Talk:Mao Zedong

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Actually, the "Mao" family name is "hair", not "cat." Even the tone is different between the two syllables - mao2 is hair, mao1 is cat. His family name is quite common in Hunan, I believe. An odd mistake to make. The given name is, "Zedong", means, "Enrich East." The character, "ze2", can also mean, "a marsh."

Comintern representatives in the U.S.?

Can someone please clarify the first sentence of the fourth paragraph? It doesn't make sense and I have concerns about its historical accuracy. --Ampersand 16:22, 17 April 2008 (EDT)

Yep it doesn't make sense. Should be removed, or whoever wrote it should clarify. And I mean in the next day or I'm deleting it. Rellik 20:33, 21 April 2008 (EDT)

About the Legacy

I'm not going to talk so much right now since I am very busy at the moment. I'll admit that I am not too knowledgeable in PRC and Modern ROC (Post-1949) History, so correct me if I'm wrong. Let's talk about the life expectancy part. It says, "Before 1949, for instance, the illiteracy rate in Mainland China was 80 percent, and life expectancy was a meager 35 years." First of all, a specific time frame is needed to cite the life expectancy. Before the late 1940s, I'm sure the life expectancy was higher than 35 years. My ancestors at the time lived for more than 35 years, I can assure you. To say that the life expectancy in the late 1940s is low is accurate, because the Chinese Civil War and World War II took the lives of many Chinese people. However, to say Mao himself changed it to 70 years is not accurate. No major wars took place when Mao was in power, even though there were people killed who Mao viewed as "dissidents" because of the authoritarian nature of his chairmanship in the Cultural Revolution, 5 Year Plans, etc. Now let's talk about the literacy rate part. Chinese has a rather high amount of characters. Many stuff were written in "Vernacular Chinese" but were still influenced by "Classical Chinese" back then. (It still is today, but I don't think it is to the same extent.) And I think Classical Chinese was much more important back than it is now. To read Classical Chinese, you need to know, I think, 6,000 characters. To read a "Vernacular Chinese" newspaper, you need to know 3,000 characters. The PRC says that a farmer needs to know 1,500 characters to be literate and that everyone else need to know 2,000 characters to be literate. Isn't that a big difference? So, because the PRC lowered the standard of literacy from what was defined as literate before 1949, the literacy rate went up. Also, have you thought about the possibility that Mao might have inflated the values of the literacy rate aside from lowering the standard of literacy? Okay, I rambled too much. I plan to write more at a later date. --私は上帝不見保守百科之惡乎? 01:12, 5 June 2008 (EDT)

Much food for thought, Watashiwa. I'd just like to remark on what you said about standards of literacy. This was not entirely a CCP initiative: a trend to abandon 'classical Chinese' and to use vernacular Chinese (baihua, 'white language') in publications went bac to the early 20th century and was a key part of the May Fourth Movement/New Culture campaign of that era, which affected the decvelopment of the Chinese Communist Party and the Guomindang. An analogous situation was the gradual abandonment of Latin for official, religious and cultural purposes in Europe - where the abandonment took place over centuries, rather than over decades in China Bugler 06:29, 5 June 2008 (EDT)
Sorry for the misunderstanding. I typed this out really, really late last night. I must have made it sound like it was the PRC who started the Vernacular Chinese movement. I know that the Vernacular Chinese movement basically started after the fall of the Qing Dynasty. What I was trying to say though was that Classical Chinese’s influence started to diminish when the Vernacular Chinese movement started and that effect was more profound by the time of Mao’s death (1976) than it was when he first controlled Mainland China (1949). So therefore, the changing definition of literacy alongside with Mao lowering the standard of literacy increased the literacy rate. --私は上帝不見保守百科之惡乎? 00:18, 6 June 2008 (EDT)
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