Salient Social and Economic Aspects of Today´s China

  • K. Bieda (Author)

Identifiers (Article)


Any Westerner would have to say that statistics in China leave much to be desired, even in such simple matters as the population number. No one in the world, not even the Chinese Government, knows the total population of China, even within any reasonable limits. The western estimates took it to be 830 million (United Nations), and 930 million (U. S. Department of Commerce) in 1975. Chinese Government spokesmen have on two separate occasions demonstrated that the various Chinese Government departments have widely differing views on this matter. It is reported that Li Hsien-nien (Vice-Premier) said twice that for 1971 the Supply and Grain Department assumed the population to be 800 million, some offices outside the department 750 million, the Ministry of Commerce 830 million, and the Planning Commission assumed it to be "less than 750 million". The Ministry of Commerce insists on the bigger number in order to claim consumer goods in large quantities. The planning men reduce the figure in order to strike a balance in the plans of various government departments. The discrepancy in these figures is somewhat surprising, though not so surprising as it may seem at first sight.