Diane Abbott did say that Chairman Mao did more good than harm
22nd Nov 2019
Diane Abbott said that Chairman Mao did more good than harm.
Correct. During an episode of This Week in 2008 she said “I suppose that some people would judge that on balance Mao did more good than harm”.
The quote is genuine and comes from Ms Abbott’s appearance on a 2008 episode of This Week.
During the show, host Andrew Neil ask Ms Abbott and former Conservative MP Michael Portillo: “Why is it right to wear a Maoist t-shirt, but obviously wrong, because it is, to wear a Hitler t-shirt?”
Ms Abbott responds: “I suppose that some people would judge that on balance Mao did more good than harm; you can’t say that about the Nazis.”
Mr Neil and Mr Portillo then bring up the fact Mao killed millions of Chinese citizens—historians estimate at least 45 million died under the leader.
Ms Abbott then says: “He led his country from feudalism, he helped to defeat the Japanese, and he left his country on the verge of the great economic success they’re having now.”
Ms Abbott ends by saying “I was just putting the case for Mao.”
We’re not aware of Ms Abbott having addressed her remarks since the show aired.
This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as true because Ms Abbott did say Mao did more good than harm.
Correction 6 February 2020
We corrected a typo in the last line of the article to clarify Ms Abbott did say Mao did more good than harm.