Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

An "exceedingly delicate undertaking": Sino-American science diplomacy, 1966–78

Millwood, Peter (2020) An "exceedingly delicate undertaking": Sino-American science diplomacy, 1966–78. Journal of Contemporary History. ISSN 0022-0094

[img] Text (An exceedingly delicate undertaking) - Accepted Version
Download (650kB)

Identification Number: 10.1177%2F0022009419888273


In the first half of the twentieth century, China sought to modernize through opening to the world. Decades of what would become a century of humiliation had disabused the country of its previous self-perceived technological superiority, as famously expressed by Emperor Qianlong to the British envoy George Macartney in 1793. The Chinese had instead become convinced that they needed knowledge from outside to become strong enough to resist imperial aggression. No country encouraged this opening more than the United States. Americans threw money and expertise at the training of Chinese students and intellectuals. The Rockefeller Foundation’s first major overseas project was the creation of China’s finest medical college and other US institutions followed Rockefeller’s lead by establishing dozens of Chinese universities and technical schools to train a new generation of Chinese scientists. Meanwhile, Chinese students were gaining more PhDs from US universities than institutions in all other foreign countries combined. This deep, fruitful exchange and cooperation ended abruptly with the Chinese communist revolution of 1949: the new ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) soon cut off relations with Western governments, and with them their scientific and educational establishments.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2019 The Author
Divisions: International History
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DS Asia
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2019 17:51
Last Modified: 02 Aug 2020 23:46

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics