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Integrity of The Cambridge History of China (中文版)

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gato

The excerpts from Rebecca Karl's Mao book and interview with her about it are enough to convince me that she's being an apologist for Mao's brutality.

http://www.thechinabeat.org/?p=2193

A New Book on Mao: A Quick Q & A with Author Rebecca Karl

June 10, 2010

In the meat of the book, I found the Cultural Revolution chapters most difficult in terms of topic, but easiest to write. It is the multiple dismissals and distortions to which the Cultural Revolution has been subjected that really motivated the book as a political and historical project. Because of that, I wrote them in a white heat of passion and never looked back. The substantive chapter that was worst to conceptualize and write was the Great Leap Forward one. For this, I needed to maintain a decent line of analytical rigor, even while being very clear about the hideous results of the period. Since the whole book is designed to counter the idea that Mao was just a crazy meglamaniacal tyrant, I needed to deal with the issues raised by the theorization of the socialist economy – which were, after all, the root of the Great Leap period – without dissolving the human tragedies into abstractions.

But Mao was a crazy megalomaniacal tyrant. One risks whitewashing history by trying to be more "balanced". It's the same risk that you would run by trying to be more "balanced" about Stalin or Hitler, for instance, by emphasizing their efficiency or intelligence.

Excerpts of Karl's Mao book are available on Google Books.

http://books.google.com/books?id=uqOhYRUITWwC&lpg=PP1&ots=hW1tUlKv1n&dq=rebecca%20karl&pg=PA30#v=onepage&q&f=false

Mao Zedong and China in the Twentieth-Century World: A Concise History By Rebecca E. Karl

p. 30

His February 1927 "Report on an Investigation of the Hunan Peasant Movement," written for CCP leaders, resulted from this study. It one of the most passionate of all his surviving early writings. In the brilliant rhetoric of the Report, Mao called into being the very revolution he was to lead; he produced the revolutionary unity that a new politics of mass mobilization demanded; and he established a poetics and a politics that constituted and reflected the revolutionary situation.

Words like "brilliant" and "poetics" hardly seem objective.

You can read Mao's Hunan report yourself. Mao's tone in the report is closer to that of a brash gangster than a social reformer. I would hardly call it "brilliant" in the ordinary sense.

http://news.xinhuanet.com/ziliao/2004-11/22/content_2247012.htm

湖南农民运动考察报告

(一九二七年三月)

所谓“痞子运动”

国民党右派说:“农民运动是痞子运动,是惰农运动。”这种议论,在长沙颇盛行。我跑到乡下,听见绅士们说:“农民协会可以办,但是现在办事人不行,要换人啦!”这种议论,和右派的话是一个意思,都是说农运可做(因农民运动已起来,无人敢说不可做),但是现在做农运的人不行,尤其痛恨下级农民协会办事人,说他们都是些“痞子”。总而言之,一切从前为绅士们看不起的人,一切被绅士们打在泥沟里,在社会上没有了立足地位,没有了发言权的人,现在居然伸起头来了,不但伸起头,而且掌权了。他们在乡农民协会(农民协会的最下级)称王,乡农民协会在他们手里弄成很凶的东西了。他们举起他们那粗黑的手,加在绅士们头上了。他们用绳子捆绑了劣绅,给他戴上高帽子,牵着游乡(湘潭、湘乡叫游团,醴陵叫游拢)。他们那粗重无情的斥责声,每天都有些送进绅士们的耳朵里去。他们发号施令,指挥一切。他们站在一切人之上——从前站在一切人之下,所以叫做反常。

See this lecture below by a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Science for more context to these 痞子. The 痞子 fighting the well-to-do farmers in Mao's 1927 report are local gangsters recruited by Communist activists to start their rural revolution.

http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_51cb51180100jtsr.html

瞿秋白何以由领袖成为叛徒?(上)

陈铁健

(2010年5月8日)

1928年至1932年期间,广东的情况都很糟糕,当时共产党没有经费,大批的人退党、脱党、甚至有人叛变,没有多少人愿意留党。只好去找游民、流氓、地痞,这是在广东省委的文件里明文写的要招这些人来入伙。这些人要生存、生活,要向党要钱,不给钱不办事。党组织只好采取以下五种办法:一是捐,向地主凑捐;二是抢,就是抢富人的;三是勒,勒索;四是绑,绑票;五是骗。广东省委归纳了这五条。在琼崖的地委、潮阳县委、五华县委、东江的特委文件里都能找到这样的一些内容。如何勒索呢?就是把富人的坟掘开把头盖骨取出来要坟主家用钱来赎,这是作为一种经验传播写在文件上。还有就是绑票,绑富家的妇女和儿童,用钱赎、不赎就撕票,在省委的文件绑票还有一个别名叫“捉猪”,把人当猪抓来,然后逼赎。另外就是发动农民打土豪分田地,但是农民对本村的地主豪绅是敬而远之,绝对不伤害同乡人,于是就利用宗族矛盾、村籍矛盾挑拨和煽动农民的阶级仇恨。省委文件里就明目张胆的用“挑拨和煽动农民的阶级仇恨”,实行村籍之间不同宗族间的械斗,拿起冷兵器武斗,打到另外村子不分男女老少都置于死地。对如何去抢,文件中写到不要限制村民去抢另外村子的财物,要有计划、有组织的从事这样的活动。”可见,那时某些地方的共产党已经堕落到了这种地步。“八七会议”确实是挽救了党,就是把已经涣散的、走投无路的党组织恢复生机,这是瞿秋白的一大贡献。我们今天看这个手段,从人性、人权、人的尊严、人的价值来看真是惨不忍睹。但是在那种特殊的情况下,是不得已而选择的出路。

See also this article about the land reform in China in the early 1950s. See how many so-called "rich farmers" were killed in the process. This was all after the war had ended. Much of this is probably only available in Chinese. I hope that you are also assigning reading to your students about this other side of the story about Mao. Assigning them the Jung Chang / Halliday book might not be a bad idea, since it would be a reading guided by you, anyway.

http://www.21ccom.net/articles/lsjd/lccz/article_2010081815997.html

杨奎松:暴力土改及其原因

  1950年6月朝鲜战争爆发,特别是10月间志愿军入朝作战,对中国政治产生了巨大冲击。陶铸后来说:中共中央过去主张土改要温和一点,那是因为战争没有了,搞得太激烈了社会震动太大,不利于统战。现在抗美援朝战争打响了,战争的震动那样大,我们正好可以着手解决国内镇反和土改的问题了(不用担心动静弄得太大)。10月中下旬以后,毛泽东开始放手在全国推动镇反。11月,毛又全力督促广东、广西、福建等省立即开展全面的土改斗争。

  中共华东局一向注意反对左倾偏向,这时也开始强调放手。于是,江浙各地土改中迅速出现乱捕、乱斗、乱打倾向。苏南奉贤、浙江嘉兴等地都有被吊打、罚跪的情形,或把大批地主看管起来。无锡一县遭跪、冻、打的有872人,青浦县龙固区几天里就打死17人。奉贤县5个区被斗的245人中,被打的218人,被迫下跪的75人,被棒打的35人,被吊打的13人,被捆绑的18人,被剥光衣服的80人,每个人都受多种体罚。宜兴县强迫斗争对象跪碗底,把猫放入斗争对象裤兜里,剪掉妇女的头发和眉毛。常熟县还发生了割掉被斗妇女乳头的事情。苏南各县(市)土改期间召开村或联合村斗争会16841次,乡以上斗争会13609次,斗争人数达28234人。苏南区土改期间,仅斗争会上就打死了几十人,并造成293人自杀。

由于公开强调要敢于放手,并尖锐地提出了反对"和平分田",中南各省党政部门层层贯彻,一些一直感到束手束脚的基层土改干部,尤其是军队和农民出身的土改干部,自然容易变得十分激进。湖北潜江重点乡李家大台、紫月两村,共413户,工作队进驻后,硬是划了64户地主,69户富农,地富合计占总户数 32.2%。他们还将这几十家所谓的地主(其中多户实为富农)扫地出门,迫使其全家外出讨饭求生。其他的富农(实为中农和贫农)亦多被剥夺财产,只是没有被逐出家门而已。汉川县土改工作团亦大张旗鼓地斗地主、打恶霸,全县土改、镇反先后杀了数百地富及反革命分子。其做法之简单激烈,导致了普遍的恐慌情绪,许多并无多少劣迹的地主富农,甚至一般农民,纷纷自杀。十一区3个多月有37人自杀身亡,三区亦在同样时间里自杀了31人,且多为女性。

  中原各地陆续开始土改之际,四川省尚处在退押反霸斗争中。双流县1951年初的两个月就枪毙了497人,141人(73男,68女)因恐惧被斗、被逼而选择自杀。郫县头两个多月枪毙了562人,222人以自杀相抗。不少地主甚至舍命不舍财,宁愿全家自杀也决不肯拱手交出财产。双流县自杀的141人当中,舍命不舍财的地主就有63人之多。随着土改开始,一些干部更习惯性地把上级号召的"政治上打垮"理解为一个"打"字,"因而在斗争中产生放任、暗示和组织打人的情况"。"有的还带上打手,以捆、吊、打人代替政治上的打倒地主,阳奉阴违,报喜不报忧,在赔罚、镇反、划成分等各个环节上交待政策、分别对待不够。有的地方经领导上具体指出来的问题,亦未实际的去做,因而在各个环节上死了一些人,结果大多报为畏罪自杀。"营山县30%的村子发生了吊打和肉刑,全县被划地主多达3760户,其中自杀了261人(总共自杀301人)。荣昌县七区4个乡,54个村,共划地主663户,3376人。区领导自土改开始,便放手组织乱打乱吊。14村共划中小地主15户,打死15人,平均每家一个。土改干部林成云在斗争大会上甚至用刀割断了被斗地主的脖子,众目睽睽下当场将地主杀死。由于地主成为受辱和死亡的代名词,一些农户得知被划为地主后,竟绝望自尽。有地主生怕被斗,硬被拉到斗争会场后,即当场以头撞柱而死。仅这几个乡地主富农就自杀了96人(男39,女57),当场斗死16人(男9,女7);斗争后几天里又病死、饿死了66人(男42,女24),加上关押致死的12 人(男8,女4),总共死了190人(男98,女92)。

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gato
Oh, and on the anti-colonialism and Chiang: probably for two reasons: because it fits well with the Maoist anti-colonialist rhetoric, and because Chiang was a fairly corrupt official who collaborated with and took money/support from the Americans throughout the Nationalist/GMD period. Chiang's rule has been noted as closer to fascism than socialism or communism, but at 2AM I can't tell you more in a coherent fashion. I'm going to bed.

1. The KMT received substantial funding from Stalin in the early 1920s, as the early KMT was sympathetic to socialism (and even admiring of the Soviet Union) and Stalin wanted to encourage a united front in China against the Japanese threat. Remember Japan and Russia fought a war in the late 1890s, in which Japan soundly defeated the Russians. To hold American support of the KMT government in the fighting against the Japanese against Chiang makes no sense, even in the Communist Party's historical framework.

2. Chiang's development plan for China was authoritarian state-guided capitalism, much like what you have in mainland China today. Calling it "fascism" is not helpful to understanding it.

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amandagmu

I thoroughly disagree that the early KMT was "sympathetic" to socialism! The reality was that Chiang hated the Communists beyond belief, but was willing to cooperate them for United Front efforts in order to stop Japanese encroachment (or so the story goes; depending on who you believe).

Also, I would hardly call Karl an apologist.

You said:

"But Mao was a crazy megalomaniacal tyrant. One risks whitewashing history by trying to be more "balanced"."

I never said I thought Mao was a great guy nor even not crazy, but I do think it is an oversimplification to make broad judgements about such topics without doing balanced readings--by which I mean readings that present sound scholarship. I could of course assign Chung and Halliday -- if I thought I could trust their scholarship. Personally, it's be much more useful to find one of the terrific scholars who works on a topic like the GLF and assign some of their work, like Ralph Thaxton or Li Huiying. They have both written extensively on particular places in rural China where people's memories of the GLF still linger, and they are both quite negative. I can't assign all of Chung and Halliday in good faith, just like I can't assign the Rape of Nanking, without extensive discussion of the problems with these books as well: heavy political agendas. Really, I think you're blowing the Karl book out of proportion. At least give Spence and Zarrow a chance - they're quite dry and dull, not the statistical glory of Chung and Halliday, but at least they're more balanced in the scheme of things.

Frankly, I'm sick of pure scar literature because it gives people outside of China some kind of perception that everyone went through the same dang experience, when, in fact, that's not the case. For example, we hear a lot about awful persecutions and while I certainly sympathize, I wonder why no one ever comes forward and talks about how they beat or accused someone of something? How often do you hear from the people who were not "victims"? Yeah, few people want to talk about it now, but it's a heck of a lot more complicated. And I never said that Mao was a good guy or any better than Stalin or Hitler, but why do you think there are now exhibits like the one I saw in Berlin last month about "Hitler and the people" which largely covered reasons why and HOW people contributed to the growth of Nazism in the 1930s? This kind of thing won't be possible in China for years because you still have history textbooks that say things like the CR was "chaotic" (end of story) and the GLF was largely an "economic disaster" (end of story), but oral histories (not scar literatures) have largely shown the situation to be more complicated than "Mao screwed the whole country on his own."

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amandagmu

Actually, I just remembered a book well-worth reading: Timothy Brooks' Collaboration. It discusses some of the problems in historical studies of the pre-49 period, such as when one could be called a 'collaborator' with the Japanese. For example, how would you classify someone who decided to work for the Japanese during the anti-Japanese war because he was held at gunpoint, or simply because he needed to buy food for his family and decided to work for a Japanese? Where are the lines drawn? Not so clear.

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gato

Isn't there a bit of contradiction here? You don't want to assign the Chang/Halliday book due its quality of scholarship. But when I challenge the scholarship of the Karl's book which you do assign to your student, you say it's "blowing it out of proportion".

How is glossing over the mass killing involved in the rural revolution not out of proportion? You don't have to attribute all the blame to Mao. You can even say ithe violence was necessary (which Karl does by referring to the "revolution is not a dinner party" quote from Mao), but you do need to say how many people were to killed in the land reform to give people some semblance of truth.

I come from a background on the left. Based on the words she use, I can tell Karl's provably writing from a Marxist perspective. She is an editor of a book on Marxism ("Marxism Beyond Marxism"). Given all we know about the dirt under the surface, I think Marxism should be totally discredited as empty utopian thinking that's easily hijacked by crazy megalomaniacs.

Do you have a source for Sun Yatsen and Chiang Kaishek despising the Soviet Union and Communism from the beginning? Jay Taylor says that they believed in socialism in his biography of Chiang.

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gato

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/LB12Ad03.html

Feb 12, 2010

Mao colossus strides a divide

By Cristian Segura

Was Mao Really a Monster? is a collection of essays by 15 international scholars and posed this question in response to Mao: The Unknown Story, Jung Chang and Jon Halliday's best-seller that became famous for the ferocity of its attack on Mao's actions. Almost all the essayists criticize Chang and Halliday for a lack of neutrality and rigor. "We make a counter-argument in the revolution's critical defense at a time when revisionists histories of the great social revolutions are in the ascendancy," Gregor Benton, professor of Chinese history at Cardiff University, and Lin Chun, professor at the London School of Economics, wrote in the introduction to the book, which they co-edited and published in 2009.

A minority of radical leftists go even further. There is at least one organized underground Maoist association, the Chinese Maoist Communist Party, and others claim to have founded new Maoist parties. The Chinese Maoist Communist Party has published its founding principles on websites like maoflag.net. This online forum was shut down temporarily in 2007 after posting a message signed by 17 former top CCP officials and Marxist scholars criticizing the party for being too capitalist.

Above ground, the Beijing bookstore Utopia is at the heart of Maoism activism in China. The store sells all Mao's written works and other papers that support the Great Helmsman's legacy. Located in the university district of Haidian, Utopia organizes weekly gatherings with scholars and all kinds of social activities.

Rebecca Karl, expert on Maoism in Asia at the New York University Department of History, considers it wrong to call these movements Maoist. "They would have to be revolutionary to be Maoist," she says. She views the New Left as a group of thinkers who are "more like social democrats" in their criticism of capitalism and undemocratic practices.

Rebecca Karl also calls those who are trying to revive Maoism "social democrats". But how can they be "social democrats" when they do not believe in democracy? Their idea of democracy is "the Party representing the interest of the People", not a democracy with freedom of speech and freedom of association.

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zhwj

The recently-published The Self and The Other (我者与他者) by Hsu Cho-Yun (许倬云) is a slim volume that examines cross-cultural encounters throughout Chinese history and how those formed the Chinese self-identity. A mainland edition was just published by Sanlian a few months ago; I'm not sure whether or not it has a corresponding overseas version, and if so, how the two differ. It's not exactly modern history, but it provides a readable and thought-provoking look at modern China's foundations in cultural and political history.

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kdavid

I'm looking at making a few purchases off Amazon. I'm looking at the books reviewed here and a good many of the ones I'm interested in were published back in the 60s and 70s.

Perhaps this is another question for amandagmu, but has there really been no recent scholarship in the last 30 - 40 years on these topics? Granted, I'm not looking through each single review, but instead just those whose titles jump out as being pertinent to my research interests.

Also, a question unrelated to the one above: has anyone been able to get Amazon.com to ship directly to China recently?

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gato
but has there really been no recent scholarship in the last 30 - 40 years on these topics? Granted, I'm not looking through each single review, but instead just those whose titles jump out as being pertinent to my research interests.

What is your interest area and which older books are you referring to? I see plenty of reviews of books published after 1970s on the UCSD site.

Also, a question unrelated to the one above: has anyone been able to get Amazon.com to ship directly to China recently?

I ordered some books on Amazon last year and had them shipped directly to China.

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