Richard Nixon's 1972 visit to China

U.S. President Richard Nixon's 1972 visit to the People's Republic of China was an important strategic and diplomatic overture that marked the culmination of the Nixon administration's resumption of harmonious relations between the United States and mainland China after years of diplomatic isolation. The seven-day official visit to three Chinese cities was the first time a U.S. president had visited the PRC; Nixon's arrival in Beijing ended 25 years of no communication or diplomatic ties between the two countries and was the key step in normalizing relations between the U.S. and China. Nixon visited China to gain more leverage over relations with the Soviet Union.

When the communists took over mainland China in 1949 and the nationalists fled to the island of Taiwan, the United States allied with, and recognized, the Republic of China as the sole government of China. Before his election as president in 1968, former Vice President Richard Nixon hinted at establishing a new relationship with the PRC. Early in his first term, Nixon, through his National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger, sent subtle overtures hinting at warmer relations to the PRC government. After a series of these overtures by both countries, Kissinger flew on secret diplomatic missions to Beijing in 1971, where he met with Premier Zhou Enlai. On July 15, 1971, the President shocked the world by announcing on live television that he would visit the PRC the following year.

The week-long visit, from February 21 to 28, 1972, allowed the American public to view images of China for the first time in over two decades. Throughout the week the President and his senior advisers engaged in substantive discussions with the PRC leadership, including a meeting with Chairman Mao Zedong, while First Lady Pat Nixon toured schools, factories and hospitals in the cities of Beijing, Hangzhou and Shanghai with the large American press corps in tow.

Nixon dubbed his visit "the week that changed the world", a descriptor that continues to echo in the political lexicon. Repercussions of the Nixon visit continue to this day; while near-immediate results included a significant shift in the Cold War balance—driving a wedge between the Soviet Union and China, resulting in significant Soviet concessions to the U.S.—the trip spawned China's opening to the world and economic parity with capitalist countries.

The relationship between China and the U.S. is now one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world, and every successive U.S. president, with the exception of Jimmy Carter, has visited China. The trip is consistently ranked by historians, scholars, and journalists as one of the most important—if not the most important—visits by a U.S. president anywhere. In addition, a "Nixon to China" moment has since become a metaphor for an unexpected, uncharacteristic or overly impactful action by a politician.

Nixon shakes hands with Chou En-lai
U.S. President Nixon shakes hands with Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai


Historical background

Improved relations with the Soviet Union and the PRC are often cited as the most successful diplomatic achievements of Nixon's presidency.[1] After World War II, Americans saw relations between the United States and the Soviet Union deteriorating, the Soviets consolidating communist allies over much of Eastern Europe, and the potential victory of Communist forces in the Chinese Civil War. The American ruling class was concerned that communists might dominate schools or labor unions.[2]

In China, from the beginning of the Sino-Soviet Split in 1956, there was a perceived necessity for external allies to counterbalance the power of the USSR. While the split was originally motivated, in part, by Mao's view of the Soviets as too accommodating toward the US, eventually he came to view the USSR as the greater threat to China's position.

The reason for opening up China was for the U.S. to gain more leverage over relations with the Soviet Union. Resolving the Vietnam War was a particularly important factor. National Security Council staffer (and later U.S. Ambassador to China) Winston Lord noted:

First, an opening to China would give us more flexibility on the world scene generally. We wouldn't just be dealing with Moscow. We could deal with Eastern Europe, of course, and we could deal with China, because the former Communist Bloc was no longer a bloc. Kissinger wanted more flexibility, generally. Secondly, by opening relations with China we would catch Russia's attention and get more leverage on them through playing this obvious, China card. The idea would be to improve relations with Moscow, hoping to stir a little bit of its paranoia by dealing with China, never getting so engaged with China that we would turn Russia into a hostile enemy but enough to get the attention of the Russians. This effort, in fact, worked dramatically after Kissinger's secret trip to China.

Thirdly, Kissinger and Nixon wanted to get help in resolving the Vietnam War. By dealing with Russia and with China we hoped to put pressure on Hanoi to negotiate seriously. At a maximum, we tried to get Russia and China to slow down the provision of aid to North Vietnam somewhat. More realistically and at a minimum, we sought to persuade Russia and China to encourage Hanoi to make a deal with the United States and give Hanoi a sense of isolation because their two, big patrons were dealing with us. Indeed, by their willingness to engage in summit meetings with us, with Nixon going to China in February, 1972, and to Moscow in May, 1972, the Russians and Chinese were beginning to place a higher priority on their bilateral relations with us than on their dealings with their friends in Hanoi.[3]

One of the main reasons Richard Nixon became the 1952 vice-presidential candidate on the Eisenhower ticket was his strong anti-communist stance. Despite this, in 1972 Nixon became the first U.S. president to visit mainland China while in office.[4] Ulysses S. Grant visited China on a world tour after leaving office. Herbert Hoover lived in China briefly in 1899 before becoming President and could speak Mandarin. Dwight D. Eisenhower made a state visit to Taiwan in 1960, during the period when the United States recognized the Republic of China government in Taipei as the sole government of China.


In July 1971, President Nixon's National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger secretly visited Beijing during a trip to Pakistan, and laid the groundwork for Nixon's visit to China. This meeting was arranged and facilitated by Pakistan through its strong diplomatic channels with China.[5][6] Transcripts of White House meetings and once confidential documents show Nixon began working to open a channel of communication with Beijing from his first day in the White House.[7] For this ambitious goal to be reached President Nixon had carried out a series of carefully calibrated moves through Communist China's allies Romania and Pakistan. [8]

Travel to China

Arrival of Air Force One in Peking - NARA - 194412
Air Force One landing in Beijing on February 21, 1972.
"I remember that when we landed at Beijing Airport, maybe naively I was somewhat disappointed at what I considered the strained nature of the Chinese reception. We had expected thousands of people in cheering crowds, after 22 years of hostilities. There was a very small crowd, including a Chinese Army honor guard. Looking out the window at the welcoming ceremony, I thought that it was a fairly gray day, too. This didn't look like a monumental event, as it ought to have been." – Winston Lord[3]
Pat Nixon in China
Pat Nixon in Beijing

Mr. Nixon, his wife, and their entourage left the White House on February 17, 1972, spending a night in Kaneohe Marine Corps Air Station, Oahu, Hawaii. They arrived the next day in Guam at 5 pm, where they spent the night at Nimitz Hill, the residence of the Commander, Naval Forces, Marianas. The next morning, February 21, at 7 am the Nixons left Guam for Shanghai. After 4 hours in the air, the Nixons arrived in Shanghai. From Shanghai, the Nixons travelled to Beijing.[9]

Meeting with Mao

From February 21 to 28, 1972, U.S. President Richard Nixon traveled to Beijing, Hangzhou, and Shanghai. Almost as soon as the American president arrived in the Chinese capital, Chairman Mao summoned him for a quick meeting. Secretary of State William P. Rogers was excluded from this meeting and the only other American present besides Kissinger was Kissinger's assistant Winston Lord. To avoid embarrassing Rogers, Lord was cropped out of all the official photographs of the meeting.[10]

They figured that it was humiliating enough that the National Security Adviser was with the President at this historic meeting, but the Secretary of State was not. To add on top of that the fact that the Special Assistant to the National Security Adviser was there as a third person but the Secretary of State was not was too much, even for them. The Chinese clearly must have been puzzled by this, but they readily went along with this request.[3]

Although Nixon was in China for a week, this would be his only meeting with the top Chinese leader.

Unknown to Nixon and the rest of the American diplomats at the time, Mao was in poor health and he had been hospitalized for several weeks up to only nine days before Nixon's arrival. Nevertheless, Mao felt well enough to insist to his officials that he would meet with Nixon upon his arrival. Upon being introduced to Nixon for the first time, Mao, speaking through his translator, said to Nixon: "I believe our old friend Chiang Kai-shek would not approve of this".

As an observer of the Mao–Nixon meeting, Lord noted:

The meeting lasted for about an hour. I remember distinctly, coming out of the meeting somewhat disappointed. I was impressed with the physical impact of Mao. It was also clear that this man was tough, ruthless, and came from a peasant background, in contrast to the elegant, Mandarin quality of Zhou Enlai. However, I thought that the conversation was somewhat episodic and not very full. Kissinger had sort of the same reaction as I did. Mao was speaking, as he usually did, in simple brush strokes, whereas we were used to the formal, elegant and somewhat lengthy presentations of Zhou Enlai. Mao would just throw in a few sentences; a few brush strokes. He went from topic to topic in rather a casual way.

... However, as we thought about it, and certainly by the end of the trip, we realized in fact that Mao had put in a very skillful performance. In his understated and unorthodox way he had set forth the main lines of Chinese policy, he had made clear the features that he considered very important, and that other things could fall into place. Mao was self-deprecating, even though he had a tremendous ego. He had some humor. He had gotten through his agenda purposefully, even though it seemed casual and episodic. He had managed to cover the main points. I still don't think that it was one of the great conversations of all time. However, I think that Mao was much more purposeful and skillful than we gave him credit for at first.[3]

Nixon held many meetings with Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai during the trip, which included visits to the Great Wall, Hangzhou, and Shanghai. Nixon's porcelain swans statue, a gift to Mao, was presented along the way in gift-giving ceremony. At the conclusion of his trip, the United States and the PRC governments issued the Shanghai Communiqué, a statement of their foreign policy views and a document that has remained the basis of Sino-American bilateral relations. Kissinger stated that the U.S. also intended to pull all its forces out of the island of Taiwan.[11] In the communiqué, both nations pledged to work toward the full normalization of diplomatic policy.


Nixon and Chou En-Lai speaking at a banquet - NARA - 194410
Richard Nixon and Zhou Enlai speaking at a banquet at the Great Hall of the People
President Nixon meets with China's Communist Party Leader, Mao Tse- Tung, 02-29-1972 - NARA - 194759
Nixon shakes hands with Chinese leader Mao Zedong

The Chinese agreed to a peaceful settlement of the Taiwan question. The statement enabled the U.S. and PRC to temporarily set aside the "crucial question obstructing the normalization of relations"[12] concerning the political status of Taiwan and to open trade and other contacts. However, the U.S. continued to maintain official relations with the government of the Republic of China in Taiwan, and did not break off until 1979, when the U.S. established full diplomatic relations with the PRC.

While in Shanghai, Nixon spoke about what this meant for the two countries in the future:

This was the week that changed the world, as what we have said in that Communique is not nearly as important as what we will do in the years ahead to build a bridge across 16,000 miles and 22 years of hostilities which have divided us in the past. And what we have said today is that we shall build that bridge.[11]

Nixon and his aides carefully planned the trip to have the biggest possible impact on television audiences in the United States. The media coverage of the trip was overwhelmingly positive. Later interviews with correspondents who traveled with the President show how eager they were to be on the trip, which some labeled the most important summit meeting ever.[13]

Richard Nixon wrote many books about his international contributions and accomplishments. Beyond Peace is the last of his post-career volumes, addressing the need for the United States in a world transformed by the collapse of the Communist bloc.

John T. Downey and Richard Fecteau, CIA operatives who were held captive in China from November 1952, were released after Nixon's visit to China.


Nixon's Trip to China was well-planned, virtually choreographed. His every move was rehearsed. The media played a vital role in assuring Americans back home were able to see Nixon communicating with Chinese government officials; attending dinners; and being accorded tours with other people of influence. Nixon played the role of an international statesman. Americans paused and observed and garnered respect for Nixon. Because of this, visually televised confirmation citizens were receiving on the daily national news, presidential approval ratings rose to almost 56 percent.[14]

After his return from a packed week of meetings and photo opportunities, American citizens were asked what they thought the impact of this trip would have on the role of the United States internationally. In a poll taken in March 1972 conducted by Gallup, the results stated that more than fifty percent of the group found the trip effective in terms of improving world peace.

Max Frankel of The New York Times received the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting for his coverage of the event.[13]

The visit inspired John Adams' 1987 opera Nixon in China. It was also the subject of a PBS documentary film, American Experience: Nixon's China Game.

See also



  1. ^ Joan Hoff. Nixon Reconsidered (New York, NY: BasicBooks, 1994): 182.
  2. ^ "Labor's Communists Come Under Fire". Life. Time. 22 (12): 31–35. March 24, 1947. ISSN 0024-3019.
  3. ^ a b c d Kennedy, Charles S. (28 April 1998). "Nixon Goes to China". The Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training: Foreign Affairs Oral History Project. Retrieved 21 February 2013.
  4. ^ Stephen E. Ambrose. Nixon, the Triumph of a Politician 1962–1972 (New York, NY:Simon and Schuster, 1989): 439.
  5. ^ Burr, William. "Negotiating U.S.-Chinese Rapprochement". The National Security Archive. Retrieved 8 July 2018.
  6. ^ Tenembaum, Yoav. "CHINA POWER Kissinger's Visit, 40 Years On". The Diplomat. Retrieved 8 July 2018.
  7. ^ "Getting to Beijing: Henry Kissinger's Secret 1971 Trip". US–China Institute.
  8. ^ "The Week that Chenged the World". Richard Nixon Foundation.
  9. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. ^ Kissinger Years of Upheaval p. 65
  11. ^ a b "Nixon Goes to China". Accessed 2009-04-15. Archived 2009-05-05.
  12. ^ Nixon's China's Visit and "Sino-U.S. Joint Communiqué"
  13. ^ a b "Assignment: China – The Week that Changed the World". US–China Institute.
  14. ^ Gallup, Inc. "Presidential Approval Ratings"., Gallup, 10 January 2017,

Further reading

  • Burr, William (1999) The Kissinger Transcripts, The New Press
  • Dallek, Robert (2007). Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power. New York: HarperCollins.
  • Drew, Elizabeth (2007). Richard M. Nixon. New York: Times Books.
  • Ladley, Eric (2002) Nixon's China Trip, Writer's Club Press; (2007) Balancing Act: How Nixon Went to China and Remained a Conservative.
  • MacMillan, Margaret (2007). Nixon & Mao: The Week that Changed the World. New York: Random House.
  • Mann, James (1999). About Face. New York: Knopf.
  • Nixon, Richard (1978). RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon. New York: Grosset & Dunlap.
  • Tudda, Chris (2012). A Cold War Turning Point: Nixon and China, 1969–1972. Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press.
  • Tyler, Patrick (1999). A Great Wall: Six Presidents and China, Public Affairs.

External links

African-American architects

The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards estimates that, at the end of 2013 there were 105,847 licensed architects in the United States. Of these, 2,006, or about 2%, are self-identified as African American, and listed in the Directory of African American Architects; only 343 of these are African American women. "If there is any kind of profession that's gotten away with a kind of benign neglect of diversifying itself over the course of last 30 years, it's architecture," says Ted Landsmark.

Bunkers in Albania

The concrete bunkers of Albania are a ubiquitous sight in the country, with an average of 5.7 bunkers for every square kilometre (14.7 per square mile). The bunkers (Albanian: bunkerët) were built during the communist government of Enver Hoxha from the 1960s to the 1980s; by 1983 a total of 173,371 concrete bunkers had been constructed around the country.Hoxha's program of "bunkerization" (bunkerizimi) resulted in the construction of bunkers in every corner of the then People's Socialist Republic of Albania, ranging from mountain passes to city streets. They were never used for their intended purpose during the years that Hoxha governed. The cost of constructing them was a drain on Albania's resources, diverting them away from more pressing needs, such as dealing with the country's housing shortage and poor roads.

The bunkers were abandoned following the collapse of communism in 1990. Most are now derelict, though some have been reused for a variety of purposes including residential accommodation, cafés, storehouses, and shelters for animals or the homeless. A few briefly saw use in the Civil War of the 1990s.

Charles W. Freeman Jr.

Charles W. "Chas" Freeman Jr. (Chinese: 傅立民, born March 2, 1943) is an American diplomat, author, and writer. He served in the United States Foreign Service, the State and Defense Departments in many different capacities over the course of thirty years, with the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs calling his career "remarkably varied". Most notably, he worked as the main interpreter for Richard Nixon during his 1972 China visit and served as the U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia from 1989 to 1992, where he dealt with the Persian Gulf War.He is a past president of the Middle East Policy Council, co-chair of the U.S. China Policy Foundation and a Lifetime Director of the Atlantic Council. In February 2009, unnamed sources leaked that Freeman was Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair's choice to chair the National Intelligence Council in the Obama administration. After several weeks of criticisms from prominent supporters of Israeli policy, he withdrew his name from consideration and charged that he had been the victim of a concerted campaign by what he called "the Israel lobby".

Chen-Lu Tsou

Zou Chenglu (Chinese: 邹承鲁; 17 May 1923 – 23 November 2006), better known as Chen-Lu Tsou, was a Chinese biochemist. He was a professor of the Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry and later a professor and Deputy Director of the Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). He made important contributions to the synthesis of insulin, and was elected an academician of the CAS and The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS). He won the TWAS Prize in Biology in 1992 for his pioneering study of enzyme inhibition kinetics, and was a six-time laureate of the State Natural Science Award (three times each for First Class and Second Class). His wife, physicist Li Lin, was also an academician of the CAS.

Tsou was a strong advocate against academic fraud and pseudoscience, and led a public campaign against what he called "unhealthy practices" such as administrators' interference in scientific research.

China–United States relations

China–United States relations, also known as U.S.–Chinese relations, Chinese–U.S. relations, or Sino-American relations, refers to international relations between China and the United States. The history of the relationship can be traced back to when the United States first gained independence. The relationship between the two countries is quite strong, complex and even somewhat positive in various aspects. Both countries have an extremely extensive economic partnership, and the great amount of trade between the two countries necessitates for constructive political relations, yet significant issues do exist. It is a relationship of economic cooperation, hegemonic rivalry in the Pacific, and mutual suspicion over the other's intentions. Therefore, each nation has adopted a wary attitude regarding the other as a potential adversary; whilst maintaining an extremely strong economic partnership at the same time. It has been described by world leaders and academics as the world's most important bilateral relationship of the 21st century.As of 2019, the United States has the world's largest economy and China has the second largest, although China has a larger GDP when measured by PPP.Relations between the two countries have generally been stable with some periods of open conflict, most notably during the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Currently, China and the United States have mutual political, economic, and security interests, including but not limited to the proliferation of nuclear weapons, although there are unresolved concerns relating to the role of democracy in government in China and human rights in both respective countries. China is the largest foreign creditor of the United States. The two countries remain in dispute over territorial issues in the South China Sea.Public opinion of the other country tends to fluctuate around 40 to 50 percent favorability. as of 2015, China's public opinion of the U.S. is at 44% positive, while the United States' public opinion of China is somewhat lower at 38%. The highest recorded favorable opinion of the United States was at 58% (2010) and the lowest at 38% (2007). Conversely, the highest recorded favorable opinion of China was at 52% (2006) and the lowest at 35% (2014).

According to a 2017 BBC World Service poll, 33% of the Chinese view America's influence positively, with 61% expressing a negative view. Likewise, only 22% of Americans view China's influence positively and 70% negatively.Relations with China began under George Washington, leading to the 1845 Treaty of Wangxia. The U.S. was allied to the Republic of China during the Pacific War, but broke off relations with the People's Republic of China (which ruled the mainland) for 25 years when the communist government took over, until Richard Nixon's 1972 visit to China. Since Nixon's visit, every successive U.S. president, with the exception of Jimmy Carter, has toured China. Relations with China have strained under Barack Obama's Asia pivot strategy, U.S. support for Japan in the Senkaku Islands dispute, as well as Donald Trump's threats to classify the country as a "currency manipulator" as part of the two countries' ongoing trade war.

Cultural depictions of Richard Nixon

Richard Nixon, the 37th President of the United States, has inspired or been portrayed in numerous cultural works.

Emmanuel Goldstein

Emmanuel Goldstein is a fictional character in George Orwell's dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. He is the principal enemy of the state according to the Party of the totalitarian Oceania. He is depicted as the head of a mysterious (and possibly fictitious) dissident organization called "The Brotherhood" and as having written the book The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism. He is only seen and heard on telescreen, and may be a fabrication of the Ministry of Truth, the State's propaganda department.

Great Hall of the People

The Great Hall of the People is a state building located at the western edge of Tiananmen Square in Beijing. It is used for legislative and ceremonial activities by the government of the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the ruling Communist Party of China. The People's Great Hall functions as the meeting place for the full sessions of the National People's Congress (NPC), the Chinese legislature, which occurs every year during March along with the national session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), a political advisory body. It is also the meeting place of the National Congress of the Communist Party of China, which, since 1982, has occurred once every five years and the party's Central Committee which meets approximately once a year.

The Hall is also used for many special events, including national level meetings of various social and political organisations, large anniversary celebrations, as well as the memorial services for former leaders. The Great Hall of the People is also a popular attraction in the city frequented by tourists visiting the capital.

John Adams (composer)

John Coolidge Adams (born February 15, 1947) is an American composer, clarinetist, and conductor of classical music and opera, with strong roots in minimalism.His works include Nixon in China (1987), Harmonielehre (1985), Short Ride in a Fast Machine (1986), On the Transmigration of Souls (2002), a choral piece commemorating the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks (for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2003), and Shaker Loops (1978), a minimalist four-movement work for strings.

His operas include Nixon in China (1987), which recounts Richard Nixon's 1972 visit to China, Doctor Atomic (2005), which covers Robert Oppenheimer, the Manhattan Project, and the building of the first atomic bomb and The Death of Klinghoffer (1991) based on the hijacking of the passenger liner Achille Lauro by the Palestine Liberation Front in 1985, and the hijackers' murder of 69-year-old Jewish-American passenger Leon Klinghoffer, who used a wheelchair. The opera has drawn controversy, including allegations by some (including Klinghoffer's two daughters) that the opera is antisemitic and glorifies terrorism. The work's creators and others have disputed these criticisms.


In political science, Marxism–Leninism was the official state ideology of the Soviet Union (USSR), of the parties of the Communist International, after Bolshevisation; and is the ideology of Stalinist political parties. The purpose of Marxism–Leninism is the revolutionary transformation of a capitalist state into a socialist state, by way of two-stage revolution, which is led by a vanguard party of professional revolutionaries, drawn from the proletariat. To realise the two-stage transformation of the state, the vanguard party establishes the dictatorship of the proletariat, which determines policy through democratic centralism.The Marxist–Leninist communist party is the vanguard for the organisation of a capitalist society into a socialist society, which is the lower stage of socio-economic development, and progress towards the upper-stage communist society, which is stateless and classless; yet features organised public-ownership of the means of production, accelerated industrialisation, pro-active development of the productive forces of society, and nationalised natural resources.In the late 1920s, after the death of Lenin, Stalin established universal ideologic orthodoxy among the Communist Party, the USSR, and the Communist International, with his coinage Marxism–Leninism, a term which redefined theories of Lenin and Marx to establish universal Marxist–Leninist praxis for the exclusive, geopolitical benefit of the USSR. In the late 1930s, Stalin's official textbook The History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks) (1938), made the term Marxism–Leninism common, political-science usage among communists and non-communists.Critical of Stalin's political economy and single-party government in the USSR, the Italian Left-communist Amadeo Bordiga said that Marxism–Leninism was a form of political opportunism, which preserved rather than destroyed capitalism, because of the claim that the exchange of commodities would occur under socialism; and the use of popular front organisations by the Communist International; and that a political vanguard organised by organic centralism was more effective than a vanguard organised by democratic centralism. The American Marxist Raya Dunayevskaya dismissed Marxism–Leninism as a type of state capitalism because: (i) state ownership of the means of production is a form of state capitalism; (ii) the dictatorship of the proletariat is a form of democracy, and single-party rule is undemocratic, and (iii) Marxism–Leninism is neither Marxism nor Leninism, but a composite ideology that Stalin used to expediently determine what is communism and what is not communism among the Eastern bloc.

Nixon's China Game

Nixon's China Game is a documentary on Richard Nixon's 1972 visit to China.

Nixon in China

Nixon in China is an opera in three acts by John Adams, with a libretto by Alice Goodman. Adams' first opera, it was inspired by U.S. President Richard Nixon's 1972 visit to China. The work premiered at the Houston Grand Opera on October 22, 1987, in a production by Peter Sellars with choreography by Mark Morris. When Sellars approached Adams with the idea for the opera in 1983, Adams was initially reluctant, but eventually decided that the work could be a study in how myths come to be, and accepted the project. Goodman's libretto was the result of considerable research into Nixon's visit, though she disregarded most sources published after the 1972 trip.

To create the sounds he sought, Adams augmented the orchestra with a large saxophone section, additional percussion, and electronic synthesizer. Although sometimes described as minimalist, the score displays a variety of musical styles, embracing minimalism after the manner of Philip Glass alongside passages echoing 19th-century composers such as Wagner and Johann Strauss. With these ingredients, Adams mixes Stravinskian 20th-century neoclassicism, jazz references, and big band sounds reminiscent of Nixon's youth in the 1930s. The combination of these elements varies frequently, to reflect changes in the onstage action.

Following the 1987 premiere, the opera received mixed reviews; some critics dismissed the work, predicting it would soon vanish. However, it has been presented on many occasions since, in both Europe and North America, and has been recorded twice. In 2011, the opera received its Metropolitan Opera debut, a production based on the original sets, and in the same year was given an abstract production in Toronto by the Canadian Opera Company. Recent critical opinion has tended to recognize the work as a significant and lasting contribution to American opera.

Nixon in China (disambiguation)

Nixon in China is an opera by John Adams.

Nixon in China may also refer to:

Richard Nixon's 1972 visit to China

Nixon goes to China, metaphor for an unexpected or uncharacteristic action by a politician

Nixon in China (2006), non-fiction book by Margaret MacMillan

People's commune

The people's commune (Chinese: 人民公社; pinyin: rénmín gōngshè) was the highest of three administrative levels in rural areas of the People's Republic of China during the period from 1958 to 1983 when they were replaced by townships. Communes, the largest collective units, were divided in turn into production brigades and production teams. The communes had governmental, political, and economic functions during the Cultural Revolution. The people's commune was commonly known for the collective activities within them, including labor and meal preparation, which allowed for workers to share local welfare. Though, this also caused the communities of people included in the people's communes to be struck harder by food shortages, and face longer hours than under individual labor.

Timeline of the Richard Nixon presidency

The presidency of Richard Nixon began on January 20, 1969 when Richard Nixon was inaugurated as President of the United States, and ended on August 9, 1974, when, in the face of almost certain impeachment and removal from office, he resigned the presidency (the first U.S. president ever to do so).

Zhou Enlai

Zhou Enlai (Chinese: 周恩来; Wade–Giles: Chou En-lai; 5 March 1898 – 8 January 1976) was the first Premier of the People's Republic of China. Zhou was China's head of government, serving from October 1949 until his death in January 1976. Zhou served under Chairman Mao Zedong and was instrumental in the Communist Party's rise to power, and later in consolidating its control, forming foreign policy, and developing the Chinese economy.

A skilled and able diplomat, Zhou served as the Chinese foreign minister from 1949 to 1958. Advocating peaceful coexistence with the West after the Korean War, he participated in the 1954 Geneva Conference and the 1955 Bandung Conference, and helped orchestrate Richard Nixon's 1972 visit to China. He helped devise policies regarding the bitter disputes with the United States, Taiwan, the Soviet Union (after 1960), India and Vietnam.

Zhou survived the purges of other top officials during the Cultural Revolution. While Mao dedicated most of his later years to political struggle and ideological work, Zhou was the main driving force behind the affairs of state during much of the Cultural Revolution. His attempts at mitigating the Red Guards' damage and his efforts to protect others from their wrath made him immensely popular in the Cultural Revolution's later stages.

As Mao's health began to decline in 1971 and 1972 and following the death of disgraced Lin Biao, Zhou was elected First Vice Chairman of the Communist Party by the 10th Central Committee in 1973 and thereby designated as Mao's successor, but still struggled against the Gang of Four internally over leadership of China. His last major public appearance was at the first meeting of the 4th National People's Congress on 13 January 1975, where he presented the government work report. He then fell out of the public eye for medical treatment and died one year later. The massive public outpouring of grief in Beijing turned to anger at the Gang of Four, leading to the Tiananmen Incident. Although Zhou was succeeded by Hua Guofeng, Zhou's ally Deng Xiaoping was able to outmaneuver the Gang of Four politically and took Hua's place as paramount leader by 1978.

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