Showing posts from July, 2016

Mao Stands Alone Part 3

We already know Mao was plotting for a comeback.     His jealousy of Liu Shaoqi, his probable envy of Liu Shaoqi’s romantic situation, his purported angst with the direction China was taking and then the play of Wu Han all combined to drive Mao crazy. But this play of Wu Han’s did the most damage.   Because everyone could surely see the emperor was Mao.     But was it really so straightforward?    I don’t think it was.   We have to remember where Mao came from.   Though his father was a wealthy landlord, Mao himself was a nobody outside of his own backyard.    He also spoke terrible Mandarin.   (Many a laowai today speak better Mandarin than Mao did.)    I remember my Chinese teacher telling me that when listening to Mao on the radio he could barely understand him.    In the early days very, very few Chinese could speak proper Mandarin.   That is, clear Mandarin without a hint of any local dialect.     From Deng Xiaoping to Song Meiling, the evidence is bey

Wu Han Part 2

Wu Han was a fellow in love with Ming Dynasty history.   A budding intellectual, caught up in the maelstrom of China, trying to figure out what was taking place and what it all meant.    An intellectual without a cause.    The only problem is that while one could be forgiven for taking the time to ponder aimlessly which direction the China of the 1930’s would take, by the 40’s that time was up.    While peasants perhaps were given a free pass, not so the intellectuals.      So it was that Wu Han finally joined a political party.   A party with no influence.    Not even worth mentioning in this post.   Yet it was promptly banned by that ultimate liberal fan of multi-party democracy, Chiang Kai Shek.    (The more I think and ponder, the more convinced I am that China under CKS would’ve been an ugly, nasty business.) As the 40’s turn into the 50’s, somehow someway Mr. Wu Han is befriended by a fellow named Peng Zhen, a rising star in the Party.   When Peng Zhen becomes the ma

Dark New World....update

(Euope and China will be meeting soon.....expect the frequency of comments on this topic from Euro politicians to increase, the closer to the meeting itself. The summit takes place in a few days.) EU 'doesn't take stance on sovereignty' in South China Sea: Mogherini BEIJING (Reuters) - European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said on Wednesday that the European Union does not take a stance on sovereignty in South China Sea. Speaking in Beijing, Mogherini said the EU called on all parties to respect legal decisions and uphold the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, including freedom of navigation. European Council President Donald Tusk said he hoped an arbitration court ruling over the South China Sea that angered China would be a positive moment in resolving outstanding issues in the disputed waters. ( The original post, dated xmas of last year, below.....)

Jefferson, Mao and 1966. Part One

(extensive travel over the last 3 weeks has slowed my posting a bit....sorry about that) Throughout the 50’s, Chairman Mao made a serious of decisions that only the undisputed leader of a nation could make.     His decision, and it was his alone, led China into the disastrous Korean War.   This decision not only decimated the core of China’s Red Army but cost China the opportunity to retake Taiwan.    Remember, Truman had set Chiang Kai Shek loose, calling him out for the cad he was. Than followed the “100 Hundred Flowers” Movement, which ostensibly allowed freedom of criticism of The Party.   Once such “constructive criticisms” were heard, those mouthing such criticisms were promptly arrested. And there was the “Anti Rightist” Movement, where many work units   had to fulfil a quota of purging those not loyal to the Party.   Finally, the 50’s climaxed with the Great Leap Forward, when Yours Truly decided that China was doing it all wrong, ie steel production and w