REMEMBER HOW GREAT CIGARETTES USED TO TASTE? LUCKIES STILL DO They’re so round, so firm, so fully packedso free and easy on the draw. They’re fully packed with fine tobacco. They’re firmer than any other regular cigarette. And Luckies smoke longer. THAT’S WHY THEY TASTE SO GREAT Get Texas-size taste * Get Luckies today!. THE AMERICAN TOBACCO CO. ‘and so must the nation’ Red China: Disturbing Apologies, But True Insight AWAKENED CHINA, by Felix Greene, Doubleday, New York, 1961, 425 pp., $5.95. AUSTIN China has been communist twelve years. Despite the absence of Western newspapermen on the scene,. Americans have become aware that the social system has been radically and permanently changed, the country is industrializing, the farmers are collectivized, and Chiang is not going to invade the mainland. Horror stories in the daily press, necessarily written in absentia, have told of 20,000,000 murders and the abolition of the family in the farm communes. United Press International even reported that the state permits man and wife to sleep together but once a fortnight; “the love-every-two-weeks policy,” the wire service dubbed it. We have not been told why, if the people are abused, Chiang has not launched his counterrevolution, nor why, if communism is such a failure, China is now bidding to overtake Britain as a national power. Doubleday, the huge New York publishing house, last year assigned Felix Greene, a Britishborn journalist who has lived in the United States 25 years, to spend four months in China and write a book about it. He concluded that the ‘Chinese people are buoyant and confident about their new nation. ONE CAN fairly suspect, from the internal evidence, that Greene is of socialist temper, that he did not give much thought to the implications of his reliance on communist guides and interpreters , for what he saw and thought he heard the Chinese saying, and that he approached his work with a sense of mission, to present the case for China to Western readers. Nevertheless, in doing so he has performed an important service. Pasting together his journal entries, notes on interviews and visits to factories and communes, and letters home, he has given us some the the facts and figures on China’s amazing material improvement under communism. Under Chiang, many millions were starving and unemployed, epidemics ‘ravaged the country, food was for the lucky and schooling for the rich. The communists have changed these things. China is still poor and backward, but Greene’s evidence is convincing that under the communists, individuals do not starve, most people have work to do, they get medical care, and above all, by the millions they are going to school. Illiteracy, he says, has been reduced from 80 to 30 percent, and since 1949 enrollment in the public schools has increased about 500 percent. “The principles of the education of children” \(a comexpressed in the Five Loves: Love of motherland, Love for people, Love of work, Love for knowledge, Respect for public property.” Under Chiang, one in 9,000 Chinese went to college; the communists have the ratio down to one in 800. Natural resources have been ferreted out of the Chinese earth; construction of all kinds is proceeding at incred ible rates; a new hospital has been finished every three and a half days since the communist take-over. As for the costs of these gains, in lives, dislocations, and liberty of thought and speech, Greene is less informative and essentially apologist. In all these hundreds of pages, the one sentence about the executions of landlords gives neither figures nor estimates. Greene takes at face value the communist defense of the impact of collectivized farming on home lifethat the time had come, anyway, for the end of father-dominated families. \(‘He assures us husband and wife still sleep together; otherwise, however, sex Greene’s reports derive their principal value from his lack of concern for consistency. While presenting the Chinese case, he attempts no seamless apology for all that has happened. Against the main import of his reporting, he sets the snag-questions ‘about liberty. Again and again, when he hoisted these questions, the Chinese replied that first the basic needs of the human being must be met, or that liberty is a bourgeoisa Westernidea. At four, the children start getting their lessons about American imperialism \(against which a persuasive case is made bemuch public discission, but challenges to’ the communist system itself are not permitted. In a curious letter home, Greene said of Chinese children: “They seem to have almost no personal achievement motive, no combativeness . . . Can it be that the Chinese child, having had a total sense of belonging when young, has a permanent, built-in dread of being ‘outside,’ of not belonging? So that the worst possible psychological pain to a Chinese adult might be to be socially outcast . . . In other words, that dissent becomes a psychological impossibility?” That is a chilling thought. Hu Wan-Chun, one of China’s leading writers of propagandistic novels, received this advice from a party organizer as he started out on his blithe career: “From now on your pen will be your weapon. Take as good care of it as a soldier does of his gun. See that your gun is always aimed at the enemy; take care that it never hurts your own comrades.” To this Greene contrasts the advice Polonius gave Laertes, “To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.” The Chinese see the writer as a worker with a job. “The jab of writers is to help root up rem Subscribe to The Texas Observer Name Address City State dead $5 to Tho Tuns Observer, 504 W. $1, Austin, Tomo nants of old ways of thinking.” Armed with inexhaustible indignation about the murder and starvation of millions of Chinese under Chiang, the communist group chants to the individual, “If you had known the horror of life in pre-liberation China, you would not now be speaking as you do of ‘freedom.’, There was no freedom of any kind then.” Greene is rather taken with one would not say taken in by this argument. It matters more that a few English-speaking Chinese told ‘him of their anguish over their loss of the sense of liberty \(they did not have to speak through government interreporter to throw in one of his collections of Chinese scraps, “Forlorn,” a poem he found on a factory wall: “The leadership is too careless of my well being; comrades are not in the least polite to me. In my work group all simply criticize me! Who then can I say is close to me?” An Oxford-educated Chinese scholar, having adapted himself to the political study groups and self-criticism meeting s, told Greene that he had really learned a good deal from the criticism of his associates. One gathered he had been plucked of his pomp and puff and was glad to be rid of it. “Anyone who wants to feel superior to a group in China today is a very lonely person,” he said. That could have been said also, could it not, by an Americanby the president of a union local, vice president in. charge of personnel for any of a hundred thousand companies, social worker from . the personal adjustment school, or chairman of the Amer ican Legion Americanism committee? “Riesman, and many contemporary scholars, regard the innerdirected man as a vanishing species, in the United States at least,” Greene recalls. “He is being replaced, they tell us, by the otherdirected, the organization, man. “Mr. Hu Wan-chuun, as I can testify from my talk with him, is also an organization man.” Greene’s book will give many Westerners a truer picture of the progress and stability of the cornmunist government of China than they have had. But it will also suggest to them that to survive to have a right to survive, but also to have a chance to survive the individual, wherever he lies, must be passionately and wholly honest, and so must be the nation which upholds his cause. His slightest self-deception, phoneyness, or guile is a weakness the group will use at once against him. R.D. THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 8 September 15, 1961
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