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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 39, Number 21, September 6, 1976.

China Trippers Report Back

China Trippers Report Back

Five of the Victoria delegates to this year's NZUSA China trip held an informal forum last Thursday to report on their experiences and impressions of Chinese society. The delegates answered questions from the floor for two hours.

Those attending the forum seemed keen to understand the nature of the present Chinese system, and the way in which it was developing to achieve its socialist goals.

Discussion ranged over most areas of life in China. The delegates seemed particularly impressed by the contrast between the competitivness and social inequality of Hong-Kong, and the order and cooperation apparent in China.

China's emphasis on independence and self-sufficiency has led it to build replica underground cities, in preparation for what they consider is a inevitable war with Russia.

The delegates were questioned as to how representative their 3 week guided tour of China really was. There is of course no way of knowing the answer to this. But the trippers pointed out that their movements in China were virtually unrestricted at any time, they could leave the group, and venture off to explore the area for themselves. At no time did the Chinese seem to have anything to hide - though, of course, the itinary was pre-determined.

The China delegates did not always answer with unanimity - all had different expectations, and related to Chinese society in different ways. Some tended to explain away the existing tension within China as part of the "continuing class struggle", while others were more skeptical.

It must be difficult to describe one's impressions of a society foreign to ours it is even harder for me to amalgamate five descriptions of these impressions. But one of the most consistant impressions conveyed by the delegates was of the tremendous enthusiasm and energy of the Chinese people. As one delegate commented:

"If anyone will survive, the Chinese will."

— Barbara McElwee