44. The Cultural Revolution

Mao Zedong had lost a great deal of prestige within the top Communist leadership as a result of the disasters of the Great Leap Forward. His insistence upon unbridaled, mass mobilization of the peasantry in communes and simultaneous full-scale development of industry had nearly brought China to its knees in 1958-60. The crisis had come both because of Mao's erroneous understanding of human nature and his insistence upon extending China's limited resources beyond their capacity. In addition, younger and more worldly Communist leaders recognized that technology, education and skills were the major elements in producing a modern industrial society. They had become greatly disenchanted with Mao's continued dedication to ideology and the classic Marxist emphasis on class struggle and revolution as an alternative to technical expertise.1 Despite all the reverence accorded Mao for the leadership and determination he had exhibited over four decades to bring about the victory of Communism, a number of influential Communists considered Mao to be a relic of a vanished past out of touch with present-day reality. What China needed most now, they believed, was know-how, not ideology.2

Mao, however, remained committed to "permanent" revolution and to the belief that, by mobilizing great masses of people in the old Chinese tradition, great and decisive advances in human well-being could be accomplished and the fundamental nature of human beings might be changed into less self-centered, more society-oriented people who believed in the Marxist ideals of a egalitarian, equitable communist society. By subscribing to a process of constant transformation, Mao hoped people would finally reach a utopian future when all governing organizations would disappear. The held to his idealistic beliefs that revolution could wipe out the distinctions between people, between city and country, between mental and physical labor.3 In a world whose economic advance depended upon burgeoning technology and trained and educated people, his was a wholly foolish dream. But he didn't know it.

Mao's greatest concern was to rekindle the original idealistic dedication of the cadres who as a whole had worked diligently to preserve the purity of the revolution. To Mao, struggle and criticism from the masses below were the only ways to keep the cadres at the peak of determination to carry the revolution through to a full communist society. He felt that, despite more than a decade and a half of Communist rule in China, traditional customs, habits, culture and thinking continued to endure among the people. This he wanted to eradicate.4

Mao remained unimpressed with technicians who were not dedicated to the concept of Marxist revolution and he had become particularly suspicious of intellectuals and bureaucrats. He feared intellectuals because he thought they represented a latent capitalist tendency, since many educated persons stemmed from former gentry families and since, by working with their brains, they represented inherent elitism. He feared bureaucrats because of the ease with which they took on the trappings of a new "mandarin" class, like that which ruled imperial China for centuries. To him, bureaucrats frequently became officious and concerned with the process of producing, discussing and forwarding plans and papers rather than the accomplishment of real goals. He also disliked bureaucrats because they easily revived in hierarchical government agencies old social distinctions of rank, class, prestige and careerism. In the Soviet Union this tendency already had been manifested in the rise of apparatchiks, or a privileged professional bureaucratic class that resembled the old Chinese mandarins. If the people no longer felt driven to perpetuate the revolution, Mao believed they would accept the easy life, emphasize material rewards and a revive individualism. All of these, to Mao, would spell the doom of the classless society for which he had worked all his adult life.5

Two Chinese leaders were the principal advocates of a more stable, less revolutionary social order which aimed at a rational, pragmatic, step-by-step march toward affluence instead of Mao's precipitate rush toward all goals at once. These were Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping. Liu was first vice-chairman of the Chinese Communist party's central committee and, upon easing Mao out of the job in December, 1958, became state chairman or the chief official of the People's Republic. Deng was party general secretary. These men were in the "first line" or rank. Mao remained chairman of the CCP's central committee, but, in the 1958 changes, had been eased into the "second line."6

The issues separating the "modernists" from Mao and the "revolutionaries" appeared clearly at the Lu Shan conference in August, 1959. There Vice Premier Ch'en Yun, the leading party expert on economic matters, advocated abandoning the communes and returning to cooperatives in agriculture, more realistic goals in economic development, limited cooperation with the Soviet Union (instead of Mao's "go-it-alone" philosophy), greater emphasis on technical expertise and less emphasis on political and ideological purity. Although Mao won the Lu Shan engagement by focusing on the more easily countered criticisms of the unsophisticated Marshal Peng Dehuai, the conflict between the Mao and the Ch'en approaches remained.

As China worked its way out of the chaos of the Great Leap, Liu Shaoqi, Ch'en Yun and Bo Yibo (Po I-bo), vice chairman of the state planning commission, advocated a certain amount of laissez-faire or "capitalism" in the economy and emphasis on technology and technical training of workers. Liu considered some capitalistic tendencies as "not so horrible." Lie also protected intellectuals, artists and party functionaries (Mao's incipient apparatchiks) so long as they worked loyally for the state. He set up special schools for the children of high officials and gave artists, actors, writers and others with special skills extra pay and better housing. The silhouette of an emerging superior class within the Communist state was becoming visible.7

All of this greatly disturbed Mao Zedong. He also was anxious to kindle revolutionary zeal in young people who knew nothing first-hand about the suffering in the Communist struggle. He was afraid the youth would simply mouth radical slogans and seek bourgeois comforts. He noted tendencies within the educational system of idealizing the old Chinese cultural tradition instead of the new socialist society. For example, in November, 1962, the deputy director of the Communist party's propaganda department sponsored a forum on Confucious to commemorate the 2,440th anniversary of the philosopher's death. For the Maoists, the Confucian ideals of a society built around status, privilege and family were the exact opposite of socialist aspirations. Mao had already commenced the xiafang movement by which intellectuals and officials were "sent downward" to work with their hands in the countryside and there learn from the masses. The "beneficiaries" of this movement were overwhelmingly not impressed and the Communist leadership opposed to Mao's ideas quietly undermined it.8 In culture, as well, the "pragmatists" reemerged, although Mao's wife, Jiang Qing (Chiang Ch'ing), pushed forward new forms of revolutionary art in 1964, as, for example, the play, The Raid on the White Tiger Regiment, and the ballet, The Red Detachment of Women.9 However, Beijing's mayor, Peng Zhen (P'eng Chen), professed fondness for traditional Beijing operas.10

By 1964 Mao Zedong had come to believe that the cherished goals of the revolution were slipping away and that his chosen successor, Liu Shaoqi, was the leading saboteur. To Mao the Communist party had become increasingly aloof from the masses (as well as from Mao himself). He saw as dangerous, destructive tendencies within the peasantry of "spontaneous capitalism" (peasants working for their own, not the group's, benefit), "bourgeois rightism" (or efforts toward private gain) among intellectuals and a drift toward the kind of society that was developing in the Soviet Union, which, to Mao, was becoming more and more split between a privileged ruling class and underprivileged people being ruled.

The decisive turning point for Mao came at a party meeting on January 25, 1965, when Liu Shaoqi proposed reestablishing the Chinese alliance with the Soviet Union because of the escalation of the Vietnam War by the United States. A policy of concentration on Vietnam, in alliance with Russia, would have doomed the massive domestic program Mao had in mind and would also have locked China once more into the Soviet system. This was anathema to Mao. In addition, Mao had concluded that some people within the Communist party were taking the capitalist road. He decided that Liu must be disinherited and the party shattered in order that it could be rebuilt later. Mao was 71 years old and very likely was anxious to get on with his reform because of concerns about his health. He was suffering from Parkinson's disease and may have had a stroke in the fall of 1964. As Emmanuel C.Y. Hsü, an expert on China, writes, "Mao wanted to reestablish the supremacy of his authority, his line of revolution, his work-style, to revitalize the youth, politicize the masses and combat old customs, old habits, old culture and old thinking—and to do so with a single, immediate expurgation."11

In opposition to Liu Shaoqi, who was in control of the Communist party apparatus, Mao had built a new base of power in the military, hitherto scrupulously kept clear of politics. Lin Biao, whom Mao had put in as minister of defense to replace the ousted Peng Dehuai in 1959, was a loyal follower of Mao and Lin indoctrinated the People's Liberation Army to serve as a Maoist instrument.12

The pressures of the Vietnam War may have hastened Mao's determination. When American aircraft began a virtually continuous bombardment of North Vietnam in February, 1965, the Soviet Union became as concerned as China about U.S. intentions. This brought on renewed interest on the part of the new leadership in the Kremlin and of some of the Chinese leadership to settle Sino-Soviet differences and work mutually to help North Vietnam withstand the American onslaught. Soviet Premier Alexsei Kosygin visited both Beijing and Hanoi in February, 1965, in hopes of working out a negotiated peace. Beijing rejected any compromise with the U.S. Moscow, though miffed, agreed to provide Hanoi with arms and equipment.13

Mao was not interested in any rapprochement with the Soviet Union in order to help North Vietnam. He had concluded that the United States would not invade North Vietnam with ground troops and told author Edgar Snow this in an interview in early February. Therefore, though Beijing renewed its pledge to enter the war if American troops invaded North Vietnam, Mao believed essential Chinese interests could be met without armed intervention. Mao told Snow: "China's armies would not go beyond her borders to fight." This was hyperbole. Chinese armies had definitely gone beyond China's borders in the Korean War. Zhou Enlai also made it clear in April that China would intervene if U.S. ground forces crossed the 17th parallel, the border between North and South Vietnam. Mao's implication to Snow was that China would not fight an aggressive war beyond its borders but would cross them only to protect China from danger. North Vietnam thus served as the same strategic buffer for China to the south that North Vietnam served on the north. Mao was confident that, by signaling China's unaggressive intentions to Washington, he would reinforce American aversion to invading North Vietnam.

Mao emphasized this point to Snow by mentioning that "American officials repeatedly say that if United States forces were withdrawn from Vietnam then all southeast Asia would be overrrun." The question was, Mao said, "overrun" by whom? "Overrun by Chinese or overrun by the inhabitants? China was overrun but only by the Chinese." He said that Secretary of State Dean Rusk had often stated that, if China would give up its aggressive policies, then the U.S. would withdraw from Vietnam. "What does that mean?" Mao asked. China had no policies of aggression to abandon. China had committed no acts of aggression. China supported revolutionary movements, but not by sending troops.14

Mao got into arguments with his own hard-line military leaders and with North Vietnamese chiefs over Soviet aid to North Vietnam and a revived Soviet alliance with China. The Kremlin asked on April 17, 1965, to permit 4,000 Soviet troops to move through China to Vietnam, to allow the Soviets to establish one or two airports in southern China to support Vietnam and to authorize a Soviet air corridor through China to Vietnam. It took Beijing three months to refuse these requests, a sure indication that a number of influencial Chinese leaders were in favor of the proposal.15 The noise of the dispute extended far enough for U.S. intelligence agents to pick up parts of it. On May 5 American sources reported that Beijing was attempting to limit Soviet assistance to North Vietnam and Hanoi was complaining because it wanted the more sophisticated weapons than China could supply. Hanoi also saw a chance to exploit the Sino-Soviet rivalry and thus get supplies from both sources.16

Mao and Lin Biao opposed elements in the army, led by Luo Ruiqing, army chief of staff, who wanted a close alliance with Russia and a commitment to building an expensive, modern, professional army with heavy weapons and high mobility on the model of the Soviet army. This group wanted China to intervene in Vietnam. But intervention would have required China to seek the protection of Soviet nuclear power, in order to prevent the United States from unleashing nuclear bombs against Vietnam and China. The Soviet Union, despite concern for its Communist brothers in Vietnam, was not going to grant this sort of protection to China without settlement of outstanding differences. Mao did not want to reconcile with Moscow, especially since he was convinced the U.S. would not invade North Vietnam and therefore essential Chinese interests would not be endangered. Also, he and Lin Biao wanted to avoid war to devote attention to Mao's domestic program.17

By early September, 1965, Mao and Lin held the ascendancy on Vietnam policy. In what appears to have been a last-ditch effort to change Beijing's direction, Luo Ruiqing urged in People's Daily that China should give more support to North Vietnam by forming a united front with the Soviet Union to oppose the U.S. Lin Biao, in a famous opposing essay, rejected the possibility of cooperating with Moscow, urged what amounted to a policy of restraint and told the Vietnamese Communists they would have to win their war basically on their own.18 Lin couched his essay in flamboyant terms, however, asserting that the "rural" areas of Asia, Africa and Latin America ultimately would strangle the "cities" of North America and western Europe. Lin's essay concluded the issue within China. He and Mao engineered Luo's removal as chief of staff in November, 1965.19 Mao could now turn to his main concern: reviving the revolution in China.

However, both U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara and Secretary of State Dean Rusk completely missed the real significance of Lin Biao's essay. McNamara later testified before congressional committees that Lin's statement was a "blunt warning" of Chinese Communist intentions. And Rusk compared it to Mein Kampf, in which Adolf Hitler outlined his plans for Nazi domination of the world. A famous expert on China, however, John K. Fairbank, director of the East Asian Research Center at Harvard University, pooh-poohed the cataclysmic views of McNamara and Rusk some months later. He testified on March 10, 1966, before the Senate foreign-relations committee that Lin Biao's statement was simply "a reassertion of faith" that the "parochial example of rural-based revolution" in China was a model for underdeveloped countries. Fairbank was dead right, but official Washington wasn't listening.20

* * * * * * * * * *

The initial battlefield in the enormous and destructive war that became known as the Cultural Revolution21 was an esoteric dispute revolving around a play written about an official in the sixteenth century during the Ming dynasty. According to tradition, the official, Hai Rui (Hai Jui), told the emperor that officials knew his mind was not right, that he was arbitrary and perverse and that he refused to accept criticism though his mistakes were many. On June 16, 1959, People's Daily published a story, "Hai Rui Scolds the Emperor," written under a pen name by the deputy mayor of Beijing and a former professor of history, Wu Han. Eighteen months later this story, now rendered into a historical play, "Hai Rui Dismissed from Office," appeared in Beijing Literature and Art. The play portrayed Hai Rui as an honest official who lost his governorship because the emporer disliked his proposal of returning to peasants land seized by rich landlords. For the Chinese, adept at disguising contemporary leaders in former emperors' clothes, the message was clear enough: Hai Rui was Peng Dehuai and the emperor Mao Zedong, and Mao had dismissed Peng wrongfully for pointing out the errors of the Great Leap Forward.22

Mao also had not missed the point of the play. He also could scarcely miss a number of other sharp criticisms that had been emanating since 1961 from two officials, Deng Tuo (Teng T'o) and Liao Mosha, of the Beijing municipal committee. Their activity implied that the mayor of Beijing, Peng Zhen, or someone higher, was behind them. It was well known that Liu Shaoqi, Mao's real target, was a patron of Peng, who was also a vice premier and eighth-ranking member of the Politburo. Deng and Liao used the municipal committee's theoretical journal, Frontline, and Beijing Evening News to produce over two-hundred articles criticizing Mao Zedong by implication or by drawing on historical analogies.23

In the summer of 1965 Mao and his wife, Jiang Qing, laid plans for a huge counteroffensive. Since Lin Biao controlled the army, the instrument they selected was the Shanghai branch of Liberation Army Daily, edited by Yao Wenyuan (Yao Wen-yüan). On November 10, 1965, Yao fired the first shot of the Cultural Revolution by attacking the play, "Hai Rui Dismissed from Office." Yao picked an appropriately ideological basis upon which to focus his assault on Vice Mayor Wu Han. Hai Rui, Yao asserted, was a member of the official Ming dynasty ruling class and it was impossible for him to abandon his "class view" and help another class, the peasants. The newspaper also quickly launched attacks against Deng Tuo and Liao Mosha, whom the newspaper lumped with Wu Han into "the black gang." The paper accused them of falsifying historical figures in order to satirize Mao, of blurring the class struggle and of urging restoration of a private economy in China. Mao made an astute choice of Wu Han as his initial target. If the mayor, Peng Zhen, could be swept into the "counterrevolutionary and revisionist gang" Mao was delineating, then his patron, Liu Shaoqi, could be implicated as well.

Wu Han recanted on December 30, admitting he had failed to use Mao's theory of class struggle in the play. This opened the way for a true purge, though Liu Shaoqi entirely missed the implications. He left Beijing on March 26, 1966, on a state visit to Pakistan and Afghanistan. The same day Mayor Peng Zhen disappeared.24 With Liu gone, the Maoists, allied with the PLA, extracted confessions from the "black gang," and in May Liberation Army Daily editor Yao charged that the Liu Shaoqi faction intended to replace Premier Zhou Enlai with Peng Zhen and to bring back Peng Dehuai as defense minister. On June 1, Maoists seized control of People's Daily. Three days later the newspaper announced that no one who opposed Mao could "escape denunciation by the whole party and the whole nation, whoever he may be, whatever high position he may hold and however much of a veteran he may be."25 It was a declaration of war against any party leaders who dared stand up to Mao.

Mao's strength was clearly his alliance with Lin Biao, who held tight control of the PLA. Liu Shaoqi, now back from his journey, attempted to deflect the PLA into a major Sino-Soviet aid program to assist North Vietnam. But Mao and Lin refused to allow the army to be distracted.26 By now Mao's effort had become a vast nationwide campaign, largely supported by high-school and university students. In May, 1966, students at Beijing University erected a big-character criticizing the government administration for its "bourgeois failings." Mao enthusiastically endorsed the students and described the China he hoped to create. It would be based on the Paris Commune of 1871, a government of the workers and people who rose up to establish a direct, participatory democracy. In this way, Mao indicated, the people would bring true communism to China and attack party leaders who stood in the way.27 It was a recipe for mob violence and excesses by young people, who had no discipline or direction and little organization to carry them along. Mao and his supporters stirred their youthful enthusiasm to dangerous proportions. But this enthusiasm found outlets mainly in disorderly and undirected enthusiasm for a utopia they only vaguely perceived as an ideal but whose concrete form and nature they by no means comprehended.

In July, 1966, Mao deflated numerous negative questions about the poor state of his health by swimming in the Yangzi river.28 It was an effective propaganda move and during the summer he brought the Communist party's central committee back under his control. At the committee meeting August 1-12, Mao received official sanction from the committee for his "Cultural Revolution" and at the meeting Mao pushed through the promotion of Lin Biao to first vice-chairman of the central committee, thus the second-ranking member in the party hierarchy. He demoted Deng Xiaoping to sixth and Liu Shaoqi to eighth. The committee approved Mao's program to eradicate the "four olds" (ideas, culture, customs, habits) in a "great revolution that touches the people to their very souls." It called for forming "cultural revolutionary groups, committees and congresses" at all levels to carry out Mao's ideas on reforming the country.29 The fact that no one knew precisely what they were attempting to create, except a communal society run by the people, imposed little in the way of a deterrent. The committee did, however, impose some restrictions: no disruption of industry or agriculture and no attacks on the PLA. Nevertheless it was an open invitation to violence and chaos, entered into without due consideration of the enormous damage it could cause the country.

The committee authorized formation of "Red Guards" of young people (mostly immature high-school students) as a "shock force" to carry the movement through the provinces. Their slogans were "there can be no construction without destruction" and "to rebel is justified." On August 18 over a million young Red Guards stood in the great square in Beijing to receive Mao's mandate to go out and remake China. To do so, the state gave them free transportation on the nation's railroads and bus lines and also closed schools. The opportunity to travel all over the country and to be designated by Chairman Mao himself as instruments of the revolution would have turned the heards of many mature people. For many of the estimated 50 million young Red Guards the challenge was entirely too heady. It led to enormous and irretrievable excesses, wild demonstrations, ransacking of private property, vandalism or destruction of historic sites and monuments, gross physical and mental abuse of leaders at all levels as well as their families, humiliation of foreign diplomats,30 attacking of persons wearing modern or Western clothing and haircuts, even operating kangaroo courts and operation of private detention camps. It was a horrible descent into semiorganized savagery that cost the careers of thousands of dedicated people and the lives of many more, who either died as a result of their mistreatment or committed suicide because of their humiliations. The Red Guards based their inexcusable behavior upon a few of the simpler aphorisms and comments of Mao, collected into a little red-covered book originally developed by Lin Biao for the PLA and now run off presses in the millions to become the bible of the Cultural Revolution. It was entitled Quotations from Chairman Mao and it became the authority for all manner of evils and oppressions never intended by Mao himself.31 However, Mao bears the blame because he endorsed and supported the decivilizing work of the Red Guards in order to get at the enemies he believed were undermining the revolution. The Red Guards were a device to bypass the party machinery and the Youth League, still under Liu's control, since Mao was yet unable to oust him from his government positions.32

Zhou Enlai, the premier of China, was probably the central figure who prevented the country from descending into anarchy. Zhou, who was probably the preeminent number-two man in the twentieth century, made the precise same decision he had made during the Long March over thirty years previously. When faced with the challenge of Mao Zedong's determination to achieve supreme authority, Zhou opted immediately to support him and to discard his opponents.33 Zhou developed a working relationship with Lin Biao, 58 years old, who followed Mao unquestionably because he saw in the 72-year-old chairman the path to supreme power himself when time swept Mao away. Zhou also worked with a new organization, the seventeen-member Central Cultural Revolutionary Commitee, formed at Mao's instigation on November 22, 1966. Chairman of this committee was Mao's secretary and editor of Red Flag, Chen Boda (Ch'en Po-ta). Vice chairwoman was Mao's wife, Jiang Qing, an enormously ambitious woman who rose rapidly on Mao's coattails to a position of great power. Zhou Enlai, Lin Biao and the Revolutionary Committee became in effect the rulers of China, with Mao as the supreme guide and leader.34

Zhou Enlai emerged above the chaos that engulfed China to become a voice of reason and as a respected figure who spoke out against excesses of the Red Guards. He admonished them for destroying symbols of imperial China and bourgeois institutions, told them they should learn the discipline of the PLA and especially warned them against attacking farms and factories. He also saved from disturbance Nieh Jung-chen and the organization which he headed that carried on atomic and thermonuclear weapon development. Zhou and other members of the government were unable, however, to prevent continued deterioration of relations with the Soviet Union. Moscow resorted to invective on several occasions against excesses of the Cultural Revolution.35 With Red Guards bands roaming up and down the country doing immense damage Mao at last appeared to have become concerned and on November 16, 1966, he authorized elimination of their free transportation privilege. This slowed the mobility of the Red Guards, but did not stop their depredations.

The Red Guards pressured Liu Shaoqi and his wife into public self-criticisms and thousands of them marched by Liu's house demanding his dismissal. The Maoists instead placed Liu under house arrest, which amounted to the same thing as dismissal without necessity of formal action. To strip Liu of his state chairmanship would have required a vote of the National People's Congress. And the Maoists at the time did not have complete control over it. Red Guards also attacked, humiliated and drove out Deng Xiaoping, party general secretary; Zhu De, a founder of the Red army and one of the leading marshals of China; Bo Yibo, vice premier and chairman of the State Economic Commission; Lu Dingyi, vice premier and minister of culture; Luo Ruiqing, chief of staff of the PLA; Lu Ping (Lu P'ing), president of Beijing University, and many others. It was an almost inconceivable collapse of order and authority, with some of the most respected leaders of China's revolution beaten, forced into humiliating self-confessions and allowed to be driven from office with no real evidence of wrong-doing having been proved against them. Their only fault was that they somehow (and sometimes erroneously) had been fingered as opponents of Mao Zedong.

Conflict with the Soviet Union came to a crisis on January 26, 1967, when Red Guards in Beijing read newspaper reports of a fracas the day before in Moscow's Red Square when a group of Chinese students returning from France and Finland caused a disturbance at Lenin's tomb. Violent demonstrations began outside the Soviet embassy in Beijing. When the Soviet embassy, because of continued waves of disturbances, evacuated wives and children of the staff on February 4-6, Red Guards jeered many and molested some. Zhou Enlai finally brought some order to the almost anarchic conditions that had developed by broadcasting a speech on February 11 that no reprisals should be taken against Soviet diplomats. The demonstrations ended, but on March 11 the Chinese foreign ministry declared two Soviet secretaries personae non gratae. Moscow thereupon expelled two secretaries in the Chinese embassy in the Soviet Union.36

By the beginning of 1967 opposing groups of Red Guards had arisen in China and were disputing among themselves as to which was the most "Red" and which carried Mao's revolutionary mandate. Some party functionaries encouraged the factionalism in hopes they could divide and conquer or at least protect themselves. A number of local cadres mobilized their own supporters to fight back, resulting in numberless pitched battles and beatings. At the same time, China's industrial workers, who so far had remained quiescent, took advantage of the disorders to assert grievances they had about working conditions and pay. The workers also were not always in sympathy with the radicalism of the Red Guards and they frequently clashed with them in bloody confrontations. In January, 1967, Mao ordered the PLA to intervene and support leftist or radical Maoist Red Guards. The PLA, however, was fundamentally a conservative "law-and-order" force and, as they moved throughout the country, they slowly began to gain control. In some regions the PLA joined forces with party leaders to block the Maoists, often with force.37

Mao, however, was not ready to give over control of his revolution to an alliance of the PLA and old political cadres. In April, 1967, he ordered the obedient Lin Biao to direct the army to give the Red Guards free rein once more and not to shoot disorderly elements. The effect was a new wave of chaos and factional disputes which raged from late July to early September, 1967, bringing China perilously close to civil war. In mid-July a military commander at Wuhan rejected Mao's central authority and revolted. Loyal army units quelled the incipient rebellion, but the event frightened the army and led army units to engage in numerous bloody confrontations throughout China. On August 17, Red Guards stormed the Soviet embassy in Beijing. Five days later they invaded the British compound in the capital and set fire to the buildings as a gesture of support for anti-British riots then going on in Hong Kong. For fourteen days, August 7 to 21, Red Guards also seized the Chinese foreign ministry offices and the government only regained them under the personal direction of Zhou Enlai. The government called home for "reeducation" all but one of its forty-seven ambassadors in foreign capitals. The only exception was the trusted Huang Hua, who stayed in Cairo.

In the midst of this chaotic domestic crisis, the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff recommended an invasion of North Vietnam in the summer of 1967 as a means of breaking the stalemate in South Vietnam.38 They urged this course, despite the fact that China had promised to intervene if the U.S. sent ground troops north of the 17th parallel. The chiefs' recommendation reflected the bankruptcy of failed American policy in Vietnam. The proposal was a direct copy of the same policy American leaders had adopted in 1950 when they attempted to conquer North Korea and thereby brought on Chinese intervention and disastrous American defeat. It is a credit to President Johnson that he, unlike President Truman before him, at last rejected the recommendation. But tensions mounted along the southern Chinese frontier throughout the summer, especially after American aircraft bombed a Vietnamese target only ten miles from the Chinese frontier on August 13. China, absorbed in the Cultural Revolution, responded mildly, only promising Washington that, "if you impose war on the Chinese people, we will accommodate you to the end." China now had the means to make good its threat. Despite the wild disorder raging through the country, nuclear scientists exploded China's first hydrogen bomb on June 17, 1967, requiring less time than any other power (under three years) to move from atomic to thermonuclear weapons.39

In July, 1967, Mao achieved his final victory over Liu Shaoqi when the party central committee expelled him from his party and governmental posts. Mao thus successfully usurped his own chosen successor and confirmed China in its go-it-alone development and opposition to the Soviet Union. He also allowed his wife, Jiang Qing, and Lin Biao to gather great power unto themselves. Their plotting hardly differed from the most heinous intrigues and conspiracies of former imperial China. Jiang Qing especially showed a sadistic joy in scheming to purge Liu Shaoqi and to bring about his subsequent death in prison. She wrote letters to the group in charge of persecuting Liu, instructing that he be hounded to death and urged that he "be cut into a thousand pieces." Jiang also operated her own private torture chamber where she frightfully abused intellectuals who refused to cooperate with her.40

By September the government in Beijing, facing an almost complete breakdown of public order, at last directed the PLA to take drastic measures to restore authority. This included the right to shoot if confronted with unruly groups. The PLA went to work with a will and quickly halted the worst of the Red Guards disorders. The revolutionary committees, virtually controlled by the PLA, restored order. The army assumed administrative functions, purged the secret police and established military-control committees to keep watch. The government ordered the Red Guards to return to their proper groups or to work in rural areas. Beijing forbade them to seize arms or use force to impose their views. The Cultural Revolution never again attained the strength and momentum it had possessed.41

Even so, it took until the late summer of 1968 for China to regain stability. By this time, American pressure in Vietnam had eased after President Johnson offered in March, 1968, to suspend bombing of North Vietnam. China had committed 50,000 men in North Vietnam in antiaircraft artillery units to help defend against American aircraft and engineering and construction teams to repair bombed bridges and roads. China quickly withdrew these men and at the end of the year proposed a new agreement with the U.S. based on Zhou Enlai's old "five principles of peaceful coexistence," which he had first made an axiom of Chinese policy at the Bandung conference of 1955. In July, 1968, Mao repudiated the Red Guards for their persistent fighting and their inability to unite. The government commenced reopening the schools. In August army-controlled "thought propaganda teams" moved into the universities and high schools and took control. They began the process of "sending down" hundreds of thousands of students to the countryside and the factories to learn from the peasants and the workers.

The Cultural Revolution had left China exhausted and its government and party in tatters. Agricultural and industrial production had suffered severely. Maoists purged or heavily criticized more than half of the top Communist veterans of the revolution who were active in 1965. Maoists forced millions of urban cadres, professionals, scholars, scientists, technicians and students to go to countryside and do menial work for years. They thus denied trained persons and their country the benefit of their skills, research, teaching and writing and denied students the opportunity to gain advanced knowledge needed to move China as a whole into a modern industrial society.42 Like the Great Leap, Mao's other great attempt to transform the People's Republic, the Cultural Revolution was a disaster to China.

In the end, corruption had seized Mao Zedong as it seizes all other persons in positions of power. He came to believe that his conception of China's future was the only acceptable course to follow. And he pressed relentlessly forward with it though he was totally wrong. A country which depends upon mass mobilization of its people and upon violent repudiation of existing institutions is invariably weaker and less capable than a country which depends upon education, skills, discipline, hard work and division of reponsibility. But Mao still possessed the belief that a continuing revolution of the people was more important than knowledge and modern technology. He got his way temporarily, thus throwing China back years in its development. It was a sad and hateful heritage of a revolutionary leader who had done so much to bring change to his country.

* * * * * * * * * *

Throughout the Cultural Revolution, while China was turned inward on itself, the rest of the world was reassessing its relationship to this giant nation, especially since it now had developed nuclear weapons. The United States, however, was locked into over two decades of antipathy with the Communist Chinese and was engaged in a hopeless war in Indochina against enemies supported by Beijing. The Johnson administration insisted on pursuing the war, despite the fact that it offered no clear expression of national interests and despite the fact that American forces were demonstrably failing to achieve victory. The enormous cost of this war to the American people, both materially and spiritually, brought on the greatest schism in the body politic since the American Civil War, with strident student opposition to the Vietnam War and to the military draft and with large numbers of moderate Americans joining liberals, intellectuals and civil-rights leaders in opposition to U.S. intervention. The administration was almost wholly preoccupied with the war in Indochina and opposition at home. Therefore, any chance for a rethinking of American relations with Red China went begging.

A substantial group of Americans was demanding that the administration and Congress at least should encourage debate and discussion about U.S.-Chinese relations and likely should change its policy toward Beijing. A leading force in this movement was the National Research Council on Peace Strategy, a project of the Institute for International Order. Council members included a number of prestigious intellectuals. In September, 1965, the council issued a statement that "the formal China policy of the United States has long since been out of date." It proposed that the U.S. announce willingness to establish diplomatic relations with Beijing (but "without prejudice to its relations with Taiwan"), cease opposition to China's admission to the UN, end the total trade embargo with China and develop contacts between the two countries by means of visits by scholars, journalists and others.43 Countering this force was a strong pro-Nationalist Chinese lobby. This was the Committee of One Million Against Admission of Communist China to the United Nations, with Joseph C. Grew, former ambassador to Japan, and former Senator H. Alexander Smith as cochairmen. The steering committee included Senator Thomas J. Dodd and Representative Walter H. Judd.

On November 17, 1965, the United Nations voted 47-47 (with twenty abstentions) on the question of seating Red China in place of the Nationalists, the first time in sixteen years that the United States had not achieved a firm majority on this issue. The UN vote was a sobering reminder to Washington that the days of American dominance of the world body had passed and, at least as important, that many countries no longer supported the unbending Washington posture of hostility toward Beijing. Even some of the forty-six nations that voted with the U.S. against Red China's admission did so only as a continued gesture of support for their ally and benefactor, not out of genuine belief. A large number of countries had already demonstrated their real views by quietly ignoring the U.S.-sanctioned embargo on trade with Red China. Attitudes also had changed within the United States. Newsweek magazine commented on November 29, 1965, that a recent opinion poll prepared by the Council on Foreign Relations showed that 71 per cent of the American public was prepared to follow a presidential initiative on improving relations with China. "In fact," Newsweek said, "President Johnson, if he made up his mind to do so, could probably start changing U.S. China policy next week."44

A substantial crack in the American armor against any relations with the People's Republic came in March, 1966, when the Senate foreign-relations committee, under the chairmanship of J. William Fulbright (Democrat-Arkansas), conducted hearings on China policy. Nearly two-hundred academic experts on China recommended the U.S. should drop its opposition to admitting Red China to the UN and should try to establish diplomatic relations with Beijing. A. Doak Barnett, director of the East Asian Institute at Columbia University, called for "containment but not isolation" of the People's Republic, a phrase quickly picked up (but altered slightly to cover all political bases) by Vice President Hubert Humphrey as "containment without necessarily isolation." John K. Fairbank of Harvard proposed a similar policy, recommending that the U.S. should open the door to China's participation in the world scene. However, Fairbank said the U.S. should "hold the line" on the North-South Korean border, the Taiwan strait and "somehow in Vietnam." James C. Thomson, Jr., on the national-security staff in the White House, seized on the Barnett-Fairbank statements and recommended they become administration policy. Thomson said "containment—yes, isolation—no" could be billed as no actual change in policy. He urged that administration spokesmen say "we have attempted to pursue such a policy for a number of years now," and that "we will attempt to find new ways to reduce China's isolation, despite the fact that China has been responsible in large degree for isolating itself from us."45

The administration floated a few trial balloons on the "Barnett-Fairbank" policy, including references in a July 12 speech by President Johnson that called for "firmness and flexibility" with the ultimate objective of "reconciliation" with Red China.46 Both domestic and foreign reaction was favorable, as was response to an earlier trial balloon proposing deputations between the two countries. But People's Daily quickly shot down the efforts, saying there could be no improvement in Washington-Beijing relations until the U.S. ended its "occupation of Taiwan." Even so, the U.S. listening post at Hong Kong believed the Chinese had been placed on the defensive, a point enthusiastically forwarded to beings higher up by James Thomson.47

In August, 1966, Edwin O. Reischauer ended his service of five years as ambassador to Japan with a strong plea to President Johnson for a radical liberalization of American policy toward China. The opinions of Reischauer, a noted scholar on Japan and the Far East, enjoyed great respect. However, Reischauer's proposals, like those of all the other advocates of a more reasonable American policy, fell upon barren ground in a Johnson administration that was under increasing siege for its intransigent policy in Vietnam. Administration leaders were in no position or mood to cultivate any possibly controversial new foreign policies for fear they, too, would grow into enormous ugly disasters like Vietnam. But recommendations by Reischauer and other scholars and intellectuals like Barnett and Fairbank nevertheless began to sprout in Washington's infertile soil. Throughout the remainder of Johnson's presidency, they struggled as weak and humble ideas. But they were there when the next president arrived in the White House. All they needed was his support to make them flourish.

Reischauer's arguments were extremely sensible. By focusing on his charge, Japan, he also demonstrated how American policies were damaging not just U.S. relations with Red China but its relations with important American friends. The Japanese, Reischauer told the president, "are not satisfied with a policy which ostensibly maintains that the government of the Republic of China [Nationalists] is the one and only representative of the great historical entity known as China."48

The Japanese, Reischauer continued, were fearful that "an overly inflexible U.S. will drift into conflict with a blindly intransigent China, and Japan will be caught in the resultant catastrophe." The most serious problem of U.S.-Japanese relations was that Japan found itself "linked to a China policy which they consider is basically unrealistic." Japan looked upon close economic relations with China as necessary for its well-being. This concern affected Japanese relations with the U.S. adversely. But Reischauer said the U.S. also suffered in its relations with practically every other major industrialized ally and with many other countries.

Although Reischauer endorsed the existing American policy of containing Red China, especially maintaing the right of Taiwan to self-determination, the ambassador said a new international concern for peace and stability in Asia "is needed to replace the one-man policeman role we are performing today." Reischauer added: "Nothing stands more firmly in the way of a Chinese readiness to seek rapprochement with the world than their resentment of what they regard to be the callous pretense on the part of the world's greatest power that China does not really exist or that, if it does exist, it is so depraved or so unstable or so inconsequential that it should be barred from world society."

The Johnson administration made a few gestures to reopen talks and some normal contacts with Beijing in the year following, primarily through the Chinese and American embassies in Warsaw.49 The president put a low priority on the Warsaw talks and complained that the Chinese were "interested in discussing nothing except Taiwan." He admitted, however, in a White House conference with China specialists on February 2, 1968, that "we must be doing something wrong," since there had been no response to U.S. efforts.50

Johnson asked the China experts to give him a set of recommendations about policies he should adopt. Edwin Reischauer, one of the participants, assembled a "majority report" of the group and sent it to Johnson on February 12. It proposed that the U.S. accept the People's Republic as the de facto government of mainland China, accept the right of the Nationalists on Taiwan to determine their own political future and maintain their membership in the UN but also support Beijing's seating in the UN. The report also proposed that the U.S. lift limitations on trade with China in nonstrategic goods, encourage two-way movement of newsmen, scholars, businessmen and others and foster exchange of technological and other information. It also urged the U.S. to induce the Nationalists to withdraw from Quemoy and Matsu and to remove American forces "as far as practicable" from Chinese territory (that is, areas still held by the Nationalists).51

The proposals of the China experts would have been a good start to breaking down the barriers of distrust that had grown up between China and the United States. But for President Johnson China was a small problem. Although he was undoubtedly in favor of easing relations with the People's Republic, he was afraid of acting for fear of being accused of appeasement by Republicans. Far more important, he was being plagued by markedly diminished public support and growing national turbulence on account of his policies in Vietnam. On March 31, 1968, he announced he would "neither seek nor accept" his party's renomination for president in the November elections. This not only commenced the long and agonizing process of American withdrawal from Vietnam but destroyed any possibility that the suddenly lame-duck Johnson administration would be able to initiate any improved relations with Communist China.

Chapter 45: Nixon Breaks the Deadlock >>

1. "Struggle" was a particularly Chinese adaptation of Marxist doctrine. Lin Biao, during the Cultural Revolution, described Maoist faith in "struggle" and basing struggle on "the people." Said Biao: "Our Communist party has one principle which states that contradiction can only be resolved through struggle...When we want to change something we have to rely upon struggle. Our Communist party's...vigor, incorruptibility and resistance to decay are all due to the fact that our ideological method is that of struggle..." See Harrision, p. 493.

2. Upper-echelon party leaders criticized Mao at four high-level conferences in 1961 and 1962. In December, 1961, Peng Zhen (P'eng Chen), mayor of Beijing and a high party official, convened a secret conference to review problems and mistakes in party work since 1958. One speaker at this conference reportedly remarked he hoped "Chairman Mao would calm down and examine himself." See ibid., p. 485.

3. Ibid., pp. 492, 506.

4. Richard H. Solomon, Mao's Revolution and the Chinese Political Culture, Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1971, pp. 409, 411.

5. Hsü, pp. 691, 696-7; Lach and Wehrle, p. 218.

6. Hsü, p. 693.

7. Ibid., p. 697.

8. Harrison, p. 488. For a full analysis of the "socialist education movement" which preceded the Cultural Revolution (1962-65), see Mao's China, pp. 288-304.

9. Lach and Wehrle, p. 218. Mao married Jiang Qing, a former Shanghai actress, in northern Shaanxi in 1937, reportedly over the objections of other Red leaders. When Mao insisted, they asked Mao at least to keep her out of politics. Jiang, however, had other ideas. See Harrison, p. 501.

10. Hsü, p. 698.

11. Ibid., pp. 699-700; Mao's China, pp. 361-2. Mao's purpose, as Maurice Meisner describes it, was "the total reorganization and reformation of the political structure and social life of the nation—and, moreover, the spiritual transformation of its people...For the Maoist assumption underlying the Cultural Revolution was the belief that the existing state and party apparatus was dominated by 'bourgeois ideology' and thus was producing, and would continue to produce, capitalist-type socioeconomic relationships." See Mao's China, pp. 310-1.

12. Lach and Wehrle, p. 219; Solomon, Mao's Revolution, pp. 436-42.

13. Keesing, pp. 78-85. On February 16, 1965, the Soviet government proposed to China and North Vietnam an international conference on Indochina. Without waiting for a reply from either, Moscow submitted this proposal to the French government. The U.S. replied on February 25 it was "not contemplating any negotiations." On April 3 Moscow proposed a summit of Soviet, Chinese and North Vietnamese leaders, claiming it would demonstrate support for North Vietnam and "cool the ardor of the American militarists." Beijing rejected the proposal on the grounds that the Russians "intended to lure us into your trap through such a meeting so that you could speak on behalf of Vietnam and China in your international maneuvers and strengthen your position for doing a political deal with U.S. imperialism." On March 4 about two-thousand Chinese and Vietnamese students demonstrated outside the U.S. embassy in Moscow. They broke through a Soviet police barricade and stoned the building, not backing off until five-hundred Soviet troops intervened. The Beijing government protested the Soviet use of force against the students. And on March 6 Chinese students protested outside the Soviet embassy, the first demonstration of this kind in Beijing since the Communist revolution. The Chinese press began a campaign of polemics against the Soviet Union which continued on into 1966. On March 4, 1965, for example, People's Daily mentioned proposals in the Soviet press supporting "the line of the 'three peacefuls' and 'two entires' [i.e., peaceful coexistence, peaceful competition, peaceful transition to socialism, the "state of the entire people and the party of the entire people (as opposed to the dictatorship of the proletariat that China still endorsed)." People's Daily said this formed "the main content of Khrushchevite revisionism." The newspaper added: "If the whole business of Khrushchevite revisionism is to be continued [by the new Kremlin rulers], when why oust Khrushchev?"

14. Johnson Library, National Security country file, Boxes 244, 245, China, China Codeword, vol. I 2/65-4/67, CIA Special Report, "Chinese Communists Brace for Possible Spread of Indochina War," February 12, 1965. The CIA report mentioned that China threatened to intervene if the U.S. invaded North Vietnam but confirmed that China hoped to avoid a direct confrontation with U.S. forces. The report said Chinese military preparations in south China increased after the Tonkin gulf crisis in August, 1964. China concentrated 350 jet fighters in south China, including advanced MIG-19s and MIG-21s, along with increases in radar and antiaircraft artillery units. For the Edgar Snow interview with Mao, see Johnson Library, National Security country files, Boxes 237, 238, China, China Memos, vol. II 9/64-2/65, "If China Intervenes in North Vietnam," and "An Interview with Mao Tse-tung," March 15, 1965. Snow's interview with Mao and with other top Chinese officials, including Chen Yi, the foreign minister, showed clearly that the Chinese leadership equated the situation in North Vietnam with that of North Korea in 1950. Snow said the Chinese had not intervened in North Korea until U.S. forces had gone deep into North Korean territory and approached the frontier of China. The key Chinese consideration, then, was protection of its southern buffer to prevent American troops on its southern frontier, just as it had moved in Korea to protect its buffer against an American presence opposite Manchuria. The Chinese felt Vietnamese united-front forces could defeat the South Vietnamese army and, over time, U.S. forces. The Chinese saw every American air assault on North Vietnam as a confession of political failure in South Vietnam. The South Vietnamese peasants, the Chinese leaders said, were attacking the Americans, not the North Vietnamese. "And 90 per cent of the Vietcong arms are, according to American experts' own reports, of American origin," Snow reported, showing they had been obtained locally, not from North Vietnam. Mao Zedong urged a negotiated peace to end the Vietnam War. In this interview Mao said he was getting ready to "see God" very soon, indicating he was concerned about his health. This gave rise to speculation that Mao was concerned about completing the Chinese revolution before he died. In mid-April, 1965, Zhou Enlai told Prince Sihanouk of Cambodia that China would not interfere with North Vietnam's actions against the United States and South Vietnam and that China would provide no troops to North Vietnam as long as there was no invasion above the 17th parallel. Zhou said China and the Soviet Union were agreed on supplying material aid to North Vietnam but would do everything possible to avoid a generalization of the conflict. See Johnson Library, National Security country file, China, Boxes 237, 238, China Cables, vol. III, 4/65-6/65, CIA intelligence information cable, "Communist China's Position on Vietnam...," April 29, 1965.

15. Lach and Wehrle, p. 222.

16. Johnson Library, National Security country files, China, Boxes 237, 238, China Memos, vol. III 4/65-6/65, "Indications of Friction Between Hanoi and Peiping," May 5, 1965.

17. Lach and Wehrle, pp. 222-3; Solomon, Mao's Revolution, pp. 464-5.

18. Lin Biao's essay is essentially a rewrite of old Maoist theory that a "people's war" of a weak revolutionary force against an initially strong imperialist force could still be won. It is famous because it claimed that the "rural" revolutionary peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America would encircle and close in on the "cities" of North America and western Europe. Lin's meaning, however, was that the people in each country must carry out their own revolution and not rely upon massive intervention by China to accomplish their revolutions for them. Lin in effect was urging the Vietnamese Communists to adopt a policy of long-term, protracted warfare against the United States and not to expect direct help from China. See Donald S. Zagoria, Vietnam Triangle, New York: Pegasus Books, 1967, p. 79; Harrison, p. 495; Mao's China, p. 362. For details of Lin Biao's essay and Luo Ruiqing's (Lo Jui-ch'ing's) article in People's Daily (but showing little insight into their meaning), see Johnson Library, National Security country file, China, Boxes 237, 238, China Memos, vol. IV 7/65-10/65, "Lin Piao's Article and the Chinese Communist Build-up of 'People's War,'" State Department, Director of Intelligence and Research, September 24, 1965. See also Johnson Library, Papers of LBJ, CO50-2, People's Republic 11/23/63-5/16/66, Daily Report Supplement, "Lin Piao Article Commemorating V-J Anniversary...," September 3, 1965. Lin Biao's recipe for revolution was in sharp contrast to the confrontational recipes apparently advocated by Chinese Communists during the most heated phases of the Sino-Soviet conflict. See, for example, Brzezinski, p. 400, for Chinese arguments that the alleged military superiority of socialism made it possible to force imperialists to yield and, if they would not, war would spell the doom of the imperialists even if half of humanity perished. Lin Biao was proposing no such Armageddon. Instead, he was saying in effect that carrying out any socialist revolution was the responsibility of those people who were oppressed, not the general obligation of states which already had achieved Communist governments. This argument was a direct refutation of the concept, still subscribed to by many in the West, of a monolithic Communism united in a conspiracy of world conquest. The Lin Biao essay essentially applied traditional Chinese Communist military doctrine, developed largely by Mao Zedong during the early 1930s in countering successfully Chiang Kai-shek's "bandit-suppression" campaigns to destroy Communists. This doctrine focused on defensive war. A January 17, 1964, CIA special report said "there is virtually no evidence that Chinese Communist leaders are preparing for or thinking in terms of an offensive strategy by their own forces outside Chinese territory." China's doctrine, therefore, remained centered on the means to destroy any force occupying China. It rested on Mao's theory that quick victory in such a war (as for example in the conflict with Japan 1937-45) was groundless and strategy and tactics had to be adapted for a "protracted" war. The principles called for initial retreat before a powerful enemy until supply lines and enemy dispersion permitted establishment of defensive positions. A period of stalemate would follow until Chinese forces could be concentrated to bring about the defeat of the enemy in critical areas. The theory called for trading space for time, gradual buildup of forces and dissipation of the enemy's will to fight by both military and psychological warfare. The Chinese held that their doctrine of defensive war could be applied wars of national liberation, as in the case of the Vietnam War and to bring about revolution in Latin America, Africa and Asia. This doctrine called for using peasants as the main force and for establishing rural base areas. In this situation heavy modern weapons and mobility by means of trucks and helicopters were not vital. Instead, surprise attacks, blocking enemy supply routes and movements on foot on trails and over roadless mountains by lightly armed men could bring about ultimate victory, though it would take a long time. The Maoist doctrine downplayed the importance of nuclear weapons, admitting that they could destroy China's cities but arguing that close contact on the battlefield with the enemy could reduce markedly the effectiveness of tactical nuclear weapons. China, of course, was working at full tilt to develop its own nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them. This enormous effort by a poor country showed that the Chinese leadership as a whole recognized the decisive role of nuclear arms and that propaganda to debunk the power of nuclear weapons was largely an effort to rationalize their current predicament. The effort also demonstrated the strength of PLA leaders who pressed for a thoroughly modern Chinese army like that of the Soviet Union, equipped with all of the weapons of massive destruction available through modern technology. China accepted Soviet aid in modernizing its forces until the cooling of relations in 1959. With no alternative, the Chinese returned to their traditional policy of self-reliance and wholly defensive warfare. Peng Dehuai and other army leaders opposed this theory, which resulted in a halt in acquisition of modern weapons, including advanced aircraft, armor and other heavy ordnance. Peng argued for the continuing need for Soviet military and economic assistance, even if this meant some degree of Russian control over Chinese policies. This, of course, was totally repugnant to Mao Zedong and Peng's position contributed to his purge and the removal of several of Peng's followers. However, the arguments for a modern Chinese military force remained, and this brought on the confrontation of Lin Biao and Luo Ruiqing in September, 1965. See Johnson Library, National Security country file, China, China Memos, vol. I 12/63-9/64, CIA Special Report, "Chinese Communist Military Doctrine," January 17, 1964.

19. David and Nancy Milton, Franz Schurman, The China Reader 4, People's China, Social Experimentation, Politics, Entry onto the World Scene 1966 through 1972, New York: Vintage Books, 1974, p.. 227. See this volume also, pp. 217-390, for a large selection of statements and articles by major participants in the Cultural Revolution. Also see Thomas W. Robinson, The Cultural Revolution in China, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1971, for an excellent series of essays on the Cultural Revolution.

20. New York Times, March 11, 1966, p. 1. As late as 1968 the position of the U.S. State Department still was that the Lin Biao essay reflected the "militant goals" of Red China. A draft diplomatic history of Lyndon Johnson's presidency held that Lin "urged that the less-developed nations of the world, using their own resources, should mobilize to surround and defeat the rich and technologically advanced nations, just as the rural areas had surrounded and subdued the cities of mainland China during the Chinese civil war." See Johnson Library, Administrative History of the Department of State, vol. I, chapters 7, 8 and 9, chapter 7 (East Asia): sections A-D, 1968.

21. Mao Zedong enunciated the term "cultural revolution" at a January, 1965, meeting of the Politburo. Its meaning was vague and imprecise and generally meant cleansing the cultural realm, which Mao felt showed signs of ideological decay. It came to mean far more than this seemingly innocuous purpose and extended to accomplishing social and political upheaval. See Mao's China, p. 310.

22. Hsü, p. 700; Harrison, pp. 484, 495-6; Solomon, Mao's Revolution, pp. 417-8; Power, pp. 359-63; Mao's China, p. 309.

23. Deng Tuo was secretary of the Beijing municipal committeee and editor of Frontline; Liao Mosha was director of the committee's united-front department, who used the pseudonym, Wu Nanxing (Wu Nan-hsing). One of Deng's articles compared the Great Leap with building castles in air and another implied Mao should "take a full rest and stop talking and doing things, otherwise the result will be disastrous." See Hsü, pp. 700-01; Solomon, Mao's Revolution, pp. 416-7.

24. Early in June, 1966, the government announced that Peng and his followers had been dismissed from their posts and that the Beijing party committee and municipal government had been reorganized around loyal Maoists. Maoists also seized control of Beijing's central organs of propaganda and culture. See Mao's China, p. 311.

25. Hsü, pp. 701-02.

26. Ibid., pp. 703-04. The CIA analyzed the Chinese threats in a July 29, 1966, report. Although alarmed, the CIA noted: "We think that the Chinese have been careful to hedge any commitment to direct action and have purposely tried to portray China in a supporting rather than a direct role." The CIA said the Cultural Revolution was creating great disarray in China and concluded accurately that it "would thus seem to argue against a decision to go to war in Vietnam." The CIA also recorded no movement of air or ground forces to south China. See Johnson Library, National Security country file, Asia and Pacific, China, Box 239, China Memos, vol. VI 3/66-9/66, CIA: SNIE 13-66 Chinese Communist Intentions in Vietnam, July 29, 1966.

27. Lach and Wehrle, pp. 227-8; Power, pp. 363-77; Mao's China, p. 312.

28. Harrison, p. 497; Power, pp. 385-6.

29. Ibid., pp. 498, 500; Keesing, pp. 90-91; Power, pp. 387-406. The communiqué at meeting's end August 13 reaffirmed the Chinese Communist party's hostility to Soviet "revisionism" and its refusal to cooperate with Moscow on the Vietnamese conflict.

30. Thousands of student Red Guards demonstrated outside the Soviet embassy on August 20, 1966, and prevented a senior Soviet diplomat from leaving the embassy for an official appointment. Moscow protested on August 26, but Chinese authorities organized mass demonstrations outside the embassy on August 29 and 30, although Chinese soldiers and police strongly protected the compound. See Keesing, pp. 91-92.

31. The Chinese also read Selected Works of Mao, containing more extensive parts of the chairman's writings. An estimated 150 million copies were printed and distributed in 1966-68. See ibid., p. 499.

32. Lach and Wehrle, p. 228; Hsü, pp. 703-04.

33. Even as early as 1961-2, when Mao was under strong criticism for his mistakes during the Great Leap, Zhou had lined up with Lin Biao to back Mao's ideological approach and called for the study of "Mao's thought as the soul and very life of all work." Liu Shaoqi concentrated rather on the "very unfavorable" economic situation and called for greater democracy within the party and the right of dissent in intraparty discussions. See Harrison, p. 485.

34. Hsü, pp. 704-05; Harrison, pp. 495-7.

35. On September 20, 1966, the Chinese government requested foreign embassies in Beijing to repatriate all foreign students by October 10, 1966, because their teachers were busy with the Cultural Revolution. The Soviet government responded on October 7 that, since the Sino-Soviet cultural cooperation agreement provided exchange of students on a reciprocal basis, all Chinese students must leave the Soviet Union by October 31. Red Guards thereupon demonstrated outside the Soviet embassy for several days. In the face of repeated Chinese allegations of "collusion" between Moscow and Washington, the newspaper Izvestia claimed on September 21, 1966, that China was seeking actually to provoke a conflict between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. At celebrations in Beijing on October 1 of the seventeenth anniversary of the People's Republic, Soviet and eastern European satellite diplomats (except those from Romania) left the platform when Lin Biao declared that "imperialism headed by the United States and modern revisionism with leaders of the Soviet Communist party at its center are actively plotting peace talk swindles for stamping out the rising flames of the Vietnamese people's national revolutionary war." On November 27, 1966, Pravda accused Chinese leaders of attempting to promote war between the Soviet Union and the U.S. and suggested that the Cultural Revolution was being directed against those Chinese who opposed this course. The Soviet Communist party's central committee at a December 12-13, 1966, meeting resolved that "Mao Zedong and his group" had "nothing in common with Marxism-Leninism" and their actions assisted imperialism. On December 16, 1966, the Chinese foreign ministry demanded that three of the six Soviet news correspondents in Beijing must leave the country with ten days since there were only three Chinese correspondents in Moscow. In January, 1967, Beijing recalled all Chinese students studying abroad. One group of students returning from France and Finland by way of Moscow became involved in a brawl in Red Square on January 25. See Keesing, pp. 91-98.

36. Keesing, pp. 98-101. The attacks on the Soviet embassy, however, apparently caused Moscow to step up its verbal assault on Mao Zedong, since the Russians recognized that the Cultural Revolution included a strong element opposing the Soviet Union's path of economic and political development and attempts to develop a peaceful relationship with the West. Radio Moscow increased its Chinese broadcasts to eighty-four hours a week and a second station began broadcasting in Chinese on March 1, 1967. Both stations violently attacked Mao and Lin Biao. See ibid., pp. 101-03.

37. Hsü, p. 706; Lach and Wehrle, pp. 228-9; Harrison, pp. 501-02; Power, pp. 408-40.

38. Lach and Wehrle, p. 230, record that Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, chairman of the JCS, in testimony January 9 and 18, 1973, before the House appropriations subcommittee, noted that the Joint Chiefs had recommended such an invasion. He did not give the date of the proposal. It is probable this came in 1967 (although it's possible it occurred in 1965). Allen Whiting cites these years as the high points of crisis when war with China was a distinct possibility. See Allen Whiting, "Nixon's Gamble: War with China?" New Republic, May 20, 1972, pp. 12-13.

39. Harrison, p. 504.

40. Hsü, p. 865.

41. Harrison, p. 503.

42. Ibid., pp. 504-06; Lach and Wehrle, pp. 224, 229-32; Hsü, pp. 707-08.

43. Kennedy Library, Papers of James C. Thomson, Jr., Far East, 1961-1965 Communist China, National Research Council on Peace Strategy statement, September 17, 1965.

44. Newsweek, November 29, 1965, pp. 44-46.

45. New York Times, March 11, 1966, p. 1; March 21, 1966, p. 1; Washington Evening Star, March 14, 1966; Washington Post, March 15, 1966, column by Chalmers M. Roberts; Kennedy Library,Papers of James C. Thomson, Jr., Far East 1961-1965 Communist China, Memorandum for Mr. Moyers, "The China Hearings and the Vice President's TV Remarks," March 15, 1966. Perhaps more important for exhibiting the thinking going on in the White House was a March 2, 1966, memorandum for the president from R.W. Komer, a principal assistant in the national-security office. Komer noted that the tide had been running for some years against the U.S. "exclude-Red-China" policy in the UN. "What I have in mind," Komer wrote, "is skillfully indicating that, just as we would help Hanoi if it would cease aggression, so too we would take a different approach toward Red China if it ceased expansionist pressures. We could show the peaceful face of our policy by suggesting our willingness to take a different attitude toward China's UN membership and even trade with China—always provided that China changed its attitude as a condition precedent." The purpose would be to show flexibility to foreign and domestic critics of the Johnson administration. Komer admitted to disadvantages of the proposal: offense to the "hawks" who advocated a harsher policy toward Communism; difficulties in disengaging from a China policy "which has become so firmly fixed over time"; even hinting at a policy shift would cause great complications "with our ancient friend the Gimo [Chiang Kai-shek]." Komer's conclusion: "There are many more facets to the complex matter. I'm not sure it nets out a good idea. So at this point I wish merely to plant a seed..." See Johnson Library, Papers of LBJ President 1963-1969 confidential file CO29, Box 7, CO50-2 China–People's Republic, Memorandum for the President from R.W. Komer, March 2, 1966.

46. Johnson recommended reconciliation, "full participation by all nations in an international community under law," full exchange of goods and persons and recognition of China's legitimate needs for "security and friendly relations with her neighboring countries." The president repeated these concepts in his State of the Union message to Congress on January 10, 1967.

47. Johnson Library, Papers of LBJ President 1963-1969 confidential file CO29, Box 7, Department of State telegram, CO50 China blue tab, "People's Daily Observer on U.S.-Chicom Relations," March 31, 1966; Memorandum: "Peking's Responses to Indications of U.S. 'Flexibility' on China Policy, by James C. Thomson, Jr., April 2, 1966; CO50-2, Box 22, Memorandum to Mr. Moyers, "Press Conference Queries on China," July 20, 1966.

48. Johnson Library, Papers of LBJ President 1963-1969, confidential file CO29, Box 7, CO50-1 Formosa blue tab, Mr. President from Bromley Smith, August 15, 1966, "Text of Cable from Ambassador Reischauer (Tokyo, 1126)."

49. Beijing rejected a number of gestures by the Johnson administration to permit unofficial contacts between the U.S. and China by means of cultural exchanges and travel by selected individuals, like scholars and newsmen. On October 20, 1966, the administration authorized validation of U.S. passports for journalists, public-health doctors, scientists, scholars, American Red Cross representatives and other persons with legitimate reasons (other than tourism) to travel to the People's Republic. However, the question of validating passports became academic on December 20, 1967, when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia held in Lynd v. Rusk that the secretary of state could not prevent Americans from traveling to restricted areas if the travelers did not use their passports in those areas. The State Department continued to designate restricted areas and validate passports for travel to them. But it ceased revoking passports if holders used passports for unauthorized travel. Red China largely ignored the change in U.S. travel policy, however, and by the summer of 1968 had granted visas to only a handful of Americans. In regard to cultural exchanges, the U.S. and China remained at a similar standoff. The U.S. in 1964 waited for five months before giving permission for Dr. Samuel Rosen, a famous surgeon, and his wife to visit the People's Republic as guests of the Chinese Medical Association. When the State Department validated the Rosens' passports, it did so on "humanitarian" and "national interest" grounds. This angered Beijing and the medical association withdrew its invitation. In contacts between the American and Chinese ambassadors at Warsaw, however, the U.S. offered to set up exchanges of publications, meteorological information, some scientific data and seeds and plant samples. Beijing rejected these on the grounds that the Taiwan dispute had to be settled first. Although Johnson talked about "ideas, people and goods" as ways of dealing with China in the absence of official ties, he made only one concession to ease the trade embargo against China. In April, 1967, he authorized sale of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies to prevent or treat meningitis, cholera and infectious hepatitis. The decision came after reports of the spread of these diseases during the Cultural Revolution. Chinese authorities rebuffed the gesture, which carried a large propaganda purpose along with humanitarian concerns. Beijing said there were no epidemics in China and said Johnson made the offer only in an attempt to embarrass China. Johnson allowed the trade authorization to remain in effect, however. China and the U.S. maintained only one point of official contact: the ambassadors of each country in Warsaw. Formal meetings were infrequent, but after May, 1966, American and Chinese advisors and interpreters in Warsaw met more often. There were few substantive results of these meetings. See Johnson Library, Administrative History of the Department of State, vol. I, chapters 7, 8 and 9, chapter 7 (East Asia): sections A-D, 1968.

50. The conference, sponsored by the National Committee on United States-China Relations, included Edwin O. Reischauer, now back at Harvard; Robert A. Scalapino, University of California; Alexander Eckstein, University of Michigan; Lucian W. Pye, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; A. Doak Barnett, Columbia; George Taylor, University of Washington; Carl F. Stover, National Institute of Public Affairs; Cecil Thomas, director of the National Committee, and Walt W. Rostow and Alfred Jenkins, presidential advisors. See Johnson Library, Papers of LBJ, meeting notes file, Box 2, Memo, "China Experts Meeting with the President," February 4, 1968.

51. Johnson Library, Papers of LBJ, President 1963-1969, CO50-2, Memo for the president, "Appraisal of China Specialists's Memorandum," and supporting papers, February 22, 1968.