The Anthill: The Human Condition in Communist China

The Anthill: The Human Condition in Communist China

The Anthill: The Human Condition in Communist China

The Anthill: The Human Condition in Communist China

Excerpt

Numerous books on Communist China have already been published, but to my knowledge not one of them has fully utilised the richest mine of information available--and the most cogent: the evidence of the refugees themselves. That is an omission I propose to remedy in this book.

China offers us an example of a phenomenon very rare in the history of revolutions; not a class emigration but a mass emigration; not an emigration made up of ci-devants who have lost their privileges, and whose evidence might therefore be coloured by their resentments, but an emigration of ordinary people fleeing from the new order after living under it for a number of years. It seemed to me unforgivable that no attempt should be made to take advantage of this extraordinary exodus in order to get at the truth. The stories of ordinary people of all trades and occupations who have experienced the conditions of everyday life under the new régime provide us with the most revealing information concerning the nature of the régime--information which is much more significant than the shallow data which is all that the casual visitor can provide.

In order to get that information straight from the mouths of those first-hand witnesses I went to Hongkong, the town on which the main flood of refugees converges. There I questioned fifty-four of them, of all ages and both sexes, of a variety of trades and occupations and coming from all parts of China. This book presents the evidence of these first-hand witnesses as to the truth about Chinese Communism.

Except where the refugees in question could speak English or French, I questioned them through interpreters helpfully provided by the free trade unions of Hongkong. I took voluminous notes at the time, and at the end of my interrogations, in order that my memory should not fail me, I made a draft and added notes on the character of the man or woman I had questioned and on the background of his or her experience. In my final revision I did my best to reflect the authentic atmosphere of their stories.

The first thing the witnesses invariably did was to beg me not to . . .

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