How naïve we were in the mid-1950s. We saw Mao Tse-tung and his colleagues standing on the great Tien An Men Gate reviewing the masses and wrote of the comradeship of those who had endured the Long March and had conquered China. We saw them as austere soldiers who had brought peace to China after decades of civil war.
They lived close by in Zhongnanhai, part of the Forbidden City which was ‘a hidden fairyland of lakes and parks and palaces where Marco Polo strolled and Kublai Khan built his pleasure domes’. Foreign correspondents on a couple of occasions were taken behind the great red walls to this government