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China, Chairman Mao, and Capitalism

0.1% of all households in China hold nearly half of the total wealth said the report released by Boston Consulting Group.  A long way from the image of Mao's China which was that of a regimented and spartan but egalitarian society, without hierarchical class distinctions. The blatant inequalities of post-Mao China have served only to enhance the image in retrospect. Yet the image was always an illusion, a meticulously maintained lie. China under Mao was, like China before Mao and China after Mao, a class-divided society. Since 1949, all top party leaders have lived and worked under extremely privileged conditions and in virtually total isolation from ordinary people.

Mao mobilised terror witch-hunts in which anyone refusing to wholeheartedly join in would find themselves a target. He repeatedly used this strategy throughout his career to gain and hold power, culminating in the infamous Cultural Revolution, which accounted for some 100 million people being humiliated, tortured, ma…