Chinese Communes by Soviet Survey

The China Quarterly by Congress For Cultural Freedom

Economic Development of Communist China by T. J. Hughes and D. E. Luard: O.U.P. 22/6d.

a spectre haunts Chinese studies: the spectre of Stalinism. Time and time again, events in Communist China are described in terms of a model built on the following argument: if the criteria for Communist totalitarian government are necessarily an all-embracing ideology, a monopoly of political power, arms and secret police and a centrallyoperated economy, then China, satisfying these criteria, is a totalitarian country. Unsatisfied by this conclusion, the commentators have gone on to assert that China is nothing but another version of Stalinism, with the (oftenoutspoken) implication that we have mistakenly supposed Chinese Communism to be something different.

“Any illusions of 1949,” writes Professor Kirby in the new China Quarterly,” as to China being, or likely to become, a deviant or special model of Communism are largely dispelled. In its internal mechanics . . . the Chinese Communist State appears ex post (what many did not expect ex ante) to be of strict Communist form—the Russian and Czechoslovakian, not the Polish, let alone the Jugoslavian”.

The model is a familiar one, with a well-known family of expressions, concepts and images, a definite range of reference and a well-defined starting point for speculation. Proponents of the model include Mr. G. F. Hudson, Mr. Victor Zorza, Professor Richard Walker, Saturn, Problems of Communism and Friends of Free China Association.

The application of the Stalinist model to China has some basis in fact. There are enough similarities between the Soviet Union and China—for example, in the use of FiveYear Plans, the economic ministries, the planning mechanisms, the structure, functions and aims of the Communist Party—to suggest other parallels. Nor is there anything necessarily vicious in approaching the subject of Communist China with the question: To what extent do actual explanations of what is going on in China approximate to the structure of the Stalinist model? The dangers are that more will sometimes be read into specific events than they can bear, and that important features that are there will pass unnoticed. For the sake of Chinese studies, however, it would be better to bury the model altogether.