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JSPES, Vol. 45, No. 3-4 (Fall-Winter 2020)
pp. 203-229

The Price of the U.S. Entanglements in China’s Domestic Affairs: The Chinese Civil War as a Case Study

Jalel ben haj Rehaiem

North Central College, Naperville, Chicago

Beijing frequently complains about what it calls interference by the United States in its internal affairs, in which latter it includes not only Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and Tibet, but also, it seems, the South China Sea. This is ironic in that not only does China owe its current prosperity largely to investment and technology from America, but it can be argued that the very survival and ultimate victory of the ruling Communist Party of China (CCP) was massively facilitated by American interference in China’s truly internal affairs. It was the American Administration of Roosevelt that, before and during World War II, stopped Chiang Kai-shek from effectively pursuing his efforts to wipe out Mao Zedong’s revolutionary CCP forces while these were still weak. And it was Truman’s Administration that failed to support Chiang Kai-shek’s exhausted Nationalist forces in their final post-War struggle against the now Soviet-backed forces of the CCP. By 1949 the CCP had taken control of the whole of Mainland China and was able to establish the current People’s Republic of China.

In researching this subject, the author not only consulted the large amount of literature already available on the subject but also primary sources of great historical value, including the US State Department 1949 archives and the memoirs of Ch'en Li-fu, Chiang Kai-shek’s personal secretary and confidant for almost three decades. The latter are a gold mine of insider information on the Generalissimo.