My views on the PRC (1949-1989)

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Zhenqin Li

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Nov 11, 1989, 1:04:45 AM11/11/89
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The survey of "Perspectives on the PRC (1949-1989)" was concluded about
a month ago. But I think the rationales underlying the variety of opinions
have not been adequately discussed. To help promote such communication of
different views and perspectives, I will present in the following my
own personal opinions, which hopefully would be beneficial to the mutual
understanding among s.c.c. netters. Given the scope and the subjective
nature of many of the issues involved, I will not attempt to justify my own
answers of every question. However, I will provide the basis of my
judgement on three categories in the first question: health care,
population and agriculture, for which empirical data are easily accessible.
You are welcome to criticize the accuracy and/or relevance of these data.
[Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica and its 1989 Book of the Year.]

(i) Health care. A major indicator for the effectiveness of health care
(which is closely related to the quality of living) is the life expectancy.
The life expectancy for Chinese in the PRC in 1987 is 67.8 for males and
70.7 years for females. The world average is about 63. [The life expectancy
for people in India is about 57.]

(ii) Population. The population of PRC has rised from about 557 millions in
1950 to 1,088 millions in 1988. In the meantime, the total population of
the world rised from about 2,509 millions in 1950 to about 5,112 millions
in 1988.

(iii) Agriculture. For comparison purpose, the following national
statistics from China, India, Japan, and U.S., are compiled based
on tables from Britannica World Data, 1988 Book of the Year, Encyclopedia
Britannica:
[1] Agriculture and land use, p.782.
[2] Area and population, p.746.
[3] Employment and labor, p.776.
[4] Crops and livestock, p.788.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
China India Japan US
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Land in farms [1] 143.6 163.3 4.996 411.2
(million hectares)

Population [2] 1,072 783 122 244
(millions, 1987)

Employment in Agr. 62.5% 62.6% 8.8% 3.1%
[3]
Grain production 347.8 165.8 15.8 316.2
[4] (mi.tons,'86)

Grain yield [4] 3.858 1.601 5.898 4.706
(tons/hectare)
----------------------------------------------------------------------


With the above data, I hope you can understand my ratings of the performance
of the PRC in the area of health care, population and agriculture. I wish
people who disagree with me can also present their rationales. It is true that
the CCP leaders have brought many disasters to China in the past 40 years.
But I think any mature observer of China (whether or not he considers
himself to be among China's elites :-) ) should be able to distinguish the
faults of CCP leaders, the flaws of the economic and political systems
in the PRC, from the achievements of Chinese people, if we want to have
better alternatives in the future.

Enclosed below are my own answers to the questionnaire [Appendix I] and
a summary of the original survey response [Appendix II].

___________________________________________________
APPENDIX I: My Own Answers to --
Opinion Poll: Perspectives on the PRC (1949-1989)

(Please enter you choices by typing a number between 0 and 10
You may skip any of the questions below or make as many choices
as you wish)

1. How do you evaluate the achievement/improvement (or the lack thereof) in
PRC in the past 40 years in the following fields? (Please enter a number
between 0 to 10 for each of the following items: 0 -- the most devastating
and negative change; 5 -- about average relative to the world trend; 10 --
most impressive and significant achievement)

a) living standard 5
b) health care 7
c) population and birth control 6
d) housing 3
e) transportation 4
f) communication 4
g) education 6
h) science and technology 7
i) industry 5
j) agriculture 7
k) foreign trade 3
l) literature and arts 2
m) news media 2
n) political systems 2
o) legal institutions 2
p) national status 6
q) other (please specify)

2. What do you perceive as the (potentially) most urgent problems facing the
future evolution of the PRC? (Please enter a number
between 0 to 10 for each of the following items: 0 -- the least important
problems; 10 -- the most urgent and threatening problems)
a) population 7
b) destruction of environment and natural resources 7
c) illiteracy and poor education 9
d) handicaped communication systems 8
e) inflation 6
f) corruption 6
g) rigid economic system 7
h) foreign debt 3
i) authoritarian political system 7
j) leadership with outmoded mentality 8
k) moral decay, loss of traditional culture and national identity 6
l) social unrest 5
m) famine 2
o) other (please specify)

3. The following Chinese figures have either stayed abroad for an extended
period or been staying abroad. How do you evaluate their contributions to
China's development in the modern Chinese history?
(Please enter a number between 0 to 10 for each of the following items:
0 -- most evil and negative contribution; 5 -- no contribution, or their
contributions are balanced out by their blunders; 10 -- most impressive
and significant contributions)

Sun Yat-sen (founder of Republic Of China) 8
Zhou En-lai (PRC Premier, 1949-1976) 8
Deng Xiaoping ("Chief Designer of Reform and Openness", "Butcher of Beijing")
5
Li Peng (current PRC Premier) 2
Jiang Zemin (current CCP General Secretary, former Shanghai Mayor) 5

Tsai Yuan-pei (Chancellor of Peking University in the 1910s) 7
Lu Xun (writer, 1910s - 1936) 7
Hu Shih (intellectual, ambassador to USA during WWII) 7
Qian Xuesen (leading defense scientist) 6
Fang Lizhi (intellectual, ex-VP of USTC) 6
T.D. Lee (Nobel laureate in physics, initiator of CUSPEA program) 6


4. Additional comments (optional)



____________________________________
APPENDIX II:
Poll Results: Perspectives on the PRC (1949-1989)

Part I: A Summary of the Survey on the PRC (1949-1989)
(written by Zhenqin Li, za...@cornellf.tn.cornell.edu, October 11, 1989)


[Note: the total number of responses (N), mean score (MEAN), STANDARD
DEVIATION, minimum score (MINIMUM VALUE), maximum score (MAXIMUM VALUE),
are listed below for each question.]

(Please enter you choices by typing a number between 0 and 10
You may skip any of the questions below or make as many choices
as you wish)

1. How do you evaluate the achievement/improvement (or the lack thereof) in
PRC in the past 40 years in the following fields? (Please enter a number
between 0 to 10 for each of the following items: 0 -- the most devastating
and negative change; 5 -- about average relative to the world trend; 10 --
most impressive and significant achievement)

VARIABLE N MEAN STANDARD MINIMUM MAXIMUM
DEVIATION VALUE VALUE

a) living standard
A 79 2.94936709 1.71455858 0 8.0

b) health care
B 80 4.71875000 2.04358172 0 10.0

c) population and birth control
C 77 2.74025974 2.36422123 0 8.0

d) housing
D 79 1.92405063 1.57319006 0 5.0

e) transportation
E 79 2.73417722 1.65412352 0 8.0

f) communication
F 80 2.68125000 1.65782332 0 7.0

g) education
G 80 2.94375000 1.84183754 0 8.0

h) science and technology
H 80 4.33750000 2.15061810 0 9.0

i) industry
I 79 3.81012658 1.71214328 0 8.0

j) agriculture
J 79 3.53797468 1.93280080 0 10.0

k) foreign trade
K 77 3.45454545 2.01014175 0 8.0

l) literature and arts
L 78 2.60897436 2.40757387 0 9.0

m) news media
M 80 0.76250000 1.27531331 0 7.0

n) political systems
N 80 0.75625000 1.46043550 0 7.0

o) legal institutions
O 80 0.68750000 1.10915351 0 5.0

p) national status
P 77 4.00000000 2.66062913 0 10.0

q) other (please specify)
[Note: the comments listed below in this entry are contributed by
individual respondents; no attempt is made for statistical
analysis. ]

national defense/military: 10, 9, 4, 2, 8, 10
national integrity: 9
human right: 3, 0
environment: 1
intellectual's status: 1
religion, freedom of: 1
sports: 5
female's status: 7
moral: 0


2. What do you perceive as the (potentially) most urgent problems facing the
future evolution of the PRC? (Please enter a number
between 0 to 10 for each of the following items: 0 -- the least important
problems; 10 -- the most urgent and threatening problems)

VARIABLE N MEAN STANDARD MINIMUM MAXIMUM
DEVIATION VALUE VALUE

a) population
A 80 8.08750000 1.73711349 3.0 10.00000000

b) destruction of environment and natural resources
B 79 7.70886076 2.07025267 1.0 10.00000000

c) illiteracy and poor education
C 79 8.37848101 1.96864335 1.0 10.00000000

d) handicaped communication systems
D 78 5.71666667 2.33813205 0.0 10.00000000

e) inflation
E 79 5.65696203 2.39955570 0.0 10.00000000

f) corruption
F 80 7.29375000 2.39817144 0.0 10.00000000

g) rigid economic system
G 79 7.89873418 1.93877398 0.0 10.00000000

h) foreign debt
H 71 4.20422535 2.53909076 0.0 9.00000000

i) authoritarian political system
I 78 8.97948718 1.67109568 0.0 10.00000000

j) leadership with outmoded mentality
J 78 8.37820513 2.06420624 0.0 10.00000000

k) moral decay, loss of traditional culture and national identity
K 77 4.83766234 3.05265368 0.0 10.00000000

l) social unrest
L 77 4.77272727 2.45290571 0.0 10.00000000

m) famine
M 66 4.34090909 2.54974975 0.0 10.00000000

o) other (please specify)
[Note: the comments listed below in this entry are contributed by
individual respondents; no attempt is made for statistical
analysis. ]

national confidence, loss of: 10
legal system, development of: 9
news media, censorship of: 8, 10, 10
nationalization of army and police: 10
CCP, the trouble maker: 10
unemployment: 6
multi-party system, need for: 10, 10
Hong Kong, 1997: 9
technology, need for: 8
economic productivity: 10


3. The following Chinese figures have either stayed abroad for an extended
period or been staying abroad. How do you evaluate their contributions to
China's development in the modern Chinese history?
(Please enter a number between 0 to 10 for each of the following items:
0 -- most evil and negative contribution; 5 -- no contribution, or their
contributions are balanced out by their blunders; 10 -- most impressive
and significant contributions)

VARIABLE N MEAN STANDARD MINIMUM MAXIMUM
DEVIATION VALUE VALUE

Sun Yat-sen (founder of Republic Of China)
SUN 77 8.86363636 1.27639594 4.0 10.00000000

Zhou En-lai (PRC Premier, 1949-1976)
ZHOU 74 5.10675676 2.45665610 0.0 10.00000000

Deng Xiaoping ("Chief Designer of Reform and Openness", "Butcher of Beijing")
DENG 69 3.83478261 2.56554237 0.0 9.00000000

Li Peng (current PRC Premier)
LI 72 0.39583333 0.92666865 0.0 5.00000000

Jiang Zemin (current CCP General Secretary, former Shanghai Mayor)
JIANG 58 2.24137931 1.88540419 0.0 7.00000000

Tsai Yuan-pei (Chancellor of Peking University in the 1910s)
TSAI 67 7.48656716 1.29391297 4.0 10.00000000

Lu Xun (writer, 1910s - 1936)
LU 72 6.86111111 1.95228689 0.0 10.00000000

Hu Shih (intellectual, ambassador to USA during WWII)
HU 63 6.80000000 1.41785845 3.0 10.00000000

Qian Xuesen (leading defense scientist)
QIAN 71 4.50704225 2.29828035 0.0 10.00000000

Fang Lizhi (intellectual, ex-VP of USTC)
FANG 73 7.58356164 1.57233140 3.0 10.00000000

T.D. Lee (Nobel laureate in physics, initiator of CUSPEA program)
LEE 74 5.56756757 2.12668036 0.0 9.00000000

[Note: many netters contributed their thoughts on some other people
not on the list above. Since the question was not asked, I will
not go through their ratings, except list the most celebrated figures
frequently mentioned, for the netters' comparison. ]

Mao Ze-dong (Mao Tse-tung)
Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Ching-kuo
Zhao Ziyang
Hu Yaobang
Jin Guantao
Yan Jiaqi
Wu'er Kaixi
...
--
Zhenqin Li | "Politics are for the moment.
Cornell University | An equation is for eternity." -Albert Einstein

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