Under the guidance of 87-year-old Deng Xiaoping, China is making another of its turns, like a giant ship in the sea, slowly shifting its bulk, stirring rivulets and cross-currents. Or so it would seem from Mr. Deng's visit of approval in January to capitalism-infested Guangdong Province. Or the Beijing media chorus of the past month, calling for foreign investment and economic development. Or the decision to reduce and control the huge civil service by 1995.
The best guess is that a return to Mr. Deng's preoccupations of the 1980s is not without opposition. The Culture Ministry first nominated, then scratched, a liberal former minister for delegate to the national party congress scheduled for autumn. A report was published exonerating the fired reformist party chief Zhao Ziyang for the democratic ferment of 1989, and then withdrawn. The battle for China's soul goes on within the gerontocracy.
The Sun's Beijing correspondent, Robert Benjamin, has seen the future of China, and it works. In a series of articles on Guangdong Province, he has reported on the wide-open culture of capitalism at its best and its rawest, in a country that three years ago repudiated dissent and free speech in the political sphere. Guangdong includes the Pearl River delta, always the back shop of capitalist Hong Kong, now more than ever the labor market for Hong Kong management and its access to worldwide investment.