British writer and former diplomat predicts China’s “great leap forward”

Few people in the world have seen Mao Zedong in person or had a meal with Den Den Kodaira.

But Roger Garside did both. In 1968, he filmed Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Chairman Mao Zedong at Tiananmen Square, and in 1977 he ate with China’s Supreme Leader Den Den Kodaira.

In an exclusive interview with The Epoch Times, Garside, a former British diplomat and author of the newly published book China Coup: A Great Leap to Freedom, said of more than 60 years of subsequent events in China. Looking back, I looked into the future. He predicts that there will be significant changes, including potential political changes and the transition to democracy.

He elaborated on the meaningless violence he and other diplomats witnessed in China in the late 1960s of the turbulent Cultural Revolution, saying in the Epoch Times, “We all saw horror.” Told.

Despite witnesses and subsequent developments in China during Mao Zedong’s reign, Garside, as explained in his new book, is a one-party rule of the Chinese Communist Party, which he calls a “totalitarian regime.” Said he believed he could finish soon. For decades, he has seen evidence that the Chinese people are eager for political and social freedom and political change.

After attending a boarding school at Eton College, Garside was drafted by the British Army at the age of 18, appointed as an officer in the late 1950s, and in Hong Kong, England, a unit of Gurka brigade (mainly soldiers recruited from England). ) Served in. Nepalese hills.

“The first time I saw China across the Hong Kong-China border through military binoculars was during the Great Leap Forward at night in the lower valley, where refugees from mainland hunger and death were trying to flee to Hong Kong. It was when Garside was in the Epoch Times, a tragic 1958-1962 attempt by Mao Sawato to reorganize Chinese society into a commune and rapidly increase China’s economic production through a top-down intensive plan. Mentioned the time. The Great Leap Forward has brought widespread widespread to Chinese people and is estimated to have killed tens of millions in China.

Garside said he fostered admiration and respect for the people of Hong Kong during his year and a half as a soldier in Hong Kong. “I saw how they prospered with their entrepreneurship, family values, and small government,” he said.

After completing his military service with a degree in English Literature from the University of Cambridge, Garside decided to join the Foreign, Commonwealth Office. “I have developed a great taste of the distant place of the name that sounds strange,” he said.

After returning to Hong Kong and completing two years of Mandarin training, he was assigned to the British Diplomatic Mission in Beijing from 1968 to 1970.

The Epoch Times
A photo of Chinese Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong taken by Roger Garside in 1968 at Tiananmen Square in Beijing. (Courtesy of Roger Garside)

“When I arrived [in China] As of May 1968, the Cultural Revolution was still in full flood, “said Garside. “Violence broke out across China and there was a faction struggle at the ground level. Even the people who worked in the grocery stores of our diplomatic facilities, even the Chinese employees there, went out and the streets. He was dragged to march through the premises and screamed angry, and was accused of whatever his goals for the week were: imperialism, sometimes Soviet revisionism, and sometimes domestic targets. “

He explained some of the disturbing actions that the Chinese people were forcibly taking by the Chinese Communist Party in the name of loyalty to the party.

“We read a lot of horrifying stories of family violence,” says Garside. [for] For whatever reason, you might even drag your grandmother on the street behind the cart or even hit an old man with a belt in the park with your school classmates to attack your grandmother and smash the Buddha. Hmm. We all saw something terrifying. “

Garside suggests that while the Chinese were involved in frenzy by the Chinese Communist Party, those who often participated in compulsory protests pretended to be emotions that did not represent their true personality. did.

“I saw these people participating [in demonstrations]… And I compared their public behavior, the expression of anger, the expression of anger. I made it our home as a domestic servant who seemed very different. Compared to those who work in. They were personally kind, compassionate, and diligent, “Garside said. “And it was as if they had two faces, two lives, two personalities, and it was to me as an actor that the Chinese had to develop under communist rule. He taught me a lot about his skills. I think he is the best actor country in the theatrical sense. Their life and freedom depend on their ability to appear in the show, and don’t hesitate to do it. Do. They are so trained from elementary school. “

After completing his first diplomatic position in Beijing, Garside earned a master’s degree in business science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and helped the World Bank of Washington, DC manage a loan program to Thailand.

“When I was working at the World Bank, I saw the rise of Asian tigers,” he said, referring to the economies of South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong, which are export-led and He said it was supported by a dynamic private sector .. In the context of rapid economic growth from the 1960s to the 1980s, the dynamism of the “Four Tigers of Asia”, which these countries are often collectively referred to, is In stark contrast to the economic paralysis characterized by state-owned industries. Collective agriculture observed by Garside during his second diplomat in Beijing from 1976 to 1979.

Garside arrived in his second post in January 1976, just a week after the death of Zhou Enlai, who was Prime Minister under the Chinese Communist Party’s Chairman Mao Zedong. He saw Chinese leaders involved in a thinly veiled partisan power struggle between pragmatists loyal to Zhou Enlai and left-wing revolutionaries loyal to sick fur. ..

The Epoch Times
Roger Garside and his daughters in China in 1976. (Provided by Roger Garside)

In late 1977, Garside had the opportunity to meet and dine with future Chinese Supreme Leader Den Den Den Kodaira, while managing the visit of former British Prime Minister Edward Heath to China. One of the memorable details was how to use the spittoon, which is a well-known practice of Den.

“There were these giant white enamel vases, and he had one in front of the armchair,” Garside said. “I heard he was spitting, so I took notes whenever he spit. Whenever he mentioned the Soviet Union, he spit. “

Den topped the CCP in 1978, and Garside witnessed part of a short period of early political liberalization known as Beijing Spring from late 1978 to 1979. An important feature of Beijing’s spring was the “democracy wall,” in which the Chinese people openly posted condemnation of fraud and calls for democracy. Den Den Den initially supported the Democracy Wall, but in March 1979, the first multiple crackdowns began shortly after the democratic movement addressed high-ranking members of the CCP as “too much.” By the end of 1979, the Beijing spring was over.

Nonetheless, the short-lived Beijing Spring provided Garside with clear evidence that the Chinese people wanted greater political freedom. Shortly after leaving Beijing in January 1979, Garside first He wrote the book “Cumming Alive: China After Mohsawa East”, which has been widely admired and details the era.

His new book, published by the University of California Press this year, looks to the future of China. In the “China Coup,” Garside quickly makes a “big leap” to freedom and democracy, with the help of liberal democracy, which uses economic means to put pressure on the Chinese Communist Party. It details his vision of being achievable.

“We have great economic assets that we can deploy to unite with those who want to change in China. And we can deploy them in an imaginative and bold way, cumulatively and more over time. Using it in a focused, short-term way, it can create conditions that allow people in China who want to change to move, “Garside said.” This techno totalitarian. [CCP] China has good control measures, and it will be extremely difficult for any movement within China to achieve China’s liberation without outside support. “

Garside emphasized that CCP is now a major global threat to freedom. He added that the United States and its allies are “awakening” about the essence of the Chinese Communist Party.

“We woke up to the threat from China late, but it’s not too late. We are in the fight for freedom, the global fight for freedom,” Garside said. It was. “This is a complex task, more complex than the struggle against the Soviet Union, because China is now deeply connected to us, both economically and socially. We are just defensive. You can’t … we have to be more active in pursuing China’s overthrow. “

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