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Les relations sino-suisses au temps de la guerre froide : une « rupture impossible » ? (1949-1989)

English title Sino-Swiss relations during the Cold War: an unbreakable link (1949-1989)
Applicant Hauser Claude
Number 159685
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Chaire d'Histoire Contemporaine Générale et Suisse Université de Fribourg
Institution of higher education University of Fribourg - FR
Main discipline General history (without pre-and early history)
Start/End 01.08.2015 - 31.07.2019
Approved amount 537'692.00
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Keywords (6)

International relations; Chinese and Asian studies; Global Cold War; Comparative history; Swiss foreign policy; Cultural networks

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
Ce projet de recherche a pour but d'étudier les relations sino-suisses durant la Guerre froide, depuis l'instauration de la République populaire de Chine, en 1949, jusqu'au soulèvement de la place Tiananmen en 1989. Focalisée sur des relations interétatiques bilatérales, la recherche va aussi prendre en compte le contexte plus global de la Guerre froide et ses conséquences pour l'évolution des relations internationales en Europe et dans le monde dans la seconde moitié du XXe siècle. Le projet souhaite mettre en oeuvre les « forces profondes » qui ont pu agir dans ces relations sino-suisses, en prenant en compte des phénomènes de circulations d’idées, de représentations réciproques au niveau des opinions, et de transferts socio-culturels. On ira donc au-delà de l’utilisation des seules sources diplomatiques en recourant à des fonds d’archives inédits, tant publics que privés.
Lay summary

Ce projet de recherche a pour but d'étudier les relations sino-suisses durant la Guerre froide, depuis l'instauration de la République populaire de Chine, en 1949, jusqu'au soulèvement de la place Tiananmen en 1989. Focalisée sur des relations interétatiques bilatérales, la recherche va aussi prendre en compte le contexte plus global de la Guerre froide et ses conséquences pour l'évolution des relations internationales en Europe et dans le monde dans la seconde moitié du XXe siècle. Le projet souhaite mettre en oeuvre les « forces profondes » qui ont pu agir dans ces relations sino-suisses, en prenant en compte des phénomènes de circulations d’idées, de représentations réciproques au niveau des opinions, et de transferts socio-culturels. On ira donc au-dela de l’utilisation des seules sources diplomatiques en recourant a des fonds d’archives inédits, tant publics que privés. Les objectifs principaux de la recherche sont les suivants:

- Mettre en perspective historique l’évolution des rapports entre les champs politique, économique et culturel dans le domaine des relations bilatérales Suisse-Chine : conflictuels, complémentaires, autonomes ?

- Saisir les acteurs et réseaux principaux qui fondent le développement de ces relations, tant au niveau étatique que non gouvernemental. Quelles interactions entre ces différents réseaux et groupes d’influence ?

- Dans le contexte bipolarisé de la Guerre froide, comprendre le rôle international de la Suisse, en particulier dans les rapports développés en Asie avec la Chine. Influence de l’anticommunisme prépondérante ou rôle d’observateur et médiateur débouchant sur une position de plaque tournante entre Orient et Occident ?

- Analyser les images et représentations croisées entre la Suisse et la Chine. Les échanges et phénomènes de transferts au niveau culturel débouchent-ils sur une meilleure connaissance réciproque ou confirment-ils la préponderance de représentations stéréotypées dues à l’effet des propagandes en action ? 

 

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 28.06.2015

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Universitärer Forschungsschwerpunkt Asien und Europa Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
East China Normal University - School for Advanced International and Area Studies (Shanghai) China (Asia)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
Institute of World History Beijing(CASS)/ Dir. by Duanmu Mei China (Asia)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
Unit of Chinese Studies - University of Geneva Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Fudan University, Shanghai (Department of History) China (Asia)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Ostasiatisches Institut Universität Zurich Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
171013 The Smaller European Powers and China in the Cold War, 1949-1989 01.11.2016 Scientific Conferences
154684 Guerre froide et anticommunisme en Chine après 1949: édition critique des mémoires de l'intellectuel Ding Zuo Chao 01.08.2014 International short research visits
137498 Colloque "Les dimensions transnationales de l'anticommunisme de guerre froide. Actions, réseaux, transferts" 01.10.2011 Scientific Conferences
113389 Les relations culturelles internationales de la Suisse (1945-1990) 01.10.2006 Project funding (Div. I-III)
147020 La Suisse et la Guerre froide dans le Tiers-Monde. Le rôle politique et économique suisse dans les principaux conflits armés et crises en Afrique sub-saharienne et au Moyen-Orient, 1973-1983 01.10.2013 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

This research project proposes to analyze Sino-Swiss relations from the beginning of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949 to the critical events of the Fall of the Berlin Wall and the crushed uprising in Tiananmen Square in 1989, which marked the end of the Cold War. Switzerland’s quick recognition of the PRC as one of the first Western states, in January 1950, facilitated political, economic and cultural contacts between the two countries, which had, and further developed, enough mutual interests, both politically and economically, to maintain regular contact across the ideological gap created by the Cold War. After an introductory chapter on Sino-Swiss relations from the Second World War to the end of the Korean War, which focuses on the state of affairs, this study will focus on the four decades of relations between Switzerland and the PRC during the period of the Cold War. Although the approach adopted focuses on bilateral relations, it takes into account the global context of the Cold War and its consequences for the evolution of international relations not only in Europe but throughout the world. Recent studies on the “Global Cold War” will, therefore, inspire a systemic approach to the subject where the two principal actors play key roles on various levels: Switzerland was distinguished by neutrality, although certainly oriented towards the Western and Atlantic bloc, it was regarded as universalist and in solidarity with emerging nations in its principles of foreign relations; China, on the other hand, aimed at reaching a dominant position in Asia but also entered into a competitive rivalry with the Soviet Union in the communist world. Moreover, the People’s Republic did not neglect small actors in the international and global arena, including Switzerland, which was close to Western powers, yet neutral and without a colonial past, thus benefitting during the Cold War from an international status augmented through the organisation of international conferences that promoted multilateral diplomacy. This research project wants to go beyond the classic history of international bilateral contacts that favours diplomatic and economic relations, and instead wants to analyse the "underlying forces" that caused, contributed and shaped these relationships, taking into account such phenomena as the circulation of ideas, reciprocal representation of opinions, and socio-cultural transfers. Consequently, this research focuses not only on diplomatic sources but also includes a wide variety of sources from social, cultural, economic and political interest groups, organisations, and political parties.At first glance, there seems to be a huge imbalance between a country of continental extent, developing in the twentieth century through a succession of revolutionary episodes from an imperial regime to the status of a great political and economic power, and a small state to which neutrality is fundamental, and which is well embedded in the Western bloc, continuing its "unique path" alongside the development of the European project. Focusing on different types of political, cultural and economic contacts that involve networks of people and organizations, ideas and ideologies, images and representations circulating between Switzerland and China, this research aims to better understand how and to what degree the interpenetration of national cultures was possible in light of the two countries being rather remote and isolated from each other.The research project analyses the interests and the communities that contributed to the development of exchanges of various kinds, on the cultural, political and economic level. Moreover, it studies how reciprocal representations between the two countries evolved and the factors that contributed to this development, including the level of public opinion. The collaboration of Swiss and Chinese historians in this research project will allow the gathering of various points of view and the development of a better comparative understanding of the subject under analysis, particularly because it relies on a vast array of Swiss and Chinese sources. The project is organised into two main parts, with three chapters reflecting three separate and distinctive approaches, giving the involved researchers an independence with ample possibilities for academic confrontations and exchange. The main objectives of this research project are summarised below in five objectives regarding the topic of Sino-Swiss relations during the Cold War. Each of the objectives is based on the analysis of unpublished archival material from public as well as private archives. The large majority of the archival holdings have already been searched and viewed, and will be systematically perused and analysed in order to answer the research questions.
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