The Chinese Communes

The Chinese Communes

The Chinese Communes

The Chinese Communes

Excerpt

Too often, Western reporting on Chinese communism tends to be either a forbidding black or an effulgent white-- seldom the bleak and blurred but pervasive and enduring grey which it should be.

The controversial communes have certainly got the black treatment--in contrast, of course, to the white-washing of the official propagandists. As a result, there has, first, been far too much emotional preoccupation in the West with the immediate personal tyrannies and inevitable initial excesses and errors of the commune system.

Secondly, there has been correspondingly far too little logical consideration of the long-range economic and social consequences of history's most ambitious venture in applied socialism.

One elementary but basic point to make is that the commune system extends and tightens the Communist Party's supervision and control of the nation. Another is that the commune system will certainly persist--even if in revised form--because it increases production, improves administration and generally reflects improved efficiency.

Many Western commentators in Hongkong--including myself--yielded to the temptation, at the outset, to generalise about all communes from the experiences of a handful of refugees from a few communes. The few objective reporters who have seen communes in operation at first hand inside China have been whisked through the show places with a fine flourish of trumpets, and some of them also have tended to present the exception as the rule. Naturally, it would be as unreasonable for a foreigner to expect to find in China a resident of a commune who would openly criticise the system as to find a refugee from China who would discuss objectively the prospects of revising and correcting the excesses and errors of the system. At each extreme, the wishful denigrators and the professional . . .

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