Tag Archives: Maoism

Mao and the biggest mass murder in the history of the world


By Ilya Somin

August 3, 2016

Victims of the Great Leap Forward.

Chinese Peasants suffering from the effects of the Great
Leap Forward

Who was the biggest mass murderer in the history of the world? Most people probably assume that the answer is Adolf Hitler, architect of the Holocaust. Others might guess Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, who may indeed have managed to kill even more innocent people than Hitler did, many of them as part of a terror famine that likely took more lives than the Holocaust. But both Hitler and Stalin were outdone by Mao Zedong. From 1958 to 1962, his Great Leap Forward policy led to the deaths of up to 45 million people – easily making it the biggest episode of mass murder ever recorded.

Historian Frank Dikötter, author of the important book Mao’s Great Famine recently published an article in History Today, summarizing what happened:

Mao thought that he could catapult his country past its competitors by herding villagers across the country into giant people’s communes. In pursuit of a utopian paradise, everything was collectivised. People had their work, homes, land, belongings and livelihoods taken from them. In collective canteens, food, distributed by the spoonful according to merit, became a weapon used to force people to follow the party’s every dictate. As incentives to work were removed, coercion and violence were used instead to compel famished farmers to perform labour on poorly planned irrigation projects while fields were neglected.

A catastrophe of gargantuan proportions ensued. Extrapolating from published population statistics, historians have speculated that tens of millions of people died of starvation. But the true dimensions of what happened are only now coming to light thanks to the meticulous reports the party itself compiled during the famine….

What comes out of this massive and detailed dossier is a tale of horror in which Mao emerges as one of the greatest mass murderers in history, responsible for the deaths of at least 45 million people between 1958 and 1962. It is not merely the extent of the catastrophe that dwarfs earlier estimates, but also the manner in which many people died: between two and three million victims were tortured to death or summarily killed, often for the slightest infraction. When a boy stole a handful of grain in a Hunan village, local boss Xiong Dechang forced his father to bury him alive. The father died of grief a few days later. The case of Wang Ziyou was reported to the central leadership: one of his ears was chopped off, his legs were tied with iron wire, a ten kilogram stone was dropped on his back and then he was branded with a sizzling tool – punishment for digging up a potato.

The basic facts of the Great Leap Forward have long been known to scholars. Dikötter’s work is noteworthy for demonstrating that the number of victims may have been even greater than previously thought, and that the mass murder was more clearly intentional on Mao’s part, and included large numbers of victims who were executed or tortured, as opposed to “merely” starved to death. Even the previously standard estimates of 30 million or more, would still make this the greatest mass murder in history.

While the horrors of the Great Leap Forward are well known to experts on communism and Chinese history, they are rarely remembered by ordinary people outside China, and have had only a modest cultural impact. When Westerners think of the great evils of world history, they rarely think of this one. In contrast to the numerous books, movies, museums, and and remembrance days dedicated to the Holocaust, we make little effort to recall the Great Leap Forward, or to make sure that society has learned its lessons. When we vow “never again,” we don’t often recall that it should apply to this type of atrocity, as well as those motivated by racism or anti-semitism.

The fact that Mao’s atrocities resulted in many more deaths than those of Hitler does not necessarily mean he was the more evil of the two. The greater death toll is partly the result of the fact that Mao ruled over a much larger population for a much longer time. I lost several relatives in the Holocaust myself, and have no wish to diminish its significance. But the vast scale of Chinese communist atrocities puts them in the same general ballpark. At the very least, they deserve far more recognition than they currently receive.

What accounts for this neglect? One possible answer is that most of the victims were Chinese peasants – people who are culturally and socially distant from the Western intellectuals and media figures who have the greatest influence over our historical consciousness and popular culture. As a general rule, it is easier to empathize with victims who seem similar to ourselves.

But an even bigger factor in our relative neglect of the Great Leap Forward is that it is part of the general tendency to downplay crimes committed by communist regimes, as opposed to right-wing authoritarians. Unlike in the days of Mao, today very few western intellectuals actually sympathize with communism. But many are reluctant to fully accept what a great evil it was, fearful – perhaps – that other left-wing causes might be tainted by association.

In China, the regime has in recent years admitted that Mao made “mistakes” and allowed some degree of open discussion about this history. But the government is unwilling to admit that the mass murder was intentional and continues to occasionally suppress and persecute dissidents who point out the truth.

This reluctance is an obvious result of the fact that the Communist Party still rules China. Although they have repudiated many of Mao’s specific policies, the regime still derives much of its legitimacy from his legacy. I experienced China’s official ambivalence on this subject first-hand, when I gave a talk about the issue while teaching a course as a visiting professor at a Chinese university in 2014.

II. Why it Matters.

For both Chinese and westerners, failure to acknowledge the true nature of the Great Leap Forward carries serious costs. Some survivors of the Great Leap Forward are still alive today. They deserve far greater recognition of the horrible injustice they suffered. They also deserve compensation for their losses, and the infliction of appropriate punishment on the remaining perpetrators.


In addition, our continuing historical blind spot about the crimes of Mao and other communist rulers, leads us to underestimate the horrors of such policies, and makes it more likely that they might be revived in the future. The horrendous history of China, the USSR, and their imitators, should have permanently discredited socialism as completely as fascism was discredited by the Nazis. But it has not – so far – fully done so.

Just recently, the socialist government of Venezuela imposed forced labor on much of its population. Yet most of the media coverage of this injustice fails to note the connection to socialism, or that the policy has parallels in the history of the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, and other similar regimes. One analysis even claims that the real problem is not so much “socialism qua socialism,” but rather Venezuela’s “particularbrand of socialism, which fuses bad economic ideas with a distinctive brand of strongman bullying,” and is prone to authoritarianism and “mismanagement.” The author simply ignores the fact that “strongman bullying” and “mismanagement” are typical of socialist states around the world. The Scandinavian nations – sometimes cited as examples of successful socialism- are not actually socialist at all, because they do not feature government ownership of the means of production, and in many ways have freer markets than most other western nations.

Venezuela’s tragic situation would not surprise anyone familiar with the history of the Great Leap Forward. We would do well to finally give history’s largest episode of mass murder the attention it deserves.



Maoist activity – Its Rise in Delhi and National Capital Region

The war on Red Terror is no longer limited to remote jungles in far-off districts as urban Maoists have become a clear and present danger. Maoist front organisations, have succeeded in penetrating urban India and have managed to give a slip to intelligence agencies for some years.

In 2013, we had written on world wide “Civil Society movements ” and how the same model is being sought to be replicated in Bharat as well. The Maoist strategy is to launch / infiltrate civil society movements and develop cadre through that. Read the Article here .

As per the Institute for Defence Study & Analysis, the Maoists had prepared an urban perspective plan — a blue print for their urban movement/activities in September 2007. It is believed that Gobad Ghandy alias Rajan, who was arrested in September 2009 in New Delhi, played a major role in the preparation of this urban perspective plan.


Intelligence agencies stumbled upon the Maoist strategy of setting urban bases in cities like Delhi in 2009 with the arrest of Kobad Ghandy from Delhi. – Courtesy IndiaToday


The Urban Movement has a defined role in the political strategy and military strategy of the CPI (Maoist). According to the CPI (Maoist),

“…being the centres of concentration of the industrial proletariat, urban areas play an important part within the political strategy of the new Democratic Revolution”. The Maoists envisage that they would mobilise and organise the industrial workers and channelise them towards playing “leadership role in organising the agrarian revolution by sending by sending … advanced detachment to the rural areas”.

In the Maoist scheme of things the objectives/tasks of the Urban Movement could be classified under three broad heads:

(a) mobilise and organise the basic masses and build the party on that basis ;

(b) build the United Front and

(c) Military tasks .

Looking at the leadership and rise of some of the neo political parties from Delhi and some other parts of the country , it is clear that the strategy # 1 has been employed.
Intelligence agencies stumbled upon the Maoist strategy of setting urban bases in cities like Delhi in 2009 with the arrest of Kobad Ghandy from Delhi.
In addition the Red Terror affected districts, it is reported that the Home Ministry has identified several organisations in Delhi and the National Capital Region as Maoist front organisations.
These organisations and political parties try to gain inroads by talking about issues like  “bijli, paani, sadak aur rojgaar “, issues that are relevant to the common person. At the same time, the masterminds work on their bigger strategy of disruption and taking over control of government.
The Delhi election is a case study about the strategy of Maoists being put into action in a major metro.


References :

1. India Today


A Manual for Red Anarchy

A Manual for Red Anarchy

1) Blast Authority with Suspicion

2) Substitute constitutional processes by agitation

3) Stretch Law to the point of Disorder

4) Substitute decision making bodies by referendums

5) Make Nationalism elective: Separate if you want

6) Overlegislate: Make so many laws as will become unimplementable

7) Make India ungovernable: Right to Recall, Raise expectations to unachievable heights

8) Agitate, Agitate, Agitate: Know that political positions are to be used to undermine the basis of political power: and to gain acceptability. Keep the pot of revolution boiling.

9) Keep the security apparatus under relentless pressure.

10) Remember the classic tactics of Guerilla warfare:

i) Shoot and scoot, keep the targets changing

ii) be unpredictable: Support x today, y tomorrow, z the third, the cause is all important.

iii) Take a referendum to support every volte face

iv) keep membership and organisation nebulous: have a network of separate groups acting in tandem

v) Avoid centralised organisation, maintain plausible deniability

11) Remember the rules of United Front: Use and throw.

लाल अराजकता की नियमावली

1) संदेह के माध्यम से अधिकारत्व का विस्फोट कीजिये

2) संविधानिक प्रक्रियाओं को आंदोलनो से प्रतिस्थापित कीजिये

3) कानून एंव कानूनी प्रविधानो का ऐसे खींचतान करें, कि कानून अस्तव्यस्तथा मे परिवर्तित हो जाये ।

4) निर्णय लेने वाली संस्थाओं को जनमत संग्रहों से प्रतिस्थापित कीजिये

5) राश्ट्रवाद ऐच्छिक बना दीजिये : चाहें तो कश्मीर अलग कर लें

6) परे से अधिक कानून बनाइये, ताकि विधानिक प्रक्रियायें अ-कार्यान्वयित हो जायें

7) भारत को अनियंत्रित कर दीजिये : “वापस बुलवे का हक़”, इत्य. उम्मीदों को अप्र्राप्य स्तरों तक पहुंचाइये

8) उत्तेजित, उत्तेजित, उत्तेजित कीजिये : जान लीजिये कि राजकीय पदों का सही उपयोग राजकीय सत्ता की जडों को क्षीन करना है; अपनी निजी स्वीकार्यता बढाइये। क्रांति की हंडी उबलती रहनी चाहिये ।

9) रक्षा संस्थाओं को निरंतर दबाव मे रखें

10) छापामार रण के क्लास्सिक युक्तिओं को याद रखिये :

i) मारिये और भागिये : निशाने बदलते रहना चाहिये

ii) करनी कभी पूर्वानुमेय नही होनी चाहिये : आज रामदेव, कल अन्ना,       परसों केज्री … आज लोकपाल, कल अम्बानी, …

iii) हर काया पलट के पीछे एक जनमत संग्रह हो

iv) सदस्यता एंव संघटन मे अस्पष्टता रहे : अलग अलग गुठों के जाल के माध्यम् से काम चलायिये

v) केंद्रित सगठन मत रखिये , दिखावटी खंडनीयता कायम रखिये

11) सन्युक्त मोर्चे के नियम याद रखिये : इस्तेमाल कीजिये और फेंक दीजिये

Courtesy – Dr.Rahul Shastri

A Short Manual of Anarchy

A Short Manual for anarchy