Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

The Tragedy of ‘Liberation’ in China

Posted by w_thames_the_d on October 11, 2013


The following comes from the book, “The Tragedy of Liberation: A History of the Chinese Revolution 1945-1957. by Frank Dikotter”

What is interesting to note is that the same brutal thugs who started the party are still in control. Wether it be by their offspring, ideals, or hand picked successors, these people are still in charge, conceptually at least.

To call the communists a ruling party is like saying a mafia don rules his mob. Of course he does, but his leadership is nothing less than a tool of oppression.
The Second World War in China had been a bloody affair, but the civil war from 1945 to 1949 also claimed hundreds of thousands of civilian lives – not counting military casualties. As the communists tried to wrest the country from Chiang Kai-shek and the nationalists, they laid siege to one city after another, starving them into submission. Changchun, in the middle of the vast Manchurian plain north of the Great Wall of China, was blockaded for five months in 1948. Lin Biao, the commander in charge of the communist troops, ordered that it be turned into a ‘city of death’. He placed sentries every 50 metres along a perimeter around the city and prohibited starving civilians from leaving, putting more pressure on the grain reserves of the nationalists. People tried to survive by eating grass, insects and tree bark. A few turned to human flesh. Anti-aircraft guns and heavy artillery bombarded the city day and night. At least 160,000 people died of hunger and disease during the siege.
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In the countryside, land reform followed liberation. Farmers were given a plot of land in exchange for overthrowing their leaders. Violence was an indispensable feature of land distribution, implicating a majority in the murder of a carefully designated minority. Work teams were given quotas of people who had to be denounced, humiliated, beaten, dispossessed and then killed by the villagers, who were assembled in their hundreds in an atmosphere charged with hatred. In a pact sealed in blood between the party and the poor, close to 2 million so-called ‘landlords’, often hardly any better off than their neighbours, were liquidated. From Hebei, Liu Shaoqi, the second-in-command, reported that some of them had been buried alive, tied up and dismembered, shot or throttled to death. Some children were slaughtered as ‘little landlords’.
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Less than a year after liberation came a Great Terror, designed to eliminate all the enemies of the party. Mao handed down a killing quota of one per thousand, but in many parts of the country two or three times as many people were executed, often on the flimsiest of pretexts. Entire villages were razed to the ground. Schoolchildren as young as six were accused of spying for the enemy and tortured to death. Sometimes cadres simply picked a few prisoners at random and had them shot to meet their quota. By the end of 1951, close to 2 million people had been murdered, sometimes during public rallies in stadiums, but more often than not away from the public eye, in forests, ravines, beside rivers, alone or in batches. A vast network of prisons scattered across the length and breadth of the country swallowed up many more. Violence was the revolution, to paraphrase Simon Schama’s observation about the French
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Oh yeah, any Chinese party members who are in their 70’s or late 60’s are part of this ‘storied ‘ group. Just think of that when tou see them lving in a house near to yours.

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