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It was done mainly by force and in a society that had almost no reading skills back then. The same methods are (thankfully) difficult to apply in the West today.

And it only "kinda" worked, because in the Chinese countryside, where most people live, 80 years later they still mainly use 农历, not the Western calender, despite all government stuff being done in Western calender dates. (I lived in China for some 6 years, just left the country yesterday, walking across the border to Vietnam).

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