‘Didn’t Have Any Real Consequences’: Bloomberg Opinion Writer Minimizes Mao’s Bloody Cultural RevolutionThe Daily Wire

On Sunday, a Bloomberg opinion columnist offered a take apparently minimizing the horrific, bloody Chinese Cultural Revolution launched by the Communist dictator Mao Zedong, arguing, “Most of these Cultural Revolution cancellations didn’t have any real consequences.” That triggered harsh criticism, forcing the columnist to claim he deleted the tweet because “people were swarming” and “It really never entered my mind that people might think I would minimize or dismiss it.”

Noah Smith, whom Bloomberg notes “was an assistant professor of finance at Stony Brook University,” tweeted, “What’s interesting is that most of these Cultural Revolution cancellations didn’t have any real consequences. You’d apologize, your students would put up a mean poster in your house, and that would be that …”

Someone responded on Twitter, “This is a bad take. The students killed millions of people, starting with their teachers and then moving on to each other.”

Smith curtly replied, “But usually not.”

This is… delicious. pic.twitter.com/oAZQUbbZcK

— James Lindsay, intentionally unendurable intellect (@ConceptualJames) June 28, 2021

The Washington Post noted in July 1994:

Relying on official Chinese sources, some Western scholars have long accepted that half a million people died in the Cultural Revolution. Hu Yaobang, former communist Party chief, has been quoted as saying that 1 million people died during the period, but the figure apparently excludes the fighting between Red Guard and army factions. A number of scholars, including Harry Harding of the Brookings Institution, believe about 1 million died. But as new evidence emerges, an even higher toll is likely. Two of the Cultural Revolution campaigns least known in the West and least studied by scholars — the “purification of class ranks” (1968-70) and the campaign against “May 16 elements”(1968-69) — are now revealed to be among the bloodiest.

After apparent blowback, Smith stated, “Tweet was taken massively out of context btw.”

He added, “I deleted because people were swarming, but I was definitely not talking about the CR overall, just about one narrow set of incidents described by Yu Hua in ‘China in Ten Words’ — the pro forma denunciation of every teacher in his school in the CR’s later years.”

I deleted because people were swarming, but I was definitely not talking about the CR overall, just about one narrow set of incidents described by Yu Hua in “China in Ten Words” — the pro forma denunciation of every teacher in his school in the CR’s later years.

— Noah Smith 🐇 (@Noahpinion) June 28, 2021

After another person pointed out, “A lot of us have read the whole thread. Yes I know you’re just talking about what’s depicted in the book. But the thread, taken as a whole, still sounds like mininalizing the atrocity of CR. Which is what happens when ppl just use an anecdotal account as a source,” Smith wrote, “OK! Perhaps I should have qualified that I think the CR as a whole was a mass atrocity (and one of the most insane in the modern world). I honestly did not expect that people would even consider the possibility that I would minimize it.”

OK! Perhaps I should have qualified that I think the CR as a whole was a mass atrocity (and one of the most insane in the modern world). I honestly did not expect that people would even consider the possibility that I would minimize it.

— Noah Smith 🐇 (@Noahpinion) June 28, 2021

He continued, “I’ve been mad about the Cultural Revolution ever since one of my best friends told me about how his grandfather got his thumbs cut off. In fact, my two best friends both had parents traumatized by the CR, with PTSD to this day.”

I’ve been mad about the Cultural Revolution ever since one of my best friends told me about how his grandfather got his thumbs cut off. In fact, my two best friends both had parents traumatized by the CR, with PTSD to this day.

— Noah Smith 🐇 (@Noahpinion) June 28, 2021

He concluded, “It really never entered my mind that people might think I would minimize or dismiss it. And that’s why I didn’t bother to give qualifiers that would make it clear that that is not what I was doing.”

It really never entered my mind that people might think I would minimize or dismiss it. And that’s why I didn’t bother to give qualifiers that would make it clear that that is not what I was doing.

— Noah Smith 🐇 (@Noahpinion) June 28, 2021

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