Until a short time ago, it appeared that much of what was going on in China could be characterised by the cynical aphorism plus ça change plus c'est la même chose. Many things became manifest in the country that were reminiscent of themes centuries old. China had gone through two radical phases, one during the First Five-Year Plan period when the Chinese Communists tried to repeat the Soviet experience of industrialisation, and the second during the Great Leap Forward when they used their own mobilisational means to try to achieve economic break-through. The ninth Plenum in January 1961 called a dramatic halt to the extreme policies of the Great Leap Forward, and launched a period that bears strong similarities to the N.E.P. (New Economic Policy) period of the early 1920s in the Soviet Union. Many traditional patterns that were effaced during the years of radicalism began to reappear. There was talk of the need “to study very well traditional economic relationships.” It seemed that for a while the leadership had decided that only a truly voluntary response from below, and not coercion of any sort, could rescue China from the morass in which it found itself. But as of the time of the writing of this article, there are ominous signs that China may be approaching another “1928.” The Party drums are rolling once again, and the themes are not those of the N.E.P., but more like those which preceded the great Soviet collectivisation drive of 1928. During the last few years, the leadership made no attempt to hide the facts of China's poverty and isolation. But now a new note of defiance, of toughness has crept out. Where it will lead is hard to say.