Hua Geofeng, Chairman of the Communist Party of the People's Republic of China, is now in France, It is his first stop ion a three week tour that will also take him to West Germany, the United Kingdom and Italy.
Hua Geofeng, Chairman of the Communist Party of the People's Republic of China, is now in France, It is his first stop ion a three week tour that will also take him to West Germany, the United Kingdom and Italy. This will be first time that a Chinese Party Chairman has ever visited Western Europe. Hua is looking for co-operation both in strengthening China's defence and with the modernisation programme which China has undertaken since he cam to power.
SYNOPSIS: The name of Hua Guofeng was scarcely known outside China in February 1976, when he became acting Prime Minister. The appointment, a month after the death of this predecessor, Chou En-lai, caused some surprise. Hua then ranked only 12th in the Chinese leadership.
In just over a year, the scene had changed drastically. Hua was in supreme power, as Party Chairman and Prime Minister, with Deng Xiaoping in support ads Deputy Prime Minister. The radical "gang of four" had ben expelled from the Communist Party. This followed the death of Chairman Mao Tse-tung in September 1976. The dying Mao was quoted as saying that he was "at ease" with the knowledge that Hua was in charge.
In the disastrous earthquakes of July 1976, Hua was soon on the sport to assess the situation for himself. He has a record, going back to his days as a party officials in Hunan Province, of being someone who get things done. He was out with a spade to help in rebuilding a big dam near Peking which had been damaged in the earthquakes.
There was a spectacular welcome at Peking airport two years ago for President Tito of yugoslavia. yugoslavia and Rumania are the two Eastern European countries with which Chairman Hua has cultivated closer relations; and he has come under criticism from Moscow for doing so. Besides being host to President Tito in 1977, he also received President Ceausescu of Rumania; and last year he returned both visits.
The pleasant informality of his contact -- like this one with folk dancers in a Bucharest street -- delighted the Chinese people.
In his formal talks and public speeches, Chairman Hua made a number of references to what he saw as the dangers of great-power rivalries in Europe and the rest of the world. On his way home from Eastern Europe, he paid a short visit to Iran.
The French Prime Minister Raymond Barre, is an old acquaintance whom Chairman Hua will be meeting again in Paris. Monsieur Barre visited Peking in January of last year.
Chairman Hua is in Western Europe at a time when China has just celebrated the 30th anniversary of the People's Republic. In the last three of these years, under Hua's leadership, it has become more outward-looking. He has spoken of a strong Western Europe as essential to world peace; and also has a keen interest in its technology. Building a modern socialist society was the theme of his speech at the recent anniversary banquet. He is looking to Western Europe for help towards that end.