Alone among the Maoist leaders, Zhou Enlai had cosmopolitan sophistication, charm, wit and style. He certainly was one of the greatest and most successful comedians of our century. He had a talent for telling blatant lies with angelic suavity. He was the kind of man who could stick a knife in your back and do it with such disarming grace that you would still feel compelled to thank him for the deed. He gave a human face (and a very good-looking one) to Chinese communism. Everyone loved him. He repeatedly and literally got away with murder. No wonder politicians from all over the world unanimously worshiped him. That intellectuals should also share in this cult is more disturbing - although there are some extenuating circumstances.
- From "The Wake of an Empty Boat: Zhou Enlai" by Simon Leys [Published in his essay collection, The Hall of Uselessness]