China Changes Tack: Peking’s 1980s Taiwan Policy

  • Simon Long


Following the death of Mao Zedong in 1976, China shook off the isolationism and ideological fanaticism of the Cultural Revolution. In December 1978, at the third plenum of the Central Committee of the 11th Congress of the CCP, Deng Xiaoping emerged in control as China’s paramount leader. He started debunking many of the sacred cows of Maoism, and pursuing a course of radical economic reform. Over the decade he was to rewrite the ground rules of Chinese politics. No longer, as under Mao was ‘politics in command’. Rather ‘economic development’ was the ‘key link’, the ultimate arbiter of both domestic and foreign policy. It was, to a certain extent, a revival of the ideals of Zhou Enlai. Even before Deng took over, Mao’s chosen successor, Hua Guofeng, had trumpeted a policy formulation first put forward by Zhou in 1964, the ‘four modernisations’. In foreign policy, too, there was a revival of Zhou Enlai’s ideals of ‘peaceful co-existence’, that is of pragmatic co-operation even with ideological foes.


Foreign Policy Communist Party Democratic Progressive Party Chinese Leader Special Administrative Region 
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© Simon Long 1991

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  • Simon Long

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