Suggested citation format:
Rummel, Rudy J. 2005. Reevaluated democide totals for 20th C. and China. Department of Political Science, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI, US.

Reevaluated democide totals for 20th C. and China

Rudy J. Rummel (
Professor Emeritus of Political Science
University of Hawaii
Honolulu, HI, US
(Email of 29th Nov 2005, also printed in the Hawaii Reporter (1 Dec 2005) under the title
"Stalin Exceeded Hitler in Monstrous Evil; Mao Beat Out Stalin",
is published on with Prof R. J. Rummel' written permission of Thu, 08 Dec 2005).

[Page est. 9 Dec 2005. Page last updated: 12 Dec 2005.]


Date: Tue, 29 Nov 2005
From: Rudy Rummel (
Subject: Reevaluated democide totals for 20th C. and China

[Your email address was one among the 21,000 I had accumulated in my email application. It was either a direct "to:", "from:" "cc:" "bcc:" or except for "bcc:" among a list of such addresses that included my own. My direct email program is supposed to eliminate duplicates (but some people have different addresses, or their domain address has been altered by their host while keeping the previous address active, which many universities have done). I tried to eliminate irrelevant address for this subject, such as those for literary agents and repair services. Still, if you received duplicates or you don't see what this email has to do with you, my apology]


Many scholars and commentators have referenced my total of 174,000,000 for the democide (genocide and mass murder) of the last century.

I'm now trying to get word out that I've had to make a major revision in my total due to two books. One is Wild Swans: Two Daughters of China [hyperlinks are added to the plain text email by Prof Rummel - ed.] by Jung Chang, and the other is Mao: the Unknown Story that she wrote with her husband, Jon Halliday. I'm now convinced that that Stalin exceeded Hitler in monstrous evil, and Mao beat out Stalin.

From the time I wrote my book on China's Bloody Century, I have held to these democide totals for Mao:

However, some other scholars and researchers had put the PRC total as from 60,000,000 to a high 70,000,000. Asked why my total is so low by comparison, I've responded that I did not include the China's Great Famine 1958-1961. From my study of what was written on this in English, I believed that:

Thus, I believed that Mao's policies were responsible for the famine, but he was mislead about it, and finally when he found out, he stopped it and changed his policies. Therefore, I argued, this was not a democide. Others, however, have so counted it, but I thought this was a sloppy application of the concepts of mass murder, genocide, or politicide (virtually no one used the concept of democide). They were right and I was wrong.

From the biography of Mao, which I trust (for those who might question it, look at the hundreds of interviews Chang and Halliday conducted with communist cadre and former high officials, and the extensive bibliography) I can now say that yes, Mao's policies caused the famine. He knew about it from the beginning. He didn't care! Literally. And he tried to take more food from the people to pay for his lust for international power, but was overruled by a meeting of 7,000 top Communist Party members.

So, the famine was intentional. What was its human cost? I had estimated that 27,000,000 Chinese starved to death or died from associated diseases. Others estimated the toll to be as high as 40,000,000. Chang and Halliday put it at 38,000,000, and given their sources, I will accept that.

Now, I have to change all the world democide totals that populate my websites, blogs, and publications. The total for the communist democide before and after Mao took over the mainland is thus 3,446,000 + 35,226,000 + 38,000,000 = 76,692,000, or to round off, 77,000,000 murdered. This is now in line with the 65 million toll estimated for China in the Black Book of Communism, and Chang and Halliday's estimate of "well over 70 million."

This exceeds the 61,911,000 murdered by the Soviet Union 1917-1987, with Hitler far behind at 20,946,000 wiped out 1933-1945.

For perspective on Mao's most bloody rule, all wars 1900-1987 cost in combat dead 34,021,000 -- including WWI and II, Vietnam, Korea, and the Mexican and Russian Revolutions. Mao alone murdered over twice as many as were killed in combat in all these wars.

Now, my overall totals for world democide 1900-1999 must also be changed. I have estimated it to be 174,000,000 murdered, of which communist regimes murdered about 148,000,000. Also, compare this to combat dead. Communists overall have murdered four times those killed in combat, while globally the democide toll was over six times that number.

Let freedom ring.

Rudy Rummel
Professor Emeritus

For related research, see:
[A collection of articles, documents, and links arguing for maximum individual liberty as a solution to the world's and history's problems. - tmciolek]
New website:
Blog on the democratic peace:

Date: Sun, 11 Dec 2005 12:10:54 -1000
From: Rudy Rummel (
Subject: Revaluating Colonial Democide as 50 Mil.--total democide to 262 mil.

I recently emailed you my reevaluation of the total democide for the PRC, which changed my estimated total for 20th Century democide. Sorry to say, I've had to make a new readjustment upward.

This is occasioned by my study of King Leopold's democide in his Congo Free State. I published the details of this in my blog here: [hyperlinks are added to the plain text email by Prof Rummel - ed.], 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 estimates for democide in the last century were for China:

From my book, China's Bloody Century, Mao/CCP Democide
1928-1937 = 850k
1937-1945 = 250k
1945-1949 = 2,323k
1949-1953 (totalization) = 8,427k
1954-1958 (collectivization) = 7,474k
1959-1963 (Famine/retrenchment -- famine itself not counted) = 10,729k
1964-1975 (Cultural Revolution) = 7,731k
1976-1987 (liberalization) = 874k
Total = 38,702k

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 38,000k 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 = 870k

Estimate for democide in Leopold's Congo Free State = 10,000k, 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 50,000k plus the original estimate of 870k
World democide, old total 1900-1999 = 174,000k
New World total = 174,000k + 38,000k (new for China) + 50,000 (new for Colonies) = 262,000,000.

Just to give perspective on this absolutely 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.

Rudy Rummel
Professor Emeritus of Political Science

Books - mentioned, and related:

- tmciolek -

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