THE FOREIGN MINISTRY AND FOREIGN AFFAIRS IN CHINA'S 'CULTURAL REVOLUTION'
RAND CORP SANTA MONICA CA
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An assessment is made of the impact of Chinas Cultural Revolution on her Ministry of Foreign Affairs, foreign relations, and foreign policy. In 1966-67, Chinas Ministry of Foreign Affairs came under attack by Red Guard organizations determined to carry the Cultural Revolution into the foreign affairs system. Opposing the Mao inspired radicals, Foreign Minister Chen Yi sent work teams into ministry-related institutions to protect them from harassment. This adament resistance resulted in an investigation of Chen, a demand of public self-criticism, and the establishment of Red Guard liaison stations within the ministry to oversee its work. The Revolutions ebb and flow, however enabled Chen to maintain his position as minister and to mediate between conservative and rebel elements. Reaching peak power in August 1967, the radicals rapidly lost favor, probably due to their disregard of authority and the fact that Maos purpose--to hold the Foreign Ministers influence in check--had been achieved. Thus Chen emerged the victor, but at the price of weakened authority, prestige, and health. Although Pekings foreign relations have undoubtedly been undermined, the conflict does not seem to have concerned substantive issues and Chinas foreign policy has returned to a diplomacy of relative moderation.
- Government and Political Science