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Dikötter und der Große Sprung
Aug 5th, 2016 by Gao

Frank Dikötter: Looking back on the Great Leap Forward (History Today)

Frank Dikötter explains how the gradual opening of Chinese archives has revealed the appalling truth about Chairman Mao’s genocidal rule…
What comes out … is a tale of horror in which Mao emerges as one of the greatest mass murderers in history, responsible for the deaths of at least 45 million people between 1958 and 1962.

Dikötter wiederholt sein Lieblingszitat:

As the minutes of leadership meetings show, Mao was aware of the extent of the famine. At a secret gathering that took place in Shanghai on March 25th, 1959, Mao specifically ordered the party to procure up to one third of all grain. He announced that: ‘When there is not enough to eat people starve to death. It is better to let half of the people die so that the other half can eat their fill.’

Hier das Zitat mit etwas mehr Kontext:

要完成计划,就要大減项目。1078个项目中还应該堅決地再多削減,削到500个。平均使用力量是破坏大跃进的办法。大家吃不飽,大家死,不如死一半,給一半人吃飽。
Um den Plan zu erfüllen, müssen wir die Zahl der Projekte drastisch verringern. Von den 1078 Projekten müssen wir rigoros noch einmal viele streichen, bis auf 500. Die Kräfte gleichmäßig zu verteilen ist eine Methode, den Großen Sprung Vorwärts zu sabotieren. Wenn sich nicht alle sattessen können, sterben alle; es ist besser, wenn nur die eine Hälfte stirbt und sich die andere Hälfte dafür sattessen kann.

Máo spricht also nicht von Menschen, sondern von Industrie- und Bauprojekten, die man „sterben“ lassen soll; man kann es gar nicht anders verstehen. Dass dieses Zitat aus dem Zusammenhang gerissen und der Sinn völlig entstellt ist, stört Dikötter offenbar wenig, und obwohl bereits mehrere Historiker_innen darauf hingewiesen haben (vgl. Looking for Great Leap „smoking gun“ document, H-NET), bringt er es immer wieder.
Und so geistert das gefälschte Zitat auch weiter in den Medien herum:
Ilya Somin: Remembering the biggest mass murder in the history of the world (Washington Post)

Who was the biggest mass murderer in the history of the world? Most people probably assume that the answer is Adolf Hitler, architect of the Holocaust. Others might guess Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, who may indeed have managed to kill even more innocent people than Hitler did, many of them as part of a terror famine that likely took more lives than the Holocaust. But both Hitler and Stalin were outdone by Mao Zedong. From 1958 to 1962, his Great Leap Forward policy led to the deaths of up to 45 million people – easily making it the biggest episode of mass murder ever recorded…
The basic facts of the Great Leap Forward have long been known to scholars. Dikötter’s work is noteworthy for demonstrating that the number of victims may have been even greater than previously thought, and that the mass murder was more clearly intentional on Mao’s part.

Die Phrase “more clearly intentional” ist natürlich entscheidend. Und Somins conclusio?

The horrendous history of China, the USSR, and their imitators, should have permanently discredited socialism as completely as fascism was discredited by the Nazis.

Nachsatz – kleiner Sprung nach Lateinamerika:

Just recently, the socialist government of Venezuela imposed forced labor on much of its population… Venezuela’s tragic situation would not surprise anyone familiar with the history of the Great Leap Forward.

Kulturrevolution – Fellner, Brown, Wemheuer, Mai/Chou, Rittenberg, Wasserstrom
Mai 15th, 2016 by Gao

Hannes Fellner: »Rebellion ist gerechtfertigt« (junge Welt)

Die »Große Proletarische Kulturrevolution« war ein Zeitabschnitt in der Geschichte der Volksrepublik China, der widersprüchlicher nicht sein konnte. Die Kulturrevolution stand und steht gleichzeitig für Voluntarismus und diktatorische Maßnahmen von den um Mao Zedong versammelten Kadern der Kommunistischen Partei Chinas (KPCh), aber auch für eine partizipative und demokratische Massenbewegung. Sie stand und steht gleichzeitig für gesellschaftliches Chaos und Not, aber auch für ökonomischen, sozialen und kulturellen Fortschritt, welcher die Grundlagen für den Wirtschaftsboom des Landes ab den späten 1970er Jahren legte. Sie stand und steht gleichzeitig für Chinas Besinnung nach innen und seine internationale Isolation, aber auch für den Beginn seines Aufstiegs zur Weltmacht.

Ian Johnson: Jeremy Brown on the Cultural Revolution at the Grass Roots | 50周年纪念之外,被忽略的文革历史 (New York Times)

Jeremy Brown, 39, a history professor at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, studied in Harbin and did research in Tianjin, focusing especially on the rural-urban divide in China under Mao Zedong. Most recently, he helped edit “Maoism at the Grassroots: Everyday Life in China’s Era of High Socialism.” In an interview, he discussed the 50th anniversary of the Cultural Revolution, what we miss in elite-focused narratives from that time and his pursuit of flea-market historiography.

Felix Wemheuer: 50 Jahre Kulturrevolution: Der Kampf geht weiter (Deutsche Welle)

50 Jahre nach dem Ausbruch der „Großen Proletarischen Kulturrevolution“ [hat] die chinesische Gesellschaft noch immer keinen Konsens gefunden, wie Maos Massenbewegung zu beurteilen ist.

Felix Wemheuer: Kulturrevolution und die Neue Linke im Westen (Deutsche Welle)
Jun Mai, Oliver Chou: Cultural Revolution, 50 years on (South China Morning Post)

Fifty years ago today, China issued a top directive calling on its people to rid society of “members of the bourgeoisie threatening to seize political power from the proletariat” – marking the start of a decade-long violent class struggle.
For 10 tumultuous years from 1966, the country underwent massive sociopolitical upheaval that saw countless politicians and intellectuals driven to their deaths, civilians killed in armed conflicts, and cultural relics and artefacts destroyed. The official death toll numbered more than 1.7 million.

Wen Liu: Sidney Rittenberg on Cultural Revolution 50 years later, its violence, its lessons (WA China Watch Digest)

This website was not meant to be this political. But one cannot watch China and skip a historic date, May 16, the 50th anniversary of the official start of the Cultural Revolution from 1966-1976, which served as perhaps more than anything dark, scorched, bloody yet fertile soil for, as well as a huge rear-view mirror of, today’s China of skyscrapers, bullet trains, Xi Jinping, and even Internet censorship. One cannot also watch China and forget that it was in 1972, during the Cultural Revolution, that President Nixon went to meet Mao in Beijing. To help us reflect on the Cultural Revolution, its meaning, its violence, its lessons, there is no better person than a great fellow Washingtonian, journalist, scholar, a participant as well as a prisoner of not only the Cultural Revolution, but for 35 years Mao’s revolution: Sidney Rittenberg.

Jeffrey Wasserstrom: How Will China Mark the 50th Anniversary of the Cultural Revolution? (Nation)

This month marks the anniversary of two surges of youth activism in China. One, the May 4 Movement, began with student protests 97 years ago. The other is the 50th anniversary of the Cultural Revolution, which is sometimes said to have begun with the first Red Guards putting up wall posters in late May of 1966. May 4 and Red Guard activists were once seen as part of related movements, but now they tend to be regarded as radically dissimilar.

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