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China Learns from the Soviet Union, 1949–Present

Edited by Hua-Yu Li - Contributions by Thomas P. Bernstein; Tina Mai Chen; Izabella Goikhman; Guiha Guan; Donghui He; Xiaojia Hou; You Ji; Hanbing Kong; Lorenz Luthi; Elizabeth McGuire; Gregory Rohlf; Gilbert Rozman; Laurence Schneider; Douglas Stiffler; Péter Vámos; Miin-ling Yu; Jian Zang; Shengfa Zhang and Minglang Zhou

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It is well known that the Soviet Union strongly influenced China in the early 1950s, since China committed itself both to the Sino-Soviet alliance and to the Soviet model of building socialism. What is less well known is that Chinese proved receptive not only to the Soviet economic model but also to the emulation of the Soviet Union in realms such as those of ideology, education, science, and culture. In this book an international group of scholars examines China's acceptance and ultimate rejection of Soviet models and practices in economic, cultural, social, and other realms. The chapters vividly illustrate the wide-ranging and multi-dimensional nature of Soviet influence, which to this day continues to manifest itself in one critical aspect, namely in China's rejection of liberal political reform. « less more »
Lexington Books
Pages: 562Size: 6 1/2 x 9 1/2
978-0-7391-4222-6 • Hardback • January 2010 • $140.00 • (£95.00)
978-0-7391-4223-3 • Paperback • June 2011 • $54.99 • (£37.95)
978-0-7391-4224-0 • eBook • January 2010 • $54.99 • (£37.95)
Thomas P. Bernstein is professor emeritus of political science at Columbia University.

Hua-Yu Li is associate professor of political science at Oregon State University.
Chapter 1 Preface
Chapter 2 Introduction: The Complexities of Learning from the Soviet Union
Part 3 I. The Ups and Downs of Sino-Soviet Relations
Chapter 4 1. Sino-Soviet Relations during the Mao Years, 1949-1969
Chapter 5 2. The Main Causes for the Return of the Chinese Changchun Railway to China and its Impact on Sino-Soviet Relations
Chapter 6 3. "Only a Handshake but no Embrace:" Sino-Soviet Normalization in the 1980s
Part 7 II. Ideological and Military Influences
Chapter 8 4. Instilling Stalinism in Chinese Party Members: Absorbing Stalin's Short Course in the 1950s
Chapter 9 5. The Soviet Model and the Breakdown of the Military Alliance
Part 10 III. Soviet Economic Assistance and Socialist Transformation
Chapter 11 6. How to Build a Modern Economy: China Learns from the Soviet Union
Chapter 12 7. "Get Organized:" The Impact of the Soviet Model on the CCP's Rural Economic Strategy, 1949-l953
Chapter 13 8. Implementing the Soviet Model of State Farms in China
Part 14 IV. Society
Chapter 15 9. "Labor is Glorious:" Model Laborers in the PRC
Chapter 16 10. The Influence of Soviet Union on Gender Equality in China in the l950s
Part 17 V. Soviet Influence on Science and Education
Chapter 18 11. The Political Dimensions of Soviet-Chinese Academic Interactions in the l950s: Questioning the Impact -Response Approach
Chapter 19 12. "Three Blows of the Shoulder Pole:" Soviet Experts at Chinese People's University, 1950-1957
Chapter 20 13. Lysenkoism and the Suppression of Genetics in the PRC, 1949-1956
Chapter 21 14. Between Revolutions: Chinese Students in Soviet Institutes, 1948-l966
Part 22 VI. Literature and Film
Chapter 23 15. Coming of Age in the Brave New World: The Changing Reception of the Soviet Novel, How the Steel was Tempered, in the PRC
Chapter 24 16. Film and Gender in Sino-Soviet Cultural Exchange, 1949-69
Part 25 VII. The Era of Reform and the Impact of the Soviet Collapse
Chapter 26 17. China's Concurrent Debate about the Gorbachev Era
Chapter 27 18. Fate of the Soviet Model of Multinational State-Building in the PRC
Chapter 28 19. The Impact of the Collapse of the Soviet Union on China's Political Choices
Chapter 29 Concluding Assessment
The Sino-Soviet relationship has played a critical role in the development of the People's Republic of China. Basing their analysis on recent documentation from Russia as well as China, the authors in this collection contribute fresh and important insights into the nature of that relationship. It should be essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the evolution of Chinese domestic politics and foreign policy.
Steven M. Goldstein, Smith College


At the recent 60th anniversary of the People's Republic of China (PRC), an old slogan was repeated: 'Without the Chinese Communist Party there would be no New China.' We might also say: 'Without the Soviet Union, there would be no Communist Party of China,' and 'Without the Soviet Union, there would be no People's Republic of China.' The Chinese Communist Party grew up in the Stalinist era. Today, after three decades of market reform, there is still a Soviet DNA in its political culture. The essays in this volume, compiled by an outstanding group of international scholars, trace the story of China's most important foreign relationship in its periods of tutelage, partnership, and tension. They remind us that, whether as mentor or rival, revolutionary or revisionist, no foreign state has had greater weight in modern China than the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
William C. Kirby, Harvard University


This excellent and important volume will come as a revelation to many readers. Nearly every conceivable facet of the Sino-Soviet relationship is covered. The book's breadth reveals just how pervasive the Soviet model was in Chinese society, economics, politics, and culture.
Robert Ross, Boston College


This book is a fantastic resource for professors and students alike. It is a major work that will help scholars around the world to better understand the Soviet model's enduring legacy and how it affected and will continue to affect modern China.
The China Quarterly


The book contains a wealth of interesting and cogently presented perspectives on the Sino-Soviet relationship. It is highly recommended for both the specialist and the general reader.
The China Journal


Although this tale of less than brotherly love is a familiar one, this volume provides a wealth of detail based on extensive field research and archival work, explaining exactly how, what, and why China borrowed from Soviet experience. Resulting from a 2007 international conference involving established scholars and younger researchers, the volume also goes well beyond conventional wisdom in the study of Sino-Soviet alliance relations to address the complex set of circumstances that set limits to Chinese emulation and to the Sino-Soviet relationship itself.
Slavic Review


A sample of the soul-searching going on in Chinese academic circles about the reasons for the collapse of the Soviet Union, a subject that deserves greater attention for what it tells us about Chinese thinking regarding China's own current political and economic challenges.
Slavic Studies


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