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Mao’s Pleasure

Leslie Wilson, 5 October 1995

The Private Life of Chairman Mao 
by Li Zhisui, translated by Tai Hung-Chao.
Chatto, 682 pp., £20, November 1994, 0 7011 4018 6
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... In 1949, when many of China’s citizens were running from the newly-victorious Communists, Dr Li Zhisui returned to his homeland. He had been making good money as a ship’s doctor with the Australian Oriental Company, and he could have stayed there or joined his wife in Hong Kong ...

Business as Usual at the ‘People’s Daily’

Jasper Becker: The Chinese cultural revolution, 29 July 1999

The Origins of the Cultural Revolution. Vol. III: The Coming of the Cataclysm 1961-66 
by Roderick MacFarquhar.
Oxford, 733 pp., £70, October 1977, 0 19 214997 0
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... Jiang was a brutal tyrant; when he entered, however, many people stood up and applauded him. Earlier, students and faculty had debated whether he should be welcomed at all, since the human rights record of his Government disgusts many in America. The usual arguments were trotted out in the campus press about the merits of engaging in dialogue. This issue ...
Hungry Ghosts: China’s Secret Famine 
by Jasper Becker.
Murray, 352 pp., £19.99, June 1996, 0 7195 5433 0
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... that the great famine of 1959-61 was unprecedented in several ways. Not only did it claim more lives (about thirty million, give or take ten million) than any other; it was also the first Chinese famine to have no particular location. It happened everywhere, from lowlands beneath ...

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