he said. That did not mean he approved of what was being done to put * When his remark became known later, the first colour was, for some reason, changed to white, and it has been repeated as that ever since (Ruan, pp. 4 - 5 ) . Deng had taken the saying from another Sichuan native, Marshal Liu Bocheng. 420
F A M I N E A N D R E T R E A T right the damage of the Leap - far from it. He accused economic and finance officials of not reporting what they were doing, and setting up 'independent kingdoms'. While exonerating the PLA and Foreign Ministry, his criticism took in Zhou, Deng and Chen Yun. 1 2 A particular target was Deng Zihui, the man in charge of agricultural reforms designed to put right the errors of the previous years and end the famine. One third of rural households had been granted responsi- bility for their affairs from the communes by then, and Mao was not happy at this vote of no-confidence in his vision. He asked his terror lieutenant from the Yenan era, Kang Sheng, to do a study of how private ownership of land had not worked in the USSR to use against Deng Zihui. He undermined a small group set up to press agricultural reforms by expanding it through the inclusion of trusted figures. As in the Peng Dehuai case, nobody stood up to the leader to defend Deng Zihui, who was sidelined. 13 'Comrade, never forget the class struggle!' Mao declared. 'In the final analysis, are we going to take the socialist road or the capitalist road?' But, for the moment, class warfare could not be allowed to impede the work of recovery. So changes continued. Industrial working hours were cut. Millions condemned in rectification and anti-rightist campaigns were pardoned. Fifty thousand people were allowed to go to settle in Hong Kong. There was liberalization in the arts. The Chairman knew the moment was not ripe for another leap into the unknown. In any case, he had a different target to attack, the 'counter-revolutionary' Soviet Union. Despite their differences, Mao had held Stalin in some awe. This did not apply to Khrushchev, whom the Chairman saw as not being a true Communist, lacking respect for China and short in the quality the Chinese always called for from others - 'sincerity'. 14 Though Moscow was helping the PRC's atomic programme and agreed at the beginning of 1959 to provide technology for nuclear submarines, the Kremlin had not hidden its distaste for the Great Leap Forward. It acted towards China in a generally boorish, overbearing manner that was bound to get Mao's back up. Its search for a thaw in relations with Washington became even more suspect when Khrushchev went as far as to describe Eisenhower as a man of peace. Mao ordered up a collection of tales entitled Stories about Not Being Afraid of 421
T H E R U L E O F M A O Ghosts, designed to mock the Soviets for fearing confrontation with the capitalists.
- Fall '19
- Mao Zedong, People's Republic of China, Deng Xiaoping