The 9th of September of this year marked the 40th anniversary General Mao Zedong’s death and the end of the Cultural Revolution of China. From a general standpoint Mao’s legacy does not amount to appealing reading. During Mao’s reign he crippled the economy and around 45 million people died in the Great Famine due to his policy of mass industrialisation. Mao also notoriously presided over the “Proletariat Cultural Revolution” where over two million people were murdered often simply for wearing bourgeois clothes or for being perceived in spite of this. Frank Dikotter described Mao as one of the ”greatest criminals of the 20th century” and would rival Hitler as the most gruesome dictator.
Yet in spite of this Mao is still much loved in China. His name is brings out much national pride among the Chinese and many are quick to leap to his defence when his legacy is called into question. Many memorials have taken place throughout this past year commemorating this so called “Revolutionary Hero”.
As a result of this the reason why China clings to communism is something of an enigma. Was he just a stain on China’s communist march or has he been integral in shaping the country for the better? Have the Chinese people been manipulated by propaganda or is there truly some redeeming factors to communism?
Leo F. Goodstadt was chief policy adviser to the Hong Kong Government as Head of its Central Policy Unit from 1989 to 1997, where he was responsible for generating initiatives on a wide range of financial, budgetary and political issues. He is currently involved in economic research and investment management relating to Asia. He has a close connection with the University of Hong Kong where he held a Commonwealth Scholarship (1962-64) and was appointed a lecturer in economics (1964-66), honorary lecturer in law (1979-85); an honorary research fellow at its Centre of Asian Studies (1977-98, 2005-11); and an honorary institute fellow at its Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (2011-). His published research includes articles on a wide range of economic and political issues in Hong Kong. He has also published books and academic articles on China’s economic management and its fiscal, demographic and agricultural systems.
- Date: Wednesday 19th October 2016
- Time: 6.00pm–7.30pm
- Speaker: Mr. Leo Goodstadt
- Cost: €5 (if you are having dinner)