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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 36, Number 17. July 18th, 1973


A "barefoot" doctor giving a commune member treatment.

A "barefoot" doctor giving a commune member treatment.

Travelling on the plane between Canton and Shanghai one of our delegation struck up a conversation with a Scots sea captain who was employed by a state shipping corporation in Peking. This gentleman wasn't very satisfied with economic development in China. There were tremendous possibilities for increased production, he said, but the Chinese refused to use foreign skills and refused to emphasise technical expertise rather than political education. However he claimed that the Chinese people had "got over" the "madness" of the Cultural Revolution, and were now settling down to hard work.

Foreign "experts" on China have made similar comments. For instance a recent issue of the Far Eastern Economic Review commented about agricultural development in China that the peasants had forgotten idealistic and impractical political ideas and were getting down to hard work.

There is no doubt that the Chinese working class and peasantry work hard in building socialism in their country. But there is also no doubt that socialism is being built in a highly political and revolutionary way.

The Chinese people have not forgotten their long revolutionary history. In Canton we visited the National Peasant Movement Institute which Mao Tsetung directed for five months in 1926. Chairman Mao's study and bedroom, student dormitories and lecture halls have all been carefully preserved as a memorial to an important phase of the Chinese revolution when the peasants started to get organised.