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The vote that shook up the world

Updated: 2021-11-20 08:07 ( China Daily )
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Delegates from the People's Republic of China enjoyed the welcome to their new seats at the United Nations on Nov 15, 1971. Head of delegation Qiao Guanhua (front row, first left), Huang Hua (front row, second left) who later became China's first permanent representative to the UN, Tang Wensheng (lady behind Huang), daughter of Tang Ming-chao who acted as the interpreter. [Photo provided to China Daily]

"In the context of the civil rights movement and the anti-war movement, many young people started to question the American system and to look at other societal models, the Soviet and the Chinese ones, for example."

As the level of political consciousness grew across all communities of color throughout the 60s, communication and collaboration among all students of color also grew, Lee says.

"It was generally acknowledged that the PRC was a leader and supporter of Third World liberation struggles, a fact reflected in US domestic politics and foreign policy."

The New York Times account of the September 1971 demonstrations offers proof. "The pro-Peking demonstrators were mostly young and long-haired, and included a number of blacks, Puerto Ricans and whites," it said. "Their ally was billed as a united front of Third-World forces, and their slogans and posters, a few of which were in Spanish, reflected this position."

During the buildup to the demonstration, Lee's group "had people out passing around leaflets throughout Manhattan Chinatown as well as various campuses throughout the city.

There was "a steady escalation" by the Taiwan supporters, who wounded members of Lee's group and threatened them with violence "if we don't pull our propaganda team from the streets", he says. And he recalls meeting one young woman at a KMT literature table outside a Chinatown building.

"What struck me about her was that she had a southern accent. I and a couple of my companions struck up a conversation with her, and it turned out that she and her family had been bused from New Orleans all the way up to take part in the pro-Taiwan demonstration. The KMT were literally paying people up to $50 each to take part."

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