China said Saturday the late Soviet leader Josef Stalin has fallen from grace with Chinese scholars and citizens, apparently reflecting Chinese agreement with a Moscow campaign to discredit Stalin.

The state-run weekly magazine the Beijing Review made the admission in its May 15 issue - delivered early apparently in light of the Monday arrival of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev for a four-day visit.It marked the first official admission China is following Gorbachev's footsteps in a de-Stalinization campaign to discredit the former Soviet leader.

"Stalinism's only role today is to be the negative example of what not to do," the magazine quoted Soviet expert Wu Renzhang of Chinese People's University as saying.