Source: PEKING REVIEW Vol.1 No.2, March 11, 1958
VISITORS from the West who see People’s China for the first time usually express surprise. What surprises them are the far-reaching changes that have taken place since the founding of the new republic. For the “old China hand” who was familiar with the China of feudal warlords and comprador-capitalists, things in New China are definitely not what they used to be. The complete stranger who has never been to China before and who has only read something about this country in the capitalist press finds things in New China quite different than expected. This surprise is only natural.
Judged by the yardstick of a capitalist country, many things here are indeed “inexplicable.” But it’s no mystery.
Take the current big leap forward in China’s national economy, for example. What was once regarded as impossible has now become possible. Jobs that used to take months and years to complete are now being done in days and weeks. In 45 days Yoshi County in Anhwei Province completed a programme of tree-planting originally planned for ten years.
This is something that happens when a nation has achieved national independence and adopted the socialist path. The initiative and creative energy of the people is limitless, because at long last the broad labouring masses have got something to fight for and something to fight with. This is the source of New China’s strength.
The rapid growth of China’s co-operative farming tells a fascinating story. Once the individual peasants got organized in co-ops, they could see for themselves the advantages of collective farming spelled out in greater yields and higher personal incomes. That’s why they have become more and more identified with the co-ops. And now they pin their hopes for a better future on the ever-growing prosperity of their co-ops.
Socialist emulation is another example of how the “impossible” becomes possible.
The cut-throat competition of capitalist “free enterprises” usually results in undisputed victory for the strong and destruction of the weak. To the victor go the spoils. In the battle for survival in old society it is everybody for himself and the devil take the hindmost.
In People’s China, socialist emulation is just the reverse. The strong and the advanced help the weak and the backward by sharing with them the “secrets” of success. The backward try to catch up by learning from the advanced. Here, it is all for one and one for all. Community of interest and shared ideals unite people of all sorts and conditions in concerted effort for the common good. This spirit of mutual aid gives socialism its strength.
But the road to socialism is no primrose path. People’s China, with its legacy of backwardness from the past, has a long way to go before it catches up. However, it is precisely in overcoming difficulties that the Chinese people have mustered the strength for new and still greater advances.
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