CHINA: Defeat

It had been the Year of the Rat—and the year of the Communists. In the Chinese calendar, the old year stood for misfortune and deceit. A few surreptitious firecrackers, still forbidden under martial law, last week heralded the New Year of the Ox, which signified hard work and persistence. In present-day China, inevitably, it also signified sorrow and loss.

Communist armies stood outside Nanking last week. Nationalist troops gave no sign of preparing to defend the Yangtze. Nanking's sprawling government buildings were almost empty. A coolie, asleep in a ministerial chair, opened one eye and told a stray English caller: "Minister,...

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