Section 5. Situation in mainland China


1. General situation


Continued efforts were made to normalize the domestic structure of the People's Republic of China, a task continuing since the Ninth National Congress of the Communist Party of China. Reconstruction of the party organization, which was particularly important, was completed for the time being, with the complete establishment in August of Chinese Communist Party Committees at the sheng (province) level (first-class administrative districts) throughout the country, The first year of the fourth five-year economic construction program made a smooth start, and reorganization of the State Council with respect to its personnel and structure also made further progress. In September, an "unusual change" occurred in the Chinese leadership. The scheduled Fourth National People's Congress was not held.

Externally, the People's Republic of China adopted a flexible and realistic policy line which brought about such events as ping-pong diplomacy in April, President Nixon's visit to China, China's participation in the United Nations and the establishment of diplomatic relations with 15 countries (in 1971), and its international position was greatly enhanced.



2. Domestic trends


(1) As regards the reconstruction of the party organization, efforts have been made to reconstruct local party organizations since the establishment of the central leadership at the party's Ninth National Congress. By 1970, the work of organizing the party at the terminal level had practically been completed. Efforts were made simultaneously to reorganize the party at the hsien, (district), chuan-chu (country) and sheng (province) level. In August 1971, party committees at the sheng level were set up in first-class administrative districts throughout the country. This is of great significance in that the party's leadership nucleus was completed throughout the country. However, the reconstruction of party committees at the sheng level was undertaken without waiting for the completion of the lower structures, such as party committees at the hsien level. It seems that districts that have party committees at all levels from the sheng level down are only Hunan, Kiangsi, Anhwei, Peking, Kwangsi and Hupei (those in Kwangtung, Kiangsu, Tientsin and Shanghai have almost been completed).

The editorial of the People's Daily dated August 27, commemorating the completion of party committees at the sheng level, stressed the party's unified leadership (all State agencies, the military, communist youth associations and mass organizations are made subject to the party's guidance) and the unity of the party and also warned against arbitrary decision and execution by party leaders.

Looking at the composition of the 158 members of the secretariats of the 29 sheng level committees, which are their supreme guiding organs, 94 (about 60 per cent) come from the military, 52 (about 33 per cent) are former party leaders and 12 (about seven per cent) are representatives of the masses. It is conspicuous that members from the military have increased and more former party leaders have been reinstated, while representatives of the masses have decreased compared with the composition of members of the Party Central Committee elected at the Ninth National Congress (46 per cent from the military; 28 per cent former party leaders and 26 per cent representatives of the masses).

Of the 29 first secretaries of the sheng-level committees, 21 are career soldiers, and eight of them including Hsu Shin-yu (Kiangsu), Chen Hsi-lien (Liaoning) and Li Te-sheng (Anhwei) concurrently serve as commanders of the respective military districts and also as heads of revolutionary councils.

(2) Moves of the central Party leaders

(A) The whereabouts of Chen Po-ta, the party leader ranking next to Chairman Mao, Vice Chairman Lin and Premier Chou, has been unknown since September 1970. It is believed that Chen Po-ta lost his position at the plenary session of the second Central Committee at the Ninth National Congress in the summer of 1970, after being accused of responsibility for such ultraleftist acts as the burning of the British Embassy during the Cultural Revolution and for his connections with the May 16 Corps (an ultraleftist group of Red Guards).

That the March 1971 issue of Red Flag, the party's theoretical magazine, and the People's Daily criticized Chen Po-ta's theses written earlier was taken as indirect criticism of that leader.

(B) A series of abnormal events occurred in mid-September, including the sudden decision to cancel a scheduled parade at the Tienanmen Square on National Day, the suspension of flights of military aircraft, the fact that not a single member of the Central Political Bureau made a public appearance between September 13 and 15, and the fact that some of the important military leaders under the direct influence of Lin Piao, such as Chief of the General Staff Huang Yung-sheng, did not appear in public. This caused various kinds of speculation, such as the possible death (or serious illness) of Chairman Mao (or Vice Chairman Lin) and Liu Shao-chi's flight from China. Moreover, a plane of the People's Republic of China crashed in Mongolia, and the People's Daily and other newspapers did not publish their joint editorial on the occasion of National Day, a break from their past practice, causing widespread speculation that some major political incident involving the leadership of the People's Republic of China must have occurred.

Lin Piao and his military followers did not make a public appearance even after this, and there was a series of events to suggest that there had been a great change in Vice Chairman Lin Piao's position. In view of this, it was presumed that the "abnormal occurrences" mentioned above were related to some political incident with Vice Chairman Lin in the center of the whirlpool. This speculation was based on such facts as that newspapers and broadcasts in the People's Republic of China had ceased to mention Lin Piao's name, and his name was dropped from such familiar phrases in mass communications media as "under the Party Central with Chairman Mao as supreme commander and Vice Chair-man Lin as vice-supreme commander ...," "great Chair-man Mao and his closest comrade-in-arms, Vice Chairman Lin ..."

The speculation that Lin Piao had lost his position became dominant as a thesis published in the 12th issue of Red Flag took up "the three conditions for selection of leaders" set by Lin Piao earlier and began to criticize Lin Piao, although indirectly, saying "a political impostor of the same kind as Liu Shao-chi" had arbitrarily changed Chairman Mao's "five conditions for revolutionary successors."

(C) Kang Sheng, one of the five members of the Standing Committee of the Chinese Communist Party Politburo, whose whereabouts had been unknown since the end of 1970, made a public appearance during the June visit to China of Nicolae Ceausescu, Secretary General of the Romanian Communist Party. He has not been seen since. However, in view of the fact that a wreath in the name of Kang Sheng was offered at the funeral service for the late Foreign Minister Chen Yi, it is believed that Kang Sheng is under medical treatment.

It was officially announced that Hsieh Fu-chi, another Politburo member who had held such important posts as vice premier and minister of the Ministry of Public Security, first secretary of the Peking Municipal Party Committee and whose whereabouts had been unknown, died of cancer on March 26.

(D) As mentioned above, nearly half of the commissioners of the Political Bureau, including Lin Piao and his followers, are believed to have virtually suspended their activities for reasons of old age, illness, etc. This has caused personnel changes in the central Party leadership appointed after the Ninth National Congress, and it seems that Yeh Chien-ying, Chang Chun-chiao, Yao Wen-yuan, Li Hsien-nien, Li Te-sheng and Chi Teng-kuei form the hierachy with Chairman Mao and Premier Chou En-lai as the core. In the Liberation Army, Lin Piao, Huang Yung-sheng, Wu Fa-hsien, Li Tso-peng and Chiu Hui-tso have disappeared and Yeh Chien-Ying, Li Te-sheng, Liu Hsien-chuan, Su Yu, Hsiao Chin-kuang, Peng Shao-hui, Wang Hsin-ting and Chang Tsai-chien have come to the fore.

(3) Major press comments in the People's Daily were as follows :-

(A) The People's Daily and two other major newspapers published a joint commemorative thesis entitled "We commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party" on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party on July 1.

The thesis consisted of three parts, namely, (1) the firm maintenance of the road to the capture of State authority by force, (2) the firm maintenance of the continuation of revolution under proletarian dictatorship and (3) thorough study of important questions. It mentioned the party's history of over 50 years and also eight items that party members should keep in mind.

(B) The joint editorial of the three major newspapers entitled "We commemorate August 1 Founding Anniversary of the Army," published on the occasion of the founding anniversary of the army on August 1, devoted half of its space to external relations, and stressed that the army should always be placed under the party's leadership.

(C) The joint editorial of the three newspapers entitled "Let us unite to win an even greater victory" published on the occasion of New Year's Day of 1972 analyzed the international situation, and said the world had moved violently in 1971 and various kinds of basic contradictions had crashed against one another. It especially pointed out that the contradictions between "American imperialism" and "Soviet revisionism," on the one hand and the peoples of the whole world, including those of the United States and the Soviet Union, on the other, and also the contradictions between the two "superpowers" of the United States and the Soviet Union in their competition for world dominance and over the division of their spheres of influence had become acute. Another feature was that it stressed "unity" in the domestic field.

(4) The People's Republic of China conducted nuclear weapons tests in outer space on January 1 and March 18, 1972, in the wake of one conducted on November 18, 1971. The three tests involved small-scale nuclear weapons, and they brought to 14 the total number of nuclear tests conducted by that country.



3. Economic situation


(1) It is said that the performance of the Chinese economy in fiscal 1971, the first year of the fourth five-year plan, was good. According to an official announcement, China's total value of industrial and agricultural production in 1971 increased about 10 per cent over the preceding year. Despite considerably heavy natural disasters, agricultural production was better than in the preceding year, and production of food reached 246 million tons. Production of crude steel also increased 18 per cent over the preceding year to reach 21 million tons.

(2) It is estimated that China's trade in 1971 totaled $4,460 million, up seven per cent from the preceding year, and reached an all-time high. The increase in the value of trade is believed to be due to increased exports. It is believed that imports totaled $2,148 million, or an increase of only one per cent over the preceding year, whereas exports reached $2,318 million, up 13 per cent from the preceding year.



4. External relations


(1) The year 1971 was an epoch-making year in the diplomatic history of the People's Republic of China. Its flexible policy toward the United States, which began with the ping-pong diplomacy, made a dramatic development in the form of President Nixon's announcement (in July) of his plan to visit China, and it bore fruit when President Nixon's visit was realized. During 1971, it established diplomatic relations with 15 countries and joined the United Nations (in October), thereby realizing its long-cherished desire of expelling Nationalist China.

It carried out its diplomacy of exchanging visits and extending aid in 1971 toward more countries than in 1970 and endeavored to improve its relations with smaller countries on the five principles for peace, and carried out its diplomacy energetically from the standpoint of being "anti-superpowers."

The joint editorial of the three major newspapers published on New Year's Day of 1972 described the international situation as "a great upheaval" and pointed out the "distressed circumstances" of the United States and the Soviet Union and violently criticized the "superpowers." This probably indicates that the People's Republic of China, recognizing that the world had now entered an age of fluidity and multi-polarization, had deepened its confidence in its achievements mentioned above.

However, not every facet of the diplomacy of the People's Republic of China went smoothly. For instance, although it clarified its attitude of supporting Pakistan in the Indo-Pakistan War, it could not give any effective aid.

As regards its support for struggles for liberation of oppressed peoples and nations, which, together with the five principles for peace, forms the basic policy line of its diplomacy, the People's Republic of China called for an intensification of the anti-American struggle by the peoples of the world and also of the struggle by the peoples of Asia against Japanese militarism, and called for support for national liberation struggles in Asia, Africa, Central and South America and Northern Ireland. It also tried to strengthen its solidarity with North Korea and the leftist forces of the three Indochina countries.

In summary it can be said that 1971 was the year in which the People's Republic of China applied its tactical principles through negotiations and its flexible policy came to the fore.

(2) The ping-pong diplomacy had the effect of wiping out the image of the Cultural Revolution through the development of "people's diplomacy," and helped enhance the international image of the People's Republic of China and, ultimately, acted to turn in its favor the U.N. representation issue. The ping-pong diplomacy later developed into a broad personnel interchange with various countries. The People's Republic of China sent its table tennis team abroad, held an Asian-African table tennis meet in Peking (November), sent men's and women's basketball teams to Central and South America and Africa (July), a badminton team to Canada (October) and invited various kinds of sports teams from various foreign countries. Besides these sports teams, the People's Republic of China dispatched a dancing troupe to Albania, Romania, and Yugoslavia and a group of journalist to North Europe, Switzerland and Austria (January 1972).

The ping-pong diplomacy was of particularly great significance in the progress of Sino-American relations. Following the visit in April of the American table tennis team and the accompanying group of reporters to China, the scope of China's invitations was expanded to include prominent journalists, scholars, scientists, doctors and groups of young people, with their visits becoming a prelude to President Nixon's announcement of his visit to China,

(3) The Nixon visit to China (February 21 to 28, 1972), which was realized through advanced preparations including Kissinger's visit to China (July), the announcement of Nixon's visit to China (July 16), Kissinger's second visit to China (October) and the announcement of President Nixon's itinerary for his China visit (November 30), was an epock-making event in Sino-American relations. In the past, the People's Republic of China had insisted that no personnel interchange with the United States would be possible without a solution to the Taiwan problem. The ping-pong diplomacy was a major shift in its posture of confrontation with the United States. According to a clarification made by Premier Chou En-lai in his interview October 5 with representatives of the Black Panthers of the United States, China's decision on the Nixon visit was personally made by Chairman Mao Tse-tung. The Chinese authorities reportedly explained to the Chinese people that negotiations with the United States were also a frontal confrontation and that the Sino-American summit talks were an extension of the Sino-American talks in Warsaw.

(4) President Nixon visited the People's Republic of China from February 21 through 28 and met with Chairman Mao Tse-tung (February 21) and held talks several times with Premier Chou En-lai and published a Sino-American Joint Communique in Shanghai on February 27. His meeting with Chairman Mao, which reportedly had not been scheduled, drew attention as an indication of the People's Republic of China's true welcome to the President and also of its enthusiasm for the summit talks, all the more because its manner of welcoming the President at Peking Airport had been reported to have been strictly formal and comparatively cold. The Joint Communique expressed both countries' views on matters of concern to them and also on various international problems. It said that both sides had agreed on peaceful coexistence and the normalization of Sino-American relations, and it expressed side by side the different views of the two countries on Taiwan, Indochina and other problems on which they had disagreed. The People's Republic of China did not make any comment on President Nixon's visit to China, except that the People's Daily played up the Nixon visit from the day following his meeting with Mao Tse-tung (February 22). However, a Radio Peking broadcast of February 28 reported that Chang Chum-chiao, head of the Shanghai Municipal Revolutionary Committee, in a welcoming address, had welcomed "the positive act which is consistent with the common wishes of the peoples of China and the United States."

(5) Prior to President Nixon's visit to China, the 26th U.N. General Assembly adopted the Albanian resolution and decided to admit the People's Republic of China to the United Nations (October 25), The editorial of the People's Daily dated October 28 clarified the People's Republic of China's intention to join the United Nations and stated that it would not become a superpower and would side with smaller countries and strive with them for the protection of national independence, national sovereignty and peace and for the progress of mankind. Chief Delegate Chiao Kuan-hua, in his address to the General Assembly (November 15), also made a similar statement which reconfirmed China's traditional diplomatic policy line.

The People's Republic of China's participation in the United Nations, together with the increase in the number of countries that had recognized it since the autumn of 1970, served as a major event to show its enhanced international position. In the field of international politics, it resulted in furthering the degree of the multi-polarization phenomenon.

(6) Romanian Communist Party General Secretary Ceausescu's visit to China (June 1 to 9) was the first visit to China by the first secretary of an East European communist party since Khrushchev, and his visit attracted notice because it took place at a time when Romania's relations with the Soviet Union were delicate. It was followed by the Yugoslavian Foreign Minister's visit to China (June 8 to 15), which was the first visit by an important Yugoslavian official since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

A visit of a military mission of the People's Republic of China to Albania and Romania (August) also attracted notice because it took place at a time when a problem had arisen over maneuvers of Warsaw Treaty forces in the vicinity of Romania, whose relations with the Soviet Union were in an uneasy state.

As for its relations with the socialist countries of Asia, Chinese Deputy Premier Li Hsien-nien visited North Vietnam in September to sign an economic and military aid agreement. In November, North Vietnamese Premier Pham Van Dong visited China, and the People's Republic of China's support for North Vietnam and the solidarity between the two countries were reconfirmed. The People's Republic of China concluded a free military assistance agreement with North Korea (August 20), and an active interchange between them took place throughout the year. The People's Republic of China sent its Ambassador Hsu Wen-i to Mongolia (August), thereby completing the dispatch of ambassadors to all 13 socialist countries.

(7) It exchange missions at the ministerial level with such advanced Western countries as France, Italy and Canada and its relations with them deepened. Especially negotiations with Britain to raise the status of the charge d'affaires of both countries to that of ambassadors reached agreement (March), and Britain closed its consulate in Tamshui in Taiwan, thereby solving that long-pending problem between the two countries.

As for its relations with Central and South American countries, it established diplomatic relations with Peru, Mexico and Argentina and began an interchange with Ecuador, which severed its diplomatic relations with the Republic of China.

The People's Republic of China promoted further its close relations with countries in the Near and Middle East and Africa through its positive invitation and aid diplomacy and an exchange of sports. It established diplomatic relations with nine countries including Kuwait, Turkey and Iran. The Princess of Iran (April), the Emperor of Ethiopia (September) and Mahmoud Riad, advisor to the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt (March), visited China and many economic aid agreements were concluded.

In its relations with the countries of Southeast Asia, China received visits by Burmese Prime Minister Ne Win (August), a cultural mission of Philippine young people and women and Senators, and a Singapore economic mission, and there was an exchange of economic missions between China and Malaysia. These were significant as a start of Chinese moves to improve relations in an effort to normalize relations with these countries, a process which had been considered not necessarily easy.



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