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Maximilian Graf and Wolfgang Mueller

This chapter is the first scholarly approach to Austrian-Chinese relations in the Cold War. Until regaining full sovereignty in 1955, Austria was not allowed to establish, without permission of the Four Powers, diplomatic relations with countries that were not members of the United Nations (UN). Therefore, the country, unlike Switzerland in 1950, did not recognize the People’s Republic of China (PRC) right after its creation and the existing legation with the Republic of China in Nanjing was closed down. After 1955, neutral Austria followed the general practice of not officially recognizing the communist part of divided countries. The first unofficial Austrian-PRC interactions of the 1950s and 1960s largely aimed at establishing economic contacts. Following an international trend in the context of the PRC joining the UN, Vienna recognized the Beijing regime in 1971. Austria quickly reacted to China’s economic re-orientation starting in 1979. Cultural exchanges (and later, tourism) were used as soft-power instruments for raising the PRC’s interest in trade with Austria. Like in relations with the Soviet Union, Austria increasingly pursued a neutralist policy toward the PRC, focusing on economic benefits, while mentioning humanitarian misgivings only on the sidelines of high-level encounters. With Taiwan, neutral Austria does currently not maintain diplomatic relations.

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Sofia Graziani

Since the very early days of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), official youth organizations played a prominent role in both domestic politics and China’s outward strategy serving as a tool for the realization of the Chinese Communist Party’s goals. This chapter examines the political role of the Communist Youth League (CYL) in Mao’s China with a focus on external exchanges developed in the context of the relative peace and stability that followed the Korean War. After providing an overview of the CYL’s role and mission in the newly established PRC, the chapter delves into the analysis of the international dimension of ‘youth work’ and attempts to reconstruct the PRC’s engagement with Soviet-dependent international youth organizations. It shows that the World Federation of Democratic Youth provided the newly established PRC with precious opportunities to not only promote a peaceful and friendly image of China globally, but also to build contacts and develop exchanges with Western European representatives, allowing the development of Sino–European cultural and political dialogue at a time of intense Cold War.

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Margaret K. Gnoinska

The chapter analyses the role and significance of the Sino-Polish Joint Shipping Venture dubbed Chipolbrok that was established in 1951 to further bilateral maritime relations. The author argues that the venture served as a constant in the Sino-Polish relationship when state, party, economic, military, and cultural ties hit rock bottom once Poland officially sided with Moscow in the Sino-Soviet split. Despite their ideological differences, China and Poland regarded the venture to be economically and politically useful. Chipolbrok’s unbroken continuity served as a conduit for China to gain allies in competition with the USSR and to disseminate propaganda of Maoist thought. Chipolbrok also allowed Warsaw some autonomy in interactions with Beijing and a stronger foothold in China during the Cultural Revolution, thereby offering an opportunity to witness first-hand the political, social, and economic transformation that was taking place throughout China. In turn, such knowledge provided the Poles with expertise and some leverage vis-à-vis its Soviet bloc counterparts and even the USSR. Overall, institutions such as Chipolbrok served as vehicles for smaller countries like Poland to have some autonomy in their interactions with China, which were otherwise controlled by Moscow and its efforts to coordinate foreign policy within the communist bloc.

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Edited by Janick Marina Schaufelbuehl, Marco Wyss and Valeria Zanier

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Chi-kwan Mark

After 1949, the British Colony of Hong Kong became a key site of the cultural Cold War between the capitalist and communist camps. This chapter examines how the Hong Kong and British governments dealt with the problem of everyday propaganda by the local leftist press, supported by Communist China, during the anti-colonial riots in 1952 and 1967. Notwithstanding the extensive legal and emergency powers in his possession, the colonial governor refrained from closing down the main communist press and the New China News Agency, or China’s de facto embassy, in Hong Kong. The British were all too aware that Hong Kong had to live with the everyday propaganda of Beijing and its local agents, which was routine, repetitive, and mundane, yet imbued with symbolic meaning. In dealing with the 1952 and 1967 riots, they aimed to balance the right of (relatively) free speech against the excesses of communist propaganda in the contested space of Hong Kong. A study of the British responses to leftist propaganda during the 1952 and 1967 riots shines a light on Sino-British relations in Hong Kong, which necessitated mutual accommodation, and on the cultural Cold War, which involved a complicated process of negotiation, adaptation, and rejection.

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Dionysios Chourchoulis

This chapter explores the development of relations between Greece and the People’s Republic of China, as well as Greek perceptions of the latter, from late 1971, when the Greek junta initiated the process of re-establishing diplomatic relations with Beijing, to 1989. This chapter aims to provide a first brief, yet comprehensive, account of Sino-Greek political, diplomatic and economic/trade relations during this period. The two states established relations in June 1972. After the fall of the Greek junta in July 1974, both the conservative government of Konstantinos Karamanlis and the socialist one under Andreas Papandreou pursued a ‘multidimensional’ foreign policy. The two states reached a mutual understanding on a series of political issues around the globe, but opportunities of further political and/or economic cooperation did not actually arise. Athens would not go so far as to let its contacts with the PRC disturb a recent improvement in Greek-Soviet relations, while Chinese officials maintained a policy of ‘equal distance’ regarding Greece and Turkey. Even so, contacts between the Greek and the Chinese leadership continued and, overall, relations between Greece and the PRC remained friendly. The Tiananmen Square Massacre dealt a severe blow to the image of China in Greece, though.

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Guido Samarani

In 1954, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was in a position to consolidate the bases of its new power. China’s foreign policy, while maintaining the close alliance with Moscow and the socialist world, began to show interest in other parts of the world and especially in communist and socialist parties active in Western Europe. In this context, Italy held a special position, because intellectual leftist organizations and trends were particularly strong there, and the country was home to the largest Communist party in Western Europe. This chapter focuses on the Italian Communist Party’s (ICP) views and analysis of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) during the early Cold War, based on the memories of ICP leaders who visited China during those years. Their experiences undoubtedly represented a fundamental historical step towards the creation and development of important bilateral relations with the CCP. At the same time, these ICP leaders became central actors in the informal diplomacy between the two countries, notably because Italy and the PRC had no official diplomatic relations.

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Chen Tao

In the mid-1950s, the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) introduced different Chinese political experiences into the German Democratic Republic (GDR), so as to alleviate the crisis of domestic rule and to avoid the social upheaval brought about by the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). Among these experiences, the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) mass line was the most important ideological experiment. In the military field, it included measures such as officers going down to the companies to serve as soldiers and working in state enterprises; a situation which was unfamiliar for the GDR’s National People’s Army (NVA) officers and their fellow East German compatriots. These measures were not only met with resistance from officers, but also turned out to be a heavy financial burden, which escalated the ruling crisis of the SED. Nevertheless, this was the first time since the 19th century that the GDR had learned from the political experiences of the economically much weaker China. This chapter examines the implementation of the mass line and the reactions from different groups of NVA officers, as well as the CPC’s policy towards the exporting of its experiences.

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Jan Adamec

The relations between Czechoslovakia and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in the 1950s were multifaceted, reaching from cultural diplomacy, scientific exchange, important trade relations, political consultations on key foreign policy and international communist issues to military assistance. They were largely, but not exclusively determined by the relationship between China and the Soviet Union. This chapter focuses primarily on Sino-Czechoslovak trade relations in the 1950s. It analyses the strategies adopted by Czechoslovak leaders to enter the vast Chinese market during the pivotal period of the second half of the 1950s. Based on a vast corpus of Czechoslovak archival documents, it analyses the difficulties encountered by Czechoslovak authorities in their trade negotiations with the PRC. The Sino-Soviet split and the PRC’s internal turmoil, which largely resulted from the rapid industrialisation attempt carried out in the framework of the Great Leap Forward, increasingly strained Sino-Czechoslovak political and, subsequently, economic relations. Nevertheless, Czechoslovak politicians and foreign trade experts continued to frame the PRC as one of the key components in the Czechoslovak foreign trade network. They tried to find a middle path between the unique political and ideological relations of the Soviet Union and the PRC, and their own desire to explore the vast export opportunities the huge Chinese market seemed to offer.