unconvincing too (6).

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