41 votes
Accepted

Did people in China resort to cannibalism during the reign of Mao?

Yes we have at least one account of cannibalism. First source: A teenage orphan kills and eats her four-year-old brother. Guardian Second source: I didn't know that there were thousands of cases of ...
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  • 31k
34 votes

Did people in China resort to cannibalism during the reign of Mao?

Jung Chang -author of bestseller Wild Swans (Harper Collins, London 1992) together with her husband, British sinologist, Jon Halliday, in their biography, Mao,The Unknown Story (Cape, London 2005) ...
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  • 2,043
26 votes

Did Mao want to convert written Chinese into a phonetic system?

The critical issue was that, for the Chinese Communist Party, the priority was the development of a Common Spoken Language nationwide, which turned out to be Mandarin based on the Peking/Beijing ...
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  • 2,390
20 votes
Accepted

Did drawbacks of egalitarianism or mismanagement cause the rural famine in the Great Leap Forward?

Incompetency and deliberate malice First of all, we should note that in years immediately after the end of civil war in 1949, China was still largely backward agricultural society. Apparently, only 3% ...
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  • 10.9k
13 votes
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Why didn't Mao see that the "Great Leap Forward" would be such a disaster?

Knowing why a dead person believes something or not is hard; but what we can tell is that Mao believed that the Great Leap Forward would work, either out of incompetence or arrogance, and he had ...
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  • 14.3k
12 votes

Did people in China resort to cannibalism during the reign of Mao?

The evidence is very strong that cases of cannibalism happened, especially during the Great Leap Famine (1958-1961), but also during the Cultural Revolution. The other answers offer some good ...
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  • 3,893
6 votes
Accepted

Why didn't Deng Xiaoping de-Maoify China after Mao's death?

Let's be more specific about what we mean by "de-Stalinization", "de-Maoization" and what they actually entail. Just because we don't call it de-Maoization doesn't mean there weren't drastic political ...
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  • 14.3k
6 votes
Accepted

Had the Chinese leadership considered the famine in Soviet Union in 1930s before starting the Great Leap Forward?

To quote Felix Wemheuer - Famine Politics in Maoist China nad the Soviet Union: One question that remains unanswered is why the Chinese Communists learned so little from the Soviet experience of ...
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  • 4,683
5 votes

Why wasn't Mao purged after the failure of the Great Leap Forward?

False god of communism When we look at communism, we must first notice that this is a revolutionary movement that wants complete change of society. Or in other words, not just change people in power (...
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  • 10.9k
5 votes

What turns a man into a tyrant?

I have a book in my library a book on this subject: Becoming Evil, How Ordinary People Commit Genocide and Mass Killing, by James Waller. Its the hardest read I own, but I understand it has become one ...
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  • 110k
5 votes
Accepted

What does Deng Xiaoping mean by "Hide your capacities, bide your time '?

Deng was paraphrasing a well-known Chinese proverb. Context change in the Chinese foreign policy, and avoidance of conflict with the great powers (mostly the US, USSR collapsed soon after) . Before ...
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  • 10.9k
4 votes

Did Mao want to convert written Chinese into a phonetic system?

Yes. 20th of December, 1977 edition of People's Daily, on the nation-wide announcement of the Second Round of Simplified Chinese Characters. The prominent quotation on the top right is as follows: ...
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  • 1,103
4 votes

How did Mao Zedong's policy abuse affect those in the Five Black Categories during the Cultural Revolution?

One of my great grandfathers was sent to a concentration camp and died there during the Cultural revolution only because he was a successful businessman, which was one of Mao's 'black categories' and ...
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4 votes

Why didn't Mao Zedong order to kill locusts initially in the 4 pests campaign?

Any time anyone makes a "top N" list, there are endless complaints about why X was left out or why Y is in the list (but not X). It's very hard to address these complaints. In this case, you could ...
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  • 14.3k
3 votes

Why didn't Deng Xiaoping de-Maoify China after Mao's death?

This question includes a classic stereo type about Chinese people - that they are subservient and obedient to the whim and whimsy of government rule. People loved Mao - and they still revere him today....
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  • 7,212
2 votes

Had the Chinese leadership considered the famine in Soviet Union in 1930s before starting the Great Leap Forward?

There was nothing strange about either the Soviet or the Chinese leadership pushing through collectivization of agriculture though it was obvious that this would cause output decline, food ...
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  • 1,122
1 vote

On what basis did Mao denounce Confucianism?

Mao's attacks on Confucianism started with a "Criticize Lin, criticize Confucius campaign. It started with an attack on the "hegemons," or what we westerners would call the "...
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  • 103k
1 vote

Why did Mao use political mobilization to prevent inefficiency and slack?

I learned from China Under Mao: A Revolution Derailed that there are three solutions to the drawbacks of a socialist economy: rely on the experts and scientific management; import market as a ...
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  • 351
1 vote

Why didn't Mao see that the "Great Leap Forward" would be such a disaster?

This falls under the heading of "Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics." The first issue was "statistics." In 1957, there was a genuine but short-lived uptick in the amount of grain produced in China, 193 ...
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  • 103k
1 vote

How was Mao Anying killed?

It appears that was killed in a napalm strike by U.S. forces, although there is at least a slight possibility that the responsible aircrafts was South African. By then four US bombers had flown ...
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  • 4,083
1 vote

How did the Chinese Self-Criticism work in practice?

You can read about self-criticism during the Cultural Revolution in "Fanshen" by William Howard Hinton. - 1966, Fanshen: A Documentary of Revolution in a Chinese Village
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