Behind the Turmoil in China

Behind the Turmoil in China

At the end of 1974, three young revolutionaries posted on the walls of a busy street of Kwangchow a long and powerful political manifesto. Before it could be suppressed by the authorities, it was immediately reproduced and disseminated by way of Chinese-style Samizdat, and it rocked the whole country.

Had Western observers paid more attention at the time to this historical document—a spontaneous expression of the masses—instead of focusing on the permanent power struggle waged between a handful of top bureaucrats, the recent riots in Peking would not have taken them so much by surprise.

It takes as its starting point the Criticism of Lin Piao, which had been the theme of a huge campaign for the past few years. The authors observe that the campaign had so far remained largely sterile and empty, since it concentrated on beating a dead horse: what is the use of merely denouncing an individual?