楼主: 郭国汀


 楼主| 发表于 11/6/2014 13:43:40 | 显示全部楼层
The Geography of the Great Leap Famine
Anthony Garnaut1

This article presents a detailed map of the impact of the Great Leap  famine, based on a comparison of the age cohorts recorded in the 2000  population census. The map is interpreted with reference to three historical features of the economic geography of early Communist China: the national grain procurement and distribution system, established to support the industrialization drive of the First Five-Year Plan; the logic of administrative macroregions, which led to the emergence of designated “grain surplus” and “grain deficit” areas; and the efforts of logistics experts to maximize the amount of grain transported along China’s limited modern transport infrastructure. It is suggested that the radicalization of local party leaders, often considered to be a key cause of spatial variation in famine severity, was strongly conditioned by factors of economic geography.

 楼主| 发表于 11/6/2014 13:46:48 | 显示全部楼层
Scholars have derivedifferent figures based on Chinese population statistics published in the early 1980s. Peng Xizhe calculates 23 million deaths in 14 provinces (see Xizhe Peng, "Demographic Consequences of the Great Leap Forward in China's Provinces", Population  and Development Review , Vol. 13, No. 4 [1987], p. 649). Ansley Coale comes to the conclusion that 16.5 million people died, while Basil Ashton counts 30 million deaths and 30 million missing births (see Ansley Coale, "Population Trends, Population Policy, and Population Studies in China", Population and Development Review, Vol. 7, No. 1 [1981], pp. 85-97; and Basil Ashton and Kenneth Hill, "Famine in China, 1958-1961", Population and Development Review , Vol. 10, No. 4 [1984], pp. 613-45). Jasper Becker estimates 43 to 46
million casualties, on the basis of a Chinese government internal investigation, see Jasper Becker, Hungry Ghosts: Mao's Secret Famine (London: John Murray, 1996). See also Penny Kane, Famine in China, 1959-61: Demographic and Social Implications (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1988); and Carl Riskin, "Seven Questions about the Chinese Famine of 1959-61", China Economic Review , Vol. 9, No. 2 (1998), pp. 1 1 1-24.

 楼主| 发表于 11/6/2014 13:49:56 | 显示全部楼层
Cao Shuji, Da jihuang (The Great Famine) (Hong Kong: Shidai Guoji Chuban Youxiangongsi, 2005); Yang Jisheng, Mubei: Zhongguo liushi niandai dajihuang jishi (Tombstone: A Report on the Great Famine of the 1960s in China) (Hong Kong: Tiandi Tushu, 2008); Dong Fu (pseudonym), Maimiao qing, caihua huang (Wheat Sprouts Green, Rape Flowers Yellow) (Hong Kong: Tianyuan Shuwu, 2008); and Qiao Peihua, Xinyang shijian (The Xinyang Disaster) (Hong Kong: Kaifang Chubanshe, 2009). See also the recently edited collection of mainland scholarship by Song Yongyi and Ding Shu, Dayuejin - dajihuang: lishi he bijiao shiye xia de shishi he sibian (Great Leap ForwardGreat Leap Famine: The Truth and Analysis under Historicalnd Comparative Perspectives) (Hong Kong: Tianyuan Shuwu, 2009)
 楼主| 发表于 11/6/2014 13:54:01 | 显示全部楼层
本帖最后由 郭国汀 于 11/6/2014 14:08 编辑

Frank Dikotter

Mao 's Great Famine, above all, is about evidence: it uses hundreds of archival
documents, from secret minutes of Party meetings to investigations by the Public
Security Bureau, to advance facts rather than theories. One fact is that Mao and
other leaders knew what was happening in the countryside as a result of the Great
Leap Forward. In the case of Mao, the smoking gun is in the minutes of a meeting
that took place in the Jinjiang Hotel in Shanghai on 25 March 1959, when Mao
ordered that procurements be increased to one-third of all the grain, and made
available an extra 16,000 lorries to carry out the task. "When there is not enough
to eat", the Chairman explained, "people starve to death. It is better to let half of
the people die so that the other half can eat their fill." Detailed evidence of this
nature clearly undermines the widespread view that Mao, in the many months
before the Lushan Plenum in the summer of 1959, "defended the peasants". As a
result of Mao's explicit orders, from November 1958 to July 1959 procurements
25 According the Penn World Tables, China's GDP per head was the lowest in the world in
each year between 1952 and 1957, Cormac O Grada, "Great Leap into Famine", p. 192.
26 Stephane Courtois (ed.), The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression
(Harvard University Press, 1999).
27 Jung Chang (Rong Zhang) and Jon Halliday, Mao: The Unkown Story (London: Jonathan
Cape, 2005). See four reviews of this book, by Gregor Benton and Steve Tsang, Timothy
Cheek, Lowell Dittmer and Geremie Barme in The China Journal, No. 55 (January 2006),
pp. 95-109, 109-1 18, 1 19-128 and 128-139.
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All use subject to JSTOR Terms and ConditionsITES OF HORROR 163
of grain actually increased and exports of grain doubled. What is likely to be
more reliable, the officially published speeches of Chairman Mao from which
Felix Wemheuer quotes or the unexpurgated minutes in the Party's own archives?
Most of all, only a mere fraction of Mao's Great Famine is about Mao
himself, who is portrayed as a very skilled manipulator rather than as a "madman".
Instead, the book shows how the Chairman would never have been able to prevail
without the backing of other powerful leaders, who, in turn, whipped up support
from other Party members, as chains of interests and alliances extended all the
way down to the village. Zhou Enlai, for instance, stated in November 1958:
"I would rather that we either don't eat or eat less and consume less, as long as we
honor contracts signed with foreigners", justifying increased procurements.
Wemheuer repeats the allegation made by O Grada that the total number of
victims that I give is too high. The basis of this claim is that a one per cent rate of
death is too low to be considered normal. Would it really change that much if we
doubled it to two per cent? In Fuyang 2.4 million died out of a total population of
8 million (in Cambodia under Pol Pot, 1.7 to 2.4 million people died out, of a total
of 8 million). A whole chapter entitled "Sites of Horror" shows how, in county
after county, over 15 per cent of the population died, sometimes up to a third. It is
fine to query my figures, but one also has to explain why every historian who has
spent a long time in the archives has reached a very high figure, from 38 million
by Yang Jisheng to 43 million by Chen Yizi, and most of all (but never mentioned
by Wemheuer) Yu Xiguang, who after two decades of archival research puts it at
55 million.
The book also documents the manner of death. In Fuyang, where 2.4 million
vanished, this is what happened according to a Party boss interrogated by an
investigation team in February 1961: "People died in tragic circumstances, being
beaten and hanged to death, deprived of food or buried alive. Some were severely
tortured and beaten, having their ears chopped off, their noses dug out, their
mouths torn off, and so on, which often caused death." As the book shows, there
were extreme variations across all of China, as an environment of fear created by
the leadership allowed some local cadres to use every means at their disposal to
extract food and work from the local population, while others did their best,
against all odds, to protect the villagers from the depredations of the state. Food
was used as a weapon in conditions of radical collectivization, as people were
banned from the canteen and deliberately starved to death for a whole variety of
reasons, from being too old or too sick to work to falling asleep during a meeting.
As Lenin put it, "He who does not work shall not eat". None of this could have
happened before 1949. Of course the famines under the Nationalist regime are
deplorable, but a wartime disaster is hardly comparable to a man-made famine by
a government that is not directly threatened by invasion or civil war. There is a
difference between starving to death and being starved to death.
Wemheuer in his review wishes to have it both ways. On the one hand, he
complains that the book is a "long list of atrocities", yet on the other he alleges
that I generalize from "a few examples". The chapter on housing alone is over
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All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions 64 THE CHINA JOURNAL, No. 66
4,500 words long, and a lengthy section looks at the many reasons for which
houses were destroyed. The figure that I give is up to 40 per cent, not 40 per cent.
He believes that my example of a kindergarten supervisor who used a hot iron to
punish a child is extreme, but there is another chapter of 4,500 words on the fate
of the most vulnerable members of society, children, many of whom suffered far
more exacting forms of punishment. Wemheuer ends up replicating the view of
the perpetrators of violence: after all, the Party leaders at the time were the ones
who dismissed cases of cannibalism as mere "metaphors" and punished those who
reported them.
Two-thirds of my book is about ordinary people, and it relies not only on
massive archival findings but also on more than a hundred interviews with
farmers who managed to survive, constituting the largest collection of oral history
on the period to date. If the book really portrays people as having "no agency at
all", why would it reconstruct in hundreds of pages the many ways in which
farmers tried to charm, hide, steal, cheat, pilfer, forage, smuggle, trick, manipulate
or otherwise outwit the state?
There is a point, in historical debates about 20th-century atrocities, where the
absence of sufficient evidence allows doubt and even denial to flourish. Yang
Jisheng, Yu Xiguang, Qiao Peihua and I, among others, have tried to document
what happened during the Great Famine on the basis of an abundance of material
straight from the Party archives. Let us hope that more historians will move into
the archives rather revert to the published speeches of Chairman Mao.

 楼主| 发表于 11/6/2014 13:55:08 | 显示全部楼层
Death Toll and Famine in Chinese History
The question of how many people died as the result of the Great Leap still remains
controversial. Based on official population surveys from the 1980s, Western and
Chinese demographers have estimated that between 15 and 40 million people died.
Dikotter argues that the minimum would be an excess mortality of 45 million (p. 33).
It seems that his interest is in presenting the highest number possible, to label the Great
Leap as the greatest mass killing in human history. He arrives at this figure based on
discrepancies between the estimates of historian demographer Cao Shuji and data from
some county security police reports. Basing his estimate on all available county
gazetteers, Cao suggests excess mortality to be 32.5 million;20 Dikotter adds 40 to 50
per cent to official county statistics, and arrives at 45 million. The economist
demographer Coimac O Grada has criticized this method as speculation.21 Furthermore,
Dikotter does not present much evidence for his claim that 2.5 million people were
beaten to death and 1 to 3 million committed suicide (p. 304). Instead of using local
examples to speculate about the numbers on a national level, it would be better to
accept that it is impossible to know how many people died during the famine, because
the statistical system collapsed and it is very unlikely that the Central Party Archive
will declassify its most sensitive documents as long the CCP remains in power.

 楼主| 发表于 11/6/2014 14:02:16 | 显示全部楼层
Dali L. Yang, Huayu Xu & Ran Tao (2014) A Tragedy of the Nomenklatura?
Career incentives, political loyalty and political radicalism during China's Great Leap Forward,
Journal of Contemporary China, 23:89, 864-883, DOI: 10.1080/13603116.2014.882560

Even though the Great Leap Forward is well known for having caused the worst
famine in human history, it has received only a modest amount of attention from
social scientists. Indeed, for historians and political scientists who have studied China
during the Mao era, the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution seem to
challenge ‘the limit of the explanatory power of the theory of rational choice’.23
By applying the career incentives logic to the study of the political dynamics
leading to the Great Leap Famine, James Kung and Shuo Chen have made a serious
effort to explain the behavior of Chinese provincial officials during the Great Leap
Forward through the rational lens of modern political economy.
Our re-examination of the foundations of their study leads us to conclude that
neither their basic assumptions about the motivations facing the top provincial
23. Tsou, ‘Interpreting the revolution in China’, p. 233.
Downloaded by [University of Victoria] at 21:06 02 October 2014 officials at the time of the Great Leap Forward nor the empirical foundations on
which they generated their empirical results are robust enough to stand up to careful
scrutiny. Our review of the patterns of promotions to the Central Committee leading
up to the Great Leap Forward show that the promotions from CC alternate members
to full members followed certain patterns and on the basis of these patterns it is hard
to support the hypothesis that the CC alternate members would be especially
motivated to behave more radically during the Great Leap Forward than the CC full
members and non-members. Contrary to their assertion on the existence of major
barriers for non-members to move into the Central Committee, we can point to
significant opportunities for non-members to join the Central Committee as both full
and alternate members in the years leading up to the Great Leap Forward.
Having cast doubt on Kung and Chen’s assumptions regarding the motivations of
China’s provincial leaders, we have strong reasons to suspect that the statistical
findings generated by Kung and Chen were not warranted. This prompted us to go
back to the same sources as they had used to reconstruct the data. In the process, we
find that the Kung and Chen dataset required significant adjustments for errors,
inaccuracies and inconsistencies, especially for the main independent variable (Party
rank) and the dependent variable (extra procurement ratio).
Rerunning the main Kung and Chen regressions using the corrected dataset, we are
unable to reproduce the statistically significant results indicating CC alternate
members had stronger incentives than both full members and non-members to pursue
the radical policies associated with the Great Leap Forward, particularly on grain
procurement. Neither do we find the non-members of the CC more radical than the
CC members.
Implicit in Kung and Chen’s theoretical framework is the more general thesis of
‘tournament competition’ that has recently gained currency in studies of China’s
political economy. This thesis holds that provincial officials can be motivated by the
desire for promotion to achieve the targets set by the central leadership.24 For Kung
and Chen, it was the incentives for promotion that would allegedly cause some
political leaders to behave more radically than others during the Great Leap Forward.
The key issue here is the direction of causality. Students of Chinese politics have long
noted the importance of patron–client relations in Chinese politics.25 In the reform
era, patrons might send their favored clients to regions with high growth potential so
that the clients can gain valuable credentials for higher positions and often provide
more resources to the clients so that the latter can perform better. Without considering
the factional ties in Chinese politics, the ‘tournament competition thesis’ may fail to
capture the complex reality of Chinese politics. In the case of the Great Leap Famine,
what we do find is that the pattern of political radicalism among provincial leaders is
strongly linked to the pattern of special promotions Mao engineered in 1956 and
1958. Those provincial leaders who received special promotions were already in
Mao’s network and the special promotions put them further in Mao’s debt.
24. Li and Zhou, ‘Political turnover and economic performance’.
25. Andrew Nathan, ‘A factionalism model for CCP politics’, The China Quarterly 53, (1973), pp. 33 –66; Victor
Shih, Christopher Adolph and Mingxing Liu, ‘Getting ahead in the Communist Party: explaining the advancement of
Central Committee members in China’, American Political Science Review 106(1), (2012), pp. 166 –187.
Downloaded by [University of Victoria] at 21:06 02 October 2014 Consequently, when Mao promoted his messianic vision during the Great Leap
Forward, those provincial leaders became the most enthusiastic promoters in the
provinces and their radicalism resulted in higher excess mortality. Our evidence thus
not only leads us to give more weight to Mao’s machinations in launching and
sustaining the Great Leap Forward and thus the role of Mao and his provincial agents
in causing the most deadly famine in history, but also sheds light on the impact of
political networks on official promotions, political behavior and social/economic
outcomes in China during the Great Leap Forward.

 楼主| 发表于 11/6/2014 14:06:21 | 显示全部楼层
Chris Bramall (2011). Agency and Famine in China's Sichuan Province, 1958–1962.
The China Quarterly, 208, pp 990-1008 doi:10.1017/S030574101100110X

 楼主| 发表于 11/6/2014 14:07:45 | 显示全部楼层
本帖最后由 郭国汀 于 11/6/2014 14:14 编辑

Mao’s Famine – The World’s Greatest Psychopathic Criminal Act

June 14, 2014

The famine which occurred in China during the Great Leap Forward was perhaps the greatest crime in history. Between 1958 and 1962 at least 45 million people died[1]. This figure is much higher than the number killed in World War One. The real death toll could be higher, and may even exceed the number killed during World War Two.

Calling it a famine muddies the picture of what actually happened. Unlike during a natural famine, disease was remarkably absent as a cause of death. The reason is both easy to comprehend and terrifying to grasp.   

During a natural famine, people generally suffer lingering deaths from prolonged starvation. Such prolonged suffering allows illnesses to incubate and spread, causing epidemics that kill large numbers of already weakened people.

Major epidemics did not happen during Mao’s famine because people died too quickly for disease to set in. The reason was simple. All over China, people were worked until they were too weak to continue. They were then deprived of food. Death quickly followed. As one cadre later admitted, ‘commune members too sick to work were deprived of food – it hastened their deaths.[2]’

The Great Famine of 1958 to 1962 was a man-made catastrophe in which hundreds of millions of Chinese were herded into collective communes, deprived of private property and the ability to feed themselves, and worked to the limits of their endurance. Those who became too weak to meet their work targets were then murdered by deliberate starvation.

This policy was sufficient to kill more men, women and children than all the trench warfare of World War One, and perhaps as many as all the bombing raids, gas chambers and atomic bombs of World War Two put together.

The architect of this immense evil – Mao Tse Tung – rests today in a place of honour in Tiananmen Square in Beijing. His picture is carried by every Chinese citizen as it still adorns the nation’s currency. But the truth of what history’s greatest psychopathic murderer did is at last becoming more widely know.

Mao’s Great Leap Forward

Mao’s Famine shows clearly the processes through which a psychopathic elite bring about the stratification of society into a brutal minority ruling by terror over a cowed and suffering majority.

It also demonstrates the hallmarks of pathological tyranny – a simplistic narcissistic vision reflective of the frozen state of mental development of its leader; the psychopathic means of achieving that vision at the cost of enormous human suffering; and a pathological inability on the part of the leader to change course in the face of overwhelming evidence of failure.

The Great Leap forward was Mao’s attempt to catch up with and overtake Britain as an industrial power. Britain, the country in which the Industrial Revolution began, had experienced two hundred years of technological change, industrialisation, infrastructural development, and scientific and technological progress. Mao proposed to outdo all of that – in just fifteen years – in a country whose population was predominantly rural and whose scant industrial base had just been devastated by Japan during the Second World War.

Such madness of course was not novel. It was the heartless blueprint for communist development that had already been used in Stalin’s Soviet Union. Stalin’s mania for rapid industrialisation had led to collectivisation and famine, a network of slave labour camps that spanned the breadth of the USSR, and mass arrests to feed the Gulag’s immense slave labour force.

Mao’s Great Leap Forward to overtake Britain was to be based on two pillars – agricultural development in the countryside and industrial development across the country. Mao would soon exceed Stalin in the scale of his barbarity. As hundreds of millions of people were herded into collective communes, terror and starvation became the weapons used to ensure compliance. At least two and a half million people were tortured to death or executed during the forced collectivisation process[3]. As people were deprived of cooking utensils and forbidden to cook for themselves, communal canteens, under the control of the Party, became the only source of food.

photo credit: Today is a good day via photopin cc
photo credit: Today is a good day via photopin cc

Mao as Cretin – The Idiocy of Psychopaths

Mao demanded total subjugation of those around him. ‘What is wrong with worship?’ he declared, ‘Each group must worship its leader, it cannot but worship its leader.[4]’ Those around him flattered, grovelled and complied in order to maintain their share of power. As a result, Mao’s idiotic ideas were enthusiastically and violently enforced right across China.

Mao personally outlined how the enormous increases in agricultural output were to be achieved. The primary innovations were massive projects to improve the irrigation of land, and forcing farmers to plant seeds closer together and to use more fertiliser.

Tens of millions of farmers were forced to join massive irrigation projects, the vast majority of which were costly failures. Seeds were planted close together to increase yields; as Mao pronounced, ‘With company they grow easily, when they grow together they will be more comfortable.’ Every conceivable fertiliser was then dumped onto the fields. Enormous numbers of houses made of mud and straw were torn down and thrown on the fields as fertiliser – the scale of destruction was such that it represented the greatest demolition of human property in human history, with up to 40 percent of all housing being destroyed.

The farmers who had worked the land for generations knew this was nonsense – the seeds had no room to grow and were being suffocated by the layers of rubbish covering them – but anyone who dared speak out was either beaten or starved.

Overtaking Britain, however, depended not only on miraculous increases in agricultural production, but also on rapid industrial development. In Mao’s ultra-simplistic vision, overtaking Britain was equated to exceeding Britain’s annual output of steel. In the absence of major industrial steel plants, the onus once again fell on China’s villagers. Small furnaces were built in every commune to enable every villager to take part in the effort to exceed Britain’s steel production. Not surprisingly, most of the steel made in these amateur furnaces was unusable.

Mao’s Psychopathic Means of Enactment

Mao’s innovative farming techniques, allied with the diversion of farm labour to enormous irrigation projects and amateur steel making, caused an enormous drop in food production. In 1959, when mass starvation was already apparent, some in the Party dared to raise the issue with Mao. His response was to act in the only way he knew how. He punished those who dared challenge him and launched a purge to replace any cadres who were lax in enforcing his commands. Hundreds of thousands of officials were targeted across the country and replaced by those prepared to follow Mao’s every whim.

Mao, and the other leaders of the CCP, emerged from twenty years of brutal war to win power in China. They glorified violence and cared nothing about massive loss of life. And they shared an ideology in which the ends justified the cruellest of means. Through successive purges those exhibiting any trace of humanity were flushed away and replaced by cadres who showed little conscience or compassion, and whose greatest asset was their brutality. From top to bottom within the Party, whatever checks there had been on violence had all been swept away.

In anticipation of the enormous increases in food production that the Great Leap Forward would produce, Mao had ordered a shopping spree of foreign technology, purchased primarily from the Soviet Union, to support rapid industrialisation. This included the construction of steel mills, factories and power stations. The scale of investment was such that branches of Soviet industry had to reorganise their production system to meet China’s prodigious demands. The food surplus was the means to pay off these foreign debts. But of course the food surplus did not exist.

Faced with food shortages, the Party now enforced a clear set of priorities. From 1958 onwards, war was waged on the countryside to extract this non-existent surplus of food for export to pay China’s foreign bills and to feed China’s cities. Mao justified the starvation in the countryside saying ‘When there is not enough to eat, people starve to death. It is better to let half the people die so that the other half can eat their fill.’

As China’s people were worked and starved to death in a hopeless attempt to meet the quotas for export and for the cities, Mao and the Party leaders continued to eat their fill. Special farms produced high quality food for the leaders, while special shops stocked with scare goods were reserved for their use only. Luxurious villas staffed by chefs and attendants were kept at Mao’s beck and call in every province and major city right throughout the famine.

As Mao and his cronies feasted, as Frank Dikotter describes in Mao’s Great Famine, ‘in countless villages, starving children with swollen bellies and pipe-stem limbs, their heavy heads wobbling on thin little necks, were left to die in peasant huts, by empty fields or along dusty roadsides.[5]’

Mao was living his dream. His doctor Li Zhisui recalled, ‘All of China was a stage, all the people performers in an extravaganza for Mao.[6]’

But as millions of innocent Chinese discovered, the dreams of psychopaths are always a nightmare for anyone with a heart.

[1] Frank Dikotter, Mao’s Great Famine, Bloomsbury, 2011, pxii

[2] Frank Dikotter, Mao’s Great Famine, Bloomsbury, 2011, p302

[3] Frank Dikotter, Mao’s Great Famine, Bloomsbury, 2011, pxiii

[4] Quoted in Frank Dikotter, Mao’s Great Famine, Bloomsbury, 2011, p19

[5] Frank Dikotter, Mao’s Great Famine, Bloomsbury, 2011, p252

[6] Frank Dikotter, Mao’s Great Famine, Bloomsbury, 2011, p41

 楼主| 发表于 11/7/2014 00:23:31 | 显示全部楼层
If all are unable to eat their fill, then all will die. It is better for half to die, so that half of the people can eat their fill. (大家吃不飽,大家死,不如死一半,給一半人吃飽。) 64. Mao Zhuxi zai Shanghai huiyi shang de chahua, 26 May 1959.

 楼主| 发表于 11/7/2014 00:27:50 | 显示全部楼层
Why was Mao so reluctant to give up the GLF? One reason is that
he desperately wanted to prove Peng Dehuai and other Party critics
wrong, thereby restoring the loss of prestige that he evidently felt he
had suffered during the first phase of the Leap.96 A second is offered
by Mao zhuan, whose authors criticize the Chairman for failing to
practise what he had preached since the early 1930s, namely "no
investigation, no right to speak."
The sources from which he derived his understanding of the situation narrowed
more and more and it became very difficult to discover the true situation at the
grassroots. Failure to investigate what was actually going on in the villages was a
result of his age and various objective circumstances. He relied on reading reports
from below, which not only were sloppy (cuzhi daye flfe^C^) but contained
many false reports.97
But even if had he insisted on talking to grassroots cadres and
ordinary peasants, it is inconceivable that anyone would have dared
tell him the truth. Mao was caught in a web of deception of his own making. His credulousness was itself a major obstacle. When
travelling to cities, he talked to provincial, prefectural and county
leaders: "Everyone reported news that made Mao very happy." On 22
September 1959, en route to Zhengzhou, he was shown an
unrepresentative field that promised to yield a bumper crop. "Such
goods news formed an important basis for his decisions and had a big
impact on him."98 On tour in the latter part of October, "Mao
Zedong very much believed that the domestic economic situation had
seen a marked turn for the better .... The stories were good and the
materials [he was given] were good. These kinds of news were
constantly transmitted to Mao Zedong and he happily received
them."99 In this same vein, in mid-March 1960 he ordered
dissemination of a report from Hunan that claimed that "mass
welfare and health were generally quite good."100 In April 1960, Liao
Luyan (0#W), the minister of agriculture, told Mao that the 1960
harvest would be about 300 MMT (the actual total was less than half,
143.5 MMT). When Mao asked whether it could be more, Tan
Zhenlin responded in the affirmative. Mao zhuan claims that this was
based on the exaggerated reports received from below and not on self
serving lies.101

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