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Why the Chinese support the Communist party
October 4, 2009 11:26 AM   Subscribe

Why the Chinese support the Communist party Interviews with four elderly Chinese. Among the answers: "We used to live in a tiny house, over ten people all together, just a place of over ten square metres. Now I often say to my husband that life has been totally different for our grandchildren, not only from ours, but from their parents too. They have nothing to worry about, no need to worry about food, clothes."
posted by shetterly (52 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's a bargain for sure. Accept the fact that you can't even think about changing the government and the rice,vegetables, and Counter Strike servers will flow unencumbered for a very minimal investment of your time. If you want more than that, do good in school. It seems like it's a 3rd world country from the outside, yes, but the factory workers receive more for their labours making Ipods in Shenzhen (free rent, no expenses) than the early 20s workers driving to work and selling those Ipods in Big Box City, USA.
posted by sleslie at 11:47 AM on October 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Fascinating stuff. And the comments section is...fascinating in a different way.

I remember talking to my grandparents about living through the Great Depression (and they are distinctly unimpressed by comparisons being made to the present problems, btw) and about the things they took to be the normal realities of working and even middle class existence that now we only find among the most destitute - and even then, it disturbs us. The casual - not cavalier - way that these elderly Chinese refer to lack of food and continuous hard work, the problems of war, etc. gave me the same feeling. The goalposts have been shifted somewhat on both sides of the Pacific.
That said, it's interesting that the darker side of Mao's policies don't make an appearance. Perhaps the social strata these people lived in simply wasn't affected by the Cultural Revolution et al.
posted by AdamCSnider at 11:55 AM on October 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Nope. Apparently the fact that tens of millions of people starved or were persecuted to death because the CCP didn't leave much of an impression.
posted by 1adam12 at 12:05 PM on October 4, 2009


No one in China is stupid enough to relate current development with Mao & old-school CCCP. Everyone I've talked to in China understands that the current development of China started with Deng Xiao Ping. There's also an implicit understanding towards the intelligentsia and middle-class that after Tiananmen that there is a Faustian bargain of economic development and preferential treatment towards the educated that they will be treated well (in the form of university grants and business investment) in exchange for ignoring party politics.

Also, there is a huge separation in mindset between the elderly and the youth, the youth are too busy text-messaging each other on QQ and playing MMORPGs, the elderly still get their information on party newspapers.
posted by amuseDetachment at 12:11 PM on October 4, 2009 [7 favorites]


That is the genius of politics: understanding that four living people are louder than forty million dead.
posted by kid ichorous at 12:12 PM on October 4, 2009 [39 favorites]


I had a Mandarin teacher who one lesson suddenly started telling us about being a kid in the cultural revolution- how teachers had been publically humiliated and beaten, how her parents had been forced to destroy some extremely valuable old vases and how one day she and her sister were cutting up a deck of cards (imperialist images you understand) and got the thumbs up from the local revolutionary guards.
posted by leibniz at 12:13 PM on October 4, 2009


No one in China is stupid enough to relate current development with Mao & old-school CCCP.

Several of the interviewees mentioned Mao or "Chairman Mao", so I think he's still bound up in these positive changes, for the older generation at least.
posted by AdamCSnider at 12:16 PM on October 4, 2009


When I was young we live in shoebox in middle of road and have lump of cold gravel for breakfast.

When I am older, we move south and the gravel is much warmer. And when I look down, I see cold gravel people and life is good. Much glory to glorious lead.
posted by Twang at 12:18 PM on October 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Nope. Apparently the fact that tens of millions of people starved or were persecuted to death because the CCP didn't leave much of an impression. -- AdamnCSnider

it's interesting that the darker side of Mao's policies don't make an appearance. -- 1adam12

That is the genius of politics: understanding that four living people are louder than forty million dead. -- kid ichorous
Why would they hold the cultural revolution against the same CCCP that actually prosecuted the architects of the cultural revolution after Mao died.

To blame the current Chinese government for the cultural revolution makes as much sense as blaming the current U.S. government or the Democratic party for Jim Crow and segregation, ignoring the fact that it was the U.S. government (mostly under the Democrats) that ended it. Is everyone here who voted for Obama responsible for the racism of the democratic party in the first half of the 20th century? It's the same party, just as the CCP is the same party of Mao. The timeframe is a little shorter, but not that shorter. Both events are well within living memory.

Not that I'm defending the current Chinese government. I am not a fan at all, but lets have some perspective here. They are not the same people who did the cultural revolution, and the Red Guards ended up being drummed out of the government, and the instigators (the gang of four) were prosecuted after Mao died, including Mao's Wife.

(Nothing like that happened to supporters and legislative architects of segregation in the U.S)
posted by delmoi at 12:26 PM on October 4, 2009 [15 favorites]


Everyone I've talked to in China understands that the current development of China started with Deng Xiao Ping.

This seems right to me, too, but even Amartya Sen acknowledges that Mao and Hua laid the groundwork.
Now, in so far as private income is only one of the influences on the achievements in reducing poverty, the first thing I want to mention is that even though in the poverty discussion most of the concentration tends to be these days on what happened since economic reform. The fact is that there is a very major lesson in what happened in China previous to that. I am not commenting on the excesses of the Cultural Revolution, I am not talking about the Chinese famine (from) ’59 to ’61 in which 29.6 million people died. There were all kinds of mistakes.

But the fact is that China was still the global leader as a poor country expanding basic education at a level which was very hard to imagine, as well as basic health care. All kinds of things came like “barefoot doctors” and so on. But the spread of health care across the country was quite remarkable. By 1979, when the economic reform came, the Chinese life expectancy was already 68 years; the Indian life expectancy was 54 years, 14 years behind it.

There are really major lessons there, and I might say also one of the unsung contributions of the pre-reform educational and health care expansion is, I believe, the radical economic expansion that took place in the 1980s. After the economic reform, it would have been very hard without the base of elementary education which China had and India did not at that time, which is still a factor which bothers India badly.</blockquote
posted by anotherpanacea at 12:28 PM on October 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


Take poor people who have had to work hard their whole life, throw in equal rights for women who had been slaves to men since the year 0, add a few thousand years of filial piety, raise a significant amount of people up so they don't have to worry about food or money, and of course they're going to support that political party. It's not rocket science, and a few "troublemakers" (who threaten the safety of an entire town, let alone their family) being hauled off and executed aren't going to cancel out the fact that their children are fed, educated, taking care of them in their old age and giving them grandsons.

You'd get significantly more interesting opinions on the CCP from young Chinese people, expat Chinese in other countries and the children of Chinese immigrants. Values are changing with the increase of wealth in Chinese communities. Asking the elderly why they like the political party that pulled their life up from the brink of starvation, while actually standing in that country that punishes those that deviate from supporting said political party, is stating the flippin' obvious.
posted by saturnine at 12:29 PM on October 4, 2009 [6 favorites]


Take poor people who have had to work hard their whole life, throw in equal rights for women who had been slaves to men since the year 0

Don't forget footbinding, which actually the government had been trying to get rid of since the Qing dynasty (Manchus didn't do foot binding, so the ruling class in china had not been binding their feet since the 1600s)
posted by delmoi at 12:36 PM on October 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


That is the genius of politics: understanding that four living people are louder than forty million dead.

Well, I don't exactly see Americans lining up to discuss how much of their prosperity is based on the genocide of Native American nations. Why should the Chinese be expected to do any better?
posted by rodgerd at 1:19 PM on October 4, 2009 [12 favorites]


Well, I don't exactly see Americans lining up to discuss how much of their prosperity is based on the genocide of Native American nations.

and new zealand's prosperity is based on ... oh, yeah, the genocide of native nations

see how easy that was?
posted by pyramid termite at 2:02 PM on October 4, 2009


see how easy that was?

Feeling a bit guilty?

You should probably actually, you know, learn a little though. Actual genocide - passing infection laced blankets with the deliberate purpose of exterminating people, for example - wasn't practised in New Zealand, and while the breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi are indeed disgraceful, they're also being negotiated and recompensed to the extent possible.

But I guess ignorance is bliss.
posted by rodgerd at 2:04 PM on October 4, 2009 [6 favorites]


For someone who was talking about the downfall of Industrial Capitalism, Marx sure provided a (bloody) shortcut for pre-Capitalist Feudal societies to arrive at (something close to) Industrial Capitalism. Seems like he just got the order wrong.
posted by qvantamon at 2:11 PM on October 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


As soon as I saw the words "support" and "Chinese Communist party" I said to myself, "Oh, another post by Shetterly".
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:16 PM on October 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


Actual genocide - passing infection laced blankets with the deliberate purpose of exterminating people, for example - wasn't practised in New Zealand

it wasn't widespread in america, either - and the one recorded instance was done by a british lord

of course, there weren't 40 million casualties from this, so it's hardly an equivalent thing

did you have something intelligent to say about china's still ongoing repression of its people or are you just here to bad mouth americans?
posted by pyramid termite at 2:17 PM on October 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


rodgerd: "Feeling a bit guilty?"

Feeling a bit derail-y?
posted by kathrineg at 2:21 PM on October 4, 2009


I was reading a report on the DNA of food crops. The content is unimportant except for one throw-away line: he said that the gross amount of rice in the world, the number of individual rice plants on Earth, hugely increased following the Communist revolution in China, because improved practices led to increased productivity of farm land. It was just a number he had to factor in because of consequent sudden jump in opportunities for genetic diversity.

I was thinking how facts like this are 'available' to scientists in specialist fields, but not part of what you or I learn in our schools or on TV. I'm thinking this sudden increase in the sheer amount of food in China - which I wasn't aware of until I read this scientific paper - would make a terrific difference to the mass of people. Really, if your kids were starving one year, and then there was enough to eat, that would be much more important to you than almost anything else.

I am aware there were later bad food shortages, but I'm thinking there was never again the level of rural suffering that there had been.
posted by communicator at 2:56 PM on October 4, 2009 [5 favorites]


Several of the interviewees mentioned Mao or "Chairman Mao", so I think he's still bound up in these positive changes, for the older generation at least.

Perhaps, but even with older people when asked who helped China the most economically, you hear Deng Xiao Ping much more than you hear about Mao. Perhaps he's mentioned more with villagers or whatnot, but I suspect it's just as likely as the interviewer asking leading questions, letting his own biases cloud the answers in the interview. One also has to understand that a lot of this is not a love of the CCP, a lot of this is a sort new nationalism in China. It's a part of building (and participating in whitewashing) the national mythology. Implicit in this is directly the result of the history of imperialism and "Sick man of the east", trying to build their own national identity and self-confidence. The interviewer clearly is getting this message, but not fully understanding it. See the quote in the article:
In the past, this park was forbidden to Chinese. It was an exclusive park for French children, in this concession area.
One cannot separate western powers and Chinese nationalism with their comments about Mao, this is not all about economics.
posted by amuseDetachment at 3:14 PM on October 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Well, I don't exactly see Americans lining up to discuss how much of their prosperity is based on the genocide of Native American nations. Why should the Chinese be expected to do any better?"
That is the genius of mefi outrage: understanding that tu quoque always trumps any legitimate criticisms.
posted by ollyollyoxenfree at 3:14 PM on October 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


I think it's rather telling that all the people interviewed were from a big city and had lived there almost their entire lives. Life in the big cities certainly sucked at different times, but it was nothing compared what people in the countryside suffered. My family was never rich or prosperous, but when I was born in Beijing, they still had enough money to hire a live-in nanny. My nanny was from Anhui. Every single other member of her family had died during the famines. Her husband, her parents, her 3 kids.

The sad thing about China is it's always been fucked over by whoever was in charge. So when one regime fucks over the people slightly less than the last, they're seen as great saviors.

The last time I was in China in the early 2000s, all industrialization had done was widen the gap between rich and poor. Hundreds of thousands of people were migrating to the cities from the countryside looking for work and not finding it because of residency laws and other factors. The bureaucrats were so corrupt, and people's sense of history was so distorted I saw a lot of young people feeling nostalgic for Mao.
posted by kmz at 3:25 PM on October 4, 2009 [6 favorites]


Of course they do. they are now slightly richer. starving people will support ANYHTING that makes them slightly richer.

Their grandkids will now no longer have to worry about clothes and food. OURS will,of course.
I can't be joyful for China's fully belly, when it comes at the cost of ours. Sorry. I wish i could.

Enjoy your third-world futures everyone. I do not look forward to the years of misery and hunger that await all of us.
posted by HalfJack at 3:55 PM on October 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


I was recently in Beijing(last week)
I never saw alot of wealth a few nice BMWs that sort of thing.
The whole city was just a beehive of activity and pollution
I saw huge complete housing developments and hi rises that seemed empty and abandon right after being built.

And the patriotism I saw seemed genuine flags outside of houses and stickers on cars etc..

But the thing that stuck me most was I never saw a single bird during my week in Beijing
posted by SatansCabanaboy at 3:58 PM on October 4, 2009


Their grandkids will now no longer have to worry about clothes and food. OURS will,of course.
I can't be joyful for China's fully belly, when it comes at the cost of ours. Sorry. I wish i could.


Why do you think this?
posted by kathrineg at 4:22 PM on October 4, 2009


Their grandkids will now no longer have to worry about clothes and food. OURS will,of course.

Oh come on. Current economic predictions indicate the average American will have something like a $100,000 to $250,000/year income (that's in today's dollars) by 2050, even if we fully mitigate CO2 emissions.

People have a seriously warped sense of economics.
posted by delmoi at 4:58 PM on October 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


Why do you think this?

what part? that our childen will be hungry? or that china's new wealth came from our economy?

well, the first part comes from simply looking at the effects of our declining standard of living over the past 40 years, and extrapolating that trend another 30 or so. Our kids will struggle to keep the electricity on, and THEIR children will struggle to feed themselves at all.

The second part is no secret: everything sold here is made in china. The money that would have gone to americans and american jobs all went to china, forever. We even owe china an ENORMOUS amount of money. So much that if they were to collect, they would cripple us once and for all.

This is not to say that this is china's FAULT. china was simply a starving country willing to ignore its quality of environment and health of its workers to get money. The real people at fault are our corporate masters, who were eager to sell us out for that sweet, sweet chinese slave labor.

As a result, the US has no manufacturing sector at ALL. there is no new wealth being generated here. Once we have depleted our savings and assets, the corporations will simply stop trying to market to us, and we will have an economy essentially like mexico - starving peasants, corrupt officials, and a government too poor to control the corporations that remain.

This is why i can't be happy for them. I know that everyone deserves not to starve, but its hard to be happy for someone who ate your kids dinner - even if they weren't the ones who stole it.
posted by HalfJack at 5:12 PM on October 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


deimoi - an AVERAGE doesnt tell me much. hell the AVERAGE income of me and Bill Gates is 500 million per year. please tell me more about how we are all going ot be rich in the future, because while id love to believe it, it doesn't make a lot of sense - on the surface, at least.
posted by HalfJack at 5:20 PM on October 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


^ That's some garbled thinking, right there. Manufacturing and only manufacturing = wealth generation, huh? That explains why we're so rich in the west.

I find it interesting (and frustrating) that any China discussion on the internet is almost always taken over by nationalist twats who wilfully buy into the notion that CCP=China, and therefore criticism of the former is the same as criticism of the latter (I'm hoping the 5 buck barrier will prevent some of this here).

I've noticed also there is often a tendency to polarise, too; discussion of the flaws or systemic abuses of the govt is seen by its proponents as eliding the successes it has had. Of course, it's possible (Dare I say reasonable) to argue that the CCP has overseen a widespread increase in virtually every metric (infant mortality, literacy, etc etc) you care to name, whilst still being venal and corrupt.

For those inclined to argue that prosperity's price is democracy, I always point to India.

And re: the old people. Of course they love the party, they're the winners from it. In China, we don't hear from the losers, they have no voice.
posted by smoke at 5:20 PM on October 4, 2009


Very interesting to hear old folk in their own words. Actually, I wish more- most- reporting was like this. Unfiltered as much as possible, straight voices from the street, better and juicier stories come through that way.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 6:02 PM on October 4, 2009


deimoi - an AVERAGE doesnt tell me much. hell the AVERAGE income of me and Bill Gates is 500 million per year.

Well, why are you expecting that your grandchildren, in particular, are going to be the ones in poverty? Even the very poor in the U.S. don't go without food or clothing, for the most part.
posted by delmoi at 6:34 PM on October 4, 2009


> Actually, I wish more- most- reporting was like this. Unfiltered as much as possible, straight voices from the street, better and juicier stories come through that way.

Do you read Chinasmack? I found it via a post on the blue about a year ago.

I don't agree that this (or Chinasmack) is "unfiltered" though. Nothing in China is unfiltered.
posted by saturnine at 6:58 PM on October 4, 2009


We even owe china an ENORMOUS amount of money. So much that if they were to collect, they would cripple us once and for all.

That's true, but that will not happen, because to do so would also cripple China.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:21 PM on October 4, 2009


I too am thankful for a post about China which builds a more nuanced picture of the relationship between its government and people.

Too much reporting of China is, to my mind, informed by a subtle Sinophobia (I am speaking here for reporting in Australia, where a deep-rooted fear of the East goes back well into the 19th century). China = something sinister, inscrutable, monolithic; this trope is used to interpret Chinese government actions when similar actions by a Western government would receive a radically different interpretation.

Example: back in the 90s when Sydney and Beijing were both bidding for the 2000 Olympics, I remember an ABC foreign correspondent report that was absolutely scathing of the Chinese government's "wall-to-wall propaganda" -- flags, banners, events -- supposedly brainwashing its people into supporting their Olympics bid.

Yet at the time, you couldn't move in Sydney for all the government-sponsored flags, billboards, banners and t-shirts. But our flag-waving is just community spirit -- while of course China's flag-waving is communist propaganda.
posted by dontjumplarry at 7:28 PM on October 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Nothing in China is unfiltered."

Agreed. I'd go further and say nothing anywhere is unfiltered, but it's just better to not have a journalist explaining to me what I can read with my own two eyes. I like that. :)
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 7:31 PM on October 4, 2009


Actually, I wish more- most- reporting was like this. Unfiltered as much as possible, straight voices from the street, better and juicier stories come through that way.

Well there's always Roland Soong's idiosyncratic EastSouthWestNorth blog, which does a very good job of translating Chinese primary sources into English.

In fact this whole FPP would have been a lot better if the OP had just linked to EastSouthWestNorth. Of course then it wouldn't have been a post about how the Chinese feel about Mao (extrapolating from the responses of just four people). Gah.

I don't feel even remotely qualified to talk about how the Chinese feel about the CCCP, and I
a: live 40 minutes from Mainland China
b: am exposed to a lot more China news than people in the West
c: have Chinese colleagues

The country is so vast, the people so diverse - really, this FPP is just crazy. The perspectives of the four people interviewed are definitely interesting, but to frame it the way the Telegraph did is just stupid. Flagged as dumb.
posted by awfurby at 8:48 PM on October 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


The Secret of the Chinese Communist Party's Success (Asia Times, Oct. 3 2009).
posted by rumbles at 8:51 PM on October 4, 2009


Remember HalfJack, down the lane, not across the street. Also, can I have your stuff?

Seriously, you'd think that given the track record of the last century's worth of predictions, people would have more sense than to take ANY prediction of the future seriously. Especially when it comes to economics. After all, we should all note the massive economic crisis that occurred due to the transition from horses to automobiles.

Let's face it: any prediction of the future beyond five years or so says a lot more about the personality of the predictor than it does about the actual future.
posted by happyroach at 9:53 PM on October 4, 2009


I'm glad to see that [apparently] China has a good health care system and pension for the elderly. But I really can't get behind the methods Mao [or the Cultural Revolution] used along the way. Seems they could have taken a more enlightened approach to get to where they are today. No doubt every country has a dark history - but China's seems more recent than others.
posted by Rashomon at 10:05 PM on October 4, 2009


I think people forget how fucked up China was for the first half of the 20th century. No central government, constant war. Not to mention that practices like foot binding and selling of brides was a normal and accepted thing. The effectiveness of the communists getting the country united and starting on the path of development after they took power is really quite amazing.

The second part is no secret: everything sold here is made in china. The money that would have gone to americans and american jobs all went to china, forever. We even owe china an ENORMOUS amount of money. So much that if they were to collect, they would cripple us once and for all.

The thing about that is that the reason we owe China so much money is because the elite in China wanted to keep wage inflation down and keep the RMB cheap. So it isn't like there is some trade off between the well being of Chinese and American labor.
posted by afu at 10:11 PM on October 4, 2009


As soon as I saw the words "support" and "Chinese Communist party" I said to myself, "Oh, another post by Shetterly".

Ah, Joe. You may remember me linking once or twice to The Tibet Myth, which includes scathing things about China. So, isn't the Daily Telegraph conservative enough for you?
posted by shetterly at 11:09 PM on October 4, 2009


No doubt every country has a dark history - but China's seems more recent than others.

Just to put this in perspective, American's invasion of Vietnam and formal racial segregation are both more recent than the Cultural Revolution.
posted by stammer at 2:27 AM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


So, isn't the Daily Telegraph conservative enough for you?

That would probably be a terribly incisive remark if I were to live in the UK.

I don't actually recall you linking to The Tibet Myth. I just remember that you went through a series of posts on The Tibetans Are Jolly Lucky To Be Ruled By China and you sounded rather like a cheerleader for the regime. So when I saw another post saying how great the Chinese Communist party is, I rather thought it would be one of yours. And it was.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:42 AM on October 5, 2009



I think people forget how fucked up China was for the first half of the 20th century. No central government, constant war. Not to mention that practices like foot binding and selling of brides was a normal and accepted thing. The effectiveness of the communists getting the country united and starting on the path of development after they took power is really quite amazing.


Well, I dunno, Taiwan seems to have done pretty well for itself.
posted by Comrade_robot at 4:57 AM on October 5, 2009


So, isn't the Daily Telegraph conservative enough for you?

Oh god, this rigamarole. So if you don't like the Chinese regime, you must be a right-winger?

Just to put this in perspective, American's invasion of Vietnam and formal racial segregation are both more recent than the Cultural Revolution.

You realize China was heavily involved in the Vietnam War too, right? And later on, they actually fought a whole war of their own against Vietnam.

How lovely for China to be a fully integrated society nowadays with no ethnic issues at all.

And oh, let's not forget Tiananmen Square and Changan Avenue. Nothing bad's happened there, right?

Here's the thing. The US has obviously done a lot of fucked up things in its history. And continues to do so, and will do so in the future. But none of that is an excuse for the CCP.

Well, I dunno, Taiwan seems to have done pretty well for itself.

To be fair, the Nationalists did a lot of shitty things when they were in power in the mainland too. See above re: China always getting fucked over by its government. And Taiwan was ruled under martial law until the 80s, so it wasn't exactly a shining example of democracy either.
posted by kmz at 5:34 AM on October 5, 2009


I just remember that you went through a series of posts on The Tibetans Are Jolly Lucky To Be Ruled By China and you sounded rather like a cheerleader for the regime.

Joe, so you didn't bother to actually read the links before concluding you knew what they were about? If you had, you would've noticed things like this, from Parenti's article: "if Tibet’s future is to be positioned somewhere within China’s emerging free-market paradise, then this does not bode well for the Tibetans. China boasts a dazzling 8 percent economic growth rate and is emerging as one of the world’s greatest industrial powers. But with economic growth has come an ever deepening gulf between rich and poor. Most Chinese live close to the poverty level or well under it, while a small group of newly brooded capitalists profit hugely in collusion with shady officials."
posted by shetterly at 9:43 AM on October 5, 2009


I don't feel i've learned a whole lot, or gained new perspective from this discussion, but i wanted to add that gapminder.org has some stats on China, and in fact a section of the website making it simple for people to compare social and environmental stats on the different regions of China.

gapminder.org
click on "gaps within [Chinese natl flag]"
posted by eustatic at 11:44 AM on October 5, 2009


stammer
Just to put this in perspective, American's invasion of Vietnam and formal racial segregation are both more recent than the Cultural Revolution.

Okay, but let's take that perspective further and note that Mao's misguided reign caused the deaths of upwards of 70 million Chinese people [Some say 50 to 60 million]. Either number is completely unacceptable no matter what is achieved.

Then there was the [post Mao] Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989, which killed - depending on who you talk to - somewhere between 300 and 3000 protestors. Crackdowns of protestors in the US over the past 50 years have not yielded anywhere near that many deaths. [And, yes, just one death is bad enough - but 300 in the span of a few days is unnecessarily brutal].

Inevitably a comparison between the crimes of one country vs another is being made here, which I don't like to do. I won't excuse any crimes the US has done in the last 50 or 60 years. But my point still stands and that is China's leap forward came at a great cost. And it is a cost I think could have been avoided.
posted by Rashomon at 2:28 PM on October 5, 2009


Rashomon, your first link is more than a little biased:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mao:_The_Unknown_Story#Criticism

Which isn't to justify what happened under Mao or in Tiananmen Square. It's just to say that if you want objectivity, that's not it.
posted by shetterly at 3:55 PM on October 5, 2009


The BBC's John Simpson has visited the Chinese province of Xinjiang, where three months ago ethic violence led to more than 200 people being killed.
posted by homunculus at 4:31 PM on October 5, 2009


Just to put this in perspective, American's invasion of Vietnam and formal racial segregation are both more recent than the Cultural Revolution.

Ummmm, no.

Cultural Revolution: 1966 - 1976
Civil Rights Act: 1964
Fall of Saigon: 1975
posted by afu at 11:00 PM on October 18, 2009


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