DPRK, USSR and China: Historians Shen Zhihua and Li Danhui at Wilson Center Book Launch

Today at the Wilson Center, Prof. Shen Zhihua spoke at the public launch of the 2018 English language version of his new book (with Prof. Yafeng Xia) on PRC – DPRK relations A Misunderstood Friendship: Mao Zedong, Kim Il-sung, and Sino-North Korean Relations, 1949 – 1976.

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Prof. Li Danhui also introduced her new book, Mao and the Sino-Soviet Split at the book launch.

Li Danhui

At the book launch, Chinese historian of the Cold War Shen Zhihua 沈志华 explained (see video)  the traditional concept of the Heavenly Dynasty 天朝 that Mao Zedong applied to PRC – DPRK relations. Though he understood there were ups and downs and Koreans had a different perspective too!

Link to video: https://www.facebook.com/david.cowhig.77/videos/10214344466743006/

video

 

Prof. Shen said Mao Zedong at one point summarized the course of DPRK history this way: “The DPRK seedling was planted by the Soviet Union, uprooted by the Americans, replanted by the Chinese, and now has grown into a mature tree. And now it is disobedient!“

Prof. Shen said the idea of proletarian internationalism also resonated with the idea of a Heavenly Dynasty without borders, and the workers having no country but socialism.

Ten years ago while I was working in Chengdu, I came across Prof. Shen’s work online. I listened to an MP3 of his book Mao, Stalin and the Korean War based in part on research in Russian archives. Great book!

My State FSO friend Neil Silver translated the book some years ago. https://www.amazon.com/Mao-Stalin-Korean-War-T…/…/0415748127

I also attended the morning session “Chinese Foreign Relations under Mao: New Sources and Perspectives” that including an introduction to recent English translations of declassified Chinese diplomatic archives now on the Wilson Center Digital Archive.   https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/collections

 

 Wilson Digital Archive

 

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About 高大伟 David Cowhig

Worked 25 years as a US State Department Foreign Service Officer including ten years at US Embassy Beijing and US Consulate General Chengdu and four years as a China Analyst in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. Before State I translated Japanese and Chinese scientific and technical books and articles into English freelance for six years. Before that I taught English at Tunghai University in Taiwan for three years. And before that I worked two summers on Norwegian farms, milking cows and feeding chickens.
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