Tombstone

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0120121029

The untold story of Mao's Great Famine, during which 36 million Chinese starved to death.

"I call this book Tombstone. It is a tombstone for my father who died of hunger in 1959, for the 36 million Chinese who also died of hunger, for the system that caused their death and perhaps for myself for writing this book."

Yang Jishen's book is banned in China. It is a passionate and angry account of one of the 20th century's most shocking man-made disasters. Based on an array of new sources and personal testimonies and written by someone who was a Communist Party insider with remarkable access to official archives, Tombstone is as significant and powerful a work as Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago.

Read by David Yip.

Produced and abridged by Jane Marshall

A Jane Marshall production for BBC Radio 4.

0220121030

When Yang Jishen's father died of starvation, he thought it was just a personal tragedy.

When Yang Jishen's father died of starvation he thought it was just a personal tragedy but then he discovered his experience had been repeated in families throughout China. His research reveals what he calls "a tragedy unprecedented in world history, when tens of millions of people starved to death during a period of normal climate patterns and with no wars or epidemics."

Read by David Yip

Produced and abridged by Jane Marshall

A Jane Marshall production for BBC Radio 4.

0320121031

Xinyang was a lush grain-producing region and yet the Chinese famine hit hardest there.

Henan is a rural province north of Shanghai. Xinyang prefecture was the region's main producer of grain and yet the Chinese famine hit hardest in that lush region and one out of every eight residents starved to death. Yang Jishen has spoken to some of the survivors.

Read by David Yip

Produced and abridged by Jane Marshall

A Jane Marshall Production for BBC Radio 4.

0420121101

While the Chinese peasants starved, the county cadres focused on grain procurement quotas.

While the Chinese peasants starved the county cadres focused on meeting grain procurement quotas and blamed any shortfalls on 'right deviationist thinking'.

The punishment was to undergo self-criticism sessions and many suffered severe and often fatal beatings. Meanwhile there was a wholesale cover-up of the true size of the disaster.

Read by David Yip.

Produced and abridged by Jane Marshall

A Jane Marshall production for BBC Radio 4.

05 LAST20121102

Mao's support of the system of communal kitchens exacerbates China's famine disaster.

Mao's support of the system of communal kitchens exacerbates China's famine disaster. As the peasants give up their allotments and their livestock, they have no means of saving themselves when the kitchens run out of food and close down.

Read by David Yip.

Produced and abridged by Jane Marshall

A Jane Marshall production for BBC Radio 4.