First, like Mao, a super tyrant is popular due to his charisma and creativeness in developing a false but popular theory and propaganda to deceive people. However, those were only the tricks to cheat common people whose wisdom was far inferior to a super tyrant’s.
The real issue is how he is able to subdue the high officials and generals. Take Mao for example, how could he be so successful in purging those high officials and generals who opposed his campaigns for excessive growth rate and Cultural Revolution? In addition, how is he able to make the leaders of superpowers regard him as a real tiger when China was in fact a very poor and weak country and was in chaos during the Cultural Revolution?
In their memoirs, Lin Biao’s close assistants believed that China was lucky so that it was not attacked by another country when Chinese troops were in chaos in 1967. However, it was also because there were no talented statesmen in other countries at that time.
When I was unemployed in China during the Cultural Revolution, I discussed with some talented intellectuals of the new generation mentioned in my book the question of how Mao could be removed. They said that judging by what Mao had done, Mao was a master of Han Fei Tsu’s art for being an emperor.
During the Warring State Period (475-221 BC), the sovereign power in quite a few states was usurped by powerful courtiers. Han Fei-tzu, a Legalist master, wrote a book Han Fei-tzu to teach sovereigns of state the art for being an emperor. He taught sovereigns to govern his subjects by law and control his officials by awe, power, tricks and intrigues. He gives the advice in his book that a sovereign must keep a distance from everyone including his family members, relatives and officials and trust no one.
Qin Shihuang praised the book highly and adopted Han Fei-tzu’s ways to maintain solid control of his empire. He followed closely Han’s advices and trusted no one. He killed his natural father Lu Buwei when Lu grew too powerful and sent his son Prince Fusu far away from him to be in charge of border defense.
Mao also trusted no one. Both Liu Shaoqi and Lin Biao he purged were his closest friends.
Mao’s mastery of such a sophisticated art for being an emperor and in addition his charisma and creativeness in developing ideas and propaganda to make quite a few people his mad followers made it even more difficult to remove him unless he made a mistake.
Mao did make the mistake in removing Luo Ruiqing, Mao’s loyal four-star general who he appointed as PLA chief of general staff as a balancing force to prevent Lin Biao’s full control of the PLA. However, he made the mistake knowingly as he was in desperate need of Lin Biao’s support in carrying out his Cultural Revolution to purge Liu Shaoqi and his supporters. It is common sense for a sovereign that he shall never allow any one to have full control of his troops.
However, Mao was lucky that Lin was a Confucianist loyal to him and did not use the PLA to carry out a coup to remove Mao. The well-known plan to assassinate Mao was Lin’s son’s childish plan. If Lin, the well-known gifted marshal, had wanted to remove Mao before Mao played the trick to remove Lin, Mao would have been Lin’s prisoner.
Mao was not only a master of Han’s art for being an emperor, but also knew Chinese history well. Faced with Soviet threat of armed invasion when he had remove Lin Biao and could not control the PLA, he adopted Fan Sui’s well-known strategy of “allying with remote states while attacking neighboring ones” to obtain support fromAmerica. (Fan Sui was a well-known strategist who taught the sovereign of the State ofQinthat strategy and thus enabled Qin Shihuang to reunify China.)
My talented friends said that since Mao had cleverly avoided the consequence of his mistake, we could only wait for his death. They said that there was a serious succession problem in Han Fei-tzu’s art for being an emperor. As a sovereign is not close to any one and trusts no one, when he dies, there will be no powerful loyal courtiers to ensure smooth succession.
Qin Shihuang’s chosen successor Prince Fusu could not succeed him. So will Mao’s chosen successor, according to them.
From the above we can see that when a super tyrant has established his rule, due to his perfect mastery of Han Fee-tzu’s art for being emperor, good knowledge of all the accumulated strategies, tactics, tricks and intrigues in Chinese history, charisma and creativeness, he is invincible in his country.
Powerful other countries may remove him when he has not soundly established his power, but there is no superhero there to remove him in order to prevent the disasters he may bring to the world.
For example, when Hitler began his militarization of Germany in violation of the Treaty of Versailles, there was no superhero in Britain, France or any other country to take action to remove Hitler or even to build enough airplanes and tanks to counter German force. Hitler’s ambition to revenge was already very clear in his book “My Struggle”. Why werre world leaders so stupid?
When America was very clear of Bin Laden’s terrorist activities, why President Bush and his high officials repeatedly ignored the warning from the officials in charge of national security? Why was America unable to remove Bin Laden before 911?
In our present world, super tyrants are invincible while superhero is an endangered species.
A Chinese super tyrant is not only invincible but also popular.
He need not worry about the disasters he brings to Chinese people. Chinese people’s ability to endure hardship is almost limitless while their enthusiasm for the ideal for equality is boundlessly lofty. As long as a super tyrant is charismatic and creative and able to invent some theory about his lofty ideal, he may remain popular in spite of the disasters he has brought to Chinese people.
Mao Zedong had indeed brought famine to Chinese people and caused the death of tens of millions of people. Still, educated students in prestigious colleges as well as uneducated workers and peasants responded with frenzy to Mao’s call to carry out his Cultural Revolution to help Mao seize back power from Liu Shaoqi.
Schools had to be closed and teachers, persecuted. There would then be equality between those who hated schooling and became illiterate and those who excelled in schools and became successful when they had graduated.
Production was disrupted. Economy was on the verge of collapse. Lots of young people were unemployed. Almost everything was in short supply. Wages never increased… We don’t care.
We have our lofty ideal: “We would rather have socialist poverty than capitalist well-to-doness.” (a popular slogan during the Cultural Revolution)
Long live super tyrants!
The removal of Bo Xilai proves the wisdom of China’s new generation of talented intellectuals. The recently-adopted amendments of China’s criminal procedure law in fact openly denounce without naming Bo his contempt of due legal process, use of torture to extract confessions and wonton persecution of defense lawyers in his campaign against organized crime in Chongqing.
Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao’s stress on rule of law aims at substituting the rule of law for the rule of person to prevent reemergence of the Cultural Revolution.
During the long process of the amendments, Bo who looks clever did not seem to realize that he was targeted by the amendments. Perhaps he knew but did not care as he had the support of the powerful conservative faction formerly led by his father Bo Yibo.
Bo Yibo was in charge of preparing the lists of candidates for the Central Committee, Politburo, Secretariat and Politburo Standing Committee for the 13th Party Congress in 1987. In 1997, he helped Jiang Zemin by forcing Qiao Shi to retire. His speech at the end of the 15th Party Congress stressing Jiang Zemin’s status as the core of the collective leadership of the Party clearly showed that he was the kingmaker. He died in 2007, but his influence remains. Defeating a princeling with such a powerful father was very difficult.
It is interesting that almost all China watchers fail to see the obvious power struggle in the amendments of the law between the factions against the Cultural Revolution and the conservative faction, but focused on what protection the amendments would bring to dissidents who fight for multi-party democracy.
They do not understand the current political system in China. As mentioned in my previous post “The Party’s Tiananmen Syndrome”, for a dynasty, the state is its most valuable asset and all successors to throne have their top obligation not to lose it. So is the case for the cores of leadership of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) Dynasty. A multi-party democracy means the lost by the CCP Dynasty of its most valuable asset the state. How can we cherish the illusion that the CCP will provide any protection for such dissidents!
As for the emergence and characteristics of the CCP Dynasty, it’s too long for this post. Those who are interested can find my description in my book “Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements”.
Since Bo was a Maoist who upholds Maoism, he did not mind that what he did in his anti-organized crime campaign reminded people of Mao’s defying laws both human and divine in conducting the Cultural Revolution. He went further and launched a mass campaign of singing red songs to spread the propaganda for leftist values. Last year, he organized a 100,000-strong rally to sing revolutionary songs to celebrate the party’s 90th anniversary.
Mao’s image and the Party’s revolutionary past are so important for the legitimacy of the CCP Dynasty that according to Bo, six Politburo Standing Committee members – Wu Bangguo, Jia Qinglin, Li Changchun, Xi Jinping, He Guoqiang and Zhou Yongkang – had given his red culture campaign positive assessments.
Carried away by his success, Bo even kicked off a campaign that sent quotations from Mao to millions of mobile phone users. The talented intellectuals who have grabbed dominance of the Party and state had to take action to eliminate the revival of rule of person and the personality cult of Mao because those were the major elements of the Cultural Revolution. They secretly found traces of corruption in Bo and sowed discord between Bo and his close assistant Wang Lijun. What happened afterwards was known to all but the trick and intrigue behind the scene may perhaps remain unknown forever.
“Sound of ax and shadows in candle light, eternal mystery.” This is a well-known Chinese saying about palace coups originated from the abnormal death of Emperor Taizu of the Song Dynasty and his succession by his brother instead of his son. People heard sound of ax and saw shadows in candle light the night the emperor died and suspected that he was murdered by his brother, but as no one saw what really happened, it remains an eternal mystery.
However, people can infer from the abnormal death of Emperor Taizu’s sons after Taizu’s brother came to the throne that the story about the murder is believable.
Top-level power struggle in the party is kept strictly confidential. No wonder China watchers are frustrated in gathering information about what really happened in China.
However, we can still find clear signs for inference if we view events without bias and avoid being diverted by what we are obsessed with: the expectation of CCP’s amendment of law to allow people to overthrow the CCP Dynasty.
What I suffered during the Cultural Revolution was not serious compared with lots of much serious cases. My father was only imprisoned 3 years and stayed in a labor camp for 7 more years till his rehabilitation. I only got a conclusion of having committed serious political mistake for refusing to inform about him. However, the trauma of worry for my father, the experience of being struggled against and humiliated, etc made me unwilling to talk about the period ever since until now when I realized that if nobody writes about it, no one will really understand what happened then and historical records of the tyranny may be missing forever.
I have created an Anti-Tyranny group on Facebook and hope that people who have suffered will join this group and write about their sad experience to enable those ignorant of the tyranny to be informed and on their alert when such tyranny emerges again.
Like Hitler, Mao Was a Callous Killer
In a speech on August 10, 1959, Mao gave the reasons why there was no Hungarian Rebellion in China, saying that since the communist takeover “more than one million counterrevolutionaries have been killed. Hungary has not killed any counterrevolutionaries. For the elimination of more than one million of the 600-odd million people, I think we shall shout hurrah for that.” (True Records of Lushan Meeting by Li Rui, ISBN 978-962-257-661-2, p 336) The counterrevolutionaries referred to in his speech were mostly unarmed civilians put to death in peacetime. The terror lies in his pride and joy in the killing.
Mao’s Two Fits of Domestic Madness with Heavy Death Toll
Mao’s mad campaign the Great Leap Forward giving rise to a death toll of 20 to 40 million people is now well-known the world over. Frank Dikötter gives an astonishing, riveting, magnificently detailed account of it in his book Mao’s Great Famine.
Mao’s second fit of madness the Cultural Revolution is even more famous. It was at first hailed in America as a campaign with lofty ideal. There were no statistics of the death toll and the number of victims. People who personally experienced it like me know that the number was enormous. People outside China now know the evils of the campaign when the truth has come out, but Mao’s misunderstood image as an idealist remains in the minds of quite a few people.
Mao’s Fits of International Madness
Mao told Soviet leader Khrushchev in 1957 that he would fight a nuclear war to eliminate capitalism all over the world even if half of Chinese population–300 million then– died in the war. Taking into account of China’s poor economy and backward weapons then, Mao was much madder than Tojo Hideki. However, when I was studying in a university in Anhui, China in 1958, there was hot enthusiasm for communism among the students there. Some of my close classmates talked about Mao’s words and said in private (not openly to please Party cadres) that they admired Mao that he represented Chinese people in saying that we Chinese were willing to make the greatest national sacrifice for communism. Mao was able to make quite a few Chinese people as mad as him because elements of Maoism are deeply rooted in China’s popular culture for infection of his madness. That is China’s most serious problem.
You cannot believe that unless you have personally experienced it. At the beginning of the Cultural Revolution, I was amazed to see students even those in prestigious universities turned into mad Red Guards overnight and later discipline-abiding workers turned into rebels promptly.
in his book On China,Henry Kissinger says that Mao brought the world to the brink of nuclear war twice in the two Taiwan crises in the 1950s.
Mao’s Export of Revolution
1. Mao transferred 50,000 experienced troops with weapons to increase Kim Il-sung’s troops to 231,000 for invasion of South Korea and sent troops to fight against America to preserve North Korea’s communist regime.
2. Mao trained and armed Vietnamese communists, sent lots of military advisers to help drive away France and establish communist North Vietnam, sent troops into Vietnam for logistic support, etc. and provided aids worth billions of yuan to help them take over South Vietnam.
3. Mao helped Khmer Rouge rise to power in Cambodia in 1975. Mao’s “ideal” of “purifying the society” inspired Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot, resulting in the Killing Fields.
4. Mao provided substantial aids to communists and guerillas all over the world in spite of China’s own economic difficulties.
You can find description of those activities in quite a few Chinese Communist officials’s memoirs. General Qiu Huizuo who was in charge of the logistic department of the PLA for more than 20 years until September 1971 mentioned such activities in his memoir that was recently published in Hong Kong.
Mao, an Idealist?
Mao’s propaganda on his Cultural Revolution made quite a few people believe he was an idealist. Having curried favor with Mao, Kissinger strives to sell Mao’s image as an idealist in his book On China. His trickiest advertisement is that he says that of Mao’s four titles: the Great Teacher, Great Leader, Great Commander and Great Helmsman, Mao told Kissinger Mao only wanted to keep the title of “Teacher” as if Mao was a loving teacher. Mao persecuted people but that was the punishment given by Mao the strict teacher for purifying his pupils, Kissinger hints.
However, Mao was not a loving but a cruel tyrannous teacher, whose teachings you were not to trifle with. Non-acceptance of or doubting any of his teachings or instructions was a crime. One would be severely punished even if one revealed it in one’s diary. In 1970, Zhang Yihe, a common clerk then but a well-known writer now, wrote in her diary upon Mao’s promotion of his wife Jiang Qing the Chinese saying “When a man becomes immortal, even his hens and dogs become immortal, too”. She got a sentence of 20-year imprisonment for that. When I was in Shanghai then, persecution and imprisonment for dissent in people’s diaries were common phenomena.
Mao’s Cruel Persecution of Dissidents
People know well that in 1957 Mao coaxed intellectuals into criticizing the Party and then labeled 550,000 intellectuals as rightists to persecute in order to silence voice of opposition. However, they do not know very clearly that more than 3 million people were persecuted as rightists in 1959 because they aired their opposition to Mao’s mad Great Leap Forward in order to prevent the disaster it would cause to China. They failed to stop Mao’s madness and at least 20 million people died due to Mao’s madness. Red Guard’s cruel persecution of innocent people and Party and state cadres is well known now, but quite a few people believe that it was over by 1969 when lots of Red Guard had been sent to the countryside. In fact, persecution did not stop.
In 1970, lots of young dissidents including some Party members openly said that Mao’s Cultural Revolution deviated from Marxism after they had diligently studied Marxist classics. Mao carried out a nation-wide One Strike-Three Anti Campaign and according to official figure, by November 1970 arrested 280,000 dissidents labeled as “counterrevolutionaries”. Those young dissidents were brave and wanted an open debate with Mao, but Mao “purified the society” by cruel torture, imprisonment and execution.
Zhang Zhixin was a typical case. The tortures she suffered and the cruelty of the Campaign can still be found on the Internet. My father was framed-up and arrested as a counterrevolutionary then. He told me that he heard noise of torture everyday when he was detained in a detention center in Shanghai for more than one year.
It is very clear that Mao’s “ideal” was not to “purify the society” but to establish his absolute authority. However, a man cruelly realizing such an “ideal” is normally regarded as a tyrant instead of idealist.
In my friend Craig Hill’s interesting blog entitled “Super Heroes Are Emotionally Unstable”, he pities superheroes as they cannot lead a normal life: They are too strong to have sex with the girls they love and not even able to have babies due to the super strength of their perms…
I told him that I enjoy his story, but what we shall really pity is the superheroes in real life in China. I said, “We need real superheroes in our real life. When China was suffering under Mao Zedong’s tyranny, we wanted real superheroes to put an end to the tyranny and Chinese people’s suffering from starvation, poverty and oppression.
“China has got superheroes to make it prosperous and allow people to have much more freedom than they had ever had before, but no one believes those talented people with moral integrity are real heroes, let alone superheroes. That is why I wrote my book ‘Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements.’
He replied, “China seems to be developing faster than it can keep pace with. I think there was one ‘superhero’ in the Chongqing Police Chief, but his future seems uncertain at this point in time.”
He meant Wang Lijun who was recently held by the central authority for spending a day in American consulate there. There was report that he tried to seek asylum there.
“That guy is not even a hero though he has achieved some success in fighting against Chinese Mafia.
“The superheroes I referred to are first of all the leaders of Tiananmen Protests. If one has not lived under the terror of the Communist rule and personally known the cruel torture and killing of dissidents, one cannot really understand the courage needed to be such leaders. They are first of all the real superheroes with moral integrity.
“They wanted to bring down the Communist rule but failed. Can people who have failed to achieve their great goal be regarded as superheroes? Yes, they can because they have made great contribution in helping another group of superheroes achieve the goal left unachieved by them.
“In my book, I point out that before the Tiananmen Protests, China’s reform and opining-up was doomed to fail because of powerful conservatives’ resistance. Those conservatives represented the majority of the Party members who were then uneducated or poorly educated workers and peasants stubbornly advocating Maoist public ownership and planned economy.
“On the other hand, I describe in my book the emergence of a new generation of talented scholars with moral integrity who were studying hard and making preparations for seizing state power. One of their plans was to joint the Chinese Communist Party, rise to the top and transform it. They joined Jiang Zemin’s Shanghai faction and helped him take advantage of the pervasive fear created by the Tiananmen Protests throughout the Party to successfully carry out a silent peaceful coup d’état to substitute scholars’ dominance of the Party and state for uneducated workers and peasants’ dominance.
“Some of China’s current leaders are the oldest of the new generation and Xi Jinping and others are the youngest of the generation. Those who have played important role in the coup are Chinese people’s superheroes. If Xi Jinping and others are able to overcome the tremendous difficulties China will encounter in continuing its marvelous growth, they will also be China’s superheroes though not so great as their predecessors.
“They are only a small number of people. Can they have achieved such a great goal? China has a long history of good rule by a few elite scholars. For their current success, I would like to quote talented former premier Zhu Rongji’s recent speech. On January 18 this year he said that when he worked in Shanghai “under the leadership of President Jiang Zemin”, in order to have a satisfactory clean government in Shanghai and enable Shanghai to achieve successes however great, he only had to “watch closely our 506 bureau-level officials and give play to their talents”.
“The coup described in my book was one of the greatest revolutions in human history. It is too long a story to be covered by this short comment. If you are interested, please give me your mail address and I will send you a free copy of my book by airmail.”
There have been super tyrants such as Hitler, Mao Zedong and Qin Shihuang. However, there are still a small number of people who do not believe that Hitler is a super tyrant in spite of the facts of his launching of war and massacre of innocent people. Absurd enough, despite Mao caused the death of at least 40 million people in his great famine and the disaster of the Cultural Revolution, there are still quite a few people in the world who regard Mao Zedong as an idealist. Well-known American diplomat Henry Kissinger also tries to market Mao’s that image in his best-seller “On China”.
Qin Shihuang was denounced in China for over 2,000 years until his rehabilitation by a similar super tyrant Mao Zedong. For justification of the legitimacy of the rule of the Chinese Communist Party, the Party wanted earnestly to beautify Mao’s image. It has, therefore, encouraged the making of the film “Hero” to market Qin Shihuang’s image as a great emperor who unified China. According to their logics, Mao was similarly great as Mao also unified China.
There are clear records of Qin Shihuang’s crimes in Chinese history, but very few foreigners can read them as they are all in classic Chinese difficult even for Chinese college graduates to read. Now the image of that super tyrant as a great emperor is quite well-accepted in the West due to the success of the film “Hero”. The Chinese Communist Party has succeeded in making Westerners pay for being brainwashed.
As for superheroes, people do not even believe that there is any in real world. They take for granted China’s success in putting an end to starvation and poverty and achieving tremendous economic growth and never ask who have been able to make such unbelievable achievements in spite of repeated prediction of imminent collapse of Chinese economy. For example Gordon Chang’s prediction on the collapse of Chinese economy was well founded but Chinese superheroes were so unbelievably wise that they have succeeded in overcoming the difficulties regarded by ordinary people as insurmountable.
As China’s official history often distorts the facts, I have to write my book to denounce the super tyrant and praise the superheroes. Otherwise, no one will know those facts in the future.