By Sang Ye, Miriam Lang, Geremie Randall Barmé
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Additional info for China Candid: The People on the People's Republic
And one reason was that many of them were also socialists who, like members of the Communist Party, had advocated a worker-peasant revolution of the type that eventually led to 1949 and the People’s Republic. But they had rejected the Communists on principle, and the reasons why they had done so would have inevitably come out if our conversation had continued. One of the central reasons was that in the 1930s, during the first power struggle in the Communist Party, there had been a bloody slaughter of the defeated faction.
That’s why, when I started working on oral history in the 1980s, outsiders were kept strictly out of things. In the officially approved genesis of the revolution, distortions are added to by falsehoods, and outright lies are presented as prettified facts. Because Mao Zedong remembered the wrong date, the Chinese Communist Party still celebrates its founding on 1 July every year. No one is willing to change it and admit that the party’s party should be later in the month. This sketchy history of mine should help you understand why, whenever I come across people who decry oral history for not being real history, I don’t feel like arguing the point.
Frankly speaking, I’ll try anything if there’s a buck in it. I keep on the move, and it doesn’t matter how much I score; as long as I score, I reckon I’m ahead of the game. These days I’m a bit more careful, though. There are some deals that might yield a big profit, but the risks are too great. In the old days, I would have been into it without a second thought; now I know 24 C h a i r m a n M a o’s A r k how to let go. Take going to Russia, for example. Everyone knows you can make a pile out of just about anything there, and lots of mates of mine have done very well out of the mess in Russia.