[size=4]The truth about Mao[/size]
A mass murderer, womaniser, liar and drug baron: a book by the bestselling author Jung Chang paints an horrific portrait of the erstwhile hero of the Chinese revolution
By Jonathan Mirsky
28 May 2005
[left]On the cover of Mao: the Unknown Story is a tiny photograph of the Chairman. It is wrinkled and tattered. Until Mao Tse-tung’s death in 1976 anyone found with such a damaged photograph of the Great Helmsman, Teacher, and Red Red Sun in Our Hearts faced possible death and certain detention. In 1981, I met a woman in Nanjing who had found a bag full of Mao badges in the gutter - five years after his death - and had taken them to the nearest police station so she could not be blamed for possessing cast-off memorabilia of the Great Helmsman.
Indeed, the huge portrait of Mao with his immense mole still hangs, gazing into the distance, over the gate from Beijing’s Forbidden City into Tiananmen Square.
Can this be, still? Mao Tse-tung, who was responsible for the peacetime deaths of perhaps 70 million of his fellow Chinese?
Many of these facts were really lies, usually originating in the titanic autobiographical lie that Mao fed the American journalist Edgar Snow in 1936 for his scoop, Red Star Over China. For decades, that series of lies underpinned all that Chinese and foreigners knew about Mao.[/left]
**Edgar Snow **
And of all the ordeals along the way, the worst was crossing the Dadu River, by way of a bridge over the deep gorge. The Nationalists on the other side had set the bridge alight, the story goes, and if the Reds had stalled there, exhausted and diminished as they were, the Long March would have probably ended in annihilation. But in the Mao legend, volunteer soldiers scrambled hand over hand along the suspension chains, through the flames, and although some fell to their deaths in the rapids below, the survivors got to the other side, drove off the enemy, the bridge was repaired, and the Reds got across and survived.
It didn’t happen. Not didn’t happen like that, but didn’t happen at all. “This is a complete invention,” write Chang and Halliday. “There was no battle at the Dadu Bridge.” There were no Nationalist soldiers there, “Chiang had left the passage open for the Reds,” there were no flames and “the Red army crossed the bridge without incurring a single death”.
At one point the Nationalists left a truck at the side of the road loaded with food and detailed maps of the route ahead. Chang and Halliday maintain that Chiang spared the Reds partly because Stalin was holding his son hostage. Mao and the other leaders were carried in litters. A survivor told Chang and Halliday that the elite “lounged about in litters, like landlords”. Not a single high-ranking leader, no matter how ill or badly wounded, died along the March, although most of the soldiers perished. This was an early example, Chang and Halliday assert, of “the stony-hearted hierarchy and privilege under Mao’s dominion”.
The final nail in the coffin of the guerrilla years is that Mao rarely fought either the Nationalists or the Japanese during that period, and when his commanders did fight Chiang’s forces, just twice, Mao was furious.
For several years Mao oversaw the growing of opium poppies and the extremely lucrative sale of “the black product” in areas outside his control. He told Premier Chou En-lai that the business was worth six times the official Yanan budget. The Russians, whose sources on Mao’s career are Halliday’s most significant contribution to the biography, estimated sales then at $60m “or some $640m (£350m) today,” a humiliating admission for a patriotic movement that based its hatred of imperialism on the British export of opium into China in the 19th century.
Russia, China, Southern Africa, Middle East … charismatic demagogues, expropriation of land, pseudo-nationalist ‘anti-tyranical’ ‘democratic’ rhetoric, mass culling.
why, I think I see a pattern.
TeeVee’s Nelson M (l) with their man in Jo’berg
Joe Slovo ®
In South Africa there are now 50+ (official) murders every day. Between 1/3 and 1/2 of the population is HIV+.