Prof. Ángel Colmenares 1
Population China II

versión en español

In spite of the nearly 15,000 km of distance that separate to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and to the People’s Republic of China, it is possible to find some elements in common between the two countries in various aspects, which is necessary to perform a brief with hindsight, in principle over the first 5 decades of the 20th century, during which some events and facts that make us somehow find brothers fight in the effort by the evolution of our nations within the global context. Just as the transition between the last decades of the 19th century and early 20th century manifests between scenarios of conflict, rise to political power by military leaders and conditions of extreme difficulties for the population of both Nations in the economic and social.

However, all of these events and facts provide you sufficient maturity to our populations to originate would mark turning points a before and after in the history of both Nations, which undoubtedly would generate changes in various aspects that the dessert would improve in the medium term – saving the huge differences between both countries – the conditions and the level of development, up to the current situation in which China becomes the main contender of the first world power, the United States, who has defined Venezuela, as the main regional promoter of Latin American and Caribbean processes of transformation and strategic ally of China, and as “an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy”, it has triggered sanctions and in general an economic fence materialized by the Western Hemisphere against Venezuela

To end find possible similarities and verify the parallelism in the events of both Nations, is initially” important to point out some of the more important that occurred during the first 50 years of the 20th century in the world, China and Venezuela, that will have consequences or direct effects on a fundamental aspect of any nation, the population, which allows to perform a brief analysis of the impact of all these events in the demographic evolution of both countries.

It is important to note that it is not intended to make a detailed historical analysis of the events during this period in both countries, what is shown below is a very brief review based demographic analysis in the context of events socio-historic of both peoples.

China: Qing Dynasty to the establishment of the People’s Republic of China

If we want to understand the modern history of China, or at least the beginning of the 20th century, it is necessary to begin by the fall of the last dynasty or family that governs China, Qing Dynasty, established in 1636 and who had control over China from 1644 to 1912.

The Qing Dynasty found an end of October 10, 1911 with the so-called “Wuchang uprising” (Wolters, 2016) and thanks to the influence of one of the biggest personage of modern China, Sun Yat-sen, who with his reformist ideas influenced the officers and soldiers in Wuchang[1], getting spark of revolution, which together other events[2] led to several provincial governments in South China to withdraw its support to the Empire and join the rebels. While the direct participation of Sun is minimal, even not being in China for the moment in which it conducted the rebellion, to return to China on December 25, 1911 is elected provisional President (Ríos J.J., 2002) creating also the Chinese nationalist party or Kuomintang “KMT”. Although his presidency was momentary, since shortly after the General Yuan Shikai replaces him who possessed control of the imperial armies, it is also designated as the intermediary between the parties, forcing the abdication of the Emperor Puyi, which reigned under the name of “Emperor Xuantong”.

While Yuan Shikai was head of the newly founded Republic of China, many revolts occurred and confrontations between different fractions, including both Outer Mongolia and Tibet became dependent on European powers. In 1913 is the so-called second revolution against Yuan, and so came the many internal conflicts that already for the year 1915 decides to proclaim himself emperor of China, however, in 1916, he was forced to abandon the throne and then dies Li Yuanhong as Vice President assumed the leadership of the Republic, without own military support. In the course of these years is tried a restoration of Emperor Puyi, with the so-called “Manchu restoration” in 1917, thanks to the general Zhang Xun, lifting the general Feng Guozhang calms and through which he manages to become President.

Parallel sets the alternative Government in Canton led by Sun Yatsen, Government, which came to an end by not having military support to April 1918. During the following decade was attempted to reunify the country by various warlords, this period could be summarized as the Beiyang Government or Government of the Lords of war because of successive changes in the Presidency, all of them between military, this chaotic period lasts until mid-1928. In the intermediate of all these struggles, and through the study of the Marxism at Peking University, as well as the creation of the III International[3], of the hand of Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhao intellectuals, first popularizer of Marxism in China and founder of the Marxist studies society, creates the Chinese Communist Party, of which they form part, the for that then young Mao Zedong, being elected as Chen Duxiu First Secretary of the party, founded in Shanghai on July 21, 1921 (Ríos J. M.).

For 1921 Sun Yat-sen would go to the Soviet Union, while at the same time the CCP also received international III instructions of working together with the KMT, but is in the Nanchang Uprising, which is the first significant clash between the Kuomintang and the Communist Party of China, whereas this date, on August 1, 1927, as the day of the birth of the Popular Liberation Army (EPL) or also called Red Army, including all the years celebrates this date as “day of the army people release’ (Hsu, 2012).

In 1925 died Sun Yat-sen and happens it the general Chiang Kai-shek, which begins the Northern Expedition in 1926 (Tiziana Lippiello, 2017), in order to remove warlords and implanting the ideals of Sun. It is at the end of the period of the warlords in 1927 and until October 1949, product of the confrontation between the Chinese nationalist party and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), realizes the civil war in China.

Chiang must deal from 1931 with the Japanese invasion in Manchuria[4] It would last until the end of 1933 (Díaz, 1991), and in parallel to fight against the Chinese Communist Party, to which launched at least three major military campaigns, for 1934 is given the “long March” or “Great March” until 1935 (DUELL, 1988), in which the Red Army retracts marking the start of the final decision to the power of the party of Mao Zedong and the departure of his political rivals.

In 1937 the economic situation was precarious product of wars, triggering by 1941 that the rise in prices to double for the year, coupled with a large corruption (Tiziana Lippiello, 2017), however, Chiang had dictatorial powers hoarders a lot of charges, and in 1945 with the nuclear bombing of the United States to Japan ends the second war world giving Westerners support the nationalists of Chiang and the KMT, to the which are required the Japanese give their surrender.

With the end of World War II will resume the internal battles between nationalist and Communist Chinese, being carried out in 1945 a meeting between Mao and Chiang in order to put an end to the differences between Communists and nationalists. It is important to note that over the course of nearly two decades of civil war in China, the Red Army or EPL for the CCP, fought long internal battles with the KMT, the Lords of war, and even with the Japanese.

1947 the economic situation was so untenable for Chiang, the EPL advancing more and more in their fight against the Government army, making for on October 1, 1949 Mao general say the proclamation of the People’s Republic of China (Karl, 2010), with Chiang isolated in Taiwan.

Evolution of the Chinese population of 1910 to 1953:

Given the period convulsed by which passes through China during the first 50 years of the 20th century, does not really exist an agreement as to the size of its population, since during this period failed enumerate this completely. In 1911, is carried out a census under the Qing dynasty, but his overthrow product is discarded and is one again in 1912 with very poor results (Thompson, 2013). Later in 1928, intends to again conduct a census but by 1931 still 12 regions not reported their statistics, had 16 Territories information, for which the Ministry of interior carries out estimates and publishes some results, suffering subsequent amendments. Then some population estimates are made for 1936 and 1946, and it is for 1953 that held the first modern census, with some previous results in 1951.

Under this scenario, below is a summary of the different sources and their corresponding results, which also provide foundations that allow estimates of total population for each decade:

Artículo Population China I

From the above information the following estimates were carried out in order to approach to the reconstruction of China’s population for each decade:

Artículo Population China II

Artículo Población China III

The graph above displays the behavior of the growth of china’s population at different periods of the five decades considered, during the Civil war and in the Era of the Warlords, the stages during which the population of China had less growth, around 2 million people per year, largely by the high mortality rate wars product, while the period of greatest growth is observed at the beginning of the people’s Republic of China, standing at more than 10 million per year. First, the important thing to note is high impact in the population that had this period of clashes and internal wars, causing fluctuations in its growth.

At the end of Qing Dynasty and beginning of the Republic of China, according to different sources and estimates, the population of China was between 370 and 400 million inhabitants (about a quarter of the inhabitants of China today), presenting a high growth in the period 1910-1925, approximately 7.5% annually, which is reduced drastically during the period 1925-1945 to only 2%, product of the period of high conflict before described. By the end of this period, China seems to have reached the 500 million inhabitants (little less than one third of its inhabitants today).

It is clear that with the rise to political power by the Communist Party of China and Mao Zedong in the leadership, the proclamation of the People’s Republic of China and the efforts by the territorial reunification the conditions so that the population will increase, with which the number of inhabitants started a surprising demographic growth, reflecting an annual growth of 12.66% for 1953, and an estimated 580 million population (slightly less than half the current population in Chinese territory).

According to estimates, over these 40 years (1910-1950) the Chinese population increased between 54% and 60%, in the middle of episodes of high political and territorial disputes both internal and external, civil war, loss of Outer Mongolia and Tibet as part of its territory, all of this after, in addition, the period that China as a nation ran the greatest dangers of extermination and disappearance product from attack by foreign powers. It is right after this period that starts a pronounced growth in the population of China, will be without a doubt, one of the main factors that will drive the subsequent nation proposed project with the birth of the People’s Republic of China.

[1] Currently Wuhan, capital of Hubei Province

[2] The most outstanding of these events was the so-called “movement of Protection of railway Rights”, a group that fought against the nationalization of local railway development projects and the transfer of their control to foreign banks. (William, 2013)

[3] International Communist, also known as the III International, as well as by its abbreviation in Russian Comintern, is an international Communist organization founded in Moscow in March 1919.

[4] Region located to the northeast of China

1 Ángel Colmenares: Graduated in Actuarial Sciences and Magister Scientiarum mention Random Models graduated from the Central University of Venezuela (UCV). Professor at the School of Statistics and Actuarial Sciences of the UCV and Researcher at the Venezuelan Center for Studies on China (CVEC). PhD candidate in Statistics from the Dongbei University of Finance and Economics (DUFE) in China.


El Centro Venezolano de Estudios sobre China (CVEC) es el primer y único centro de investigación dedicado exclusivamente a los estudios sobre China dentro de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela. Fundado el 13 de junio de 2017 por jóvenes profesores e investigadores provenientes de la Universidad Central de Venezuela, el CVEC ha planificado desde su creación, la conformación de un equipo de investigadores provenientes de distintos espacios intelectuales y profesionales, cuyas capacidades de análisis y comprensión sobre las realidades que configuran el mundo de hoy y del futuro coincidieran en esta instancia de gestión académica e intelectual.

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