Between Govind Kelkar’s visit to China in April-May 1978 and mine in May-June 1979 there was a year full of rapid policy changes. She travelled in China when the Chinese leadership was inclined to retain the overall orientation of the Cultural Revolution and integrate it with a programme of four modernizations while denouncing the extremism of the Gang of Four. By the time I visited China the leadership was fast swinging in favour of those who denounced the policies of the Cultural Revolution in toto, redefined the theory of class struggle and opted for a new line of four modernizations. Kelkar’s account records this transition period which existed for about two years in 1977-78 and was overtaken by the new line adopted at the Third Plenum of the CPC in December 1978. Kelkar’s report is important for yet another reason. Its vivid descriptions of communes, factories, hospitals and schools that she visited reflect some real achievements, especially for the rural people without minimizing the enormous problems that they still face.
Jan-Feb 1980, volume 4, No 1-2