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.

  7. #147
    Peng’s Ten-Thousand Word Letter

    Peng Dehuai was the vice chairman ofthe central military committee of the CPC, the minister of NationalDefense, and a vice Premier of the state council. Although theadministration was not known for inviting input from anyone, hefinally decided that he had quite a lot to say. What did Peng say inhis “Ten-Thousand Word Letter”? He just pointed out all themistakes made so far, with an in-depth analysis. In 1959, he said theParty should slow down the speed of development and not keep on withthe Great Leap Forward, which had thrown the economy off balance andcreated new difficulties. He also sharply pointed out that theexaggerated statistics and the passing of false information to partyleaders were just the surface of the problem, the deeper cause beingthe lack of openness to advice and other opinions (an aspect ofdemocracy) and personality worship, which hit home to Mao’sleadership. On July 17, coincidently on the same day as Khrushchevdelivered his criticism in Poland, Zhou Xiaozhou, the first partysecretary of Hunan province, gave a talk that supported Peng. On July20, Zhang Wentian, a vice minister in the foreign affairs ministry,supported Peng, too.
    Mao refused to listen to Peng, and Penghad an argument with Mao. Mao criticized Peng severely, and calledPeng and his supporters an “Anti-Party Clique.” They were removedfrom their official positions and put in prison. But the people ofChina respected them for their courage in speaking out. During theanti-rightist movement over 10,000 party members were criticized andwere ill treated. All those cases were redressed in 1962, exceptPeng. It is thought that Peng’s main offense was his failure toprotect Mao’s eldest son adequately during the Korean War.

  8. #148
    A Great Leap Backward into Famine

    Largely as a result of the foregoingpolicies, a serious famine hit China from 1959 to 1961. Some reportssuggest that at least 30 million people died from hunger. The highestimation was more than 60 million. As the Communist Party kept suchstatistics a national secret, no one can be sure. If calculated at37,558,000 (from official statistics recently revealed), the numberis 7.65 million greater than the total number of deaths fromstarvation in all the history of China, almost equivalent to thecasualties in the Second World War, which was between 30–40million.
    The Great Leap Forward and the steelmaking spree damaged the agricultural sector deeply. In 1960, thegrain output fell to 158,000 tons, 26% less than in 1957 before theGreat Leap Forward. In Sichuan province, renowned for its plentifulgrain production, the output decreased year by year from 1959 to1961. In 1961, it was even less than in 1949. In that province alone,10 million people starved to death. Some cadres wrote a letter to theCentral Committee of the CPC to tell the truth, but they were decidedto be an anti-party clique.
    Many in the countryside ate grass andtree bark. The Party denied that there was a famine, but called it anatural catastrophe. It really did not matter what they called it.Later, however, Liu Shaoqi, the chairman of the People’s Republicof China, confessed that the calamity was “seven tenths human errorand three tenths a natural catastrophe.”
    Even during the famine years, the Partyexported grain in order to earn foreign currency. And in 1959, whenpeople were starving in the streets, 4,157,500 tons of grain wereexported to the Soviet Union and other socialist nations in EasternEurope in exchange for help to develop the military industry. Giventhe constant menace from the West, as the Cold War raged on, onecould say that there was some strategic basis for this deadlytrade-off. But on top of that, in April 1960, they gave 10,000 tonsof rice to Guinea, and 15,000 tons of wheat to Albania. Was that justa public relations ploy to deny the true state of affairs?

  9. #149
    Chapter 18 What is great cultural revolution?

    I.Background of so-called cultural revolution

    Duringthe so-called natural calamity, as three hundred millions of peoplewere starved to death, the national economy got worse and worse.Therefore, Mao was forced to recede to the background on thepolitical power stage, and Liu Shaoqi stepped into the foreground,helped by Deng, the secretary general of the central committee of thecommunist Party. Of course, such a very ambitious person as Mao wouldnever, of his own accord, give up the political power he had enjoyedso far and now stand backstage watching others perform on thepolitical stage right under his nose. No, he would never allow it.This was the reason of the occurrence of the cultural revolution hewas scheming in his great mind.
    InJanuary, 1962, at a meeting of 7,000 people, Mao criticized himselffor the mistakes he had committed, having made a mess of the nationaleconomy. Liu said then that it was three-tenth natural disaster andseven-tenth human error. But in August of the same year, on themeeting at Beidai River, Mao insisted in his theory of class fight,which was the main danger of the present society as he defined it.Mao thought that there was still the possibility of revisionismtaking the upper hand, which meant the revival of capitalismaccording to his theory. In the later development of the events, onecould see that Mao laid a time bomb in theory to turn the table forhis benefits. This was his basic theory to wage the culturalrevolution in future. Liu and Deng could never see the red lights—theapproaching danger. Both were no equal rivals to Mao.
    Thecultural revolution was certainly unprecedented in the history ofChina, also in the history of the world. If Mao had his IQ tested, itshould be very high. If his scheme for the movement went a bit amiss,the result would be different. He might never retrieve his power, orthe whole country might be in civil war. His scheme was accurate inhis arrangement, though he never cared how many people would die inthe cultural revolution. He was a person cruel at heart. When histhird wife, Yang Kaihui, had been arrested by Chiang Kai-shek'sgovernment and killed later, he didn't do anything to rescue her, butmarried another woman. He sent his son to the Korean War, who diedthere.
    Last edited by xlwoo; May 3rd, 2020 at 09:26 PM.

  10. #150
    InFebruary, 1963, the central committee of CPC decided on anotherpolitical movement, proposed by Mao, imaginably. This was, indeed,Mao's strategy to retrieve his lost power. No one could see throughhim at the time. Liu, the chairman of the nation then, was of coursethe leader of the movement. As usual, Liu sent out work teams to thecountryside for the movement. Liu thought that the target of thismovement was still the common people as the previous movements did.The work teams made a mess there as they really had no idea whom theyshould target.
    InDecember, 1964, at a meeting of the central committee of CPC, Maosaid that it was wrong to aim at the common people. The target (thistime) should be the cadres. Of course, Mao meant more than that. Noone could understand at the time what he really pointed at. So Liumade self-criticism. A trap Mao set for him to fall in. Then inJanuary, 1965, the central committee agreed with Mao that the targetof this movement should be those in power within the Party, who werepersisting in going the capitalist road. At that time, no one couldguess who were those targeted in power and who were those insistingin going the capitalist road. But Mao had a certain goal in his mind.Another theoretical trap. It was based on this theory that Mao wasthe right person going the socialist road, and any other persons whoheld different opinions from Mao should be those going on thecapitalist road. The worst thing was that all other leaders of CPCagreed to this theory, making Mao always standing on the summit ofcorrectness. Mao could never be wrong theoretically. It was calledthe fight between the two roads: the socialist road and thecapitalist road. As Mao declared himself and was also accepted as therepresentative of going the socialist road, Liu was, of course,deemed the representative of going the capitalist road. Going oncapitalist road was wrong, according to Mao's theory, which wasaccepted by others. Liu already lost there. His tragic end was sealedeven before the beginning of the cultural revolution since otherswere all got confused by Mao's theory and did not know how tocontradict him.


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