This chapter describes and explains the widespread practices of mass killing and persecution that characterized many parts of the region in the decades following the Second World War. During these years, mass atrocities were a common feature of political life in East Asia. This chapter provides a brief overview of some of the most serious of these atrocities. Some of those atrocities were unimaginably huge in scale—comparable to those committed by Hitler and Stalin. Some, especially those in China, accounted for millions of lives; others, such as those in Cambodia and East Timor decimated national populations—in both of these places, up to a quarter of the whole population was killed.
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