Mao Zedong’s Legacy: Part 2 of 2

July 4, 2018

Before I get to Mao’s Cultural Revolution, I want to point out a few of Mao’s achievements. In the “Land of Famines”, China’s last famine was in 1958-62. For the first time in China’s long history, there hasn’t been a famine since 1962, fourteen years to Mao’s death in 1976 and another forty-two years since then.

The Mao era started in October 1949.  Mao said the People’s Republic of China would be free of inequality, poverty and foreign domination. The population of China was 541,670,000. Women were given new rights at work and in marriage, and foot binding was abolished. To deal with disease, Mao launched programs to improve health care that never existed before, and most of the people were inoculated against the most common diseases. When Mao died, the average life expectancy had increased from 35 to 55, and it is now 76.

When Mao died, the population had increased to more than 700,000. Extreme poverty had been reduced by about 14 percent. Since his death, poverty was reduced to where it is today at 6.5 percent of the population.

With a poverty rate of about 95-percent, Mao had promised land reforms to divide the land more equally. In 1950, with Mao’s blessing, rural property owners were judged enemies of the people by the rest of the rural people and hundreds of thousands were executed for their alleged abuses and crimes against the people that denounced them.

Soon after discovering that the famine was real, Mao ended the Great Leap Forward and publicly admitted he had been wrong and stepped aside to let someone else run the country. The large communes were abandoned, and the peasants returned to their villages and were given land again.  At the time, Mao was popular with the people but he still resigned as the head of state.

Then Mao wrote his infamous “Little Red Book” and used it to start the Cultural Revolution.

Zhang Baoqing, an early Red Guard member in Beijing, said, “Chairman Mao started the Cultural Revolution (1966 – 1976) to keep up the momentum for change. We thought if we followed Mao, we could not go wrong.”

Millions, mostly teenagers, willingly followed Mao’s advice.

The Cultural Revolutions stated goal was to preserve ‘true’ Communist ideology in the country by purging remnants of capitalist and traditional elements from Chinese society and to re-impose Mao Zedong Thought as the dominant ideology within the Party.

Britannica.com says, “Mao pursued his goals through the Red Guards, groups of the country’s urban youths that were created through mass mobilization efforts. They were directed to root out those among the country’s population who weren’t ‘sufficiently revolutionary’ and those suspected of being ‘bourgeois.’ The Red Guards had little oversight, and their actions led to anarchy and terror, as ‘suspect’ individuals—traditionalists, educators, and intellectuals, for example—were persecuted and killed. The Red Guards were soon reined in by officials, although the brutality of the revolution continued. The revolution also saw high-ranking CCP officials falling in and out of favor, such as Deng Xiaoping and Lin Biao.

“The revolution ended in the fall of 1976, after the death of Mao … The revolution left many people dead (estimates range from 500,000 to 2,000,000), displaced millions of people, and completely disrupted the country’s economy.”

Return to or Start with Part 1

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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Mao Zedong’s Legacy: Part 1 of 2

July 3, 2018

Mao ruled China as its head of state from 1949 – 1959. To understand what Mao faced, it helps to know what life was like in China before 1949.

China had few railroads. Before 1949, there were 6,835 miles in service and most of those rail lines were in the northeast and coastal areas of China.

China did not have a paved highway system, did not have an electric grid linking every village and city. In fact, most of the electricity was only generated in a few cities like Shanghai and Beijing where wealthy foreigners lived. There was no telephone system in rural China and most of the cities where wealthy foreigners didn’t live. The average lifespan was 35. The literacy rate was only 15-to-25 percent, and poverty was worse than it was in 1981 when it was 88 percent. In 1949, when Mao became China’s leader, extreme poverty was closer to 95 percent.

China had just emerged from more than a century of wars: the Taiping Rebellion (about 20 million killed), the two Opium Wars started by England and France, the Boxer Rebellion, the chaos and anarchy after the collapse of the Qing Dynasty in 1912, the long Civil War between the Chinese Communists and the Nationals (1927 – 1950), World War II (15 – 20 million killed by Japanese troops), the Korean War (180,000 Chinese troops killed), the failure of Mao’s Great Leap Forward that resulted in what’s known as Mao’s Great Famine, and the ravages of his Cultural Revolution.

Britannica.com says, “The disorganization and waste created by the Great Leap, compounded by natural disasters and by the termination of Soviet economic aid, led to widespread famine in which, according to much later official Chinese accounts, millions of people died. …”

“The official Chinese view, defined in June 1981, is that his leadership was basically correct until the summer of 1957, but from then on it was mixed at best and frequently wrong. It cannot be disputed that Mao’s two major innovations of his later years, the Great Leap and the Cultural Revolution, were ill-conceived and led to disastrous consequences. His goals of combating bureaucracy, encouraging popular participation, and stressing China’s self-reliance were generally laudable—and the industrialization that began during Mao’s reign did indeed lay a foundation for China’s remarkable economic development since the late 20th century—but the methods he used to pursue them were often violent and self-defeating.”

Before anyone blames Mao’s policies on what’s known as Mao’s Great Famine, 1958-62, you should know about China as the “Land of Famines.”

The Oxford Research Encyclopedias says, “The fall of the Qing and the birth of China’s new Republican government in 1912 did not reduce the number, severity, or impact of famines. Destroying the imperial system of government that had lasted for two millennia proved far easier than building a new system. In the first decades after 1912 the collapse of central political authority, constant fighting between rival warlords, increasing foreign domination, and unprecedented environmental decline undermined efforts to prevent successive natural and manmade disasters from resulting in famines. … Xia Mingfang estimates that more than 15.2 million people died in ten major drought famines that struck during the Republican period (1912–1949), and another 2.5 million Chinese perished in thirty serious floods. Major disasters struck so frequently that many Chinese observers joined Western relief workers in calling China the ‘Land of Famine’.”

Continued with Part 2 on July 4, 2018

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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Will the U.S. Cultural Revolution, based on Greed and Power, rival Mao’s in Suffering and Loss?

February 9, 2016

The difference between the current Cultural Revolution in the United States and Mao’s in China (1950 – 1976) is that this unique American Revolution is from the top down instead of the bottom up. In China the majority of the people supported the Chinese Communist Party against the Nationalist Party in a Civil War that raged for decades (1927 – 1950).

But in the United States, the revolution is being led by the wealthiest 0.1% of Americans: for instance, Bill Gates, two of the four Koch brothers, the Walton Walmart family, Rupert Murdock, Wall Street, Corporate America, Hedge Funds, recently Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, who was recruited into the Gates Cabal, and a few other poorer billionaires, for instance Eli Broad in California, a billionaire who made his money in real estate and who is currently funding a campaign to take half the children in the public schools in Los Angeles and move them into private sector, autocratic, opaque, often fraudulent, for-profit corporate charter schools that are often worse than the public schools they replace, according to more than one study out of Stanford. “75 percent of charter schools showed either no significant difference or were significantly weaker than traditional schools.” – Desert News

During Mao’s Cultural Revolution, the end goal was to end capitalism and support socialism to reduce the suffering of the majority of China’s people who lived in extreme poverty. In America’s current Cultural Revolution launched by President Ronald Reagan with his failed trickle-down economic theory, the goal has been to privatize and/or weaken the government by eliminating the public sector: public education, health care,  public police, health care for veterans through the Veterans Administration (VA), the U.S. Postal Service, the U.S. Military, Social Security, Medicare, Obamacare, etc.

The most recent incident of crimes against humanity in this U.S. Cultural Revolution that has been slowly gaining steam since Reagan are 10 Things They Won’t Tell You About the Flint Water Tragedy, but I Will by Michael Moore.

Moore starts with, “While the Children in Flint Were Given Poisoned Water to Drink, General Motors Was Given a Special Hookup to the Clean Water.” Click the link in the previous paragraph to read the details and to discover the other nine crimes.

The Washington Post reports, how do states support their public schools? Badly, a new 50-state report card shows. The highest grade was a C average (2.5 GPA), and only three states earned it: Iowa, Nebraska and Vermont.

Mother Jones says, It’s the Inequality, Stupid, and then explains what’s wrong with America in eleven charts. “A huge share of the nation’s economic growth over the past 30 years has gone to the top one-hundredth of one percent, who now makes an average of $27 million per household. The average income for the bottom 90 percent of us? $31,244.” Click the link in this paragraph to discover the horrid but true details.

Global Research asks, The Prison Industry in the United States: Big Business or a New Form of Slavery? “Human rights organizations, as well as political and social ones, are condemning what they are calling a new form of inhumane exploitation in the United States, where they say a prison population of up to 2 million – mostly Black and Hispanic – are working for various industries for a pittance. For the tycoons who have invested in the prison industry, it has been like finding a pot of gold. They don’t have to worry about strikes or paying unemployment insurance, vacations or comp time. All of their workers are full-time, and never arrive late or are absent because of family problems; moreover, if they don’t like the pay of 25 cents an hour and refuse to work, they are locked up in isolation cells.”

What has happened over the last 10 years? Why are there so many prisoners?

“The private contracting of prisoners for work fosters incentives to lock people up. Prisons depend on this income. Corporate stockholders who make money off prisoners’ work lobby for longer sentences, in order to expand their workforce. The system feeds itself,” says a study by the Progressive Labor Party, which accuses the prison industry of being “an imitation of Nazi Germany with respect to forced slave labor and concentration camps.”

The prison industry complex is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States and its investors are on Wall Street.

When President Richard Nixon declared his war on drugs, the average prison population in the United States averaged for decades about 250,000 or less. Today that number is approaching 2.5 million, the largest prison population on the planet, and China is #2 with almost five times the total population.

This American Cultural Revolution that is being led by the wealthiest and most powerful Americans has also waged war against labor unions since the 1960s and as union membership rates declined, middle class incomes shrunk.

Union Membership shrinks along with middle class incomes

The Military Times reports that veterans are against “plans to replace VA health care with a voucher system, an idea backed by some Republican lawmakers and presidential candidates.”

The United States was once proud to have an all-volunteer army but that isn’t true anymore. Foreign Policy.com reveals The New Unknown Soldiers of Afghanistan and Iraq and asks, “Did you know that private contractors in Afghanistan outnumber U.S. troops three to one?”

“Indeed, since 9/11, private contractors have been deployed at roughly the same — or even higher — rates as U.S. troops in support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is hard to detail, because the U.S. military has never adequately tracked contractor personnel deployed in support of overseas operations, according to various Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports. (To give one highly disturbing anecdote demonstrating this, while in September 2011 the GAO found that the military could not reliably determine the number of contractor personnel that had been killed or wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan, over the same time period, the Pentagon had accurately been tracking the number of combat dogs killed in both countries.)”

What happens when for-profit corporations take over fighting America’s wars, and who do you think will end up doing the fighting?

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 unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

IMAGE with Blurbs and Awards to use on Twitter

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China’s Holistic Historical Timeline


The History that Drove Mao’s Decisions as China’s Leader: Part 2 of 2

November 27, 2013

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

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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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The History that Drove Mao’s Decisions as China’s Leader: Part 1 of 2

November 26, 2013

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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China’s Tragedy Museum

October 8, 2013

The atrocities committed in Europe during World War II are well known except maybe in Iran where former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad once claimed the Holocaust never happened.

However, recently Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, said the Holocaust did happen and what Ahmadinejad said in December 2005—and again on April 24, 2006; May 30, 2006; December 11, 2006; June 2009; September 2009; and September 2010—was taken out of context.

Regardless of Lame Brain Ahmadinejad, the Global Directory of Holocaust Museums tells us how widespread this knowledge is. It’s when we forget about history that we tend to repeat it.  Simon Wiesenthal said, “Freedom is not a gift from heaven … you must fight for it every day.”

Admitting the truth is the first step toward healing and avoiding similar tragedies again. “There is Chinese proverb which says you should use history as a mirror,” said Peng Qian, a former deputy mayor of Shantou.

The official Communist Party line is that Mao was 70 percent good and 30 percent bad—you may disagree with these ratios but don’t lose sight of the fact that the CCP admitted publicly that Mao was not perfect. And there is a museum in China that focuses on the atrocities of the Cultural Revolution. This museum was built near the industrial port city of Shantou in the Guangdong district. Sources: Frum ForumThe Independent; the Washington Post, and on August 18, 2012 the South China Morning Post.

If you think the CCP is ignoring the Shantou museum, you would be wrong because on February 8, 2013, China’s national state-run news service reported that the museum keeps Cultural Revolution memories alive. The museum consists of outdoor and indoor exhibitions.

Xinhua said, “The indoor exhibition, housed in a three-story, traditional-style building that resembles the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, displays 1,100 historical photographs chiseled into granite slabs. Some of the exhibits show gruesome scenes where victims are tortured and humiliated, while others bear insults that persecutors used to describe their class enemies.”

This museum demonstrates how far China has come since Mao’s death in 1976. As China continues to open to the world like a flower, one day there may be a list of Cultural Revolution Museums spread across China to equal the Holocaust Museums of World War II.

In fact, the Voice of America reported that some accounts of the horrors of the Cultural Revolution have been published in the Chinese media, a sign of an increased willingness to revisit painful memories that are still very much alive for both victims and their tormenters.

Discover China’s Holistic Historical Timeline

_______________

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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Farewell My Concubine – a movie review

July 2, 2013

Chen Kaige, self-trained as a filmmaker, was the director for this award winning 1993 film. Prior to “Farewell, My Concubine“, Chen received modest acclaim for the “Yellow Earth” and “The Big Parade”. With “Farewell, My Concubine,” he won the Palme d-or in Cannes.

Although the film is in Mandarin with English subtitles, the story captured me from the beginning. If you are interested in Chinese history, this film spans several decades beginning near the end of the Qing Dynasty. On the surface, it is just a story of two boys who happen to become famous, but have their difficulties like most of us lesser mortals do. However, the setting shows the  transformation of a nation from the Qing Dynasty to a warlord dominated republic, the Japanese invasion of World War II and then Mao’s Cultural Revolution.

I saw this movie a decade ago and I remember this powerful, dramatic story of one man’s life from the day his mother took a knife and chopped off an extra finger on each hand so he would have five instead of the six he was born with.

The main character is apparently modeled after an actual person—Peking Opera superstar Mei Lanfang—some may imagine that Lanfang was ‘gay’. However, he only specialized in male roles. He was married at least three times and had children.

Discover Not One Less

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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, Running with the Enemy, was awarded an honorable mention in general fiction at the 2013 San Francisco Book Festival.

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