Threatened by Peace: The PRC’s Peacefulness Rhetoric and the ‘China’ Representation Question in the United Nations (1949-1971)

Speaker: Dr Elisabeth Forster, Southampton

In the 1950s/60s, the Republic of China on Taiwan (ROC) not only distrusted but feared, the People’s Republic of China (PRC)’s assertion to be peace-loving. The reason was that the PRC used its peacefulness claim to negotiate whether the ROC or the PRC should represent ‘China’ in the United Nations, based on a specific definition of ‘peacefulness’ and on the socialist World Peace Movement as a platform of public diplomacy and international networking. This explains a function of the PRC’s peacefulness claim in the Cold War and rewrites the chronology of the PRC’s gradual United Nations entry.


Elisabeth Forster is a Lecturer in Modern China at the University of Southampton. She focuses on intellectual, diplomatic and social history, and especially the way they tie in with each other. Her current project explores concepts of peace in China from the 19th century to the present.