Foreign Office Files for China, 1949-1980

Sourced from The National Archives, Kew – the UK government’s official archive, Foreign Office Files for China, 1949-1980 provides primary source materials in English language for researchers at all levels.

Published in three sections covering the periods 1949-1956; 1957-1966; and 1967-1980; this database 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. This complete British Foreign Office Files deals with China, Hong Kong and Taiwan in this period. These files are particularly important because Britain was one of the first countries to recognize Communist China and to maintain diplomatic relations with China and from 1950 onward. From their vantage point in Beijing British diplomats reported on the turbulent and confusing political, social, and economic developments.

The Foreign Office’s reporting on politics, industry, trade and cultural affairs include:

  • Eye-witness accounts and detailed reports on life in China, 1949-1976.
  • 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.

Please note that files for 1980 have not been released under the 30 year rule in time to be included at this stage but will be added by the publisher as soon as possible.

Written by Luo Zhou