Not for the first nor the last time, I regret the long-ago death of Rewi Alley, the New Zealander who is one of China’s acclaimed heroes.
He devoted 60 years to setting up schools and thousands of industrial co-operatives there. He wrote of them “fitting into the vast landscape of rural China”. His slogan was: “Yo Banfa!” – “There is a way.” He retained independent views in a country where such attitudes were suspect – and still are. His mana was unquestioned.
In particular, I remember a long conversation with him in Beijing in 1983, when he talked gloomily of his deep misgivings about China’s dogmatic one-child family policy. He feared for the effects on the domestic and family life of the nation he loved, a doubt amounting to communist heresy.