Mistranslating Mao in Chengdu, 1958

If you’re thinking much these days about Mao Zedong’s role in triggering massive famine in China during the Great Leap Forward (1958-61), you aren’t alone. In recent years, big histories in English have been published of the Great Leap by the historian Frank Dikotter and journalist Yang Jisheng, respectively, new sources compiled and translated by Zhou Xun, and excellent comparative monographs and edited volumes produced … Continue reading Mistranslating Mao in Chengdu, 1958

Revisiting Mao’s Role in the ‘Three-Anti’ Campaign

If there is one thing that appears certain about contemporary China and Chinese historical studies, it is that Mao’s role in sparking and sustaining violence during the period of his rule (1949-1976) will invariably provoke controversy and contention. On this blog, we have  previously delved into Mao’s interactions with the ultra-hardline Tao Zhu in Guangxi in the early 1950s, and made reference to Frank Dikotter’s … Continue reading Revisiting Mao’s Role in the ‘Three-Anti’ Campaign

Reading and Writing Chinese-North Korean Cold War History

Tian Wuxiong, a Ph.D. candidate in modern history at Peking University, has produced a nicely nuanced view of the withdrawal of the Chinese People’s Volunteers from the North. Tian has a good grasp of the Chinese historiography and produced a paper, entitled “Different Intentions with One Voice: The Making of Chinese Troops’ Withdrawal Package from the DPRK in 1958 / 同声异汽:中国1958年从朝鲜全部退军方案的形成” published by Harvard Working Paper series.  … Continue reading Reading and Writing Chinese-North Korean Cold War History

Mao Zedong as a Father: Nianpu Notes from January 1951

In the six big volumes of Mao Zedong Nianpu (1949-1976) published in Beijing this past December 2013, a number of new texts can be located, and minor mysteries solved. I was fortunate to pick up copies of all six volumes on a recent trip to Shanghai. Chronologically organized, the writing in January 1951 is particularly interesting. Having decided in October to go to war in Korea, and … Continue reading Mao Zedong as a Father: Nianpu Notes from January 1951