By Ann Scott Tyson, Writer of the Christian Science Monitor
The Christian Science Monitor
CHINA'S Communist regime is likely to use Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev's ouster as a vindication of hard-line policies adopted since the June 4, 1989, Tiananmen crackdown, Chinese officials say.
But despite potential ideological gains for Chinese conservatives, Mr. Gorbachev's removal could harm China's strategic interests if it leads to protracted chaos in the Soviet Union, Chinese analysts say.
Beijing had offered no comment on the Soviet leadership change by press time yesterday. The official New China News agency, however, was quick to report the news without comment.
Chinese leaders may have gained some forewarning of Gorbachev's departure.
The chief of general staff of the Chinese Army, Chi Haotian, returned to Beijing last week from an official visit to Moscow.
In a possible effort to reassure Beijing that relations would not be damaged, Mr. Chi and Soviet Defense Minister Dmitri Yazov "expressed confidence that relations between the Chinese and Soviet peoples and armies would develop continuously," the official People's Daily reported.
China's hard-line leaders will be pleased by the departure of Gorbachev, whom they have long condemned in internal party documents as a "traitor" to communism, Chinese officials say.
HE Chinese leadership will take a very positive response to this change," said one Chinese official in charge of Soviet affairs by telephone in Beijing. …