WHEN CHINA WAKES by Robert Guillain


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Let China sleep. When she wakes the world will be sorry."" This was the assessment of Napoleon; Robert Guillain is more optimistic, although the picture he draws of present-day China does not always square with the hope that by 2000 A.D. China will be prosperous and prepared to live at peace in the world. He finds the Chinese recovering from the industrial over-stepping of the Great Leap Forward, communes existing everywhere in working order; he relates the still lagging pace of the economy to the force applied to producing the bomb. The Communist line is chauvinistic, de- Russified; it operates through persistent persuasion, is advanced by indoctrination that accompanies public education. The people accept Communism either docilely or with fervor: half the population has known no other regime. Still Mao is aware of the dangers of revisionism; he has planned for a post-Mao China and the lower echelons are being filled with younger men. The military establishment remains beyond Mr. Guillain's discussion, although he remarks on the ominous anti-imperialist preachments. Like Hans Koningsberger, whose book is reviewed later in this issue, he was guided through China on a short itinerary, so no depth of reporting can be expected. There is somewhat less of persons and more of politics here, and his book is perhaps not quite so catchily readable, his perceptions not quite so keen.

Pub Date: Sept. 22nd, 1966
Publisher: Walker