CHINA: I Am Very Optimistic

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At week's end Mao gave in, with Chinese punctilio: "Mr. Chiang Kai-shek ... I appreciate your telegram. My humble self is most willing to come to Chungking. . . . Chou En-lai is leaving as soon as your plane arrives. Your younger brother is preparing to come in the immediate future. . . ." Chungking reported that U.S. Ambassador Patrick J. Hurley would go to Yenan to escort Mao to Chiang.

Internal Balance. As the Communist issue fell into its proper perspective, the great problem before China was to organize the peace. For almost every phase of peace the Central Government, if it did not yet have all the necessary means, had mature and carefully drawn plans.

In China's provinces there are upwards of 2,000,000 puppet troops, an unknown number of other collaborationists. They occupy a delicate position in the country's internal balance of power. These the Central Government's Ministry of Justice will sort out. "Justice, not leniency," it announced last week, "will be the guiding principle. . . . The test will be whether or not they were willing tools. All suspected of voluntary collaboration will have their turn before a court of law."

A bulkier problem still was the return of China's refugees to their homes. For transporting the 25,000,000, the Central Government had only 29 tiny river steamers, 10,000 wooden junks, 1,000 to 3,000 trucks in various stages of decrepitude, four CNAC passenger planes. "It will be like emptying a lake with teaspoons," said a Chungking official. "We'll be in luck if we all get back in ten years."

First to go home will be military personnel. Then will come administrative officials to take over from the Japanese—and bank notes to restore economy. Then essential Government employes, teachers and factory workers; lastly, the millions of plain civilians. But no one doubted that the humble refugees who somehow had found their way into the hinterland would somehow find a way out again.

Hunger & Relief. There was still no comprehensive picture of what Japanese rule had done to China's cities and countryside. Canton was all but moribund. Shanghai's masses were desperately hungry; 1,500,000 of her workers were jobless, and 20,000 prostitutes prowled her streets. But Shanghai still had her factories; once their wheels rolled, the metropolis would hum again and Shanghai might well be the mirror of the nation's revival.

UNRRA planned to bring in $900,000,000 worth of emergency food, medicines and textiles (to crack inflation). Given internal peace, China might suffer less even in the immediate future than many anticipated. In coastal Foochow, two months after liberation, Chinese industry and doggedness had already brought civilian life to prewar levels. Streets were repaved, sampan traffic resumed, trade restored. Everywhere in the countryside the harvest promised to be bountiful. In a nation overwhelmingly agricultural and simple, there was solid reason for hope of a quick return to peace.

Reconstruction. In 18 months, the planners at Chungking hoped, the pressing problems of remigration and relief would be reduced. Then China could truly launch her era of national reconstruction. The Kuomintang Congress of last May had laid down the broad principles:

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