The People's Republic of China after Thirty Years: An Overview

The People's Republic of China after Thirty Years: An Overview

The People's Republic of China after Thirty Years: An Overview

The People's Republic of China after Thirty Years: An Overview

Excerpt

In 1978 many individuals thought that the thirty-year anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China would be celebrated with considerable fanfare. By 1979, celebrations had been eschewed as not appropriate for a nation devoting itself to the difficult task of modernization. Such shifts of mood, accompanying a review of policy or rethinking of goals, have been characteristic of much of China’s post-1949 history.

Similarly, Western analysts of Chinese politics have found their appraisals changing. Many foreign critics of Chinese decisions in the late 1960s now consider the Chinese to be pursuing realistic goals in a sensible manner. Some foreign sympathizers with the ideology of the Cultural Revolution are dismayed and outspokenly critical of a “sellout” of the aims and policies of Chairman Mao. Academies suggest moderation in literal acceptance of Chinese self-criticism of backwardness and failures under their recent leaders.

During these policy reappraisals and in the accompanying atmosphere of domestic uncertainty, the People’s Republic of China and the United States finally resolved their policy differences sufficiently to permit the formal establishment of diplomatic relations after a gap of thirty years. Since recognition, American officials have tried to foster a climate of cooperative goodwill so as to facilitate the resolution of remaining commercial, trade, and other conflicts, and thus to enhance American trade and exchange with China. Stress has been upon the positive contribution the United States can make toward Chinese modernization efforts and in exploring shared interests between the two nations.

I wish to acknowledge the wise counsel of Mr. John S. Service, and the con
scientious and professional assistance of Mary Akers, editorial assistant to the
Institute of East Asian Studies.

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