China. During the year, the communist regime invested
considerable resources in combating what has been identified
as two major social dangers: corruption and
difficult-to-control popular movements such as the Falun
Gong meditation movement. At the National People's Congress
in Beijing in March, Prime Minister Zhu Rongji ruled that
all corrupt representatives of state or party should be
severely punished regardless of position.
A number of notable judgments emphasized this. In March,
Jiangxi Province's former deputy governor Hu Changqing was
executed for bribery, and six months later one of the
country's best-known businessmen, Mou Qizhong, was sentenced
to life in prison for fraud. In September, Cheng Kejie,
former Vice-President of the National Congress, became K's
highest communist leader to date. He had been sentenced to
death for receiving the equivalent of close to SEK 50
million. in bribery. At about the same time, a series of
trials in the southern province of Fujian were launched in a
giant smuggling scandal. Policemen, customs officials and
party representatives were said to have received
multi-billion amounts from the corporate group YuanHua,
based in Hong Kong, for years having closed their eyes on
smuggling of cars, luxury goods, tobacco, fuel, etc.
In November, 14 of the defendants were sentenced to
death, while 70 others were jailed for between three years
and a life sentence. Shortly before the end of the year, it
was also announced that Justice Minister Gao Changli had
been replaced. The government's official statement was for
health reasons, but according to foreign press reports, Gao
had been fired for misusing public funds in connection with
an extramarital affair.
Countryaah-ABCDE, the Falun Gong movement, labeled as illegal, continued to
challenge with peaceful but fiercely opposed recurring mass
protests. Faced with astonished tourists, police seized
hundreds, perhaps a thousand, of the movement's supporters
as they demonstrated on National Day October 1 at Tiananmen
Square in Beijing. Representatives of Falun Gong claimed
during the year that several thousand practitioners had been
thrown into labor camps without trial and that at least
about 50 died in police custody. The authorities said they
had imprisoned about 150 leaders for the movement.
The outside world's criticism of China for oppression of
dissimilar thinking and increasingly tough attempts to
regulate, for example. The Internet existed. In November,
when UN Commissioner Mary Robinson visited Beijing, the UN
and China signed a first formal agreement on cooperation in the
field of human rights. The agreement is about training of
police officers and lawyers. However, the UN treaties that
China wrote in 1997-98 on citizens' economic, social, cultural,
civil and political rights remained unreturned by the
Following the spring regime change in Taiwan, China
maintained that independence for the island can never be
accepted, rejected proposals for a summit and ruled that all
negotiations must be based on the "China" principle. In
December, however, the two governments took a first step
toward limited but direct trade, transport and postal
contacts between Taiwan and mainland Fujian province.
A major foreign and trade policy breakthrough after 14
years of struggle noted the Beijing government when China and
the EU in May signed an agreement that opens for Chinese
entry into the World Trade Organization. Four months later,
the US Senate granted Beijing so-called permanent normal
trade relations, which ultimately gave US a clear sign for
K's WTO membership.
At the September election in Hong Kong, the Democratic
Party, led by Martin Lee and criticized China, remained the
largest single party in the regional parliament, but the
Beijing-friendly forces continued to dominate the assembly.
Turnout was low, 43%.
1966-69 The Cultural Revolution
But this five-year plan was never implemented. In 1966,
Mao went to counter-attack. Soldiers and students entered
the "Red Guard" and armed with a book of quotes by Mao -
"Mao's Little Red" - they launched a campaign across China
where the public servants and university teachers were
accused of being "capitalist tenants". The Great
Cultural Revolution of the proletariat was officially
set in motion.
The Cultural Revolution was spread to all corners of
society. Mao's line - the revolutionary mass line -
emphasized the initiative of the masses and the political
awareness as the decisive factor for both economic growth
and the realization of a socialist society. Factories and
educational institutions were closed and thousands of young
people from cities and intellectuals were sent out to work
in the countryside - voluntarily or under duress. The
shooting was also aimed at Mao's opponents in the party.
Prime Minister Liu Shaoqi was accused of being China's
Khrushchev and of trying to introduce capitalism into China.
He was removed from office as head of state and did not
survive the Cultural Revolution. Deng Xiaoping was the
party's secretary general, and along with a host of other
prominent party members were purged.
It is estimated that at least some millions lost their
lives during the Cultural Revolution. Partly by executions
because they succumbed to prisons or as a result of the
chaos the events created in both agricultural production and
1969-75 Opening to the United States
In 1969, Mao even abolished the cultural revolution. His
opponents in the party had then been largely purged. After
the Ninth Party Congress in 1969, the military - which
supported Mao - was dominant in top leadership (about 40%),
and Lin Piao became second in party leadership after Mao. In
September 1971, Lin Piao perished in Mongolia ifbm. a plane
crash following an alleged failed coup attempt.
During the same period, China played an important role in
the formation of the Alliance-free countries movement,
although the superpower did not immediately join the
movement. Furthermore, China sent technicians and workers to
a number of third world countries, where they led various
development projects, the most important of which was the
construction of a railway linking Zambia to the Indian Ocean
through Tanzania. Liberation movements in a large number of
countries were inspired by China and the peasant war
strategies devised by Mao Zedong and Lin Piao.
In the early 1970s, Prime Minister Chou En-lai began
negotiations with the United States and Deng Xiaoping was
rehabilitated. By 1971, it had sufficiently succeeded in
breaking the isolation that China had brought in after the
break with the West in 1949 and with the Soviet in 1963.
Until then, the national government in Taiwan had
represented China in the UN system. The United States
abstained from vetoing this development, as the superpower
had a number of economic and political benefits from
improving relations with China. The pivotal turning point in
relations with the United States was President Nixon's visit
to China in 1972, which was preparing the US withdrawal from
Indochina. There is little doubt that after 1972 China
sought to pressure the Vietnamese leaders to show a
willingness to compromise on both the US and the Saigon
regime. However, direct diplomatic relations between the
United States and China were first established in 1976.
For China, the United States was no longer the main
enemy. It, on the other hand, was Soviet. The Soviet allies
were therefore systematically defeated by China. In Angola,
China, together with the United States, supported the UNITA
guerrilla against the Soviet-backed MPLA guerrilla, and in
South Africa, China supported the Panafrican Congress (PAC)
against the ANC. After Vietnam finally defeated the United
States in 1975, relations with China continued to
deteriorate, and in 1979 China invaded Vietnam to give it "a
lesson" for its invasion of Cambodia, where it had removed
the Khmer Rouge terrorist regime.
In 1975, Deng Xiaoping was elected to the top party
leadership. By January 1975, Prime Minister Chou En-lai had
launched a comprehensive economic plan to modernize
agriculture, defense, industry and science. During Chou's
illness, Deng was given the main responsibility for the
state administration and for the implementation of the plan.
How this plan was to be implemented became the central theme
of the political debate. The questions that characterized
the Cultural Revolution were raised again: What is the role
of the experts and the education system? How is the
relationship between material and ideological motivations?
It was the Cultural Revolutionary Group that specifically
raised these issues and their criticism was particularly
directed at Deng.
1976 Settled with the four-band and Mao's politics
Chou died in January 1976 and Deng held the funeral
speech, but after Chou's death, criticism of Deng increased
and he was dismissed from all his records in April. Hua
Kuo-feng, meanwhile, had become interim prime minister. In
September 1976, Mao died, and now it was Hua who held the
funeral speech. In October, the Cultural Revolutionary Group
- the so-called "four gangs" - was arrested and a campaign
against it was launched. The four were: Mao's widow Jiang
Qing, Zhang Chunqiao, Yao Wenyuan and Wanga Hongwen. They
were accused of conspiracy, and of the assaults and mistakes
committed during the Cultural Revolution. In 1981, legal
proceedings were opened against the four.
The balance between supporters of Mao's political line
and those of forced economic development was finally broken.
Extensive cleansing was initiated to remove supporters of
the four-band. This cleansing even affected several
of Mao's relatives. In July 1977, Deng was rehabilitated for
the second time, taking over all his former political,
military and administrative positions.
In 1978-79, criticism was opened, on condition that it
was directed at the Cultural Revolution and its leaders. The
"Spring in Beijing" centered on the "Democracy Wall" where
the people could set up letters and express their views. The
wall also allowed dissidents to spread their hitherto secret
leaves. But when the criticism began to be directed at the
Communist Party itself, the democracy movement was
dissolved. The wall of democracy that had existed all the
way back from the days of the Cultural Revolution was
closed. Dissident Wei Jingshen, who had published a magazine
demanding democracy, was prosecuted and sentenced to 15
years in prison.