6 December, 2022

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What Sri Lanka Can Learn From China’s Bitter Experience

By M. Rizwan Muzzammil

M. Rizwan Muzzammil

The following article, describing the economic growth of China, extracts information from “The Power of Capitalism” by Rainer Zitelmann. The reader is encouraged to refer to this book for more details and references.

Mao Zedong wanted to turn China into a shining example of Marxist Socialism, and in 1957 proclaimed the Great Leap Forward to the “worker’s paradise”.

The population was informed of the plan “to overtake all capitalist countries in a fairly short time, and become one of the richest, most advanced and powerful countries in the world”.

This ambitious experiment started with millions of farmers (around one-in-six of the population) being forced to work on massive irrigation projects such as dams and canals without sufficient food or rest. The removal of a large part of the agricultural workforce was one of several reasons for which famines started to spread across China.

During this period private ownership was abolished, and peasants were forced to leave their properties and live in factory-like barracks.

Private plots, which comprised “houses, animals and trees” were confiscated for the purposes of “benefiting production and control”. Homes were to be dismantled if a commune needed bricks, tiles, or timber.

People were also banned from eating at home. Food was served in canteens often hours away from the workplace. This forced people to move to the sites of canteens and live in crammed spaces with no privacy.

Food production was too low and due to the climate of fear created by their own works the Communist Party officials avoided acknowledging the problems. Communes that submitted false data showing phenomenal harvests were taken at face value, while those that submitted realistic numbers were punished.

There were also logistical problems which resulted in large parts of the harvest being destroyed by pests, in particular sparrows. Mao mobilized the entire population to wave sticks and brooms to create a racket that would scare away these birds. This was so effective that pests controlled by sparrows flourished with catastrophic results. The government then sent a “top secret” request to the Soviet Embassy for 200,000 sparrows.

Despite the worsening famine the government was loath to lose face. They were too proud to suspend Russian grain exports, defer debt repayments or accept Western offers of aid. In keeping with the ‘export above all else’ policy they even donated wheat to Albania and other allies when the famine was most severe. According to government propaganda, the Chinese economy was going from strength to strength and breaking records.

Mao was particularly obsessed with steel production. In 1957 steel production was 5.35 million tons and in 1958 the government set a goal of 12 million tons. At the time, Chinese steel was largely produced in small blast furnaces (many of which were unfit for purpose).

The piles of iron ingots produced by rural communes were too small and brittle to be usable in the modern rolling mills. The lack of good raw material led to party cadres going from door to door confiscating household and agricultural equipment such as farm tools, water wagons, cooking utensils, iron door handles and even women’s hairclips. Later Mao was forced to admit that “only 40 per cent is good steel”.

Mao was aware that millions would have to die to bring about his bright future. He told Soviet leaders “We are prepared to sacrifice 300 million Chinese for the victory of the world revolution.”. He said of labour-intensive steel manufacturing: “Working like this, with all these projects, half of China may well have to die. If not half, then maybe one-third or one-tenth – 50 million – die.”

Mao’s experiment caused 32.5 million people officially (unofficially around 45 million) to die between 1958 and 62. Most died of starvation, but around 2.5 million were tortured or beaten to death, killed because they were rich or dragged their feet, or killed because they spoke out or were simply not liked.

The Chinese historian Jisheng says as follows: “The starvation that preceded death was worse than death itself. The grain was gone, the wild herbs had all been eaten, even the bark had been stripped from the trees, and bird droppings, rats and cotton batting were used to fill stomachs. In the kaolin clay fields, starving people chewed on the clay as they dug it. There were frequent cases of cannibalism. At first, desperate villagers would only eat the cadavers of animals, but soon they started digging up dead neighbours to cook and eat. Human flesh was sold on the black market along with other types of meat”.

Mao was eventually forced to abandon his Great Leap Forward. However, this did not stop him from launching his even more radical Cultural Revolution in 1966 where hundreds of thousands were killed in forced labour camps.

Learning from the world

Following Mao’s death in 1976 the government sensed that the Chinese people had had enough of socialist experiments.

Mao’s immediate successor, Hua Guofeng, paved the way for Deng Xiaoping to contribute towards China’s transformation. Deng and his party members took some Confucian wisdom to heart: “By three methods we may learn wisdom: first, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”

Having learned some hard lessons the Chinese looked at what was happening in other countries. From 1978 began the busy period of foreign travel to bring back valuable economic insights.

Chinese delegations made trips to more than 50 countries including Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the US, Canada, France, Germany, and Switzerland. Deng asked the delegations to see as much as they could and to ask questions about how economies were managed.

The delegations were greatly impressed by what they saw in Western Europe: modern airports such as Charles de Gaulle in Paris, car factories in Germany and ports with automated loading facilities. They were surprised to see the high standard of living even ordinary workers enjoyed. Deng himself traveled, and after an eye-opening visit to the Nissan plant in Japan, he commented, “now I understand what modernisation means”.

The economic dynamism of neighboring countries, such as Japan and Singapore, were seen as role models. Lee Kuan Yew, the founding father of Singapore, remembers “I had told Deng over dinner in 1978 in Singapore that we, the Singapore Chinese, were the descendants of illiterate landless peasants from Guandong and Fujian in South China … There was nothing that Singapore had done that China could not do, and do better. He stayed silent then. When I read that he had told the Chinese people to do better than Singapore, I knew he had taken up the challenge I quietly tossed to him that night fourteen years earlier.”

The delegations’ findings were widely circulated in China. It led to the realisation that the alleged benefits of socialism for the working class were based on lies and fabrication. Deng noted repeatedly “The more we see (of the world), the more we realize how backward we are”.

Difficulties with privatisation

However, this newfound enthusiasm did not instantly result in a conversion to capitalism. It was a slow process of transition, starting with tentative efforts to grant public enterprises greater autonomy. This process, which relied on initiatives from both the grassroots as well as top-down from policy, took years or decades to mature.

Peasants began to circumvent the official ban on private farming. Since they were able to achieve far greater output the party cadres allowed it to carry on, and starvation was alleviated long before the ban was finally lifted. By 1983 all Chinese agriculture was de-collectivised.

The 1980s saw the establishment of an increasing number of collectively owned enterprises and township and village enterprises. Being legally owned by municipal authorities, the distinction between state and private ownership was blurred, resulting in these companies having the guise of public companies but being de-facto privately run. Between 1978 and 1996 the total number of employees in these companies rose from 28 million to 135 million, while their share of the economy grew from 6% to 26%.

Subsequent waves of privatisation saw municipal owned companies become less important compared to genuine private businesses.

Individuals who started or worked for private businesses suffered hardship and discrimination. Parents wouldn’t allow their daughters to marry someone who worked for these businesses as their economic prospects were uncertain.

Eventually, more people came to realize that running a business conferred financial advantages as well as greater levels of freedom. Self-employed barbers were earning more than state hospital surgeons, street vendors more than nuclear scientists.

The number of self-employed household businesses and single proprietorships increased from 140,000 in 1978 to 2.6 million in 1981. However, the proponents of socialism passed a resolution which saw over 30,000 arrested. In many cases their only crime was making profits or employing more than the legal limit of seven people.

Special Economic Areas

The erosion of socialism was accelerated by the creation of Special Economic Areas (SEA) where socialism was suspended, and capitalist experiments were permitted.

Shenzhen was an area through which, year after year, many thousands would try to illegally escape to Hong Kong. When the authorities investigated in more detail, they found refugees had set up businesses across the Shenzhen River in Hong Kong territory, where they were earning a hundred times more than people in the mainland.

Deng’s response was that China would need to increase living standards to stem the flow. Shenzhen then became the site of the first SEA experiment.

The experiment was so successful that, only a few years later, the authorities had to build a barbed-wire fence to cope with the influx of migrants from other parts of China. Soon other regions also began following the SEA model.

Low taxes, land lease prices and bureaucratic requirements made SEAs extremely attractive to foreign investors. The economies were less heavily regulated and more market-oriented than those of many European countries today.

The co-existence of public and private enterprises

Over time economic reforms became half-hearted. Public enterprises continued to co-exist with private businesses and SEAs. This co-existence caused a chaotic pricing situation, leading to inflation, discontent, and unrest.

Proponents of socialism believed that the reforms had gone too far. In response, Deng (who held no public office at the time), decided to intervene and visit Shenzhen. He expressed his amazement at the extent of the region’s transformation. He was impressed by the magnificent boulevards, resplendent high-rise buildings, busy shopping streets and seemingly infinite number of factories. The people were dressed in fashionable clothes and were the proud owners of expensive watches and other luxury items. Their incomes were three times higher than in the rest of China.

Deng’s tour and subsequent criticism of those who opposed reforms were featured prominently in Chinese media. Deng and his fellow proponents of free-market reforms continued to pay lip service to socialism, but they redefined the term to mean an “open system that should ‘draw on the achievements of all cultures and learn from other countries, including the developed capitalist countries”.

Increasingly, the reformers won the day. Capital investments in private businesses multiplied by twenty. In 1992, 120,000 civil servants quit their jobs, and 10 million took unpaid leave to set up private enterprises. Millions of university professors, engineers and graduates followed suit.

Furthermore, the list of government-set prices for raw materials, transportation services and capital goods was shortened from 737 to 89, with a further reduction to only 13 in 2001.

Reforming the public sector

The reformers hoped to make public enterprises more efficient by introducing performance-related payment schemes and replacing high ranking cadres with professionals. However, these changes failed to address the key issue, which is that public enterprises cannot go bankrupt.

In a market economy a constant selection process takes place which ensures only the survival of well managed companies that satisfy consumer demand. Badly managed companies go bankrupt and disappear, freeing up resources for other ventures. This natural selection does not occur in public enterprises, as losses are financed by the taxpayer. Thus, public enterprises were frequently in bad economic health.

Furthermore, in the market economy there are strong natural incentives to build and maintain a good reputation for the long term. With public enterprises these incentives do not exist and so executives were more interested in raising their income for the short term. Since there was no means for consumers to hold dishonest executives accountable, corruption was a persistent problem.

Still privatisation continued and by 1996, the share of public enterprises had dropped by about 50%, and around 30 to 40 million people had lost their jobs.

Income inequality

China’s development demonstrated that, rising economic growth, even with rising inequality, still benefited the majority of the population. Deng instructed “let some people get rich first”.

Contrary to popular belief, the statistics showed that the relative income gaps were narrowest in the regions with highest per capita GDP, where the markets were most open and companies made the highest profits. Regions with low growth and more restrictive conditions had wider relative income gaps.

Conclusions

In 2016 China overtook the US and Germany to become the world’s largest exporter. The quality of life for ordinary citizens had improved beyond recognition.

Many economists and politicians believe that the impressive growth is due to a special “Chinese way” which comprises a high degree of government influence.

This was not the case. The Chinese progress was not dissimilar to the progress of other developed nations, such as the UK, US, Germany, South Korea and Japan, which were all facilitated by reducing government involvement and increasing freedoms.

Chinese growth happened partly through the SEAs, and partly by decentralizing power to local governments, which in turn circumvented restrictive laws in such a manner as to create the space needed for both private business and privatisation. 

China grew not because of a special way of government, but rather in-spite of it.

Related articles by the author

1. What Sri Lanka Can Learn from Thatcher’s Legacy

*The author currently resides in Singapore where he works as a civil engineer. He can be reached on write2rizwan.m@gmail.com. His previous published articles can be viewed on rizwanmuzzammil.substack.com

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Latest comments

  • 4
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    What’s going on initially it was DJ and now this, getting our armchair revolutionary worked up. No wonder our Silly Mao tried following by rationing food.

    • 7
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      Rizwan, in comparison to achieve the same goals (become rich) three leaders took different approaches yielding different results. 1) Singapore, having higher quality of living which the other two dream to have 2) Nehru / Indra taking the “slow cautious approach” banning all imports and promoting domestic manufacturing/ industrialization. India will soon become 3rd largest exporter. 3) our Silly Mao with the guidance of now dead left, rationed food but went on with their majority SB racist political agenda. The results of which are for the whole world yo see “prosperity and splendor”.

      • 4
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        @chiv. Thanks for your comment. I think for the India case, similar to China, the growth of the economy is in spite of what the government is doing.

        • 2
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          RizwanMz, in Medical Science, many of the illness we see today, were present centuries ago. But the whole approach of understanding, treating, medicines, interventions, prevention….. have progressed so much so average life span from 30 to 50 has now moved to 70 to 90 years. ( according to history for centuries surgery was a craft rather than profession, often practiced by Barbers.) Like in political science, to succeed we need the the best out of all systems regardless it’s Maoism, Marxism, Capitalism, Socialism….. Countries which are rigid, will struggle to compete, (like those Barbers still doing surgery), whereas countries like Lanka with SHAM political systems will miserably fail. This anecdote may appear too simple but is true in every field of science . After all science is the pursuit and application of knowledge and understanding of the natural and social world, following a systematic methodology, BASED ON EVIDENCE. .

          • 1
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            You can search the internet for two previous articles by me:
            “Lessons from Germany, Venezuela, Chile” and “What Sri Lanka can learn from Thatcher’s legacy”. I believe the evidence is compellingly against Socialism, which is actually a very old idea and there is evidence of it being tried as early as in the Plymouth colony in 1620.

            The aforesaid articles can also be freely viewed on my substack website mentioned at the bottom of the main article.

            • 1
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              Thanks, I will read those articles.

  • 0
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    the author is wasting his time with advice for sri lanka to copy other countries.That might give a good standard of living but will not give a ego massage to sri lankans who want other countries to copy them.We could have easily copied singapore or switzerland but will that make us great?If singapore or switzerland copy us only it will give a gratifying ego massage and will make us feel great.

    ps.ranasinghe premedasa i remember said that other coountries will copy his gam udawa(village reawakening schemes).However other countries ditched having villages and wanted the people to migrate to cities which they developed and left the villages to rot.However premedasa said nepal copied his gam udawa scheme.It was a good scheme for the villages but did not contribute much to the national economy as larger towns would have if those resources were spent on them.

  • 5
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    In the mid 70s, we were taught how great China was, gifting us with a fantastic convention hall, providing rice but little did we know about the starving people. Years later, I read about Mao’s wisdom in eliminating the sparrow population which were feeding on rice grains, only to realise that sparrows also controlled insects & without the sparrows, the insects were devouring the rice harvest completely. In that sense, GR can be excused for his stupidity in banning fertilizer overnight.

    We certainly can learn for China & other countries but do we have the calibre of intelligent & educated politicians capable of learning & practicing what they have learnt. Our politicians have only the street cunning to make an easy buck, whatever the outcome.

    • 5
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      Raj,
      This has a lot to do with the inability to build consensus even on minor issues. I am amazed at how efficiently different Europeans in the EU work together and how they reach agreements almost every week. I think almost everything needs to be restructured from the bottom up, not just one department.
      .
      Buddhism taught by the true teaching of the Buddha will not mislead a nation, but “Sinhalese Buddhism”, which is a copy of the Jataka story rather than a Buddhist philosophy, will actually destroy the slave race.
      I challenge, many among the eminent monks are not well versed in crucial matters. Just interview the monk Mahanayake who suggested Gotha to become a Hitler and save this nation…. It is certain that he or his fellow monks are poor in general knowledge or general knowledge. When the reality is this, why does nothing stand against them?
      .
      We all criticize and we are champions of criticism. Policy making at the national level should be supported after consultation with all stakeholders. Although the parties are discussing about it, nothing seems to be working. why ?

    • 3
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      China’s friendship towards the Third World have all along been consistent, even after its becoming a capitalistic state.
      Mao made mistakes, was criticized and lost his leading position in the Party and the state, but always commanded respect of the people.
      How does one explain why he is still respected the way he was in 1949 when China was liberated, despite the party and the country wildly changing direction several times in the past three quarter century?
      *
      Snippets of information seldom offer a fair picture.
      There are many scholarly works on China written in readable style by writers who are not always left inclined but are objective about China and not obsessed with hostile notions.

      • 7
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        “China’s friendship towards the Third World have all along been consistent, even after its becoming a capitalistic state.”

        Aiyooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
        Here we go again.

        • 5
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          Native, how does one explain why Mao is still respected ( the way he was in 1949 ) , like our Silly Mao / SWRD ??? . Our Senanayakas, Bandas and now Rajapaksas ALWAYS commanded respect of the people. Does it mean any to you ????

        • 0
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          Why is the howl?
          Ball gone missing?

          • 4
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            How will you know, when you don’t have any / balls. ??

      • 8
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        SJ
        It is not about Mao Tse Thung and his contribution in unifying China.
        But it is about Mao Tse Thung and the brand of Marxism applied in China by Mao that led to millions of death and destruction and which resulted in Chinese communist leaders themselves to adopt an enlightened capitalist economic policy reversing Mao’s policy framework for all time
        ..
        Further it lead to led to entire Marxist philosophy being discredited throughout the world and disappearing from the political lexicon.

        However Marxism is still valid in bits and pieces as a useful tool in understanding world with an alternate perspective.
        SJ,
        Do not come with some isolated Latin American examples in elections with periodic swings as in all capitalist democracies.

        • 2
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          My comment was not about the ideology of Mao Zedong (aka Mao Tse Tung).
          It concerned a superficial dismissal of the man by the author.
          If he was a such a failure, I wondered how he is still the most highly regarded political leader of China.
          *
          I firmly hold that Marxist philosophy was never discredited as you like to imagine.
          With that difference in our respective views of Marxism between us, I think that I have better things to waste my breath on.

  • 1
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    Ruvan,
    I appreciate your excellent contribution about the Marxist and capitalist experiences of China .

    I very much your like to have your opinion as to why Mao went wrong. Was it due to failure of Marxist economic policy or due to Mao’s misadventure?

    A different Marxist approach would have given a different outcome.

    If not there may be no alternative but to throw out Marxism and everyone to follow Capitalist neo- liberal polices!

    Mao was is my childhood hero?

    • 4
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      Around 200 years before Marx, Socialism was tried in the Plymouth Colony (English settlers who landed in America from the year 1620). The colony decided to produce goods through collective means. This led to under-production – the women did not like working for other men, and the men did not like farming so that others could eat. Ultimately starvation and deaths were the result.

      The situation changed when the leadership allowed each pilgrim family to own their own plot of land and keep their harvests for themselves. Suddenly production improved and there was an abundance of food. This abundance led to the colony donating food to the nearby Native Americans, and thus the American tradition of Thanksgiving was born.

      Socialism has been tried in many countries: Russia, Cuba, East Germany, Venezuela, North Korea, and so on. These countries have all been failures. Based on history I think we can say Mao’s experiment would have failed.

      The characteristic of Socialism that makes it fail is that you have individual needs overridden by government needs, causing inefficiency. In capitalism (not neo liberalism) people are left alone. This allows them to maximize their potential and keep their earnings, leading to overall success.

      • 2
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        RizwanMz,
        Thanks
        Soviet Union also did similar experiments with collective farm and when the farmers in the collective farms were provided with two or three acres for private cultivation while working in the collective farms as usual

        , it was observed the production was more in the private farms than in the collective farms demonstrating that the revolution has not produced anew communist man but man remained as selfish as before demonstrating clearly that man is selfish and communism is a mirage.

        Soviet Union should have abandoned communism at that stage and tried to improve the existing system and inequality in society by other means and adopted capitalism with a human face as far as possible.

        Lenin and Mao had similar experiences and should have abandoned their foolish unworkable experiments thereby could have saved millions from hunger and death.

    • 1
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      @srikrish. Thanks for your comment. Reply is above.

    • 4
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      srikrish

      “Mao was is my childhood hero?”

      Why?

      • 0
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        “childhood hero”
        How rather than why?

        • 2
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          NV and SJ,
          During my teenage when Vietnam war was the headline news, the youth everywhere were mesmerized by Ho chi Minh and Mao and Mao’s brand of communism was admired by youth everywhere even in western capitalist countries and communism was round the corner and in my innocence I was enthralled by the revolutionary situation.
          But now in my adult mind I wake up to see reality in a different perspective and I made some internal self- criticism and plead

  • 4
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    What Sri Lanka Can Learn From China’s Bitter Experience?
    I don’t see anything in this article to highlight what are the lessons Sri Lanka can learn from China?
    China is a communist party ruled country but Sri lanka is ruled by both UNP and SLFP both are based on Sri lankan Richest Westernised Families. Politics is dominated how to cheat people using racism and religious fundamentalism. Sri Lankan Problem is now how to change the constitution from A to govern by B and B to govern by A.

  • 4
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    Unless and until Srilanka abandons Chinhala Buddhist philosophy 100% she will never ever succeed. Northerners and Easterners must fully secure their freedom from the wild clutches of the former. Thoughts of Mao will not work for SL.

  • 2
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    What a biased article about Chairman Mao Zedong, the father of the Chinese Revolution! This article represents the usual western perspective of China and Russia. It is the foreign oppression in China that led to Chairman Mao’s Revolution. One or two of his bad decisions are highly exaggerated here. How many millions of people have been killed by the US in Asia, West Asia, Central Asia and Africa for no apparent reason? How many country leaders were assassinated, how many people died and how many economies were destroyed as a result of protests and regime changes orchestrated by the US all over the world? Now they are trying to add Russian, Iranian and Chinese leadership to the regime change/assassination list.
    For the information of the writer of this article, Chairman Mao Zedong is respected for lifting Chinese people out of poverty and leading them to prosperity. China invented satellites, rockets and ballistic missiles during his time. He laid the foundation of poverty ridden, backward China to be today’s superpower. He is also respected for restoring women’s rights. Look at western countries. Even in 2022, they still have a backward mentality and refuse to recognize equal pay rights for working women.

    • 0
      4

      I hope Ranil and his Cabinet of Ministers will learn something from the sparrow story mentioned in this article. Since 2012, Sri Lanka’s inept leaders have been trying to kill monkeys, giant squirrels, wild boars, peacocks and even non-vegetarian rilaws (toque macaque) claiming that they destroy crops. Sri Lanka’s President and Parliament should be given a food chain lesson first.

    • 5
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      Champa,
      “What a biased article about Chairman Mao Zedong, the father of the Chinese Revolution!”
      You seem to have lost faith in “Mr. Putin”, whom you were advising how to pacify the villainous Ukrainians. Has that affair gone the way of the one you had with cat-eyed Wimal?

      • 6
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        old codger

        Champa is still in her teens, mentally of course.
        She wants to marry every rich person passing her house in spite of their age, character, ….

        • 0
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          old codger
          Native Vedda
          “I learnt long ago never to wrestle with pigs. You get dirty, and besides, the pigs like it.” George Bernard Shaw

          • 0
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            As for Mr Putin and Russia, I was amused by the statements made by US military experts and western media who were first ‘confused’ with the “Kherson oblast” and the “Kherson city”. They were of the view that Russia’s decision to withdraw its troops from the Kherson “city” is a humiliation. Well, they never had real war experience, had they? And, I bet they never knew the difference between strategies and stratagems on the battlefield. When the US led NATO attacked countries, the very first thing they did was destroying power installations and other civilian infrastructure. They fired mortars and missiles in countries whose armies had never even seen them before. As for Ukraine, they are not innocent. Since 2014, Ukrainian forces and Azovs have been trained by NATO to launch an attack on Crimea. The speed in which the US led NATO supplied weapons to Ukraine implied that there had been a prior understanding between them. I think there was a plan to attack Crimea in 2021. They abandoned the plan, most probably, after seeing Russian troops massing on the Ukrainian border. Britain may have a particular interest in Crimea.

            • 0
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              It seems to me, Russia resorted to stratagem and decided to withdraw its troops from the Kherson city instead of getting into an urban combat there. A very wise move, I would say. Khserson and Crimea are interconnected. Therefore, Russia won’t leave Kherson. Instead, they will strengthen their control. A few weeks ago, Mr Putin ordered his defense officials to come up with a new plan for winter. They were given time until December. Contrary to some predictions, I don’t think Russia will slow down its military operation in the winter. Anyway, we will have to wait until December to see Russia’s winter battle plan.

              • 0
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                I am amused by the sudden enthusiasm among US officials for peace talks between Ukraine and Russia. President Zelensky said that he would not negotiate with Russia as long as Mr. Putin is in power (in different words). On an earlier occasion, he said that, to start peace talks, Russia should completely withdraw its troops from Ukraine. Well, someone should tell the Ukrainian President that he had already accepted Mr. Putin was the decision maker when he entered into 1) a grain deal with Russia. Moreover, several times he 2) exchanged POWs with Russia with the approval of Mr. Putin. These two are actually the most difficult issues in any peace negotiations and it is amazing how Ukraine cut these deals with Russia without a peace treaty or a ceasefire. What I try to say is, the peace talks should be between Russia and the US led NATO, not between Russia and Ukraine. Ukraine is merely a cat’s paw of the US led NATO. Now, the monkey is trying to send the sleeping cat to the table, which is futile. To start peace talks, the monkey should come to the table.
                The final solution to the Russia-NATO crisis is a peace treaty in which Ukraine agrees to cede 30% – 40% of its territory to Russia. What other solution is there?

      • 2
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        My dear Codger,
        This is sadly the true image of our hateful society. If Buddhism really affects, this should not be for our society. I was disturbed by Pirith chanting all over the country..Also all the fraudulent business places, Pirith chanting cannot be prevented.
        Aren’t those signs of self-denial and extreme hypocrisy? My regret is that even today, people are caught up in this kind of hypocrisy and Ethiopia and some other states in Africa are overtaking us.
        .
        People over 60 are either completely politically illiterate or have little material to grasp.
        .
        tbc

        • 2
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          Continuing.
          People like Champa are totally unique and best example, if one asks about “Matara” she will tell you about “Jaffna” and its history. See how she maintained relations with Russia and Ukraine during these 3 months when Sri Lanka was under fire. Her pen was used to write love stories about Putin. What did the Sri Lankans who roamed and destroyed all that bring us? ?
          :
          Champa’s archives will repeatedly reveal how she supported Wimal Buruvamsa (loudspeaker for false rhetorics of Medamulana animal) and his English version of “Dayan Jayathilake”. Due to some reasons, our society does not have proper guidance regarding senior type of people. Either they overestimate the Sinhalese nation and their capabilities, or pay blind eye without warning. Think about how many people you know after retirement are voicing their opinions on the country’s most pressing issues.
          They waste the experience and knowledge gained during a long career. How many retired school teachers are helping to rebuild society? This does not compare to what I see in civilized Europe. I know 89-year-old retired doctors who volunteer for Caritas or emergency care. can you imagine
          I hope that if this society gets a lily flower or something like that, its situation will progress. Proper guidance for better awareness is the foundation for a healthy nation.

  • 1
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    I can recall a unique instance during the historic visit of Mr. Chou En Lai the Prime Minter of China during the Presidency of Chairman Mao to Ceylon (Srilanka). He was just about to appear on stage to address the sea of people gathered at the Independence Square when it started to rain cats and dogs. Mr. Chou stood there without an umbrella getting drenched. Every member of the huge audience stood firm and got fully drenched in solidarity of appreciation.

    • 3
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      H
      I remember that event.
      That is Zhou, a charming and witty diplomat as well.

    • 3
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      hanchopancha

      “Mr. Chou stood there without an umbrella getting drenched. Every member of the huge audience stood firm and got fully drenched in solidarity of appreciation.”

      What did you learn from the incident?

      • 1
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        Native,
        Is an umbrella much good against cats or dogs falling from the sky? I think not, but that’s my personal opinion.

      • 1
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        A Leader all the way. Come shine, come rain he stayed put.

  • 1
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    please don’t copy communist china.just copy singapore.First copy and adopt its constitution.Then copy and adopt its parliamentary system and its budget.See that the number of parliamentarians are not more than 3 times that of singapore as per the population ratio of the 2 countries.SEE how much of the budget goes for health,education and defence,administration and copy those.Copy all the laws.

    • 1
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      Shanker. For all practical purposes there is no Corruption in Singapore as we know it. If one gets caught there is a very heavy price to pay for it. In Srilanka it is a pastime from the President, Ministers down to the minion in the Public Administration. In Singapore every one cares for each other. The Singaporeans are human beings always prepared to help a fellow human being in need. In Srilanka it is a dog eat dog society. If something could be had from you there are plenty of friends around. If not it is a lonely life.

      • 2
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        H
        “For all practical purposes there is no Corruption…”
        They say that of Saudi Arabia too.
        It is not absence of corruption that built Singapore.

      • 1
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        hanchopancha

        yu are right eradicating corruption is very important. What i had given was just a few of what we should copy of singapore.We should copy all of it,not only some of it.

        AS for your contention that when you are up in life there are many friends and when you are down there are very few friends but i think this is a universal truth not particularly for sri lankans or singaporeans but for all human genes to gravitate towards people with power and weath and degravitate when we find no more use.

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          It was many, many moons ago I came across a report which, I cannot recall exactly; it was in the Times of London or The Guardian written by a travel writer about his tour around the country (Ceylon). In there, was a stunning revelation: “they (Ceylonese) can steal your trousers while you are wearing it”. I too have traveled very widely and had dealings with practically all races under the sun competent enough to draw a line dividing black and white. We had top notch people who stole from donations received from world over for the victims of the Sunami who are yet to discover the word SHAME.

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      S
      Simply, do not copy.
      Work out your answer by yourself.

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        NV and SJ,
        During my teenage when Vietnam war was the headline news, the youth everywhere were mesmerized by Ho chi Minh and Mao and Mao’s brand of communism was admired by youth everywhere even in western capitalist countries and communism was round the corner and in my innocence I was enthralled by the revolutionary situation.
        But now in my adult mind I wake up to see reality in a different perspective and I made some internal self- criticism and plead

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          SJ,
          We all do copy in examination. What we learn from books especially in science papers,
          We learn the paradigm at that era and simply answer eg when applying questions in Newtonian mechanics or Einstein theory of relativity, we do not do any independent experiments to test the validity of these theories, but simply copy down parrot like.
          This is applicable to Marxism as well.

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        sj
        i copied at the Ord levels and got 8 distinctions.I copied at the Adv levels and got 4 A’s.In my career too i have been copying others who have done well and even bettered them.I even copied warren buffet but i have not beaten him.This is what the east asian tiger economies did(japan,korea,taiwan,singapore) they copied the west and beat them by doing their own innovations after that.First you must copy and then as you say try to improve and find answers yourself.The copying lays a good foundation.

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    Actually, China’s growth is peaking and it is already starting to face many problems, thanks in part to XI Jinping’s reversion to totalitarianism.

    The Westen capitalist model has many problems but in the search for a better alternative, we must be very clear that the Russian and Chinese models are far worse.

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      Consoling thoughts, I guess.
      How it the US faring? Should be a little better now with cheating Europe on fuel.

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        SJ,

        You have repeated many lies by your favorite dictators, including what % of people in the areas that Russia is seeking to annex supported the fake referendum.

        Whatever the problems Western societies have, they have a vigorous press and enough freedom to bring out issues in the open. Even sworn enemies of the Western system like you can access info openly from afar, and distort it and misinform the public as you see fit. In contrast, Russia and China actively censor, suppress info, and lie about a lot of things, showing themselves to be self-evidently inferior, except in your highly irrational, brainwashed mind. Snide comments cannot hide this intrinsic inferiority.

        Are you enjoying Putin’s withdrawal from Kherson and the 100,000+ Russian casualties in the war so far?

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      Agnos, how on earth an armchair revolutionary impressed by his own Democrazy, see different in rest of the world??? When convinced that Xi and Putin getting elected as lifelong President is highly democratic and progressive

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        chiv

        I still don’t understand how our old and graying revolutionaries are still blindly attached to Mao, Pol Pot, Stalin, Abimaell Guzman, ………

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    Western Civilization though with festering problems of its own, still it has the builtin safety valves of checks and balances similar to an air or sea craft auto pilot.

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