Mao's Great Famine
An Evening Presentation by FRANK DIKOTTER, Chair Professor of Humanities, University of Hong Kong
"Between 1958 and 1962, China descended into hell. Mao Zedong threw his
country into a frenzy with the Great Leap Forward, an attempt to catch up to and
overtake Britain in less than 15 years. The experiment ended in the greatest
catastrophe the country had ever known, destroying tens of millions of lives."
So opens Frank Dik?÷tter's riveting and magnificently detailed chronicle of an era in Chinese history that has never been fully documented, as access to Communist Party archives has long been restricted. A new archive law has opened up thousands of central and provincial documents, fundamentally changing the way one can study the Maoist era. Professor Dik?÷tter asserts that far from being the program that would lift the country to superpower status and prove the power of Communism as Mao imagined, the Great Leap Forward devastated the country—at least 45 million people were worked, starved, or beaten to death. Why was this period one of the most deadly mass killings of human history? Why was it one of the greatest demolitions of real estate in human history? What impact did this experiment have on the natural world? What happened in the corridors of power as the public pursued manically steel production and other industrial accomplishments?
Professor Dik?÷tter is Chair Professor of Humanities at the University of Hong. He received his BA and MA degrees in Geneva and his PhD from SOAS.
Book sale after program.
Hong Kong Club, 1 Jackson Road, Central (Please note: No sneakers, denim or sportswear) Hong Kong