A Country with a Long Way to Go

Seediness, poverty and neglect belie the propaganda images

The dusty reality of China remains today surprisingly different from the glowing myth so long propagated by Peking's ideologues. After touring the southern provinces, TIME Hong Kong Correspondent Richard Bernstein, who speaks Chinese, last week reported these impressions:

The nameless small alley is littered with discarded, rusting kerosene cans and shards from broken roof tiles. Ragged bundles of kindling wood tied with string line the sidewalk. Chipped red bricks, tin washbasins and wooden buckets for carrying water are scattered over the hard-packed earth. A few bicycles,...

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