In an op-ed article by Rana Mitter, a writer for the South China Morning Post, Mitter states that democracy and liberalism is not necessarily the most dangerous word in Chinese Politics. Rather, it is Maoism and the interpretation of it by young college activists.
Other aspects of Mao’s legacy also seem to be separable from our image of him as a socialist firebrand. Last year was the40th year since 1978, when Deng Xiaoping was supposed to have thrown off the shackles of the Maoist command economy and unleashed capitalism in an era of reform and opening up. However, the latest academic research suggests something rather different.
Mao’s order to move significant amounts of heavy industry to the west of China in the 1960s to form what he called the Third Front may well have set the stage for industrial development in that region. Other research suggests that the collective farms set up under Mao may have been more efficient than retrospective accounts have suggested, and that the first attempts to create local markets were under way by the early 1970s, when Mao’s Cultural Revolution was still in full swing.