[Marxism] Fwd: H-Net Review [H-War]: Zhu on Mark, 'The Everyday Cold War: Britain and China, 1950-1972'

Andrew Stewart hasc.warrior.stew at gmail.com
Fri Oct 19 11:15:38 MDT 2018

Best regards,
Andrew Stewart 

Begin forwarded message:

> From: H-Net Staff <revhelp at mail.h-net.msu.edu>
> Date: October 19, 2018 at 8:39:46 AM EDT
> Subject: H-Net Review [H-War]:  Zhu on Mark, 'The Everyday Cold War: Britain and China, 1950-1972'
> Reply-To: H-Net Staff <revhelp at mail.h-net.msu.edu>
> Chi-Kwan Mark.  The Everyday Cold War: Britain and China, 1950-1972.
> London  Bloomsbury Publishing, 2017.  288 pp.  $114.00 (cloth), ISBN
> 978-1-4742-6544-7.
> Reviewed by Tianxiao Zhu (University of Minnesota)
> Published on H-War (October, 2018)
> Commissioned by Margaret Sankey
> Neither Britain nor China was a central character in the Cold War. In
> his new book, Everyday Cold War, Chi-kwan Mark argues that China
> waged an "everyday cold war" on Britain, marked by diplomatic ritual,
> propaganda rhetoric, and symbolic gestures; and Britain coped with
> quiet diplomacy and persistent negotiation, rather than retaliation.
> In other words, there was no serious confrontation between the two;
> most of the time they just had different worldviews. In the
> post-World War II years, Maoist China was anti-imperialist,
> anti-American, and revolutionary, supporting the leftist actions in
> the Hong Kong riots and hoping one day to take back Taiwan and its
> United Nations seat, while Britain followed the guidelines of
> American foreign policy and denied any accusation of being
> imperialist. Eventually, both parties became fully aware of these
> differences; as the British said, their relations were "normally bad"
> but never bad enough to be on the path toward any real war. Normally,
> these predictably bad relations meant that they had quite a good
> understanding of how the other side was thinking, which did not push
> them apart but actually drew them closer together--to normalized
> diplomatic relations. The British even believed that the best way to
> control China's nuclear program was to give the People's Republic of
> China (PRC) a seat in the UN and sought international intervention.
> In the end, Cold War for these two countries was not about who was
> winning but about coexistence.
> The book, organized chronologically, covers 1950 to 1972. The most
> interesting discussion centers on the Cultural Revolution, and on how
> to understand radical events, such as the smashing of the British
> Mission in Beijing in 1967. Mark reveals that the British observed
> inconsistency in the revolution: even though Red Guards and rebels
> actively practiced rituals of the Mao cult in Beijing and London,
> Beijing's foreign policy remained cautious with very little change.
> Even in the most intense moment, the British government believed that
> the Cultural Revolution was high in rhetoric but low in expectations.
> The Hong Kong riots and hostage incidents were likewise characterized
> more by political rituals and symbolic meanings than by actual
> violence.
> The author also argues that Taiwan was at the core of this everyday
> cold war. It was the main obstacle in the normalization of relations
> between China and Britain. The British had ceased to acknowledge the
> Republic of China in the early 1950s, but they still retained a
> consulate in Tamsui, and insisted that Taiwan's status was
> undetermined. The PRC wanted the British to close the consulate and
> admit that Taiwan is a province of China. Mark notes that the British
> had no difficulty in closing the consulate, because Tamsui had very
> little economic value for British foreign trade. But the British did
> not accept Beijing's claim of sovereignty over Taiwan. Mark
> emphasizes that the negotiation was not appeasement. The result of
> negotiations was that the British acknowledged the PRC's position on
> the Taiwan issue, and they only gave oral assurance to the Chinese
> that the British would not publicly advocate the theory of Taiwan's
> undetermined status, which probably left space for the British to
> respect any possible decisions made by the Taiwanese people.
> Drawing on the recently available diplomatic archives from the
> British side, the book makes a significant contribution to the
> studies of Maoist foreign policy and the Cold War. Since the PRC is
> still very slow and reluctant to open its own diplomatic archives,
> there is more space for future studies of the Maoist regime. Certain
> issues, such as the refugees and defectors who escaped from mainland
> China to Hong Kong due to the famine and political purges in the
> 1960s-70s, probably deserve more attention in this book as well. Even
> so, the book represents a welcome progress in diplomatic history.
> Citation: Tianxiao Zhu. Review of Mark, Chi-Kwan, _The Everyday Cold
> War: Britain and China, 1950-1972_. H-War, H-Net Reviews. October,
> 2018.
> URL: https://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=52076
> This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
> Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States
> License.
> --

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