Talk:Zhou Enlai

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Wow... this page needs big expansion. [[User:Colipon|Colipon+(T)]] 04:03, 7 Dec 2004 (UTC)


What degree did Zhou Enlai get an Nakai? --Commander Keane 15:46, 16 Feb 2005 (UTC)

  • I'm not too sure if/when he attended Nankai University so I've taken that out. The Chinese version says from 1913-1918 he studied at Nankai High School and Meiji University ("1913年至1918年在天津南开中学和日本的明治大学学习"). Nankai University was only founded in 1919. Incidently the Japanese version says he attended the department of government (政学部) at Meiji University. Kappa 18:21, 15 July 2005 (UTC)
                     Chou En-lai

Joe N-lie (Zhou Enlai) 1898-1976 Chief CCP Negotiator and Diplomat

The adopted eldest son of a well-to-do Tianjin family, Chou first came to national prominence during the May Fourth movement of 1919 when he led a raid on a local government office during the student protests against the humiliating Versailles Treaty. In 1920 Chou moved to France where he was active among radical Chinese students. In 1921 he became a member of the French Communist Party and spent the next two years traveling in Europe. Upon his return to China (via Moscow) he was appointed to the post of director of the political department of Whampoa Academy (Whampoa’s Comintern sponsors saw this posting as a way to balance Chiang Kai-shek’s right-wing nationalism). In the spring of 1927 Chou led the workers’ uprising in Shanghai and delivered the city to Chiang Kai-shek’s National Revolutionary Army in April. Chou managed to escape the white terror unleashed later that month and was forced into underground activities. (See April Purge.) He eventually made his way to the Kiangsi/Jiangxi base area and gradually began to shift his loyalty away from the more orthodox, urban-focused branch of the CCP to Mao’s new brand of rural revolution. This transition was completed early in the Long March, when in January 1935 Chou threw his total support to Mao in his power-struggle with the 28 Bolsheviks Faction. In the Yenan years Chou was active in promoting a united anti-Japanese front. As a result he played a major role in the Sian Incident, helped to secure Chiang Kai-shek’s release, and negotiated the Second CCP-KMT United Front. Chou spent the Sino-Japanese War as CCP ambassador to Chiang’s wartime government in Chungking/Chongqing and took part in the failed negotiations following WWII. As China’s Premier and Foreign Minister, Chou En-lai proved himself to be a brilliant statesman and the architect of PRC foreign policy. His death in 1976 sparked nationwide demonstrations of grief.

Half-mast at UN?[edit]

There's a popular story in China telling the United Nations at New York put the flag half-mast to honor and mourn Zhou upon his death. Could anybody confirm this? Just saying, its Guomindang not Kuomindang.

  • I think that's a myth created by the CCP to make themselves look more influential. From what I've heard, the Chinese flag at Tianan men was lowered to half-mast for only one day before the Gang of Four dealt away with it. At the time, there was deep resentment on the part of the Gang of Four against Zhou Enlai and since the Gang of Four still carried huge influence in the Cultural Revolution, it should not be a surprise they ordered people to stop mourning for Zhou.
Let's check on that, but I really wouldn't be surprised if the UN did lower the flag to half-mast. Unlike Mao, Deng, Jiang, and Li Peng, Zhou had a largely positive image with the entire Chinese population, as well as the best reputation internationally for his diplomacy and promotion of peace. I'd say check on it, before making conclusions either way. Colipon+(T) 04:08, 18 September 2005 (UTC)
See the United Nations Flag Codeand Regulations(1967)[1].

The following is the text of the United Nations Flag Code as amended by the Secretary-General on 11 November 1952:

V. MOURNING ......Upon the death of a Head of State or Head of Government of a Member State, the United Nations Flag will be flown at half-mast at United Nations headquarters, at the United Nations Office at Geneva and at United Nations offices located in that Member State. On such occasions, at Headquarters and at Geneva, the United Nations Flag will be flown at half-mast for one day immediately upon learning of the death. If, however, Flags, have already been flying on that day they will not normally be lowered, but will instead be flown at half-mast on the day following the death; .....
  • Stalin: "At United Nations headquarters, the flags of all 60 member nations were taken down, and the sole flag of the U.N. fluttered at half-mast."[2].
  • Mahatma Gandhi:"The United Nations flew the flag at half mast, and the Security Council cancelled all meetings to pay their respects to Gandhi."[3]
  • Laurent Desire Kabila:"On Tuesday, the UN flag will be flown at half mast in observance of official mourning for the late President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Laurent Desire Kabila, whose funeral will take place that day in Kinshasa. As is the custom, no other flags will be flown that day."[4]
  • Fahd bin 'Abdul-'Aziz):"Today, the UN flag is at half-mast in honor of the late King." [5].
--Skyfiler 20:20, 29 December 2005 (UTC)
  • This is not "a myth created by the CCP to make themselves look more influential", but a fact that has been reported by western news agencies such as The Reuters. Moreover, Zhou's case is not "an exception" because Zhou was Head of Chinese government upon death. On the contrary, it's an exception when United Nations put flags half-mast upon Deng's death in 1997, because Deng at the time had retired from any government positions for years.

#Half-mast at UN? (cont).--Tomchen1989 (talk) 04:36, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

German child[edit]

Can anyone give me a source where we can see that this sentence has any real background? I believe it is originly from the german Wikipedia, where the author stated he himself had interviewed a college mate of that son, but there's no more indication of this story and the user didn't even signed. If there's no stronger indication for this tale I would like to see this sentence removed. --Philopp 14:17, 17 March 2006 (UTC)

As a matter of trivia, I did recently come across a source that discussed the possibility that Zhou had an illegitimate child with a German woman. This source states that, on a state visit to Europe in the 1950s, a half-Chinese man approached him and claimed that Zhou was his father, and that his mother was a German Communist who Zhou was living with in Europe in the 1920s. I'm not going to add the information to the article (the source is questionable, and describes the matter as a "rumor"), but it has been discussed in the Chinese media. Here's a link (in Chinese), in case anyone wants to know more: <>. Ferox Seneca (talk) 21:55, 12 June 2011 (UTC)

I recall there was a rumour that he had a child or children with a French woman when he lived in France. Has anyone else heard the same? (talk) 03:22, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

Too soon to tell[edit]

In today's Guardian there is an excellent essay by Timothy Garton Ash about Tony Blair's foreign policy (and the difficulties of assessing it) which includes this paragraph:

Of course there is something absurd about such instant assessments - or, in this case, pre-assessments. At such moments, accomplished elder statesmen invariably quote Zhou Enlai's answer when he was asked for his view of the significance of the French revolution: "It's a little too soon to say." I would be grateful to any reader who can point me to a reliable first-hand source for this famous quotation, since I remain unconvinced that Zhou Enlai actually said it. No matter; the reason people keep quoting such remarks is that, even if the person they are ascribed to never spoke those words, we feel that someone should have, since they express a significant truth.

Naturally I came straight to this wiki article for confirmation, and lo and behold, Ash is right: the quote is here, but it is unsourced. Can those of you who are working on this article please sort this out for us, one way or the other? --Doric Loon 10:32, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

I note that it is now removed. Even if it is possibly apocryphal, it is so famous that I believe it should be mentioned here as possibly apocryphal. -- Jmabel | Talk 07:14, 19 September 2006 (UTC)

Professor Immanuel Wallerstein cited it in his Jan 2008 commentary #224: "The only answer is in the apocryphal story about the answer that Zhou En-lai is supposed to have given to the question: 'What do you think of the French Revolution?' Answer: 'It is too early to tell.'" (talk) 21:30, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

I can reveal that there is a source for this rather wonderful quote. BBC News to the rescue... The Quote --J.StuartClarke (talk) 04:00, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

It is supposed to have been been quoted as Zhou's answer by Henry Kissinger to reporters on his retrn flight from China in 1971 or 1972, but I have ot found the original report. --RLM1961, 31/7/09 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:33, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

Here, Financial Times quotes an aide to Henry Kissinger clearly stating that he remembers the exchange of words between Kissinger and Zhou, also adding that Zhou almost assuredly was refering to the 1968 student revolut in Paris, rather than the 1789 French Revolution — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:45, 29 October 2014 (UTC)

The quotation also appears on p xiii of Simon Schama's book on the French Revolution, 'Citizens'. But unsourced, unfortunately ... (talk) 10:41, 13 July 2010 (UTC)

A Missing Dimension[edit]

Little discussion in the historiography of Zhou Enlai has covered his career in the CCP before the escape from Shanghai in 1931. Frederic Wakeman's book 'Policing Shanghai' contains an account of the betrayal of Gu Shunzhang who had been the CCP's Intelligence Chief. Gu betrayed the party when captured on April 26, 1931, however the motivation for his treachery is hotly debated in the literature. Documents found within British and American Archives, show that Comintern and Chinese Communist opinion was that Gu had planned to go over to the Nationalists prior to his arrest, without the opening of Chinese archives, however, it will be impossible to prove this conclusively. The interesting aspect of the Gu incident is the role of Zhou Enlai in the retribution that was carried out on Gu's family. Zhou is believed to have ordered, if not participated in the brutal assassination of Gu's family and his brother in law's family. The victims were first strangled and then decapitated and were then buried until concrete in plots around the Shanghai International Settlement and French Concession. The public outcry, following the discovery of the bodies, is one of the incidents which Wakeman sees as leading to greater cooperation between the various police forces within the city (British/'international, French and Chinese). Zhou's role in the brutal murder of Gu's family is in stark contrast to the normal view of the man as an urbane scholar-statesman. It is a perspective notably lacking in most of the biographies of Zhou, and a missing dimension which needs to be included in any future analysis of Zhou that claims to be comprehensive. Asmillar 20:25, 25 June 2006 (UTC)

I would be inclined to think that all prominent politicians would have blood on their hands. That would be enhanced by books written in part to discredit communism and China. It is all too easy to link brutal murders to the most well respected stateman in China.

This is not an issue of discrediting communism or China. In fact your line of argument is precisely at the heart of the 'rose-tinted' analysis of Zhou which is predominant in the literature. The point that I was attempting to make was that the portrayal of Zhou as an urbane scholar/diplomat needs to be tempered. And were it so easy, as you state, "to link brutal murders to the most well respected statesman in China" why has it not been done previously? Moreover, you are missing a further point which I was trying to emphasise - namely the role played by Comintern in the Chinese Communist Party's rise to power. Or would such an analysis also discredit communism and China?!

the OP is right, something fishy is going on. i read a book about zhou that had someone commenting on him as the dragon of revolution or something, not some kinda chinese gandhi.
I also agree with the OP. For Zhou to survive the ruthless Shanhai political scene of the 1920s and 30s, he must have been equally ruthless. Not a saint. He was also a general (I think?) in the CCP army. Therefore he must have , like all generals, sent men to their deaths, as well as ordered people killed. To be NPOV the article should reflect this. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 02:29, 19 March 2007 (UTC).

I did a little bit of research into this. And what I found raised more questions than they provided answers.

I quickly skimmed through the relevant passages in Wakeman's book, which, by the way, is available on Google Books for free. The accounts of the Gu Shunzhang Affair in Wakeman's book were taken largely from Nationalist archives. Zhou's role in the death of members of Gu's family is provided by Wang Shide, a former subordinate of Gu who was also arrested and defected. The book identified four individuals of Gu's family that were killed: his wife, his parents-in-law, and his brother-in-law. My questions at this point are: 1. How credible are Wang's accounts? 2. How credible are Wang's accounts as they are relayed through the Nationalist Party? I can read Chinese, so I'll try to dig up some original Chinese content on this later.

Well, the Chinese accounts on the Web are very convoluted, most of which are copy-and-paste jobs with the authors taking clear "artistic license." Some of these have bizarre details that not only conflicts with Wakeman's account, but quite frankly defy common sense. I will try to find some unadulterated source material when I have time. Panzerkom (talk) 19:13, 8 December 2008 (UTC)

Use of hyphen in Chinese names[edit]

Refer to article "Chinese name" subsection "Romanization of Chinese names" where it states "Two character given names or surnames (much less common) are written as one word, a hyphen or space is not used." Xtrump 16:07, 27 August 2006 (UTC)

See here: Wikipedia:Naming_conventions_(Chinese)#Names. Names using the Wade-Giles romanization use the hyphen. _dk 23:20, 27 August 2006 (UTC)
Did I say I was using Wade Giles? We should be consistant within the same article at least. Xtrump 13:48, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
Chiang Kai-shek and Sun Yat-sen are better known in Wade-Giles. The standard is to go by the names they are best known in. (In pinyin, they would be "Jiang Jieshi" and "Sun Zhongshan" or "Sun Yixian"...which is not what you wrote.) _dk 23:53, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
Chiang Kai-shek and Sun Yat-sen are Cantonese romanizations. Wade-Giles would be Chiang Chieh-shih and Sun Chung-shan or I-hsien. Fred (talk) 12:52, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

Neutrality needed?[edit]

I know nothing about this guy, but the current treatment is very rosy, especially in the "Assessment" section, so I'm tagging it POV for the moment. The facts are great, but statements like "infinite patience," for example, are hard to take seriously. Andersem 17:41, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Oh come on its not like he held power when millions died...-- (talk) 10:54, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

background knowledge, not "neutrality" needed?[edit]

That's noble of you to start by admiting "I know nothing about this guy...". In that case, maybe you're in a poor position to judge whether the "Assessment" 's claims arevery rosy or not. "Infinite patience" is of course always an exaggeration since no one literally has infinite patience, but it's said none less of people to indicate thatthey have extraordinary patience---would that satisfy you? Maybe you should read some history and biography elsewhere about Zhou and then consider whether the Assessment is very rosy or not.

>>>> The tone of the article is reminiscent of English translations of Communist-bloc propaganda. I have heard good things about Zhou from knowledgeable people who generally have nothing good to say about members of the CCP; however, that doesn't change the fact that the article is poorly written and will raise skepticism in many readers. Furthermore, let's not put the word neutrality into quotes. It is a virtue worthy of cultivation. (talk) 12:45, 12 May 2008 (UTC) ryan


>>>> I realize this is hard, very hard, for Americans and other Westerners to believe, but both Mao and Zhou remain loved by most Chinese. To position them, they are as iconic as the G. Washington and T. Jefferson of U.S. history, with Zhou perceived as the dearer if only because he remained married to his first wife throughout his life while Mao went through several wives and played around on the sides. Together they formed an able team: Mao was the military strategist and political inspiration for the takedown of Chiang Kai-shek and the Kuomintang/Guomindang, plus eviction of the Japanese occupation forces, while Zhou was the government administrator, international diplomat and all-purpose troubleshooter for issues at home and abroad.

If that reads like a translation of communist propaganda too, I'm sorry, but that's how the facts read here on the ground some 30 years after their deaths anyhow.

--Arthur Borges 07:19, 10 April 2010 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Arthurborges (talkcontribs)


Why is Zhou Enlai referred to throughout this article as "Enlai?"

Isn't the proper usage to refer to him by his surname, "Zhou?"

Delete one sentence[edit]

I delete the following sentence. I'm pretty sure that the one caught by Chiang was Chen Geng, not Zhou Enlai.

It has been said that he had been captured and released on the orders of Chiang Kai-Shek, to repay a debt from an occasion when Zhou had saved Chiang from violent leftists in Guangzhou.

Sinolonghai 23:10, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

Mao denies Zhou cancer treatment[edit]

I've added the sentence about that because I think it's very important and interesting. It follows the idea of the sentence about Mao ordering fireworks after Zhou's death. I referenced it. If anybody takes issue with it feel free to mention it to me. --The Fwanksta May 19, 2007, 22:03.

I don't think I agree with this. First, "Mao: the Unknown Story", while an interesting read, is not the most objective biography on Mao. The author has a strong POV and a lot of the facts in the book are disputed. Quoting such a contraversial and biased source may not represent Wikipedia's NPOV perspective. Second, I couldn't find any source besides Jung Chang that indicated in anyway Mao wanted Zhou to die. This lack of secondary support also question the validity of that statement. Third, both Mao and Zhou fell sick in 1972 and both of them died in 1976. While some sources do indicate Mao instructed the doctor to not inform Zhou of the cancer and avoid treatment, he did the same thing to himself when he was found to have cancer as well. There are many more articles indicating that Mao is afraid surgery would kill the patient, rather than cure them. While I agree they may not be 100% accurate, but again, both viewpoint should be represented rather than just one. Given both of them lived 4 years after they were first diagonsed cancer, it seems high unlikely that Mao denied treatment to kill Zhou. Fifth, during the Cultural Revolution, both Liu Shaoqi and Lin Biao is seen as more "important" within CCP as Zhou but both fell very quickly when Mao turned against them. If he truly wanted Zhou died (or expelled or anything else), he wouldn't resort to refusing treatment but still keep him as Premier for four years. Finally, Mao's fame isn't what they use to be anymore after the 80s but Zhou's fame is as high as ever. If Mao did purposely kill Zhou, then there should be at least some trace of this showing. However, while there are many well known stories of Mao denying treatments to people (Peng Dehuai, He Long, etc..), there are very little trace (if any) that indicated Mao does done that with Zhou. In 1979, when Deng first labelled the Cultural Revolution as Mao's big mistake, Zhou received high praises from saving many lives and acting against Mao's words. However, Zhou's wife Deng claimed that her husband never disagreed with the chairman and is the chairman is wrong, then Zhou is wrong as well. If Mao truly tried to kill Zhou (surely Deng woud be aware of this), when would she defend Mao and put Zhou with him? With that, I propose this sentence be removed from the article. I believe any highly biased sources should be avoided if possible unless it is in the section about legacy and/or criticism. I'm new to wiki so I won't edit the page and leave this for a third party opinion. 08:48, 9 October 2007 (UTC)

I don't think it's appropriate to condemn Mao: the Unknown Story so quickly. I'm not an expert in the area but the article on the book itself certainly doesn't say conclusively that the book is biased and inaccurate. While there is a lot of criticism, there is also a lot of praise, by noteworthy academics. Furthermore, while the book as a whole may have problems, there is not much of a reason to believe that this particular fact is erroneous, besides the objections you've voiced. However, I respond to those by saying that this book is very recent and could very easily have taken into account new information. Considering how recent Mao's reign was, coupled with the fact that China isn't exactly a full-disclosure democratic regime, it seems very plausible that new, enlightening information could have been available as recently as 2005, when the book was published. The other sources you looked at may not have had the info available. You raised a number of other questions, but I'm pretty sure the book accounts for them, for the most part (apologies, though: I can't remember for sure why Mao did it). However, I don't think those points on their own suffice to warrant removal of the statement. Also, I do not think the fact's addition to the text contravenes NPOV. It's inclusion simply gives another side of the debate a voice. My position is as follows: we put the statement in the passage with a link to the book as I had done previously. This way readers can easily access the controversy the book has surrounding it. In addition, I would be completely willing to allow a caveat such as "although there is controversy surrounding this book's reliability" or "other sources do not mention this" (and here you could list some of the ones you've found). Some third-party input here would be great. The Fwanksta (talk) 22:11, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
Turns out someone else actually removed the sentence, but I re-added it with the caveat. Let me know what you think. -- The Fwanksta (talk) 20:31, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

Geneva Handshake Incident[edit]

I came across the reliable summary of this incident and decided to add it even though there is a great deal of work to be done on this article, such as an account of Zhou's role in the Kissinger/Nixon talks etc of 1971-1972. ch (talk) 06:34, 26 April 2008 (UTC)


This is just general inquiry, but does anyone else think that the picture is a bit, unrepresentative, if you will, of Zhou Enlai's character?


Coverage of the Cultural Revolution seems sparse, so I offer this for discussion and consideration:

As late as October 1966, Zhou argued that Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping ‘should be allowed to come back to work,’ but were opposed by Mao, Lin Biao, Kang Sheng and Chen Boda. Chen Boda even suggested that Zhou himself might be ‘considered counterrevolutionary,’ if he did not toe the Mao line. [Dittmer, Lowell, Liu Shao-ch’i and the Chinese Cultural Revolution: The Politics of Mass Criticism, University of California Press (Berkeley) 1974p. 130-131.]

Zhou gave his backing to Red Guard radical Kuai Dafu’s ‘Third Headquarters’ in October 1966, joining Chen Boda and Jiang Qing against what were considered at the time ‘leftist’ and ‘rightist’ Red Guard factions. This opened the way for attacks on Liu Shaoqi, Deng Xiaoping and Tao Zhu in December 1966— January 1967. [Dittmer, p. 142-143.] By September 1968, Zhou was quite candid about his strategy for surviving: ‘one’s personal opinions should advance or beat a retreat’ according to the direction of the majority.’ [Dittmer, p. 144-145, citing comments to Japanese LDP parliamentarians visiting Beijing.] DOR (HK) (talk) 08:43, 18 May 2008 (UTC)

For the love of God, please edit any information about that time period into the article, if you have it. The article's section on that time period is by far its weakest area. There is hardly anything there as it is, so it isn't like you could be displacing or contradicting anything more probable.Ferox Seneca (talk) 02:28, 28 February 2011 (UTC)


I've made some changes in the early years, with footnotes (two, where possible). DOR (HK) (talk) 08:58, 18 May 2008 (UTC)

Deng Xiaoping[edit]

The article says that Deng Xiaoping was Zhou Enlai's successor as premier, but didn't Hua Guofeng actually take that position after Zhou's death? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:28, 8 July 2008 (UTC)


isnt it more appropiate to have a picture of his actual face, and not a statue? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:29, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

Not NPOV in the least bit.[edit]

This article needs major overhaul as it is on the balance very positive and not neutral of En-Lai. It needs to be edited (I don't have the time to do this) to a neutral stance and then locked. Chattanoogan (talk) 03:47, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

Complete rewrite needed[edit]

This article needs complete rewrite, this article was written with only one view point, that from the communists' view point. Where are the other view points?

  1. Ordinary folks' view point?
  2. Chiang Kai-shek's view point?
  3. America's view point?
  4. Soviet Union's view point?
  5. KGB's view point?
  6. Third International's viewpoint?Arilang1234 (talk) 07:56, 5 November 2008 (UTC)

Gao says:"If you tell them that it's fake or that it has a crack in it, they cannot accept it."[edit]

you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.Joseph Stalin[edit]

Thirty million people may have died[edit]

Administration of John F. Kennedy[edit]

[ The politics of food aid: John F. Kennedy and famine in China Author: June Grasso]

Profiling Political Leaders[edit]

Was Mao Zedong a mad man?

Mao Zedong's Narcissistic Personality Disorder and China's Road to disaster

Irrelevant "See also's" designed to make a point[edit]

Recently User Arilang has added a number of "See also" links to this article. They include: Communist Party of the Soviet Union, October Revolution, Joseph Stalin, Stalinism, Totalitarianism, Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell.

None of these links has a direct bearing on Zhou Enlai. The reader who looks at the article on Animal Farm is not going to find anything related to Zhou Enlai there. Indeed, he/she will be puzzled because Animal Farm (the book) reflects "events leading up to and during the Stalin era before World War II". There is nothing to do with China at all. Similarly for 1984.

The intention here is obviously to try and associate Zhou Enlai with "Stalinism", "Totalitarianism", the totalitarian world of "Nineteen Eighty-Four", etc. This is a rather inappropriate attempt to introduce a strong POV into the article. It is not designed to lead the general reader to related articles that will fill out his/her understanding of the topic; rather it is designed to insinuate that Zhou Enlai was a Stalinist, a person similar to the characters in Animal Farm, etc. etc.

Whatever one may feel about Zhou Enlai, this kind of editing is quite out of place. Articles in the "See also" links should have some direct relationship to the topic of the article. General articles on "Totalitarianism" don't add to our understanding of Zhou Enlai and his life.

I am writing this because User Arilang has quite indignantly challenged my making these changes without informing him first. I don't feel that there is any need to either inform or ask permission from the previous editor before reverting these very problematic edits, which are actually an abuse of the "See also" function.

Bathrobe (talk) 12:44, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

Copied from the Qing talk page:

@Bathrobe, you put the following quote on talk page Zhou Enlai,

 :What Animal Farm? Are you hallucinating as usual? Try to pin me onto something you have dreamed up like Han chauvinism which is basically a racist slur. The Animal Farm link was removed by me as soon as user Coppertwig told me about POV. Why do you talk about something that wasn't there? Another personal attack on Arilang1234? What are you trying to prove? That I am anti-communist? I got a anti-communist template on my name page, for the whole world to see. What else are you going to cook up?Arilang1234 (talk) 13:36, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

My apologies. Animal Farm was there before. What I deleted didn't include Animal Farm. But the point remains. "1984" is no more relevant than "Animal Farm".
I also apologise for failing to assume good faith. You may believe that those links are legitimate, but from an editing point of view they are irrelevant and POV. If you have sources to show that Zhou Enlai was totalitarian, a Soviet infiltrator, a stooge of Stalin's, or whatever else, this should go in the article. Using "see also's" to insinuate these things is inappropriate.
Bathrobe (talk) 14:23, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

Sirin's Story[edit]

I don't know how this can be incorporated, but I think it would be worthwhile. Chris (クリス • フィッチ) (talk) 14:04, 12 January 2009 (UTC)


I am SURE there is a better picture of him to put in the infobox. Colipon+(T) 05:46, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

We need more references...[edit]

An important article like this only has 13 citations? Despite the fact that he is a much better person than butcher Mao, we still need verifiable facts and independent opinions that say he is a better person than Mao, or this article's credibility is no better than Communist mouth piece. I'm tagging this article for sources. Jim101 (talk) 21:42, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

Because of the secrecy of the CCP especially during the Mao era, it is, unfortunately, difficult to find reliable sources especially for during that period. Yifanwang99 (talk) 15:25, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
The article must be better than it was in 2009, but it still needs alot of work. In contrast to how this article presents him, Zhou Enlai was THE single most interesting, and perhaps most significant, figure in all of twentieth-century Chinese history. The events of his life are much more dramatic and interesting than any fictional biography.
His relationships with the most colorful and dramatic characters of his era were stories in themselves. Among the more interesting characters that he brushed shoulders with were: National Heroes whom he was unable to save from being publicly shamed and tortured to dearh, sychophantic arch-villians who nearly succeeded in destroying him and the State; powerful enemies who, through the pursuit of his ideals, became secretly friends; powerful friends who, through the pursuit of his ideals, became secretly enemies. His most successful protege, by outmaneuvering the proteges of Qin Shihuang in succession, revived the nation from decrepitude and acheved a Greatness rivalling that of Han Gaozu. After the founding of the PRC, he survived numerous assassination attempts, though from KMT agents or rivals within the CCP none can tell.
In his relationships with women, he was as magnanimous as he was enigmatic. He married the woman that he loved, even though she had lost the ability to conceive due to a botched abortion. To compensate for their lack of children, they adopted orphans who had lost their parents in the civil war. At least some of these orphans were rumored to be Zhou's own illegitimate chlidren.
The results of his lifelong efforts to achieve 治國 were likely greater than those of any other character in his time. His achievements were more significant, because, rather than hypocritically brainwashing the most vulnerable people in society in order to eliminate his political opponents, he worked quietly behind the scenes to save the Party from destruction. Later, he single-handedly saved the nation from complete economic collapse during the most comprehensive (and most successful) effort to destroy Chinese culture since the reign of Qin Shihuang. By saving the Party, Zhou made the eventual re-unification of China possible after 38 years of anarchy. By later saving the State from destroying itself, Zhou saved China from falling into anarchy again. His achievements (already documented elsewhere) deserved to be publicly recognized here.
The neglecting or glossing-over of Zhou's most dramatic, interesting, and significant achievements does a disservice to his life and to his legacy. There are some characters in twentieth-century Chinese history who are extremely interesting, but who have been given little attention by scholars, and are therefore difficult to research. Zhou Enlai has been given great attention by scholars, and is not one of these people. Given the great range of scholarly work concerning his life and legacy, there isn't any reason that this entry couldn't be promoted to Good Article status via the inclusion of the fruits of even a modestly serious effort to research his life. I am definately going to adopt this article, and will do my best to fill in its (still quite sizeable) gaps whenever I have the time to do so. There really isn't any reason why our article on Zhou Enlai should be anything less than sholarly, well-researched, and complete.Ferox Seneca (talk) 01:39, 28 February 2011 (UTC)


here, his birthplace is given as somewhere in Zhejiang (yes it states he considered his hometown to be Shaoxing), but Chinese Wiki gives Huai'an, Jiangsu. Which one is it??? Mathpianist93 (talk) 02:26, 1 March 2010 (UTC)

Reputation in popular stories?[edit]

This article has numerous problems, but the most serious one is the section titled "Reputation in Popular Stories." There is no other biography in Wikipedia that has such a section, and the stories here are, with one exception, utterly unreliable. The story about Zhang Zhizhong might go somewhere else, since there is a source for it. In that case, however, someone (not me) needs to integrate it into the article, not stick it in a trivia section. The two stories from Nathan's Chinese Democracy are specifically labeled examples of Chinese political jokes! Don't put Zhou Enlai jokes in the Wikipedia Zhou Enlai biography. Write another article called Chinese political humor. The source for the "too soon to tell" crack about the French revolution is a BBC article from 2003, and the quote is simply placed in a sidebox next to a photo of Zhou without any source at all. They are simply repeating another joke. The handshake story now has a source, but the source, a review article by Xia Yafeng, says "This is not yet a conclusive issue, and may never be." Why then put it in an encyclopedia? As for Zhou's working hours, bringing country cadres home for dinner, staying up chatting with them until 4am, etc. etc. there is no source at all, but it sounds like something straight out of Peking Review, circa early 1960s.

This section should go and soon. I'm putting this up for discussion before deleting it in order to avoid unnecessary controversy, but if there's no response after a week or so, I'm ready to delete the whole section. If you have an argument for preserving this, I'd really like to see it. Rgr09 (talk) 15:51, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

I see that you are a new editor. I welcome you to be bold and edit the article, not just that section, but the other parts as well. Wikipedia doesn't have as many contributors any more as it does complainers, so I am trying to get more new users to just be bold and edit. I'll help you if you have any questions. Colipon+(Talk) 16:03, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

Yet another rewrite of the early years section[edit]

Despite everyone's efforts, the early years section still had a number of problems. Zhou's early family life was complicated and the references used for this section left a lot of things unexplained. The rewrite uses mostly Lee Chae-jin's Zhou Enlai: The Early Years which does a fairly good job of putting things into context. There are a few contradictions with other sources; if people disagree with any of the choices I've made, could we talk about it here first, rather than just a direct edit or revert?

I'm aware that there are now lots of Chinese names in the section; I've tried to put links to these where other articles exist, but that probably doesn't solve the problem. Zhou came from a big family and knew a lot of people; there's not much you can do about all the names that will appear in his biography.

There is still a lot of work to be done. The last part of the early years section overlaps with the first part of the revolutionary activities section, and the European years section. I can't tell which to delete or whether to just rewrite; there are some complicated questions. Don't just skim through a book and stick up a summary, there are contradictions that need to be mentioned somewhere. In addition, many of the books on Zhou are written in a style I would describe as hagiographic; this is probably why there are so many complaints about the article's NPOV problem. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Rgr09 (talkcontribs) 07:22, 6 March 2010 (UTC)

Completed rewrite of early years section[edit]

Redo of "early years" is now complete, so feel free to give it a critical once over. One big change: due to length, I divided it into two sections, "early years" and "education". Education is probably okay, since Zhou's studies in Japan were really the last time he was a formal student. At the end of the original "early years" there was some material that overlapped considerably with the next two sections. I moved a little bit of it down, but mostly gave up and deleted it, since it really was rather redundant. The article is by no means fixed; there are errors of fact in every remaining section and citation is still unacceptable. Most serious is the giant hole at the end of the section "From Shanghai to Yan'an", which covers 16 years in one sentence. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Rgr09 (talkcontribs) 10:45, 7 March 2010 (UTC)

Rewrite of First United Front Section[edit]

After several attempts, finally got enough to replace this section. It was previously totally unsourced, have now fixed this mostly using Wilbur's works. Have removed most of the factual errors; hopefully did not replace them with others. Zhou's activities were particularly complicated in this period, due to his dual membership in Nationalist and Communist Parties. Renamed the section because it does not cover all the First United Front period, which did not end until 1927-28. Removed all discussion of the Zhongshan battleship incident, merely noting its effect in ending Zhou's work at Whampoa. This incident is much too complex to talk about here. Next section "From Shanghai to Yan'an" actually goes from 1926 to 1949. There is no way 20 years can be squeezed into one paragraph. Will expand as time allows. Rgr09 (talk) 00:39, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

trimmed "see also"[edit]

The see also section was originally rather long and included a number of extraneous items, mostly relating to various warlords cliques. Since Zhou didn't have much to do with most of these, I've shortened the list to reflect what is actually in the article now. Rgr09 (talk) 06:21, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

Final rewrite of Whampoa section[edit]

Much covert activity in this period which made it quite hard to figure things out. New material on Whampoa period has come out in the last 10-15 years, but not much has been translated into English. Added what few references I could find that don't seem to have been rebutted by the new material to round things out. Be especially careful of mainland Chinese language webpages on this period. Rgr09 (talk) 13:42, 3 April 2010 (UTC)

Half-mast at UN? (cont)[edit]

The whole story of Half-mast at UN for Zhou is (translate from Chinese):

On 8 jan, 1926, after the death of Zhou Enlai, United Nations Headquarters in New York City flew the flag at half mast. There had been many heads of states' deaths since UN established, but UN never flew flag at half mast for anyone.
Some diplomats of other country felt unfair. They gathered at the gate of UN Headquarters, questioned angrily: "Our heads of government died, but UN's flag flew that high. China's Zhou died, why flew the flag at half mast for him?"
The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kurt Waldheim, stood on the steps, he gave a short speech less than one minite, he said:
"The man decided to flew the flag at half mast for Zhou is me. I have two reason: Firstly, China is a country with a historical civilization. She has lots of fortune, we can't count how many RMB she used, but her Zhou has no deposit at all. Secondly, China has 1 billion people, about 1/4 of the worlds' population, but her Zhou has no child. If your head of government did one of them, I will flew the flag at half mast for him."
After saying those, he turned around and left from the people. The diplomats from other countries were rendered speechless. Waldheim's smart and incisive speech showed his diplomatic ability and wisdom. It also showed that our respectable Zhou's nobleness is with no match in the world.

The story has thousands search result: [6]

Some questioned about the story: [7]

Some responded that the half-mast for Zhou is really rare because Zhou is actually not the "head of the government" [8]. They said the story has reference. It comes from an article: "Zhou Enlai's death shocked the world, UN made an exceptional half-mast(周恩来逝世震惊世界联合国破例下半旗)", by Wu Miaofa (吴妙发, former counsellor of the Chinese delegation to the United Nations), from People's Daily, 8 jan, 2002. Here's a copy.

Some disproved for reason that Wu Miaofa is criticized and not reliable.

--Tomchen1989 (talk) 04:34, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

please source statements[edit]

A recent revision claimed Zhou was the second born son in his branch of the family, rather than the first born. The source for Zhou as first born was Lee Chai-jin's "Zhou En-lai the early years", pp 2 and 10. If there is a source for Zhou as second born, please indicate this and indicate why you have chosen this source over Lee. Zhou lived a very complex life and many erroneous statements have been made about him. Accurate sourcing is the only way to resolve this problem. Also several recent revisions have randomly inserted information into the article. I will take a look at these over the next week, and remove stuff that is unsourced or irrelevant to Zhou's biography. Rgr09 (talk) 05:05, 11 August 2010 (UTC)


I generally know what this means: (« Long Live [...], with "Quotations [from Chairman Mao]" in their hands! ») However, I would appreciate it if someone would please provide a translation of « 不离口 » in this context. (Of course, this is an expression shouted by conservatives who wave their Little Red Books in their right hands over their heads.) It is associated with Lin Biao and Mao, but Zhou is linked to it too.) Thanks! Charvex (talk) 12:10, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

According to someone I know whose Chinese is much better than mine, this phraise is highly idiomatic, and is basically impossible to translate literally. The best translation that I can come up with is "Never stop talking about any part of the Quotations of (Chairman) Mao". The most important thing to translating this, I thought, was recognizing that the character "离", here, is an obscure measure word that means roughly "a part (of something)". I interpret "不离口" as literally meaning something like: "don't use any part of your mouth".Ferox Seneca (talk) 02:49, 8 March 2011 (UTC)
Thank you for your help. However, I finally got a hold of a friend (in Xi'an) who told me that he translated the first part as: « Long live the proletariat » - an idiomatic expression, as you say. He said the the characters also mean : « vanguard », or « leading edge (of the army) », or « advance front or force ». It makes sense to me, especially in context. As I mentioned, the old guard Mao supporters still shout「万岁不离口,语录不离手」 today (which is stated in the ZH.Wikipédia article: 毛主席语录, where I first read it, by the way.) I have stated as such in the English Quotations from Chairman Mao article which I rewrote. (I have not revised the FR.Wikipédia article yet.) --- I like your interpretation very, very much, but the last half of the expression is so clear and unambiguous「语录不离手」= « the Quotations (from Chairman Mao) in their hands », I will keep the more literal translation. Sincerest regards, Bien amicalement, Charvex (talk) 12:27, 12 March 2011 (UTC)
After I got your response, I got a third opinion from another friend of mine who I thought would be more knowledgeable. He told me that "万岁不离口" means "never stop saying 'long live Chairman Mao'", and that "语录不离手" means "always carry the Quotations of Chairman Mao with you". He told me that 离, in this situation, definitely means "(to be) far away", and that "不离口" literally means something like "not away from the mouth"; and more liberally, means something like "never stop talking". There seems to be some disagreement among our various Chinese sources, so I might suggest soliciting more opinions. It might be worth taking into consideration.Ferox Seneca (talk) 20:45, 12 March 2011 (UTC)
More opinions never hurt, but my source is a friend who lives in China. As you say « in their hands » = « carry », and is a very appropriate translation. However,「万岁」= « Long live! » = « Viva! » (Vive !, in French) in a slogan or chant, which is the case here. This is much stronger than simply « always » in English (toujours, in French), for my taste, and conveys more of the true meaning. Tchao ! Charvex (talk) 23:27, 12 March 2011 (UTC)
Here's a late comment. 'li' 离 is a verb meaning leave, depart, separate, to go away from, etc. Translating literally: "[Chairman Mao] forever never leaves their lips, [Chairman Mao's] Quotations never leaves their hands." Of course in English "never leaves their lips" will almost certainly be misunderstood as "never passes their lips", hence the dilemma. The main thing, however, is that this phrase is sarcastic, as the Chinese Wikipedia indicates, and describes sycophantic or fanatical Maoists. Adding the sarcasm, how about "Never stop bellowing Long Live the Chairman, never stop waving their little red books." Rgr09 (talk) 06:25, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
You must know enough about Chinese that you must read characters in combination, usually pairs, or triadic - (is this right English word? - sorry if it is not). — 1.)「万岁」= « Long Live! / Viva! ; — 2.) 「不离口」 = « the proletariat » (idiomatic term) (literally from « vanguard », because the proletariat during the Cultural Revolution were « the vanguard ») ; — 3.) a comma separates the two phrases, breaking the thought; — 4.)「语录」= « Quotations [from Chairman Mao] »; — 5.)「不离」= « hold », (because of the word « hand » that follows, literal meaning « not leave »); — 6.)「手」= « hand(s) ». — I think : « Long live the proletariat, holding the Quotations [from Chairman Mao] in their hands! », conveys the meaning and spirit well. This could be wordsmithed forever, but I have devoted enough free labor and discussion to this matter. — Thank you everyone for your comments. I have nothing more to say. As always, I apologize for my bad English. — Tchin-tchin ! , Charvex (talk) 10:07, 13 March 2011 (UTC)

CCP --> CPC Edit[edit]

There have been several edits to this entry recently for the sole purpose of changing all references of "CCP" to "CPC". I strongly oppose this edit, and desire to reverse it. Regardless of the Party's "official" name, the term "CCP" is more popular and widely-used in history texts, academic articles (especially those contemporary with Zhou's life), and in popular culture. Even if the two terms were equally popular (which they are not), the term "CCP" predates the use of "CPC" in this article, having precedence, and shouldn't be changed without good cause, which I do not have evidence of. Please provide such evidence.Ferox Seneca (talk) 20:44, 4 March 2011 (UTC)

Agreed. The Chinese name, too, supports the use of CCP. The CPC acronym is merely an extension of the “communist party of ___” version used by academics many years ago. DOR (HK) (talk) 01:46, 8 March 2011 (UTC)

Problems with Spence on Zhou[edit]

A contributor has supplemented or revised a number of points in Zhou's biography using Jonathan Spence's In Search of Modern China. The article certainly needs more work, but there are problems in using Spence and other such general works as a source for current knowledge of Zhou's biography. It would be better to use specialized works on Zhou, the more current the better. There are several reasons for this.

First, general works such as Spence tend to paint in very broad strokes, fine for Spence's book but not good for Zhou's biography. For example, as Lee Chaejin shows, Zhou was not in Beijing or Tianjin on May Fourth. He became involved in the later part of the movement, in late July 1919. He was not "the leader" in Tianjin, but a member of a group, and by no means the most active one. Lee gives a clear account, summarized in the article. Spence has no space for such fine points and simply puts Zhou down as 'leader of the Tianjin student protesters in the May Fifth Movement'. This probably does not represent a considered disagreement with Lee or other works; it is just a very broadly drawn description. Unfortunately, biographical detail in general histories such as Spence often presents such defects; that is why it would be better to use sources that focus on Zhou.

Second, Spence's book dates from 1990, when Spence had certainly not seen important sources such as Zhou Enlai zhuan, written by the CCP Central Archives Office of Research and published in 1989. Thus he follows earlier works which were in error in some places and apparently sometimes offers his own speculations.

For example, Spence says Michael Borodin arranged for Zhou to be appointed director of Whampoa's political department. If this is not speculation it needs documenting, but Spence gives none. The circumstances of Zhou's arrival at Whampoa and his early position there are very obscure, as footnotes in the article indicate, but Zhang Shenfu, who started the Communist cell in Paris that Zhou first joined, and later worked at Whampoa, was certainly involved. This is in the text and footnotes. In any event, just adding a sentence from Spence about Borodin does not work, it amounts to giving a second, different version of how Zhou got to Whampoa and creates a contradiction in the article.

Spence's account of the second and third Shanghai uprisings is an example of following earlier works which are problematic. These sources create the illusion of vast uprisings involving hundreds of thousands, with Zhou Enlai marching at their head. This is not right. Shanghai was the headquarters of the Chinese Communist Party, headed by Chen Duxiu, who played a leading role in these events. Removing Chen and replacing him with Zhou is typical of how important events in Zhou's career have been carefully rewritten to dispose of inconvenient people such as Chen. The article originally cited a study by Steve Smith, which gives a detailed account of the Second and Third Uprisings based on much new material, but now Spence is added in again, and again there are two contradictory accounts, with the footnotes failing to correctly indicate sources of the added information.

The point of this discussion is not to discourage anyone from working on Zhou's biography, but to point out that Zhou is a tough nut to crack. There is no one English source covering Zhou's entire career, and new material often comes up, most recently in Gao's work on post liberation Zhou. His career is full of lacunae and official material is often edited to conceal certain things or people. Zhou's role as the mentor of Deng Xiaoping is a particularly blatant example of this. A number of specialists in the period, such as Gao Wenqian, and Frederick Teiwes and Warren Sun, resolutely deny this, I think with good reason. To avoid such traps will take a lot of work.

Anyway, I had fun working on this article, as well as learning a lot. Hope others have the same, and good luck to all on future revisions. Rgr09 (talk) 15:50, 5 March 2011 (UTC)

It's great to be able to work collaboratively on a project like this. I have found that, the earlier this article explores Zhou's life, the better and more well-researched this article becomes. If I altered any of this article's information (especially if it was sourced), I attempted not to delete anything that was already there.
My general strategy in attempting to suppliment articles like this is to move from more general sources, which are (for me) more easily accessible, to more focused articles on the subject, supplimented primarily through JSTOR. Although I find the Search for Modern China's footnoting system to be somewhat confusing, the edition that I have was published in 1999, over two decades after Zhou's death and only about a decade before the present, so I do not believe that it should be considered an antiquated account. Spence himself is a history professor at Yale who has won awards for his other books on Chinese history, so I generally trust that his information is grounded in research, and/or reflects some consensus among historians concerning events.
It is true that Spence's accounts of Zhou's time in Whampoa, and his involvement in the May Fourth incident and in Shanghai are all very minimal: Spence doesn't focus on his involvement in these periods. His accounts of Zhou's involvement in these periods could be lacking for this reason. I did find it curious that our sources appeared to disagree. If your sources on these periods are more focused, please correct me through further editing.
I believe that you are probably correct about Chen. He is likely under-represented in most accounts of the history of the period.
I'll try to do more research on the relationship between Zhou and Deng. I haven't heard or read anything so far that would indicate that they weren't close.
Most of my interest in working on Zhou's biography is on supplimenting the latter part of his life, which is significant but was almost nonexistent before. It's not my intention to step on anyone's toes by painting over something that was already well-painted before.Ferox Seneca (talk) 19:12, 5 March 2011 (UTC)
All good comment, but I think there's something more fundamental about Spence as a source. Many of the articles I'm interested in cite Spence, and in many cases it appears that the reason isn't that he's the best source, just that he's the one the editor has access to, or likes best.
On Ferox Seneca's point about Zhou and Deng, I think the important place to start is that there is no indication that they were or weren't close. We shouldn't assume that, absent evidence to the contrary, everyone in the movement was good friends. DOR (HK) (talk) 01:51, 8 March 2011 (UTC)
The strongest, and least circumstantial, evidence that I am aware of that Deng and Zhou were very close is that Deng gave the eulogy at Zhou's funeral: this implies both that Deng felt especially close to Zhou and that he was percieved as being especially close to him by their closest associates. I'll keep my eyes open for anything on this relationship when I have the time do do more research.Ferox Seneca (talk) 02:49, 8 March 2011 (UTC)
In the past, the decision on who delivered the eulogy at a major figure's funeral in the Chinese Communist Party was taken as carefully as the decision on who would stand next to Mao on the podium at the national day ceremonies. In the case of Zhou's funeral, I believe that Deng delivered the eulogy because Mao had chosen him to succeed Zhou as premier. (See Benjamin Yang's biography of Deng on this point.) It was not a reflection of their personal relationship. The eulogy at Zhou's funeral was not written by Deng, but was provided to him after discussion and approval at the highest levels of the Party. Spence in "Search for Modern China" does indeed seem to suggest that Deng added his own extemporaneous comments to the eulogy, and that he intended these as a criticism of Mao himself. This is not a credible suggestion. Certainly Mao did not believe this. If he had, Deng would have been removed from his position and imprisoned, exiled, or executed the next day. Rgr09 (talk) 07:01, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
I still need to do more research on Deng. I did come across one resource recently (on the Tiananmen Incident) that breifly mentioned that the public perception of closeness between Deng and Zhou was not accurate, but it didn't elaborate. I'm still interested to look into that relationship more closely.
Deng was in fact removed from office less than four months after giving Zhou's eulogy, immediately following the Tiananmen Incident, so it isn't possible to say that he wasn't removed from office shortly afterwards. If he was criticizing Mao or his clique, this criticism was not overt and was intentionally deniable: this interpretation of Deng's eulogy is scholarly speculation, and is mentioned as such. If I had to speculate on why Spence interprets the final portion of Zhou's eulogy this way, I would guess that it is because elements of this section of the eulogy are very similar to the "official" criticism of Mao that Deng promoted after he achieved power. (I guess I need to find a copy of this online?) The fact that Deng was vilified in official propaganda (most notably in the "Criticize Deng and Oppose the Rehabilitation of Right-leaning Elements" campaign) shortly following Zhou's eulogy supports the view that there were powerful figures within the central government who were not impressed with his performance.
It must be the case that Deng rose to the level of vice-premier and was able to give Zhou's eulogy with Mao's (at least tacit) approval, but I find it difficult to believe that Mao would have actively promoted Deng's advancement. They seemed to have had a long history of conflict. Deng was purged almost immediately after the Cultural Revolution was called, and again shortly after giving Zhou's eulogy. Those closest to Mao, Hua Guofeng and the Gang of Four, were very opposed to him. After he came to power, Deng's policy shift away from Maoism indicates that their interpretations of communism differed greatly, and that Deng did not approve of Mao's cult of personality. Mao must have been aware of this.Ferox Seneca (talk) 16:56, 14 March 2011 (UTC)
Shouldn't this:Zhou Enlai: The Last Perfect Revolutionary be cited a bit more often in this important article? Arilang talk 03:21, 1 June 2011 (UTC)
I haven't read that book; if you have, please add sourced information. I have included some information from reviews which cite both the Last Perfect Revolutionary <,9171,1678668,00.html> and Zhou Enlai Wannian <>. My understanding, judging from discussions on this talk page predating my involvement, is that more information from The Last Perfect Revolutionary used to be included in this article, but that some editors disagreed with its inclusion (on the grounds of POV), and were successful in deleting all references to Gao's research at that time. I personally think that the inclusion of Gao's work would enhance the article, and would probably defend it if someone wanted to include it. Ferox Seneca (talk) 04:12, 1 June 2011 (UTC)
I happen to have purchased this book not long ago, as soon as I have time, I would begin a discussion here so that consensus be reached regarding what to add or what not to add. Arilang talk 04:30, 1 June 2011 (UTC)
Judging from the reviews that I have read, I believe that the Last Perfect Revolutionary focuses on Zhou's life after 1958, the period of Zhou's life for which Zhou is most frequently criticized. Coincidentally, this is the section of the article that is weakest (the "Great Leap Forward" section and the "Cultural Revolution" section), and which would benefit most from the inclusion of Gao's work. I also need to do more research on this period. I'm curious to see what you come up with.Ferox Seneca (talk) 07:26, 1 June 2011 (UTC)

Kissinger's analysis[edit]

Kissinger's analysis (On China (2011) ch 9) is a major interpretation of Zhou's strengths, personality, and diplomatic skills as revealed over several decades, especially in counterpoint to Mao. It is needed in the lede. The lede otherwise does not explain why he was essential to Mao's leadership. Rjensen (talk) 00:24, 1 June 2011 (UTC)

I don't have access to Kissinger's book, and I can only find references to it in online reviews. The best review that I can find is at <> (containing the quote used), which describes the context of Kissinger's opinion as being based largely on Kissinger's experience with Zhou and Mao in 1972. I agree that Kissinger's opinions must be supported with a deeper understanding of Chinese history, but part of the reason why Kissinger's work is so monumental is that very few Westerners had the opportunity to work with both Zhou and Mao together after 1965, and few primary sources exist on their personal relationship from this period.
I agree that the material from Kissinger's recent book is valuable, but I generally believe that detailed, sourced material should be placed in the body of articles, and that the lead section of articles should be brief summaries of the articles' content. I know that it can be frustrating to have other editors mess with your contributions, but the relationship between Mao and Zhou was long and changed dramatically at different periods of time, is described as being different at various other places and times in the article, and can't be easily summarized. Can we include the sourced information in the "Shanghai Communique" section (or maybe in the "Tensions with Mao" section, which we could rename to something like "Late relationship with Mao"), and include a general summary of the Mao-Zhou relationship in the lead? Ferox Seneca (talk) 01:03, 1 June 2011 (UTC)
Kissinger has written a general history of Chinese diplomacy, incljuding of course his direct observations over the last 40 years. Parts of the book are online at google, especially the quotation used here. Jonathan Spence says it tries to cover diplomacy and foreign policy over 2500 years. see Spence review So it is not true that Kissinger meant only one moment in time. The lede right now is defective in that it does not explain Zhou's strengths and skills, which Kissinger does very well indeed. Rjensen (talk) 02:12, 1 June 2011 (UTC)
User Rjensen, isn't the Kissinger quotation a bit too long for the lede? Arilang talk 04:36, 1 June 2011 (UTC)
The quote is long but very strong--and the lede is so weak it needs help. The quote covers three key elements that readers will want to know (what Zhou was like, what Mao was like, and how the two interacted)Rjensen (talk) 04:57, 1 June 2011 (UTC)
The main problem that I have with using Kissinger's quote to represent the relationship between Zhou and Mao is that the quote fundamentally only reflects a partial, and late (I'd guess after 1958?), dimension of the Mao-Zhou relationship, neglecting other dimensions which are equally important to what might be a comprehensive summary. Other facts to consider, if we were to compose a summary of the Mao-Zhou relationship, might be: before the Long March (1935) Zhou was actually Mao's superior; Mao nearly purged Zhou from the Party after Mao achieved power (1943); for much of the 1930s, '40s, and '50s Zhou worked internationally or in areas of China that the CCP did not control, demonstrating a more independent relationship with Mao, different than that described by Kissinger; Zhou was nearly purged again after 1966, and mostly retained his position by being indispensable and obsequious; Zhou's daughter and brother (and a number of Zhou's old comrades) were tortured and killed by Maoist Red Guards; Mao may have conscientiously denied Zhou medical treatment for the cancer that killed him; and, Mao conscientiously ignored all commemorations of Zhou's death and suppressed the commemoration of Zhou by the public. Because these are major facts necessary to understanding Zhou's lifelong relationship with Mao, but are not reflected in our lead section, the Mao-Zhou relationship was more complicated and much less monolithic than our lead section currently reflects.
I believe that the Kissinger quote used largely reflects the sum of what Kissinger saw during his personal activities in China, and the relationship between Zhou and Mao that Kissinger personally observed. The second page of Spence's article that you cite states that much of Kissinger's perspective on the relationship between Zhou and Mao is written in the form of "a sustained narrative that neatly blends the personal with the national sides of the story... from 1972 onward." The article states that Kissinger's perspective on the relationship between Zhou and Mao was based largely on Kissinger's "chance to get to know Zhou Enlai" and on "subsequent leader-to-leader meetings in Beijing". I believe that Kissinger's interpretation is accurate, but I don't believe that it should be interpreted as a comprehensive summary of how the Mao-Zhou relationship was at all times during Zhou's career. Kissinger's interpretation of the Mao-Zhou relationship needs to be interpreted within its proper context. Ferox Seneca (talk) 05:42, 1 June 2011 (UTC)
Kissinger is a professional historian and political scientist well known for exhausting the experts at Harvard, the State dept and National Security Council for in-depth info on a topic--especially this topic. He began teaching about China in 1950s and spent some 50 years in his research. That's very impressive indeed--he saw Zhou operate in person & in tandem with Mao more than probably any scholar . Furthermore he had many post-Zhou meetings with Chinese officials (like Deng) who after Z's death and Mao's death could speak more freely. What more could one ask for? Rjensen (talk) 05:47, 1 June 2011 (UTC)
I support Ferox Seneca's comment, for example, Gao Wenqian, who personally penned the official biographies of Zhou Enlai and Mao Zedong, should know more about Zhou-Mao relationship than Kissinger does, wouldn't Gao Wenqian's perspective more valuable than that of Kissinger, who happened to fly in and out of Beijing in the 70s, met Zhou and Mao maybe less than ten times, and had to communicate with them through an interpreter, how much "truth" had been lost during those cordial small talks? Arilang talk 05:54, 1 June 2011 (UTC)
"small talks"?? all the historians say it was one of the most momentous summits in world history. Kissinger explains very clearly how Zhou and Mao thought and behaved during critical negotiations over world-class issues. I haven't seen a better description and certainly this article lacks one. Rjensen (talk) 05:59, 1 June 2011 (UTC)
No offense to Kissinger, that fact that he needs an interpreter would impede his real understanding of intricate Communist China history and politics, to start with, if ever an interpreter get one word wrong, the result can be disastrous. Unlike Kissinger, Gao Wenqian was an official party historian for many years, so it is elementary that Gao's observations carry more weight than that of Kissinger. Arilang talk 06:09, 1 June 2011 (UTC)
Gao's observations on word usage are very important. That does not change's Kissinger's importance. (Gao says Zhou was very much a gentleman -- respectful, polite, and witty -- but also tough and skillful when it came to pressing China's case.) Rjensen (talk) 06:21, 1 June 2011 (UTC)
My intention is not to belittle or deny Kissinger's qualifications (impressive), or the truth of his observations (valid). The problem with the current edit of Zhou's article is that Kissinger could not possibly have meant for his summary of the Zhou-Mao relationship to mean anything more than what his summary actually is: an accurate analysis of the professional relationship between Zhou and Mao during the latest period of their careers, centered on the period in which Kissinger first met Zhou (about 1972). Because this article is concerned with more than this perspective, we need to improve the article so that Kissinger's observations are not interpreted by the article's readers as reflecting the totality of the Zhou-Mao relationship as it existed throughout Zhou's career. Ferox Seneca (talk) 06:35, 1 June 2011 (UTC)
Regardless of its content, WP:LEAD states clearly that "the lead should contain no more than four paragraphs". I think that we can use this direction as a guide to determine that the new information should be edited into the body of the article, into an appropriate section. We can compose a brief passage indicating the importance of the relationship between Zhou and Mao, and how this relationship was complicated and changed throughout Zhou's career, in exchange. This should overcome any weakness caused by any previous absence of the mention of the Zhou-Mao relationship within the article's lead. Ferox Seneca (talk) 06:56, 1 June 2011 (UTC)
the lede is now under the limit. As for Gao, I'm surprised that no one has made use of his important book in the article. Indeed the coverage after 1949 especially in foreign policy is very weak. It comprises a few poorly chosen excerpts from the Spence textbook and ignores the huge scholarly literature, There are details on failed assassinations and where Zhou walked in parades and whether he shook someone's hand at Geneva, but nothing on wars or threatened-wars with the US, S. Korea, India, Vietnam, Taiwan or Russia--not to mention ignoring Japan, North Korea, and the UN. What were China's policies and Zhou's roles?--who knows. An undergraduate would get an "F" on that part of the article. (well, a "D" with grade inflation). Rjensen (talk) 07:33, 1 June 2011 (UTC)
My main issue with the lead as it is is that it focuses excessively on the latest period of Zhou's career. It might be acceptable in the sense that this was the most notable portion of his career.
This article is not intended to be an academic paper. If the article doesn't include information on something, it's because none of the 509 editors who have contributed to this article since 2002 have found, or included, research on that subject. It's probably worth noting that almost nothing on Zhou's life after 1933 existed before March 2011, and there's only so much research that a small number of editors can do (for free) in three months. I would encourage you to contribute to this section if you have access to good sources. Ferox Seneca (talk) 07:59, 1 June 2011 (UTC)
I intend to work on the post 1949 diplomatic roles in the next week. Rjensen (talk) 03:18, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
On Zunyi Conference, wasn't Zhou had a much higher political position then Mao? The three person military cell in which Zhou was the leader, and Mao was his assistant. And during the conference, Zhang Wentian was appointed Party Secretary General, a position much higher than Mao. Arilang talk 06:26, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

Criticism and Praise[edit]

I can see that the article's been vastly improved, it was a mess the last time I edited it, so I'm grateful to all the editors that have been working on it. However, I do have one thing to nitpick: I don't like seeing the criticism/praise section divided into two. It will benefit the neutrality and the readability of the article if we combined the two, since the reader won't have to jump between the two sections to compare the accomplishments, which there are many, with the flaws, which there are just as much, if not more. A combined, neutral evaluation is preferrable over one glowingly positive evaluation lumped together with one critical one.--ColdWarCharlie (talk) 17:42, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

Thank you for starting this discussion. I see your point: you think that the distinction is too arbitrary and not balanced. One of the main weaknesses with Wikipedia that I sometimes find is that articles sometimes lose their sense of narrative focus, usually when there are many editors and no clear coordination between editors to organize their facts. When a section gets bigger than about five paragraphs, I usually try to organize it according to the main themes, ideas, or events of that section, in order to make the narrative more focused and to help editors who might want to add relevant information.
I'm not especially attached to dividing the "Legacy" section into "Criticism" and "Praise", but can you think of a different way to organize it? My concern is that, without subdivision of some sort, the narrative for that section will not seem organized or focused.Ferox Seneca (talk) 19:31, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
I agree that the article is much more cogent now. Also that the Legacy section is better off not being divided and that it runs a little long and goes back and forth. Maybe cut out some of the details from Kissinger and Nixon, which are repetitive. Then turn some of the passive verbs into active ones, giving names and consolidating points of view. I like the separate consideration of the Cultural Revolution, however. I also think that the section underestimates and needs to represent the bitterness which came into the open in recent years. Chinese friends of the older generation refer to Zhou as Mao's "sycophant," and Gao Wenqian's biography is pretty direct in several places. Ezra Vogel's new biography of Deng has good material to use on this point. Would it be ok if make these edits (in separate stages) and add a couple of sentences along these lines? Cheers. ch (talk) 19:08, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
It sounds like you have some good sources, so please improve the article if you have time. Your proposal to change the article's prose is good, so please do that wherever you think it would be appropriate. The period from about 1958-1976 is probably the weakest right now, so it would benefit most from the inclusion of good research.
I am a little attached to the interpretations of Kissinger and Nixon (and sourced information in general that is not completely superfluous): I think that the Kissinger/Nixon comments represent the candid impressions that Zhou was able to make on powerful foreign statesmen at the summit of his career, which I think is noteworthy. If you think that this information contributes little to the "Legacy" section, perhaps we can move it to the "Shanghai Communique" section, which focuses on Zhou's meetings with the Americans?Ferox Seneca (talk) 01:04, 23 July 2011 (UTC)

Needs depth...[edit]

Pursuing the goals of peaceful diplomacy with China's neighbors, Zhou held amicable talks with Burma's prime minister, U Nu, and promoted China's efforts to send supplies to Ho Chi Minh's Vietnamese rebels.[151]...

I direct people's attention to Zhang, Shu Guang (1992), Deterrence and Strategic Culture: Chinese-American Confrontations, 1949-1958, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, ISBN 0801427517  and Chen, Jian (1996), China's Road to the Korean War: The Making of the Sino-American Confrontation, New York, NY: Columbia University Press, ISBN 9780231100250 , which goes in great detail on PRC Cold War strategy of spreading communist revolutions in South East Asia. Given the Chinese foreign policy doctrine of spreading Communism in the "intermediate zone" (Third World countries) in struggles against First World "reactionaries", and the fact that Zhou Enlai is the PRC foreign minister, isn't it a bit odd that PRC long term strategy in SE Asia is only covered in a single sentence here? (Not to mention the Chinese "peaceful relation" is synonymous with deterrence through military actions as noted in Ryan, Mark A.; Finkelstein, David M.; McDevitt, Michael A. (2003), Chinese Warfighting: The PLA Experience Since 1949, Armonk, New York: M.E. Sharpe, ISBN 0765610876 ?) Jim101 (talk) 19:18, 8 August 2011 (UTC)

If you have a good source, please edit as desired.Ferox Seneca (talk) 09:49, 9 August 2011 (UTC)

Merger proposal from residence[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
The result was to not merge with The former residence of Prime Minister Zhou. -- Ferox Seneca (talk) 10:50, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

  • Oppose: Zhou's article is probably too big already, and will probably need to be shortened eventually. The article on Zhou's residence is notable enough to stand on its own, in its own article. I had decided not to add info on Zhou's residence before because I didn't think it was notable enough to be in the biography; now that I know that the house has its own article, I can expand the article on Zhou's residence on a later date.Ferox Seneca (talk) 18:10, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
If no one actually supports this merger, I intend to close it in a week.Ferox Seneca (talk) 21:16, 16 November 2011 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Removal of sourced content[edit]

There has been some minor removal of sourced content recently. Some of the content removed might be superfluous, but at least some if it is notable. Also, one footnote was removed. Please explain the recent alterations to the article.Ferox Seneca (talk) 00:05, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

By whom, me or LoneWolf1992? Both of us (and probably others who look at the page) have been removing POV nonsense. No cited facts have been removed from the article, only POV opinions such as that Mao was a "demigod" or that "brainwashing" was going on. This sort of POV language does not belong in an encyclopedia.
There's a book called "The prosecution of George W. Bush for murder" by the California prosecutor who prosecuted Charles Manson - but I can't state in the Bush biography as a fact that he is a murderer just because there are books by noted authors and major publishing firms calling him a murderer, a torturer etc. Adelson Velsky Landis (talk) 22:53, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
I'm not sure if you disagree with the removal of that content because you believe that it is too cursory (it doesn't cite enough details), because you believe it is POV, because you believe that it is original research, or because you do not believe that the sources I have cited are reliable. Because Zhou's relationship with Mao was arguably the most important one of his life, which defined his political career for the last 40 years of his life, I think that it's important to give a summary of Mao's position in China relative to Zhou without going into too many details, and I believe that the disputed information should be included in the article.
It is a standard scholarly interpretation that Mao became politically unaccountable, and that his personality cult promoted his image as a sort of "demigod" during the Cultural Revolution. Besides the source I cited (Barnouin and Yu), Henry Kissinger (in his book, On China) also uses the term "demigod" to describe the way that Mao's personality cult promoted Mao's image. That Mao became politically unaccountable after taking power is a standard fact which is significant enough to remain in the article. Both these sources are reliable sources, and I am sure that I could find more if you do not believe that these sources are sufficient. If you are aware of any reliable source that contains a different perspective, please let me know, and we can include that information in the article.
The term "brainwashing campaign" was used verbatim by a properly cited reliable source: it isn't my own interpretation. Wikipedia's article on mind control contains a well-sourced section on how the English term "brainwashing" originated in the 1950s to describe methods of psychological indoctrination developed by the Maoist Chinese before the Korean War. Because it is cited verbatim by a scholarly source, and because it is a standard scholarly interpretation that Maoists in the 1930s and 1940s engaged in "brainwashing", I don't believe that the interpretation that the Yan'an Rectification Campaign was a "brainwashing campaign" is POV.
If you still disagree with the use of these terms in the article, on the grounds that they are POV, original research, or that the sources that they are cited from are not reliable, or if there is any other reason for their omission, please let me know. We might be able to find some way to modify the information (for example, by going into more detail or by making it clear that the summaries are Western scholarly interpretations).Ferox Seneca (talk) 23:06, 4 January 2012 (UTC)

Plagiarized Sections[edit]

Currently, the section labeled "Memorial" under "Death and Reactions" begins,

Whatever Mao's attitudes may have been, the rest of the nation was plunged into mourning. Beijing was described by foreign correspondents, shortly after Zhou's death, as looking like a ghost town. Zhou had willed his ashes to be scattered across the hills and rivers of his hometown, rather than stored in a ceremonial mausoleum. With Zhou gone, it became clear how many people had revered him, and how they had viewed him as a symbol of stability in an otherwise chaotic period of history.

The original source is Jonathan D. Spence's "The Search for Modern China", and the first paragraph on page 646 reads,

But whatever Mao's attitude may have been, the country as a whole seemed plunged into mourning. Peking was described by foreign correspondents as looking like a ghost town, and the news that his ashes be scattered across the rivers and hills of his beloved land, rather than buried in some mausoleum, was received with deep emotion. With Zhou gone it suddenly emerged how many people had revered him, and regarded him as a symbol of an ordered life and of a measure of decency in deeply troubled times.

The two paragraphs are almost identical. Similarly, the next two paragraphs in the article (not including the Deng quote) are almost identical to their corresponding paragraphs in the Spence book. This is plagiarism. (talk) 03:07, 30 January 2012 (UTC)

The text is intended to convey the same information as the source text, and it is sourced, so I'm sure it isn't a problem that it is closely paraphrased. I bolded the sections of the paragraph that are identical to the original text. There are a few words in common, but all are less than sentence-length. I'm not sure how many words you believe a phrase has to have in common with its source before it becomes plagiarism, but I will rephrase the sections that have six words or more in common with the source before restoring the section. Please feel free to rephrase anything that you find problematic (as long as the information is the same) instead of reverting it as plagiarism.
Please look at WP:PLAGFORM, which states that "Wikipedians are required to stick closely to reliable sources that support their edits": this section states that close, well-cited paraphrasing is encouraged, and not plagiarism. The section gives four examples of plagiarism, all of which are examples of plagiarism via poor citation. If you believe that the section above violates Wikipedia's formal policy on plagiarism in some way, please cite the section that gives you that impression.Ferox Seneca (talk) 05:40, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
Example 3: "Copying from a source acknowledged in a well-placed citation, without in-text attribution", and the in-text citation page, which reads: "In-text attribution should be used with... close paraphrasing." (talk) 06:22, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
I'm going to ask for a few extra opinions on what "with very few changes" actually means. If it is actually plagiarism simply to paraphrase well-cited content, virtually everything in this article is plagiarism.Ferox Seneca (talk) 06:16, 31 January 2012 (UTC)
The WP rule is "Stronger attribution is required when content is copied or closely paraphrased from sources." Suppose XYZ is a close paraphrase of Spence (as in this case). Then in my opinion writing "Spence says XYZ" passes the Wikipedia test and is all right. Rjensen (talk) 06:30, 31 January 2012 (UTC)


Eldest Son: Zhou Enlai and the Making of Modern China, 1898-1976 has had some book reviews. It could be Wikipedia notable. WhisperToMe (talk) 07:28, 5 April 2012 (UTC)

Need more depth[edit]

As Premier of PRC, Zhou Enlai held a range of talks (by letter and in person) with India's Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on the border question with India. The failure of these talks led to the Sino-Indian war of 1962. It was surprising that the article in question does not even mention this war. The correspondence between Zhou Enlai and Nehru was released in a series of White Papers by the Government of India before the war. They could be a good reference for exploring more about Zhou's statesmanship and diplomacy. Zafar142003 (talk) 10:49, 31 January 2013 (UTC)


I heard that in Geneva when the American refused to shake his hand, Zhou took out a handkerchief, wiped his hands and threw it to the ground. An aide was about to retrieve the handkerchief, thinking that Zhou had carelessly dropped it; but Zhou gave him a stern look. The interpretation was that Zhou was saying, "I, a representative of a quarter of humanity, am glad that I did not get my hands dirty by shaking that man's hand". Has anyone heard whether this was true? (talk) 03:30, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

Li Peng not Zhou's adopted son[edit]

Li Peng was not adopted by the Zhou family, Li has said so himself (in his own memoirs of all things). --TIAYN (talk) 08:06, 17 July 2014 (UTC)

"Religion = None" vs. "Religion = Atheist" or "Religion = None (atheist)" in infoboxes.[edit]

Per WP:BRD and WP:TALKDONTREVERT, This comment concerns this edit and this revert.

(Please note that nobody has a problem with the use of "Atheist" in the article text. This only concerns infoboxes.)

"Atheism is a religion like not collecting stamps is a hobby." --Penn Jillette

"Atheism is a religion like abstinence is a sex position." --Bill Maher

There are many reasons for not saying "Religion = Atheist" or "Religion = None (atheist)" in Wikipedia infoboxes. They include:

It implies something that is not true

Saying "Religion = Atheist" in Wikipedia infoboxes implies that atheism is a religion. It is like saying "Hair color = Bald", "TV Channel = Off" or "Type of shoe = Barefoot". "Religion = None (atheist)" is better -- it can be read two different ways, only one of which implies that atheism is a religion -- but "Religion = None" is unambiguous.

It is highly objectionable to many atheists.

Many atheists strongly object to calling atheism a religion,[9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17] and arguments such as "atheism is just another religion: it takes faith to not believe in God" are a standard argument used by religious apologists.[18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27]

It goes against consensus

This was discussed at length at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Archive 142#Changing "Religion = none" to "Religion = Atheist" on BLP infoboxes. Opinions were mixed, but the two positions with the most support were "Religion = None" or removing the Religion entry entirely.
More recently, it was discussed at Template talk:Infobox person#Religion means what?, and again the consensus was for "Religion = None".
On article talk pages and counting the multiple "thank you" notifications I have recieved, there are roughly ten editors favoring "Religion = None" for every editor who opposes it. Of course anyone is free to post an WP:RFC on the subject (I suggest posting it at Wikipedia:Centralized discussion) to get an official count.

It is unsourced

If anyone insists on keeping "Religion = Atheist" or "Religion = None (Atheist)" in any Wikipedia infobox, they must first provide a citation to a reliable source that established that the individual is [A] An atheist, and [B] considers atheism to be a religion.

It attempts to shoehorn too much information into a one-word infobox entry

In the article, there is room for nuance and explanation, but in the infobox, we are limited to concise summaries of non-disputed material. Terms such as "atheist", "agnostic", "humanist", "areligious", and "anti-religion" mean different things to different people, but "Religion = None" is perfectly clear to all readers, and they can and should go to the article text to find out which of the subtly different variations of not belonging to a religion applies.

It violates the principle of least astonishment.

Consider what would happen if Lady Gaga decided to list "Banana" as her birth date. We would document that fact in the main article with a citation to a reliable source (along with other sources that disagree and say she was born on March 28, 1986). We would not put "Birth date = Banana" in the infobox, because that would cause some readers to stop and say "wait...what? Banana is not a birth date...". Likewise we should not put anything in an infobox that would cause some readers to stop and say "wait...what? Atheism is not a religion..."

In many cases, it technically correct, but incomplete to the point of being misleading.

When this came up on Teller (magician), who strongly self-identifies as an atheist, nobody had the slightest problem with saying that Teller is an atheist. It was the claim that atheism is a religion that multiple editors objected to. Penn Jillette wrote "Atheism is a religion like not collecting stamps is a hobby", so we know that Penn objects to having atheism identified as a religion.
In the case of Penn, Teller and many others, they are atheists who reject all theistic religions, but they also reject all non-theistic religions, and a large number of non-religious beliefs. See List of Penn & Teller: Bullshit! episodes for an incomplete list. Atheism just skims the surface of Penn & Teller's unbelief.

In my opinion, "Religion = None" is the best choice for representing the data accurately and without bias. I also have no objection to removing the religion entry entirely. --Guy Macon (talk) 06:46, 7 December 2014 (UTC)


The infobox has recently added a section on Zhou's "alma maters", and there are now three listed: Meiji University, Nankai University, and Humboldt University. According to Lee Chae-jin's biography of Zhou, he was indeed admitted as a member of the first class of Nankai University in Sept. 1919, but his transcript shows no grades. His acquaintances in the University claimed he was rarely on campus, devoting most of his time to political activities, and he was finally expelled in early 1920, after being imprisoned for his part in student demonstrations in Tianjin (Lee, 202-203). Since Zhou did not graduate from Nankai, and his connection with it was rather tenuous, I wonder if describing Nankai as his "alma mater" is appropriate. Any comments? None of the biographies I've read of Zhou mention his attendance at either Meiji or Humboldt. Please provide references for Zhou's enrollment at these schools or I will remove these. Rgr09 (talk) 09:37, 9 January 2015 (UTC)

Checked a wide range of biographies of Zhou, both English and Chinese, and claims that he attended Meiji and Humboldt are baseless: deleted these two schools from Zhou's alma mater. I believe the Meiji reference came from the Wikipedia article on Meiji, where Zhou has been listed as an alumnus since 2010. This was also unsourced, and I deleted it as well. Please do not add these again unless you indicate the source of your information. Rgr09 (talk) 04:30, 10 January 2015 (UTC)