Guangqiu Xu, a native of China fluent in both Mandarin and Cantonese, has written an exhaustive study of United States–China relations during the Cold War, with a special focus on the role of the U.S. Congress in influencing Sino-American policy. Based upon extensive archival research in Chinese and American sources, Professor Xu’s book is comprehensive and original. It is a detailed account of the interactions between Congress and the White House as the United States forged its policies regarding the world’s most populous nation.
Covering the period from the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 to the United States’ recognition of the PRC in 1979, this study shows how Congress became a key factor in the formulation and conduct of China policy. No other book examines so fully the legislative-executive struggles and compromises during this thirty-year period, from the postwar maneuverings of Truman to Nixon’s surprising visit to Beijing. Especially important is Professor Xu’s use of Chinese source material to discuss China’s reaction and response to American policy decisions.
Congress and the U.S.–China Relationship, 1949–1979 examines a familiar story from a fresh perspective, putting into a new context the forces at play in determining how the United States and China responded to each other during the chilliest years of the Cold War. With his emphasis on Congress, Professor Xu has opened up the history of the period to an analysis of how legislative power, direct and indirect, can affect foreign policy and change the course of world events.