The Private Life of Chairman Mao
Recently I read a memoir written by Li Zhisui, one of the physicians to Mao Zedong. Li Zhisui worked for Mao from 1954 to 1976 (when Mao died of ALS), totally for 22 years. He had a close view on Mao’s private life and told us many details about Mao’s political motives to start the Great Leap Forward and The Cultural Revolution, the two great disasters Mao brought to China.
From these details, we can see that Mao isn’t a great man with great wisdom, he has no basic scientific knowledge, he made national strategy just out of air or his understanding of Chinese history especially the political struggle part.
The Great Leap Forward killed tens of millions people, after that the Cultural Revolution tortured and killed millions. Although the Cultural Revolution caused less death, but it poisoned the country deeply, people gave up their honesty, integrity and formed convoluted soul. Before and during the Cultural Revolution, Lin Biao promoted the cult of personality to Mao, at the end of the Cultural Revolution, he planned an assassination attempt on Mao, imagine how confused and betrayed the people were feeling.
Mao never had mercy to his opponents, his intolerance to different voice drove him set up and persecute most of his opponents and even his old friends. In the two disastrous movements, all opponents were categorized into right deviation and persecuted.
I find some criticism to the book about its authenticity, but most criticisms are suspicious themselves. Some pertinent reviews pointed out a minor part of the content is fake, but most content is historically accurate.
There is no doubt that Mao was a dictator, he maybe caused the most deaths of humans in history, but today in China, the government and CPC seldom do their reflections, Xi Jinping even embraces Mao’s legacy and encourages and indulges Maoists attack opponents online and in reality. Critics over Mao could lose their jobs(毕福剑, 邓相超 and more), people expressing liberal thoughts may end up in prison.
Germany has a similar dark past as China, but it has been reflecting upon its history, remembering victims and preventing history repeating itself. What has China done? We should prevent Maoist from taking office just like preventing Nazism.