Red China: The Self-Bound Gulliver

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cease-fire ordered by the Geneva agreements. Partly, this was in line with their traditional formula of fight a little, talk a little. The captured documents disclosed the military tie-up with the 1961 spring of despair at home, when Red China faced internal uprisings, widespread food shortages, and morale problems in the army itself. Soldiers grumbled at conditions in the villages, complaining that "at present, what the farmers eat is even worse than what dogs eat," and charging "village cadres with beating and scolding people just as in the old society." Peking wanted no additional trouble in Laos.

Where's the Bomb? Another reason for Chinese caution was the gloomy conviction that Moscow would with hold help. Warned a Communist general, "If there is a war within three to five years, we will have to rely on the weapons we now have." Today the weapons China most desperately wants —nuclear warheads—are nowhere in sight. Peking is so bitter about Moscow's reneging on its 1957 agreement to help create a Red Chinese atom bomb that it has broadcast details of the Russian about-face. Chinese physicists are now believed to be two to three years away from detonating a nuclear blast, farther still from what the experts call a "significant capability." But work proceeds on the project, for Peking hopes that achievement of nuclear status, however primitive, will gain prestige among the underdeveloped millions on earth whose respect—and alliance—the Red Chinese are out to win.

The noise from Peking showed no sign of diminishing, and continued to fascinate the non-Communist world with fresh tales of old skeletons in Communist closets. In one announcement, Red China took full credit for forcing a weak-kneed Khrushchev ("who had decided to abandon Socialist Hungary to counterrevolution") to send Russian tanks into Budapest and crush the 1956 uprising. Peking radio also made an unprecedented reference to important factional disputes within the top ranks of the Chinese Communist Party. Khrushchev was accused of openly voicing support for "antiparty elements" in China. Western experts believe the Chinese "elements" Khrushchev was supporting were military men who opposed the growing Sino-Soviet split, most likely former Defense Minister Peng Teh-huai and his Deputy, Huang Ke-cheng. Khrushchev is additionally charged with trying to sell Peking on a "two Chinas" plan as a means of settling Mao's quarrel with Generalissimo Chiang Kaishek.

Peking radio also confirmed earlier reports that Russia was stirring up the Kazakh tribesmen in Sinkiang against their Chinese masters. Only last year, Red China charged, Russia had lured some 10,000 Kazakhs in Sinkiang into crossing the border into Soviet Kazakhstan. Despite repeated protest from Peking, Russia refused to give back the Kazakhs because of "humanitarianism" —a pretext that China clearly regarded as ludicrous.

Whether or not Red China succeeds in its great design to be leader of an Afro-Asian-Latin American alliance, Mao Tse-tung will not be around to see the result. At 69, Mao now needs help in walking. He disappears for long stretches, reportedly to meditate in his navilion facing lovely West Lake in Hangchow. No one really knows why he gave up the Chairmanship of the government in 1958 after one

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