The Escape of the Dalai Lama

Lead: With chaos gripping his capital city and his life in danger, the fourteenth Dalai Lama, the spiritual and political leader of Tibet, reluctantly fled across the Himalayas into exile.

Intro.: "A Moment in Time" with Dan Roberts.
Content: For nearly a decade before the spring of 1959, Chinese military forces had occupied Tibet. In the years following the victory of the Communists under Mao Tse-tung, China had been telegraphing her intentions to invade and occupy the nation of Tibet which it considered its own territory. This was not the first time China had cast its eyes on the Himalayan mountain kingdom. For centuries the two nations had existed in a kind of tense relationship, facing each other across armed and disputed borders Occasionally, China would spill over Tibet and hold it for a time. In the wake of the Chinese Revolution in 1911, the Tibetans expelled the Chinese and declared their independence.


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Sun Yat Sen in London

Lead: A failure at revolution, Sun Yat-sen, was given the exposure he desperately required by a Chinese government who ordered him kidnapped in London, a half a world away.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the wake of the crushing defeat Japan handed China in the Sino-Japanese War of 1895. A young revolutionary, born in south eastern China made his first attempt at bring revolution to China.

Sun Yat-sen, the father of the Chinese Revolution, was actually educated in Hawaii. His brother, a prosperous rancher and planter was an ex-patriot. He sent for Sun and paid for his education at missionary schools in Hawaii. It was there he began to be attracted to Christianity and after further schooling in Hong Kong, he was baptized in 1884. Though he studied medicine his real attraction was to politics and in January 1895, when the Japanese were making short thrift of the Chinese government forces, Sun saw his chance for a coup. It was a miserable failure and Sun found himself on the run (good pun). Pursued by Chinese agents across the Pacific and through the United States, the aspiring revolutionary leader was coming to know the deep frustration that failure provides for those who taste its bitterness.


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History’s Turning Points: America’s Chinese Obsession II

Lead: Historical study often helps reveal twists in the human journey. Consider one of history’s great turning points – America’s Chiang Kai-Shek obsession.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In a 1927 match made in Chinese political heaven, ambitious General Chiang Kai-Shek, one of the founders of the Kuomintang, the Chinese nationalist party, married Soong May-ling, the sister-in-law of Revolutionary leader Sun Yat-sen. Soong was a Christian and was educated in the United States. She attended boarding school in Georgia and Wellesley College. Her personal ties to many Americans, stated inclination toward democratic institutions, and Chiang’s alleged conversion to Christianity won for them extraordinary support in the United States in the 1930s and during World War II. This was despite the clear corruption of his regime and the on-going struggle with the Chinese Communist Party for control. This power couple seemed for many Americans a formidable bulwark in favor of democracy and Christianity and against international Bolshevism and fascist Japan.

History’s Turning Points: America’s Chinese Obsession I

Lead: Historical study often helps reveal twists in the human journey. Consider one of history’s turning points – America’s Chiang Kai-shek obsession.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: One of the most fascinating diplomatic and personal alliances of the twentieth century was that between the people and government of the United States and Chinese strongman Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek and his fourth wife Soong May-ling.

Boxer Rebellion III

Lead: Chinese hatred of foreigners in 1900 exploded in the Boxer Rebellion.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Many Chinese resented the presence of western soldiers, diplomats, merchants, and missionaries. The weak Imperial government seemed impotent to face powerful outside forces and by the end of the 1800s bitterness became violence. Chief among those opposed to the foreign devils was a secret fraternity named I Ho Chuan, the Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists, or Boxers. Part of their ritual was a set of physical and spiritual drills in which they would sink into a trance and there battle imaginary demons. Waking, they seethed with hatred for all things foreign.

Boxer Rebellion II

Lead: In 1900 native Chinese resentment against foreigners boiled over in the Boxer Rebellion.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: During the 1800s diplomats in search of concessions, traders in search of profits, and Christian missionaries in search of souls aroused great resentment in China. To their credit, many of these westerners, particularly the missionaries, were seeking to reform a vast society markedly unconcerned about the plight of the poor and abused. They built schools and hospitals and championed the cause of human rights long before such efforts were fashionable, but many did so with ill-disguised scorn for Chinese civilization.

Boxer Rebellion I

Lead: In 1900 native Chinese resentment of western culture, traders, and missionaries, boiled over in the Boxer Rebellion.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: China is an ancient society whose rich cultural heritage was already well-established when western or European civilization was in its infancy. Therefore, when western merchants sought to open trade with the Asian giant, they encountered deep suspicion of outsiders. The Chinese regarded the westerners with ill-disguised contempt, considering them little better than barbarians.

Nixon Visits China IV

Lead: They were vigorous ideological opponents. Therefore, President Richard Nixon and the Communist leaders of China were in an excellent position to break out of old habits.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The habit of opposition can stand in the way of diplomatic progress. In the early 1970s for hard-nosed political and economic reasons, the old enemies, Communist China and the United States, reached out to one another. The United States was mired in a war in Vietnam it could not win without provoking a wider Asian conflict, Nixon needed a boost to his re-election chances, and the vast Chinese market offered hope for expanded trade to a troubled American economy. Mao Zedong and the other Chinese leaders were just emerging from the isolation of the highly destructive Cultural Revolution, needed a counter-weight in their disputes with the Soviet Union, and wanted U.S. concessions on the Taiwan dispute and the China seat in the United Nations. They also desired access to Western technology.