PEIPING: DIPLOMATIC HARDSHIP POST

Created: 12/31/1964

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DIPLOMATIC HARDSHIP POST

The number of foreign diplomats in Peiplng haa grown steadily In recent years and there now are moro than three hundred stationed in theCommunist capital. There has, however, been no corresponding increase in the amount of available to the outside world about events In China. Despite their best efforts to penetrate the screen of Isolation thrown up around them, of the diplomatic corps remainommunity of the blind.

All Communist countries restrict the activities of foreign missions in an effort to malntalDto prevent contact between their people and representatives of the outside world. The Chinese carry this policy to greater lengths than any other major power, however, and have succeoded in preventing all but the mostobservation of their country and poople by prying "barbarian envoys."1

the rulers of view the presence of foreign offi much as did mandarins of tbe old Last century. No longer able to devils" from the Forbidden City, Cb'ing dynasty duringh ce keep tbe numberinimum and tivity of those who could not be dening web of oriental "courtesy" The pattern in Peiplng today is 1

French Case

During the past year the Chinese have intensified their drive to win recognition and to establish embassies abroad.has done little, however, to encourage reciprocity. The treatment received by the French illustrates how Peiping actsoreign country setsission In China. ParisCommunist China last

January aad the Frencb charge arrived in Peiping in February toew "window to tho West" for the Chinese. To bis dismay he quickly discovered that tbe Chinese did not share his enthusiasm.

Tbe first and mostyet to be solvedto obtain satisfactory buildings. The French had hoped to get their old embassy compound

StiGRET

a lo your entreaty lo Mod one or your nationals Jo b* accredited to ray CelestialThis request ll contrary fo oil usage of my dynasty and eonnot pos-libly be entertained. It ii true that Europeans. In the service of the dynasty, hove been permitted to live ot Peking* but they ore compelled lo odopt Chinese droit, they are strictly confined to their own precincts and never permitted ta return home...

Your proposed Envoy to my Court could not be placedosition similar to the* of Europeann Pekingore forbidden to leave Chlno, nor could he, en the other hand, be allowed liberty ofand the pri'ileoe of corresponding with hitcountry; so rhot you would gainby hi.in out rrJdst.'

Lcmr from the Ch'lon Lung Emperor to George Ml

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the Chinese offered astructure on tbe fringes of the new diplomatic

located, as one foreign official remarked, "halfway tohe Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs then Informed the French that they would have to foot tho bill for renovatlous. The French refused and consequently ars still "temporarily" established in two other unsatisfactory buildings ln tho diplomaticarea.

The Chinese have been nohelpful with routine houso-keeping problems. The Kroneh

lived ln hotels for months bofore houslnu was mado available for them and then found that requests for assistance in obtainingtoiletblaodly Ignored. The French finally solved theby emergency requisitions on their consulate goneral in Hong Kong.

Once established, the French began to discover that normaloperations in China proeent special problems.

-lick ox con met with tne Chinese people, tha Impossibility of learning what is going on in the country, the restrictions on travel, and the inaccessibility of Chinese officials. These aro difficulties shared by all foreign embassies, even those of North Korea and North Vietnam, although those staunchof China are treated with somewhat groater courtesy.

Travel Restrictions

Restriction on movement Inside China is the problem most frequently cited by diplomatic personnel. Diplomatic "travel" normally is limitedadius of approximatelyiles from the center of Peiping. to visit the few so-called open districts such as Hangchow, Shanghai, and Canton must befrom the Foreignno less than throe days ahead of time. Permission to visit other parts of China ls almost

never granted. Travelare often simply ignored. The only exception to theseis the summer resort at Peltaloo on the coast. Even there, however, diplomats are allowed to swim atew specifiod beaches and may not go fishingoat without anescort.

Perhaps to compensate for these restrictions, thefrom time to time offers the entire diplomatic corps guided tours to various parts of China. These junkets are carefully supervised to show off Pelplng's successes whileas little as possible about actual conditions.

a reai aspariure iron uiun rou-tine last fall, when diplomatswo-week tour of South China were sometimes permitted to take unescorted side trips and even to take photographs freely. Delegations of foreign visitors actually enjoy considerably more freedom to travel than theassigned in Peiplng,they too are afflicted by "guides" responsible forforeigners safely on the Poteskln pathway.

The Chinese Government hasto insulate official foreign representatives from the populace by settingdiplomatic ghetto"in Peiplng. By the summer of3 most of the embassy offices had boon moved to one of the cramped "modern concrete horrors" In the new eastern section of the city. Only the Dutchandful of others have been able to keep their comfortable old buildings in the former Legation Quarter near the center of the city.

Living quarters for most diplomatic families are in large apartment blocksuarded diplomatic compound. Any private Chinese citizen bold enough to call without official permission would be questioned by theat the gate or by an elevator man who would take down his name and report the visit. Under these circumstances thero is little contact between diplomatic personnel and the people. Tbey are cut off oven from theappointed by theare often arrogant and difficult to deal with.

The Lonely Ll fo

Prevented from mixing with the Chinese people during travels outside the capital, theare no better off in this respect when they are in Peiping.

There haveewto the rule ofbut friendships between Chinese citizens and foreign officials seldom last long.

to be treated much the same This includesequal share of the pettywhich help makehardship post.

The diplomatic community in Peiplng has trouble even in attempts to establish contact with government officials.

waitsset an appointment at tho Foreign Ministry and then rarely seas anyone higher In rankicewhom there are twelve.f

;ne most rrequent vic-tiiui of calculated official They are often summoned to the Foreign Ministry in the middle of the night to receive ordinary diplomaticor to handle other routine business.

Studied Neglect and Petty" Harassment

Before the Sino-Sovietand the withdrawal oftechniciansrom the "fraternal"got special treatment. As Sino-Soviet relations steadily worsened, however, marks of favor for bloc representativesand all embassies appoir

"When ]_

vestlgatlonobbery in the quarters of an embassy officer, the Chinese ignored thealthough the house was guarded by the police at all times.

Even without tho studied neglect by high Chinese officials and the petty harassment at the hands of arrogant functlonaires, Peiplng would stilloor place to serve. Thepuritanical attitude of the Chi nose Communist leaders makeslace of stupefying dullness. Aside from films of unflinching political purity and the traditional Chinesean art form few foreigners are able to enjoy ore entertainment is available.

The only relief from the tedium of day-to-day existence is to be found at officialfunctions and Informal parties at the International Club for Foreign Officials. It Is at those functions thatacquire most of theiranof gossip with other Now that most diplomats are included In the official freeze thoy have become more

DIPLOMATIC MISSIONS IN PEIPING

COUNTRIES

UVIlOlflOMAIIC ONP

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forthcoming with their free-world colleagues but this has only increased the amount of rumor and conjecture in

Cloudy and Continued Cold

There is little prospect for significant improvement ia the diplomatic weather any time soon. As long as the present generation of Chinese leaders remains in power, foreignwill probably continue to be regardedecessary evil, tolerated only because Peiping desires to have its own representatives abroad. Foreign embassies will be kept isolated as much as possible and used only as channels for routine diplomatic business.

Life in theeventually maycomfortable. Awho visited China4 reportedof the tensions heseven years earlierhad lived in Peipingdisappeared. Hethat there now iscasual chit-chat atreceptions andofficials areaffairs with less and in larger numbers It will probably betime, however, beforeposted to Peipingthe kind ofas officialof foreign governmentshas becomeln the capitals ofCommunistin the

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