• Short Summary

    The recent illness of Chou En-Lai, premier of the People's Republic of China has brought into focus the looming problem of leadership which will face the country when either of the two giants of Chinese politics - Chairman Mao Tse-Tung and Chou - finally leave the stage.

  • Description

    The recent illness of Chou En-Lai, premier of the People's Republic of China has brought into focus the looming problem of leadership which will face the country when either of the two giants of Chinese politics - Chairman Mao Tse-Tung and Chou - finally leave the stage.

    Chou En-Lai will certainly be impossible to replace. For a quarter of a century, he has been the architect, ambassador and spokesman for China throughout the world. he was born near Shanghai in 1898 and is a veteran of the revolutionary movement in China. Unlike Mao Tse-Tung, who is of peasant origin, Chow comes from mandarin stock. He was given a Western education and learned English at Nankai university and later completed his studies in Paris.

    But this educated, cultured aristocrat became deeply involved with the Chinese Communist party in the early 1920's, when he became the faithful disciple of Mao -- an allegiance from which he has never swerved.

    He held political appointments with the revolutionary armies of the 1920's, joined with Mao in the Soviet Republic set up in Kangsi in 1931 and was at Mao's right hand throughout the famous 'Long March' in 1934, which was part of the bitter civil war against Chiang Kai-Shek's Nationalist regime.

    After the defeat of Japan in World War Two, when China reverted to internal strife, Chow En-Lai returned to the political struggle. And when the People's Republic of China was proclaimed in 1949, Chou was appointed Premier and Foreign Minister.

    Since then, Chou has survived unscathed through all China's continuing revolutionary upheavals and has emerged as a major statesman of the twentieth century.

    Throughout the 1950's and 60's, it was Chou who became China's principal spokesman and ambassador, and was the man who always conducted talks with the world's politicians and heads of state when they visited Peking.

    If Mao Tse-Tung was China's visionary, Chou is the one who translated vision into practicalities. And whenever China changed political direction - such as when it quarrelled with the Soviet Union over the increasingly divergent interpretations of Communism - Chou was able to mastermind and justify it.

    His biggest triumph was to choose the timing of the detente with the United States, which culminated with the visit of President Nixon to Peking in 1972. It was a snub to the Soviet Union and it also led to the acceptance of The People's Republic within the United Nations.

    And if the policy of splitting the United States from its support of the Chinese Nationalist regime in Taiwan has not been totally successful, Chou himself appears to have surmounted any criticism. As with the Cultural Revolution in 1966, which started to undermine the position of other Chinese leaders, Chou's stature seems to protect him from any direct attack.

    Now, at the age of 76, Chou is perhaps on the last lap of a journey which has brought him from obscurity to a permanent place in world history. Throughout the journey, he has been tireless in his work -- the new China. For a quarter of a century, he has held the key position, overseeing fundamental changes in China's position both internally and on the international scene.

    Other men have come and gone since Chou En-Lai set out to give practical application to the thoughts of Mao Tse-Tung, but Chou has served China continuously and well. And when he finally goes, the loss will be marked throughout the world.

    SYNOPSIS: Peking, May, 1974 ... former British Prime Minister Edward Heath is the guest of the most powerful men in the People's Republic of China, Chairman Mao Tse-Tung and his right-hand Man, Chou En-Lai.

    The occasion marked the re-emergence of Chou En-Lai after an illness which had raised questions about his ability to continue in office ... and the consequent problem of replacing this remarkable man.

    For quarter of a century - ever since the People's Republic of China was founded -- Chou En-Lai has been its architect, ambassador and spokesman throughout the world. If Chairman Mao is China's visionary, Chou is the man who has turned the vision into reality.

    Unlike Mao, who came from peasant stock, Chou came from the mandarin class. Educated, cultured, widely travelled, and multi-lingual, he was the natural choice as the man to interpret China's policies to both friend and enemy. A veteran of the revolutionary movement in China, chou has proved himself a masterful statesman. More that anyone else, it is he who has controlled the pattern of China's relations with the Soviet Union during the past decade.

    The event of the siolent Cultural Revolution in 1966, which saw the downfall of many of the Peking hierarchy did nothing to weaken Chou's position and when the ideological dust settled, Chou went on to his greatest triumph -- the detente with the United States which culminated with the visit of President Nixon to peking in 1972.

    The outcome was a significant change in China's position which enabled it to displace the Nationalist regime and take its seat in the United Nations.

    Now, at the age of 76, Chou En-Lai is perhaps on the last lap of a journey which has taken him from obscurity to a permanent place in world history. Throughout the journey, he has been tireless in his work for the new China. He has met and negotiated with every world leader of importance, never giving an inch in his political stance but never failing to be a charming and cultured host.

    In forty years as Mao Tse-Tung's right-hand man and a quarter of a century in office, Chou En-Lai has been China's dedicated servant. The problem of replacing him is one which looms large over his country.

    With Chou, here, are two of the men who may take over -- Li Hsien-Nien and Teng Hsiao-Ping. And yet there appears to be no one with Chou En-Lai's gifts of total dedication and political skill. And there is no other man with his experience on the international scene. And it is quite certain that when he finally goes, the loss will be marked throughout the world.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA4X08U6K5QQZKX4GW6NO4K614R
    Media URN:
    VLVA4X08U6K5QQZKX4GW6NO4K614R
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    30/05/1974
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:03:14:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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