Tombstone Free read ☆ E-book or Kindle E-pub

Summary Í E-book, or Kindle E-pub ✓ Yang Jisheng

TombstoneIs still euphemistically referred to as the three years of natural disasterAs a journalist with privileged access to official and unofficial sources Yang Jisheng spent twenty years piecing together the events that led to mass nationwide star. Nutshell a mix of five star primary reportage archival work with one star reckless inferences commentaryText is like Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago insofar as it is an indictment proceeding from the position of internal critiue written by an author as yet subject to the jurisdiction of the accused state It is therefore written at the writer’s dire risk and should be regarded as proof of the author's integrity and boldness Unlike Solzhenitsyn however this is no literary investigation stylized ironic or otherwise non journalistic Both Yang and Solzhenitsyn rely heavily on an accumulation of anecdotes backed with statistics In itself the accumulation of anecdotes the parade of horribles can't be overemphasized The statistics drawn from internal archives make this point all the persuasive This isn't to say that the anecdotes aren't an attempt at naked manipulation; recitation of individual tragedies amidst the deaths of millions of persons is a sort of micro theatre part and parcel to the genre of anti communist literature That doesn't make it wrong of course just obvious in its antecedents I would nevertheless not deny the writer the moral force of his particularized evidence and that evidence exerts irresistible force what else might be said of numerous cases of anonymous cannibalism patricidal cannibalism pedophagia up to and including the eating of one’s own minor children This volume is also on the one hand unlike The Black Book of Communism which is an external critiue that masks the local political goals of French anti communists On the other hand Yang partakes of some of the standard anti communist sleights of mind such as indicting communism grossly technically a reference to an economics while focusing at times on carceral injustices trifling ideological mass movements want of parliamentary procedure monopolization of education police state thuggery and so on My criticism does not exhaust this book however as 1 Yang is also indicting totalitarianism at times which sweeps up the items mentioned and 2 Yang does focus on the economics of the Great Leap Forward which is something that does not get much attention in some standards of the anti communist genreTranslated text was much longer in its original publication; translation is heavily edited containing only four of the original 'provincial' chapters the six 'central' or 'policy' chapters and five instead of eight 'analysis' chapters xiv Includes a chronology of major events extensive notes bibliography index There’s also a provincial map included but this volume should likely be read with an atlas on hand as the included map does not break out prefectures counties cities towns and the narrative is sufficiently detailed to involve very local micro detail a great virtueThe translated provincial chapters detail Henan Sichuan Gansu and Anhui Three of these are the top three in terms of highest unnatural deaths from the famine and within the top four regarding highest unnatural mortality rate whereas the fourth has the eighth highest death toll and is the fifth highest death rate see handy chart at 395 96 The chapters are well selected then to maximize the propaganda effect for the English speaking audience By contrast Shanxi province had the seventh highest death rate but the lowest death toll 60000 human persons during the famine Author presents numerous calculations for overall death and birth rates and settles on 36 million unnatural deaths and shortfall of 40 million births 430 for the years 1958 62 Though author's preferred toll is on the high end of the range of estimation I feel no need to dispute his numbersSimilarly author here avoids the normal anti communist cliche as one finds in Richard Pipes say that all of this commie stuff was just a waste with no accomplishments Author rather is willing to admit certain accomplishments such as the precipitous rising of capital construction which pulled laborers from the fields 90 or a brief list of “necessary and successful“ irrigation canals 125 I don't endorse the make big omeletbreak million eggs approach to totalitarian development projects but will merely insist that the famine paid a price that needn't've thereby been paid later We see how that might work in The Political Economy of Hunger by Dreze Sen who compare post war India China noting that the Chinese regime caused the deaths of over 30 million human persons during the Great Leap Forward whereas India's parliamentary system did not suffer any such massive concentrated loss However China's post war policies added 10 15 years than India's to life expectancy a result of medical care infrastructure development and so on Outside the Great Leap Forward the Chinese lead in life expectancy meant that every eight years or so people in addition die in India in comparison with Chinese mortality rates than the total number that died in the gigantic Chinese famine We might also call attention to Sen's work in Poverty and Famines which develops the definitional work at issue in discussing famine Starvation is a normal feature in many parts of the world but this phenomenon of 'regular' starvation has to be distinguished from violent outbursts of famine 39 Poverty can reflect relative deprivation as to absolute dispossession and can exist and be regarded as acute even when no serious starvation exists whereas starvation does imply poverty id Famine in 1958 62 aside Sen notes that the elimination of starvation in socialist economies for example China seems to have taken place even without a dramatic rise in food availability per head and indeed typically the former has preceded the latter 7 Yang doesn’t mention British refusal to ban rice exports from famine affected Hunan in 1906 or from Changsha in 1910 Sen 161 This latter omission is particularly salient as Yang argues that “With official priority placed on feeding the burgeoning urban population and importing machinery in exchange for grain exports grain was all but snatched from peasant mouths” 19 The Chinese state exported substantial grains in order to generate the currency necessary to purchase industrial euipment abroad This is no mere incidental but rather was intrinsic to the Great Leap Forward industrializing as uickly as possible to catch the UK the US the USSR Chapter 9 lays out the numbers in several succinct charts regarding the amount of grains grown procured exported and so on 320 49 It is no defense to suggest that someone else is guilty of one’s own crime however it suggests that sale of foods on the international market by the Maoists is the issue rather than the property forms or the political despotism We note that the same mechanism was in place during the Ukrainian famine of the early 1930s “at the beginning of the thirties grain production decreased bread was in short supply and millions of peasants were starving” and yet “Stalin insisted on exporting great uantities of grain” Medvedev Let History Judge at 69 The common theme of the British exports the Chinese exports and the Soviet exports is that they are global market participation for profit without regard for the livelihood of the workers who produced the grain The problem then is insufficient workers’ rights that is insufficient socialism The practice of imposing hardship on the working population in order to procure exportable crops reminds one rather of IMF austerity programs; Zhou boasted afterward that China “not only did not borrow one yuan in foreign debt but we also repaid nearly all of our past foreign debt” and also contributed “aid to socialist and nationalist countries” 458 Author cites this language as evidence that China’s foreign debt was not a proximate cause of the great famine I’m inclined to agree that repayment of the debt was not the primary or even a major cause Export is maximized services to internal population minimized debts repaid This is violation of the basic Marxist principle of providing for the producers; instead the state expropriated the producers the standard for capitalist economics “intolerable is the fact that while China’s people starved the government continued to export large uantities of grain” Yang 450Even though author cites Sen otherwise for the proposition that no substantial famine has ever occurred in any independent and democratic country with a relatively free press 16 the passages that I‘ve uoted above are not mentioned in this translation Author continues with Sen China although it was in many ways doing much better economically than India still managed unlike India to have a famine id Given Sen’s other work I find this usage of Sen to be at best manipulativeTop rate is the presentation of memoranda speeches and other official statements by Mao Zhou Liu and so on regarding policy ideological struggles and the famine These details are fascinatingIt is nevertheless the synthesis of the anecdotesarchives with the political memorandaspeeches that reveals author's recklessness For instance it’s routine to uote some memoranda from the government and then note post hoc ergo propter hoc that many deaths followed thereafter So Wu Zhipu Henan’s governor at the pertinent time is called out on the carpet for finding “grievous rightist errors” in the population and setting impractical unrealistic industrial and agricultural targets see eg 72 73 et se leading inexorably to three millions dead in Henan 83 This process of uoting dumb commietalk and then highlighting deaths is pedestrian in the genre Now lest I sound like a scumbag defense attorney the plaintiff lawyer in me counter argues that it is a case of res ipsa louitur given the state monopoly over procurement and distribution as well as the carceral institutions that compelled work and dictated residence what other cause is even possible let alone plausible There can be no serious objection as far as I’m concerned that state policy is a proximate cause of the great famine but the attempt to isolate policy as the sole cause or further to isolate remote seeming commietalk as the cause is woefully inadeuate Famine historically is a political occurrence with policy rootsAnother type of reckless inference is a repeated insistence that “no one dared speak the truth” 119 191 c because of repressive techniues of the carceral apparatus regarding exaggerated grain yields overinvestment in steel production failures of capital projects food shortages death tolls While it is certainly fair to state that repressive techniues caused a chilling effect among those who knew that problems existed it is inconsistent page by page even to suggest that no one dared speak the truth We are in fact treated to many discussions of central committee members local cadres provincial officials non party members and so on reuesting relief making grievances filing oppositional memoranda even taking arms against the state Liu himself authored a tract against “rash advance” in industry and agriculture for which he endured censure and underwent self criticism Zhou spoke out of turn and was disciplined So when Communist ideas are said to be “etched into every soul” 495 it can hardly be taken seriously if there exist “right deviationists” “right opportunists” “left adventurists” “left opportunists” bourgeois peasants degenerate elements feudal remnants and so on We have that is an extraordinarily good presentation by author of the multi layered debates that occurred at all levels during the great famine but then we get categorical inferences that bear little relation to the evidence presented in the text and arise instead out of the febrile clichés of the anti communist genreThe reckless inferential chains never become dishonest except for the refutation of the official thesis that weather caused a natural disaster leading inexorably to famine 452 Author contends first that the state “blamed it all on Mother Nature” id The very next paragraphs however uote Liu for the proposition that “natural disaster was not the chief cause” and that the famine was “three parts natural disaster and seven parts man made disaster” id Author second contends that “the three years of the famine” were “in no way exceptional” 453 Analysis of rainfall and temperature thereafter follows with several useful charts 453 56 Author suggests that some years during the famine were flood years but only moderately not worse than other years with no famine whereas some years in the famine were drought years each less severe than other times with no famine Also “divergence in temperature productivity for the years 1958 61 is not the largest for the forty year period” 456 How weasely is that The problem with the analysis is that each year is examined in isolation from other years So 1960 had a moderate drought “less serious than in 1955 1963 1966 1971 1978 1986 and 1988” 453 whereas 1959 and 1961 had less flooding than 1954 1973 and so on id Ergo no weather problems The chart helps visualize the effect 1956 57 are normal then 1958 has moderate drought 1959 moderate flood 1960 moderate drought 1961 moderate flood 1962 is back to normal range 454 Cursory review of the other years cited for drought or flood are bordered by normal years on at least one side The great famine sits astride four straight years of abnormality alternating drought and flood The aggregate effect however is not considered in author’s analysisDavis in Late Victorian Holocausts has considered this aggregation “the ‘strong’ El Nino of 1957 59 which also produced a famous famine and nearly a million refugees in the Brazilian sertao was the likely culprit responsible for the onset of drought in 1958 59” 251 Davis passes along that “for the first time in human memory people could actually wade across the Yellow River” id Further review of the literature produces the conclusion that “‘the weather was the main cause of the enormous grain yield losses in 1960 and 1961’ but that the communes could still have survived the crisis without mass mortality if Beijing had not stupidly reduced its own sown acreage in 1959 to divert labor to public works and backyard steel making and criminally enforced confiscatory procurement uotas in 1959 60” the latter a reference to the export of grains idThe ultimate political thesis here is that the cause of 76 million aggregate human losses was a ruthless suppression of political dissent with a highly centralized planned economy to produce a system that Mao Zedong himself characterized as 'Marx plus in Shihuang' a combination of Soviet style autocracy and ancient Chinese despotism 17 The system at fault therefore is a palimpsest of the very ancient bleeding into the most modern much as Pipes himself has described regarding the Russian Empire a peculiar type of political authority blending native and Mongol elements which arose in Moscow once the Golden Horde began to lossen its grip Russia under the Old Regime at 57 At the other end of the spectrum Medvedev considers then rejects the popular thesis that to explain Stalinism we have to return to earlier and earlier epochs of Russian history very likely to the Tartar yokeMedvedev at 359 but also concurs that for centuries the cult of the tsar the ideology of absolutism had been ingrained in Russia Id at 364 Those centuries we find are long as the Novgorod Chronicle began referring to the new ruler not only as Khan Batu of the Mongols but also as Tsar Batu a title that literally meant Caesar Batu signifying a new united rule over the many warring princely families of Russia Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World 150 Mao's reference to in Shihuang summons a ghost greater than a millennium ancient than the Mongols in Russia in view of which I am genuinely staggered Mao accordingly became the most powerful emperor who had ever ruled China 17One very interesting late chapter addresses the issue of why when “the Great Famine of the 1960s was unprecedented in scale” did it not give rise to major social turmoil” 465 We are thereafter treated to a roll call of uprisings that did occur as well as an approved list of totalitarian social controls that prevented rebellion Uprisings “were likely in the ethnic minority regions” id A number of the uprisings described occur in and around Yunnan which borders Burma in part Author doesn’t get into it but we know from Blum’s Killing Hope US Military and CIA Interventions that many of Chiang Kai Shek’s nationalists took unlawful refuge in Burma and organized and supplied by the CIA began making incursions into Yunnan in the 1950s Blum at 23 24 The nationalists raided across the border and developed opium production in the Golden Triangle 25 So some real subversion omitted by YangText devolves from there erecting a “communist fundamentalism” conceit 492 93 later to become “Marxist fundamentalism” 520 leading into the hackneyed suggestion that Mao gave us Pol Pot 521 A lengthy uotation of Herr Hayek 486 late in the volume seals itLast an early admission reveals that the famine during the Great Leap Forward is different in degree but not in kind from prior Chinese famines most severe famine previously recorded occurred in 1928 30 broke all previous records but still killed only 10 million people 13 Also in 1920 through 1936 crop failures took the lives of 1836 million people id These are crass statements and reveal that this volume is in part but not in whole a hit piece a concept assassination Only 10 million “Crop failures” Famine is always already a political event The point of course is that there is an interest here in minimizing prior famines suppressing other parades of horribles in order to effect a hayekian policy preference This last is damning in my not at all humble opinionAll that said a most substantial book on a most important subject Highest recommendation

Yang Jisheng ✓ 9 Free download

An estimated thirty six million Chinese men women and children starved to death during China's Great Leap Forward in the late s and early 's One of the greatest tragedies of the twentieth century the famine is poorly understood and in China. Beware Law Written in the HeartThe uantity of unintended human misery is near enough infinite But the uantity of misery experienced by the Chinese nation intentionally through its own government's policies is of a higher cardinal order of infinity altogether The capacity of the Chinese to endure what they have seems only matched by their capacity to forget it It appears that nothing about China can be exaggerated Its suffering its resilience its insanity and its resistance to self analysis all defy measured descriptionI had just entered American high school in 1961 Everyone was concerned about the Bay of Pigs invasion the construction of the Berlin Wall the formation of OPEC and the big Russian hydrogen bomb No one who was known to me knew much less cared that somewhere around 45 million Chinese were dead or dying of starvation China existed effectively in a universe beyond my event horizon a situation almost unthinkable in a world of Twitter Google Earth and FeedlySo to read Tombstone is shocking in two ways First because it documents the famine planned by Mao Zedong for purely personal political reasons Second because this was an event carried out in secret not just kept from the rest of the world but remarkably kept from the Chinese themselves despite the overwhelming physical evidence visible to everyoneThe research findings made by the author whose father died of starvation in front of him were even a surprise to him He hadn't known or at least couldn't accept the possibility that his fellow countrymen of his own government a government dedicated to socialist principles of human welfare could intentionally do what they so obviously did sacrifice not just the interests but the lives of an entire population to maintain the position of one man At least Stalin had the politesse to terrorise and exterminate mainly those who might resist Mao was not in the least selectiveMy uestions approaching Tombstone therefore are I suppose naively anthropological Are the phenomena it describes and describes well in terms of experiences as well as policies simply human That is could any nation fall into the chasm of destruction that was the old Communist China given its circumstances and the randomness of politics; or was there something in Chinese culture itself a fatal flaw that was exploited by the Communist leadership If what has gone on is a risk toof humanity in general why is its reality still resisted by the Chinese If there is something peculiarly Chinese in terms of history or culture that has created such horror how can it possibly be avoided as the central constitutional issue in today's ChinaThe answers Yang gives I think are reasonably clear however nuanced his presentation Certainly the imperial tradition and Confucian values of respect for authority promoted a level of receptivity to Maoist direction But it was his description of a pervasive highly spiritual and apparently irrepressible Chinese idealism which it seems to me energised the propaganda machine and motivated the Party at grassroots levels This inveterate irrepressible idealism paradoxically stands out as the most significant factor in sustaining such a murderous regime This is an unexpected conclusion but one which introduces some comprehensibility to events It is not a flaw in Chinese culture but a virtue very much appreciated in the West that was the lever used to move an entire society And it seems to be the same lever used in subseuent shifts from the Great Leap Forward to the Cultural Revolution and into a Socialism With Chinese CharacteristicsThat the Chinese are a people exceptionally willing to sacrifice themselves even unto death is certainly not how the Chinese are perceived through most Western media Recent books like Paul Midler's Poorly Made in China Evan Osnos's Age of Ambition or Leslie Chang's Factory Girls describe a society of grasping individualism that appears to want to emulate the consumerist and entirely materialist s of the West It is according to these accounts and many others a society in which deceit fraud legal and not and the exploitation of foreigners as well as other Chinese is routine Principled living much less idealism hardly featuresBut Yang gives things away that he may not even be aware of and that those who are not part of Chinese society may not perceive as central to Chinese character because they are so much what we in the West perceive ourselves to be There is a certain fear about China but that fear originates in a similarity too close to the bone to admit This similarity is buried beneath differences in language history and politics Yet Yang alludes to it throughout I shall attempt to put this similarity succinctly even if inadeuately An abiding ideal in Western culture stated by all its principal religions traditions and ancient philosophies is 'the law written in the heart' that is the assimilation of spiritual values so completely that codification and enforcement of formal restrictions is unnecessary Individuals in such a state act correctly because they are aware of both the criteria of correct action and the beneficial effects of following those criteria As I have shown elsewhere see GR review of Giorgio Agamben's The Highest Poverty this is the goal not only of Western monasticism but its derivative the most important conceptual export from Europe to Asia in modern times the idea of the civil corporationThis ideal is embedded in European literature Saint Paul in his letter to the Romans and the writer of the letter to the Hebrews whoever he may be Jeremiah and Ezekiel in their announcements of a new form of covenant the Greek Stoic philosophers with their concept of natural law the Roman Cicero in his raising of this natural law above legal statutes even the injunction of the uran that says This is the Nature of God on which he has formed and moulded the Nature of man The understanding of this Nature constitutes right religion all speak of this internalised ethical as well as religious framework What all these texts are describing is the ideal society which is hidden in the heart of all men 'Revealed' is how it is put in religious terms; 'known instinctively and universally' are the terms preferred by philosophy The specific content of this ideal is not nearly as important as its presumed existence as a common moral 'core' of humanity Such an ideal is not just shared with Chinese culture It is arguable given the otherwise inexplicable mass cultural adaptations in China during the last 70 years that this ideal is the central spiritual impulse of the entire Chinese nation The Chinese have achieved what the West has perennially sought but failed to achieve a social system controlled not by law but by common sentiment The strangeness of China in Western eyes its 'adaptable' legal system its willingness to conform to the party line its creation of an economic system which is neither capitalist nor Marxist its capacity for living with paradox may well be down to the inability of those eyes to see how fundamentally they have abandoned this ideal as too difficult to achieve Impossible for us therefore it can't exist But it does exist in what its citizens consider a far advanced society It also gives the lie to the presumption Freudian as well as Christian that monotheism is essential to such internalised morality pace to the American sociologist Philip Rieff who formulated the hypothesisClearly I do the Chinese nation Yang’s book and particularly those sacrificed during The Great Leap Forward an injustice in this identification of an apparently unbounded spiritual idealism as the motive force of Chinese culture For this I can only offer an apology; but I also remain in a way unrepentant China is too vast culturally as well as geographically to comprehend Such as I can only make a guess as to its meaning in anticipation of immensely reading and thinking But if I am only even partly correct China raises an issue about the foundations of Western culture Despite our long standing lip service to the ideal of ‘law written in the heart’ are we really prepared for its conseuences Law in the heart tends not to be subject to effective criticism or adaptation to circumstances It cannot be discussed because it is the foundation for all discussion Its very hiddeness makes it dangerous It may not be law at all merely prejudice literally premature judgementHidden secret law can obviously cause immense pain and harm To the degree we have already approached this ideal in our overwhelmingly corporate lives we too in the West have induced similar pain and harm with somewhat less 'success' than the Chinese for the moment We still treasure it even though we may believe it to be infeasible Our smug non chalance may be just the opening needed for Trumpian blathering to undermine Western society as completely as Mao's demagogueryYang uite sensibly prefers to substitute a ’tombstone in the heart’ as an alternative ideal I am inclined to agree Perhaps we might be able to find such an alternative for our corporate ideal

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Tombstone Free read ☆ E-book, or Kindle E-pub Ô [Epub] ➝ Tombstone Author Yang Jisheng – An estimated thirty six million Chinese men women and children starved to death during China's Great Leap Forward in the late 1950s and early '60s One of the greatest tragedies of the twentieth centur An estVation including the death of his own father Finding no natural causes Yang attributes responsibility for the deaths to China's totalitarian system and the refusal of officials at every level to value human life over ideology and self intere. Flipped through this in a bookstore and found it really hard to put down Absolutely devastating and horrific So much suffering and so recent Corroborates what my parents told me growing up but not so much graphic detail A really traumatising read but hats off to the author for raising awareness of this horrible episode of Chinese history that has been repressed for too long and this book is still banned in China as far as I am aware