Communism Two Crossroads of Reform

A TIME correspondent takes an intriguing journey through the Soviet Union and China, comparing the substance and pace of the changes that are dramatically transforming the two Communist powers

Along Beijing's Xiushui Street, merchants in makeshift metal stands plaintively urge shoppers to buy jade-green grapes, bright red Coca-Cola sportswear and Begonia Flower-brand silk lingerie. A balding trader, waving a fan, hawks Christian Dior-label shirts. They cost 100 yuan ($27) abroad, he confides, but his price is only 25 yuan ($6). A real bargain. The yellow license in his stall identifies him as a ge ti hu (private entrepreneur), who sells his wares on the free market.

At Moscow's Arbat pedestrian mall, evening strollers cluster around a young guitarist. The music has stopped, and the passersby follow a heated argument between...

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