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How Many Died in the Great Leap Forward? - 1958-1962

Observations on PBS’s China—Power and Prosperity: Treatment of Uyghurs & Social Credit Systems

Q: By now, most people have heard about the Uyghurs issues in China. There are supposedly concentration camps, torture camps,...thousands imprisoned, etc. When someone changed thousands to "for all we know, there might even be millions" the new number changed to "millions" without Western media even batting an eyelash. 

A: I saw a PBS show, China—Power and Prosperity not long ago. The unedited version of this runs almost two hours and is divided into seven or eight topics. The segment about the Uyghurs (toward the end) seems to back reports of harsh treatment—but is it thousands or “millions?” Several witnesses who lived through it are interviewed—ones now in “self-imposed exile” in Istanbul. One man tells of massive detention centers where he saw ones interrogated with “unbearable brutality,” one woman of her block mates taken for interrogation 15 at a time, and would reemerge “bruised and swollen.”

Q: my sense of right and wrong was outraged when I heard that they take children away from parents and re-train them in boarding schools where state propaganda is spoon-fed day and night.  

A: They testified as to this, too. They all assert that state video of helpful retraining is “staged and scripted.” The justification for all of it is some terrorist attacks from that ethnicity. It seemed convincing to me. Easy to find, if you have not seen it. Google the topic and bring up some YouTubes. The government spokesman who denies it all wonders “who is paying them?”

...There is something about a PBS offering, or any offering from ones of similar background. How to put it?

Q: they are forced to comply at peril of their life or a system that can take all their social credit away in one swoop.  This new social credit system is terrible and may soon come to the west

A: Interviewing one Chinese company spokesperson about this, the interviewer asks: “Does it work?” that is—does the system of incentives and disincentives serve to change people’s conduct? The woman seems flustered at this, and mumbles that “Of course it works,” before breaking away. “Something about our question disconcerted the hosts, who suspended the interview and withdrew,” says the narrator, “but our mics were still on and recorded what they next said privately” (not exact quote, but close).

The first thing the woman said privately to some cohorts was: (in the full version, not the edited one) “What kind of a question was that?” That had been my impression, too. What was disconnecting about the question was the sheer stupidity of it. Do incentives and disincentives serve to mold behavior? Of course they do! There is something so naive about persons who have been raised with “enlightened” views of discipline. The next backstage remarks are of how they can’t really refuse an interview, but they want to take care not to criticize the party, and of course, this is what the program seizes upon, as though their dopey question served to expose the underbelly of the beast. 

If a stove is red-hot, and people know it is red hot, will they touch it? Only in the West will moral revisionists question this, extrapolating the few who will indeed touch it anyway into the many. The truth is more in accord with Mark Twain’s observation that “a cat that sits on a hot stove will never sit on a hot stove again. Nor will it sit on a cold one—for they all look hot.”

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Comments

APB

I like Chinese food.

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