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Chou En-Lai
ZhouEnlai
Historical Figure
Nationality: China
Date of Birth: 1898
Date of Death: 1976
Cause of Death: Cancer of the Bladder
Religion: Atheist
Occupation: Soldier, Revolutionary, Diplomat
Spouse: Deng Yingchao
Children: Li Peng (adopted)
Political Party: Chinese Communist Party
Turtledove Appearances:
Worldwar
POD: May 30, 1942
Appearance(s): Second Contact; Aftershocks
Type of Appearance: Direct
Chou En-Lai (Pinyin Zhou En-Lai, Chinese, 周恩來) (5 March 1898 – 8 January 1976) was a soldier and revolutionary as well as a diplomat in China in the 20th century. Following the communist victory in the Chinese Civil War, Chou became Premier and Foreign Minister of the People's Republic of China.

Zhou ably represented China, initially seen as something of a pariah nation in the first generation of the PRC's existence, in any number of delicate negotiations, most notably the Geneva Conventions in which an end was negotiated to the Korean War and the seeds were sown for the Vietnam War; and with the Nixon Administration, mainly with Dr. Henry Kissinger, for the historic opening of diplomatic relations between the PRC and the United States.

Chou was also a capable administrator of China's domestic affairs, even during the disastrous reform programs of Mao Tse-Tung in the 1950s and 60s. Mao needed Chou in order to maintain control of China, but distrusted Chou because, despite Chou having given no indication of wanting to depose Mao, he knew that Chou was looked on more favorably by most Chinese and that Chou could find support for such a coup if he wanted to. Chou was therefore kept at arm's length both politically and personally toward the end of his life; during the Cultural Revolution, he was, for example, forced to endure many particularly severe criticisms and self-criticisms. He was also denied treatment for his bladder cancer, almost certainly shortening his life by several years and leading to his death several months before Mao's.

Chou En-Lai remains an enormously popular and beloved figure in China today, far more so than Mao, whose legacy has fallen out of favor since economic policies he suppressed have led to a drastic rise in Chinese standards of living in the 1990s and 2000s. Chou, on the other hand, is remembered both in China and abroad as an early advocate of economic revitalization as well as a restraining force on the ruthless political suppression which has so eroded Mao's legacy a generation after his death. Some of these associations with enlightenment are rather overstated.

Chou En-Lai in WorldwarEdit

Chou En-Lai commanded the Chinese Communist Party's resistance to the Race in southern China. In 1963, a vigorous Race counteroffensive forced Chou to cancel plans to attend a meeting of the party's Central Committee in Fengchen.[1]

In 1966, when the Communists controlled a vast area of Chinese territory, Chou was able to attend the Central Committee's meeting, where he suggested sending an emissary to attempt to negotiate a Race recognition of the CCP's government of China. This matched Mao Tse-Tung's thinking, and Mao immediately approved of Chou's plan. Mao tasked Liu Han with representing the Communists, and Chou helped prepare her for the negotiations.[2] The Race's negotiator, General Relhost, proved far less receptive than Chou had hoped, and rejected all of the Communists' proposals.[3]

ReferencesEdit

  1. Second Contact, pg. 160.
  2. Aftershocks, pg. 490.
  3. Ibid., pg. 492.
Political offices
(OTL)
Preceded by
None
Premier of the People's Republic of China
1949–1976
Succeeded by
Hua Guofeng (acting)
Preceded by
None
Foreign Minister of the People's Republic of China
1949–1958
Succeeded by
Chen Yi
Preceded by
Mao Zedong
Chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference
1954–1976
Succeeded by
Deng Xiaoping

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