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China Poised for Global Leadership? Time to Bury Mao Zedong, the Greatest Mass Murderer in History

July 31, 2014 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

Tiananmen Square symbolizes modern China. The space forever will be remembered as the focus of the mass demonstrations dispersed by brute military force in 1989. Today the square is peaceful — but dominated by the ghost of Mao Zedong, likely the greatest mass murderer in history.

His portrait hangs on the Gate of Heavenly Peace which sits on Chang’an Avenue, a major street along the northern edge of the iconic Square. Mao’s mausoleum at the center draws thousands of visitors every day. The country has abandoned almost every element of his thought since his death in 1976, but the leadership clings to his aura. His many victims still await justice.

The Great Helmsman was born in 1893. The son of a wealthy farmer, he rejected the marriage arranged by his parents. He then became a nationalist and revolutionary, and in 1921 one of the founders of the Chinese Communist Party.  His parents died when he was young. He eventually had much reason to hate the Kuomintang, whose forces executed his wife, sister, and brother; his third marriage ended in divorce, after which he married actress Jiang Qing, later a member of the infamous “Gang of Four.” He commanded Red Army forces with varying degrees of success while gradually achieving preeminence during a struggle that lasted nearly three decades. In Tiananmen Square on October 1, 1949, Mao proclaimed the establishment of the People’s Republic of China. “We have stood up,” he declared a few days before.

The Communists became the new elite, with the leadership taking up residence in Zhongnanhai, a well-guarded compound next to the ancient Forbidden City, home to the emperors. Over time his rule became ever more erratic and brutal. After taking power he orchestrated campaigns against “landlords” and other “counter-revolutionaries,” which murdered as many as five million, or perhaps more, with millions more sent to labor camps.

In 1956 he launched the Hundred Flowers Campaign or Movement, which offered Chinese an opportunity to speak freely: “let a hundred flowers bloom,” he said. However, Mao soon tired of criticism and began the repressive Anti-Rightest Movement. It’s possible that he initiated the first to expose his enemies, or entice “the snakes out of their caves,” as he later put it. Executions were widespread, with some estimates of the dead hitting the millions.

Eventually the PRC will have to confront Mao’s legacy.”

Barely a year after the PRC’s formation, Mao pushed Beijing …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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