China’s success in recent decades has been remarkable. Economic reforms have lifted hundreds of millions of people out of severe poverty, the greatest reduction in poverty ever. Beneath China’s spectacular economic progress, however, the Chinese Communist Party retains much of its authoritarian nature. But while the Party still relies on many of the classic tactics of authoritarianism to maintain its grip on power, supporters argue that the China Model has some critical advantages over the model of liberal democracy. Continue reading
The famine which occurred in China during the Great Leap Forward was perhaps the greatest crime in history. Between 1958 and 1962 at least 45 million people died. This figure is much higher than the number killed in World War One. The real death toll could be higher, and may even exceed the number killed during World War Two.
Calling it a famine muddies the picture of what actually happened. Unlike during a natural famine, disease was remarkably absent as a cause of death. The reason is both easy to comprehend and terrifying to grasp. Continue reading
Ten years ago, on the one hundred and tenth anniversary of Mao’s birth, a group of dissidents wrote a letter entitled ‘An Appeal for the Removal of the Corpse of Mao Zedong from Beijing’. In it they wrote, ‘Mao instilled in people’s minds a philosophy of cruel struggle and revolutionary superstition. Hatred took the place of love and tolerance; the barbarism of ‘It is right to rebel!’ became the substitute for rationality and love of peace. It elevated and sanctified the view that relations between human beings are best characterised as those between wolves.’
As China commemorates the 120th anniversary of Mao’s birth, an examination of Mao’s time in power provides an insight into his pathologically disordered personality, and the devastating impact that Mao’s 27 year reign of terror had on Chinese society. Continue reading