Back
China's Leaders: From Mao to Now (Polity) No rating

Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China over 70 years ago, five paramount …

A few chapters in and I'm already learning things.

Not having read any 20th-century Chinese history, I had thought that the "Cultural Revolution" was the founding of Communist China. Not so; it was launched by Mao well into his own reign, for the purposes of "reigniting" the spirit of revolution. It got a lot of people killed.

Interesting that a sitting leader would choose to mobilize the masses explicitly because he doesn't trust the bureaucracy he ostensibly governs.

A few years ago I had read "The Three-Body Problem", one of the most well-known instances of Chinese Sci Fi that has permeated the west. That book starts with a fairly brutal depiction of the Cultural Revolution. I was curious, because I had heard that books critical of the government were sensored in China. Now I understand that criticism of the Cultural Revolution is mainstream - in fact, the event disavowed and …

@DerekCaelin Regarding the depiction of the Cultural Revolution in "The Three Body Problem": when originally published in China, that section wasn't at the start, but in the middle of the book to evade censorship at the time.

[ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Three-Body_Problem_(novel)#English_translation ]: "There are [...] some changes in the order of the chapters for the first volume. In the translated version chapters which take place during the Cultural Revolution appear at the beginning of the novel, rather than in middle, as they were serialized in 2006 and also as they appeared in the standalone version of the novel published in 2008. According to the author, these chapters had originally been intended as the opening, but were moved by his publishers to avoid attracting the attention of government censors."