Monday, May 08, 2006

Still Reading

I'm still reading Jung Chang's Mao: The Unknown Story. What an appalling story it is. I'm up to the late 1930s, when the communists were becoming too entrenched to contain, like they could have been ten years previously. And what a terrible human toll they exacted.

As an aside, why is China now considered a repressive regime by the Western Left (nutjobs like South America's Shining Path excepted)? Why did the turtleneck-and-pathetic-beard set put down their copies of Mao's Little Red Book, and pick up Free Tibet signs? I'll bet someone could produce an X-shaped line graph of that shift in mood against the rising importance of China as a trading partner of the U. S. The Dalai Lama went into exile in 1959, but he didn't get a standing backstage pass to the more enlightened rockstars' shows til the Eighties. The Chi-coms treated the Chinese people as a disposable resource from the get-go, but nobody to the left of Simon Leys cared until comparatively recently. The anti-Rightist campaign, the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution could all be forgiven, even applauded. But getting cozy with that bourgeois planet-raper, Uncle Sam? For (*hocchh* ptooey!) profit!? [shudder] No, even the most abandoned communist tyranny can push progressives too far, on some things. They've got their flamin' consciences to consider, after all.

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