The Common Program of the People's Republic of China 1949-1954

This article of the Common Program describes the relations between governments, not between political parties. In this part, only the foreign relations will be presented. The foreign trade and economic relations are described in article 37 .
In essence: “The Chinese Communist leaders adopted very revolutionary criteria when they classified the states in the world during the later part of the PRC’s revolutionary movement. In their eyes, all the states outside the Soviet camp, including all countries in Asia, were either imperialist or under the control of imperialist or reactionary forces. According to the views expressed by Mao Zedong in his work “On the People’s Democratic Dictatorship,” the PRC did not need to urgently establish close relations with these countries, and the Chinese leadership showed more concern for the working people and so-called revolutionary movement, even for the armed struggles against governments in these countries.”
The new regime formulates 4 criteria for diplomatic relations. First of all, the integrity of China should be recognized, in other words, Taiwan is an inseparable part of the People's Republic of China. Secondly, the old unequal treaties should be revised or abolished. See article 55. Thirdly, all contacts with the GMD regime of Taiwan should be severed. Finally, the relations should be friendly and peaceful.
Hsiung (1972)remarks "The PRC... placed even greater emphasis on the establishment of diplomatic relations. A potent reason for deemphasis of recognition was the "two Chinas" dilemma, which became increasingly obvious as time went on. Peking was obviously apprehensive that if it forced the issue many states might recognize both regimes, possibly one de jure and the other de facto. That situation would only petrify the "two Chinas" impasse. By skirting recognition per se and focusing on diplomatic relations, Peking could win more friends among the uncommitted nations both because it effectively ruled the mainland and because it could offer much in trade."
After the recognition of Burma, Mao Zedong states “regarding the issue of Burma’s request to establish diplomatic relations with us, you should ask whether Rangoon is willing to sever relations with Kuomintang, and at the same time ask Rangoon to appoint a delegate, negotiating the establishment of Sino-Burma relations. Then you decide whether two countries’ relations would be established. Such procedure of negotiation on establishing relations is absolutely necessary, and it should be the same with all capitalist countries.”
A division in regions characterized by the sort of relations between the People's Republic of China and foreign countries can be made.
1.The first region consists of neighboring countries: SU, India, Afghanistan, Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Mongolia, Nepal, Burma, Pakistan, and Bhutan.
2.The second region contains countries in the immediate vicinity of China: Indonesia, Japan, Philippines, Thailand, and Ceylon
3.The third region involves the communist regimes in East Europe: GDR, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Albania, Yugoslavia, and Hungaria
4.The fourth region consists of Western countries: to be divided in non-American-ally countries and American allies. "For those falling in the first category, it positively and actively responded to their proposal for establishing diplomatic relations, with the precondition that negotiations were needed, thereby confirming the new regime’s international status as the sole legal representative of the whole Chinese people."
5.The fifth region consists of countries in Africa, Arabia, Latin America and Asia. After 1955, mostly countries from Region 5 prevail in the establishing of relations.
In general, the relations can be qualified “Among the non-Communist countries, three important cross-cutting distinctions must be noted: recognition and non-recognition; friendly popular atmosphere and unfriendly popular atmosphere; and advanced, as against backward and recently colonial countries. China's relations with each category are somewhat different”

Soviet Union , Korea, Bhutan, Laos , Burma , Nepal , Afghanistan, India , Pakistan, Vietnam and Mongolia
Fig. 56.1 People's Daily Editorials
A Number indicates the subject was a major theme in the editorial. A number indicates a minor theme in the editorial. Source: Oksenberg (1982).

Soviet Union:
Fig. 56.2 People's Daily Editorials
A Number indicates the subject was a major theme in the editorial. A number indicates a minor theme in the editorial. Source: Oksenberg (1982).

This country is the most important neighbor. China has the longest frontier with the SU. Big parts on both sides of the border have been recently and in the past, issues of conflict. These areas are Manchuria, Xinjiang and Mongolia. See article 55.
The choice of “leaning on one side” makes the SU the most important ally of the regime. This relation changes after the death of Stalin in March 1953. " There were other signs of the improved status of the Chinese in the communist world. The Chinese Communist Party, which ranked third after the Polish Party at the 19th Congress of the CPSU in 1952, was-raised to second place. Similarly, -in all public references to the Chinese People's Republic was henceforward given priority over all the other People's Democracies. -China was more favourably treated than before, and most probably was no longer regarded, as a satellite."
The relationship with this country is described in article 54 . Remarkable is the telegram from Stalin to Beijing about the absence of a Chinese representative in Korea.
Bhutan: China and Bhutan do not maintain official diplomatic relations, After Tibet came under the direct rulership of Beijing in 1951, Bhutan was afraid to become a victim of the expansionist policy of the People's Republic of China. This fear was not justified, China saw Bhutan never as a part of China. Is was never a suzerainty like Tibet. Although China claimed considerable territory in central and north-western Bhutan. On August 8, 1949, Bhutan and India concluded a treaty in which is stipulated that India is the ‘guide ‘in the foreign policy of Bhutan.
Laos: The relation with Laos is part of the conflict in Indochina. See article 54 . The Chinese but mainly the North Vietnamese support the Pathet Lao (founded August 19, 1950), who fight for a real independent Laos. “It is unclear whether the CPR had any direct contact with the Pathet Lao movement up to this time, outside of Souphanouvong's visits to China during 1951 and 1952, apparently for policy consultations. There is little doubt, however, that the triumph of Communist revolution in China and the presence of Chinese troops on the Indochinese frontier encouraged Souphanouvong's movement and that the extensive Chinese military assistance for the Viet Minh operations indirectly aided the Pathet Lao.”
In 1954, Laos became a constitutional monarchy. Slowly, the relationship between the 2 countries improves, “…there were no clear evidences which could support the contention that China's policy toward Laos was inherently "aggressive" and "expansionist." But the general pattern of China's strategies and tactics toward Laos during 1954-67 seemed to be more rational and prudent than irrational and reckless.”
The foundation of the SEATO partly caused this prudent policy. “It was no secret that SEATO was aimed primarily at China. SEATO was a big blow to both the DRV(Vietnam) and China, which were committed to realizing peace in Indochina through compromises.” See article 54
Burma: Burma is the first noncommunist country which recognizes the People's Republic of China.
The presence of GMD troops in Burma is an obstacle for intercommunication. In 1951, about 4000 GMD soldiers are near the borders of the Chinese province, Yunnan. In 1953, the number has increased to 16000. The CIA backs these troops of GMD general Li Mi. “The general concept presented was to insert CIA-sponsored Chinese Nationalists into China from Burma, forcing the Communists to pull forces out of Korea to deal with the incursion. If successful, this would cause Mao to redeploy his Red Chinese forces, thereby relieving pressure against American and UN forces.”
Often disguised as PLA soldiers the GMD soldiers are causing unrest in Yunnan and in Burma. “From now on you and your men must make all attempts to attack the weak outpost of the Burmese troops, in the disguise that you are MAO’s Communist bandits and also propagate that MAO’s Communist bandits have invaded Burma.” “Therefore, to make our plans successful we must create trouble between these two governments.”
These undercover actions are not successful. In 1953, the UN solves the problem. The US, Taiwan, and Thailand agree to evacuate the majority of these troops.
In a meeting between a delegation of Burma and Zhou Enlai, the latter promises “we are developing economic ties on the basis of equality and mutual benefit. We are not looking for one side’s conditions to outweigh the others. If the Burmese government discontinues its acceptance of American aid by June, it will excite many of the Asian nations.”
During his visit in June 1954, Zhou Enlai pledged China will not export the revolution to Burma and "to settle this question (incomplete delimitation of the boundary line) in a friendly spirit at an appropriate time through normal diplomatic channels." Mao Zedong assures the Burmese premier in December 1954 that China will not interfere in the internal affairs of Burma. Both countries are more or less sentenced to one another “Beijing not only established Burma as an important buffer state between China and the West and the later the Soviet Union, but also partly broke out of U.S. encirclement by means of Burmese geographic location. With the encirclement of China by the West, Burma was the only friendly non-Communist territory through which the Chinese Communists physically could go abroad.”
Nepal: Like Bhutan, Nepal is afraid to lose its sovereignty and like Bhutan seeks protection from India. Both countries conclude an economic and military treaty. Nepal-India relations are largely directed by the 1950 India-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship, which Nepalese side considers as unequal. Intern opposition against the growing influence of India affects the relation with China in a positive way. August 1, 1955, Nepal recognizes its neighboring country.
Afghanistan: January 12, 1950, recognized the PRC without mention of any intention regarding diplomatic ties. The PRC and Afghanistan share a short, undisputed 57 km border. It is located in Afghanistan’s Northeast. After 1949 the Chinese closed their border with Afghanistan.
India established diplomatic relations with the PRC on 1 January 1950, the second noncommunist nation after Burma. "In January 1951, India became the first non-socialist country to receive a delegation from the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Conference-level exchanges continued in subsequent years and included engineers, hydrologists, pharmacologists, doctors, botanists, etc. " The China-India Friendship Association (CIFA; Zhongyin Youhao Xiehui 中印友好协会) is founded in Beijing on May 16, 1952. The first Chinese cultural delegation went to India in late 1951.
The Chinese leaders regard Head of Government Nehru as a lackey of Imperialism. Nehru visits Washington in October 1949 and maintains a close relationship with London via the Commonwealth. The relationship with China is very tense after the crushing of a communist uprising in South India and gets even more tense after the takeover of Tibet.
On April 29, 1954, both parties signed an agreement on trade and relations with Tibet. There are disputes about the border regions. After the Geneva conference Zhou Enlai visits India. Both countries agree to take the 5 principles as the basic principle for their relations. See article 54 . India tries to stay neutral in the conflict between the US and the SU.

Although both countries recognize each other in 1950, the contacts remain at a very low level. “Nevertheless, through successful bilateralism policy, Pakistan befriended with the US and China while earning USSR’s animosity. At these critical junctures, Pakistan preferred to stay neutral on China’s internal affairs i.e. Tibet. …. At that time politically, there was no diverging point between Karachi and Peking. Even the undefined Pakistan-China border remained in peace and Chinese position was not clear over Kashmir dispute at least at the time of China-India warm relations as India and China were enjoying very good relations during this phase. Economically, Pakistan-China trade extended under the barter agreement of 1952, under which Pakistan exported Rs. 97.2 million worth of cotton to China and in exchange of coal and jute.”
China is concerned about the negotiations between the US and Pakistan and the participation in the SEATO.
Vietnam: In examining article 54 of the Common Program, the relationship between North Vietnam and the People's Republic of China is described. The relationship between South Vietnam and China is non-existent. South Vietnam is a full ally of the US and survives by the military and economic aid of the US.
Mongolia: As seen in Article 55, the leaders in Beijing are reluctant to accept the independence of Mongolia. Only under the pressure of the SU, the People's Republic of China accepts the independence of Mongolia. The former GMD government had accepted the independence in January 1946. From 1952 onwards, the People's Republic of China and Mongolia signed agreements on economic aid in the form of monetary aid and manpower. Thousands of Chinese workers helped construction projects in the capital Ulaanbaatar, to assist in the construction of schools, hospitals, homes for the elderly, hotels, factories, and thermal power stations, even helping in the restoration of temples. The 1952 deal was the first bilateral agreement, which was concluded by Mongolia with a country other than the Soviet Union. It challenged Soviet predominance in Mongolia.

Fig. 56.3 People's Daily Editorials
A Number indicates the subject was a major theme in the editorial. A number indicates a minor theme in the editorial. Source: Oksenberg (1982).

Indonesia, Japan, Philippines, Thailand, Ceylon and Cambodia
Indonesia:The PRC considered the independence of Indonesia "On the one hand, they had obvious reasons, similar to those of the Chinese Nationalists, to sympathise with and support the Indonesian Republic (Liu 1997, 32). On the other hand, in line with Moscow’s example, they regarded the Round Table Conference Agreement (23 August to 2 November 1949) as a heinous bargain between feudal Indonesians, Dutch reactionaries, and American imperialists that betrayed the “real interests” of the Indonesian people (DNAb, January 26, 1950; Singh 1994, 133; Efimova 2001, 222)." Between Indonesia and China never existed a close relation like those with Korea and Vietnam. This absence of interest can be explained by the dominance of Hinduism, Islam, and western influences in Indonesia. The position of the numerous Chinese complicates the relation. See article 58. In April 1950, after the closing of the Taiwanese consulates the Chinese ambassador Ba Ren (August 1950-November 1951) presents his credentials to President Sukarno. In July 1951, a diplomatic row over some Chinese embassy personnel arose, which was only solved after some months. At the end of 1953, trade agreements are signed and after the Bandung conference of 1955, the relationship improves. Partly because the new Indonesian government has to rely on the Communist party (PKI) to realize a majority in the Parliament
Japan: The relationship between China and Japan has been extremely bad after the end of World War II, and Japan is still seen as a potential threat. The treaty of February 1950 between the SU and the People's Republic of China stipulates mutual aid in case Japan will violate Chinese or Russian territory. "The problem of the settlement with Japan was one of the treatment of defeated Japan. The aims of China and The Soviet Union were the same to a great degree: China desired to resume the sovereignty over Taiwan and the Pescadores islands, the Soviet Union wanted to deliver the southern Sakhalin and the Kurile Islands to the Soviet Union de jure. Both countries opposed America's occupying and managing Japan alone. They rejected American intentions of changing Japan into an American ally and for residence of American troops in Japanese territory. They took precautions against the revival of Japanese militarism. Such highly consistent aims formed the foundation of consultation, coordination and cooperation between the two nations. As promised in the Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship, Alliance and Mutual Assistance, both countries must "together reach the conclusion of the peace treaty with Japan through the consent each other."
During the Korea War, the military bases in Japan are an important part of the US strategy. In 1951, the US and Japan sign a security treaty and Japan recognizes Taiwan. On September 8, 195,1 when 48 countries set their signature to the peace treaty with Japan, the Soviet Union, along with Poland and Czechoslovakia, refused to sign it. On April 28, 1952, Taiwan and Japan signed a peace treaty, Japan recognized the GMD government as a government of China, not as the government. (This treaty was abrogated by the Japanese government on Sept. 29, 1972, upon the establishment of formal diplomatic relations with the PCR)
The relation between the two countries is under constant pressure, “Issues relating to trade, fishing rights, prisoners of war, and war criminals have been deliberately manipulated by Peking for political purposes, and questions relating to disarmament and rearmament, atomic weapons, American bases in Japan, and the status of Okinawa have been exploited for propaganda aims.” The PRC seized 154 Japanese fishing boats and 1,909 Japanese crew members between 1950 and 1954.
In Northern China, there were still thousands of Japanese, even in the army. (See Article 22) “…the CCP was willing to tolerate those Japanese deemed useful and controllable. These were steel and mining engineers, airplane pilots, and anybody with a skill for which the CCP had a use. Service and contribution by the Japanese, however, did not buy them Chinese trust. In the fall of 1952, representatives from countries around the world attending an Asian and Pacific Peace Conference in Beijing received permission to visit the Northeast. Lacking confidence in what the Japanese might relate to the outsiders, CCP authorities decided that it was better to arrange the foreigners’ visit in a way that they would not have a chance to meet local Japanese."
Through nonofficial channels, the two countries try to have contact. In April 1952, several delegations are invited to Moscow to attend the International Economic Conference. This conference aims to circumvent the embargo imposed by the UN during the Korea War. Japanese businessmen attended this conference and in June 1952 a trade agreement is made with Japanese private companies.
“From the 1950s, Beijing practiced People’s Diplomacy toward Japan, a semiofficial diplomatic campaign aimed at changing Tokyo’s policy of nonrecognition of Beijing and undercutting its security alliance with Washington.”
Zhou Enlai explains to a Japanese delegation the essence of “People’s Diplomacy”. The Chinese people can distinguish between the militarist elites and the common people. He also puts in the spotlight the generous attitude of China towards the Japanese war criminals and the willingness to solve these matter in a fast way. On October 12, 1954, during the visit of Krushchev to China, a joint declaration is signed concerning the relation with Japan. In 1955 32000 pows are repatriated and in 1956 war criminals are sent back.
Philippines: Between Beijing and Manilla is no diplomatic relation. The Filipino government is anti-communist and the country sends troops for the UN army in Korea. The country is a member of SEATO.
Thailand: Thailand established diplomatic relations with the GMD regime in Taiwan. Thailand had a strict anti-communist strategy and sent troops to the UN contingent in the Korea War. It also provided assistance to GMD troops based in North Burma. Even though China has attempted to establish diplomatic relations with Thailand, it is only in 1975 the latter recognizes China.
In December 1955 Mao Zedong assures a Thai delegation the Chinese regime has no intention in aiding the Thai communist in overthrowing the Thai government. According to Mao Zedong Thailand should be neutral just like India. Thailand choses to join the SEATO. On June 21, 1956, Zhou Enlai signs a secret treaty with Thai politicians to lift the UN embargo on non-strategic articles.
Ceylon: This island recognizes the People's Republic of China in 1950, real diplomatic relations start in September 1956. Already in December 1952 both countries sign a trade agreement on rubber and rice. In exchange of rice, China imports rubber from Ceylon. In the subsequent years, more of these contracts are signed.
Cambodia: It is in July 1958, Cambodia and China establish diplomatic relations.

German Democratic Republic, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Albania, and Hungary

Fig. 56.4 People's Daily Editorials
A Number indicates the subject was a major theme in the editorial. A number indicates a minor theme in the editorial. Source: Oksenberg (1982).

The diplomatic relations between China and the European socialist countries went completely according to international conventions. After recognition followed the exchange of ambassadors. All East Bloc countries have recognized the People's Republic of China at the end of 1949.
In January 1949 the SU, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary formed the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance. China is excluded from this organization.
“The Sino-Soviet deal cutting out a “division of labor” between the nations, as introduced by Stalin to Liu Shaoqi during the latter’s trip to Moscow in the summer of 1949, represented one of the informal restrictions that the Chinese side was forced to abide by during the Stalin period.48 This ‘division’ marked a clear boundary to the Chinese sphere of influence, which ended in Asia; Stalin was here mindful of the potential parallels between potential Chinese influence on the Eastern European states and that, historically, of Yugoslavia on the more orthodox Balkan nations.49 As a result, the PRC’s relationship with the Eastern bloc states during the Stalin era found itself limited to trade, cultural exchanges and formal diplomatic connections. No significant (party-party) political relations existed affiliating the Communist Parties of China and Eastern Europe.”
After the death of Stalin, this relationship alters and in 1954 there are direct talks between the People's Republic of China and Hungary and Poland during the fifth anniversary of the republic. On a regular basis, there are mutual visits by political, cultural, and economic delegations. Eastern European countries also send experts to China. See on problems with experts “Just as domestic five-year plans were subject to periodic (usually annual) adjustment, so too the multi-year co-operative agreements between China and its Eastern bloc partners were in fact renegotiated on an annual basis to bring them more in line with the realities of production in a given year.”
In 1948, Tito (the political leader of Yugoslavia) decided to set its own course and to be more independent of the SU. This course complicates the relations with China. On July 10 1948, the CCP accepts a resolution in which the party supports the SU condemnation of the independent course of Yugoslavia. Mao Zedong tells the Russian ambassador: “… that the Chinese government would not reply to Yugoslavia and would ignore all attempts by the Yugoslavs to entrap [zaviazat’] China into relations.”
After the death of Stalin, both countries tried to establish normal relations. On October 26, 1954, Zhou Enlai in his talks with Nehru told him: "Yugoslavia has expressed its willingness to establish normal relations with China, and China will consult with Yugoslavia with respect to this issue. We will not refuse but will cooperate with any country that is willing to work for world peace."
In January 1955, this results in diplomatic relations. Mao Zedong in a conversation with the Yugoslavian ambassador states: “You recognized us long ago. Since the establishment of our country, you have supported us and this position has never altered. Our reason for delaying the establishment of relations with you is that we hoped to mend relations with you together with the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union has now mended its relations to you and so have we. This was a better way, so establishment of relations was delayed for a few years.”
German Democratic Republic:
In June 1953, there was a popular uprising against the regime. After the military intervention of SU troops, the revolt was beaten down. Soon afterwards, the Chinese government supports the regime with economic aid. As Zhou Enlai put it: "In consideration of the friendship between the Chinese and German peoples and in order to overcome the current difficulties into which the American imperialists and the West German bandits have brought the German people, we see our assistance to the German people as our duty and as an honour."
The position of China regarding the revolts in Hungary and Poland in 1956 is no subject of this study.

United Kingdom, Scandinavia, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein , United States , FRG, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Israel, France and US

Fig. 56.5 People's Daily Editorials
A Number indicates the subject was a major theme in the editorial. A number indicates a minor theme in the editorial. Source: Oksenberg (1982).

United Kingdom: “On the whole, the CCP's policy toward Britain in the late 1940s was characterized by common sense and pragmatism. Despite occasional anti-imperialist rhetoric against the British, which was more often directed at a domestic audience, the party adopted a flexible and realistic policy in its dealings with Britain as demonstrated in the cases of Hong Kong and trade. The difference between the CCP's attitudes toward the United States and Britain is illuminating because it shows that although ideology and historical memory helped shape the CCP's foreign policy, geopolitical and military-security calculations were of overriding significance. Although the party viewed both Washington and London as reactionary and deplored their extraction of imperialist rights from China and their intervention in the Russian Revolution, it considered America more dangerous than Britain in the late 1940s simply because the United States actively supported the Nationalists, whereas the United Kingdom remained neutral in the Chinese civil conflict.”
The UK is willing to recognize the People's Republic of China mainly for its economic benefits. The British investments in China run up to more than 200 million pounds. On January 6, 1950 the UK recognizes PRC. Political and economic interests in the Far East and Hong Kong play significant roles in the attitude of the British Government and London seeks for rapprochement with Beijing.
Three issues are important to Beijing. One, the voting of the UK regarding Chinese representation in the United Nations. In January, Britain had abstained from voting on a Soviet resolution to expel the GMD representative from the UN.
The other matter is the presence of GMD organizations in Hong Kong and the third issue China’s state properties in Hong Kong. Particularly, the ownership of 71 airplanes grounded on the airport. “Although, in February 1950, the Hong Kong court ruled that the aeroplanes belonged to the PRC, London was under pressure from Washington to prevent them from falling into Communist hands. Not satisfied with the British ambivalent attitude towards the GMD, Beijing thus refused to reciprocate London’s diplomatic recognition. Sino-British negotiation ended abruptly when the Korean War broke out in the summer of 1950.” After the ceasefire in Korea, on June 17, 1954, diplomatic relations are established at charge d'affaires level with Great Britain.
Scandinavia, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein: In the first 3 months of 1950, several European countries recognize the People's Republic of China. The Scandinavian countries, Switzerland and Lichtenstein on ambassador level. The Netherlands on D’affaires level because Beijing finally agreed to exchange permanent diplomatic representatives without winning a Dutch concession on the UN question. The Austria government decided by the end of January 1950 not to recog- nize the prc until all four occupation powers had done so.In 1952, Chinese–Austrian cultural weeks took place in Vienna. The contacts between these countries and China are on a very low frequency. Sporadic trade agreements and after the start of the Korea War are almost non-existent. The exception is the above-mentioned Economic Conference in Moscow. (See above)
In 1949, about 110 French enterprises, mostly in Shanghai and Tientsin, remain. Investments amount to 248 million US dollars. On the Economic Conference in Moscow a contract is signed. The following goods were to be exported by France to the PRC: metals, chemical products, textiles, industrial equipment and raw material. In return, China was to provide France with tea, vegetable oils, silk, manganese and handicraft. There are three big obstacles for a normal relationship between France and the People's Republic of China. The main one is the situation in Indochina. The French government’s primary motivation in its foreign policy towards PRC was to preserve Indochina and its frontiers with China. (See article 54) . The other is the membership of SEATO (see above). The third is the remaining official recognition of the GMD government on Taiwan. During the conference in Geneva there are some talks between delegations of both countries, but these don’t lead up to recognition. (See article 11). In 1964, France recognized the PRC.)
FRG, Belgium, Italy and Spain:
In the 1970’s, these countries recognized the People's Republic of China. Italy in 1970 , Belgium in 1971. The FRG in 1972. "The ideological proximity between Beijing and Moscow on one hand, and between the FRG and the United States on the other hand, meant that the two countries found themselves entangled in rival political system since their act of birth." During the 1950s the FRG government refused to chose between Beijing and Taipei. "The value of official bilateral trade increased by 1,000 per cent between 1949 and 1951 to reach a remarkable DM284 million. This was also a promising result for Beijing, whose exports often exceeded imports, and it proved how enduring German interest in Chinese goods was." Spain recognizes the PRC in 1973.
Israel: Despite protests from the US and UK, Israel recognized the People's Republic of China in January 1950. Both countries don’t exchange ambassadors and the relation is at a very low level. In June 1950, the Chinese charge d'affaires visited the Israeli Legation in Moscow and asked whether Israel was planning to send a diplomatic mission to China. A negative answer was received. (the first time, on 19 September 1950, Israel supported the resolution in the United Nations to oust the delegates of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and to admit those of the PRC.) “In December 1953, Chinese ambassador Yao Zhongming met with Israeli ambassador David Ha-Cohen in Burma and soon a message was delivered to the Chinese foreign ministry: the Israeli government ordered Ha-Cohen to keep the sincerest and friendliest relation with China and check the possibility to develop business and trade with our country. And soon after that the Israeli embassy in Finland also asked about the possibility of an Israeli business delegation to visit China, which was approved by Premier Zhou Enlai in August 1954.” This delegation visited China in 1955.
China is very reluctant to openly support Israel because the regime does not want to upset its Muslim minorities and Arab countries.
United States:
The relationship between the People's Republic of China and the US deteriorated rapidly. Partly caused by the fact that the US supports the GMD regime, which fled to Taiwan and partly caused by the Cold War, which put both countries ‘automatically' opposed to each other. Historically, the bond between the CCP and the US has been very fragile. Washington sparingly supports the communist army against the Japanese. On the other hand, the CCP seeks support from the SU in 1920’s,1930’s, and 1940’. This choice is, above all ideologically motivated. The GMD choses the side of US and on November 4, 1946, both countries signed a five years’ friendship treaty. This treaty evokes protests from pro-GMD students and from pro-CCP students. The anti-American sentiment grows after the news of the rape of a Chinese girl by 2 American soldiers. At the end of 1946 and the beginning of 1947, there are in cities like Shanghai and Beijing several demonstrations against American presence in China.
In 1949, the CCP is puzzled by the reactions of the US to the developments during the civil war. On the other hand, the US government is also puzzled about the policy of the CCP. Both countries don’t trust each other.
Mao Zedong is convinced “the Truman administration sought to salvage American interests in China. Facing defeat "sending its running dogs to infiltrate the revolutionary camp and organizing so-called oppositionists." He even imagined that Washington might grant diplomatic recognition as a way of securing its influence in China the better to push this strategy of "'destruction from within.”
In June and July there are some attempts to start diplomatic relations but they all fail.
Fig. 56.6 People's Daily Editorials
A Number indicates the subject was a major theme in the editorial. A number indicates a minor theme in the editorial. Source: Oksenberg (1982).

In August, the US government publicizes the “white papers”. The papers conclude that the introduction of communism is a victory of the Russian expansionist tendencies and an implementation of an alien system in China. (See also Part 3)
Mao Zedong reacts on these accusations and warns: “The slogan, "Prepare for struggle", is addressed to those who still cherish certain illusions about the relations between China and the imperialist countries, especially between China and the United States. With regard to this question, they are still passive, their minds are still not made up, they are still not determined to wage a long struggle against U.S. (and British) imperialism because they still have illusions about the United States. There is still a very wide, or fairly wide, gap between these people and ourselves on this question.”
Jeans (2018) remarks that after 1949 the US tries to find opponents of the regime "Disgusted with Chinese Nationalist dictator Chiang Kai-shek and repelled by the totalitarianism and intransigence of the Chinese Communists, as demonstrated by their mistreatment of American diplomats, missionaries, academics, and other citizens, the US government sought third forces that could militarily and politically oppose the new rulers of the mainland and also serve as an alternative to the Chinese Nationalists. The Chinese Communist intervention in the Korean conflict added a sense of urgency to the search."
On January 5, 1950, President Truman announces the US, shall not intervene in the civil war of China, and will not give military support to Taiwan. This decision is soon withdrawn as the People's Republic of China enters the war in Korea. February 1951, the US and Taiwan sign a military treaty.
Two months earlier, in December of 1950, President Truman froze all Chinese assets in the United States in retaliation for China's military intervention in Korea. In response, the Chinese government expropriated all property belonging to United States nationals in China and froze all US deposits in the territory under its control.
In 1954, during the Conference of Geneva, Chinese and American diplomats meet and they decide to hold talks in Warsaw. They start in 1955. The repatriation of nationals was the primary issue of these talks.

The main characterization of this region is that relations only started after the Bandung Conference (meeting of Asian and African states) of April 1955. During the period between 1949 and 1955, a political outreach to Africa/Latin America and Arabia is not a CCP priority. Instead, to secure its external legitimacy, the CCP works hard to win as many diplomatic partners as possible away from Taiwan. "On 5 October 1954, the CCP magazine World Culture published an article entitled ‘Foreign Relations of New China During the Past Five Years’ calling for the party to adopt a more active global approach. It argued that the independence struggles of Asian, African, and Latin American states ‘share a common interest in the wiping out of colonialism, and there are no basic conflicts of interest among them.’ 15 This clarion call for unified ‘opposition to the imperialist policy of aggression and war’ marked the beginning of proactive CCP outreach to African independence groups – creating political networks later used to channel material support"
The Arabic region
Shichor (1979) characterizes "China's 'relations' with the Middle East in the first half of the 1950s were restricted mainly to the informal 'people's' diplomacy. Since most, if not all, Middle Eastern governments adopted a somewhat negative attitude towards the PRC, Peking could only establish contacts with leftist and oppositionary personalities, some of whom were in exile. Even economic transactions with the Arab countries (mainly Egypt) were made only with private 'industrial and commercial interests'."
Therefore “…the Chinese always associated the region [of the Gulf and Arabian Peninsula region] with the capitalist camp rather than the socialist camp. They described the governments of the region as 'puppets' in the hands of the West.”
The PRC "followed the trajectory identified by the Soviet Union vis-à-vis the Middle East. Initially, the interests of China and the Soviet Union in the Middle East were aligned. China attempted to counteract the influence of the West in general, particularly the United States, in the Middle East. The Baghdad Pact 3 in 1954 gives an example of China’s primary goal to disrupt the Western alliance in the region – China supported the pro-China Communists in Iraq to oppose it (Huwaidin, 2002)."
This attitude changes, a change that is not only specific to the Gulf states but for whole region 5. “By the end of the 1950s, the Sino-Soviet alliance began to deteriorate. The Chinese started to regard the Gulf and Arabian Peninsula region as an arena of Chinese-Soviet rivalry as well as a stage to wage a campaign against Western imperialism.”
In 1956, Radio Beijing started broadcasting in English for the African continent. Latin America is mostly a virgin territory for China. The governments of these countries are considered pro US.
Fig. 56.7 People's Daily Editorials
A Number indicates the subject was a major theme in the editorial. A number indicates a minor theme in the editorial. Source: Oksenberg (1982).

Egypt: Starting from 1954, both countries have a trade relation. President Nasser explains why he is hesitant to recognize the People's Republic of China. “…the Americans and the British were exerting pressure on the Egyptian government not to have any relations with China. Egypt could not ignore the Anglo-American position for fear that they [the Anglo-Americans] might stop the evacuation of the British forces from the Canal Zone. That was the reason why Egypt abstained during the vote in the UN over the inclusion of China, yet in his [Nasser’s] heart of hearts he was for recognizing China.”
One year later, May 1956 Egypt recognizes the People's Republic of China. This is an essential decision for Beijing. Egypt is the first Islamic country recognizing the new regime.
South Africa: May 28, 1954, Mao Zedong cables the Congress of Indians in South Africa in which he supports the struggle against racial discrimination and racial oppression.

Niu (2012). Page 90 [↩] [Cite]
Hsiung (1972). Page 23 [↩] [Cite]
Chen (2003). Page 19 [↩] [Cite]
Passin (1963). Page 15 [↩] [Cite]
At the founding ceremony of the PRC there is a Soviet cultural, artistic, and scientific delegation present to participate in the celebrations— no political officials are included because the Soviet Union still has ties with the GMD government. [↩]
Zhu (1991). Page 28 [↩] [Cite]
"Another immediate sign of the Soviet leaders' anxiety to improve relations with China -was their. replacement of the Soviet ambassador In Beijing before the end of March 1953. Until then the Soviet-mission in Beijing had been headed by Alexander Panyushkin, a senior military officer who had much to do with putting Stalin's China policy into practice. He was replaced by V. V. Kuznetosov, a former trade union official who later became one of the Soviet Union's most capable professional diplomats." Zhu (1991). Page 27 [↩] [Cite]
Lee (1970). Page 14 [↩] [Cite]
Li (2014) claims “In early March 1951, the CCP began to organize and train the communist guerillas of Laos, which was then a self-governing kingdom under French suzerainty. In an internal directive, Liu Shaoqi expressed support for the “Laotian people’s struggles for liberation,” Li (2014). Page 61 [↩] [Cite]
Lee (1970). Page 148 [↩] [Cite]
Yang (2002). Page 12 [Cite]
Cheng Guan (2022) notices " of the reasons for the failure of early proposals for a Southeast Asian collective defence treaty “was the fact that many of the countries of South East Asia themselves, and of course India, did not recognize any threat from the Communists in general or from China in particular…” More concerned with “the possibility of a resurgence of Western colonialism”, many Southeast Asians saw such proposals as “entering wedges for a renewed imperialism”.8 This attitude however changed somewhat after the French defeat in Indochina in 1954. Communist occupation of North Vietnam brought up memories of “the first step in the Japanese conquest of South EastAsia”." Page 2 [Cite] [↩]
The Burmese government asks the Indian government to wait with the recognition of the People's Republic of China after the recognition by Burma. This would make Burma the first non-communist country to recognize the new regime. See Fan (2008). Page 2 [Cite]
“Two of the top leaders of the BCP (Burmese Communist Party), Ko Aung Gyi and Bo Than Swe, were sent to China to establish regular channels of contact with Peking. They were received in Peking almost as plenipotentiaries from one government to another. Between 1950 and 1953 there were reports of several… missions to Peking and the training of the BCP cadres in China's Yunnan province. Some Burmese Communist leaders had taken up residence in Peking at that time, where they broadcast propaganda in Burmese and developed a deep sympathy for the Chinese Communist system of rule.” Liang (1990). Page 67 [Cite]
See also 23-10-1950 Burmese Foreign Minister’s Statement to Chinese Ambassador during a Large Gathering of Ethnic Chinese, His Perspective, and Our Ideas for a Resolution [↩]
In 1952 Zhou Enlai describes “...the Burmese government is concealing its true position with regard to China, but is actually maintaining an anti-China policy, orienting itself with America and Britain." Minutes of Conversation between I.V. Stalin and Zhou Enlai The agreement of September 13, 1950 between the US and Burma evokes sharp protests in Beijing.
“fully known, U.S. imperialist has strengthened invasion in our country’s peripheries, and attempts to change all our neighboring countries into bases of its invading China……U.S. has signed military and economic agreements with Thailand and Burma in order to strengthen economic plunder in these countries, and on the other hand to change them into its military bases for invasion.” RMRB 13 December 1950 cited in Fan (2008). Page 7. [Cite]
See also 23-10-1950 Burmese Foreign Minister’s Statement to Chinese Ambassador during a Large Gathering of Ethnic Chinese, His Perspective, and Our Ideas for a Resolution [↩]
Berger (1995). No page number [↩] [Cite]
Kuomintang Aggression against Burma, Ministry of Information, Government of The Union of Burma, 1953, page 159. Cited in Fan (2008). Page 8 [↩] [Cite]
"five units of the Red China People's Army, a little over 200 men" entered Burmese territory and established camps about 25 miles inside the Northern Wa State.30 These detachments were stationed there presumably to hold off any further attacks against Yunnan staged by the KMT troops located in Burma." Trager (1964). Page 43 [↩] [Cite]
There are some border issues between Burma and China: The first includes all territory north of latitude 25° 35' along a line from above Myitkyina. The second territorial claim, located in the Shan States is the Namwan Tract, a tract of land wedged in south and east of Bhamo to the Shweli River. The third disputed area is a portion of the Wa State, east of Lashio, and east of the Salween River which at this point runs well inside the Burmese border. Trager (1964). Pages 42-43 [↩] [Cite]
Both China's attempt to smoothly pull the negotiations with Nepal and Burma is connected with the domestic situation, namely the Tibetan uprising. On January 28, 1960 Burma and China sign a preliminary agreement. [↩] [Cite]
Gosh (2017). Page 15 [↩]
"Until its activities were suspended in 1962, the CIFA remained the principal agency through which cultural and other forms of contact and exchange with India were funneled.20" Gosh (2017). Page 9 [Cite]
However, Mao Zedong complains "Then Mao Zedong said that right now all the Communist Parties of the Asian countries are turning to him for advice, with requests for help, and that right now in Peking there are permanent representatives from all the Communist Parties of Asia except the Communist Party of India." Liu Shaoqi "...said that their point of view on this issue comes down to the following: representatives of the Communist Party of India need to be invited to Peking or Moscow, the situation in this Party needs to be studied in detail, and to work out the political line of the Communist Party of India and direct it onto the right path. The Communist Party of India cannot cope with this task through its own efforts. Such a condition of the Communist Party of India which it is experiencing right now only benefits the British and American imperialists."  20-01-1951 Report from P. F. Yudin to I. V. Stalin on Meetings with the Leaders of the Communist Party of China
See chronology contacts China India [↩]
On October 26 1950 the Indian government officially protested against the use of military force in Tibet. 4 days later the Chinese Foreign Ministry replied, that Tibet is an internal affair. In June 1951 Nehru recognizes Chinese sovereignty over Tibet. In October 1954 the two countries sign a treaty to which the five principles serve as a starting point of the foreign policy of both countries. Trade and communication between Tibet and India is also regulated. [↩]
Javaid (2015). Page 162. [↩] [Cite]
"In December 1953, the PRC had sent a memorandum to the Pakistani government, expressing grave concern with the ongoing military alliance negotiations between Pakistan and the United States. This issue, the memorandum warned, might affect stability in Asia as well as China’s security. On February 13, 1954, Pakistan replied to Beijing that it needed assistance from all countries, including the United States, to preserve its independence and sovereignty; but Pakistan had absolutely no hostile intent toward China" Li (2014). Page 212 [↩] [Cite]
Chang (2020). Page 7 [↩] [Cite]
The PRC was the second communist state to recognize Indonesia and the first to establish active diplomatic relations, and Indonesia was the third Southeast Asian state to recognize the PRC. [↩]
Mozingo (2007) states “Indonesia,…, emerges as the successor to a Western colonial entity-…-and her leaders were pledged, not to radicalism or basic reform, but to dependence on the leading capitalist democracies and the adoption of some of their institutions. Because the motivations of the two countries were fundamentally different… the resulting opposed nationalistic interests would clash sharply and soon.” Page 44 [↩] [Cite]
See for details on the incident Feith (1962). Page 192 [↩] [Cite]
Zhang (2002). Page 403 [↩] [Cite]
"The apparently close relationship between the United States and Japan, and easily constructed parallels between the American presence in East Asia and that of Imperial Japan, presented the CCP with a sitting target for propaganda campaigns, especially campaigns whose roots lay in the Japanese invasion and occupation of China." Cathcart (2009). Page 1063 [↩] [Cite]
"...from October 1950 when China intervened in the Korean War to September 1951 when peace treaty in San Francisco was signed, the Soviet Union and China mutually consulted and cooperated in boycotting the Japanese peace settlement led by America." Zhang (2002). Page 404. [Cite]
Neither the government of PRC nor ROC was invited to the peace conference due to a difference of opinion between the British government which wanted to recognize the PRC and the American government which favored continued recognition of the ROC. [↩]
Barnett (1960). Pages 257-258 [↩] [Cite]
"Because of interest regarding Japan among the constituent parts of the new PRC government, issues normally placed strictly in the sphere of foreign relations ballooned into much more massive operations. Analysing and publicizing the legacy of Japanese war crimes became a task that engaged the participation of virtually every ministry in the government." Cathcart (2009). Page 1056 [↩] [Cite]
Wang (2002). Page 82 [↩] [Cite]
He (2007) also states: “Chinese official war history refrained from demonizing the entire Japanese nation, drawing a clear line between “the small handful of Japanese militarists” and ordinary Japanese people, who were treated as the Chinese people’s fellow victims of the militarists.” He (2007). Pages 134-135. [Cite]
28-01-1949 Mao Zedong On ordering the reactionary Guomingdang government to re-arrest Yasuji Okamura, former commander of the Japanese forces of aggression in China and to arrest the Guomingdang civil war criminals. and 05-02-1949 Peace terms must include the punishment of Japanese war crimenals and Guomindang war criminals [↩]
Zhou Enlai’s Remarks on ‘The Foundation of Japanese-Chinese Friendship’ in the Meeting with Japanese Diet Delegation and the Delegation of Academic Survey, October 11, 1954.” Cited in He (2007). Pages 135-136. [Cite] In 1954 there are still more than 1000 war criminals in China. There are no death penalties or life sentences pronounced.
See also Cathcart (2009). [Cite]
See 06-11-1954 Cable from the Chinese Foreign Ministry, ‘Premier Zhou’s Talk with Members of Japan’s Diet’ . [↩]
From the 1930's onwards many Japanese immigrants live in the Northeast of China. After the founding of the People's Republic of China the policy towards them can be characterized as “With regard to Japanese with revolutionary zeal, they should be sent back to their country before or after March of this year to become soldiers of struggle in the Japanese revolution. . . . They can also stimulate Japan’s revolutionary movement, improve . . . China’s position in the Far East and stimulate the two nation’s revolutions. . . . This means that prior to [their] going back, we must continue the satisfying education work so that like those who came back from the Soviet Union, the Japanese who return from China can in their language and actions increase greatly the power of democracy.” Cathcart (2000). Page 91 [↩] [Cite]
Yang (2002). Page 14 [↩] [Cite]
Albania becomes a member in February 1949, GDR in 1950. [↩]
Zhu (2009). Page 37. [Cite]
"Eastern Europe in itself played a secondary role in Chinese foreign policy. The importance of the Eastern European region stems from the fact that it became part of the Soviet dominated socialist world after 1948–49. In other words, Chinese foreign policy considered relations with individual states and with the whole region as a derivative of Sino-Soviet relations." Zofka (2018). Page 3 [↩] [Cite]
Kirby (2006). Page 886 [↩] [Cite]
Kirby (2006). Page 887. [Cite]
"In July 1953, China provided East Germany with 50 million rubles worth of food. At the time Mao said: “They are much harder up than we are. We must make it our business to take care of them.”" Copper (2016). Page 116 [↩] [Cite]
Zhai (1994). Page 15 [↩] [Cite]
"Both external and internal factors had influenced London's decision to recognize the new Chinese government. The international environment, and Britain's post-war foreign policy objectives: to maintain a close alliance relationship with the US, to create a Western European union, and to forge a common front with the Commonwealth, provided the external contest within which the decision-making process operated." Tang (1992). Page 66 [↩] [Cite]
Mark (2012). Page 22 note 21 [↩] [Cite]
" July 1951, the Swiss authorities passed a secret oral agreement with the US government that they would largely follow the CoCom embargo on the export of strategic and military goods to Eastern Bloc countries." Schaufelbuehl (2019). Page 8. See Article 37 [↩] [Cite]
See Sik (1972). [↩] [Cite]
Robin (2018). Page 123. [Cite] "A significant number of French tradesmen and corporate bosses working in China did not see the communists coming to power as a catastrophe and believed that they would be able to work with the new Chinese leaders who they hoped would be less corrupt than the nationalists and more likely to tame the inflation and instability that was vitiating the business climate. The growing Chinese economy was expected to provide lucrative business opportunities to Western enterprises.5" Page 118 [↩]
"In the 1950s, Italian governments repeatedly tried to initiate diplomatic relations with the PRC, but the US veto and the PRC’s inflexibility regarding the terms of recognition limited their margins of action. Italy did not have any special interests in Asia like the UK or France and was more dependent on Washington and its containment policies against China than either of those European powers." Fardella (2016). Page 6 [↩] [Cite]
Bernardini (2018). Page 85 [↩] [Cite]
Bernardini (2017). Page 90. The Korea war ended this trade after the US imposed an embargo. "As a result, the previously reached understanding about the German (and Japanese) ‘special economic relation’ with Beijing was overruled and all the (US) allies were strongly exhorted to conform to the new restrictive trend." Page 93 [↩] [Cite]
Liang (2013). Page 153 [↩] [Cite]
"(In 1945) The United States government ( moving some 53,000 U.S. Marines into North China to hold Beijing and Tianjin against a possible Soviet incursion, while transporting by air and ship complete Nationalist armies to Manchurian cities and other parts of North China. The United States thus intervened from the beginning on the anti-Communist side." Fairbank (2006). Page 329 [↩] [Cite]
Sheng (1998) states: "...the friendly overtures were disinformation designed to confuse the Americans in order to reduce or delay the possibility of U.S. military intervention on behalf of the GMD.” Sheng (1998). Page 182 [↩] [Cite]
Hunt (1996). Page 196 [↩] [Cite]
March 1949 Chen Mingshu (member of the Rev. GMD) tries to act as a mediator between the CCP and the US. His attempts fail. See Chen (1997). Pages 77-86. [Cite]
“The friendly overtures were disinformation designed to confuse the Americans in order to reduce or delay the possibility of U.S. military intervention on behalf of the GMD.” .
Sheng (1998). Page 182 [Cite]
SU Ambassador Kovalev sends a cable to Stalin about the negotiations between US and China. He noticed "With regard to the conversation with ( American ambassador) Stuart, Mao Zedong said that the statements of Stuart contradict the actions of [American General Douglas] MacArthur, who recently landed two companies of American soldiers in Qingdao, and is also strengthening the Navy in Shanghai. Either Stuart is lying or the military (MacArthur) does not care about what the State Department says about anything”.
23-05-1949 Cable, Kovalev to Stalin, Report on the 22 May 1949 CCP CC Politburo Discussion
See also 00-04-1949 The US embassy in Nanjing April-December 1949 [↩]
Jeans (2018) Page xxii.
He also observes "Since the United States could not overtly support a third force lest it antagonize the Nationalist regime on Taiwan and its friends in Washington (the China Lobby), it covertly backed third forces in Hong Kong and the Pacific region. Page xxiii.
Jeans cites a CIA report "The agency has recently made public its own explanation of the failure: The programs . . . suffered from mutual competition for resources and assets, difficulties in spotting and developing ethnic Chinese with the proper physical and psychological qualifications, delays in organizing training at several field facilities, the problems of covertly training and housing ethnic agents in third countries, and the lack of strict security and counterintelligence practices among trainees and trainers alike—since all preparations were conducted together, when one deployed team was exposed, others were compromised as well.3 These weaknesses and failures meant all efforts to identify and support third forces in China came to naught. A lot of those Chinese opposed both to Mao Zedong and Chiang Kai-shek,...were poor leaders." Page 222. [↩] [Cite]
"The United States estimated that the value of seized property and assets belonging to U.S. nationals totalled approximately $197 million; the assets belonging, to Chinese nationals in the United States amounted to roughly $80.5 million." Sit (1996). Page 127 [↩] [Cite]
Eisenman (2018). Page 4 [↩] [Cite]
Shichor (1979). Page 20 [↩] [Cite]
Huwaidin (2002). Page 96 [↩] [Cite]
Al-Masaoodi (2021). Page 43 [↩] [Cite]
Huwaidin (2002). Page 100. [Cite]
Yin (2009) remarks "After 1949, the continuous armed struggle of the ‘Arab people’ against imperialism was communicated to the Chinese people through news reports, political movements, literary works, folk music, cartoons, and posters." Yin (2019). Page 18 [↩] [Cite]
Burhan Shahidi (chairman of the Xinjiang provincial government) makes the first contacts. “February 1956, …(he) led the second delegation of hajji in which he followed the usual China-encouraged practice of combining pilgrimage with politics: While in the Middle East he met with King Sa’ud of Saui Arabia, King Husayn of Jordan, and Nasser of Egypt, as well as the premiers of Lebanob, Syria, and possibly North Yemen. As a direct result of his meeting with Nasser, Egypt became the first Middle Eastern Muslim country to diplomatically recognise the PRC.” Gladney (1992). Page 8 [↩] [Cite]

Chapter 7 of Common Program

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