China’s Humane Development – and India’s Tragic Path

As I was leaving China in September, a well-travelled, heavy-set Australian woman plopped herself down at a table in the Shanghai airport where we were having our last cup of tea in the Middle Kingdom. She immediately volunteered that China is not a poor country any more – not like India, she said. She was also quick to maintain that the Chinese were not as intelligent as the Indians, because the latter “speak English better.” And she felt that India was more “charming” than China once one got beyond India’s “squalor.” If one can take that step, simply “get past” Indian poverty and squalor, she informed us, one could see the inferiority of China.

China’s literacy rate is 90.9%; India’s is 61%. 95.1% of Chinese males are literate and 86.5% of females (2000 census). But only 73.4% of Indian males and 47.8% of the females can read and write. This last is quite astonishing – less than half the female Indian population can read and write in the 21st century.

The facts on literacy cited above are to be found in that most unimpeachable of sources, the CIA World Factbook, which defines literacy as the percentage of the population over 15 that can read and write. (There is more recent data, which puts the Chinese literacy rate at over 96%, but we can stick with the CIA data since the differences are small.) The India-China comparison is of interest for three reasons. First, India and China are often equated in the Western press as equivalent, both great developmental successes – but they are not the same, as the literacy rates indicate and as we shall see below. Second, these November weeks are the weeks of China and India, with Obama’s ill-starred expedition to China and the Indian PM’s excursion to the US. Third, the US has been developing India as an ally and surrogate for decades to bring China low, although such a criminal strategy, which would involve untold suffering across Asia, seems increasingly dubious and perhaps downright absurd. (More on that absurd and criminal strategy later). So let us compare the two countries in some more detail.

On the face of it India and China would seem to be quite comparable. China is, after all, the most populous nation on earth, with about 1.3 billion humans, and India is second, with approximately 1.1 billion. China won Liberation by force with Mao’s Communist revolution in 1949 and India was “granted” Independence by Great Britain at about the same time, in 1947. At that time India’s GDP was estimated to be about twice that of China’s. But today China’s GDP is about 3.6 times that of India’s. The per capita GDP’s for China and India are $6000 and $2900, respectively, as estimated by the CIA in 2006. 25% of Indians live below the poverty line whereas 8% of Chinese do. For comparison, 12% of the US population lives below the poverty line – worse than China, but not so bad as India. (Only on the CIA’s Gini index of family income inequality does China do worse than India, 46.9 and 36.8, respectively – but China there is pretty much the same as the U.S., with its score of 45.

What then puts China so far ahead? The conventional wisdom informs us that it is all due to the reforms instituted by Deng Xiaoping beginning in 1978 and accelerated greatly in the early 90s with Deng’s symbolic “southern tour.” On that PR jaunt, Deng put his stamp of approval on the export driven economy which had its first Chinese home in the southeastern coastal cities and which has now made China the greatest of the East Asian “tiger” economies, about to surpass the first tiger, Japan, in GDP.

But is this piece of conventional wisdom the whole story? The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) uses three important indices to chart the effectiveness of development. These are the Human Development Index (HDI), the Gender Related Development Index (GDI and the Human Poverty Index (HPI). Each of these is a number between 0 and 1, and the greater the number the better a nation is doing. The third is given as a %, and a higher number indicates less poverty. China and India fare thus:

   HDI: China – 0.745 India- 0.595

   GDI: China – 0.741 India- 0.572

   HPI: China – 13.2% India- 31.4% ((The data here are taken from “Development Indices: A Comparative Study of India and China,” by Anjani J. Kochak. It is brief and well worth reading for the wealth of detail it provides on these indices. Kochak takes her numbers from the 2004 report by UNDP. ))

The first of these the HDI is the oldest going back to the 1970s and combines three categories in the measure — long and healthy life; knowledge; and a decent standard of living, this last including GDP. Clearly China leads India in the HDI and the gap was growing at least up to the time of the 2004 report from which these numbers are taken. But most interestingly the gap existed in 1975 when the HDIs for China and India were 0.523 and 0.491, respectively. Recall that this was the year that Mao Zedong died, and the reforms were only a gleam in Deng’s eye.

So why the difference? One can only hypothesize about these matters, but this writer would point to one big difference. China by virtue of its Revolution completed Liberation from the Western Imperial powers in 1949. From that point on China could go its own way. It certainly made great mistakes, most notably and tragically in the Great Leap Forward of the 1950s. But there were no longer any strings attached.

And what about India? We can get a good idea from John Pilger’s superb essay “Shining India.” ((The essay is to be found in Pilger’s book, Freedom Next Time: Resisting the Empire. The essay that follows in the same volume is on South Africa and makes the point that despite the formal end of Apartheid, little has changed in South Africa, a sad fact that friends of mine who have lived there before Apartheid ended and have visited since have confirmed. Given the failure of India and South Africa and the success of China, it is not surprising that Gandhi and Mandela are lionized in the West whereas Mao is hated to this day by the Western punditry and too hot for the Western intelligentsia to handle. But these facts must make us ask whether we do not need more leaders of Mao’s mettle if the world is to change for the better. )) Pilger quotes Nehru writing ruefully on the legacy of empire, “Entangled in its meshes, we have struggled in vain to rid ourselves of this past inheritance and start afresh on a different basis.” (Italics mine.) Today Pilger notes that India’s burdensome legacy from Imperialism has a new life in the modern imperial cult of neo-liberalism with the US as its new master. And with the suffocating embrace of the U.S. (and Israel) accelerated in the 90s, things have been left pretty much the same.

The dramatic differences between India and China outlined above are not reflected in the mainstream media. There the two countries equated as fast developing and making their mark on the world. Little distinction is drawn between them – except for the relentless reminder that India is the “biggest democracy in the world,” just as Israel is the “only democracy in the Middle East. No mention is made of the differences in developmental pathways on the billions of human beings in the two nations. But the bottom line is that India is still very much caught in the clutches of Empire and as a result it is in a sad state in many ways. And Empire will use India mercilessly to maintain its sway in Asia no matter the human cost.

John V. Walsh, @JohnWal97469920, until recently a Professor of Physiology and Neuroscience at the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School, has written on issues of peace and health care for several independent media. Read other articles by John V..

56 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. bozh said on November 27th, 2009 at 9:48am #

    It is no wonder that christian warlords want to destroy chinese superior system of governance.
    And not just christian warlords and feudal lords but also kurdish, saudi, yemeni, turkish, uzbek, et al.
    As a very strong socialist and egalitarian [not in utopian sense] i overjoyed with chinese egalitarian system of rule. tnx

  2. Annie Ladysmith said on November 27th, 2009 at 12:41pm #

    Listen, all need to know about China is that it has the LARGEST army in the entire world. The Chinese women’s army is almost as big as the population of the US.

    Have you ever wondered why, with the “peacenik” we have masquerading in the white house, CHINA IS SO VERY ACTIVE WITH WAR PREPAREDNESS???

    You won’t even see the nukes coming, you’ll be too busy comparing the social structure to some other country, WAKE UP WORLD, as the masquerader toots a false peace and takes US forces to the desert, Taking out the US continent has been China’s goal all along.

  3. Samir Ranjan said on November 27th, 2009 at 1:09pm #

    With all due respects to the author Mr. Walsh I must say that the article is devoid of analysis and intellectual content. Most of the article is just a lot of statistics without any analysis. The author states that “India is still very much caught in the clutches of Empire”, but does not prove it or even substantiate it. In fact, this one point was so interesting that I waited to see the logic behind it until I came to the end of article. Also, there are quite a few incorrect and outragous things said in the article.
    For example, it says, “India was “granted” Independence by Great Britain…”. If you don’t know that India acquired independence after almost a century of non-violent struggle, you have no right to write anything about India.

  4. John Dillon IT Services said on November 27th, 2009 at 1:45pm #

    The author said India was granted independence. I have one question for you! Are you stupid?

  5. john v. walsh said on November 27th, 2009 at 3:35pm #

    Dear Mr. Dillon:
    I know full well that the Indian people despised and fought British Imperialism. BUT they were granted Independence by the UK and Mountbatten was invited to stay on as governor general. Britain partitioned India – a final divide and conquer tactic. Gandhi’s pacifisim in the end brought the partition of India and a continuing imperial influence as the quote from Nehru and Pilger’s article showed.
    Mao succeeded; Gandhi failed.
    From Wikipedia:
    “In addition, the British people and the British Army seemed unwilling to back a policy of repression in India and other parts of the Empire even as their own country was recovering from war.”
    “On 3 June 1947, Viscount Louis Mountbatten, the last British Governor-General of India, announced the partitioning of the British Indian Empire into a secular India and a Muslim Pakistan. On 14 August 1947, Pakistan was declared a separate nation from them. At midnight, on 15 August 1947, India became an independent nation. Violent clashes between Hindus and Muslims followed. Prime Minister Nehru and Deputy Prime Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel invited Mountbatten to continue as Governor General of India.”

  6. Rehmat said on November 27th, 2009 at 6:15pm #

    The truth is India has more to worry from Israel than China.

    It’s interesting to note that while both India and Israel with the help of the US, of course, are bent on the break-up of Pakistan – Israelis with the help of its powerful Jewish Lobby in the US and Britain – are also on their way to establish a second little Zionist entity in India next to Muslim Bangladesh and Buddhist Burma. Of course, the later is not a hot topic in India or the West -thanks to the anti-Muslim partnership between Hindu and Jew extremists who own the mainstream media both in India and the West.

    The “Little Israel” in India!

  7. lichen said on November 27th, 2009 at 6:59pm #

    Sweatshops are not humane; highly chemicalized, dangerous sweatshop factories producing a steady stream of junk for export is not humane, it is stupid.

  8. Samir Ranjan said on November 27th, 2009 at 7:04pm #

    Mr. Walsh: Your knowledge of Indian history is not even half-baked. Firstly, Wikipedia is no source to learn anything. I have come across numerous articles on Wikipedia in which the content is blatently wrong, probably because of the bias of the writer. If you had cited some scholar’s work – no matter how controversial – it would
    be more respectable. You should know that when the British rule ended, India (and Pakistan) became part of the British Commonwealth and the Queen the titular head just as it was for other commonwealth nations like Canada and Australia. It was in accordance with that that Mountbatten was made the Governor General. By the way, Mountbatten played an important role (entirely administrative, of course) when the Kashmir conflict broke out in 1948 NOT during the time of communal clashes after partition. Also, when India adopted
    its constitution in January 1950 and became a republic, Mountbatten was packed off to Britain and the whole character of the Commonwealth had to be changed on India’s insistence because an outsider was
    not acceptable to India even as a titular head.

    When you say “BUT they were granted Independence by the UK …”, please prove it. The mere fact that Mountbatten became the Governor General doesn’t mean anything.

    Also “…partitioning of the British Indian Empire into a secular India and a Muslim Pakistan” doesn’t make any sense. Pakistan was also secular. Islamistation of Pakistan began much later, after death of
    Jinnah. Jinnah had a different vision for Pakistan that what its leaders made it later.

    Please do your homework before writing such articles.

  9. Shirley said on November 27th, 2009 at 7:18pm #

    You have missed an important point, that China’s burgeoning population
    was/is very significantly reduced and controlled by the one family one child policy, while enforced limits on birth rate were hugely unpopular and shortlived in India. Economic reality.

  10. B99 said on November 27th, 2009 at 7:28pm #

    Anne – No way the Chinese women’s army is almost as big as entire US Population – you know we’ve got about 308 million people in the US. You’ve got to recheck your figures.

  11. dbx said on November 27th, 2009 at 11:00pm #

    Anne – numbers wise, the PLA is not hugely larger than the current US military and by far less well funded.

  12. ajohnstone said on November 27th, 2009 at 11:56pm #

    0.1% of all households in China hold nearly half of the total wealth said the report released by Boston Consulting Group.

    In the state of Kerala where i am presently living literacy is 91% (The male ,female literacy gap which was 21.92% in 1951 has been narrowed down to 6.34% in 2001 ). 95% of Keralite births are hospital-delivered.
    Birth rate (‘000 population) 14.7 Death rate (,,) 6.8 Infant mortality rate (,,) 13 4 8 Life expectancy Male 71.3 Female 76.3 On education and health and other social factors it has achieved a lot, perhaps as a result of electing communist governments

  13. pervertt said on November 28th, 2009 at 7:02am #

    India had a great head start over China. It was largely spared the ravages of war in WW2. When the Brits left or were kicked out, they left behind the institutions of modern governance, sound infrastructure (at least in the major cities) and the rule of law. Partition from Pakistan aside, India did not suffer the turmoil of a cultural revolution, where the country was turned on its head and millions were made to suffer.

    Why then has India stagnated while others in Asia (not just China) have prospered? Bad governance? The rigid caste system? Poor population control? I don’t really know why India has lagged but I do know it should not have turned out this way. Perhaps it needs a war or a revolution to throw off some of the millstones that have held down the country for far too long.

  14. Annie Ladysmith said on November 28th, 2009 at 7:09am #

    Hi B99, the latest i heard the Womens Red Army is at 267 million, the US population, 300 million give or take. You can certainly research it and correct me if my resources are wrong, but i don’t think so. Also China has 30 men for everywomen. They are very interested in getting women for these Chinese men. They are the biggest threat we face to being “wiped of the map”. I know it’s scary, but someone has got to say it! Annie. (not just the numbers, as impressive as they are, but the PREPAREDNES for war).

  15. john v. walsh said on November 28th, 2009 at 7:14am #

    For those who are interested in the work of another person who shares many of my views on China, I recommend the interview on Demcocracy Now (URL below). I just became aware of his book and outlook thru this interview, and I will certainly read the book. (I do not know whether he agrees with the key role of Liberation in the emergence of China- he does not mention it. And I do not think that the standard of living in China will remain far below that of the West – although it may be achieved in a more energy efficient way than the way of the West. Of course in the case of comparison with the US, that is not hard.)
    I hope everyone is having a good long weekend.
    john walsh
    p.s. I am glad to see I did not have to correct the rather wild view on the PLA, women’s division. Someone else did. But it is instructive insofar as it tells us what absurdities can get into the common discourse which do not even hold up to a moment’s consideration. It seems that the

  16. denk said on November 28th, 2009 at 8:30am #

    Annie Ladysmith
    **Listen, all need to know about China is that it has the LARGEST army in the entire world.**

    just curious, could it be due to they have the world’s largest population over there ?
    otoh, the usa’s “defence” budget twarfs that of the rest of the world combined…….go figure.

    **Have you ever wondered why, with the “peacenik” we have masquerading in the white house, CHINA IS SO VERY ACTIVE WITH WAR PREPAREDNESS??? **

    mine, you remind me of mr rumsfeld
    and looks like u’ve just answered your own question, that “peacnik” in the white house is implementing the pnac script to a tee
    china has damn well carry on with this “war preparedness”

    **You won’t even see the nukes coming, you’ll be too busy comparing the social structure to some other country, WAKE UP WORLD, as the masquerader toots a false peace and takes US forces to the desert, Taking out the US continent has been China’s goal all along.**

    news for ya lady, the chinese are too busy making money , i dont think they are in a hurry to commit suicide yet.
    have u been reading too much of bill gertz’s craptraps ?
    may be u ought to stick with the washington times

    are u ?

  17. Max Shields said on November 28th, 2009 at 9:08am #

    If you take all the ideological bullshit out of the picture, you have two mamoth nation-states that are ‘”developing”, using the Western/US model the world resources into oblivion. We need to get some resource mining facts on the table. Human existence cannot be separated from how we use the natural environment.

    China and India are certainly distinct in innumerable ways, but both are on a trajectory which is unsustainable by any measure. The Chinese plan – “The Four Modernizations” is in place and working overtime, creating a wealthy class of elites, and a somewhat broader middle class.

    India’s trajectory, privatization and massive capital imports and WTO treaties is but another means to the same deadend.

    In order to “grow” this massively populated states must scour the earth in search of every resource, particularly energy sources, that can be found. China wants to keep energy sources land-bound so that embargo cannot be affected (vis a vis US confrontation).

    We are headed for MAJOR energy resource wars that began in Africa and now in the Middle East. The life styles and the GDP/GNP measure are the be-all-end-all – and END they will. You cannot continue to pump out autos (and the total cost of those modes of transportation) and tons of other material goods for domestic and foreign consumption at the rates that both China and India are doing – this is a collapse waiting to happen. The US has been on a joy ride for over 1/2 a century and now its China’s and India’s turn – trash the planet to create material wealth, most of which is completely unnecessary.

    Mr. Walsh, in the larger scheme, the differences between China and India pale compared to what they, jointing are doing to the planet – along with the US, and Europe/Japan.

    (All should look at China’s and India’s history over the last 65 years to understand what the planet is up against.)

  18. bozh said on November 28th, 2009 at 9:45am #

    I am not gonna read chinese minds but wld like to mention that it had been occupied by euros and severely mauled by japan.
    If i remember correctly, some people in US were calling for a nuke attack on china and invasion of it during nato aggression against koreans.

    US is willing to destroy planet via global warming rather than becoming econo-militarily weaker. Actually, it is manufacturing ever ‘better’ weapons largely or solely [for now] for agression purposes.

    Somehow we need to persuade euros, americans, and canadians to start living with less and solemnly swear they wld end their occupations and wage no more wars before we can even contemplate to ask china to do with less.

    However, western paroxism is even to a naked eye getting worse. tnx

  19. denk said on November 28th, 2009 at 10:15am #

    correction…..[wrong link]

    lady anne
    **Have you ever wondered why, with the “peacenik” we have masquerading in the white house, CHINA IS SO VERY ACTIVE WITH WAR PREPAREDNESS??? **

    mine, you remind me of mr rumsfeld

  20. Synic3 said on November 28th, 2009 at 10:29am #

    Both China and India are entangled in the mesh of the “new” empire.
    All that talk about how great China is doing compared to India and the rest of the developing world ignore a basic fact.
    Taking davantage of cheap labor and lax to non-existent labor and environmental laws , there was HUGE influx of capital and technology into
    China from trans-national corporations to build manufacturing plants.
    Some of these plants are directly owned and operated by these corporations,
    some are owned and operated with some Chines partners who are mostly relatives and cronies of the ruling Chinese elites, and some small ones are completely owned by Chinese who are again mostly relatives and cronies of the Chinese ruling elites.
    Most of these plants are nothing but huge sweat shops.
    Most of the products of these factories are for export, mainly to USA , Japan and western Europe. So, if the US stop importing from China and the trans-national corportations move to another country , China will be in deep trouble.
    So, most of the products in the shops who has the logo “Made in China” are in reality western and Japanese products which are made in China.
    That is the reason why manufacturing jobs, including Auto plants are disappearing from the USA.
    Due to this rapid expansion and change, China faces huge social and environmental problems and many people feels they are exploited or left behind and the state keeps wary watchful eyes on that mix and doesn’t hestitate to use brutte force at any sign of unrest.
    All these Chinese farmers and laborers who abandoned their cities and villages and moved to the cities where these factories are don’t have any social or health services at all in their new city because they are cosidered “guests”!!
    and not residents. So much of the so called egalitarian society.
    China now is capitalist country with party elites’ relatives and cronies are the new capitalists.
    Many of the lands used to build these factories and needed roads and airports etc etc have been arbitrary confiscated and its residents moved with very little compensation which large part of it was stolen by corrupt Chinese officials!!
    India started to move in the same path, but relatively, for now, it is more free from the mesh.
    I visited China and I admit, I was impressed by its cities with hundreds of high rise buildings, high ways and wide clean streets. All the Airports were modern or ultra modern. There was no visible poverty and the population seems well fed.
    In that respect China is much better than india with its dirty cities and decrepit airports, infrastructure and abject visible poverty.
    As always there more to any situation than meets the eyes and statistics are in the eyes of the beholder. I will repeat the trite maxim: there are lies, damn lies and there are statistics!

  21. denk said on November 28th, 2009 at 10:32am #

    sorry for the duplicate posts

  22. Synic3 said on November 28th, 2009 at 11:15am #

    Annie Ladysmith wrote:
    “Listen, all need to know about China is that it has the LARGEST army in the entire world. The Chinese women’s army is almost as big as the population of the US.

    Have you ever wondered why, with the “peacenik” we have masquerading in the white house, CHINA IS SO VERY ACTIVE WITH WAR PREPAREDNESS??? ”

    Do you have to show the whole world how misinformed and ignorant you are??!
    Or are you smoking some sort of strane adulterated weed?!

  23. Max Shields said on November 28th, 2009 at 11:25am #

    Synic3, agree with your last post, but what “impresses” in the case of 4,000 (double that of NYC) skyscrappers, is a civilization which requires enormous resources; and most especially petro, to keep it running.

    Our civilizations have grown, like a lilly pad on a pond, where once the planet seemed endlessly giving, and now it is being squeezed ever more in ways unimaginable. As the triggers of gross growth rule the day, there is simply no good that can come out of it.

    Can one be healthy, with good food and less industrialization. The answer: Absolutely!

    Both India and China suffer from overpopulation and that population, regardless of how they try to curb it, will only be relinquished by a collapse, and large scale depopulation probably through natural causes, but possible through wars driven by head-to-head resource limitations that grow ever scarcer.

  24. Synic3 said on November 28th, 2009 at 11:37am #

    pervette had a good point pointing to “The rigid caste system? Poor population control?”.
    Also India has many ethnic groups and languages and I can assume everyone of these ethnic groups is suspicious and/or wants bigger than his fair share of the pie. It is formidable task to govern such collection unless the population receives good political and cultural education and some sort of unifying idea or philosophy.

  25. bozh said on November 28th, 2009 at 11:38am #

    Until ’50s, china had been a feudal empire. Today, it is surrounded by ancient and modern feudal lords and warlords.
    If chinese are properly educated i don’t think many of them wld like to see reversion to ancient and modern feudal systems of governance.

    As late as in `70s, a kurd villager needed permission from the agha to leave his village. Nearly all the stans are ruled by ancient and modern lords. ?All arab lands are still ruled by oldcons.
    And chinese are not dumb to allow a second pol`cl party in china. Neither is US dumb to have a second party.
    It took 2oo+yrs to properly educate jane and john about US structure of governance; it may also take decades lngr to for chu and soo to be properly educated by their people.
    And once they get educated, socialism in china wld never be destroyed from inside.
    Then, one cld let a few lonely voices call for a revert to good-old fascism.
    Just as US can let a few lonely voices call for destruction of fascism or feudal rule inUS and elsewhere.
    This simplicity cannot be rendered simpler. And, whether fascist are aware of it or not, they appear careful to avoid the facts i have just posited.
    Well, i say with glee, eat ur hearts out!! Socialism, as an idea, cannot be ever destroyed; chinese, bolivian, venezuelan, korean, vietnamese, and cuban may also survive!
    So, to czech, slovak, pole, serb, croat, ukrainian, et al fascists is say, shame on u! tnx

  26. kalidas said on November 28th, 2009 at 12:00pm #

    Hu Shih:
    India Conquered and dominated China culturally for 20 centuries without ever having to send a single soldier across her border.

    Ahh, for the good old days..

  27. Synic3 said on November 28th, 2009 at 12:52pm #

    Reply to :Max Shields said on November 28th, 2009 at 11:25am #


    I agree with you, but let us not forget the fact that the “West”, by transfering many of its manufacturing operations to China, it transfered also much of the pollution the Chinese now are blamed for.
    However, the west blaming the Chinese for too much pollution, in my humble opinion, is nothing but make-belief bullshitting and posturing. The trans-national corporations still want their products and their profits.
    And yes, massive birth control is needed ,otherwise the developing nations will never achieve any remarkable standard of living improvement for all its people.
    Also needed is drastic change in consumption habits of the people in the West and everywhere. People can consume much less without any change in their life. For example there is no need to own several sneakers or drive a huge car or live in McMansions. People can still own a single sneaker and drive compact car and live in comfortable house with quarter the resources spent previously.
    I think nature will solve these environmental problems some how in the future .!!

  28. Randir Agarwal said on November 28th, 2009 at 3:38pm #

    Please stop comparing India and China. Half of Indian children go to bed hungry. India has the most number of children exploited in sweatshops. There are Indian women who pick up human feaces with their hands to eek out a living. If that is what is meant to be a democracy that provides no relief to its citizens, then is it worth being democratic. The word democracy in modern times were popularized by the US. The US setup a system which rewards the hard working and entrepreneural minds but also put in checks and balances to stop corruption and feudalism. India on the other hand is just democratic in name but corruption, feudalism, etc is pervasive in Indian society.

    China might be a dictatorship but for the last decade or longer, it hasn’t been communist in nature. However, that dictatorship has improved the standard of living of everyday Chinese.

    As an person born in Arunachal Pradesh, I wish we had been taken over by China instead of India. We should be part of the Tibetan province of China and instead we are controlled by India. If we were part of China, we would have access to a larger market, billions of yuan would be pumped into develop the infrastructure and special provisions would be made to provide us placements at universities across China. Instead in India, my family wallow in poverty. I was lucky to get out due to an American family’s help but how many live in poverty in India.

  29. liz burbank said on November 28th, 2009 at 5:16pm #

    Humane’ by what and whose standards, in whose class interests? why not by anti-imperialist-zionist standards? the ‘humane’ abstraction you cite, based on CIA stats., severs numbers from history, context and worldview, for the imperialist state’s purposes.

    Some history & context from an anti-capitalist worldview: Mao had analyzed, warned about and struggled against the counterrevolutionary restoration of capitalism led by communist party ‘capitalist roaders’ exploiting their earlier revolutionary contributions to ‘feather bourgeois nests’ and fostering rather helping uproot inevitable material & ideological remnants of capitalism by continuing the revolution in all spheres of socialist society, breaking the chains of the past to move forward,

    mao’s leadership was a major contribution to china, to history and to marxism-leninism, historically and theoretically breaking with stalinism on the nature, contradictions and tasks of the revolutionary socialist period. unfortunately now we are witnessing, and involved in china’s ‘great leap’ backward based on capitalism’s inherent political-economic nature. it’s a counterrevolution that is creating increasingly obscene material, ideological & political class differences in wealth/poverty. Forced by the ‘expand or die’ law of capital, china is expanding its global reach. regardless of even the most wishes for ‘peaceful coexistence’, china’s capital is ‘globalizing’ capitalism is in imperialist competition with US/western imperialist rivals. as history teaches, like it or not, such inter-imperialist rivalry leads to wars to conquer rivals and resistance for global supremacy. so rivals must prevail or fail.

    China now, with higher bourgeois scores, is actually a destroyer of genuine progress, no longer a revolutionary beacon guiding 95% of exploited, oppressed, suffering humanity toward a sane and necessary classless communism… for now…as marx’ analysis of capital demonstrated, eventually this neanderthal system must produce its own gravediggers.

  30. Max Shields said on November 28th, 2009 at 5:44pm #

    Synic3 I agree that blaming the Chinese when looking at the eco-damage created by the West/US is pissing in the wind.

    But…it is apparent that China and India are on a rampage – it matters not that the West started it. If I point a gun at you and you point a gun at me and we both fire, does any one really care who pulled the gun first?

    The fact is China’s economy (based on pro-Western metrics) is EXPLODING. Should we complain? I don’t think we as Americans should complain, BUT we as human being have EVERY right to complain and much more…but not just about China, or India, or Japan or the US…but all of the collective madness these and Europe/Russia continue to create. And as we “complain” the West and others are exporting this pathological cancerous system of endless growth economy to the rest of the world….

  31. Max Shields said on November 28th, 2009 at 5:49pm #

    By the way, taking sides on the India/China divide is more pissing in the wind…just look at the numbers on resource consumption, on pollution, on Westernized growth in both of these nations. Who cares if one is like more by the US than the other. The one has been a patsy, and the other is the hand that feeds US. (you always hate the hand that feeds you – resentment – and hence the US demonizes ever so gently China, while letting the Indians with a pass on their nuclear arsenal.

    But these are just redherrings in the picture unfolding. Pay attention to that picture…it’s bigger than the differences between India and China. Mao’s dead and the Communist dream went with him long ago.

  32. Don Hawkins said on November 28th, 2009 at 6:04pm #

    “They don’t know that we know they know we know.”
    unknown author

    “I am not going to give you a number for it because it’s not my business to do intelligent work.” -asked to estimate the number of Iraqi insurgents while testifying before Congress

    “I believe what I said yesterday. I don’t know what I said, but I know what I think, and, well, I assume it’s what I said.”

    “Needless to say, the President is correct. Whatever it was he said.”

    “Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”
    Donald Rumsfeld

    How about what we are told to know is unknown to those who know we don’t know.

  33. bozh said on November 28th, 2009 at 6:07pm #

    It does matter to me who started industrialization. More industrialized a country became the ‘better’ killing machines they had the more wars of agression they do the more they threaten others with destruction etc.
    And, of course, the more polluting they have done and still do.
    A US citizen may pollute more than one hundred nepalese.
    And an american or a euro spews out the worst pollutants to boot and not just more.
    And if are going to live under the rule of most evil people ever we might as well destroy the planet and them.tnx

  34. Chan said on November 28th, 2009 at 6:14pm #

    Annie Ladysmith,

    (1) “… Womens Red Army is at 267 million”

    This is laughable!! Where did you get this stats from??

    There are only LESS than 3.5 million people (men and women COMBINED) in the 3 forces COMBINED (ie, soldiers, navy, and air force) in China.

    (2) “… China has 30 men for every women”

    What ??? Seriously, what planet are u from AnnieLadysmith??

    Here is the correct demographic breakdown in China (Taken from the CIA worldbook):

    At birth: 1.11 male(s) / female (2008 est.)
    Under 15: 1.13 male(s) / female (2008 est.)
    15-64 years: 1.06 male(s) / female (2008 est.)
    65-over: 0.91 male(s) / female (2008 est.)

  35. johnnie said on November 28th, 2009 at 7:43pm #

    did anyone see the olympic opening ceremony? scared me half to death. nuke them now while we still can. we can have our polite discourses later.

  36. ajohnstone said on November 28th, 2009 at 10:15pm #

    I think Liz Burbanks is talking about a different Mao . The Mao i have read mobilised terror witch-hunts in which anyone refusing to wholeheartedly join in would find themselves a target. He repeatedly used this strategy throughout his career to gain and hold power, culminating in the infamous Cultural Revolution, which accounted for some 100 million people being humiliated, tortured, maimed and, in 3 million instances, murdered.
    His callousness is almost beyond the scope of human imagining. In one year, 22 million people died of starvation – brought about primarily through Mao’s disastrous project to make China – then one of the poorest countries on Earth – into a nuclear super-power. The famines and overwork induced by the programme led to 38 million deaths.While people starved he would gorge himself on whole chickens and huge quantities of meat and fish.
    He used women almost as imperial concubines, procured from the local labour force. Anyone who objected to his and other leaders’ privileges amongst squalor were derided as “petit-bourgeois egalitarians”.
    On the Long March, Mao and the other leaders didn’t march with their soldiers: they were carried. And the workers and peasantry have been carrying the party officials ever since .
    Mao didn’t break with Stalin , he broke with Kruschev, and only then did “restoration-of-capitalism” view appear and Mao began to openly attack the CPSU as “reformists”¸

    Some quotes of Mao warning against ” counterrevolutionary restoration of capitalism ”

    “”The present-day capitalist economy in China is a capitalist economy which for the most part is under the control of the People’s Government… It is not an ordinary but a particular kind of capitalist economy, namely, a state-capitalist economy of a new type”

    “The transformation of capitalism into socialism is to be accomplished through state capitalism….”

    “Some workers are advancing too fast and won’t allow the capitalists to make any profit at all. We should try to educate these workers and capitalists and help them gradually (but the sooner the better) adapt themselves to our state policy, namely, to make China’s private industry and commerce mainly serve the nation’s economy and the people’s livelihood and partly earn profits for the capitalists and in this way embark on the path of state capitalism….”

    “the character of the Chinese revolution at the present stage is not proletarian-socialist but bourgeois-democratic….”

    “A certain degree of capitalist development will be an inevitable result of the victory of the democratic revolution in economically backward

    “it will guarantee legitimate profits to properly managed state, private and co-operative enterprises–so that both the public and the private sectors and both labour and capital will work together to develop industrial production…” [ a very ‘marxist’ class interpretation indeed!]

    ” A sharp distinction should be made between the feudal exploitation practiced by landlords and rich peasants, which must be abolished, and the industrial and commercial enterprises run by landlords and rich peasants, which must be protected…”

    “To counter imperialist oppression and raise her backward economy to a higher level, China must utilize all the factors of urban and rural capitalism that are beneficial and not harmful to the national economy and people’s livelihood…Our present policy is to regulate capitalism, not to destroy it.”

  37. Synic3 said on November 29th, 2009 at 6:48am #

    liz burbank wrote:
    “china’s capital is ‘globalizing’ capitalism is in imperialist competition with US/western imperialist rivals. as history teaches, like it or not, such inter-imperialist rivalry leads to wars to conquer rivals and resistance for global supremacy. so rivals must prevail or fail.”

    That WAS true in the past, but NOW capital is global and hirarichal. The Chinese capital is subservient to the US capital. Chinese capital has almost trillion dollars invested in US Treasury notes and real estate.
    That doesn’t mean there is no competition and friction between capitalists, of course there is but not on the national level, but on the individual level and mostly get resolved not by war but finance ( including financial tricks and fraud ) a.k.a the current financial crisis and stark monoplistic policies and hard edge compition and the losers most of the time retire with tens of millions of dollars to their posh estates and live happily ever after!!
    That is the way I see it in the foreseeabl future, but predicting the future is most of the time wrong and we live in a very rapidly changing world.!

  38. Max Shields said on November 29th, 2009 at 8:21am #

    But this is best called a deadly embrace, Synic3.

    We need to look objectively at the resources that lead to head to head competition.

    India and China have a strategic partnership. In 2006, Prsident Hu hammered out with Prime Minister Singh and signed a ten-point joint resolution. This is a collaborative effort to explore and obtain the necessary resources (much of it natural gas and petroleum) throughout the globe.

    This is serious stuff. Pay attention. Their oil companies are state-owned. They are both on a binge to grow grow grow…

    And where does this put the West, Japan and USA?

  39. Max Shields said on November 29th, 2009 at 8:41am #

    China and India are emerging as a large imperial entity commonly referred to as Chindia.

    I think imperialism is what happens when a power needs resources that someone else has. In other words, the power needs something it doesn’t have, or is limited to. China has coal, but it is reduced quality and with the expected growth, it will deplete. So what does it do? It cuts deals with usually weaker entities, taking over the means to extract, and paying off the entity – no different than what has happened throughout the ages with imperial powers.

    This is not trade, in the normal sense, but a demand made of a supplier who has resources needed. In other words, it is different than an export of one nation’s goods/services with another nation. And all of the agreements are premised on a demand which will be depleted with time, not a product that can be rightfully commoditized and valued.

  40. Synic3 said on November 29th, 2009 at 9:41am #

    Max Shields wrote:
    “They are both on a binge to grow grow grow…
    And where does this put the West, Japan and USA?”


    But you forget a very important fact whic is whether it is Chinese growth or pollution or getting more resources , it is done in service and with the complete approval of the western/japanese capitalists.
    The western/japanese capitalists transfered many of their manufacturing plants to China. So, how these plants will operate and expand and increase production without the need for more energy, raw materials and the resulting increase in pollution.
    Please, don’t look to China as an isolated unit, China for now is completely integrated with the West especially the US.
    So, any solution to the pollution or resources problem has to be global in scope and most likely it will require drastic changes in the way people live and think, which I am not very optimistic about!
    What will happen next , is not wars but billions of people will be destitute suffering from increased repression. And of course global warming is looming!!
    But who knows!!? There might be a technological break throughs in the future, as I said will are living in a very rapidly changing world and predicting the future is very prone to errors.

  41. Max Shields said on November 29th, 2009 at 10:02am #

    I don’t see either China or India as isoltated from the global economy. That would be an incomprehensible denial of reality.

    But certainly I needn’t remind you that the US (and some NATO members) are at war and have been for 15+ years!!

    Wars, conficts, stand-offs are there NOW. This is not a prediction. However there are ways to mitigate these and the China/India pact is a perfect example.

    As far as Chinese economy/way of life being a kind of creation of the West/Japan, there is little doubt that capital has come from those quarters. But this has been foreign corporate capital; not US or Wester aid per se to nation/economically build up China. Clearly different than military invasion/occupation you’ll agree, no doubt.

    But this capital invasion is part of the global economic model. It is a dilemma that has been known for some time. Off-shore your manufacturing to low labor costs, reduced environmental constraints and watch your profits grow.

    But today, China is much more in the driver’s seat. The US is a military might that has lost every military engagement its entered since the end of WWII. This has drained the US treasury. And what have China and India been doing in the interim?

    China has a dilemma. How to reduce its dependence/interdependence on the West/US when it has become an albatros.

    As I said this is a deadly embrace.

    The bottom line is not conflict over energy – which will take an enormous amount of policy deliberation to avoid – BUT the irretrievable damage that is entailed in the continued (un)economical model of growth.

    Certainly outcomes are not clear. Technologies are as much a dilemma as the current trajectory. Technologies rarely solve a problem without producing multiple – frequently worse – conditions/problems in its wake. A simple example is the new push for nuclear energy as a solution to greenhouse gas…ignoring the multitude of problems that emerge.

  42. Max Shields said on November 29th, 2009 at 10:07am #

    I think we ignore the fundamentals of eco-sustainability at our own peril. Eco-sustainability is not something you find a compromise for, or work-around for to avoid collapse.

    We can play the polyanna role and think all of this will just cure itself in a way that avoids deep and global tragedy. Or we can look at it with a given what we know, how can such a tragedy possible be avoided?

  43. Don Hawkins said on November 29th, 2009 at 11:24am #

    Who out there that knows about Iran the truth I will know if you don’t as today on Fox where else Dan Gillerman because of this 10 new enrichment planrs said Iran has until next month to stop the evil. Keep it simple. Nice quiet cup od coffee.

  44. bozh said on November 29th, 2009 at 11:51am #

    To obtain an elucidation, we all need to cast the widest look possible. It doesn’t mean we must study every event and effect-cause it engenders; However, ?all salient facts or events shld be taken into account and all their salient effects -causes on everything that happens.

    I note, tho, that even in internet media, ?all posters and journalists avoid [?deliberately] to cast the widest look.
    Some scribes dwell ?exclusively on finances; others on economy only or wars only, etc.
    Structures of societies and governance; constitutions on which governances rest; discrepancy in politico-military-economic power btwn people and lands; religions; basic human rights, etc., for many posters and journalists do not exist let alone existing in a connected way to everything else.

    To master class, this is sonatas by motzart, tchaikovski, bethoven, et al.
    Survival instinct that push people into making even wrong choices such as industrialiazing their economy and which may actually diminish their chances of survival, is almost alway omitted. How can one proffer an illumination of what goes on, by just leaving this one fact out?
    USSR and now China, are good examples of emulating clazy euros and amers.

    Never in history have some ethnoses and lands been as endangered as now. Which probably wld cause such lands to acquire wmd which may one day bring on what most people fear: the end of people.
    I think that chinese evaluate with certainty that world plutos wld never allow china to develop without chinese fearing of being attacked or that i wld be one day attacked and dismebered.

  45. Don Hawkins said on November 29th, 2009 at 12:24pm #

    Survival instinct that push people into making even wrong choices such as industrialiazing their economy and which may actually diminish their chances of survival, is almost alway omitted. How can one proffer an illumination of what goes on, by just leaving this one fact out?

    Oh boy in control of an out of control system and damn the WMD’s full speed ahead. In Iran who is in control of the weapons the religions leaders or the military guard or both. In Israel who is in control of the WMD’s the religions leaders the military both and how much influence does the greatest nation on Earth have in this little game on a mote of dust granted a miracle of the Universe almost alway omitted.

  46. Andrew said on November 29th, 2009 at 9:34pm #

    For the millions of Chinese that died under Mao, I’m not sure what they’d think of what you have to say. Given the Chinese execute thousands of people each year, lack a free press, and are a dictatorship, we really can’t know for sure what their literacy rates are, but here’s a few I found on India:

    From: Unicef (
    Total adult literacy rate (%), 2000–2007* – 66%
    Youth (15–24 years) literacy rate, 2000–2007*, male 87%
    Youth (15–24 years) literacy rate, 2000–2007*, female 77%

    A bit different from what you quoted, eh?

    I’m always amazed at people like John Walsh. India wasn’t granted independence, and Wikipedia is not a good source for information. Let’s start with the following:

    1) Gandhi failed – no he didn’t. India gained freedom through his political movement. There’s little real evidence to support the quote about British troops not wanting to supress India. This is a common trope put out by British historians who don’t want to admit that India brought about the end of their empire. After all, they have to save face some how. Your just quoting British revisionism in Pilger’s work. There are a number of different historical views of what happened at Partition. A competent historian or academic would acknowledge each of these, consider the evidence, pros, and cons for each view, and make a decision (which you didn’t). Many, including myself and other historians, believe the British brought about partition because they believed in divide and conquer. This was firmly routed in the notion that a nation had to be ethnically and religiously homogeneous to be “modern.” This nation state view was common of most Western powers. It’s bad practice to quote one or two sources, especially when one of those is Wikipeda. One of Pilger’s problems is that he uses the technique of “backhanded praise” when commenting on Indian history. Gandhi had little to do with bringing about Partition, same with Nehru. The problem lays with the British, Mountbatten, and Jinnah.

    2) Your statistics are flawed. You should look at a variety of indicators, not just ones that suit your arguments. For example, consider these:

    Freedom House Freedom Index:
    China – not free
    India – free
    (Source: Freedom house –

    Foreign Policy’s Failed States Index 2009 (Higher is worse)
    China – 84.6 (rank – 57)
    India – 77.8 (rank – 87)

    I could go on with the reporter’s without borders ranking, etc. These point to the fact that you probably aren’t getting the full picture. China is a dictatorship. Verifying information is going to be tough, it not impossible.

  47. Mulga Mumblebrain said on November 30th, 2009 at 12:06am #

    India is flavour of the month with the Real Evil Empire because it is being groomed to confront China, as part of the US/Israeli plan to de-rail China’s rise and consolidate the US/Israeli global empire of ‘Full Spectrum Dominance’ (as witnessed in Gaza, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and soon to be visited on Iran)and because India’s caste system is so widely admired by Western elites. To have constructed a social system where privilege and power are fixed and immutable from birth, for all time, is the ideal to which the capitalist elites aspire. Moreover India’s large Islamic population and the Hindu fascists who despise it, make India a target for Israeli machinations. Israel already provides tactical advice for India’s occupation of Kashmir and the ruthless suppression of the Islamic population, lessons learned in decades of barbarising the Palestinians. India and China ought to be allies or friendly and co-operative rivals, but if the two greatest sources of evil in the world today, the US and Israel, have their way, instead India’s elites will join the ‘Clash of Civilizations’ camp in its eternal wars fought against the enemies of ‘Western Civilization’, a recipe for disaster for humanity.

  48. denk said on November 30th, 2009 at 9:02am #
    1962, nehru

    2009, manmohan singh….

  49. kalidas said on November 30th, 2009 at 1:27pm #

    The only difference between India’s caste system and the caste systems of USA, Pakistan, China, Israel, Norway, Egypt, etc., etc., etc., is in the amount of denial.

    Skunk cabbage by any other name..

  50. bozh said on November 30th, 2009 at 3:07pm #

    u may be confusing development of socialism amongst many fascists with fully developed socialism and sans domestic and alien fascist interference and threats against building a better life for all; including fascists. tnx

  51. Don Hawkins said on November 30th, 2009 at 4:07pm #

    Socialism for the wealthy on a grade scale. Let’s pick one Goldman a few months back down for the count without socialism from the kindness of strangers. I mean what would they do shop at Wal Mart get a job that requires work they don’t know how to do that as highly educated con artists doing God’s work of course. Who do they serve the few very few. From what I understand now Goldman and a few more are doing something with insurance again God’s work. In better times if we can call it that how do these people think and now in worst times look out for ugly.

  52. pervertt said on December 5th, 2009 at 1:01am #

    Both India and China desperately want the respect of the developed world. India does it by declaring itself to be the world’s largest democracy. China does it by exporting manufactured goods and by buying US Treasury bonds. Guess which method is more persuasive.

  53. john walsh said on December 5th, 2009 at 11:28am #

    India has a large Maoist insurgency throughout a third of its territory and is a US ally in Afghanistan and in making certain that Pakistan ends up as another Islamic country turned into a basket case by the US and Israel.
    India has been developed as a cat’s paw against China since the days of Dean Rusk and JFK but the whole thing has been stepped up recently since China has become a serious economic power. It will be a tragedy for the world if the US/Israel succeeds in provoking open conflict between India and China. But I believe that is the Empire’s plan to remain number one.

  54. denk said on December 6th, 2009 at 6:46pm #

    1966: Secretary of State Dean Rusk observes (without irony):

    “At times the Communist Chinese leaders seem to be obsessed with the notion that they are being threatened and encircled…[an] imaginary, almost pathological notion that the United States and other countries around its borders are seeking an opportunity to invade mainland China and destroy the [Peiping] Peking regime. How much Peiping’s ‘fear’ of the United States is genuine and how much it is artificially induced…only the Chinese Communist leaders themselves know.”

  55. Raj said on December 6th, 2009 at 8:18pm #

    India wasn’t granted freedom but it fought and got the freedom. On literacy rate the numbers are too high, in India person is considered literate if person can write his name , no need to read and write. The true litercy rate is way down than what is stated here. Indian goverment is run by neo liberals who has scant regards to the common man. Middle class doesn’t even participate in the election, poor has no choice than elect corrupt,inefficient people. Women has no place in Indian society, majority of them are pushed behind the close door of home, tortured, brutaliy murdred on the name of dowery and foeticide/infanticide.

    All this talk of Indian rising/shinning is only benfitting upper class. Deep rooted caste system is not allowing lower cast to participte in the GDP rise.

  56. john walsh said on December 7th, 2009 at 7:15am #

    Thanks for the thoughtful comments Raj.
    I want again to correct a misimpression. I understand full well that the Indian people had to fight and did fight for independence. But it was an independence that came with strings attached, like the partition of the country which so upset Gandhi who, I believe, was unahppy with other aspects of the British agreement to give India independence.
    China, on the other hand, made revolution and built new China as it wished – with no strings attached. Also the Communist revolution there wiped out the few vestiges of religion in China, something that would greatly benefit India.
    In other words, to repeat, Mao succeeded in taking the first step forward for a new and completely independent China whereas Gandhi failed in many important respects as I think he realized and, as the quote from Nehru in my piece shows.
    Much remains to be done before India can “stand up.” Perhaps the key lies in the red crescent of Naxalite revolution that now dominates or at least affects about one-third of India’s territory.
    On all other points, I agree with you.
    john v.walsh