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  #31  
Old 31-08-2020, 20:59
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  #32  
Old 01-09-2020, 22:20
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Originally Posted by cameron33 View Post
“No one here is telling the Chinese Jack shit“

Clearly you are not, but I was referring more to the general trend in Western MSM in recent months which is intent on painting China as the new “evil empire”/ next great threat to world peace. Quite possibly laying the propaganda ground work for a major conflict.

As far as your other points, I agree he takes responsibility for poor governance to try to effectively counter the famine, though for the reasons I laid out earlier comparing him to Stalin/Hitler is absurd. The number of deaths was so high (whatever the actual figure - the larger estimates are extremely suspect as they rely entirely on falling birthrate) because the famine hit an already severely impoverished and famine prone country with a massive population. Yes, the governance was poor but it was not intentionally so, and Mao does not take sole responsibility for the country being so impoverished and unable to respond at that moment in time. its the difference between an underqualified doctor failing to save a man bleeding from a stab wound vs. another man who goes out looking for people to stab. For me they do not seem comparable.

My point is simply that throwing Mao in with Hitler etc is ludicrous (versus your ‘ not that much of a stretch to include Mao alongside Hitler as 40 million died’) - not that Mao was a decent man or wise leader all told. Indeed you yourself correctly point out the Irish famine, and what about the Bengal famine, etc. Both certainly absolutely tragic and arguably barbaric politically motivated acts ... but comparing the perpetrators to Hitler?


“The famine is a complex topic but you know what I have two bachelor degrees and two masters degrees. None of which I need to recognise you're the kind of person who usually thinks they're the smartest person in the room.”

Hmm, I think you’re getting carried away here and going into personal abuse which isn’t really called for. Anyway, given the tone of your previous response I can’t see this being a good natured debate, so having laid out my argument I’ll leave it there as I don’t come here for negative vibes.
Nor reasoned argument...

Maybe don't come in with an opener questioning everyone's intelligence?

Are you familiar with Frank Dikotter? The author of Mao's Great Famine and most recently Dictators? Here's a short piece http://https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/news/maos-great-leap-forward-killed-45-million-in-four-years-2081630.html

I'd say Mao's name can be said in the same breath as Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin...

As for dismissive 'Western' views insisting the Chinese are wrong about Mao and wrong about their government now...it's a very dismissive Western view to assume millions of Chinese supported a man who brought torture and death to millions (the first thing to die in a dictatorship is truth it's why it's always hard to determine how much actual support any dictator really has...and dictators themselves assume little ... they might appear to want to be loved but they want to be feared more)....

A more nuanced view would be that of course Mao didn't come from nowhere, neither did Hitler, you can't dismiss the times such people rise up in and the circumstances that seem to lend their hand....if Germany hadn't been subject to such harsh war reparation demands after World War I maybe a space wouldn't have been created for Hitler...If China hadn't been in such a weakened and impoverished state maybe Mao wouldn't have found his place . I know some try to argue that some good came from Mao's regime but I have to wonder if there's a kind of inverse racism going on at some level...or vested interest...no one makes such a case for Hitler.....to talk of improved living standards for some on the backs of millions of tortured and murdered souls is no grounds to dismiss the case that Mao was one of the centuries greatest mass murderers
Look at the wealth many in the west enjoy today. Much of it gained from the slave trade. Does that mean the slave trade wasn't all bad?

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  #33  
Old 02-09-2020, 09:47
cameron33 cameron33 is offline
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@raven
“Maybe don't come in with an opener questioning everyone's intelligence?”
Not sure how I did that. My claim about the recent excessively negative and one-sided MSM coverage of everything China doesn’t do that. Neither did my assertion that the Great Famine and it’s causes were complex. Perhaps you misread.

“it's a very dismissive Western view to assume millions of Chinese supported a man...”
Well they did and still do, and not just millions but hundreds of millions. My wife is Chinese and I lived in China for ten years myself in several different cities, and still work daily with Chinese people. I speak quite fluent Chinese and have had many in-depth political conversations with friends and students over the past 20 years. Safe to say I know enough about the prevailing view of him, to the extent that one exits. Dress it up how you like as brainwashing or whatever, but Mao is still held in high esteem by the vast majority in China - despite most people also being aware of his shortcomings.

Look, Mao was not “a nice guy” and he made some brutal political decisions, as well as some massive cockups, but so did dozens of world leaders in the 20th century. If you liken Mao to Hitler you may as well do the same for Churchill. In fact, you likening Mao to Hitler is akin to someone from China likening Churchill/Truman to Hitler. If, in a conversation in China, you included Mao as being among “the most evil men in history” , the vast majority would think you’re on acid. The Western take on him is completely and utterly alien in the land which was affected by him directly. Of course in a population of 1.4 billion there are thousands who would disagree. But they would be a fractional minority - comparable to the number of Brits who would hold Churchill in utter contempt. I merely back the “50/50” view of the man held by a billion Chinese. Apologies if that makes me “inversely racist” or whatever other silly personal nonsense people are going to throw at next in this thread - though you’ll go far to top the guy who, apropos of nothing, accused me of thinking himself “the smartest guy in the room” before going onto list his educational CV.

Last edited by cameron33; 02-09-2020 at 09:56.
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  #34  
Old 02-09-2020, 21:54
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Originally Posted by cameron33 View Post
@raven
“Maybe don't come in with an opener questioning everyone's intelligence?”
Not sure how I did that. My claim about the recent excessively negative and one-sided MSM coverage of everything China doesn’t do that. Neither did my assertion that the Great Famine and it’s causes were complex. Perhaps you misread.
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Originally Posted by cameron33 View Post
The famine is a complex topic, and very few people have the educational background or will to give it the needed time. And of those of course plenty still come into the topic with their conclusions ready made.
Perhaps you mistyped

(RB was simply pointing out he did have the educational background you require ... if your conclusions were not already made)


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Originally Posted by cameron33 View Post
“it's a very dismissive Western view to assume millions of Chinese supported a man...”
Well they did and still do, and not just millions but hundreds of millions. My wife is Chinese and I lived in China for ten years myself in several different cities, and still work daily with Chinese people. I speak quite fluent Chinese and have had many in-depth political conversations with friends and students over the past 20 years. Safe to say I know enough about the prevailing view of him, to the extent that one exits. Dress it up how you like as brainwashing or whatever, but Mao is still held in high esteem by the vast majority in China - despite most people also being aware of his shortcomings.

Look, Mao was not “a nice guy” and he made some brutal political decisions, as well as some massive cockups, but so did dozens of world leaders in the 20th century. If you liken Mao to Hitler you may as well do the same for Churchill. In fact, you likening Mao to Hitler is akin to someone from China likening Churchill/Truman to Hitler. If, in a conversation in China, you included Mao as being among “the most evil men in history” , the vast majority would think you’re on acid. The Western take on him is completely and utterly alien in the land which was affected by him directly. Of course in a population of 1.4 billion there are thousands who would disagree. But they would be a fractional minority - comparable to the number of Brits who would hold Churchill in utter contempt. I merely back the “50/50” view of the man held by a billion Chinese. Apologies if that makes me “inversely racist” or whatever other silly personal nonsense people are going to throw at next in this thread - though you’ll go far to top the guy who, apropos of nothing, accused me of thinking himself “the smartest guy in the room” before going onto list his educational CV.
Presuming you're not familiar with Frank Dikotter.

It's not surprising that in such a closed society criticism of Mao is muted. It is quite incredible for you to say 'in a population of 1.4 billion there are thousands who would disagree.'...you speak for billions? Well no more to say

Mao was responsible for the deaths of millions of Chinese people. It's dismissive to refer to him as 'not a nice guy', responsible for 'brutal political decisions'...you're missing the words mass and murderer
To say he can't be fully understood without context is true of many brutal dictators it doesn't take away from their inhumanity
Churchill was deeply flawed but you're looking for comparisons in the wrong places
I'm not expecting to change your mind but I am puzzled at the idea that to consider his actions evil requires a considerable amount of drugs....

https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...ommunist-party
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  #35  
Old 03-09-2020, 20:33
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I have to agree with raven wholeheartedly on this, there is some serious gaslighting going on from cameron regarding china's history. I feel like they're playing into the propaganda role of the chinese state that have successfully spent decades erasing things like tiananmen square from being written about, taught, or even discussed openly without risk of being disappeared. There is a whole generation who have grown up not knowing the protests ever took place.
I'm reminded of the mussolini apologists who said "well, at least he made the trains run on time" (narrator: he didn't).

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/03/o...men-china.html
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  #36  
Old 04-09-2020, 09:11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cameron33
though you’ll go far to top the guy who, apropos of nothing, accused me of thinking himself “the smartest guy in the room” before going onto list his educational CV.
As others have pointed out, this was a direct response to:


Quote:
Originally Posted by cameron33
The famine is a complex topic, and very few people have the educational background or will to give it the needed time
Not sure who that point was intended for but it's a load of bollox. You could easily twist that to say that majority of the Chinese population don't have the educational background to comment on the famine. Even people with similar levels of education will come to different conclusions. The above quote makes it seem like you believe you have the educational background and no one else does.

One argument that irks me is that somehow 'western' folk shouldn't have a view on 'eastern' authoritarian regimes or dictatorships. Again it's a load of bollox, that argument is always deployed in defence of regimes imprisoning or murdering its own citizens. I rarely hear that argument come about in analysis of Japan, Taiwan or Singapore. There is no war of civilizations and to be honest most of the East's despots are in place directly because of Western exploitation. One can easily posit that much of China's growth owes to opening up its land and people to be exploited by Western companies seeking cheaper labour and production and thus crystallising the power structure keeping Communist party in control.

For what it's worth, my degrees mean nothing to this topic but intellectual grandstanding is one of my triggers.
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  #37  
Old 04-09-2020, 20:27
cameron33 cameron33 is offline
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@raven
The famine is a complex topic, and very few people have the educational background or will to give it the needed time“
Yes, I accept I could have worded that better. I wasn’t questioning the intelligence of anyone here. My point was that a knowledge of Chinese 20th century politics, society etc is necessary to understand all the facets. Of course anyone *could* attain these, but few have them as a starting point. Events have complex causes. Pinning all the blame on Mao and calling him a mass murderer doesn’t change that. It’s like Trump blaming the whole pandemic on Xi Jinping. Might make you feel better but it’s just stupid.

Mao was responsible for the deaths of millions of Chinese people. It's dismissive to refer to him as 'not a nice guy', responsible for 'brutal political decisions'...you're missing the words mass and murderer”.
I’ll just deal with this one obvious but critical point: Being responsible doesn’t equate to murder. You could easily argue Boris Johnson was responsible for many of the early deaths from Covid in March and April. As much as I detest his incompetence and idiocy which enabled it to spread like wildfire among vulnerable people in March and April, I wouldn’t call him a murderer.

Last edited by cameron33; 04-09-2020 at 20:30.
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  #38  
Old 04-09-2020, 20:41
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I thought the post about Mao was quite informative and unbiased. If Mao is still revered by people I don't see why the statistics should be a concern anyway. Many historical leaders and politicians have little concern for human life in the west where propaganda exists. I think if Richey was referring to Mao in Faster, as it says in the thread, he would have perhaps mentioned him. I also think putting Mao on the same scale as the Holocaust is completly dismissive, like they're both a consequence of horrificness of war and repression rather than
comparing Hitler's Mein Kampf with Mao's red book and the events at the time.
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  #39  
Old 04-09-2020, 20:47
cameron33 cameron33 is offline
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@Tim
I agree it is wrong that Tiananmen Square is completely censored within China. However, the Western narrative of that event is also rather one sided. There is actually little evidence of any carnage with the Square itself. The vast majority of protestors dispersed peacefully in the morning. The weight of evidence shows that the deaths, perhaps as many as several hundred, all seemed to have taken place around the square - and there were many soldier deaths among those. There is, among other things, photographic evidence from the Wikileaks documents of soldiers having been lynched, stabbed, and set on fire by protestors. No reliable eye witness accounts support the narrative of an Amritsar style massacre of passive students within the square, it would appear all the action was on the streets outside.

I also often wonder, why do Westerners believe that a Chinese youngster in 2020 would be overly bothered to learn about a protest turned ugly which occurred 31 years ago, in a Chinese society pretty unrecognizable from today. How much sleep does the average British teen lose over the dead Iraqi’s from Blair’s war? I condemn both of those occurrences, but why is the first, 31 years ago, labeled an atrocity by MSM, while the other, much more recent and far larger, just a tut tut, “lessons to be learnt” and shoulder shrug?

Last edited by cameron33; 04-09-2020 at 21:08.
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  #40  
Old 04-09-2020, 20:53
cameron33 cameron33 is offline
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“For what it's worth, my degrees mean nothing to this topic but intellectual grandstanding is one of my triggers.”
.... to (attempt to) engage in intellectual grandstanding about your education. It did make me lol. In seriousness though, as I have just stated above, I could have worded that sentence much better, so apologize for any misunderstanding caused by my lousy wording.
My point simply was that putting the blame for a mass, historical event - particularly an event which which lasts for years and affects a continent sized land mass - almost entirely onto the head of *one individual* is a hell of a thing to do. So anyone who does so better be pretty read up on that time period/society/culture etc. The vast majority of us, myself included, fall well short of the mark where China is concerned.

“One argument that irks me is that somehow 'western' folk shouldn't have a view on 'eastern' authoritarian regimes or dictatorships.”
I do not subscribe to that at all. I have some fairly strong views of the dictatorship in Beijing - some of it favorable, some it not. My view simply differs from your own.

“One can easily posit that much of China's growth owes to opening up its land and people to be exploited by Western companies seeking cheaper labour and production and thus crystallising the power structure keeping Communist party in control.”

Well, yes, that’s one component. But define *exploited*. I think many people would welcome the kind of exploitation that would see their salaries triple in twenty years, that would see real living standards for the masses incomparable to three decades ago. As for opening up land, well, that’s happening a lot the other way too now. Plus domestic consumption is rising fast, homegrown companies are thriving at home and abroad, and Chinese universities are improving at an incredible rate. There’s been a bit more to it than opening up for some mass cheap manufacturing. Why the constant need to negate the complexity of the country and society?

Last edited by cameron33; 04-09-2020 at 21:16.
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  #41  
Old 04-09-2020, 21:34
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[
My point simply was that putting the blame for a mass, historical event - particularly an event which which lasts for years and affects a continent sized land mass - almost entirely onto the head of *one individual* is a hell of a thing to do.
The problem is when there is a dictatorship, the leader is the one who takes the blame. The Communist party spent a lot of effort putting down dissent. And the great leap forward was Mao's, he owns those consequences. In a democracy people can share the blame but it just doesnt work when there's a cult of personality.

Quote:
Well, yes, that’s one component. But define *exploited*. I think many people would welcome the kind of exploitation that would see their salaries triple in twenty years, that would see real living standards for the masses incomparable to three decades ago. As for opening up land, well, that’s happening a lot the other way too now. Plus domestic consumption is rising fast, homegrown companies are thriving at home and abroad, and Chinese universities are improving at an incredible rate. There’s been a bit more to it than opening up for some mass cheap manufacturing. Why the constant need to negate the complexity of the country and society?
By exploit, I mean treating Chinese people less than they would in the west. They get paid less for more work. You could argue that the increase in standard of living is worthwhile but it's borne out of inequity and exploitation of weaker labour laws.

As you noted, I said it was a component not the whole story, so I negated a total of jack shit. I was merely making a point that the negative aspects of Western capitalism have been transplanted into the mainland and that both China and the West are entwined rather than being two separate entities in conflict.
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  #42  
Old 04-09-2020, 22:02
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Originally Posted by cameron33
I also often wonder, why do Westerners believe that a Chinese youngster in 2020 would be overly bothered to learn about a protest turned ugly which occurred 31 years ago, in a Chinese society pretty unrecognizable from today. How much sleep does the average British teen lose over the dead Iraqi’s from Blair’s war? I condemn both of those occurrences, but why is the first, 31 years ago, labeled an atrocity by MSM, while the other, much more recent and far larger, just a tut tut, “lessons to be learnt” and shoulder shrug?
A bit of straw man argument isn't it. Especially when it's running completely counter to what's happening in the UK at the moment. Recently we had a group of mostly young people tear down a statue of a slave owner while the police just stood by. This action was condemned by the government yet as far as I know there have been no arrests.There are plenty of young people in the UK today looking for honest reflection of the state's history. Can you honestly say that if something similar happened in Mainland China that the perpetrators or anyone with the gall to share the video would have gotten away with such a light touch. I don't give a shit what a young Chinese person thinks about Tinammen square, what I do care about is that their access to information about it is controlled and their ability to publicly express their opinions is suppressed sometimes violently.

I don't think it's fair to say that the entire British press shrug at Iraq, I don't think any would dare to put it in a positive light. Maybe the Daily Hate might shrug there's still plenty out there who see Iraq as a warcrime and Tony Bliar as a war criminal. But looking at the recent silencing of newspapers in Hong Kong, I'd take the British MSM (Daily Hate n'all) any day over the Communist party's tight window for debate. This is the party that takes belligerent exception to Winnie the Pooh and Umbrellas. The Chinese press makes the British tabloid press look positively revolutionary in comparison. We might have a shit free press but its still free.
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  #43  
Old 04-09-2020, 22:19
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I’ll just deal with this one obvious but critical point: Being responsible doesn’t equate to murder. You could easily argue Boris Johnson was responsible for many of the early deaths from Covid in March and April. As much as I detest his incompetence and idiocy which enabled it to spread like wildfire among vulnerable people in March and April, I wouldn’t call him a murderer.
I think you're trying to bury this in semantics here. But I'll direct you towards to Corporate Manslaughter legislation where the leaders of an organisation can be held accountable and responsible for deaths caused by inadequate health and safety practices. It doesn't matter if they're not the ones to pull the lever, but they are held responsible for creating an environment allowing an a preventable accident to occur. Not completely sure a charge against the UK government over the Covid response would hold up in court but it would be interesting if someone tested it out.

What I'm trying to demonstrate is that while Mao may not have killed anyone personally, he is still responsible for the outcomes for the initiative he led enacted through an organisation that he was head of. Heavy is the head that wears the crown and all that. And fuck, the Communist party have a fair share of blood on their hands from intentional politician and cultural purges, not sure how Mao can be completely divorced away from the murder committed in his name.
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  #44  
Old 04-09-2020, 23:23
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@raven
The famine is a complex topic, and very few people have the educational background or will to give it the needed time“
Yes, I accept I could have worded that better. I wasn’t questioning the intelligence of anyone here. My point was that a knowledge of Chinese 20th century politics, society etc is necessary to understand all the facets. Of course anyone *could* attain these, but few have them as a starting point. Events have complex causes. Pinning all the blame on Mao and calling him a mass murderer doesn’t change that. It’s like Trump blaming the whole pandemic on Xi Jinping. Might make you feel better but it’s just stupid.

Mao was responsible for the deaths of millions of Chinese people. It's dismissive to refer to him as 'not a nice guy', responsible for 'brutal political decisions'...you're missing the words mass and murderer”.
I’ll just deal with this one obvious but critical point: Being responsible doesn’t equate to murder. You could easily argue Boris Johnson was responsible for many of the early deaths from Covid in March and April. As much as I detest his incompetence and idiocy which enabled it to spread like wildfire among vulnerable people in March and April, I wouldn’t call him a murderer.
Well, you test the patience...which I suspect is your intent....you accept you could have worded it better then do a wonderful deflect and compare blaming Mao for murder as on a par with something Trump would say...for feck's...it's not about making anyone feel better (patronising?) ..... why not express your love for Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, Amin, Milosevic, Mugabe...all the greats....? Why Mao? Again and again I've acknowledged that context plays a role and you won't understand the actions of anyone without understanding their environment but to more fully understand the context is not to absolve an individual of their responsibility in fact the individual usually takes full advantage and manipulates the context and circumstances they're in. Why not make the case for Hitler? Absolve him as you absolve Mao by blaming the devastation and humiliation brought down on Germany after World War I...why not? Because that might display sympathy for a mass murderer? Exactly. You express respect for the Chinese but try and argue the case for a man who brought so much suffering. At best you are the ignorant one here and at worst....

To try and equate him with Boris is to be as stupid as Boris (and Trump) clearly are....though looking at events in the US you can actually only be grateful that for all the criticism the US faces they do have the democratic structures in place strong enough to at least stop Trump from taking complete power and the fact we know about the events there surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement is testament to the freedom of the press...a freedom which cannot be taken for granted in other parts of the world including China

And of course if you lead a murderous regime you are a murderer....a child could tell you that

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/w...ao-223541.html

“Look at World War II, at Hitler’s cruelty. The more cruelty, the more enthusiasm for revolution.”
- Mao Zedong

“When there is not enough to eat people starve to death. It is better to let half of the people die so that the other half can eat their fill.”
- Mao Zedong
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There is a rapture on the lonely shore
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more," - Byron

'I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.' (from Sea Fever - John Masefield)


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That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all" - Emily Dickinson
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  #45  
Old 05-09-2020, 06:44
cameron33 cameron33 is offline
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It seems like we’re arguing at cross purposes. I’ve never been a supporter of Communism, or claimed Mao did a good job during that period. I just feel that the notion that all famines are man-made and that any government that presides over a famine, or severe food shortage, is therefore guilty of genocide, is illogical - absurd even.

All famines are due to an interaction of natural factors, human factors and government policy. The underlying cause of famine in any country is poverty. Economic policy errors or indeed natural disasters do not create the threat of famine in advanced western countries.

And it is also true that by building the industrial base and improving the rural infrastructure, Mao's policies during and after the Great Leap Forward prevented incidents of famine recurring, which until that point had been a recurring tragedy in China over the last two centuries.

Mao’s mistakes during the period of famine/GLF are a huge black mark agains an otherwise impressive record, but that doesn’t make him comparable to Hitler. Mao was on the “wrong side of history” for the West, which means that his “wrongs” are amplified and exaggerated, often to absurdity, while his “rights” are downplayed. Btw, a bit of light research will suggest that the couple of infamous quotes which posit that Mao intentionally “sacrificed” half the population or whatever were taken completely out of context. Again, we get back to the complexity of the issue and need for thorough background research. I’m no authority, but at least have read a few different sources from different perspectives on the issue, ie fairly rudimentary stuff.

For me, the balance of research I have read (on both sides) points to political cockups on a local and national level, in the context of a very poor nation in a period of great historical upheaval, but not purpose mass murder. It will never belong in the category of wrong as, say, Japan’s Unit 731 whereby “doctors” performed vivisection and other gruesome experiments on live prisoners, including children, at the behest of the emperor. Something well known in China, but less known about in the West, or indeed Japan. Indeed, the US was so eager for the findings of this “research” that they granted immunity to dozens of high level Japanese torturers in exchange for it. Imagine how people would spin *that* about Mao had it been him buying such information.... I include this merely as an example of different perspectives on how a narrative can be downplayed or amplified. And how the notion of mass murderer or evil are incredibly subjective and rooted in personal/national experience, level of intent (IMO) and who gets to write the history.

Last edited by cameron33; 05-09-2020 at 07:19.
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