Worthy Calls His Passport Fight 'A Showdown' on Press Rights

Hits China Recognition Stand

Neiman Fellow William Worthy, who recently returned from Red China, said yesterday morning that his passport could not "be revoked at a press conference" and awaited official action by the State Department as a "showdown after a decade of infringement on the rights of the press." His passport had been revoked by Department of State officials at a December 28 press conference.

The journalist told an audience at the Community Church of Boston that his criticism of the State Department did not stem from sympathy with the Communist Bloc. He explained that he finds "the tell-tale seeds of totalitarianism" in the "sorry spectacle of the Department's actions."

Worthy claimed that officials at the United States Embassy in Budapest had tampered with his mail. The Department later explained that a letter addressed to Worthy had been opened "in error" by the U.S. Minister. Worthy pointed out, however, that the Minister doesn't usually spend his time working in the mail room."

He called for the recognition of the Chinese government stating that "the rest of the world looks upon us as incredibly childish in the matter."

Reporting on the conditions in Communist China, the Nieman fellow said that "although there is a totalitarian regime with complete control on every level of society, there has been a vast improvement of economic conditions and, in the past year, a quiet liberalization movement reflecting an eased world situation."

Worthy spoke of the Chinese Street Committees, calling them "the key to the country's future." The Committees, which are practically unknown to the West, are the regime's major device for keeping in touch with the people and ruling them on a local level.

Each Committee, composed of ten or more civic minded citizens, is in charge of about 200 households. It discharges matters concerning economic affairs, charity, public health, and loyalty reports. Worthy reported that a birth control program of "gigantic proportions" will probably be administered by the Street Committees.