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Radio collectors in India and China; governments, etc.

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Forum » Manufacturer's / brands history » COUNTRYTEXTS (in the RADIO-MUSEUM) » Radio collectors in India and China; governments, etc.
           
Thomas Albrecht
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25.Apr.10 22:39
 
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(Translation of an article originally by Ernst Erb)

In a five-star hotel, the world always looks the same, and one could have the impression that things are going well for people. Politicians, in their Ivory Towers, probably have the same impression.
When someone talks about “Globalization,” India and China are often given as examples of “emerging markets,” etc. The truth of the matter is quite different, as I have always felt was the case. I was mainly thinking about two of the most important factors – climate and population growth. However, another factor needs to be considered – different forms of government. Fortunately, we were not part of a tour group, so we could go our own way.
 
INDIA
 
Even though India is being exploited for its cheap labor, and also has well educated classes of people, this has not broadly benefited India’s people; development is not very widespread. Radio collectors are in the same situation – we couldn’t find any radio collectors, and hardly found any antique radios, except for this ruin:
Miserable condition; knobs and buttons are missing.
 
The back side doesn’t look any better; three tubes from India.
 
The fact that the tubes were made in India doesn’t mean that this is really an “Indian” radio; this Murphy radio (parent company in Great Britain) was probably assembled in India.
 
The tubes were given to me as a gift, so the “good parts” of the radio were disposed of. Unfortunately the printing on the tubes was badly damaged by cleaning. BEL stands for Bharat Electronics Ltd.  (tube production ended in 1999).
We have three members in India, although they are not very active. That’s why we only show seven radios from India: from Bharat Electronics (BEL), National Ecko, and Philips India.
A shop for old equipment in Agra. It’s about the size of a small garage, and such shops are lined up next to one another. What a contrast to the Taj Mahal! The Murphy, however, didn’t come from a shop like this.
 
A TV repair shop in Agra.
In India we were only in Delhi (New Delhi has a population of 12-20 million), Jaipur (in Rajasthan, population 2.3 milion), and Agra (population 1.3 million, in the state of Uttar Pradesh), and we were not able to include Mumbai or other major cities. These cities are all cities of more than a million. We also visited small villages and had some conversations in the houses of people in these small villages. In our car we traveled about 1500 km in three days, with stops in small towns along the way.
Some highlights in Delhi were the Jama Masjid Mosque, our exploration of Old Delhi (a Muslim part of the city, which was so poor that I didn’t dare take a picture. Some more highlights included a rickshaw ride through Chandni Chowk, and a visit to the Sikh temple Bangla Sahib Gurdwara. The Metro, the British-built city of New Delhi, and especially Rajpath (now the capital) looked completely different. Before we got to Jaipur, we visited Fort Jaigarh and Jai Mandir. In Jaipur itself, the “Pink City,” the Jantar Mantar Observatory was especially interesting from a technical standpoint and the Hawa Mahal was an interesting curiosity. There it was possible, by staying there overnight, to get some information about Samode Haveli, a house that is still occupied by the Raja. After that came Agra with the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, and Fathepur Sikrit. At this last stop I wanted to better understand the situation for antique radios.
Finally I bought three books. One in English: “Television, Fundamentals & Servicing – Simplified & Complete Television Theory & Servicing Course with Principles of Color TV,” published by the “Radio & TV Training Centre” and “Approved by Govt. of Uttar Pradesh for Radio Instructors Students of I.T.I. & Leading Radio T.V. Institutes.” Shahzadi Mandi, Agra. Two more in Hindi, namely “Radio-TV Transistor Servicing Guide” and “Cassette Tape Recorders Principles & Servicing,” both from the same organization. The father of the person that sold these to me had a repair shop. I ran into this person on several occasions, one of which was a visit to the Jain temple in Agra. Jainism was founded by Mahavira (Jina). He lived around the time of the founding of Buddhism (Siddhartha Gautama), from 599-527 B.C. Both religions came from Brahmanism, which was also the origin of Hinduism, although elements of these religions had roots in even earlier times. The Jains number about 4.5 million (about 1% of Buddhists) and are strictly vegetarian. Side note – the symbol of the Jains, backwards, looks like the Swastika used by the Third Reich in Germany.
From Wikipedia: The three fundamental ethical principles of the Jains are Ahimsa (nonviolence toward all living beings), Aparigraha (avoiding materialism), and Satya (truthfulness). Because of their belief in nonviolence toward living things, Jains eat exclusively in a manner to avoid killing either plants or animals. Because of these principles, followers of Jainism avoid certain professions, and that’s why they are often in commerce and banking. Because of this demanding lifestyle, the number of followers was never very large. Because of requirements for nonviolence, the lay followers couldn’t be farmers (living beings can be harmed by plowing), nor could they perform any kind of work for the military.
I am not aware of any other religious community that is so protective of living things; some will go so far as to wear a mask to avoid inhaling any insects! They show a level of courtesy and helpfulness that is no longer known in the West. I know of no so-called nutritionists who would think that this kind of vegan diet could keep generations of people healthy for thousands of years, in spite of living evidence to the contrary. I saw no one with disabilities or signs of inbreeding. It was clear to me that shoes (and sometimes also socks) need to be removed in a temple or mosque, but for Jains, even having something made of leather is tabu!  I was impressed by the strict vegetarianism – it seemed to have a positive effect on people.
A side street in Delhi.
 
Vegetable market in the city of Agra.
From my point of view, a government or a country should be judged on the standard of living of the poorest 10% of the population – the everyday life of the masses, not the super rich.
The differences between India and China are bigger than I thought. Naturally there is a large rural population in both India and China, some of whom are suffering and live under circumstances that one can hardly imagine. Nonetheless, in both countries, they live with a certain level of dignity and simplicity.
Far away from the city: A single room for living, eating, and sleeping. A small child is lying in the bed. An older child is just visible peeking between the women from behind.
The starting points for the two countries India and China were quite different: India, because of its long colonial period under Great Britain, adopted some western institutions such as democracy and free enterprise.
India, with its 1.2 billion inhabitants will soon overtake China with its 1.3 billion, if it has not already done so, and thereby worsen its poverty. Since the decline of feudalism, the forests are being plundered, the land parceled out, and the animals are dying out. In the south, there are regions with torrential rainfall, which can have as much as a meter of rainfall in one day. China faces a similar severity of problems, foremost among which is drought. One of the most striking things in India is the amount of filth in the streets – especially plastic garbage, which is also seen in the fields next to streets.
With one simple measure (with some safeguards against abuse), the government could mitigate two problems: plastic litter, and poverty. Very simple and without costing the government anything: Requiring a deposit to be paid for importing or manufacturing plastic things, paying back the deposit for the collection of plastic refuse. This one action would make a visible difference in reducing litter and an appreciable benefit to the poor. Is a democracy capable of doing this?
I talked about this with two educated people. However, their belief in fate (and rebirth) was so ingrained that they believed poverty was the will of God, and they reacted with misunderstanding or defensively against ideas of change. These days you can only recognize the “untouchables” if you know the name. 
Like Calcutta, the 8-million-strong city of Delhi built a subway in 2002, and the underground is still clean. There are also flagship projects for cleaning up the environment, etc.

Brick production in India. Note the numbering of the picture sequence in the upper right.
 

 

CHINA
 
Many centuries ago, China had already really produced many of the most significant inventions and developments that we normally think of as European. It’s unbelievable how little we know about this.
The historical museum in Xian displays examples of various technologies and artifacts. These go back as far as 5000-7000 years ago. Shown above are iron gears that are at least 2000 years old.
 
The gear in the center with sawtooth profile is particularly significant!
 
Chrome-plated swords 2200 years ago!
We are mainly familiar with gunpowder and canons, which were in use since 250 B.C. and first adopted by the English in 1346. Although still disputed, the following also may have come from China: the abacus, porcelain (china), the compass, and paper (real paper, not papyrus or parchment), as well as silk about 5000 years ago – hence the Silk Road. There were also many inventions, such as the seismograph (for the study of earthquakes), or spaghetti, which originated some 4000 years ago.
After freeing itself from the shackles of religion, Europe made significant advances with the Industrial Revolution, while China was manipulated by foreign powers and even partially occupied by Japan. This happened first well before WW I, and again from 1937 to September 1945. Simultaneously and briefly thereafter there was civil war in China. Finally, in 1962 with the “Great Leap Forward” and other measures, such as the killing of all sparrows and collectivization, China tried to spur economic development. In some areas, the elimination of sparrows is still causing problems, and sparrows have had to be imported, to recreate the natural balance. Collectivization, along with natural disasters that occurred, led to devastating famine, which caused the death of 20 million Chinese. The ten-year Cultural Revolution, which began in 1966 (the Red Guard and the Little Red Book came in 1966), wreaked destruction on old cultural treasures and educated people.
Deng Xiaoping understood, starting around 1980, that China needed to turn away from idealistic Communism and take a more practical approach more adapted to real people. He dared to say “Let’s allow some people to get rich…” One needs to think back to that time to appreciate the scope of that sentence and how dangerous it was for him to say it.
Eventually, in the realm of politics and religion, the “human factor” comes into play. Idealistic approaches never do well in the long run!    In politics, too much idealism led to widespread poverty and death; similar things have happened in the sphere of religion…
Deng Xiaoping’s successors were able to continue promoting the highly successful and realistic approach – adapted to real people. We also have the politically incorrect expression “The best government is a benign dictatorship.” This can be a king, Kaiser, or one-party rule. However: hardly ever does a dictator or dynasty turn out to be good… A democracy can only be relatively good or bad. A dictatorship has the disadvantage of being capable of having extremely good or extremely bad consequences. At the same time, it’s impossible for everything to be positive all the time.
In practically a single generation, free enterprise starts to show its usual excesses, if good intentions are shamelessly exploited. On the surface things go well, underneath there is injustice. If there were an institution to protect whistleblowers such as an independent judiciary to balance against the power of the government, China would be way ahead of any other country.
Where is the injustice?
Here I’m thinking about improper expropriation of land – sometimes by force – by mafia-like organizations (for example, open fighting in Tianjin) or local kingpins. The special interests of the rich are the cause of these problems, not the government. Corruption on a grand scale is another big problem.
What is missing is a strong system of justice to protect the weak; probably some kind of land reform is also necessary. Today a lawyer can’t take a chance by taking on a case that challenges the interests of the government (South China Morning Post, Apr. 5, 2010, page A3). China’s problems mainly have to do with the rural population and migration of labor – and with ecology. Yu Jianrong bravely wrote in the April 4, 2010 edition of the “Sunday Morning Post” (10 Agenda) that the central government should absolutely nominate more independent judges and lawyers to protect common people. The Constitution is good, but the implementation has problems, since the judiciary is not independent.
Environmental awareness is better than I assumed.
Above all, if you come from India, you can notice a huge difference: Everywhere people are planting trees to beautify the streets. This is really striking. One lone veteran (of the PLA) planted more than a half million trees in Shangde at his own expense (according to the “Gansu Daily”).
Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao want to raise the minimum wage and introduce another kind of “revolution” with the goal of “economic progress and parity,” to achieve better distribution of wealth without negative economic consequences, since 10% of the population (130 million) controls half of all assets. The goal is a broad middle class. Already for quite some time there has been a prescribed minimum wage. The economic situation in central Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangdong sets the wages there. In 2008, China passed stronger laws to protect rights in labor contracts than the U.S. has. These days we hear little about China’s achievements in the last 30 years; we mainly hear about what is going wrong.
On the other hand, there are known to be around 70 super rich people in China with a net worth greater than a billion dollars (according to Forbes). This shows the lack of corrective action. The approximately 1 million millionaires aren’t a major problem, but it is still astounding given the short period of time in which they came to be. Among them are also a number with incomes in the hundreds of millions. On a level below these people one can certainly see widespread evidence of a broad (urban) middle class and the great progress China has made. Another topic for us: China tries to guard against the decline of spirituality (heart and soul) with seminaries.
Numbers like the following are amazing – more than 4000 buildings with more than 30 stories – in Shanghai alone. Also the massive numbers of Chinese who buy real estate with cash -- primarily in London, Vancouver, and Australia. It’s also amazing that sometimes several investors invest together; but still, theoretically that should be impossible, since mainland Chinese are not officially allowed to export any money. In Sydney, one seller believes that 60% of his sales go to mainland Chinese.
China has overtaken Japan in economic output and is now in second place. The USA, with around 14 trillion dollars GDP (gross domestic product) is still the strongest economic power, unless one considers the European Union as a single entity, in which case it is slightly larger. Measured in terms of output per person, referred to as PPP (purchasing power parity), China still has a long way to go, in terms of GDP, China will take first place within a generation.
Shanghai looks like this from a hotel window.
In spite of its “one child policy,” China still looks “young” in all respects. This can also be observed among the more than 100 radio collectors who greeted us. I really wanted to meet two of our members and had inquired about that with an email. That turned into an avalanche in a very positive way: We were invited to five welcome-dinners (two in Beijing, and one each in Xian, Shanghai, and Guangzhou) and on occasions we were accompanied for a whole day of sightseeing, including the highlights in Beijing -- for example, the old city, the “Forbidden City” – but also some real Hutongs (alleys), etc. by Xiao Feng Zhang (“Frank”), to a medium-sized radio factory (3 million radios per year) in Dongguan, to the first radio museum in China (in Zhongshan), and finally in Hong Kong (by our member Paul Fok and Ahping).
First meeting (23 March 2010) in Beijing with a small but pleasant circle. The woman in blue, Chen Deng, is the editor of the important trade publication “Radio Magazine.” On the far right is “ZTL,” Zhang Tai Li. He wrote an article on radios in China, which is well worth reading and which he has allowed me to make use of.
Our member Xiao Feng Zhang (Frank) spent more than a full day with us.
 
In the Hutongs, I wanted to eat in a typical inexpensive restaurant. I was surprised at how clean it was and how inexpensively one can eat. Naturally I couldn’t go to a place for really poor people.
On our second evening in Peking (26 March 2010), the circle of participants grew larger. Some traveled more than 1000 km to participate. Some antique radios were also brought along to show me.
Here you can find a photo album of Chinese radio friendsEnter 15100 in the field in the upper left and click next to it on the right. It was a very special evening. We were surprised by the warm reception we got in the most interesting city of Beijing with its many attractions. Jar (in the red jacket) was especially funny (the Seven Dollar Man).
Naturally I had to go looking for a shop with antique radios on 26 March 2010.  Shortly after we entered the shop, the lady who owned the shop came and showed us an internet photo album about the dinner party from the prior evening, since she recognized our pictures in it. She regretted that she couldn’t be there. She is a collector herself…
In Xi'an (in the province of Shaanxi), there was a welcome invitation for us. Xi'an is a city near the Terracotta Army, and the starting point of the Silk Road.
Photo album of radio friends in Xi'an. Here also, on the 27th of March, we had a very enjoyable evening. My only problem is how to reciprocate their hospitality and gifts. We were even able to connect to Radiomuseum.org via wireless LAN.
Our evening of entertainment on March 28 was a memorable event. On the evening of March 30 in Shanghai, there was a special acrobatic performance that we were strictly forbidden to photograph. Flashes can lead to deadly accidents. Naturally we also visited the Terracotta Army in Xi'an.
Shanghai is one of the most important economic centers with the third largest container port in the world and the largest in total volume. The Nanjing Lu Road was impressive, as well as the Bund (area of streets along the river). But there was also the Jade Buddha Temple, the Gardens of Mandarin Yu, the Shanghai Museum, the old city, etc. For Kathrin the zoo with its Giant Panda naturally had to be included.
I can’t leave out the MagLev Train in Shanghai, which connects the city and airport at a speed of 430 kmph. At most times, however, they travel at 300 kmph to save energy. There is a timetable which lists the times/speeds.
Another high point was the invitation to the premises of Tongji University, which was founded in 1907 as the German Medical School  by the German doctor Erich Paulun. In 1927 it attained university status. Today it is known above all for architecture.
For this meeting on March 29th in Shangahi, our new friends in China have prepared two photo reports. The lady in red in the second album was from the television. Take a look at the display cases with interesting radios. Together with Chinese radio collectors we should try to showcase and document Chinese radios and radio history by using Radiomuseum.org. Dr. Qi organizes club activities and quarterly meets. Our members Songpin Wan and Leon Ouziel Canals picked us up from the hotel.
Our next stop was Guilin, where on April 1 we marveled especially at the scenic karst topography. We saw it during a boat trip on the River Li, which also included a visit to the Reed Flute Cave, a huge limestone cave, also called Ludiyan, and climbing “Elefant Trunk Hill.”
Landscape near Guilin.
 
One can only capture a small part of the branching cave in a photo. Here you see in the lower part of the picture a reflection of this chamber in the water!
After our fourth domestic Chinese flight we arrived at the economic center of Guangzhou, which, at least from the standpoint of radio production, surpasses Shanghai. Within a few years, some of these flights can be replaced by high speed rail with a speed of 350 kmph. 
The event in Guangzhou, April 2, 2010 was very special. Notice the new tube radio – with outstanding sound quality. Here Paul Fok, the head of WECWRA (Worldwide Ethnic Chinese Wireless and Radio Association) gave me the honorary membership of WECWRA, the united Chinese radio collecting organsiation countrywide. I was so "busy" that I didn’t take a single picture, and that’s why there are none of my own pictures here.
Again I was surprised at the sincerity with which we were received and the respect we were given – everywhere no one smoked, and little or no alcohol was consumed. We received fruit and uncooked vegetables or strictly vegan fare – sometimes the event was held in a high quality vegetarian restaurant. There was a lot of interest in each other’s experiences.
On the 3rd of April we drove by car to Dongguan to visit a medium-sized radio factory for the TECSUN brand. Enter 15100 in the field in the upper left and click just to the right of it.
This factory produces 3 million radios per year. The very amiable founder and owner of this company of 800 employees dedicated the whole day to us; he accompanied us until we reached Zhongshan, where we together visited China's first radio museum. He is also a collector.
Reception at the Tecsun General Electric Manufacturing Co., Ltd. In Dongguan. To the right of the poster is the owner.
I was able to make a short film of a SMD (surface mount device) automatic component placement machine in operation which I will try to make available for viewing. What I really liked was the fact that on Saturdays, on an alternating basis, the office workers and managers had to take part in the assembly line work “to keep their feet on the ground” and to keep familiar with the problems experienced by the everyday worker and the nature of the work in the factory. Everyone eats in the same cafeteria and at the same time, including the top manager, when present. We did the same.
After that we drove by car to Zhongshan to visit the interesting radio museum there. Here you can find a clickable link to the report by Paul, photographed by Ahping. In the photo album at the link you can see three young women, who have paid to visit the museum because they were interested to see it. I was impressed by some rooms that were furnished in the style of various time periods. One showed the usual wired broadcast speaker from around 1950, which were driven by a 600 ohm line to provide a public loudspeaker for each village. The ground was the return conductor, to save money on wire. Most of the radios came from the collection of Qiu Jianqui from Zhongshan.
The main work for these extraordinary experiences was done by Paul Fok from Hong Kong. He and Ahping accompanied us not just from Guangzhou, but also for two days in Hong Kong – Paul has posted the photo report here. Paul spent a long afternoon with me at my request to get more familiar with RMorg and to help translate a book of schematics. There is still a lot of work for me to do for that. In the mean time, Ping kidnapped Kathrin for a sightseeing tour of Hong Kong. I thank Paul again for the presentation of the interesting book on Hong Kong, which shows some of his photos, and for the book on WECWRA.
In conclusion I hope that we can host some of our radio friends from China  in Switzerland with as much hospitality as we were shown. At least I have in mind to add a flag for Chinese among the languages, to connect with a translation program. Then I can imagine adding another language for model pages, where title lines and selection fields as quasi “line images” could directly show Chinese. I am also excited about whether, together with radio friends in China, we can create a catalog of radios for this country, so that these radios can be introduced to the world, and also so radio collectors in China can see as complete a catalog as possible. Paul certainly would understand that such an undertaking would not be so simple… some of the challenges would include language problems and a different type of script… For now it’s still a dream.
How many radio collectors are there in China?
The Leowood Forum has 172, 445 registered readers. There are certainly some foreigners included in that number as well as radio amateurs. It’s amazing that AWstats for Radiomuseum during the first 14 days of April for this link show 61,858 hits for us (131,912 in March) and here 16,336 (18,182) and here 6540 (33,102). On the other hand, I can no longer not find any links to us from that internet address.
One estimate would be 50,000 collectors, another estimate would be 3000 real collectors. The smaller number are organized. WECWRA (founded 2007, with at least 200 members) is the only registered organization. There are informal associations in at least Beijing, Chongqing, Fuzhou, Guangzhou, Kunming, Nanjing, Shanghai, Shijiazhuang, Wuhan, and Xian. It would naturally be desirable if a nationwide organization for collectors could be formed – with subgroups in the cities. If such an organization could be formed, a journal or magazine could be created specifically for radio collectors -- at first, perhaps, in the form of just a few regular dedicated pages in Radio Magazine.  It’s unfortunate that very few collectors know English.
I offered the publisher which publishes Radio Magazine a free license for “Radios von Gestern” in case they are interested in publishing part or all of it either in the magazine or in a book. Now I’ll conclude with my thanks to the radio collectors in China I came in contact with or received gifts from. I’d also like to thank all RMorg members who have made possible the huge amount of content at Radiomuseum by their collaboration.
 
Incidentally, in both countries we felt that people were invariably friendly and helpful. In India, faith runs very deep, even in the religiously motivated caste system. Both countries have a large reservoir of cheap labor, which is the reason why currency appreciation and inflation, in spite of rapid growth of GDP, are happening there more slowly than happened for us (in Europe) after WWII. Both countries at the moment are experiencing the “honeymoon of development.” This cannot continue unabated forever, and when difficulties first arise, we will see whether sustainable good development can be ensured. One goal will have to be self-sufficiency (which does not appear to be a consideration at this moment) – both economic and ecological.  By the term "self-sufficiency" I refer here merely to food as a major goal.  This can provide some cushion (if there is some surplus exported) in times of natural disaster.

This article was edited 13.Aug.18 13:29 by Ernst Erb .

Ernst Erb
Ernst Erb
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03.Oct.10 19:16

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It is not allowed to write about politics or Religion at Radiomuseum.org. As the founder I had broken this rule with this article - just to show members a little bit about my view in this World - which is quite the opposite of Lemmings ...

My view is also that an objective book should allow a part written by a good opponent - to give a good view. Therefore I publish here this "other view" from a very well educated young Chinese person who does not live in China but in a western oriented country:

... You may hear many stories about Maozedong from the guys you met, mainly negative stories. I will show you some different stories. In fact, without Maozedong, China would be the same as India now.

When PRC was established at 1949, it could manufacture nearly nothing at that time, no cars, no planes, no tanks, no warships, no machines, no trains. It even could not produce a radio without imported components. The best rifle it produced at that time was “hangyang” rifles. It could only load one ballet, and fire quite slowly. That was the reason, why Chinese armies were so weak, why Janpan could occupy China with not a great army. Chinas army had to fight with Japan with US weapons and even Germany wepons (even in 1939 China could still import weapons from Gremany. China could not produce the weapons to protect itself. The technology, manufacturing power, and even culture were all backward so far compared with the advanced nations in the world.

 

When Maozedong died in 1976, China owned a full industry system, it could produce nearly everything, from car to plane, from nuclear weapon to rocket, from satellite to submarine, from plastics industry to fertilizer industry, etc. In 1949, only 1% of Chinese could read and write, 1976 it was 90% of Chinese who could.

In your story, you mentioned several events of that time of China. I will show you some true story and the reason why these lies are widely spread. For the “Great Leap Forward”. For an underdeveloped country, it wants to catch up with other advanced countries as soon as possible. It is quite reasonable, especially for China.  But some highest leaders like Liushaoqi made many mistakes in their policies, may be not wrong for them. They forced the based leaders to lie to the central government (if the based leader did not aim at doubling the industrial or agriculture production in a year or even in a month, he will be treated as an enemy). Mao could not control this, at many government meetings, Mao required the government to compress the aims of industrial and agriculture production to a reasonable level. He even wrote a letter to the based leaders, asked them to ignore the aim set by the central government. But based leaders would never receive his letter, everything will have to go through the government to reach them. Mao was not a king, he was just a person.  He knew things went wrong, and he tried to control it, but not so effective. The reason is too simple. When new China was established, many leaders and officers of the new government soon became a special “class”, they had their own interests, they did not want just “service the people”. They wanted to own power, money and everything. But Mao did not belong to that class, he was a true communist. How could he solve this problem? He wanted the government really service the people, but he had no other power except the support directly from the people. This was the reason for the “Cultural Revolution”. You may say the Cultural Revolution wreaked destruction on old cultural treasures and educated people. What was old cultural treasures? There were more bad cultures than treasures. Without this Revolution, Chinese would have believed in fate, exactly like India. For educated people, the people with true knowledge, at that time they always had the change to use it to service the country. The technology progress at that time were all made by these educated people.

During Cultural Revolution, making radios were most people’s hobby, and the most common books for children were “Hundred Thousand Whys” (little scientific questions, facing Physics, Chemistry, Medical even all aspects of knowledge). By doing this, many of them were trained as engineers and workers. And at that time, college education was free, and the government was poor at that time, only few people got the chance to go to college, but the graduate of these times were much better educated than the graduated now. ...

As a further answer I received:

... In fact "pure communism" is useful to no country. Every country has its own problems, and its unique way to solve the problems. Mao is just a guy who tried to solve china's problem. Karl Marx is just a catchword, like "One worldOne dream". It means nothing to China. Only some of his theories met the need of China.

If there was no war, China was always rich. Even at 1840s, the weakest time of China, China still had one third of the GDP of the whole world. The richest merchant owned millions of kgs of silver at that time. But the money meaned nothing to China. A great writer, LuXun, once said:
"For a pig, being fat is not good luck but dangerous."

Confucius said 2500 years ago:
"Concern yourself not with scarcity but rather with uneven distribution."
China is the only Agricultural Civilization which survivaled from the attack form Nomadic Civilization mainly because of the Great Wall. All the other old civilizations were destroyed by Nomadic Civilization, like Egypt, India, Babylon and even Greece. So the problem of China, and the thinking way of Chinese is quite different from other nations, especially different from the western. For instance Singapore is quite autocracy, this country is like a big family-owned enterprise of Lee Kuan Yew. But the country is quite good. A contrast is the neighbor of Singapore, Pilipinas, which has many parties and the western democratic system. But that country is poor and in a mass. ...

  
rmXorg