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July 1987

Report on Zhao Ziyang's visit to Hungary. Information from the Chinese community in Budapest

This document was made possible with support from MacArthur Foundation

(Summer) 1987. Report on Zhao Ziyang's visit to Hungary. Information from the Chinese community in Budapest


In an informal discussion with members of the Chinese community [in Budapest] Zhao Ziyang said that it was not his but the Pope's forthcoming visit that Poland had really been preparing for. It took his partners some efforts to focus attention on their talks; it was perceptible that they concentrated on the visit of the Polish Pope. In the GDR he was courteously received but the cordial atmosphere was missing, and so were the common matters for discussion. A matter-of-fact atmosphere prevailed in Czechoslovakia, and the two delegations seemed to have talked along parallel lines. It was in Budapest that he received a truly warm and sincere welcome for the first time, which greatly impressed him. On a hindsight he was pleased that a short rest had been scheduled for him in Hungary as he felt a little at home already after his arrival.


During the conversation it was said that Zhao Ziyang had thoroughly prepared for his visit to Hungary. Journalists working in Budapest had been contacted in writing by the Premier himself asking them to provide detailed and comprehensive analyses of the Hungarian political and economic practice, information on Hungarian leaders, etc.


The Chinese community in Budapest has been informed that János Kádár was in an extremely positive frame of mind, he was witty and cheerful, apparently enjoying the way the talks proceeded and pleased with their atmosphere. They have knowledge that the meeting initially planned to last one hour or one and a half hours was prolonged on János Kádár's request. Eventually, talks lasted for about four hours. Reference was made to one of Kádár 's practices, who usually disliked to praise anybody in public. The First Secretary drew Zhao Ziyang aside to inform him that he "met a very good comrade and an even better partner in his person". Zhao Ziyang was greatly impressed by Kádár's personality. The two leaders devoted a great deal of time in their discussions to the reforms to be introduced in the political institution system, to both Hungarian and Chinese intentions. They were extremely interested in the plans and ideas the other had in this respect.


The Chinese delegation has noted that the Hungarian hosts put a great stress on the wish to completely restore party-to-party relations.


During the Chinese Premier's stay in Budapest, a number of journalists from western countries contacted the Chinese embassy or the press office by phone in order to inquire whether or not there had been a secret meeting between Zhao Ziyang and Shevardnadze. According to Chinese officials, no such meeting took place, but there is knowledge of a message, presumably in the form of a letter, sent to Sofia by the Soviet Foreign Minister to the Chinese Premier. This would not be unprecedented as First Secretary Zhivkov was earlier asked by the Soviets to deliver a message during his visit to Beijing.


Beijing would very much like to welcome Comrade Kádár in China as early as possible next year. The Chinese would have liked Comrade Kádár to travel to China already this year, but they are well aware that our Foreign Minister has not paid a visit to Beijing yet. Consequently Péter Várkonyi is expected to visit China towards the end of this year, and Comrade Kádár's  visit will be scheduled for the beginning of next year. The Chinese are very much in favor of this schedule as Deng Xiaoping is quite elderly, and Comrade Kádár is not quite young either.


The Chinese community in Budapest judged Zhao Ziyang's visit to Hungary as extremely successful and meaningful, the delegation was especially pleased with the reduced level of protocol formalities, with the cordial, sincere and warm reception of the Chinese Premier.

Chinese in Hungary positively assess Zhao Ziyang's visit to Hungary in 1987.


Document Information


Historical Archives of the Hungarian State Security (ÁBTL), 1. 11. 4. S-II/2/87, pp. 59-60. Obtained by Peter Vamos and translated by Katalin Varga.


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