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The resurgent New China

Chairman Mao Tse Tung

When the great Chairman Mao Tse Tung, the Supreme Commander and the architect of modern China was living, he launched a social purification program through his young ‘Red Guards’ which was named ‘Cultural Revolution’.

Under this so-called revolution, most of the intellectuals and wise men were murdered in a cold blooded manner while the people whom they considered as imperialists and their henchmen were subjected to inhuman treatment and immense hardships.

These young red guards were like a pack of wolves unleashed after a period of starvation. They created mayhem throughout the country during the early part of nineteen sixties.

Cultural Revolution

At this time the Reuters had a correspondent in Peking (Present Beijing), a young man named Anthony Gray. When the Cultural Revolution was at its peak, one day a group of red guards came and surrounded his house. They told him that since he was a lackey of capitalists, he will be kept under house arrest.

For Gray, this came as a bolt from the blues and he was thoroughly unprepared for such an eventuality. He was not allowed to come out of his house and all his belongings, including his typewriter (at that time there were no laptops or cell phones) and writing material were taken away.

He was given bare minimum of food for his survival. Everyday, a new team of red guards came to guard him. He knew nothing of Chinese Language and they knew nothing of English. Conversation was by hands and gestures.

He pleaded with them to release him but to no avail. Reuters Headquarters in London, having come to know about it, made various attempts through Diplomatic channels to rescue him but the authorities in Peking had none of it. All his movements were restricted and from inside the house, he could hear only the sound of change of guards.

Gray had to undergo this worst ordeal for more than a year. He asked for pen and paper to write something to break the monotony but those requests fell on deaf ears. When he had nothing to do, he was counting ants which were going about in the walls. Sometimes he felt like committing suicide when he could not bear it any more. Living became a bit ordeal for him.

Blessing in disguise

Gradually, when the tension eased, he was given certain concessions like to get down books to read, and pen and paper to write. This was a blessing in disguise and he started writing about his ordeal in coded language fearing that, if found, his captors would not allow him to take the scripts.

Ultimately, he was released after more than 1 1/2 years in captivity for no fault of his. No sooner, Reuters recalled him to London. Once he returned, he wrote a monumental book ‘A Hostage in Peking’.

When I completed reading the last page of his book, a disdainful hate began to develop in me to towards Mao, his bloody revolution and the brand of Communism he was practising in China.

But, on a recent visit to Beijing, I was ashamed of myself for hating this great, great man hailed as a demigod in China who had transformed a poor and miserable country well described by that Nobel Prize winner Pearle S. Buck in her monumental work ‘The Good Earth’.

Those who have visited oil rich city of Dubai or that commercial hub Tokyo will be amazed to see how this great city of Beijing over 6000 sq. kms in extent has been transformed into an ultra modern city with its high-rise buildings, industries at their best and technological marvels. Above all, the sense of discipline and decorum inculcated in the modern Chinese people is simply unbelievable.

This great city, with over 17 million inhabitants living in ultra modern condominiums of 10 to 30 storeys, is simply an architectural triumph.

The road network spreading over the entire city with overhead highways and railway lines criss-crossing add beauty to the city. The entire city is spotlessly clean not even a bus ticket could be seen anywhere in any of the roads.

We did not see a single shanty or even single storeyed houses were very rare in the city. Housing blocks on either side of the highways are connected with overhead bridges.

Tien An Mien Square

Right along the main highways, thousands of large flower pots grown with beautiful flowers adorn the city. In other places, multi-coloured flowers have been grown along the roads while trees are planted at equal distances giving the share and providing much needed oxygen.

In the Tien An Mien Square, where the mortal remains of this greatest man of our century are lying, everyday at least half a million people mostly Chinese, file past the glass dome containing his body and pay their obeisance in the most respectful manner. I purposely worshipped him to satisfy my conscience for hating him earlier.

Great Wall of China

Modern Beijing is like a town in any other European country. Its high-rise buildings, modern railways including subways, amalgamated buses including double deckers are plying endlessly and the roads are full of modern cars like Benz, Aston Martin, Volvo, VW and all Japanese cars in addition to their own makes. MacDonalds, Hiltons, Carefours as well Adidas, Gucci and all other European brands have well taken their roots. Western music and Western T.V. channels seemed to be in great demand among the Chinese.

Singing and dancing

People appear to be very happy and contented. Wherever people gather in large numbers, they make merry by singing and dancing in open places. In hotels dishes served are very much Western and not a single oriental dish was served at the Holiday Inn where we stayed. Brand new buses, trolleys, double deckers mostly driven by uniformed ladies are a common sight.

There are million of bicycles running along the roads and even at night cars and bicycles are parked along the roads. Beggars are very rare and everybody tries to do something to earn his/her living.

Tourism appears to be one of the main foreign exchange earners. Everyday, thousands and thousands of people come from all corners of the globe to visit the Great Wall, Tien An Mien Square, the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven and Summer Palace etc. All those are marvels in their own right and they must be seen to be believed.

Thanks to Chairman Mao, China has well taken its roots. In time to come, no power on earth will be able to challenge its prosperity and superiority.


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