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Digital Archive International History Declassified

September 07, 1968

CSSR EMBASSY PEKING, 'POSITION OF THE CHINESE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC REGARDING THE OCCUPATION OF THE CZECHOSLOVAK SOCIALIST REPUBLIC, COMMENTS IN CPR PRESS AND THE ATTITUDE OF CPR ORGANS TOWARD OUR REPRESENTATIVE OFFICE IN PEKING'

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    Account of the CPR's position regarding the Soviet occupation of the CSSR through press statements and statements by officials.
    "CSSR Embassy Peking, 'Position of the Chinese People’s Republic regarding the Occupation of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, Comments in CPR Press and the Attitude of CPR Organs toward Our Representative Office in Peking'," September 07, 1968, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Státní ústřední archiv (State Central Archive),č.j.0199/68-Jav/Ma. Obtained by East China Normal University, Shanghai, and translated by Mike Kubic. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/176534
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0199/68-Jav/Ma        

Peking, September 7, 1968

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

3rd territorial section   

[Cancelled stamp:] Secret

       [Stamp:] BY COURIER

P r a g u e

       

Position of the Chinese People’s Republic [CPR] regarding the occupation of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic [CSSR], comments in CPR press and the attitude of CPR organs toward our representative office in Peking

1/ Echoes in domestic press /Cankao xiaoxi/

[Chinese domestic newspapers, starting on August 26, carry large /2-3 pages/ reports of [press] agencies on the CSSR situation. In the first days of the [Soviet] occupation, the headlines and subheads emphasize mainly the following aspects: “What is happening is an illegal aggression and occupation”, “Resistance includes all CSSR people”, “Czechoslovak revisionist clique de facto capitulated because it only called on the people to conduct passive resistance” etc. After the start of the negotiations in Moscow [the press] emphasizes the [CSSR] people’s resistance against the occupation under such headlines as “Black deals in Moscow”, “Negotiations under the threat of tanks and canons”, “Leading Czechoslovak revisionists negotiating in Moscow with leading Soviet revisionists”, etc. Following the signing of the joint communique the headlines stressed that “The agreement was accepted by the CSSR revisionists  under [the threat of] force,” “CSSR revisionist clique capitulated and betrayed the people”, “Czechoslovak people rejects the Moscow agreement [rest of the sentence is illegible]’ “Czechoslovak  people even after the end of the Moscow negotiations continues to fight against the occupants” “Soviet revisionists dictated the Czechoslovak revisionists conditions such as the abolishing of the decisions of the 14th special congress [of the CSSR Communist party], establishing a new Central Committee and resuming press censorship”, “Moscow accord is accompanied by a 10-point secret protocol”, “The occupation by Soviet revisionists reduced Czechoslovak economy to desolate state”, “Černík disclosed the proceedings of the so-called Moscow negotiations”, etc. See press. Telegrams.

2/ Official positions and comments in Renmin ribao

The first official reaction to the occupation of CSSR was published in Renmin ribao on August 23 in an article by commentator Ren under the headline “General bankruptcy of current Soviet revisionism” and in an article in Xinhua headlined: “Soviet treasonous revisionist clique has become embroiled in serious internal and external difficulties, and seeing no way out, it sent its troops to occupy Czechoslovakia”.  The same evening the position of the Chinese leadership was described by Zhou Enlai, chairman of SR, in an address at a Romanian reception /published in Ren[min ribao] on August 24/. These written documents /see attachments/ strongly denounce the occupation of Czechoslovakia, but the CSSR leadership is also criticized for its readiness to restore capitalism, and for its failure to call on the people to take up arms against the occupiers. Official position on the results of the negotiations in Moscow was published in Renmin ribao on August 30 in an article by commentator Ren entitled “Agreement under the threat of bayonets”, and in an article in Xinhua entitled “Soviet revisionists continue the occupation of Czechoslovakia [and] under the threat of bayonets forced CSSR revisionists to capitulate; the CSSR people, however, keep up their heroic resistance”. Both articles emphasize that the Moscow agreement was forced on the CSSR delegation by crude force, that “CSSR revisionist clique” gave up and betrayed the people who can never reconcile with this capitulation and betrayal. Our [CSSR] people are therefore called upon to take up arms and fight against the occupation and their own “revisionist clique”. The occupation of CSSR was also the subject of an address by the deputy chairman of Peking HV [illegible] in an address to a gathering of Peking workers commemorating the 23rd anniversary of the independence of VDR /Ren[min ribao] March 9/. Speeches of Zhou Enlai and editorials in Ren[min ribao] about the occupation of Czechoslovakia and Moscow agreement were also printed in the provincial newspapers.

Starting on August 23, Ren[min ribao] published the position of Albanian and pro-Chinese communist parties and groups. On August 24 was published the entire proclamation of the Albanian government  and ASP, on August 25 the full text of the statement of the Communist Party of New Zealand; on August 26 excerpts from the statement of the Swedish Marxist-Leninist Communist Union and of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Chile; on August 29 an excerpt from the proclamation by Australian /Marxist-Leninist/ Communist Party; on August 31 excerpt from the statement by the Council of Japanese Communists; on September 2 a declaration by the Communist Party of Thailand; on September 3 a proclamation of the Communist Partly of Malaysia, and on September 5 a statement by secretary general of the Communist Party of Ceylon /pro-Chinese faction/.

The positions of these pro-Chinese parties and groups basically correspond to the positions of CPR. On August 27 Ren[min ribao] published a protest of Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs against the invasion by Soviet troops of the territory of the Chinese representative office in Prague, and on September 6 it published similar protest against the blocking of this office by Soviet troops. On August 30 Xinhua published an article headlined “Czechoslovak people deeply love Chairman Mao.”

3/ Attitude of Chinese officials toward our representative office

In line with the directives of chargė d’affaires Comrade Kocman, [next two lines are illegible] informed about the situation in CSSR. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not respond to our request. On August 24 we urgently asked for a speedy response. The comrade who at the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs received our urgent request asked, which government is represented by Comrade Kocman. We responded that in CSSR exists only one legitimate government which is headed by Comrade Černík, and that therefore Comrade Kocman represents this, [one and] only, legitimate government. Comrade Kocmen was then received the same day by the deputy section chief Comrade Li Lien-čeching [sic]. The meeting was also attended by a Chinese interpreter and one member of the Chinese section. Comrade Kocmen was accompanied by Comrade Javúrek. Comrade Li Lien-čeching opened the discussion by asking which government we represent. To that Comrade Kocman answered that we represent the only legitimate government, which is headed by Comrade Černík. Afterwards Comrade Kocman briefly reported the main developments in Czechoslovakia following its occupation by five countries of Warsaw Pact. [He added that] the Chinese government has a representative office in Prague that is undoubtedly better informed [by CSSR authorities] than is our representative office in Peking. Comrade Li said that the Chinese position regarding the situation in CSSR was explained in all of its complexity by Comrade Zhou Enlai in his speech at the Romanian reception. Afterwards [Li] emphasized that CPR has denounced the occupation of CSSR and is supporting the fight against it by the CSSR people[.] [He spoke] while avoiding any inappropriate language in reference to the CSSR leadership. Comrade Li also emphasized that as far as the Chinese authorities are concerned, the conditions for the operations of the CSSR representative office remain the same as before [the occupation].

Comrade Kocman in conclusion thanked for the assurance that our representative office can operate normally. The meeting was conducted in a business-like but rather friendly atmosphere, free of any invectives against us.

      

[Signed] Kocman

Attachment: Main Chinese [written] materials about the occupation of Czechoslovakia.