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Nigel Harris

More China

(Summer 1966)

From International Socialism (1st series), No.25, Summer 1966, p.32.
Thanks to Ted Crawford & the late Will Fancy.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Land Behind Walls (A Journey to China)
Lorenz Stucki
Ampersand (Allen and Unwin), 6s

Chinese Communism
Robert C North
Weidenfeld & Nicholson (World University Library), 12s 6d

Industrial Development in Communist China
Edited Choh-Ming Li
Praeger, Paperback 14s and cloth 42s

The number of books dealing with China from the viewpoint either of a casual tourist or of providing a ‘general introduction’ is now getting so large it suggests they will shortly cease, which is all to the good: perhaps the ground will then be cleared for more serious analysis. Mr Stucki, a Neue Zürcher Zeitung correspondent, is not quite a ‘casual tourist,’ but his impressions are very much rooted in the attitudes of a European upper middle class tourist. He records with accuracy his impressions which in the main are only remotely related to his hostility towards the regime. His experiences, like that of all travellers, is fragmentary and partial, and not of great help in the process of general analysis and evaluation.

Professor North has written a competent and useful account of modern Chinese history (not ‘Chinese Communism’ as his title suggests). It is vivid and suggestive, and, within the limits of his brief, relatively fair. It is also graced by an excellent selection of photographs, a good bibliography and chronology. As an introduction to China for serious students it has very few rivals, and is to be welcomed.

The third volume is the reprint of an issue of China Quarterly, probably the best issue of that journal ever produced. It is serious and analytic, even when overtly anti-Communist, and contains a wealth of information on China’s economy up to 1963. If people seriously interested in China missed the original version, this is an excellently reproduced copy, and, more important, relatively low-priced in its paperback edition.

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Last updated: 24 April 2010