Mao’s ‘alleged’ Guilt in the Land of Famines – Part 3/8

November 13, 2011

Before I reveal new evidence to cast doubt on the claims of Mao’s critics in the West, two more books blame Mao for the loss of life due to the famine that took place during The Great Leap Forward (GLF).

In Mao’s Great Famine (September 2010), Frank Dikotter claimed, “that as many as 45 million Chinese died from starvation, execution, and maltreatment under forced labor.”

Then, in Eating Bitterness (February 2011), two editors that compiled this book claimed that some “30 million peasants died of starvation and exhaustion during the GLF”.

I find it interesting how two editors claim the loss life was from starvation and exhaustion while another author claimed it was from starvation, execution, maltreatment and forced labor with a difference of 15 million deaths, which is a huge disparity.

In addition, In Henry Kissinger’s On China (pg 184), he says, “The Great Leap Forward’s production goals were exorbitant, and the prospect of dissent or failure so terrifyhing that local cadres took to falsifying their output figures and reporting inflated totals to Beijing.” Then Kissinger says this led to the deaths of over twenty million people from starvation–twenty-five (25) million less than Dikotter’s inflated claim. Other’s have estimated the loss of life closer to 15 million.


Famines throughout the Ages: 19th to 21st Century

It appears, that as the false accusations and the fraud grows, so does the emotional language.

There is a name for books of this sort, and it is “Yellow Journalism” where writers take advantage of popular opinions and without valid evidence spread lies and exaggerations as if they were the truth. I’m sure those authors laugh all the way to the bank too.

Before I continue, I want to mention that in 1949, the average life expectancy in China was 36 and in 1960, it was 36.3 years of age, as you shall eventually see from a reliable source. It has been estimated that it took at least a decade for the Chinese Communist Party to establish a political/governmental infrastructure in all or most of China, which means goals to develop the country and improve health were not in full swing until about 1959.

As for how many starved, theories abound and cover a wide spectrum and all the higher numbers of deaths are easily challenged as two Amazon reviewers of Dikotter’s flawed and biased book demonstrate with impressive facts.

From these two Amazon reviewers, I learned something new I did not consider in my post of China’s Great Famine (1959-1961) Fact of Fiction.

Continued on November 14, 2011 in Mao’s ‘alleged’ Guilt in the Land of Famines – Part 4 or return to 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.

Subscribe to “iLook China”
Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page.

About iLook China


No Link for Misguided Misinformation – Part 1/5

September 22, 2011

An anonymous individual named “Kier” left a scathing comment for a post I wrote of China’s Great Leap Forward, but I deleted the comment so there would be no link back to his Blog, since links help build search engine rank.

However, I copied and pasted Kier’s comment into this four-part series, so I could respond to it.

I am doing this to make a point. Kier’s opinion and accusations of Mao are an example of the beliefs of many ignorant people in the West.

Kier wrote, “A population the size of Canada wiped out in horrific circumstances in a mere three years but, as that was a blip in Mao’s life and didn’t prevent him from penning pretentious lines far from the terror, that’s all right then.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but drought and floods cause crop losses, which leads to famines. In China, the famine that took place during China’s Great Leap Forward was caused by a mixture of droughts, floods, government bungling, lack of communication, and a complete embargo of China by the United States and its allies.


In the West, for decades, the media has focused on exaggerating and blaming the loss of life during China’s Great Famine of 1959-1960 on Mao Zedong. If there had been no droughts and floods those years, which are common in China, there would have been no famine.

Kier provides no details of The Great Leap Forward, and what was happening in China, which I provided in China’s Great Famine (1959 – 1960) Fact or Fiction.

In fact, there is no evidence to support Western claims of 30 to 70 million deaths during those years, while scholars have studied the documents that exist and say the loss of life may have been closer to 15 – 20 million.

Kier makes no mention of the fact that the Chinese Communists won the Civil War in 1949 and eight years later,  The Great Leap Forward was implemented as part of a five-year plan, which started in 1958. Due to bumper crops the first year, it was considered the beginning of a success story, which led to errors in judgment by the central government and Mao.

There are rumors that Mao learned of the famine and ignored it, but there is no proof those rumors/accusations are true.

Then in 1959, there were droughts and floods, which are considered an act of nature.  If you have read the four part series I wrote of China’s Great Famine, then you would have learned more of the complex circumstances that contributed to this tragedy, which included a “complete embargo” of China by the US, but we never hear about that in the West. The reason for the embargo was to cause suffering among China’s people hopefully leading to unrest that might topple China’s Communist Party.

Continued on September 23, 2011 in No Link for Misguided Misinformation – Part 2

______________

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.

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.


China’s Great Famine (1958 – 1961) Fact or Fiction – Part 4/4

September 3, 2011

The last damaging factors that may have led to millions of deaths due to famine and starvation was the statistical lies of rural farmers and local party bosses reporting crop yields in rural China and Mao’s impossible goals to create a miracle in five years.

Mao’s five-year plan for the Great Leap Forward set quotas (goals) to develop agriculture and industry so China would catch up to America and the other Western nations that had invaded China during the 19th century (England, France, Japan, Germany, Russia, America, etc.)

Mao believed that both agriculture and industry had to grow to allow the other to thrive.

Industry could only prosper if the workers were well fed, while the agricultural workers needed industry to produce the modern tools needed for modernization.

For this to happen, China was reformed into a series of giant communes.

However, the droughts, floods and other severe weather arrived soon after this five-year plan was implemented and set the stage for a tragedy caused by nature and supported by American “economic warfare” in the form of a “complete embargo” of China.

Due to quotas set by Mao’s agricultural policies, no one wanted to be seen as a failure and/or unpatriotic so this generated boastful claims about output that were followed by more boastful claims of incredible crop yields.

Nobody – least of all the central government in Beijing – knew the real output figures and nobody was trying to find out. Instead, there was a sense of general euphoria in Beijing that China was succeeding.

While rural farmers and party posses lied about crop yields, China started exporting rice and wheat to other countries as a source of revenue, since Beijing believed there was a bumper crop. The result was that only urban areas suffered with reduced rations but with still enough food to survive.

However, the situation was different in the areas that lied the most and resulted in mass starvations largely confined to rural China, where, because of drastically inflated production statistics, very little grain was left for the peasants to eat.

Food shortages were bad throughout the country. However, the provinces, which had adopted Mao’s reforms with the most energy, zeal and the highest boasts, such as Anhui, Gansu and Henan, tended to suffer disproportionately.

Sichuan, one of China’s most populous provinces, known in China as “Heaven’s Granary” because of its fertility, is thought to have suffered the greatest absolute numbers of deaths from starvation due to the vigor with which provincial leader Li Jinquan undertook Mao’s reforms.

Once the central government in Beijing discovered the truth, the Chinese Communist Party acted quickly to correct the errors in national agricultural decision-making, to conserve food, and to save as many lives as possible implementing drastic measures to feed those in need and to restore agricultural productivity.

Grain exports were stopped, and imports from Canada and Australia (in spite of America’s complete embargo) helped to reduce the impact of the food shortages. Source: Library Index.com

The final question is: Would Mao’s Great Leap Forward have been more successful if there had been no drought, no floods and no “complete (U.S.) embargo” and the people had not lied about crop yields?

It is no secret that millions of rural people starved to death in China during the famine of 1959 – 1960, but it was a “great” tragedy caused by a complex series of circumstances and was not murder.

In addition, the actual number of deaths was significantly lower than what has been claimed in the West.

The CCP’s lofty goal was to prove to the world that the Party ruled China successfully by boosting crop yields and industrial output.

Another reason the CCP set such unrealistic goals for the five-year plan that contributed to the tragedy that was Great Leap Forward was because of Taiwan, which was recognized by the world as the official government of China and still held its seat in the United Nations.

It wouldn’t be until 1971 that the U.N. recognized the People’s Republic of China instead, and the United States wouldn’t switch diplomatic relations with China from Taipei to Beijing until 1979, finally recognizing the Communist Party as the legitimate ruler of China.

Return to China’s Great Famine (1958 – 1961) Fact or Fiction – Part 3 or start with Part 1

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.

To subscribe to “iLook China”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.


Facts about Education — China and the world versus America – Part 1/3

July 28, 2011

Tired of reading endless criticisms of just about everything global, I dropped my weekly subscription to The Economist magazine (TE) with its emphasis on Sinophobia.

To me, it seemed that most of TE’s staff does not have the intellectual ability or knowledge to write with much depth. I only remember one piece that was well researched and written that impressed me.

Instead, I have shifted to Foreign Policy (FP) magazine, which comes once every two months, and from what I’ve read so far in a few issues, the writing and ability of its staff is on a much higher level than TE.

Maybe that’s because FP has more lead-time to research, think, write, revise and edit before the next issue comes out.

This isn’t the first post I wrote due to something I read in FP. The first came after reading Chicago on the Yangtze, and the post that followed was Bo Xilai’s 32 Million.

This post is from reading FP’s Think Again: Education. The journalist was Ben Wildavsky, a senior scholar in Research and Policy at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the author of several scholarly books.

Knowing who wrote what is a big leap from TE, which is probably wise since what TE publishes is often insulting, biased and flawed.  However, it is better to know who wrote what since writing in anonymity may lead to lazy, biased and sloppy writing.

What Wildavsky does in FP magazine is debunk the lies and myths about the American educational system, and he does an excellent job.

MYTH:American Kids are Falling Behind

ANSWER: To this myth, Wildavsky says, “Not Really”, and explains, “the U.S. education system … doesn’t look to be failing so spectacularly.

“The performance of American students in science and math has actually improved modestly since the last round of this (PISA) international test in 2006 … and reading scores … are more or less unchanged since … 2003.”

Continued on July 28, 2011 in Facts about Education – Part 2

______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. 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.


Free to Lie – Part 1/3

July 12, 2011

China’s central government is often criticized in the West for filtering the Internet and controlling what is published in China’s state-owned media.

The West should also be criticized for the exact opposite, which is allowing too much freedom to lie, which often leads to hate, bad politics and worse economic policy.

In fact, we seldom hear any criticism in the media of the lies and misinformation that appears in the West where abusing freedom of expression to mislead the public has become the art of repeating something that is not a fact until it is considered the truth.

Recently, I wrote “A Short History of the National Debt” and posted it at Speak Without Interruption, Authors Den and Scribd and plan to add it to Gather.

Before I researched the history of the National Debt, I asked myself how President Obama ran up the National Debt to $14.3 trillion dollars, because that amount was about all I was hearing from the Western media, the Tea Party and the GOP. I never heard an explanation of where that National Debt came from.  What I was hearing made Obama seem responsible for the entire amount.

After doing some digging, I learned a few facts.  I hesitate using the word “truth” to define anything, since the “truth” seems to be whatever anyone wants to believe, so I will stick to a few facts and let each reader decide what his or her truth is.

Continued on July 13, 2011 in Free to Lie – Part 2

______________

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.


The Ugly Face of Intolerance – Part 3/3

July 5, 2011

Then on April 22, 2011, Patrick Mattimore (chinadaily.com.cn) wrote Do ‘Tiger Moms’ make the best parents?

The question was, “So what is Chinese mothering and is it superior to Western parenting? Should all moms ascribe to be Amy Chua?”

What follows are a few excerpts from the China Daily opinion piece.

“First, Chua is using the terms ‘Chinese mothers’ and ‘Western parents’ loosely. The Tiger Mother/Chinese Mother can be found in many cultures and is not exclusive within any culture….”

“Unlike in the West where children are encouraged to experiment and develop their own individual talents, Chinese parents believe the child is an extension of oneself. Chinese parents believe they know what is best for their children and therefore override the child’s preferences. Chua concludes that it may come down to a matter of choice. Westerners believe in allowing children a large measure of freedom to choose their own paths while the Chinese parent makes choices for her children.…”


Amy Chua’s daughter Sophia as seen on her Blog

”Trying to untangle Chinese mothering and Western parenting and pick one style of raising a child or the other as the exclusively right way is ultimately a fool’s errand. Certainly, there are elements from both that are worth adopting. Parents can be consistent without being inflexible. They can have high expectations and demand that children work hard without setting up gulag conditions. They can listen and adapt to their children without giving up control or responsibility for raising them.…”

“In the final analysis, Amy Chua has provided readers with a provocative memoir about how she raised her daughters. Certainly, her ideas are worth considering and many are worth adopting. However, no parent should believe that Tiger Mothers have infallible blueprints for raising successful children. Parents still need to chart their own course and be prepared to vary the course according to the needs of each child.”

Instead of listening to the intolerant opinions of inflexible fools from America, why not read what Sophia, Amy Chua’s oldest daughter, has to say in her letter to the New York Post or go to her Blog and discover for yourself that her tiger mother has not damaged her.

Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld’s Blog may be found at new tiger in town.

Return to The Ugly Face of Intolerance – Part 2 or start with Part 1

______________

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.


Closed Minds and Culturally Blind Missionary Zeal

June 21, 2011

Recently, my wife bought me a copy of Henry Kissinger On China. She said if you read anyone that is not Chinese writing about China, Henry Kissinger is the only Westerner to trust.  The reason, she explained, was that the leaders of China trust and respect few in the West.

However, Kissinger is the exception, and from what I’ve discovered since 1999, I don’t blame most Chinese or China’s leaders.

I haven’t read that far into the book but Kissinger’s Preface has a revealing quote in it.

Kissinger said, “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; it does not claim that its contemporary institutions are relevant outside China.”

What Kissinger didn’t say, which I may discover later as I read further into the book, is that America is spreading more than its spiritual, ethical, and moral values but is also importing its middle class unsustainable, consumer, debt-ridden, fast food, disease ridden lifestyle, which is more popular outside America than US cultural values.

The Economist for May 21, 2011 reviewed Kissinger’s book and said, “The Western politician who understands China best tries to explain it–but doesn’t quite succeed.”

In fact, it isn’t easy to overcome the Western prejudices that refuse to accept that people from other cultures are different from America and the West, which may be one reason why The Economist is so cynical and critical of almost everything they write about that does not fit their British cultural bias.

Another example is when a friend and expatriate living in China sent me a link to a Site called The Middle Kingdom Life written by a person that lived and taught at universities in China for seven years then left feeling bitter and disappointed, because China didn’t measure up to what he felt it should be, which is a reaction that has a lot to do with that American obligation to spread its values to every part of the world (even when other countries and cultures are not interested in those American and/or Western values).

Then another Blog I follow (but hold little respect for) sent me a notice that someone had left a similar comment.

That other Blog is called Understanding China, One Blog at a Time (should be “One Post” at a Time).

One Blog at a Time doesn’t understand China or the Chinese and is another emotional, biased rant criticizing China for not being a mirror image of American culture and does not take into account that China is a different culture with a different history and is still a developing third-world country with a large segment of its population that, until a few years ago (as early at the 1980s), lived as people had for centuries with a medieval lifestyle—meaning no electricity, no running water, no schools, no toilets, no sewers, or paved roads, etc.

It seems that little has changed from the 19th century when Robert Hart was the same as Kissinger is today to the Chinese except that today China stands on its own feet and is powerful enough militarily not to be bullied to cave in to Western demands to change the Chinese culture due to that American (and Western) obligation to spread its values to every part of the world, which may explain why we are fighting Islamic fundamentalists that wants to destroy Western Civilization.

That same Western missionary zeal (from Europe) that drives America today destroyed the Aztecs and Incas, enslaved tens of millions of Africans, colonized North America leading to the American Indian Wars of the 19th century, started two Opium Wars in China, killed a quarter of a million in the Philippines, meddled with Japan’s culture leading to World War II in the Pacific and China where The Rape of Nanking  took place, invaded Vietnam where millions died, fought the Korean Conflict, and imported American values with nation building by invading Iraq and Afghanistan.

What’s next?

______________

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.