RED CHINA TODAY by Hugo Portisch


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The fourth book to appear on China this spring, Red China Today is based as were its predecessors (see the review of Harry Hamm's book, p. 461), for a complete roundup) on a visit to China. Huge Portisch went armed with all the right and telling questions, although his answers are not quite so complete as one (and doubtless he) could wish. Does China with its 700 million people and great unused spaces need Lebensraum? Do the people accept the regime or is there unrest? How is the government managing the food problem? What is the state of industry? etc., etc. Mr. Portisch found the Chinese intent upon functioning ""out of our own strength,"" the phrase on all lips since the Sino- Soviet disaffection, found a people who while living with one of the lowest standards in the world could say ""Today our life is assured."" He found the regime guiding love and structuring leisure and washing brains (the intellectuals have been ""convinced by the facts""). He estimated that five to fix hundred million of the population are involved in agriculture. Mr. Portisch assesses the ways and means of the regime in maintaining power and molding the people; weighs China's relationships with the West, with colonial nations; gives a background picture of the Communist take-over, the relation to Tibet... a helpful orientation lacking in the earlier reviewed books. He is clever with a phrase and keen, but much remains elusive. However for its combination of reach and readability, this is probably the best choice for the average reader.

Publisher: Quadrangle