CHINA: Hundred Flowers, Part 2

Mao's heirs promise a thaw—but how warm, and for how long?

It was pure political theater, set in Peking's cavernous Great Hall of the People. All the votes were unanimous, all the speakers loudly applauded by the 3,497 delegates. The script for last week's National People's Congress, the body that theoretically serves as China's parliament, came courtesy of the all-powerful Communist Party Central Committee. The point the Central Committee wished to drive home: 18 months after Mao's death and the subsequent arrest of the radical Gang of Four. China's leadership has consolidated,...

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