In recent months there have been increasing signs of Westernization in China. America's "Time" magazine?
In recent months there have been increasing signs of Westernization in China. America's "Time" magazine is now on sale, albeit to foreigners and only in Peking hotels. Western cigarettes and liquor can also be bought for foreign currency, and more cars are appearing on the streets. In August Vice Premier Li Xiannian announced that China was considering combining centralised planning with a market economy to encourage local incentive, however despite these superficial changes and more open discussion, the China still appear to be trying to stand by their socialist principles.
SYNOPSIS: The traditional bicycle is finally starting to give way to the car in the streets of Peking. Outside the Wang Fujing department store a mass of cars can now be found. There are very few privately owned cars in China, and the number of cars in Peking shopping streets is beginning to cause concern because it is unlikely that all the users are on public business. Only recently the Chinese media reminded the country's authorities of the Party's traditions and its rejection of special considerations and privileges for individuals. This veiled criticism reflects a new openness in the Chinese media and more active discussion.
In recent weeks a number of posters have appeared on Peking's "Democracy Wall" criticising the poor circumstances of the peasantry in the countryside, the inadequate attention to youth problems and the state of unemployment. Earlier this month a wall poster announced an unofficial public meeting would be held in Tienanmen Square to reappraise Chairman Mao and the direction China is taking. The meeting was broken up by police, when a man started distributing pamphlets, but the mere fac that the poster was not torn down and the people allowed to assemble reflects a new idealism now prevalent in China. Only months ago any public criticism of Chairman Mao would have been unheard of. As one Chinese office worker put it: "this does not mean that the thoughts of Mao Tse-tung are no longer effective, we are just trying to be more realistic."