This reminds me of Stalin’s terror, especially in the Ukraine, which I recently read about in Bloodlands, but on a vastly greater scale.
…the archives show that coercion, terror and violence were the foundation of the Great Leap Forward.
Mao was sent many reports about what was happening in the countryside, some of them scribbled in longhand. He knew about the horror, but pushed for even greater extractions of food.
At a secret meeting in Shanghai on March 25, 1959, he ordered the party to procure up to one-third of all the available grain — much more than ever before. The minutes of the meeting reveal a chairman insensitive to human loss: “When there is not enough to eat people starve to death. It is better to let half of the people die so that the other half can eat their fill.”
Via Ann Althouse.