Sunday, May 15, 2016

Mao Revisited


For John, BLUFPeople who believe they know the truth, and you need to know it too, can be dangerous.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



"'We thought Mao was doing a wonderful thing,' says British Red Guard 50 years after China's Cultural Revolution"

Writing in The Telegraph [London], Reporter Neil Connor, in Beijing, talked to a British Citizen who reminisced about the Chinese Cultural Revolution.

From Wikipedia:

The Revolution was launched in May 1966, after Mao alleged that bourgeois elements had infiltrated the government and society at large, aiming to restore capitalism. He insisted that these "revisionists" be removed through violent class struggle. China's youth responded to Mao's appeal by forming Red Guard groups around the country. The movement spread into the military, urban workers, and the Communist Party leadership itself. It resulted in widespread factional struggles in all walks of life. In the top leadership, it led to a mass purge of senior officials, most notably Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping. During the same period Mao's personality cult grew to immense proportions.
The death toll ranges from a mere 400,000 upwards toward 3 million.  Minorities took a disproportionate proportion of the punishment. But, back to the news article, the lede plus five says:
As a philosophy dedicated to eradicating all traces of bourgeois life from society, it is perhaps no surprise that the Cultural Revolution’s 50th anniversary next week is expected to be a somewhat muted affair.

No official events are planned, and in a land with an ever-widening middle class and growing ranks of billionaires, there is little appetite for the peasant lifestyle it championed.

But half a century on from China’s most radical and violent period of social upheaval, one unlikely figure will be marking the occasion with at least a touch of nostalgia.

Michael Crook, a Briton whose Communist father moved to China before the Second World War, was one of a handful of foreigners living in the country when Mao launched an all-out class war.

In May 1966, Mao ordered the young to rebel against the “four olds” – old customs, old culture, old habits and old ideas – and 15-year-old Mr Crook took the message to heart.

Far from worrying that he too could come under suspicion because of his Western background, he was among the first of his classmates to sign up for the Red Guard – the fanatical student group that became the revolution’s most devoted enforcers.

I know there are a number of people who admire Mao.  I heard one holding forth on NPR a couple of years ago.  Used the "You have to break a few eggs to make an omelet" expression.  I wonder how many humans that equates to?  How many dead humans, killed (murdered) because they didn't hold the right ideas, or were seen as a threat to the revolution?

There is this, however,

…there weren't layoffs under Mao. (There also wasn't an economy, but that's a different matter.
Regards  —  Cliff

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