China: Random Facts and Trivia

Some random facts and trivia for the country of the world China including information on inflation, personality traits, family and marriage, and the law.



Inflation does not exist in China. In fact, the prices of some foods actually decrease consistently.

The Chinese character differs from the Western and even some other Eastern characters in 3 major ways. First, the Chinese see the universe and its parts as a single whole versus the European schizophrenia which sees everything as either spiritual or physical. Second, the Chinese have always believed in the importance of social cohesion versus the strong individualism of the West. Third, unlike Europe, the U.S., and Japan, the Chinese have relied on civil versus military conquest. China has surely engaged in wars; but she has depended more often upon diplomacy and the obvious superiority of her culture to win her influence and friends among nations. The Chinese have historically esteemed the status of scholar, farmer, artisan, and merchant, in that order. Capitalist mercantilism has always been held lower in importance than knowledge and agriculture, almost the reverse of values in the U.S.

Antiquated agriculture accounts for 80% of China's output. Although the U.S. and China are about equal in area, China has less land (11% presently) suitable for cultivation to feed a population 4 times larger.

Chairman Mao has said that when "city and countryside are one, and no distinction exists between manual and intellectual labor, between urban workers and rural workers," China will have the basis for a truly utopian, egalitarian society. Consequently, since 1968, the Government has forced nearly half of the graduates of metropolitan middle schools, over 30 million youths, to the farm's to live with, teach, and learn from peasants. But the peasants don't like the extra mouths to feed. And many young graduates don't like the bleak future of farm life, so many escape with forged identities. But the Government continues the policy because it relieves the cities of the pressures of population and political dissent.

Chinese family structure has also changed from the original Confucian idea in which the father-guardian controlled the family's production, income, and expenses as well as all authority. Today each adult member of the family is theoretically given equal status. The communist revolution saw the old family system as a bulwark for private wealth, so the new regime pushed to transform the family from a hierarchy to a democracy in which children and women have the right to speak, make decisions, and even criticize.

The marriage law of 1950 advocates equality between men and women and abolishes family arranged marriages while guaranteeing divorce. Day-care centers, canteens, and homes for the aged have been widely established, enabling women to participate in the productive, political, and scientific work of the country. Nearly half of the labor force of the agricultural communes is composed of women. Moreover, the very collectivization of land has deprived the male of opportunities to use land ownership for oppressing and exploiting women. Nevertheless, while wages and educational opportunities for women generally equal or exceed those for men, some inequalities that favor men still exist in agricultural communes, higher education, and in the upper echelons of the Communist party and People's Army. Men dominate leadership roles in the People's Republic because few older women escaped the pre-1949 oppression and because revolutionary and party committees are only partly made up of workers. Army members and political cadres, already reflecting the sexual bias of the older era, make up an entrenched and large part of many committees.

China tried the lawyer system in its courts from 1954 to 1957, but decided to let the individual be self-represented or be represented by a friend. "The procedures are so simple, they don't have all the technical procedures we do here," writes an American lawyer who recently visited Red China. Minor crimes are judged by people elected from the neighborhood block or village, major ones by regular courts. While the death penalty exists on the books for such crimes as murder, rape, sabotage, and crimes against the state, only one death sentence has been carried out in 13 years. A person sentenced to death is given 2 years to rehabilitate himself, after which the sentence is reviewed.

The Chinese don't have the concept of tort law that the Americans have. "How does one judge how much pain is worth?" the Chinese will ask. In an accident case, for example, the one responsible would be required to bring meals or cook for the victim and/or his family until the victim recovers.

In late 1973, 300 workers were charged with "aggravated hooliganism" and "anarcho-syn-dicalist deviationism" because they believed that factory committees should be controlled by the workers and not by the Communist party.

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