Sunday, November 11, 2012

China: A New Cultural Revolution?

An update of sorts to the previous post, NPR has posted the second part of a two part story on China's Great Leap Forward Famine: Recording the Untold Stories of the Great Famine.

In my previous post, I wondered aloud why we are getting yet again another "proof" of something their should be no question about, that Mao officially murdered millions of people.  Let me be clear, this was murder for land.  It was also murder for steel.  Just because the land and the steel were squandered, the latter in the sense that destroying good steel to make bad steel in an effort to win a steel making 'contest' with the UK, does not make it any less of a theft.

What NPR's Louisa Lim followed up with today sounds like a reforging of the old Cultural Revolution, the one from the 1960s which followed the Great Leap Forward.  Back then, the children of Red China were "unleashed" on the first "post-Mao" wave of reformist bureaucrats, teachers, and others, to drag down the new order and reinstall Mao.  The counterrevolutionaries were not revolutionary enough, so the slate was 'wiped clean' and Mao got to resume control of the world's largest penal colony.

Today, school children are going door-to-door recording the stories of death from The Great Leap Forward.  It is too early to tell what the aim of the central government is with this latest "memory" project:
This is the Folk Memory Project, which has sent 108 young interviewers out to 130 rural villages to gather oral histories. So far, nine of them have completed documentary films about the death toll during the Great Famine of the late 1950s and early 1960s in their own villages.

Through film and stage performances, these young people are reclaiming history, telling for the first time these personal stories of some of the millions who starved to death as a result of Chairman Mao's Great Leap Forward.
Odd that NPR, and presumably Red China actually link the famine to Mao.  Will this fit of honest about a Communist failure last?  Since nobody listens to NPR, especially those who brag about it, I doubt that it will.  I am sure that Student Unions across the fruited plain will still be blaming this mass murder on "Capitalism", weather, and "Right Wing Media" for decades to come.

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