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  • Print publication year: 2010
  • Online publication date: September 2010

9 - China and the Cold War after Mao

On September 9, 1976, Mao Zedong, the Chinese Communist leader who had ruled the country for twenty-seven years, died. After Mao's death, Deng Xiaoping emerged as China's paramount leader. At the center of China's political chronology in the last decade of Mao's life was the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. The Chinese-American rapprochement reshaped a world that had been profoundly divided by the global Cold War. In a handwritten letter, Carter told Deng that Beijing should not use military means to deal with Hanoi. After the Vietnamese Communists unified the whole country in 1975, hostility quickly developed between Beijing and Hanoi, eventually leading to a major border war in early 1979. Beijing's partnership with Washington and its continued confrontation with Moscow completely altered the balance of power between the two superpowers. The rapprochement between Beijing and Moscow ensured that the tragedy of Tiananmen would be widely covered by the international media.
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The Cambridge History of the Cold War
  • Online ISBN: 9781139056106
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