The “Cultural Revolution”? Completely wrong. The “Great Leap Forward”? A tragedy. It was not written by the last commentator suffering from acute synophobia, but the “Helmsman” of neo-communist China, the theorist and creator of “socialism with Chinese characteristics”, in short, the current general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) , as well as President of the People’s Republic of China (and also Commander-in-Chief of the People’s Liberation Army): Xi Jinping himself. Who put it down on paper in his historic “Resolution”, approved in recent days by the last Party Plenum and the full text of which was finally made public today. And the first reaction that comes naturally, reading a few passages, is to rub your eyes and maybe even give yourself a pinch, to make sure you are awake.
The “errors” attributed to the Great Helmsman, Xi writes verbatim, produced “a large number of criminal activities” during the decade of the Cultural Revolution – perhaps the most controversial period in the modern history of the People’s Republic. And among the errors in Mao’s work, the Chinese president expressly cites the ‘Great Leap Forward’, the insane policy of industrialization at any cost desired by Mao, which caused terrible famines and the death of tens of millions of people. . But the entire “Cultural Revolution” ends up in the – absolutely unprecedented and unpredictable, to date – list of criticisms leveled at Maoism, drawn up by Xi: Mao, we read in the text of the resolution, “made a completely wrong estimate of the class situation and of the political situation of the party and of the country at that time ”, giving way to the Cultural Revolution. “The errors of comrade Mao Zedong in the theory and practice of the class struggle in socialist society developed more and more serious and the Central Committee of the party was unable to correct them in time”, continues Xi in the Resolution, and “unfortunately the correct line formed by the VIII Party Congress “held in 1956,” could not be fully respected “, causing” errors [..] that damaged the country and the people ”continues Xi, and for this reason“ the lessons were extremely painful ”. At least until the end of 1976, he says, shortly after Mao’s death, when the Politburo of the party “resolutely repressed” the Gang of Four, which were attributed the violence of the bloodiest decade in the history of Communist China.
Instead, Deng Xiaoping was praised, who “emancipated the mind” after the Cultural Revolution and “sought the truth from the facts”, making “the historic decision to move the work center of the party and the country towards economic construction with reforms and openness, which profoundly revealed the essence of socialism ”.
It certainly cannot be attributed to chance that the full text of Xi’s Resolution was only made public after the virtual summit with US President Joe Biden, which ended this morning. And finally it is also clear why the parts made known today were carefully kept secret before and during the course of the Plenum. The revisionist turn on Mao declared by Xi – which is not too much to define historical – is in fact destined to turn the tables, influencing not only the internal equilibrium of China, but certainly also the relationship of the Dragon with the West and the rest of the world. Use, first of all.
The criticism of Mao’s work by Xi, as we have seen, is decisive, detailed and without uncertainty, but it is very important to note that Xi himself tries to “keep out” the Maoist doctrine as a whole from criticism, for example when he defines the application of Marxism-Leninism to the Chinese reality as “correct”, practically transferring all the responsibilities to the man-Mao Zedong, rather than to the Party as a whole. He writes: “Unfortunately the correct line formed by the VIII Party Congress” held in 1956 “could not be fully respected”, causing “errors”. Another clear affirmation, therefore, of the validity of the Party’s work as an almost superhuman entity, which at certain moments in the history of Chinese communism is somehow “led astray” and “corrupted” by the errors and personal ambitions of individuals . But the fact remains that many of Xi’s passages are truly disruptive.
It should not be forgotten, moreover, how Xi himself – as a young man – had the opportunity to experience on his own skin – and on that of his family – the errors (or rather, the horrors) and violence of communism in China at the time of Mao. . For example, when his father, Xi Zhongxun – a young revolutionary who was among the first to establish a base in Yan’an before Mao’s arrival – was purged and almost buried alive during one of the bloody power struggles of the epoch. And for the sins attributed to his father at the time, Xi himself was sent “to confinement”, still a teenager, in a remote Shaanxi village, forced to leave Beijing. Today the mountainous village of Liangjiahe, an hour and a half drive from Yanan, has therefore become one of the symbolic places of contemporary China, a destination for veritable pilgrimages. It is there that a very young Xi Jinping arrived in 1969, at the age of 15: without electricity or running water, and almost never enough food and meat on the table. To a large extent, Xi’s life – and hardships and hardships – were not very different from those experienced by his father in Yan’an more than 30 years earlier, even though, in the meantime, it had been 20 years since the founding of the Republic. Popular. During much of his stay, Xi had to live in a cave, sharing the damp, dark space with five or six other “companions”, sleeping close to each other on the kang, a flea-infested platform made of bricks and clay. In one of the caves where Xi lived, there is a handwritten note, approving of his entry, in 1974, as a party member, the same year he was appointed party secretary of the village, only 20 years of age. Xi had reportedly filed more than 10 applications to join the Communist Party, but was always rejected, presumably because his father had been purged again during Mao’s Cultural Revolution.
Today, village officials and tour guides entertain visitors with tales of how Xi, despite his young age, proved to be a leader even then, forging close ties with the villagers, teaching them to read and write and to dig. a well for drinking water. The village had no electricity until 1988 when Xi, then a senior official in Xiamen, personally took steps to change the situation. But despite his efforts, only two decades later, the inhabitants finally got running water.
The surrounding hills are covered in lush greenery, and ecological electric vehicles transport visitors on paved roads into the heart of the village, where the cave houses where Xi lived are well maintained to accommodate the large number of visitors. But the celebratory atmosphere of the exhibition halls cannot avoid evoking a gloomy picture of the seven years spent there by the future president – today crowned by the new Plenum “Helmsman” of China – who in 2015 made a triumphant return to the village as head of state. Chinese.
On the occasion of that historic visit, Xi stated that in the period of his life spent in Liangjiahe he had learned more than university education could teach him. Evidently, however, he never forgot the violence and deprivation suffered then, caused by what he has now finally been able to publicly define “criminal activities”, due to the “wrong estimates and” serious mistakes “of comrade Mao.