The story does not fall within the scope of this blog. It has nothing to do with therapy or culture or coaching issues. Not even remotely.
But I am linking Frank Dikotter’s article: “Mao’s Great Leap to Famine” for its historical significance.
Mao’s Great Famine is perhaps the most important underreported stories of the past century. The famine continued from 1958 to 1962.
According to Dikotter, it was caused by Mao’s economic policies, and the means he used to impose them and his Communist ideology on the Chinese people.
The result, in Dikotter’s words: “In all, the records I studied suggest that the Great Leap Forward was responsible for at least 45 million deaths.
“Between 2 and 3 million of these victims were tortured to death or summarily executed, often for the slightest infraction. People accused of not working hard enough were hung and beaten; sometimes they were bound and thrown into ponds. Punishments for the least violations included mutilation and forcing people to eat excrement.”
He continues: “As the catastrophe unfolded, people were forced to resort to previously unthinkable acts to survive. As the moral fabric of society unraveled, they abused one another, stole from one another and poisoned one another. Sometimes they resorted to cannibalism.”
Perhaps the most important point, for our understanding of history, is the fact, as Dikotter points out, that the Great Famine was the “turning point” in the making of modern China. It led to the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution which led to Deng Xiaoping’s takeover, and the subsequent rise of a new and revitalized China.
In Dikotter’s words: “Mao’s Great Famine was not merely an isolated episode in the making of modern China. It was its turning point. The subsequent Cultural Revolution was the leader’s attempt to take revenge on the colleagues who had dared to oppose him during the Great Leap Forward.”
Mao’s Communism mixed an obscene ideology with deranged economic policies and tried to enforce them with terror. However much certain people still try to romanticize Communist revolution, Mao’s Communism was surely one of the greatest crimes against humanity that the world has ever seen.
Certainly, it one of the least recognized.
While reading this article, I could not help recalling that many of my politically savvy French friends in the 1970s were singing the praises of Mao and proclaiming themselves to be diehard Maoists.
Perhaps they didn’t know what was going on? Perhaps they didn’t know what had gone on? Some of them had in fact visited China during the Cultural Revolution, another time of extraordinary political terror, and had come away impressed.
Let’s not forget that when Nixon opened up relations with China in 1974, the American press was falling over itself trying to exclaim China's greatness.
The next time you hear someone try to romanticize Communism, recall the victims of Mao's Great Famine.