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CWIHP e-Dossier No. 50 

 “Much Listening, Little Speaking:” Chinese Foreign Ministry Documents on Hungary, 1956 

Péter Vámos


For over half a century, debate has raged over whether the Chinese played a role in influencing Soviet decision-making regarding the armed suppression of the Hungarian Revolution in 1956 and, if so, what kind of role it was. According to the official Chinese version of events published during the Sino-Soviet disputes of 1960, “at the end of October 1956, when the counterrevolutionary terror in Hungary had spread throughout almost the whole country, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, with Comrade Khrushchev at its helm, were preparing to withdraw Soviet troops from Hungary. At this point we informed the CPSU CC of our opinion that it was necessary to repel the attack by the imperialists and counterrevolutionaries against the great socialist family. At first the CPSU CC objected to our opinion, and only after much vacillation did they come to concur with us.”[1] The Soviet response, by contrast, called the Chinese position incomprehensible. Although the Chinese version of events is that Chinese had compelled the CPSU CC to take a stand on the Hungarian unrest, the Soviets maintained that “the Chinese comrades have groundlessly appropriated for themselves the direction of Soviet actions in the suppression of the Hungarian counterrevolutionary uprising.”[2]

The Chinese position and Soviet reaction were shaped by the increasingly bitter power struggle, disguised in ideological garb, between Beijing and Moscow. Both statements were political in nature, and both lack contemporary sources that would comprehensively support either standpoint beyond reasonable doubt. Hungarian, Russian, and Chinese documents that have come to light since the early 1990s have not provided answers to the key question.

In May 2006, some forty percent of all papers from 1956-1960 held in the Chinese Foreign Ministry Archives, including documents on Polish and Hungarian events, primarily ambassadorial statements and telegrams, were declassified.[3] These documents broaden and provide certain nuances to our existing knowledge, but do not provide us with decisive evidence. To expect answers to the main questions from those Foreign Ministry documents would be to hope in vain. Given the character of the Chinese political system, it is not the Foreign Ministry that is the deciding body in foreign policy matters; the task of state offices is to execute decisions taken solely at the highest party leadership level. From the instructions sent to embassies, we are only able to infer the decisions. The documents that provide direct information concerning the contents of decisions are still unavailable.

The documents published here are, nevertheless, still of great significance. From November 1956 onwards, China played a decisive role in the consolidation of the János Kádár government, and Chinese Ambassador Hao Deqing was in close contact with Kádár, who regularly requested the Chinese diplomat’s opinion on certain questions of domestic and international politics. Therefore, it is important to know how the staff of the Chinese embassy in Budapest surmised the situation after 23 October, and what they reported to Beijing. It also emerges from these reports how well the embassy was informed, and from which sources they gleaned information.

The first reports from the Chinese embassy in Budapest on the evening of 23 October did not offer an evaluation of the Hungarian revolution, but gave an unannotated account of what had happened over the course of the evening, the Budapest demonstrations, and Gerő’s radio speech (see Document 1 and Document 2). No more information reached Beijing from the embassy on that day. On 24 and 25 October, the Foreign Ministry in Beijing sent three directives to Budapest, requesting an objective brief on Hungarian domestic events and in particular relating to Imre Nagy, and further called upon the embassy to send a diplomat to Moscow to deliver a personal account on the Budapest events to the Chinese Communist Party delegation staying there.

No response arrived, however, because the telegraph and telephone connection between Budapest and Beijing had been broken off. The Chinese Embassy in Hungary was not in possession of a radio transmitter-receiver, nor telephone equipment capable of handling direct international calls. Contact with China went through official Budapest bodies, the Hungarian Post and Telegraph Office. However, in the chaos of the moment, international lines went down on the evening of 23 October and telephone services were terminated. Accordingly, the embassy could not send its reports, nor could the directives from Beijing arrive at their destination. Telegraph connections were reinstated on the morning of the 25 October, but telephone lines remained dead. Consequently, the Embassy’s report prepared on the morning of the 24 October, which classified the evening’s events as counterrevolutionary disturbances, and which gave an account of the declaration of martial law and the Soviet intervention, was only received in the Foreign Ministry in Beijing on 26 October. (For the report that was received on 26 October, but only decoded and printed off on the morning of the 27 October, see Document 3.) With the further deterioration of the situation, telegraph connections ceased once again, as a consequence of which communication between the embassy and the ministry could only be assured through the Hungarian Foreign Ministry and the Hungarian Embassy in Beijing.[4]

At this time, Beijing received its information on the Hungarian events primarily from the Chinese delegation in Moscow, and from reports of foreign news agencies. The first two Chinese correspondents, Li Nan from Xinhua News Agency and Hu Sisheng from Renmin Ribao, arrived in Hungary on 6 November, and reached Budapest on a Soviet military vehicle on 8 November.[5] Renmin Ribao’s second correspondent, Hu Jibang arrived in the Hungarian capital from Moscow on 12 November. A fourth Chinese journalist, Yang Xiaoqi from Xinhua arrived in Budapest on 14 November.[6]

According to a recent official Chinese biography of Mao Zedong, Liu Shaoqi telephoned Mao on 23 October, immediately after learning of the Hungarian disturbances from Soviet leaders. Between 24-31 October, Mao repeatedly summoned the highest Party leaders together to discuss the Polish and Hungarian events, while keeping in constant contact with Liu. Details of the discussions, however, are not yet forthcoming from official Chinese histories.[7]

Xia Daosheng, ambassadorial attaché to Budapest in 1956, described the relations between Hungarian politicians and the staff of the Chinese Embassy as friendly.[8] The background to this may be that the Chinese diplomats were unforthcoming in making their opinions public, partly on orders from Beijing and according to traditional Chinese reserve, and partly because they were unfamiliar with the character and details of the events. The 28 October request from the Embassy in Budapest to Beijing, for instructions relating to appropriate conduct (see Document 4), was answered on 2 November (see Document 8). At the outset of disturbances, the iron gate of the embassy was locked, and staff refrained from all direct contact with Hungarians. Approaches even from former leaders of the Hungarian Workers’ Party, such as Central Leadership Secretary Béla Vég who had visited China in May 1956, were declined.[9] Employees at the embassy were not permitted the leave the building; indeed, Ambassador Hao ordered all of the scholarship students studying in Budapest to the embassy building on Gorky Avenue. Chinese diplomats got word of the events from their continued discussions with diplomats of the socialist countries (for instance, with the exceptionally well-informed Polish Ambassador Adam Willman), from radio broadcasts, with the assistance of Hungarian-speaking Chinese students, from flyers collected from the streets, and from other press sources that occasionally reached them (see Document 9).

Until 30 October, the Chinese leadership only once expressed an opinion in connection with the Hungarian events. News on Hungary first appeared in Renmin Ribao on 27 October, on the basis of reports from the Prague correspondent of the Xinhua News Agency. The headline of the report said: “The Hungarian Workers’ Party Central Leadership has changed the title of the leading bodies,” with the sub-heading “Kádár is First Secretary, Apró et. al. members of the Politburo.” Below, in small type, the news came that: “Students hold peaceful demonstrations in Budapest and elsewhere, counterrevolutionaries exploit the occasion and cause armed disturbances.” The choice of title was probably the result of caution on the part of the Chinese, as well as the fact that details of the events were not yet known. On 27 October, the embassy stated that Hungarian counterrevolutionary armed forces had been basically eliminated, and on 28 October that Nagy had made a statement in which he, on behalf of the newly formed government, called upon all those who were in possession of weapons to refrain from all kinds of battle activities and to surrender their arms immediately, and that “following Nagy’s statement today the rifles and cannons slowly fell silent, as if the fight had come to an end and order had been restored.” From the statements published without comment in Renmin Ribao on 28 and 29 October, it seems that the storm had quieted, that the protestors had ceased their opposition at the request of the Hungarian government, that weapons had fallen silent in Budapest, and that the Hungarian government and people were working to restore peaceful life.[10]

The Chinese delegation staying in Moscow enquired directly from their Soviet comrades about the situation in Budapest. At a meeting on 24 October, the Hungarian events were also discussed. Liu Shaoqi, however, in accordance with his authority, spoke only on the Polish question. Liu stressed that he approved of the actions of the Polish Central Committee. CCP delegates at the meetings in the Soviet capital attempted to strengthen the position and influence of the Chinese party within the socialist camp, and to limit, wherever possible, the influence of Moscow. Liu adhered to the principle that the Soviet Union was the center of the socialist camp, and that there could be no other center, though he also said that the Soviets had committed errors which had to be rectified. One of the errors he identified was that which Mao had termed “great-power chauvinism;” that “they had at times imposed [their will] on us.” Moreover, Liu linked all this to hurried decisions and formal errors, and surmised that the errors be corrected in advance, and only then made public knowledge.[11] Liu also took part in the meeting of the Soviet Presidium on 26 October, and although he could have already known of the Hungarian developments by the time of the meeting (during which Hungary was also discussed), he only spoke up in connection with Rokossowski and Gomułka. As on 24 October, he had nothing to say on Hungarian events.[12]

On 27 October, the Foreign Ministry in Beijing sent a summary to their embassy in Moscow and to Deputy Chairman Liu, of fraternal countries’ reactions to events in Poland and Hungary, but the summary contained only a few short notes on the Hungarian situation. Citing the opinion of the Czechoslovak Deputy Premier, the report established that “the Hungarian situation is no less serious than the Polish. An editorial in the Hungarian trade unions’ paper has demanded Rákosi’s arrest. The dissolved literary and cultural organizations may reform after Rajk’s state funeral. It could be said that the Hungarian Party has absolutely no proposition concerning Nagy, and is acting in a wholly contradictory fashion.” In the opinion of the head of the GDR Defense Ministry’s Information Department, “the situation in Hungary was even more serious than in Poland. The university students’ self-governing body had been formed, drawn up numerous criticisms and demanded, amongst other things, freedom of expression in the press, and the freedom for university students to travel abroad.”[13]

On 30 October, the Soviet Presidium debated the declaration on the relationship between the Soviet Union and other socialist countries. Khrushchev made the Chinese opinion known, according to which the Soviet Union should take account of the views of the countries in which Soviet troops were based.[14] Judging by the Soviet leaders’ notes, Liu Shaoqi informed the Soviets of the Chinese Party’s opinion on the declaration, which also appeared in the Chinese statement of 1 November, namely that Pancha Shila, the five principles of peaceful coexistence drawn up in 1954, on the basis of which the Chinese and the Indian Premiers had reviewed relations between the two states with different social systems, should be extended to relations between socialist countries.

The Chinese opinion on the withdrawal of troops changed on 30 October. According to Chinese memoirs, this change took place after Liu had consulted with Mao on the telephone and informed him of the latest Hungarian events, whereupon Mao, recognizing the Hungarian events’ anti-socialist character, revised his opinion. During the meeting on 30 October, in which Chinese delegates also took part, Liu Shaoqi indicated “on behalf of the CCP CC that troops must remain in Hungary and in Budapest.” Khrushchev then said that: “There are two paths. A military path—one of occupation. A peaceful path—the withdrawal of troops, negotiations.” [15]

The key question, why Khrushchev and the party leadership changed their opinion from the 30 October to 31 October, has still to this day not been satisfactorily answered. The external reasons—the change in the international situation and the Suez Crisis—as well as struggles within the Soviet party—namely that Khrushchev wanted to defend his leadership against internal opposition—all played a part in the turnaround. There still remains, however, no decisive proof of the Chinese role in this.

Chinese memoirs supporting the official Chinese position (such as those of Wu Lengxi and Shi Zhe) recall that Mao Zedong criticized the Soviets on 30 October because, on the one hand, they had committed errors in Poland, wanting to intervene where intervention was unnecessary, and, on the other, they had wanted to withdraw from Hungary, where intervention was in fact required.[16] It appears from the aforementioned that if Mao’s opinion changed after 30 October, his opinion had no influence on the Soviet decision makers. Not one Soviet leader implied that the Chinese would have supported intervention. On 1 November, Bulganin commented on the decision taken the day before: “The international situation has changed. If we don’t take measures, we will lose Hungary.”[17] Kaganovich added that: “The discussion was complicated. The Chinese said that we should not withdraw troops.”[18] Neither Bulganin not Kaganovich said, therefore, that the Chinese supported intervention. Kaganovich’s words imply that the Chinese spoke only on the question of whether troops should remain in or withdraw from Hungary.

The Soviet statements cited above do not contradict the Soviet explanation given later during the disputes of the 1960s; that although the Chinese opposed the troops’ withdrawal, Liu had said that patience was required, that the “counterrevolutionaries” should be allowed time to reveal their true nature, and only after should be seized upon. Indeed, the memoirs of the Chinese delegation’s interpreter explicitly bear out this variation. According to Shi Zhe, Mao told Liu during their telephone conversation that both options—withdrawal or intervention—should be considered. Mao leaned toward the latter, saying that the best solution would be to wait a little until the counterrevolutionaries revealed themselves, and action should be taken only when the people could see more clearly. The Soviet version of events, dated 5 November 1960, runs as follows: “A couple of days later, already after the suppression of the Hungarian counterrevolution, at a meeting with the Soviet Ambassador in Beijing, Comrade Liu Shaoqi said that it was too early for the Soviet troops to interfere and suppress the counterrevolutionary revolt. ‘It is probable—he said—that your decision was too hurried. If the Soviet troops had marched in 7 or 10 or even 20 days later, by that time the Hungarian people could have seen better the true face of the reaction, and could have understood better the role of the Soviet Army. By the time the counterrevolution came to an end, reactionary forces would have become totally unrestrained. They would have driven away Imre Nagy, and Mindszenthy and his friends would have come to power. They would have exposed themselves to an even greater extent with their terrorist actions, and the real communists and other progressive people would have escaped to the Soviet troops, to Romania and other countries.’”[19]

The authenticity of Mao’s opinion formed in October 1956 is in fact borne out by the tactic applied in the spring of 1957 at the time of the second launch of the Hundred Flowers campaign when, for a period of two weeks, “right-wing elements” were initially left to “expose themselves.” Restrictions were later placed upon opportunities for expressing opinions, but critics of the system went unpunished and only in early summer was the Anti-Rightist Campaign launched.

Chinese diplomatic records also contradict the notion of the Chinese role, in reporting that the Chinese ambassador in Budapest knew nothing of Moscow’s decision, and only learned of Soviet intervention preparations from Imre Nagy (See Document 7). Moreover, as it was already mentioned, because the Chinese Embassy in Budapest did not possess a radio transmitter-receiver, and had no secure telegram connection with Beijing during the last days of October, the Ambassador’s messages only arrived in Mao’s hands a few days later. Between 28 and 31 October, Beijing received no communication from the Embassy in Budapest. On the telegrams sent by the Chinese Embassy in Budapest to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, the time of sending, the time of arrival at the Foreign Ministry, and the time of transcription are indicated. The dates show that two-to-three days passed between the sending of the telegram, and its issue in written form. Between 28 October and 30 October, no communications from Budapest whatever were received at the Foreign Ministry. Communications sent after 11 a.m. from Budapest on 28 October arrived only on 31 October, or even later, in Beijing.

There is one other question: namely the Soviet declaration issued on 30 October, according to which the Soviet Union, in its ongoing policy with socialist countries, regarded the respect for the principles of full equality, respect of territorial integrity, state sovereignty, and non-interference in one another’s domestic affairs, as authoritative. Chinese authors read the declaration as irrefutable proof that the Chinese had brought pressure to bear on the Soviet leaders to break with the policy of great-power chauvinism, in the interest of recognizing the Pancha Shila. We do not know the details of the Chinese role in the formulation of the declaration, but they may however have played a part in its publication, for which they promised public and immediate support.

The Chinese leadership’s reaction to the declaration, setting out new foundations for the relationship between the Soviet Union and socialist countries, was immediate. The Chinese response appeared in Renmin Ribao on 1 November which, given the time difference, was less than twenty-four hours after the Soviet declaration was made public. The Chinese statement supported the Soviet declaration, but at the same time condemned Soviet “great-power chauvinism,” which “seriously harms the solidarity and common affairs of socialist countries.” One would have good reason to presume that Mao, who was anxious for power and strove for the distinction of becoming theorist and leader of the international communist movement, was not motivated primarily by concern over Hungarian events at that time, but by concern for his own political future. His emphasis was on the fact that “the leaders of our Government, its officials, and the whole people must be vigilant to forestall the errors of Chauvinism in relations with socialist and other countries,” and that “we must engage in non-stop education of our officials, and of our whole nation, in firm opposition to great-power chauvinism. Thus our responsibility is the promotion of peaceful coexistence among all nations [emphasis added] and in the cause of world peace.” This was nothing other than a criticism of Soviet policy, a highly refined formulation of Chinese independence from the Soviets, and possibly a high-handed countenance against Soviet military intervention. The Chinese statement also contradicts a possible Chinese role in Soviet decision making. The Chinese government issued its declaration condemning Soviet great power chauvinism on 1 November, that is after the decision about the second intervention had been made in Moscow. Had the decision been made upon Chinese pressure and according to Chinese intentions, the Chinese reaction would not be criticism of the 30 October Soviet declaration.

The Chinese statement was interpreted in the Hungarian press as “China stands by us.” Articles containing this interpretation appeared in Népszava (People’s Word) on 2 November (“An important Chinese Government statement on the correctness of the Hungarian and Polish people’s demands”), and in Új Magyarország (New Hungary) (“China views the Soviet armed forces’ intervention in the Hungarian revolution as imperialist aggression”), while Radio Free Europe also interpreted the Chinese statement as standing up for Hungary.[20] Having seen the reactions from Budapest, Ambassador Hao immediately reported to Beijing that the Hungarians had “misunderstood” the Chinese statement (see Document 6).

After 1 November, the Chinese leadership, having criticized the Soviets, changed its position immediately, and lined up behind the Soviet Union, or, more precisely, and according to its own intentions, lined up alongside it. Mao realized that he had no other choice but to limit his role to the support of Soviet actions. Mao could only set out his aims in terms of attempting to extend his influence in the largest possible measure over the European countries in the Soviet orbit. On 2 November, Zhou Enlai received the Hungarian Ambassador to Beijing, Ágoston Szkladán, on his parting visit. The Chinese Premier noted again and again that Hungary was facing a very difficult period, but added that the Hungarian people and Party fighting for socialism could trust in the support of the Chinese people and Party (See Document 5).

After 1 November, the critical attitude disappeared from the Chinese media. The editorial in Renmin Ribao on 3 November championed the great unity of socialist countries. The paper wrote that “the Chinese people stand firmly on the side of the Soviet-led socialist camp. The friendship of the People’s Republic of China and the Soviet Union is eternal and unshakeable.”[21] The Renmin Ribao editorial of 5 November announced the victory of Soviet forces in Hungary. Because of the seven-hour time difference between Budapest and Beijing, the article dated 4 November must have been written when Soviet forces were only beginning their action. (The title of the Renmin Ribao editorial was “The Hungarian Workers’ and Peasants’ Revolutionary Government has been formed. The counterrevolutionary restoration conspiracy has been routed with assistance from the Soviet Army.”) According to the article congratulating the Hungarian people on their great victory, “the importance of the friendship of the great Soviet Union for every socialist country was, once again, gloriously proved in this Hungarian incident.” “There are some who did not count on the international spirit of the Russian people, or on the necessity of unity among socialist countries.” The article went on: “the success of Hungarian counterrevolutionary restoration would have meant that the independence, freedom and security of the European socialist countries would have been threatened by the aggression of imperialist forces. This threat would have extended not only to the socialist countries of Europe, but also to the Asian socialist countries, and likewise to the world socialist and workers’ movement […]. Respectful greetings to the Soviet people and the Soviet Army which has liberated the Hungarian people twice [emphasis added].”[22] The article contained no mention of chauvinism, or any kind of criticism of the Soviet Union. By November 5, the Chinese leadership, grappling with serious domestic political problems, realized that it could not achieve military independence from the Soviet Union: the Soviet Army could as easily march in on Manchuria or Beijing, as it had done in Budapest.[23]

Starting from the 1960s, the Chinese line of argument was that Mao and the Chinese party leadership had changed their opinions in the last days of October on the basis of the terrible news arriving from Budapest, and tried with all their might to exert influence in order to persuade the apparently weak Khrushchev to bring in Soviet troops and, following the acknowledgment of the true “counterrevolutionary” character of the Hungarian events, gave every support to the Kádár government after 4 November. In the light of the Chinese Foreign Ministry archival documents, however, this argument was probably not more than an attempt to cover up the fact that the Chinese merely conformed to the Soviets’ decisions because Mao did not feel the time yet right for an open confrontation with Moscow.

Péter Vámos CSc is Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of History, Research Centre for the Humanities, Hungarian Academy of Sciences. He would like to thank OTKA (K78484) and Imre Kertész Kolleg Jena for their support.


Documents Chinese Foreign Ministry Archive 

Document No. 1

Cable from the Chinese Embassy in Hungary, ‘The 8th Plenum of the Polish Party Central Committee has met with a Great Response in Hungary,’ 23 October 1956

[Source: PRC FMA 109-1041-01, 1-2. Obtained by Péter Vámos and translated by Péter Vámos and Gwenyth A. Jones.]


Document No. 2

Cable from the Chinese Embassy in Hungary, ‘Summary of the Counterrevolutionary Rebellion taking place in the Hungarian Capital,’ 24 October 1956

[Source: PRC FMA 109-1041-01, 10-11. Obtained by Péter Vámos and translated by Péter Vámos and Gwenyth A. Jones.]


Document No. 3

Cable from the Chinese Embassy in Hungary, ‘The Situation in the Hungarian capital following the Outbreak of the Counterrevolutionary Rebellion,’ 26 October 1956

[Source: PRC FMA 109-1041-01. Obtained by Péter Vámos and translated by Péter Vámos and Gwenyth A. Jones.]


Document No. 4

Cable from the Chinese Embassy in Hungary, ‘Please Inform Us of the Appropriate Attitude towards the Hungarian Events,’ 28 October 1956

[Source: PRC FMA 109-1041-01, 36. Obtained by Péter Vámos and translated by Péter Vámos and Gwenyth A. Jones.]


Document No. 5

Record of Conversation from Premier Zhou’s receiving of the Hungarian Ambassador to China Ágoston Szkladán on his Farewell Visit, 2 November 1956

[Source: PRC FMA 109-01038-02. Obtained by Péter Vámos and translated by Péter Vámos and Gwenyth A. Jones.]


Document No. 6

Cable from the Chinese Embassy in Hungary, ‘The Hungarian Paper Justice Incorrectly Interpreted Our Statement,’ 2 November 1956

[Source: PRC FMA 109-1041-01, 89. Obtained by Péter Vámos and translated by Péter Vámos and Gwenyth A. Jones.]


Document No. 7

Cable from the Chinese Embassy in Hungary, ‘On the Meeting between Imre Nagy and Ambassador Hao Deqing,’ 2 November 1956

[Source: PRC FMA 109-1041-01, 97-101. Obtained by Péter Vámos and translated by Péter Vámos and Gwenyth A. Jones.]


Document No. 8

Cable from the Chinese Foreign Ministry, ‘On Our Attitude towards Hungary,’ 2 November 1956

[Source: PRC FMA 109-1041-01. Obtained by Péter Vámos and translated by Péter Vámos and Gwenyth A. Jones.]


Document No. 9

Cable from the Chinese Embassy in Hungary, ‘Excerpt from the Chinese Embassy to Hungary’s 1956 Annual Summary and the Submission of the 1957 Work Plan,’ 28 January 1957

[Source: PRC FMA 109-01037-01. Obtained by Péter Vámos and translated by Péter Vámos and Gwenyth A. Jones.]

[1] Sándor Szobolevszki, “1956: Kína és Magyarország” (“1956: China and Hungary”), in Társadalmi Szemle (November 1996): 86.

[2] Szobolevszki, “1956: Kína és Magyarország,” 87.

[3] For the records of the Chinese Embassy in Hungary, see “Telegrams sent during the counterrevolutionary events in Hungary on the Hungarian domestic situation,” 23 October – 5 November 1956, 117 pages, Archive of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China (hereafter PRC FMA), 109-01041-01.

[4] “Deputy Head of Department Li Huichuan’s meeting with the Hungarian Embassy’s chargé d’affaires Endre Galla. Main points of the meeting. 25-27 October 1956,” PRC FMA 109-01039-05.

[5] Hu Sisheng and Li Nan, “Report on the situation in Budapest,” 8 November 1956, PRC FMA 109-01042-01. Li Nan’s first report from Hungary was published in Neibu Cankao (Internal Reference) on 20 November.

[6] Hu Jibang sent her first report to Beijing on 13 November. See “Report on the situation in Hungary,” PRC FMA 109-01042-01. Hu Jibang’s first article in Neibu Cankao was published on 1 December.

[7] Pang Xianzhi and Jin Zhongji, Mao Zedong zhuan, 1949-1976 (Biography of Mao Zedong, 1949-1976) (Beijing: Zhongyang wenxian chubanshe, 2003), 604.

[8] Author’s interview with Xia Daosheng, Beijing, 9 July 2004.

[9] “The one-time Central Committee secretary of the Hungarian Party wished to borrow the Embassy’s car, etc.,” 31 October 1956, PRC FMA 109-01041-01.

[10] See “Xiong zhengfu xianling panluanzhe thingzhi dikang. Yi you dapi baoluanzhe fangxia wuqi” (“Hungarian Government ordered rebels to stop resistance. A great number of rioters surrendered their weapons”), Renmin Ribao (28 October 1956): 5; “Baoluanfenzi qingqiu tanpan, Budapeisi zanshi tinghuo. Xiong zhengfu he renmin zheng shefa huifu heping shenghuo” (“Rioting elements ask for negotiations, temporary ceasefire in Budapest. Hungarian Government and people prepare for peaceful life“), Renmin Ribao (29 October 1956):  5.

[11] Vjacseszlav–Rainer Szereda, and M. János, eds., Döntés a Kremlben, 1956: A szovjet pártelnökség vitái Magyarországról. (Decision in the Kremlin, 1956. The Debates of the Soviet Party Presidium on Hungary) (Budapest: 1956-os Intézet, 1996), 30-1.

[12] “The ‘Malin Notes’ on the Crises in Hungary and Poland, 1956,” translated and annotated by Mark Kramer, Cold War International History Project Bulletin 8/9 (Winter 1996/1997): 389.

[13] “The Foreign Ministry summary of the fraternal countries’ reactions to the Polish and Hungarian events,” 27 October 1956, PRC FMA, 109-00972-05.

[14] “The ‘Malin Notes’ on the Crises in Hungary and Poland, 1956,” 392.

[15] “The ‘Malin Notes’ on the Crises in Hungary and Poland, 1956,” 383.

[16] Wu, Lengxi, Shi nian lunzhan, 1956-1966. Zhong-Su guanxi huiyilu. 1-2 (Ten Years of Polemics,1956-66. Recollections on Sino-Soviet Relations) (Beijing: Zhongyang wenxian chubanshe, 1999, 2000), 51.

[17] “The ‘Malin Notes’ on the Crises in Hungary and Poland, 1956,” 394.

[18] “The ‘Malin Notes’ on the Crises in Hungary and Poland, 1956,” 395.

[19] See Szobolevszki, “1956: Kína és Magyarország,” 87.

[20] See György Vámos, ed., A Szabad Európa Rádió és a magyar forradalom (Radio Free Europe and the Hungarian Revolution) (Budapest: MTA Társadalomkutató Központ, 2010), 902, 1056.

[21] “Shehuizhuyi geguo de weida tuanjie wansui!” (“Long live the great unity of Socialist countries!”), Renmin Ribao (3 November 1956): 1.

[22] “Qingzhu Xiongyali renmin de weida shengli!” (“Congratulations to the Hungarian people on their great victory!”); “Xiongyali Gongnong Geming Zhengfu chengli. Zai sujun yuanzhuxia fensuile fangeming fubi yinmou.” (“The Hungarian Workers’ and Peasants’ Revolutionary Government has been formed. The counterrevolutionary restoration conspiracy has been routed with help from the Soviet Army”), Renmin Ribao (5 November 1956): 1.

[23] China News Analysis (Hong Kong) (9 November 1956):.2. László Ladányi’s assessment is confirmed by the fact that the Chinese press in November and December of 1956 were primarily concerned with the relations between socialist countries, and the censure of great-power chauvinism. 



About the Author

Péter Vámos

Institute of History, Research Centre for the Humanities, Budapest
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