“Chairman Mao’s Purgatory” – The Reality
Posted by Author on April 27, 2011
Du Bin, a New York Times』 signed reporter, published in Hong Kong a new book, called “Chairman Mao』s Purgatory”. . This book is about the Great Leap Forward and has 130,000 characters and over 150 valuable pictures.
Du Bin said: “』Chairman Mao』s purgatory』 reflects all those ridiculous and miserable years.”
This book in the form of chronicle, records Mao』s speech within the party, agricultural officials』 private diaries, the behavior of local authorities, letters from common people to the Central Party, newly revealed secret documents, witnesses』 memories. The book recalls the dark age when tens of millions of Chinese people starved to death, with historical posters, farmer paintings, photos, art drawings, newspaper and magazines』 pictures, serving the politics during the Great Leap Forward.
These fragments and details reflect those ridiculous years and the dictator』s outrage. According to Zhang Rong』s book “Mao: The Unknown Story”, to make peasants work as slaves during 1950s』 Great Leap Forward, Mao Zedong assigned numbers to them instead of calling their names.
Du Bin said: “I find such a small detail surprising and shocking. Mao erased people』s names which were their identities and utilized them as tools and animals.”
We can find in the book those ridiculous years and black humor when we look back. “Purgatory” cites China Pictorial』s reports: “Macheng County in Hubei Province created a 』satellite』 of producing 36,000 jin (18,000 kg) of grain per mu.”
But actually children were standing on paddy rice propped with hidden benches.
According to Liu Bowei』s article, officials of people’s commune organized activities like “man-made sun” and “man-made wind” among people to hasten the growth of rice. Hundreds of people were standing around experimental fields with mirrors in hands, making the sunshine reflect into the field.
“Purgatory” cites Luo Pinghan』s article: “To launch satellites, people applied fertilizers excessively and watered the rice with dog meat soup and glucose.” Also according to Li Kai』s article, a handicraft commune even made steel with Chinese medicine, which was believed to remove oxygen, sulfur and to control carbon content.
The first half of the Great Leap Forward was just craziness and humor, but the second half was a tragedy. When hunger swept the whole country, the communist ideal implanted by Mao collapsed and at that moment people saw the red dragon opening its bloody mouth.
Du Bin: “I was sad when choosing the stories, because people were so humble in the eyes of communist party, as humble as a dog, hen, ant. Some details I selected can truly reflect the fact that the communist regime doesn』t care about people』s lives at all. ”
In “Purgatory”, Du Bin cited a letter to Liu Shaoqi from his fellow villagers which said: “President Liu, we are starving everyday and developing edemas. But we couldn』t talk about it, otherwise we』ll have no food, be labeled as “anti-party and against the three red banners” and be sent to forced labor camp. Once a person starves to death, people could only say that he dies of disease.”
Du Bin also cited a paragraph from Yang Jisheng』s book, 『Tombstone』, “There was over 1 billion jin of grain in Xinyang City』s warehouse and the total storage is 4 billion jin, with 2.9 billion jin production that year. But not even one famine victim considered to steal food, knowing there』s plenty in the warehouse. Some peasants waited outside the warehouse for the government to distribute food and shouted: 』Communist party, Chairman Mao, help us!』 Some people died at the warehouse.”
The tragedy of people eating each other swept every village. “Purgatory” cites Liang Zhiyuan』s article, “Sometimes a dead person was buried but the body disappeared overnight. In some areas, to protect dead bodies from being dug and eaten, peasants watched their family members』 graves for several nights until the bodies started to decompose and putrefy. Some people ate dead bodies from other families and some ate dead bodies from their own families; people ate cooked or raw human flesh; some ate dead bodies and some killed and ate live people.”
Chinese Communist Party) 90th anniversary. Other books about CCP』s history are coming out one by one in Beijing』s bookstores and there is even one for middle school students. In these books, CCP tries to glorify its past and writes lightly about the Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Forward, trying to remove its dark side from history. But “Purgatory” fills the blank of history and presents the real pains.
NTD reporters Qin Xue and Wang Mingyu
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