Section 5. Situation in Mainland China


For the People's Republic of China, 1972 was a very fruitful year in the field of diplomacy. The greatest achievement was the improvement of its relations with the United States by accepting President Nixon's visit. It established diplomatic relations with 15 countries (between April 1972 and March 1973), including Japan and the Federal Republic of Germany, and increased its influence in the international community. On the other hand, the October 1 editorial of the three Chinese newspapers criticized the Soviet Union by using an expression that could be interpreted as meaning that China's main enemy was the Soviet Union. This drew considerable notice in that it was the first time that such an expression had been used in an official commentary.

On the domestic scene, China carried out a number of realistic measures to stabilize the political situation and public sentiment. As a result, China was regaining composure and ease, which may be called a sort of "thaw" phenomenon. As it did in 1971, China continued to make efforts in 1972 to correct the distortions caused by the Great Cultural Revolution and to normalize its domestic structure. In the process of making such efforts, China in July confirmed, although informally, the Lin Piao case. However, the Fourth National People's Congress had not been held by the end of March.

In the economic field, the second year of the fourth five-year plan ended and the economic situation was generally favorable. However, agriculture was affected by the worst weather conditions in recent years and production of food and raw cotton decreased.


1. Domestic trends


(1) Rectification campaigns

China continued to carry out such campaigns as those to criticize revisionism and reform style, education on thought and policy line and on the Chinese Communist Party's basic policy line. These campaigns were aimed mainly at exposing and criticizing "swindlers like Liu Shao-chi" (which means Lin piao), correcting ideological, political and economic distortions left behind by the Great Cultural Revolution and unifying the Chinese Communist Party.

(2) Handling of the Lin Piao case

As regards the Lin Piao case, the greatest political event since the Great Cultural Revolution, China so far has not criticized Lin Piao officially by name, although more than one year has passed since the incident.

However, the People's Daily, the organ of the Chinese Communist Party, and Red Flag, the party's theoretical magazine, often carried critical articles apparently leveled at Lin Piao. For instance, an article published in issue No.8 of Red Flag criticized Lin Piao for opposing Chairman Mao on the occasion of the Liaoning campaign in 1947. It is said that the Party Central circulated several kinds of confidential documents, including a plan for an anti-Mao Tse-tung coup d'etat and charges of counterrevolution, to lower party organizations as material for criticism against Lin Piao. A foreign news agency reported what were claimed to be the contents of the documents. Late in July, important Chinese Government officials and Chinese diplomatic missions abroad made announcements, although informal, which outlined the Lin Piao case and confirmed the death of Lin Piao himself.

According to the announcements, Vice Chairman Lin Piao failed in a coup d'etat and, while fleeing to the Soviet Union on his personal plane on September 12, 1971, the plane crashed in Mongolia, killing him, his wife Ye-chun and his son Lin Li-kuo.

(3) Lineup of incumbent top leaders

The members of the Party Central Political Bureau elected by the ninth Chinese Communist Party Congress in 1969 (25 members and candidate members) form the top leadership of China. However, only ten-odd members were actually active because some of the members have died and Chen Po-ta and Lin Piao have lost their positions, However, the vacancies have not yet been filled.

From various reports on important Chinese people in the past year, it seems that the following people form the group of top Chinese leaders today and that this group is playing an important role on the highest level of policy-making. ( *indicates a Political Bureau member or candidate member while ��indicates a military officer.)

*Mao Tse-tung, *Tung Pi-wu, *��Chu Te, *Chou En-lai, *Kang Sheng, *Chian Ching, *��Yeh Chien-ying, *Chang Chun-chiao, *Yao Wen-yuan, *��Liu Po-cheng, *Li Hsien-nien, *��Hsu Shih-yu, *��Chen Hsi-lien, *Chi Teng-kui, *��Li Te-sheng, *Wang Tung-hsing, ��Hsu Hsiang-chien, ��Nieh Jung-cheng, Kuo Mo-jo, Wang Hung-wen, Hua Kuo-feng, Chi Perg-fei, Chen Yun, Li Fu-chun, Wu Te, Keng Piao.

Among them, such elders as Chu Te, Chen Yun and Li Fu-chun had once retired from the first line, but they came to hold important positions again recently. Wang Hung-wen and Hua Kuo-feng can be regarded as cases of promotion of newcomers.

(4) Comeback of former leaders

The appointment of persons who had been criticized and kept out of politics during the Great Cultural Revolution to important posts in the party, Government and the military became noticeable recently. The trend toward the reappointment of former leaders first became apparent after the second National People's Congress in the autumn of 1970 and became particularly evident after the April 24, 1972, issue of the People's Daily editorially called for the reappointment of former leaders criticized during the Great Cultural Revolution.

Such leaders included Hu Yao-pang, former first secretary of the Communist Youth League, Wu Leng-hsi, former president of the New China News Agency, Chen Tsai-tao, former commander of the Wuhan Military District who is said to have been responsible for the Wuhan incident in the summer of 1967, Yang Yung, former commander of the Peking Corps, and Li Ta, a former member of the National Defense Council.

(5) Reconstruction of administrative and party organizations

Meanwhile, the State Council, which is the center of the administrative structure, had continued the streamlining and integration started after the Great Cultural Revolution to simplify its structure and operate it by a small number of efficient workers. It seems that this move made considerable progress in 1972 and the names of chiefs (ministers) of such important ministries as the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Hydraulic Power and the National Planning Commission were revealed. However, the chiefs of the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Finance were not announced.

It seems that the reconstruction of the party organization, a pending problem since the ninth Party Congress, had not yet been completed. A considerable number of party organizations at various local levels were apparently still unable to give full play to their abilities, although there was a report on the formation of the Harbin Municipal Party Committee. The reconstruction of various other organizations, including such important ones as labor unions, the Communist Youth League, the Red Guards, peasants and women, remains as a task for 1973. However, moves to reconstruct the Communist Youth League became active toward the end of 1972, and party committees of provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions, which are first-class administrative regions, were established with Shang-hai as the first city to do so followed by Liaoning Province. It was decided to hold meetings of provincial and regional delegates in April and May 1973 to establish committees in Shan-tung, Hupeh, Kansu, Kirin, Inner Mongolia, Heilungkiang and Chekiang provinces.

(6) New developments in the economic, cultural and social fields

China adopted a realistic and flexible policy line in the political, economic and cultural fields, and various measures were taken one after another to assure a stable growth of the economy and raise the living standard of the people. The strict restrictions imposed on the daily lives of the people in the course of the Great Cultural Revolution were eased gradually. The April 5 issue of the People's Daily called for improvements in the service industry and proposed the diversification of clothing, hair styles and foodstuffs.

Another notable move in 1972 was that some of the classics, special works and scientific books banned during the Great Cultural Revolution were republished and some new literary works were put on sale. These books included Hsi Yu Chi (Monkey). San Kuo Chih (Romance of the Three Kingdoms), Hung Lou Meng (Dream of the Red Chamber) and Shui Hu Chuan (All Men are Brothers). New dramas were staged and positive creative activities were encouraged. Attention was attracted by the May 23 joint editorial of the three newspapers commemorating the 30th anniversary of Chairman Mao's lectures on literature which said that future literary activities must be allowed to boldly create the freshness of socialism, to make errors and to correct errors.

Sports activities were also vigorously encouraged and national meetings in various divisions of sports, such as field and track events, five types of ball games, gymnastics and swimming, were held. It is believed that these events were held partly to commemorate the 20th anniversary (in 1972) of Chairman Mao's announcement on the promotion of physical training.

In January 1973, Pakistan Air Lines opened regular international air service to Peking across the Karakoram, followed by Ethiopian Air Lines which opened a regular route to Shang-hai via Southeast Asia in February. The Pakistan air service was notable as the first non-Communist air service to Peking, while the Ethiopian line drew attention as a route to connect China with Africa.

A British industrial technology exhibition held in Peking in March was the largest one among the exhibitions of this kind held in Peking by many advanced countries of the West. On that occasion, the London Philharmonic Orchestra performed and it was the first top class symphony orchestra from the West to play in China since the founding of the People's Republic.

(7) 1973 New Year's Day editorial

Joint editorials of the People's Daily and other newspapers on the occasion of New Year's Day of each year are regarded as important in that they usually give an indication of trends in China's domestic and external policies. The joint editorial of the newspapers on the occasion of New Year's Day of 1973 differed from those published in the preceding years, in that it dealt with politics, economic affairs and diplomacy in that order. It put emphasis on domestic affairs, giving the greater part of its space to domestic affairs.

The editorial quoted Chairman Mao's new instructions "to dig deep subways, to store foodstuffs everywhere and not to seek hegemony." The editorial can be taken as suggesting that China attaches importance to intensified preparations for war, agriculture and "anti-superpower" diplomacy as its immediate problems.

The editorial also called for criticism of revisionism and rectification, especially criticism of revisionism, as a policy for the new year. It urged the people to direct their criticism to the "swindler like Liu Shao-chi." This was noteworthy because it mentioned the charges against Lin Piao rather concretely, although it did not mention him by name.

In the economic field, the editorial did not propose any policies of a nature different from the established ones, but it placed emphasis on agriculture. The editorial also emphasized unified leadership and "unity" of the party, the Government and the military. However, unlike the two preceding New Year's. Day editorials, it did not refer to the convening of the National People's Congress.

(8) Proposal for reunification with Taiwan

From another point of view, China's intensified efforts to call on Taiwan for reunification were noteworthy. When a discussion meeting was held in Peking on February 28, 1973, under the sponsorship of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference to commemorate the February 28 incident, Fu Tso-i, vice chairman of the national committee of the conference, and other participants called on the people of Taiwan Province to consider reunification with their fatherland. In his proposal, Fu said the time was ripe for them to carry out reunification with the fatherland and urged the people of Taiwan to discuss the problem together.

A similar proposal was also made on the occasion of the 48th anniversary (March 12, 1973) of the death of Sun Yat-sen.


2. Economic situation


There was no conspicuous change in the basic economic policy line, and China continued efforts to carry out realistic and reasonable measures and to eliminate the excesses of the Great Cultural Revolution. For instance, the policy emphasis was laid on such questions as respect for the autonomy of the production units of people's communes, continuation of private land ownership by individual peasants, and fair distribution. Further, it seems that technology was favored and a policy of competitive production carried out.

As for production, the manufacturing industry showed a comparatively good performance. However, the production of foodstuffs and raw cotton decreased because of the bad weather, and it is estimated that the growth of total agricultural production was only several per cent.

It was announced that, among major items, the production of foodstuffs totaled 240 million tons (down four per cent from the preceding year), while that of steel totaled 23 million tons (up 9.5 per cent from the preceding year).

As for foreign trade, China's exports greatly increased, whereas its imports leveled off. It is believed that the total volume of trade was between $5,200 million and $5,400 million in terms of U.S. dollars at the exchange rate of 1971, or an increase of more than 10 per cent over the preceding year.


3. External relations


(1) Diplomatic recognition of the People's Republic of China

China's diplomacy in 1972 was very active and flexible, as was evident from President Nixon's visit to China, normalization of relations with Japan, improved relations with Western European countries and cooperation with countries of the Third World.

In 1972, the People's Republic of China normalized its relations with 15 countries including Japan and Mexico (diplomatic relations were restored on February 29, 1972) and the number of countries that had recognized the People's Republic of China increased to 90. Its diplomacy of exchanging visits was also very active, and more than 180 missions of the governments of various countries, including the heads of state and government leaders, visited China during 1972. On the other hand, more than 150 Chinese governmental, economic and sports missions visited various countries of the world in 1972.

It can be said that these diplomatic activities by China stemmed from its diplomatic strategy to cope with the United States and the Soviet Union in the multipolarized international situation by firmly maintaining its stance of struggle against the two great powers and also by strengthening its solidarity with groups of smaller powers belonging to the Third World backed by its increased international position. However, its stance of opposition showed some changes in 1972. While softening its posture of struggle against the United States, it showed the attitude that the Soviet Union was its main enemy in place of the United States. Its positive diplomatic attitude toward Japan and the developed countries of the West, including Western European countries, also attracted attention. On the other hand, its efforts to strengthen solidarity with the socialist countries other than the Soviet Union did not make concrete progress with the exception of its relations with North Korea and North Vietnam.

(2) Relations with the United States

China's policy toward the United States, which started with the "ping-pong diplomacy" of 1971, made substantial progress because of the realization of President Nixon's visit, and relations between the Governments of the two countries developed. The ambassadorial talks in Paris and Presidential Assistant Kissinger's two visits to China were finally followed by a joint communique announcing the establishment of liaison offices with diplomatic privileges in the capitals of both countries.

Remarkable progress was made in economic, cultural and personnel exchanges, as well. Visits to China by U.S. scientists, doctors, scholars, politicians and journalists increased noticeably. From China, however, only several groups including a table tennis team, a scientific mission and a circus troupe visited the United States.

In the U.N., however, China continued to criticize the two superpowers-the United States and the Soviet Union. There it still firmly maintained its attitude of struggle against the United States, as was seen in its aid to Vietnam, although it toned down its criticism of the United States.

(3) Relations with the Soviet Union

Difficulties in negotiations over the border issue and continued tensions along the border were reported in China's relations with the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union carried forward its Asian diplomacy which was regarded as an offensive directed against China, and there were no signs of improvement in their relations.

The new developments in China's relations with the United States had a great impact on the Soviet Union, and the Soviet Union continued to take a rigid attitude toward China. Especially, the Soviet Union intensified its thrust toward the South-east Asian countries where the influence of Chinese diplomacy had been weak by making proposals for an Asian collective security plan and on the Strait of Malacca. On the other hand, China attempted to lessen the threat from the Soviet Union to some extent by adjusting its relations with the United States and improving its relations with Japan and the EC countries. It also severely criticized the Soviet Union, mainly in the United Nations, and moved to strengthen its cooperation with the countries of the Third World.

(4) Approach to Western Europe

The People's Republic of China placed more emphasis on the significance of the EC as a counterforce against the Soviet Union and made great efforts to improve its relations with the countries of Europe from the standpoint of promoting its own economic interests. Its relations with Britain in 1972 began with the conclusion in March 1972 of negotiations for an exchange of ambassadors, and their relations greatly improved, as was evident from Foreign Minister Sir Alex Douglas-Home's visit to China, Vice Minister Chiao Kuan-hua's visit to Britain and the remarkable progress in economic relations between the two countries.

As for its relations with the Federal Republic of Germany, China established diplomatic relations (in October) as a result of Foreign Minister Waiter Scheel's visit to the People's Republic,

China maintained its traditionally friendly relations with France begun in the days of De Gaulle, as was evidenced by the visit of Foreign Minister Maurice Schumann.

China's approach toward smaller countries, including a visit to the People's Republic by the Prime Minister of Malta at the former's invitation, was also active.

(5) Diplomacy toward Asia intensified

China's diplomacy toward Asia and Oceania continued to be active. Its support for the leftist forces in the three Indochina countries was pursued as actively as before. In this situation, considerable interest arose when North Vietnam adopted policies that ran counter to China's policy line, including its decision to exchange ambassadors with India and recognition of Bangladesh immediately after the Indo-Pakistani conflict.

As regards its relations with North Korea, China continued to take direct moves to improve their bilateral relations which started with Premier Chou En-lai's visit to North Korea in 1970. It gave its wholehearted support to North Korea's demands for talks to reunify South and North Koreas and for the dissolution of UNCURK. Their relations were being substantially improved, as evidenced by a visit to North Korea of a Chinese military mission led by Ch'en Hsi-lien and also a visit by Chi P'eng-fei, his first foreign tour since he assumed the post of Foreign Minister.

On the other hand, the People's Republic acted with prudence in its relations with ASEAN members, such as the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia. As is evident from China's invitations to sports, economic and other groups in these countries to visit China, its moves to sound out the possibility of normalizing relations with ASEAN countries gradually became noticeable. Reflecting these moves, China began to refrain from placing great emphasis on anti-Government guerrilla activities for which it had positively provided support in the past, and its criticisms against the Governments of these countries were toned down.

Meanwhile, Australia and New Zealand decided to normalize their relations with the People's Republic immediately after the inauguration of their respective Laborite governments at the end of last year.

As for relations between China and India which cooled down further after the Indo-Pakistani conflict in 1971, there were moves to gradually ease tensions between them, reflecting the negotiations that started between India and Pakistan.

(6) Cooperation with the Third World

After its admission to the United Nations in 1971, the People's Republic of China declared that it would not become a superpower and, regarding itself as belonging to the so-called Third World, it endeavored to strengthen its cooperation with the countries of the Third World as the principal objective of its diplomatic policy.

As is evidenced by visits to the People's Republic by leaders of Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Guinea and also by the normalization of relations with 12 countries including Mexico, China's diplomacy toward the Third World achieved considerable results. In the United Nations, China endeavored to cooperate with the countries of the Third World from the standpoint of protecting them.


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