Mao’s ‘alleged’ Guilt in the Land of Famines – Part 1/8

I have an “old” friend who often takes conservative theories, opinions and conjecture fueled by emotions, and believes in them as if God wrote them with His own hand.

In addition, many people believe any claim if it supports their own biased opinions and will attack anyone that disagrees with them no matter how valid the evidence presented. However, when it comes to China, that reaction is understandable due to Western democracies partnership with capitalism, which is the polar opposite of communism/socialism.

It makes sense that many in the West will bend over backwards (even fabricate evidence) to demonize anything from a rival seen as evil that was already demonized for decades during the West’s Cold War with global communism.

In other words, prejudice in the West of any country linked to socialism/communism is hard wired to be biased.

In this case, Mao has been tried and convicted in the court of public opinion of the crime of mass murder based on exaggerated theories and opinions supported by inflated evidence.

I wrote on this topic before in China’s Great Famine (1959-1961) Fact of Fiction. That doesn’t mean I was finished with it.  If you shake a few trees, something falls out and you learn something new and compelling on a controversial topic, it’s time to return to the subject.

This time, I went looking for recent books about China and ran into several titles that perpetuated the myth that thirty to forty-five million (or more) people died during the Great Leap Forward (GLF) when in fact there may have been no massive loss of life due to the GLF — at least not in the numbers the mostly biased Western theorists and sources keep inflating higher in book after book, which is an example of the old saying that if you tell a lie enough it grows like cancer into a malignant, evil false truth.


droughts cause famines, people starve and die

In Hungry Ghosts: Mao’s Secret Famine (April 1998), Jasper Becker claimed, “Population statistics made public since 1979 reveal that at least 30 million people starved to death in the wake of Mao’s Great Leap Forward.”

However, in one sentence the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health reveals that Becker’s claim is a fraud. “Though population, disease and mortality statistics of modern China are spotty and sometimes questionable, common consensus among the researchers is that since 1949 the public health situation in China has improved tremendously.”

Then in Catastrophe and Contention in Rural China (May 2005), Ralph A. Thaxton Jr. says, “This book documents how China’s rural people remember the great famine of Maoist rule, which proved to be the worst famine in modern world history.”

If we examine “modern world history”, Thaxton’s claim is easily dismissed.

Continued on November 12, 2011 in Mao’s ‘alleged’ Guilt in the Land of Famines – Part 2

View as Single Page

Recommended reading on this topic for those who seek the unblemished truth: From the Monthly Review, Did Mao Really Kill Millions in the Great Leap Forward? by Joseph Ball

From Griffith University, Australia, Poverty, by David C. Schak, Associate Professor

______________

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.

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4 Responses to Mao’s ‘alleged’ Guilt in the Land of Famines – Part 1/8

  1. Xiaohu Liu says:

    Good post but I am not sure I agree with this point

    quote

    In Hungry Ghosts: Mao’s Secret Famine (April 1998), Jasper Becker claimed, “Population statistics made public since 1979 reveal that at least 30 million people starved to death in the wake of Mao’s Great Leap Forward.”

    However, in one sentence the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health reveals that Becker’s claim is a fraud. “Though population, disease and mortality statistics of modern China are spotty and sometimes questionable, common consensus among the researchers is that since 1949 the public health situation in China has improved tremendously.”

    /quote

    I am not sure that an improvement in nutrition between 1949 to 1989 would prelude a famine during the GLF.

    • Xiaohu,

      True, an improvement in nutrition would not protect the people from crop losses and the famine and loss of life that followed in 1959, 1960 and 1961 (the evidence shows that the most dramatic loss of life due to starvation was in 1960 and then there were dramatic improvements in 1961 and only a small change in 1958 and 1959), but the early evidence of improved nutrition and the increase in average lifespan starting in 1949 provides compelling evidence that is hard to ignore that the CCP and Mao did not deliberately set about to murder or butcher tens of millions of people.

      If that was the goal, why bother to improve nutrition and the quality of health care in China in the first place, which is the reason the average life span increased dramatically during the Mao era and continued to improve at a slower rate after Mao died.

      There is no doubt that millions died of starvation in the provinces hit by the drought, but the reason for those deaths is what is questionable.

      The most valid reason would be that it was caused by drought and/or floods and crop losses leading to starvation and once Beijing and Mao all accepted that a famine was really happening, the CCP acted rather quickly to alleviate the suffering and starvation. Just the fact that China entered into an agreement in 1961 with Canada and Australia and laundered American wheat through France is evidence that this was not a deliberate slaughter as in Hitler and Stalin’s.

      It is obvious when examined closely that the accusations that Mao butchered those people between 1958 – 1962 are nothing but accusations with little merit. Mao may have been guilty of other acts such as what took place during The Cultural Revolution or the deaths that rid China of illegal drug trade in 1950, but I suspect that he was innocent of most or all of the deaths from starvation during the GLF.

      However, members of the CCP at the provincial level in those provinces that were hit hardest may have been guilty for the deaths caused by the false reports of higher crop yields sent to Beijing. Until Mao and the CCP leadership in Beijing were aware of the level of starvation, there would have been no action to move food from provinces that were not hit by the droughts and floods. The evidence (mostly ignored by Western critics) strongly suggests that once Mao and the CCP leadership in Beijing were aware, they started the process to deal with the droughts and loss of life from starvation by moving food from healthy provinces to those hit hardest but there still wasn’t enough food to go around. That was when China approached Australia, Canada and France and asked for help. It would be interesting to know if China ever asked the US for help too. However, if China did ask the US for help, I’m sure any evidence of that was shredded long ago.

      • Xiaohu Liu says:

        Thanks for elaborating on the point. I think I know what you mean now.

      • Xiaohu,

        Maybe I could have been clearer. I assumed the reader would see why I used this quote—— “Though population, disease and mortality statistics of modern China are spotty and sometimes questionable, common consensus among the researchers is that since 1949 the public health situation in China has improved tremendously.”

        I could have said, “This quote indicates that the CCP and Mao’s goals focused on improving the lifestyles of the Chinese while developing China and “NOT” to butcher millions as Hitler and Stalin did deliberately. The loss of life during the GLF from crop losses and famine was a coincidence and was not a deliberate act on the part of the CCP and Mao. Although Mao’s demands to increase crop yields and the fake reports from the provinces claiming to have met those quotas added to the suffering, this was not a deliberate act on Mao’s part. He had no way to look into a crystal ball and see what was coming.”

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

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