Posts tagged ‘Maoism’


China’s New Nobel Laureate: New Attention to an Old Science Problem – China Real Time Report – WSJ

Chinese pharmacologist Tu Youyou, who won a share of the Nobel Prize for medicine on Monday for her discovery of a game-changing malaria treatment, did her seminal work when China was in the midst of the radical movement known as the Cultural Revolution. Her pathbreaking Nobel win is renewing discussion of the way China’s scientific community does research.

The award to Ms. Tu ticks a number of firsts: She’s the first citizen of the People’s Republic to win a science Nobel, the first Chinese citizen to win a Nobel for medicine and the first female Chinese citizen to win a Nobel of any kind.

In marveling at that feat, Chinese media have dwelled on Ms. Tu’s lack of academic credentials. The 84-year-old chief professor at the China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine is without a PhD, without an overseas education and without the title of yuanshi (or academician) given to the country’s top scholars. For that reason, she has been referred to as China’s “three withouts” scientist. Prior to her winning the prestigious Lasker Prize for Medical Research in 2011, she was an obscure figure.

That a future Nobel laureate could be ignored for her lack of traditional accomplishments has renewed attention to an academic system already criticized by many as bureaucratic and unimaginative.

“It seems like every headline I’ve seen today says ”Three-Withouts’ Scientist Tu Youyou Wins Nobel for Medicine.’ That’s not a headline, but a question we should all ponder,” cinematographer Wang Peishan wrote in one of many similar comments on the Twitter-like Weibo social media platform.

Source: China’s New Nobel Laureate: New Attention to an Old Science Problem – China Real Time Report – WSJ


Police kill 12 Maoist rebels in Jharkhand | Reuters

The police killed 12 Maoist insurgents on Tuesday in a shootout with a group suspected of planning to extort money from mining contractors in Jharkhand, a spokesman said.

Map of India showing location of Jharkhand

Map of India showing location of Jharkhand (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Police, acting on a tip-off, tightened up security on the route to the mines. When the group approached a checkpoint in vehicles, the police got out and opened fire.

“We have recovered the bodies of 12 rebels from the spot. This is a big achievement for us,” police spokesman S.N. Pradhan said by telephone from Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand.

Jharkhand is among a dozen states fighting a four-decade old Maoist insurgency that the last government described as the country’s biggest internal security threat.

The Maoists say they are fighting for the rights of peasants and landless labourers. They routinely call strikes, attack government property and target politicians and police, mostly across swathes of rural India’s east and south.

Among the dead in the one-hour gun battle was a rebel leader with a 500,000 rupee ($8,000) bounty on his head. Police said he was wanted for planting an explosive device inside the corpse of a police constable in an incident two years ago.

The police, who suffered no serious casualties, were still searching for 10-12 rebels who fled the scene. It was not immediately possible to verify their account independently.

($1 = 64 rupees)

via Police kill 12 Maoist rebels in Jharkhand | Reuters.


Police: Rebels kill 18 soldiers in central India – Businessweek

Police say Maoist rebels have killed 18 paramilitary soldiers in an ambush in central India.

Mukesh Gupta said rebels ambushed a paramilitary camp on Tuesday in a remote and dense forest in Chattisgarh state.

The police said the rebels surrounded the camp and opened fire, killing 18 instantly. Several others were injured in the attack in the Jiram Ghati area in southern Chattisgarh.

The rebels, who say they are inspired by Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong, have been fighting for more than three decades in several Indian states, demanding land and jobs for agricultural laborers and the poor.

via Police: Rebels kill 18 soldiers in central India – Businessweek.

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Five jawans injured in landmine blast by Naxalites in Chhattisgarh – The Times of India

Five security personnel were on Sunday critically injured in a landmine blast triggered by Naxalites in the Sukma district of Chhattisgarh, police said.

The incident took place this morning in the forest near Bodhrajpadar village under Bhejji police station limits, Sukma Additional Superintendent of Police Neeraj Chandrakar said.

A joint squad of Central Reserve Police Force, its specialized unit Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (COBRA) and district police was engaged in an anti-Naxalite operation in the region, which is around 500 km away from the state capital Raipur, for the past few days.

Maoists triggered a landmine blast and opened fire on the security personnel, Chandrakar said.

Five jawans were critically injured, he added. Maoists retreated as the security personnel retaliated and began to encircle them. Two helicopters have been sent to retrieve the injured jawans.

via Five jawans injured in landmine blast by Naxalites in Chhattisgarh – The Times of India.

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* Maoists changing policies, feels villagers – The Hindu

Oyami Podiyami, the Special Police Officer (SPO) turned constable, has a new problem, since his release earlier this week by the Maoists. After spending two months in Maoist custody, while being handed over to his friends – the villagers of Pinnabheji in Sukma district – Mr Podiyami was told to stay in his village. “In case I step out, the entire village will follow me,” said Mr Podiyami. In fact if the 36 year old constable runs away or ever again join the police, the villagers will be questioned by the rebels, which everyone wants to avoid. Hence, half of the village of about 500 Muria Gond tribals, follow Mr Podiyami wherever he goes, even to his soirees.

Oyami Podiyami in his village, among villagers. Photo: Suvojit Bagchi

Oyami Podiyami and his former colleague, Barse Ganga, were kidnapped in November. They were made to walk several hundred kilometers through forests, as is the routine in any Maoist squad, till they were released. The release has surprised Mr Podiyami.

Mr Podiyami, who was later promoted as a constable, soon after Supreme Court disbanded SPOs in 2011, joined the Surya Group about six years back. He accepts that he was one of the top fighters and /perhaps/ killed many. “I did several encounters in Golapalli and Kistaram area in extreme south and fired upon Maoists…however, I am not sure if I hit anyone,” said Mr Podiyami. While in custody, Mr Podiyami explained his role as a policeman to the Maoists and confessed that he did “vandalize villages but never raped any woman.” Reaction of the rebels, however, surprised him.

“They interrogated me for several days and then came the shocker. They said, ‘…we changed our policy of killing villagers. We will release you, but after certain conditions are fulfilled’,” said Mr Podiyami. The conditions were explained to the villagers, when nearly 100 local residents met the Maoists, said Podiyami’s brother in law, Poddi, “We were asked to ensure that he never steps out of his village and if he does, then the entire hamlet should follow him…we did,” said Mr Poddi. He hopes rules will be relaxed after few years. “They were also told never to join the police, which also we guaranteed,” he said.

“The party has realized that killing, especially locals, is not helping anymore. We said that killing of constables or informers will not help (Maoists) as people are getting alienated,” said the Sarpanch, who is particularly close to the rebels in his area. He has witnessed such policy changes “several times” in last four decades, he claimed.

“May be it is a good time to initiate a talk (by the government) with the rebels, as they are changing their policies,” said the Sarpanch, while preparing his favourite brown rooster for another round of bloody fight in the weekly market.

via Maoists changing policies, feels villagers – The Hindu.

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Maoists torch 10 vehicles of road construction company in Bihar – The Times of India

MUZAFFARPUR: Armed Maoists torched ten vehicles of a private road construction company at a village in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district.

About 200 armed Maoists stormed the workshop of the JMB construction company at Misraulia village late Friday night and vandalized the camp before torching ten vehicles, Senior Superintendent of Police Saurabh Kumar said.

The attack took place as they did not fulfil their demand for levy, he said.

Kumar said a case has been registered against unidentified Maoists in this connection.

via Maoists torch 10 vehicles of road construction company in Bihar – The Times of India.

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Mao Zedong: Merry Mao-mas! | The Economist

THE village of Shaoshan in the green hills of Hunan province in east-central China is gearing up for a big party on December 26th: the 120th birthday of its most famous son, Mao Zedong. Debate rages in China over Mao’s historical role. Some call him a tyrant for the violence he put at the heart of his rule, causing the deaths of tens of millions of people. Others worship him almost as a god. In Shaoshan he is a money-spinner, with the farmhouse where he was born attracting millions of Chinese tourists every year.

For President Xi Jinping evaluating Mao’s legacy is especially tricky. On the anniversary he must tread a careful line. Since he took over as Communist Party chief a year ago Mr Xi has shown a fondness for Maoist rhetoric. He calls, for instance, for a “mass line” campaign to restore the party’s traditional values and a “rectification” movement to purge it of corruption. Mr Xi’s willingness to show off his grip on power suggests a leadership style more evocative of the Mao era than of the grey consensus of recent years. Earlier this year he is reported to have told Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, that “you and I have very similar characters”.


Yet in ideological terms, Mr Xi is no Maoist. This month’s anniversary is probably a headache he could do without. In November, at a landmark plenum, the party’s central committee adopted a resolution which, in economic terms, aims to shift China even further from Maoism than the late reformer, Deng Xiaoping, attempted. Market forces, it ruled, would henceforth play a “decisive role” in the economy.

Still, Mao continues to exert a powerful influence over the party and public opinion. Mr Xi dares not play down Mao’s “contributions” for fear that outright de-Maoification could fatally weaken the party’s grip. A recent article in the party’s mouthpiece, the People’s Daily, said that a big reason for the collapse of the Soviet Union—an unadulterated tragedy, it was naturally understood—was the “negation of Lenin and other [historical] leaders”. As Communist China’s founder as well as the leader most noted for brutal excess, Mao is Lenin and Stalin rolled into one.

At December’s birthday celebrations, some sense an opportunity. At one end of the political spectrum are liberals who want Mr Xi and China’s new generation of leaders to repudiate Mao as a prelude to far-reaching political reform. At the other end are diehard or born-again Maoists who revere the late chairman as an embodiment of anti-Western nationalism. They want Mao to be, in effect, sanctified, with December 26th declared a national holiday. In recent months, both ends of the spectrum have been trying to push their cases. They will be paying close attention to what Mr Xi has to say.

via Mao Zedong: Merry Mao-mas! | The Economist.


Reform in China: Let quite a few flowers bloom | The Economist

THE jury is in. After months of speculation and an initial summary last week, the final 22,000-character overview of China’s “third plenum” was published on November 15th. In the economic sphere the document turned out to be bolder than the initial summary suggested. The new party boss, Xi Jinping, wants to push through changes that have stalled over the past decade. As the document itself says: “We should let labour, knowledge, technology, management and capital unleash their dynamism, let all sources of wealth spread and let all people enjoy more fruits of development fairly.” Quite.

It is by no means certain that Mr Xi will be able to do all he wants to (see article), but it is clear he has won the battle so far. Economically, he is proving himself an heir to Deng Xiaoping, China’s great reformer, and not the closet Maoist that some had feared. Conservative forces seeking to stifle reformist voices have been quieted, at least for the time being.

The document’s interest lies not just in the economic reforms, which were anticipated. More striking were some of the social changes the document announced, such as the relaxation of the one-child policy. A couple in which one parent is an only child will be allowed to have two children, and the policy is likely to be loosened even further. In another widely welcomed move, labour camps—in which around 190,000 people, including political and religious activists, are detained—are to be abolished.

But possibly the most important announcements were buried deep in the document and grabbed fewer headlines. Two moves in particular showed that the party is sensitive to the ferment in Chinese society and the demands for greater liberty and accountability that accompany it.

In the past 30 years China has gone from a totalitarian society to one in which people can usually work where they want, marry whom they want, travel where they want (albeit with varying degrees of hassle for those from the countryside and ethnic-minority regions). In ten years internet penetration has gone from minimal to almost universal. Old welfare structures have broken down, with little to take their place. Ordinary people are being empowered by new wealth and participation, through microblogs, and by becoming consumers and property owners. Change is bubbling up from the bottom and the system cannot contain it.

An uNGOvernable state

Society is becoming too complex for the old structures to handle. Hence the government’s decision to allow the development of what it calls “social organisations”. In essence these are NGOs. The party dislikes the idea of anything non-governmental and has long regarded NGOs as a Trojan horse for Western political ideas and subversion, but it is coming to realise that they could solve some of its problems—caring for the sick, elderly and poor, for instance. The growth of civil society is not just important in itself. It is also the bridge to the future, linking today’s economic reforms to whatever putative future political reform might come.

Equally important is the issue of judicial reform. China’s hopelessly corrupt judges are unpopular. The party resolution floats the idea of “judicial jurisdiction systems that are suitably separated from administrative areas”; that is, local judiciaries that are not controlled and paid for by local officials. Though some observers doubt this will happen, if it does it could be the start of a system of basic checks and balances, which would make officials more accountable.

That these two gestures towards reform were mentioned at all is encouraging; that they were barely visible to the untrained eye shows the party’s ambivalence towards liberalisation. But it must push ahead. Its planned economic reforms will surely generate not just wealth, but more pressure for political change. Unless the party responds, there could be an explosion. If Mr Xi is inclined to wobble, he should remember the advice in the plenary document: “Dare to gnaw through even tough bones, dare to ford dangerous rapids, break through the fetters of ideological concepts with even greater resolution.”

via Reform in China: Let quite a few flowers bloom | The Economist.


Xi Jinping tightens his grip with echoes of Chairman Mao at his worst

The Times: “Xi Jinping has marked his first half-year as President of China by resurrecting some of the finest leadership traditions of the late Chairman Mao: public humiliation, political backstabbing and crackling paranoia between officials.

Mao Zedong (1893-1976) leader of chinese communist party

The campaign, which was given a test-run in Hebei province yesterday under the glare of Mr Xi himself, involves a revival of the widely despised “criticism and self-criticism” drives established in the post-revolutionary 1950s.

The unbearably tense sessions, which force officials to decry their own shortcomings before highlighting the faults of their closest colleagues, have been given a makeover for the early 21st century and rebranded as “Democratic Life Meetings”.

But they have lost none of their old edge. Though nominally cast as a way to bring operational problems to light, the sessions were always intended to enforce discipline. The return of the practice comes as Mr Xi appears to be channelling key tracts of rhetoric and ideology from Mao Zedong.

In his first six months at China’s helm, the new President has intensified a Mao-style control of information, he has unabashedly allowed critics of the regime to be rounded up, he has called for Mao-style indoctrination for school children and told regional officials that “revolutionary history is the best nutrition for Communists”.

Even his much vaunted anti-corruption campaign has drawn on the vocabulary employed by Mao: Mr Xi has asserted the need to bring down both the “tigers” and “flies” of corrupt officialdom in a direct echo of comments by Chairman Mao six decades ago.

Hu Xingdou, a political economist at the Beijing Institute of Technology, said that while Mr Xi’s economic policies were in the mould of the great reformer Deng Xiaoping, the new leader was a Maoist when it came politics.

The criticism sessions, which could be rolled out to affect tens of thousands of senior officials across the country, are part of Mr Xi’s reference to the overtly Maoist leadership model known as the “mass line” that seeks to focus policy on the needs of ordinary Chinese.

“At the moment, the ruling party feels it needs Maoism, and it is hard to say whether it is Xi’s own idea or not. There are too many social contradictions in China and the Party does need some type of authority in order to rule, otherwise the boat will overturn,” he said.

The latest round of criticism and self criticism sessions were conducted among the top echelon of Communist Party officials in Hebei: the 12-member provincial standing committee.

With a shirt-sleeved and unsmiling, Mr Xi quietly taking notes, and with state-run television cameras rolling, the party secretary of Hebei, Zhou Benshun, condemned a senior colleague’s personal ambition and her consuming need to look good in the eyes of supervisors. This misguided focus, he said, would lead to the local government “doing something irrelevant to the public interest”.

Obliged then to come up with a genuine set of personal failings of his own. Mr Zhou had to list his foibles as the most powerful man in Asia glowered inches away from him.

“I have not done enough to orient my achievements around ordinary people’s interests,” he said. “Sometimes my policy making is too subjective and carried out without a deep knowledge of the people. I haven’t been practical enough in my ideology. My fighting sprit is slack and my drive to work hard is falling away.”

His blunt appraisals were merely the opening gambit in a session in which nobody escaped criticism – much of it openly tailored to Mr Xi’s previous tirades against formalism, waste and corruption.

As the accusations flew, one member was accused of being too impatient, another said that the committee generally issued too many documents. With possibly negative implications for his career, the local head of the disciplinary inspection commission was accused by colleagues of underplaying the importance of punishment.

Several offered up broad condemnations of waste in the province, pointing out that Hebei had spent Rmb3.3 million (£335,000) hiring celebrities to sing and dance at the New Year Evening Gala in February.

Sun Ruibin’s self criticism, meanwhile, appeared carefully attuned to the public disgust at corrupt officials. “As a municipal party secretary I was given a big cross-country 4×4 car,” he said. “I felt perfectly at ease about it, although it was in clear violation of rules and regulations.”

In its write-up of the Hebei sessions, Chinese state media quoted a senior Hebei official who, perhaps unsurprisingly, felt that the revival of the criticism and self-criticism seminars was a good thing.

“After we were promoted and were officials for a long time … we started feeling good and arrogant,” he said, “We began just glancing at ‘shop fronts’ and rarely checking out ‘the backyards’ and ‘corners’ during inspection trips.””

via Xi Jinping tightens his grip with echoes of Chairman Mao at his worst | The Times.


Jairam blames ‘forcible acquisition’ for Naxal problem

The Hindu: “Coming down heavily on PSUs for displacing tribals, Union Minister Jairam Ramesh on Sunday blamed their actions for growth of Naxalism in many areas and cautioned that the era of “forcible acquisition” was now over.

The Union Rural Development Minister said if the new Land Acquisition Act is implemented properly, it will put an end to “inhumane” displacement of tribals from forests and check Maoist menace. File photo

The Union Rural Development Minister said if the new Land Acquisition Act is implemented properly, it will put an end to “inhumane” displacement of tribals from forests and check Maoist menace.

“The record of public sector (PSUs) in displacements is worse than the record of the private sector. This is a sad truth… that more displacement has been caused by government and public sector projects than private sector projects…particularly in Naxal areas. And this is why Naxalism has grown in these areas,” the Minister said.

Mr. Ramesh slammed National Thermal Power Corporation for allegedly seeking police help for forcibly acquiring land in Keredari block of Jharkhand’s Hazaribagh district, where a villager agitating against land acquisition was shot dead two months ago.

He was addressing Hindi and regional media two days after Parliament passed the path-breaking ‘Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013’.

Criticising NTPC for the alleged forced acquisition, Ramesh said, “Companies must also learn to be sensitive, changing aspirations.”

“NTPC will face a challenge. If there is firing in an NTPC project and people get killed in that firing, they cannot acquire the land…Indian companies still believe that they can use government to forcibly acquire land. That era is gone. You cannot do forcible acquisition,” the Minister said when asked about the reported criticism by a top NTPC official of the new Land Acquisition legislation.

“If this (new) land acquisition law is properly implemented, it will defeat Naxalism,” he said, referring to incidents of “inhumane” displacement of tribals from forests for various public and private sector projects in mineral-rich states like Jharkhand, Odisha and Chhattisgarh.

The new law will be notified in three months.

Mr. Ramesh said, “Land Acquisition is the root of the Maoist issue. If you have a humane, sensitive and responsible land acquisition policy, lot of your problems relating to Naxalism would go. Tribals will be with you.

“It is a fact that many of the tribals have been displaced and they have not got proper compensation, they have not got rehabilitation and resettlement…particularly in mining of coal and irrigation projects,” he added.

Mr. Ramesh, the architect of the new Land Acquisition Bill, said the 119-year-old Land Acquisition Act, 1894, had a “very important role” in encouraging Maoist activities in Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, parts of tribal Maharashtra and tribal Andhra Pradesh.

When asked that 13 laws, including the Indian Railways Act, National Highways Act, Land Acquisition Mines Act and Coal Bearing Areas Acquisition and Development Act, under which bulk of the land acquisition takes place, are exempted from the purview of the Bill, the Minister said, “Within one year, all compensation, all rehabilitation and resettlement…all these Acts will come under the newly enacted legislation.””

via Jairam blames ‘forcible acquisition’ for Naxal problem – The Hindu.

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