Netflix show How To Become a Tyrant is sweeping Mao’s mass murder under the carpet says vocal China critic

A new Netflix documentary about the world’s worst-ever dictatorships has been accused of “sweeping under the carpet” the crimes of the Chinese regime.

Chinese communist propaganda poster from 1971; by that stage Mao's Great Leap Forward (which collectivised farms) had resulted in scores of millions of deaths by starvation, violence and suicide. The poster appeared in the midst of his Cultural Revolution, where public vigilante attacks on 'counter-revolutionaries' were encouraged - including by children (who were called on to denounce and assault their teachers)
Chinese communist propaganda poster from 1971; by that stage Mao's Great Leap Forward (which collectivised farms) had resulted in scores of millions of deaths by starvation, violence and suicide. The poster appeared in the midst of his Cultural Revolution, where public vigilante attacks on 'counter-revolutionaries' were encouraged - including by children (who were called on to denounce and assault their teachers)

Jim Shannon, the DUP’s human rights spokesman in the House of Commons, questioned how it was possible to produce such a show without giving a prominent place to the horrors meted out against China’s citizens.

Mr Shannon has taken a particular interest in the Chinese dictatorship over the years.

Since the last general election in December 2019 up until today, he has talked about China 63 times in Parliament, during which he has condemned the “warped and perverted ideology” which governs the country.

Gold medalist Zhong Tianshi wears a badge of Mao Zedong during her medal ceremony at the Tokyo Olympics 2021

There have been growing concerns in recent years that western institutions and private companies may be shying away from offending the Chinese regime (see links at bottom of article).

MAO THE MASS MURDERER ‘OUTDID HITLER AND STALIN’:

The show in question is called ‘How to Become a Tyrant’, and is narrated by Peter Dinklage, one of the main stars of ‘Game of Thrones’ (playing Tyrion Lannister).

The show focuses largely on Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, Saddam Hussein, Idi Amin, the Korean regime and Col Gaddafi (more details below).

Uyghur Muslim detainees in a Chinese concentration camp in western China, circa 2017; image from Human Rights Watch

But there is comparatively little about communist China – even though its founder Chairman Mao was perhaps the most prolific killer in human history.

Mao and China in general get just nine mentions in the course of the entire three-hour, six-episode series.

That is compared with 81 mentions of Col Gaddafi and Libya, 85 of Saddam Hussein and Iraq, and 147 of Korea and the Kim dynasty.

US law professor Ilya Somin, writing in the Washington Post in 2016, said: “Both Hitler and Stalin were outdone by Mao Zedong. From 1958 to 1962, his Great Leap Forward policy led to the deaths of up to 45 million people – easily making it the biggest episode of mass murder ever recorded.”

On top of those who starved in this man-made famine, countless millions of victims were shot, worked to death, buried alive, or lynched at the insistence of Mao, whose successors continue to idolise him to this day.

UNLIKE GERMANY AND RUSSIA, CHINA’S DICTATORSHIP NEVER FELL:

“Chairman Mao has to be up there with the worst mass murderers of all,” said Mr Shannon.

“He must feature in the top 10, if not the top five – indeed, if not in the top one!

“There’s two things: first of all the number of people murdered by the regime over the years, but also the regime today [which was] created out of that.

“It’s a regime that’s moving very fast I believe towards the same level of control ...

“Look at the Uyghur Muslims for instance, where there’s a real campaign of genocide taking place.”

He added: “Chairman Mao had a campaign of genocide against his own nation, against his people, against anyone who stood in his way.

Netflix needs to be more historically factually correct. It’s almost like trying to change the views of history and sweep something under the carpet.

“Well, it can’t be swept under the carpet.

“The crimes of Chairman Mao will always be ones we’ll remember with pain, and the families will remember with pain.

“When you see wrong and abuse and persecution and human rights abuses, you want to speak up, and I’ll continue to do that.”

Netflix was contacted about the lack of mentions of Mao and China using an online form, but no response was received at time of writing.

Access to Netflix is restricted in China (because of the regime’s tight censorship).

However, it remains an enormous market, and CNBC has reported that Netflix has both bought the rights to shows made in China, and has licenced some of its own shows to be screened there.

It is also “focusing on tapping into the Mandarin-speaking diaspora around the world” by hosting Mandarin-language content.

THE TALLY:

The News Letter went through the whole series episode by episode, checking the prominence which each dictatorship was given.

Here is the tally of all the key words throughout the whole series:

Hitler = 63 mentions

Nazi = 14

Germany = 11

Reich = 3

_________

Stalin = 78

Lenin = 15

Trotsky = 0

Soviet = 32

Russia = 8

_________

Amin = 42

Uganda = 37

_________

Saddam = 68

Iraq = 17

Ba’ath = 6

_________

Gaddafi = 57

Libya = 24

_________

Mao = 4

China / Chinese = 5

_________

Communist/communism = 11

Socialist/ism = 3

_________

Fascist/ism = 0

_________

Duvalier = 2

Papa Doc = 1

Haiti = 2

_________

Pol Pot = 1

Cambodia / Kampuchea = 2

Khmer = 2

_________

Castro = 2

Cuba = 2

_________

Khomeini = 3

_________

Chile = 0

Pinochet = 0

_________

Indonesia = 0

Suharto = 0

Sukarno / Soekarno = 0

_________

Marcos = 0

_________

Assad = 0

_________

Mobutu = 0

_________

Mugabe = 0

_________

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