The Everyday Cold War: Britain and China, 1950-1972

Research output: Book/ReportBook


In 1950 the British government accorded diplomatic recognition to the newly founded People's Republic of China. But it took 22 years for Britain to establish full diplomatic relations with China. How far was Britain's China policy a failure until 1972? This book argues that Britain and China were involved in the 'everyday Cold War', or a continuous process of contestation and cooperation that allowed them to 'normalize' their confrontation in the absence of full diplomatic relations. From Vietnam and Taiwan to the mainland and Hong Kong, China's 'everyday Cold War' against Britain was marked by diplomatic ritual, propaganda rhetoric and symbolic gestures. Rather than pursuing a failed policy of 'appeasement', British decision-makers and diplomats regarded engagement or negotiation with China as the best way of fighting the 'everyday Cold War'.

Based on extensive British and Chinese archival sources, this book examines not only the high politics of Anglo-Chinese relations, but also how the British diplomats experienced the Cold War at the local level.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages288
ISBN (Electronic)9781474265478, 9781474265461
ISBN (Print)9781474265447, 9781350109193
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2017

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