Understanding China


I don’t know where you got that figure from. Most estimates are in the region of 40 mill. deaths in the great famine caused by Mao’s “Great Leap Forward”.

Here is an article of fairly recent date that quote an eye witness that has dedicated his life to the study of the famine:

No matter what is the actual number it was a major catastrophe, never to be repeated.


Your right, 40 million deaths is SO much better. That data is from sources that were…very interested… in the crisis for strategic reasons. It is not the old ladies and men we should worry about, it is their grandchildren.

From personal experience piloting Chimes bulkers, not sea buoy to dock, but Great Lakes transits were you often had 38-43 hours on board and really developed a relationship with the Master and mates, it became very apparent that MANPOWER was the next great Chinese export. We’ll leave aside the villager/peasant/3rd world resident argument for a bit and focus on a point I believe you have raised before-you will do what you can to elevate your standard of living and better the conditions for your family. Here is what was happening from about 2002 at least until I left piloting (another long story of government ineptitude but I digress) in 2009:

“Hey son, how’d you like to quit shoveling shit in that field and be a sailor? You would? We’ll, my boy step right this way…” Young men were taken from.deep in the interior, sent to school and whiz bang boom they were STCW qualified entry level mariners. Maybe it was just COSCO’s bulkers but 9 out of 10 couldn’t properly secure a heaving line to a bag, steer a straight course, or much less handle lines at a dock or wires at the locks; an absolute nightmare. There was no natural ability much less a desire to improve. They were a cog in the wheel and their attitude and ability reflected it.

Maybe it is just me but I went sailing because it is ALWAYS what I.wanted to do. Most mariners come from an area near water, not some Podunk farming village/town/ shit hole in the middle of nowhere. We enter this profession because we love the job and the water. I wouldn’t think many people do it on a whim because “Gee, look at the money I amie and the time I get off”. Sure, SOME may, but those are also the ones that leave in the first few years because they become disillusioned. You have mentioned Indonesians and Filipinos who do it to better thet lives but guess What? They live in a region with a long tradition of seafaring, It’s in their blood! China is a bizarre place and little they do in the global stage makes sense to Westerners. You need look no further than the patently ridiculous claims made in the South China sea and their development if man-made islands for no other purpose than an attempt to establish some sort of shyster-lawyer-like claim to natural resources.


I don’t know if you have been unlucky, or I have been lucky with the COSCO ships I have been involved with. Of course there may be a difference between the crews serving on Bulkers and Heavy Lift Vessels that I have been involved with, but I have found Chinese officers and crews to be as professional as any other main problem nationalities.
I have been involved with the HLVs for many years,both as Warranty Surveyor and as Superintendent/Loadmaster for COSCO. The main problem have been language, since my Mandarin is non-existent and the English language skills are limited to the officers.

As Loadmaster I would bring one of the junior officers with me onto the cargo during loading/discharging to convey my orders to the winch operators and ballast control in Chinese. If the tug skippers also had problems with English, I would also insist on an English speaker from the towing company to be with me to convey my orders to them as well. Not ideal, but we did some complex operations successfully this way.

BTW: the Maritime University in Dalian is regarded as one of the best and most modern maritime education and training in the world. Many of the Masters in COSCO have been educated there:


China is storming ahead in the aviation industry:


I am not talking about officers…maybe wander over to the crews mess and drop off a couple of local papers and some bags of snacks, try and interact with the crew; a smile and some friendly gestures, even with a significant language barrier can go a long way. Of course such gross displays of capitalist friendship are quickly countered by at least ONE officer. Surprisingly, HIS command of English is remarkable…the long arm or indoctrination and “scientific socialist theory” are alive and well.


Sorry, not my experience. The crew and officers eat in the same messroom but separate sections are available when in port, or when “riders” from the cargo owners are onboard.

I don’t know if you have actually BEEN in China, but it is very different from the China of the Mao era and very little looks or feels like the China that western propaganda is presenting.
Go there, see for yourself and keep an open mind. You may change your view a bit.


that comment previously on how the locals dont know they are owned is very true, wechat etc now they have conned the locals to use the tap and pay for everything.
The gov now knows everything you do on your phone, every cent you spend, where you are as all road camera’s have facial recognition and car numberplate recognition.
No access to reading this thread clearly scared of the something???
All technology stolen, do you use, have or ever seen a Chinese invention since 1500?
Their Aircraft stuff is all russian under the covers. The GE joint venture to make the passenger plane was GE supply the turbines and China to the flight control/power computer. Its was so far behind GE sent the guys back home and said to China if you have a working model call us back up.
To get over their massive internal debt I think they will change the currency to one internal and one external, to change the internal one you need to make it digital which they are well on the way to doing so all chinese will earn and spend widgets unless they need to deal overseas and that will only be via the government who will control the exchangeable currency.
Thats communist utopia, dont forget they have to keep proving western capitalism doesnt work and their system is better to ensure they stay in power.
They have built some great looking buildings, roads and trains and fed lots more people with their only global economic advantage…total control and cheap labour


I think it is time to realize that the days when China was ONLY building ships and rigs to foreign design and with foreign equipment, is now a thing of the passed.
China has built rigs to American and European designs since the early 1980’s, but they are now developing their own designs:

Complex Ethane Carriers are not something that can be built by anybody, even with foreign design and assistance. China has gone a step further and designed their own VLEC:

The popular belief that China is only copying foreign technology and producing cheap junk is also a thing of the passed, as is the belief that the Chinese are unable to innovate.

The fact is that China is one of the most prolific nations when it comes to International Patents:

China is now as worried about protecting intellectual rights and subject to industrial espionage as much as anybody.

Yes, China still have a large hinterland with farmers still living in poverty, but the cities are now home to over half the population and the standard of living there is getting on par with most western countries.

The buying power of the large and growing middle class is on par with many western countries and there are more Chinese tourists to be seen world wide. 122 mill. Chinese travelled overseas on holidays last year, spending more money then any other nationalities:

BTW: There are more $ Billionaires in the nominally Communist China then in USA.

To those who still believe in the western superiority on the technological and maritime front, I can only say; you should spend some time in China and see the development there for yourself.


That’s the usual progression. There was a time when Japan only copied and made cheap post-industrial stuff. Eventually they made their own quality post-industrial products. Then Korea followed that pattern. Now it’s China following the pack of progress.

I guess if a country stops killing her enlightened masses for not being stupid while starving everyone else into malnutrition then industrial progress can finally occur.


China is investing hugely in educating the next generation. Newcastle University has over 2,000 Chinese students studying technology & business studies. (I visited there to do research in the Ship Simulator suite a couple of years ago.) Scale that up across Europe and maybe NA then they are taking a great leap forward to where they were in the past.


Japan was rivaling Gemany for high quality optics by WWII. I grew up with half a pair of WWII night binoculars that were ship-mounted. Objective about six inches across. High-quality aluminum casting for the frame, about half an inch thick in the middle web where they were sawed apart.

My dad also brought home a (metric) micrometer that had been repaired and given a new serial number by a craftsman in Tokyo. It’s a beautiful job, with the replacement female screw and index made of copper and scribed/numbered by hand.

The cheap Japanese tin-plate toys and similar exported after the war were not a reflection of Japan’s industrial abilities at all – they were General Douglas MacArthur’s plan to use cheap available scrap materials like used tin cans to get some cash flowing into the ruined nation.

Those binoculars were good enough that the Japanese were spotting our ships when it was so dark out that we were sure we could not be seen. Of course RADAR took the sport out of that particular contest…


Very true. By the early 20th century Japan was doing well. The post-War period was just a speed bump.

But I was thinking more of the Meiji Restoration in the mid-1800s when traditional Japanese ways were realized to be no match for Euro-American science, economics and industry. Japan first traded for, then made their own and finally designed their own post-industrial products. The resulting domination of their neighbors was only possible by putting away their cultural baggage.

Now China is on that same path with the usual speed bumps along the way. However, it’s a ‘dog bites man’ headline. It doesn’t require constant fanboy squealing as if the Chinese invented a miracle. They’re just sniffing the ass of the dogs in front of them.


Well said, sir.


China’s success is the combination of capitalism and a centralized command an control economy that is waging economic war on the rest of the world, with most countries too stupid and too whimpy to do anything about it.


Beside the large number of Chinese studying overseas they educate more Scientists, Engineers and Mathematicians(STEM) then any other single country, or even more than Europe and North America combined:


Ok. And as a communist country with over a billion people, China can select the best and the brightest for a huge population base, larger than the US and Europe combined, and order them to become educated and productive scientists and engineers, or else.

In the liberal US, we enable everyone, regardless of academic ability, to go waste a lot of time and money studying anything that they feel like studying, as long as it does not interfere too much with their 5 to 6 years of college party life. Most of them don’t belong in college in the first place and could not succeed in STEM. Why bother studying anything difficult and doing any work, when it’s much more fun to be a snowflake? Bernie Sanders, free college, guaranteed minimum income, and plenty more do nothing government jobs are right around the corner. Let the good times roll.

China government policy creates productive scientists, the US creates jobless snowflakes with degrees in gender studies, ethnic studies, sociology, psychology, theater, and art.


So blame the Chinese. How can they dear to compete on such unequal terms??


Yes there are a of surveillance cameras in the BIG cities of China, but they are not alone:

Is all because of control in China, but to protect the citizens in UK and US??
Who knows for sure, but your pre-determined perception may colour your view somewhat.


Plenty of folks are concerned about the proliferation of public cameras in the US and UK.


You can send everyone to university but the punters still have to live in an environment where they are free to think.
Look at Singapore, the gov in their quest to stay in power have cut the mojo out of 2 generations of Chinese and now that policy has come home to roost.
Typical of the 3rd world to think top marks at uni will fix everything but for most they are going from who has a grandfather with a degree ( nobody) to who has a child not in university
Remind me how successful Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Henry Ford, Bill Lear etc were at university?
State control on a massive scale and deep pockets to develop the country says they are keen to steal anything and everything they can get from the west.
The steal so much and spread it around they quite often get caught when they try to sell something to the western company that invented it in the first place.
How would you feel if you were Chinese uni student, your government is saying we have no faith in Chinese skills so we will just steal technology from the west?
I know several horrendous stories where companies with offshore technology have been attacked and its the local gov spying agencies have had to phone up and say unplug or shutdown your office as we can see a huge amount of data going somewhere it shouldn’t, we are on the way to investigate.
Of course when you run by stealing ideas, you are always in 2nd place.