China would have been better off under the Guomindang
In this debate, I will be arguing that mainland China would have been better off than it is today, which is if the Kuomintang (Guomindang) won the civil war and the Republic of China had goverened Mainland China.
UtherPenguin will be arguing in favor of China being best off under the People's Republic of China with the Communist Party winning the civil war.
Round 1: acceptance and Con's initial argument
Round 2: My initial argument and rebuttals/additional arguments from Con
Rounds 3-4: Anything else
No saving arguments until last round
Thanks to Pro for challenging me to this debate.
Given that this is the first round, I’ll start off with a signel short arguments, and proceed with larger arguments along with rebuttals in the next round.
Arg 1: China was still unstable before the communists
Shortly after the overthrow of the Qing Dynasty, power shifted to a provisional government. Power switched hands between the Guomingdang and later Yuan Shikai, whom took the term for “President for Life” and later banned the Guomingdang. After Shikai’s short-lived term China disintegrated into warlordism . By 1925, China had balkanized toan extent not seen since the Warring states period. As seen below:
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By 1945 when the Japanese surrendered, China was devastated by civil war, warlordism, and a series of famines which killed up to 3.5 million people in Northern China alone. This barely accounts for the devastation the coastal regions of China faced during WW2. In short, the country was in shambles after WW2. 
As mentioned previously, the Guomingdang was barely capable of maintaing power before WW2 and they had already lost power before the Communist Party even rose to power in the first place. Hence, after WW2, when China was in an even worst state than they were before the Japanese , the Guomingdang would not have been able to effectively consolidate power. When China was in compairovly better conidition after the overthrow of the Qing in 1911, Sun Yat Sen was still unable to stabilize China. Hence, it would have been unlikely for him to have been able to stabilize China when under worse conditions.
In order to avoid confusion, this is what I will be naming each "China."
Republic of China - Theoretical country that has control of all of Mainland China
China - Modern-day People's Republic of China
Taiwan - Modern-day Republic of China
Since that is cleared, I will proceed with my arguments.
The Communist Party of China in the past (espeically during Mao Zedong's regime) had comitted massacres and left the country in a horrible condition at the time. The Republic of China today in Taiwan is as propsoerus as many European nations today. Western influence and US aided industrialization would have helped China become more prosperous than it currently is today.
1. Western influence and Communism's impacts
Communism is greatly isolated countries and thrown back their development by years. We can see all ex-communist Asian nations have fared out worse than capitalist asian nations backed by the US during the cold war. The USA has laregly contributed to industrialization and development in Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea. Hong Kong has prospered due to the British helping upon development, it is worth nothing considering UK is also a western nation which is politically and culturally similair to the US.
a. Development and prosperity
Japan, South Korea, and Hong Kong have been ranked as some of the most developed nations in Asia according to the latest UN report. Not included in the list, Taiwan also remains to be one of the most developed nations in Asia. Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam are all communist or ex-communist nations which rank as some of the least developed nations in Asia. These differences in HDI are very large, which emphasize the point I am putting forward. Reforms in the Republic of China similair to Deng Xiaoping's reforms would have happened earlier and quicker due to the isolation and communism China had previously experienced. As a result, the Republic of China would have likely been economically more prosperous than modern-day China whether it had gained help from the US or not in industrialization.
Other indicators of a country's success such as life expectancy, per capita GDP, Infant mortality, etc. have all favored South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong which are on par with Europe. Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam are all ranked at the lowest in Asia in these indicators. Furthermore, censorship remains a major addressed issue in China; censorship is minimal in Taiwan and other western-influenced Asian countries.
b. Tensions between US and China
The USA and PRC are also economically relient on each other, but there have been strict tensions between the US and China causing issues for both nations economically. Under a possible KMT victory, an alliance existing to this date is debatable, however a past alliance and western influence would lead to greater relations with each other.
2. Mao's massacres
Mao Zedong has killed more people than Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin's massacres combined. Mao ordered people to massacre anybody who expressed the slightest bit of opposition towards him. Mao's "Great Leap Forward" had lead to disastrous farming methods and horrible distritubtion of food has lead to the one of the world's worst famine. Deaths due to a lack of food to eat has led to 50% in some Chinese villages. Other policies by Mao have also lead to disaster as well. Mao had left China in ruins; China had a per capita GDP of $182.68, one year after Mao's death. It was only until Deng Xiaoping's reforms, had China begun a long economic recovery. Chiang Kai-shek would have done much better than Mao did in the theoratical Republic of China.
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I will end my argument here to avoid going overkill on UtherPenguin's initial argument.
In this round I’ll do all of my rebuttals/ counter arguments.
R1: “The Communist Party of China in the past (espeically during Mao Zedong's regime) had comitted massacres and left the country in a horrible condition at the time. The Republic of China today in Taiwan is as propsoerus as many European nations today. Western influence and US aided industrialization would have helped China become more prosperous than it currently is today.”
Firstly, Taiwan and size is significantly smaller than China. With Taiwan’s population being at roughly 23 million and the mainland being at 1.3 billion. The mainland completely dwarfs Taiwan in both landmass and population . It is far easier to govern such a significantly smaller landmass than Taiwan, making the government a lot less prone to the same type of mistakes as mainland China is. Remember, when the RoC had governance over China, not only was the country unstable, but social and economically in shambles (as mentioned previously). The mistakes of Mao’s regime would have been just as easily committed if not worse under Chiang Kai Shek, because remember, Mao’s regime was at least stable. China barely had a central government in the period between the overthrow of the Qing and World War Two.
Not only that, but much of said prosperity in Taiwan can be attributed to Western aid, to which the mainland saw little of.
Not only that, but under Deng Xiaoping, China saw a level of rapid industrialization in the past 3 decades that took the west a century and a half to achieve. China was still prosperous under the CCP, just not under Mao.
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R2:” Communism is greatly isolated countries and thrown back their development by years. We can see all ex-communist Asian nations have fared out worse than capitalist asian nations backed by the US during the cold war. The USA has laregly contributed to industrialization and development in Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea. Hong Kong has prospered due to the British helping upon development, it is worth nothing considering UK is also a western nation which is politically and culturally similair to the US.”
“all ex-communist Asian nations have fared out worse than capitalist asian nations”
China’s economy is the second largest in the world ,and is not only on par with the US but set to overtake them in the coming years, with a GDP of 6.8 trillion as of 2013, this completely dwarves the GDP if neighboring South Korea and Japan
Secondly, China was better off aligning with the USSR for the sake of stability. If China aligned with the US, this would throw them under the fold of Soviet antagonization. Remember, China was mostly fine if they had been antagonized with the US during the Cold War, that’s because the US is so far from China geographically speaking that the event of a war would not bring upon major causalities in the mainland. Had China aligned with the US and antagonized the Soviets, tensions would have been *far* higher. Realize that China directly bordered the Soviet Union. In the theoretical event of a war, Northern China would have been devastated, arguably more devastated than they were in WW2.
The debate is not on whether China was better off under Communism, but if they were better off under the CCP. We are debating whether China was better off under a political entity, and not the ideology itself. Even with Deng Xiaoping’s capitalist-leaning reforms, the CCP was still the CCP. Hence, it is irrelevant to bring up the lack of prosperity in other former-communist countries as the ideology of communism itself is not the subject of the debate. Not only does that but the correlation between prosperity and political leanings during the Cold War not make it the cause. Correlation does not equal causation, Pro here has made the assertion of a cause on the basis of a correlation.
R4: ” The USA and PRC are also economically relient on each other, but there have been strict tensions between the US and China causing issues for both nations economically. Under a possible KMT victory, an alliance existing to this date is debatable, however a past alliance and western influence would lead to greater relations with each other. “
R5:” Mao Zedong has killed more people than Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin's massacres combined. Mao ordered people to massacre anybody who expressed the slightest bit of opposition towards him. Mao's "Great Leap Forward" had lead to disastrous farming methods and horrible distribution of food has lead to the one of the world's worst famine. Deaths due to a lack of food to eat has led to 50% in some Chinese villages. Other policies by Mao have also lead to disaster as well. Mao had left China in ruins; China had a per capita GDP of $182.68, one year after Mao's death. It was only until Deng Xiaoping's reforms, had China begun a long economic recovery. Chiang Kai-shek would have done much better than Mao did in the theoratical Republic of China.”
China wasn’t fairly well off under the KMT either. China had gone under at least 5 different famines in the period between the fall of the Qing and the declaration of the PRC . There were at least 3.5 million causalities from famine in this period from Northern China alone. By 1943, roughly 7 million other deaths came from Famines in the Henan region.
Most of these causalities occurred during the period of instability in which the KMT could barely hold central power. If Chiang Kai-shek couldn’t even hold stable control over China in the 20 year period after the fall of the Qing, how would they be able to recover the country after all the devastation of WW2?
1. Taiwan vs Mainland China
Uther's first rebuttal claims that Taiwan's size made it significantly easier to govern and lead to prosperity. While this is true to an extent, as a theoretical KMT victory wouldn't lead to a mega-Taiwan. However, this is not to say that a difference in economic prosperity would exist under a possible KMT victory. My opponent also claims the Republic of China was unstable at the time. Arguable, the Republic of China was in better condition as opposed to Mao's regime, which I will later get into.
Under Deng Xiaoping, it is undeniable that China economically skyrocketted. It is however, important to take note that Mao's regime had delayed much of the economic growth under Deng Xiaoping's rule. A KMT victory would lead to a more market-oriented economy from the start, combined with a lack of isolation present under the communist regime of Mao Zedong.
UtherPenguin falsely insists that China's economy is under prosperity and rivaled to the US economy. My opponent also makes a false analogy by comparing China's economy to that of Japan and South Korea. While it is undeniably true that China's economy is doing well, China is also a very large and populous nation, allowing for a much higher total GDP. Both South Korea and Japan have a per-capita GDP greater than that of China. Areas such as Shanghai or Beijing are arguably on par with cities in Japan and South Korea, but the fact remains that many poor areas in China also exist, most notably rural China. It would be more accurate to classify China as under economic recovery in the business cycle rather than economic prosperity.
In the theoretical Republic of China, a lack of communism would have lead had the path of economic growth begin quicker than in the People's Republic of China. In this theoretical nation, isolation as a result of communism would have never existed. Considering that China has been on a path of rapid economic growth in recent history, starting this process earlier would lead to a much more wealthy and developed China today.
While stability would have been a concern under the KMT especially considering its border with the USSR at the time, it was likely still better off alligned with the USA. China for one would gain backup from American forces in the Korean peninsula considering a KMT victory would likely lead to a unified korea under the pro-USA government. Also considering China's military power, it would have not been in the best of hands for the USSR to declare war against a KMT-controlled China.
Uther also seems to make a false dodge by stating the debate isn't whether China was better off under Communism. Considering the ideology of the CCP was communist before Deng Xiaoping's market economy reforms, communism is an essential aspect in this debate. Under a KMT victory, communism in China would have never officially existed considering how fiercely anti-communist the KMT was. My opponent then goes on to argue that correlation doesn't translate to causation to discredit my argument. This argument however, would not be a scenario where "correlation doesn't translate to causation." Communism has been the cause of failure in development and economics due to its overly idealistic nature. Without communism to isolate China and devastate its condition, China would have likely been further up on a basis of economics and human development index. My argument was to point out how Communism has been a negative thing to help the economic growth of countries.
(see additional arguments against Con's 5th rebuttal.)
Instability of the Republic
As true from Con's arguments, the Republic of China had experienced corruption, instability, and some chaos during certain eras. However, Chiang Kai-shek had actually accomplished a lot and lead China into prosperity during his rule. The recent chaos in the last years of the KMT's rule was due to the 'war economy' caused by imperial japanese forces.. When Chiang Kai-shek rose to power, he had increased stability, cracked down against corruption, and greatly lower warlordism in China, overall unifying and increasing the influence of the KMT. This era where China was prosperous under the KMT was known as the "Nanjing decade."
Furthermore, the famines during the Republic of China were nothing compared to the "Great Leap Forward."
During the Nanjing decade, the government had begun major economic reforms. A national currency of the Yuan was enforced with stabilization of tax collection, investments in construction, transportation, communications, etc were made. Chiang had also looked to the west for advancements in technologies, science, and medicine. Shanghai was to become the trading and financial center of Asia under this era as well; the stock market was thriving as a result. During the Nanjing decade, Chiang Kai-shek had greatly helped in overall modernization and economic reforms of China. In addition, it is important to take note that communist forces and Japanese aggression was still present during this era. Mao Zedong was uncapable of anything similair to Chiang Kai-shek's achievments during the Nanjing decade. Chairman Mao's rule had only lead to chaos, political and cultural corruption, as well as huge massacres against the people. Overall, Chiang Kai-shek's leadership after WW2 would have likely been far better than what Mao Zedong could have ever accomplished.
I will be mentioning the cultural revolution as an additional argument not present in the first round
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The "Cultural Revolution" was a total disaster for China. Mao Zedong had faced slight opposition in the CCP, this had further drove his paranoia to the Cultural Revolution in attempt to create an ideal "Communist Utopia." During the Cultural Revolution, Mao purged any remaining bit of "capitalist remnants" from Chinese culture. Mao Zedong had appealed to much of China's youth to enforce the cultural revolution. Due to previous brainwashing policies under Mao's regime, the youth of China obeyed Mao and formed "Red Guard" groups throughout the nation. During this era, many people such as people in leadership roles were targetted. The Red Guards had attempted to purge China of much of its traditional culture in attempt to create a new "progressive red era" of China. Red Guards would roam around the streets and use violence against anything deemed a threat to Communism. Educational facilities were the first to be attacked, with political opponents, people in leadership positions to be next. Red Guards would roam the streets ready to cause massacres under Mao's command.
Chiang Kai-Shek didn't have the ultra-idealistic views as Mao did. It is likely Chiang Kai-Shek would have fared a far better leader for China after WW2.
triangle.128k forfeited this round.