Roger L Simon engages in a little self-criticism over a 1970s China visit, and points to an item in the Guardian from Stanley Johnson doing the same:
I have been indulging, in true Maoist fashion, in my own small bout of self-criticism. Though I have been to China several times and once even wrote a (not surprisingly unpublished) novel entitled Chink in the Armoire, the focus of my attention has been on August 1975 when, with a group of colleagues from the European Commission, I spent three weeks travelling around the country on an itinerary which, remarkably for those days, included Peking, Shenyang, Wuxi, Nanking, Shanghai and Canton.
This was the tail-end of the Mao era. Mao himself was still alive, though ailing. The Gang of Four was jostling Deng Xiao-Ping and his allies for pole position in the race to succeed him. Though the worst excesses were probably over, it was not a happy time, or a happy place.
What astonishes me, looking back, is that we not only swallowed all the garbage we were fed, as we visited one commune, one factory after another; we positively lapped it up. Some of us actually sported Mao hats.
Welcome stuff. It would be a little more welcome if the CPC was willing to be a touch more self critical about its own past actions.
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