China's Great Leap Forward Famine.  An as-yet-untranslated book by Chinese author Yang Jisheng is described in this op-ed piece by Anne Applebaum.  Here's a brief passage from the column.

Based on a decade's worth of interviews and unprecedented access to documents and statistics, "Tombstone" -- in two volumes and 1,100 pages -- establishes beyond any doubt that China's misguided charge toward industrialization -- Mao's "Great Leap Forward" -- was an utter disaster.   A combination of criminally bad policies (farmers were forced to make steel instead of growing crops; peasants were forced into unproductive communes) and official cruelty (China was grimly exporting grain at the time) created, between 1959 and 1961, one of the worst famines in recorded history. "I went to one village and saw 100 corpses," one witness told Yang. "Then another village and another 100 corpses. No one paid attention to them. People said that dogs were eating the bodies. Not true, I said. The dogs had long ago been eaten by the people."

posted August 11, 2008 at 9:00 a.m.