Friday, May 13, 2005

That Mao. What a guy 

I read this morning that Lileks has gotten into some controversy over his questioning of the use of Mao Zedong in a poster for the Minneapolis Public Library. Of course we all know Mao was very committed to scholars, right?
What's so unusual about Emperor Shih Huang of the Chin Dynasty? He had buried alive 460 scholars only, but we have buried alive 46,000 scholars. In the course of our repression of counter-revolutionary elements, haven't we put to death a number of the counter-revolutionary scholars? I had an argument with the democratic personages. They say we are behaving worse than Emperor Shih Huang of the Chin Dynasty. That's definitely not correct. We are 100 times ahead of Emperor Shih of the Chin Dynasty in repression of counter-revolutionary scholars.
from a 1958 speech to the Chinese Communist Party.
Source: Rudy Rummel who also provides some data on the death of non-scholars, including 27 million in the 1959-63 famine. No word on how many scholars were in that number.

Oh, and creating the 3rd largest economy? Per capita food production in China at the time of Mao's death in 1976 was the same as in 1955. You'd think that starving 27 million people alone might make per capita GDP go up because there were 27 million fewer capita -- yet China grew only 2.5% at most while its neighbors grew at three times that rate. Brad Delong calls Mao's economic performance a disaster.