Second Stage Simplification Tables
Table 2 Subtable 9 : Generic Simplifications of Component Elements (16 entries)
Where the second stage simplified form of an example character is
already encoded it is put in parentheses after the corresponding
example character, but these parenthesized forms are not given in the
actual second stage simplification tables.
We can see that a simplification for 熊 was actually proposed before.
Wikipedia cites the following as:
Reason For Failure
The Second Scheme broke with a millennia-long cycle of variant forms
coming into unofficial use and eventually being accepted (90 percent
of the changes made in the First Scheme existed in mass use, many for
centuries) in that it introduced new, unfamiliar character
forms. The sheer number of characters it changed — the
distinction between simplifications intended for immediate use and
those for review was not maintained in practice — and its release in
the shadow of the Cultural Revolution (1966–1978) have been cited
among the chief reasons for its failure. As a result of
the Cultural Revolution, trained experts were expelled and the Second
Scheme was compiled by the Committee and its staffers without outside
consultation, which may also have been a factor.
The exact circumstances surrounding the creation and release of the
Second Scheme remain shrouded in mystery due to the still-classified
nature of many documents and the politically sensitive nature of the
issue. However, the Second Scheme is known to have encompassed only
about 100 characters before its expansion to over 850. A two-year
delay from 1975 to 1977 was officially blamed on Zhang Chunqiao, a
member of the Gang of Four; however, there is little historical
evidence to support this. Against the political backdrop of the
Cultural Revolution, a special section known as the "748 Project" was
formed with an emphasis on non-experts, under whose supervision the
lists grew significantly. The bulk of the work is believed to have
been performed by staffers without proper oversight.
The Second Scheme's subsequent rejection by the public has been cited
as a case study in a failed attempt to artificially control the
direction of a language's evolution. Indeed, it was not embraced
by the linguistic community in China upon its release; despite
heavy promotion by official publications, Rohsenow observes that "in
the case of some of the character forms constructed by the staff
members themselves" the public at large found proposed changes
Political issues aside, Chen objects to the notion that all characters
should be reduced to ten or fewer strokes. He argues that a technical
shortcoming of the Second Scheme was that the characters it reformed
occur less often in writing than those of the First Scheme. As such it
provided less benefit to writers while putting an unnecessary burden
on readers in making the characters more difficult to distinguish.
Citing several studies, Hannas similarly argues against the lack of
differentiation and utility: "it was meaningless to lower the stroke
count for its own sake." Thus, he believes simplification and
character limitation (reduction of the number of characters) both
amount to a "zero-sum game" — simplification in one area of use
causing complication in another — and concludes that "the 'complex'
characters in Japanese and Chinese, with their greater redundancy and
internal consistency, may have been the better bargain."