Mao’s China and the Sino-Soviet Split: Ideological Dilemma, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Mao’s China and the Sino-Soviet Split

Ideological Dilemma, 1st Edition

By Mingjiang Li


212 pages

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The Sino-Soviet split in the 1960s was one of the most significant events of the Cold War. Why did the Sino-Soviet alliance, hailed by its creators as "unbreakable", "eternal", and as representing "brotherly solidarity", break up? Why did their relations eventually evolve into open hostility and military confrontation? With the publication of several works on the subject in the past decade, we are now in a better position to understand and explain the origins of the Sino-Soviet split. But at the same time new questions and puzzles have also emerged. The scholarly debate on this issue is still fierce. This book, the result of extensive research on declassified documents at the Chinese Foreign Ministry, and on numerous other new Chinese materials, sheds new light on the problem and makes a significant contribution to the debate. More than simply an empirical case study, by theorising the concept of the ideological dilemma, Mingjiang Li’s book attempts to address the relationship between ideology and foreign policy and discusses such pressing questions as why it is that an ideology can sometimes effectively dictate foreign policy, whilst at other times exercises almost no significant influence at all.

This book will be of essential reading to anyone interested in Chinese-Soviet history, Cold War history, International Relations and the theory of ideology.


"This short and succinct volume provides an interesting and important study of the role of ideology in foreign affairs. Though it can at times seem as if the book rather falls between the two stools of history and International Relations, it ultimately contributes to both, furthering our understanding of the Sino-Soviet rift as a historical event and helping to paint a more nuanced picture of the fluctuating influence of ideology on foreign policy." - Jens Hein, Energy, Environment and Development Programme, Chatham House; International Affairs 88: 5 (2012)

"Li’s book is much more than an exercise in theory. It has a wealth of information on the conduct of the ideological debate and of the decision-making process on the Chinese side." - Peter R. Moody, University of Notre Dame, USA; China Information 2013.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. Ideological Dilemma in International Politics 3. The Soviet 20th Party Congress and Emerging Disputes in 1958 4. Mao’s Great Leap Forward and Sino-Soviet Disputes, 1959-1960 5. Temporary Calm and Deterioration in Relations, 1960-1962 6. The Growth of Domestic Radicalism and Polemics with Moscow, 1963-1964 7. Short-lived Détente and the End of Party Relations, 1965-1966 8. Sino-Soviet Confrontation during the Cultural Revolution, 1966-1969. 9. Conclusions

About the Author

Mingjiang Li is Assistant Professor at S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

About the Series

Routledge Contemporary China Series

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General