Lead: Richard Nixon visited China in 1972. Both he and his hosts had reputations to overcome.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: After centuries of rule by often corrupt and inefficient imperial dynasties, China embarked on the road to Revolution in 1912. Inspired by Sun Yat-sen, the nation rejected the empire, but his party, the Guomindang, was not able to establish constitutional government. Corruption and chaos increased, and beginning in the 1920s, the government of Sun's successor, Generalissimo Jiang Kai-shek, was almost constantly involved in a civil war against the Communists led by Mao Zedong. After a truce during which both factions fought the invading Japanese in the 1930s and 1940s, the civil war resumed. The Communists won in 1949 but spent the better part of two decades consolidating their hold on China. During that time relations with the United States remained icy due to tensions over the fate of Taiwan, open conflict in Korea and Vietnam, and clear ideological differences.