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‘Paper Tigers’ and the Hair of the Dog that Bit You: Highlights from Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS) Reports, 1957-1995

Posted on 02/06/2017


In this month's release of newly digitized JPRS Reports, we have sympathetic American and Yiddish-language commentaries on Chinese communism—including a first-hand account of the origin of the term “paper tiger.” We have a pointedly anti-communist pamphlet penned by Russian émigrés. And we have an extensive exploration of the often-discounted problem of alcoholism in the Soviet Union, with one report discussing specifically the phenomenon of curing a hangover by having yet another drink.

A Great Truth of the Present Era

Shih-chieh Chih-shih (World Knowledge), Peiping, No. 22, 22 November 1960. 18 pages

American journalist, author and progressive activist Anna Louise Strong certainly lived up to her surname. Born in Nebraska in 1885 and educated at Bryn Mawr, Oberlin and the University of Chicago, Strong travelled the world, met many world leaders of the day, and wrote a number of books. Here we have her interviewing and dining with Mao Zedong at his home in Yenan in the summer of 1946. During the course of their conversation Mao used the term “paper tiger” to describe the impermanent nature of imperialism:

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This fascinating report is but one chapter in the legacy of this remarkable woman.

Paris Yiddish Communist Daily Reports on “Crime and Punishment” in Red China

Naie Presse, Paris, May-June 1960. 31 pages

Full employment and zero crime. Utopia? No, Shanghai, China, according to the interviews Dore and Hershl Meierboim conducted during their extensive travels in China. But how did this miracle occur? Short answer: communism.

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By contrast they cite statistics of five thousand serious criminal offenses per month in Chicago, including thirty homicides. On January 5, 2017, the Chicago Sun-Times reported “at least 780 homicides” in that city in 2016. Even if the numbers and survey methods then and now don’t necessarily align, there’s a great deal to be learned through the Meierboims’ reportage.

Let Your Conscience Decide

[Unsigned/unattributed brochure] 71 pages

“Vote your conscience!” was a conservative rallying cry during the recent U.S. presidential election. A group of dissident Russians known as Narodno-Trudovoy Sojuz (NTS, National Alliance of Russian Solidarists) advocated just that sentiment in this report appearing in 1961. The NTS was founded in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, in 1930. The organization was serious enough about its cause that it had its own radio station, “Free Russia.” Included in this report is a three-page index of revolutionary slogans. One example, found on page 87 of the original: TRUTH—POTASSIUM CYANIDE TO COMMUNISM. Given such forceful expressions, it’s not surprising that this brochure appears without distinct authorship or press attribution.


[Book] Edited by A.A. Portnov, Moscow, 1959. 516 pages

A tour de force on this subject in the Soviet Union at the time. The reader will find a plethora of scholarly papers on such topics as the effect of alcohol on children; efforts of the Red Cross/Red Crescent societies to combat alcohol abuse; physiological and psychiatric studies; anti-alcoholic propaganda; studies on rehabilitation.

On the Nature of the Hangover and Reasons for the Excessive Use of Alcohol

Zhurnal Nevropatologii i Psikhiatrii imeni S.S. Korsakova (Journal of Neuropathology and Psychiatry imeni S.S. Korsakov), Moscow, Vol. LX Issue 11, November 1960. 10 pages

This is a clinical study of the experiences of 232 individuals coping with the well-known physiological condition of the hangover by continuing to indulge in drinking. The general conclusion is that what works in the short term portends absolute disaster as a long-term strategy.

For more information about Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS) Reports, 1957-1994, or to request a trial for your institution, please contact

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