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Digital Archive International History Declassified

March 05, 1965

CABLE FROM THE CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY, 'ON THE REQUEST FOR INSTRUCTIONS/APPROVAL CONCERNING THE SOVIET MILITARY AND POLICE'S CRACKDOWN ON ANTI-US DEMONSTRATORS AND THE ARRESTS AND INJURING OF OVERSEAS CHINESE STUDENTS'

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    The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs considers how to respond to the Soviet suppression of student demonstrations in Moscow.
    "Cable from the Chinese Foreign Ministry, 'On the Request for Instructions/Approval concerning the Soviet Military and Police's Crackdown on Anti-US Demonstrators and the Arrests and Injuring of Overseas Chinese Students'," March 05, 1965, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC FMA 109-03984-02, 11-14. Obtained by You Lan and translated by Jake Tompkins. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/119959
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[Handwritten] We agree and will pass it on to the Chairman, LIU, and PENG, KANG Sheng.  Once they've read it they will return it to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to take action.

ZHOU Enlai

5 March

Top Secret

Requesting examination by Minister CHEN and the Prime Minister. (ZHANG and QIAO have already read this)

LIU Shao March 5th

People's Republic of China Ministry of Foreign Affairs

On the Request for Instructions/Approval concerning the Soviet Military and Police's Crackdown on Anti-US Demonstrators and the Arrests and Injuring of Overseas Chinese Students

 According to reports by the embassy in the Soviet Union (After the attached cable): On the afternoon of March 4th, Chinese students studying abroad participated in a protest supporting Vietnam's fight against America, held by students from a number of countries in front of the American embassy in Moscow.  The protest was met by Soviet military police who held a close perimeter around the embassy.  They attacked the students with weapons and made arrests.  One of our students was arrested (This has already been explained), and nine were hospitalized by serious injuries.  Several more received light wounds.  Four Vietnamese students were arrested, and a student from Mexico, one from Cameroon, and another from the Soviet Union were also arrested.  According to outside reports, the American ambassador issued complaints to the Soviets, and GROMYKO has already apologized to him, promising to take responsibility for losses.  We are still looking into the details of this situation.

It is our recommendation to take hold of this incident and write a number of articles to expose the Revisionist, false anti-Imperialist, false support offered by the Soviets according to the following specifications:

1) Have Xinhua News report on the incident and include photographs (A report has already been sent to the Xinhua branch in the Soviet Union).  (At the same time also report on America's complaints and the USSR's apologies.  They should also report on the Soviet government's comments on America's bombing of Vietnam on March 9th to expose the weakness and falseness of the Soviet leadership.)

2) Immediately protest send protest to the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs through our embassy, exposing them politically.  We will also ask for an official apology from the Soviets and harsh punishment for the offenders. (A note of protest is attached) Finally, publish the note of protest.

3) Arrange for our students in the USSR to unite with students from other countries to issue a letter of protest to the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs and pay visits to the injured students.

4)  Have our domestic national student union issue protest cables to the Soviet Union, as well as messages of comfort to injured students from China and other countries.

(Step 2) Assess the situation before deciding what further actions to take

Inform the Vietnamese embassy of the above plans.

Relay the above report to the embassy in the USSR, and give your assessment of the attached note of protest to be given to the Soviets.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

5 March 1965

Attachments:

1. Cable to the Embassy in the Soviet Union [sic; not included]

2. Draft Note of Protest to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union

3. Embassy in the Soviet Union Cable (No. 224) [sic; not included]

4. New Situation (No. 52) [sic; not included]

Draft of Note of Protest to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union

to the Soviet Union Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The views and comments of the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the Soviet Union to be expressed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union are as follows:

According to reports from Chinese students studying abroad, on the afternoon of March 4th, students from a number of countries studying in Moscow organized a protest rally against the American imperialist's armed aggression against Vietnam.  They were met with suppression from Soviet military and mounted police and were arrested and beaten.  Of those students, one from China was arrested, and ten were injured, nine of them seriously.

The ruthless armed aggression of the American imperialists against Vietnam and rampant bombing thereof has ignited rage in nations all over the world.  The students from different nations studying in Moscow were right and just to hold a protest rally against these actions.  The Soviet government, on one hand, expresses support for the Vietnamese people in their struggle, and on the other hand sends out armed suppression of their protests, arresting and beating them, shedding their blood.  We cannot understand why the Soviet Union is so afraid of offending America.  Why would the government of a socialist country send out militarized police to suppress an anti-American rally?

These actions by the Soviet government are completely contrary to the principles of Marxism and international proletarianism.  It goes entirely against the wishes of everyone, both citizens and governments, who opposes American imperialism.  We are very hurt and disappointed by the actions of the Soviet government on this matter, so we hereby voice our protest and demand that the Soviet Union government issue official apologies to the injured students and enact severe punishment on the offending parties.

Respectfully,

Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the Soviet Union

5 March 1965 in Moscow