China and Inner Asia
Session Abstract: After Khrushchev’s searing denunciation of Stalin in 1956, the Communist Bloc was full of uncertainty and disquiet. For Mao and the CCP, an effort was made to adjust to the new reality, but China’s honeymoon with Khrushchev’s Soviet Union was short-lived. Once de-Stalinization was underway in the USSR, the Sino-Soviet relationship was taken over by ideological spats and political disputes between the two Communist leaders.
The intensified quarrels led to Khrushchev’s withdrawal of all Soviet experts from China in 1960. The world watched the two largest communist parties publicly attacked each other via open letters. In 1966 the two parties ended their formal ties and in 1969, numerous border clashes brought the two countries to the brink of war.
The de-Stalinization movement in the communist world, however, did not diminish the Stalinist influence in Mao. Two authors of this panel, Deborah Kaple and Hua-yu Li, point to the underlying reality that has not been studied much, i.e., Mao’s continued reliance on certain aspects of Stalin’s practices, policies and ideas that underpin both the Great Leap Forward (1958-61) and the Cultural Revolution (1966-76). Yinan He investigates how Mao carried out a two-front war by manipulating anti-Soviet discourse between 1959-1965 to discredit domestic opponents and push through radical economic and political adventures. Joseph Torigian addresses the 1969 Sino-Soviet border clashes in the large context of theoretical literature that examines this rare case of conflict between two nuclear powers and discusses the policy implications for the current world situation.
Paper Presenter: Hua-Yu Li – Oregon State University
Paper Presenter: Deborah Kaple – Princeton University
Paper Presenter: Yinan He – Lehigh University
Paper Presenter: Joseph Torigian – American University