The False Charges of "Genocide Under Mao"

Revolutionary Worker #764, July 10, 1994

Exiled Tibetan nationalists charge that the Maoist revolution was not intended to liberate the masses of Tibetan people--but that it was an act of so-called "Chinese imperialism" that pursued a "final solution" for the Tibetan people. As evidence, the Lamaists point to the current Chinese government's policy of moving Han immigrants into previously Tibetan nationality areas. Han people are the majority people of China and traditionally do not inhabit the Tibetan highlands.

The Dalai Lama's supporters then claim that this anti-Tibetan immigration policy was an extension of earlier plans, laid by the revolutionary leader Mao Tsetung. These charges of "genocide," leveled against Mao Tsetung and the revolution, are based on deliberate lies that need to be exposed.

In 1952 Mao Tsetung stated to a visiting Tibetan delegation that he could envision the Tibetan highlands with a prosperous population of 10 million. Lamaists insist that Mao was talking about importing 10 million Han into Tibet. This is a fabrication --Mao was talking about the flourishing of minority nationality populations in their regions, including the Tibetans. Any honest analysis of the Maoist policy toward China's minority nationalities reveals that the Maoist revolutionaries fought for the expansion of minority populations.

Under Mao, there was no mass immigration of Han people into the central highlands of the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR)--even the Dalai Lama's propagandists concede this fact. At the time of the anti-Maoist coup, most sources agree that the Han population in central Tibet was about 13 percent--most of them revolutionary cadre, technical specialists and soldiers, and most stationed in Tibet only temporarily.

Nothing about Mao's policies was "cultural genocide"--in fact, Mao waged constant struggles within the Chinese Communist Party against "Han chauvinism" and Maoists fought to create a new socialist Tibetan culture in the TAR itself.

Lamaists accuse Mao of conducting "genocide" in certain border areas outside of the Tibet Autonomous Region, where Tibetan, Han and other peoples live side-by-side. This charge is based on lamaist claims to a territory that extends three times the area of the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR)--including the neighboring province of Qinghai, most of Sichuan and some of Yunnan. In Tibetan these regions are called Amdo and Kham.

Under Mao, many grasslands of these Qinghai and Sichuan border regions were transformed into productive farmlands--with new socialist communes including both Tibetan and Han peasants. Lamaists consider this agricultural expansion "cultural genocide" because many Han peasants now farm grasslands once exclusively inhabited by Tibetans. Because of the close and friendly relations of the various peoples of these former grasslands, there has been a great deal of intermarriage. Like many narrow nationalists, the Tibetan lamaists consider such intermarriage to be "cultural genocide."

In addition, many lamaists consider abortion to be "murder"--and so accuse the Maoist revolution of "genocide" when it made birth control and abortion available. Under Mao, Han people were sometimes encouraged to limit the size of their families--but such campaigns were not conducted in minority areas like Tibet where major efforts were made to increase the population. Even the major pro-Lamaist collection published by Germany's Greens, The Anguish of Tibet, acknowledges that population control policies have consistently been more lenient in Tibet than in majority-Han areas.

When all else fails, lamaists simply insist that "over a million Tibetans died during the Maoist revolution." They can never offer evidence because their charge is a lie.

Their method is to claim that there were once 6 million Tibetans--and then to claim that there has been a major population decline. Though the Dalai Lama's numbers are repeated in the U.S. mainstream press for propaganda purposes, the research of specialists like Professor A. Tom Grunfeld suggests that these figures have been manufactured by the Dalai Lama without any evidence.

Though there has never been a reliable census in Tibet's history, most specialists estimate that the total population of Tibetans was two to three million when the Maoist revolution started. Although there has been sharp class struggle within Tibet and probably dislocations in food production at times, the Tibetan population within China almost certainly increased during the years of Maoist revolution--because of improvements in medicine and hygiene, because many tens of thousands of monks had married, and because of leaps in agricultural productivity.

In short, charges of "genocide under Mao" are simply baseless. The lamaist feudalists, who genuinely oppressed the Tibetan people, are forced to manufacture lies in order to smear the Maoists, who led the Tibetan masses toward genuine liberation.

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