The authors of this book, Wilfred Burchett, an Australian, and Rewi Alley, a New Zealander, are no strangers to China. Burchett spent 19 years in S.E. Asia and China, and Rewi Alley first went to China in 1927. He stayed to witness, and to participate in the momentous events that encompassed war, civil war and finally the victory of the Chinese Communist Party, which gave Mao and his colleagues the necessary moral authority to rule. Their central interest as Burchett writes, ‘has been to measure the changes that have occurred in recent years in China and to set them in perspective against what we knew of old China’. We tried to understand also how ordinary Chinese citizens conceive that much-bandied-about term: ‘quality of life’. Both, of course, are ‘sympathizers’, and present a ‘positive’ view of the changes that have taken place at the grass-roots level.
October 1976, volume 1, No 4