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On Mass Murder…


The only modification that I’d make to this argument is that the responsibility does not wholly lie with Mao Zedong.  The Great Leap Forward had the early support of a depressing number of CCP elites who  really should have known better (Deng Xiaoping, Liu Shaoqi).  To be fair, both Deng and Liu used the failure of the Great Leap Forward to push economic policy towards decollectivization, but when the policy was conceived they were largely on board.  Much later Deng tried to pin responsibility for the Great Leap Forward entirely on Mao, exculpating the rest of the CCP leadership.  However, while the Cultural Revolution can be profitably interpreted as the outgrowth of intra-CCP conflict, the failure of the Great Leap Forward had many fathers.

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