On April 7, 1976, a New York Times editorial expressed an evidently startled reaction to recent rioting in Peking, for “China had seemed to be so orderly, so completely controlled in recent years….” The same day's mail brought to our address the February, 1976, issue of Letters from Asia, published in Hong Kong. The “letter” on China noted widespread strikes and disorders in 1974 and disruptive “factionalism” at all Party levels. The key line was: “…1975 was a highly agitated year in Chinese politics.”
Having been broken in the traces of contemporary sinology, we are now accustomed to such moments of schizophrenia. Indeed, in our preceding two articles we have ourselves begun to render, in seeming schizoid fashion, a darkly shaded image of China in opposition to the prevailing evenly sunlit one.