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JW Insider

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Everything posted by JW Insider

  1. Ajit singh, Chinese inv popular, small in comparison to debts africa owes to the west, building much needed infrastructure, jobs for chinese, ... 5g in italy. US is trying ... aainst free market... if us doesn't want competition, crushes by sanctions. Soviet Union unfree .. ? US goes around interfering in other countries. Marshall plan. This might be confusing. To make a point, I often try to quote admissions by those whose general goal appears to denigrate China. It's like quoting a kid in a schoolyard who was just bested in some athletic match-up, who says, "As you know, I've always hated Shawna, but I have to admit that at least she played fair." My takeaway from such a statement is that this provides more evidence that Shawna played fairly than if Shawna herself had said she played fairly. I saw this chart below re-quoted once with the heading, "Guess which color is China ?" --- The link to sais-cari.org (China Africa Research Initiative) in the charts footnote, is related to the same link you would get if you clicked on the words "5 percent" in the portion of the link content that you quoted from. (Actually that particular link is dead in my browser, but you can still find the intended document on Google here. Perhaps it's an update.) It's a document called Debt Relief with Chinese Characteristics by Kevin Acker, Deborah Brautigam, and Yufan Huang. This is the major source for the article in the Foreign Relations site, that I cited above. At issue is not the amount of interest free loans, but the amount of loans undergoing a much restructuring and outright forgiveness. The article mentions the much "friendlier" methods used by China vs. the methods of the World Bank/IMF/G-20. Also, it's odd that with such a small footprint of investment, they are still the largest investors in real infrastructure. What are the debts from the other countries for? And, of course, I don't think China is being altruistic, but they are giving that impression. A journalist named Ajit Singh has said: "About that so-called "debt trap": China is a tiny source of African debt, yet the U.S. and West endlessly fear-monger about this. It is the cynical propaganda of imperialists who are afraid of losing their stranglehold on the continent." Singh has collected a huge list of links here, although below I will only include those on Africa in general, not the projects listed by specific country. Africa General Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism in Africa
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    China in Africa: ‘Imperial power’ or ‘altruist’?
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    China not neocolonialist
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    Here’s what Africans think about China’s influence in their countries
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    China colonizing Africa? MOFA urges EU parliament chief to ‘learn basic facts’
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    5 Myths About Chinese Investment in Africa - Deborah Brautigam
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    Alternative link:
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    China will not take path of “Western colonists” in Africa - foreign minister
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    Abayomi Azikiwe: China and its foreign policy in relation to the African Continent
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    The real story behind China’s alleged conquest of African farmland
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    Demonising China: pundits get its role in Africa wrong
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    Chinese investment in Africa is more diverse and welcome than you think
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    China by far the largest investor in African infrastructure
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    China’s direct investment in Africa: Reality versus myth
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    China to expand skills programme to Africa
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    Chinese train producer makes Africa’s fastest trains
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    China’s growing health aid to Africa encouraged
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    China is training Africa’s next generation of transport and aviation experts
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    China has overtaken the US and UK as the top destination for anglophone African students
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  2. They were actually very open about it. Western countries could share in the Chinese market, and make use of Chinese labor and factories and supply chains only if they agreed to turn over their technology and/or give up much of their long term profits. Capitalists often think in the short term. As you say they aren't good with long term plans. The financial services company I worked for for 20-some years wanted to open up offices in China and we had to consider their offers. (I had to work on statistics and projections for the crossover point of profitability and yearly ROI.) But we knew we had to agree to their terms of giving up our "secrets" so that China could run the same type of company on their own terms, and might even compete with our own company, or more likely, kick us out in less than 10 years and copy what we were doing. In the meantime, of course, we were hiring so many consultants from India, that the two largest consulting companies in India were already using our "secrets" in their own country and with other competing companies in the US where the same consulting companies from India had been hired. (After an Indian company we were using made a big presentation and proposal for some product changes, I caught a glimpse of another company's name in the footer of a page of the proposal. On a shared drive I found several documents from another company where they had worked.)
  3. I have not read the 2005 version nor the 2016 version of this book (Confessions of an Economic Hitman, by John Perkins), but I have heard people for years corroborate and document exactly what he claims has been done. I have no idea if he himself was personally involved in so much of it, of course, but this has been documented for years. I once listened to many hours of the "secret recordings" from the White House phone of Lyndon Johnson. These were once aired on a Cable C-Span channel maybe 20 years ago? I heard some things on those recordings that first made me think that this type of predatory lending was being used "effectively" in the 1960's and prior. I remember having the channel on just as background noise while doing something else, and then I heard the name of a person I had known. In fact, for many years I attended the Congregation Bible Study in his home down the street from 124 Columbia Heights. I also visited and stayed overnight in his home in Southampton, NY, for weekend summer "vacations" from Bethel. Although the wife and children and some grandchildren were active Witnesses, he himself was not active. He had been the best-known president of the World Bank, and special financial consultant to the United Nations, after which he became special adviser to the ruler of Kuwait. His obit in the NYT says that "He also brought a bluntness that disabused heads of state and finance ministers of any notion that he was an international Santa Claus." It also quoted him as saying: "He sought to engender an international social conscience -- a feeling that extreme differences of poverty and wealth were intolerable among nations." And: "I don't think you can combat Communism, no matter how much money you give, unless the money is properly spent." Even though he died in 1992 and his wife died in 2001, for the sake of the grandchildren's privacy (they are friends) I don't want to use the names here. If anyone really wants to know, LBJ finally appointed him to a post, and he was under consideration to work on an "oil deal" with Kuwait, Algeria, UAR, and Iraq after a shipping stoppage. Editorial Note #180 here:
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    What else caught my attention was the context, that LBJ was wanting to nominate him for a position with Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, and the Secretary of Defense, Robert MacNamara. Later LBJ ended up appointing him to start up a special UN-backed development bank for South East Asia to counterbalance the Vietnam fiasco. Encyclopedia.com says: In April 1965 President Lyndon B. Johnson chose [him] to create a United Nations—sponsored multinational Asian Development Bank to provide investment funds and research staff to Southeast Asian nations, an attempt to deflect criticism of American involvement in Vietnam. And guess who got the job as president of the World Bank after retiring as Secretary of Defense? Robert MacNamara himself, of Vietnam-era infamy. Anyway, it's well documented what the World Bank, the IMF, and USAID, and others have been doing. USAID, by the way, is often presented as non-political by most media outlets, but it's so full of CIA spies and propagandists that many countries prefer to just send them away and not allow them to bring aid into their country. I'll have to look it up again, but I believe that it was a FOXNews or similar reporter was interviewing a State Dept retiree last year, and she was laughing off China's claim that the US was interfering by inciting riots in Hong Kong. She expected him to play along, but the State Dept man --I'll look up his name later if needed-- went off script and said something like, "No. They're right, we are there in Hong Kong. We have USAID there, . . . ." [and he named a few other entities]. She dropped it quickly, probably for fear he was having a senior moment, and might end up revealing CIA ops. Also, I heard John Bolton in an interview upset that China was giving interest-free loans in Africa, employing a lot of local African people, and doing things that were building up friendly relations that made it difficult for us (the US) to make the same inroads in Africa, because their style is so different. You can read a lot between the lines here, especially when you know the bullying, imperialist methods that the United States has regularly backed. Bolton must be even angrier now at headlines like this:
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    As Africa Faces COVID-19, Chinese Debt Relief is a Welcome Development This has been a common theme for years as China's economy has been growing. Except in the West, they are not generally known to the rest of the world for using debt as a weapon the way the US and the EU (mostly German banks) have done. You can see this as buying good relationships with countries, but in practice, that is still better than forcing the hiring of US corporations, creating complex infrastructure that requires an ongoing US presence, and then using debt default as leverage in exchange for building a military base, leveraging UN votes, etc. (Western media is always reporting about non-existent Chinese military bases, too, which is another form of projection.) After the EU bludgeoned Greece, and threatens Italy and Spain over economic debt, China has even stepped in here. And this is not just a recent development, but goes back to at least 2009. Note:
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    China’s relationships with Greece and Italy are deepening – EU is reaping exactly what it sowed You can watch YouTube interviews with Greek leaders praising China. They have stepped in to help Greece out, for free. And the EU is therefore mad at Greece for not joining them in condemning China on human rights.
  4. The Western leaning is often subtle, but not at all surprising. Human rights organizations in the United States are full of idealistic persons who want to publicize what is going wrong in many different places. There are areas where, if one can't get close enough to the situation, one can only expect the outrage to align with the most common version of the story. Hutu and Tutsi, Ukraine and Ukraine/Crimea, Myanmar, Milosevic, Assad/Syria, Bolivia, Libya, Venezuela, China. And, of course, most of the human rights issues that the US is responsible for are often handled through proxies and puppets, or are not seen unless pictures or documents leak (Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, Libya, Syria). But another problem is a less perceptible method following of the West's policies. HRW and Amnesty International once included major sections on economic and labor rights, but these have nearly disappeared from their websites. Especially as the West (with EU and UN support) has increased the use of economic sanctions. Back before the US invasion of Iraq (Libya, etc) there were discussions of violence imposed on other countries, citing appropriate UN Security Council Resolutions. Now, there have been statements (interviews) to the effect that these organizations don't get involved in the causes or stated reasons for war or conflict, but only concern themselves with the conduct of those prosecuting and/or defending the ensuing conflict. Another point of comparison will get lost due to the ability to hide abuses that are considered "expected" but relatively minor exceptions to the rule. For example, even if it were true that ALL those suspected facilities in China were actually jails of some sort for a million Uyghurs, then even with the this number, the United States still out-imprisons its people at a much higher rate than China. Prison guards, prison officers, soldiers and military officers, and police officers often get caught abusing human rights. I'm sure this happens everywhere. Russia, China, United States. One can reasonably assume that much of this abuse never gets caught. The United States has military bases all around the world, more than most other countries combined. And more soldiers based outside the country than anyone else. The United States has more prison guards than anywhere else, and a larger police force than China per capita. So most abuses will likely be considered a few bad apples hidden in the millons of bushels of generally good apples. Therefore few people think to roll those numbers up to compare all the "bad apples" to any other country's "bad apples." [Now compare this idea with the statistics released by reporters who have admitted that they learned of a bad report coming out of a specific city or region, and then merely multiplied that bad report by a specific factor because they assumed it must also be happening in all other parts of the country in question.]
  5. May I assume that you have misunderstood the topic again, @4Jah2me? There are many reasons to discuss religion when discussing the problems of socialist and communist countries. There may even be space to discuss personal or religious beliefs about how China/Russia/etc, might fit into Bible prophecy, because this has been one of the ways that religious believers tie China and Russia into their worldview. Also, China and Russia have been notorious for their persecution and restrictions placed on several different Christian-oriented religions (JWs and others). But just because you happen to know that @Arauna, for example, is one of Jehovah's Witnesses, it actually is "trolling" behavior to follow her comments, often only to pick out specific words as a means to insult her religion. In case you still question what "trolling" means in the context of posting, I just googled it: troll2 noun: a person who makes a deliberately offensive or provocative online post. a deliberately offensive or provocative online post. verb: make a deliberately offensive or provocative online post with the aim of upsetting someone or eliciting an angry response from them. If you wish to comment about JWs or the GB, comment about what they have said about China, or experiences of JWs in China or Russia. If your goal is merely to find what you consider hypocritical statements, then make a topic about that. Or make a topic about all the clever ways you have found to take posts on various topics and used the information to insult Jehovah's Witnesses.
  6. Here's a start . . .
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    The 2012 grant from Al Jaber’s U.K.-based charitable foundation amounted to $470,000, Roth told The Intercept, adding that a “final pledge installment was never realized.” The statement did not refer to Al Jaber by name, but two Human Rights Watch employees confirmed his identity to The Intercept. “We also regret that the grant was made by the owner of a company that Human Rights Watch had previously identified as complicit in labor rights abuse,” the group’s statement said. In 2012 and previous years, Human Rights Watch reported extensively on labor violations at Jadawel International, a Saudi construction company founded and owned by Al Jaber. ... Roth was himself involved in soliciting the donation, according to an internal Human Rights Watch email sent last month and obtained by The Intercept. The email was written on behalf of the group’s international board of directors and signed by the board’s co-chairs, Amy Rao and Neil Rimer. At the root of this issue, imo, was that HRW initially reported labor abuse, but negotiated to tamp down the reports about discrimination against specific groups. And, based on a promise by Al Jaber of half-a-million dollars, and a promise to do better in the future, HRW also agreed to tamp down the general future exposure of the slave labor conditions at Al Jaber's construction company. (Al Jaber, like companies in Dubai, steal migrant workers passports, stop paying them for months at a time, and keeps them forced to only spend money on company housing, food, etc.) They may have shown an anti-Israel bias, and they do make some exceptions to the pro-Western bias, but I get the impression it's a complex game and is even part of their multiple fundraising forays in Saudi Arabia, or perhaps just plain old anti-Semitism. The pro-Western bias showed up in most of their Syria and Latin American reporting.
  7. If you looked up "china arrests hong kong pro democracy activists" on Google yesterday, you would get about 100 media outlets reporting primarily about the arrest of Jimmy Lai and Agnes Chow, with very little information on the others arrested in the sweep. You can get a sense of what happened just two days ago, August 10th, in a sweep by 200 Chinese policemen. The source is "Human Rights Watch" (hrw.org), a resource that is infamous for overlooking human rights violations by Western powers and highlighting violations by those not friendly to Western powers.
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    (New York) – Hong Kong authorities should immediately release 10 pro-democracy figures arrested on August 10 for vague “national security” crimes and drop all charges against them, Human Rights Watch said today. ... On August 10, Beijing authorities also placed unspecified sanctions on Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, and 10 other US citizens for “having behaved badly in matters related to Hong Kong.” ... On August 10, more than 200 Hong Kong police officers raided the headquarters of Apple Daily, a major pro-democracy newspaper, and arrested its owner, Jimmy Lai, for “colluding with foreign elements,” “incitement,” and “conspiracy to defraud.” Police also arrested Lai’s two sons and four top executives of the Next Media group, the parent company of Apple Daily. One executive, Royston Chow Tat-kuen, was arrested for “colluding with foreign elements” and “conspiracy to defraud,” while the other executives and Lai’s sons were each arrested for one of these alleged crimes. A fifth executive, Mark Simon, who lives abroad, is also wanted by Hong Kong police, Apply Daily said. ...The Hong Kong police also arrested a prominent pro-democracy politician, Agnes Chow, as well as activists Wilson Li and Andy Li for “colluding with foreign elements.” The Lis were also arrested for “money laundering,” reportedly due to their connection with the group Fight for Freedom, Stand with Hong Kong (攬炒團隊). A Hong Kong police spokesperson said the crime of “colluding with foreign elements” refers to Chow and the Lis’ roles in operating a group that “calls on others to sanction Hong Kong.” They also accused Lai and the Next Media executives of funding the group “using foreign bank accounts.” . . . On July 31, Human Rights Watch and 16 other civil society organizations issued a public letter calling on 40 governments around the world to act to uphold human rights in Hong Kong. The letter includes recommendations, ranging from imposing targeted sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong government officials, to supporting the call by the United Nations human rights experts. . . . The United States is the only government that has imposed targeted sanctions on senior Chinese and Hong Kong government officials. Imagine what would happen if an adversarial government to the United States, interfered with United States governmental processes by paying certain newspapers and social media outlets to print fake news. If Russia tried to interfere with an American election process by running ads in Facebook that said "Click here if you are for gun control." or "Do you think Biden is corrupt?" or "Choose: 1 For Trump, 2 for Hillary." Russian (more likely, Ukranian) "hackers" paid for similar ads along with thousands of Americans, and suddenly all the American intelligence agencies said that it somehow proved Russians were trying to hack voting machines. But imagine if that adversarial government also incited riots, even trained protest leaders in methods of "terrorism" and found ways to fund that type of "terrorism," and even provided weapons. This is what the United States has been doing in Hong Kong for a long time now. If you Google "Jimmy Lai meets with CIA" (especially with images) you will probably see dozens of images and videos, some of which report how his right hand man is ex-CIA, Mark Simon, and reports of his funding of violent demonstrations. Many pictures have already surfaced which show, as one of the links is named: Why Beijing Says The Violent Hong Kong Protests Are Infested With CIA Agents And Operatives We could probably start a whole new topic on Hong Kong. It should include the evidence that several of the key leaders of HK protests are seen in images meeting with CIA agents, that the US has provided weapons and training, that Hong Kong racism against Chinese mainlanders is full of racial slurs (including their version of the "N" word), that many protesters celebrate the rape of Nanjing (Nanking) by Japan, that protestors have stated they want Trump to send tanks, that they want an outcome to match what the fascist, nazi Maidan accomplished in Ukraine.* I hope Hong Kong can have a happy ending just like Ukraine” Young Hong Kong woman after viewing “Winter on Fire” Maidan documentary organized by protesters. The propagandists who promoted the documentary (in 40 different venues!!) forgot to mention that the "happy ending" in Ukraine included: GDP dropped by 50% Corruption skyrocketed (was already a big problem under Yanukovich) 5 to10 million people forced to flee due to economic crisis and civil war, 3 million escaped to Russia Anarchy and Neo-Nazi militias Widespread poverty The real problem is that students are often easily manipulated into violent outlets, and HK, while it has plenty of millionaires, has also trapped millions in poverty, especially students. Just as easily as young persons under economic (coronavirus) lockdown were manipulated into terrorist acts here in the United States and around the world, HK protesters were already ripe for such manipulation. For over 100 years HK has been trained to see itself as racially superior, even at one time banning Chinese from coming to HK to have "anchor babies" in HK to gain citizenship privileges. Reporting on HK has been notoriously one-sided. It should also be compared to how protests are reported in Paris, for example, where multiple deaths by police have been completely ignored. Yet mistakes in reporting have been common about HK, while retractions are rare:
  8. You are probably referring mostly to the attention given to a racist media tycoon (Jimmy Lai) who has been working with John Bolton, Steve Bannon, Marco Rubio, etc., (tons of documentation) to overthrow the government of Hong Kong. The United States has been caught red-handed inciting violence in Hong Kong, providing strategies that the United States has used illegally elsewhere in the world. My goal here is to help people realize how easy it is to judge a specific group with a measuring stick that one would not be apt to judge others with, and how this can sometimes be based on propaganda and prejudice. Or, for some, even a deep-seated racial and ethnic hatred of others instead of empathy and love for one's enemies. Chinese people are neighbors in our world, even those poor people who want to see their communist/Marxist government succeed. We are in the midst of a long-term Western-led propaganda campaign against China, and in the midst of a current flare-up of that rhetoric. This means that more and more people are apt to look at anything that China does in the world and see it through a filter that can only see bad, even where there is some good. If China sends medical supplies to a country we oppose, the United States needs to be able to confiscate these ships with impunity. (As they have done. Also, not sure if true, but non-Western media often report that these medical supplies have recently been stolen and redistributed to "friendly nations.") Propaganda and such rhetoric is the typical means by which the United States and the West has often measured the public's support for war. Since the United States has so often relied on its violent military might, much more often than China, one might expect a military confrontation. Wouldn't it be ironic if supposedly neutral people found themselves caught up in pro-war propaganda just because they can only see one side of an issue?
  9. There are certain similarities to this among many religious beliefs if one considers angels and demons to fall within the category of aliens. It is curious that, years ago, initial reports about Falun Gong more often included their very odd beliefs, but once they started campaigning against the CCP in Western cities (like Paris, London, New York) and ranting about organ harvesting, then you hardly hear about their beliefs any more, as if this might interfere with their anti-CCP agenda. (stealing from a site ) : . . . Lie [founder] has the “power to cure cancer and has performed other mysterious feats like conjuring snakes out of thin air”. Reports elsewhere say he has the ability to “fly”. It is also claimed the supernatural abilities he possesses can be learned by his followers. So far, not much different that the beliefs about the snake producing magicians in Pharoah's court, or the 2nd century elaboration on the life of Simon Magus (Acts of the Apostles) that added his ability to fly. Believing that people of mixed race marriages can no longer pray to God, might not have seemed weird to some in the past, but is obviously a mark of either insanity, or insane racism. Of course, if the subject were about Falun Gong, I'd go into the weirder beliefs of the leader and those who defend those beliefs. Far be it from me, of course, to divert from the original topic.
  10. Lots of species evidently became extinct long before humans. The last dinosaur probably died out about 60 to 65 million years before the first human.
  11. @Arauna , I had already seen the France 24 video. The first woman interviewed is the same woman on the PBS video, Gulbahar Jelilova. She is featured in many of the news interviews. She is believable, but that doesn't mean she's telling the whole story. I won't try to imagine what might be going on here, and I give her some benefit of the doubt, just as I give China some benefit of the doubt about what they are doing, where it matches what some non-Chinese, non-Western, non-communist sources have said. So far, there are too many parallels to what has gone on in similar situations in several countries throughout history. VICE of course, has been thoroughly discredited for one sided reporting on Ukraine and Syria and Hong Kong, especially, even blatant propaganda in pushing the scripted stories from so-called "white hats" in Syria who are actually Al-Qaeda style terrorists. There have even been cases where these guerrilla groups or ISIS terrorists, who pass themselves off as humanitarians crying for the children, have been caught faking videos that they want to pass off as videos of gas attacks by Assad. Some of these same men have shown up in other places actually involved directly in acts of terrorism, including "chopping people's heads off." In the PBS version they interview Uyghurs who say: "They ban our language." "China even banned Uyghur music." "We became their target because we studied religion." "It was a plot to force us to renounce our religion." If those were the real reasons, then why does China put up signs in both languages? Why is China known for celebrating Uyghur culture even outside the province? Why is China famous for building so many mosques. Under Mao, China did officially try to drive out religion. This was a failure, and now there are several well established religions, and hundreds of cults trying to recruit people at the universities. Cults that prey on the uneducated so that they can believe that Cults are technically banned, but hundreds get away with their proselytizing at least until their literature starts getting too involved in politics, or amassing wealth. Unfortunately, religions like JWs, who are mistakenly seen as distributing publications promoting political preferences, and Western/American style culture, are also thought to be moving money (donations) to the United States. They are considered a cult and under stricter bans. It might be of interest that, even though I doubt that South Korea would enforce it, "capital flight" (moving money outside the country) is technically punishable by the death penalty there. Getting 10 years or more for it is still common. Even though Russia and China won't admit it out loud, I think that there is a fear that some proselytizing religions can reach unpredictable growth rates, and will send money and donations outside of the country to the United States, as Witnesses were doing in Russia (and all other branches). It's also very possible to detect "projection" in many of the accusations. Claims of "forced abortions" are easy to claim about a country that, until recently, had a one-child policy for Han Chinese. (China could not yet sustain 2+ billion people.) The Uyghurs, and other minorities had always been exempt from the one-child policy. only really applied to the one-child policy to Han Chinese, because the country could not yet sustain 2+ billion people. My former boss, who worked in HK, and whose family is still in Wuhan says the one-child policy worked more as a peer pressure thing, and that there was really just a fine/tax on Han who have a second child, but that you feel like you are too materialistic if you promoted the idea of merely paying for a second child. As more Chinese are lifted out of poverty, there were more people who have the second child, and now the policy is lifted anyway. The Falun Gong, who outnumber communists 2 to 1, have some crazy beliefs about aliens, menstruation and walking through walls, etc. But I see a bit of projection in their claims of organ harvesting since they have lost so many members through their own disbelief in doctors. Time magazine interviewed their founder, Li Hongzhi: The aliens have introduced modern machinery like computers and airplanes…everyone thinks that scientists invent on their own when in fact their inspiration is manipulated by the aliens. In terms of culture and spirit, they already control man…the ultimate purpose is to replace humans. If cloning human beings succeeds, the aliens can officially replace humans. With evidence from Li himself, Chinese officials claim: Falun Gong is against modern science, preaches the end of the world, forbids its followers watching TV or being treated in hospital and maintains that diseases do not exist and that ailments are due to sins people commit. They preached that UFOs had arrived on earth; aliens had taken over human bodies, and were trying to annihilate humanity through the control of TV and radio. Even on the topic of forced abortions, I see the possibility of some projection. You might remember when U.S. lobbyist Jack Abramoff went to prison along with bringing down several U.S. politicians. He was one of the persons who made millions of dollars by being involved in the use of the North Marianas Islands for sweatshops. The U.S. had purchased these islands so that they could hire poor Chinese and Philippine women to work at low wages, and then still legally mark the garments as "Made in U.S.A." But Abramoff was caught on an FBI recording bragging about how they kept the women locked up, and if they got pregnant, they were forced to have an abortion and get back to work soon afterwards. I believe it was Tom Delay on the tape who was disgraced for responding to the abortion news with something like "That's what we want." In fact, just last year when Trump's Labor Secretary was being replaced by Patrick Pizzella, his potential involvement in the Abramoff scandal was brought up in congressional questioning. Wikipedia: According to ABC's 20/20 television program and NPR, Abramoff lobbied DeLay to stop legislation banning sex shops and sweatshops that forced employees to have abortions in the Northern Mariana Islands when Abramoff accompanied DeLay on a 1997 trip to the U.S. commonwealth.[63] While on the trip, DeLay promised not to put the bill on the legislative calendar.[64] Every government and entity will get involved in spinning things to their own favor. I even have a set of answers to specific questions I was supposed to prepare when giving Bethel tours to non-JWs, and there were many areas off-limits to public tours. But it is so easy for a story to get out of control by being repeated and overused with the same lines of dubious evidence.
  12. I had seen things just like it, but didn't see this one until after you mentioned it. Found the whole thing on YouTube. I only watched the Uyghurs part, but I don't trust it at all. There are thousands of Uyghurs interested in working against China politically to try to get independence for "East Turkistan." There are many well-funded Western powers who will also work with anyone to help divide China. This has been a common occurrence worldwide, and we have seen it in many countries. It has been common practice to work with divisive elements all over the world to weaken or create civil war in countries deemed too powerful or ideologically dangerous. The United States "created" and funded Osama bin Laden for this same purpose. But there is another piece of well-known information that seemed too important to leave out of the PBS piece, and it makes me suspicious that they knew how to "stage and script" this segment in the most damning possible way. I'll get to it below. (As an aside, a couple years ago, I spoke face-to-face with a person who worked on a two-part PBS Frontline program on "Facebook/Russia" who admitted that these episodes went through a complete change of focus under a last minute partnership with some Washington Post journalists. And the reasons were most definitely political.) I'm sure that China is trying to put the best possible face on their anti-terrorism programs, too, but here's why I am more inclined to believe that the Uyghur experiences were staged and scripted: You had to listen closely to notice that the 2009 demonstrations by Uyghurs produced riots that killed 200, and injured over 1,000, was mostly a matter of the Han majority being killed and injured by Uyghurs: [Wikipedia
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    ] In the largest eruption of ethnic violence in China in decades, there were riots in July 2009 between ethnic Han Chinese and Uyghurs. The New York Times reporter covering the riot described the violence as "clashes with riot police and Uyghurs rampaging through the city and killing Han civilians. Then, for at least three days, bands of Han vigilantes roamed Urumqi, attacking and killing Uyghurs."[33] It also should have been significant that the 2009 riots resulted in China banning Facebook. Instigation for rioting kept coming through fake news on Facebook for weeks, and the Chinese government pleaded with Facebook over and over to take down all the calls for violence. Facebook was literally pushing deadly violence. When Facebook refused, China finally banned Facebook. Also, the majority of punishments over this riot were evidently meted out to Han Chinese participants. Separately, PBS mentioned 12 mosques being partially or completely destroyed but left out the fact that the Chinese government has built more mosques than any other government on earth. China has even built mosques in other countries. [Wikipedia] The first mosque in China was the Great Mosque of Xi'an, built during the Tang Dynasty in the 8th century CE. Today there are over 39,000 mosques in China,[1] 25,000 of these are in Xinjiang, a north-west autonomous region.[2] And you'll notice that PBS did not say why the government had anything to do with the destruction of 12 out of these 25,000 mosques in Zinjiang. I suspect that they must have been pictures of renovations. What is also odd is that there were closer to 10,000 mosques in 2009, but now after supposed suppression, there are 25,000 in the same area 2019! China more than doubles the number of mosques as a means of suppressing a Muslim population? Those interviewed spoke of "self-imposed exile" in Istanbul, but failed to mention anything about the thousands of Uyghurs who have been proud to support and join ISIS (i.e. "Al-Qaeda") to help chop people's heads off in Syria. These persons are not welcome back in China, except to face judicial action, and this might just color their view of the re-training camps. Although this fact is well known in Middle Eastern countries, it is almost never reported in Western media. Several other points were made without qualifying the claims with other known perspectives. There was a claim about banning Uyghur music, when China actually promotes cultural festivals for various minority groups, including for Uyghurs and their music. China promotes the acceptance of minorities in general. Here is one example mentioned on Wikipedia (
      Hello guest!
    😞 The festival was created by Tahir Imin, an independent researcher and social activist in 2009. That year in Urumqi, the celebration was broadcast by the central China broadcasting station in Beijing and publicized through Uyghur websites. In 2010, the festival was organized by the students of Beijing Normal University and supported by the Beijing Municipal religious and ethnic affairs administration bureau officials. By 2011, Uyghur Doppa was celebrated all around China, especially in the southern and northern parts of Xinjiang. A meeting and seminar on the festival was organized by the Yakan (shache) county and Kashgar Prefecture local Government. The festival celebrates Uyghur culture and development. You can even watch YouTube videos of these cultural celebrations, popular in all of China. By the way, the Kashgar Prefecture is: As of the end of 2017, 4,295,200 of the 4,649,700 residents of the prefecture were Uyghur, 288,000 were Han Chinese and 66,500 were from other ethnic groups.[18] This is as ludicrous as the news reports a couple of years ago that China had banned the cartoon "Peppa Pig."
      Hello guest!
    China bans Peppa Pig because she 'promotes gangster attitudes' Imagine such an innocent show as Peppa Pig being completely censored and banned. But it was never true. While the news reports were circulating in Western media outlets, the Chinese army was simultaneously marching in Peppa Pig formations because the show continues to be popular in China. Soldiers arrange themselves into the shape of Peppa Pig to celebrate the Chinese Year of the Pig Also, the ludicrous claim by Uyghurs in Istanbul that China is forcing Han Chinese into households as spies "forgot" to mention that there are many of marriages between Han and Uyghurs. The most racist of the Muslim fundamentalists however would be apt to claim that these Chinese interlopers have been forced upon these families. It's just typical racism, in my opinion.
  13. "Never let a good crisis go to waste" is an expression that fits a lot of situations. When I googled that phrase just now, I was reminded of dozens of such examples. For example: The TSA is one example of how crisis was used to create a police state at America airports, when its known that there are other more effective tactics which are used by other nations to avoid airliner incidents. I was listening to Al Jazeera news two days ago (Western media disguised with a non-Western name) and I noticed that after the Lebanon explosion they gave interview after interview only to people who said that this was just another reason for regime change. And of course, the interviews were always with the whitest or most photogenic persons who spoke extra-perfect English. Other points of view are also prevalent, but you have to go outside Western media to find them. You can tell when something is amiss when a media outlet can go on for hours about the terrible economic situation in a country without a single mention of Israel or the United States or sanctions. The famines in Russia and China provided a perfect crisis for anti-communists. It didn't matter that there had been far worse famines under the czars, because it doesn't take much to double or triple the size of a famine, and then merely state that it was through the murderous intent of a leader. (I went to school in the 1960's in Missouri with kids who still thoroughly believed that Hitler lubricated machinery with human babies.) The dust bowl days in the midwestern United States (
      Hello guest!
    ) caused the loss of 35,000,000 acres of farmland, and near ruination of another 125,000,000 acres. Imagine if there had been no place for the displaced to migrate to: Roughly 2.5 million people left the Dust Bowl states—Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma—during the 1930s. It was one of the largest migrations in American history. Oklahoma alone lost 440,000 people to migration. Many of them, poverty-stricken, traveled west looking for work. From 1935 to 1940, roughly 250,000 Oklahoma migrants moved to California. . . . These Dust Bowl refugees were called “Okies.” Okies faced discrimination, menial labor and pitiable wages upon reaching California. Many of them lived in shantytowns and tents along irrigation ditches. The basic problem was somewhat analogous to the "Four Pests" campaign under Mao that included sparrows as pests. The United States had promoted farming of wheat for export when Europe was paying high prices, and farmland was promoted to inexperienced farmers without instructions for methods that protected topsoil in case of drought. Under Mao the conditions for poor farmers were just as dire, but the problems were more widespread, with losses due to drought in one part of China, and losses due to heavy rains washing away crops in another part. As I included above: The big steps and the movement away from agriculture to try to build up an industrial economy at the same time made it worse. And much of that was Mao's fault, just as US policies can be blamed for much of the Dust Bowl problems. And then there were the ongoing threats by the United States to "nuke" China as the US had already done in Japan and already threatened to do in Korea. For this reason, Mao did not want to express any weakness of his programs and continued exporting grain, partly to pay for his own nuclear weapons. (Or so I've read, but not confirmed.) It would be interesting to compare notes with you and Srecko, for example, to learn more about some Eastern European experiences. In the late 1970's and early 1980's I heard several talks from Witness branch overseers who had worked in some of those countries, especially those where preaching was banned.
  14. I saw that. I don't think all of this is that new to Bart Ehrman. I caught some of this on his site. But I had never noticed before, that he now sees Jesus' actual words in pretty much the same sense that JWs believe. I gave in and subscribed to his site for a month. I think it was $5 which he claims goes to some non-religious charity. But I did it to be able to question him on his blog. There are actually several questions that must have come from JWs and several more from ex-JWs, too, on his blog. So he does have some "direct" exposure to JW beliefs. You pointed out a few of the differences already. I think that in earlier statements it seemed like he was always aware that the Hebrew Bible had no "hell" in the torturous sense. But he also believed there were no references to resurrection (Ezekiel and Daniel, notwithstanding) or living forever on earth. Psalm 37:10,11,29 would have been taken as an eternal inheritance for righteous persons, not eternal life. He assumed, if I remember right, that references to eternal consciousness in Gehenna and Tartarus and Hades were a Greek-influenced development between the time of the OT and the NT and are reflected in the NT, but not by Jesus himself, who was more traditionally Jewish. I assumed he thought that some of what is written and attributed to Jesus was not actually his own words, or they were adjusted to fit a common 2nd century belief about torment of the wicked. (This doesn't seem impossible, as Trinity beliefs crept into the text by the 3rd century, and superstition about the use of God's name might have crept in as early as the 2nd century or so.) I always wondered why Jesus would have brought up fire and torment in the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus and Abraham, knowing that such beliefs had become common among Jews in the previous two centuries. It would be like you giving a public talk and telling a story that starts out in the style of a "Pearly Gates" joke: "Jeff Bezos, and a JW are in a car accident and both get to the Pearly Gates at the same time, to see how they will be judged." (I wouldn't put it past Jesus to get people's attention in almost this same way.) At any rate, I think that the Watchtower (Bible Students and JWs) have done an enormous service to the religious world by "putting out the fires of hell." It has taken the last 100 years, but I believe that there are a lot of churches where the Watchtower has provided a strong influence so that those churches and their teachers are not so likely to emphasize the teachings that make God seem like a monster. For good or bad Ehrman does has influence, especially on new students, and this last book might even help a bit in opening up some opportunities for our own work.
  15. @TrueTomHarley, Thanks for bringing this back to the original topic. I'd like to follow up on that too, although I should probably summarize my own view on Mao, lest someone think I am just trying to do a whitewash here. One can always focus on the negatives, and as @Arauna has pointed out before, should look at people in the context of their time. And if one came out of a time filled with injustice and violence, this should not absolve anyone of their own crimes. Another one might focus only on accomplishments that were considered good. (In Mao's case he apparently got rid of opium/drugs, brought literacy rates up through free education, brought millions out of poverty, succeeded in bringing free health care to the majority, increased the overall production of food per capita, increased industrial production per capita, etc.) But at what cost? Arauna draws comparisons to the immediate aftermath of the French Revolution. Rebellion and reform in China took the form of an ongoing civil war, where rebellions and civil wars for decades were often met with brutal torture and violence on both sides. In America it was the North winning over the South at a cost of nearly 750,000 lives, and an additional 2,000,000 or so suffering (though surviving) debilitating diseases. (See, NYT:
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    and PBS:
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    ) In the US Civil War each side poured more men into the war with little apparent regard for the cost of soldiers' lives, and the further suffering of a greater number of orphans and widows produced. But at least that particular war didn't go on for decades, and though the U.S. South was purged from most government positions, they won a generally peaceful amnesty, and regained their political power after not much more than a single decade. (Also consider that the US population was only about 30 million in 1860, compared to China's 550 million in 1950.) One should not try to clean up Mao's "less endearing" qualities, but should also see him in his historical context. To give an idea of that context --and Mao's participation in purges and executions-- I have a book called "Mao: A Life" by Phillip Short. It's a huge book, and I will offer some bullet point summaries, although skipping some important sections: - The Qing Dynasty (1636-1912) was brutal. Internal & anti-foreign rebellions & famines were common. - Japan's defeat of Russia in 1905 inspired Asians to nation-build and modernize. - Mao at first sought to promote Imperial China (then later promoted Sun-Yat-Sen) - Mao went to school in Changsha, where revolutionary and anti-Manchu sentiment were prominent. - Republic of China (ROC) was declared in 1911, but there were constant fights within leadership elites. - Imperial (Qing) forces fought back to maintain their rule, killing indiscriminately. - Mao was a bit of an elitist, though he certainly sympathized with and befriended urban workers. - The Qing Dynasty eventually fell in 1912. Sun Yat-Sen became President and the country demobilized. - The Xinhai Revolution has come to an end: Republic of China 1912-1949 (with fragmentation). - Mao returned to his studies in Changsha, Hunan. - In Changsha in 1912, Mao came into contact with socialist/anarchist people and literature. - The Guomindang (GMD) led the elections in 1912, but Yuan (pro-Qing) monopolized power by 1913. - Sun Yat-Sen (SYS) tried to launch a "2nd Revolution" against Yuan, but it was defeated. - Liberals (SYS) took over Southern provinces, but Yuan reimposed control in Hunan and banned GMD. - China was ceding a lot of territory and resources to the Western Powers during this period. - Japan had issued demands including territory 1914-1915 and the Yuan autocracy capitulated to them. - Mao gathered youth groups together in 1915, as well as journalism and hiking groups in 1917. - Yuan declared himself Emperor at the end of 1915, resulting in immediate Civil War. - In 1916, school surveillance and press censorship prevailed. - Mao hated school, vacillated a lot, and had depression & self-loathing. - Zhou Enlai & Mao participated in group meetings, rejecting the Church, capitalism, monarchy, etc. - Mao decided to go to Beijing in 1918-1919 instead of France, working as a librarian at Beijing University. - He then went to Shanghai, where his ideology was a mix of social democracy and anarchism. - Japan took Shandong Province after WW1, inflaming hatred of the Western Powers who had allowed it. - Mao urged the necessity of rebellion & democracy, warning of authoritarianism in Germany & Japan! - Mao also wrote many articles championing women's rights. - Mao's study groups eventually became Bolsheviks in 1921, by which time Mao embraced Marxism. - Shanghai at this time was the "Whore of the East," home of British capitalism, expats, prostitution, etc. - Signs in Shanghai and foreign-controlled parks said "Chinese and dogs not allowed!" - Capitalist industry in China was horrifying: child labor, pollution, and even slavery! - Mao joined the Workingmen Association and recruited members and led a strike as head of Changsha. - Zhao, 1922 governor of Hunan, executed 2 Workingmen leaders, leading him to be universally despised. - Wu Peifu cracked down on labor in the February 7, 1923 Massacre, bringing labor to a standstill! - Mao returned again to Hunan in civil war. Zhao won with Northern support, not boding well for labor. - An anti-communist Right Wing formed in the GMD, including CKS (Chiang Kai-Shek; training in Moscow). - In 1925, the CPC had only 994 members, so he began thinking about a new strategy involving peasants. - Japan shot at striking workers in 1925, followed by similar actions by Britain, culminating in riots! - Mao enthusiastically organized peasants and created schools for them, realizing their significance. - Mao was in powerful GMD positions, controversially calling for peasant rule and combating landlords. - CPC membership ballooned to 30,000 by the end of 1926. - Stalin shifted to supporting peasant revolt as the Left-GMD won & peasant government was established. - Chiang encircled and surprise-attacked Shanghai communist strongholds in April 1927, killing 400. - Zhou Enlai organized general strikes & marches in Shanghai. Mass-slaughter ensued, a Left setback. - Chiang marginalized the Left-GMD & CPC with violent & secret repression, coordinating with the West. - After some GMD killed Westerners, Western media decried the "Bolshevik menace" & funded Chiang. - Many Westerners left in 1927. Unemployment rose, GMD purged & executed, with provinces in anarchy! - On May 21 (Horse Day), 1927, the Changsha military slaughtered >10,000 peasants and communists. - Peasant governments were dissolved, with right-wing slaughter in other parts of Hunan (400,000). - Mao & the CPC realized the need for a military. Stalin called for a >50,000-person force. - The tension between "Bourgeois Alliance" & "Peasant Revolt" exploded. Both seemed impossible. - CPC decision-making seemed to collapse by Summer 1927. Stalin & Bukharin even denounced the CPC. - The Left-GMD then broke off with the CPC. The Left-GMD then collapsed and the CPC went into hiding. - Chiang eventually seized Beijing, forcing Wang Jingwei (Sun-Yat-Sen's left-wing successor) to flee to Europe. - In this adventure in 1927, Mao (on the run) was almost killed by other GMD forces several times! - Li Lisan, a major CPC leader, was found to be withholding Soviet diktats. He was disgraced in 1930. - In December 1930, Chiang sent 100,000 troops south. Mao trapped/destroyed them, stealing weapons! - Chiang sent 200,000 in 1931, but still lost! Mao's strategies worked & radio technology was taken. - Then 300,000 were quickly sent. Mao won some battles, but had to narrowly flee, dropping heavy items. - In September 1931, Japan invaded & took over Manchuria, sufficiently distracting CKS. - Mao criticized previous orders to attack cities, & the Comintern promoted the Army's role in Revolution. - In February 1930, Mao purged rich opportunists from the Jiangxi Party, killing 4 major officials. - Secret GMD Rightists called "AB-tuan" infiltrated CPC leadership, collaborating with rich landlords. - 2,000 AB-tuan suspected to have murdered important CPC & military leaders were tortured & executed. - Torture was approved by the CPC and was gruesome and rampant, so much so that parts of it rebelled. - A rebel group petitioned the CPC to remove Mao using incriminating forgeries. - Even the rebels did not deny AB-tuan sabotage. There was general amnesty, but 3 leaders were executed. - 3,400 people were killed in Jiangxi purges in 1931. 20,000 total were killed in other CPC regions. - The purges and killings, called the "Futian Incidents," were later deemed panic-induced and excessive. - Liu Shaojiu was reprimanded for his brutal methods. Torture and low-level CPC killings were banned. - Class background was considered to be the determining factor in purges from then on. - In 1931, the Politburo sent a secret agent to assassinate CKS. It failed and he defected to the GMD. - The agent's defection led to the killing of thousands of CPC members in Shanghai and elsewhere. - CKS killed >1.2 million people by this point, including Mao's wife Kaihui, collecting ears as trophies. - The Chinese Soviet Republic was proclaimed in Jiangxi and southern regions on November 7, 1931. - The CPC shifted to a strategy to attack cities in 1932. Mao violently disagreed, but could do nothing. - The March 1932 attack on Ganzhou City failed horribly and Mao was brought back. - Mao was stripped of most positions in 1932 for two full years. This decision was at first kept secret. - Bo Gu later openly denounced Mao with outright lies, initiating an anti-Mao influence campaign. - However, praise & support from Stalin & the Comintern since 1928 meant that Mao couldn't be ruined. - As Chairman, he imposed taxes on the rich & public ownership, redistributed land, & forged a currency. - Mao investigated poverty, food, & industry, addressing questions of rules, geography, & scale in policy. - In his investigative analysis, he found that 27% of society was middle-to-upper class, & 73% laborers. - Class repression was also carried out, coinciding with the USSR's de-kulakization, 1930-1933. - The right to vote was given to workers only and one-quarter of all officials had to be women. - Chiang assembled >500,000 troops, strangled Ruijin, & encircled the Reds with forts & German help. - The Red Army was now outnumbered 10:1. Mao, now very sick again, twice urged an escape. - From 1932 onward, the CPC gained popular support by arguing it was the sole defender against Japan. - Hitler purges his troopers in 1934; Italy invades Ethiopia; Japan menaces in Asia. The Axis is forming! - Mao went east to propagandize & recruit. The anti-CKS policy gradually became secondary to Japan. - Anti-Japan protests erupted all over China & Chiang was arrested in the "Xi'an Incident" of 1936. - The USSR still supported Chiang's government, despite its corruption, betrayals, & unpopularity. - Japan then invaded Shanghai in 1937 and Massacred & Raped Nanjing, the Nationalist capital. - Mao moved into Yan'an (a walled city) with He Zizhen, where he began to study and give (bad) lectures. - Mao studied Marx, Lenin, Stalin, European history, philosophy, and dialectical materialism in depth. - Stalin more officially endorsed Mao in 1938 as Chiang ordered anti-communist crackdowns in Wuhan. - The Japanese air-bombed Mao's headquarters in Yan'an in 1939. - Chiang increasingly sabotaged & blockaded. The "100 Regiments Campaign" killed 9,000 Reds in 1940. - The Red Army grew from 50,000 to 500,000 in 1940. The CPC now had more than 1 million members. - The CPC launched the "Rectification Campaign" in 1941 to root out "Leftist Dogmatism & Repression." - It was clear the USSR would defeat fascism in 1942, signalling confrontation between the GMD & CPC. - Mao was elected Chairman of the Politburo in 1943. - While CPC membership was exploding, 5% (40,000) had to be expelled for political unreliability. - 90% of the expelled were rehabilitated into the CPC in 1943. Mao said "we should not kill anyone." - Wang Shiwei was a famous writer accused of "Anti-Party" Trotskyism in 1943 & later executed in 1947. - In 1943, both Chiang and Mao publicly claim to be the destined rulers of China. - At the Yalta Conference (February 1945), Stalin & the West came to a deal on post-war alliances. - The 1945 "Resolution on Questions of Party History" urged CPC reform & brought back former enemies. - Stalin signed an alliance with Chiang in 1945, which left the CPC to fight the GMD virtually alone. - Truman drops an A-bomb on Hiroshima, then Stalin invades Manchuria, then the US bombs Nagasaki. - Imperial Japan unconditionally surrenders to the capitalist Powers (only) in August-September 1945. - Korea, a brutal Japanese colony, was also divided between North (USSR aid) and South (US aid). - The Cold War then intensified: the US occupied cities & aided CKS; the USSR sought a Red Manchuria. - GMD forces with US aid attacked the CPC in Manchuria in November 1945. Stalin ordered the CPC out! - Mao was at first very depressed, but then the US needed to withdraw from China, uplifting his outlook. - And Mao was still overwhelmingly popular in China as the Civil War loomed in Summer 1946. - The Red Army quietly retreated into Shenxi & Hebei provinces, then completely destroyed GMD forces. - The CPC went offensive in May 1947, took Manchuria railways, & destroyed 640,000 GMD by December. - The CPC retook Yan'an in 1948. Low GMD morale & incompetence led Mao to estimate victory by 1951. - The purges made infiltration into the CPC impossible; whereas the GMD contained moles at every level. - Many were conscripted into the GMD involuntarily; almost the opposite was true in the Red Army. - The US gave $300 billion-equivalent in arms and aid to Chiang Kai-Shek, but it made no difference. - The GMD in Manchuria was wiped out in 1948. Mao called imperialists & atom bombs "Paper Tigers!" - The CPC expanded in Central China (Anhui, Henan, Jiangsu, Shandong) trapping & ruining 500,000 GMD. - Tianjin fell in January 1949. Beijing quickly surrendered. Nanjing, Shanghai, etc. fell in Spring 1949. - The People's Republic of China (PRC) was established on October 1, 1949, with support & celebration! - Mao lifted urban conditions, nationalized major/foreign business, & created a regulated capitalism. - The extreme South & West of the country was still under GMD control, with occasional fighting. - Stalin received Mao to discuss alliances but, bound by Yalta, he still didn't want to displease the West. - But when Britain recognized the PRC & the Cold War ramped up, Stalin reversed & recognized the PRC. - The Korean War was brewing in 1949 and Kim Il-Sung warned Mao of the impending struggle. - The PRC took over the island of Hainan, planning also for Taiwan, but the US threatened to nuke China. - South Korea & the US launched a counteroffensive on North Korea, prompting Mao to intervene in 1950. - However, Stalin didn't want to risk a US confrontation, so provided only basic support & no air-raids. - Chiang's arrest (1936), Stalin's orders in Manchuria (1945), & now Korea all felt like USSR betrayals. - Chinese troops took back North Korea, & even Seoul (but had to withdraw), with truce talks 1951-1953. - Imperialist atrocities (especially biowarfare) & GMD murder/sabotage led the PRC to execute 700,000. - Mao's son Anying was killed in Korea. The USSR aided China and China aided Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam. - Class struggle was center-stage 1950-1952, with land reform, anti-corruption, & anti-sabotage efforts. - 1.5 million were sent to camps; 1-2 million (landlords) died in crackdowns & spontaneous violence. - At this time, 1950s, provincial economic self-sufficiency was stressed; foreign trade was reduced to minimum. - The PLA took over Tibet in 1951, and other regions soon followed. - Mutual Aid Teams (MAT) & Agricultural Cooperatives (APC) were set up on a voluntary basis in 1953. - Policy vacillated between rural collectivization & "spontaneous capitalism," 1953-1954. - Crash-collectivization began in 1955: 63% of peasants belonged to APCs after this campaign. - Urban businesses were incorporated into the CPC (public-private); Mao wanted crash-industrialization. - In 1956, Khruschev delivered his "Secret Speech" against Stalin. China-USSR relations then soured. - Disagreements: Stalin; Parliamentary Road to Socialism; Peaceful Co-existence; Contradiction Analysis. - Mao proclaimed "Let 100 Flowers Bloom": the CPC brought back intellectuals, etc. in 1956. - The CPC disagreed on "100 Flowers," but Mao strongly pushed, troubled by the 1956 Hungary Uprising. - Mao spoke on "Correct Handling of Contradictions among People" in 1957, calling for open criticism. - Some critiqued the CPC as alienated, bureaucratic, & aristocratic; some wished to overthrow socialism! - The 1957 Anti-Rightist Campaign began amidst GMD terrorism. 520,000 had to labor with peasants. - APCs were not producing surpluses & the Four Pests Campaign failed. Large industry was still needed. - The Great Leap Forward sought to irrigate farms & increase steel production, based on the communes. - Party cadres & the PLA were ordered to work in communes for 1 month each year. - Steel-making was successful, but only 80% usable; farming was mixed, but 1958 had a record harvest. - Mao admitted miscalculations & over-enthusiasm; Mao was skeptical of high expectations & numbers. - The US threatened communists with nukes, so Mao & Khruschev sought to develop their own weapons. - The USSR launched Sputnik in 1957. Khruschev also cancelled military aid to China in 1959. - Peng Dehui (arguing with Mao for decades), criticized the pace/scale of the Great Leap & was sacked! - Mao redoubled the Great Leap's efforts, but southern floods & northern droughts brought mass hunger. - The Tibet Revolt, Indian border clashes, and Russian intransigence in 1959 all heightened tensions. - The Sino-Soviet Split in 1960 resulted in mutual denunciations & total withdrawal of USSR aid to China. - 1/3 of all land and 8 of 12 major rivers dried up simultaneously, compounding the suffering (India too). - 1/6 of all land (in south) severely flooded. Combination killed [up to] 20 million from 1959 to 1961 (like 1876). - 1961 saw local civil wars with peasant-militia rebellions in Henan, Tibet, Sichuan, with separatists too. - China had to import grain from Australia and Canada in 1961. Mao gradually withdrew from politics. - Communes, collective mess halls, and the free supply system were challenged (albeit cautiously). - Communes were reduced in size & function, and private ownership, markets, & wage-gradation allowed. - Mao rejected proposals by Liu Shaoqi & Deng Xiaoping to differentiate farm policy in North & South. - Mao took a lot of blame at the C.C. meeting in 1962, attended by thousands, opening up CPC leadership. - Mao returned to politics in 1962 and reimposed strictness. The "Antis" campaign was revived in 1963. - 1.5 million CPC cadres were mobilized to oversee policy changes & cleanse corruption, killing 2,000. - Liu Shaoqi was supposed to succeed Mao, but was cast aside after criticizing his policies too much. - Jiang Qing played a key role in Mao's political attacks and propaganda. - Affluence & zeal were inversely related according to Mao: "Those who are poor want revolution!" (1964) - Mao believed a "Capitalist Road" conspiracy was emerging within the Party. - By 1965, Mao was preparing a Purge and "class struggle," and accused Liu & Deng of plotting. - The Socialist Education Movement began in 1964; the "Cultural Revolution" (formally) in 1966. - Mao delivered a speech to young "Red Guard" at Tiananmen; Lin Biao campaigned against "The 4 Olds." - Red Guards killed >300 people, given virtually free reign (& free train travel) to spread Mao's Revolution. - Books, temples, and some schools were destroyed as Mao's "Little Red Book" was popularized. - China developed its first nuclear weapons in 1967. - Purges & attacks in schools shifted to Party elites: officials were conned & persecuted, without trial. - Provincial & city committees were overthrown; Labor organized strikes & took over newspapers in 1967. - Shanghai wished to become a Commune. Mao recognized anarchism & put the CPC back to share power. - The PLA, disgruntled by Red Guards & rebellions, initiated the February 1967 Crackdown (100s killed). - Liu Shaoqi & Deng Xiaoping were dispelled. Officials were humiliated; the Politburo ceased to function! - Factional violence ensued, with 10,000s shooting at each other in some provinces. - The "Million Heroes" campaign, led by old PLA, tried to retain power in Wuhan. - Mao blamed the chaos on the "May 16 Group." 10,000s more were killed in purges through 1968. - Shensi & Guangxi were now in civil war. China's unemployment rose as industrial output fell 14%. - The Army essentially had to help & supervise the countryside, cities, places of employment, etc. - The "Revolution" was declared "complete" in September 1968. - >1 million people were killed as a result. Half of the C.C. was now from the Army. - Border skirmishes with the USSR in 1969 (along with other tensions) led Mao to court the US. - Liu Shaoqi's death in 1968 opened up the Head of State position in 1970, a source of contention. - Lin Biao was next for Mao's position, written into the Constitution. - Lin Biao's son planned to either kill Mao or set up a rival regime. - Lin Biao's plane crashed as he tried to escape to Mongolia or the USSR in 1971. Everyone died. - Mao was depressed upon finding out about all the betrayals and deaths. - Nixon courted China & PRC was given its UN seat in 1971, Taiwan now sidelined. Mao was very sick! - Nixon met with Mao in his study in 1972, discussing deeper relations & the USSR as a common enemy. - Mao admitted to the US that "world defeat of imperialism" was "just rhetoric." - Mao brought younger CPC members on to run China and rehabilitated Deng Xiaoping in 1973. - Mao then attacked Zhou & Jiang Qing. Mao promoted Deng in 1974, against whom Jiang Qing conspired. - Mao in 1975 criticized the "Gang of Four" and former Cultural Revolution rebels as "revisionists." - Mao wrote that Jiang Qing's dismissal of Deng as "capitulating to capitalism" was "malarkey" (s**t) - Mao later denounced Deng as a "Capitalist" in 1976. - Mao Zedong died on September 9, 1976.
  16. Another important piece of context about famines in China even before Mao was in power, based on Wikipedia's list:
      Hello guest!
    1810, 1811, 1846, 1849 Unknown (45 million decrease, unknown how many emigrated or avoided census to evade taxes)[4] 1850–1873 Nian Rebellion, Taiping Rebellion and drought Primarily caused by famine, lower life expectancy and plague in the case of the Nian rebellion, the total war casualties are claimed to possibly be 10–30 million people[5][6] Great North China Famine 1876–1879 Northern China Drought 9–13 million[7] 1896–97 Northern China Leading in part to the Boxer Rebellion Great Qing Famine 1907 Northern Jiangsu, parts of central China and Guangdong Allegedly 25 million 1920–1921 North China famine 1920–1921 Henan, Shandong, Shanxi, Shaanxi, southern Zhili (Hebei) 0.5 million[8] Chinese famine of 1928–30 1928–1930 Northern China Drought 3 million 1936–1937 famine 1936–1937[9] Sichuan, Gansu Unknown (the source that claimed up to 5 million people has been unproven) 1942–1943 famine 1942–1943 Mainly Henan Second Sino-Japanese War 2–3 million Great Chinese Famine 1959–61[10] Entire country[11][12] Great Leap Forward, Floods, Droughts, Typhoons, Insect Invasion[13] 15 to 55 million [14]
  17. I appreciate the thoughtful response. You hit upon the basic problem of what we can "know" for certain, especially about a topic for which the waters have definitely been muddied. The very fact that "experts" give ranges from 10 million to 40+ million deaths, already shows there is huge margin of error involved. And the range of reasons for it are inconsistent, too. (Varying amounts of human error vs. drought, or willful disregard for life, or even murderous intent.) I put the number 4 million out there for the Great Leap Forward (1958-62) as a probable minimum. (I should have said possible minimum.) The range could start lower, and still go much higher. What I was hoping to point out was that if we really don't know, then we can't use those supposed facts to color our reasoning on other claims we hear (about China in this case). Personally, I think the 4 million number I posited is too low. I think upwards of 10 million really is quite possible. (So you'll notice that presenting the 4 million as a possibility, I was also using "negotiation" numbers.) I should also say that I believe Deng was actually careful to use believable reports from the various provinces. (He had been a journalist.) By most accounts, he visited some of the hard hit areas himself and gathered reports from those who visited other areas. Since exact numbers were not available, he would have received wide ranges of numbers, and his anti-Mao bias allowed him to choose the upper end of those ranges. His number (16.5 million) would have been an absolute maximum, but not impossible. Even those who criticize the anomalies in the statistics are not usually trying to "prove" a specific number, only that there must have been a one-sided bias behind them. But back to that point of what we can and cannot "know." We can't very well use dubious "facts" as a foundation for believing more dubious "facts." It seems to me that there is a constant (intentional) stream of negative news reports about China, and it has been shown that many of these turn out to be false, or are highly exaggerated, one-sided, or believable, but without any basis in evidence. This doesn't mean that negative reports are necessarily wrong, of course. But it does mean we need to use caution. Even if we still believe the worst possible scenario (70+ million intentional, murderous deaths?), does that necessarily mean we must accept any and all negative reports we hear about China today? On this idea of intentional deaths, or even a willful disregard for human life, there is another set of factors at play. In the "propaganda game" in politics and other ideologies, it's common to find quotes taken out of context, or a media title tacked onto an article which isn't supported in the article. Even the most famous of all quotes from Mao about how various production requirements would result in many deaths, we have the authors of books against Mao saying: “Working like this, with all these projects, half of China may well have to die.” Back to Joseph Ball's article, he says: This quotation appears in the heading of Chang and Halliday’s chapter on the Great Leap Forward. The way the authors present this quotation it looks as if Mao was saying that it might indeed be necessary for half of China to die to realize his plans to increase industrial production. In fact, their book (Mao: the Unknown Story which claims 70 million were killed by Mao) uses this quote as part of their proof for, as they say: "“We can now say with assurance how many people Mao was ready to dispense with.” But here is more of the context. Note what they left out: In this kind of situation, I think if we do [all these things simultaneously] half of China’s population unquestionably will die; and if it’s not a half, it’ll be a third or ten percent, a death toll of 50 million. When people died in Guangxi [1955], wasn’t Chen Manyuan dismissed? If with a death toll of 50 million, you didn’t lose your jobs, I at least should lose mine; [whether I would lose my] head would be open to question. Anhui wants to do so many things, it’s quite all right to do a lot, but make it a principle to have no deaths.22 . . . As to 30 million tons of steel, do we really need that much? Are we able to produce [that much]? How many people do we mobilize? Could it lead to deaths?
  18. There's a 1960's era joke about a family in their car just pulling out of their driveway in sweltering heat with the all the windows up. The kids ask why they can't roll down the windows to get some air, and the father says: "What? And let the neighbors know we don't have air conditioning?" This reminds me of one of the claimed blunders of Mao Zedung, who continued to export wheat during a famine so as not to appear weak to the rest of the world. (And Stalin similarly wouldn't import wheat when he needed to, for about the same reason.)
  19. Mao, while alive, had already purged Deng twice. In doing so, Mao sullied his reputation by bringing up past disloyalty and an unexplained military defection, and asked Deng to self-admit his own (Deng's) failings. He had been critical of Mao, but had also been used by Mao and the party for his leadership abilities. After Mao, the "Gang of Four" wanted to continue Mao's legacy and leadership style, and thought of Deng as a political threat to their continuance. Deng's choice to gain political power was to do unto Mao's legacy what Mao (and others) had done to him. This resulted in exaggerations on both sides. But it does show insecurity by both Mao's side and Deng's side, showing that there was some basis of truth even in the exaggerations. Deng's old political slogan against Mao "70% right; 30% wrong" apparently evolved into a new view of "70% wrong; 30% right." That effectively erased Deng's initial ability to argue that he could build on any "fine foundation" left by Mao. And some of Deng's policies were of this same sort of swapping priorities from 70/30 to 30/70. I also get the impression that Deng knew the actual numbers of deaths from the famine (and political mistakes that made it much worse) had resulted in perhaps 4 million deaths. (That's my guess for a probable minimum based on the evidence of statistical manipulation. [Some of the researchers admit that they took numbers from smaller, worst hit areas and simply assumed it was like this in all areas of China!]) Pushing this number to 16.5 million was necessary for the "gasp" factor in hurting Mao's party faction and Mao's ideas which had become a "cult of personality." It might have been meant as a kind of "negotiation" number, just to make sure it remained extremely high even when challenged. Of course, the number not only stuck, it was multiplied in the imaginations of both Deng's and Mao's political enemies, especially those that could be influenced by the West. Here is Ball's take on this: The reason for this vilification of the Great Leap Forward had much to do with post-Mao power struggles and the struggle to roll back the socialist policies of 1949-76. After Mao’s death in 1976 Hua Guofeng had come to power on a platform of “upholding every word and policy made by Mao.” Deng Xiaoping badly needed a political justification for his usurpation of Hua in 1978 and his assumption of leadership. Deng’s stated stance of Mao being “70% right and 30% wrong” was a way of distinguishing his own “pragmatic” approach to history and ideology from his predecessors. (The pro-market policies Deng implemented suggested that he actually believed that Mao was about 80% wrong.) The Chinese party did everything it could to promote the notion that the Great Leap Forward was a catastrophe caused by ultra-leftist policies. I agree.
  20. There was one more point I should have highlighted from the article I referenced above. Based on the time period of the Great Leap Forward it is useful to make some comparisons with other nations around this time. Even now, I was reading in an online newspaper from India that says they count about 4,000 children a day in India who die from malnutrition. I don't know how accurate this is, but it is admitted in a globally-facing paper where one might expect a positive spin on Indian news. So I looked up a Lancet journal article which says: that malnutrition contributes to 3.1 million under-five child deaths annually, or 45 percent of all deaths for that age group. Very elderly people in poorer nations tend to die at high rates from malnutrition too. Wikipedia says: The Bengal famine of 1943 reached its peak between July and November of that year, and the worst of the famine was over by early 1945.[101] Famine fatality statistics were unreliable, and it is estimated up to two million died.[102] Although one of the causes of the famine was the cutting off of the supply of rice to Bengal during the fall of Rangoon to the Japanese, this was only a fraction of the food needed for the region.[103] Deaths from malnutrition on a large scale have continued across India into modern times. In Maharashtra alone, for example, there were around 45,000 childhood deaths due to mild or severe malnutrition in 2009, according to the Times of India.[139] Another Times of India report in 2010 has stated that 50% of childhood deaths in India are attributable to malnutrition.[140] also: Earlier in 1963, the government of the state of Maharashtra asserted that the agricultural situation in the state was constantly being watched and relief measures were taken as soon as any scarcity was detected. On the basis of this, and asserting that the word famine had now become obsolete in this context, the government passed "The Maharashtra Deletion of the Term 'Famine' Act, 1963".[129] They were unable to foresee the drought in 1972 when 25 million people needed help. also: The drought of 1979–80 in West Bengal was the next major drought and caused a 17% decline in food production with a shortfall of 13.5 million tonnes of food grain. Stored food stocks were leveraged by the government, and there was no net import of food grains. The drought was relatively unknown outside of India.[136] So this is currently on the order of about a million malnutrition deaths in India every year, even though these numbers are actually better than past numbers, because India has been doing better every year, they claim. So how does India relate to China? From about 1947 they both had very high populations and similar high rates of poverty. India has not reported massive deaths from droughts and severe weather, specifically, but droughts, for example, have exacerbated an ongoing hunger problem, which most countries would call "famine." China has managed to raise almost everyone out of poverty, and build up an infrastructure for better distribution in cases of natural disasters. Of course there had been famines in China and in India under colonial rule and under independent rule. These would have been blamed on communism if it had existed then, but communism has never existed in India: The first major famine that took place under British rule was the Bengal Famine of 1770. About a quarter to a third of the population of Bengal starved to death in about a ten-month period. East India Company's raising of taxes disastrously coincided with this famine[69] and exacerbated it, even if the famine was not caused by the British colonial government.[70] Following this famine, "Successive British governments were anxious not to add to the burden of taxation."[71] The rains failed again in Bengal and Odisha in 1866. Policies of laissez faire were employed, which resulted in partial alleviation of the famine in Bengal. However, the southwest Monsoon made the harbour in Odisha inaccessible. As a result, food could not be imported into Odisha as easily as Bengal.[72] In 1865–66, severe drought struck Odisha and was met by British official inaction. The British Secretary of State for India, Lord Salisbury, did nothing for two months, by which time a million people had died. The lack of attention to the problem caused Salisbury to never feel free from blame.[fn 8] Some British citizens such as William Digby agitated for policy reforms and famine relief, but Lord Lytton, the governing British viceroy in India, opposed such changes in the belief that they would stimulate shirking by Indian workers. Reacting against calls for relief during the 1877–79 famine, Lytton replied, "Let the British public foot the bill for its 'cheap sentiment,' if it wished to save life at a cost that would bankrupt India," substantively ordering "there is to be no interference of any kind on the part of Government with the object of reducing the price of food," and instructing district officers to "discourage relief works in every possible way.... Mere distress is not a sufficient reason for opening a relief work."[74] Even the pro Churchill site, www.WinstonChurchill.org, in dispelling a myth about the supposed "Bengali Holocaust, the 1943-45 Bengal Famine in which Churchill murdered 6-7 million Indians" still basically admits that Churchill actually said: "Besides, Churchill felt it would do no good. Famine or no famine, Indians will “breed like rabbits.” The site does it's best to defend Churchill, but still admits the following: Some of his angry remarks to Amery don’t read very nicely in retrospect. However, anyone who has been through the relevant documents reprinted in The [India] Transfer of Power volumes knows the facts: Churchill was concerned about the humanitarian catastrophe taking place there, and he pushed for whatever famine relief efforts India itself could provide; they simply weren’t adequate. Something like three million people died in Bengal and other parts of southern India as a result. I think people are quick to see some exaggeration and anti-Churchill bias in this and don't actually blame Churchill for murdering 3 to 7 million people in India, even though he was the "leader of India" at the time. (And one can also see that the long-term imperialist policies of Britain were responsible for many avoidable deaths, but it doesn't make Churchill or his predecessors guilty of murder.) But the point should be clear, and was indirectly included in the Joseph Ball article, too: Of course it is also important that we do learn from the mistakes of the past to avoid them in the future. We should note that Mao to criticized himself for errors made during this period. But this self-criticism should in no way be allowed to give ammunition to those who insist on the truth of ridiculous figures for the numbers that died in this time. Hopefully, there will come a time when a sensible debate about the issues will take place. If India’s rate of improvement in life expectancy had been as great as China’s after 1949, then millions of deaths could have been prevented. Even Mao’s critics acknowledge this. Perhaps this means that we should accuse Nehru and those who came after him of being “worse than Hitler” for adopting non-Maoist policies that “led to the deaths of millions.” Or perhaps this would be a childish and fatuous way of assessing India’s post-independence history. As foolish as the charges that have been leveled against Mao for the last 25 years, maybe.
  21. Mao Zedung [1893-1976] was "Chairman" of the communist party from 1943 to 1976, and primary leader of China from 1949 to about 1976. The Great Leap Forward began in 1958. For a later time, I think I have some suggestions to help anyone who wants to get a better handle on the numbers, but for now (and tor those who don't wish to read that last linked article), here is the basic gist of Joseph Ball's counter-argument. Some of this is my paraphrase along with a few direct quotes. I'll try to italicize long direct quotes, and indent them. But even my own comments surrounding the quotes might include some paraphrases of the article, not my own opinion, in many cases: ------------------- Estimates of "Mao's deaths" have been greatly exaggerated. This has been done, of course, to undermine his reputation. During his lifetime, he had an excellent reputation for improving the welfare of the Chinese people, slashing the level of poverty and hunger. Even reaching a point where he could do this while still providing free health care and education. This alone explains most of the hostility by the "Right" (by the "West," by "Imperialist" powers) because Mao's success gave inspiration to many rebellions against Imperialist powers around the world. "Peasants had already started farming the land co-operatively in the 1950s. During the Great Leap Forward they joined large communes consisting of thousands or tens of thousands of people. Large-scale irrigation schemes were undertaken to improve agricultural productivity. Mao’s plan was to massively increase both agricultural and industrial production. It is argued that these policies led to a famine in the years 1959-61 (although some believe the famine began in 1958). A variety of reasons are cited for the famine. For example, excessive grain procurement by the state or food being wasted due to free distribution in communal kitchens. It has also been claimed that peasants neglected agriculture to work on the irrigation schemes or in the famous “backyard steel furnaces” (small-scale steel furnaces built in rural areas)." Mao admitted that problems had occurred in this period. However, he blamed the majority of these difficulties on bad weather and natural disasters. He admitted that there had been policy errors too, which he took responsibility for. Deng Xiaoping campaigned against the popularity of Mao, and took advantage of the fact that China had never publicly released official census population numbers, birth rates, and death rates under Mao. (Partly because of the difficulty in gathering numbers of so many poor peasants.) Deng released his numbers after no numbers had been released for 20 or more years. Deng, to discredit Mao, claimed that his mistakes led to 16.5 million deaths. American researchers turned that into 30 million based on theories from the incomplete censuses in 1953 and 1964. More recently 70 million deaths have been claimed. But the sources are dubious, tend to exaggerate, and only concentrate on policy excesses. There has been a failure to understand how some of the policies developed in the Great Leap Forward actually benefited the Chinese people, once the initial disruption was over. [In other words the author is saying/implying that, the famines of 1959 to 1961, even if badly mismanaged at first, should be weighed against the great gains in agriculture, food distribution, nearly a doubling of life expectancy, free health care, education, etc.] On the dubiousness of the "evidence", authors and publishers of studies have admitted that the CIA and other U.S. state agencies have provided money to those who would publish anti-Mao propaganda since the 1940's. One example: MacFarquhar, famous editor of The China Quarterly in the 60's, admitted in a letter to the London Review of Books that he received money from a CIA front organization. The most popular sources for claiming very high numbers can be shown to present their numbers in a very misleading way. The evidence is inconsistent, and deeply flawed in ways that the author shows later in the article. Evidence from the Deng Xiaoping regime Mao that millions died during the Great Leap Forward is not reliable. Evidence from peasants contradicts the claim that Mao was mainly to blame for the deaths that did occur during the Great Leap Forward period. One demographer, Judith Banister, is a prominent advocate of the “massive death toll” hypothesis, yet she admits the successes of the Mao era. [This is one of those places where we see one side admit something that isn't quite in line with their general thesis, and this provides a place to begin looking for stable evidence that might reflect later on the bigger picture.] She writes how in 1973-5 life expectancy in China was higher than in Africa, the Middle East, South Asia and many countries in Latin America 1. In 1981 she co-wrote an article where she described the People’s Republic of China as a ‘super-achiever’ in terms of mortality reduction, with life expectancy increasing by approximately 1.5 years per calendar year since the start of communist rule in 1949 2. Life expectancy increased from 35 in 1949 to 65 in the 1970s when Mao’s rule came to an end. 3 The author also provides some areas of contradictory evidence. Some other authors/researchers say per capita grain didn't increase under Mao, even though the same authors admit the life expectancy gains. And other post-Mao researchers, although not praisers of Mao, admit a different view: Guo Shutian, a Former Director of Policy and Law in the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture, in the post-Mao era, gives a very different view of China’s overall agricultural performance during the period before Deng’s “reforms.” It is true that he writes that agricultural production decreased in five years between 1949-1978 due to “natural calamities and mistakes in the work.” However he states that during 1949-1978 the per hectare yield of land sown with food crops increased by 145.9% and total food production rose 169.6%. During this period China’s population grew by 77.7%. On these figures, China’s per capita food production grew from 204 kilograms to 328 kilograms in the period in question.7 And the Deng regime that fought to discredit Mao with the millions of famine deaths, also released industry figures that would indicate gains, rather than great losses overall, under Mao: Even according to figures released by the Deng Xiaoping regime, industrial production increased by 11.2% per year from 1952-1976 (by 10% a year during the alleged catastrophe of the Cultural Revolution). In 1952 industry was 36% of gross value of national output in China. By 1975 industry was 72% and agriculture was 28%. It is quite obvious that Mao’s supposedly disastrous socialist economic policies paved the way for the rapid (but inegalitarian and unbalanced) economic development of the post-Mao era.8 There is a good argument to suggest that the policies of the Great Leap Forward actually did much to sustain China’s overall economic growth, after an initial period of disruption. At the end of the 1950s, it was clear that China was going to have to develop using its own resources and without being able to use a large amount of machinery and technological know-how imported from the Soviet Union. Mao wanted to do a lot at once, building more industry right alongside agriculture, and he put a lot of trust in the enthusiasm of the peasant spirit to make it all work. But it was a mixed bad, as Joseph Ball admits: Although problems and reversals occurred in the Great Leap Forward, it is fair to say that it had a very important role in the ongoing development of agriculture. Measures such as water conservancy and irrigation allowed for sustained increases in agricultural production, once the period of bad harvests was over. They also helped the countryside to deal with the problem of drought. Flood defenses were also developed. Terracing helped gradually increase the amount of cultivated area.9 One thing people make fun of is the low quality steel of peasant industrial efforts, since Mao thought he could promote "back yard steel furnaces" and trust the peasants to work in parallel with the needs of the agriculture communes. This took more time to gain traction, but did yield advantages in the 1960's: Industrial development was carried out under the slogan of “walking on two legs.” This meant the development of small and medium scale rural industry alongside the development of heavy industry. As well as the steel furnaces, many other workshops and factories were opened in the countryside. The idea was that rural industry would meet the needs of the local population. Rural workshops supported efforts by the communes to modernize agricultural work methods. Rural workshops were very effective in providing the communes with fertilizer, tools, other agricultural equipment and cement (needed for water conservation schemes).10 . . . Rural industry established during the Great Leap Forward used labour-intensive rather than capital-intensive methods. As they were serving local needs, they were not dependent on the development of an expensive nation-wide infrastructure of road and rail to transport the finished goods. In fact the supposedly wild, chaotic policies of the Great Leap Forward meshed together quite well, after the problems of the first few years. Local cement production allowed water conservancy schemes to be undertaken. Greater irrigation made it possible to spread more fertilizer. This fertilizer was, in turn, provided by the local factories. Greater agricultural productivity would free up more agricultural labour for the industrial manufacturing sector, facilitating the overall development of the country.11 This approach is often cited as an example of Mao’s economic illiteracy (what about the division of labour and the gains from regional specialization etc). However, it was right for China as the positive effects of Mao’s policies in terms of human welfare and economic development show. It’s worth remembering that the “leaps” Mao used to talk about the most were not leaps in the quantities of goods being produced but leaps in people’s consciousness and understanding. Mistakes were made and many must have been demoralized when they realized that some of the results of the Leap had been disappointing. But the success of the Chinese economy in years to come shows that not all its lessons were wasted. Starting in the next sections Joseph Ball begins discussing "qualitative" and "quantitative" evidence. Those who look for eye-witness or documentary evidence from the time period do not find convincing evidence, so they claim that China's government was repressive and prevented that info from getting out. Carl Riskin considers that explanation doubtful, and author Felix Greene found a lack of evidence where he thought he should have found it. Chinese history scholar Carl Riskin believes that a very serious famine took place but states “In general, it appears that the indications of hunger and hardship did not approach the kinds of qualitative evidence of mass famine that have accompanied other famines of comparable (if not equal) scale, including earlier famines in China.” He points out that much of the contemporary evidence presented in the West tended to be discounted at the time as it emanated from right-wing sources and was hardly conclusive. He considers whether repressive policies by the Chinese government prevented information about the famine getting out but states “whether it is a sufficient explanation is doubtful. There remains something of a mystery here.” 13 . . . In his famous 1965 book on China, A Curtain of Ignorance, Felix Greene says that he traveled through areas of China in 1960 where food rationing was very tight but he did not see mass starvation. He also cites other eyewitnesses who say the same kind of thing. It is likely, that in fact, famine did occur in some areas. However Greene’s observations indicate that it was not a nation-wide phenomenon on the apocalyptic scale suggested by Jasper Becker and others. Mass hunger was not occurring in the areas he traveled through, although famine may have been occurring elsewhere. Why are the accounts of people like Becker believed so readily when the account of Felix Greene and the others he cites is discounted? ------------------------- The article is very long, but his best points show that evidence is looked at (and often distorted) through bias. Communism/socialism, when seen as a hopeful means to lift the plight of poor people, reduce poverty, extend lifespans, and provide health care, could pretty much be guaranteed to trigger positive bias in those who thought they would be helped. And it would be guaranteed to produce the creation and promotion of negative bias by those nations that had been making countries poorer through colonialist/imperialist practices. The spread of communism would be dangerous if it were allowed to spread, because it was working if left un-sabotaged. Some implementations of communism sabotaged themselves, even as most Chinese historians and old peasants who remember, will admit that it got worse before it got better. But as many implementations around the world were making things much better for the majority of people, It therefore threatened to "spoil the spoils" of the imperialists like the United States, and the old European hegemony. (And, also for a later discussion, there was one more major reason to propagandize against communism which was not brought up in the article.) The author's details about the very questionable statistics that have been used to create the supposed huge numbers of deaths are shown to be mostly an illusion, to Joseph Ball. People should read Ball's article, and as many of its references as they can, of course, to get a feel for the arguments from "the other corner." Its points of argument should not be dismissed without good reason, just as one should not dismiss the arguments for high numbers of deaths by famine without good reason. But I should add, that Ball misses several key points about Mao's mistakes that should have been admitted.
  22. This statement sounds fair, and it sounds like the rest of the Wikipedia articles are a fair place to start. I have not yet read the Wikipedia articles on Mao, Chinese history, or the Great Leap Forward, but I'm sure you are summarizing it well. Like Arauna, I don't trust Wikipedia either, but usually because of its strong Western bias, not a pro-Communist or pro-Chinese bias. I've seen enough evidence of pro-Western bias in several political articles. And I think there is often a lazy tendency in Wikipedia to just look for a compromise between claimed extremes, rather than a strong stand based on preponderance of evidence. Like TTH has said, there is always a crowd arguing for a claim, and another crowd arguing for its opposite. But these opposite ends of a spectrum are often purposely exaggerating their own side or the other side, to make it easier to fight a strawman or to create a kind of "negotiation" to make their own conclusions seem more correct or reasonable. There's also some value in looking at as many common references as possible, but focusing on how honestly each side might use those same references. Same goes for how each side treats the same piece of ambiguous evidence. I find a lot of value in what one side admits to be true from the other side. Or when a side admits the weaknesses of their own side, and strengths of the other. These are often good starting places to begin building a framework that best fits the evidence. There is another reference, almost identical to a previous one I mentioned. (That one was just a copy from another source.) It's
      Hello guest!
    But you should know that this one is from a pro-socialist source, with that potential bias. It doesn't really admit some of Mao's "idiotic" policies, and goes a bit too far in whitewashing or at least ignoring some of his biggest and most costly mistakes. But it's still valuable in widening the picture that the evidence could produce. But it should also raise some more specific questions about places to look for more evidence or clarification. But, the link is excellent (but not as clear as it could have been) in pointing out real evidence of how the statistics have been tampered with, starting with Deng.
  23. Thanks. I won't be able to weigh in on this until Monday or so. But this should give ample opportunity for anyone who's interested to get the evidence started. Didn't want this to be TOO easy. It's not a simple topic, after all.
  24. I would love to see all these topics discussed, especially as there is a range of experience here, including people who have lived under several types of government themselves, people who have taken an deep interest in history, people who travel a lot, and who have worked or studied with people of many backgrounds. But before those additional points of interest, what about some of the original questions on China? I have plenty more details and evidence about the Uyghurs, but so far this was mostly just one set of claims against another set of claims. China has done plenty of bad, but when it comes to looking for evidence of any specific claim of badness, a typical Western response is, in effect: What more evidence do we need? They are communist. Communist regimes are evil. Look at Mao and how he MURDERED 40,000,000 of his own people! Since this is so often used as the foundation for why other claims must be true, I recommend that we pivot to Mao, and look at just what the evidence is that he murdered 40,000,000 (or 20,000,000) or 70,000,000 total (which is counted as 38,000,000 in the "Great Leap Forward" plus another 32,000,000.) Does anyone here know where these numbers come from? And why it's called "murder"?
  25. Not to break topic, and I don't support Trump, but this new criterion "if it discredits Trump" is bigger than "if it bleeds it leads" in the media these days. It has probably driven Trump into some outrageous reactions, too, which creates the vicious [news] cycle.

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