Mao Tse-Tung, the founder of the People's Republic of China, is being recognized for his significant role in world history as the greatest mass murderer ever. According to an expert with access to official Communist Party archives, Mao's regime and it's so-called "Great Leap Forward" are responsible for the deaths of up to 45 million people.
Frank Dikötter, a Hong Kon-based historian says that in an effort to catch up with the rapid economic development of the West, Mao oversaw "one of the worst catastrophes the world has ever known." The UK's Independent reports:
Mr Dikötter, who has been studying Chinese rural history from 1958 to 1962, when the nation was facing a famine, compared the systematic torture, brutality, starvation and killing of Chinese peasants to the Second World War in its magnitude. At least 45 million people were worked, starved or beaten to death in China over these four years; the worldwide death toll of the Second World War was 55 million.
His book, Mao's Great Famine; The Story of China's Most Devastating Catastrophe, reveals that while this is a part of history that has been "quite forgotten" in the official memory of the People's Republic of China, there was a "staggering degree of violence" that was, remarkably, carefully catalogued in Public Security Bureau reports, which featured among the provincial archives he studied. In them, he found that the members of the rural farming communities were seen by the Party merely as "digits", or a faceless workforce. For those who committed any acts of disobedience, however minor, the punishments were huge.
I'll spare you the gruesome details, but needless to say, these often-overlooked facts make statements like this all the more disturbing.