China since 1949. The Mao Years and Post-Mao China. *
I. The First Years of the People's Chinese Republic (PRC): 1949-1957.
a. Domestic Policy.
Mao's three proclaimed tasks were: 1. national unity; 2. social and economic change;
3. freedom from foreign interference.
The CCP set out to revolutionize the countryside south of the Yangtze river. This
meant land reform and educating the peasants to support the revolution. At this time, peasants
were given land. In some cases, they also killed their landlords, but this was a more general
occurrence in the second, more radical wave of land reform that took place after 1949. ( It
is estimated that one million were killed). In the first phase, the rich peasants were allowed
to keep their land, or most of it, in order to help restore food production and avoid alienating
them from the new regime. (Compare Soviet Russia under NEP, 1921-29, and Eastern
Europe, 1944-48). At the same time, party committees were established in every village to
help the peasants carry out the reform and maintain party control over the process.
In the cities, which were new territory for the CCP, Mao followed a policy of "alliance" with the intellectuals and middle class, including the merchants. Again, the goal was to restore production and avoid alienation. The state took possession of heavy industry, banking and transport but private enterprise was allowed both in the towns and in the countryside. In general, the PRC economic policies and political toleration of the first two or three years resembled the NEP period in Soviet Russia, as well as the first postwar years in Soviet-dominated Eastern Europe. The goal was the same, i.e., conciliation of most sectors of society in order to rebuild the economy. As in the USSR and E. Europe, this did not mean that the communists gave up their goal of creating a "socialist" society.
One radical reform introduced in 1950 was the new marriage law, giving women
freedom of choice. As mentioned earlier (ch.9), the liberation of women had been advocated
by reformist thinkers from the late 19th century onward. It was embraced by the May 4th
movement of 1919 and then taken up by the CCP. The marriage law was a break with the
past; it was also the first step in the CCP policy of undermining the traditional power of the
family in China.
* I wish to thank Dr. Terry Weidner for his help in revising this chapter, Oct.1996.
b. PRC - U.S. Relations.
Before the Korean War, Mao showed great interest in establishing friendly relations
with the United States, provided it recognized the territorial integrity of China, including
Taiwan, and thus gave up its support of Chiang Kai-shek, who had established his
government as the Republic of China (Free China) in Taiwan. However, the U.S. government
viewed the PRC as a satellite of Moscow and advised its allies not recognize it, but to form
a common front against it. Thus, when Mao invited J. Leighton Stuart, U.S. ambassador to
Chiang since July 1946, to visit Beijing, he was not allowed to go. Furthermore, the U.S.
imposed a trade embargo on the PRC and advised its allies not to trade with it, or at least not
to export "strategic goods" for its use.
From the perspective of time, this policy seems unwise. We must, however, bear
in mind that it was formulated in the atmosphere of the Cold War. American opinion was
deeply affected by the expansion of Soviet power in Eastern Europe and its threat to Western
Europe (the Berlin Blockade, 1948-49). As we know, NATO was the response there. The
communist victory in China created the fear of communist expansion in Asia, which was
heightened by the French Indochina War, and then the Korean War. Therefore, the U.S.
footed the bill for great quantities of military equipment used by the French in their war
against the North Vietnamese communists (see ch. 12) and supplied arms to Chiang-Kai-shek
in Taiwan. This political climate prevented the establishment of good U.S.- CPR relations for
a long time to come.(1) At the same time, in acknowledging Mao Zedong's overtures and
their rejection by the United States we should keep in mind that as a communist Chinese
leader he was bent on eliminating western influence from China. Furthermore, Stalin made
it clear to Mao, that he did not want him to risk a war with the United States. For all these
reasons, Mao's moderate stance toward the United States in the years of the Civil War and
immediately after it was a matter of tactics, and not of desire for a real understanding with
c. PRC-Soviet Relations.
Mao paid a long visit to Moscow in late 1949 and early 1950. Finally, in February
1950, he signed a Treaty of Friendship and Assistance with the Soviet Union. In this treaty,
the USSR promised assistance against Japan, if this was necessary. It also gave the CPR
credits amounting to $300 million repayable at 1% interest, but Mao had to recognize the
Soviet occupation of Dalien (Darien) and Lushun (Port Arthur) until 1952 (it was to last
longer). Finally, he had to recognize the existence of Soviet Mongolia. These were bitter pills
for the Chinese, but they needed Soviet economic aid so they accepted them.
Recently published Chinese documents as well as recently declassified Russian
documents allow a comparison of the two records of the Mao-Stalin conversations in
Moscow in December 1949-January 1950. While the Russian record shows a business-like
approach to the talks by Stalin and does not indicate any bullying on his part or objections by
Mao, the latter's account, paints a different picture. It also suggests that Stalin deliberately
left Mao to cool his heels in a "dacha" (country house) near Moscow between the first
conversation of December 16, 1949 and the second on January 22, 1950, when Chinese
Foreign Minister Zhou Enlai was also present. Perhaps Stalin wanted to teach Mao a lesson?
Whatever the case may be, Mao resented this treatment deeply. He gave his version of the
conversations and expressed his feelings on March 31, 1956, in a talk with Soviet ambassador
Pavel Yudin, in which he also vented his resentment against Stalin's support of Chiang in the
civil war. It is worth noting that according to the Soviet record, Mao did not object to
Stalin's demands for keeping some Chinese territory under Soviet control, but in Mao's
version, the latter did not agree to them. Perhaps the second version is nearer to the truth;
if so, it would explain why Stalin kept Mao waiting 5 weeks between the two conversations.
d. The Impact of the Korean War.
We know a great deal more about the origins of this war since the opening of
Russian documents on this subject in summer 1994. It is not longer a secret why the outbreak
of the war in June 1950 caught Mao by surprise, for it is clear that Stalin did not keep him
informed on his agreement to Kim il Sung's plan to attack South Korea. (See ch. 11). It is
also clear why Mao at first followed a cautious policy - he did not want to risk a war with
United States. Finally, under presssure from Stalin - who also wanted to avoid a war with the
U.S - fearing that U.N. troops would cross the Yalu river into China; and after securing
Stalin's promise of Soviet air cover, the CCP leadership decided to move. Therefore, in early
November 1950, Chinese troops launched some attacks on U.N. troops in North Korea when
they approached the Yalu river, the border between China and Korea, but then melted away
into the hills. This was meant as a warning to the United States that the PRC would not
tolerate U.S. troops on its border with Korea. This warning was also conveyed to the U.S.
government through Asian diplomats.
The Chinese troops had massed in the difficult mountainous terrain on their side of
the Yalu river. But they were so well camouflaged that they were not be detected by U.S.
aerial reconnaissance. When Gen. Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964, Supreme Commander
U.N. Forces, Korea, 1950-51), after landing troops at Inchon, approached the bridges on the
Yalu, the Chinese attacked on November 26th and drove back the American and ROK
troops. MacArthur had the agreement of President Harry S. Truman and the Joint Chiefs of
Staff to take over the whole of North Korea. However, they did not agree to his suggestions
of bombing China, including use of the atomic bomb. President Truman dismissed him in
U.N. troops, in which the U.S. predominated, finally drove the Chinese and North
Koreans out of South Korea. The result was the existence of two Koreas: communist North
Korea and anti-communist South Korea (see ch. 11). It is worth noting that during the war
the Soviets sent the PRC a great deal of military equipment, such as artillery and MIG fighter
planes - but the Chinese had to pay for the Soviet arms they obtained. The USSR also
provided advisers and military hardware, especially T-34 tanks and some tank units to the
North Koreans. Furthermore, Soviet pilots flew MiGs against U.S. planes. However, it is
clear that Stalin was just as unwilling to become involved with the United States in a war
over Korea as Truman was to become involved there in a war with the USSR. In fact,
Truman not only opposed using the atomic bomb against China, but also opposed sending
U.S. troops into China.
The Korean War led to more radical reforms in China. Terror and coercion were
used to eradicate all opposition. In the first campaign against "counter-revolutionaries," which
began in February 1951, an estimated 1 to 3 million people were killed.
The next campaign was a purge of the party bureaucracy. It targeted the 3 antis:
corruption, waste, and bureaucracy. The aim was to rid the party of many allegedly unreliable
members who had jumped on the bandwagon in 1949 and after.
Next came a campaign against the former ally of the PRC, the Chinese middle
class. The slogan was now the 5 antis: bribery, tax evasion, fraud, theft of government
property, and theft of government secrets. Since there was no definition of what constituted
a government secret, it was easy to accuse anyone viewed as an enemy, or potential enemy
of the regime. In fact, the campaign was designed to break the middle class, make them give
up their property, and agree to become salaried managers in state enterprises. They were
forced to "confess" their misdeeds in front of their former employees. This was designed to
humiliate them and make them pliant tools of the regime. Those who refused were often given
long terms of imprisonment, which many did not survive.
e. The First Five Year Plan (FYP).
The first FYP was launched in 1953, with the aim of developing the Chinese economy on the Soviet model. This was quite logical, for the USSR was the only existing communist economic system and was the only source of technical aid for the PRC. Thus,.
The first FYP gave priority to heavy industry. Indeed, China was far more backward
economically in 1953 than the USSR had been in 1928-29, when Stalin launched his
industrialization and collectivization drive. As in the USSR, so in China, all industry and
larger commercial enterprises were nationalized. Soon, all private property was abolished as
In the countryside, Mao avoided the shock tactics of Stalin's collectivization and its
resulting massive peasant resistance by proceeding more gradually, at least until 1955. Thus,
he began with the establishment of semi-socialist peasant cooperatives whose members were
paid according to the amount of land and capital they brought in, as well as according to their
work. This reform progressed slowly; by July 1955 only 15% of peasant families had entered
the cooperatives. At this time, Mao made a speech calling for a sharp increase in
collectivization and rapid acceleration followed. However, this drive slowed down in 1956,
partly because of peasant resistance, and partly because of a poor harvest.
II. 1956-1965: The Sino-Soviet Split and the Evolution of an Independent Foreign Policy; the
Great Leap Forward and Inner Party Struggles.
a. The Background to the Sino-Soviet Split.
Under Mao's leadership, Chinese communism had conquered China, mainly by
focusing on the peasants and implementing moderate land reform up to 1949. At the same
time, its military strategy was guerrilla warfare called "people's resistance." Victory had been
achieved without Soviet aid. No wonder that as early as 1946, one of Mao's closest
collaborators, Liu Shaoqi (Shao-ch'i, 1898-1969), claimed that Mao had created "a Chinese
or Asiatic form of communism" and that China's example would influence all Asian countries.
In 1949, Liu again said that Mao's way was the way for all Asia - a statement that was
criticized in Moscow.
Khrushchev's famous anti-Stalin speech, delivered at the 20th Congress of the CPSU
in February 1956, is generally seen as the start of the Sino-Soviet split. It is clear, however,
that it was not the beginning, but rather an important contribution to Mao's growing distrust
of the USSR. Shortly after the speech,. Mao complained to Soviet ambassador Yudin that
Stalin had treated him as a "Chinese Tito." As mentioned earlier, he also expressed his
resentment at Stalin's support of Chiang Kai -shek during the civil war. Indeed, this support
went further than historians suspected. A recently discovered document in the Japanese
Foreign Ministry archives shows that on October 3, 1940, Soviet and Japanese diplomats
reached an agreement that stipulated: "The USSR will abandon its support of Chiang [Kai-shek; Jaing Jieshi] and will repress the Chinese Communist Party's anti-Japanese activities;
in exchange, Japan recognizes and accepts that the Chinese Communist Party will retain as
a base the three (Chinese) Northwest provinces (Shanxi, Gansu, Ningxia)." One may well
wonder how Stalin could "repress" CCP activities, since he did not control Mao. Still, the
agreement seemed to preserve some space for the CCP in provinces close to the border of
Soviet Mongolia - even though the Japanese did not control these areas either! Thus,
Stalin's "concession" to the Japanese and their counter-concession to him constituted
bargaining counters that concerned their interests in other disputed matters elsewhere. (2a)
Nevertheless, the agreement is a good illustration of Stalin's policy toward Mao at this time.
As far as Khrushchev was concerned, he sometimes supported the PRC and at other
times considered it an obstacle to his policy of coexistence with the United States. Already
in 1954, he told Western statesmen that China was a liability to the Soviet Union because of
the danger of a conflict between the PRC and the U.S. over Taiwan. Moreover, it was also
at this time that the PRC began to compete with the Soviets for the leadership of the Third
World. This competition was evidenced by the Sino-Indian Treaty of 1954 and by China's role
in the Bandung Conference of Third World Countries in 1955. When Khrushchev and Tito
effected a reconciliation in that same year, Albania feared renewed Yugoslav domination (as
in 1945-48), and turned to the PRC for help; it became China's East European satellite for
many years to come. Finally, Mao's 4 concepts of unity, equality, comparison, and learning
were quite unacceptable to Soviet leaders as a basis for mutual relations. They often treated
the Chinese communists as somewhat backward and wayward younger brethren, who had to
be kept in their place and follow the Soviet lead.
It is true, of course, that Mao resented Khrushchev's attack on Stalin in February
1956, for the Soviet leader had not bothered to consult his Chinese colleague. Worse still,
Khrushchev not only set out to destroy the Stalin myth, but also attacked the "personality
cult" as alien to communist practice -- and there was, after all, a growing Mao cult in China.
Thus, it is not surprising that Mao called Khrushchev's attack on Stalin "a gunshot (character)
Above all, however, Mao deeply resented Khrushchev's policy of coexistence with the
United States, which threatened the PRC with isolation. At the Moscow Conference of
Communist Parties in November 1957, Mao contradicted Khrushchev's line that no one could
win a nuclear war. He said that such a war would not be the end of the world, because half
its population would survive. From other statements by Mao, it is clear he thought that a large
part of the huge Chinese population would survive an atomic war. However, both leaders
tried to keep up an appearance of good relations. Thus, Mao used Albania for attacking the
USSR, and Khrushchev attacked Albania as a proxy for the CPR.
The first open Sino-Soviet clash over foreign policy came in 1958. In July of that year,
Khrushchev proposed a summit meeting between the representatives of the United States,
Great Britain, France, the USSR, and India to settle a Middle East crisis (U.S. troops had
landed in Lebanon, on the request of President Camille Chamoun, who was trying to put
down a revolt). However, three days later, when Khrushchev was on a visit to Beijing, he
withdrew the conference proposal, probably to conciliate Mao.
In August-September 1958, there was a crisis over the islands of Quemoy and Matsu
in the Taiwan Straits between the PRC, on the one hand, and Chiang Kai-shek, supported by
the United States, on the other. It is clear from recently published Chinese documents that
Mao launched the attack on purpose to show his independence of the USSR. Khrushchev
wrote a letter to President Eisenhower supporting China and even brandishing the nuclear
threat. It is equally clear, however, that Khrushchev's "nuclear threat" was to serve as a
demonstration of his support for China - not of readiness to fight the United States. In fact,
he did what he coule to defuse the crisis . In any case, the show of U.S. naval power in the
area forced Mao to retreat. (2 b).
In September 1959, there were border clashes between the PRC and India, and the
Soviets called on both sides to desist, which Mao saw as a betrayal. Even worse from Mao's
point of view, was Khrushchev's behavior when he visited Beijing on September 30 that year
after his visit to the United States. During a formal banquet in his honor, Khrushchev attacked
those who wanted to test the stability of the capitalist system - meaning a war with the United
States. Thus, he criticized Mao's risk-taking in the Taiwan Straits' crisis. Also, Khrushchev
now supported the seating of both Chinas in the United Nations: i.e., Mao's PRC and
Chiang's Republic of China. As it turned out, this policy was unacceptable both to the PRC
and to the United States.
To add insult to injury, at the Romanian Party Congress in Bucharest in June 1960,
Khrushchev openly attacked the PRC leaders as "madmen" who wanted to unleash nuclear
war. In July, he decided to withdraw all Soviet experts from China. As we know, this included
the experts who were helping the PRC develop its own nuclear bomb. Shortly thereafter,
Khrushchev reneged on the promise of giving the Chinese a sample bomb, thus delaying its
production by China for several years.
Mao reacted by sending Premier Zhou Enlai to the Conference of Communist Parties
in Moscow in November 1960 to protest the Khrushchev policy. Zhou not only insisted that
all Communist Parties were equal -- thus implicitly denying the Soviet claim to leadership of
the world communist movement -- but also expressed the PRC's independent position by
laying a wreath at Stalin's grave by the Kremlin wall. (Khrushchev had removed Stalin's body
from the mausoleum, where it had lain alongside of Lenin's since 1953).
The final straw for the PRC was Khrushchev's behavior during the Sino-Indian War
of 1962. This war broke out over disputed territories, but was characterized by considerable
Chinese restraint. Khrushchev. however, used the opportunity to establish closer relations
with India by sending aid, including MIG fighters for the Indian Air Force. (3)
In October of that year came the Cuban missile crisis, after which Mao criticized
Khrushchev first for "adventurism," and then for capitulating to the U.S. "paper tiger." (see
In January 1963, the Chinese and Soviet press began a public exchange of
recriminations. In July, the Soviets signed the First Test Ban Treaty with the United States.
The PRC's reaction to Soviet policy came in the Nine Comments, written at least in part by
Mao and published in 1963-64. Among other things, they included the statement that "The
present-day Soviet Union is a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, a dictatorship of the big
bourgeoisie, a dictatorship like German fascism, a Hitler-type of dictatorship; they are a pack
of ruffians, even worse than De Gaulle." (General Charles De Gaulle was the leader of the
Free French in World War II; he was head of state in 1945-46, returned to power in June
1958, and was President from 1959-67. In the early 1960s, he was seeking a special
relationship with the USSR, which made him an enemy of Red China).
The Nine Comments also claimed that in 1954 (when the Soviets had returned Dalian
Lushun to China) Mao had asked Khrushchev and Bulganin whether Outer Mongolia would
also be returned to China. He reminded them that over the last hundred years, Russia had
seized the area east of Lake Baikal from China and that the Chinese had still not "billed"
Russia for it. Thus, by 1963, Sino-Soviet relations were very bad indeed. (4)
b. "Let 100 Flowers Bloom" and "The Great Leap Forward," 1958-59.
In February 1957, Mao suddenly launched a campaign for freedom of speech, though "within the bounds of discipline." He encouraged open criticism. Interpretations differ as to what he expected from this; did he really expect to find out what people were thinking, or was his encouragement of criticism directed at abuses with the goal of using this criticism as a weapon against the party leaders he wished to remove? Or was he perhaps concerned that Chinese intellectuals might follow the path of the Hungarians? (Revolution of October-November 1956).
Mao's long-time doctor, Li Zhisui claims in his memoirs that Mao used the campaign to "rectify" or purge the party. He did not trust it; therefore, he turned outside for criticism. Li writes that Mao also distrusted intellectuals, but thought that few would be critical of him so most would play along with his game. When the intellectuals remained quiet, Mao repeated his message in March 1957. What happened next was a revelation. Once the press was allowed to publish criticism of the party, that lattert was even attacked as an institution and its right to rule was questioned. Indeed, even Mao himself was criticised. Li writes that "Mao was shocked." He was furious and retired to bed .(Li writes that Mao often retired to bed at times of crisis to think out his response). He told Li: "I handle opponents by letting them strike first. I have three rules: First, I follow the ancient philosopher Laozi. I, the father, do not initiate action. When under attack, I retreat, doing nothing, remaining silent. We let the enemy feel he has scored a few points. " Mao said the Confucian way to do things was to wait until enemies exposed themselves, and then retaliate.
Thus, Mao decided to launch a campaign against the "rightists." In May he told Li:
"I want to coax the snakes out of their holes. Then we will strike." On 8 June, the People's
Daily printed Mao's article: "What is this for?" He accused a small number of people of trying
to overthrow the "socialist" government and called on the masses to launch a
"counterattack." (4a) Thousands of intellectuals, as well as some party leaders, were sent to
labor camps and to the villages to be "re-educated" through heavy manual labor. This
experience disillusioned many communist intellectuals, including a famous future dissident,
the physicist Fang Lizhi. It is also significant that one of the leaders of this attack on the
"rightists" was Deng Xiaoping (b.1904), who would later be a victim himself. (He survived
to succeed Mao, began a great economic reform in 1978, and was to crush the Chinese
democratic movement in June 1989).
In 1958, Mao launched a new economic policy: the "Great Leap Forward" (GLF).
This meant the reorganization of state and collective farms into huge communes.
Furthermore, the peasants in these communes were ordered not only to work the land, but
also to make their own tools out of the iron that they were to smelt into steel.. What were
Mao's goals? He said he wanted to establish a "free supply system," i.e. that everyone would
have enough to eat in both town and country. He also said that China must catch up with Gt.
Britain in fifteen years. Finally, he wanted to free China from its economic dependence on the
Some historians speculate that the creation of large militia forces in the
communes was to provide Mao with a weapon he could use against moderate CPR leaders.
The latter, after all, controlled the army, favored slower reforms, and wished for improved
relations with the USSR. Whatever the case may be, by January 1959, the militia numbered
about 220 million, or one-third of the entire population. It seems, however, that the militia
was a by-product of the GLF.
The Great Leap Forward turned out to be a great disaster. The peasants could not
smelt iron into steel for tools in their backyard furnaces. At the same time, this work took
away the time needed to work the land, so that crops rotted in the fields. After a wave of
initial enthusiasm, they reacted badly to the loss of all individual incentives as well as personal
and familial freedoms. Furthermore, the extreme decentralization of economic control not
only led to chaotic distribution, but also helped mask huge shortfalls in production that local
units were too afraid to report. All these factors were aggravated by bad weather, which led
to crop failure in several provinces. The combined result of political and natural factors was
widespread famine, resulting in millions of deaths. (Some estimates go as high as 30 million
out of a population of some 500 million, i.e., 6%). Strict rationing had to be imposed in 1959-61, and this helped to reduce the loss of life.
Li Zhisui wrote later about the beginnings of this catastrophe: "Psychologists of mass
behavior might have an explanation for what went wrong with China in late summer 1958.
China was struck with a mass hysteria fed by Mao, who then fell victim himself. ..Mao began
believing the slogans, casting caution to the winds. Mini-steel mills were being set up even
in Zhongnanhai (the former "Forbidden City," or imperial palace grounds in Beijing where
Mao lived and key offices were located, A.C), and at night the whole compound was a sea
of red light. The idea had originated with the Central Bureau of Guards, but Mao did not
oppose them, and soon everyone was stoking the fires - cadres, clerks, secretaries, doctors,
nurses, and me. The rare voices of caution were being stilled. Everyone was hurrying to jump
on the utopian bandwagon. Liu Shaoqi, Deng Xiaoping, Zhou-Enlai, and Chen Yi, men who
might once have reined the Chairman in, were speaking with a single voice, and that voice
was Mao's. What those men really thought, we never will know. Everyone was caught in the
grip of this utopian hysteria."
Li Zhisui also wrote that the crop displays at the communes visited by Mao were
staged. In one region the First Party Secretary had ordered rice to be transplanted to that
Mao would see it on his route. In another, a brand new furnace had been brought in to the
Commune from a factory. Likewise, the high production figures given out by the communes'
"good news reporting stations" were faked. Every provincial party leader wanted to please
Mao and avert accusations of slacking.. When disasters truck, "no one, not even the closest
to him, dared to speak." (4b)
As Li Zhisui tells it, Mao visited his home village, Shaoshan in Hunan province, where
he heard many complaints about the GLF. Nevertheless, he still thought the GLF line was
right and did not want to dampen the enthusiasm of the people. However, by fall 1959, there
was criticism of the GLF by some members of the the party leadership. Marshal Peng Dehuai
(P'eng Te-huai, 1898-1974), then Minister of Defense - who had visited Eastern Europe and
met with Khrushchev - attacked the GLF at the Politburo meeting held in Lushan (Port
Arthur) in late July and early August 1959. Some historians have theorized that Khrushchev
might have encouraged Peng to attack Mao and then establish a new leadership more friendly
to the USSR. Others, however, stress Peng's genuine alarm after visiting his own part of the
country, and seeing the catastrophic famine there.
According to Li Zhisui, Mao allowed free discussion of the GLF at the Lushan
meeting. He did not take part in this, but waited. Peng Dehuai sent him a personal letter
stressing the disastrous situation in China. Indeed, Li Zhisui writes that by the end of 1958,
a large part of the huge harvest lay rotting in the fields because the peasants, busy with their
"backyard furnaces" - producing useless iron ingots from their pots and pans - did not have
the strength to harvest the crops. Also, the provinces which had declared exaggerated crop
figures had to give a much larger percent of their real produce as taxes to the state. In 1959,
food shortages were on the rise in towns and there was famine in some parts of China. Mao
heard of this state of affairs not only from Peng Dehuai, but also from personal emissaries
he had sent out to investigate the situation and who reported honestly what they saw.
Nevertheless, while Mao acknowledged errors in the execution of the GLF at Lushan, he still
insisted that the "general line" was correct and that criticism of it was "bourgeois.". This fitted
in with his criticism of Khrushchev's policy in the USSR as "bourgeois" - and we should note
that Khrushchev had strongly criticized the GLF, especially the huge communes.
Furthermore, according to Li Zhisui, on July 21, the Soviet-educated deputy Foreign
Minister, Zhang Wentian had made "a stunning, lengthy attack on Mao's leadership and the
Great Leap." He concluded "by arguing in favor of democracy and free speech." When
others rebuked him, he declared that "he would rather die telling the truth than live in misery."
(4c) If Li Zhisui's account is correct, Mao could have suspected a Khrushchev-backed
"conspiracy" to overthrow him.
Whatever the case may be, it is clear that Mao identified the GLF "general line" with
his own prestige and authority. Although he had resigned the chairmanship of the CPP to Liu
Shaoqi , this was a move agreed on earlier. Mao remained chairman of the PRC, and had no
intention of giving up power. Therefore, after allowing free discussion, he attacked Peng
Dehuai and his supporters as "bourgeois democrats.". Mao also said that if the party split in
two, he would found a new one among the peasants, and if the army split apart, he would
raise a new one. (4d) Peng Dehuai,was condemned as a "right opportunist." He was replaced
as Minister of Defense by Lin Biao (Lin Piao, 1907-1971), who was a stalwart supporter of
Mao and made the army a power base for him. (Peng was arrested in 1966, and died in prison
You may access the outline for Chapter Ten by clicking HERE.
III. 1961 - 1968: The Coming of "The Great Cultural Revolution".(GCR).
Various dates are used to date the beginning of the Cultural Revolution. Some
historians date it from the failure of GLF, i.e., 1959, while the post-Mao leadership in China
uses the dates 1966-76. In fact, although the greatest turmoil took place in the years 1966-68,
the GCR had its roots in the failure of the GLF and the subsequent criticism of Mao at the
Lushan party summit, while Mao took the more steps toward it in 1962-64.
a. Background to the Cultural Revolution.
While foreign policy played a part, it is clear that internal CCP disputes were more
important than external questions in spurring Mao's attack on his rivals. We know that after
the failure of the GLF, economic policy was mostly in the hands of moderate leaders, the most
prominent of whom were the Chief of State Liu Shaoqi, Premier Zhou Enlai, and the CCP
Secretary General, Deng Xiaoping. Like most party bureaucrats, all three wished to follow
moderate economic policies, avoiding a repetition of such disasters as Mao's GLF. In fact,
there was much discussion of the economy in early 1962. In January of that year, Mao again
acknowledged that he bore the primary responsibility for the mistakes of Central Committee,
i.e., the GLF. Furthermore, a party committee of investigation confirmed the criticisms made
by Peng Dehuai in 1959.
At an enlarged Politburo meeting in February 1962, even the veteran bureaucrat Chen
Yun (b.1905), who had been the leading expert on the planned economy, emphasized the
magnitude of the economic crisis. He even suggested that land be redistributed to peasant
households, though he agreed with Deng Xiaoping that this would mean the restoration of
private farming. In July, Deng made the famous statement that "[W]hether cats are white or
black, so long as they catch mice, they are all good cats." This statement marked him out as
a pragmatist, and he was to repeat it when he came to power after the death of Mao.
Thus, as in Poland, Hungary, and to a limited extent in the USSR, so also in China, Deng and other like-minded party leaders realized as early as 1962, that the old Stalinist economic model - particlarly as it had been adapted by Mao - was unsatisfactory and needed reform. However, by September 1962, Mao began to oppose the suggested reforms. He justified his opposition by stressing the permanence of "class struggle." (We should note that Stalin had used this theory to justify purges in the USSR). Mao also warned against Soviet-style "revisionism," by which he meant Khrushchev's attacks on Stalin and Stalinism. Finally, he said that the real successors of revolution would come from among China's youth. In his words, they "come forward in mass struggles and are tempered in the great storms of revolution." (5) In fact, it was Mao himself who was to release such a storm over China.
Meanwhile, a new problem arose for the CPR with the beginning of active U.S. involvement in Vietnam.. The question for the CCP now was: what policy should the CPR adopt toward this war, fought in an area that had traditionally belonged to the Chinese sphere of influence in Asia? Clearly, the CPR could not support the United States, but neither did it want to see the growth of Soviet influence in the region. In spring 1962, there was an important debate on this issue within CCP leadership over the possibility of another world war, or of peaceful coexistence with capitalist states, and of the extent of Chinese support of national liberation movements, particularly in Vietnam. Foreign policy specialists advocated peaceful coexistence, but Mao chose confrontation. This "turn to the left" in foreign policy also accorded with Mao's stress on class struggle and radical policies in Chinese domestic affairs. According to some China experts, this decision also meant a lost opportunity to prevent later Sino-American hostility in Indochina. (5a)
In spring 1965, Luo Ruiqing (Lo Jui-ch'ing, 1906-1978), who had been Minister of
Public Security between 1949 and 1958 and had been one of the critics of the Great Leap
Forward, proposed that the CPR side with the Soviets against the United States. However,
he was opposed by Lin Biao who spoke for Mao. (Lin Biao had commanded the Fourth Army
in the civil war, and now controlled the whole People's Army). While Luo Ruiqing advocated
a reconciliation with the USSR as the best way to aid North Vietnam, Lin Biao said China
must follow an independent line. (September 1965).
In fact, although the CPR allowed Soviet railway transit to North Vietnam, this transit was often impeded by slowing the trains. Furthermore, in the years 1965-67, the English-language CPR weekly, The Peking Review, often attacked the Soviet Union more rabidly than the United States. Therefore, the Soviets were compelled to send most of their military supplies to North Vietnam by sea from Vladivostok to Haiphong. The CPR sent aid also, but it was in the form of small arms, machine guns, bicycles, and railway construction crews, who helped rebuild the track destroyed by U.S. bombing. (On the Vietnam War, see ch. 12).
Thus, we should see both the internal debate on economic development, and the
debate on the Vietnam war, as factors leading to the Great Cultural Revolution.
b. The Great Cultural Revolution (GCR).
This term is totally inadequate to describe the turmoil that engulfed China in 1966-68,
a turmoil that sometimes verged on civil war. In the course of the GCR, the party apparatus
was almost destroyed; defense capabilities were severely weakened, and higher education was
set back by about 10 years. According to official CCP figures given at the (posthumous)
public trials of Lin Biao and The Gang of Four (Mao's widow, Jiang Qing & Co.), in
November 1980 - January 1981, 729,511 people were "framed" and persecuted, of whom
34,800 died - though the real figures for both categories must have been much higher. In any
case, the GCR had a profoundly traumatic effect on the people of China, especially party
members and intellectuals, just as the Stalin purges had in the USSR in the period 1930-38.
As in the USSR, so too Chinese literature was later to portray the turmoil and suffering
involved, though much of it was to be published outside of China.
There are different interpretations of how and why this terrible upheaval came about.
Was it caused, as Mao claimed, by his desire to rid the party of its bureaucratization,
oligarchic structure, and its economic "revisionism," in order to restore communist
egalitarianism? Or was it Mao's weapon of choice in a struggle to regain power over the party
- but a weapon that went out of control?
The GCR was probably a combination of these two factors, but it seems that Mao's
primary goal was to regain total power, have China pursue radical policies, and thus "save the
revolution." as he saw it. Here we should note that Stalin's purges and terror of 1935-38 were
triggered by criticism within the party leadership of his brutal collectivization policy. Once he
had eliminated all real and potential rivals as well as all their relatives and friends, he had
absolute power and could implement his policiies. It is true that after the failure of the GLF,
Mao had seemed to go into semi-retirement. However, he soon indicated his opposition both
to moderate economic policies and closer relations with the USSR.
Mao launched the offensive against his opponents within the party by attacking first
on the fringes, i.e., by encouraging attacks on the intellectuals, particularly writers and
academics. He had always distrusted intellectuals, and now the moderate party leaders
defended them and worked for the rehabilitation of those persecuted after the the "100
Flowers" campaign of 1957. Therefore, Mao decided to fight his party opponents by
attacking the intellectuals. To do this, he set out to build up a new force of his own outside
of the party, in the cities. As his weapon he chose young, particularly frustrated high school
students. These students had been raised as loyal supporters of Mao, so they were considered
trustworthy. At the same time, they were dissatisfied with the existing elitist educational
system, which favored the children of party bureaucrats and high military officers. They
studied in the best high schools and had automatic access to university studies, while others
had very little chance to pass entrance exams. This interpretation of the origins of the GCR
was presented in the Resolution on CCP History (1948-81), adopted under the leadership of
Deng Xiaoping by the 6th Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee of the CCP on June
The Great Cultural Revolution acquired its name from the fact that it began with an
attack on a play dealing with the dismissal of a loyal bureaucrat. Hai Rui under the Ming
dynasty in China. He was an honest man who told his ruler the truth and was punished for it.
This play, titled; "Hai Rui Dismissed from Office," was written in 1961 by the deputy mayor
of Beijing, Wu Han , who was also a distinguished historian of the Ming period. He also
supported moderate economic policy . It was an old Chinese tradition -- which had always
included censorship -- to criticize present policies by writing about similar policies followed
in the past. Chinese intellectuals read the play as an allegory to Wu Han's old ally, the former
Minister of Defense, Marshal Peng Dehuai, who had been punished for his criticism of the
Great Leap Forward. Furthermore, Wu Han not only favored moderate policies and defended
intellectuals, but also had far more influence in Beijing than Mao himself.
The attack on Wu Han soon turned into an attack on "bourgeois influence" in art and
literature, and then on intellectuals in general, but academics in particular. The attack was first
led by party cadres, headed by Mao's wife Jiang Qing, who was now dictator of Culture in
China . Certainly, it was not of her own volition that a young female professor of philosophy
at Beijing University put up a poster calling for the Cultural Revolution to become a mass
movement. In fact, we know that Mao had her poster reprinted and put up everywhere. He
also supported -- and more likely inspired -- the formation by the students of a Red Guard,
and allowed them to attack their professors, whom Mao rightly viewed as supporters of
moderate party leaders. Furthermore, in their fervor to destroy all vestiges of the "old" -- a
favorite target of Mao's -- the Red Guards (predominantly high school students) went on to
attack and destroy treasures of Chinese culture, i.e., temples, books, art, etc.
They also went on to attack anything representing both Soviet and Western capitalist
influence; by the same token, they supported Mao's criticism of the moderate party leaders
who favored improved relations with the USSR. They also savaged people wearing Western
clothes and mistreated, or even killed Chinese who had been employed by Western firms
before they left China. We should note that the police and the military had orders not to
interfere with these "Red Guards." At one point, the Red Guards laid siege to the Soviet
embassy and also sacked the British embassy in Beijing. Indeed, at the height of the GCR,
China withdrew its ambassadors and diplomats from all countries except Egypt, thus virtually
isolating itself itself from other world governments.
In August 1966, Mao finally turned the movement against his real objective: the
moderate CCP leaders, whom he charged with "bourgeois" policies. The major targets were
the exponents of moderate economic policies, the Chief of State, Liu Shaoqi, and the General
Secretary of the CCP, Deng Xiaoping. The attack was led by Lin Biao., who headed the
People's Liberation Army (PLA). Many former party leaders were either killed, or died from
beatings, or were sent into the villages to be worked nearly to death. Some, like Liu Shaoqi,
died in prison for lack of necessary medical care. (Indeed, as Li Zhisui points out, Mao had
taken care beforehand to abolish the privileged medical care that had always been given to
party leaders - though he preserved it for himself and his supporters). Above all, thousands
of China's university teachers were first humiliated, by being paraded in dunces' caps, then
beaten and either killed or sent out to the countryside as forced labor in the communes. The
universities were closed down during the fighting, after which workers and peasants were
admitted without having to pass entrance exams. This, of course, helped to bring down the
level of education even further. Party leaders were also sent down to the villages, including
Deng Xiaoping and his family. Deng's son was so mistreated that he became an invalid.
The Red Guards were told to travel around China and continue their attacks on
intellectuals and party leaders. Central control broke down as various factions fought each
other for power in the cities. China was in chaos. The prisons were full of prisoners, many of
whom died either from beatings or from lack of proper medical care.
Was Mao really intent on restoring the purity of the revolution and the power of the
masses? Perhaps this is what he made himself believe, but he used these slogans to justify the
reimposition of his own total power over the party, for in his view only he knew which way
China should go. However, he clearly miscalculated his ability to check the movement when
it had carried out his wishes. At any rate, he was unable to check it before it threatened to
disintegrate the country. In the end, he had to use the army to restore order.
At the height of the GCR, a Cultural Revolutionary Group of Five emerged, headed
by Mao's ambitious second wife, the former actress Jiang Qing. She became the dictator of
Chinese culture, subordinating all artistic and literary productions to serve the cause of
"revolution." All Western culture was banned. She persecuted not only so-called bourgeois
artists, i.e., all those who did not hew to Mao's view of the party line, but also those who
had known her as a young and promiscuous actress in the 1930s. (6)
IV. From the End of the Cultural Revolution to Mao's Death.
l. The CPR's Relations with Moscow and Washington.
The Cultural Revolution began to peter out in 1969, after Mao had used the army to
restore order in the provincial cities. It was high time. In March 1969, there were violent
clashes between Soviet and CPR troops over Damansky Island on the Ussuri River in
Manchuria. Even before this event, Mao perceived that the balance of power had shifted
in favor of the USSR. Therefore, this confrontation made both the CPR and the USSR seek
closer relations with the United States.
As it happened, President Richard M. Nixon (1913-1994) had long advocated
improving relations with China. He was particularly interested in securing Soviet aid in ending
the Vietnam War, while his National Security Adviser, Henry Kissinger, believed the United
States should play China off against the USSR and vice versa. In April 1971, a U.S. pingpong
team visited China; in July, Kissinger went secretly to Beijing to prepare a summit meeting,
and Nixon himself came in February 1972. The visit seemed to be a success. The American
delegation did not realize that Mao had been rescued from death due to heart failure just a
few weeks earlier. He had been resuscitated and had received special medical care to make
him fit for his meeting with Nixon. (6a)
The U.S. paid the price for normalizing relations with Beijing by abolishing its trade
embargo on the PRC, supporting its admission to the U.N. and agreeing in principle to the
withdrawal of U.S. forces from Taiwan. Nixon considered these concessions well-worth the
advantage of using good relations with the PRC to pressure the USSR into better relations
with the United States, and, hopefully, of obtaining both PRC and Soviet help to end the
Vietnam War on conditions acceptable to Washington. As for Mao, he was only too pleased
to tweak Moscow's nose by improving relations with the United States, thus greatly
strengthening China's security. (7)
2. The Lin Biao Affair.
Lin Biao had developed the cult of Mao in China. He had produced The Little Red
Book of Mao's sayings and distributed it all over the country. He was the head of the army.
However, in August 1970, Mao began to suspect him. According to Li Zhisui, Lin Biao
made the same mistake as Liu Shaoqi before him - he wanted the post of chairman of the
party. After Liu's fall, the post had been abolished - now Lin Biao wanted to restore it. He
proposed that Mao resume it, but expected Mao to refuse - Mao was 77 years old - so that
it would fall to him (Biao). Mao now suspected that Lin Biao was plotting to overthrow him.
He thought Lin would use the army. He said he did not think the army would go against him,
but if it did, he would go back to Jinggangshan and start another guerrilla war. (This is
where Mao had launched his war against Chiang-Kai shek in 1927).
In mid-August 1971, Mao set out south by train to rally all party, government and
military leaders. The message was that at the Lushan party conference the previous August:
someone had been in a big hurry to take over as chairman of the republic. That person was
trying to split the party and grab power for himself. The problem had not yet been solved.Li
Zhisui cites Mao as saying: "There is someone who says he wants to support me, elevate me,
but what he really has in mind is supporting himself, elevating himself." Clearly, this someone
was Lin Biao. At the same time, he also said "we should try to save Lin Biao." It is hard to
determine what Mao had in mind - he said he was concerned with party unity. He returned
to Beijing on September 12, 1971 and immediately met with municipal and military leaders.
At midnight that day, Li Zhisui, who was at Mao's residence in Zhonanghai received
a phone call from the deputy commander of the Central Garrison Corps who said:Lin Biao's
daughter had called to say her mother and Lin Liguo (Lin's son) had kidnapped Lin Biao and
were forcing him to flee. This was interpreted as the daughter's attempt to exculpate Lin
Biao. Mao and his staff moved for safety to the Great Hall of the Peple and an extra battalion
was sent to guard him there. Soldiers went off in pursuit of Lin Biao's limousine which was
headed for the airport, but could not stop him. However, news soon came that the plane
carrying Lin Biao, his wife, son, and a few others, had taken off with inadequate fuel and had
lost its right landing gear after striking a fuel truck. Also, there was no co-pilot or navigator
on board. A few hours later, the Chinese ambassador to Outer Mongolia reported that a
Chinese plane with 9 persons on board had crashed in Undur Khan area. Three days later, he
reported that dental records had identified Lin Biao as one of the dead. (7a) The official
Chinese reaction at this time was to accuse Lin of having plotted to make China a "colony"
of the Soviet Union and of planning to overthrow socialism in China (!). It was not until
1988 that the Chinese press printed the ambassador's report. According to him -- and he had
visited the site -- the plane had made a crash landing; one wing must have touched the
ground, and the plane burned. Most of the bodies were also burned beyond recognition. There
was no mention of bullets. Thus, it seems most likely that the pilot had to land, and that the
plane was destroyed in the attempt
Did Lin Biao really plot to overthrow Mao? This seems rather unlikely. He seems to have hoped to succeed Mao as party chairman, but with Mao's consent. It is possible that when he realized his life was in danger, he fled. Perhaps we may never know the truth of the matter.
Whatever the case may be, Deng Xiaopeng led the action to put Lin on trial posthumously
in 1980-81 on the charge of plotting to assassinate Mao. (8) Since Deng had opposed Mao's
extreme policies - which Lin Biao had supported - and had suffered for this, we may assume
that the trial was staged to discredit the remaining radicals.
3. The Death of Zhou Enlai and the Reappearance and Fall of Deng Xiaoping.
Zhou died of cancer in January 1976. In March, during an annual festival to remember
the dead, thousands of people came to honor Zhou.. As Deng Xiaopeng admitted later, these
demonstrations - which he helped organize - were directed against the radicals, i.e., Mao's
wife, Jiang Qing, and her supporters. Indeed, Deng was a staunch follower of the moderate
Zhou Enlai, who had brought him back from exile in 1973. Furthermore, Deng had given a
eulogy of Zhou at the funeral, on January 15, 1976. The government's attempt to remove
the flowers from his memorial in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, led to further mass
demonstrations there, which were suppressed by the police. This event is known by the
Chinese as the "lst Tiananmen Incident." In featuring the violent suppression of a political
movement instigated by the death of a popular leader, it has uncanny parallels with the
Tiananmen masacre of June 1989.
Mao, leery of moderates, appointed Hua Guo-feng (Hua Kuo-feng, b. 1921) as
Premier. Hua had risent rapidly due to Mao's patronage and embraced many of Mao's radical
policies. On April 1, 1976, the Central Committee of the Party voted to strip Deng of the
posts of Deputy Premier and Chief of Staff. He was villified in wall posters and newspapers
as "China's new Khrushchev," while Jiang Qing called him "an international capitalist agent."
This was clearly an attack on Deng's moderate policies. Hua was confirmed as Premier and
Deputy Chairman of the Partt; this meant he was the designated successor of Mao. Deng was
demoted again - but not for long.
V. The Death of Mao Tse-tung; Jiang Qing and "The Gang of Four"; The Return of Deng
Xiaoping and His Policies.
Mao died on September 9, 1976. Within a month, Hua Guo-feng moved to arrest Jiang Qing and her supporters. However, Deng had more support among the bureaucrats and army commanders than Hua, particularly because of Hua's continued favorable assessment of the Great Culturual Revolution. Thus, in July 1977, Deng was reinstated in all his positions plus a new one: Chairman of the Central Military Commission. He quickly emerged as the most powerful leader in China.
Deng reaffirmed Zhou Enlai's program of the "Four Modernizations," i.e., of
agriculture, industry, national defense, and science and technology. He proclaimed that China
must begin to catch up with the West in technology and must reform her inefficient,
antiquated, Stalinist economic system. He also showed himself willing to use incentives and
to create a less repressive environment. However, almost from the outset, he also showed
that he would not tolerate any political liberalization which he did not control himself. This
was made quite clear by the fate of those who dared to demand democracy.
1. The Democracy Wall and Its Fate.
Deng clearly wanted a show of popular support for his policies and thus to undercut
his radical opponents. Therefore, he relaxed media controls and encouraged the free
expression of opinion. This led to the criticism of Hua Guo-feng that Deng wanted - but also
to criticism of the party itself. Such opinion were expressed in articles and "large character
posters" which were pasted on the Democracy Wall in Beijing in December 1978 -
January 1979. Like Mao in 1956, so Deng in 1979 put a stop to the posters and articles when
they began attacking the communist party and system . Wei Jinsheng, who demanded
democracy as the "fifth modernization," attacking the existing political system and even Deng
himself, was severely punished, as were others who had dared criticize the system.
Here we should note that Wei Jingsheng expressed the views of many young,
educated, Chinese who had become disillusioned with communism as it existed in China. He
had been raised as a loyal Maoist by his father, who was a revolutionary. He was a Red Guard
during the Great Cultural Revolution, but was jailed when his group clashed with rival gangs
loyal to Jiang Qing. He then read a great deal on international affairs, worked as an
electrician, and served four years in the army. He also fell in love with a young Tibetan
woman, whose father had been persecuted for his politics. (China had forcibly imposed its rule
on Tibet in 1959, and the Dalai Lama had fled, taking up residence in India ).
Wei demanded free elections of representatives by the people, and said that socialism
was flawed because it left no room for the independent individual. Wei's demands coincided
with a demonstration by 28 young people in Tiananmen Square on Dec. 17, 1978, to protest
the living and working conditions in south China of some 50,000 young people who had been
"sent down" and had been striking there. (Thousands of young people had been sent into the
countryside for "re-education.") On January 8, 1979, several thousand of these people
demonstrated with signs that read "We don't want hunger," and "We want human rights and
democracy." Later in January, some 30,000 workers and their families, who had also been
sent down, came to Beijing to petition the leaders for help. There were similar demonstrations
in other cities.
At this point, Deng ordered a crackdown. Many underground writers were arrested
and accused of weakening the state with the aid of foreigners. In March 1979, Wei Jingsheng
was tried and convicted. The specific charge was that he had leaked information on the war
between China and Vietnam to a foreign journalist. He appealed the verdict on the grounds
that he had no access to such information, but his appeal was rejected. (9) As we will see
later, Wei and other writers who were repressed in 1979, were the heralds of later protest
movements, up to and including that of spring 1989. Wei was sentenced to 15 years; he was
released just 6 months before his sentence ended, in September 1993, as part of Red China's
bid to host the Olympic Games in the year 2,000. (But it was decided that they will be held
in Sydney, Australia, see "The Games China Plays," Newsweek, September 27, 1993, pp. 62-63).
We should note that during the "Democracy Period," the Party was sending out mixed
signals. This resulted from the existence of three different groups in the leadership. One
group, led by Hu Yaobang (1913-89), who became General Secretary of the Party on January
3,1979, believed that economic reform had to go hand in hand with democratization, by which
he seems to have meant liberalization under party control. Hu also took the line that all that
was proved to be wrong should be corrected. A second group stood for combining the party's
autocratic rule with a free economy; they were led by Zhao Ziyang (Chao Tzu-yang, b. 1919),
formerly the First Secretary of Guandong Province, who became a member of the Politburo
in February 1980. A third group wanted to retain party autocracy, plus some cautious,
economic, adjustments falling short of creating a market economy; this group was led by the
former economic planner, Chen Yun (b. 1905). Deng Xiaoping seemed to be playing these
groups off against each other.
Deng also developed closer relations with the United States and Japan. He sent
Chinese students to study abroad and welcomed foreign, especially American, students to
China. Several U.S. universities, including K.U., established exchange programs with Chinese
universities. Even Western music was allowed back on a restricted basis. However, Deng's
chief goal was to educate thousands of Chinese in modern Western science and technology,
and so catch up with the West.
Here we should note that despite the crackdown on Wei Jingsheng and other critics,
Deng allowed the release of thousands of academics, writers and artists who had been
imprisoned or sent down to the farms. It is likely, however, that his primary aim in this action
and in rehabilitating all those unjustly condemned since 1957, was to bring back into service
bureaucrats who shared his ideas. This was also the goal of the trial of Jiang Qing and the
"Gang of Four" (see below).
2. Some Condemnation of the Past.
Jiang Qing and her supporters were publicly tried in 1980-81. Jiang firmly denied any
wrongdoing and insisted she had always carried out Mao's will. All members of the group
were condemned to death, but their sentences were commuted to long prison terms. (When
Jiang became sick with cancer, she was released from prison, but lived under house arrest; she
died in summer 1991). As mentioned above, Jiang had lorded over the cultural scene for
years, and had been responsible for the death and exile of many artists whom she disliked, or
whom her supporters happened to dislike. But what was most important, she stood for the
fanatical radicalism which had flowered so disastrously in the Great Cultural Revolution, and
which Deng wanted to condemn in Chinese eyes. (10)
Meanwhile, Hua Guo-feng gradually faded from the political scene. In July 1981, he
was replaced as Party Chairman by Deng's man, Hu Yaobang. The Party Central Committee,
which also met in early July, approved a resolution condemning most of Mao's policies since
1950, particularly the Great Cultural Revolution.According to the Central Committee
resolution, the Great Cultural Revolution had been responsible for "the heaviest losses
suffered since the founding of the People's Republic." It was charged with purposely
decimating the Party, ruining the careers of many loyal party workers, and of undermining the
economy of China. Deng spoke for himself and for many thousands of party members in the
words of the resolution that "It was us and not the enemy who were thrown into disorder by
the Cultural Revolution." Finally, the resolution also criticized Mao for dismissing Deng from
high party office and appointing Hua as his successor. Hua was made a junior deputy
chairman of the Party. (11)
Thus the CCP Central Committee resolution of July 1981 can be seen as the Chinese
equivalent of Khrushchev's anti-Stalin speeches of February 1956 and 1961. Just as
Khrushchev had praised Stalin for his policies of industrialization and collectivization, so the
Dengist leadership praised Mao not only as the great leader of the CCP in the period 1927-49
but also for his economic and social policies in the early 1950s. The Great Leap Forward was
strongly criticized, and the Great Cultural Revolution was condemned - although it was
presented as an aberration of Mao's thought.
Indeed, while it was admitted that Mao knew what was going on, the purge of the
CCP and the repression of academic and cultural life of China were blamed on Jiang Qing and
her "gang," who were publicly tried. It is most likely that Deng avoided a wholesale
condemnation of Mao because he did not want to alienate the old guard who were loyal to
Mao's memory, and whose support he would need, or whom he would at least have to
neutralize in order to rule China.
Finally, we must bear in mind that for the Chinese, Mao was Lenin and Stalin rolled
into one; he was both the great revolutionary leader and the builder of the Chinese People's
Republic. Neither the people nor the Party were ready to accept a total condemnation of
Mao's policies, nor could any Chinese leader attempt to formulate such a drastic judgment at
the time. For these reasons, Deng did not go as far in repudiating Mao as Gorbachev was to
go in the USSR in repudiating Stalin after 1987.
Instead, Deng set about reforming the Chinese economy. At the same time, he purged
the party of Maoists in order to carry out these reforms. (About 5,500 members were purged
in 1983). He also ordered about 700,000 party members to undergo "ideological training,"
which focused on the need for moderate change. (At this time, the CCP numbered about 40
million). Deng also purged the army, though he was very careful not to remove the veterans
of the Long March. Instead, he tried to persuade them to retire.
3. Economic Reforms and Problems.
The first, and one of the most important of Deng's economic reforms took place in
agriculture. In order to increase food production, Deng implemented the "contract
responsibility system," i.e., support for private farmers. First, private plots were restored and
enlarged; next, the great farm communes were dissolved, and the government leased the
"subsoil" to farmers. They, in turn, could rent it out to others if they wished to leave the farms
and work in village industries.
After fulfilling the government quotas, the farmers could sell the rest of the produce for their own profit. This led to a swift and significant increase in food production. In fact, between 1979 and 1984, agricultural output grew by at least double that of the preceding 20 years. Also, cotton output jumped threefold in six years, making China the largest textile producer in the world.
Although food production increased, new problems arose. Many farmers preferred to
raise cash crops i.e., vegetables and fruit -- especially watermelons, beloved by the Chinese --
rather than the labor-intensive and low priced staples, rice and grain. Also, in some years
there was an overproduction of grain, so that prices fell steeply and led to reduced
production. The government decided to manipulate prices upward to encourage farmers to
Another constant problem is the continuing loss of scarce agricultural land to village
industry and housing. Freed by new policies that allowed them to engage in sideline
occupations, many farmers abandoned farming for work in small local industries, producing
tools and other goods for the villagers. While beneficial in itself, this trend has removed land
from food production. This is very dangerous, since China's total cultivated land is usually
given as 110 mln hectares (1 hectare = 2.47 acres), and the total loss in 1981-85 amounted
to 2.23 mln. hectares.
Furthermore, the rise in food prices, i.e., inflation, hurt the city workers, so the
government decided to manipulate prices. Urban discontent was aggravated by the import of
manufactured goods from Japan, Taiwan, Hongkong, and elsewhere. These goods were
bought by the rich farmers and city entrepreneurs, but were initially beyond the reach of
industrial workers. On top of this, the imports led to highly visible corruption, for many party
members grew rich from buying imported goods at low prices and reselling them at enormous
markups. This violated the egalitarian ethos of socialism and was greatly resented by all
Chinese people: workers, academics and students.
Agricultural reform was, of course, only the first of the "four modernizations," the
others being the modernization of industry, science-technology, and national defense. Deng
also allowed a certain amount of private enterprise in the cities, e.g., private restaurants and
shops. Western businessmen were encouraged to invest in China, particularly in joint
ventures; at first the terms were too rigid but were modified later. Most of these joint
ventures were initially located in special economic zones in the coastal cities, particularly
along China's south-central coast. Here, managers of state enterprises and private
entrepreneurs were allowed great freedom in dealing with Western business firms, and in
developing private businesses. However, these special economic zones have been criticized
for increasing the gap between the standard of living in these areas and inland China.
The CCP Congress of October 25 - November 1, 1987 endorsed further economic
reforms, and also elected a new and younger leadership, but the government cracked down
on corruption in 1988. Not only were private entrepreneurs buying party support and
toleration, but as noted above, high party members themselves profited greatly from the resale
of foreign goods. As we shall see, blatant corruption among high party members continued,
and would be one of the evils protested by the students in spring 1989.
Unlike agriculture, reform of existing industrial enterprises made very little headway.
It is all very well to preach accountability and profit, and therefore propose that industrial
plants operating at a loss should be closed down. But what is the government to do with the
workers? The same problem faces the new, non-communist, governments of the former
Soviet republics and Eastern Europe with their outdated Stalinist "rustbelt" industries.
In 1987-88, China stood at an economic crossroads. There was a huge budget deficit,
the result of excessive investment and huge subsidies. The trade deficit was the largest in all
of Chinese history. Inflation reached 12% in 1986, and went up another 7% in 1987. But
these are official figures and Chinese economists estimated that inflation in 1985-86 would
reach 30%. Finally, there was widespread corruption, which included party members, and a
high crime rate. These trends continued into 1989 and must be seen as the background for
popular support of the student democracy movement in Beijing in April-June 1989.
Even in agriculture there were serious problems, particularly stagnation, which was
largely due to insufficient investment in the infrastructure, especially water resources.
There was lack of capital, energy shortages, bottlenecks of all kinds, especially in
transportation, and inflation. But on the positive side, there was a great increase in textile
production, a developing electronics industry, especially computers, and a modern defense
industry including aviation and missiles, e.g., the Silkworm missiles sold to Iran and used by
it in the war with Iraq. (12)
In the early 1990s, economists asked:where is China to get the capital for large scale
modernization, and how is she going to square profit and wealth with socialism? As it turned
out, in 1994-96, foreign investment in China amounted to about $100 billion. This constituted
half of all foreign investment in the developing world and was second only to investment in
the United States. However, the second half of the question still requires an answer.
4. The Background to the Student Democracy Movement of Spring 1989.
At first, Deng seemed to espouse the idea - first expressed in the Prague Spring of
1968, and taken up by Gorbachev in the USSR almost twenty years later - that economic
reform cannot succeed without free discussion of problems and their possible solutions. This
view was most strongly expressed by Hu Yaobang. In fact, this veteran soldier and
bureaucrat of the Chinese Communist Party (b. 1913) came to express humane and
democratic ideas. Toward the end of his life, and particularly after his death, he became, for
Chinese students and other liberal intellectuals, the symbol of democracy and decency in
Hu Yaobang seems to have been more of an idealist than a politician. Although he
had had Deng's support for a while -- he had, after all, done the most to achieve Deng's
political rehabilitation -- this could not last. Deng believed that the party must keep total
control of every sphere of life, and, most of all, political life. Indeed, on March 30, 1979, at
the time of the arrest and trial of Wei Jingsheng, Deng proclaimed that China must modernize,
but within the framework of the Four Cardinal Principles of: socialism; the dictatorship of the
proletariat; party leadership; and Marxist-Leninist-Mao Zedong thought. There was certainly
no room for democracy in this framework.
At the same time, however, Deng did speak of the need to abolish "feudalism" within
the Party. He meant the feudal control exercised by provincial First Secretaries and other high
bureaucrats. But these statements were likely aimed at the conservative faction in the party
led by Chen Yun. It is interesting to note that in late 1980, Chen pointed out the dangerous
implications for socialism posed by the Solidarity movement in Poland (1980-81, see ch. 8).
He warned that changes in China might bring about similar developments there. On this basis,
Chen opposed "bourgeois liberalization," i.e., free speech and democracy, as well as radical
economic reforms. In 1983, he and his supporters also began a campaign against "spiritual
contamination," i.e., Western ideas - especially democracy.
In the meanwhile, Hu Yaobang continued to give open support to political and
ideological reform. This, of course, aroused the opposition of conservative hardliners. But
the real reason for Hu's dismissal seems to have been a bold move against corruption in high
places. Thus, Hu Yaobang obtained the necessary papers for the arrest of the son of Hu
Qiaomu, the head of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, whose son had embezzled a
huge sum of money. Hu Qiaomu appealed to Deng for help.
At this point, Premier Zhao Ziyang, who was in overall charge of economic reform,
allegedly told Deng that he could no longer cooperate with Hu Yaobang. In this way, Zhao,
who stood for significant economic reform, made use of the support of the Old Guard, led
by the conservative Chen Yun, to strengthen his own position. Then, the members of the ad
hoc Standing Committee of the Politburo indicated they did not want Deng to resign, i.e.,
they did not want Hu Yaobang to succeed him. This decision was made before student
demonstrations in favor of democracy took place at the turn of 1986-87, although Hu
Yaobang was later accused of fomenting them.
Large student demonstrations began in early December 1986 at the University of
Science and Technology in Hefei, Anhui Province. The students demanded better living
conditions and freedom of the press. On December 23rd, students at Beijing University
demonstrated calling for freedom and democracy. On December 31st, the media proclaimed
there was a "plot" to overthrow the government and the Beijing Municipal Council imposed
limits on all demonstrations. However, on January 1, 1988, over 2,000 students demonstrated
in the capital.
On January 16, 1988, Hu Yaobang, who had opposed the party decision to suppress
student demonstrations, was removed as General Secretary of the Party, and replaced by
Zhao Ziyang. Also in the course of the month, three leading "liberals" were expelled from the
Communist Party; they were the physicist, Fang Lizhi (b. 1936), who had been Vice-President
of the University of Science and Technology and had supported student demands; the
dissident writer, Wang Ruowang, and the daring journalist Liu Binyan, who had -- with
Deng's blessing -- publicized widespread corruption among high party members in northern
Although student demonstrations died down in 1988, this did not mean the end of the
movement. Indeed, at many universities discussion groups, known as "salons" sprang up, in
which students discussed the country's problems. The authorities kept an eye on them, but did
not harass them unduly.
Fang Lizhi, who was barred from visiting the United States in 1988, expressed biting
criticism of communism and gave information about these student groups to the Western
press. In an article published in the New York Review of Books, in early February 1989, he
stated that communism had failed in China, and also criticized the "Four Basic Principles"
proclaimed by Deng in March 1979. Fang noted the establishment of many informal dissident
groups and listed the topics most commonly discussed as: (1) the need to guarantee human
rights and the release of all political prisoners; (2) the establishment of a free economic
system; (3) support for education; (4) the supervision of public officeholders and the use of
"glasnost" to root out corruption; (5) an end to China's state of civil war and promotion of
peace in the Taiwan straits; (6) establishment of rule by law; and (7) revision of the
constitution, so as to provide for democracy and freedom.
In the same month, February 1989, Fang Lizhi wrote an open letter to Deng Xiaoping, urging him to respect human rights and release Wei Jingsheng, who had, by then, languished in prison for almost ten years. The poet Bei Dao also sent a letter to Deng, urging a more flexible policy. Then, 33 intellectuals sent an open letter to the Central Committee and the State Council, urging the release of Wei Jingsheng on humanitarian grounds. Despite party leaders' attempts to get the writers to retract, 42 more scientists and social scientists signed it, while a third open letter was signed by young writers and scholars who demanded democracy.
As we know, 1989 was a year of great anniversaries -- the 200th anniversary of the
French Revolution, the 70th anniversary of the May 4th Movement, and the 40th anniversary
of the founding of the People's Republic of China. At the same time, it was the year which
saw the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe. However, it was the death of one man
which sparked the explosion of public dissent in China. (13)
5. The Student Democracy Movement, April-June 1989.
On April 15, 1989, Chinese TV announced the death of Hu Yaobang, who had been
hospitalized after a heart attack and died from a second one. The students of Beijing
immediately saw demonstrations of mourning as a tool for pressing their political demands.
After all, there was a recent precedent in the demonstrations at the funeral of Zhou Enlai in
January 1976, which Deng had used to criticize Jiang Qing and her "Gang of Four." Although
Deng had been punished, he "rehabilitated" the demonstrations after returning to power. The
difference was that in spring 1989 the demonstrations were not headed by party leaders.
On April 16, several universities in Beijing spontaneously changed mourning sessions
for Hu into meetings criticizing corruption and bureaucratization in the Party. Students from
Qinghua University even demanded the resignation of Li Peng, who had been in charge of
higher education and became Premier on April 15.
On April 17, Wang Dan, a graduate student in history at Beijing University, emerged
as the leader there and led a demonstration. When the crowd swelled to some 5,000, they
decided to march to Tienanmen Square. As they went, they shouted "Down with
Bureaucracy. Long Live Democracy. Hu Yaobang will never die!" Posters went up, praising
Hu for his support of democracy and economic reforms.
At dawn on April 18, over 100,000 students gathered in Tiananmen Square. They
demanded a re-evaluation of Hu's achievements; the rehabilitation of Fang Lizhi, Wang
Ruowang and Liu Binyan; the publication of the finances of party and state leaders and their
children; freedom of the press; increased funds for higher education; improved treatment of
intellectuals; the cancellation of limits on demonstrations; and that the public be informed
about the goals of the student movement.
The people of Beijing were delighted to see that the students were demanding reform
and the end of corruption. They gave the students food and drink. They shouted "Long live
the students," and the students replied "Long live the People!" The people also helped the
students by forming human barriers to block them off from the police.
On April 19, some 10,000 students gathered in Tiananmen Square and called for
Premier Li Peng to speak to them, but he refused. The next morning, 5,000 students asked
government officials to enter into a dialogue with them. The students then broke into small
groups and talked to the people, explaining why they were demonstrating. People collected
money and food for them.
On the evening of April 21, the government announced that Tiananmen Square would
be closed for Hu's funeral on April 22. Fundraising and speeches were forbidden.
However, on the afternoon of April 21, Wuer Kaixi, a freshman at Beijing Normal
University (Teachers' College), announced the creation of a provisional student association.
This was the beginning of an umbrella organization for students from the 16 universities and
colleges in Beijing. That evening, over 40,000 students and teachers set off from Beijing
University for Tiananmen Square; by midnight about 200,000 had gathered there. The leaders
were Wang Dang, Wuer Kaixi, Zhou Yongjun and Zhang Boli. They all settled down for the
night, and were supplied with food and drink by the people.
At the same time, while a Party memorial service was held for Hu Yaobang inside the
Great Hall of the People, student representatives were kneeling in front of the hall, asking Li
Peng to come out and talk to them. He refused.
The party leadership was divided on what to do. Also, Party Chairman Zhao Ziyang
was away on a visit to North Korea. Finally, on April 24, hardliners on the Beijing Municipal
Council apparently forced through the decision to adopt a hard line, and a report was made
to Deng Xiaoping on April 25. He is reported to have said:
It is a planned conspiracy, a political rebellion. We will not have a moment's
rest if we do not stop it. We should try to avoid bloodshed. It is hard to shed
no blood at all. Don't be afraid of international public opinion.
On April 26, the People's Daily accused the students of violating the constitution; of
encouraging opposition to the Communist Party and socialist system; and of a planned
conspiracy and rebellion. This editorial was broadcast on the radio.
It is very interesting to note that on April 24, Deng Xiao-ping was also alleged to have
told Party members that:
These people have come under the influence and encouragement of
Yugoslavian, Polish, Hungarian and Russian elements who [agitate for]
liberalization, who urge them to rise up and create turmoil. They will cause
the country and the Chinese people to have no future. We must take measures
and act quickly, without losing any time. (14)
Indeed, we know that some of the student leaders -- for example, Wang Dan -- spoke
of the changes in Eastern Europe. They most likely heard of them from Chinese language
broadcasts of Voice of America, or by way of friends in Hongkong. Whatever the students
may have known, Deng Xiaoping certainly must have been following the progress of
"glasnost" in the Soviet Union, the Round Table talks in Poland, and the liberalization of the
Hungarian Communist Party (see ch. 8).
On the morning of April 27, the students of Beijing University defied the Party and
started to march again to Tiananmen Square. The citizens of the city used their bodies to
break the police lines and so let the students pass. Hundreds of people recorded the events
with their cameras.
Some units of the 38th Army were already in Beijing. However, they did not shoot,
probably because thousands of people had turned out in support of the students. The latter
were also shouting slogans praising the party. Some people blocked a troop transport at one
of the overpasses - but 25 trucks full of troops were parked only a few blocks from the
Now students also came out into the streets in Shanghai, Wuhan and Changsha.
On April 29, Yuan Mu, spokesman for the State Council, was allowed by Premier Li
Peng to talk with 45 students from the 16 college and universities in Beijing. However, the
government would not recognize the students as representatives of the new, freely elected,
student associations, but only as individuals. Wuer Kaixi, therefore, refused to enter into talks.
Indeed, the government spokesmen openly hinted that people "with long beards," i.e.,
intellectuals like Fang Lizhi, were behind the demonstrations. Still, the meeting with the
students was shown on Chinese TV and the government stated that the People's Daily
editorial of April 26th was not aimed at them.
The authorities' backtracking and apparent hesitation to use force were due to a split
within the leadership. While the hardliners, led by Deng and the Old Guard favored a
crackdown, this was opposed by Zhao Ziyang, who returned from North Korea on April 29.
At this time, Li Peng told him that his (Zhao Ziyang's) eldest son, Zhao Dajun, was reported
to have engaged in illegal trade. Zhao's reply was that the Central Committee should open an
investigation and publicize it throughout the country. This was no doubt seen by Deng and
the hardliners as a gesture of support for the students, who were demanding the punishment
of corruption among high party members and their children. Indeed, Deng's invalid son, who
headed a "charitable foundation," was widely suspected of using its tax free status to fill his
As for Zhao Ziyang, he declared at several party meetings that he did not believe the
student movement was manipulated by conspirators. He said the students acted from love of
country and desire to speed up reform. He also wanted the government to admit that the
People's Daily editorial was mistaken. The newspaper's partial retraction noted above must
have been the result of Zhao's stand.
Zhao then went further by making his views public. He had stressed the need for
"stability" on the evening of May 3rd - but next day, at a meeting of the board of the Asian
Development Bank, he said publicly that the basic slogan of the student movement supported
the Communist Party, the constitution, the speeding up of reform and democracy, and
opposition to corruption. He said he believed the Party should acknowledge its mistakes and
recognize student demands as reasonable, but that reforms should be implemented in a
peaceful and orderly way. He wanted all problems solved by democratic and legal means. (15)
Meanwhile, on May 2, a delegation from the Beijing universities and colleges, led by
Wang Dan, appealed again for dialogue. On the following day, the government spokesman
said that students could not talk with the government on an equal basis.
On May 4, the 70th anniversary of the May 4th Movement, some 200,000 students
were in Tiananmen Square. They read the May 4 Manifesto and demanded a dialogue with
the government. They also said they would resume classes on May 5. As noted above, it was
also on May 4th that Zhao Ziyang had publicly acknowledged the demands of the students
were reasonable, and that all problems should be resolved peacefully.
Whether Zhao's public statement was decisive in this or not, Chinese journalists now
joined the students. Some 500 reporters and editors marched carrying banners proclaiming
that the media must speak the truth. Also, a group of People's Daily reporters received great
applause for carrying a banner that read: "We reject the editorial of April 24th" - i.e. the
editorial that had condemned the student demonstration as a subversive attack on the Party.
The reporters and editors had demonstrated in this way for the first time in 40 years of
communism in China. The press and TV informed the people of what was really going on.
Many scholars now gave their support to the students and, for the first time, workers began
to appear in numbers in the square.
However, despite Zhao Ziyang's speech of May 4th, the government still refused to talk with the students. Therefore, on the morning of May 13, some 200 students gathered at Beijing University and pledged to fast in order to speed up the process of democratization. They were joined by 600 more students from Beijing Normal University. Wuer Kaixi led the group to Tiananmen Square. There was also a young female student leader, Chai Ling, By 4 p.m. that day, 4,000 students were fasting. They wore headbands reading Fasting, and Give Me Liberty, or Give me Death.
An important factor in the dramatic events in Beijing and the struggle within the party
leadership was the visit of Mikhail Gorbachev on May 16-17. This was the first visit by a
Soviet chief of state since Khrushchev came to talk with Mao in September 1959.
Gorbachev's car was cheered by the students, who obviously knew something about his
"glasnost" policies in the USSR, but he was not allowed to speak to them.
What was more important, however, was the fact that Zhao Ziyang informed the
Soviet leader of what had been hitherto kept strictly secret, i.e., the 1987 decision of the
Central Committee of the CCP that though Deng had resigned from his party posts (except
for the Chairmanship of the Central Military Commission), the Poliburo would let him make
the final decisions on all major issues. Thus, Deng's charade of giving up power was revealed.
(16). This must have infuriated Deng and the Old Guard.
Especially important was the arrival of a whole army of foreign media to record the
Gorbachev visit. People gambled that the party leadership would not risk a crackdown with
the whole world watching what was going in Beijing. In an astonishing mass protest, one
million city residents marched to Tiananmen Square on May 19th, and a second million -
many of them workers - was to follow the next day.
On May 19, at about 5 a.m. Zhao Ziyang and Li Peng came out to the students fasting in Tiananmen Square. Zhao begged them to stop. He was in tears, but Li Peng showed no emotion and said nothing. In a statement that was puzzling at the time, but gained meaning from subsequent events, Zhao apologized to the students saying he had "come too late" to assist them.
At 9 p.m. that day, the student radio announced that the fast had ended and a sit-in
had begun. It was high time, for many of the 3,000 fasters were at death's door. Ambulances
rushed in to take them to hospitals around the city.
At 10 p.m. high ranking party members left their official residence, the Zhongnanhai
for a decisive meeting in the General Logistics Department, located in the southwestern part
of the city. Here, Premier Li Peng stated that Beijing was in the throes of a serious rebellion
which must be put down. Yang Shangkun, one of the Old Guard (b. 1909) and Deputy
Chairman of the Central Military Commission -- of which Deng was chairman -- said that
troops were coming into the city to implement martial law. Then, official loudspeakers
announced the speeches of Lin Peng and Yang Shangkun, and proclaimed that a state of
martial law would exist in Beijing as of May 20. It was a signal of how irrelevant the Party
had become that the announcement was ignored when carried by loudspeakers in Tiananmen
On May 20, the people of Beijing formed human barriers to stop the trucks carrying
soldiers; then they built barricades. This popular movement lasted for two weeks. On May 24,
even the thieves declared they would not ply their trade, but would block military vehicles.
Perhaps encouraged by the popular support given the students, which was blocking
the imposition of martial law, Zhao Ziyang presented a six-point plan to the Standing
Committee of the Politburo; he argued that its adoption would reduce student discontent
because student demands really agreed with the Party's goals. The six points were: (1)
investigate all major companies run by children of high ranking officials and publicize the
results; (2) publicize the experience and accomplishments that qualified important officials for
their positions; (3) abolish special supplies of goods for officials below the Vice-Premier and
under the age of 75; (4) the People's Congress would establish a supervisory committee to
investigate accusations of criminal activities by children of high-ranking officials; (5) the
freedom of the press was to be expanded as soon as possible; (6) the judiciary should be made
independent [of the party]; and all problems should be solved in accordance with legal
Zhao's plan was apparently distributed to the vice-chairmen and members of the
congress. However, Li Peng was allegedly opposed, saying the plan was only Zhao's personal
opinion. Indeed, Deng and the Old Guard furiously opposed Zhao. He was now accused of
being the head of an "anti-Party clique" and, indeed, two of his supporters were high military
officials with significant power. It seems that at least three of the eight military commanders
opposed the use of force, as did many civilian officials. (17)
Here we should note that from May 20 onward, student demonstrations spread
beyond Beijing; they took place in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzen, Chongqing, and nearly
eighty cities throughout the country. Chinese people in Hongkong and Macao also came out
into the streets to express their support for the students. Chinese students in the West,
especially the large contingent in the United States, also expressed their enthusiastic support;
they phoned or faxed Western press reports to their friends at home.
However, toward the end of May, the student sit-in in Tiananmen Square began to
peter out. This was not surprising; after all, many had been there on and off since mid-April
and they were tired. Many Western observers thought the government was wisely planning
to "out-sit" the students, the last of whom were expected to leave shortly.
Furthermore, the National People's Congress opened on May 22, and many Chinese
hoped it would support student demands. Indeed, the chairman, Wan Li, had expressed his
sympathy with the students and returned from Canada two days later. However, he was
detained in Shanghai for "health reasons" after landing there. This was ominous. Likewise,
38 members of the Standing Committee of the Congress were ready to call for an emergency
meeting, but they lacked the requisite majority to do so.
On June 2 and 3, there were movements of armed troops in the city and some people
were killed. However, on June 3, some 300,000 people blocked troops and police in
That evening, radio and TV stations warned people to stay home, but they did not
listen. Some 3,000 people were in the square when great numbers of troops marched toward
it at 9 p.m. They shot people standing in their way and killed many. A bloody battle took
place on Changan Avenue, east of the square. Some people angered by the killing, killed a
few soldiers. The troops stopped ambulances from going to pick up the wounded.
After more fighting, the students in the Square decided to leave at 4:20 a.m. on June
4th. Just then, a flare lit up the scene and the soldiers attacked the students, beating and
killing them. Accounts differ, but it seems that between 1,000 and 3,000 people were killed
in Beijing, while many were also killed in other cities. The world watched in horror. At the
same time, peaceful elections for a new legislature took place in Poland, where the
communists suffered total defeat.
6. The Aftermath.
Thousands of people were arrested between June 4 and August 1989 for involvement
in the student movement. We don't know how many were tortured to death and executed.
Some student leaders escaped to the West. Western opinion was shocked, but after a while,
the United States resumed business with China.
In spring 1990, the Chinese government finally allowed Fang Lizhi to leave the
country on condition he would not criticize China. Fang had taken refuge in the U.S. Embassy
in Beijing in June 1989.
On May 10, 1989, the Chinese Ministry of Public Security announced that 211 people
detained for involvement in the 1989 democracy movement had been released. Only six names
were given, including Dai Qing, an investigative journalist, and Li Honglin, a social scientist.
The Ministry also said that 431 others were still being investigated.
Five days later, Amnesty International published the names of more than 650 prisoners
still held in China. It submitted the list to Premier Li Peng and asked for information about
them. It also asked for information on the fate of thousands of unnamed prisoners in jail since
June 4, 1989. (18)
Although the student movement was brutally crushed, it is most unlikely that it will
be forgotten. After all, it was the greatest protest movement against a government in the
whole history of China. It showed that demands for human rights and democracy were
supported by masses of Chinese students -- leaders of political protest movements in China
since May 4, 1919. It is true that the party reimposed its control on the country. However,
as was the case with martial law in Poland and the rebirth of Solidarity and its triumph in
1989, we can also look forward to a resurgence of the movement for human rights and
democracy in China.
China under Deng Xiao Ping and After.
There were changes in the party executive at the Party Congress in October 1992 (see
New York Times, October 20, 1992), and a military purge took place in February 1992. At
that time, Deng Xiaopeng -- now 89 years old -- stripped his old comrade-in-arms President
Yang Shangkun, and the latter's half-brother, Gen. Yang Baibing, of their control of the
military. He also sidelined over half of China's generals, i.e., those believed loyal to the Yangs.
In March 1993, China increased its military spending by 15%, despite a budget deficit.
The Chinese economy was said to be overheating in 1993. The economic "czar"
Deputy Prime Minister and head of the Economic and Trade Office, Zhu Rongji, imposed a
16 point austerity program in the summer, but this might have been directed more at curbing
unwelcome private wealth than at real economic problems, for he paid great attention to
curbing land speculation for building casinos, office towers and condominiums, and also to
privately owned jetliner companies. (New York Times, October 3, 1993, sec. 1, p. 6; Wang
Junjin, a 29 year old founder of a private airline was featured in the New York Times, of
February 14, 1993, sec. 1, p. 1 ). In fact, it was the uncontrolled spending by private
entrepreneurs that was feeding inflation. A more serious problem, however, lies in the large,
state-owned enterprises, about one-third of which failed to make any real money in 1992.
Another third broke even, and one-third lost money, which forced the government to prop
them up with about $6 billion in subsidies (New York Times, May 2, 1993, sec. 1, p. 7).
In fact, China's economic miracle has its downside. She has an antiquated,
bureaucratic, state banking system designed simply to do the state's bookkeeping. This
banking system, however, makes loans at very low interest not only to state enterprises, but
also to speculators, e.g., real estate developers, who drove up property prices in the affluent
coastal regions. (Paul Blustein, "China's Hybrid Economy," Washington Post, National
Weekly Edition, September 6-17, 1993). By 1996, however, Chinas was taking steps toward
the creation of a real central bank. Also, the austerity drive has worked. But there are still
the 400,000 state enterprises with their 80 million workers; they swallow billions of dollars
of state subsidies per year. This problem, of course, also exists in Russia, Ukraine, and on a
smaller scale, in the new democracies of Eastern Europe.
In 1994, peasant unrest was noted in China, also increasing power held by regional
party elites at the expense of Beijing. However, the Chinese economy continued growing at
such a fast rate, that predictions were being made of China becoming a great economic power
by the year 2,000. We should balance this by reports of growing worker discontent with low
wages, high prices, and corruption among the party elite. The impending death of Deng Xiao
Ping adds to existing uncertainty about China's future.
As far as dissidents are concerned, China freed some to improve its image, with an eye to hosting the Olympic Games in the year 2000 (but Australia won that honor), also to forestall any trade restrictions by President Clinton. In early February 1993, the authorities released the most prominent student leader of 1989, Wang Dan. (New York Times, February 17, 1993, sec. 1, p. 1). Some 18-20 Catholic priests were reported as released in March 1993 (New York Times, March 21, 1993, sec. 1, p. 10), and at the end of the month there was an interview with Liu Qing, who served 11 years for advocating democracy. He told a harrowing tale of being forced to sit all day on a stool in his cell, and of the beatings he suffered. He can talk of these things now that he is in the U.S. (See: "Memories of Prison in China and Enduring for Democracy," New York Times, March 31, 1993, sec. 1, p. 14).
However, in 1995-96, the Chinese government has taken overt steps to show its
contempt for western, especially U.S. opinion. Wang Dan was arrested again in spring 1995
and held without being allowed any family visits. On October 12, 1996, the world press
reported that he was charged with conspiracy to overthrow the state. His "conspiracy" is
defined as publishing anti-government articles abroad; raising money to support needy
dissidents, and accepting money from abroad, also a scholarship from the University of
California. As of early October 1997, Wang was still in jail.
As for the veteran dissident, Wei Jingsheng, who spent fourteen and a half years in
prison for demanding democracy in March 1979; he was released in September 1992, but
rearrested for a short while and banished from Beijing. In 1995, he was sentenced to another
fourteen years. Another veteran dissident, the literary critics Liu Xiaobo, was sentenced in
mid-October 1996 to three years hard labor for co-signing a biting criticism of President
Jiang. The co-author, also a veteran dissident, Wang Xixhe, has disappeared, and is presumed
to be in prison as well. The U.S. government called on the Chinese government to release "
all prisoners who are languishing and suffering in Chinese jails solely because of their political
views." (19) Unfortunately, the old French saying may apply: "The more things change, the
more they remain the same."
1. See John King Fairbank, The United States and China, 4th ed., Cambridge, Massachusetts,
1979, ch. 17; see also Winberg, Chai, ed., The Foreign Relations of the People's Republic of
China, New York, 1972, ch. 2 (documents).
2. For the Soviet view of Sino-Soviet relations, i.e., Soviet help for the CCP until February
1950, see Andrei Ledovsky, The USSR, the USA, and the People's Revolution in China,
Moscow, 1979; English translation, 1982. For the most recent documents and evaluations,
see: "New Evidence on Sino-Soviet Relations," which cover the period 1956-1980, in: Cold
War International History Project BULLETIN issue s 6-7: THE COLD WAR IN ASIA,
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, D.C., Winter 1995-1996,
2a. See: "Mao on Sino-Soviet Relations: Two Conversatins with Ambassador Yudin," doc.
1, conversation 31 March 1956, Cold War BULLETIN, 6-7, p 165.
2b. See: Alexandre Y. Mansourov, "Stalin, Mao, Kim, and China's Decision to Enter the
Korean War.." ibid., pp. 95-96.
3. See John Rowland, A History of Sino-Indian Relations. Hostile Co-Existence, Princeton,
New Jersey, 1967 (especially from ch. 9 on).
4. See R. K. I. Quested, Sino-Russian Relations, London, 1984, chaps. 10-11 (survey);
Donald Zagoria, The Sino-Soviet Conflict, 1956-1961, Princeton, New Jersey, 1962; William
E. Griffith, Albania and the Sino-Soviet Rift, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1962; John Gittings,
The World and China, 1922-1972, New York, 1974, pt. II (survey).
4a. See: The Private Life of Chairman MAO, The Memoirs of Mao's Personal Physician, Dr.
Li Zhisui. Translated by Professor Tai-Hung-chao, with the editorial assitance of Anne F.
Thurston, New York, 1994, pp. 198-204.
4b. See: ibid., pp. 277-278.
4c. See: ibid. Pp. 325-346.
4d. See: ibid., 315.
5. For an excellent survey of inner party discussions in 1962, see Stephen Uhalley, Jr., A
History of the Chinese Communist Party, Stanford, California, Hoover Institution, 1988, pp.
5a. See:Quang Zhai, "Beijing and the Vietnam Conflict. 1964-1965: New Chinese Evidence,"
Cold War BULLETIN, 6-7, 995-96, p. 235.
6. For the most detailed study of the background of the Great Cultural Revolution, see
Roderick MacFarquhar, The Origins of the Cultural Revolutions. 1: Contradictions Among
the People, 1956-1957, New York, 1974, and same: The Great Leap Forward, 1958-1960,
New York, 1983. For books on the Great Cultural Revolution, see appropriate section in
6a. See: Li Zhisui, The Private Life, pp.559-62.
7. For the American side of the story, see Henry Kissinger, The White House Years, Boston,
1979, chaps. XVIII-XIX, XXIV; see also Richard Nixon, The Memoirs of Richard Nixon,
New York, 1978, "The Presidency 1969-1972".
7a. See: Li Zhisui, The Private Life, pp.528-31.
8. See A Great Trial in Chinese History. The Trial of Lin Biao and Jiang Qing Counter-Revolutionary Cliques, Nov. 1980-Jan. 1981, Oxford, 1981, (On Lin, see pp. 1-32). The
memoirs of the Chinese ambassador at Ulan Bator were discussed in the Polish press in
9. On Wei Jingsheng, see Jonathan D. Spence, In Search for Modern China, New York and
London, 1990, pp. 662-666, also, Daniels,A Documentary History of Communism, v. II,
1984, pp. 400-403; 3rd ed., 1994, pp. 277-279. China had attacked Vietnam on February 15,
1979, after the latter had intervened against the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia; the war ended
with a Chinese withdrawal on March 5th that year.
10. On the 3 factions in the party leadership, see Liu Binyan, Tell the World. What Happened in China and Why, New York, 1989, pp. 71-72 and ff; on Hu Yaobang, see also Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Grand Failure. The Birth and Death of Communism in the Twentieth Century, New York, 1989, p. 160; for the trial of Jiang Qing, etc., see note 8 above.
11. For the resolution of June 1981, see Daniels, 1984, v. II, pp. 403-409; 3rd ed., 1994, pp.
12. On Deng's economic reforms, see the articles by Chu-yuan Cheng and Kuan-I Chen in
Current History, September 1987, and articles by Chu-yuan Cheng and John Frankenstein in
Current History, September 1988; see also Spence, In Search for Modern China, pp. 667 ff.
13. For the background to the student democracy movement, see Spence, Ibid., pp. 662 ff,
see also Liu Binyan, Tell the World, part 2.
14. For Deng Xiaoping and the People's Daily editorial, see Liu Binyan, Tell the World, pp.
15-16; for Deng Xiaoping's reference to the USSR and Eastern Europe, see Cries for
Democracy. Writings and Speeches from the 1989 Chinese Democracy Movement, edited by
Han Minzhu, Princeton, New Jersey, 1990, p. 67.
15. On Zhao Ziyang's attitude April 29 and his speech of May 4, 1989, see Liu Binyan, Tell
the World, pp. 36-37.
16. On Zhao Ziyang to Gorbachev, see Ibid., p. 40.
17. For Zhao Ziyang's 6 point program, see Ibid., p. 39.
18. See Amnesty Action, Amnesty International USA, issue for June/July/August 1990.
19. On the arrest of Wang Dan et al., and charges, see: "A Leader of 89 China Protest Held
on Subversion Charges," New York Times, October 13, 1996, sec. Y, p. 1.
1. Surveys & Biographical Information.
Wolfgang Barnett and Peter Schier, China's New Party Leadership: Biographies and Analysis of the Twelfth Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, Armonk, New York, 1985.
Jean Chesnaux, The People's Republic of China, 1949-1976, New York, 1979.
Jurgen Domes, The Internal Politics of China, 1949-1972, New York, 1973.
Jacques Guillermaz, The Chinese Communist Party in Power, 1949-1977, Boulder, Colorado, 1976.
Harold C. Hinton, ed., The People's Republic of China, 1949-1979: A Documentary Survey, 5 vols., Wilmington, Delaware, 1980.
Harold C. Hinton, The People's Republic of China, 1979-1984: A Documentary Survey, 2 vols., Wilmington, Delaware, 1986.
Joyce K. Kallgren, ed., The People's Republic of China after Thirty Years: An Overview, Berkeley, California, 1979.
Donald W. Klein and Ann B. Clark, eds., Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Communism, 1921-1965, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1971.
Witold Rodzinski, The People's Republic of China. A Concise Political History, New York, 1988.
Jonathan D. Spence, In Search for Modern China, New York and London, 1990, part V.
2. The Communist Party.
David Bonavia, Verdict in Peking: The Trial of the Gang of Four, New York, 1984.
John P. Burns and Stanley Rosen, eds., Policy Conflicts in Post-Mao China: A Documentary Survey with Analysis, Armonk, New York, 1986.
David W. Chang, Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping in the Chinese Succession Crisis, New York and London, 1984, chaps. I-III.
Chen Yung Ping, Chinese Political Thought: Mao Tse-tung and Liu Shao-chi, 2nd rev. ed., The Hague, 1971.
Deng Xiaoping, Speeches and Writings, (and interview with Robert Maxwell, 1982), Oxford, Pergamon Press, 1984.
Jurgen Domes, The Internal Politics of China, 1949-1972, New York, 1973.
Same, Peng Te-huai:The Man and the Image, London, 1985.
Richard Evans, Deng Xiaoping and the Making of Modern China, New York, 1993 (very favorable to Deng).
John Gardner, Chinese Politics and the Succession to Mao, New York, 1982.
Jaap van Ginneken, The Rise and Fall of Lin Piao, New York, 1974.
Edward Hunter, Brain Washing in Red China. The Calculated Destruction of Men's Minds, rev. ed., New York, 1953.
K. S. Karol, China. The Other Communism, 2nd edition, New York, 1968, (a Polish-born West European journalist's look at China, originally published in French in 1966).
Michael Y. M. Kau, and John K. Leung, eds., The Writings of Mao Zedong 1949-1976, vol. 1, September 1949-December 1955, Armonk, New York, 1986.
Laszlo Ladany, The Communist Party of China and Marxism, 1921-1985: A Self-Portrait, Stanford, California, Hoover Institution, 1987. (This is considered a valuable study by a specialist).
Robert Jay Lifton, Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of "Brainwashing" in China, Middlesex, England, 1961.
Liu Schao-ch'i, Collected Works, 1945-1957, Hong Kong, 1968.
Mao Zedong, Selected Works, vols. 1-4, Beijing, 1950-1977; vol. 5, 1977.
Peter R. Moody, Politics after Mao: Development and Liberalization, 1976-1983, New York, 1983.
Peng Dehuai, Memoirs of a Chinese Marshal, Beijing, 1985.
Resolution on CPC History (1949-81). Adopted by the Sixth Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on June 27, 1981, Oxford and New York, Pergamon Press, 1981.
Gilbert Rozman, A Mirror for Socialism: Soviet Criticisms of China, Princeton, New Jersey, 1985.
Same, The Chinese Debate about Soviet Socialism, 1978-1985, Princeton, New Jersey, 1985.
Stuart R. Schram, The Political Thought of Mao Tse-tung, New York, 1969.
Stuart R. Schram, Mao Tse-tung Unrehearsed: Talks and Letters, 1956-71, Middlesex, England, 1974.
Benjamin L. Schwartz, Communism in China: Ideology in Flux, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1968 (a leading American Sinologist looks at China).
David L. Shambaugh, The Making of a Premier: Zhao Ziyang's Provincial Career, Boulder, Colorado, 1984.
Richard Solomon, Mao's Revolution and the Chinese Political Culture, Berkeley, California, 1971.
Donald W. Treadgold, ed., Soviet and Chinese Communism: Similarities and Differences, Seattle, Washington, 1967.
Stephen Uhalley, Jr., Mao Tse-tung: A Critical Biography, New York, 1975.
Same, A History of the Chinese Communist Party, Stanford, California, Hoover Institution,
1988 (chaps. 7-15).
For the most recent works and documents, see: "New Chinese Sources," in: Cold
War...BULLETIN, 6-7, 1995-1996, pp. 126 ff.
3. The Great Cultural Revolution.
Ahn Byung-joon, Chinese Politics and the Cultural Revolution: Dynamics of Policy Processes, Seattle, Washington, 1976.
An Tai-sung, Mao Tse-tung's Cultural Revolution, Indianapolis, Ind., 1972.
Richard Baum, Prelude to Revolution: Mao, the Party, and the Peasant Question, 1962-1966, New York,1975.
Anita Chan, Children of Mao: Personality Development and Political Activism in the Red Guard Generation, Seattle, Washington, 1985.
Jack Chen, Inside the Cultural Revolution, New York, 1975.
Nien Cheng, Life and Death in Shanghai, New York, 1987. (A moving account of suffering in Chinese prisons).
Lowell Dittmer, Liu Shao-chi and the Chinese Cultural Revolution. The Politics of Mass Criticism, Berkeley and London, 1974.
Gao Yuan, Born Red. A Chronicle of the Cultural Revolution, Stanford, California, 1987 (author is a former "Red Guard" ).
Lee Hong Yung, The Politics of the Chinese Cultural Revolution: A Case Study, Berkeley, California, 1978.
William Hinton, Hundred Day War: The Cultural Revolution at Tsinghua University, New York, 1972.
K. S. Karol, The Second Chinese Revolution, New York, 1974.
(see note on author in sec. a).
Liang Heng and Judith Shapiro, Son of the Revolution, New York, 1983. (Personal story of a "Red Guard").
Lian Heng and Judith Shapiro, After the Nightmare: A Survivor of the Cultural Revolution Reports on China Today, New York, 1986.
David and Nancy Dall Milton, The Wind Will Not Subside: Years in Revolutionary China - 1964-1969, New York, 1976.
Peter R. Moody, Opposition and Dissent in Contemporary China, Stanford, California, Hoover Institution, 1977.
Victor Nee, The Cultural Revolution at Peking University, New York, 1969.
Wu Ningkuen, A Single Tear, New York, Atlantic Monthly Press, 1993 (a harrowing, yet very human tale of how a family of intellectuals suffered for years, the husband in prison and labor camps, the wife exiled in a village, then working as a university typist under constant harassment).
Tang Tsou, The Cultural Revolution and Post-Mao Reforms: A Historical Perspective, Chicago, Illinois, 1986.
Ross Terrill, White-Boned Demon. A Biography of Madame Mao Zedong, New York, 1984.
Anne F. Thurston, Enemies of the People. The Ordeal of the Intellectuals in China's Great Cultural Revolution, New York, 1987, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1988.
Roxanne Witke, Comrade Chiang Ch'ing, [Jiang Qing], Boston, 1977.
Wu Tien-wei, Lin Biao and the Gang of Four: Contra-Confucianism in Historical and
Intellectual Perspective, Carbondale, Illinois, 1982.
4. Recent Works on Mao Zedong
Ross Terrill, A Biography. MAO, New York, 1980, and repring 1993.
The Private Life of Chairman MAO. The Memoirs of Mao's Personal Physician Dr. Li Zhisui,
Translated by Professor Tai Hung-Chao, with the editorial assistance of Anne F.Thurston,
New York, 1994. (Fascinating memoirs showing Mao's thinking on major political problems,
also depicting his personal life).
5. Economic Development and Reforms.
A. Doak Barnett, China's Economy in Global Perspective, Washington, 1981.
Same and Ralph N.Clough, eds., Modernizing China: Post-Mao Reform and Developent, Boulder, Colorado, 1986.
Richard Baum, ed., China's Four Modernizations: The New Technological Revolution, Boulder, Colorado, 1980.
Alexander Eckstein, China's Economic Revolution, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1977 (by an economist; covers the period up to early 1970s).
John G. Gurley, China's Economy and the Maoist Strategy, New York, 1976.
Philip C. C. Huang, ed., The Development of Underdevelopment in China: A Symposium, Armonk, New York, 1980.
Nicholas R. Lardy, Agriculture in China's Modern Economic Development, New York, 1983.
Same and Kenneth Lieberthal, eds., Chen Yun's Strategy for China's Development: A Neo-Maoist Alternative, Armonk, New York, 1984.
Victor D. Lippit, The Economic Development of China, Armonk, New York, 1986.
Neville Maxwell and Bruce McFarlane, eds., China's Changed Road to Development, Oxford, Pergamon Press, 1974.
Bruce L. Reynolds, ed., Reform in China: Challenges & Choices: A Summary and Analysis of the CESRRI Survey, prepared by the Chinese Economic System Reform Research Institute, Armonk, New York, 1987.
Carl Riskin, The Political Economy of Chinese Development since 1949, New York and Oxford, 1986.
Shaw Yu-ming, ed., Chinese Modernization, San Francisco, 1985.
Same, Mainland China: Politics, Economics, and Reform, Boulder, Colorado, 1986.
U.S. Congress, Joint Economic Committee, China's Economy Looks Toward the Year 2000,
vols. 1, 2, Washington, 1986.
Richard Baum and Frederick C. Tewes, eds., Ssu-Ch'ing: The Socialist Education Movement of 1962-1966, Berkeley, California, 1968.
Ruth Hayhoe, Contemporary Chinese Education, Beckenham, England, 1985.
Ronald F. Price, Marx and Education in Russia and China, London, 1977.
Jonathan Unger, Education under Mao: Class and Competition in Canton Schools, 1960-1980, New York, 1982.
7. The Chinese Farmer.
Anita Chan, Richard Madsen and Jonathan Unger, Chen Village: The Recent History of a Peasant Community in Mao's China, Berkeley, California, 1985.
Kay Ann Johnson, Women, the Family and Peasant Revolution in China, Chicago, 1983.
Steven W. Mosher, Broken Earth. The Rural Chinese, New York, 1983, (the author, a U.S. cultural anthropologist, spent some time living among the Chinese farmers. His work was so revealing about the conditions in the countryside - and the policy of forced abortions in particular - that it was condemned by the Chinese government. He was, therefore, disowned by his own U.S. university, which was anxious to continue its relationship with the CPR).
Same, Journey to Forbidden China, New York, 1985.
William L. Parish, ed., Chinese Rural Development: The Great Transformation, Armonk,
New York, 1985.
(a) Before 1989.
Chester J. Cheng, ed., Documents of Dissent: Chinese Political Thought Since Mao, Stanford, California, 1980.
Fang Lizhi, Bringing Down the Great Wall. Writings on Science, Culture, and Democracy in China, New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 1990.
Merle Goldman, Literary Dissent in Communist China, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1967.
Merle Goldman, China's Intellectuals: Advise and Dissent, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1981.
Cries for Democracy. Writings and Speeches from the 1989 Chinese Democracy Movement, edited by Han Minzhu, Princeton, New Jersey, 1990.
Liu Binyan, Tell the World. What Happened in China and Why, New York, 1989.
Chu-Yuan Cheng, Behind the Tiananmen Massacre. Social, Political and Economic Ferment in China, Boulder, Colorado, 1990 (by a specialist on the political and economic development of Red China; fascinating details on behind-the-scenes party moves and shifts during the student demonstrations).
Fang Lizhi, Bringing Down the Great Wall, New York, 1990.
Suzanne Ogden et al., eds., China's Search for Democracy. The Student and Mass Movement of 1989, Armonk, New York and London, an East Gate Book, 1992 (documents of the movements, mostly by students).
Shen Tong with Marianne Yen, Almost a Revolution, Boston, 1990 (by a leader of the
student democracy movement).
9. Foreign Policy and Relations.
Winberg Chai, ed., The Foreign Relations of People's China, New York, 1972.
Herbert J. Ellison, ed., The Sino-Soviet Conflict: A Global Perspective, Seattle, Washington, 1982.
John Gittings, Survey of the Sino-Soviet Dispute: A Commentary and Extracts from Recent Polemics, 1962-1967, London and Oxford, 1968.
Same, The World and China, 1921-1972, New York, 1974.
Sergei N. Goncharev, John W. Lewis, and Xue Litai, Uncertain Partners. Stalin, Mao, and the Korean War, Stanford, Ca., 1993.
William E. Griffith, Albania and the Sino-Soviet Rift, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1963.
Harry Harding, ed., China's Foreign Relations in the 1980's, New Haven, Connecticut, 1984.
Alfred D. Low, The Sino-Soviet Dispute: An Analysis of the Polemics, Cranbury, New Jersey, 1976.
Neville Maxwell, India's China War, New York, 1970.
Roy Medvedev, China and the Superpowers, Oxford, 1986.
Michael Oksenberg and Robert Oxnam, eds., Dragon and Eagle: United States-China Relations, Past and Future, New York, 1978.
Jonathan Pollack, The Sino-Soviet Rivalry and the Chinese Security Debate, Santa Monica, California, 1982.
Social Imperialism: The Soviet Union Today, reprints from the Peking Review, Berkeley, California, 1977 (Chinese views of the USSR).
Robert G. Sutter, China-Watch: Toward Sino-American Reconciliation, Baltimore, Maryland, 1978.
Same, Chinese Foreign Policy: Developments after Mao, New York, 1986.
Allen S. Whiting, China Crosses the Yalu. The Decision to Enter the Korean War, Stanford,
10. Informed Western Reports and Impressions of Deng's China.
Fox Butterfield, China. Alive in the Bitter Sea, New York, Bantam Books, 1982 (beautifully written, indepth look at China by the New York Times' first Bureau Chief in Beijing, who is also a Sinologist).
John Fraser, The Chinese. Portrait of a People, New York, 1980 (by the Peking Bureau Chief of the Toronto Globe and Mail, 1977-79).
Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl Wudan, China Wakes, New York, 1996.
Christopher S. Wren, The End of the Line. The Failure of Communism in the Soviet Union
and China, New York and London, 1990 (Wren was the New York Times' correspondent in
the USSR, October 1973 - October 1977, and in China, from October - December 1984; this
is a collection of selected reports; see those on China).
11. China After Deng.
"A Survey of China," The Economist , London, Sept .13, 1997.
Terry Weidner, "China's New Revolutionary," ibid., p. 17 (On party boss Jiang Zemin).