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« Thinking of Snowflakes, again | Main | Daoist Thoughts on Newtown »

December 03, 2012


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Sam, there you go again trying to harsh our orientalist Chinese-accept-getting-treated-like-filth-'cause-they're-'Confucian' mellow.

This was a truly great article. I knew about Tombstone but had mistakenly thought it was a perhaps daring, but dry scholarly work. How wrong I was. Will buy the book immediately. Thank you very much.

Mr. Crane,
As someone interested in Chinese politics and history I am sure you are aware that despite over 2 millenniums of scorn and vituperation by Confucian scholars qin Shihuangdi was still admired by many, especially some powerful emperors throughout the ages which I include Mao here. The reason is not that difficult to see if you list his accomplishments; unification of China, language, standardize of measures, transportation networks, and bureaucracy. If you count all the deaths from war and famines 300-400 years previous to his rule, from the Spring and Autumn to Warring States it was staggering compare to the casualties of his unification which would be in the millions. From the tombs of his ancestors 200 years previous, today we excavated bones of wives and concubines and slaves buried alive with them. Yet we excavated Terra Cotta warriors from the tomb of the First Emperor which speaks volumnes of the changes even then. For 2,000 years since we may have Confucianism as official philosophy yet were ruled essentially by the First Emperor's method of Legalism. Mao may be a wannabe and have blood in his hand for his misjudgment in Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution and history will have its verdict. I agree with your opinion on Mao Mausoleum and its imitation of Lenin, but that was the error of his successor and it will take time to correct. China has at present bigger fish to fry than de-Maofication as you demanded. We have in the last 50 years the Vietnam War and Iraq and Afganistan Wars which mained and killed millions not to mention is bankrupting us yet where is the Confucian reflections.

Nice post. Stomping on Mao is heresy for some, and I imagine the worshipers will be out in full force shortly.

Stomping on Mao is silly. It just alienates the Chinese who read this, and confirms the widespread that Westerners mean no good towards China and the Chinese.

Mao didn't care?? Mao was inhumane?

1949 1976
(when Mao died)

Literacy 15% 70%
Life expectancy 41 65

It's fitting that Chinese who feel nostalgic about Mao-era China do tours of North Korea -- then applaud when their train passes back across the Yalu the way passengers on a bumpy plane ride do when landing.

A very useful post in bringing out the Confucian elements which are internalized to the point where individuals are not conscious of them. (But the picture is of students dredging a swimming pool for themselves -- maybe another picture would be more appropriate?)

Mao was proud of killing his countrymen at a rate greater than Qin.

Fucking bullshit.

Here is the truth (research by Stanford demographers):

"Indeed, despite the higher death rates associated with the Great Leap Famine of 1959-1961, China’s growth in life expectancy from 35~40 in 1949 to 65.5 in 1980 ranks as the most rapid sustained increase in documented global history."

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