The Chinese communist regime reminded the world of its unwavering fear of independent thought and analysis for any kind. The latest victim is Deng Xiaochao, 62, an art professor at Shandong Jianzhu University in central China who was fired for a commentary that criticizing Chairman Mao Zedong. Of course, Mao has been dead for 40 years and he was a brutal, moronic dictator. However, this is this 123rd birthday and various people in China still revere a man who killed millions directly in the cultural revolution or indirectly through idiotic policies of centralized planning and controls. One of the best things that ever happened to China was the passing of Mao on September 9, 1976 but many still believe the decades of propaganda on the founder of Communist China,
Even in the highly censored and controlled environment of China, Deng probably thought that some criticism of Mao would be allowed. He was wrong as he found out after the posting of his Weibo commentary on Mao’s birthday. Without stating so directly, Deng eluded to the well-accepted (outside of China) historical fact that Mao triggered a famine that led to 3 million deaths and killed another 2 million in his blood-soaked Cultural Revolution.
Even though the commentary was deleted, leftists demanded the head of Deng. Deng was dismissed from his post as counsellor of the provincial government. In a truly Big Brother moment, the university’s party committee then posted a statement saying Deng would no longer teach or be allowed to organise social events on campus. All for eluding to well-accepted historical facts. The university party committee denounced Deng for making “false remarks” — that is true statements not approved by the Communist Party. These are academics who enforce an official account where truth is false and academics who refuse to utter falsehoods are silenced.
Deng however has proven that there remain real intellectuals in China despite the massacre by Mao and the years of coerced adherence to official history. He is also are reminder to all of us in teaching just how lucky we are to be in a country where we can pursue the truth in our writings without fear or sanction.