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Foreign Office Files for China, 1949-1980

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Complete FO 371, FCO 21 and additional files from The National Archives, Kew

"The era from 1949, when the Chinese Communist Party won power, until Mao Zedong's death in 1976, is a colossally important period in modern Chinese history. Britain was one of very few western countries to maintain diplomatic relations with China and from 1950 onward, and from their vantage point in Beijing British diplomats reported on the turbulent and confusing political, social, and economic developments. Making these records available in digital, searchable form will be exceptionally valuable to all scholars and students of post-1949 China."

Dr Priscilla Roberts, Department of History, The University of Hong Kong

Available in three sections covering the periods 1949-1956; 1957-1966; and 1967-1980; this project addresses a crucial period in Chinese history, from the foundation of the People’s Republic, in 1949, to the death of Zhou Enlai and Mao, the arrest of the Gang of Four and the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976.

We make available the complete British Foreign Office Files dealing with China, Hong Kong and Taiwan in this period. These files are particularly important because Britain was one of the first countries to recognise Communist China.

The quality and depth of the Foreign Office’s reporting on politics, industry, trade and cultural affairs is formidable.

  • Eye-witness accounts and detailed reports on life in China, 1949-1980.
  • In depth analysis of the Communist Revolution and all the major figures.
  • Material on the Korean War, the Cold War, US relations and the Cultural Revolution.

Foreign Office Files for China, 1949-1980 is an Archives Direct project. Please see this link for further information on our other Archives Direct collections.