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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - June 6, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta Wedne.doy, June 1973 THE LETHBRIOGE HERALD Ma Lu commune is a model of independent Chinese drive By CARL MOLLINS MA LU, China (CP) The people's commune in Ma Lu is a world to itself economic- ally, dependent on almost nothing from its neighbors on the fertile plain of the Yangtse River estuary. It is hard to imagine any- thing short of direct attack in war upsetting the routine of irs 27.532 people. And that is the point: Ma Lu is a model ir. China's drive to develop re- gional and communal self-suf- ficiency, partly as organ- ization for defence and partly to make up for a weak sys- tem of distributing goods. Although China has natu- rally continued to in- dustrial centres inherited from. pre-Communist days at Shanghai, Tientsin and in the northeast, formerly Man- churia, economic planning has stressed decentralization and dispersal of That policy fits in with China's long-standing daim that this vast country can withstand all-out nuclear war and survive, even if major cities are knocked out, while countries with more central- ized industries and popu- lations would be destroyed. Only one in five Chinese live in cities. Dimensions The program also helps to minimize transport and dis- tribution problems in a vast domain with almost as much land area as Canada but 40 times the population. The emphasis on regional self-reliance also explains the proliferation of small facto- ries. To Western eyes, these seem an inefficient way to produce goods, especially in a state-run economy where the power exists to organize in- dustry in big units and achieve economies of scale in long production runs. Why wouldn't Ma Lu, which produces surplusas of grain, rice, cotton, fish, pork and beef, use its earnings from surplus sales to buy tools and tractors and boats from Shanghai? That question raises a puz- zled response: because should not make demands on others for scarce goods we can make ourselves. Besides, as almost jvery- where in China, there is the issue of providing useful em- ployment for an abundance of Ma Lu's case, for workers whose com- mune includes just acres, for cultivation. Astute leader None of the large-scale con- siderations and policies figure directly in the explanations of Li Chen-shun, head of the Ma Lu Revolutionary Committee, although tie 42-year-old leader has an astute, no-non- sense air that indicates his awareness of bigger issues In Li's statistics-studded ex- planations, Ma Lu is simply a success story of organization and effort The peasant population, drawn from individual landholdings into a commune of 140 production teams in 14 U.S. political trial list grows brigades, learned by trial and error to repair and' finally build their own small trac- tors, tools, irrigation pumping stations, fishing boats and glassware, including llashlight bulbs for sale in Shanghai, about 30 miles west. have made some Li says in a m u c h-repeated self-assess- ment heard throughout China. "But we have shortcomings. In future we must run, and run fast." The achievements ex- pressed in statistics and ob- served in the clean, in- dustrious atmosphere of Ma Lu are impressive. Expansion In a two-crop year, grain production has tripled in 20 years while cotton has made an eightfold increase, Li says. The pig population has multi- plied more than 10 times to 42.000. The farm runs 90 trac- tors, a sensational degree cf mechanization in a country where much farming is still done manually. Li proudly includes in his lists of numbers the symbols of bicycles zre owned on the commune and wristwatches. Per- sonal savings amount to al- most one million But perhaps more impres- sive than the numbers is the appearance of health and good spirits in a region that once was plagued by debilitat- ing diseases such as sciiis- tcsomiasis, a liver contagion carried by snails. The illness once was a scourge of south- em China. Before liberation, a major- ity of the population was in- fected. In 1958, there were still cases. By 1966, there were no new cases and last year only 12 residual cases required treatment. How was that achieved? Li looks bewildered. "All the people go to the river and the irrigation cli- ches, gather up the snails 'and kill them." T3y JOHN WALIACE XEW YORK (Reuter) The dismissal of espionage and conspiracy charges against Daniel Ellsberg and Anthony Russo in Los Angeles marked another in a recent series of unsuccessful at- tempts by the United States government to prosecute poli- tical activists-turned-folk her- oes In Januarj. 1968, baby doc- tor Benjamin Spock and four others were indicted in Boston for conspiring "to counsel, aid and abet" young men seeking to avoid the draft. The five faced maximum jail terms of five years and fines of HaiJed by pundits as a land- mark case pitting the freedom of speech and dissent rights in the first amendment against the power of the government, the prosecution based its case on a number of public state- ments by Spock, Yale chap- lain William Sloane Coffin, au- thor Mitchell Goodman, Har- vard graduate student Mi- chael Ferber and a former White House disarmament aide, Marcus Raskin. The indictment charged the five with sponsoring a nation- wide program of draft resist- ance, and referred to a state- ment signed by each of the defendants except Ferber en- titled "a call to resist illegiti- mate authority Spock at first was convicted and sentenced to two years in jail, but a court of appeals ruled in 1969 that the govern- ment had not proved its case, and Spock, like the other four, went free. Another famous conspiracy case arose from the Demo- cratic national convention in Chicago in 1968, at which anti-war protestors clashed with police, resulting in hundreds of injuries and ar- rtests. In March, 1969, the govern- ment announced indictments against eight individuals on charges of conspiring to cross state lines with intent to incite Canada, China settle claim OTTAWA (CP) Canada and China have signed an agree- ment to settle a 22-year-old claim by the Canadian govern- ment against a Chinese com- pany, the external affairs de- partment announced today. The agreement was signed in Peking today by Ambassador Charles Small and calls for the Chinese government to pay Canada for a loan the Ming Sung Industrial Co. was unable to repay. In 1946 the company obtained a loan from three Canadian banks to finance construction of nine ships by two Canadian companies. The loan was guaranteed by Ottawa and construction on the ships began in 1947. They were dc'ivered to the company by riots. The charges were brought under the controver- sial "Rap Brown passed in July, 1967, in response to violence which broke out in cities across the country vis- ited by Brown, a black activ- ist. Named in the indictment were: self styled revolution- ary Abbie Hoffman; Berkeley hippie Jsrry Rubin; anti-war activists David Dellinger and Tom Hayden; Black Panther Bobby Scale: scholars Lee Weiner and John Froines; and Rennie Davis, a former mem- ber of the radical organiza- tion. Students for a Demo- cratic Society. BECAME A CIRCUS The trial turned into a circus, with defence at- torney William Kunstler charging '-political persecu- and Scale becoming so vociferous in his protestations that Judge Julius Hoffman had him bound and gagged in court. The conspiracy charges against "the Chicago Seven" failed. Weiner and Froines were found innocent, but the remaining five were convicted under the "Rap Brown law." However, in November, 1972, a U.S. court of appeals reversed Judge Hoffman, and in January of this year the federal government an- nounced it was dropping all charges against the five. In October, 1970, the U.S. attorney's office in Chicago requested all conspiracy charges against Scale be dropped. INVOLVED KIDNAP Perhaps the most bizarre of the government's conspiracy cases was that against the so- called ''East Coast conspiracy to save lives." The plot, announced in Nov- ember, 1970, by the late J. Edgar Hoover, then chairman of the Federal Bureau of In- vestigation, allegedly involved plans to blow up heating tun- nels under federal buildings in Washington and to kidnap a White House aide or other public official as ransom until the United States stopped bombing in Vietnam and all "political prisoners" were re- leased. An indictment was handed up in January, 1971, naming as defendants Rev. Philip Berrigan, a Jesuit anti-war activist, and five other I churchmen and women. Berri- gan's brother Daniel and six others were named co-con- spirators but were not defend- ants. The 13 named included four priests, two former priests and four nuns. The only convictions to come from the case were against Philip Berrigan and sister Elizabeth McAlister of Tarrytown, N.Y., for illegally smuggling four packets of communications in and out of prison. Sister Elizabeth was sen- tenced to one year in jail and was given three years proba- tion. Berrigan received four concurrent two-year jail terms, to run concurrently with the six-year term he was already serving for burning draft records. j Self-reliant commune A woman weaves a basket at the Ma Lu people's ccmmune near Shanghai. The commune is virtually self-reliant, prod ucing wheat, rice, vegetables, livestock, poultry and even small tractors, hand tools and are used to provide the ccmmune wi'h fish from the Yangtse River SfMPSONS Save HO The classic Franklin fireplace 209 98 Reg. a-42 R 42091. 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