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Forum Locked"Mao: the unknown story" by Jung Chang

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Fonck Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: "Mao: the unknown story" by Jung Chang
    Posted: 29-Dec-2008 at 06:28

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The Vice-Chancellor of the Hong Kong University (1986-1995) Professor Wang Gungwu, who is major in history, promoted this book to the HKU staff and students at the HKU library:

http://lib.hku.hk/friends/reading_club/0506.html#3

Here is some food for thought:

(1925-27)
Mao saw that the thugs loved to toy with victims and break down their dignity, as he described with approval:

A tall paper hat is put on [the victim], and on the hat is written landed tyrant so-and-so or bad gentry so-and-so. Then the person is pulled by a rope [like pulling an animal], followed by a big crowd ... This punishment makes [victims] tremble most. After one such treatment, these people are forever broken ...

The threat of uncertainty, and anguish, particularly appealed to him:

The peasant association is most clever. They seized a bad gentleman and declared that they were going to [do the above to] him ... But then they decided not to do it that day ... That bad gentleman did not know when he would be given this treatment, so every day he lived in anguish and never knew a moment's peace.

Mao was very taken with one weapon, the suo-biao, a sharp, twin-edged knife with a long handle like a lance: 'it ... makes all landed tyrants and bad gentry tremble at the sight of it. The Hunan revolutionary authorities should ... make sure every young and middle-aged male has one. There should be no limit put on [the use of] it.'

Mao saw and heard much about brutality, and he liked it. In the report he wrote afterwards, in March 1927, he said he felt 'a kind of ecstasy never experienced before'. His descriptions of the brutality oozed excitement, and flowed with an adrenalin rush. 'It is wonderful! It is wonderful!' he exulted.

Mao was told that people had been beaten to death. When asked what to do - and for the first time the life and death of people hung on one word of his - he said: 'One or two beaten to death, no big deal.' Immediately after his visit, a rally was held in the village, at which another man, who was accused of opposing the peasant association, was savegely killed.

Before Mao arrived, there had been attempts by the leaders of the peasant movement in Hunan to bring down the level of violence, and they had detained some of those who had perpetrated atrocities. Now Mao ordered the detainees to be released. A revolution was not like a dinner party, he admonished the locals; it needed violence. 'It is necessary to bring about a ... reign of terror in every country.' Hunan's peasant leaders obeyed.


Edited by Seko - 04-Feb-2010 at 22:37
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edgewaters View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote edgewaters Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Dec-2008 at 05:36

From what I know of Mao, he was unconcerned with human suffering and felt that the deaths that resulted from his policies were worth the cost, because China had an abundance of population.

However, I'm very skeptical of some of the quotes you've posted. "One or two beaten to death, no big deal" seems like a sentiment Mao might very well hold ... but would Mao say "no big deal?" I'm not sure it's an expression that would have been used in that time and place. I smell fabrication here, and also in the overly lurid nature of other quotes: "It's wonderful, wonderful!" sounds like a line for a moustache-twirling villain in a badly-written movie.

It's possible they're accurate but on the face of it, I'm leaning towards alot of skepticism without some very solid documentation.

There seems to be just one source for many of these quotes, the book "Mao: the Unknown Story" by Jung Chang, and given their shocking nature, one would think they would be more widely documented. Whenever I see many, many internet hits all pointing back to just a single secondary source I am also skeptical.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Fonck Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Jun-2009 at 08:56

//From what I know of Mao, he was unconcerned with human suffering and felt that the deaths that resulted from his policies were worth the cost, because China had an abundance of population.//

I appreciate you have this comment. Thanks very much.
 
Since I do not major in History at HKU, it might be difficult for me to response to your other comments. I apologize for that.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Fonck Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Jun-2009 at 08:58
The Vice-Chancellor of the Hong Kong University (1986-1995) Professor Wang Gungwu, who is major in history, promoted this book to the HKU staff and students at the HKU library:

http://lib.hku.hk/friends/reading_club/0506.html#3

A grammatical mistake above:
 
"who is major in history" should be changed to "who specializes in"
 
I apologize for that. 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Fonck Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Jun-2009 at 08:59
Message from The Vice-Chancellor

I am very pleased to inform you that our former Vice-Chancellor,
Professor Wang Gungwu, has been conferred an Honorary Doctor of
Letters by the University of Cambridge at its 800th anniversary
celebrations. This is an honour which recognizes the contributions he
has made to the discipline of History, to the University and to higher
education.

I have extended my warmest congratulations to Professor Wang on
behalf of the University, and I know colleagues, students and alumni
will be as delighted as I am to see Professor Wang so honoured.

During his Vice-Chancellorship at HKU from 1986 to 1995, Professor
Wang made many contributions to the University that the HKU
community remembers to this day with gratitude and respect. As a
firm believer in the benefits of a global outlook, Professor Wang
strongly encouraged the establishment of partnerships and exchanges
with international and Mainland institutions.

Under his stewardship, The University of Hong Kong Foundation for
Educational Development and Research was established in 1995. The
Foundation was the first of its kind in the local tertiary education
sector, and was aimed at fostering stronger links with the community
as well as enhancing the University’s capacity for teaching and
research. Professor Wang’s pioneering achievements continue to
support the University’s development today, and will go on doing so
for generations to come.


Professor Lap-Chee Tsui
Vice-Chancellor
HKU
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Post Options Post Options   Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Jun-2009 at 02:24
Edgewaters. Very good points on sources, or lack thereof. However your fixating on "no big deal" begs the question: What would the Chinese expression be? And who did the translation? I have read through several poorly translated Asian works, and it took a great amount of effort, which I invested only because the source, though often single, was well placed or qualified to write his account. Whatever axe of his own he might have had to grind.
Phong trần mài một lưỡi gươm, Những loài giá áo túi cơm sá gì
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