In her recent interviews Jung Chang discussed the 10 years of painstaking research for her recently published book Mao, The unknown Story" which she co authored with her husband Jon Halliday.
Jung Chang wrote 'The Wild Swans': which sold over 10 million copies and is still banned in China.
During their research Jung and her husband were able to interview 150 close confidants of Mao including the immediate family, which allowed them to determine aspects not previously understood and hence the title 'The unknown story': A virtual treasure trove of additional material was discovered in the Russian archives demonstrated the importance of Russia to Mao.
What Jung has been able to capture is the essence of the man, another terrible dictator with a lust for power outrivalling Hitler or Stalin as the consummate ultimate psychopath. Jung found through the interviews with those close to him, a revelation of how Mao had described to them his overwhelming intense ecstasy arising from inflicting violence and brutality against the mass peasantry.Violence shaped every facet of his life as an attachment expressed in the form of a constant desire for brutal vengeance and dehumanisation.
China was a net importer of grain, a poor nation and Mao realised that food was the only saleable asset at his dispoasl to achieve funding for the military might necessary to become a world power. Mao turned to China's food production and diverted domestic requirements for sale to Russia knowing such a policy would cause mass starvation. In fact Mao had acknowledged that it may be necessary for up to half of the entire population of China to starve to death as a sacrifice for China to become a super power. There were opponents who objected to this policy, but as a brilliant strategist he managed to isolate them and finally had his revenge against them and the party who did not fully support him with the introduction of the 'Cultural Revolution'.
It has been estimated he was directly responsible for over 70 million deaths in China.
During the period of the 'Cultural Revolution' all cultural activity was banned as Mao knew culture is what makes us human and his attachment to power by dehumanisation remained with him all of his life.
He also was a great strategist in terms of enlisting interlectual support abroad, and diverted a massive 7 % of gross national product to those splinter groups of inteligencia who became supporters of his purpose. Consider that to day where foreign aid is much less than 1% of GDP for even the wealthiest of countries.
Jung wrote this account with no mention of Mao being evil as the facts speak for themselves. It was written out of an intense curiosity, not out of vengance in any way, even though both her parents suffered terribly. Her father died prematurely in a mental asylum and both were heavily beaten and publically humiliated.
Since Mao's death the outlook has improved immeasurably in China but the remnants remain. His photograph remains in Tienneman Square. China is still not free, and the history of Mao needs to be acknowledged as it was, so healing can occur and help mend the deep scars that remain. China needs to finally make that clean break with this legacy of Mao as a uniting father which is what Jung hopes her book will help to do.