(From Mao's Reply to Guo Moruo, 1963: So many deeds cry out to be done, And always urgently; The world rolls on, Time presses. Ten thousand years are too long, Seize the day, seize the hour!)
2021-12-25 22:48:58author: Zhang ZhiKun source: red song club network
(Translator's preface: Today, December 26, 2021 is the 128th anniversary of the birth of Comrade Mao Zedong. There are dozens of articles like this one on the Chinese internet today, all praising Mao Zedong's revolutionary legacy and deploring the state of Chinese society today. There are photos of commemorative activities being held throughout China - a Mao Zedong "fever" for sure!)
Mao Zedong fever continues to rise in
China, and there is a sea of articles commemorating him, in stark contrast to
previous years. When I think about a decade ago, there were only a few articles
like this, which made me feel the vicissitudes of time. Now it is completely
different, as heroes and heroines from all walks of life have reunited under
the banner of Mao Zedong, explaining Mao Zedong's thought and spirit, as well
as its significance for contemporary China, and digging deeper into its future
influence, reaching an unprecedented theoretical height and depth of thought
that was previously unattainable. Since this is the case, I can only express
some things on the memory of the great man Chairman Mao Zedong, as I did back
(1) Where did China's military
power rank in the world during the Mao era?
In the current world, rankings are
prevalent, and the military is no exception. It is said that in today's global
military ranking, China is ranked second, the second military power after the
United States. Of course, there is also a theory that it is in third place,
behind the United States and Russia. But regardless of the second or third
place, it is said to be a very impressive and significant achievement.
This leads one to wonder where
China ranked militarily in Mao's time. Which is greater, lower or more
important, the military achievements of China at that time or the military
achievements of China today?
There are generally two dimensions
that people recognise when measuring military achievements: one is the level of
armed force building, and the other is the actual battle results and outcomes.
The relationship between these two is that one takes into account the state of
peace and the other focuses on the fundamental functions; one is a superficial
phenomenon and the other is a deep and practical one, and they corroborate and
support each other.
Using this yardstick to measure
the military achievements of the world's major powers, one can find that the
military achievements of the United States were brilliant after the Cold War,
as the hegemony achieved a series of military victories during this period,
while the Soviet Union, which had its share of victories and defeats during the
Cold War and lost more than it won, entered the Russian period and experienced
a turnaround from defeat to victory, a turnaround that was completed by
Vladimir Putin. This is the basic point of departure and final destination for
people evaluating US-Russian (Soviet) military power.
China is a different story. In
Mao's time China was vastly inferior to the US and the Soviet Union in terms of
weaponry, and although it was catching up fast, it was not modernised to the
same extent as they were. Even so, no one would have dared to underestimate
China's military achievements at the time, as it had achieved a series of
impressive results in its campaigns against the United States, India and the
border conflict with the Soviet Union, and because of this, China was
recognised as the third largest military power in the world by the strategic
reviews of the time.
Obviously, at that time, China had
neither become "rich" nor "strong", but had only just
"stood up". Some people describe this newly risen China as poor, chaotic,
collapsed and a failure. But it is impressive that such a China has not only
been ranked third in military power, but has also achieved a series of real
military victories and become a globally recognised military power. If one
follows the very fashionable GDP logic of today, it is difficult to justify in
any way. To solve this conundrum, some simply overturn it and say that it is
now time to say goodbye to war. Of course, this claim may be a demand for China
to say goodbye to war and not for the US, because in reality, on the contrary,
the hegemon is preparing to wage new and larger wars, including against China.
(2) Who could have designed the
establishment of the Republic better than Mao Zedong
It is a well-known fact that Mao
Zedong was the principal founder of the People's Republic of China, and it is
also an accepted fact that today China's basic institutions, including the
state and political systems, are still the same framework as they were then.
This being the case, we have to
ask two questions.
One, is the basic system of the
People's Republic as a country good?
Secondly, who else could have come
up with a more brilliant political design than this?
To answer the first question, we
say that the system of the People's Republic is a great political masterpiece,
a design that has taken Chinese history to new heights, a system that fully
embodies the superiority of socialism, the excellence of Chinese history and
culture, the excellence of the Chinese nation, and is a model of combining the
universal truths of Marxism with Chinese reality. This system is the
prerequisite and basis for China's development and progress, and it is still
alive and vibrant today, as evidenced by the rapid development to build a
moderately prosperous society, as well as the achievements and spirit of the
great anti-epidemic, and the so-called reform and opening up, all of which were
essentially made possible on the basis of this basic system, as General
Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out in his speech at the conference to celebrate
the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, that the
founding of China "created the fundamental social conditions for the great
rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. It has brought about the most extensive and
profound social transformation in the history of the Chinese nation" and
"laid the fundamental political premise and institutional foundation for
the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation". This is a brand new form of
To answer the second question, no
one was wiser or more brilliant than Chairman Mao Zedong. Because he had very
rich political experience, he had seen the various attempts at social systems
and their failures after the fall of the Chinese dynasties, as well as the
various cases under the systems of capitalist countries, and even more so the
huge failure in the institutional design of the Republic of China before him,
and therefore the difficult exploration of what kind of China the future should
be began from the time of the Jiangxi base area, and after the victory in the War
of Resistance had begun to be a quite concrete design, which did not take final
shape until the moment of the founding of the new China. It can be said that
without Mao Zedong there would have been no New China as a country and system;
likewise, if it had not been for Mao Zedong, no other person would have been
able to produce such a brilliant design.
(3) Mao Zedong is back, can the
modern version of the landed gentry still stay?
Mao Zedong had many enemies
throughout his life, one of the more prominent categories being the landed
gentry, whose defeat was the most immediate goal of his revolution and
struggle. After dozens of revolutions, Mao's goal was achieved and the landed
gentry became extinct in mainland China. Not only did they lose the economic
and social basis on which they existed, but even the remnants of their past
were generally transformed into new people.
But history is always spiralling
upwards. An upward spiral means that there is a constant reincarnation on newer
and higher pedestals. This is also the case with the landed gentry, who have
also undergone a historical reincarnation. Nowadays in China, the modern
version of the landed gentry has become quite prominent and influential as a
Of course, everyone knows that
this is only a social phenomenon, and that the deeper reasons for the emergence
of such a landscape are the result of dramatic economic and social structural
changes, the inevitable fruits of a context in which exploitation and private
ownership are once again growing, the gap between the rich and the poor is once
again widening and aggravating, and the antagonism between the rich and the
poor is once again confronting each other. Against such a background and under
such conditions, it should be said that the new version of the landed gentry
should have been given their own historical feast.
But history has played another big
joke on them. The modern version of China's landed gentry had not even enjoyed
themselves for a few days before they were surprised to find that Mao Zedong
had returned, and returned very quickly and universally, from top to bottom,
from inside to outside, from here to there, and his political spectre was
almost everywhere and in everything, and what he brought back was the original
heart of the Communist Party, collectivism, the socialist communalism, and
common prosperity. This is troublesome, because the impact and shock will be so
widespread and profound that the new-age tycoons will first be dumbfounded, and
then terrified and distraught in the face of this.
Needless to say, the return of
Mao's history will certainly provoke deep and widespread panic and fear, and
the question of where China's modern version of the landed gentry will find
itself in the future will once again become a major issue.
(4) On Mao's "mistakes"
For a long time, in modern Chinese
politics and public opinion, there have been people who have been working on
the proposition of Mao's "merits" and "faults", in essence,
holding on to the mistakes of Chairman Mao Zedong and thus denying his
historical status and political image.
Of course, Mao Zedong had made mistakes,
and even he himself said that it was impossible for people not to make
mistakes, but only for those who did so to make them less often and correct
them better. Nowadays, when we look back and re-examine the proposition of
Mao's "merits" and "faults" on a new historical basis, the
insights can be renewed in a different way.
One is whether Mao Zedong's merits
and demerits can be divided into several parts.
Some people think that Mao
Zedong's merits and demerits should be divided into three or seven, others think it should be
divided into two or eight, and others think it should be divided into four or
six, and there was once a very heated debate. The author's experience is that,
as the founder of the country, can Mao's performance and mistakes be compared
in size, high or low, and measured in importance? The performance he created
can be replaced by no one, and his mistakes can be changed completely, can
these two be equal? I think that the division of Mao Zedong's merits and
demerits can be put to rest, and this should be the conclusion of history.
Secondly, mistakes must also stand
the test of time
Right and wrong are never
absolute; they have historically varied from one person to another, and from
one historical condition to another. What is considered wrong by one group of
people may seem right to another group; what seems wrong in one era may seem
right in another. This is also true of Mao's mistakes, and it is particularly
worth pointing out that, after being tested and washed away by the passage of
time, some of the many mistakes that were once said to be Mao's are today seen simply
as far-sighted and remarkable in their historical penetration.
The third is what Mao Zedong
thought of and did not think of
Mao Zedong was no exception, and
there were things he did and did not think of. He had thought of and foresaw
many things for the most backward China, such as modernisation,
"overtaking the British and catching up with the Americans", the
possible re-emergence of pro-American forces and a certain resurgence of
capitalism, but he might not have imagined that corruption had been so
widespread under the Communist Party, that some regimes had collapsed on a large
scale, and that the people's army that he had built up had once been so
widespread that it had become a "military". The triad society was so
rampant that it developed to the extent that certain places and areas were
completely blackened from the outside to the inside and from the bottom to the
top; gambling and drugs were so widespread that they were once found in every
street and alley...all these were things that this great man could not have
imagined even if he had broken his head. The deterioration of the rulers is
even more terrifying than the deterioration of China. This is an undeniable
The fourth is what Mao could and
could not do
A prominent grip of the
accusations about Mao's mistakes is that he did not engage in reform and
opening up, but was closed and conservative. In hindsight, this too is
debatable. Let alone whether this was really the case, even if it was, under
the social and historical conditions of China at that time, after the overthrow
of the Three Great Mountains and the triumph of the
revolution, could the Chinese people allow Western capital to come back and set
up factories in China? Could the capitalists be allowed to continue to exploit
the workers? This does not make logical sense in any way.
Under the historical conditions of
the time, all Mao could do was to rely on the strength of the Chinese people,
to promote the spirit of self-reliance and hard work, to reduce the material
wealth needs of all the people, especially those in power, to a minimum level,
and to build a solid industrial and economic foundation for China for the
future at this cost. The economy as understood in Mao's time was not the
get-rich-quick economy of today, but an economy that made up for the country's
historical debt of industrialisation, to walk the path of centuries of Western
industrial development in just a few decades, and to place heavy industry in an
overriding position of importance. Only after these things have been done can
he go and fill his belly to put on make-up and dress up. He had to take a
long-term view and be responsible to the people, to history, to the nation, not
to a few people, a few categories of people, or a few groups. Mao's vow not to
follow Li Zicheng's example meant that some people's
desire to have a good time after they had won the kingdom fell through.
Otherwise, massive corruption might have had to start 30 or 40 years earlier.
(Above: There is a growing call for Mao's birthday to replace Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as a day of national celebration - a People's Holiday)
(5) Mao Zedong was a strategic
equal to the United States
The United States today claims to
have many masters of strategy, and these people have indeed made many Chinese
"experts" and "scholars" look up to them, thinking that
they are models and pinnacles. The various concepts, judgments and logic
developed by these American strategy scholars have become a guideline for some
Chinese, and are followed with the same urgency as the orders of the Supreme
Lord, lest they be neglected.
This is an embarrassing situation
to put it mildly. China today is certainly below the US in terms of strategic
strength, but more importantly, it is also below the US in terms of the
academic and strategic level. I am not aware of any famous Chinese strategic
scholars or masters who are highly regarded and respected by the US, which is
almost like saying that if we compare the strategies of China and the US, China
is not only inferior in power but also in skill. Such a situation would
undoubtedly make China's disadvantageous and passive situation even more
serious, and it is inevitable that China and the United States would not be on
an equal footing in terms of strategy.
But this was not the case with
China in Mao's time. At that time, China was vastly different from the United
States in terms of strategic strength, much greater than today, but it was far
superior to the United States in terms of the level of strategy and tactics.
Simply put, it was weak in static strength and strong in dynamic play. Because
of this, China at the time was never at a disadvantage in its dealings with the
United States and was strategically on par. The reason for this was Mao's high
level of strategic planning at the time. In the United States at the time, Mao
was recognised and revered by the strategic community as a world-class
strategic master. It was for this reason that the United States at that time
had a very high strategic regard for China and was very cautious about conflict
with China, and later was anxious to get out of confrontation with China.
Imagine how the US, which claimed to be the world's hegemon, could have taken
China seriously if it had not been in awe of it from the bottom of its heart.
In dealing with the United States,
Mao Zedong was the highest and toughest, compared to Khrushchev, who was no
good, and Jiang Jieshi (Chiang Kai-shek), who was nothing more than an
more and more Chinese people can look at Mao Zedong beyond the limits of their
personal grudges and times. Under such a perspective, I am afraid that Mao
fever is inevitable, and whether one wants it or not, it will become a major
trend, and a new climax will occur this year when the anniversary of Mao's
birth is approaching.
Above and below: Tens of thousands of people from all over China joined together to remember Mao Zedong in the early hours of Sunday morning at the Mao Zedong Bronze Statue Square in Shaoshan. (Photo taken from Hong Kong Wenhui.com)
The China News Service reports that many people have been arriving at Mao Zedong Square since 00:00 on Sunday. After putting on their masks and taking the initiative to cooperate with the staff to check their body temperature, health codes and trip cards, people held flowers and waved red flags as they sang and danced in the square.