Alexandria Digital Research Library

Peaceful coexistence : Sino-African relations and the evolution of Maoist internationalism

Laboon, Patrick Michael
Degree Grantor:
University of California, Santa Barbara. Asian studies
Degree Supervisor:
Xiaowei Zheng
Place of Publication:
[Santa Barbara, Calif.]
University of California, Santa Barbara
Creation Date:
Issued Date:
African history, International relations, and Asian history
Dissertations, Academic and Online resources
M.A.--University of California, Santa Barbara, 2016

This thesis aims to analyze the methods utilized by the leadership of the People's Republic of China to foster relations with and spread Maoist ideology to Third World nations, which lasted throughout the Mao Era, from 1949-1976. While nations of Latin America and Asia were part of this initiative, of particular interest to this study is the development of relations between the PRC and various nations within the African continent. A number of studies on this subject, within the broader context of Chinese foreign relations, have attempted to ascribe meaning to these internationalist pursuits in a variety of ways. One of the defining questions which differentiates these studies hinges on to what degree the impact and importance of ideology, as opposed to more pragmatic and strategic goals, played in the adoption of these internationalist policies. However, this binary conceptualization of Chinese foreign policy not only ignores a significant number of influential factors, but is also at its core unanswerable. Whether Mao or other leaders undertook efforts to spread influence abroad cannot be determined simply as a pragmatic or ideologically motivated policy, for ideology shapes one's notion of what is practical. While many historians have attempted to solidify their own personal arguments on the subject, the complexities of the time period, and porosity between the concepts of ideology and practicality has hampered any attempts to definitively answer this question.

Breaking from these trends, this thesis intends to analyze not why, but how PRC leadership took on the enormous task of promoting relations with African nations to both the Chinese people and to the various peoples of Africa. Newspaper articles from People's Daily, propaganda posters, official speeches and diplomatic communications, amongst other sources and studies have been utilized to analyze the strategy behind this initiative. To promote Sino-African relations to their own people, the PRC relied upon using familiar elements of nationalism to promote the unfamiliar concept Maoist internationalism. Yet at the same time, key tenets of China-centered internationalism also called back upon China's long history as a regional superpower. Within Africa, China's understanding of many African nations positions as newly liberated states helped them formulate programs for aid with no strings attached and assurances of diplomatic friendship, which still propel Sino-African relations today. African leaders, who picked and chose elements of Maoism to adjunct with their own native ideologies and goals, accepted these ties to create a relationship defined by mutualism. While an essential aspect of the original Maoist interpretation of 'internationalism' required violent world revolution led by the Chinese nation, historical developments and pressing foreign policy matters reshaped this Chinese-led internationalism into a sustained policy of non-intervention and peaceful coexistence based upon the tenets of defensive anti-imperialism rather than aggressive revolution. While the revolutionary ideologies of African liberation movements and that of Maoist Internationalism shared many similarities, it was this adherence to the simple respect for national sovereignty that has sustained Sino-African relations for the past half-century.

Physical Description:
1 online resource (76 pages)
UCSB electronic theses and dissertations
Catalog System Number:
Inc.icon only.dark In Copyright
Copyright Holder:
Patrick Laboon
File Description
Access: Public access
Laboon_ucsb_0035N_13124.pdf pdf (Portable Document Format)