Chairman Mao Murdered 100 Million People?

Luther Seahand, a rightwinger, writes that Mao Zedong murdered 100 million people during his term in office (1949-1978). Of those, one half, or 50 million, were buried alive so as to save bullets.

RL: This is a socialist blog. We don’t believe in the “Mao murdered 100 million” stuff.
LS: Of course you don’t, Mr. Lindsay.  I was just wondering how a socialist might react when faced with the facts.  Thank you for not ripping my head off.  Have a good one!

You didn’t present me with any facts. You presented me with lies.
There were no “100 million murdered by Mao.” And there certainly were no “50 million buried alive so as to save bullets.”
Are you talking about people executed under Mao’s rule?
In the land reform campaign at the very start, it is very possible that up to 3 million landlords (most of them criminals) were executed.
There were 29,000 executions during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976).
Mao was in power for 29 years. That covers about 14 of those years, or nearly half his time in office.
So covering 50% of his term, there were 3.03 million executions, possibly. Probably hardly any of them were buried alive. I have no figures on executions from 1953-1965.
3 million is a lot, but it is not 100 million. Let us first get out figures straight
The problem with crazy rightwing anti-Communists is not their view that Communism is bad, or even that it is evil. Perhaps it is either of those things. Their problem is that they habitually trot out lies when whipping out figures of those killed under Communism. Favorites include Joseph Stalin of the USSR and Mao Zedong of China.
Hence we often get figures that Stalin killed 10-110 million people. Even many perfectly sane and often liberal people believe this hogwash. It’s not that Stalin or the Soviet Communists never killed any of the opposition or the dissidents. Stalin was a killer. He killed lots of people. But not 110 million.
Final figures for Stalin’s regime are for 1926-1953 (27 years in office):
Executions and political killings: 1.29 million
Unnatural deaths in the gulags: 1.4 million.
Total political killings by Stalin: 2.7 million
There are some problems with that figure as it apparently does not include some of the deaths during WW2, such as deaths of German POW’s, enemy civilians and most importantly, deaths during the ethnic relocations during that war. I also do not include “Holodomor” deaths because there was no “terror famine.” Famine, yes. Terror famine, no.
3 million is a lot of human beings, but it’s not 110 million. If we want to talk about whether the deaths under Communism were justified or not, we first need to get the figures straight.

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0 thoughts on “Chairman Mao Murdered 100 Million People?”

  1. Dear Robert
    Mao didn’t murder 100 million. He murdered 99,997,453. OK? Beware of round numbers.

  2. Mr. Lindsay,
    Even if we kill one itis bad therefore there’s no excuse for the atrocities by these monsters Mao or Stalin or their failed ideology communism . Hope the world never ever sees these communist supremacy aain. It’s more dangerous and intolerant than Islam Fundamentalism which is considered the gravest of danger…

  3. Robert,
    You forgot to included the Great leap forward, where 30 million starved to death. This famine was not caused by shortage of food but by mao’s policy. To me this is murder.
    2nd, just counting execution is not enough. A lot people were beaten to death by the red guards during cultural revolution and during the struggle session. The real number is much bigger.
    Also a lot people commit suicide. If we count those numbers it would be much bigger.

    1. There were 1 million excess deaths during the Cultural Revolution.
      There was indeed a huge famine during the Great Leap. It’s not true that Mao deliberately killed those people. It was just an idiotic policy run amok.

      1. Mao knew that the Great Leap Forward was causing famine deaths, but did not revise the policy until the huge humanitarian catastrophe (with little if any of the GLF’s objectives achieved) sparked opposition within Party leadership. Then there were the severe punitive measures against peasants who were just trying to survive, or local leaders who couldn’t work the unworkable. Continuing the failed policy in face of unfolding catastrophe amounted to a decision that millions of human lives were expendable. In my book, the multi-millions of deaths during the Great Leap Forward were deliberate. It was worse in terms of absolute numbers of deaths, its pointlessness, and sheer callousness of policy, than anything Stalin did during the Great Turn. Stalin was facing a counterrevolutionary movement in the Ukraine. in addition to a harvest famine. Mao had established complete control. The decades of flogging Soviet terror famine myth juxtaposed with the soft-pedaling of Mao’s criminal conduct during the Great Leap Forward seems downright odd.

  4. The great leap forward was mao’s unscientific and impatient way to industrialise and one of the result was then temporary deterioration of ecology like falling trees to feed primitive steel furnances. Causing hunger death was definitely NOT his intention. I said ‘then temporary deterioration of ecology because it takes much longer time to cause real damage to ecology and the trees falling only contribute a small part to the agricultureal problem. It was coincidence that the great leap forward years coincided with 3 bad drought years. China back then even lacked the infrastructure to distribute food fast(famine death in pre-industrial societies were mostly caused by localised devastated area and the inability to move food fast). The number of GLF death should be left to professional demographer and I read from a certain article from China Quarterly(a mag no longer published), the related mortality should be in the order of 10 millions not 100 millions as propagandists want to push. Mao was fanatical and his fanaticism and impedance to sound advice should be condemned but what u said is just propaganda repeated a thousand times. To bring up events 50 years ago just demo how the anti-beijing antagonist feeling uncomfortable that the present china meat consumption of over 60kg/yr actually approached the lower end of developed countries. China is becoming a well fed nation.

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