The Serpent and the Tortoise: Problems of the New China

The Serpent and the Tortoise: Problems of the New China

The Serpent and the Tortoise: Problems of the New China

The Serpent and the Tortoise: Problems of the New China

Excerpt

In October 1955 I and my wife were invited to visit China by the Institute of Foreign Affairs. I replied that I could only consider doing so in the following spring. So when in February the invitation was kindly repeated, I decided to take advantage of it, and on Easter Monday set foot for the first time on the juridical territory of the Chinese People's Republic at its Embassy in Berne.

Encouraged by the counsels of Mr. Feng, and by a first (and favourable) experience of Chinese cooking and white rice-wine slightly reminiscent of Chateau-Chalon, and provided with loose-leaf visas, not intended as some believe to spare western passports a compromising and indelible stamp, we set out on May 13th by the longest way round -- the excellent southern service of Air France.

My first stop was at Karachi, almost exactly half-way. I was thus enabled to make the acquaintance of President Iskander Mirza and to discuss China at great length with his energetic Prime Minister, Hussein Shahad Suhrawardy. Mr. Suhrawardy has made a trip to Pekin and has spent sixteen hours in conversation with Mao Tse-Tung and Chou En-Lai; he has also received Chou En-Lai in Pakistan. His opinion, like that of all serious observers, is that only the present régime was capable of bringing about the achievements that have taken place in China. This fair-minded judgment has in no way affected the firmness of his own non-communist views.

Mr. Suhrawardy is a contemporary of Mao Tse-Tung, though he appears younger than Chou En-Lai. He too is one of those statesmen who have attained world prominence during the past ten years, in the development of a remarkable career. As Mao Tse-Tung at one time governed in Yenan, so Mr. Suhrawardy at one time governed in Bengal, but . . .

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