Why did Mao cause so much suffering with his failed Great Leap Forward and The Cultural Revolution? Yes, many of us have heard that power corrupts and no country is without its examples. And, for sure, the power Mao held was a factor in the decisions he made, but fear of repeating history may have been a bigger factor in his decisions.
For example, how many millions of Chinese were addicted to Western opium forced on China by Great Britain; France and for a short period even the United States during the Opium Wars [1st: 1839-1842; 2nd: 1856-1860]? To the credit of the U.S., the Congress eventually voted to pull America’s troops out of the 2nd Opium War and gave back the reparations China was forced to pay its invaders after losing that war.
“During the nineteenth century, Britain fought two wars of choice with China to force it to import opium. The opium grown in India and shipped to China first by the British East India Company and after 1857 by the government of India, helped Britain finance much of its military and colonial budgets in South and Southeast Asia. The Australian scholar Carl A. Trocki concludes that, given the huge profits from the sale of opium, “without the drug, there probably would have been no British empire.” Source: 5th World.com
In addition, historians think that 20 to 100 million may have died due to the Taiping Rebellion (1850 – 1864). The Taiping Rebellion was led by a failed Confusion scholar who converted to Christianity and then claimed to be the younger brother of Jesus Chris. He even wrote his own gospel and added it to the Bible.
If Christian missionaries had not been forced on China at the conclusion of the 1st Opium War, would that rebellion have taken place?
More than 100,000 Chinese were killed during the Boxer Rebellion (1899 – 1901), which was a popular peasant uprising against Christian missionaries, and the meddling and exploitation of foreigners in China to make money.
Could these wars and rebellions all linked to Christianity and opium sold by Western countries have motivated Mao to declare war on religion in China?
After 1911, when the Qing Dynasty collapsed, chaos and anarchy ruled China, while foreigners—Americans included—lived in luxury in the treaty ports that were the result of the Opium Wars and these foreign enclaves were protected by modern, foreign military forces on Chinese soil. A Century of Madness chronicles this time.
Continued on November 27, 2013 in The History that Drove Mao’s Decisions as China’s Leader: Part 2
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. 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.
His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.
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