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The elimination of the western presence in China : the communist victory and its aftermath

Hooper, Beverley

Description

When the Chinese Communists came to power during 1949, they were faced with a diminished but still substantial Western presence in their country, the representatives and symbols of a century of imperialist activity in China. The present study analyses the process whereby, in the four years following their victories in the major cities, they effectively eliminated that remaining presence from China. It takes issue with those analysts who see the question basically in an immediate foreign...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorHooper, Beverley
dc.date.accessioned2017-01-29T22:31:04Z
dc.date.available2017-01-29T22:31:04Z
dc.date.copyright1982
dc.identifier.otherb1313308
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/112052
dc.description.abstractWhen the Chinese Communists came to power during 1949, they were faced with a diminished but still substantial Western presence in their country, the representatives and symbols of a century of imperialist activity in China. The present study analyses the process whereby, in the four years following their victories in the major cities, they effectively eliminated that remaining presence from China. It takes issue with those analysts who see the question basically in an immediate foreign policy context. They argue that there were two distinct phases in the Communists' treatment of the Western presence - a period of moderation followed by one of far more extreme measures - and that the outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950, and more particularly China's entry into the war four months later, marked a decisive turning point or watershed in their policies and actions. This study argues that the Communists' treatment of the remaining Western presence was determined by more basic, long-term factors: their strong anti-imperialism (both as successors to a century of reaction against imperialism in China and as ideological adherents to the Leninist theory of imperialism) and their firm commitment to establishing a socialist society. The combination of these two factors precluded any future role for the existing Western presence in China. The Communists' decision to permit Westerners to remain temporarily in China and even to continue their activities was prompted, not by a policy of moderation, but by pragmatism in the interests of avoiding economic and social disruption during the immediate takeover and transitional 'New Democracy' periods. Having decided not to expel the Western presence outright, the Communists astutely utilized it for their own material and political purposes, in particular to help establish and consolidate their authority. At the same time, the Communist authorities - from the earliest months of their rule - exerted strong economic, psychological and at times physical pressures on the Western presence. Pressures on individual interest groups varied according to their involvement with past imperialism, the degree of their incompatibility with socialism, and particularly their immediate usefulness or otherwise to the authorities. While Western economic and educational establishments were generally When the Chinese Communists came to power during 1949, they were faced with a diminished but still substantial Western presence in their country, the representatives and symbols of a century of imperialist activity in China. The present study analyses the process whereby, in the four years following their victories in the major cities, they effectively eliminated that remaining presence from China. It takes issue with those analysts who see the question basically in an immediate foreign policy context. They argue that there were two distinct phases in the Communists' treatment of the Western presence - a period of moderation followed by one of far more extreme measures - and that the outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950, and more particularly China's entry into the war four months later, marked a decisive turning point or watershed in their policies and actions. This study argues that the Communists' treatment of the remaining Western presence was determined by more basic, long-term factors: their strong anti-imperialism (both as successors to a century of reaction against imperialism in China and as ideological adherents to the Leninist theory of imperialism) and their firm commitment to establishing a socialist society. The combination of these two factors precluded any future role for the existing Western presence in China. The Communists' decision to permit Westerners to remain temporarily in China and even to continue their activities was prompted, not by a policy of moderation, but by pragmatism in the interests of avoiding economic and social disruption during the immediate takeover and transitional 'New Democracy' periods. Having decided not to expel the Western presence outright, the Communists astutely utilized it for their own material and political purposes, in particular to help establish and consolidate their authority. At the same time, the Communist authorities - from the earliest months of their rule - exerted strong economic, psychological and at times physical pressures on the Western presence. Pressures on individual interest groups varied according to their involvement with past imperialism, the degree of their incompatibility with socialism, and particularly their immediate usefulness or otherwise to the authorities. While Western economic and educational establishments were generally subjected to less severe pressures than were missionaries, in particular Catholics, the pressures exerted on all groups were directed towards their eventual eradication from China. The Communists' actions during the Korean War period, while admittedly of increased intensity, largely represented the continuation and the culmination of earlier pressures. Indeed, the ideological intensity of the period gave the Chinese Government, which had consistently proclaimed an official policy of protecting foreign nationals, a 'legal' pretext to bring to completion its underlying aim of eliminating the Western presence from China.
dc.format.extent336p
dc.language.isoen
dc.subject.lcshChina History 1949-
dc.subject.lcshChina Ethnology
dc.subject.lcshChina Foreign relations 1949-
dc.titleThe elimination of the western presence in China : the communist victory and its aftermath
dc.typeThesis (PhD)
local.contributor.supervisorFitzGerald, Stephen
dcterms.valid1982
local.description.notesThis thesis has been made available through exception 200AB to the Copyright Act.
local.type.degreeDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)
dc.date.issued1982
local.identifier.doi10.25911/5d7632c21a4f0
dc.date.updated2017-01-24T00:01:39Z
local.mintdoimint
CollectionsOpen Access Theses

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