Jinping’s Hero Chairman Mao Murdered More People Than Hitler And Stalin Combined

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘THE CHINA SPEAKERS BUREAU’)

 

Mao killed more than Stalin or Hitler – Ian Johnson

Ian Johnson

Who killed more, Hitler or Stalin, is a question often asked. Journalist Ian Johnson, author of The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao, argues – 60 years after the Great Leap Forward started – that Mao Zedong is often wrongly excluded from this debate. But he opts for a nuanced approach in The New York Review of Books, although in numbers Mao beats both Stalin and Hitler.

Ian Johnson:

Yet all these numbers are little more than well-informed guesstimates. There are no records that will magically resolve the question of exactly how many died in the Mao era. We can only extrapolate based on flawed sources. If the percentage of deaths attributable to the famine is slightly changed, that’s the difference between 30 and 45 million deaths. So, in these sorts of discussions, the difference between one and two isn’t infinity but a rounding error.

Mao didn’t order people to their deaths in the same way that Hitler did, so it’s fair to say that Mao’s famine deaths were not genocide—in contrast, arguably, to Stalin’s Holodomor in the Ukraine, the terror-famine described by journalist and historian Anne Applebaum in Red Famine (2017). One can argue that by closing down discussion in 1959, Mao sealed the fate of tens of millions, but almost every legal system in the world recognizes the difference between murder in the first degree and manslaughter or negligence. Shouldn’t the same standards apply to dictators?

When Khrushchev took Stalin off his pedestal, the Soviet state still had Lenin as its idealized founding father. That allowed Khrushchev to purge the dictator without delegitimizing the Soviet state. By contrast, Mao himself and his successors have always realized that he was both China’s Lenin and its Stalin.

Thus, after Mao died, the Communist Party settled on a formula of declaring that Mao had made mistakes—about 30 percent of what he did was declared wrong and 70 percent was right. That’s essentially the formula used today. Mao’s mistakes were set down, and commissions sent out to explore the worst of his crimes, but his picture remains on Tiananmen Square.

Xi Jinping has held fast to this view of Mao in recent years. In Xi’s way of looking at China, the country had roughly thirty years of Maoism and thirty years of Deng Xiaoping’s economic liberalization and rapid growth. Xi has warned that neither era can negate the other; they are inseparable.

How to deal with Mao? Many Chinese, especially those who lived through his rule, do so by publishing underground journals or documentary films. Perhaps typically for a modern consumer society, though, Mao and his memory have also been turned into kitschy products. The first commune—the “Sputnik” commune that launched the Great Leap Forward—is now a retreat for city folk who want to experience the joys of rural life. One in ten villagers there died of famine, and people were dragged off and flayed for trying to hide grain from government officials. Today, urbanites go there to decompress from the stresses of modern life.

Foreigners aren’t exempt from this sort of historical amnesia, either. One of Beijing’s most popular breweries is the “Great Leap” brewery, which features a Mao-era symbol of a fist clenching a beer stein, instead of the clods of grass and earth that farmers tried to eat during the famine. Perhaps because of the revolting idea of a brew pub being named after a famine, the company began in 2015 to explain on its website that the name came not from Maoist history but an obscure Song dynasty song. Only when you’re young and fat, goes the verse, does one dare risk a great leap.

Much more in the New York Review of Books.

Ian Johnson is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers’ request form.

Are you interested in more stories by Ian Johnson? Do check out this list.

China lifts Xi’s status to most powerful leader in decades

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

 

China lifts Xi’s status to most powerful leader in decades


Chinese President Xi Jinping, front row center, leads other cadres to raise their hands to show approval of work reports during the closing ceremony for the 19th Party Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017. (Andy Wong/Associated Press)
 October 24 at 2:39 AM
BEIJING — The ruling Communist Party on Tuesday formally lifted Xi Jinping’s status to China’s most powerful ruler in decades, setting the stage for the authoritarian leader to tighten his grip over the country while pursuing an increasingly muscular foreign policy and military expansion.The move to insert Xi’s name and dogma into the party’s constitution alongside the party’s founders came at the close of a twice-a-decade congress that gathered the country’s ruling elite alongside rank-and-file party members. It not only places him in the first rank with past leaders Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, but also effectively makes any act of opposing him tantamount to an attack on the party itself.

“The Chinese people and nation have a great and bright future ahead,” Xi told party delegates as the meeting came to a close after delegates approved the addition of Xi’s ideology of “socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era” to the party charter.

“Living in such a great era, we are all the more confident and proud, and also feel the heavy weight of responsibility upon us,” he said.

The concept Xi has touted is seen as marking a break from the stage of economic reform ushered in by Deng Xiaoping in the late 1970s and continued under his successors Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao. The placement of Xi’s thought among the party’s leading guidelines also comes five years into his term — earlier than his predecessors.

“In every sense, the Xi Jinping era has begun in earnest,” said Zhang Lifan, an independent political commentator in Beijing. “Only Mao’s name was enshrined in the party ideology while he was still alive. We’re opening something that hasn’t been broached before.”

For centuries, Chinese emperors were accorded ritual names that signaled either they were successors in a dynastic line or the founder of an entirely new dynasty. What Xi accomplished this week was a modern equivalent of the latter, Zhang said.

“He wants to join that pantheon of leaders,” he said.

Despite being elevated to the status of both a political and theoretical authority in the party, Xi still lacks the broad popular support of the Chinese public that Mao had enjoyed, said Zhang Ming, a political analyst in Beijing who recently retired from a prestigious university.

“This (elevation) is a result of the party’s political system and not of the sincere support of the people’s hearts,” Zhang Ming said. “If he can achieve that, he would become Mao.”

Xi has described his concept as central to setting China on the path to becoming a “great modern socialist country” by midcentury. This vision has at its core a ruling party that serves as the vanguard for everything from defending national security to providing moral guidance to ordinary Chinese.

He’s set the target dates of 2021 — the 100th anniversary of the party’s founding — and the People’s Republic’s centenary in 2049 — for the establishment of a prosperous, modern society. China has the world’s second-largest economy and legions of newly wealthy urban residents, but raising living standards for millions of people continues to be a challenge.

Zhang Ming, the retired professor, said the goals Xi laid out were lofty but mostly constituted mere rhetoric. “These goals have nothing to do with the people but are just jargon that people shouldn’t take seriously,” Zhang said. “It is not important for him to achieve these goals, just as long as his power reaches its peak.”

The move came at the close of the 89 million-member party’s twice-a-decade national congress at Beijing’s hulking Great Hall of the People, where nearly 2,300 delegates gathered to elect the party’s leading bodies and hear reports.

Although the delegates nominally have the power to vote on candidates, all choices are carefully vetted and the outcomes decided by negotiations among the top leaders.

The constitution was also amended to include references to the party’s “absolute” leadership over the armed forces, which have been modernizing rapidly under Xi, and a commitment to promote Xi’s signature foreign policy and infrastructure initiative known as “One Belt, One Road.” That initiative seeks to link China to Southeast Asia, Central Asia, Africa, Europe and beyond with a sprawling network of roads, railways, ports and other economic projects.

___

Associated Press writers Gerry Shih and Gillian Wong contributed to this report.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

India (AND THE WORLD) needs to keep an eye on Xi Jinping’s ‘Chinese dream’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

India needs to keep an eye on Xi Jinping’s ‘Chinese dream’

China is today the second largest economy in the world and easily the world’s number two power. Another several years of sustained economic growth will elevate it to superpower status. If Xi is able to firmly set his country on this track during a second five year term, elevating himself to the same rank as Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping may not be too much of a stretch

EDITORIALS Updated: Oct 23, 2017 17:36 IST

Hindustan Times
Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a speech at the opening ceremony of the 19th Party Congress held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China
Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a speech at the opening ceremony of the 19th Party Congress held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China (AP)

Over the past five years, Xi Jinping has spoken of a “Chinese dream”, moved to legitimise it through a philosophy of Xi Jinping Thought and, now, at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China bundled it altogether into a promised “new era” for his country. This seems only reasonable given the power that Xi has accumulated in his first term and the even greater authority he is expected to gain after the Congress is over. Nearly 70% of the party’s central committee will be replaced by Xi. He has already carried out the most wide-sweeping purges of the Chinese military and diluted the considerable policy space once enjoyed by the provincial and municipal party units.

China is today the second largest economy in the world and easily the world’s number two power. Another several years of sustained economic growth will elevate it to superpower status. If Xi is able to firmly set his country on this track during a second five year term, elevating himself to the same rank as Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping may not be too much of a stretch.

However, this may not be as pre-determined as Beijing claims. China’s successful investment-based, export driven economic model has been running out of steam the past several years. Growth is being sustained by huge debt infusions that cannot be kept up forever. At the Congress and over the past five years, Xi has argued this has to change. But remarkably little has been accomplished in terms of structural reforms so far. One reason the Chinese leader has centralised authority back into the hands of Beijing was because Xi had to overcome powerful interests who opposed reforming the economy. He has also mobilised support by pushing a nationalist agenda which has included an aggressive foreign policy, especially when it comes to China’s territorial squabbles with Japan, Southeast Asia and, to an extent, India.

Xi has signalled that his second term will be more of the same, but with less words and more deeds. In that real economic reforms would produce a more prosperous and more stable China – and thus presumably a Middle Kingdom more at ease with the world — this would be welcome. However, if Xi continues to believe an assertive, unilateralist foreign policy must remain inherent to a new China, then countries like India will have no choice but to keep a wary eye that the Chinese dream does not mean sleepless nights for the rest of the world.

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