Red China: The Chilly Season

Red China's masses last week had much in common with the subjects of the famous fairy-tale emperor: everybody was talking about new clothes, but nobody could actually see them. After three years of bad cotton crops, the annual cloth ration has shrunk to as little as 2½ ft. per person in some regions—"just enough," said one refugee, "to patch our rags." So severe is the shortage, according to the official Peking People's Daily, that "clothes hospitals" are making "short-sleeved shirts out of long-sleeved shirts, a vest out of a short-sleeved shirt, and underwear out of a vest."

In timeworn style,...

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