No Link for Misguided Misinformation – Part 2/5

Kier’s rant continues with, My wife’s Chinese but there’s no way I’d consider my son applying for anything other than Western citizenship—as a Chinese he’d simply be a subject of the Party to read what is allowed, express ideas which are permissible and conduct himself in a manner that has been cleared.”

My wife is Chinese too, and she has a better understanding of what happened and why most Chinese older than 30 (born well before 1980) see Mao in a different light.

Most Chinese that lived through the Cultural Revolution era understand this better than most and once all the facts were weighed, many in China felt that Mao was not the great monster the West makes him out to be.

In another post, I explained why Mao may have made some of his disastrous decisions in Mao and Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Did Mao and the Party he led make mistakes during The Great Leap Forward?

Stalin deliberately caused the deaths of millions of peasants and  then confiscated their land. In 1950, Mao allowed the peasants to judge the wealthy landowners, convict and then execute them for crimes against the peasants. Then China divided the land among the peasants after the wealthy landowners were gone. In 1958, Mao collectivized rural China into large communal farms but never rounded up the peasants and starved them deliberately as Stalin did.

Yes, but those mistakes did not have goals to execute and exterminate millions of people by starving them as Stalin did in the USSR or what Hitler’s Nazi Party did in Germany.

In fact, the five-year plan that mapped out The Great Leap Forward was cancelled in 1960s after knowledge of the starvation reached the leadership of China’s Communist Party.

The Party leadership then stepped forward and managed to find countries willing to defy American’s complete embargo of China, such as Canada and Australia, which provided enough imported wheat and other food to feed China’s rural population, and most Chinese living in major cities had no idea what was going on in rural China.

China has a long history of droughts and famines and loss of life due to events caused by nature. Plans for the Great Leap Forward did not take into account the possibility of a drought and famine.

Continued on September 24, 2011 in No Link for Misguided Misinformation – Part 3 or return to Part 1


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

To subscribe to “iLook China”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.

14 Responses to No Link for Misguided Misinformation – Part 2/5

  1. Terry Chen says:

    It must be taken into account that the CCP gained control of a China that had been in a complete mess for 2 centuries. Apart from that, the nationalist party took away all the valuable pocessions as well as destroying as much of the infrastructure that they could when they left. They also deliberately left behind approximately 3 million thugs and spies to make life hard for the CCP. Barely after the CCP gained control of the whole of China, the US pushed to its borders, forcing the Chinese to get involved in yet another bloody war.

    Mao was not perfect, but there’s nothing wrong with him being a national hero. He reunified China and stood up to the mighty US forces. For a country that had been split up and bullied by other countries for centuries, NOTHING was more important than. what he did. Life may have been tough under Mao, but it was MUCH better than it had been for more than 2 centuries.

    No leader is perfect, and Mao led China in the toughest of conditions. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were both slave owners, yet they are both considered as national heroes.

  2. Alessandro says:

    Good point…I have always asked myself, without having the time to check in a deeper way for infos, how long did it take to the new PRC government to reestablish effective control over the whole of the country after October 1st 1949..China being, after all, a huge country…

    • Xiaohu Liu says:

      This is an interesting topic. From what I can gather the communists spent the around 10 years establishing borders and order outside of China proper. This includes negotiating with the Soviet for western China, working out a deal with the Lama’s in Tibet (which later fell through) and fighting a short border war with Indians (who were trying take those parts of China that the British claimed)

      • Xiaohu Liu,

        From what I’ve learned, the job isn’t over yet. When China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, to qualifty it had to create a Western style legal system from scratch and decided to model it on the German legal system. There are traveling judges moving around rural China introducing this new legal system to the people and holding court.

        And here is a piece dated May 21, 2008 about China’s first US style Law School.

  3. Aussie in China says:

    You need to distinguish ‘land owners’ from ‘land lords’

    Like my wife’s family, many large rural families were able to manage their own tracts of land without using outside labour. Their only misfortune was that the larger tract of land gave greater yields which became the sore point between them and the rest.

    in 1950 in most parts of the west and north-west and probably most of China, the Guomingdang had gone and the new government was still in the throes of taking control. Shaanxi and other places were rudderless and in complete anarchy

    With no instated government and no Law and order and with a large availability of weapons left from the decades of fighting the disgruntled in many cases were able to forcibly take whatever something akin to the recent London riots.

    • Aussie in China,

      I agree with Alessandro, you made a good point I have not considered before. Of course, it makes sense that much of China would have needed time to stabilize. From what I’ve read, there are still a few very remote and difficult areas of China that may still fit your explanation. In fact, what you say would make a great post explaining the situation in 1950 and the effort it must have taken to stabilize the country while building the foundation for provincial and national governments. It could not have happened overnight and without any money in addition to the complete US embargo, it would have been difficult to say the least.

      And yes, I have read that Chiang Kai-shek’s people emptied the treasury, the banks and took most of the imperial treasures from the Forbidden City and other palaces as they fled.

      Several years ago, I had the opportunity to talk to a former KMT police chief of a small town near Shanghai (the father of a friend of my wife’s family) whose job was to stay behind and make sure the trains that were being loaded with all the gold, silver and treasure was not robbed before it was on its way to where it would be loaded on a ship and moved to Taiwan.

      PLA troops caught him and he went to a prison camp near Tibet where he stayed along with thousands of others for decades before he was released and given a pension about ten years ago. He had children and they are taking care of him now and he is in his 80s or 90s. I spent an afternoon talking with him and it was amazing how his spirits and mood were so positive after all those years in the prison camp.

      It never occurred to me how difficult it must have been after 1949 for the CCP to govern a country coming out of such chaos, anarchy, what the warlords had done, in addition to twenty-three years of Civil War at a time when the country was still recovering from the Japanese devastation of World War II visited on China. Without support from most of the people, this recovery would have been impossible.

  4. Aussie in China says:

    My wife’s family were landowners in Shaanxi at the time who had their land and possessions confiscated and divided among the other villagers.

    in retribution, the villagers forced her grandfather to kneel on a board of nails for long periods until in the end he was unmercifully put out of his misery. Her grandmother was hung from a tree by her heels for two days but survived and died in the 1990s at a ripe old age.

    Their children (my wife’s mother and uncles who were then pre-teens) were denied education and taken out of school. There are all in their seventies now and 3 of the 4 uncles still live in the same village.

    However, none of my wife’s family have ever laid any blame for their misfortunes on Mao. Their animosity which still lingers today has always been directed at the other villagers (and their descendents) who engaged in this barbarous retribution.

    For all their suffering, Mao still remains their National hero.

    • I’ve understand this is what happened all across China at that time. The mostly uneducated peasants were allowed to seek revenge/justice for what they perceived as crimes against them. I suspect if the US were to allow the lower socio-economic classes to do the same with those that earn better money and live in better homes in America, the same would happen here.

      This is often what happens when there is vigilante justice. Your wife’s family was fortunate to have lived since so many died. I know members of a family that lost all their property. The only reason they did not suffer a similar fate was because some of the younger members of this very wealthy family had joined the Communist Party and fought with Mao during the Civil War.

      One of the mansions that once belonged to this family is now a tourist attraction.

      A few of the pictures on this photo page are of that home.

      I suspect that if Chiang Kai-shek’s KMT won the Civil War and he ruled China nothing would have changed and today China would have about a billion illiterate rural people living in severe poverty while the same families that held the wealth would still have it.

      I’ve also read and heard that most of the landowners treated the peasants as if they were just farm animals as was the case in countries that still had medieval style cultures. During the Cultural Revolution, my wife, who was born and grew up in Shanghai, was sent to a rural, peasant village for a time working in the fields and she said it was back breaking work from before sunrise to long after sunset and this was after the landowners were purged and had their land taken from them.

      In fact, the US has laws that make it difficult for a property owner to step out of line and if a tenant wants to take a property owner to court, it is easy and often the property owner pays penalties to the tenant for stupid things such as saying you don’t want to rent to them because you fear the child might fall in the pool and die. In addition, if the tenant damages the property and the property owner does not fix it fast enough (even the same day the damage happens), the city will make the property owner fix it and pay a fine to the city for damage’s he or she did not cause. It’s as if the tenant is the property owners child and responsible for whatever the tenant does.

      I know one apartment owner that had tenants that lived for free for several months before he could go through the courts to evict them and the tenants trashed the apartment so bad that it cost thousands of dollars to fix all the damage.

      If you were to study this site about “Who Rules America?”, you would discover that one racial group has most of the wealth in the U.S, while the top twenty % has more than 80% of the distribution of wealth. When these people abuse the power wealth brings, the masses at the bottom may get revenge. More examples are the Cuban, Iranian, French and Russian Revolutions.

      The 1910 Revolution in Mexico was also fought, in part, for much the same reasons between the wealthy land owners and the Mexican peasants.

      In November, 1911, a revolutionary leader wrote one of the most important documents in the history of Mexico: the Plan of Ayala, which called for the removal of President Francisco Madero and demanded land reform in rural Mexico.

      The French had good reasons for wanting equality. Before 1789 inequality was typical of the old government. The nobles and clergy were the privileged orders. There were social and economic inequalities as well as political ones. The peasant suffered under the burden of out-of-date feudal dues.

    • Xiaohu Liu says:

      I think to understand this level of cruelty, we probably need to understand what went on before in that village.

      • Xiaohu Liu,

        I agree. And we probably will never hear what really happened from the land owners that were the victims, and most of the peasants of that time are probably gone. However, those landowners were lucky to live. I’ve read that more than 800,000 landowners were exectued by the peasants throughout rural China during the land reforms.

      • Xiaohu Liu says:

        800,000 if not more, but the feudal chaos that was China during 1910-1950, was probably the worse era to be alive in China in no small part due to the depredations of local landlords.

      • Xiaohu Liu,

        True. After 1911, China was plunged into chaos and anarchy in addition to being fractured and torn apart by warlords, followed by Civil War between the KMT and the CCP after Sun Yat-Sin died in 1925, and then later the Japanese invaded at the start of World War II. China didn’t see everything settle down until after 1976.

        The Roots of Madness covers this era (1911-1949).

        In fact, Theodore H. White tells of an incident when he was in the field with some of Chiang Kai-shek’s troops when a Nationalist officer lies to peasants saying he belongs to Mao’s Communist army. When White asks the officer why he lied, he is told by the KMT officer that the peasants would not help if they knew the truth.

        It seems there was much bad blood between the Nationalist KMT Party and the peasants and the KMT Party supported the way life had been between the landowners, wealthy and the peasants.

  5. Xiaohu Liu says:

    Yikes, I feel sorry for his wife. Guy sounds like an angry ideologue.

Comments are welcome — pro or con. However, comments must focus on the topic of the post, be civil and avoid ad hominem attacks.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: