Friday, February 15, 2008

Mao The Mischievous

My blog-buddy Jeremiah had a great post a few days ago on a story (picked up from the AFP via GoogleNews) about one of Mao's exchanges with Henry Kissinger back in 1973.

Amazing stuff! I laughed until I cried.

Kissinger is, I think, a pretty vile human being; but there's no disputing the man's mastery of tact, in even the most trying of circumstances.

The story scarcely seems credible - but it is apparently based on minutes of the meeting recently released by the US State Department.

I hope J won't mind me repeating the key excerpt here. Go over to his post to check the ongoing discussion as to whether The Great Helmsman was just having a laugh..... or had gone completely gaga. I'd like to think the former, but rather fear the latter.

Mao first suggested sending "thousands" of women but as an afterthought proposed "10 million", drawing laughter at the meeting, also attended by Chinese premier Zhou Enlai.

Kissinger, who was President Richard Nixon's national security advisor at that time, told Mao that the United States had no "quotas" or "tariffs" for Chinese women, drawing more laughter.

Kissinger then tried to highlight to Mao the threat posed by the Soviet Union and other global concerns as he moved to lay the groundwork for restoring diplomatic ties a year after Nixon's historic visit to China.

But Mao dragged the talks back to the topic of Chinese women. "Let them go to your place. They will create disasters. That way you can lessen our burdens," Mao said. "Do you want our Chinese women? We can give you ten million," he said.

Kissinger noted that Mao was "improving his offer".

Mao continued, "By doing so we can let them flood your country with disaster and therefore impair your interests. In our country we have too many women, and they have a way of doing things.

"They give birth to children and our children are too many."

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