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Zhou Enlai and Taiwan: The History and Legacies of Three “Peace Initiatives”

Previewing material from his much anticipated biography of Zhou Enlai, acclaimed historian Chen Jian will discuss how Zhou—China’s long-time premier and the face of PRC diplomacy and international relations for several decades—crafted policy towards Taiwan during several critical periods in cross-strait relations.

Date & Time

Friday
May. 7, 2021
1:30pm – 2:30pm ET

Location

Zoom Webinar

Overview

Previewing material from his much anticipated biography of Zhou Enlai, acclaimed historian Chen Jian will discuss how Zhou—China’s long-time premier and the face of PRC diplomacy and international relations for several decades—crafted policy towards Taiwan during several critical periods in cross-strait relations.

Drawing on a wide assortment of Chinese language archival materials, Chen will introduce Zhou’s long history of managing the Communist Party’s relations with the Kuomintang (KMT), or the Nationalist Party, and the exiled leader Chiang Kai-shek (Jiang Jieshi) in particular. Chen’s talk will focus on three specific “peace initiatives” that Zhou put forward towards Taiwan in the periods 1955-1957, 1960-1965, and, finally, in 1973 following Nixon’s visit to China.

Although all three of Zhou Enlai’s “peace initiatives” failed to bring about a lasting reconciliation between the CCP and KMT and between Mainland China and Taiwan, they nevertheless left behind a lasting legacy for PRC policy and discourse toward Taiwan. Chen Jian will conclude with a reflection on how these initiatives influenced Beijing's adoption of the “one country, two systems” policy toward Taiwan following Zhou Enlai’s death in the late 1970s and beyond.

Chen Jian is a leading scholar in modern Chinese history, the history of Chinese-American relations, and Cold War international history. Chen is Distinguished Global Network Professor at NYU Shanghai with an affiliated appointment at NYU. He is also Zijiang Distinguished Visiting Professor at East China Normal University, and Hu Shih Professor of History and China-US Relations (Emeritus) at Cornell University. Among his many publications are China's Road to the Korean War (1994), The China Challenge in the 21st Century: Implications for U.S. Foreign Policy (1997), and Mao's China and the Cold War (2001). He is now completing a diplomatic and political biography of Zhou Enlai.

This webinar is made possible by the generous support of the Chun & Jane Chiu Family Foundation.


Hosted By

History and Public Policy Program

The History and Public Policy Program strives to make public the primary source record of 20th and 21st century international history from repositories around the world, to facilitate scholarship based on those records, and to use these materials to provide context for classroom, public, and policy debates on global affairs.  Read more

Asia Program

The Asia Program promotes policy debate and intellectual discussions on U.S. interests in the Asia-Pacific as well as political, economic, security, and social issues relating to the world’s most populous and economically dynamic region.   Read more

Kissinger Institute on China and the United States

The mission of Kissinger Institute on China and the United States is to ensure that informed engagement remains the cornerstone of U.S.-China relations.  Read more

Cold War International History Project

The Cold War International History Project supports the full and prompt release of historical materials by governments on all sides of the Cold War. Through an award winning Digital Archive, the Project allows scholars, journalists, students, and the interested public to reassess the Cold War and its many contemporary legacies. It is part of the Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program.  Read more

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