China: Political Reports 1961–1970

ISBN:  (13) 978-1-84097-020-3   Published: 2003 
Extent:  3 volumes, 1,800 pages  Editor: R.L. Jarman
Paper: Printed on acid free paper
Binding: Library bindings
See sample pages: not available


China Political Reports 1960-1971 is the second part of two collections of reports which have been established as an integrated series by the editor Robert L. Jarman, F.R.G.S. The documents are listed in detail at the front of each volume and source references given for the benefit of scholars.
In this period is the recovery from the 'Great Leap Forward' and the main thrust of the 'Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution' which two events alone would sustain research for years to come but also within this period are the huge foreign relations disputes that grew out of the complications of the cold war.


For China the 1960s was above all the decade of the ‘great proletarian Cultural Revolution,’ launched by Mao in 1966. In the early 1960s China’s economy had struggled to recover from the ‘Great Leap Forward’ of 1958, and Mao appeared to withdraw from domestic affairs to concern himself with international and ideological matters. The impulse for the Cultural Revolution seemed to be Mao’s perception of a fall in revolutionary fervour in China combined with his own increasing age and declining influence. The Cultural Revolution was aimed at party cadres taking the capitalist road, and engaged school and university students in attacks on their teachers and social leaders. Mao’s wife, Jiang Qing, now played a key role in imposing a narrow dogma in cultural and social affairs. By 1968 the revolution had largely disintegrated and the organisations were disbanded. At the end of the decade the military had emerged with increased power and influence; a new constitution was proclaimed to announce Mao’s successor, as internal power struggles intensified. The chairman was to live on until 1976.
In the international arena, the 1960s were also the time of the cold war confrontation between the USA and the USSR; of the Vietnam War; and of continuous strategic and border tensions between China and the USSR. After pursuing an isolationist policy during the Cultural Revolution, towards the end of the decade China sought to renew diplomatic contacts in order to strengthen its position vis-à-vis the Soviets. The decade ended in near-conflict between the two powers, a situation that was to attract to Peking the visits of Kissinger in 1971 and Nixon in 1972.
From the Editor’s Introduction


The original collection of China Political Reports covered the period 1906–1960. With the passage of time the British government under the 30-year retention rule has released further diplomatic material. These three new volumes are now added to the original eleven volumes to publish the periodic political reports received from China by the British Foreign Office for the decade 1961–1970.
Again the attempt has been made to research and make available a complete and orderly collection of reports. The materials fall into the following categories, subject to some variation in the evolving titles and formats of the reports:
  • Annual Reports
  • Peking Fortnightly Summaries
  • Peking Observations
  • Shanghai Summaries
  • Occasional Reviews
Of these categories, the Peking Fortnightly Summaries, which had been running since 1954, are the most voluminous. However, this series is replaced in 1964 by a bulletin termed ‘Weekly Peking Press Themes on Internal Matters,’ which soon becomes fortnightly and in 1967 is discontinued. The volumes also include political and economic reports from Shanghai for the years 1961–1966 (the British office in Shanghai was sacked and closed in 1967). The quantity and extent of reports diminish substantially towards the end of the decade.
The occasional despatches continue throughout the period as a rich source of detailed comment on Chinese affairs, including such particular reports as:
  • the ‘Back to the Countryside’ movement (1962);
  • the National People’s Congress of 1963;
  • social education in China (1964);
  • modern Chinese heroes (1964);
  • applying Mao Tse-Tung’s thoughts in contemporary China (1966);
  • the great proletarian Cultural Revolution (1966);
  • the Cultural Revolution: the second stage (1966);
  • the Cultural Revolution stage III: the Red Guards (1966);
  • examples of Chinese non-cooperation with the British Diplomatic Mission (1967);
  • Shanghai: mob attacks and closure of British office (1967);
  • the Cultural Revolution: end of the movement (1968).
These great events are reported in detail, along with extensive and meticulous observations of day-to-day economic and social life in China. Documents are drawn preponderantly from the Foreign Office correspondence class at the British Public Record Office; each volume is headed by a schedule of documents, accompanied by file references for the benefit of scholars.


Volume 1: 1961-1962 

Volume 2: 1963-1964 

Volume 3: 1965-1970.
Within the volumes all the documents are arranged in strictly chronological order apart from one or two occasional reports which span a number of years. These are placed in the final year to which they refer.