Sunday, May 21, 2006

What I Saw At The Revolution, IV

In January 1952, [...] Mao ordered [a] campaign [...] called "the Five-Antis." The offences were bribery, tax evasion, pilfering state property, cheating and stealing economic information. It was aimed at private businessmen, whose property had not been confiscated, to force them to disgorge money, as well as to frighten them out of acts like bribery and tax evasion. One person involved at a high level put the number of suicides [...] as at least 200,000-300,000. In Shanghai so many people jumped from skyscrapers that they acquired the nickname "parachutes." One eyewitness wondered why people jumped into the street rather than into the river. The reason, he discovered, was that they wanted to safeguard their families: "If you jumped into the Huangpu River and were swept away so the Communists didn't have a corpse, they would accuse you of having escaped to Hong Kong, and your family would suffer. So the best way was to leap down to the street."
-- Jung Chang and Dan Halliday, Mao: The Unknown Story, 2005

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