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Edited by Charles Taylor. Toronto, McClelland & Stewart, c1984. 363pp. paper. $16.95, ISBN0-7710-8436-6. CIP

Grades 10 and up
Reviewed by Elinor Kelly

Volume 13 Number 3
1985 May

For a quarter century, the Toronto Globe and Mail has maintained a news bureau in Peking, the first western one after the Revolution. "This book is the story of twenty-five years in the life of the Chinese People's Republic, as seen by eleven Globe and Mail correspondents who were based in Peking between 1959 and 1984. . . . Few periods have brought such dramatic and often profound changes in the day-to-day existence of ordinary Chinese, in the structure of their society and in Chinese relations with the outside world."

The first correspondent was Frederick Nossal, who met a bureaucracy still pro-Russian and very unfriendly to the West. Nowadays, Alien Abel sends dispatches from a Peking crammed with foreign tourists and promoting economic measures that would shock Chairman Mao.

The editor of this volume is Charles Taylor, who was the second Globe man in China. He has selected significant passages from the writings of the various correspondents to present a history of the development of the People's Republic in this important era. The newsmen were almost never censored but were often warned, harassed, and even expelled, or had their travel restricted.

John Fraser, author of The Chinese* was one correspondent, who because of the friendlier climate in his term of service, seemed able to reach the Chinese people and, while by no means uncritical, was able to show them as living, breathing humans. Others do a lot of jeering at the ridiculous (to the western mind) fiats of Chinese bureaucracy but make no human contacts perhaps because of the language barrier or the restrictions placed on foreigners. There is a kind of English used in translations from the Chinese that has no relation to ordinary English spoken by the rest of us. One wonders if cultural barriers would crumble if normal English could be used.

The Globe bureau has been an important one in Canadian journalism and its dispatches have been widely read. The book may not be a first choice for small collections, but it is of real interest to students of China.

Elinor Kelly, Port Hope, Ont.

*Reviewed vol. 1X/3 1981 p.215.

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