Tackling the evil that was "Mao" in light of Jung Chang's new biography.

Essay by Keir September 2005

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In response to the formidable new biography on the tyrant Mao, one should ask a number of questions before investigating the true evil that was Mao, responsible for the deaths of more human beings than Stalin and Hitler put together, killing more people in three years of Great Leap Backwards than all living in Canada today:

1. Being responsible for tens of millions of Chinese deaths, did Mao merely made some mistakes or committed the crimes to the highest degree?

2. 'Mao led the Chinese people in the struggles....', the result was war and chaos. In today's phraseology, should that be defined as terrorism?

3. Hitler led his nation to destruction for twelve years when he was in power; Mao led his nation to destruction for 27 years when he was in power. Hitler persecuted Jews, and Mao persecuted the innocents and let them starve. Is it not apt to compare Mao with Hitler?

4. Surely everyone learns a lot about life through suffering. However, you find your experience through Cultural Revolution rewarding. Did seeing numerous Chinese deaths and their suffering reward you? Does it mean criminals were lecturers just because you learned from their crimes?

The mistakes made by Mao during the Great Leap Forward are that he approved on overestimated production quotas. At that time, the leaders at state and provincial levels were divided in opinions. Some leaders set too high quotas in steel and food grain productions whereas other leaders thought that these quotas were unrealistic and impossible. Mao agreed with and backed up those who set too production quotas. In 50s, when PRC was just established and country was still in poverty-stricken state. There was a strong over-zealous feeling to transform the country among the leaders as well as people. Later Mao admitted his mistakes on...