Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mao & the Great Leap Forward

The post below was ultimately inspired by the New York Times' Op-Ed "Mao's Great Leap to Famine" by Frank Dikotter.

Dikotter went through the declassified records in China.
In all, the records I studied suggest that the Great Leap Forward was responsible for at least 45 million deaths.

Between 2 and 3 million of these victims were tortured to death or summarily executed....People accused of not working hard enough were hung and beaten....Punishments for the least violations included mutilation and forcing people to eat excrement.

One report dated Nov. 30, 1960, and circulated to the top leadership — most likely including Mao — tells how a man named Wang Ziyou had one of his ears chopped off, his legs tied up with iron wire and a 10-kilo stone dropped on his back before he was branded with a sizzling tool. His crime: digging up a potato.

When a boy stole a handful of grain in a Hunan village, the local boss, Xiong Dechang, forced his father to bury his son alive on the spot.
So when you see someone with a Mao-image t-shirt or purse, this is what that person seems to think is appropriate.

But then, as Pulitzer Prize winner Walter Duranty of the New York Times said of the forced starvation of millions of Ukrainians by Joseph Stalin: "But - to put it brutally - you can't make an omelet without breaking eggs."

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