By Yongjin Zhang (auth.)

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Extra info for China in International Society since 1949: Alienation and Beyond

Sample text

It is also true that the Soviet Union and the Eastern-bloc countries were dominant in the PRe's foreign trade during most of the 1950s. The PRC in its first three years (1949-52) markedly reorientated its direction of foreign trade. ' Nevertheless, this is too narrow a reading of the evidence. One may ask to what significant extent inter-dependence as we understand it today characterised economic relations between the industrialised world and the developing countries at the time. One may indeed question the possibility and feasibility of foreign trade playing a role as the leading sector of such a continental, underdeveloped and traditional economy as the PRC had inherited.

Fourth, it developed an independent strategic thin king . This isolationism, it was further cont ended, was imbedded in Mao ' s ideolog y. It follow s logicall y that China after Mao witnessed eithe r ' the end o f isol ation' or a trend ' towards the end of isolationism'. Historical analog y was also frequently used to substantiate this cla im. Communist Chin a had inherited the Middle Kingdom syndro me from Imperial China . v What isolationism? " Tho se who have made the claim have never both ered to define what isolationism in the Ch inese context reall y mean s.

This is certainly not to deny that there were restrictive practices in China's policy towards the international economy. For example, borrowing Isolation or Alienation? 41 from the international capital markets was strictly prohibited. Neith er is this to argue that China's interactions with many other economies were not minimal. It is questionable, however, whether there was a deliberate policy of economic isolationism in China's development strategy . To conclude, a caution must be heeded. To argue that there was no isolationism in the PRe's foreign policy does not imply that some of its policies did not create circumstances in which the PRC found itself increasingly separated and isolated from the international community.

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