The China Breakthrough

Whitlam in the Middle Kingdom, 1971

By Billy Griffiths

In June 1971, Australian Opposition Leader Gough Whitlam left Sydney for a tour of Asia. At the time, the People's Republic of China was a forbidding unknown in Australia - the subject of heated debate, charged imagination, and Cold War paranoia. When Whitlam returned from his tour, the debate had irrevocably changed. On the 40th anniversary of Australia-China diplomatic relations, The China Breakthrough reflects on the political adventure story that propelled this relationship into existence. The book follows Gough Whitlam's daring visit to China in 1971 and explores the dramatic international events and acts of secret diplomacy that underlie this key episode of diplomatic history. The China Breakthrough unpacks the theater of the Whitlam visit, its political intrigue, and its long-lasting cultural, political, and diplomatic implications. The book argues that this was a pivotal moment in Australia's relations with Asia, a revealing test of the Australia-US alliance, and a remarkable case of foreign policy engineered from Opposition. *** "One of the best researched and readable Australian books this year." The Australian 'Summer reading speaks volumes', December 29, 2012. *** "It is exceptionally well written, and has a concision and elegance that are rare in writing about diplomatic history." - Tom Switzer, The Sydney Morning Herald, February 16, 2013. *** "The most winning of his [Griffiths] anecdotes may be the note that prime minister William McMahon, after bagging Whitlam as having been played like a trout, later inquired whether he could accompany Richard Nixon to China." - Mark Thomas, The Canberra Times, February 16, 2013.

172 pages

Publication Date: 11/27/2012
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9781921867644