Red China: The Weeds & the Flowers

Mao Tse-tung has not been seen in public since last Nov. 26 when he waved a fragile goodbye to a delegation of visiting Cambodian military officers. Last week Sinologists were speculating that Mao was seriously ill.

At 72, Mao is ailing and overweight, smokes two packs of cigarettes a day, and suffers either from Parkinson's disease or the symptomatically similar aftereffects of a cerebral hemorrhage. He is also believed to have a liver ailment.

In a 1965 interview with U.S. Journalist Edgar Snow, Mao wryly said he was "getting ready to see God...

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