Download Forgotten Voices of Mao’s Great Famine, 1958-1962: An Oral by Xun Zhou PDF

By Xun Zhou

ISBN-10: 0300184042

ISBN-13: 9780300184044

In 1958, China’s respected chief Mao Zedong instituted a software designed to remodel his gigantic state right into a Communist utopia. referred to as the good step forward, Mao’s grand scheme—like such a lot of different utopian goals of the 20 th century—proved a enormous catastrophe, leading to the mass destruction of China’s agriculture, undefined, and exchange whereas leaving huge parts of the nation-state ceaselessly scarred by means of man-made environmental mess ups. The ensuing three-year famine claimed the lives of greater than forty five million humans in China.
In this impressive oral historical past of recent China’s maximum tragedy, survivors of the cataclysm percentage their stories of the devastation and loss. the variety of voices is large: urban dwellers and peasants, students and manufacturing facility staff, mom and dad who misplaced little ones and kids who have been orphaned within the disaster all communicate out. strong and deeply relocating, this targeted remembrance of an pointless and unhindered disaster illuminates a depressing contemporary background that is still formally unacknowledged to today by way of the chinese language executive and opens a window on a society nonetheless feeling the impression of the bad nice Famine.

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Extra resources for Forgotten Voices of Mao’s Great Famine, 1958-1962: An Oral History

Example text

The canteen collected food from individual families. I did nothing to oppose it—I had to do whatever the cadres above 25 T H E T R A G E DY O F C O L L E C T I V I Z AT I O N me told me to do. . My family was classified as “middle” peasants. People like us had food at home. When we had our land we could harvest between five hundred and two thousand kilograms of rice a year. During collectivization, all our food was taken away by the canteen—that was the policy. We were not even allowed to cook at home.

Everyone except the elderly was sent to work up on the hill. We slept in a temporary shelter made of dried sorghum stalks. It was huge, everyone slept in it. . The People’s Commune was like a military organization— anyone who refused to follow orders would be punished. People were regularly deprived of food. Food, animals, and seeds all belonged to the commune. There was no proper system of distribution. If one brigade had no food to eat, they took food from another brigade, since everything belonged to the commune.

I was just a young man, an ordinary farmer. I knew nothing about Party politics. . One thing that happened in the commune was the eradication of illiteracy. Everyone had to study Mandarin. Even old grandmothers had to learn to read and write. At their age, how much could they take in? The more they were forced to learn, the more confused they became. . Before the commune, grain was distributed to individual families, and half of it was used to feed the pigs and the chickens. Almost every family kept pigs at that time.

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