Jasper Becker the author of ‘Hungry Ghosts’ where is is claimed tens of millions died in the Great Leap Forward, is a lying piece of garbage. Here is proof of his lies.
Jasper Becker in his book on the Great Leap Forward, Hungry Ghosts, cites a great deal of evidence of mass starvation and cannibalism in China during the Great Leap Forward. It should be noted that this is evidence that only emerged in the 1990s. Certainly the more lurid stories of cannibalism are not corroborated by any source that appeared at the actual time of the Great Leap Forward, or indeed for many years later. Many of the accounts of mass starvation and cannibalism that Becker uses come from a 600 page document ‘Thirty Years in the Countryside’. Becker says it was a secret official document that was smuggled out of China in 1989. Becker writes that his sources for Hungry Ghosts include documents smuggled out of China in 1989 by intellectuals going into exile. The reader needs to be told how people who were apparently dissidents fleeing the country during a crack-down were able to smuggle out official documents regarding events thirty years before.
Also, Becker should have discussed more generally why he believes ‘Thirty Years in the Countryside’ and the other texts are authentic. In 2001 Becker reviewed the Tienanmen Papers in the London Review of Books (1). The Tienanmen Papers are purportedly inner party documents which were smuggled out of the country by a dissident. They supposedly shed light on the Party leaderships thinking at the time of the Tienanmen Square massacre. In his review Becker seriously discusses the possibility that these papers might be forgeries. In Hungry Ghosts, Becker needed to say why he thought the documents he was citing in his own book were genuine, despite believing that other smuggled official documents might be inauthentic.
Similarly, Becker cites a purported internal Chinese army journal from 1961 as evidence of a massive humanitarian disaster during the Great Leap Forward. The reports in this journal do indeed allude to a fairly significant disaster which is effecting the morale of Chinese troops. However, is this journal a genuine document? The journals were released by US Department of State in 1963 and was published in a collection by the Hoover Institution entitled The Politics of the Chinese Red Army in 1966. According to the British Daily Telegraph newspaper (2) ‘They [the journals] have been in American hands for some time, although nobody will disclose how they were acquired.’ Becker and the many other writers on the Great Leap Forward who have cited these journals need to state why they regard them as authentic.
Becker’s book also uses eyewitness accounts of hunger in the Great Leap Forward. During the mid-nineties, he interviewed people in mainland China as well as Hong Kong and Chinese immigrants in the west. He states in his book that in mainland China he was ‘rarely if ever, allowed to speak freely to the peasants’. Local officials ‘coached’ the peasants before the interview, sat with them during it and answered some of the questions for them. Given that there is a good chance that these officials were trying to slant evidence in favour of the negative Deng Xiaoping line on the Great Leap Forward it is surely important that the reader is told which of the interviews cited in the book were conducted under these conditions and which were not. Becker does not do this in Hungry Ghosts. Nowhere in this book does he go into sufficient detail to demonstrate to the reader that the accounts he cites in his book are authentic.
Original source: Maoists.org
(1) London Review of Books, Volume 23, no. 10, 24 May 2001.
(2) Daily Telegraph 06/08/63.