London, Sep.3 (ANI): China's communist ruler Mao Tse Tung killed 45 million of his people between 1958 and 1961 during what was dubbed as the world's biggest man-made famine.
According to a historian, Chinese propaganda posters of the late 1950s show smiling young workers marching jubilantly towards unity under the benevolent Great Leader, Chairman Mao, but he says the reality was shockingly different.
For the first time, the extent of the atrocity perpetrated by Chairman Mao through is "Great Leap Forward" socio-economic campaign, is detailed in a gripping new book, Mao's Great Famine, by Frank Dikotter, Professor of Humanities at the University of Hong Kong.
According to the book, workers were more likely to be found lying dead in the gutters of rundown towns or falling, weak from starvation, in the paddy fields. All around would be the stomach-churning signs of neglect, food shortages and death dealing poverty.
Between 1958 and 1961, China descended into the depths of hell. Chairman Mao, according to the book, was not the warm father of his people, a foul, heartless dictator, who had thrown his country into frenzy.
According to The Telegraph, rather than being imbued with single-minded patriotism and love of their Great Leader, the people often risked their lives stealing grain from the fields.
Until recently, access to Chinese Communist Party archives has been forbidden but remarkably a new law now permits scrutiny of thousands of hitherto secret documents about the Mao era.
Professor Dikotter's painstaking analysis of the archives shows Mao's regime resulted in the greatest "man-made famine" the world has ever seen.
Mao instituted what amounted to a crazed attempt to vault over Soviet Russia and elect himself, as the leader of the world's largest socialist regime.
The Chairman's aim was to, as he put it, "walk on two legs". This entailed boosting farm production and modernising industry simultaneously - an impossible task in a country as vast as China.
The result was that the peasant farmers would gobble up whatever they had - animals, grain or seeds - rather than patriotically hand them over to the collectives.
The worst example, according to the newly opened archives, came when starvation drove some peasants to actually eat the earth itself before dying.
Many houses in the smaller towns were pulled down to provide building materials and the former occupants were forcibly herded into collectives - or, worse, just left to live wild.
According to the book, there were many horrendous side effects. There was, for instance, immense corruption at every level of Chinese society - from those in Chairman Mao's own coterie (all of whom lived a luxurious life) right down to the small local officials.
Everyone bartered what they had to survive - and always kept an eye on production figures, which were usually grotesquely inflated in order to keep up with Mao's predictions.
Abuse was rife. Food was frequently stolen from the kindergartens as desperate adults pilfered the rations
In a country that traditionally views the elderly with great respect and honour, it is remarkable to learn that during Mao's experiment, the old often faced a grim existence.
Abuse was widespread. Some were beaten and those with a few meagre possessions were often robbed. Some elderly workers, too frail to keep up with unrealistic production quotas, were put on slow starvation diets.
In a town just outside Beijing, the head of a retirement home systematically stole food and clothes earmarked for the elderly, condemning them to a winter without warmth or padded jackets.
Most died as soon as the frosts appeared and their bodies were left unburied for over a week. (ANI)