Sunday, November 11, 2012
Tombstone: The Great Chinese Famine, 1958–1962
I have Argentine friends living in China, who still don´t have too much access to public social nets. I always wonder how it is to live in China, beautiful country from which I know some stories through Chinese co-workers.
Today, the review by Ian Johnson of the book ¨Tombstone. The Great Chinese Famine 1958-1962¨ has caught my attention:
¨The Xinyang Incident is the subject of the first chapter of Tombstone: The Great Chinese Famine, 1958–1962, the Chinese journalist Yang Jisheng’s epic account of the worst famine in history. Yang conservatively estimates that 36 million people died of unnatural causes, mostly due to starvation but also government-instigated torture and murder of those who opposed the Communist Party’s maniacal economic plans that caused the catastrophe. Its epicenter was Xinyang County, where one in eight people died from the famine. The sixty pages Yang spends on Xinyang are a tour de force, a brutal vignette of people dying at the sides of roads, family members eating one another to survive, police blocking refugees from leaving villages, and desperate pleas ignored by Mao Zedong and his spineless courtiers. It is a chapter that describes a society laid so low that the famine’s effects are still felt half a century later.