- Making the Foreign Serve China: Managing Foreigners in the People's Republic
This book covers an important but often neglected aspect of the foreign relations of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP): the management of foreigners and the interactions of Chinese citizens with them. To make the foreign serve the Chinese revolution has always been an important goal in the CCP's united-front strategy. From the beginning of his political career, Mao Zedong was attentive to the issue of how to use foreigners in advancing his revolutionary agenda, and his successors in the Party leadership continued his practice. This important component of the CCP's foreign affairs has not received comprehensive treatment until this book. In preparing for this volume, Anne-Marie Brady drew upon her earlier study on one of the CCP's foreign helpers, the New Zealander Rewi Alley, and the present volume is based on solid historical documentation; Brady has conducted exhaustive research in available Chinese sources and consulted extensively the secondary writings on her topic.
Contrary to the conventional practice of viewing the Yan'an period as the time when the CCP first developed its foreign support network, Brady traces the Party's policy on foreigners to its earliest days. She points out that the Chinese Communists had formulated their policy on the foreign presence in China during the first united front between the Nationalists and the CCP in the 1920s, working with Comintern agents to advance the Party's interests. The CCP's propaganda materials released during this period clearly indicate its apprehension of the enemy [End Page 27] within and of those who were potential collaborators with the foreign powers. In the early 1930s, however, a group of foreigners sympathetic to the CCP began to emerge in Shanghai. They were associated with Madame Sun Yat-sen, and indirectly with the Comintern. This group provided useful service to the CCP in assisting its underground, operating safe houses, and editing the Comintern-sponsored English-language magazine Voice of China. From the fringes of that group came the American journalist Edgar Snow, who would become one of the best-known international friends of the CCP. Before he made his famous 1936 trip to Yan'an to interview Mao, he and his wife Helen Foster Snow had both been active in supporting the student demonstrations in Beijing in 1935. The book Red Star over China, which was based on Snow's conversations with Mao, publicized to the world the CCP's official line and was instrumental in promoting the myth of Mao's leadership in the Party.
In addition to emphasizing Mao's work on foreign affairs in Yan'an, Brady also pays attention to the important role of Zhou Enlai in managing the CCP's international activities in the Nationalist-controlled areas during the 1930s. Calling Zhou "a brilliant diplomat," Brady regards him as "one of the most important influences on establishing China's foreign affairs traditions" (p. 51). As head of the Party's Yangzi Bureau, Zhou worked effectively in winning foreign endorsement, establishing relationships with many influential foreigners, including the British ambassador Sir Archibald Clarke-Kerr, the Anglican bishop of Hankou Logan Roots, the U.S. military attaché Joseph Stilwell, the U.S. consul general John Davies, and marine colonel Evans Carlson.
Brady refers to the journey of the American military-observer mission (the Dixie Mission) as well as foreign journalists to Yan'an in 1944 as another "diplomatic breakthrough" for the CCP. Mao talked with these foreign and Chinese journalists, and the reports of their impressions in Yan'an were highly positive, much to the gratification of Mao and his associates. The CCP carefully controlled what the journalists were permitted to observe, and the latter had to hand in their reports to the Ministry of Information for approval. Similarly, the Party carefully arranged propaganda activities during the visit of the Dixie Mission. CCP leaders considered the mission an expression of...