Author: expatter

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

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Post time 2012-12-28 19:43:19 |Display all floors
This post was edited by honkam at 2012-12-28 19:52

Mao was misquoted by Frank Dikkoter part 6

Dikotter’s figures for deaths by violence and home demolitions are certainly the weakest part of the book. Dikotter states that 2.5 million people died of violence during the Great Leap Forward. His evidence again comes from the ‘investigation teams’. The figure appears to come from an extrapolation from figures given for one region (Xinyang) and two counties (see page 297-8).Dikotter tells us that as ‘rough approximation’ 30-40% of all houses were turned to rubble in China in the Great Leap Forward. Dikotter’s source for this astounding figure is, Liu Shaoqi again, who apparently claimed that 40% of all houses in Hunan had been destroyed (p.169). The other main source is a figure that 45-70% of homes in ‘the most affected counties’ of Sichuan were demolished (p.170). Even if both these reports were completely true, one could hardly extrapolate from these two figures and say that 30-40% of homes in the whole of China were destroyed. These were just two provinces and we do not even have an estimate for the total number of home demolitions in Sichuan, just those for the allegedly most affected counties.The question we have to ask about the figure for home demolitions is,again, where is the witness evidence? Of course the media in China is fairly stringently censored. But especially in the last three decades millions of people have travelled into and out of China. If 40% of all homes had been demolished in the whole of China in the Great Leap Forward, would not this fact have come out before now? Other somewhat strange claims in Dikotter’s book would also bear further analysis, no doubt. He writes of the Ming Tombs (Shisanling) Reservoir, that was built in 1958. Dikotter states (page 30) : ‘As the reservoir was built inthe wrong location, it dried up and was abandoned after a few years.’Anyone who was been there recently will testify that it is actually rather full of water. The fact is that Dikotter just assumes the whole project must have been a total failure because it was carried out during the Great Leap Forward. Such errors illustrate the need for rather more even-handed historians to go over the evidence that Dikotter has presented in more detail than I am able to do here. Overall, Dikotter’s book is, on the face of it, unconvincing. His claims are just too exaggerated and his analysis of the veracity of his sources is just too underdeveloped. It is part of a trend towards ‘death toll inflation’which sees the numbers of those allegedly killed by Mao increase year after year as ‘new historical evidence’ is published. Deng Xiaoping released figures that gave rise to the 16.5 million death toll. Judith Banister raised this to30 million. Now, Dikotter has taken Banister’s 30 million and raised it to 45million. But this of course is only ‘a minimum’, some historians put the figureat 50 to 60 million, Dikotter tells us (page 333). But as the death rate totals inflate, it will get harder and harder to fit in all these excess deaths between the figures provided by the two censuses of 1953 and 1964, unless the death toll in the non-Great Leap Forward years is pushed down to a ridiculous level. This will not bother Dikotter as he seems to be a sceptic about all the Chinese demographic data. This position is a perfectly acceptable one to take but where will it leave ‘Liu’s 1%’ baseline on which all Dikotter’s figures are based? You cannot state that a death rate figure is credible when you believe that all the available population figures are completely false. The death rate is a percentage of the population after all. Presumably at some point the death rate figures will have been thrown out too. When we get to 60 million, there will be no real reason left not to allow the death figure to rise ceaselessly up towards the 100 million mark and beyond.Of course, there is a real story about the Great Leap Forward buriedunder all the nonsensical ‘death toll figures’. Certainly, that story includes the tragedy of the famine that occurred in China in the Great Leap Forward. The story must include the fact that the deaths that occurred were due to policy errors, as well as the very adverse natural conditions of the time. However, it is also a story of a nation surrounded by adversaries, desperately trying to pull itself out of the economic backwardness that had repeatedly condemned it to famine in the past.

Joseph Ball critique on  Frank Dikkoter's Mao's Great Famine

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Post time 2012-12-28 22:00:15 |Display all floors
honkam Post time: 2012-12-28 19:43
Mao was misquoted by Frank Dikkoter part 6

Wow  .........   !

Thank you for your kind addition to this thread  ..........

Statistics and data are notorious for being high on one side of a debate and low on another  .........

Certainly no one ever seems willing to agree with figures from a regime they dislike, whilst preferring to agree with almost anyone not of that regime  ........

Whatever the discrepancies all sides have to agree that the figures are not garnered through exact science and will remain a mystery  .......

One of the most compelling ideas is that people do move and especially when things get bad, thus rendering population notions as virtually impossible to estimate without that data ........  

Cheers  ........   

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 22:23:08 |Display all floors
expatter Post time: 2012-12-28 22:00
Wow  .........   !

Thank you for your kind addition to this thread  ..........

No problem  Ex, I just thought that I should chip in a bit , since the issue is close to my heart,

In those days China was never any good at birth, death, or marriage registration,

especially in the rural areas and not because the government wanted to hide things,

but for the plain fact that , during that period the country was just chaotic .

My mother is really 80 yrs old, but when she arrived in Hong Kong , she doctored her age

by 5 yrs, so on her i.d card and passport she is only 75.

So that has always bugged me , so I asked her why she did what she did?

and her reply was that , she thought being younger might give her an advantage in getting a job.

But there is a saying  "what ever you want in life there is a price to pay",

and she has paid for it by receiving 5 yrs less of her state pension. hahaha   

Back on the topic, the critique of the author,was quite balanced in his review.

If he is to be believed, then whatever we read about the history of China by authors with their

own agendas , firstly we must check their background before reading their work.

Continue with the good work my friend.

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Post time 2012-12-29 22:51:33 |Display all floors
honkam Post time: 2012-12-28 22:23
No problem  Ex, I just thought that I should chip in a bit , since the issue is close to my heart, ...

Many thanks  .......

I will pop the last two rebuttals in here now from this one critique and then summarise a little before adding another critique  .....      

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

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Post time 2012-12-29 23:02:37 |Display all floors
16. Mao’s Aim of the Cultural Revolution

This issue is important as Mao considered the Cultural Revolution one of the two major achievements in his life. JC claims that Mao “had intended the Great Purge to install much more merciless enforcers” for his Superpower Program (p. 558), his real target “was the old enforcers who had shown distaste for Mao’s extremist policies. Mao aimed to get rid of them en masse” (p. 543).

However, her evidence not only contrasts to her claim, but also supports Mao’s proclaimed aim of the Cultural Revolution, i.e., “a move to rid China of Soviet-style ‘revisionists’” (p. 570).

In particular, we will show how her evidence demonstrates: (i) Mao did not need to replace merciful officials to enforce his plan for the JC called Superpower Programme. (ii) Mao neither targeted merciful officials nor promoted merciless ones during the Cultural Revolution. (iii) Mao’s approach of mobilizing the masses to topple officials seriously damaged the very basis of any enforcement, and was totally unnecessary if his goal was “to install much more merciless enforcers”. (iv) JC believes that there was a pro-Russian faction within the Chinese government before the Cultural Revolution.

We will explain each of these points in details below.

(i) Jung Chang’s evidence shows Mao did not need the Cultural Revolution to “install much more merciless enforcers”, because there existed no serious resistance to his so called Superpower Programme at the top level. In 1964 Mao started his biggest project after the Great Leap Forward, the Third Front. “It cost an astronomical 200 billion-plus yuan, and at its peak it sucked in at least two-third of the entire nation’s investment. The waste it created was more than the total material losses caused by the Great Leap Forward” (p. 503). In spite of that, “Liu Shao-chi and Mao’s other colleagues put up no resistance to this lunacy… . For Mao to forgo deaths and political victimization seems to have been the best his colleagues thought they could expect – and enough to make them feel they might as well go along with him” (p. 504).

(ii) If Mao’s aim was to replace merciful enforcers with merciless ones, he would have targeted the former and promoted the latter during the Cultural Revolution. But Jung Chang’s evidence shows the opposite. She first gives an example: one of the outspoken opponents of the Cultural Revolution was “Mao’s old follower Tan Zhen-lin, who had been in charge of agriculture during the famine (showing how far he was prepared to go along with Mao)” (p. 546). Later, JC puts it more flatly: “Mao did not differentiate between disaffected officials and those who were actually totally loyal to him and had not wavered even during the famine. In fact, there was no way he could tell who was which. So he resolved to overthrow them all first, and then have them investigated by his new enforcers” (p. 543). This is not the way to find merciless enforcers. If Mao could not “tell who was which” among his old followers after years of scrutiny, how could he trust those totally unknown rebels out of his party system? In fact, merciless enforcers were more likely to be thrown out first by rebels, who might have suffered under them for years. For instance, the Sichuan boss Li Jingquan and his associates (including “Public Affair” officials), who cooperated quite well to cover the famine, could not escape this time.

(iii) Mao’s approach of mobilizing masses to push the party apparatus into chaos contradicts Jung Chang’s theory. If Mao’s goal was merciless enforcement, the last thing he wanted should have been to destroy the very basis of any enforcement, the authority of his government, without which no enforcers can enforce anything regardless of how merciless they are. Mao’s approach can only be consistent with Jung Chang’s theory if it was necessary “to install much more merciless enforcers”. Unfortunately, Jung Chang’s evidence convincingly rules this possibility out.

JC shows Mao could get rid of his enemies without mobilizing masses. For instance, let’s consider “the first list of victims of the Great Purge, four big names described as an ‘anti-Party clique’: Mayor Peng, Chief of Staff Luo, Yang Shang-kun, the liaison with Russia and the tape-recording suspect, and old media chief Lu Ding-yi. Mao did not bother to come to the occasion”. The meeting “was actually chaired by Liu Shao-chi, who knew he was chairing an event that was ultimately going to bring him to ruin”. “Liu then asked all in favor to raise their hands. All did, including Mayor Peng and Liu” (p. 531).

The Red Guards were involved in toppling the President Liu Shao-chi, but JC shows their contribution was merely nominal. After citing the words of Kuai Da-fu, who was the Rebel leader in condemning Liu, JC writes: “This is a good self-confession of how the Rebels really worked; they were tools, and cowards, and they knew it” (p. 550). To formally purge Liu, “Mao had Chou En-lai telephone Liu and tell him to stop meeting foreigners, or appearing in public, unless told to do so. That day, Mao wrote a tirade against Liu which he himself read out to the Central Committee two days later, in Liu’s presence, breaking the news of Liu’s downfall” (p. 548).“Out of his remaining top echelon, there came only one burst of defiance. In February 1967, some of the Politburo members who had not fallen spoke up, voicing rage at what was happening to their fellow Party cadres” (p. 546). “But these elite survivors were either devoted veteran followers of Mao’s, or men already broken by him. Faced with his wrath, they folded… . The mini-revolt was easily quelled” (p. 547).

Masses were not needed against the challenge which involved some of the country’s top military leaders. Clearly JC cannot explain the essential feature of the Cultural Revolution.

(iv) Now let’s look at how JC’s evidence supports a totally different goal of the Cultural Revolution, proclaimed by Mao himself, who “had presented the Cultural Revolution as a move to rid China of Soviet-style ‘revisionists’” (p. 570).“On 14 October 1964, Khrushchev was ousted in a palace coup… Within days, Chou was telling Soviet ambassador Chervonenko that it was Mao’s ‘utmost wish’ to have a better relationship. Chou requested an invitation to the anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution in Moscow on 7 November” (p. 510). “At the reception in the Kremlin on 7 November, … Soviet defense minister Rodion Malinovsky approached Chou… . Out of the blue, Malinovsky said to Chou: ‘We don’t want any Mao, or any Khrushchev, to stand in the way of our relationship’… . Malinovsky then turned to Marshal Ho Lung, China’s acting army chief: ‘We’ve got rid of our fool Khrushchev, now you get rid of yours, Mao’” (p. 511).

Moreover, JC reveals secret moves within the Chinese leadership. In “February (1966), with the backing of Liu Shao-chi, Mayor Peng issued a ‘national guideline’ forbidding the use of political accusations to trample on culture and the custodians of culture. Moreover, he went further, and actually suppressed Mao’s instructions aimed at starting a persecution campaign… . As soon as he issued the guideline, Mayor Peng flew to Sichuan, ostensibly to inspect arms industries relocated in this mountainous province. There he did something truly astonishing. He had a secret tete-a-tete with Marshal Peng… . judging from the timing, and the colossal risk Mayor Peng took in visiting a major foe of Mao’s, without permission, in secret, it is highly likely that they discussed the feasibility of using the army to stop Mao… Marshal Ho Lung, the man to whom Soviet defense minister Malinovsky had said ‘Get rid of Mao’, soon also went to Sichuan, also in the name of inspecting the arms industries… . And there was more that was gnawing at Mao’s mind. It seems that Mayor Peng was contemplating getting in touch with the Russians, and may have thought of seeking Russian help to avert Mao’s Purge” (p. 528).After seeing JC’s evidence, one has hardly any choice but to view Mao’s “Cultural Revolution as a move to rid China of Soviet-style ‘revisionists’”.

(v) The mass mobilization not only contradicts JC’s theory, it also fits Mao’s declaration of “denouncing those power-holders inside the Party pursuing a capitalist road”. Mao believed that the capitalism would benefit officials at expense of ordinary people. His proclaimed goal is also consistent with China’s reality today. Few people doubt China is capitalist, at least economically.

The transformation was coincidently guided by the then No. 2 capitalist-roader Deng Xiao-ping (p. 553). Since Mao foresaw capitalist forthcoming, and even anticipated its top campaigner, it seems logical that he would launch the Cultural Revolution to prevent that from happening.

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

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Post time 2012-12-29 23:28:49 |Display all floors
17. Mao Compared with Hitler

Finally, we discuss JC’s central theme in the book: Mao is at least as bad as Hitler. Based on JC’s book, we will show the following conclusions: (i) Mao did not invade many nations and kill their people en masse as Hitler did. (ii) There was no evidence that Mao intentionally killed millions of civilians under his rule as Hitler did. (iii) Mao had more serious political opponents than Hitler did, but he did not kill any one of them, while Hitler killed all of his. Hence, a person with a reasonable mind may not agree with JC’s comparison of Mao with Hitler. We now give a more detailed comparison between Mao and Hitler in these three aspects.

(i) Their offence against other countries: Hitler invaded the major part of Europe in the WWII in which tens of millions of people perished. Let’s look at Mao’s record. Mao sent Chinese troops to Korea in the 1950s and Vietnam in the 1960s, invited by the North Korean and North Vietnamese governments to fight a superpower from thousands miles away. In 1962, China had a brief war with India, because “China had refused to recognize the boundary that had been delineated by the British in colonial times” (p. 486). “As border clashes worsened” (p. 486), Mao sent troops into India.

Then after a quick victory, he ordered all the troops to return home in days. JC’s words also imply that China was adjacent to the British India (the boundary “had been delineated by the British in” 1903) well before Mao sent troops to Tibet in 1950. Hence Mao’s troops did not invade Tibet (it was the Ching Dynasty’s army who did so two hundred years earlier and made Tibet a part of China). In 1969, China clashed with the Soviet Union. On “a small uninhabited island … Chinese laid an ambush that left 32 Russians dead”, while “Russia’s claim to the island was far from established” (p. 570). During his reign Mao never annexed any piece of land into Chinese territory.

(ii) Brutality against their subjects: Hitler intentionally killed millions of Jews, communists and leftists, homosexuals, Jehovah witnesses, Gypsies, and others. The last mass killing under Mao took place in 1950–51 and led to 700,000 executions. However, this was at the end of the civil war and during the Korean War. Many, if not most, victims were executed for their military roles as we explained in section 11. During his reign, many must have died in prisons, but no evidence suggests this was nearly bad as Gulag in the Soviet Union, as discussed in section 12. Millions of people died during the famine because of Mao’s mismanagement, but there was no proof of his intention or indifference to let people die, as seen in section 14. Several political campaigns, such as the Cultural Revolution, caused many deaths due to persecution or maltreatment, but no direct order came from Mao, as we argued in section 15.

(iii) Treating political challengers: This is probably the most relevant comparison because both dictators’ personal responsibilities are irrefutable. There are few examples of how Hitler treated his political rivals because he hardly had any. But we do know that he ordered his fellow Nazi leader Roehn to be killed for alleged homosexual behavior and forced the best German general Rommel to commit suicide for his role in a suspected coup. Of course he also executed von Stauffenberg and his co-conspirators for the assassination attempt.

Now let’s look at Mao’s record. According to the book, Mao’s first challenger was Chang Kuo-tao, who defected to the Nationalist side in 1938 (pp. 220-221). The second rival Wang Ming stayed in the CCP and even praised Mao after being defeated (p. 357), and later died in Russia in 1974. The third victim was Gao Gang, who committed suicide in 1954 (p. 405). The fourth un-cowed man, Peng De-huai “was put under house arrest” (p. 470) after his fight with Mao in 1959, and died of a rectum cancer in 1974 (p. 557). The fifth was Liu Shao-chi, who died in 1969 in much neglected conditions due to persecution (p. 556). The sixth, Lin Biao died in an airplane crash in Mongolia in 1971 (p. 582). The last one was Deng Xiao-ping to whom “Mao had had to give in and let him live in the comfort of his own home, among his family” (pp. 649-650) till his own death in 1976. None of his political challengers was executed. Nor were any of the co-conspirators associated with each case in this long list executed either. In the case of the most deadly and militant coup plot of Lin Biao, “incredibly, given that an attempted assassination – of Mao, no less – was involved, not a single person was executed” (p. 586).

Among those cases, let’s look at “Mao’s persecution of the man he hated most” (p. 548), Liu Shao-chi. The “report, which was delivered to the Central Committee by Mao’s faithful slave, Chou En-lai, called Liu a ‘traitor, enemy agent and scab’, and recommended the death sentence. But Mao rejected it, as he did for Mme Liu. He preferred a slow, lingering death” (pp. 555-556). However, it was “in April 1969, when the 9th Congress convened”, and Liu’s “death came … on 12 November 1969” (p. 556). It was not very slow. On the other hand, Mme Liu, Wang Guang-mei’s “slow, lingering death” not only lasted 10 years under Mao, but has still not been completed today, nearly 40 years later. A little bit too slow. If Mao really wanted her dead, whatever form that took, her health after 10 years of prison would not have allowed her such longevity.

Now let’s see how Mao obtained his evidence against Liu. “Mao had told it (Liu’s case team) he wanted a spy charge… . A large number of other people were imprisoned and interrogated, to try to turn up evidence against him… . Shi Zhe, who had interpreted for Liu with Stalin … was pressed to say that Liu was a Russian spy… American Sidney Rittenberg, … had known Mme Liu in the 1940s. Pressure was put on him to say that he had recruited her, and Liu, for American intelligence.” (p. 555). JC does not mention any torture being used. “The team … found itself in a Catch-22 situation, as concocting evidence could be as dangerous as failing to unearth it. On one occasion, the team claimed that Liu had wanted American troops to invade China in 1946, and that Liu had wanted to see President Truman about this. ‘Making such a claim’, Mao said, ‘is … to treat us like fools. America sending in troops en masse: even the Nationalists did not want that’” (p. 555). The result: Liu was not charged as a spy.

JC does not show in any case Mao allowed his team use torture to obtain evidence or imposed his charge without evidence, though his evidence was often proven to be wrong. The points made in this section are sufficient to refute JC’s comparison of Mao with Hitler. In fact, it is easy to find counter-arguments to most, if not all, of JC’s claims in the entire book. It just takes careful reading and reasoning. We leave them as interested readers’ exercises, for fun.

In revealing the numerous contradictions and inconsistencies in JC’s book, we do not need any specific knowledge or information regarding China. Now the question is: why cannot those Western journalists and those China experts see? It is hard to believe that none of them is capable of logic thinking, or has read the book carefully. The most plausible explanation is their profound pride and prejudice towards China.

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

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Post time 2012-12-29 23:50:38 |Display all floors
With Number 17 I have finished posting a rather long but comprehensive critique of Mao: The Unknown Story by Jin Xiaoding ..........

If anyone wants to argue with his points you will find them here ........

For those who wish to find the salient points in this thread here are 17 anomalies which show that Jung and Halliday have stretched the credible limits of the actual events and distorted them to create in some or many cases myths. Supplied is the page number and post number in this thread   ……..

1.The Purge in the Ruijin Base                        P.22                #138
2. Chiang Let the Reds Go (I)                        P.24                #141
3. Chiang Let the Reds Go (II)                        P.24                #144
4. The Fake Battle at the Luding Bridge                P.27                #158
5. Mao Carried through the Long March                P.36                #212
6. Mao Did Not Fight Japanese                        P.48                #286
7. The Trap for the New 4th Army                P.51                #303
8. Mao Sacrificed His Brother Tse-min                P.72                #430
9. The Rectification Campaign                        P.79                #473
10. Opium Sale                                                P.83                #493
11. 3 Million Deaths in 1950-51                        P.92                #548
12. 27 Million Deaths in Jails/Labor Camps        P.100        #596
13. The Superpower Program                        P.100        #597
14. 38 Million Deaths in 1958-61 (1)                P.104        #622
14. 38 Million Deaths in 1958-61 (2)                P.111        #662
14. 38 Million Deaths in 1958-61 (3)                P.111        #665
15. 3 Million Deaths in 1966-76                       p.143        #856
16. Mao’s Aim of the Cultural Revolution           p.147        #879
17. Mao Compared to Hitler                            p.147        #880

These 17 chapters have been comprehensively discussed and rebutted and although Jung Chang and Halliday have done some very good work in the past, it seems that they have gone the way of sensationalism this time and thrown their credibility to the wind. Unfortunately, many in the West will devour this book as a Gospel and never know that they have been mislead throughout the book.

Was Maoism in China a beautiful thing and I think the answer maybe would be not necessarily, but the outcome was a fresh start for China which it would seem is vilified by the West through any spurious means  ........

One of my very favourites is this book is this one:  

In MUS p.465, JC tell us that ...........

“In order to save money on health, the regime resorted to schemes like hygiene drives, which called for killing not only flies and rats, but in some areas also cats and dogs, although, curiously, it never extended to cleaning up China’s stinking and pestiferous, toilets, which survived uncleansed throughout Mao’s reign."

Yet isn’t it Jung Chang who tells us that there were those who when they disagreed with the Party were forced to clean toilets …………..

I wonder whether she meant, “all the toilets in China were cleaned, and many times” ……….   

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

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