Blog Archives

Revisiting Alleged 30 Million Famine Deaths During China’s Great Leap

Mao: intentional starver of millions?

Thirty years ago, a highly successful vilification campaign was launched against Mao Zedong, saying that a massive famine in which 27 to 30 million people died in China took place during the Great Leap period, 1958 to 1961, which marked the formation of the people’s communes under his leadership.  The main basis of this assertion was, first, the population deficit in China during 1958 to 1961 and, second, the work of two North American demographers, A J Coale (Rapid Population Change in China 1952-1982, 1982) and Judith Banister (China’s Changing Population, 1987).  No one bothered to look at the highly dubious method through which these demographers had arrived at their apocalyptic figures.

The ‘estimate’ was later widely publicised by Amartya K Sen, who built an entire theory saying that democratic freedom, especially press freedom, in India meant that famine was avoided while its absence in China explains why the world did not know that such a massive famine had taken place until as much as a quarter century later when the North American demographers painstakingly uncovered it. Read the rest of this entry


Tiananmen ’89 & The Rebellion of the Chinese Working Class

Beijing workers arrive at Tiananmen Square May 18, 1989

This appeared on the website of the Kasama Project and was written by Hong Huar. Note that posting this is not an endorsement of the Kasama Project, rather it is posted out of interest and to stimulate discussion.

There is a section of the left that offers an account of the 1989 Tiananmen movement, according to which the movement was comprised overwhelmingly of students (in terms of its sociological composition), and advanced a set of objectives accused of potentially accelerating the process of capitalist restoration in China and, by undermining if not ultimately overthrowing the Chinese government, created an opening for the United States to enhance its strategic position in the region.

These arguments are supported through multiple forms of evidence such as comments made by individual student leaders both during and after the demonstrations, as well as particular decisions made by certain groups of demonstrators, such as the decision to construct a replica of the State of Liberty and to present banners and signs written in English. Read the rest of this entry

Remembering the Liberation of Sài Gòn

Yesterday, the 30th of April, marked the 36th anniversary of the liberation of Sài Gòn by the revolutionary forces of the People’s Army of Vietnam and the National Liberation Front, an event which lead to revolutionary reunification of the nation of Việt Nam. The liberation of Sài Gòn (renamed Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh or Hồ Chí Minh City) from the clutches of imperialism and its neocolonial puppets was the culmination of a struggle that saw the defeat of the empires of Japan, France and the United States by a people fueled entirely by their boundless courage and desire to be free.

True warriors never die. Long live all legends – Hồ Chí Minh, Lê Duẩn, Võ Nguyên Giáp and all revolutionary anti-imperialist heroes from Việt Nam and around the world!