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China – Deng Xiaoping and the Opening of China, 1979-97

4. US-China Relations – 1979-97

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In this module, we think about the development of relations between China and the United States between 1979-97, focusing in particular on: (i) Deng’s state visit to the United States in January 1979; (ii) the impact of the Sino-Vietnamese war on US-China relations; (iii) Deng’s interest in US technology, and the increasing volume of trade between the two countries from 1979 onwards; (iv) the impact of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and Deng’s reaction on US-China relations, and China’s standing in the international community more generally; (v) the coolness of the relationship in the period 1989-96, and the deterioration of relations during the 1996 Taiwanese presidential election; and (vi) the moves by Jiang Zemin and President Clinton to restore the relationship between 1996-97.


In this course, Professor Frank Ching (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology) explores the development of Chinese society, politics and economics during the rule of Deng Xiaoping, sometimes referred to as the ‘Opening of China’. In the first module, we think about the state of China following Mao’s death in 1976, Deng’s attempts to consolidate power, and the some of his early economics reforms. In the second module, we think about the development of the Chinese economy under Deng Xiaoping, before turning in the third and fourth modules to track the evolution of US-China relations in between 1968-96. In the fifth module, we think about political developments in China between 1979-97, before turning in the sixth module to consider China’s position in the world at the time of Deng’s death in 1997.


Frank Ching is a writer and university lecturer who has written and commented on events in Asia, particularly China, for many years. He worked for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and the Far Eastern Economic Review. He opened The Wall Street Journal’s bureau in China in 1979, after the normalization of U.S.-China relations, thus becoming one of the first four American newspaper reporters to be based in Beijing since 1949.

His articles have appeared in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, World Policy Journal, China Quarterly, Current History, the Washington Quarterly, and other publications.

He has given speeches across the United States, including delivering the Inaugural Lecture of the Ravenholt-Severyns Lecture at the University of Washington. He was the inaugural lunch speaker at the annual Chiefs of Defense Mission sponsored by the Commander in Chief, Pacific, in Honolulu.

He received a bachelor’s degree in English from Fordham University, a master’s degree in philosophy from New York University and a Certificate in Advanced International Reporting from Columbia University as a Ford Foundation Fellow.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Ching, F. (2020, November 26). China – Deng Xiaoping and the Opening of China, 1979-97 - US-China Relations – 1979-97 [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Ching, F. "China – Deng Xiaoping and the Opening of China, 1979-97 – US-China Relations – 1979-97." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 26 Nov 2020,

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