Imagine how Americans would have felt if China had deployed several of its army divisions in the United States to protect the Chinese living in America after the racist and discriminatory Chinese Exclusion Act was signed into law by U.S. President Chester A. Arthur on May 6, 1886—this law would not be repealed until 1943.
Then there was Mao surviving Chiang Kai-shek‘s crack down on the labor movement led by the Communist Party. During World War II, Mao’s army not only fought Chiang Kai-shek’s troops but also the Japanese, who killed between 10 to 20 million Chinese in their attempt to conquer China.
The peasants trusted Mao’s troops but did not trust Chiang Kai-shek’s army. Do you know why?
Then there was the West’s wars in Korea (1950 – 1953: with an estimated 2.5 million killed/wounded) and Vietnam (1955 – 1975: with an estimated 3.8 million killed/wounded) in addition to America’s necklace of military basses surrounding China to this day. Source: Foreign Policy.com
Mao believed that socialism would create a better life for the Chinese. His failures were attempts to make China strong enough to defend his country against the foreign meddling and invasions that had plagued China since the 1850s.
Regardless of all the horrible facts the Western media keeps reminding the world about, there are a few facts that are not well known in the West about Mao and China—when Mao became the leader of mainland China in 1949, the average lifespan in China was age 35. When Mao died in 1976, the average lifespan had increased by twenty years to age 55—today the average life expectancy is almost age 75. In addition, the population of China was 400 million in 1949. Twenty-seven years later at the time of Mao’s death, China’s population had increased to 700 million.
These two facts alone call into question many of the alleged and inflated claims of deaths and suffering caused by the mistakes of the Great Leap Forward famine and the national insanity of the Cultural Revolution that are often trumpeted by China’s critics—some are quite rabid and idealistic and are more than willing to inflate and exaggerate the facts that are known.
Mao was not perfect by any means but even the Chinese—after his death—credited his leadership as 70% good and only 30% bad. You may not agree with this assessment, but did you live in China during and before the Mao era? Have you any idea how horrible life was for most Chinese before 1949?
Return to or Start with The History that Drove Mao’s Decisions as China’s Leader: Part 1
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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