October 15, 2019
  • by:
  • Source: FreePressers
  • 09/16/2019
FPI / September 15, 2019

Recent polling shows more than 50 percent of young Americans embrace socialism.

Those who support giving government more control over their lives may want to examine the history of China’s experiment in total government control under Mao Zedong, analysts say.

Under Chairman Mao, who is still lionized by many on the Left in the West, records show that as many as 100 million people (or more) were slaughtered.

Between 1949 and 1976, Mao presided over the world’s worst death camp, which was “unlike anything else in history,” Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr. wrote for the Mises Institute.

While communism and socialism remain prominent in the lexicology of America's "woke" Left, pro-democracy protest leaders in Hong Kong such as Hong Kong National Party founder Andy Chan Ho-tin are calling for a "revolution" to end communism. Other protest leaders are nationalists more aligned with the U.S. Democrat Party and European socialists.

<em>The following is excerpted from Rockwell’s “The Death Camps of Communist China”:</em>

The land of Lao-Tzu (rhyme, rhythm, peace), Taoism (compassion, moderation, humility), and Confucianism (piety, social harmony, individual development) was seized by the strangest import to China ever: Marxism from Germany via Russia.

It was an ideology that denied all logic, experience, economic law, property rights, and limits on the power of the state on grounds that these notions were merely bourgeois prejudices, and what we needed to transformed society was a cadre with all power to transform all things.

It's bizarre to think about it, really: posters of Marx and Lenin in China, of all places, and rule by an ideology of robbery, dictatorship, and death that did not come to an end until 1976. So spectacular has the transformation been in the last 25 years that one would hardly know that any of this ever happened, except that the Communist Party is still running the place while having tossed out the communist part.

The experiment began in the most bloody way possible following the second world war, when all Western eyes were focused on matters at home and, to the extent there was any foreign focus, it was on Russia. The "good guys" had won the war in China, or so we were led to believe in times when communism was the fashion.

The communization of China took place in the usual three stages: purge, plan, and scapegoat. First there was the purge to bring about communism. There were guerillas to kill and land to nationalize. The churches had to be destroyed.

The demonized class was ferreted out in a country-wide series of "bitterness meetings" in which people turned in their neighbors for owning property and being politically disloyal. Those who were so deemed were immediately executed along with those who sympathized with them.

The rule was that there had to be at least one person killed per village. The numbers killed is estimated to be between one and five million. In addition, another four to six million landowners were slaughtered for the crime of being capital owners.

If anyone was suspected of hiding wealth, he or she was tortured with hot irons to confess. The families of the killed were then tortured and the graves of their ancestors looted and pillaged. What happened to the land? It was divided into tiny plots and distributed among the remaining peasants.

Then the campaign moved to the cities. The political motivations here were at the forefront, but there were also behavioral controls.
Anyone who was suspected of involvement in prostitution, gambling, tax evasion, lying, fraud, opium dealing, or telling state secrets was executed as a "bandit." Official estimates put the number of dead at two million with another two million going to prison to die.

Resident committees of political loyalists watched every move. A nighttime visit to another person was immediately reported and the parties involved jailed or killed.

The cells in the prisons themselves grew ever smaller, with one person living in a space of about 14 inches. Some prisoners were worked to death, and anyone involved in a revolt was herded with collaborators and they were all burned.

There was industry in the cities, but those who owned and managed them were subjected to ever tighter restrictions: forced transparency, constant scrutiny, crippling taxes, and pressure to offer up their businesses for collectivization. There were many suicides among the small- and medium-sized business owners who saw the writing on the wall. Joining the party provided only temporary respite, since 1955 began the campaign against hidden counterrevolutionaries in the party itself. A principle here was that one in ten party members was a secret traitor.

As the rivers of blood rose ever higher, Mao brought about the Hundred Flowers Campaign in two months of 1957, the legacy of which is the phrase we often hear: "Let a hundred flowers bloom." People were encouraged to speak freely and give their point of view, an opportunity that was very tempting for intellectuals. The liberalization was short lived. In fact, it was a trick.

All those who spoke out against what was happening to China were rounded up and imprisoned, perhaps between 400,000 and 700,000 people, including 10 percent of the well-educated classes. Others were branded as right wingers and subjected to interrogation, reeducation, kicked out of their homes, and shunned.

But this was nothing compared with phase two, which was one of history's great central planning catastrophes. Following collectivization of land, Mao decided to go further to dictate to the peasants what they would grow, how they would grow it, and where they would ship it, or whether they would grow anything at all as versus plunge into industry.

This would become the Great Leap Forward that would generate history's most deadly famine.

To keep birds from eating grain, sparrows were wiped out, which vastly increased the number of parasites. Erosion and flooding became endemic. Tea plantations were turned to rice fields, on grounds that tea was decadent and capitalistic.

Hydraulic equipment built to service the new collective farms didn't work and lacked any replacement parts.

In 1957, the disaster was everywhere. Workers were growing too weak even to harvest their meager crops, so they died watching the rice rot. Industry churned and churned but produced nothing of any use. The government responded by telling people that fat and proteins were unnecessary. But the famine couldn't be denied.

The black-market price of rice rose 20 to 30 times. Because trade had been forbidden between collectives (self-sufficiency, you know), millions were left to starve. By 1960, the death rate soared from 15 percent to 68 percent, and the birth rate plummeted. Anyone caught hoarding grain was shot. Peasants found with the smallest amount were imprisoned. Fires were banned. Funerals were prohibited as wasteful.

Villagers who tried to flee the countryside to the city were shot at the gates. Deaths from hunger reached 50 percent in some villages. Survivors boiled grass and bark to make soup and wandered the roads looking for food. Sometimes they banded together and raided houses looking for ground maize. Women were unable to conceive because of malnutrition. People in work camps were used for food experiments that led to sickness and death.

How bad did it get? In 1968 an 18-year-old member of the Red Guard, Wei Jingsheng, took refuge with a family in a village of Anhui, and here he lived to write about what he saw:

"We walked along beside the village… Before my eyes, among the weeds, rose up one of the scenes I had been told about, one of the banquets at which the families had swapped children in order to eat them. I could see the worried faces of the families as they chewed the flesh of other people's children. The children who were chasing butterflies in a nearby field seemed to be the reincarnation of the children devoured by their parents. I felt sorry for the children but not as sorry as I felt for their parents. What had made them swallow that human flesh, amidst the tears and grief of others — flesh that they would never have imagined tasting, even in their worst nightmares?"

How many people died in the famine of 1959-61? The low range is 20 million. The high range is 43 million. Finally in 1961, the government gave in and permitted food imports, but it was too little and too late. Some peasants were again allowed to grow crops on their own land. A few private workshops were opened. Some markets were permitted. Finally, the famine began to abate and production grew.

But then the third phase came: scapegoating. What had caused the calamity? The official reason was anything but communism, anything but Mao. And so the politically motivated roundup began again, and here we get the very heart of the Culture Revolution. Thousands of camps and detention centers were opened. People sent there died there.

In prison, the slightest excuse was used to dispense with people — all to the good, since the prisoners were a drain on the system, so far as those in charge were concerned. The largest penal system ever built was organized in a military fashion, with some camps holding as many as 50,000 people.

Arrests were sweeping and indiscriminate. Everyone had to carry around a copy of Mao's Little Red Book. To question the reason for arrest was itself evidence of disloyalty, since the state was infallible.

The final phase of this incredible litany of criminality lasted from 1966 to 1976, during which the number killed fell dramatically to "only" one to three million. The government, now tired and in the first stages of demoralization, began to lose control, first within the labor camps and then in the countryside. And it was this weakening that led to the final, and in some ways the most vicious, of the communist periods in China's history.

The first stages of rebellion occurred in the only way permissible: people began to criticize the government for being too soft and too uncommitted to the communist goal. Ironically, this began to appear precisely as moderation became more overt in Russia. Neo-revolutionaries in the Red Guard began to criticize the Chinese communists as "Khrushchev-like reformers." As one writer put it, the guard "rose up against its own government in order to defend it."

The Red Guards roamed the country in an attempt to purge the Four Old-Fashioned Things: ideas, culture, customs, and habits.

The remaining temples were barricaded. Traditional opera was banned, with all costumes and sets in the Beijing Opera burned. Monks were expelled. The calendar was changed. All Christianity was banned. There were to be no pets such as cats and birds. Humiliation was the order of the day.

Artists, writers, teachers, scientists, technicians: all were targets. Pogroms were visited on community after community, with Mao approving at every step as a means of eliminating every possible political rival. But underneath, the government was splintering and cracking, even as it became ever more brutal and totalitarian in its outlook.

Arrests were sweeping and indiscriminate. Everyone had to carry around a copy of Mao's Little Red Book. To question the reason for arrest was itself evidence of disloyalty, since the state was infallible.

Finally in 1976, Mao died. Within a few months, his closest advisers were all imprisoned.

Don't tell me that we've learned anything from history. We don't even know enough about history to learn from it.

Free Press International
mao632 by N/A is licensed under Public Domain N/A

Get latest news delivered daily!

We will send you breaking news right to your inbox