The cartoon shows Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong standing behind a microphone under a flag showing the hammer and sickle, reading a proclamation to a crowd of beaten-down Chinese peasants, who stand behind a row of open graves.
The coffins lying next to the graves are labeled “Victims of Hunger in Red China.” In 1961, after a period of disastrous weather, Communist China experienced severe agricultural famine. The government was forced to change its policies, relaxing centralized controls of the agricultural communes and even giving the farmers the right to farm their own plots. Edmund Valtman suggests that the only plots that many Chinese will receive will be their own graves.
Edmund Siegfried Valtman (May 31, 1914 – January 12, 2005) was an Estonian and American cartoonist. He won the 1962 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning. Valtman worked for The Hartford Times from 1951 until his 1975 retirement. He was noted for his caricatures of Cold War-era communist leaders
Related articles: An episode of Cannibalism during the Great Leap Forward, The Henan famine of 1942, The Photographic Work of Arthur Rothstein in China: Signal Corps, the Great Famine, the Jewish Refugees in Shanghai
Source: Library of Congress