totalitarian tidying.

So I was calling a friend to see if she knew any Chinese demographers, and she said, “I’m just riffling through my email, and I see that incomplete statistics show there were 200 executions in China — in the two weeks leading up to the Lunar New Year.”

“What!” I said, “What was so special?”

“Oh, I think they just wanted to get it all done before the holidays.”

She also tells me — apropos demography — that Mao thought Malthus was a Capitalist plot.

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