At the Fourth National People’s Congress, held in January 1975, China’s political structure was precariously balanced between “traditionalists” and “radicals”. These factions are now fairly evenly represented in the Political Bureau of the Communist Party, among the Vice Premiers in the Council of State and in the top echelon of the Armed Forees. Though younger men are in charge at the next lower rung of the hierarchy, the political balance is still being maintained by a leadership which is one of the world’s oldest gerontocracies. Though the report on the state of the nation, given by Premier Chou En-lai at the Congress, left many matters of fact unanswered, it revealed that during the last decade, despite remarkable progress in certain sectors, the economy as a whole has grown at a less buoyant rate than immediately before and immediately after the Cultural Revolution. At about 5 per cent a year, China’s national product increases a good deal faster than old industrial countries can claim, but her rate of growth is less than China achieved during the best periods of her economic development.