Red China: A Little Disorder

All week long, Peking throbbed with the fever of crisis. A sea of demonstrators jammed the streets carrying red banners and pictures of Chairman Mao Tse-tung. Mao himself turned up briefly at one rally and was greeted by the singing of the nation's newest hit, We Rely on the Helmsman When We Sail the Ocean. After he left, crowds rushed forward to try to shake the hands of those who had shaken hands with Mao.

Behind the frenzy was some kind of struggle in Peking's high inner councils. Hints emerged that certain party officials were arguing for a softening of...

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