Barrie Maguire

L’évolution fulgurante de la Chine

BEIJING – Le gouvernement chinois s’apprête à célébrer en grande pompe le 60e anniversaire de la République populaire de Chine et le 30e anniversaire du programme de Deng Xiaoping de « réforme et d'ouverture », avec la grande parade de la fête nationale qui aura lieu à la place Tienanmen, à Beijing. En traversant cette place l'autre soir, j’ai repensé à l'époque où j'ai commencé à suivre l'étonnante odyssée chinoise. Si le visage emblématique, à la Mona Lisa, du président Mao continue de regarder fixement depuis la porte de la Paix céleste, ce qui se passait autour de moi ce soir-là montre à quel point les choses ont changé.

Il y a un demi-siècle, quand j'ai commencé à étudier la Chine à Harvard, les dirigeants chinois vantaient la supériorité de leur économie de commande socialiste qui contrôlait tous les domaines de la vie. L'hostilité entre les États-Unis et la Chine empêchait cependant les étudiants comme moi de se rendre dans ce pays.

Mais en 1975, alors que Mao était encore en vie, que la révolution culturelle battait son plein, que les classes politiques continuaient d’avoir une grande influence et qu'il n'y avait pas de voitures, de boutiques, de publicités, ni de propriétés privées, je débarquais à Pékin. Même nous autres visiteurs étrangers – portant scrupuleusement casquettes et costumes bleus Mao – devions assister régulièrement à des « séances d’études » politiques pour purifier nos esprits bourgeois par les tracts prolétaires de la Bande des Quatre. Ce voyage a jeté les bases indélébiles qui m’ont toujours permis de mesurer les changements en Chine.

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