Kissinger on NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” with Neal Conan and Ted Koppel – Part 3/3

July 11, 2011

NPR’s Neal Conan said the deaths from the Cultural Revolution were between 20 to 40 million, which demonstrated his ignorance since that many deaths took place earlier during The Great Leap Forward (1958 – 1960).

The Great Leap Forward was supposed to be a 5-year plan, but it was called off after just three tragic years. The period between 1958 and 1960 is known in China as the “Three Bitter Years”.

The loss of life during The Cultural Revolution (1966 – 1976) was about 2 (or more) million and many were suicides due to the denunciations and persecutions and the fact that society had been turned upside down. The Cultural Revolution deeply damaged the country economically and socially. Sociologist Daniel Chirot claims that around 100 million people suffered and at least one million people, and perhaps as many as 20 million, died in the Cultural Revolution but there is no way to prove this claim.

The deaths from the Great Leap Forward were mostly from starvation due to a famine, which may have been caused by a combination of Mao’s failed agricultural and industrialization policies and poor weather leading to crop failures and a famine. Since no one knows the exact number of deaths due to these blunders/weather, some have said 10 million while others have claimed 60 million. Most experts agree that the number was about 20 or 30 million.

What one believes about the results of The Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution has to do with prejudices, or personal political opinions. One thing most can agree on is that this period of China’s history was a failure and a tragedy.

During the interview, no one asked or mentioned how the Communist Party led by Deng Xiaoping after Mao’s death in 1976, repudiated the Maoist Revolutionary thought that was responsible for the tragedy, and then opened China to world trade, joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) and launched the Chinese Capitalist Revolution leading to the economic miracle China has become today.

If you are interested in hearing the entire interview, visit Henry Kissinger appearing on NPR’s Talk of the Nation or read the transcript.

Return to Kissinger on NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” – Part 2 or start with Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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.

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Kissinger on NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” with Neal Conan and Ted Koppel – Part 1/3

July 9, 2011

Recently, in Closed Minds and Culturally Blind Missionary Zeal, I mentioned Henry Kissinger’s book On China and quoted from the Preface, “American exceptionalism is missionary. It holds that the United States has an obligation to spread its values to every part of the world. China’s exceptionalism is cultural. China does not proselytize (preach); it does not claim that its contemporary institutions are relevant (superior) outside China.”

What Kissinger meant was that China does not believe it has a right to force its cultural beliefs and political system and values on the world while America does believe it has that right.

What do you think? Do you feel the US has the right to preach to other cultures and pressure them to be like America?

I’m still reading “On China”, and it will be some time before I finish because I’m reading several magazines and another book at the same time while writing two Blogs and getting ready to launch my next book, which will see “My Splendid Concubine” and “Our Hart” combined as The Concubine Saga.

However, this post is about Henry Kissinger appearing on NPR’s Talk of the Nation with Neal Conan and Ted Koppel on June 8, 2011. The focus was on China although the program strayed from that topic a few times.

The program ran about a half hour so I am going to share a condensed version.

After an introduction, Neal Conan asked, “In the long run, do you think the Chinese Communist Party can survive the political pressures created by the country’s economic successes?”

Kissinger said he believed China’s political system would have to adapt, which several of China’s leaders have already mentioned as a necessity.

When Conan challenged this answer, Kissinger replied, “But there a new administration coming in and right now, it is in a very defensive mode.”

Continued on July 10, 2011 in Kissinger on NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” – Part 2

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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.