In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Reviews 289 Qiang Zhai. The Dragon, the Lion, and the Eagle: Chinese-British-American Rektions, 1949-1958. Kent (Ohio) and London: The Kent State University Press, 1994. xi, 284 pp. Hardcover $32.00. This is the only available one-volume survey ofrelations among the United States, Great Britain, and the People's Republic of China (PRC). Zhai sets out to examine "Anglo-American policy toward die PRC between 1949 and 1958 and the reaction ofthe Chinese Communist Party" (p. 1), and "to describe in detail the role ofindividual policy makers" of the PRC in order to "enrich understanding the CCP's foreign policy" (p. 3). While Zhai has generally done a good job in reconstructing the debates among American and British policy makers on issues like Soviet-PRC relations, Tibet, the Korean War, the partition ofVietnam, and die two Taiwan Straits crises, one cannot say the same in the case of the PRC. Despite Zhai's claim to the contrary, this work does not explain the policy process in the PRC. Here and there Zhai refers to decisions made or instructions issued by individual Chinese leaders, notably Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai. However, there is no interpretative framework for understanding die PRCs foreign policy. Nor is tiiere an exposition ofhow policies on external relations were made in die PRC in this period. As to the U.S. and Britain's respective policies toward China, Zhai's account is also somewhat patchy and sometimes superficial. There are indeed glaring omissions , too. For example, one is bewildered that Hong Kong appears only in passing , even though one would have expected it to be potentially the most explosive issue between Britain and the PRC. After all, on the only occasion when Western forces and die PLA engaged in combat during the Chinese Civil War (viz. the Amethyst Incident of 1949), die foreign forces were British units based in Hong Kong, and Britain subsequently massively expanded its small garrison in Hong Kong, made up mainly ofinfantry, to a force of30,000 supported by tanks, heavy artillery, fighters, bombers, and a powerful fleet including an aircraft carrier, as the PLA swept across southern China. Why was such an apparently hostile military buildup by die British, which surpassed anything the Americans did before the Korean War, ignored in this work? Zhai's neglect ofHong Kong either leads to or reflects a failure to put into perspective not only Britain's China policy, but also the PRC's policy toward die British and an important element in Anglo-American cooperation. Since the© 1995 by University pRC's foreign policy was focused upon national reunification, why did Beijing igofHawai 'iPressnQre ^ Hong Kong quesuon? JnJ5 [s particularlyodd since Britain had made a wartime commitment to discuss the future of Hong Kong after the defeat ofJapan with die government of China, which under British law was the PRC govern- 290 China Review International: Vol. 2, No. 1, Spring 1995 ment by January 1950. Likewise, this omission means Zhai has overlooked die fact that Britain's policy toward die U.S. in the Far East was also, to an extent, dictated by die British need and policy to enlist U.S. support in the defense of Hong Kong, particularly should die PRC invade widi Soviet backing. In short, Zhai is reasonably good at reconstructing the policy debates on his chosen topics as represented in the archives and personal memoirs that he has consulted. He is weak in working out the frameworks upon which were based die policies of die diree powers concerned, and has failed to identify the unifying theme in their triangular relations. This work also suffers from another serious omission: it completely ignores Taiwan or the Republic of China as an actor even though the two Taiwan Straits crises constitute about a quarter of the book. This is a pity, as important questions such as Taipei's input into the making of the United States' China policy— for example, over the level ofU.S. military involvements during the two Straits crises—has not been taken properly into account. Zhai's analysis ofU.S. policy toward die Straits crises is hollow because he ignores the actual military situation there, particularly...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
pp. 289-291
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.