Author: Adam Cathcart

Wartime History and Beijing’s Response to the New Defence Minister in Tokyo

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China / Chinese communist party / Chinese foreign policy / Chinese nationalism / history and memory / People's Republic of China / Propaganda / Sino-Japanese Relations / Uncategorized / US Department of State / US-Japan relations / War Crimes / World War II

In the wake of the Upper House elections in Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has completed a reshuffling of his cabinet. As described by Japan hand Michael Cucek, it was not a particularly inspiring set of choices made by the newly-consolidated Prime Minister: Taro Aso (the right-wing former PM perhaps best recalled for his off-the-cuff endorsement of Hitler’s constitutional revision style) remains at the helm in Finance, for one. The biggest waves internationally are being […]

Grain Politics and Sichuan in the 1950s

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China / Chinese communist party / history and memory / People's Republic of China / Sichuan
Chongqing in Republic of China Atlas

There are few lines of historical investigation more fraught in China than those concerned with food, security, and famine in Sichuan province in the 1950s. But where to start the investigation? Which reference points obtain? For Frank Dikotter, the reference point is Mao, and the beginning point seems to be 1953. In his book Mao’s Great Famine, the historian locates the origins of the famine at the top levels of the CCP, Mao’s resentment of […]

Writing the Early Postwar: White and Jacoby’s _Thunder Out of China_

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China / Chinese nationalism / civil war / Sichuan / Sino-Japanese Relations
White and Jacoby 1946 book cover

Foreign correspondents are crucial conduits for insights into contemporary East Asia. As I’ve learned from my conversations with various bureau chiefs, stringers, and greybeards in the region, there are few people willing to share insights as journalists, as it is their job to be, and to stay, plugged in. For the contemporary historian, reading the accounts of journalists in the region in the 1940s an 1950s is particularly salutary. They are layered and numerous — […]

North Korea, Opposition Politics, and British Nuclear Deterrence

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Kim Jong-un / Korean War / North Korea / North Korea foreign relations / Op-Ed / War Crimes

I wrote the following piece for The Guardian, the stalwart newspaper for whose North Korea Network I have done a handful of essays and events over the past couple of years. After much back and forth and revision, it was ultimately left on the cutting-room floor in London. Such are the risks taken by academics moonlighting as journalists! Fortunately it was picked up by the editors at Sino-NK, who are currently working hard in Seoul, […]

Second-Hand Stories: East Asia in the Bill Clinton Autobiography

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American Foreign Policy / China / U.S.-China Relations / US Department of State
Bill Clinton Peking

This essay was written in Seattle on 24 February, 2009; a shorter version was published at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma that spring. This past weekend I took a long walk up Seattle’s Dearborn Ave, encountering errant alcoholics, homeless in their shopping carts, shards of sunlight, and football fans with sandpapered hands.  As is often the case when seeking out new information, my goal was amorphous and yet my needs were cavernous: Like addicts haunting […]

Reading and Writing Chinese-North Korean Cold War History

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Chinese foreign policy / Chinese nationalism / Korean War / Mao Zedong / North Korea / People's Republic of China / Propaganda / Sino-North Korean relations

Tian Wuxiong, a Ph.D. candidate in modern history at Peking University, has produced a nicely nuanced view of the withdrawal of the Chinese People’s Volunteers from the North. Tian has a good grasp of the Chinese historiography and produced a paper, entitled “Different Intentions with One Voice: The Making of Chinese Troops’ Withdrawal Package from the DPRK in 1958 / 同声异汽:中国1958年从朝鲜全部退军方案的形成” published by Harvard Working Paper series.  For my full read-out of the Tian Wuxiong article and […]

China and the North Korean Workers’ Party Congress

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Chinese communist party / Chinese foreign policy / North Korea / North Korea foreign relations / Sino-North Korean relations / Uncategorized
Cathcart in Pyongyang, March 2016

The following is the full text of an interview I recently gave, excerpts from which will be appearing in Liberation, the quintessential Parisian daily.  Q. Do we expect any senior CCP official from Beijing to attend the May 6th Party Congress in Pyongyang ? Did any CCP official attend the last one in 1980 ? What would such a presence signal ? How do you think China will look at this Party congress ? What does this Congress mean […]