Jesse Walker at Reason Magazine links to a great article that discusses the release of Chinese historical documents, many of which shed light on the communist regime’s atrocities:
What comes out of this massive and detailed dossier is a tale of horror in which Chairman Mao emerges as one of the greatest mass murderers in human history, responsible for the premature deaths of at least 45 million people between 1958 and 1962. It is not merely the extent of the catastrophe that dwarfs earlier estimates, but also the manner in which many people died: between two and three million victims were tortured to death or summarily killed, often for the slightest infraction. When a boy stole a handful of grain in a Hunan village, local boss Xiong Dechang forced his father to bury him alive. The father died of grief a few days later. The case of Wang Ziyou was reported to the central leadership: one of his ears was chopped off, his legs were tied with iron wire, a ten-kilo stone was dropped on his back and then he was branded with a sizzling tool – as punishment for digging up a potato. The discriminate killing of slackers, weaklings, or otherwise unproductive elements increased the overall food supply for those who contributed to the regime through their labour.
As the minutes of leadership meetings show, Mao was aware of the extent of the famine. At a secret gathering that took place in Shanghai on March 25th, 1959, Mao specifically ordered the party to procure up to one third of all the grain, much more than had ever been previously taken. At the meeting he announced that: ‘When there is not enough to eat, people starve to death. It is better to let half of the people die so that the other half can eat their fill.’
Fresh evidence is also being unearthed on the land reform that transformed the countryside in the early 1950s. In many villages there were no ‘landlords’ set against ‘poor peasants’ but rather closely knit communities that jealously protected their land from the prying eyes of outsiders: the state in particular. By implicating everybody in ‘accusation meetings’, during which village leaders were humiliated, tortured and executed while their land and other assets were redistributed to party activists recruited from local thugs and paupers, the Communists turned the power structure upside down. Liu Shaoqi, the party’s second-in-command, had a hard time reining in the violence, as a missive from the Hebei archives shows: ‘When it comes to the ways in which people are killed, some are buried alive, some are executed, some are cut to pieces, and among those who are strangled or mangled to death, some of the bodies are hung from trees or doors.’
Anyone who seriously supports Socialism to any degree should consider these atrocities and ask themselves how any decent human being can justify them. I say this because Socialism seeks to do just that — justify the torture, impoverishment, and murder of large numbers of people because an elite group of people deep themselves to be best able to determine that it is necessary for “the common good.”