China, population, and lies
Recently, the Chinese government admitted that it had "overcounted" the Chinese population by about a hundred million.
Actually, nothing of the sort happened. Chinese announcements concerning anything are generally soaked in various mixtures of bogosity, and this one is no exception. A hundred million is not a rounding error. There was, in fact, no error at all. The Chinese simply lied about their population at some unknown point in the past and continued lying until it became inconvenient or impossible to sustain.
Communist states lie about everything. This is one of the few certainties — other than the certainty of their eventual failure — that can be entertained about a People's Republic. To borrow from Mary McCarthy, everything they say is a lie, including "and" and "the." In cases like this, it usually involves national security. Communist China was blowing itself up, like a puffer fish, to look more scary and formidable.
I have long had doubts about China's population claims. The Chinese had a horrible 20th century, far worse than that suffered by anyone else. The record of the runner-up, that being Russia, is a positive picnic compared to what the Chinese went through. Let's look at the stats:
- Boxer Rebellion (1900) – 100,000
- Xinhai revolution (1911–1912) – 175,000
- Sino-Japanese war (1937-1945) – 20 million
- Nationalist Chinese deaths – 10,214,000
- Communist-Kuomintang civil war (1945–1949) – 7 million
- Anti-Landlord campaign (1949–1952) – up to 4 million
- Korean War battle deaths (1950–1953) – 180,000 to 650,000
- Counterrevolutionary campaign – 2 million
- Great Leap Forward (1958–1962) – 40–65 million
- Great Cultural Revolution (1966–1976) – Up to 20 million
- One-child campaign – 336 million abortions
Now, the population of China in 1900 was 395,800,000. China's current population, according to various sources, is either 1,425,671,352 or 1,461,313,515 (I like the absolute certainty suggested by those last three digits.) Whether that hundred million has been subtracted from those figures is unclear.
So, comrade, you're telling me that China started the 20th century with just under 400,000,000, suffered something on the order of 463,139,000 excess deaths (remember, we're not counting ordinary, everyday mortality here) across the ensuing 80 years, and still wound up with 1.4+ billion people?
I call 废话. I say it is mathematically and physically impossible. That it could not have happened that way. There was an old simile used in classrooms and textbooks before the P.C. era called the "marching Chinese" that asserted that if you started the population of China marching over the edge of a cliff at a regular walking pace, you'd never run out because they'd be reproducing faster than they'd be going over the cliff. (The standard reply was, "How could they? They'd be marching!") What's left out of account here is the Manchus, the Kuomintang, the communists, and the Imperial Japanese Army slaughtering them by the millions and tens of millions continuously for the better part of a century.
I don't think China has 1.4 billion. I don't think it has a billion. In fact, I have some doubt that it ever reached a billion.
So the "correction" should come as no surprise. It's simply something that China has to do in an effort to cover its crashing population, its shrinking economy, its ghost cities, and all those people who should be running around but, as Solzhenitsyn pointed out about the USSR, were never born.
So, in Metternich's famous phrase, what made them do this just now? I think there's worse news — news that's being kept hidden. It's common knowledge that all of China's efforts to remake human nature — the one-child campaign, the social credit system, COVID policies (or simply COVID, for that matter) — are on a collision course out in the center of that bleak wasteland where nations go to die. National suicide on this scale is something that has never been seen before. What the result will be is anybody's guess, but it can't possibly be good. As regards China, there is a short run and a long run, and right now, we don't know anything about either. Ya pays your yuan, and ya takes your choice.
Image: Wallpaper Flare.