Source vs. Content

  • #1

Main Question or Discussion Point

Kat originall made an interesting observation and asked the following question.

I created this thread to explore her thought rather than derail the thread where it was posted.

Apologies Kat if you think this unwarranted:

kat said:
hmm...just out of curiousity and relevent only because others are using them as a basis for arguement...
how many of you really consider newsmax as a reliable source of information...and uh...counterpunch, do you really consider that a reliable source?
I would really have to question the content of the report rather than the source.

Many people have used the words ad hominem here in the last few weeks. Would you say attacking a source because of where it is located rather than the basis of what is included is something akin?

Being stuck in China, I have problems linking to the BBC. Often, I am forced to do links to sites that may re-print the BBC article I am seeking to quote and yet I have had people refuse to even look at the work becuse of the 'source'.

I saw here within the last few weeks sombody refuse to follow a link based on the fact that it was a 'liberal' site but when I followed the link, it was to an article with an AP byline.

Lately, my philosophy has become, 'Okay, does this link contain anything I can refute with either common sense or contrary evidence' rather than 'Oh, look where it's from, it must be tainted.'

As a case in point, there is often a lot of information regarding the statistics on how many people have been 'killed by communism' in China. I did a search and found out that the 'general numbers' that most people use come from 'The Black Book of Communism', originally written in French and translated by the Harvard Press which seems to give it credence.

I found information on the Maoist International Movement website that proves the 'numbers' in the 'Black Book of Communism' regarding China to be wrong by a factor of 10.

If I link to that with http://www.etext.org/Politics/MIM/agitation/blackbook/blackb3.html [Broken] , do you immediately refuse to go there and see what is there?

It may be interesting if you DO go because they display the emails exchanged with the Harvard translator of the book who states the American printers of the translation did not understand the european sign for per thousand and printed per 100 relative to the number of deaths over a period of time.

Maoist International Movement said:
[W]e are talking about overestimating deaths by a factor of 10 and that is the whole reason this book is so famous, Courtois's claim that communism killed 100 million. How many people--people working in academia and the media full-time--read these errors without fixing them and why? These are the kind that brag about a "free press" and "freedom of thought," but in reality it means the right to obscure the causes of death for millions of people--like the freedom to recommend chicken soup for AIDS instead of protease inhibitors. MIM does not believe this sort of self-censored bourgeois "freedom" is what it is cracked up to be or we would not be in the year 2001 and having to correct these mistakes in a world famous book published in 1999.]

***********letter below************************

Harvard University Press sent me your e-mail correspondence about The Black Book of Communism. The points you raise in No. 1 and No. 2 are certainly correct. My original translation of these passages used the European symbol for "per thousand" (as the French edition did), but evidently the typesetter wasn't accustomed to the symbol and read it as "percent" rather than "per thousand." I should have noticed the erroneous switch when I looked over the galley proofs. I appreciate your drawing the misprint to our attention. It will be fixed in the next printing of the book.

Best regards,

Mark Kramer
Director, Harvard Project on Cold War Studies
Senior Associate, Davis Center for Russian Studies
Harvard University
Cambridge, MA 02138
Most sites printing the statistics have not been changed and still quote the old numbers.

If I say for example there were '68 deaths per humdred' or '68 deaths per 1000', there is a vast difference in the result, wouldn't you agree?

There are also problems with the numbers produced by the second most quoted source, Roderick MacFarquhar in the Oxford Press http://www.etext.org/Politics/MIM/bookstore/books/china/macfarquhar.html [Broken].

Maoist International Movement said:
In the process of fact-checking anti-Mao propaganda, MIM uncovered a stunning error in bourgeois media and intelligence community analysis of the Great Leap. A Harvard professor overestimated the net loss of population in the worst year of the alleged famine of the Great Leap (1958-1960) by a factor of 10.

The third volume of a book titled The Origins of the Cultural Revolution came out at the end of 1999 in paperback and won a prize from the Asian Studies Association. In preparation for a book review of volume three, MIM reviewed volume two. At the conclusion of volume two, in critique of the Great Leap Forward under Mao (1958-1960), Roderick MacFarquhar says "Nationwide, the mortality rate doubled from 1.08 per cent in 1957 to 2.54 per cent in 1960. In that year the population declined by 4.5 per cent."(1)

Numerically, this last sentence with the italicized verb was the most significant charge against Mao in the whole book. However, it was simply a misprint, overestimated exactly by a factor of ten. We found no errata in the book or in the sequel, volume three.

The relevant figure is 4.5 per 1000 as is commonly available in publications by the enemies of the Great Leap in power in China today. Indeed, MacFarquhar himself lists the correct figure in a table on page five of the third volume of his book series.

The correct figure for 1960 and other years is listed in common Chinese statistical sources. Using that figure and the others for 1960-2, one would have to extrapolate to arrive at the often-used 30 million figure of bourgeois sources. Just as easily, one could point out without extrapolating the following: 1) The death rate in 1959 was better than in 1952 and about equal to 1953. 2) The death rate in 1961 was even better. 3) The death rate in 1962 was the best seen in the People's Republic of China up to that date. It was only the year 1960 which was worse than any year since Liberation in 1949. If radical politics and collectivization mostly caused the famine, then why did it not hit hardest in 1958 and 1959 in the commune upsurge and instead chose the worst weather year when communes were already dismantled or being dismantled?

A 1984 Associated Press (AP) article against the Great Leap ran again in October, 1999 in the South China Morning Post for the 50th anniversary of the Liberation of China in 1949. Significantly, the article admitted what MIM has been saying -- that the figure of 30 million starved in the Great Leap is only possible by assuming normal birth rates during a tumultuous period where people worked day and night and studied in public meetings in between.

"Basing their calculations on the 1953 population of 583 million and the 1964 total of 695 million, and on normal fertility rates, they concluded that infant mortality and other deaths were much higher than officially reported."(2)
Even I hate the steriotypical 'commie jargon' of this site but I find it hard to refute what is being said when they provide admissions from authors and translators that the data they have published IS admitted to be wrong.

So, do we dismiss out of hand any 'site' (which now seems to be a modified version of 'ad hominem') over the facts or opinions contained therein?
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
SOS2008
Gold Member
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TSM, I understand what you are saying. Major news sources, for example are more accountable for the content, because of credibility and liability. Though some are known for bias, it is still better than, say, a web site that is privately maintained for purposes of bias. So, yes, I feel the source is important as well as the content. And the source should reference it's sources to be reputable as well.
 
  • #3
I generally try to cross referance anything I read with other articles. Very often the detail that I would prefer is glossed over in most mainstream articles so I hunt down more detailed versions. In some cases I try to go to the source such as my recent research into the Civilian Casualties in Iraq numbers. In that case numbers were widely published in the mainstream media out of context without much clarification on their source.
In more local type news there tends to be quite a bit of spin. On another forum there was an article posted about a girl who was arrested for defending herself against bullies. She was made out to be an innocent victim. Then you read other stories and find out that she chucked a two pound rock at the head of a boy two years her junior sending him to the hospital for stitches because he and some friends were pestering her and her friends with water balloons. They had a point that she was mistreated by the police but at the same time they made it sound like the little boy who went to the hospital was just a big bad bully who got his comeupens. Again this was mainstream media.
I'm rambling...
At any rate... I question all sources and there content and there are probably sites that I would consider more questionable than others.
 
  • #4
Skyhunter
I am fully aware of how propaganda works and try to remain vigilant, not that I always succeed. Content and clarity are more important to me than the source.

Here is a good example of misleading propaganda from a major mainstream news source.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/08/04/MNGAJE2LS11.DTL

Read the headline and you would conclude that John Roberts is a gay rights activist. Read the article and you must conclude that the headline is quite misleading.

As we skim through our newspaper over coffee we might get a distorted view if we only read the headlines. I believe that the intent of the paper here is to mislead the gay community into believing Roberts is something he is not.
 
  • #5
356
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Why is that article being published at all? It happened 9 years ago! That's not news, that's history.
 
  • #6
Skyhunter
Smurf said:
Why is that article being published at all? It happened 9 years ago! That's not news, that's history.
Good question.

Why do you think the San Francisco Chronicle would publish an article with a headline that reads;

Roberts aided landmark case on gay rights
His pro bono work helped activists win Supreme Court ruling
Hmmm....

Could it be that there are a few gay people in SF?
 
  • #7
BobG
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The content is most important, with the actual source data being the best content. The source of the data is vitally important.

Any news story merely reporting on some type of data or event is subject to at least some skepticism. Even mainstream media tends to apply some spin to the data by the way they present it (remember how pictures of Katherine Harris evolved into Cruella DeVille during Florida 2000?). The spin applied by a lot of strongly partisan sites is barely tolerable, unless it's the only source of the data.

Which leads to the next issue with the source. If a highly partisan site is the only site that has this data, that data is pretty suspect. You can be certain data reported by your established mainstream sources, such as AP, Reuters, CBS, et al, are reliable (well, okay, almost certain - you can't trust anyone completely, now a days. :frown: )

At best, highly partisan sites can provide something that raises good questions - but I'd tend to rely on more established sources to provide the answer to those questions.

Edit: I also wanted to add that data from a reliable source is most important. The conclusion of the reader may not match the conclusion of the person that collected the data. I remember one thread where the validity of data from a DoD website was disputed. Most likely, a contractor was given x amount of dollars, collected as much data as x amount of dollars could gather, and was left with a loser task. Nothing much could be determined from his data, but he had to put something around the data so it didn't look like a total waste of money. The data was valid, but the report interpreting the data was poor quality, which at least one viewer naively assumed the report must be from a bogus source - the DoD would never waste money on such garbage. :rofl:
 
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  • #8
russ_watters
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SOS2008 said:
TSM, I understand what you are saying. Major news sources, for example are more accountable for the content, because of credibility and liability. Though some are known for bias, it is still better than, say, a web site that is privately maintained for purposes of bias. So, yes, I feel the source is important as well as the content. And the source should reference it's sources to be reputable as well.
I'll agree with that....
TheStatutoryApe said:
I generally try to cross referance anything I read with other articles.
And that.

...and Bob's entire post.

So the main thing I would say here is that the credibility of the source is what determines how important the cross-check is.

For example, while they may be biased, I trust the mainstream media when it comes to the reporting of facts because they are accountable for those facts and I know that if they screw up badly, heads will roll for it (see: 60 Minutes/Dan Rather). No such oversight exists for independent news sources.
 
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  • #9
russ_watters said:
I'll agree with that.... And that.

...and Bob's entire post.

So the main thing I would say here is that the credibility of the source is what determines how important the cross-check is.

For example, while they may be biased, I trust the mainstream media when it comes to the reporting of facts because they are accountable for those facts and I know that if they screw up badly, heads will roll for it (see: 60 Minutes/Dan Rather). No such oversight exists for independent news sources.
Just as an observation ...

The highly 'dubious' MIM site disproved books translated and published by Harvard and Oxford.

I don't think we should lose sight of that.

One thing seems immediately apparent ... Maybe the 'reputation' of that site is responsible for it not being quoted by the 'legitimate sites' or posted in mainstream media.

I remember the outright GLEE of the mainstream media reporting the number of people 'killed by Mao' when the book was first published. (The Black Book of Communism) And now I look in amazement at the apathy in correcting the error.

Roderick MacFarquha's book has been 'THE' source for 30 years.

There is even a petition on the MIM web site to get an Errata published.

This is akin to finding out that the Holocost deniers are 'right'.

I have even seen China condemned based on this faulty evidence on this site, the numbers have just become so mainstream and accepted.
 
  • #10
alexandra
The Smoking Man said:
Many people have used the words ad hominem here in the last few weeks. Would you say attacking a source because of where it is located rather than the basis of what is included is something akin?

I saw here within the last few weeks sombody refuse to follow a link based on the fact that it was a 'liberal' site but when I followed the link, it was to an article with an AP byline.
It seems to me that in matters political (and also scientific, when the scientific is highly politicised - eg. issues about global warming and weapons research and development), people do choose what sources of information they decide to give enough credence to to even read. Even if they do, occasionally, deign to read references from sites they ideologically disagree with, they do not seem to allow whatever evidence is presented to affect their attitudes and beliefs; they read with the agenda of arguing against whatever evidence is being presented.

How many times, for instance, have members in this forum admitted to being wrong (or modified their views) on the basis of having read new evidence? Instead, what seems to happen is a lot of 'ego' stuff, where people argue their point despite sometimes overwhelming evidence that points to the contrary. It boils down to ideology, in my opinion - which makes intelligent discussion impossible, of course. This is very unfortunate, in my opinion, as we seem to be living at a time when we really, really need to think about what's happening and explore viable and non-destructive ways to solve the pressing problems of environmental degradation, the ever-increasing scarcity of energy resources, climate change, etc.
 
  • #11
loseyourname
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The Smoking Man said:
I have even seen China condemned based on this faulty evidence on this site, the numbers have just become so mainstream and accepted.
While I understand the desire for correct numbers, is killing 10 million people not still condemnable?
 
  • #12
loseyourname said:
While I understand the desire for correct numbers, is killing 10 million people not still condemnable?
I'm not sure what numbers we are to trust here, loseyourname.

Whose data do you want to accept?

I posted this on another thread:

The Smoking Man said:
You have not checked the data as presented, I see.

What happened is that the whole observation of history is skewed.

Instead of a spike of deaths now during 'the great leap forward', as the site observes:

In other words, your statement just went on to prove that you are still willing to attribute deaths to the Great Leap Forward that are actually not out of the ordinary for any other year in that period.

The death rate was proven to be greater in 1952 and actually showed a trend of IMPROVEMENT in the years of the Great Leap Forward and the additional deaths which were attributed to natural calamity in subsequent years (Previously denied because of the sheer numbers stated in MacFarquhar's book) are now more feasable.

Now you tossed out two numbers ... "10 million or 20 million" ... are you deliberately trying to ignore the fact that the error is NOT of a magnitude of 2 as you imply but a magnitude of 10?

His computations were based on 4.5 deaths per 100 where his own charts state that the were 4.5 deaths per 1000.

MacFarquhar claims a 'worst case scenario' of 30 million. Well, if you now compute the deaths as 4.5 in 1000 instead of 4.5 in 100 you would come out with a 'worst case scenario' of 3 million wouldn't you?

The population in 1964 is recorded as 695 million that's .4317% additional deaths added to the standard number shown in the trends.

In plain terms, his numbers made a claim that there were 45 deaths per 1000 which is indeed terrible.

The reality is there were 4.5 deaths per 1000.

Now go here: http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0004395.html and subtract the birth rate from the death rates.

Surprise!!! :surprised
So now, can you quote another source of the number of people killed in China other than the ones derrived from Roderick MacFarquhar and The Black Book of Communism both of which have been proven to present false data?
 
  • #13
Art
The source is pretty much irrelevent if it is providing facts if these facts can be ascertained elsewhere. It is only editorial comments, opinions, unattributed quotes and unsubstantiated 'facts' that are suspect and that applies to main stream media as well.
 
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  • #14
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The Smoking Man said:
I'm not sure what numbers we are to trust here, loseyourname.

Whose data do you want to accept?

I posted this on another thread:

[snip]

So now, can you quote another source of the number of people killed in China other than the ones derrived from Roderick MacFarquhar and The Black Book of Communism both of which have been proven to present false data?
So, basically their death rate was completely regular? and we have nothing that we can condemn them for at all?
 
  • #15
Moonbear
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Well, one problem I have with the "mainstream" media is that they too often all rely on a single source for their information. For example, AP or Reuters will put out a story, and it will be read verbatim on every major news network. That every network is reporting the same thing doesn't make it more credible or provide verification of the facts, it just shows they all got their information from the same source. If there was a major factual error in that report, how would you know? I tend to judge a story based on the sources cited. Every news story has to report where they got their information from, be it interviews with eyewitnesses or court documents. When sources are suspiciously lacking, I question the credibility of a story. Also, if only one side of a story is presented (such as a partisan issue with only Republicans or only Democrats interviewed, but not both), then I question the bias.
 
  • #16
Smurf said:
So, basically their death rate was completely regular? and we have nothing that we can condemn them for at all?
They were condemned based on the information in Roderick MacFarquha's book.

So how many died?

Here are the other stats and their various sources:

Source:http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/warstat1.htm

# People's Republic of China, Mao Zedong's regime (1949-1975): 40 000 000
* Agence France Press (25 Sept. 1999) citing at length from Courtois, Stephane, Le Livre Noir du Communism:
o Rural purges, 1946-49: 2-5M deaths
o Urban purges, 1950-57: 1M
o Great Leap Forward: 20-43M
o Cultural Revolution: 2-7M
o Labor Camps: 20M
o Tibet: 0.6-1.2M
o TOTAL: 44.5 to 72M​
* Jasper Becker, Hungry Ghosts : Mao's Secret Famine (1996)
o 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​
* Brzezinski:
o Forcible collectivization: 27 million peasants
o Cultural Revolution: 1-2 million
o TOTAL: 29 million deaths under Mao​
* Daniel Chirot:
o Land reform, 1949-56
+ According to Zhou Enlai: 830,000
+ According to Mao Zedong: 2-3M​
o Great Leap Forward: 20-40 million deaths.
o Cultural Revolution: 1-20 million​
* Dictionary of 20C World History: around a half million died in Cultural Rev.
* Eckhardt:
o Govt executes landlords (1950-51): 1,000,000
o Cultural Revolution (1967-68): 50,000​
* Gilbert:
o 1958-61 Famine: 30 million deaths.​
* Kurt Glaser and Stephan Possony, Victims of Politics (1979):
o They estimate the body count under Mao to be 38,000,000 to 67,000,000.
o 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:

o 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:
o KMT cadre, rich peasants, landlords (1950-51): 800,000-3,000,000
o 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:
o Land reform, first years of PRC: at least 2 million people perished.
o Great Leap Forward: "how many millions died ... is a matter of conjecture."
o 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:
o Terror against the counterrevolutionaries: 2 million people executed during the first three years of the PRC.
o Great Leap Forward: 10-20 million famine-related deaths.
o Cultural Revolution: 400,000, citing a 1979 estimate by Agence France Presse.​
* R. J. Rummel:
o Estimate:
+ Democide: 34,361,000 (1949-75)
# The principle episodes being...
* All movements (1949-58): 11,813,000
o 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​
o 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):
o 1st Civil War (1927-36): .25-.5M
o Fighting during Sino-Japanese War (1937-45): 50,000
o 2nd Civil War (1945-49): 1.25M
o Land Reform prior to Liberation: 0.5-1.0M
o Political liquidation campaigns: 15-30M
o Korean War: 0.5-1.234M
o Great Leap Forward: 1-2M
o Struggle with minorities: 0.5-1.0M
o Cultural Revolution: .25-.5M
o Deaths in labor camps: 15-25M
o TOTAL: 34.3M to 63.784M
o TOTAL FOR PRC: 32M to 59.5M​
* July 17, 1994, Washington Post (Great Leap Forward 1959-61)
o Shanghai University journal, Society: > 40 million
o Cong Jin: 40 million
o 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:
o Between 1949 and 1997, 50M prisoners passed through the labor camps, and 15,000,000 died (citing Harry Wu)​
* The World Handbook of Political and Social Indicators: 1,633,319 political executions and 25,961 deaths from political violence, 1948-77. TOTAL: 1,659,280
* Analysis: If we line up the 14 sources which claim to be complete, the median falls in the 41.6 to 45.75 million range, so you probably can't go wrong picking a final number from this neighborhood. Depending on how you want to count some of the incomplete estimates (such as Becker and Meisner) and whether to count a source twice (or thrice, as with Walker) if it's referenced by two different authorities, you can slide the median up and down the scale by many millions. Keep in mind, however, that official Chinese records are hidden from scrutiny, so most of these numbers are pure guesses. It's pointless to get attached to any one of them, because the real number could easily be half or twice any number here.
* Perhaps a better way of estimating would be to add up the individual components. The medians here are:
o Purges, etc. during the first few years: 2M (10 estimates)
o Great Leap Forward: 30M (12 estimates)
o Cultural Revolution: 500T (10 estimates)
o Ethnic Minorities, primarily Tibetans: 750-900T (8 estimates, see below)
o Labor Camps: 15-20M (4 estimates)
o This produces a total of some 48,250,000 to 53,400,000 deaths. The weak link in this calculation is in the Labor Camp numbers for which we only have 4 estimates.​
* Notice that many early body counts (such as Walker) completely miss the famine during the Great Leap Forward, which was largely unknown in the west until around 1980. There are two contradictory ways to assess those early estimates which ignore the famine:
1. "If these are the numbers that they came up with without the famine, imagine how high the true number will be once you add the famine deaths."
2. "Can we trust any of these numbers? After all, if they missed such a huge famine, they can't have known very much about what was going on inside China."​
* ... so this line of reasoning will get us nowhere. In fact, the median of the 7 estimate that predate 1980 is 45.7M, which is almost the same as the median of the 7 estimates that post-date 1980 -- 41.6M.​
Now, whle I commend the author of the above list for his footnotes, I do find it strange that there is a section under 'Analysis' where they take the data presented and come up with a median.

The data presented ranges from the low hundreds of thousands.

The data is also representative of deaths in some cases and 'loss of potential population' in others and then that strange computation ... "Democide".

Surely, when you have such divergent numbers, you don't average them together!? You declare the ones that are incorrect to be WRONG and seek out the truth.

What I am seeing here is an attempt to grasp the worst case so that 'The Red Menace' has a point of attack.

So who do you believe?

One thing is for sure ... there is a real number out there and all of the above are merely educated guesses. If those guesses range from a couple of million to 70 million just what right does anyone have to condemn them on amounts that are clearly unknown?

Are we saying "Where there's smoke, there's fire"?

I have a friend here, Liu Qing who spent time in 're-education' as an intellectual in 1962. (Sentenced to 5 years but commuted to 2) He laughs when he reads these stats.

He also spits on Mao's portrait when he gets a chance.
 
  • #17
russ_watters
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Your biggest error:
The Smoking Man said:
One thing is for sure ... there is a real number out there
No, there isn't a "real number" out there - at least not an absolutely correct number that can ever be found. That's the way history works some times - it simply isn't possible to know for sure. Educated guesses are the best we have.

A close second:
If those guesses range from a couple of million to 70 million just what right does anyone have to condemn them on amounts that are clearly unknown?

Are we saying "Where there's smoke, there's fire"?
The right comes from the fact that even the lowest of the number is unacceptable to people willing to consider any number unacceptable. Are you saying you would consider "a couple of million" a number unworthy of condemnation?

And while The Great Leap Forward happened behind an iron curtain (thus preventing full international investigation, OTHER EVENTS occurred live and in color on TV. Again, the number of deaths will never be known, but what is known is there were deaths. And that makes it worthy of condemnation.
 
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  • #18
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russ_watters said:
A close second: The right comes from the fact that even the lowest of the number is unacceptable to people willing to consider any number unacceptable. Are you saying you would consider "a couple of million" a number unworthy of condemnation?
a 'couple of million' people died in the US last year too. (2,443,387 to be exact, according to NCHS). People die, we can't stop that. The question is wether or not they were excessively violent and caused the immediate untimely deaths of (a large number of) people as a direct result of the great leap forward. We cannot prove that, so we cannot condemn them for that.
 
  • #19
russ_watters said:
Your biggest error: No, there isn't a "real number" out there - at least not an absolutely correct number that can ever be found. That's the way history works some times - it simply isn't possible to know for sure. Educated guesses are the best we have.

A close second: The right comes from the fact that even the lowest of the number is unacceptable to people willing to consider any number unacceptable. Are you saying you would consider "a couple of million" a number unworthy of condemnation?

And while The Great Leap Forward happened behind an iron curtain (thus preventing full international investigation, OTHER EVENTS occurred live and in color on TV. Again, the number of deaths will never be known, but what is known is there were deaths. And that makes it worthy of condemnation.
LOL

Name a country that you can't do this with.

Maybe you want me to start pointing fingers?

Yup, where there's smoke, there's fire.
 
  • #20
Smurf said:
a 'couple of million' people died in the US last year too. (2,443,387 to be exact, according to NCHS). People die, we can't stop that. The question is wether or not they were excessively violent and caused the immediate untimely deaths of (a large number of) people as a direct result of the great leap forward. We cannot prove that, so we cannot condemn them for that.
Most of the numbers don't actually take into consideration the fact there was a drought in the years following the Great Leap and that the numbers during the Great Leap showed an improvement in the figures.

None have offered an explanation of this data.

The Chinese HAVE taken census' before and after this time too.
 
  • #21
russ_watters
Mentor
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Smurf said:
a 'couple of million' people died in the US last year too. (2,443,387 to be exact, according to NCHS). People die, we can't stop that.
They weren't all murdered though or died due to a government-caused famine, so that's not really relevant.
The question is wether or not they were excessively violent and caused the immediate untimely deaths of (a large number of) people as a direct result of the great leap forward.
Yes, that is the quesiton.
We cannot prove that, so we cannot condemn them for that.
Can't we? Even TSM appears to agree that at least several million did. Or do you mean we can't prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt?
 
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  • #22
russ_watters
Mentor
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The Smoking Man said:
LOL

Name a country that you can't do this with.

Maybe you want me to start pointing fingers?

Yup, where there's smoke, there's fire.
TSM, it's all you. You think you see a double-standard, but you are actually just afraid to look in the mirror. I know that every country has skeleton's in the closet. That's exactly the point!: You are the one who is refusing to admit it! You are the one who is refusing to answer direct questions about one country, while making accusations about another.

Don't you remember my direct, unequivocal condmenation of the Tuskegee incident? No argument, no attempt to downplay the incident, no evasion. Why will you not do the same for these things done by China?

However, by implication here, it appears that you do condemn China for these actions, you just don't want to come right out and say it. Why are you so afraid of actually coming out and saying it? Why do you need to dodge and evade? Just say it: 'these actions by the Chinese government were unacceptable.'
 
  • #23
russ_watters said:
TSM, it's all you. You think you see a double-standard, but you are actually just afraid to look in the mirror. I know that every country has skeleton's in the closet. That's exactly the point!: You are the one who is refusing to admit it! You are the one who is refusing to answer direct questions about one country, while making accusations about another.

Don't you remember my direct, unequivocal condmenation of the Tuskegee incident? No argument, no attempt to downplay the incident, no evasion. Why will you not do the same for these things done by China?

However, by implication here, it appears that you do condemn China for these actions, you just don't want to come right out and say it. Why are you so afraid of actually coming out and saying it? Why do you need to dodge and evade? Just say it: 'these actions by the Chinese government were unacceptable.'
What you fail to acknowledge is that the government YOU support (I don't support any) is the one who has committed all of these crimes and has appointed themselves the world 'Police'.

Unfortunately, they have also appointed themselves Judge, Jury and Executioner too.

Now regardless of any other nation on earth that you point to, few are engaging in the same type of activities without the agreement of the UN and all EXCEPT the USA are subject to the judgements of the world courts and the Geneva Conventions.

Now let's see about China and the USA ... After the death of Mao, there was the trial of the Gang of Four... The execution of corrupt officials: http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=go...a&prssweb=Search&ei=UTF-8&fr=slv5-&fl=0&x=wrt

So, what has happened in the USA to people who were involved in instigating Tuskegee?

I also saw Oliver North on TV today on his program on CNN. I wonder who replaced him in his previous activities?

(To name just a couple)
 
  • #24
russ_watters said:
Don't you remember my direct, unequivocal condmenation of the Tuskegee incident? No argument, no attempt to downplay the incident, no evasion. Why will you not do the same for these things done by China?
The problem is that you ask leading quetions based on false data.

Look at your statement just a few before this:

russ_watters said:
They weren't all murdered though or died due to a government-caused famine, so that's not really relevant.
You're saying the government was in charge of the weather???
 
  • #25
57
0
russ_watters said:
Your biggest error: No, there isn't a "real number" out there - at least not an absolutely correct number that can ever be found. That's the way history works some times - it simply isn't possible to know for sure. Educated guesses are the best we have.

A close second: The right comes from the fact that even the lowest of the number is unacceptable to people willing to consider any number unacceptable. Are you saying you would consider "a couple of million" a number unworthy of condemnation?

And while The Great Leap Forward happened behind an iron curtain (thus preventing full international investigation, OTHER EVENTS occurred live and in color on TV. Again, the number of deaths will never be known, but what is known is there were deaths. And that makes it worthy of condemnation.

Russ. i remember you arguing about the 10.000 civilians death in irak vs the 100.000.
 

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