[PAST EVENT] "Can China Be More Humane?"
In the late 1950s China under Mao Zedong saw a cruel, man-made famine that cost thirty million or more lives. In the late 1960s a “Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution” encouraged young people to denounce their parents, beat their teachers, and tear up their books—which amounted to lethal blows against one of the world’s most ancient and sophisticated civilizations. After Mao died the Chinese people were able to improve their material living conditions dramatically, but the spiritual malaise planted during the Mao years and maintained under Mao’s successors persists. It is visible in a pervasive lack of trust among citizens in their public interactions and in their turn toward religion in search of shared moral values of the kind they had before the shocks of Maoism fell upon them. Mao’s heirs in the ruling elite have continued with repression—sometimes cruel, as in the mass detention of Uighurs in “education” camps today. Is a more humane China possible? Yes! The underlying strengths of human nature and of Chinese civilization are latent.