Saturday, August 29, 2009
The Cure for Maoism
Globe and Mail scribe Jan Wong long ago discovered the cure for Maoism: actually traveling to communist China.
In Red China Blues, Wong chronicles her journey to China as a young communist-leaning student, and her later return as a Globe and Mail foreign correspondent.
As it turns out, if Wong's example holds true, that the cure for Maoism is actually seeing how Chinese society shaped up under Maoist principles, and watching how that particular ideology was rendered utterly meaningless by the communist state's paradoxical turn toward capitalism.
Even Wong's account of the student protests at Tienanmen Square reveals how much of the revolutionary fervour of Chinese society was adopted purely for show. Wong recounts for readers the contrast in the protesters' behaviour when the television cameras were on them as opposed to when they were not -- one protester atop a car, energetically waving a pro-democracy banner when the television cameras were on him, then slumped over the next.
Even the latter-day worship of chairman Mao has a hollow feel to it when one considers the extent to which leaders like Deng Xiaoping have led China away from Mao's ideology.