Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Yes, but only 30 million people starved to death

Karon Snowdon, reporting for the ABC’s Rear Vision, presents a potted history of China:
Influenced by the Soviet model, collectivisation and social reforms followed. While Mao’s Great Leap Forward was meant to catapult China into the big league of heavy industry, it had mixed results.
“Mixed results”? Is that the ABC’s shorthand for the brutal imposition of the mad whims of a Communist psychopath which lead to the deaths of millions? Jasper Becker’s book on this obscentity puts it rather better:
In 1984 American demographers uncovered evidence that at least 30 million people had starved to death in China between 1958 and 1962.... Based on hundreds of interviews and unpublished documents, (Becker’s book) describes how Mao Zedong created a man-made famine throughout China. Mao’s Great Leap Forward was the greatest example of Utopian engineering ever attempted. Instead, even in the richest regions, peasants died in their millions while the rest became gaunt skeletons. Through graphic eyewitness accounts, the author describes a catalogue of terror, cannibalism, slavery, torture and imprisonment that took place on a massive scale during the great famine in which 10 million people were arrested and sent to death camps while a further 10 million fled their homes. He goes on to explain how the darkest secret of Mao’s rule was kept hidden and why evidence of what happened was disbelieved for so long. 

More people died in this catastrophe than in the Second World War or in the concentration camps of Hitler or Stalin.

A catastrophe so large that the Communist Party sidelined Mao and reduced him to a figurehead, which is why he then unleashed the Cultural Revolution as a means of circumventing the party and reestablishing his control and power.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

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