Talk:China/Archive 1

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For earlier material see Old, Archive 1 and Archive 2 Archive 3 Archive 4 Archive 5 Archive 6

Text from 2001

I changed the statement about economic decentralization since this wasn't an accurate description of the Deng Xiao-Ping reforms. Many of the reforms involve increasing centralization (for example the creation of a central bank). -- Chenyu

I'm not familiar with the reforms at all, but I don't think that saying that the creation of a central banks means centralization is accurate. Most free market aconomies have a Central Bank (in the case of the US it is called the Federal Reserve), often independent from the goverment that regulates the monetary policy, but doesn't take the place of the rest of the banks, If the central bank you mentioned has other functions, ignore this. Also, an economist should check that.


how to arrange the interwiki link "한국어"? --Yacht 04:19, Mar 16, 2004 (UTC)

Area of PRC

If I'm not incorrect, then depending on how exactly you count the area, the PRC is sometimes third and sometimes fourth in the world, sometimes behind and sometimes ahead of the United States. The reason is that there are several variables to be resolved in the calculation of area:

There may also be some other variables that I didn't think of off the top of my head. Anyway, can somehow who is more familiar with the exact numbers and effects of all these variables write an article about it and then link to it from the PRC page so we don't having debates over whether the PRC is third or fourth in land area? --Lowellian 22:40, May 1, 2004 (UTC)

the official claim by the PRC government about the area of PRC is 9,602,716 km², ranked 3rd in the world (I think that includes Taiwan). that's why i was quite surprised to learn that it's the 4th when i first came to wiki. should we make a note there? like, "mainland only"? --Yacht (talk) 09:47, Jul 25, 2004 (UTC)
Oops, i didn't realize there were already a discussion. but how should we name that article? Dispute in the Area of PRC? :p i guess we need only to make a note in this article, and that's enough. what do u think? --Yacht (talk) 09:51, Jul 25, 2004 (UTC)


Jiang, can you just tell me before I revert it, what was the reason for deleting NAM message? China is observer and used to be a member. I think that this is just enough to place it here. Avala 14:42, 15 May 2004 (UTC)

The footer contains too many countries in it? Shall we create a one for the UN too? If you want to indicate that it's a NAM observer, then say so. The footer is meaningless. You may add it, but keep in mind that it's a wasted effort because these will be removed, per consensus on wikiproject countries. --Jiang 22:35, 15 May 2004 (UTC)

Some Wiseguy

Some wiseguy decided to change a bunch of words in the article to ridiculously stupid things. I'm new to this and very poor at editing, so would someone with the skill please fix it?

Welcome to wikipedia. Have a look at Wikipedia:How to revert a page to an earlier version. Cheers, Jiang 06:40, 1 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Economy section NPOVing

I believe the Economy section violates NPOV quite drastically. I assume it has mostly been copied from the CIA World Factbook, which has a strong POV on certain matters. As the most dramatic NPOV violation, the phrase "The result has been a quadrupling of GDP since 1978" seems to be a simple case of post hoc ergo propter hoc, besides being quite vague (has GDP quadrupled in real terms? in US dollars? It's unclear at which point the GDP had quadrupled relative to 1978. There should at least be a hint that the GDP as a measure of the size of an economy is dependent on the economic system.)

Similarly, I believe the description of China's 1978 economy as "sluggish Soviet-style centrally planned economy" is NPOV. Sluggish might be quite accepted as a description of a capitalistic economy in a recession, but I'm not aware of any NPOV meaning when applied to planned economies. Quite honestly, I think the whole economy section seems to demonstrate a clear agenda, and seems to be more about the history of the PRC's economy than about its current state.

In summary, I believe the Economy section needs substantial revision and would profit from rewriting. There seem to be, at most, two sentences in the entire last paragraph that should be included in this article. Quite frankly, who cares about electricity prices in China?

If anyone would like to take a stab at this, I'd be very glad. I'll do it myself, obviously, but I don't think very much of the current text should be kept so I might not be the ideal person.

Prumpf 07:41, 23 Aug 2004 (UTC)

It's not so much point of view as outdated and without giving a broad overview, excessively detailed. Please feel free to write a new section. I do like this introduction though, "Beginning in late 1978 the Chinese leadership has been moving the economy from a sluggish Soviet-style centrally planned economy to a more market-oriented economy but still within a rigid political framework of Communist Party control." China escaped the deadly stagnation that afflicted the economy of the Soviet Union and caused its collapse. That is significant. Fred Bauder 14:00, Aug 23, 2004 (UTC)
It might be significant, but it's not NPOV. State economies are frighteningly complex systems, and what would have happened had China not reformed its economy is speculation, and should be pointed out as such. Put another way, I think your statement is a conclusion that our readers might want to reach, based on the facts that we present them. It's not something we can just tell them while our NPOV hat is on. Prumpf 18:25, 23 Aug 2004 (UTC)
It might take some digging, but the elegant solution is to find examples of the thinking of the Chinese leadership and their take on why they changed their economic policies and how they characterized it then and now. Fred Bauder 23:11, Aug 23, 2004 (UTC)
I have been in trouble at Wikipedia before for writing articles about the future, US invasion of Iraq, but I think some information which points at the overheated condition of the Chinese economy, the efforts of the government to cool it off and warnings of a sort of crash would be appropriate. Certainly some information about the massive imports of raw materials should be included. Fred Bauder 14:00, Aug 23, 2004 (UTC)
Also material about the uneven state of the Chinese economy. Contrast the modern export oriented industrial sector with the impoverished countryside and the aging and obsolete state-run enterprises. Fred Bauder 15:00, Aug 23, 2004 (UTC)

Some pages disappeared.

The archives linked at Talk:People's Republic of China (except for one) have vanished. Talk: China (Archive 1), Talk: China (Archive 2), Talk: China (Archive 3), Talk: China (Archive 4) turn up red. Where did the text go? --Jiang 04:50, 15 Sep 2004 (UTC)

They may still be there, it's just that for some reason they got a leading space in the page title. Not quite sure how to fix this. cur_id of the pages in the database: 215128, 215431, 215831, 229086. -- User:Docu
I think it's possible for someone with shell access to the server to move problem titles like this with a manual SQL command. If somebody does, I guess they should really be at Talk:China/Archive 1 etc. - IMSoP 16:47, 17 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Unacceptable summary of the Maoist era

"While ensuring China's sovereignty, Mao's administration imposed strict controls over everyday life and cost the lives of tens of millions of people through disastrous policies such as the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution."

This is unacceptable as a summary of the entire Maoist era. It makes a dubious and unsupported claim of destructiveness and says nothing about the progress that was made (other than the "ensuring" of "China's sovereignty"). Shorne 16:22, 6 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Perhaps something about unifying the country. I don't know what you want, spell it out. Maybe some reference to the Korean War and assertion of control over tibet? Remember the history section is intended to be a summary. Fred Bauder 00:04, Oct 7, 2004 (UTC)

I added something, and someone promptly deleted it.
I can appreciate that the history section is supposed to be a summary. But if you're going to have only one sentence on Mao, that sentence should say a lot more than "it was disastrous". User Ran gave a few examples below. Shorne 02:01, 7 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Certainly the use of "disastrous" is not a shining example of Wikipedia's NPOV. Fuzheado | Talk 01:26, 7 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Exactly. Shorne 02:01, 7 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Not just unity and sovereignty (though those are of course important), but also advances in areas like basic infrastructure (railroads, etc.), improved healthcare and education, the development of industry (Daqing oilfields, etc.), and so on. (Of course, the flipside question is: if Chiang Kai-shek had been given the same opportunity, wouldn't he have done the same? And if there had been no GLF and Cultural Revolution, wouldn't things even be better?) But I frankly don't know enough about this topic to write anything substantial... so can somebody help? -- [[User:Ran|ran (talk)]] 01:41, Oct 7, 2004 (UTC)
Thank you for some good examples of progress under Mao.
Chiang Kai-shek did have the opportunity—for thirty years. He didn't do anything like what China did under Mao. He didn't even do it in Taiwan, where he resisted land reform until the US forced him to implement it. Hell, he didn't even ensure sovereignty.
Whether things would have been better without the GLF and the Cultural Revolution is a matter of debate. It certainly is not a subject for idle speculation in Wikipedia, let alone in a "summary" that consists of only one sentence. Shorne 02:01, 7 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I'd say that 20-30 million not-dead people and 10 more years of economic development would certainly have helped in making the entire Maoist period more appealing. ;) -- [[User:Ran|ran (talk)]] 02:18, Oct 7, 2004 (UTC)
To Shorne: uh... you've been in China before, right? Deng Xiaoping's reforms brought a visible and drastic increase in living standards. Peasants (and city folk) were starving in the 70's; by the 80's they certainly had enough to eat; by the 90's peasants were entrepreneuring up and down the Zhejiang coastline and becoming millionaires. Not to mention the middle class that basically didn't exist in the 80's but can enjoy first-world-like living standards today.
Yes, the rich-poor gap sucks, but it's an improvement compared to poorer-poorest equality.
And here's what the CIA factbook says:
In late 1978 the Chinese leadership began moving the economy from a sluggish, inefficient, Soviet-style centrally planned economy to a more market-oriented system. ... The authorities switched to a system of household and village responsibility in agriculture in place of the old collectivization, increased the authority of local officials and plant managers in industry, permitted a wide variety of small-scale enterprises in services and light manufacturing, and opened the economy to increased foreign trade and investment. The result has been a quadrupling of GDP since 1978. Measured on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis, China in 2003 stood as the second-largest economy in the world after the US, although in per capita terms the country is still poor.
Admittedly, most of the poverty-eradication in the countryside happened early (since the rural reforms happened early), and today the rural situation is stagnated or even getting worse. (Judging from the way Beijing is bloating these days, the urban situation is definitely not getting worse.) But it's certainly better still than, say, 1977. -- [[User:Ran|ran (talk)]] 02:45, Oct 7, 2004 (UTC)
Okay Shorne, let's try this:
Try reading just the first few pages. -- [[User:Ran|ran (talk)]] 05:48, Oct 7, 2004 (UTC)
And try the stats here: [2] -- [[User:Ran|ran (talk)]] 05:53, Oct 7, 2004 (UTC)
Bullshit. China had to import grain in the mid-1980s after forcibly breaking up the people's communes. The life expectancy has gone down dramatically, health care and education have been withdrawn in many places, unemployment (which did not exist under Mao) is now common, prostitution and drugs have come back with a vengeance, and immense disparities in wealth have appeared.
For starters, calling UN stats "bullshit" isn't going to earn you any credibility.
That comment was directed at your unfounded conclusions.
Life expectancy has gone down dramatically? The stats that I gave above do not seem to agree with you. As for unemployment — well, yeah, the last time I checked, North Korea had perfect employment, while South Korea didn't. It's just that the employment opportunities in North Korea (and pre-reform China) sucked, that's all.
We're not talking about North Korea. As for life expectancy, it reached 70 by the end of Mao's life (1976). It went down into the 60s again and is only just now beginning to return to the point where it was thirty years ago. (Russia, incidentally, is much worse off. Even the UN has expressed alarm over the rapid decline in the life expectancy of men.)
The stats from the UN seem to say otherwise:
Life expectancy at birth (years), 1970-75 63.2  
Life expectancy at birth (years), 2000-05 71.0  
Infant mortality rate (per 1,000 live births), 1970 85  
Infant mortality rate (per 1,000 live births), 2002 31  
Under-five mortality rate (per 1,000 live births), 1970 120  
Under-five mortality rate (per 1,000 live births), 2002 39  
As for prostitution, drugs, etc., those are simply the flipside of a society that is increasingly open, liberal, and prosperous. North Korea, for example, does not have prostitution nor drugs. Nor does it have other such decadent things like internet access, private automobiles, freedom to travel for leisure (domestically or abroad), or reliable electricity 24 hours a day. China does. Horrors!
I'm not sure that North Korea doesn't have prostitution and drugs. How do you know?
That is actually a very good question. Perhaps North Korea does have prostitution. But where would they get their drugs?
The benefits of the "reform" are seen primarily in the cities, as you admit. Even there they are definitely not evenly distributed. Some people live at a First World standard while others go without pay for months on end—if they have work at all.
As the cities are populated by hundreds of millions of people, all of whome used to have zero freedom of choice in employment or housing, lived off meager ration tickets distributed by the state (and so on), I hardly consider a greatly improved quality of life in the cities the sort of minor development that you're trying to overlook.
Most of China is rural. Note again that I said that the improved quality of life has helped only a small part of urban residents. It has hurt many others.
That is definitely true. But I would dispute that "small part" statement. In fact according to [3] and [4], China's middle class constitutes 15% of the population. Right now the urban population is about 35-40%. This means that a good minority (just under 50%) of the urban population are now leading lives of a substantially better quality than 20 years ago.
As for the people who go without pay for months — yes, it's the symptoms of a society that doesn't yet know how to handle capitalism. On the other hand, many of those are migrant peasants, the same people who would be starving to death in the countryside under Mao.
Nothing but an excuse.
An excuse for what? Surely you agree that starving to death is not a pleasant prospect?
The "responsibility system" was also a disaster. A few people got rich off it; many lost out entirely. Much of the wealth, too, was an illusion created by accounting: communal property that was sold off looked on the books like a sharp rise in production when it was really just a one-time windfall, the realisation of accumulated labour from years past.
Okay, I'll need someone else to refute this... (You do realize though grain output has increased sharply after rural reforms were implemented?)
Thank you for having the honesty to admit that you can't refute it. See Hinton, The Great Reversal: The privatization of China, 1978–1989. There was an increase for a few years, much of which was due to the selling of old grain (when the collectives were disbanded, in many cases by force) rather than the harvesting of new, much of which was due to the abnormally high prices that the state temporarily offered. The house of cards came tumbling down in 1985, when China had to import immense amounts of grain. By 1987, Dazhai, the most successful commune in the country, did not produce enough grain to feed itself.
By the way, if decollectivisation was such a stunning success, why did the government have to break up many communes by force? Seems to fly in the face of the "free market", no?
The "house of cards" did not exactly come tumbling down in 1985. Grain output was 379.1 million tonnes that year (down from 407.3 the year before); but it continued to rise after that, reaching a peak of 512.3 million tonnes in 1998. (Yes, it's dropped since then, as peasants continue to migrate citywards and the ecological conditions worsen — but perhaps you'd first like to explain how it managed to rise for 20 years before that: due to the selling of 20-year-old grain and 20-year-old abnormally high prices?)
Source: [5]
By the way: Dazhai is such a sad example to use. It's basically a hamlet perched halfway up sandy, desolated hillsides in the middle of the Taihang mountains, glorified in the heyday of communism for propaganda purposes. I've been there — it's basically a souvenir-selling tourist trap today. -- [[User:Ran|ran (talk)]] 04:24, Oct 8, 2004 (UTC)
Quoting GDP is ridiculous. East Germany had a higher GDP than Taiwan right up until reunification. So what? GDP is an economic category that has very little to do with the welfare of the people. Some Middle Eastern countries have enormous GDPs because of oil exports, but the money stays in the hands of emirs, and illiteracy is as high as 50% (worse still for women).
So? Germany has always been a rich country; Taiwan was until recently very poor. GDP per capita correlates well with welfare, even though it is not always reliable. Of course we have to look at other factors too (life expectancy, etc.) but those are also looking very favorable in China, especially compared to the wreck that China was at the end of the Cultural Revolution.
Taiwan was heavily subsidised by the US. While Taiwan got guaranteed export markets, the rest of China was cut off from trade with the US altogether. One bookstore in the US had to pay money into an account that remained frozen for many years. China kept sending goods even though it couldn't get at the proceeds. Again, a conflict with your "free market" mythology.
Your anti-Taiwan diatribes aside (Taiwan, btw, is one of the four Asian tigers and a pride of all Asians, as far as I'm concerned), what point are you trying to make, exactly?
It stands to reason: if some people are becoming millionaires in China, a lot of others are losing ground. Hell, the article itself mentions wages of fifty US cents per hour. Can't buy too many luxury condos in Beijing or Shanghai on that sort of income. Shorne 06:13, 7 Oct 2004 (UTC)
No, it means that productivity has gone up, so that everyone is earning more, although the still-imperfect system has allowed a few people to gather up large proportions of the newly generated wealth. That's better compared to the Maoist period when insanities such as the GLF and the Cultural Revolution created periods of economic stagnation and massive numbers of deaths -- not to mention the intangible costs such as the severe loss of human dignity and freedom, as well as cultural heritage.-- [[User:Ran|ran (talk)]] 17:04, Oct 7, 2004 (UTC)
Everyone is earning more? What nonsense! Poverty and high earnings are pretty damn hard to reconcile. Quote me numbers—if you can—that show a higher quality of life according to a material standard. Not higher GDP, not higher wages that don't take into account the devaluation of the currency and the inflation of prices. (To say nothing of large-scale unemployment and general misery.) Shorne 21:47, 7 Oct 2004 (UTC)
GDP per capita by purchasing power parity is exactly the thing that you want: it takes prices into account. Or if you're still not satisfied, you can try the Human Development Index figures from the UN website. -- [[User:Ran|ran (talk)]] 04:24, Oct 8, 2004 (UTC)

Shorne, here's an excerpt from a famous encyclopdia:

In 2003, China's GDP in terms of purchasing power parity reached $6.4 trillion, becoming the second-largest in the world. Using conventional measurements it is ranked 7th. With its large population this still gives an average GNP per person of only an estimated $5,000, about 1/7th that of the United States. The offically reported growth rate for 2003 was 9.1%. It was estimated by the CIA that in 2002 agriculture accounted for 14.5% of China's GNP, industry and construction for 51.7% and services for 33.8%. Average rural income is about one third that of urban areas, a gap which has widened in recent decades.

These figures do take account of prices and the value of the currency. Fred Bauder 22:28, Oct 7, 2004 (UTC)

Thank you for the figures. While they do not indicate personal income or prices and do not say anything about years before 2000 or so, I think they nicely illustrate my point about the supposed wealth of the Chinese people. Even if the entire GNP were distributed as income, the average would be only $5k per person. Hardly the treasures of Araby, is it? Of course, nothing like the entire GNP is distributed as income. The World Bank claims that the average per-capita income in China for 2004 is US$960. Not drastically more than the few hundred per year of the 1970s. Indeed, the time value of money means that it is less, especially when formerly free services such as health care are taken into account. Shorne 00:43, 8 Oct 2004 (UTC)
The $960 figure is conversion by exchange rate, the $5000 is conversion by purchasing power parity. The second one reflects living standards by taking into account prices and other costs of basic necessities; the first one does not.
What are you talking about? The $5000 was GNP. Nothing to do with income. The $960 is income. Shorne 04:08, 8 Oct 2004 (UTC)
You might want to give a more exact value to that "few hundred dollars of the 1970's" and show us exactly how much higher it is than $5000. -- [[User:Ran|ran (talk)]] 03:47, Oct 8, 2004 (UTC)
I'll be glad to look up statistics, although I think I've already proven my case adequately. Again, $5000 is GNP, not income. Shorne 04:08, 8 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Uh, do you even know what you're talking about???
GNP (or the closely related GDP) refer to the total output of a nation: it's measured in billions and trillions. For example, China has a GDP of 1+ trillion US dollars by exchange rates, and 5+ trillion US dollars by purchasing power parity. (GNP figures would be very close to those.) The former converts Renminbi into US dollars by the rate at which you can change them, cash for cash; the latter compares by prices, for example, how many Renminbi worth of stuff you can buy with 1 US dollar.
We're talking about per-capita values here. Divide by the population. Shorne 04:48, 8 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Since it's impossible basically to measure income directly, average income is usually inferred by taking the total GDP (or GNP) and dividing it by the population. The result is called GDP per capita. This obviously glosses over income disparities, but then, that's what the word average in "average income" means. If we take the above figures and divide by 1.3 billion, we get about $5000 by purchasing power parity, and about $1000 by exchange rates. Clearly, if you want to talk about living standards, then purchasing power is obviously a better indicator to use; it's used by the UN, for example, to calculate the Human Development Index.
No. Per-capita GNP and per-capita income are different things. Again, Fred's quote gave $5000 per year as the per-capita GNP (I think it's closer to $4000, but never mind), and my data (from the World Bank) gave $960 as the per-capita income. Big difference. Shorne 04:48, 8 Oct 2004 (UTC)
As such, you yourself have admitted that while GDP per capita (i.e. average income) was "a few hundred" 20 years ago, it is $5000 today. (Thank you for providing the statistic yourself.) What else do you have to say? -- [[User:Ran|ran (talk)]] 04:35, Oct 8, 2004 (UTC)
Nonsense. I admitted that per-capita income was a few hundred dollars in the 1970s and is, still today, a few hundred dollars, namely $960. Please pay attention, or I will abandon this discussion. Shorne 04:48, 8 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Okay, read this: Gross domestic product
And pay especial attention to these: Gross domestic product#List of total GDP by country (Purchasing Power Parity Method) and Gross domestic product#List of total GDP by country (Current Exchange Rate Method)
I'll even do the math for you. Total GDP by PPP was 5.70 trillion US dollars; divided by 1.3 billion gives $4400. Total GDP by exchange rates was 1.41 trillion US dollars; divided by 1.3 billion gives $1100.
The world bank figure of $960 refers to a version of the latter figure, i.e. GDP per capita by exchange rates. Check the World Bank China pageyourself. Do you see what is going on? -- [[User:Ran|ran (talk)]] 04:54, Oct 8, 2004 (UTC)
I know perfectly well what is going on, thank you very much. I'm still waiting for you to tell me how even $4400 per year with very unequal distribution translates into no poverty.
For your information, China ranked 123d out of 206 entities (most of them sovereign countries) in 1998 according to GDP by PPP, so says the UN. I have the data right in front of me. Too bad that I happen not to have the data for 1975 as well. Shorne 05:24, 8 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Stop trying to dodge the argument. This argument was about your assertion that standard of living has not risen. You were trying to prove this by saying that "income is still $960", just like the seventies. I've shown that it is in fact $4000 - 5000, which you yourself have conceded to in the most recent post above. As such your point that "standard of living has not risen" is now moot.
What are you talking about? I didn't say that income was $960 in the seventies. You're inventing things.
I don't mind looking up old data from the seventies. As it happens, I don't have them to hand right this instant.
I quote: The World Bank claims that the average per-capita income in China for 2004 is US$960. Not drastically more than the few hundred per year of the 1970s. Your argument was unfortunately based on the assertion that "per-capita income", which is magically the same as GDP per capita by exchange rate (as given by the World Bank) but not by PPP, is $960.
We were talking about different statistics. Anyway, I don't deny that GDP is up somewhat. Which country wouldn't have a higher GDP after thirty years? I do deny that real income is up by the large multiples that have been tossed about on this page, and I deny that it has been an across-the-board increase. Millions of people are decidedly worse off, as I've already said. Unfortunately, Westerners tend to see shops in Shanghai that sell luxury goods and extrapolate to the entire country. It just isn't so. Shorne 07:06, 8 Oct 2004 (UTC)
You certainly have not shown that income is $4–5k. That's per-capita GDP by PPP. The entire country's production does not get distributed as income. Some $18 billion per year goes to service on the debt alone. (China had no debt in Mao's day.) It is a crude distortion to call that "income". I agree that it's useful for evaluating standards of living, but it isn't income. Shorne 05:53, 8 Oct 2004 (UTC)
And yet, you were the one parading GDP per capita (by exchange rates, no less) in front of me and calling it "per capita income"!
Going around in circles with you is becoming tiresome. We've been over this bit of confusion before. Shorne 07:06, 8 Oct 2004 (UTC)
The ranking of China among the world's nations is irrelevant to this discussion. Nor have I or anyone else tried to claim that China has no rich-poor gap or abject poverty. -- [[User:Ran|ran (talk)]] 05:31, Oct 8, 2004 (UTC)
But you did say that Deng's "reforms" had eliminated abject poverty. Shorne 05:53, 8 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I did? You must be imagining things. The precise wording was the "eradication of poverty". This does not mean the complete removal of poverty, but the lifting up of parts of the population from it. Plenty of NGO's claim to "eradicate poverty" every day, and yet there still seems to be poverty all over the world. Are all of those NGO's lying then? -- [[User:Ran|ran (talk)]] 06:11, Oct 8, 2004 (UTC)
You need to state what you mean by "poverty" before we can even discuss this. I still wish to know where the masses of starving people were whom Deng supposedly rescued. Shorne 07:06, 8 Oct 2004 (UTC)
As for NGOs, yes, I think most of them are full of crap when they talk about "eradicating poverty". Most of them are in the business of perpetuating poverty. White-faced people make entire careers—well-paying ones, too—out of ongoing starvation in the Third World. But that's a separate discussion. Shorne 07:06, 8 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Does this cut any ice with you?

"The example that comes most readily to mind is China. At the core of Mao’s economic policies was not simply the acceleration of the pace of development, but rather leaping over whole stages. Unfortunately, China pursued that policy at a very dear price. There’s a lot of controversy now about the current economic policies of the Communist Party of China. Many people are critical, but in my short stay there (I visited about a year and a half ago), it was apparent that the opening up of the country and the employment of market mechanisms has led to the acceleration of growth. Some say there is greater inequality, and that’s true, but at the same time they are lifting tens of millions out of poverty." Interview with Sam Webb Fred Bauder 01:38, Oct 8, 2004 (UTC)

I'm afraid not. It's POV. Big deal that someone went to China and feels qualified to make broad diachronic statements about the economy. I gave you numbers above that make my point. Shorne 02:06, 8 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Well, I am a PRC citizen. Am I qualified to make my statement? The economy has been dramatically improved since 1978. I don't have to repeat the figures that have been posted here and I think my personal experience and feelings do tell more truth. Though we are not satisfied with the current goverment, and less satisfied with the political system, we cannot deny that the current living standard is far better than the Maoist era.
The dissatisfaction with a lousy government does not mean the lousier one is more appealing.

The "someone" is an actual expert on communism. Your numbers make no such point, showing a per capita income of $900 when it represents a tripling of income shows a broad rise in income. Fred Bauder 02:27, Oct 8, 2004 (UTC)

I have addressed that point. There is no "tripling". Shorne 02:58, 8 Oct 2004 (UTC)

You might also look at this: Our Way: Building Socialism with Chinese Characteristics Fred Bauder 01:49, Oct 8, 2004 (UTC)

History section

To go back to events which might be mentioned in the history section as it relates to the Mao era. In addition to the Korean War and assertion of control over Tibet and other border areas, we might include land reform, perhaps some have read Fanshen by William Hinton. Another event which is assumed but not mentioned is expropriation of capitalist enterprises and other urban private property. At first Soviet advisors and Soviet aid was part of the scene; its withdrawal after the break with Khrushchev was a major event, as were the border disputes (and war) with Russia and India. Population and birth restrictions might also deserve a mention. Fred Bauder 12:27, Oct 7, 2004 (UTC)

Language removed by Shorne

Shorne has removed several times the bolded language in the following sentence: Since then, the government has gradually and greatly loosened governmental control over people's personal lives, and engaged in reforms to transform its planned economy into a market-based one; the result was elimination of the threat of famine, easing of poverty in the countryside and rapid development of the consumer and export sectors of the economy.

The language was added only after I insisted that the Maoist era be more fairly represented. Shorne 03:04, 8 Oct 2004 (UTC)

::Yes, and...? Fred Bauder 12:34, Oct 8, 2004 (UTC)

… and it is recent propaganda added to restore the article's right-wing bias. Shorne 16:27, 8 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Granted that the languge on my part is based on general knowledge but where is your evidence that famine remains the constant threat it was in pre-revolutionary and Maoist China? And where is your evidence that there was no easing of poverty in rural areas? Fred Bauder 02:37, Oct 8, 2004 (UTC)

Where is your evidence that "famine" was a "constant threat" throughout the Maoist era? There were problems at first, yes, when the country had just emerged from two wars and the wretched Republican period. They were largely eliminated by the time Mao died. Shorne 03:04, 8 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Perhaps, but you removed that information from the article. Famine is no longer a threat. A summary is not the place to give details, but my impression was that a return to individual farming instituted by Deng resulted in substantially more food production. Fred Bauder 12:34, Oct 8, 2004 (UTC)
Famine was indeed no longer a threat at the time, thanks to Mao. It is wrong to give Deng the credit. This is what I have been saying. As for your "impression", I don't think it belongs in an article on Wikipedia. Shorne 16:27, 8 Oct 2004 (UTC)

The second item Shorne removes is the bolded text in this sentence: In the major cities, especially in the coastal regions of southeast China where new industrial development is concentrated, a new prosperous middle class has emerged and there was a general rise in standard of living.

Again this language is based on general knowledge, but where is your evidence that there was no general rise in standard of living? Fred Bauder 02:37, Oct 8, 2004 (UTC)

General knowledge? Fifty million Frenchmen can be wrong.
The people making the claim should be required to defend it. It is improper to call upon other people to disprove one's own assertions. In any case, I have given you statistical evidence that there was no general rise in the standard of living. I accept that a relatively rich middle class and a super-rich upper class arose. I don't buy the claim that everyone is vastly better off. Many, many millions of people are worse off and will tell you so. Shorne 03:04, 8 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I don't doubt that millions of Chinese are worse off, expecially in the Chinese rust belt in the northeast. You have not given any "statistical evidence that there was no general rise in the standard of living." If so could you point it out? Fred Bauder 12:34, Oct 8, 2004 (UTC)

Again, it is not my job to find evidence to refute other people's statements; it is their job to back them up. Nonetheless, I can and will supply such evidence when I get the time (which won't be soon; I'm too busy trying to create balanced silk purses out of the right-wing sow's ears published at Wikipedia, to say nothing of my other activities). The removal of free health care alone was a disaster for more than half of the population. I've seen medical bills for short hospitalisations—no surgery, just medical treatment of a disease—that far exceeded the average income of a peasant. Shorne 16:27, 8 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Let's look at this partially new entry:

"After the death of Mao, Deng Xiaoping succeeded to power and mainland China remained under Communist rule. Since then, the government has gradually and greatly loosened governmental control over people's personal lives, and engaged in reforms to transform its planned economy into a market-based one; the result was elimination of the threat of famine, easing of poverty in the countryside and rapid development of the consumer and export sectors of the economy."

The beginning is misleading, Deng Xiaoping did not succeed Mao, the so-called Gang of Four did, and even after they were ousted, Deng Xiaoping was not CMC chairman, Hua Guofeng was. Then the part of elimination of the threat of famine. That's pretty encompassing language, I would not say the threat of famine has been *eliminated* in China any more than the it has been in the US or anywhere. The US census says millions of Americans have skipped meals due to hardship, one wonders what a bad harvest and economy would do to that existing situation. Anyhow, besides that encompassing language, this is all attributed to Deng, who did not come to power until two decades after the Three Years of Natural Disaster. Why does he get all the credit for this and not Mao, the Gang of Four and/or Huo Guofeng? Who knows. Ruy Lopez 12:08, 8 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Exactly. Mao solved the basic problems and got slandered for "killing tens of millions". Deng rode in on Mao's coattails (after arranging a coup against the Gang of Four and pushing Hua aside) and got credit for all the progress, to which his "reforms" added precious little. Hunger has returned to China, though you wouldn't know it from the reports of Westerners who spend all their time looking in the windows of Western shops in Shanghai and singing pæans to the new "prosperity". Shorne 16:27, 8 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Economic reforms by Deng and others began in 1961 when Mao was still in power, see [6]. Fred Bauder 12:59, Oct 8, 2004 (UTC)

Pardon? Mao correctly fingered Deng for a capitalist and twice removed from power. Deng's attempted "reforms" were strongly denounced in the 1960s. Shorne 16:27, 8 Oct 2004 (UTC)

A bad harvest in the United States is one that produces too much food with subsequent problems that flow from over-production. Fred Bauder 12:53, Oct 8, 2004 (UTC)

The gang of four is not mentioned in our summary, perhaps they should be. Briefly summarizing that episode might prove difficult however. Fred Bauder 12:30, Oct 8, 2004 (UTC)

Here is a quote from the article I cited above [7]:

The Engel Index (ratio of expenditure on food in total expenditure on consumption goods), which reflects changes in residents’ consumption structure, has plunged below 50 percent in 1994 (for urban residents) and in 2000 (for rural residents).

Those statistics are derived from averages, and allow that some people may be worse off, but I would call it evidence of a general rise in living standards. Fred Bauder 12:30, Oct 8, 2004 (UTC)

Here's an interesting site: [8], [9], [10]. [11] Fred Bauder 12:51, Oct 8, 2004 (UTC)

Deng on Mao [12] Fred Bauder 13:13, Oct 8, 2004 (UTC)


User Boraczek keeps reverting an indication of a major dispute, despite a clear indication on that page that it is not to be reverted and numerous clear requests from me to see the talk page. Shorne 01:04, 10 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I saw the discussion page, I realized that Fred had shown that the questioned sentence was justified and that your deletion was not justified, so I restored the previous version. Please show respect for other Wikipedians. If you delete text written by other Wikipedians, you should prove that it is wrong. You haven't done it so far. If you do, I won't object to changing the article the way you want. Boraczek 04:12, 10 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Will you please stop being so tedious? The text itself was not documented. I've asked for documentation several times; none has been provided. The text cannot stay. End of argument. Shorne 04:47, 10 Oct 2004 (UTC)

There are a couple of problems with this. You are editing an article when you are not familiar with the subject matter. This is evident in your quarrel with the proposition that living standards have improved due to economic reforms. It is not acceptable to edit an article in a area you either choose not to or are unable to master the basic facts involved in its subject matter. Here is another reference for you, from a Chinese source [13]. Again, notice that the Engel index is mentioned. The Engel index which is mentioned about is a measure of what portion of a person's income goes for food. Here is a quote from the article:

"The consumption structure changed remarkably with reduced money on basic daily necessities and increased spending on housing, communication, medical insurance, education and entertainment.

The Engel Index in China's urban areas went down from 49.9 percent in 1995 to 41.9 percent in 1999. While the Index in rural areas decreased from 58.6 percent to 52.6 percent.

The index, representing the ratio of expenditure on food against the whole expenditure reflects the changes of people's consumption patterns. Experts here predict the urban and rural Engel index will continue to drop respectively to 40 percent and 50 percent by the end of the year."

The same problem exist with respect to famine. That the threat of famine was constant in the old China, then revived with the economic and social experimentation of Mao during the Great Leap Forward is general knowledge, and not just with China specialists. Here's a paragraph from our own article on the GLF:

The Great Leap Forward is now widely seen both within China and outside as a major economic disaster. As inflated statistics reached planning authorities, orders were given to divert human resources into industry rather than agriculture. Estimates of deaths range from 4 million to 40 million people, with much of the uncertainty coming from defining what constitutes a death due to famine; it is widely believed to have been the greatest famine in history.

Yet you're asking from "proof" and claiming you havn't gotten it. Fred Bauder 19:42, Oct 10, 2004 (UTC)

You have absolutely no grounds on which to accuse me of not knowing anything about China. Rather than presenting my credentials, I'll point your nose to a few facts:
  1. No one gave a single reference to prove the propagandistic claims made about income and famine in China. I asked several times over a period of days. I was entirely justified in deleting those unfounded statements. (DItto for that stuff about the Great Purge.)
  2. Your newly cited "references" don't prove a thing about the period discussed, which is roughly 1976 to the present.
  3. I have already cited references about declining food production and other problems that resulted.
  4. The article on the Great Leap Forward is slanted and will be corrected when I get the time. Shorne 23:23, 10 Oct 2004 (UTC)


Human development index, 1975 0.523  
Human development index, 1980 0.557  
Human development index, 1985 0.593  
Human development index, 1990 0.627  
Human development index, 1995 0.683  
Human development index, 2000 0.721  
Human development index, 2002 0.745  
Urban population (% of total), 1975 17.4  
Urban population (% of total), 2002 37.7  
Population with sustainable access to improved sanitation (%), 1990 29
Population with sustainable access to improved sanitation (%), 2000 40  
Population with sustainable access to an improved water source (%), 1990 71  
Population with sustainable access to an improved water source (%), 2000 75  
Undernourished people (% of total population), 1990/92 17  
Undernourished people (% of total population), 1999/2001 11  
Life expectancy at birth (years), 1970-75 63.2  
Life expectancy at birth (years), 2000-05 71.0  
Infant mortality rate (per 1,000 live births), 1970 85  
Infant mortality rate (per 1,000 live births), 2002 31  
Under-five mortality rate (per 1,000 live births), 1970 120  
Under-five mortality rate (per 1,000 live births), 2002 39  
Adult literacy rate (% ages 15 and above), 1990 78.3  
Adult literacy rate (% ages 15 and above), 2002 90.9
Youth literacy rate (% ages 15-24), 1990 95.3  
Youth literacy rate (% ages 15-24), 2002 98.9 6  
Net primary enrolment ratio (%), 1990/91 97  
Net primary enrolment ratio (%), 2001/02 93
Children reaching grade 5 (%), 1990/91 86  
Children reaching grade 5 (%), 2000/01 99
Telephone mainlines (per 1,000 people), 1990 6  
Telephone mainlines (per 1,000 people), 2002 167  
Cellular subscribers (per 1,000 people), 1990 (.)  
Cellular subscribers (per 1,000 people), 2002 161  
Internet users (per 1,000 people), 1990 0  
Internet users (per 1,000 people), 2002 46.0  
GDP (US$ billions), 2002 1,266.1  
GDP (PPP US$ billions), 2002 5,860.9  

(be sure to know the difference between these two, Shorne)

GDP per capita (US$), 2002 989  
GDP per capita (PPP US$), 2002 4,580  
GDP per capita annual growth rate (%), 1975-2002 8.2  
GDP per capita annual growth rate (%), 1990-2002 8.6  
GDP per capita, highest value (PPP US$), 1975-2002 4,580  
GDP per capita, year of highest value 2002
Imports of goods and services (% of GDP), 1990 14  
Imports of goods and services (% of GDP), 2002 26  
Exports of goods and services (% of GDP), 1990 18  
Exports of goods and services (% of GDP), 2002 29  
Primary exports (% of merchandise exports), 1990 27  
Primary exports (% of merchandise exports), 2002 10  
Manufactured exports (% of merchandise exports), 1990 72  
Manufactured exports (% of merchandise exports), 2002 90
Public expenditure on education (% of GDP), 1990 2.3  
Public expenditure on education (% of GDP), 1999-2001 ..  
Public expenditure on health (% of GDP), 1990 2.2  
Public expenditure on health (% of GDP), 2001 2.0  
Military expenditure (% of GDP), 1990 2.7  
Military expenditure (% of GDP), 2002 2.5  
Total debt service (% of GDP), 1990 2.0  
Total debt service (% of GDP), 2002 2.4  
Electricity consumption per capita (kilowatt-hours), 1980 307  
Electricity consumption per capita (kilowatt-hours), 2001 1,139  


Income  1957  1978  1981  1982  1983  1984  1985  1986  
Staff & Workers (a)  235  316  458  495  526  608  686  828  
Peasants (b)  73  134  223  270  310  335  398  424  
Ratio % a/b  31%  41%  49%  51%  59%  58%  58%  51%  

1952  1978  1982  1983  Increase % 
1983 to 1952  
Calories  2,270.0  2,311.0  2,779.0  2,877.4  26.76%  
-- Animal  111.0  142.0  214.7  225.9  103.51%  
-- Vegetable  2,159.0  2,169.0  2,564.3  2,651.5  22.81%  
Cities  -  2,715.0  3,087.9  3,182.5  -  
Countryside  -  2,224.0  2,707.2  2,805.9  -  
Protein (gram)  69.6  70.8  80.5  82.8  18.97%  
-- Animal  3.1  4.0  5.7  6.2  100.1%  
-- Vegetable  66.5  66.8  74.8  76.6  15.19%  
-- Cities  -  81.6  85.6  87.5  -  
-- Countryside  -  68.5  79.3  81.7  -  


Under-5 mortality rate


Infant mortality rate (under 1)

Adult literacy rate 
1990 male

1990 female

2000 male

2000 female

GNI per capita (US$) 2002 

GDP per capita average annual growth rate (%)

Under-5 mortality rate 



Average annual rate of reduction (%)


Reduction since 1990 (%) 

GDP per capita average annual growth rate (%)


Total fertility rate



Average annual rate of reduction (%)


There are good things and bad things in there. Go ahead and pick out the ones you like and close your eyes to the rest. Enjoy. -- [[User:Ran|ran (talk)]] 00:07, Oct 11, 2004 (UTC)

Oh, and you were asking if there really was a famine in China in the 1960s. That is something even Mao didn't deny — after all, it takes true Holocaust-denier ability to explain away millions of deaths.

I could be hunting all over books for numbers, but fortunately someone has done it for me.


Agence France Press (25 Sept. 1999) citing at length from
Courtois, Stephane, Le Livre Noir du Communism: 
 Rural purges, 1946-49: 2-5M deaths 
 Urban purges, 1950-57: 1M 
 Great Leap Forward: 20-43M 
 Cultural Revolution: 2-7M 
 Labor Camps: 20M 
 Tibet: 0.6-1.2M 
 TOTAL: 44.5 to 72M
Jasper Becker, Hungry Ghosts : Mao's Secret Famine (1996) 
 Estimates of the death toll from the Great Leap Forward, 1959-61: 
  Judith Banister, China's Changing Population (1984): 30M excess deaths
    (acc2 Becker: "the most reliable estimate we have") 
  Wang Weizhi, Contemporary Chinese Population (1988): 19.5M deaths 
  Jin Hui (1993): 40M population loss due to "abnormal deaths and reduced births" 
  Chen Yizi of the System Reform Inst.: 43-46M deaths 
 Forcible collectivization: 27 million peasants 
 Cultural Revolution: 1-2 million 
 TOTAL: 29 million deaths under Mao
Daniel Chirot: 
 Land reform, 1949-56 
  According to Zhou Enlai: 830,000 
  According to Mao Zedong: 2-3M
  Great Leap Forward: 20-40 million deaths. 
  Cultural Revolution: 1-20 million
Dictionary of 20C World History: around a half million died in Cultural Rev. 
 Govt executes landlords (1950-51): 1,000,000 
 Cultural Revolution (1967-68): 50,000
 1958-61 Famine: 30 million deaths.
Kurt Glaser and Stephan Possony, Victims of Politics (1979): 
 They estimate the body count under Mao to be 38,000,000 to 67,000,000. 
 Cited by G & P: 
  Walker Report (see below): 44.3M to 63.8M deaths. 
  The Government Information Office of Taiwan (18 Sept. 1970): 37M deaths in the PRC. 
  A Radio Moscow report (7 Apr. 1969): 26.4M people had been exterminated in China. 
  (NOTE: Obviously the Soviets and Taiwanese would, as enemies, be strongly motivated
         to exaggerate.)
Guinness Book of World Records: 
 Although nowadays they don't come right out and declare Mao to be the Top Dog in
 the Mass Killings category, earlier editions (such as 1978) did, and they cited sources
 which are similar, but not identical, to the Glaser & Possony sources: 
  On 7 Apr. 1969 the Soviet government radio reported that
         26,300,000 people were killed in China, 1949-65. 
  In April 1971 the cabinet of the government of Taiwan reported 39,940,000 deaths
         for the years 1949-69. 
  The Walker Report (see below): between 32,2500,000 and 61,700,000.
Harff and Gurr: 
 KMT cadre, rich peasants, landlords (1950-51): 800,000-3,000,000 
 Cultural Revolution (1966-75): 400,000-850,000
John Heidenrich, How to Prevent Genocide: A Guide for Policymakers, Scholars,
       and the Concerned Citizen:
  27M death toll, incl. 2M in Cultural Revolution 
Paul Johnson doesn't give an overall total, but he gives estimates
   for the principle individual mass dyings of the Mao years: 
Land reform, first years of PRC: at least 2 million people perished. 
Great Leap Forward: "how many millions died ... is a matter of conjecture." 

Cultural Revolution: 400,000, calling the 3 Feb. 1979 estimate by Agence France Presse,

  "The most widely respected figure".
Meisner, Maurice, Mao's China and After (1986), doesn't give an overall total either,
  but he does give estimates for the three principle mass dyings of the Mao years: 
 Terror against the counterrevolutionaries: 2 million people executed
      during the first three years of the PRC. 
 Great Leap Forward: 10-20 million famine-related deaths. 
 Cultural Revolution: 400,000, citing a 1979 estimate by Agence France Presse.
R. J. Rummel: 
  Democide: 34,361,000 (1949-75) 
   The principle episodes being... 
    All movements (1949-58): 11,813,000 
     incl. Land Reform (1949-53): 4,500,000 
    Cult. Rev. (1964-75): 1,613,000 
    Forced Labor (1949-75): 15,000,000 
    Great Leap Forward (1959-63): 5,680,000 democides
    War: 3,399,000 
    Famine: 34,500,000 
     Great Leap Forward: 27M famine deaths
    TOTAL: 72,260,000
  Cited in Rummel: 
   Li, Cheng-Chung (Republic of China, 1979): 78.86M direct/indirect deaths. 
   World Anti-Communist League, True Facts of Maoist Tyranny (1971): 64.5M 
   Glaser & Possony: 38 to 67M (see above) 
   Walker Report, 1971 (see below): 31.75M to 58.5M casualties of Communism
                                     (excluding Korean War).
   Current Death Toll of International Communism (1979): 39.9M 
   Stephen R. Shalom (1984), Center for Asian Studies, Deaths in China Due To Communism:
     3M to 4M death toll, excluding famine.
Walker, Robert L., The Human Cost of Communism in China (1971, report to the
    US Senate Committee of the Judiciary) "Casualties to Communism" (deaths):
 1st Civil War (1927-36): .25-.5M 
 Fighting during Sino-Japanese War (1937-45): 50,000 
 2nd Civil War (1945-49): 1.25M 
 Land Reform prior to Liberation: 0.5-1.0M 
 Political liquidation campaigns: 15-30M 
 Korean War: 0.5-1.234M 
 Great Leap Forward: 1-2M 
 Struggle with minorities: 0.5-1.0M 
 Cultural Revolution: .25-.5M 
 Deaths in labor camps: 15-25M 
 TOTAL: 34.3M to 63.784M 
 TOTAL FOR PRC: 32M to 59.5M
July 17, 1994, Washington Post (Great Leap Forward 1959-61) 
 Shanghai University journal, Society: > 40 million 
 Cong Jin: 40 million 
 Chen Yizi: 43 million in the famine. 80 million total as a result of Mao's policies.
Weekly Standard, 29 Sept. 1997, "The Laogai Archipelago" by D. Aikman: 
Between 1949 and 1997, 50M prisoners passed through the labor camps,
                       and 15,000,000 died (citing Harry Wu)
WHPSI: 1,633,319 political executions and 25,961 deaths from political violence, 1948-77.
       TOTAL: 1,659,280

You know, for someone believing in a philosophy of "to each according to what they need", you seem to be pretty happy screwing other countries over and then denying that it ever happened. -- [[User:Ran|ran (talk)]] 00:22, Oct 11, 2004 (UTC)

I'm still waiting to see proof of the famine conditions that supposedly prevailed in 1976, and proof that Deng eliminated them. Your heap of citations says nothing about this. Shorne 00:37, 11 Oct 2004 (UTC)

As such, let me summarize:

  1. It is clear that various people have pointed out evidence of an increase in average living standards, from a variety of indicators, to Shorne.
    1. However, Shorne seems to be fixated on the fact that some people lost out. Duh. In any reform people lose out. All we're trying to say is that the average level went up. Which, as we have shown again and again, did indeed go up.
    2. In addition, Shorne betrayed an absolute lack of understanding in the measuring of living standards when he revealed himself to be ignorant of the difference between PPP and exchange rates.
    3. Shorne is also fixated on one dip in the grain output of China in 1986 and takes that as evidence that China's grain output as fallen, despite common knowledge (yes, I've given you a source too) that grain output has consistently risen right through the 1990's.
    4. Finally, Shorne has outdone Holocaust deniers by several multiples, by trying to deny the deaths of tens of millions of people. Here's a hint: Mao did not do that.
  2. As such, I believe that Shorne is attempting to twist facts in order to serve his own political agenda, which is belief in a philosophy that is today fringe at best and practiced today in only one East Asian country that's perpetually stuck in famine and misery. And here's an interesting statistic: so far 10 external links have been provided by Fred Bauder, 9 by me, and 0 by Shorne.

I guess we can call this an appeal for Wikipedia:RfC. -- [[User:Ran|ran (talk)]] 00:32, Oct 11, 2004 (UTC)

Have your RfC if you want it. I'm glad to defend myself. Every one of your claims about me is wrong, and I am perfectly capable of proving it. Shorne 00:37, 11 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Done. -- [[User:Ran|ran (talk)]] 00:45, Oct 11, 2004 (UTC)

Again, I'm still waiting for proof of the famine conditions that supposedly prevailed in 1976, and proof that Deng eliminated them. Your heap of citations says nothing about this. Shorne 00:53, 11 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Look harder. It's in the "heap of citations" that I gave you. Note that recommended minimum calorie intake per person per day is 2100 calories, according to [18]. -- [[User:Ran|ran (talk)]] 01:03, Oct 11, 2004 (UTC)
Stop playing games. Where is the proof of "famine" in 1976? You've only succeeded in showing that caloric intake has been above the recommended minimum since 1952. Shorne 01:48, 11 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Mediation requested

User VeryVerily's intransigence and impossible behaviour have left me no option but to request mediation. People who have anything to add to my request are asked to visit Wikipedia:Requests for mediation. Shorne 11:01, 10 Oct 2004 (UTC)

"30 million" alleged deaths

Although it is completely off the topic of the alleged "famine" conditions that supposedly prevailed in 1976 and that Deng supposedly "eliminated", the tiresome old allegation of "30 million" deaths (and now "40 million" and more; presumably they'll be in the octillions tomorrow afternoon) during the Great Leap Forward deserves attention, if only to dismiss it once and for all. Here is one answer to the absurd allegation: [19].

Readers are also invited to see the parallel discussion at Talk:Communist state, Talk:Communism, and Talk:The Black Book of Communism, where these wild falsifications in the service of Cold War anticommunism are exposed in greater detail, and by numerous other people, with references. Shorne 01:04, 11 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Sigh. Can someone translate [20]?
I can. But I'll be damned if I'm going to waste my time. Shorne 01:45, 11 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Are you Chinese, Shorne? -- [[User:Ran|ran (talk)]] 02:40, Oct 11, 2004 (UTC)
Mind your own business. I'll consider answering such questions when someone writes an article Shorne. Shorne 02:59, 11 Oct 2004 (UTC)
In short it says that China experienced natural disasters as well before 1958 and after 1961, and that the disasters of 1958-1961 were not the exceptional ones that they are made out to be. That refutes this statement:
No one denies that there were people who died of starvation during the three
years from 1959 to 1961 when China was struck by some of the most severe
natural disasters in its history.
That's odd. Even many of the mainstream propagandists of "30 million" and such don't deny that there was a huge famine in the years leading up to the Great Leap Forward. Shorne 01:45, 11 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Would you like to provide a source for a change, Shorne?
Also it says that not just population dipped; various other indicators like grain output and industrial output also plummeted. For example grain output dipped 17.6% in 1959 and 18.5% in 1960. That refutes:
The only proof for the astounding number of 30 million victims, as repeatedly
cited by Western experts, is a crude extrapolation based solely on the
population data of the 1982 Statistics Yearbook of the People's Republic of
China: they compare the actual population figures as given by the Yearbook
for those 3 years with the extrapolated figures for the same period assuming
normal population growth trends.
Well, I'll be damned! Grain production declined during a famine! Fancy that!
In addition, your claim does not refute the correct observation that these idiotic estimates of "30 million victims" are indeed based on "a crude extrapolation" from population data. Shorne 01:50, 11 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Oh, so now you're saying that there was a famine. That's good. Now, how many people died in this famine, according to you?
And oh, try not to doubt the power of mathematical extrapolation. Strange as it sounds, it is actually the most scientific method we have. For example, how do you think we arrived at the figure of Six Million for the Holocaust? Did they count the number of skulls unearthed from underneath concentration camps?
Let me give you a hint, right out of the Holocaust article:
"There is no precise figure for the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust.
The figure commonly used is the six million quoted by Adolf Eichmann, a 
senior SS official. Most research confirms that the number of victims was
between five and six million. Early calculations range from 5.1 million
(Professor Raul Hilberg) to 5.95 million (Jacob Leschinsky). More recent
research, by Professor Yisrael Gutman and Dr. Robert Rozett in the
Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, estimates the Jewish losses at 5.59-5.86
million, and a study headed by Dr. Wolfgang Benz presents a range from 5.29
million to six million. The main sources for these statistics are comparisons
of prewar censuses with postwar censuses and population estimates. Nazi
documentation containing partial data on various deportations and murders is
also used. " From Yad Vashem ( 
And finally, and something that is common knowledge in China: everyone, urban and rural, know exactly what happened 1960-1962, though they may not agree on why. Peasants do have memories of eating bark off trees, of eating rats and insects, of eating their own children, of:
... this would have been the most horrific ever famine scene in human
history. One would have observed emaciated famine victims everywhere one
looked in the vast Chinese land. There would have been massive movements of
people fleeing from areas with the most severe food shortages; there would
have been beggars everywhere.
Funny, where's the evidence? I've never heard anyone from China claim that people were rotting away everywhere one turned. And why didn't the neighbouring countries suddenly see a huge influx of migrants in quest of food? Shorne 01:45, 11 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Then you haven't talked to too many people in China yet, have you? (Oh, talking to twenty-something students who can't even remember the Cultural Revolution, and believe that Mao was goodgoodgoodgoodgoodbadbadbadgoodgood although they never lived during his time, doesn't count.) Why do you think the leadership had to make such a big deal out of how bad the natural disasters were during those three years? -- [[User:Ran|ran (talk)]] 04:11, Oct 14, 2004 (UTC)

-- [[User:Ran|ran (talk)]] 01:23, Oct 11, 2004 (UTC)

Objection to deleted material

[Material transferred to this page from my talk page. Shorne 03:38, 11 Oct 2004 (UTC)]

Shorne, you removed this entire paragraph, from the People's Republic of China article, terming it "Blatant POV nonsense:

"Following the dramatic economic failures associated with the Great Leap Forward, Mao stepped down from his position as chairman of the People's Republic. The National People's Congress elected Liu Shaoqi as Mao's successor. Mao remained head of the Party but was removed from day to day management of economic affairs which came under the control of a more moderate leadership under the dominant influence of Liu Shaoqi, Deng Xiaoping and others who initiated economic reforms. Feeling sidelined, in 1966 Mao struck back, launching the Cultural Revolution which mobilized the youth of the country in support of his thought, purging the moderate leadership. Disorder followed but gradually under the leadership of Zhou Enlai moderate forces regained influence. After Mao's death, his widow, Jiang Qing and her associates, the Gang of Four, who had assumed control of the country, were arrested and tried and Deng Xiaoping succeeded to power"

Did you look at the reference given: and the other information on that site? I wish you would and consider whether some part of the deleted paragraph could be included. Fred Bauder 02:58, Oct 11, 2004 (UTC)

I removed the entire paragraph because I am tired of wasting my time when you persistently add stuff that you know damn well to be POV. I'm most willing to discuss changes with people who are serious about producing an accurate, balanced, and NPOV article. People who are out to wear me down with repetitive POV antics, however, I cannot take seriously. If you want to discuss a one-paragraph summary, I suggest that we take it to the talk page. I am tired of attempting to salvage atrocious POV stuff that you write on the basis of some stuff that you gleaned from the reviews at Amazon.
Also, for your information, Jiang Qing was a member of the Gang of Four. Shorne 03:08, 11 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Ok, Shorne, just exactly what do you think is wrong with this paragraph?

Following the dramatic economic failures associated with the Great Leap Forward, Mao stepped down from his position as chairman of the People's Republic. The National People's Congress elected [[Liu Shaoqi]] as Mao's successor. Mao remained head of the Party but was removed from day to day management of economic affairs which came under the control of a more moderate leadership under the dominant influence of [[Liu Shaoqi]], [[Deng Xiaoping]] and others who initiated economic reforms. Feeling sidelined, in 1966 Mao struck back, launching the Cultural Revolution which mobilized the youth of the country in support of his thought, purging the moderate leadership. Disorder followed but gradually under the leadership of [[Zhou Enlai]] moderate forces regained influence. After Mao's death, his widow, [[Jiang Qing]] and her associates, the [[Gang of Four]], who had assumed control of the country, were arrested and tried and [[Deng Xiaoping]] succeeded to power<!-->.

Do you think, for example that The National People's Congress did not elect Liu Shaoqi as Mao's successor as chairman of the People's Republic? Do you think that Jiang Qing and her associates, the Gang of Four, had not assumed control of the country at the time of Mao's death? Do you think that Zhou Enlai did not work behind the scenes during the Cultural revolution helping moderate forces regain influence? I know this paragraph could be rewritten in a number of ways. Why don't you try a bit, maybe at least give us your version instead of simply refusing to discuss and reverting over and over again? Fred Bauder 02:11, Oct 12, 2004 (UTC)


You know Fred Bauder, no matter how much we try to debate, there will continue to be people found on the extreme left. So instead of trying to convince one particular one, let's try to arrive at an article that looks equally reasonable to the far-left, the far-right, and everyone in between.

I'll start by neutering everything of significance in the article:

After World War II, the Chinese Civil War between the Communist Party of China and the Kuomintang ended in 1949 with the Communists in control of mainland China and the Kuomintang in control of Taiwan and some outlying islands of Fujian. On October 1, 1949, Mao Zedong declared the People's Republic of China and established a communist state.

Supporters of the Maoist Era, consisting mostly of poorer or more traditionalist or nationalist-minded Chinese and foreign observers who believe in communism, point out that under Mao, China's unity and sovereignty was assured for the first time in decades, and there was development of infrastructure, industry, healthcare, and education, which they believe has helped in raising living standards. They also believe that campaigns such as the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution were essentially in jumpstarting China's development and purifying her culture. Supporters also doubt statistics or accounts given for death tolls or other damages incurred by Mao's campaigns.

However, critics of Mao's regime, which consists of the majority of foreign analysts and observers as well as many Chinese people, especially the emergent middle class and more liberal-minded city dwellers, point out that Mao's administration imposed strict controls over everyday life, and believe that campaigns such as the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution contributed to or caused millions of deaths, incurred severe economic costs, and damaged China's cultural heritage. The Great Leap Forward, in particular, precedes a massive famine in China which, according to most Western and Chinese historians, killed 20 - 40 million people; most Western and many Chinese analysts attribute this to the Great Leap Forward, while others, including Mao at the time, attribute this to natural disasters; still others doubt this figure entirely, or point out that many more people died due to famine or other consequences of political chaos during the rule of Chiang Kai-Shek.

Following the dramatic economic failures and severe famine of the early 1960s, which people unsympathetic to Maoist rule attribute fully to the Great Leap Forward, Mao stepped down from his position as chairman of the People's Republic. The National People's Congress elected Liu Shaoqi as Mao's successor. Mao remained head of the Party but was removed from day to day management of economic affairs which came under the control of a more moderate leadership under the dominant influence of Liu Shaoqi, Deng Xiaoping and others who initiated economic reforms.

In 1966 Mao launched the Cultural Revolution, which is viewed by his opponents (including both Western analysts and many Chinese people who were youth at the time) as a strike back at his rivals by mobilized the youth of the country in support of his thought, purging the moderate leadership, but is viewed by his supporters as an experiment in direct democracy and a genuine attempt at purging Chinese society of corruption and other negative influences. Disorder followed but gradually under the leadership of Zhou Enlai moderate forces regained influence. After Mao's death, Deng Xiaoping succeeded in winning the power struggle, and Mao's widow, Jiang Qing and her associates, the Gang of Four, who had assumed control of the country, were arrested and tried..

Since then, the government has gradually and greatly loosened governmental control over people's personal lives, and began transitioning China's planned economy into a market-based one.

Supporters of the economic reforms, who tend to be middle-class Chinese and most left-center to right Western observers, point out the rapid development of the consumer and export sectors of the economy, the creation of a middle class (especially in coastal cities where most industrial development is concentrated) that now constitute 15% of the population, higher living standards (which is shown via dramatic increases in GDP per capita, consumer spending, life expectancy, literacy rate, and total grain output) and a much wider range of personal rights and freedoms for average Chinese.

Critics of the economic reforms, who tend to be poorer workers and peasants in China and left-leaning Western observers, point out that the reforms have introduced wealth disparity, environmental pollution, rampant corruption, widespread unemployment associated with layoffs at inefficient state-owned enterprises, and has introduced often unwelcome cultural influences. Consequently they believe that China's culture has been corrupted, her poor has been reduced to a hopeless adject underclass, and her social stability is threatened.

Despite these concessions to capitalism, the Communist Party of China remains in control and has maintained repressive policies against groups which it feels are threats, such as Falun Gong and the separatist movement in Tibet. Supporters of these policies, who tend to be the majority of rural Chinese people and a smaller majority of urban Chinese people, as well as a minority of observers, point out that these policies safeguard stability in a society that is torn apart by class differences and rivalries, has no tradition of civil participation, and no rule of law. Opponents of these policies, who tend to be a minority of Chinese people, most Chinese dissidents living aboard, many people from Hong Kong or Taiwan, ethnic minorities like Tibetans, and most Westerners, point out that these policies severely violate norms of human rights that the international community recognizes, and further claim that this results in an police state which creates an atmosphere of fear and ignorance.

The People's Republic of China adopted its current constitution on December 4, 1982.

-- [[User:Ran|ran (talk)]] 04:34, Oct 14, 2004 (UTC)

This is good enough although as perviously some important events are left out such as land reform, the Korean War and Tiananmen. But using the facts in the previous version it attempts, generally successfully, to give both the basic events and differing viewpoints about them. Shorne? Fred Bauder 12:11, Oct 14, 2004 (UTC)

First, a text no longer than this—and we can't really allow much more space in this article—is going to have to leave out a lot of events. We can't be like the lady who asked a missionary for a pocket-sized copy of the Bible in large type.
Second, although this version is a good deal better than the previous one, it still seems biased. The effect is to push people into one of two camps. Indeed, the section can no longer be called "History"; it's now more like "Opinions on various policies since 1949". Shorne 16:35, 14 Oct 2004 (UTC)

There're a couple of ways this can be improved; we can rearrange the paragraphs so that are more "event-oriented" rather than "opinion-oriented"; instead of saying "supporters and opponents", we can say "support and opposition" (but I think it's still important to say where the support/opposition is coming from; and we can fit plenty of things in as long as we use words sparingly: Korean War, Tibet, Sino-Indian War, 6-4-1989, return of Hong Kong.

Does anyone want to try rewriting the thing? -- [[User:Ran|ran (talk)]] 01:04, Oct 17, 2004 (UTC)

Despite its length and inadequacies I am going to try putting it in the article and we'll see how it goes. Fred Bauder 11:56, Oct 23, 2004 (UTC)

A book to be added to further reading

  • Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn, China Wakes: The Struggle For the Soul of a Rising Power, Random House, (August, 1994), hardcover, ISBN 0812922522; trade paperback, Random House, (August, 1995), ISBN 0679763937

After reading about half of this book, I have decided this book is probably inappropriate. It reflects the preocupations of its authors more than it does China. Fred Bauder 11:56, Oct 23, 2004 (UTC)

POV Language?

It seems to me at least that some of the language in the article has POV (the government "ruthlessly" cracks down on opposition). Maybe, taking into the cosniderations above, someone should try to edit it to make it as NPOV as possible? Comrade Tassadar 03:27, 2 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Yeah, I think we were planning to get to it, though I think right now people are just too worn out after the row we had over the history section. (A much more NPOV version came out of it, though, so that was a good thing.) -- [[User:Ran|ran (talk)]] 04:12, Nov 2, 2004 (UTC)
Yes, please have a crack at editing out stuff like that. The language, 'the government "reluctantly" cracks down on opposition' would be just as accurate. Fred Bauder 13:50, Nov 2, 2004 (UTC)
But I fear that if I try editing it out, I'll start some sort of edit war and the article will be locked down. Comrade Tassadar 23:18, 2 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Then try doing what we did for the history section. "Some people, including X, Y, Z, A, B, C think that the policy is D, E, F, because of G, H, I, J, while others, including K, L, M, N, O, think that the policy is P, Q, R, S, because of T, U, V, W." It certainly ended the previous edit war, and I think if we start out like this we'll be able to avert the next one. -- [[User:Ran|ran (talk)]] 01:06, Nov 3, 2004 (UTC)


I came here from RfC. Does this article still have an active dispute? Maurreen 05:29, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I don't think so... we worked out an NPOV version.
Thanks for coming by, though. :D And I apologize for wasting your time... I'll go remove the notice. -- [[User:Ran|ran (talk)]] 15:54, Nov 13, 2004 (UTC)

A Question

Why does China's currency have two names? I've always read and have been taught that the money of the People's Republic of China is "Yuan". Yet many pages on Wikipedia that deals with China, either uses "Yuan" OR "Rimenbi". Will someone explain what's going on with the inconsistencies?

The full name of the currency is "Renminbi Yuan". Both "Renminbi" (RMB) and "Yuan" are common short forms. -- [[User:Ran|ran (talk)]] 03:39, Dec 3, 2004 (UTC)
Compare the currency of the United Kingdom: its name is the Pound Sterling and it is measured in pounds. The name of the PRC's currency is the Renminbi ("People's Currency") and it is measured in yuan.