Human Events Daily host Jack Posobiec released part 2 of The China Files: Chaos under Heaven on Tuesday. Part one discussed the decline and fall of the Xing dynasty, the last empire of China, World War II, and the Chinese civil war, as well as the rise of Chairman Mao Ze Dong, who went from the son of a peasant farmer to become “the most brutal revolutionary leader the world had ever seen.”
After 1949, Chairman Mao became the undisputed leader and dictator of the Chinese Communist Party. Mao could, with a single word, order executions, order young girls taken to him, and exercise his absolute power.
“The first thing he began to use with that power was the agricultural reforms,” Posobiec explained, which were “possibly in response to his father brutally treating him and his brothers.”
“The Chinese Communist Party went into every single peasant village and they found anyone who owned land. If you owned land, that land was taken from you.”
Posobiec explained that landlords and landowners were “shunned, publicly mocked, and in some cases, brutally executed by the Chinese Communist Party.” This exercise saw millions dead.
“These were called ‘legitimate grievances’ against the landowners. It was a new class war. Mao himself actually described it as this in 1950. Land reform and a population of over 300 million people is a vicious war. It is more arduous, more complex, and more troublesome than crossing the Yang Xi river because our troops are 260 million peasant soldiers. This is a war for land reform. This is the most hideous class war between peasants and landlords. It is a battle to the death.'”
“It’s hard to tell how many landlords were actually systemically murdered by the Chinese Communist Party during this time, but it wasn’t just landlords that were targeted because Mao soon realized that factory owners, factory managers, and academics all caused problems for him. And so, Mao continued to go after all of them. but for academics, Mao had a new idea, because Mao came up with something called ‘The Hundred Flowers Campaign.'”
“At one point in 1956, Chairman Mao encouraged intellectuals, academics, and writers, to speak out and let 100 flowers bloom. Tell us the truth of what you believe our country has been up to since the founding of the People’s Republic,” Posobiec explained “Just go ahead and let us know, and don’t worry, nothing will happen to you.”
“Well, it shouldn’t begin to be very hard to tell you what happened to all those people,” said Posobiec. “Every single person who spoke out against Chairman Mao was locked up, discredited. They lost their jobs, they were forced into Gulags and labor camps, they were sent away for ‘re-education.'”
Many of them were pushed to suicide or persecuted to the point where they would take their own lives rather than live through continued persecution at the hands of the authorities and the Chinese Communist Party.
“Hundreds of thousands of leaders, intellectuals, professors, were targetted in what was called ‘the anti-right wing movement. Because any criticism of the party was seen as right-wing extremism.”
Posobiec warned that this phrase would be heard more and more as the conversation goes on. “Because right-wing extremism, according to Chairman Mao, was the enemy of the revolution, and anyone who opposed him was a right-wing extremist.”
“It was a year before the intellectuals gained the courage to respond to Mao’s call, but in terms of the education system, there were bitter complaints about copying the Soviet Union, the fact that Marxist Lennonism was held up as orthodox doctrine to be accepted without question, wider social criticism focused on the authoritarian role and various cases of abuse of the privilege of the new political elites.’
The new elites, Posobiec says, are those that Mao put into power, “but Mao didn’t care, he was looking to make a list of enemies. For every person who came out, they were criticized, they were persecuted, and many of whom were later sent to the farms themselves.”
Intellectuals were sent in the 1950s and 60s to work on farms. Another group that was persecuted was the church.
“Christianity in China began to be persecuted. Churches were closed, missionaries were forced out. You didn’t yet have the mass killings of priests and nuns, the rapes. That would come later, but during this period, the Chinese Communist Party like all Communist Parties understood that only one ideology could be allowed to operate. And so any church that remained in China, any individual congregation had to be forced, the priests themselves had to pledge allegiance to the Chinese Communist Party, or they, too, would be purged and sent to the countryside. If they were a foreigner, they’d be deported from the country or even worse. Because in a communist revolution, they always come for the priests first. They always come for the people of God. Because for communism to take hold and take root, there cannot be any higher power than the Party, which is always officially atheist.
“They smash God, they take him out of the public square, and they appoint themselves and the revolution the new morality,” said Posobiec to finish off the intro.
The remainder of the episode then goes into the early days of the Communist Party’s hostile takeover of China.
“Mao believed Utopia had not yet been reached. Millions had been killed, millions more deported, and millions more were taken out of their positions of power and sent to serve as peasants. The peasants, then, were placed in charge of the farms, in charge of the factories and industrial output, and yet nothing seemed to be working,” said Posobiec.
Mao then decided that industrial manufacturing and agricultural growth needed to move “faster, better, and cheaper.” He would then introduce a new policy titled “The Great Leap Forward.”
The Great Leap forward had two objectives: To industrialize society and the economy to catch up with the west, and to transform China into a collectivized society, where full socialism would be achieved.
“This was done through collective communes, those massive farms would no longer be owned by any one individual, they’d be owned by the state, and the party. You wouldn’t even live in your own home anymore, you’d live in dormitories or blocks. You wouldn’t make your own food, you’d be served at cafeterias and canteens. You’d be given the opportunity to have a collective meal. Collective work, education, and life. You’d live at the beck and call of the state.”
Mao said that a different path needed to be taken than the Soviet Union. A way needed to be found to organize all peasant labor and eliminate waste and inefficiency. This led to Mao’s realization that the only one who could direct all this would be himself.
Mao then introduced a new “jingle”: Communism is paradise, and the people’s communes are the way to get there.
Private property was confiscated, and land, farm buildings, tools, livestock, and private homes were all confiscated by the government.
“Officially, everyone was supposed to have at least six hours sleep every day, but some brigades boasted of working up to four or five days without stopping,” Phillip Short, a historian, wrote.
Mao was also obsessed with steel. Posobiec explained that Mao wanted more steel and faster. So he came up with a new policy called “backyard furnaces.”
Mao looked at the Soviet Union which had massive smelteries. But in China, they decided to have so-called backyard furnaces. All farmers and those who owned iron were ordered by Chairman Mao to go into one’s own backyard with hammers, scythes, and equipment, to smelt it down in “backyard furnaces.”
All farm equipment in China was melted, including household items like cooking utensils.
“Did this lead to a new birth of bountiful harvest for China? Did these massive communist policies lead to the greatest export and bountiful harvest that we’ve ever seen in the world? Unfortunately not. Because unfortunately for us, the same way that this was tried under the founder of Lysenkoism, Trofim Lysenko.”