World: MAO'S HEALTH AND CHINA'S LEADERSHIP

WHENEVER Mao Tse-tung, the 76-year-old leader of 750 million Chinese, slips from the public eye for any length of time, the world beyond his closed kingdom soon begins to buzz with rumors of his illness or even death. In late 1965 and early 1966, Mao faded from view for six months, only to reappear suddenly and launch his disruptive Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. This year the Chairman's last public appearance occurred in mid-May —more than four months ago—and speculation about his health has begun to mount once again.

Earlier this month, Washington picked up...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!