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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University College, Wellington N.Z. Vol. 21, No. 2. March 27, 1958

Mao's New Line

Mao's New Line

Things look better for the future. In February, 1957, Mao shook the Communist world with his speech before the Supreme State Conference of the Chinese People's Republic. He became the first Communist leader to face reality and admit that contradictions can, and do, arise between the masses and their leaders in a proletarian society. Since then the Chinese Central government has announced that strikes and demonstrations are completely legal, and that nobody taking part in them will be prosecuted. Even more important was Mao's now famous statement of letting flowers blossom together and schools of thought contend. There was, however, another phrase in this gardening analogy that has had much less attention, viz., "poisonous weeds must be exterminated." It seems that Mao's new line permits a considerable measure of ideological disagreement, but will not permit an attack on Marxism as such. For this reason several leading members of the government have had to confess to the Party that they were "Rightists". However, the very fact that they have been given an opportunity of repentance and rectification is a sign that the situation in China is easing and that there is a real increase in freedom and toleration.

Let us hope that this favourable trend continues.