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Left-Wing Monster: Mao Zedong: Footnotes By: Steve Mosher
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, December 06, 2005


[1] Jung Chang and John Halliday, Mao: The Unknown Story (New York: Knopf, 2005), pp. 5-7.

[2] Ibid, p. 8.

[3] “Marginal notes to Friedrich Paulsen, A System of Ethics,” Mao Zedong zaoqi wengao (Early Manuscripts of Mao Zedong), CCP Archive Study Office And CCP Hunan Committee, eds. (Changsha: Hunan chubanshe,1990) pp. 116-275.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Chang and Halliday, p. 333.

[6] Mao Zedong, Mao Zhuxi shici sanshiqi shi (Thirty-seven poems of Chairman Mao) (Beijing: Renmin chubanshe, 1964). Translation by the author.

[7] Mao Zedong, Selected Works, vol. 4, 195; cited in Fu, Autocratic Tradition, 188. Some sources have 46 thousand instead of 460 thousand.

[8] During the Cultural Revolution, PLA Marshal Peng Dehuai told the Red Guards who were persecuting him that “Comrade Mao Zedong is more familiar with Chinese history than anyone else in the Party. The first emperor of a dynastic era was always very wise, and very ferocious.” Wang Xizhe, “On Socialist Democracy,” in On Socialist Democracy and the Chinese Legal System, eds. A. Chan, Stanley Rosen, and J. Unger (Armonk, New York: Sharpe, 1985).

[9] See my Hegemon: China’s Plan to Dominate Asia and the World (Encounter. 1990), for an extended discussion of this point.

[10] See Chang and Halliday, p. 19.

[11] Ibid, p. 19.

[12] Ibid., p. 58.

[13] Ibid., p. 63.

[14] Ibid., photographs.

[15] Christian Science Monitor, 30 August 1944. 

[16] See my China Misperceived: American Illusions and Chinese Reality (Basic Books, 1990), Chapter Three, “The Age of Infatuation.”

[17] This is usually translated as “rectification campaign, which is unnecessarily abstruce.  The Chinese literally means a “correction blast/wind,” which is closer to the truth.

[18] Chang and Halliday, p. 244.

[19] John K. Fairbank, “China: Time for a Policy,” Atlantic Monthly, April 1957, pp. 35-39.

[20] Mao Zedong, “ ‘Friendship’ or Aggression,” Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung, vol. 4 (Beijing: Foreign Language Press, 1969), 447–49. This speech was a response to the U.S. State Department’s white paper on China, formally called United States Relations with China, and Secretary of State Dean Acheson’s “Letter of Transmittal” of same to President Truman, both of which were published on August 5, 1949.

[21] Chang and Halliday, p. 381.

[22] Chang and Halliday, p. 426.

[23] I give many examples of this in my China Misperceived: American Illusions and Chinese Reality (New York: Basic Books, 1991), esp. pp. 106-118. 

[24]Edgar Snow, The Other Side of the River: Red China Today (New York: Random House, 1961), p.122.

[25] John K. Fairbank, The U.S. and China, Third Edition (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1971), p. 374.

[26] Personal conversation, 28 August 1998.

[27] This would not be the only time that Stalin attempted to restrain Mao. At the end of 1947, when the Red Army had swept the field in North China, Stalin suggested to Mao that he not cross the Yangtze to finish off the Nationalist armies in the south. “Stalin wanted to prevent China from making revolution,” Mao later recalled, “saying we should not have a civil war and should cooperate with Chiang Kai-shek, otherwise the Chinese nation would perish. But we did not do what he said. The revolution was victorious. . . . After the victory of the revolution [Stalin] next suspected China of being a Yugoslavia, and that I would become a second Tito.” Here Mao must have had his tongue firmly in cheek, for he had always been “a Tito.” Despite his public posture of deference to Stalin, he was privately determined not to allow Soviet bases or troops on Chinese soil. Mao Zedong, “Speech at the Tenth Plenum of the Eighth Central Committee,” 24 September 1962, reprinted in Schram, Chairman Mao Talks, 191.

[28] Edgar Snow, Red Star Over China (New York: Grove Press, 1961), p. 110.

[29] Mao Zedong, “Talks at the Chengdu Conference,” March 1958, reprinted in Schram, Chairman Mao Talks, 101. Mao also complained about the Soviets’ two “colonies” of the Northeast and Xinjiang. Although under Chinese control, the Soviets had insisted upon retaining special privileges in these two border regions, where people of any third country were not allowed to reside.

[30] Stalin seems to have taken a softer line in China than in Eastern Europe, deciding in the end not to bind it to the Soviet Union by force, but by economic aid and compromise. Still, given Mao’s assertive nationalism, even Stalin’s uncharacteristically velvet-glove approach would have failed within a few years had it not been for the outbreak of hostilities on the Korean Peninsula, which reforged the Sino-Russian alliance in the crucible of war, delaying for a decade the Sino-Soviet split.

[31] Samuel Wells, “The Lessons of the Korean War,” in The Korean War: a 25-Year Perspective, ed. Francis Heller (Kansas, 1977). Although Russia was in the process of giving back much of this territory, other irritants remained. Outer Mongolia remained a Soviet puppet state, having been detached from China in the twenties. Much of the Russian Far East and Central Asia had also once been Chinese territory. Even more important was China’s resurgent ambition—which Acheson, viewing China at its nadir, would perhaps have had difficulty taking seriously—to resume its proper place as the Hegemon.

[32] Those who believe that the Communist Party Chairman was frightened by the thought of American forces reaching his borders should consider that those forces
at the time numbered only 200,000, scarcely enough to undertake the conquest of a continent guarded by four million battle-hardened PLA troops. Even at its peak strength in July 1953, the U.N. Command stood at 932,539 ground forces. Republic of Korea (ROK) army and marine forces accounted for 590,911 of that force, and U.S. Army and Marine forces for another 302,483. By comparison, other U.N. ground forces totaled some 39,145 men, 24,085 of whom were provided by British Commonwealth Forces (Great Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) and 5,455 of whom came from Turkey. See Harry G. Summers, “The Korean War: A Fresh Perspective”, Military History 13 (April 1996), 1.

[33] Schram, Chairman Mao Talks, 128. Even today, PLA generals boast of their “victories” over the United States. Take Lieutenant General Li Jijun, Vice-President of the PRL’s Academy of Military Science, who has written, “To fight against a superior force and win victory is the highest honor for our army. From the end of the Second World War to the Gulf War, the United States fought two local wars, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, and in both suffered defeat. In both, its opponent was China. In the Korean War, it was the direct opponent, and in the Vietnam War, it was the indirect opponent. . . . To fight against a superior force and win victory is the highest honor for our army.” Li Jijun, “Notes on Military Theory and Military Strategy,’ in Chinese Views of Future Warfare, ed. Michael Pillsbury, 2d ed. (Washington, D.C.: National Defense University Press, 1998), 230.

[34] John Gittings, The World and China, 1922–75 (London: Eyre Methuen, 1974), 236. Mao Zedong, “Talks at the Chengdu Conference: On the Problem of Stalin,” March 1958, in Schram, Chairman Mao Talks, 98–99. Mao also began quietly questioning the way the Soviet “Elder Brothers” treated other countries within the Communist bloc. When unrest broke out in Poland and Hungary following Khrushchev’s anti-Stalin speech, he initially urged Khrushchev to withdraw all Soviet troops from these and other Eastern European countries. He mediated Polish-Soviet tensions following the election of reformer Wladyslaw Gomulka as party first secretary, helping to prevent Soviet armed intervention. Lowell Dittmer, “China’s Search for Its Place in the World,” in Contemporary Chinese Politics in Historical Perspective, ed. Brantly Womack (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 213, based on a 1985 interview by the author with a member of the Institute of Soviet and Eastern European Studies in the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing.

[35] Strobe Talbot, ed., Khrushchev Remembers: The Last Testament (Boston: Little, Brown, 1974), 269. Mao’s pleasure over the signing of this agreement perhaps explains his mid-November visit to Moscow—his last. The occasion was a conference of leaders from Communist countries to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the October Revolution. Mao, not given to self-effacing remarks, declared at this event that “Our camp must have a head, because even a snake has a head. I would not agree that Chinese should be called head of the camp, because we do not merit this honor and cannot maintain this role, we are still poor. We haven’t even a quarter of a satellite, while the Soviet Union has two. . . . The socialist camp is headed by the USSR.” Quoted by Enver Hoxha, in The Artful Albanian: Memoirs of Enver Hoxha, ed. Jon Halliday (London: Chatto and Windus, 1986), 215.

[1][36] Indeed, just two months before he had told a meeting of the Military Affairs Commission that Chinese military theory and experience (which is to say, Mao’s own) were superior to those of the Soviets.

[37] Talbot, 269.

[38] Mao, “Speech at the Enlarged Session of the Military Affairs Committee and the External Affairs Conference,” 11 September 1959, Schram, Chairman Mao Talks, 151.

[39] At the Tenth Plenum of the Central Committee in 1962, Mao recalled his escalating troubles with Soviet leaders: “In 1958 Khrushchev wanted to set up a Soviet-Chinese combined fleet in order to seal us off [from attacking the offshore islands held by Taiwan]. At the time of the border dispute with India, he supported Nehru. At the dinner on our National Day he attacked us. . . . Today . . . we are called ‘adventurists, nationalists, dogmatists.’ ” Mao’s speech became public knowledge in the West only after it was published in 1969. Laszlo Ladany, The Communist Party of China and Marxism: A Self-Portrait, 1921–1985 (Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1988), 267–68. Added to these insults was a real injury: Khrushchev’s suspension of all technical assistance to China. Perhaps because Mao did not want to appear the supplicant, he did not mention that in 1960 Soviet engineers and technicians in China had rolled up their blueprints and returned home, cutting China off from its only source of modern technology.

[40] Ladany, Communist Party of China, 321. At the end of his speech, Lin Biao quoted Mao’s great 1962 prophecy that within 50 to 100 years the world would go through a great transformation. Mao had not specified what the transformation would bring about, but it is likely that he meant China’s return to greatness. China News Analysis (Hong Kong), no. 756.

[41] Beijing had been forced to take these steps, Zhou Enlai explained at the time, because Tibetan officials had “colluded with imperialism, assembled rebellious bandits, carried out rebellion,” and—most incredibly of all—“put the Dalai Lama under duress.” Zhou’s claims were treated with the scorn they deserved. The U.S. State Department, on March 28, 1959, accused Communist China of a “barbarous intervention” and of attempting to “destroy the historical autonomy of the Tibetan people.” Even the normally placid Nehru charged on March 30 that the Chinese Communists had broken pledges to allow Tibet “full autonomy.” India sympathized with the Tibetan rebels, he said, and would admit refugees from Tibet on an individual basis.

[42] The Dalai Lama and his party of eighty officials, after an arduous 300-mile journey over the southern mountains of Tibet, reached India on March 31. He charged that Communist China was bent on the “complete absorption and extinction of the Tibetan race,” and that 65,000 Tibetans had been slain since 1956. T. N. Schroth et al., China and U.S. Far East Policy, 1946–1967 (Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly Series, 1967), 74–75, 92.

[43] The problem with these stories was that “there has been no systematic serfdom in Tibet for centuries. In 1879, an Indian scholar who had spent his life in the Himalayan area, Sarat Chandra Das, traveled to Lhasa and studied the social order. He found no trace of bonded servitude. He described a place (unlike caste-ridden India) where ‘the rich may bestow their daughters on the poor; the daughter of a poor man may become the bride of the proudest noble in the country.’ ” Barbara Crossette, “The Shangri-la that Never Was,” New York Times, 5 July 1998, 3.

[44] In April 1955, the Prime Ministers of Burma, Ceylon, India, Indonesia, and Pakistan invited a total of twenty-nine countries to an Asian-African Conference at Bandung in Indonesia. In addition to the sponsoring countries, there were Afghanistan, Cambodia, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, the Gold Coast, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Jordan, Laos, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Nepal, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, North Vietnam, South Vietnam, and Yemen. The list included countries allied with the Western powers, Communist countries, and neutral countries. The list did not include the Republic of China on Taiwan, North and South Korea, and Israel, which were regarded as being too controversial, and South Africa, which was barred on the grounds of its racial policies. The conference provided a platform for the expression of anti-colonial sentiments, and several Asian leaders also made strong public statements against Communist imperialism.

[45] On September 4 an obviously nonplussed Nehru announced that the Chinese Communists had accused India of “aggression” and demanded that India evacuate “Chinese territory.” At first he indicated that he would be willing to make some minor adjustments to the border, and called the dispute “rather absurd.” But Nehru was soon to admit that the Chinese claim was “much more serious” than he originally thought and “quite impossible for India ever to accept.” He declared that India had “undertaken the defense of Sikkim and Bhutan, and anything that happens on their borders is the same as if it happened on the borders of India.”

[46] This theory of yuan jiao jin gong was advocated by the Legalist scholar-strategist Fan Sui of the state of Qin during the Warring States period (481–221 B.C.).

[47] Qiang Zhai, China and the Vietnam Wars, 1950-1975 (Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press, 2000), p. 135.

[48] Cited in H. C. Hinton, China’s Turbulent Quest (New York: MacMillan, 1970), 67.

[49] D. D. Eisenhower, Mandate for Change, 1953–56 (New York: Doubleday, 1963), 462–463.

[50] The Joint Resolution on the Defense of Formosa was passed by the House on a vote of 409 to 3 on February 26, and by the Senate two days later on a vote of 85 to 3. The resolution gave Eisenhower precisely what he wanted, authorization to “employ the Armed Forces of the United States for protecting the security of Formosa, the Pescadores, and related positions and territories of that area.” Both the threat faced by Taiwan and the vital American interest at stake were specified with admirable clarity: “[C]ertain territories in the West Pacific under the jurisdiction of the Republic of China are now under armed attack, and threats and declarations have been and are being made by the Chinese Communists that such armed attack is in aid of and in preparation for armed attack on Formosa and the Pescadores. . . . the secure possession by friendly governments of the Western Pacific Island chain, of which Formosa is a part, is essential to the vital interests of the United States and all friendly nations in or bordering upon the Pacific Ocean.” Joint Resolution on Formosa, January 29, 1955, 84th Congress, 1st Session. United States Statutes at Large, vol. 69 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1955), 7.

[51] Dulles responded on April 26 by indicating his willingness to talk with the Chinese Communists about a cease-fire in the Taiwan Strait. He stressed that these talks would not imply official diplomatic

recognition of the Chinese Communist regime, nor would the U.S. discuss the interests of the ROC “behind its back.”

[52] Eisenhower, 482. The Geneva talks were upgraded from consular to ambassadorial level halfway through 1955, largely on the strength of a speech that Zhou Enlai had made all but promising to release 41 Americans detained by the PRC as “spies” and to renounce the use of force against Taiwan. Twelve were released over the months the followed, but Beijing sought to use the remaining 29 as bargaining chips. On September 10 Ambassador Wang Pingnan told Ambassador Johnson that all Americans would be released, if the U.S. agreed to higher-level discussions. Johnson replied that the U.S. would consider the matter only after the Americans had actually been released. Schroth et al., 74–75.

[53] President Eisenhower preferred that the Seventh Fleet merely patrol the Taiwan Strait rather than provide escorts for conveys. He assented to escort, however, with the proviso that American vessels should halt three miles off the unloading beaches, remaining in international waters. Frustrated in his plan to seize Jinmen by force, Mao fell back once more on political maneuvers, and requested talks with the U.S. Eisenhower, anxious to avoid a repetition of the explosive confrontation of September 7, agreed. On September 15 talks between the U.S. and the PRC were resumed in Warsaw after a hiatus of nearly a year. Dulles told a press conference that the odd and partial truce proved that “the killing is done for political purposes and promiscuously,” and that the Communists “are trying to save themselves from a loss of face and a defeat in the effort which they had initiated but had been unable to conclude successfully.” The ROC armed forces acquitted themselves well in the conflict. Thirty-one MIG-17s were shot down, 16 torpedo boats and gunboats were sunk, and a large number of PLA artillery batteries were destroyed. A total of 576,636 rounds of high explosives had fallen on Jinmen by November 22, resulting in some 3,000 civilian and 1,000 military casualties, and destroying many thousands of homes.

[54] Jonathan Wilkenfield, Michael Brecher, and Sheila Moser, eds., Crises in the Twentieth Century, vol. 2 (Oxford: Pergamon Press, 1988–89), 15, 161. Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (New York: Simon & Shuster, 1996), 258.

[55] Stuart Schram, ed., Chairman Mao Talks to the People (New York: Random House, 1974).

[56] Quoted in my China Misperceived: American Illusions and Chinese Reality (New York: Basic Books, 1990), p. 110.

[57] Ibid., p. 159.

[58] Ibid., p. 159, 134.

[59] “Memorandum of Conversation between Chairman Mao Zedong and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger on 12 November 1973” in The Kissinger Transcripts: The Top Secret Talks with Beijing and Moscow, ed. William Burr (New York: The New Press, 1998), 187. This was not the only time that Mao protested Russian land grabs to Kissinger. At an earlier meeting, he spoke of how the Russians “didn’t fire a single shot and yet they were able to grab so many places.” While Premier Zhou Enlai chuckled ruefully in the background, he went on: “They grabbed the People’s Republic of Mongolia. They grabbed half of Xinjiang. It was called their sphere of influence. And Manchukuo, on the northeast, was also called their sphere of influence. ” Ibid., 91.

[60] Chang and Halliday, p. 628.

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Steven W. Mosher was the first American social scientist allowed to carry out fieldwork in Mao's China. He is the author of "Hegemon: China's Plan To Dominate Asia and the World."

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