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and his ideological supporters to see the revolution through to com-
pletion. Mao's appeal to China's angry young people was an attempt
to harness their energy and restlessness for the revolutionary cause,
but instead of furthering the revolution they plunged China into social
and economic chaos.
By 1970 Mao was so concerned about the perceived threats posed to
China by the Soviet Union that he began to make his first tentative
openings to the outside world. He tried to oust the Chinese National-
ists from the United Nations and to seat representatives of his
own government on the world deliberative body. In 1970 Chiang
Kai-shek's Nationalists were still representing China at the United
Nations and stubbornly maintaining the fiction that they, and not the
Chinese Communists, were the legitimate government of all China.
On October 1, 1970, Mao appeared publicly in Tiananmen Square with
Edgar Snow, an American journalist who during the 1930s had written
about the Chinese Communist movement. Newspaper coverage of
this appearance stated pointedly that the people of the world, includ-
ing Americans, were China's friends. The government of Canadian
Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau diplomatically recognized the
People's Republic of China in 1970, and in 1971 U.S. President Richard
Nixon surprised the world by personally visiting China and chatting
with Mao. Later that year, the Chinese Communists were admitted to
the United Nations and Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists were ousted.
Nixon's decision to “play the China card” against the Soviet Union
began the process of normalizing relations between China and the
United States, but official U.S. recognition of Mao's China did not
come until early 1979. In 1972 Japan, reeling from the “Nixon shock”
caused by the president's trip to China, established diplomatic rela-
tions with the People's Republic of China and cut off ties with the
Nationalists on Taiwan.
Lin Biao, Mao's designated successor and supposedly loyal
comrade in arms, did not like Mao's anti-Soviet stance and his out-
reach to foreign countries. In August 1971 Lin Biao apparently
launched a failed attempt to assassinate Mao and then attempted to
flee to the Soviet Union, where he probably had supporters. Historians
disagree on the ultimate cause of Lin Biao's death, but one fairly
widely accepted account holds that a plane he boarded to flee China
ran out of fuel and crashed in Mongolia, killing all aboard. News of
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