Nixon Visits China III

Lead: Vigorous anti-communism had built Richard Nixon's career. As President he found he had to do business with his old opponents.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: President Nixon had a favorite saying, "when you have a reputation as an early riser, you can sleep late on occasion." By the time he became President in 1969, few doubted Richard Nixon's anti-communism. He was cold warrior of great repute. Yet, he faced tough problems which required the cooperation of those whom during most of his career he had condemned as enemies.

Nixon Visits China II

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.

Nixon Visits China I

Lead: On February 21, 1972, U.S. President Richard Milhouse Nixon arrived in Beijing, Peoples Republic of China. For the Chinese and for Nixon it was a meeting born of necessity.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Until the middle of the twentieth century, relations between China and the United States were limited. Up to 1920, the United States was at best a regional power and played a role in East Asia secondary to Britain, France, and even Russia. This had begun around 1900. The United States acquired the Philippines and therefore became a major player in Asian affairs, and it emerged from the First World War as a truly global military and economic power.

Hong Kong II

Lead: In the early 1840s, to protect its merchants and their trading interests, Great Britain was seeking a trading base on the east coast of China. Captain Charles Elliot was in charge of the search.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Until the mid-1900s China, from ancient time the superior civilization in Asia, regarded all foreigners as barbarians. Concessions by Qing Dynasty of Emperors permitted European trade but only through the City of Guangzhou (or Canton). Foreign merchants had to stay in small enclosures called factories erected on the outside of the City. The British had been trying to secure diplomatic relations and a liberalized trade policy, but the Chinese rejected such overtures because this would have reflected equality. Dispute over the import of opium, however, gave the British the opportunity they needed. The Opium Wars demonstrated western military superiority and forced China to deal.

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Hong Kong I

Lead: Seeking a trading base on the coast of China, Britain used military and diplomatic muscle to acquire what was considered, at the time, a relatively useless island at the mouth of the Pearl River.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: European trade with China reached back to the adventures of the Polo brothers in the 12th century. After the publication of Marco Polo’s Le Devisiment du Monde, Europe’s fascination with all things Asian was insatiable. No fashionable London mansion, Parisian palace, or Milanese villa would be complete without Chinese porcelain or decorative art. Imported Asian spices became an essential part of the western European diet and Chinese silk an irresistible feature of clothing for even the lower classes. It was the huge popularity of oriental tea, however, that drew the great powers of Europe into direct intervention in the affairs of China and its neighbors.

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Dowager Empress Tzu-Hsi II

Lead: Always reluctant to surrender power, Tzu-Hsi, Empress Dowager of China, the mother of Emperor Kuang-Hsu, in 1898 led a palace coup to defeat attempts at reform and modernization.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In 1852 Tzu-Hsi, a delivered his only son to the emperor of China. At the old man’s death in 1861 the widow assumed control of the nation as regent. When her son died 15 years later, quite possibly by her order, she installed her nephew as emperor and continued to rule behind the scenes. This was a ruthless and intimidating woman who had under her spell the young emperor his court who lived behind the walls of the Forbidden City that secret royal enclave in heart of Beijing.

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Dowager Empress Tzu-Hsi I

Lead: Powerful, cunning and ruthless, Tzu-Hsi, Empress Dowager of China, effectively ruled the for five decades.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In 1852, at the age of seventeen, the young beauty Tzu-Hsi was conscripted from the lower middle ranks of Manchu society to become one of the concubines at court of the Emperor Hsien-Feng. Behind the walls of the Forbidden City she began to learn the arts of intrigue. There in sequestered luxury Chinese emperors lived among a vast retinue of submissive officials, eunuchs, concubines and servants. Tzu-His learned well. Through sheer force of character and cunning this ingenious woman became one of the most powerful women in the history of China.

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Fireworks

Lead: Brought from China by Italian traders over five centuries ago, fireworks are enticing, spectacular, complex and especially dangerous. We love them.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Sometime in the ninth century of the Common Era, Chinese alchemists combined the enriching powers of potassium nitrate, or saltpeter, with charcoal and sulfur. Francis Bacon, the English philosopher, said the resulting wizardry revolutionized the world. Lacking a true gun, however, the Chinese could make little more use of gunpowder in warfare than fire lances and war rockets. Therefore, they used it primarily for entertainment. Not so the Europeans. When they got hold of gunpowder, the cannon soon became a vital component of continental militarism. The social and political landscape of Western Europe and then the world was changed.  

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