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Not sure this is the right place but ->

Nobody Knows Anything About China: Including the Chinese government.

--- Quote ---We don’t know the real figures for GDP growth, for example. GDP growth has long been one of the main criteria used to judge officials’ careers — as a result, the relevant data is warped at every level, since the folk reporting it are the same ones benefitting from it being high. If you add up the GDP figures issued by the provinces, the sum is 10 percent higher than the figure ultimately issued by the national government, which in itself is tweaked to hit politicized targets. Provincial governments have increasingly admitted to this in recent years, but the fakery has been going on for decades. We don’t know the extent of bad loans, routinely concealed by banks. We don’t know the makeup of most Chinese financial assets. Sometimes we don’t know the good news of recoveries because the concealment of bad news beforehand has disguised it. We don’t know China’s real Gini coefficient, the measure of economic inequality.
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--- Quote ---We don’t know the true size of the Chinese population because of the reluctance to register unapproved second children or for the family planning bureau to report that they’d failed to control births. We don’t know where those people are; rural counties are incentivized to overreport population to receive more benefits from higher levels of government, while city districts report lower figures to hit population control targets. Beijing’s official population is 21.7 million; it may really be as high as 30 or 35 million. Tens — perhaps hundreds — of millions of migrants are officially in the countryside but really in the cities. (Perhaps. We don’t know the extent of the recent winter expulsions of the poor from the metropolises.) We don’t know whether these people are breathing clean air or drinking clean water because the environmental data is full of holes.

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--- Quote ---We don’t know how good Chinese schools really are because the much-quoted statistics provided by the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) that placed China first in the world were taken from the study of a small group of elite Shanghai schools. As soon as that was expanded merely to Beijing — another metropolis — and two rich provinces, the results dropped sharply. (PISA’s willingness to accept only this limited sample is typical of the gullibility and compliance of many foreign NGOs, especially in education, when dealing with China; I have seen numerous foreign educators fall victim to obvious Potemkinism, including believing that Beijing No. 4 High School — the rough equivalent of Eton — was a “typical Chinese public school.”) We don’t know the extent of the collapse of rural education. We don’t know the real literacy figures, not least because rural and urban literacy is measured by different standards — a common trick for many figures.
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--- Quote ---We don’t know the real crime figures, especially in the cities, which may represent as little as 2.5 percent of the actual total. We don’t know the death toll for the ethnic Uighur insurgency in Xinjiang, where local officials, in the words of one government terrorism expert, “bend figures as much as during the Great Leap Forward,” nor do we know how many people are currently held in “re-education camps.” (Incidentally, we don’t know how many people died in the Great Leap Forward, piled up in village ditches or abandoned on empty grasslands: the 16.5 million once given in official tolls or the 45 million estimated by some historians.)
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So is the "problem" here, if there is one, would be to ask "do we know if China is or has problems, when we don't know exactly what is going on?"

I don't know as much as I should about China - so I think the observations here are likely valid.


--- Quote from: TaoHorror on June 04, 2020, 04:51:26 pm ---I don't know as much as I should about China - so I think the observations here are likely valid.

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Well, my question is just to ask why, exactly, it matters if "we" know China's GDP or population though?

I broadly agree that more knowledge is just generally better, as a matter of course, but then I am still left with the question of if it is a "problem" that we don't know though.  I really am not trying to advocate that it is or is not, rather I am just trying to understand why we "should" take on it as one or the other.

Well, China has been a fixture of American politics, something to be feared ( as was Japan in the 80's, political fervor over their economic success, followed by 2+ decades of a flat Japanese stock market - so Japanese "concern" as baseless and only served political ends ). So do we American citizens write off the China talk as only political and ignore the chat about it or do we take China seriously as a threat, et al? Knowing more about what China is can assist with how I relate to China politically.


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