Buckley reports from China for The New York Times that writer and activist Yang Maodong has finally been allowed access to a lawyer, three months after his detention and two after his formal arrest.
Yang Maodong, a writer and businessman better known by his pen name, Guo Feixiong, was detained by the police in Guangzhou, in Guangdong Province, in early August on allegations of “assembling a crowd to disrupt order in a public place.” He is one of several well-known rights advocates held on similar accusations after participating in grass-roots campaigns pressing the Communist Party for stronger legal and political rights. Read the rest of this entry »
Mao’s record challenges elite legitimacy
As the 120th anniversary of Mao’s Zedong’s birth approaches, China’s ruling Communist Party is afraid that its historical record threatens to undermine its fragile legitimacy, observers suggest.
“The famine that gripped China from 1958 to 1962 is widely judged to be the deadliest in recorded history, killing 20 to 30 million people or more, and is one of the defining calamities of Mao’s rule,” Chris Buckley reports for The New York Times:
Ever since, the party has shrouded that disaster in censorship and euphemisms, seeking to maintain an aura of reverence around the founding leader of the Communist state….But with the approach of celebrations of the 120th anniversary Mao’s birth on Dec. 26, some of his supporters and party polemicists are stepping beyond the longstanding official reticence about the famine to argue for their own, much milder version of the disaster and to assail historians who disagree.
30-36 million ‘abnormal’ deaths
“Scholars disagree, but whether their estimate is somewhat higher or lower, that doesn’t affect the fact that the Great Leap Forward created a massive disaster,” said Lin Yunhui, a retired party historian at the National Defense University in Beijing who has spent much of his career studying Mao’s time. “My own estimate is that there were about 30 million abnormal deaths.” Read the rest of this entry »