O que é este blog?

Este blog trata basicamente de ideias, se possível inteligentes, para pessoas inteligentes. Ele também se ocupa de ideias aplicadas à política, em especial à política econômica. Ele constitui uma tentativa de manter um pensamento crítico e independente sobre livros, sobre questões culturais em geral, focando numa discussão bem informada sobre temas de relações internacionais e de política externa do Brasil. Para meus livros e ensaios ver o website: www.pralmeida.org. Para a maior parte de meus textos, ver minha página na plataforma Academia.edu, link: https://itamaraty.academia.edu/PauloRobertodeAlmeida;

Meu Twitter: https://twitter.com/PauloAlmeida53

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/paulobooks

terça-feira, 21 de julho de 2020

O genocídio de Mao: o Grande Salto para Trás, 1958-1962 - livro Tombstone - Yang Jisheng

Farrar, Strauss, 2012

Introduction by Edward Friedman and Roderick MacFarquhar

Yang Jisheng was born in 1940, joined the Communist Party in 1964, and worked for the Xinhua News Agency from January 1968 until his retirement in 2001. He is now a deputy editor at Yanhuang Chunqiu (Chronicles of History), an official journal that regularly skirts censorship with articles on controversial political topics. A leading liberal voice, he published the Chinese version of Tombstone in Hong Kong in May 2008. Eight editions have been issued since then.Yang Jisheng lives in Beijing with his wife and two children. 

Kindle Edition: 

The much-anticipated definitive account of China's Great Famine
An estimated thirty-six million Chinese men, women, and children starved to death during China's Great Leap Forward in the late 1950s and early '60s. One of the greatest tragedies of the twentieth century, the famine is poorly understood, and in China is still euphemistically referred to as "the three years of natural disaster." 
As a journalist with privileged access to official and unofficial sources, Yang Jisheng spent twenty years piecing together the events that led to mass nationwide starvation, including the death of his own father. Finding no natural causes, Yang attributes responsibility for the deaths to China's totalitarian system and the refusal of officials at every level to value human life over ideology and self-interest. 
Tombstone is a testament to inhumanity and occasional heroism that pits collective memory against the historical amnesia imposed by those in power. Stunning in scale and arresting in its detailed account of the staggering human cost of this tragedy, Tombstone is written both as a memorial to the lives lost—an enduring tombstone in memory of the dead—and in hopeful anticipation of the final demise of the totalitarian system. Ian Johnson, writing in The New York Review of Books, called the Chinese edition of Tombstone "groundbreaking . . . One of the most important books to come out of China in recent years."

Tombstone: The Great Chinese Famine, 1958-1962 is methodical and factual, and it amounts to a devastatingly clear account of Mao and his era. In the me of building Communist utopia overnight, farmworkers were diverted to labor on industry and infrastructure; agricultural work was collectivized and thrown into disorder; high-ranking bureaucrats imposed useless and destructive pseudoscientific farming methods on the countryside. Local officials, vying to demonstrate the greatest commitment to progress, reported fraudulent crop yields, and the government requisitioned its due share of the non-existent bumper crops. Even with such shocking stories driving the narrative, the true horror of Tombstone is that it’s not sensational. It is, rather, a meticulous accumulation of evidence and fact. —Tom Scocca.

Henan is a rural province north of Shanghai and south of Beijing. The Chinese Communist Party’s “Three Red Banners” waved highest here, and the famine likewise hit hardest. Political movements set off the famine in Henan. Some seventy thousand Henan residents were labeled “rightists” in 1957—nearly 13 percent of those targeted in the Anti-Rightist Movement nationwide, and 15 percent of the province’s cadres.1 In 1958 a new campaign was launched against the “Pan, Yang, Wang rightist anti-party clique” within the party, which will be detailed later in this chapter.2 These two campaigns combined to create dread and fanaticism that led to wild exaggeration and horrendous brutality that in turn brought about a series of catastrophes—among which the “Xinyang Incident” is the most notable.

Xinyang Prefecture lies in the southeast of Henan, bordering the provinces of Hubei and Anhui. In 1958 the prefecture administered eighteen counties, the city of Xinyang, and the town of Zhumadian. It was home to 8.5 million people. Most of the prefecture consisted of mountain ranges that had served as bases for China’s revolutionary forces, and where hundreds of thousands of lives had been sacrificed in the civil war with the Kuomintang. Elderly residents say, “Even the trees and grasses of the Dabie Mountains served the Communist Party.” This lush region was the province’s main producer of grain and cotton and an abundant source of tea leaves, timber, bamboo, tung oil, and medicinal herbs. Scenic Jigong Shan (Rooster Mountain) is located here. In short, Xinyang, along with nearby Nanyang and Luoyang, was the economic engine of the province. Yet from the winter of 1959 to the spring of 1960, at least one million people starved to death here—one out of every eight residents.
Li Jian, an official of the CCP Central Control Commission (the precursor of the Discipline and Inspection Commission) sent to Henan in the wake of the famine, found that the largest number of starvation deaths occurred in Xinyang and two other prefectures: Nanyang and Xuchang. The most horrific situation became known as the “Xinyang Incident.”3
In September 1999, I went to Xinyang, accompanied by a senior reporter from Xinhua’s Henan branch, Gu Yuezhong, and a former Xinhua reporter who had been stationed in Xinyang during the famine, Lu Baoguo. Gu had excellent relations with local officials, but the Xinyang municipal party committee was clearly disconcerted by the purpose of our visit, and arranged a scenic tour of Rooster Mountain. Nonetheless, we managed to interview a number of cadres and villagers who had lived through the famine, and gained access to a number of documents that shed light on the Xinyang Incident.

In a political system such as China’s, those below imitate those above, and political struggles at the higher levels are replicated at the lower levels in an expanded and even more ruthless form. This is what happened in Xinyang.
Following the provincial-level campaign against the “Pan, Yang, Wang” clique and the campaign against right deviation, Xinyang’s Guangshan County on November 11, 1959, conducted a criticism, or “struggle,” session against the secretary of the CCP county secretariat, Zhang Fuhong, who was labeled a “right deviationist” and a “degenerate element.” During the struggle session, county party secretary Ma Longshan took the lead by kicking Zhang, after which others set upon him with fists and feet. Other struggle sessions were conducted by county-level cadres on November 13 and 14, during which Zhang was beaten bloody, his hair ripped out in patches, and his uniform torn to shreds, leaving him barely able to walk.
On November 15, Zhang was handed over to commune cadres, by which time he could only lie on the floor while he was kicked and punched and had what remained of his hair torn out. Another struggle session by commune cadres on November 16 left Zhang near death; by the time he was dragged home that day, he had lost control of his bodily functions and could no longer eat or drink. On November 17 he was accused of malingering and attacked again. On November 18 he was accused of pining for the return of Kuomintang leader Chiang Kai-shek and was dragged from his bed for more struggle. When he asked for water, he was refused. Around noon on November 19, Zhang Fuhong died.4
Xinyang’s deputy party secretary and prefectural commissioner, Zhang Shufan, subsequently related in his memoirs why Zhang Fuhong was targeted. In the spring of 1959, in order to alleviate famine conditions among the peasants, Ma Longshan sent Zhang Fuhong to a production team to launch a pilot project in which output quotas were assigned to each household. Other localities were doing the same, but following the political reversals of the Central Committee’s Lushan Conference,5 household output quotas were labeled right opportunism. Ma denied responsibility, saying Zhang Fuhong had initiated the use of quotas. Although Zhang insisted that Ma had assigned him to carry out the system,6 an official one level higher can crush his subordinate, and that is what happened here.
Campaigns against right deviation in other counties were similarly brutal. In Xi County, party secretary Xu Xilan directed a struggle session against deputy secretary Feng Peiran. Xu sat above Feng with a handgun at his side while someone held Feng by the neck as others beat and kicked him. According to Zhang Shufan’s memoirs, some twelve thousand struggle sessions were held in the prefecture,7 and all kinds of ridiculous statements were made under political pressure.
In 1958, Xinyang’s Suiping County was given nationwide publicity for Great Leap production successes referred to as Sputniks, or “satellites.” These “grand achievements” were attributed to the “struggle against right-deviating conservatism.” In an atmosphere of extreme political pressure, anyone who dared question the accuracy of these reported crop yields risked being labeled a “doubter” or “denier” engaged in “casting aspersions on the excellent situation,” and anyone who exposed the fraudulence of the high-yield model was subjected to struggle.
A drought in 1959 drove down Xinyang’s crop yields, but prefectural party cadres, overcome by fanaticism, proposed the slogan of “Big drought, big harvest” and claimed higher yields than the year before. Commissioner Zhang Shufan, who was directly responsible for agriculture, in early August convened a meeting of leading county cadres to provide “practical and realistic” appraisals of the disaster and to adopt advanced measures such as varied crop plantings to prevent a famine.
Following the Lushan Conference, the prefectural party committee had each county report its projected yields. Under the political pressure of the times, each county’s estimate was exceeded by that of the next, as all feared being criticized for reporting the lowest projection. Yu Dehong, a staff member at the prefectural party committee meeting, later recalled that the first projection totaled 15 billion kilos. Zhang Shufan and others thought this excessively optimistic and asked everyone to submit new figures, which subsequently totaled 7.5 billion kilos and finally 3.6 billion kilos. During a meeting of the prefectural party committee’s standing committee, eight of the nine standing committee members believed that the 1959 crop yield would exceed that of 1958, and that given the 1958 yield of 2.8 billion kilos, a 3.6 billion kilo yield for 1959 was very reasonable. Zhang Shufan, however, expected a yield of only 1.5 to 2.0 billion kilos.
In late August and early September, the Henan provincial party committee convened an enlarged meeting to implement the spirit of the Lushan Conference. Each prefecture was asked to report projected crop yields. Zhang Shufan led off for Xinyang by reporting that his standing committee projected a crop yield of 3.6 billion kilos, but that his more modest personal projection was 1.5 to 2 billion kilos. The provincial party committee was dissatisfied with Zhang’s report and subsequently asked prefectural party secretary Lu Xianwen, “What’s going on in Xinyang?” Under pressure, Lu convened another meeting of county party secretaries requesting new projections. At first no one spoke, but finally someone asked, “Isn’t it what we already reported in our meeting?” Lu Xianwen replied, “Someone took exception to those projections.” By “someone,” Lu was referring to Zhang Shufan. Soon afterward, right-deviating elements were sought out and subjected to struggle, and this county head who had dared to speak the truth was stripped of his official position.8

Exaggerated yield projections meant high state procurement quotas. In Henan, every county was forced to hand over every available kernel of grain. Zhang Shufan recalls:
Following the expanded meeting, I returned to the prefecture to head up the autumn harvest procurement. The provincial party committee based its procurement on the big 1958 harvest, and our prefecture met our quota of 800 million kilos by taking every kernel of grain ration and seed grain from the peasants. Immediately after the harvest, many localities were left with nothing to eat, and people began to leave the prefecture in search of food. Many communal kitchens had no food to serve their members, and the helpless villagers staved their hunger at home as best they could with sweet potatoes and wild herbs.
Higher levels reported a somewhat smaller procurement quota, but agreed that excessive procurement had serious repercussions:
In 1959, Xinyang suffered a drought. The tota... (...)

“The best English-language account . . . [Tombstone] combines thorough statistical analysis with detailed archival research and heart-rending oral histories.” ―Matthew C. Klein, Bloomberg
“Without a doubt the definitive account--for now and probably for a long time . . . One of the most important books--not just China books--of our time.” ―Arthur Waldron, The New Criterion
“A vital testimony of a largely buried era.” ―Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore, The Independent
“Yang's discreet and well-judged pursuit of his project over more than a decade is a quietly heroic achievement.” ―Roger Garside, China Rights Forum
Tombstone easily supersedes all previous chronicles of the famine, and is one of the best insider accounts of the Party's inner workings during this period, offering an unrivalled picture of socioeconomic engineering within a rigid ideological framework . . . meticulously researched.” ―Pankaj Mishra, The New Yorker
“Eye-opening . . . boldly unsparing.” ―Jonathan Mirsky, The New York Times Book Review
“Beautifully written and fluidly translated, Tombstonedeserves to reach as many readers as possible.” ―Samuel Moyn, The Nation
“[An] epic account . . . Tombstone is a landmark in the Chinese people's own efforts to confront their history.” ―Ian Johnson, The New York Review of Books
“The toll is astounding, and this book is important for many reasons--difficult to stomach, but important all the same.” ―Kirkus Review
“Mao's Great Famine of the late 1950s continues to boggle the mind. No one book or even set of books could encompass the tens of millions of lives needlessly and intentionally destroyed or explain the paranoid megalomania of China's leaders at the time. As with the Holocaust, every serious new account both renews our witness of the murdered dead and extends our understanding. Zhou Xun here selects, translates, and annotates 121 internal reports from local officials to their bosses. They form a frank, grisly, and specific portrait of hysteria defeating common sense. Zhou's University of Hong Kong colleague, Frank Dikötter, extricated some of these documents from newly opened (and now again closed) archives in local headquarters across China for his Mao's Great Famine: The History of China's Most Devastating Catastrophe 1958–1962, but Zhou's book stands on its own. A useful introduction, headnotes to each chapter, a chronology, and explanatory notes frame the documents. VERDICT Accessible and appealing to assiduous readers with knowledge of Mao's China; especially useful to specialists.” ―Charles W. Hayford, Evanston, IL
“A book of great importance.” ―Jung Chang, author of Wild Swans and co-author of Mao: The Unknown Story
“A truly necessary book.” ―Anne Applebaum, author of Gulag: A History
“In 1989 hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Chinese died in the June Fourth massacre in Beijing, and within hours hundreds of millions of people around the world had seen images of it on their television screens. In the late 1950s, also in Communist China, roughly the inverse happened: thirty million or more died while the world, then and now, has hardly noticed. If the cause of the Great Famine had been a natural disaster, this double standard might be more understandable. But the causes, as Yang Jisheng shows in meticulous detail, were political. How can the world not look now?” ―Perry Link, Chancellorial Chair for Innovative Teaching, Comparative Literature and Foreign Languages, University of California, Riverside
“Hard-hitting. . . It's a harrowing read, illuminating a historic watershed that's still too little known in the West.” ―Publishers' Weekly
“Groundbreaking…The most authoritative account of the Great Famine…One of the most important books to come out of China in recent years.” ―Ian Johnson, The New York Review of Books
“The most stellar example of retrospective writing on the Mao period from any Chinese pen or computer.” ―Perry Link, Chancellorial Chair for Innovative Teaching, Comparative Literature and Foreign Languages, University of California, Riverside
“The first proper history of China's Great Famine.” ―Anne Applebaum, The Washington Post
“A monumental work comparable to Solzhenitsyn's Nobel Prize-winning work The Gulag Archipelago.” ―Xu Youyu, Chinese Academy of Social Science

Yang Jisheng was born in 1940, joined the Communist Party in 1964, and worked for the Xinhua News Agency from January 1968 until his retirement in 2001. He is now a deputy editor at Yanhuang Chunqiu (Chronicles of History), an official journal that regularly skirts censorship with articles on controversial political topics. A leading liberal voice, he published the Chinese version of Tombstone in Hong Kong in May 2008. Eight editions have been issued since then.Yang Jisheng lives in Beijing with his wife and two children. 

Translator Bio: 

Stacy Mosher learned Chinese in Hong Kong, where she lived for nearly 18 years. A long-time journalist, Mosher currently works as an editor and translator in Brooklyn. 
Guo Jian is Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Originally trained in Chinese language and literature, Guo was on the Chinese faculty of Beijing Normal University until he came to the United States to study for his PhD in English in the mid-1980's.

·       Publication Date: October 30, 2012
·       File Size: 5248 KB
·       Word Wise: Enabled
·       Print Length: 668 pages
·       Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Reprint Edition (October 30, 2012)
·       Language: English
·       ASIN: B008MWNEXI
·       Text-to-Speech: Enabled
·       Page Numbers Source ISBN: 184614518X

Nenhum comentário: