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Making It CountStatistics and Statecraft in the Early People’s Republic of China$
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Arunabh Ghosh

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691179476

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691179476.001.0001

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Seeking Common Ground Amidst Differences

Seeking Common Ground Amidst Differences

The Turn to India

(p.213) 7 Seeking Common Ground Amidst Differences
Making It Count

Arunabh Ghosh

Princeton University Press

This chapter unearths a series of heretofore largely forgotten exchanges between Chinese and Indian statisticians. It is based on study of key figures, such as the deputy director of China's State Statistics Bureau, Wang Sihua, and the Indian statistician P. C. Mahalanobis. Focusing on Chinese interest in the emerging technology of large-scale random sampling, in which Mahalanobis and the Indian Statistical Institute were global innovators, the exchanges point to alternative frameworks for Cold War scientific exchanges while also placing in stark relief the extent to which Chinese statisticians and leaders clearly understood both the strengths and shortcomings of their own statistical system. The chapter traces these exchanges, explaining their timing and the motivation behind them. Each set of actors in these exchanges had its own agenda. The chapter shows that the Indians were particularly keen on learning more about China's planning methods.

Keywords:   Chinese statisticians, Indian statisticians, Wang Sihua, P. C. Mahalanobis, large-scale random sampling, alternative frameworks, Cold War scientific exchanges

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