RED CHINA: Weeding Time

Though Mao Tse-tung labors to establish the myth that the peasant masses provided the popular base for the Communist conquest of China, the fact is that much of Mao's earliest and most influential support came from the dedicated mandarin intellectuals—who flocked to the Communist cause. One such was pretty, zealous Chiang Ping-chih, who under the pen name of Ting Ling was regarded, at 21, as one of China's finest playwrights and novelists.

When Ting Ling arrived at Chairman Mao's headquarters in Shensi province in 1934, she had all the right credentials: literary fame,...

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