Mao Zedong

Discussion in 'Chinese Chat' started by jtommy87, Apr 4, 2013.

  1. jtommy87

    jtommy87 Well-Known Member

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    Can anyone help tell me

    why might Mao Zedong have seen the cultural revolution as one of his two greatest accomplishments?
     
  2. ralphrepo

    ralphrepo Well-Known Member

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    Because he took what was an impending political defeat and instead, utilized the fears and anger of the uneducated peasants to persecute, emasculate and drive out a growing legion of critics; despite his obvious role in causing the deaths upwards of 50 million Chinese during the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution ultimately suppressed and attenuated internal Chinese dissent, allowing Mao to reinforce and retain his political control. China did not begin to rise until his death which freed the party from the fear of angering him, when it began exploring other means of capitalization. This eventually opened the doors to western markets, and being one of the poorest nations in the world with a huge untapped labor pool, it was a natural to see explosive economic growth.
     
  3. jtommy87

    jtommy87 Well-Known Member

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    is it possible to write an essay on this topic?
     
  4. ralphrepo

    ralphrepo Well-Known Member

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    Many historians have gotten their PHD theses based on this material. The Cultural Revolution was one of modern China's biggest historic events, starting in 1966 and only ending with the death of Mao a decade later. The impact on the people of China from this horrendous political turmoil is still being debated today.
     
  5. jtommy87

    jtommy87 Well-Known Member

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    I have to write an essay on this topic, can you give me some pointer as what I can write about? I don't think i know enough to write 6 pages on it.

    Like you said he was removing capitalist thought and traditions, secure his position as people fear him. He also encourage young people to criticize others (the red guard).

    But i still don't get why Mao thought it's one of his greatest accomplishment?
     
  6. ralphrepo

    ralphrepo Well-Known Member

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    He wasn't simply removing capitalist thought, insofar as he was more a political failure that cost the lives of millions of Chinese because of his extravagant and often meaningless policies. After other members of the communist party began discussing how to get rid of him, he shrewdly used the anger his failures caused in the masses to protect himself. Thus he ironically deflected their anger by instead claiming that because others in the party weren't loyal enough, they were the cause as to why so many of his policies failed. In effect, he blamed others for his own incompetence and thus manipulated the angry, unknowing and uneducated peasants into killing off other party members that wanted him to own up to his own mistakes. He avoided responsibility for ruining nearly a half century for China, and killing more Chinese than any other man in history. Mao thought it was his greatest political accomplishment because he murdered millions of Chinese and literally got away with it. He was not only able to engineer political survival, but managed to remain in power when he should have been shot.

    Read, Mao, the Unknown Story

    You can get a used copy for about $6 total.
     
    #6 ralphrepo, Apr 4, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2013
  7. surplusletterbox

    surplusletterbox Well-Known Member

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    For a tearful love story view "Under the Hawthorn Tree" in book (English translation and original Chinese), film and a drama series. The setting of the story is the Cultural Revolution.
     
  8. Jeff

    Jeff 神之馬壯

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    Wow. I'm also doing an essay report on him. But I guess I have it easier. Just to prove whether if he was a hero or ... "villain" of China.
     
  9. jtommy87

    jtommy87 Well-Known Member

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    seems like he wasn't the greatest guy ever, but he sure is famous now a day
     
  10. ralphrepo

    ralphrepo Well-Known Member

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    That's probably the hardest question of all. Or let me illustrate it in another way, by proposing a question for you; had Adolf Hitler succeeded in his heavy water production and manufactured atomic warheads with capable delivery systems, allowing him to conquer the world; would we consider him today to be a hero or villain? Hitler lost the war not because he was morally wrong and evil, he lost because of an unrealistic engineering timetable despite having the technology on hand. Had he the time needed to fully procure atomic munitions and jet plane bombers, he would have undoubtedly taken over the world. But suppose for a second, that he succeeded; that this is indeed, what happened and we're all speaking Deutsch right now in a world state of Pan Germania (or the Teutonic wonderland that Hitler was trying to achieve); would we look upon him as a villain, or would we laud him as a hero, the founder of our united world state? When we ask a question in such a way, it would seem ludicrous that such an accepted world villain, be all of a sudden cast instead into the role of world savior.

    Now imagine had the Communists lost, and the Kuomintang won; how would we think of Mao today? Would there be any debate of his villainy? I doubt it. He would be accepted as a historic world evil, period.

    My point is, politics often becomes the prism through which world events are viewed. Mao is considered a hero by many in the PRC because he was once the head of the political team that is still in power. It is to their benefit that they support their past leadership, even if they have to lie to do it, as it then becomes the foundation of their organization in the present day. If they told the truth about Mao and show him as the villain that he truly was, then why should people follow the party today? People won't; so they don't (ie the party would never reveal the truth about Mao to their own people).

    In an amusing story of political epiphany, I recall reading a story of how mainland Chinese exchange students, visiting Taiwan, was able to read up on unfiltered Chinese history for the first time in their lives; the information literally stunned them. They found out that a lot of their foundations in history were really just political constructs and that the party wasn't as pure as they had portrayed themselves. The irony of this was that mainland students were being allowed by the PRC to go to Taiwan in the hopes of bettering cross straits relations. What they didn't count on was these students returning with genuine knowledge about what the party really is, LOL...

    Thus, we return to the issue with Mao; is he a villain or hero? Well, it depends upon your political need. But, in my book, anyone killing more Chinese in his lifetime than any other man in history, is certainly not a good guy.
     
  11. Jeff

    Jeff 神之馬壯

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    Even when I was doing my research notes I could see both sides of the argument. However I'm not able to ask "what if" questions in my essay so I'll just have to prove it with facts. But asking "what if" questions is interesting because it leads to a complete different outcome of how we view the event/person today.

    At the end of the day, I think i had my eyes set on proving him to be a bad leader. He had success in some areas, but I think it'll be easier for me to prove his wrongs (from my research notes). But the argument can go completely both ways.
     
  12. turbobenx

    turbobenx .........

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    copy and paste Ralph's post... that'll be my essay..... thx buddy!
     
  13. surplusletterbox

    surplusletterbox Well-Known Member

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    OP, I think the answer to your question is along the lines of that of effective removal of capitalists from society during the Cultural Revolution. Essentially capitalism is about maximisation of resources (labour, money and facilities) towards capital build up. Capitalists will always be tempted with accumulation of capital in tax havens around the globe. However in the case of socialism the ideology is about maximisation of services to people. The Cutural Revolution officially declared to have ended in 1969 but its legacy lasted many years more. The removal of capitalists from society temporarily paved the way for emergence of state capitalism! But state capitalism did not work well in USSR so the Chinese version was to open the door for importation of foreign investment and expertise. Therefore the success of the state capitalism (with capitalists making a come back since the 1980's working in parallel with state capitalism) could be arguably be an after product of the Cultural Revolution. In this regard the Cultural Revolution is considered to be a Mao's success but not without huge sacrifices. However in Mao's defence a part of the huge suffering was caused by trade embargo by the West. Communism and Capitalism work best when there is extensive global reach for resources and trade. But Mao was not a businessman nor a production manager, that was why he failed in some areas of his strategy. A lot of people criticise Mao for the sufferings and mistakes. However comparatively the Industry Revolution of the British Empire and of the Empire itself had similar suffering right across the British Empire with people working as slaves and mass deportation of people to Australia etc.. Incidentally Karl Max saw this first hand when he was in England during the Victoria days. Today state capitalism is effective in China and in Singapore. Similarly in USA the capitalists of old (Carnegie Mellon Rockerfeller..) have transformed into huge corporation with extensively control and lobbying of politics so , in effect, the politicians eat out of the hands of huge corporations and investment banks. This is when government, politics are fused with business thus moving towards state capitalism too. Note that US capitalistic growth was stunted with lack of access to global resources during the European Imperial/Empirical autocractic rule around the world. But WW1 and WW2 changed all that!
    How for something completely different, off topic, the social-capitalistm in Germany and Scandinavian countries have the balance roughly right. State capitalism can be agressive and can be benign but the current phase of capitalism in the Anglo Saxon economies is aggressive (less for the ordinary people).
     
    #13 surplusletterbox, Apr 4, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2013
  14. jtommy87

    jtommy87 Well-Known Member

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    have anyone read the son of revolution?
     
  15. surplusletterbox

    surplusletterbox Well-Known Member

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    I have not read it ( see how I feel after reading "Under the Hawthorn Tree"!). That "Son of Revolution" book is very BIG topic and open to numerous opposing and contrasting perspectives. No doubt about it, it narrates yet another tumultuous period in China's 5000 year history. But then again when you look at histories around the world there are plenty of parallels when drastic solutions were applied to solve extreme poverty or power struggle which includes ethnic cleansing. Remember transformational leaders confronted with severe problem always come up with innovative (unproven) top down strategies rising from traditional systems which had obviously failed (else the whole nation wouldn't be in trouble as China was from 1780-1960). A systemic failure in society may be real or it may have been fabricated failure to justify a corrupt aim not founded on morality for the benefit of the people's welfare at home and beyond.
    For example the author says"For 40 years, the power of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) rested on four pillars: the personality cult of Chairman Mao; incorruptible government; iron party discipline; and the strength of the People's Liberation Army and the police." but the statement is true if you replace certain words like this: "For 40 years, the power of the US government rested on four pillars: the personality cult of its President; incorruptible government; iron dual party discipline; and the strength of the US Armed Forces and the police (at home and abroad). Same analogy I would contend as the author had lived in China and now live in USA. The style of the two countries are miles apart but the general principles of governance is essentially the same. The relative degree of suffering is going to be substantially different between a $500 per capita country or a $50,000 per capita country and this is independent of the political governance.

    What is your insight of the book so that we can respond to?
     
    #15 surplusletterbox, Apr 6, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2013