Mao called in Liu and Zhou. He had a question for them: “How can you make a cat eat pepper?”
Liu spoke up first. “That’s easy,” said the number two man. “You get somebody to hold the cat, stuff the pepper in its mouth, and push it down with a chopstick.”
Mao raised his hands in horror at such a made-in-Moscow solution. “Never use force… everything must be voluntary.” Zhou had been listening. Mao inquired what the premier would do with the cat.
“I would starve the cat,” replied the man who had often walked the tight-rope of opportunity. “Then I would wrap the pepper with a slice of meat. If the cat is sufficiently hungry it will swallow it whole.”
Mao did not agree with Zhou any more than with Liu. “One must not use deceit either - never fool the people.” What, then would the Chairman himself do? “Easy,” he said - concurring with Liu at least on that. “You rub the pepper thoroughly into the cat’s backside. When it burns, the cat will lick it off - and be happy that it is permitted to do so.”
Mao, by Ross Terrill.
Sadly, this little story came on the tail end of how Mao got a number of Shanghai business owners to accept state ownership of their companies.
Right, because rubbing a pepper on a cat’s ass with the intention of causing it pain won’t require any ‘force’ whatsoever. Try that with 2 of my four cats and you should probably wear gloves, but I hope you don’t.
The cat says Maow.