New Estimate Of 20th C. Democide As 262,000,000

April 7, 2009

[First published December 12, 2005] Although this post repeats some of what I’ve posted previously, for the record and easy linking, I’m including here all the changes I’ve recently made in my democide estimates.

Occasioned by my study of King Leopold’s democide in his Congo Free State, I have raised my estimate of colonial democide to 50,000,000. I published the details of this in my blog here , and followed that up with a docudrama — what it was like to be a native in Leopold’s Congo — to give heart and feeling to the cold statistics. It is here (bottom of the page).

Note that democide is any murder by government, and includes genocide, politicide, massacres, mass murder, extrajudicial executions, assassinations, atrocities, and intentional famines.

To recap my change in PRC democide, my estimates for democide in the last century for China were from my book, China’s Bloody Century, Mao/CCP Democide:

1928-1937 = 850,000
1937-1945 = 250,000
1945-1949 = 2,323,000
1949-1953 (totalization) = 8,427,000
1954-1958 (collectivization) = 7,474,000
1959-1963 (Famine/retrenchment — famine itself not counted) = 10,729,000
1964-1975 (Cultural Revolution) = 7,731,000
1976-1987 (liberalization) = 874,000
Total = 38,702,000

Now, by virtue of my reevaluation of the 1958-1962 famine dead that I had not counted in the above (unlike many experts who did include it in PRC’s toll), I have to add 38,000,000 to the above, which brings the total to a democide of 76,702,000.

As to colonial democide:
My prior calculation of colonial democide for European colonizers = 870,000.

Estimate for democide in Leopold’s Congo Free State = 10,000,000, which is line with the estimates of others (listed in the my blog linked above)

Including the Congo, my new estimate for colonial democide is 50,000,000 plus the original estimate of 870,000

World democide, old total 1900-1999 = 174,000,000
New World total = 174,000,000 + 38,000,000 (new for China) + 50,000,000 (new for Colonies) = 262,000,000.

Just to give perspective on this incredible murder by government, if all these bodies were laid head to toe, with the average height being 5′, then they would circle the earth ten times. Also, this democide murdered 6 times more people than died in combat in all the foreign and internal wars of the century. Finally, given popular estimates of the dead in a major nuclear war, this total democide is as though such a war did occur, but with its dead spread over a century.