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For thousands of years, Taiwan had been home to nine plains tribes. The island has attracted explorers for centuries that have come to mine sulfur, gold, and other natural resources.
Han Chinese began crossing the Taiwan Strait during the 15th century. Then, the Spanish invaded Taiwan in 1626 and, with the help of the Ketagalan (one of the plains tribes), discovered sulfur, a main ingredient in gunpowder, in Yangmingshan, a mountain range that overlooks Taipei. After the Spanish and Dutch were forced out of Taiwan, Mainland Chinese returned in 1697 to mine sulfur after a huge fire in China destroyed 300 tons of sulfur.
Prospectors looking for gold started arriving in the late Qing Dynasty after railroad workers found gold while washing their lunch boxes in the Keelung River, 45 minutes northeast of Taipei. During this age of maritime discovery, legends claimed there was a treasure island full of gold. Explorers headed to Formosa in search of gold.
A rumor in 1636 that gold dust was found in today’s Pingtung in southern Taiwan led to the arrival of the Dutch in 1624. Unsuccessful at finding gold, the Dutch attacked the Spanish who were searching for gold in Keelung on Taiwan’s northeastern coast, but they still didn’t find anything. When gold was later discovered in Jinguashi, a hamlet on Taiwan’s east coast, it was a few hundred meters from where the Dutch had searched in vain.
Background to Chinese Peacekeeping Operations
Since the end of China’s Communist Revolution in 1949 and the development of Chinese and American relations from 1971, China’s foreign policy can be seen as limited, particularly in relation to UN engagement. Except for issues related to its claim of sovereignty over Taiwan, and Bangladeshi independence from Pakistan, Chinese policy was defined by its non-participation and abstentions in the Security Council throughout the Cold War. The continuation of this policy was evident when China peacekeeping resolutions for Guatemala and Macedonia in 1997 and 1999 in response to those States recognizing and establishing diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
Placing such a fundamental importance on the pillar of state sovereignty has been a guiding principle for Beijing. This was the primary factor in its opposition to peacekeeping missions Not maintaining its neutrality and undermining the principle of sovereignty was seen as a threat to its own internal security, from the Xinjiang, Tibet and Inner Mongolia autonomous regions, as well as its claims over Taiwan. It is these provinces that China sees as providing a border security and protection from external aggression.
Issues of sovereignty go hand in hand with human rights records and economic sanctions, which China faced after the suppression of the Tiananmen Square demonstrations. It is, therefore, a sensitivity to its own history and confrontation with international powers, including Britain, Japan and the United States, that has determined Beijing’s hostility to interference in internal affairs. Peacekeeping, by its nature, is interference. Furthermore, Washington’s push to advance international mechanisms and institutionalize “humanitarian intervention” in the early 1990s, particularly in Yugoslavia, was viewed as a threat “as a way of ensuring America’s ability to intervene in China”, especially in Tibet.
The WHO Parrots CCP Talking Points
After viewing this exchange, I reached out to the WHO to ask two simple questions: 1) Does the video accurately depict this portion of the conversation regarding Taiwan? 2) If so, does Aylward stand by his comments? The WHO did not dispute the account, nor did it clarify Aylward’s comments.
Rather, a WHO spokesman, Christian Lindmeier, provided a non-response, which appears to have been the WHO’s official statement on the interview, as it is posted verbatim in the WHO’s newsroom under the anodyne title “Information sharing on COVID-19.” He wrote, “The question of Taiwanese membership in WHO is up to WHO Member States, not WHO staff. However, WHO is working closely with all health authorities who are facing the current coronavirus pandemic, including Taiwanese health experts” (emphasis Lindmeier’s).
The spokesman went on to list three points illustrating WHO’s coordination with Taiwan, including noting Taiwanese participation at a February WHO forum, “alongside other world scientists, including from mainland China” (emphasis mine). It is not clear if the intent here in mentioning mainland China was to indicate its equivalence with Taiwan, or rather again that Taiwan is part of China. We do know that in connection with that conference, a WHO official said, “We will have Taiwanese colleagues online, as we will have experts from the rest of China online.” (Emphasis mine)
President under pressure
2005 December - Opposition KMT triumphs in municipal elections. The result is interpreted as a mid-term vote of no confidence in President Chen Shui-bian.
2006 February - Taiwan scraps the National Unification Council, a body set up to deal with reunification with the mainland. China says the decision could bring "disaster".
2006 June - Under pressure over corruption allegations against a family member, President Chen cedes some of his powers to the prime minister.
2006 October - President Chen survives an attempt by parliament to force a referendum on his rule - the second in four months. His opponents and supporters take to the streets.
2006 December - An earthquake off Taiwan cuts undersea cables, cutting off or limiting telecommunications across the region.
China highlights Taiwan as security threat in plans to upgrade military.
2007 January - Taiwan defends school history textbooks which refer to China. Beijing accuses Taipei of introducing independence ideologies into the classroom.
2007 March - Newspaper reports that Taiwan has test-fired cruise missile capable of hitting Shanghai or Hong Kong.
2007 March - Taiwanese government begins removing statue of Chiang Kai-shek from Kaohsiung, sparking protests.
2007 April - China and Taiwan clash over route of Olympic torch relay ahead of 2008 Beijing games.
2007 August - The country attempts to join the UN for the first time under the name Taiwan, rather than the official title of Republic of China. The application is rejected.
2008 January - Opposition KMT wins landslide victory in parliamentary elections, beating President Chen Shui-bian's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Mr Chen steps down from post of DPP chairman.
Who came out on top after the Biden-Putin summit in Geneva?
Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday pressed a senior Chinese Communist Party official for cooperation with an international investigation into the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic, a Biden administration official said.
Mr. Blinken made the demand during a phone call with CCP Politburo member Yang Jiechi, said the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
Beijing officials told the World Health Organization last month that China regarded the investigation into the virus’ origin in its country to be finished.
The joint Chinese government-WHO probe earlier this year concluded that a laboratory leak of the virus was unlikely and should not be investigated further.
Since then, however, U.S. intelligence officials have said a lab leak of the virus is one of two main theories for the origin point of the pandemic. Outbreaks of COVID-19 began in Wuhan in December 2019. The other theory is that the virus emerged from an animal to infect humans, although the evidence for the so-called zoonotic leap theory is scant and no animals in China have been found to carry the virus behind COVID-19, known as SARS-CoV-2.
After initially claiming that the virus spread from a Wuhan wild animal market, Chinese officials shifted their focus to the United States. They said the virus originated at U.S. Army laboratories and called for an investigation.
The administration official did not provide further details on the exchange.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement on the Blinken-Yang phone call that the secretary “stressed the importance of cooperation and transparency regarding the origin of the virus, including the need for [World Health Organization] phase 2 expert-led studies in China.”
The WHO has launched the second part of an investigation into the virus’ origin, but it is unlikely to find the cause of the outbreak without help from China.
Mr. Price said Mr. Blinken also discussed the United States’ comprehensive policy review on North Korea and the need for Washington and Beijing to work together for denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
“Secretary Blinken and Director Yang continued discussions on shared global challenges, including Iran, Burma and the climate crisis,” he said.
“The secretary underscored U.S. concern over the deterioration of democratic norms in Hong Kong and the ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity against predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang.”
Mr. Price said Mr. Blinken also called on China to halt its pressure campaign against Taiwan and resolve cross-Taiwan Strait issues peacefully.
China’s military has sharply increased provocative aerial and naval incursions into Taiwan’s self-defense zone, prompting frequent scrambling of interceptor jets and other military responses.
Mr. Blinken also spoke about U.S. and Canadian citizens detained in China and exit bans. He called for the immediate release of those “wrongfully detained,” Mr. Price said.
China has engaged in what the State Department calls “hostage diplomacy” aimed at freeing a detained Huawei Technologies executive Meng Wanzhou, who is awaiting extradition from Vancouver to the United States.
In response to Ms. Meng’s arrest, Chinese authorities arrested two Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who have been held for over two years.
China made no mention of the virus inquiry in state media reports on the call, which indicated that Mr. Blinken sought the telephone exchange.
“China is committed to achieving non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation with the U.S.,” Mr. Yang was quoted as saying. “At the same time, China is firmly committed to safeguarding its sovereignty, security and development interests.”
The Chinese official, who is also director of the CCP Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs, said he urged Mr. Blinken to follow “the spirit of cooperation” that President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping noted in a Jan. 31 phone call.
Mr. Yang also repeated Chinese boilerplate talking points on Taiwan. He said the island is a core interest of China and part of China.
“We urge the U.S. to abide by the one-China principle, honor its promise, prudently and properly handle Taiwan-related question, and take concrete actions to safeguard the overall interests of China-U.S. relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” Mr. Yang said.
The Chinese official told Mr. Blinken that the only system in the world is the international order centered on the United Nations and international law and not the international order advocated by “a few countries.”
China Central Television reported that Mr. Blinken said a recent series of meetings between the United States and China boosted ties between the two countries and that the United States looks forward to increasing contacts and exchanges at all levels.
Mr. Blinken said the United States adheres to the understanding of the one-China principle and three joint communiques from the 1980s outlining bilateral ties.
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Timeline: Seven decades of Communist China
(Reuters) - China will celebrate the 70th anniversary of Communist Party rule on Oct. 1 with flowers, speeches, performances and a massive military parade through central Beijing.
The 70 years since the end of the civil war, in which Communists and Nationalists, or Kuomintang, fought to control territory vacated by the invading Japanese, have been tumultuous.
China went through wrenching social changes as it veered from a planned economy to a failed experiment with radical collectivization to today’s free-wheeling, often messy mix of bare-knuckled competition and crony capitalism, all supervised by the Communist Party.
People's Republic of China @70:
Following are some of the key moments in the history of the world’s most populous country since 1949:
1949: Mao Zedong proclaims the People’s Republic of China on Oct. 1 in Beijing. Chiang Kai-shek’s defeated Nationalist-led government flees to Taiwan in December.
1950-1953: China supports North Korea against U.S.-backed South Korea in the Korean War. At least 100,000 Chinese “volunteers” die.
1957: The Anti-Rightist Movement purges intellectuals and reformers with liberal economic and political views. Veteran Communists are later purged for opposing the Great Leap Forward.
1958-1961: The Great Leap Forward attempts to catapult China into the modern industrial age by collectivizing agriculture and creating steel in “backyard furnaces.” An estimated 30 million people, mostly peasants, starve to death.
1959: Chinese troops crush an uprising in Lhasa after widespread Tibetan resistance against forced collectivization. The Dalai Lama flees to India, where he remains.
1966-1976: The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution unleashes the teenage Red Guards, who with fanatical devotion to Mao set out to destroy all vestiges of China’s “feudal” culture. Schools close and the country disintegrates to near anarchy before youths decamp to the countryside to “learn from peasants.”
1971: The People’s Republic of China joins the United Nations, displacing the Nationalist-led government in Taiwan, which had held the China seat.
1972: U.S. president Richard Nixon visits China.
1976: Tangshan earthquake. An estimated 300,000 die.
1976: Mao dies. Veteran Party members defeat a power grab by his wife, paving the way for Deng Xiaoping to take charge.
1978: “Reform and Opening up” policy revives agriculture as peasants regain the right to farm their own plots. Over the next decade, food shortages vanish and foreign investment begins.
1978-1979: “Democracy wall” posters support political reform.
1979: United States and China reestablish diplomatic relations.
1985: China runs a trade surplus with United States for the first time.
1989: Students and workers protest for political reform and against inflation on Tiananmen Square for weeks before the army crushes the movement on June 4, killing hundreds, if not more.
1992: Deng revives economic reform with his Southern Tour.
1997: British colony Hong Kong returns to Chinese rule. Tiny Portuguese-run Macau follows suit two years later.
1998: The Asian financial crisis coincides with reform of state-owned firms, throwing an estimated 30 million out of work.
2001: China joins the World Trade Organization.
March 2008: Protests erupt across the Tibetan plateau after deadly riots in Lhasa, triggering a crackdown on Tibetans.
May 12, 2008: An earthquake in Sichuan province kills around 80,000.
August 8, 2008: Olympic Games open in Beijing.
2009: Ethnic riots in China’s far western region of Xinjiang kill 197 people.
2012: Xi Jinping becomes head of the Communist Party, and president the next year, kicking off a massive crackdown on corruption and civil society, with dozens of senior officials jailed for graft and rights activists jailed on charges that include subversion.
2013: Xi unveils landmark initiative to re-create the old Silk Road, now called the Belt and Road Initiative.
2013: China jails once-rising political star and contender for top leadership Bo Xilai for life for corruption, in a dramatic scandal kicked off by his wife’s murder of a British businessman.
2015: China’s fearsome former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang jailed for life for crimes including corruption and leaking state secrets.
2017: U.S. President Donald Trump visits Beijing, but the next year the two countries embark on a trade war, underscoring deteriorating ties between the world’s two largest economies.
2018: China changes its constitution to lift presidential term limits, meaning Xi can remain president until he dies.
2019: Mass and at times violent protests in the Chinese territory of Hong Kong against a contested extradition bill morph into demands for greater freedom from Beijing.
China in space
2003 October - Launch of China's first manned spacecraft: Astronaut Yang Liwei is sent into space by a Long March 2F rocket.
2004 September - Former president Jiang Zemin stands down as army chief, three years ahead of schedule.
2004 November - China signs a landmark trade agreement with 10 south-east Asian countries the accord could eventually unite 25% of the world's population in a free-trade zone.
2005 January - Former reformist leader Zhao Ziyang dies. He opposed violent measures to end 1989's student protests and spent his last years under virtual house arrest.
Aircraft chartered for the Lunar New Year holiday make the first direct flights between China and Taiwan since 1949.
2005 March - Hong Kong Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa resigns. He is succeeded in June by Donald Tsang.
New law on Taiwan calls for use of force should Taipei declare independence from mainland China.
Useful Notes / China
A huge East Asian country, when people mention "Asia", the first country to pop up in your head, if not Japan or India, is probably going to be China (Chinese: 中国, Zhongguo), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC) (Chinese: 中华人民共和国, Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo). This has become so common that for some people, China is synonymous with Asia, much to the annoyance of everyone who isn't ignorant. As the most populated country in the world and third largest in area after Russia and Canada, and with an economy on the rise daily, the People's Republic of China is a country well worth understanding better, partly to avoid the many stereotypes of the country and the Chinese people over the years.
China is one of the world's oldest civilizations having been one of only six to have formed independently (meaning not having an already-established civilization give them the idea of civilization creation), one of only five to have developed a writing system independently (the only one still in use today!), and has the longest continuous history of any country in the world. The main "centers" of Chinese civilization in modern Sinology are considered to be the Yellow River, Liao River, and Yangtze River. This is in contrast to the old theory that Chinese civilization began solely at the Yellow River and radiated outwards, although the Yellow River region would remain by far the most important area in Chinese history. Even today there is a genetic cline in China &mdash Northern Han Chinese have highly uniform paternal and maternal lines, being a fairly genetically homogeneous group that formed about 3000 years ago, while Southern Han Chinese have uniform paternal lines like the Northern Han. The Northern Han are indeed the greatest contributors to the Southern Han gene pool, but they have more diverse maternal lines that increase in diversity the further south one travels.
The tribes that lived by the Yellow River underwent extensive cultural and technological advancements largely due to the unpredictability of the river which they depended on. Chinese civilization began in what is today northern China along the banks of the Yellow River where early Sinitic-speaking agricultural tribes from the Yangshao culture formed a confederacy with the Liao River people from the Hongshan culture. The two river cultures had interacted with each other extensively before the people of the Hongshan culture made a southward migration to the Yellow River likely due to climate change. Chinese culture was more strongly influenced by the Yangshao people in terms of language, silk production, millet agriculture, and potterymaking, but with the religious practises of the Hongshan people. Thus, early Chinese religion was shamanistic. Shamanism would lose its importance after the Shang Dynasty, but the grand religious ceremonies and rituals of the Xia such as dragon worship and feng shui would remain. Combined, the Yangshao and Hongshan became known as the Huaxia. With the Hua in the name meaning "illustrious" in reference to their elaborate clothing (the Yangshao people were involved in silk production) and the "Xia" meaning "grand" in reference to their ceremonial etiquette (the Hongshan people had complicated religious rituals).
The Huaxia began to conquer surrounding territories and absorb foreign populations which allowed for their expansion. The Huaxia would go on to form empires with the Qin Dynasty being the first unified Chinese empire. The Han Dynasty is considered one of the early great eras of the Chinese civilization. Thus, the Huaxia would go on to call themselves "Han people" and are known as the "Han Chinese" in English. Well, those are some of the basics of early Chinese history, which is still largely a mystery due to it being centred around the Yellow River, which was a poor region for archaeological preservation. The details are still hotly debated today. Even what is "common knowledge" now may be outdated in the next few years.
What is far better recorded is the period known as Imperial China, starting from the Qin, China would have a dynastic imperial system of governance for the next 2000 years. The Chinese state would constantly alternate between periods of extreme chaos and peaceful golden eras as it fractured and reunited over time. China was the dominant cultural powerhouse of East Asia for most of its existence. Although ironically, the best known Chinese eras to Westerners were the foreign dynasties of the Yuan and Qing due to Marco Polo's adventures in Yuan China and because China was being brutally colonized by Western powers and Japan in the Qing &mdash these were the periods when China was arguably at it's "least Chinese" and it contributed to the poor understanding the West had of the nation. Even today the West is largely ignorant of Chinese history with its preference to undervalue Chinese studies due to the bad blood that generated between China and the West starting from the late Qing.
In 2003, China became the third nation to have sent a man into space. The President and Vice President of the People's Republic of China serve for five year terms with no term limits this, plus the lack of political opposition, basically allows them to serve for life. However, true authority lies with the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China note The Chairman's and Vice Chairman's seats were abolished, hence why the General Secretary now holds the highest authority in the party. while top military command goes to Chairman of the Central Military Commission, a role usually also hold by the General Secretary who's usually elected as the President (still known as the State Chairman in Chinese). Basically one has to hold these three positions to gain full power of the head of government of China. The General Secretary is secretly decided by the Communist Party.
China is divided into 22 provinces, 5 autonomous regions, 4 independent municipalities, and 2 special administrative regions (SAR). Autonomous regions are provinces with a substantial percentage of ethnic minorities, while municipalities are centered on cities with a high degree of autonomy and population, although bear in mind that they still include swathes of rural land outside the urban area. Meanwhile, the two SAR, Hong Kong and Macau, are former European colonies that were transferred back to China in recent history, but they still retain a degree of independence and democratic mindset compared to mainland China (a common parlance for their status is "one country, two systems" though they are part of China, they, to a certain extent, are still governed through colonial-era laws).
Other than the above, China is currently locked in territorial disputes with several outside parties. The most significant is Taiwan, whose gray status in international politics is a decades-long legacy of the Chinese Civil War that remains unresolved to this day. Taiwan is governed by a separate government (the "Republic of China") and effectively a country of its own, but the People's Republic of China, as a much more powerful country, threatens to boycott any country that recognizes the Republic of China since they can only fully recognize one country as the "rightful China". Hence why only a handful countries still have formal relations with Taiwan and the RoC is not a member of the United Nations anymore. Other than Taiwan, China also maintains territorial disputes with Japan, India, Bhutan, and, as an extension of the South China Sea dispute, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Though it should be noted that this is a legal leftover from when the Republic of China was still governing mainland China, so Taiwan actually claims the same things that mainland China does along with the entirety of Mongolia and Tuva (although Taiwan lacks the power to enforce many of these inland claims so they focus on their South China Sea ones).
Explaining China's Intervention in the Korean War in 1950
In October 1950, Chinese troops under the name of the Chinese People&rsquos Volunteer Army (CPV) crossed the Yalu River to assist North Korean armies, and engaged in the Korean War in an offensive manner after the U.S. troops crossed the 38th parallel. One central question immediately arises with regard to the Chinese intervention: Why did the newly established People&rsquos Republic of China (PRC) decide to send its troops to engage in a war which did not take place on its own territory?
This issue is especially puzzling when one considers the facts that the economy of the PRC was shattered, with high inflation, extremely tight fiscal budget and lack of material resources. The internal security and authority of the regime was under threat by various acts of sabotage undertaken by remaining Kuomintang (KMT) agents, and the enemy China faced was far stronger in terms of military equipment and logistical supply. It should also be noted that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was preparing for the battles in Taiwan to unify the whole of China. In general, the conditions were highly unfavourable for an intervention operation. Most scholars, like Allen Whiting and Hao Yufan, argue that the reason for the Chinese intervention was mainly the security concern of a possible U.S. invasion of Chinese territory. 1 Others, like Sergei Goncharov and John Lewis, put more emphasis on influence of individual leaders like Mao Zedong. 2 All the above explanations, however, do not take into consideration possible alternative options China might have had and therefore ignored other aspects behind the decision to intervene.
This paper argues that three main factors drove the Chinese decision to engage in the Korean War: security concerns, the need to consolidate CCP&rsquos regime and domestic control, and the ideologies possessed by the individual leaders.
This paper will be divided into four parts. The first part of this paper will briefly provide a historical background of the Chinese intervention in the Korean War. The paper will propose that besides traditional security concern of territorial sovereignty, which is a standard explanation for the Chinese decision to intervene, there are also some other important reasons that should be considered. The following three parts will identify and analyse those reasons from three perspectives. In the second part, this paper will analyse Chinese security concerns at the time. The paper examines how the Chinese leadership perceived the level of threat posed by the U.S. presence in the Korean peninsula, and argues that besides the threat on territorial integrity and sovereignty, Beijing was more worried about the constrains on future economic reconstruction and troop deployment posed by a U.S. presence in the border regions.
The third part analyses Chinese domestic politics and argues that the second driving force for intervening the Korean War was the need to strengthen the CCP&rsquos regime, boost domestic morale, and reduce the remaining KMT sabotage activities. The fourth part examines the role of the individual Chinese leaders. It looks at the ideologies possessed by key CCP leaders in the Politburo, especially Mao, and argues that the third driving force for the decision to assist Korea is the ideologies possessed by Chinese leaders: internationalism offered by Marxism-Leninism ideology, and hostility towards the U.S. The paper will conclude that the above three factors persuaded Chinese leaders to decide to intervene in the Korean War.
Historical Background of the Intervention
On 25 June 1950 the North Korean army led by Kim Il Sung, launched an offensive against South Korea. Although newly emerged evidence indicates that there was an exchange of views between Kim, Mao and Stalin on the North&rsquos plan of military invasion, 3 several signs indicate that China was still not prepared for an invasion. One example would be that the CCP started a large campaign of demobilisation of the People&rsquos Liberation Army (PLA) five days before the outbreak of conflict, in which 1.4 million of the PLA were supposed to be demobilised. 4 As a result, the border area near the Yalu River was left with only one army which was stationed there for crop production purposes. 5
At the same time, the domestic situation, especially the economic one, was not favourable for an intervention. Agricultural production fell by 40 per cent compared to the pre-civil war years, while major industrial outputs fell by more than 50 per cent. 6 Moreover, the military expenditure was cut, together with the large campaign of demobilisation mentioned above. It was estimated that less than 10 per cent of the budget was allocated for the militaries in the Northeast region in 1950. 7 With other problems including a high inflation rate and remaining anti-Communist forces of local &lsquobandits&rsquo which sought to establish their own authorities and KMT agents, the situation seemed highly unfavourable for armed intervention. In fact, at the initial stage, China took a passive response to the situation in North Korea. Besides moral support for Kim, the only material support provided by Beijing at the time was to send approximately 14,000 Korean Chinese who were then serving in the PLA back to Korea. 8 However, three subsequent events dramatically changed Beijing&rsquos attitudes.
The first is that on June 27, the U.S. Seventh Fleet was sent to the Taiwan Strait to &lsquoneutralise&rsquo the situation. On the same day, President Truman announced air and naval support for South Korea. These movements lead the Chinese leaders to reassess American intentions towards China and redeploy some of its troops to the Northern border. But the debate on whether to send troops across the border still continued in the Politburo. The second and third events are the Inchon landing on September 15 and the U.S. troops&rsquo crossing of 38th parallel on September 25. The former event, according to the explanations found in much of the literature, endangered China&rsquos security interests and threatened the security of the Chinese mainland directly. 9 China quickly mobilised troops and resources in preparation for possible escalation, and issued its warning through Indian ambassador Kavalam Madhava Panikkar that China would intervene in the war if the American troops entered North Korea. 10 After the U.S. troops crossed the 38th parallel on September 25, China made the decision to intervene and the first Chinese troops entered North Korea on October 14.
In this brief overview of the historical background of China&rsquos intervention, it seems that the reason behind the Chinese decision was the threat to the security of mainland China posed by the United States. However, there are still questions to be answered. On the one hand, the deteriorating economic situation and weak military power could hardly support such an intervention, and the unstable political situation at home required relatively high resources to be deployed domestically. Moreover, China had at the time an important security guarantee from the Soviet Union which theoretically could reduce the need to intervene. The Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship, Alliance and Mutual Assistance, which was signed in February 1950 and stated that &lsquoall-out&rsquo support would be provided by the Soviet Union if China was involved in military confrontations with the so-called imperialist countries, 11 served as a clear insurance of security of mainland China. The security treaty therefore greatly reduced the possibility of an American invasion.
As a result, staying out of the war seemed to be a cheap and secure alternative for Beijing besides sending its troops to assist Kim, especially given the fact that Beijing had great faith and confidence of the reliability of such strategic alliance and the treaty. 12 The fact that Beijing did not choose this alternative suggests that there must be other considerations besides the security of Chinese sovereignty. Therefore, the following sections will analyse Beijing&rsquos policy considerations from three perspectives: security consideration, China&rsquos domestic situation, and ideologies shared by influential individual leaders in the CCP Politburo.
Before examining the security concern created by the United States to China, it is necessary to look at the role the Soviet Union played in Chinese strategic considerations. As the tension in the Korean peninsula escalated, Stalin became more cautious in avoiding direct confrontation with the United States and refused to send troops to Korea. Instead, he encouraged the Chinese to send their armies to assist the North and promised, according to the alliance treaty mentioned above, to support China with military equipment and air force cover for Chinese troops in Korea and to defend Chinese borders. 13 Beijing considered the Soviet support crucial to China&rsquos intervention.
Mao specifically sent Premier Zhou Enlai to Moscow to discuss the Soviet support and made the decision to intervene only after such assurance was made. He also immediately halted all actions of the CPV after learning that the Soviet Union would not provide air support at the initial stage. Nevertheless, Beijing still proceeded in the absence of the important Soviet air support. If such a decision was made, as Allen Whiting argued, because of China&rsquos &lsquovulnerability&rsquo, 14 then it is necessary to find out in which areas China felt vulnerable. If it is just the physical security of the mainland, why did China not opt for relying on the alliance treaty, especially when it knew that there would be no Soviet air support at the initial stage, which was crucial to Beijing&rsquos decision as analysed above? It suggests that there are some other vulnerable aspects which raised the awareness of Chinese leaders and compelled them to intervene.
One explanation for these &lsquoother vulnerable aspects&rsquo is that Beijing&rsquos security concern is not only about the physical security threat posed by American forces moving towards the Chinese border, but also about the constrains on Chinese domestic development it might bring. In a telegram to Zhou, explaining the necessity to intervene, Mao emphasised that if the U.S. proceeded near the border &lsquoall the North-eastern border defence forces will be absorbed&rsquo. 15 Zhou later also implicitly expressed his worries that there would be not enough troops to guard the &lsquoone thousand kilometres&rsquo of borders if the Americans occupied North Korea. 16 Such concerns imply that the leaders in Beijing were deeply worried about the fact that once American troops were stationed in the border region, China would be forced to focus most of its troops and resources on the North-eastern border region. This would be both fiscally expensive and politically dangerous. 17
On the one hand, the Northeast region contains the main economic resources including steel, coal and hydropower to support the economic reconstruction and recovery for most of China. As Zhou points out that if the U.S. troops proceeded to the Yalu River, industries (especially heavy industries) would be &lsquowithin range of enemy bombers&rsquo and it was impossible to have &lsquothe peace of mind to go about production&rsquo. 18 With resources and heavy industries under threat, the economic production and reconstruction would be severely constrained. Furthermore, the troops were forced to deploy troops around the border lines, the CCP would have limited military resources to continue their plan of &lsquoliberation&rsquo of Taiwan and to deal with remaining KMT sabotage forces, especially at the time when the sabotages and harassments became more frequent domestically, 19 and the presence of the U.S. Seventh Fleet in the Taiwan Strait posed another security threat to China&rsquos Southern coastline. Furthermore, the constrains on economic reconstruction and countering anti-Communist activities would heavily constrain the CCP&rsquos efforts to consolidate its regime and domestic authorities, which, serves as an important reason for Beijing&rsquos decision to intervene.
The above analysis shows that security concern did play a role in China&rsquos decision to intervene in Korea. While the alliance treaty could guarantee full Soviet support to protect China&rsquos security when its territory was invaded, it could not lift the constrains on economic reconstruction and troop deployments for &lsquoliberating&rsquo Taiwan and combating internal opposition forces posed by the U.S. presence near the border. Compelled by these obstacles for CCP&rsquos efforts to consolidate its regime, Beijing had to opt for an armed intervention to eliminate the root of such constrains: the American presence near its border if the North Koreans were defeated.
As mentioned before, one constraint posed by U.S. military presence near the Yalu River is that it limited China&rsquos ability to respond to domestic anti-Communist movements. Implicitly behind this campaign of countering anti-Communist elements was the CCP&rsquos need to consolidate its regime which was established less than a year ago. More importantly, the CCP faced the difficult task of establishing its authority and credibility by creating extensive internal support from the population at large. 20 Influenced by the traditional Chinese strategic culture of regarding crisis (weiji) as constituted by both danger (wei) and opportunity (ji), the outbreak of crisis in Korea was seen by the CCP as both a challenge and a rare opportunity for the CCP to achieve the above objectives. 21
It was obvious that leaders in Beijing, especially Mao, were deeply worried about the possible impact of a U.S. victory over North Korea on domestic anti-Communist forces. In his telegram to Zhou, Mao mentioned that allowing the U.S. to press to the border would allow the growing of arrogance of &lsquoreactionaries at home&rsquo, and would be &lsquodisadvantageous&rsquo not only to China, but also Korea and the Far East. 22 In another telegram summarising the Politburo discussion nine days later, Mao again stressed that if the American troops reached the border region, &lsquothe international and domestic reactionary bluster would surely become louder&rsquo. 23 Such emphasis on the effect of countering domestic anti-Communist forces can be seen as a direct response to the growing activities of such forces, including attacks on local officials and militaries, sabotages, assassinations and, according to the intelligence acquired by the public security ministry at the time, a bombardment of Tiananmen on the celebration of National Day on October 1. 24
By sending troops to combat the U.S. forces and prevent their arrival at the border regions, the CCP leaders hoped that it can &lsquobeat the arrogance&rsquo of both the U.S. abroad and the reactionary forces at home. 25 In doing so the CCP could increase its strength on anti-sabotage campaigns as well as domestic reconstruction, and hence consolidated its authorities. In this sense, the intervention in Korea served as an important move to prevent the enemy from &lsquofanning counterrevolution sentiments&rsquo in China to threaten its domestic unity and security. 26
Another aspect of domestic consideration is the CCP&rsquos desire and need to gain wider support among the public by successfully managing the Korean crisis. For the CCP and its regime, established for less than a year after a destructive civil war, this task was especially crucial and challenging. The population who had just experienced foreign and domestic conflict and had limited knowledge of the CCP&rsquos internal and external policies would take the Korean crisis as a test of the CCP&rsquos capability to govern the country. 27 The CCP also realised that the Korean crisis was an opportunity to &lsquomobilise the masses&rsquo and to &lsquoinspire the comrades-in-arms&rsquo. 28
To achieve such objectives, the Chinese leadership addressed both the &lsquorevolutionary enthusiasm&rsquo and patriotism among the public. One example can be seen from an internal directive on official propaganda from the General Information Bureau, which stated that &lsquowe have to&hellipstart a widespread campaign of propaganda&hellipto educate our people at home&rsquo. 29 By stressing both the revolutionary characteristics (anti-imperialist) and the patriotic characteristics (defending sovereignty) of the Korean War, the CCP leadership believed that engaging in Korea could create a revolutionary momentum of the Chinese people and therefore strengthen the authority and reputation of the CCP. 30
To summarise the above analysis, considerations of the domestic situation, specifically the need to counter anti-Communist forces and strengthen the CCP&rsquos regime played an important role in Beijing&rsquos decision to intervene. By sending its troops to assist the North Koreans in countering what they saw as &lsquoimperialist&rsquo invasion, the CCP could decrease the morale of domestic anti-Communist forces on the one hand, and strengthen its legitimacy and authority by showing to the public its dedication to defend national sovereignty and Communism and fight against imperialism (which were the objectives the CCP had always stressed on before coming to power) on the other hand. Continued on Next Page »