Two Republics in China - Page 15


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Thread: Two Republics in China

  1. #141
    Mao’s Anti-Rightist Movement

    However, on June 8, the People’sDaily ran an editorial, “Why Is this?” on the first page. Itmentioned the term “Rightists.” On June 12, Mao wrote an article,“Things Are Changing,” and circulated it within the Party. On the14th , the People’s Daily published anothereditorial, “The Bourgeois Direction Taken by Wenhui Daily.”This editorial was rumored to have been written by Mao. It blamed theWenhui Daily and the Brightness Daily, two newspapersmanaged by Party members, for their criticisms of the Party. Thusbegan the anti-rightist movement.
    Mao was said to have commented that therectification movement was just a trick to “lure snakes out of thehole.” Who were the snakes? Mao seemed to mean the rightists. Maoestimated that about five percent of the population in China were“rightists.” This was really the kind of subjectivism that wasdecried (taking one’s own view, and using it as the standard ofmeasure), as Mao invented a fixed number of rightists withoutcounting, even when the movement just began. The number should havebeen calculated only when the results came in. On the 15thof October, the Party issued another document, “Standards by whichto Decide on Rightists.” There were six rules for determining whowere rightists:
    1. Anti-socialist system: people whoopposed the basic economic policies of the Party and government;negating the achievements of the socialist revolution andconstruction; insisting on a capitalist viewpoint.


      1. Opposing the proletarian dictatorship and democratic centralism, such as resisting the fight against imperialism; disagreeing with the foreign policy of the government; disagreeing with the five movements; opposing the execution of reactionaries; opposing the reform of capitalists and capitalist intellectuals; demanding to replace the laws and cultural education of socialism with those of capitalism.

  2. #142
    3. Opposing the leadership of theCommunist Party in political life, and in the economy and culture;attacking the leading organizations and leaders of the CommunistParty and the government for the purpose of opposing socialism andthe Party, slandering the revolutionary activities of the Party.
    4. Disrupting the social harmony forthe purpose of opposing socialism and the Party, such as instigatingpeople against the Party and the government; instigating frictionbetween industrial workers and peasants; instigating discord amongminorities; slandering the socialist camp; fomenting discord amongpeoples of different socialist countries.
    5, Actively organizing and joiningcliques against socialism and the Party, such as plotting tooverthrow the leadership of the Party anywhere; instigating riotsagainst the Party and government.
    6. Aiding, advising, passinginformation to those who committed the above crimes.
    There were 552,877 rightists found inChina, out of the entire population of 642,380,000 in 1957. Importantrightists included Zhang Bojun, head of the Brightness Dailynewspaper, Chu Anping, chief editor of that newspaper, LuoLongji, head of the Wenhui Daily newspaper, and Pu Xixiu,chief editor of that newspaper. One of the rightists among thecapitalists was Wang Kangnian, who insisted that if the governmentbought people’s land and property, they should pay fixed interestsfor twenty years, not seven years, as the rate was five percent. Andthis calculation was in line with earlier public declarations.
    Actually, all the points raised by the“rightists” were proven correct as history played out. As for thefixed interests, at the end of the seven years, the Party decided tocontinue paying for another three years. Ten years altogether. Thenthe Cultural Revolution began and no one mentioned it any more. Endof story.
    What became of the rightists? Some losttheir jobs and were forced to clean bathrooms. Their salaries wereduly reduced to the level of a cleaner’s. Some were sent to laborreform camps. Hard labor, plus a great famine that took place later,killed many of them by hunger or disease.

  3. #143
    All the rightists were given a“rightist cap,” as it was called in the newspaper. It wasactually an invisible cap, only recorded in their personal files. Butthe files followed them everywhere they went, so it was like having acap always on one’s head. After 1985, some rightists were restoredto full citizenship, but they were still called “uncappedrightists,” which meant that though their caps were removed, theywere still deemed different from other people.
    During the Cultural Revolution thosepeople, capped or uncapped, were criticized and even beaten. In 1977,many false convictions were overturned, including rightist cases,almost twenty years after the Anti-Rightist Movement. By May of 1980,most of the rightist cases were rehabilitated, and they were nolonger called “uncapped rightists.” About 97% of the rightistcases were judged to have been wrong. But 1978, after twenty years,only a little more than 100,000 of the 552,877 so-called rightistssurvived. Many victims had died.
    On in November 2005, Shi Ruping, aretired professor from Shandong University, together with some otherprofessors and their families, signed an open letter to the NationalPeople’s Congress and the State Council demanding that the Partymake self-criticism and apologies to the intellectuals who had fallenvictim to this political persecution, and give them reasonable andsatisfactory compensations. In three months, they garnered 1,500supporters.
    In 2007, on the 50thanniversary of the Anti-Rightist Movement, 61 survivors in Beijingsigned an open letter demanding that the Party should openly declarethe rehabilitation of the whole Anti-Rightist Movement, not just theindividuals. But the Party declined to take any such steps.
    Through this movement, Mao and theParty intended to quench all opposing voices and even to stifledissent in people’s minds. Anyone who dared to say anythingdifferent from what the Party wanted them to say would getpunishment. Mao was said to enjoy reading history books and learningstrategies used by ancient military leaders and government officials:stratagems for seizing power, how to defeat political enemies, how tofeint and lay military traps, how to appeal to people’s beliefs, orego, diplomatic ploys and salesman’s techniques. If he couldn’tcalculate a harvest, he certainly knew how to calculate to win.

  4. #144
    Chapter16. Mao’s Goal to Overtake England in 15 Years

    Barely had the Anti-Rightist Movementbeen victoriously completed, in November 1957, when Mao put forwardanother idea: that China must overtake Great Britain in 15 years.Well, he was referring specifically to iron and steel output andcertain other major products. Mao headed a delegation to the Moscowto attend the celebration of the 40th anniversary of theSoviet Union’s October Revolution. Then he attended conference withrepresentatives of 64 communist parties and worker’s parties fromall over the world. Mao announced that since the Soviet Union couldovertake the US in 15 years, China could overtake Great Britain in 15years, too.
    At that time England’s annual steelproduction was 20 million tons. In 15 years, it might reach 30million tons. So his aim was to reach 40 million tons in steelproduction in 15 years. From theestimation in an official document on the speed of the steelproductivity in China, the result would be that the steel productioncould reach 12 million tons in 1959, 30 million tons in 1962,70 million tons in 1967, and 120 million tons in 1972. This soundslike the same kind of estimates that drove the agricultural policy,but the party leaders thought that their aim could be achieved in 3or 5 years, no need for 15 years. To find new sources of iron ore,local party secretaries led people in their areas into the mountains,even elementary school pupils and the elderly, people in their 70sand 80s, joined in the action. Peasants left their work in the fieldsand abandoned the harvests to participate in the search for oredeposits. In Henan province, 50% of the grain was left unharvestedand rotted in the fields.

  5. #145
    By then, the total goal for iron andsteel production had been set at 10.7 million tons. An official Partydecision to that effect was taken on the 17th of August,1958. To achieve that goal, they wanted the whole nation to engage inthe making of iron and steel. They ordered people to build old-styledopen-pit ovens, like in the kitchens of primitive old houses. In allfactories other than steel plants, a couple of ovens were set up tomake steel on the side. As to where to get the raw materials, theycommanded people to take down all the steel doors, iron bars onwindows, and steel fences, and to sell all their household goods madeof iron and steel, such as tools and kitchen utensils. If peoplecould have cut their food with wooden knives, they would have orderedthem to give up their steel knives. This of course reduced productionof other necessities and disrupted the supply chain for other goods.As a result of all these efforts, it was declared in December 1958that the total output of iron and steel was 11,080,000 tons, taskvictoriously completed. But more than 3 million tons of the steel and4,160,000 tons of the iron were no good, all garbage. A completewaste of money and materials and labor force. The loss was estimatedat about 20 billion yuan in Chinese currency.
    Once they had melted the raw material,how did they make the “steel bricks? Here is a description.Whatever scraps of iron or steel were on hand would be thrown in theoven until they melted a little, just enough to stick together. Thenthe piece was taken out and put on an iron anvil. One man tightlyheld the half-softened piece on the anvil using long-handled tongs,and two other men hit it in turn with big hammers, while the personholding the piece turned it around, over and over, until it began totake on the shape of a brick. The two men hit the piece by turns, asis often done in hand-forging, as the piece cools quickly and one mancan strike while the other is raising his hammer again. As soon asthe shape was fixed, the job was deemed finished. This “steelbrick” was put aside and they would go to work on the next one.Three men’s efforts were tied up working at each oven. That was howthe steel bricks were made.

  6. #146
    Chapter17. The Meeting On Mt. Lu and Peng’s Letter

    Background Information

    In 1958 when Khrushchev visitedBeijing, he derided China’s Great Leap Forward as a mania of thepetty bourgeoisie. During the period of May–June in 1959, whenKhrushchev officially visited Albania, he met Peng Dehuai, who letKhrushchev read a memorandum recording some severe criticisms of theGreat Leap Forward and the people’s commune. On July 17, Khrushchevmade a speech in Poland criticizing the Great Leap Forward and thepeople’s commune. The next day, the newspapers in the Soviet Unionand Poland repeated the same criticisms. That set the internationalbackground.
    Data from the National StatisticsBureau showed that China’s total output in 1958 was valued at 130.7billion yuan, 21.3% more than in 1957; the total industrial value was108.3 billion yuan, 54.8% more than in 1957; and the totalagricultural value was 56.6 billion yuan, 2.4% more than in 1957. Thetotal quantity of grain in 1958 was 200 million tons, 2.54% more thanin 1957. Therefore, Mao thought that the policies of the Great LeapForward and the people’s commune were correct. So he refused toaccept any criticism, though he admitted that there had been someshortcomings in carrying out the policy, like forcing people to dothings against their will, exaggerating, commanding blindly, andallowing cadres to arrogate special rights over people.


    The Meeting On Mt. Lu

    In July, 1959, the Party held aconference on Mt. Lu, on which Mao owned that there were somedemerits in the Great Leap Forward and the people’s communemovements, but the Party should yet accelerate the completion of allthe tasks of the Great Leap Forward. At first the conference wasgoing peacefully. The representatives toured the mountain in the dayand held a dance or had a walk in the evening, besides attendingmeetings. The purpose of this conference was at first just to letother leaders know these demerits and help to correct them. Theconference lasted for nearly a month and all the representatives werehappy as it drew to an end. Just then an apple of discord dropped onthe table. Peng Dehuai handed in his “Ten Thousand Words Letter”to Mao.

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