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Modern China’s Foreign Policy

Modern China’s Foreign Policy

Werner Levi
Copyright Date: 1953
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 416
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  • Book Info
    Modern China’s Foreign Policy
    Book Description:

    What are China’s objectives in world affairs and what course will she pursue to achieve her goals? These are the questions of vital concern to the Western democracies, questions that can be approached intelligently only from a knowledge of how China’s foreign policy has developed. In this illuminating and carefully documented book, Professor Levi analyzes china’s attitudes and actions toward the rest of the world and clarifies many motivations behind her behavior, past and present. He traces the development of her foreign relations from the beginning of the modern era of Chinese contacts with Westerners, a little more than hundred years ago. The emphasis, however, is on the twentieth century, and particularly on the years since the peace settlements of World War I. The complex balance of relationships between China and the United States, on the one hand, and China and the Soviet Union, on the other, since the end of World War II is discussed in detail. Communist doctrine, notwithstanding its apparent rigidity, is shown to be a conveniently adjustable tool, capable of adaptation to the needs and strategies of present-day China. An integral part of the account is the attempt to single out and interpret the internal forces -- cultural, social, and economic -- that have influenced and shaped China’s external policies. Thus, it is shown that the determinants of China’s foreign policy have often been pressures and complexities within the country and that and understanding of the Chinese people and their traditions is essential to nations in their dealings with China.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-6348-4
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[vi])
  2. Preface
    (pp. [vii]-[viii])
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. [ix]-2)
  4. The Inadequacy of Old Practices
    (pp. 3-22)

    Many decades of intense Western impact upon China were needed before an appreciable number of Chinese began to realize that the invasion of their country by the Western “barbarians” was different from all earlier ones. Paradoxically, the event which contributed the most toward making this realization crystallize was Japan’s attack upon China in 1894. Up to that time the Chinese had had difficulty in comprehending that the Westerners and their ways had come to the Orient to stay and that there was no possibility of absorbing them into Chinese culture. Taking in the actual fact of Western permanence was a...

  5. 2 Developing a Foreign Policy
    (pp. 23-34)

    The recognition that the traditional methods of dealing with foreigners were inadequate and the search for new ones led the Chinese quite naturally to an examination of the Western culture that was proving so indigestible and superior in many respects. Their approach, even after formal channels of communication had been created in the 1860’s, remained hostile and resistant to acculturation or change of attitude. The hostility was by no means always an obstinate affectation of contempt or a rationalization for the maintenance of vested interests. It often rested upon a genuine belief in the higher values of Chinese culture. But...

  6. 3 Foreign Impact and Reform
    (pp. 35-51)

    The unhappy course of Sino-Japanese relations during the second half of the nineteenth century, culminating in the war of 1894–1895, was a great disappointment to the Chinese. They were persuaded to sign a treaty of friendship and commerce with Japan in 1871 in the hope that it would lay the foundations for close and friendly relations with a neighbor and fellow sufferer. They felt then, as they have often felt since, that the Western nations were the common enemy of both countries. Japan, they feared, would be made a Western base of attack against China. Cooperation between them would...

  7. 4 Territorial Integrity or the Open Door?
    (pp. 52-58)

    The Open Door policy suited China for a number of reasons, not all of which were ideally compatible with the spirit of that policy. But then, every nation sought its own advantage in the policy, not the least its official originator, and China had no reason for being better than anybody else.

    Possibly China’s first contact with a policy under this name was in connection with the Li-Lobanoff treaty of 1896, in which Russia obtained the right to build the Trans-Siberian railroad to Vladivostock through Manchuria. Reportedly upon Chinese request, the treaty contained a defensive alliance against Japan, and an...

  8. 5 Rebellion against the West
    (pp. 59-70)

    The Boxer Rebellion was explained by one high official, Prince Chun, as a spontaneous protest against the behavior of foreign powers toward China. “It is natural that even a peaceable people should turn at last,” he said. “The people of China have been gradually worked up by the recent loss of territory around Wei-hai-wei, Port Arthur, and other places, as well as the Catholic missionaries having been granted rights and honours by the officials.” He maintained that during the Boxer Rebellion the Chinese behaved no worse than the French during their “celebrated” revolution.¹ Quite apart from the rather unfortunate choice...

  9. 6 Threatened Loss of Manchuria
    (pp. 71-85)

    While the Chinese government was absorbed in dealing with the Boxer settlement, Russia presented a new problem in Manchuria. When the rebellion had moved into Manchuria, the Russians had moved into Manchuria too, for “precautionary measures.” Using the Chinese Eastern Railway as a springboard, Russian troops had spread over large parts of Manchuria, occupying Newchwang and taking over the customs house there. They had acquired land concessions at Tientsin, laid hold of railroads from Tientsin to Peking, and seized another one, built by British capital, running from Tientsin to Shanhaikwan. Few people trusted the assurances of the Russians that their...

  10. 7 Nurturing Nationalism
    (pp. 86-98)

    The Chinese government was gratified by the American and Japanese support given it in the Manchurian affair. Yet it did not overlook the possibility that war between Russia and Japan, which now seemed to be in the making, might wipe out all the advantages gained and more. To prepare a policy for such an eventuality was imperative. As past experience had taught, China was likely to suffer from any trouble arising in the Far East, and her territory might well become a battlefield. Several choices would be available, except the most desirable: that she enforce her integrity against all infractions....

  11. 8 Alignment with Germany and America
    (pp. 99-107)

    The event which aroused the Chinese and gave their new diplomacy a jolt was the Franco-Japanese agreement of June 10, 1907. It was a most shocking reminder that the sphere of interest concept was still alive. The official text was relatively harmless, though obnoxious enough to the Chinese. After confirming their adherence to the principles of the Open Door and the integrity of China, the two powers promised mutual support in assuring peace and security in the regions inside China bordering on territory in which they had rights of sovereignty, protection, or occupation. A letter supplemental to the formal agreement...

  12. 9 Strengthening the Empire
    (pp. 108-119)

    Neither the failure to create an American-German-Chinese entente nor the various agreements of the major powers in 1907 discouraged the Chinese government from pursuing its activities to cope with foreign demands. These demands now referred mostly to railroad concessions and loans. Only in Manchuria and other outlying territories did Russian and Japanese aggressiveness continue to represent a threat to the territorial integrity of China. The government, remembering the popular clamor of 1905 and 1906, and spurred by its own newly discovered courage, continued to integrate these areas more closely into the Chinese governmental organization. In Peking’s estimation the greatest danger...

  13. 10 Revolution and Foreign Money
    (pp. 120-136)

    The administrative reforms in the Empire, the “colonization” of the outlying territories, and the missions of T’ang Shao-yi and Liang Tun-yen for closer collaboration with friendly powers were new aspects of Chinese foreign policy and were due to the initiative of the government. But they developed far away, undramatically, or even secretly, and remained mostly unnoticed by the interested and vocal sections of the people. The absence of any popular support for these enterprises was probably one reason why their results were minor. When known at all, they were rarely judged on their merits. The government hardly ever got any...

  14. 11 “Theoretical” Ally in World War I
    (pp. 137-158)

    When the war approached in 1914, Yuan Shih-k’ai’s predominant political leadership was no longer seriously threatened. He still had to contend with the revolutionary group, the “rebels” that had fled from Peking to Canton in the south. But thanks to his own abilities and the decisive support of the foreign powers, he was the supreme ruler of China.

    Foreign policy was again conducted by a few individuals in Peking, except for some opposition groups who were willing to intrigue with foreign nations against the central government. In his struggle for power Yuan had emasculated or perverted every liberal institution conceived...

  15. 12 The Washington Conference, 1921
    (pp. 159-167)

    The Washington Conference of 1921 came at a most inopportune time for China. Internal conditions were chaotic. The central government had, in the words of the American minister, “virtually ceased to function.” The American consul in Canton, on the other hand, sent the State Department enthusiastic accounts of the southern government under Sun Yat-sen. No inferences were drawn from these reports. The United States and other governments continued to deal with the corrupt and reactionary Peking government.

    There was great doubt whether the situation could continue very much longer. The central government was about to suffer a financial collapse. There...

  16. 13 Turning from the West to Russia
    (pp. 168-178)

    Much more important for China than the results of the Paris and Washington conferences were less conspicuous developments inside the country between 1918 and 1922. What attracted the attention of most observers was the political chaos of the period and its dramatic consequences, which overshadowed the changes taking place more quietly. But these last determined the nature of China’s position in the world more deeply and lastingly than the spectacular struggles of the tuchuns which, though significant and detrimental, were nevertheless an episode whose consequences could be and were overcome.

    Unless it be by the vague term “cultural revolution,” these...

  17. 14 Diplomatic Successes
    (pp. 179-192)

    Anti-imperialism, equal treaties, and the restoration of sovereignty had from the start been the war cries of the new nationalism. Understandably most foreigners did not look upon the movement with great favor, and most of them refused to recognize their own role in bringing it about. Their respect for it was as little as their liking. They usually wrote Sun Yat-sen off as a naive dreamer not to be taken seriously. The students were considered a bunch of misguided schoolboys who had better get back to school instead of causing trouble in the streets. The labor unions, as indeed the...

  18. 15 “Incident” with Japan and Reconstruction
    (pp. 193-210)

    The nature of China’s nationalism contributed to the ill fate that befell the nation early in the 1930’s. The new nationalism was not intensive, or perhaps not genuine, enough to overcome factional strife and bring about unity. Yet its antiforeign bias aroused among foreign powers a concern that could be prevented from turning into aggressiveness only by unified resistance. China was not given the chance to develop that.

    The campaign of the Nationalists had superficially united the country. The National Government was established in Nanking and recognized as the central government of China. But vast areas had remained under the...

  19. 16 Renewed Aggression and Internal Discord
    (pp. 211-230)

    When Japan attacked in the summer of 1937, though China was still disunited, the situation was not quite so confused as several years earlier. Chaos was giving way to relative order.¹ A few influential war lords survived, mostly in the south, whose cooperation was bought by Chiang K’ai-shek with the grant of considerable autonomy in their areas. Basically only two antagonistic groups remained: the Nationalists, controlling by far the largest part of the country, and the Communists, concentrated in the northwest province of Shensi and relatively insignificant in numbers. There was another change. The lines between the opposing groups were...

  20. 17 The Alliance in World War II
    (pp. 231-239)

    The outbreak of general war in the Far East had its pleasant aspects for the Chinese. It brought powerful allies into the struggle against Japan. The Chinese had high expectations of outside assistance and the position they were to be assigned in the Allied councils. Having been the first victims in World War II — a fact they liked to rub in — they claimed some sort of seniority right to special consideration.

    Pearl Harbor was a great morale-booster. Talk in Chungking about the desperate situation and the possible need of suing for peace gave way to renewed hopes and...

  21. 18 The Aftermath of Yalta
    (pp. 240-247)

    On February 11, 1945, a secret agreement was signed at Yalta between Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin, with which Russia’s entry into the war against Japan was bought. The price was the preservation of the status quo in Outer Mongolia; the restoration of former Russian rights “violated by the treacherous attack of Japan in 1904” — namely, the return of the southern portion of Sakhalin, the internationalization of Dairen, with the safeguarding of Russian “pre-eminent interests,” the lease of Port Arthur as a Russian naval base, joint operation by China and Russia of the Chinese Eastern and South Manchurian railways, with...

  22. 19 The Loss of Manchuria and Sinkiang
    (pp. 248-260)

    The long-term postwar policy of the Chinese government was to gain American aid in forcing the Soviet government into “correct” behavior. The methods employed were traditional. The Nationalists, pretending faith in Russia’s agreements, tried to be as friendly with this worst aggressor as possible and were willing to appease her. Simultaneously they tried to frustrate her intentions by enlisting the help of nations greatly antagonized by Russian aggression.

    The Chinese government considered the restoration of sovereignty over Manchuria its most urgent problem. The problem, as so often before, was not a straight foreign-political one. It had serious internal-political implications on...

  23. 20 The Collapse of the National Government
    (pp. 261-272)

    The “forever” cooperative policy toward the United States had one simple aim: getting as much aid as possible. The means were as traditional as they were unsentimental: direct requests, lobbying, and playing upon American fears of a Communist victory. The policy was successful to the amount of hundreds of millions of dollars between 1945 and 1949, in addition to military services and diplomatic support. Exactly how many dollars in money and worth of goods were supplied and how useful they were are matters of debate. The State Department thought about two, useful billions; the Chinese Embassy in Washington thought a...

  24. 21 The Theory of Communist Foreign Policy
    (pp. 273-283)

    On October 1, 1949, the Communists officially claimed assumption of the government of China. The capital was established at Peking. Chiang on Formosa claimed his as the only legitimate Chinese government. In the process of his flight from the mainland, he lost many of his followers, prominent and otherwise. Some of those who went with him were motivated less by loyalty than by a desire to save themselves. The Formosa government began as a miniature edition of its former self, with all the shortcomings and all the difficulties. Slowly, with considerable American aid, it has improved — so much that...

  25. 22 The Hate-America Campaign
    (pp. 284-307)

    From the enormous wordiness of Chinese Communist dogma, doctrine, program and propaganda, tedious in its repetitiousness and repugnant in its emphasis on hate, there emerge a few main lines of foreign policy as “at present” developed, which are selectively applied to three major categories of nations. One category is typified by the United States. She is the archenemy. With her are classified all other “imperialist” powers, such as Great Britain and France, though these may for tactical reasons occasionally be treated with slightly less vituperation. The Soviet Union is the great and highly venerated friend, the senior partner in the...

  26. 23 The Alliance with the Soviet Union
    (pp. 308-324)

    Judging by appearances, the friendship and sympathy between the Soviet Union and Communist China can hardly be surpassed. Just as in Communist eyes the United States represents everything that is evil in the world, so the Soviet Union represents everything that is good. The Soviet Union has always been recognized by the Chinese Communist leaders as the spiritual home and the political progenitress of their China. But she has not been this for the mass of the Chinese people. To them, more often, Russia — tsarist or Communist — has represented a threat to the independence of their country. To...

  27. 24 The Bid for Asian Leadership
    (pp. 325-331)

    Communist China’s policy in Asia is active and aggressive. These qualities make it appear to be a deviation from what has been typical of China’s modern past. In reality, the Communists in many ways are continuing the pursuit of traditional goals. The difference from preceding regimes is that this pursuit is now facilitated by the application of Communist methods and the constellation of world politics. Asia in general has moved closer to the center of world political interest. The changes taking place there lend themselves well to political maneuvering, especially of the Communist kind. The position of the China inherited...

  28. 25 Realizing Ambitions in Asia
    (pp. 332-354)

    The most striking aspect of Communist China’s program for Asia is that the area of major interest, Southeast Asia, is also the area in which imperial China had or claimed a paramount position, in which large Chinese communities exist, and in which all regimes succeeding the Manchu dynasty have sought to expand Chinese influence. There can be no doubt that the program corresponds faithfully to Marxist-Leninist doctrine. But at the same time it can satisfy every Chinese chauvinist, from the Manchus down to the Nationalists. In this dual attraction it has a great and important advantage over the similar program...

  29. NOTES
    (pp. 357-389)
  30. INDEX
    (pp. 390-399)