GIR Colloquium Series | PRC Foreign and Military Policy, 1977-81: Shades of Mao, the Imprint of Deng
GIR Colloquium Series 2022
PRC Foreign and Military Policy, 1977-81: Shades of Mao, the Imprint of Deng
Presented by Emeritus Professor Frederick Teiwes
Room 341 Social Sciences Building (A02); and Zoom
This presentation comes in the context of a larger study addressing the deep misunderstanding of the early post-Mao period as a succession struggle between Hua Guofeng and Deng Xiaoping. Paradoxically, this paper covers the one area where much of conventional wisdom is correct—the foreign policy and military sphere of Deng’s pre-eminence, albeit without any power struggle. Here Deng was held very highly by foreign leaders who regarded him as the leader moving away from Mao, which he was and wasn’t. Indeed, Mao’s foreign policy views were the framework from which Deng worked. For the talk I will focus on three major aspects where Deng’s inadequacies were a significant part of the story: US-PRC normalisation where obtuseness delayed the successful conclusion, the Japanese peace treaty where tone deafness potentially ruined an easily achievable result, and the Sino-Vietnamese War where great losses were suffered, but without causing one bit of damage to Deng’s increasing power.
A full abstract plus the complete paper can be found in the Working Papers section on the China Studies Centre website, https://www.sydney.edu.au/arts/our-research/centres-institutes-and-groups/china-studies-centre/our-research.html/#cswp
Fred Teiwes is Emeritus Professor of Chinese Politics. The focus of his work is on the elite politics of the Chinese Communist Party since the establishment of the PRC in 1949. The majority of his work, whether individually or with his long-time co-author, Warren Sun, has been on the Maoist period, notably Politics and Purges in China (1979, revised ed. 1993), and The End of the Maoist Era (2007). Over the past 15 years they have focused on the early post-Mao period, having published Paradoxes of Post-Mao Rural Reform (2016). They are currently writing the final chapters of an overall analysis of elite politics in this period for a book tentatively titled Hua Guofeng, Deng Xiaoping, and the Dismantling of Maoism. A substantially reduced version of the paper for this Colloquium will be part of this book.
Image: Deng Xiaoping with Mao Zedong by cityanimal on Adobe Stock