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Land of Leaders. The fruit-rich province of Shantung, home of Confucius and his fellow sage Mencius, is inhabited by a sturdy peasantry that speaks a Mandarin dialect so harsh and unmelodic that Chinese say, "Better to quarrel with a man from Soochow than to converse civilly with a Shantungese." Beautiful Szechwan boasts that it grows enough food to feed five provinces, and it is filled with terraced hills, rivers, coal and valuable minerals. Anhwei contains the sugarloaf mountains and pinnacled rocks made famous by the misty paintings of Chinese artists.
To the Communists, the three most important provinces are the southern states of Hunan, Chekiang and Kwangtung, which produced most of today's Red leaders.*Mao Tse-tung was born near the capital city of Changsha, as was his No. 2 man, Liu Shao-chi. Other Red Hunanese: Labor Boss Li Lisan, Army Commanders Peng Teh-huai and Lo Jung-huan. Kwangtung, with its capital city of Canton, is the nerve center of South China. Its men have a reputation for pugnacity and business enterprise, its women for slim, almond-eyed beauty.
Way out West. Beyond China proper extend vast territories that were conquered centuries ago but often lightly held by the Chinese. The broad plains of Manchuria have become the three provinces of Kirin, Heilungkiang, and Liaoning. Shenyang, formerly known as Mukden, is the Pittsburgh of China, and its steel mills are within sight of the felt-covered tents of Manchu herds men, who are now outnumbered about 30 to 1 by Chinese immigrants.
At Inner Mongolia begins China's Far West, which almost exactly resembles that of the U.S.prairie, desert and towering mountainsand is inhabited by the Chinese equivalent of American Indians, the Uighur, Kazakh and Khirghiz tribesmen, who are distinct in race and religion (Moslem) from their overlords. The tribesmen have repeatedly rebelled against all central governments and make no exception of the Communist regime.
Leap's Loss. No one can say with accuracy how many people live within China's borders. The Communists' 1953 census said 582 million. The Chinese Nationalists argue that this figure was too high; in fact, says the U.S. Census Bureau, it was far too low, and virtually all Western experts agree. In any case, the U.S. State Department believes that China's population in June of this year was somewhere in the neighborhood of 720 million.
This land and this people have now lived for 14 years under the rule of the Communists. The gains have been convulsive: schools built at the same frenzied pace as tractor plants; hospitals rushed up in provinces that had scarcely even seen a doctor; roads and railways thrown over gorges, through mountains and across deserts.
The pace was so fast and frenzied that it