China Is Wordless on Traumas of Communists’ Rise

The New York Times looks at the lives lost in the CCP’s march to power 60 years ago:

In what China’s history books hail as one of the war’s decisive victories, Mao’s troops starved out the formidable Nationalist garrison that occupied Changchun with nary a shot fired. What the official story line does not reveal is that at least 160,000 civilians also died during the siege of the northeastern city, which lasted from June to October of 1948.

The People’s Republic of China basked in its 60th anniversary on Thursday with jaw-dropping pageantry, but there were no solemn pauses for the lives lost during the Communist Party’s rise to power — not for the estimated tens of millions who died during the civil war, nor the millions of landlords, Nationalist sympathizers and other perceived enemies who were eradicated during Mao’s drive to consolidate power.

“Changchun was like Hiroshima,” wrote Zhang Zhenglu, a lieutenant colonel in the People’s Liberation Army who documented the siege in “White Snow, Red Blood,” a book that was immediately banned after publication in 1989. “The casualties were about the same. Hiroshima took nine seconds; Changchun took five months.”

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