What If Mao Had Lost…

On the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Peoples’ Republic of China, Dinah Gardner of Al Jazeera writes about prognostications of what China would be like if there was no Mao Zedong. Statements include:

Ai Weiwei (artist): “China would be much better off… You would have a democracy; you would not have state-controlled media; you would have freedom of expression; freedom of speech. Society would not be so corrupt. There wouldn’t be so much bureaucracy… in the art world you wouldn’t have taboos or censorship.”

Jasper Becker (journalist): “My guess is that if you look at what happened in Japan and in Taiwan you would have seen China developing into some sort of democracy with a proper civil society…I don’t think there would necessarily be a multi-party democracy but more like Japan where the Liberal Democratic Party almost always wins.”

George Benton (professor): “Chiang would probably have continued, at least for the duration of the Cold War, to rule China as a primitive fascist… Perhaps the Americans would have persuaded him to take some ameliorative measures, but look at Vietnam, where that tack didn’t work… Perhaps a different form of socialism would have developed in Chinese cities, from which radical movements had been wiped out by the Japanese occupation – a sort of socialism that I, and perhaps you, would have preferred.”

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