Showing posts with label china. Show all posts
Showing posts with label china. Show all posts

Wen Jiabao (Wen Chia-Pao)

Wen Jiabao (Wen Chia-Pao)

Wen Jiabao was born in Tianjin, China, and attended Nankai High School. He graduated from the Beijing Geological Institute, joined the Communist Party in 1965, and began his career in the Gansu provincial geological bureau.

Wen moved to Beijing in the 1980s and advanced through the ranks of the General Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. He worked closely with Zhao Ziyang in the late 1980s and was demoted after Zhao’s fall from grace following the Tiananmen Square massacre.

Unlike Zhao’s, Wen’s career recovered quickly, and he was able to continue to work under Jiang Zemin, becoming an alternate member of the Politburo in 1992. In 1998 premier Zhu Rongji entrusted him with oversight of agriculture, finance, and environment policies.


Wen became premier of China in 2003, succeeding Zhu Rongji. He is noted for his encyclopedic knowledge, practical approach, and consensual management style. He has proven himself to be a political survivor and has built up a network of influential friends during his political career.

Wen has shifted the focus of China’s economic policies from growth and development at all costs to consideration of social goals such as public health and education, more egalitarian development, and an awareness of the costs of development such as pollution and workers’ illness and injury.

Wen has not been afraid to deal publicly with controversial matters involving public health and safety. In 2003 he ended public silence over the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak, which began in Guangdong Province in November 2002.

He was also the first Chinese official to address the AIDS persoalan in China. AIDS is already a serious and growing persoalan in China, and some experts estimate that there will be 10–20 million cases by 2010 if the persoalan is not addressed aggressively.

In his efforts to address rural poverty Wen indicated the seriousness of his concern by making numerous unannounced visits to rural areas, thus avoiding elaborate preparations by local officials to cover up problems that exist.

U.S. relations with China (Nixon)

The visit of U.S. president Richard Nixon to China in February 1972

The visit of U.S. president Richard Nixon to China in February 1972 marked a turning point in U.S.-China relations. It gave maneuvering space to the United States in the strategic contest with the USSR.

Their confrontation in the Korean War began two decades of confrontation at a number of strategic points, especially in the Taiwan Straits and in Vietnam, where the United States was embroiled in a ground war supporting South Vietnam and while China provided backing to its then-ally North Vietnam.

The turn in U.S.-China ties from confrontation to rapproachment was a result of a host of factors, but mainly because both nations were concerned about the dangers posed by the Soviet Union. The U.S. Senate began a review of U.S.-China policy. China too was moving from Maoist ideological puritanism toward greater pragmatism, spurred on by the Sino-Soviet border dispute.


The Soviet Union’s intervention in Czechoslovakia in August 1968 led to its pronouncement of the Brezhnev Doctrine that as the leading country of the Marxist bloc, the USSR had the right to determine the correct interpretation of Marxism and to intervene in socialist countries that deviated from the correct line.

Since China under Mao Zedong (Mao Tse-tung) had developed its own version of Marxism, it feared that it could become a Soviet target for its deviations. Hence came China’s quest to end its diplomatic isolation with a rapprochement with the United States.

The Nixon administration saw an opening with China as a graceful way out of the Vietnam War. It therefore needed China’s leverage to facilitate a U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam. The opening came when U.S. and Chinese table tennis teams met in an international table tennis tournament, with the result that the U.S. team was invited to China.

President Nixon took steps to expedite visas for visitors from China to the United States, relaxed currency controls, and lifted restrictions on U.S. oil companies to provide fuel to ships and aircraft traveling to and from China.

Since Washington and Beijing had no diplomatic ties, Pakistan acted as intermediary. In July 1971 National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger secretly visited China via Pakistan "to seek normalization of relations" and an exchange of views of common interest.

The announcement heralded an atmosphere of warmth and cordiality in U.S.-China relations, which had been frozen for two decades. Meanwhile the United States had also departed from its hard-line stand that blocked the People’s Republic of China from seating its legitimate representation in the United Nations. In August 1971 the United States dropped its opposition, paving the way for the seating of China in the United Nations.

In his report to the U.S. Congress on February 9, 1971, Nixon stressed the importance of his forthcoming visit to China as the starting point for changing "the post-war landscape". While a quick resolution of outstanding issues were not possible, it signaled the end of "a sterile and barren interlude" in ties.

Nixon arrived in Beijing on February 21, 1972, accompanied by Secretary of State William P. Rogers and Henry Kissinger. The visit generated global interest as a watershed in redefining the balance of power of the world.

Transcending previous differences, Nixon emphasized "common interests" in a new era. The two countries signed the Shanghai Communiqué, wherein China stated its stand on Cambodia, Korea, and Vietnam.

The United States envisaged "the ultimate withdrawal" of all forces from Indochina; significantly, both countries declared opposition to hegemony in the Asia-Pacific area, implying that both had an interest in limiting Soviet power in the region. The Taiwan issue evaded a solution, but U.S.-China ties had moved from deep hostility to détente, facilitating major changes in the global balance of power.

Tibetan Revolt (1959)

Tibet’s political ties with China began in the seventh century. It was annexed into the Yuan dynasty by Kublai Khan and came under tight Mongol control in the 13th century. Under the subsequent Ming dynasty (1366–1644), China conferred titles on local Tibetan leaders but exercised only loose supervision over them.

The Qing (Ch’ing) dynasty (1644–1911) exerted considerable control over Tibet during its prime, stationing imperial commissioners and garrisons in its major centers. The Qing rulers also honored Tibet’s spiritual leaders the Dalai and Panchen Lamas.

Tibet became a pawn in international politics in the late 19th century; with the Qing dynasty in decline both Great Britain and Russia became interested in controlling Tibet and interfered in its internal politics, which neither China nor local Tibetans could resist. Weak Chinese central governments in the republican period were too beset by other problems to deal effectively with Tibet, which enjoyed autonomy. No country, however, recognized Tibet as an independent nation.

An important goal of the People’s Republic of China was to assert control over Tibet. The Panchen Lama, the second leader of Tibet who was headquartered in Tashilhumpo, accepted Chinese sovereignty. The Dalai Lama’s government in Lhasa vainly tried to obtain international assistance in resisting China in 1950.

His representatives then signed a Seventeen-Point Agreement in Beijing (Peking) in 1951 that allowed the Tibetans to maintain their traditional religious (Tibetan Buddhism), political (theocracy), and economic (large estates owned by monasteries and aristocrats) systems, under Chinese control. The Dalai Lama visited Beijing in 1954, had conversations with Chinese leader Mao Zedong (Mao Tse-tung), and expressed optimism that he could "work out a synthesis of Buddhist and Marxist doctrines".

The Chinese Communists, however, looked at the traditional Tibetan Buddhist society, the theocratic government, and the landed estate system with extreme distaste and began a aktivitas to dismantle both. By 1957 armed resistance had begun in eastern Tibet that culminated in an uprising in Lhasa against the Chinese government in 1959.

Realizing that the revolt was suicidal and fearing that he would be captured by the Chinese, the Dalai Lama and his advisers fled Lhasa in disguise in March 1959 and headed for the Indian border. After putting down the revolt, China implemented a aktivitas that brought Tibet more in line with the rest of the country.

Chinese-Indian relations, warm after the establishment of the People’s Republic, had become antagonistic by 1959, partly over Tibet. Popular sentiment in India sympathized with the Tibetans. In April the Dalai Lama and his party crossed into India and were granted political asylum.

The Indian government also gave political asylum to 13,000 Tibetan refugees and allowed the Dalai Lama to establish a government in exile in Dharmasala, a Himalayan town near the Chinese border.

These acts further soured Chinese-Indian relations and exacerbated a border dispute that negotiations between the premiers of the two countries failed to resolve, and that culminated in a border war in 1962.

Tiananmen Square Massacre

Throughout the 20th century, Tiananmen Square in central Beijing, China, has been the center of protest movements, the first being on May 4, 1919, when students and others demonstrated against the Treaty of Versailles, which had handed the formerly German-occupied Chinese city of Qingdao to Japan. Another large protest was held there in April 1976 by supporters of the former premier Zhou Enlai, who had recently died.

In 1989 student protest movements started in Tiananmen Square following the April 15 death of Hu Yaobang, who had been general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party. Some of the students felt that Hu Yaobang had been made a scapegoat for government failures in 1987. By April 18, some 10,000 students were in Tiananmen Square taking part in protests in front of the Zhongnanhai, the seat of the government.

Three days later, there were 100,000 students and others in the square, and on May 4 some 100,000 students and workers marched through Beijing, demanding a formal dialogue between the student leaders and the government and the removal of all restrictions on the media, which the government rejected.


The protest reached its first peak on May 13, just before the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev came to visit Beijing. Some of the protestors urged for the reforms that Gorbachev had introduced in the Soviet Union and saw him as a possible ally, but Gorbachev diplomatically refused to become involved. Early in the morning of May 19, Zhao Ziyang, the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, urged the students to end their protests and a hunger strike they had started.

However, the demonstrations continued, and on May 30 a statue that became known as the "Goddess of Democracy" was erected in the square. It was not long after that protests and strikes started taking place in factories and in other parts of China. On May 27 some 300,000 people gathered in Hong Kong to protest in support of the students in Beijing.

By this time the Communist Party leadership was split as to how to deal with the protestors. Premier Li Peng urged for a hardline stance, supported by President Yang Shangkun, with Zhao Ziyang still urging for a moderate approach.

Although Yang Shangkun’s presidency was a largely ceremonial role, it did, however, mean that he was the commander in chief of the armed forces. Martial law had been declared on May 20, and soldiers rushed to Beijing late in the evening of June 3.

Tanks entered the square, and the accompanying soldiers cleared the square of demonstrators by the early morning. On June 5, in a famous photograph by Jeff Widener, a lone protestor stood in front of tanks advancing on the square, and the tank stopped and tried to drive around him. The lone demonstrator, never identified, was later pulled into the crowd.

Nobody knows how many were killed in Tiananmen Square on those two days in June and in the subsequent crack- down around the country. Casualty estimates range from 200 civilians and several dozen soldiers—made by the mayor of Beijing, defending the actions of the soldiers—to estimates from foreign commentators that many thousands died.

Taiwan (Republic of China)

The Nationalist (Kuomintang, or KMT) government of the Republic of China (ROC) lost the civil war against the Chinese Communist Party in 1949 and retreated to Taiwan, an island province that had been seized by Japan in 1895 and returned to China after World War II.

About 2 million people from mainland China fled to Taiwan, joining about 6 million people who had earlier migrated to the island, mainly from the Fujian (Fukien) province across the Taiwan Strait.

Chiang Kai-shek, who was elected president of China under the constitution in 1947 and who had stepped down in 1949, resumed his presidency in 1950. He was reelected president four more times and died in 1975. Chiang ruled Taiwan in an authoritarian manner and invoked martial law because of the threat of invasion from the communist-ruled People’s Republic of China (PRC).

With the failure of the George Marshall mission to mediate the Chinese civil war, the United States became a bystander in the Chinese conflict until the invasion of Communist North Korea (later aided by "volunteers" from the PRC) of pro-Western South Korea in 1950.


The U.S. Seventh Fleet then began to patrol the Taiwan Strait to prevent a PRC invasion of Taiwan, and in 1952 the United States and the ROC signed a Mutual Defense Treaty (ended in 1979), which provided protection for Taiwan.

By 1954 Chiang’s government had completed a successful equitable land reform that transferred ownership to cultivators. Resource-poor Taiwan relied on social and educational reforms to produce a literate citizenry. U.S. economic aid helped to reform all aspects of the economy so that an even greater rate of growth became possible when it ended in 1964.

Industrial development began with labor-intensive light industries that capitalized on a literate workforce. Infrastructure building allowed the economy to shift to heavy, and later high technology, industries.

In 1978 the National Assembly elected Chiang Ching-kuo (son of Chiang Kai-shek) president; he was reelected in 1984 and died in 1989. Chiang Ching-kuo accelerated the rapid economic development of Taiwan, called an economic miracle by the rest of the world. He began political reforms that ended martial law, granted freedom of the press, and allowed opposition political parties.

The Chiang "dynasty" ended with Chiang Ching-kuo’s death (he had disavowed succession by his family members), and he was followed by his vice president, Lee Teng-hui. Lee continued democratization and won two more terms, the second by a universal suffrage vote (rather than election by the National Assembly) under an amended constitution.

In the 2000 election, the opposition Democratic Progressive Party candidate won the presidency. Taiwan thus added to its accomplishments the "political miracle" of a peaceful transformation from one-party rule to multiparty democracy without violence.

With a population of 23 million, it continued to be one of the most advanced and prosperous nations in Asia. However, Taiwan’s political future remained unclear because of the PRC’s stated goal of national unification, by force if necessary.

Sino-Soviet Treaty (1950)

The People’s Republic of China was proclaimed on October 1, 1949, and won immediate recognition from the Soviet Union and Eastern European communist nations. Not yet secure after winning the civil war against the Nationalists, China needed support from the Soviet Union.

Thus Mao Zedong (Mao Tse-tung), chairman of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), declared his "lean to one side" policy to form an international united front with the Soviet Union.

Mao went to Moscow in December 1949, his first trip abroad, ostensibly to help celebrate Joseph Stalin’s 70th birthday but more importantly to negotiate a treaty with the Soviet Union. A 30-year treaty of friendship, alliance, and mutual assistance was signed on February 14, 1950, clearly directed against the United States.

A second agreement allowed the Soviet Union to continue its presence in Port Arthur and Dairen in China’s southern Manchuria and to operate a railway in the region (rights Stalin had obtained at Yalta in 1945 without agreement from China) until 1952. The treaty provided for a $300 million loan from the Soviet Union in five equal annual installments between 1950 and 1955.


During the next decade the Soviet Union sent tens of thousands of scientists and advisers to help the Chinese army, navy, air force, and 156 industrial enterprises during China’s First Five-Year Plan.

A total of 6,500 Chinese students went for advanced studies to the Soviet Union instead of Western countries; Russian replaced English as the compulsory second language in Chinese schools. In 1952 the Soviet Union returned to China the over U.S. $1 billion of loot it had taken from Manchuria at the end of World War II.

China agreed to recognize independence for Outer Mongolia, a part of China that had become a Soviet satellite in 1924. In October 1950 China intervened in the Korean War to prevent the collapse of North Korea, an ally of both China and the Soviet Union.

By the late 1950s the Moscow-Beijing Axis was collapsing for many reasons. Although both nations were ruled by communist parties, the CCP had from its inception resented Moscow’s domination and interference. Although Mao respected Stalin’s seniority in the communist world, he firmly rejected Nikita Khrushchev’s similar claim after Stalin’s death, and Mao offered himself as the world communist leader.

Mao also denounced Khrushchev as revisionist for his de-Stalinization policy after 1956. In 1959 Khrushchev withdrew an earlier promise to help China build a nuclear bomb and recalled Soviet aid workers from China. Mao called Khrushchev a coward for backing down before the United States in the Cuban missile crisis in 1962.

Mao’s claim to be an original contributor to Marxism-Leninism, with special relevance to the non-Western world, was rejected by Moscow. Finally, China felt aggrieved over large territorial losses to imperial Russia in the 19th century and wanted the Soviet Union to acknowledge that they were the result of unequal and therefore illegal treaties, claims that the Soviet Union firmly rejected.

Relations deteriorated further when Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev sent troops to Czechoslovakia in 1968 and announced his doctrine that the Soviet Union had the right to intervene in communist countries that deviated from its interpretation of the socialist cause. Serious border clashes between the Soviet Union and China occurred in 1969, and war loomed.

Shanghai Communiqué

A Joint Communiqué was issued in Shanghai on February 27, 1972, by the United States and China on the occasion of President Richard. Nixon’s visit to the People’s Republic of China.

The Shanghai Communiqué would officially break the cycle of antagonism between the two countries and would be the instrument on which their new relationship would be built. The communiqué is also important because it allowed the two sides to embrace friendly relations while deferring the contentious issue of the status of Taiwan.

The first steps toward reconciliation were taken in 1969 when the United States relaxed certain trade and travel restrictions to China. By 1970 the two sides had reopened informal talks in Warsaw.


In April of 1971 Chinese officials invited the U.S. table tennis team to Beijing, resulting in a well-publicized visit and a warm welcome by the Chinese government. By June of 1971 President Nixon had revoked the 21-year trade embargo with China.

On July 9 of the same year, U.S. National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger secretly visited Beijing in order to lay the foundation for President Nixon’s trip and to take steps toward the normalization of relations between the two countries. On July 15, 1971, Nixon shocked the world by announcing that he would visit China to seek the normalization of relations between the two nations.

From February 21 to February 28, 1972, Nixon visited China, meeting with Chinese leaders including the chairman of the Communist Party Mao Zedong (Mao Tse-tung). Toward the end of the trip, the two sides announced the Shanghai Communiqué, which was the product of months of intensive negotiations.

The communiqué announced that progress toward the normalization of relations between China and the United States was in the interests of all countries. It stated that both sides wished to reduce the danger of international military conflict and that neither should seek "hegemony" in the Asia-Pacific region. It also asserted that each was opposed to efforts by any other country or group of countries to establish such hegemony.

On the issue of Taiwan, both sides outlined their respective positions. The Chinese stated that the government of the People’s Republic of China was the "sole legal government of China" and that Taiwan was a province of China.

The Chinese further argued that all U.S. forces and military installations must be withdrawn from Taiwan. The United States declared that the U.S. government would not challenge that position.

The United States also expressed its hope for peaceful settlement of the "Taiwan question". The United States further affirmed its ultimate objective as the withdrawal of all U.S. forces and military installations from Taiwan. In the meantime, the United States pledged to reduce its forces and military installations on Taiwan.

The two sides agreed to the expansion of cultural, technological, and commercial contacts to complement the normalization of diplomatic relations. Both expressed their hope that the gains achieved during Nixon’s visit would open up new prospects between the two countries and would contribute to the relaxation of tensions in Asia and the world.

President Nixon would refer to his visit to China as the week that "changed the world". His visit reflected China’s alignment with the West against the Soviet Union and resulted in a fundamental change in the global balance of power.

The United States no longer had to prepare for war against China and could focus its resources against the Soviet Union. Better relations would have benefits for the People’s Republic of China as well.

They allowed China an ally in a potential confrontation with the Soviet Union. The format of the communiqué allowed China to claim an equal footing with the United States in the world, something it had long sought. Mao would hail the visit as a "great diplomatic victory" for China.

Despite this progress, U.S. support for Taiwan would prevent the establishment of formal U.S.- Chinese diplomatic relations for several years. On January 1, 1979, the United States would finally establish normal diplomatic relations with China, removing its troops from Taiwan and abrogating the U.S.- Taiwan Defense Treaty. Despite opposition from Chinese officials, the United States continued to maintain the right to sell defensive weapons to Taiwan.