Impact of President Nixons Visit to China Essay Example

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4Impact of President Nixon’s Visit to China

IMPACTS OF PRESIDENT NIXON’S VISIT TO CHINA

(Student Name)

Introduction

Over long periods of time, there has been the need to establish good relationships between nations in order to improve trade between those nations or for peace making. This kind of act that involves negotiations between the representatives of countries in trying to reach a common goal for the benefit of the participating countries is called diplomacy. Commonly diplomacy involves the sending of foreign envoys from one country to another to conduct discussions with the other dignitaries to help them in finding solutions to problems that may be affecting the different nations such as war, trade, economics, culture and environment as well as strengthening ties between the countries involved. Commonly diplomatic negotiations between countries are conducted by the experts before finally being validated by the politicians. Diplomacy, therefore, involves the use of insight in developing lasting solutions towards common challenges.

The idea of international relations and diplomacy dates back to the 6th Century BC in Asia, during the time of the military schemer, when conflicting states paid less attention to traditional respect of tutelage to the Zhou Dynasty. This required diplomacy in signing peace treaties, establishing allies and bartering land hence the development of the role of a diplomat. Since then, diplomacy has been used in several nations world over in attempting to promote peace in the warring nations and improve the economic development of the other nations.

International relations and diplomacy is important because it enables countries to deal effectively with global issues such as terrorism, environment and epidemics. Some countries lack the capacity to solely deal with such issues hence the need for countries to come together in tackling such serious global issues. Thus, good relations between the different countries require that the different nations share information in helping them tackle such issues. Apart from allowing the flow of goods between nations, the good diplomatic relations also allow promotion of good cultural practices between the different nations. Since the world is composed of different people with different cultural backgrounds, diplomatic relations can help in promoting diversity through the international policies.

International relations and diplomacy are also important in establishing the immigration relations between countries. Apart from trade which involves the exchange of goods beyond the borders of countries, people also travel to different countries to enhance their lives. In such instances, foreign policies also help in controlling the flow between the different nations as far as movement from one country to another. Furthermore, establishing good relationships between the different nations can help in helping the agreeing countries to maintain peace, improve their economies and to promote the culture of the different people in those countries.

Among the countries that have long established relationships between them is the United States of America and China. The trade relationships between the two countries date back to the historic visit of the then US president Nixon to the Peoples’ Republic of China. This visit to China by the United States president was rooted in the realization that establishing contact is one of the important steps in developing good diplomatic relations between the two countries. Although the trip was flagged with substantial political publicity, the trip is considered as one of the best moves in diplomacy as it a legacy, forty years after the event. The aim of this paper is to provide an insight to President Nixon’s visit to China and its impacts.

Discussion

In 1972, China and the United States of America established a historic diplomatic relationship following the trip of the then United States president, Richard Nixon to China. The agreement between the two countries was fostered by the personalities as well as the context during this period. The improved diplomatic relationships with China and the Soviet Union are considered as some of the greatest diplomatic achievements of the Nixon presidency. Following the Second World War, the relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union declined. At the same time, the Soviet Union was combining forces with the communist partners in much of Eastern Europe, thus causing a threat by the communists to win the then Chinese civil war. This was a major concern for the United States of America since there was the threat of the communists dominating the schools and labor unions.

President Richard Nixon entered history as the first American president in 30 years to visit the People’s Republic of China (PRC). In several years, the existing American governments had shown non-recognition of the communist government in China. The president’s visit to China, therefore, served as an end to this state and an acceptance by the American government of the communist government in the Peoples’ Republic of China. According to Barnouin (2006, p. 293), the visit of the United States president to China took place after a year of secret steering by the then National Advisor of the president, Henry Kissinger.

Although President Nixon’s visit to China received different reactions from the allies and foes of both nations at the time, with some praising the visit and others mocking it, the visit served as a fresh start of the Sino-American relations as well as the American acknowledgment of the communist government, the Peoples’ Republic of China as the authentic government of the country. The visit was also seen as an important tool in strengthening communication between the American government and the People’s Republic of China, allowing both governments to express their views on the other communist countries such as Vietnam and Taiwan, their relations with the Soviet Union and the presence of the American military in Japan.

The Problem

Although the visit by the United States to China was seen as an attempt to establish and improve the Sino-American relations, the historic visit had little to do with the relationship between China and America but was more concern with the Sino-Soviet relations. This is mainly because of the declining relationship between the People’s Republic of China and the Union of opposition from the international arena, leading to the segregation of China. Consequently, the Peoples’ Republic of China found itself banking on the good will of the Soviet Union as well as the exports from the Soviet Union.

This relationship between China and the Soviet Union helped the Chinese government in developing intrinsic industry and building a strong military capacity. During this time, the agreements between the two countries involved direct communication between Joseph Stalin, who was the then leader of the Communist Party and the head of the Soviet Union government, and Mao the head of the PRC or his Prime Minister Chou En-Lai, who spearheaded diplomatic relations between China and the foreign countries. During the Stalin regime in the Soviet Union and the Mao regime in China, the two countries enjoyed flourishing diplomatic relations that saw the communist nations coexisting peacefully.

However, this relationship did not last for a long time. Following the death of Joseph Stalin, who was the then leader of the Soviet Union, the diplomatic ties between China and the Soviet Union began to decline. The deteriorating relationship between the Chinese government and the United Soviet Socialist Union is mainly attributed to the ascent into power of another leader, Nikita Khrushchev, who was not as friendly to the People’s Republic of China as his predecessor. As a result, the relations between the two communist nations moved from good to worse, with such adverse outcomes as open criticisms, allegations from both parties of political impurity and ultimately, military war.

Sino-Soviet Relations before the Visit

President Nixon’s visit to China was made possible by the help of his National Security Advisor, Henry Kissinger who made a secret visit to Beijing, China on his way to Pakistan and laid the foundation for the visit of the president to China. However, before the president’s trip to China, there were a number of issues in the People’s Republic of China that needed serious diplomatic attention. This is because the events unfolding in China during this time threatened the existence of the PRC. One of such events that threatened the authority of the PRC was the incursion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union in 1968. According to the literature, this attack of the Czech Republic by the Soviet Union was seen as an attempt by the Soviet Union to introduce a doctrine with the aim of exercising Soviet dominion in all the communist nations, the People’s Republic of China being one of them.

The Brezhnev Doctrine, as it was later called, gave the Soviet Union the power to attack any nation that was originally communist, with the aim of making the invaded nation to operate under the communism style of the Soviet Union. This policy, however, did not augur well with Mao, the then leader of the PRC, who considered it as a direct challenge to his reign. According to Mao, the Soviet Union had formulated the policy owing to his retaliation from the diplomatic relations with the country following the death of Joseph Stalin, who was his ally. The succession of Joseph Stalin by Nikita, worsened the situation, Mao continuously launched political attacks on the Soviet Union and its new leader, Nikita Khrushchev. The political war between the two communist nations resulted in many political accusations between the two rivals, thus, resulting in the fracturing of the Sino- Soviet relations.

Another important issue that led to increasing conflicts and hence the deterioration of the relationship between China and the Soviet Union is the border dispute. The two nations had been involved in a border dispute that resulted in an increased tension. The dispute was majorly concern with numerous islands that both for fishing purposes. The Islands in question were mostly found along the Amur River, which formed approximately 4000 miles border between the People’s Republic of China and the Soviet Union. According to Berstein and Li (2010, p. 80), the islands under dispute were approximately 70, with the Soviet Union claiming possession of 60 of them. As a result, the Soviet Union barred the Chinese fishermen from using the waters under its territory. The Soviet Union also required the Chinese fishermen to have its permission to use the water purported to be under its rule.

Moreover, the Soviet Union had also seized some parts of China, resulting into an escalated tension between the two countries. The western parts of China, such as the Xinjiang Province had been dominated by the Soviet military. Consequently, all the grazing grounds in this area were under the control of the Soviet Union. Reaching a mutual agreement concerning this dispute failed with the Chinese government demanding more of the islands to be under its control. The Soviet Union was not willing to give in to the demands of the Chinese government, and China was also not relenting in its demands. This resulted in the two nations controlling their territories with the help of their military forces. The result was the emergence of a series of conflicts between the two warring groups, causing a further decline in the Sino-Soviet relations.

Another major war between the People’s Republic of China and the United Soviet Socialist Republic took place in 1967 during the Cultural Revolution. During this period, there was the attack of the Soviet embassy by the military men called the red guards who were mainly Mao loyalists, leading to the evacuation of the Soviet citizens, thus worsening the relations between the two countries. The poor relations between the two countries grew even worse, with China depending on the Soviet Union for economic growth as well as having very poor international relations, this period marked one of the most difficult times in the history of the country.

Following the decline in the diplomatic relations between the People’s Republic of China and the Soviet Union, there were many conflicts between the two nations. Initially the conflicts involved low level fights between the military patrols spraying each other with water and using crude weapons such as sticks. However, as the political environment between the two countries continued to worsen, each of the warring nations prepared their military combats in readiness for any attack by the other along the borderline. What had started as a political exchange between the two governments was now growing to levels that could not be controlled by the two countries. Between 1968 and 1969, the tension between the Soviet Union and China had reached a level where the attacks by the soldiers at the borders caused death of the soldiers from both sides during war. The situation even grew worse with the Soviet government wondering what the American reaction would be should nuclear bombing be done on the Chinese nuclear plants.

Following the creation of a hostile environment between the two communist nations, caused by the constant conflict between them, there was the existence of fear between the two nations. Each country feared the existence of an enemy across the borders. Additionally, both China and the Soviet Union were always suspicious of each other owing to their shared history. Russia, which controlled much of Asia during that period, feared emergence of stronger political powers from the East and was ready to do anything to protect its dominance over the communist nations. On the other hand, the Chinese always had a suspicion on their Russian counterparts based on their occupation of the Chinese land during the reign of the Qing Dynasty. The Chinese government also held Russia responsible for the putting down of revolts such as the Boxer Revolution. All these events that shattered the relationship between China and the Soviet Union were at the core of the visit by President Nixon to the People’s Republic of China.

The United States Prior to the Visit

Not only was the deteriorating Sino-Soviet relations affecting the Peoples’ Republic of China and the Soviet Union but also the international political realm. Among the countries that were closely watching the diplomatic rivalry between the two nations was the United States of America. The declining relationship between the two countries also sent a wave of fear to the American government. One of the issues instilling fear on the American government was the Chinese involvement in the Korean War. This was coupled by the accusations of the loss of China to the communist as the United States had always had a daunting interest in China. During the same time, the American military had also taken over the French war in Vietnam, hence there was the increasing American presence in Vietnam (Radchenko, 2009, p. 67).

Before the ascension of President Richard Nixon into power, the preceding American governments were involved in the dominion of the French War in Vietnam. The administrations that had actively participated in the Vietnamese war included, the Kennedy, Johnson and the Eisenhower administrations. The entry of the United States troops into Vietnam began slowly, reaching appoint of full United States military operations in the United States. The entry of President Nixon into power indicated the beginning of new agreements between the Asian continent and the United States of America (Paterson, 2010, p. 368).

While in office, the American president always looked for ways of removing the American military troops from Vietnam. With the urgent need of ending the American involvement in South Asia at hand and the splitting of the China- Soviet Union relations, Nixon had to formulate a diplomatic strategy to help in ending, hence the establishment of diplomacy between the United States and China. By visiting China, the President was hoping to use any advantage gained in attempting to end the involvement of America in the south eastern part of the Asian continent (Ayers, 2009, p. 897).

Although President Nixon’s visit to China was a major diplomatic event in establishing relations between the United States of America and the People’s Republic of China, it is evident that American interest in China began long before the visit of the president to the country. One of the moves that the United States of America had made in attempting to woo China to its side was deserting the opposition of the Peoples’ Republic of China and granting it the United Nations China seat. This move also involved China being granted one of the five permanent seats in the United Nations Security Council. Over the years, the United States had always denied the provision of United Nations seat to the Peoples’ Republic of China, thus this move was seen as an attempt by the American government to entice China into supporting it.

The Visit

After conducting secret visits to China in 1971, Nixon and other representatives of the American government such as the National Security Advisor, Henry Kissinger arrived in China on the 21st February 1972 to finalize negotiations that would see the heightening of the poor relations between the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China. During his visit to China, President Nixon held talks with Mao Zedong, the then leader of the republic of China and with Chou, who was the prime minister and the head of the foreign diplomatic relations. The visit of the President to China, however, received different reactions from the international arena. One of the important reactions was that of the Soviet Union, which considered the American president visit to China as a betrayal on the part of China, to the communist nations. This is because it was thought that the unity between Mao Zedong and the American government was to defeat a common enemy, the Soviet Union.

Among the issues discussed during the visit of the United States president, Richard Nixon to China was the view of the United States on the two China policy. After the end of the civil war in China, there was the creation of the Peoples’ Republic of China that controlled the mainland China and ROC that controlled the other parts of the country. Over a long period of time, the American government had used the two China policy in attempting to contain the spread of communism in that region. President Nixon’s visit to Chin, however, resulted in a twist of the events, with the president claiming that the American government acknowledged the presence of one China, with Taiwan being part of it.

Another issue that emerged from the visit of President Richard Nixon to the People’s Republic of China was the withdrawal of the United States from the Taiwanese independent movement. With years of the American non recognition of the Peoples’ Republic of China, Taiwan had enjoyed the full support of the United States. However, the withdrawal of the American support put an end to the two China policy and the American government began to acknowledge the PRC, led by Mao Zedong as the legitimate government of China. However, on the Taiwanese side, this policy by the American government was viewed as an abandonment by the American government.

Another main issue that was discussed during the visit by the president of the United States was the presence of America in Japan. During the visit, there were the demands by the Chinese government to have the United States military presence in Japan withdrawn. However, the American government insisted that having military troops in Japan, Europe and the Pacific was important in helping check the activities of the Soviet Union, which was a primary threat to the existence of the People’s Republic of China. Tactically, President Nixon explained to the Chinese government the possible consequences of the withdrawal of the American presence from Japan. Among the reasons given were the re-arming of Japan without security assurance of the United States, the entry of Japan into the Chinese circle or the entry of Japan into the Soviet Union circle. This would further increase the fears of China since only one situation would be beneficial to the country.

During the meeting, it also emerged that the United States had a big interest in China and was interested in establishing good diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. However, the standardization of these relations was perceived to be hindered by Taiwan. This was because of the increased United States military presence in the Taiwan region. For this reason, the American government had to assure China that the stationing of the American military troops in Taiwan was as a result of the Vietnamese war and that the troops would be removed once the war in South East Asia was brought to a halt (Liu, 2009, p. 78).

Another issue that emerged during the visit of President Richard Nixon to the People’s Republic of China was the imperialist nature of the American government. For many years, the American government had been recognized by the Asian countries as imperial and wanted to impose its authority even in other countries outside its control. This was largely because the United States was among the most powerful states in the world during this period, both in terms of economy and warfare.

However, when President Nixon visited the People’s Republic of China and met its leaders, there was the need of reassuring the country of the good intentions of the United States. America stated that its presence in much of Asia and Europe was not because of imperialism but rather, a strategic move in keeping the Soviet Union in check. This is because during this time, the Soviet Union had formed communist allies in much of Eastern Europe, hence the fear by the American government of the dominion of schools and labor by communists.

Impacts of Nixon’s Visit on China

The historic visit of Richard Nixon, the then president of the United States to the People’s Republic of China had many consequences on China. One of the impacts of the visit of the president to China was the recognition by the American government of the PRC as the legitimate government of the country. By deciding to visit China, the American government acknowledged the existence of a legitimate government in the country even though there were no diplomatic recognition. This visit was important to China since it opened up international recognition of the country that would have taken time. This way, China did not have any difficulty in entering international diplomatic relations with other countries since it had already been established by the American president visit. This was an advantage to China, bearing in mind that the country had been segregated from the international scene during this period.

Following the visit of President Nixon to China and the opening up of China to the world, the American government supported the entry of the People’s Republic of China into the United Nations. Furthermore, China was granted one of the five permanent seats in the United Nations Security Council. As a result, the People’s Republic of China found itself in the international realm once again and was able to influence international policy.

Therefore, the visit by the American president to the PRC was of important benefit to China, removing her from the original isolation to an important state in the Asian region that needed less bargaining for international relations since it was now recognized by many nations. The recognition of the People’s Republic of China as a legitimate government by the United States of America and the acceptance of the republic by the United Nations was seen as an important step in ensuring that the Chinese conducted a reduced amount of innovative movement towards the current global politics.

Another major impact of President Nixon’s visit to China in 1972 was the gaining of political advantage by the Chinese government over the United Soviet Socialist Republic. During the time of the visit to China by the president of the United States, the Sino-Soviet relations between the Soviet Union and China was facing a downturn following the constant conflicts between the two nations. At this time, the Soviet Union had introduced a doctrine allowing her to invade any country that was initially a communist nation, a policy that was not accepted by the PRC. This is because the PRC and its leadership considered the doctrine a direct challenge to its rule. The two nations also had boundary disputes, further heightening the tension between them. On the American side also, there was the fear of increased dominance by the Soviet Union in Asia.

The president’s visit to China, therefore, gave the country leverage over the Soviet Union. At the same time, the Americans also gained some power over the Soviet Union. This is largely because the accord between the United States and China had one objective, to defeat the Soviet Union, which was a common enemy. In an attempt to exercise power over the Soviet Union after the visit by the US president, the Chinese government removed its military troops from Taiwan and redeployed them on the Russian border. This was facilitated by the increased American support of China. Furthermore, to ensure that the Soviet Union was under control, the United States introduced policies that integrated both American and Chinese policies that ensured that both the Soviet Union and North Vietnam had reduced influence over the Asian continent.

Another impact of the United States of America’s president Richard Nixon’s visit to China was the increased Chinese threats from the Soviet Union and North Vietnam. The historic visit of the president to China was not warmly welcome by many nations in the Asian continent. Among the nations that were irritated by this visit was North Vietnam. Following the exasperation of North Vietnam by the visit, the country allied with the Soviet Union, thus, depending on the Soviet for both military aid and advice. This creation of an alliance between the Soviet Union and North Vietnam became a great threat to China. As a result, the Sino-American relations between China and America increasing the chances of containment of North Vietnam by the Chinese government. Moreover, the many trips to Moscow and Peking resulted in increased fears by North Vietnam of them being sold out to their enemies by their allies, hence the need for increased alliance with the Soviet Union, a great enemy of the People’s Republic of China.

The other impact of the visit of President Richard Nixon to China and the subsequent establishment of the Sino-American relations is the opening up of trade, communication and cultural exchanges between the two countries. This is because, following the ramification, the American perception of the People’s Republic of China had changed considerably. Initially, the Chinese government, being a communist government feared an American invasion since it would put an end to its rule. On the other hand, the involvement of China in the Korean War also appeared to America as an attempt by China to challenge its supremacy, hence the isolation of China from the international politics and the lack of acknowledge by the United State of the Chinese government.

However, following the visit of the American president, the two countries began to develop mutual trust with one another, causing the opening up of trade between them. Within no time, the countries had developed good diplomatic relations that facilitated the exchange of goods and services beyond the borders. With this exchange of goods also came the cultural exchanges between the two countries.

Furthermore, then opening up of relations between China and the United States of America facilitated by Mao Zedong of China and president Richard Nixon of the United States led to an improvement of the Chinese economy. Following the opening up of communication between the two states, there was the increase in the exportation of goods manufactured in China for resale to the American people. With the increased interest of the Americans in tapping the Chinese economic potential and the strengthening of the ties between the two countries, the American investments in China increased, thereby increasing the gross domestic product of the country. This led to an increased economic development, lifting many of the Chinese from poverty. Today, China is recognized as one of the largest economies in the world and the second largest after the United States of America.

Moreover, the visit by Richard Nixon to the Chinese republic was an important move in history since it facilitated the transition of the country from a communist power to a world power (Bergsten, 2008, p. 9). The visit by Nixon to China brought to an end the four decades of lack of communication and lack of recognition by the American government of the legitimacy of the Chinese government. As a result, China took advantage of these Sino- American relations to develop from a state of isolation to a state where she could influence international policies. With China being accepted by the United Nations and being allocated one of the permanent seats in the United Nations, China transformed from a small country to a recognized country in the global politics. The visit was also important because it was an eye opener to the Unites States, the Soviet Union and China to start viewing issues from a tripolar angle rather than the bipolar way that was initially used by the states in considering matters of international concern.

The President’s Visit and Sino- American Relations in 2015

2015 marked 42 years since the 1972 visit by President Richard Nixon to the People’s Republic of China. The alliance between China and the United States was seen as a way of establishing a new paradigm in international politics especially in the relationships between the United States and the Asian continent. At the center of the ramifications between the two countries was the decision made by both Mao Zedong and Richard Nixon to put aside the values and ideologies that led to the segregation of China since the ascent into power of the Communist party in China. Instead, the two leaders decided to focus on common interest, which at this time, was the containment of a common enemy, the United Soviet Socialist Republic.

As a legacy to the agreement between the two leaders, the need to put aside the values and ideologies has been upheld by both the Chinese and the United States governments. However, the degree of exercise of the agreement has always faced opposition from politicians on both sides of the divide always having to work within the ramifications although with different levels of discomfort. In essence, many of the American agents view communalism in China as an attempt to erode human rights especially during instances of war (Hachigian, 2014, p. 120). According to the Americans, there is the need for China to move towards democracy and the protection of the human rights.

One of the areas that has seen success in the Sino-American relations between China and the United States of America long after the opening up to China is in the field of economics. Since China and America are among the largest economies in the world, the two countries recognize their roles in promoting economic growth in the world. Following the visit by the American president to China at the end of the Second World War, the two countries developed a number of economic policies that lead to the rapid economic development of China.

The economic policies established helped in poverty alleviation in China and increased trading activities with the United States. With the growth of the middle class in China and the increase in their income and spending patterns, the United States also enjoys an increase in the number of consumers for its products that is likely to grow to 3 billion in Asia alone (Denoon, 2015, p. 64). This shows that the United States and the Chinese governments uphold the agreements between their leaders. The Chinese government has also helped in the development of the global banking systems such as the World Bank and the African Development Bank and the Asian Development Bank. These moves have been supported by the American government.

Although China and America have had good diplomatic relations since the visit by the United States president and the opening up of communication links and trade between the two countries, there have also been other bad sides of the relations that have caused deteriorating relationships between the two countries. One such issue that has caused the decline in the relations between the two countries is the 2015 Chinese policy that was aimed at barring the activities of international non- governmental organizations from working in China. According to the Chinese government, the implementation of the policy requires that the police inspect the offices and seize documents well as equipment from the offices. The American government has long criticized this move by China and termed the Chinese government as undemocratic. There was also the call by the American government for the Chinese government to pursue protection of the human rights.

Another issue that sparked hostile relations between China and the United States in 2015 was the friction over membership in the China Asian Investment Bank. The bank is designed to provide nations with more streamlined banking than the World Bank. China has since aired her grievances over the dominion of ownership by the United States, hence worsening the relations between the two nations.

Conclusion

From the above discussion, it is evident that China and the United states have had huge struggles following the introduction of communism and its reign in China in 1949. Although there was the opening of communication between the two countries, the two countries still continue to face difference in ideologies, thus requiring an understanding of the shared interests between these two nations. The power struggle between the two countries results from the economic rise of China. It is recommended that the United States and China put aside their personal interests and focus on improving the world economy as well as international politics.

References

Ayers, E. L. (2009). American passages: a history of the United States. Boston, MA, Wadsworth/Cengage Learning, p. 897

Barnouin, B., & YU, C. (2006). Zhou Enlai: a political life. Hong Kong, Chinese University Press, p. 293.

Barnouin, B. (2013). Chinese Foreign Policy, p. 108.

Bernstein, T. P., & LI, H.-Y. (2010). China learns from the Soviet Union, 1949-present. Lanham, Md, Lexington Books, p. 80.

Bergsten, C. F. (2008). China’s Rise: Challenges and Opportunities. Washington, D.C., Peterson Institute for International Economics, p. 9.

Denoon, D. (2015). U.S.-China relations, p. 64.

Hachigian, N. (2014). Debating China: the U.S.-China relationship in ten conversations, p. 120.

Liu, W. (2009). Connecting Washington and China: the story of the Washington State China Relations Council. New York, iUniverse, p. 78.

Paterson, T. G. (2010). American foreign relations: a history. Boston, MA, Wadsworth Cengage Learning, p. 368.

Radchenko, S. (2009). Two suns in the heavens: the Sino-Soviet struggle for supremacy, 1962-1967. Washington, D.C., Woodrow Wilson Center, p. 67.

Tai, M. (2015). US-China Relations in the 21sr Century: A Question of Trust. P. 103.

Warner, M (2013). Understanding Management in China: the Past, Present and Future, p. 23.