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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University, Wellington N.Z. Vol. 22, No. 2. March 23, 1959

Human Element

Human Element

Even in the brief few weeks I spent in China, I saw the many shapes in which industry has come to the country. I saw the giant textile mill at Peking, whose secretary was a girl from Shanghai who had experienced the old exploitation, and where the creche and the kindergarten were full of plump brightly-clad children and attractive, so-efficient nurses. I saw the co-operative silk mills at Chengtu — modem, locally-built machinery side by side with bamboo looms—turning out exquisitely-patterned woven silk. The secretary here was a tiny girl in her twenties, proud of the factory's expanding output and new housing.

I wandered around a Yi commune near Kunming and saw the wide range of small industries which had come to this sun-washed countryside of Yunnan—the brickmaking and iron smelting (the forced draught on the largest furnace passing along pipes made of American oil drums) and the manufacture of simple agricultural machinery. Here the industrial sector was organised by a young man of possibly 30 who had copied the designs for the furnaces in the city an hour's journey away, and who had now had a score of furnaces in production.

I visited the North-western University at Lanchow which runs some 60 factories where the students get practical experience and new production techniques can be developed. The barriers between scholar and worker are being deliberately broken down. Everywhere I found an intense pride in China's young and growing industries, and a people working with an energy and dedication unseen elsewhere.