The Corner

Who Lost China?

Good meaty debate in the current issue of that wonderful, indispensable

quarterly China Journal. The topic: Who lost China? I.e. the old 1949-50 debate on who was responsible for China turning into a hostile power. Answer: Mao Tse-tung. In a review essay titled “The Opportunity Costs of Mao’s Foreign Policy Choices,” Grade-A Sinologist Prof. John Garver of the School of International Affairs, reviewing a new book by Chen Jian, shows how Mao had many opportunities to befriend the U.S., and blew every one of them, for ideological reasons. A corollary issue, from the Chinese point of view, is: Who lost Taiwan? Same answer. The U.S. was willing to cut Chiang Kai-shek off completely & let the PLA take Taiwan. (Whether the PLA could actually have accomplished this is another question…) Again, Mao blew it. Mao’s foreign policy was really, really dumb. Author Chen Jian replies, in a good scholarly exchange. Great China reading. China Journal is published by ANUC, the

Australian National University at Canberra. (If there is also an Australian

National University at Sydney, I would much rather not know about it.)


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