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The tensions and pressures which have existed in Communist China up through the past two or three years--especially the intellectual aspects--have eased tremendously, Nieman Fellow William Worthy told a New Lecture Hall audience last night.
He said that the anti-intellectualism which had flourished in 1955, when the government waged its campaign against the intellectual Hu Fung, has subsided tremendously. Now the intellectuals receive special benefits, such as having purchases delivered to them by the stores.
The intellectual's activity, which was formerly stifled to a large degree, is now encouraged to the point that Chou En-lai has declared that "at least five-sixths of the intellectual's 48-hour week should be spent in individual contemplative activity."
This reduction in tension--and even hysteria--which once surrounded intellectual activity, appears to be representative of a general emotional downgrading in other areas, Worthy said. He felt that the general high emotional level, predominant three years ago, was now greatly reduced in most areas.
Worthy also dwelt at some length on the role of the "Street Committees" in China. Each of these groups, made up of eight or ten civic-minded citizens, is in charge of about 200 households. Through them, the government keeps track of the actions of the people.
The Nieman Fellow emphasized the importance of these organizations in administering the health program, whose success was largely due to the effectiveness of these Committees.
He also pointed out that when the government begins its planned birth control program, the Committees will also play the leading role in carrying out this government program.
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