End of an era
Chairman Mao Zedong, the 82-year-old father of People&rsquos Republic of China, an inspiration for revolutionaries around the world, the greatest Marxist of the contemporary era, and the greatest statesman of the age, passed away at 00.10 hours on September 9, 1976 in Peking following a long illness. Chairman Mao would have turned 83 on December 26. He had long been suffering from Parkinson&rsquos disease and the central committee of the Chinese communist party at the beginning of June this year ceased organizing meetings between him and distinguished foreign visitors. Radio Peking and the New China News Agency announced the demise of the Chinese leader in the form of a communiqué issued by the party&rsquos central committee, the standing committee of the National People&rsquos Congress, the State Council and the Central Committee&rsquos Military commission. It was addressed to the whole party, and the country. The communiqué said, &ldquoChina will unite with the peoples in the world, especially those in the third world to fulfill its duties of Proletarian internationalism.&rdquo It further said China was determined to liberate Taiwan. The communiqué shed some light on the type of leadership that would come to the helms after Mao&rsquos death. The announcement said that for successors to the Chinese leadership, it was necessary to follow the principle of combining the old, middle-aged and the young. The communiqué called upon the nation to continue implementing Chairman Mao&rsquos directives of taking class struggle the key link to continue the revolution under proletarian dictatorship and consolidate the fruits of the Cultural Revolution. Following Chairman Mao&rsquos instruction, China shall not be hegemonic nor will it be a super-power, the communiqué said.
Mao, an ardent Rebel and Revolutionary
Mao Zedong, the &ldquoRed Sun&rdquo of China, the &ldquogreat helmsman&rdquo of 800-million Chinese people was also one of the most famous rebels in history. As a 13-year-old boy in his native province of Hunan, he rebelled against the authority of his own father. As an adolescent he did not wait for the fall of the empire in 1911 to cut off his pigtail, symbol of serfdom imposed on the Chinese by the Manchu conquerors.
After World-War I when the young liberal revolutionary intellectuals left China to study in the west or in Moscow, Mao Zedong refused to follow this trend and remained in China. In 1927, when the communist party ordered an urban revolt, Mao protested against this bloody and vain action and, instead, preached and then organized peasant guerrilla action.
In 1935, during the historic &lsquoLong March&rsquo, Mao became the undisputed leader of the party. At the age of 43 in his headquarter in Hunan he was no longer the emancipated young man with blazing eyes of the &ldquoAutumn Insurrection&rdquo. He was already Chairman Mao. This was the period when Mao Zedong became &lsquothe great teacher&rsquo and of all the titles he was given it was this he preferred most.
Born on December 26, 1893 in the little village of Cho Chan in Hunan province, Mao was very restive in his childhood. In 1921 Mao became one of 12 founder members of the clandestine communist party, created on July 1 in Shanghai. Mao visited Moscow twice, first in 1950 to sign with Stalin the Sino-Soviet Treaty of Alliance and second time in 1957 when he led his country&rsquos delegation to the Moscow conference of Communist parties.
During the Long March, Mao was the Supreme Head of the armed forces and the party at the end of a long power struggle with Li-Li-San who was backed by the comintern. Mao even reconciled with Chiang Kai-Shek to drive away the invading Japanese from China.
From 1974 neither television nor official Photograph could hide the age and extreme fatigue of the leader. &lsquoTactics in the struggle against Japanese Imperialism&rsquo, &lsquoStrategic Problems of the Revolutionary Struggle in China&rsquo and &lsquoChinese New Democracy&rsquo were some of the important books he wrote.
A requiem for Mao Zedong
Chairman Mao Zedong, the peerless and the most revered leader of the eight hundred million people of the People&rsquos Republic of China, is no more. A most illustrious personality who dominated the world scene for well over past quarter of this century and who remained the undisputed leader of China since 1935, the glory of chairman Mao did not remain confined to only the frontiers of China but had radiated all over the world. Mao came from the popular depths of China and pulled it out from its past humiliation succeeding solely by the vigor of action and the boldness of reflection and giving it the central place that the history owed it. The determination and devotion with which he worked tirelessly for rebuilding his nation through various challenging situations created by the imperialistic aggressions, feudalistic ravages and the vicissitudes of time had become a perennial source of life-boosting inspiration for the entire peace loving people and oppressed nations throughout the world. It was this matchless virtue, which made him to be known as Chairman Mao, and a statesman of world caliber. Mao enjoyed the unwavering veneration of his people because he, more than any other single Chinese leader of his time or group, had the distinction not only on leading his country through disastrous ups and downs but also of nurturing a new China which is not only self-reliant but a strong, vigorous and unified nation that ranks among the foremost in the world. The shock and grief being noticed in all parts of the world over on the passing away of this outstanding leader proves how his multi-dimensional personality influenced every course of the contemporary world history. A revolutionary, poet, military strategist, philosopher and teacher of the most popular country of the world, Chairman Mao&rsquos ideas will long continue to influence future generations. Mao was a universal man whose ideas on the abilities of men to change the conditions under which they live have influenced all humanity.
Chairman Mao&rsquos death is indeed an irreparable loss for the Chinese people. It is similarly so for all those who obtained inspiration from his thoughts and ideals. For the Nepalese people the death of Chairman Mao Zedong has come as a shock and generated a profound sense of grief. His Majesty the king, who had two memorable meetings with chairman Mao, has given vent to the feelings of the entire Nepalese people in his message to the Chinese premier by describing Mao as not only the most respected and beloved leader of the Chinese people but also as &ldquoa trusted friend of our country&rdquo. Mao was respected by the Nepalese people for the affection he possessed and demonstrated towards this country.
Nepal and China established formal diplomatic relations on August 1, 1955. Both the country reaffirmed their faith on the five principles: mutual respect for each other&rsquos territorial integrity and sovereignty non aggression non interference in each other&rsquos internal affairs for any reasons of economic, political or ideological character, equality and mutual benefit and peaceful co-existence.
Even the border dispute, which had been left unsettled by history, was resolved through peaceful negotiations to the satisfaction and dignity of both the countries. It may be recalled here that the historic ties enjoyed by Nepal and China collapsed in the early 19th century after the latter slipped into the most difficult phase in its history. But, this void did not last long as the relationship between the two countries was again rejuvenated following the establishment of diplomatic relation between Nepal and China in the year 1955. After this the two countries began to again enjoy the same historic intimacies, asserting that Nepal-China&rsquos deep-rooted friendship treasured by the people of both the country will thrive and last forever.
Even though the principal architects of the Sino-Nepal relations &ndash King Mahendra, Tanka Prasad Acharya, B.P Koirala, Chairman Mao and premier Chou En-lai are no more, mutual faith and robust cooperation will continue to characterize Nepal-China relations.
Nepal is observing a policy of strict equidistance and balances between her two most immediate and important neighbors. In this light, Nepal-China friendship is free from any outstanding problems.
Passing away of a friend
As China&rsquos first and so far only Prime Minister since the founding of the People&rsquos Republic of China in 1949, his influence in shaping of his country&rsquos policies has been deep and continuous and second only to that of Chairman Mao. This and his long and eventful history of service to Chinese people right since the time when he founded the Paris section of the Chinese Communist Party had made him the most beloved of the Chinese leaders. The statesmanship showed by this visionary leader during the crucial periods including foreign aggression, civil war and foreign exploitation is exemplary.  
 In the words of one observer, he was the &lsquoluminous lovely moon, to the brilliance of the Mao Zedong Sun&rsquo. A man of great intellect and foresight, yet with an appealing modesty and charm that was renowned the world over, the late Chinese Premier will no doubt be recognized as one of the most outstanding personalities of this country.
Though it was generally known that Chinese Premier Chou-en Lai had not been keeping well since 1972, and notwithstanding the more recent indications that the end might not be very far off, the announcement of his death last Friday, following his demise on Thursday morning sent shock waves throughout China and the world.
According to reports, China has been plunged into grief and a weeklong official mourning has been announced. Reactions from world leaders and governments on this great Chinese leader&rsquos death all attest to the tremendous respect which he had been able to command for himself and his country- this even from those who may have opposed his policies and ideas in the past.
This said, it is important to note that with Chou-en-Lai&rsquos passing, the world is deeply interested in knowing the shape of things to come in China, especially if the likely changes are related to the reversal of the drift inherent in the Sino-Soviet schism which was signaled by Chou-en-Lai leaving the 22nd Communist Congress in Moscow in 1961 or a shift in the policy of rapprochement with the US, a change which has closely been associated with the late Chinese Premier and dramatized most by the former US President Richard Nixon&rsquos visit to Peking in 1972. The joint communiqué issued on the conclusion of President Richard M. Nixon&rsquos eight day visit to China may summarily be interpreted as beginning of a long march not in lock step but through different roads to the same goal of promoting world peace. The US and China have agreed to advance their relations on the basis of peaceful co-existence and, announced similar limited steps towards ending their bitter 20 years old enmity. The US has now realized its follies as far as the issue relating to the Chinese stand is concerned, i.e., on the issue of Taiwan. This contentious issue has for all these years been obstructing normalization of relations between the two countries. The United States seems to have acknowledged that all Chinese in either side of the Taiwan Straits maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China. The United States doesn&rsquot challenge that position, but reaffirms its interests in the peaceful settlement of the Taiwan question by the Chinese themselves. A serious study of the communiqué makes it clear that America has gone a long way in paving the way for relaxation of international tensions. Peace in Asia and peace in the world requires efforts from both sides to reduce immediate tensions and to eliminate the basic causes of conflict, yet when one reads the wordings of the Chinese side of the joint communiqué, it becomes clear that the Chinese have not wavered even an inch from the point where they stood even while branding America as a paper tiger. This joint communiqué is powerfully influenced by China. During Chou-en-Lai&rsquos period China&rsquos admission to the permanent membership of the UN laid foundation of the beginning of a new chapter in the history of balance of power in the world. To be more realistic about this phenomenon one has to understand clearly that the world will henceforth not be the monopoly only of America and Soviet Union and no world problem can be solved effectively without the active participation of China in them.
Dramatic development of the normalization in the relationship between China and Japan in 1972 will undoubtedly go into the annals of history as an epoch making event, since it marks the beginning of a new era in the state affairs not only of Asia but throughout the world as well. The visit of China by the Japanese Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka at the invitation of Premier Chou-en-Lai has not only contributed tremendously in promoting cordiality between Japan and China, but also changed effectively the entire course of history for the sake of peace and international understanding. For the first time after the Second World War the Japanese flags fluttered on the Chinese soil. The joint communiqué announced the establishment of diplomatic relations and ending the state of war between the two countries.
For us in Nepal the death of Chou-en-Lai has also had a profound impact. Not only was he the prime Minister of a friendly neighboring country, which has been assisting this country in her economic development, but because of his association in the public mind as a friend and well wisher of Nepal, the impact of his death has been rather more keenly felt. The Chinese Premier, who paid two very successful visits to this country once in 1957 and again in 1960, was known and liked not only by the members of the enlightened circles, but also by the common folk as well.
At the invitation of Tanka Prasad Acharya, the then Prime Minister of Nepal, Chou-en-Lai, Premier of the Peopleg:&rsquos Republic of China, arrived in Kathmandu on January 25, 1957 on a friendly and good will visit. During Chou-en-Lai visit to Nepal, the premier held talks in an extremely harmonious atmosphere. The two premiers reiterated their support for the Bandung principles and expressed satisfaction over the broad support and acceptance garnered by the five principles of peaceful co-existence jointly initiated by China and India from many countries in Asia and Africa and the world.
Despite their different political systems, the Asian and African countries shared the great aims of defending their own national independence and freedom, in course of constructing their own countries and promoting the welfare of their own people. At the invitation of Chou-en-Lai, Prime Minister B.P. Koirala made a goodwill visit of China on March 11, 1960. Prime Minister Koirala brought to the Chinese people the profound friendship of Nepalese people and at the same time he also saw during his visit the sincere friendship the Chinese people cherished for the Nepalese people. To further strengthen the ties and cooperation between the two countries, the two governments agreed to establish embassies mutually in Peking and Kathmandu. The two sides agreed that they would discuss and sign the treaty of peace and friendship between the two countries during premier Chou-en-Lai visit in Nepal.
At the end of April Chou-en-Lai visited Nepal on the friendly invitation of P.M. Koirala. He also addressed the joint session of Maha Sabha and Pratinidhi Sabha in Kathmandu on April 28, 1960. Bandung spirit is playing a more and more important role in guiding the relations among the concerned nations. The agreements on the question of the boundary between China and Nepal show that it is entirely necessary and possible to seek a reasonable solution to the complicated boundary question left over by history.
 It was during the late premier&rsquos 1960 visit to this country that the treaty of Peace and Friendship between the two countries was signed &mdash a treaty which has since become an important cornerstone of Nepal&rsquos foreign policy. As such, it not surprising that the demise of Chou-en-Lai came as shocking news to Nepal. Nepal-China relations not only blossomed but also proved its undoubted worth in times of need especially during the period of 1960-62. The period was indeed of paramount significance to the mutual relations between the countries as the Chinese government headed by Premier Chou-en-Lai extended its support in Nepal&rsquos development, be this in important field of highway engineering or in such industries that were likely to boost Nepal&rsquos self-reliance politically and at the diplomatic level too. The post-1960 period has been extremely significant as far as the developments in Nepal-China relations are concerned, not only because of His late Majesty King Mahendra and His late Majesty King Birendra&rsquos discussions with top Chinese leaders, including the intellectual and philosopher Premier Chou-en-Lai.
Happily, indications are that the pragmatic &lsquoChou-line&rsquo will continue. The Chinese leadership has full three years to groom Chou&rsquos apparent heir: Vice Premier Deng Xiaopeng. As one of the most conspicuous Chinese leaders, Xiaopeng was rehabilitated after being sent in to political exile during the 1966-67 Cultural Revolution. Since Deng&rsquos reemergence and rise to his present pre-eminent position has been due to the personal initiative of the late Chinese Premier and since most Beijing watchers will now step into Chou&rsquos shoes formally, such a development will have clear cut implication for the world, including Nepal.
The beginning of new era
It is for the first time during the past eighteen years that a great Chinese leader of this stature is visiting our country.
 It was in 1960 that the country had received the opportunity of welcoming the then premier Chou-en-Lai. It is therefore quite sure that this most historic visit will set-up a new landmark in the history of intimate friendship and mutual understanding subsisting so happily between Nepal and China. Nepal is the second foreign country which Deng Xiaopeng is visiting ever since his restoration to all his previous offices. Moreover, it is for the first time following the sad demise of Chairman Mao and after the emergence of chairman and prime minister Hua Kuo Feng that such a high personality, who holds only second position after Hua both in the government and the Chinese communist party, is visiting Nepal . The significance of this visit thus becomes self-evident since this implies the depth of intimacy and the friendly attitude which the present leadership in China entertains for Nepal. This visit demonstrates that China is determined to further consolidate and strengthen the relation of friendship and mutual cooperation established and cemented decades ago.
The People&rsquos Republic of China has throughout been providing very liberal and effective financial, material and technical assistance in the all round development of Nepal. China has always tried to develop its close ties of friendship, better understanding and mutual cooperation with Nepal on the basis of the lofty principles of peaceful co-existence, equality, non-interference in the independence and national sovereignty of each other. The friendship between our two countries has become a veritable symbol of peaceful co-existence between a very small nation having totally different social and political systems. 
Adjudged in the light of the above factors, Deng&rsquos visit is very significant and has a far-reaching effect both from national as well as international viewpoints. This visit is bound to add a new and still more productive chapter in the history of Nepal-China friendship.
Since Deng&rsquos Nepal visit represents the first foreign visit by the Chinese vice premier, who according to most China analysts, is the key figure in Chinese politics today.
 :Apart from this fact, since Deng&rsquos visit also represents the foreign visit by one of China&rsquos leading leaders since the passing of Chairman Mao and premier Chou-en-lai both in 1976, it would naturally tend to indicate that the convulsions of the immediate past Mao era, including that connected with Deng&rsquos second rehabilitation. The Chou-Deng school of thought now is in a firm position of authority within the corridors of power in China.
Against such a background, it is indeed very significant that the Chinese vice premier chose to come to Nepal. It is as clear an indication as any of the priority accorded by Chinese policy makers to her relations with Nepal.
The Deng visit indicates, if anything, that the post-Mao Chinese foreign policy with respect to Nepal continues to be guided by a sense of priority. Since the relation between the two neighboring countries has continued to grow and deepen over the past years, it may be expected that the Deng visit will provide a powerful fillip to this mutually beneficial relationship. As it is, it may be recalled that not only did China provide the opportunity for His Majesty the King to pay historic visit to Tibet. It was indeed a very potent political gesture as chairman Hua, who was the premier of China, greeted the visiting foreign dignitary for the first time outside the Beijing and spent four days in the Szchuanese capital of Chengdu during His Majesty the king&rsquos sojourn there in 1976.
It is equally notable that the Chinese vice-premier visited Nepal via the trans-Himalayan aerial route, which was inaugurated by His Majesty the King in June 1976, thus establishing what has subsequently been referred to as &ldquoNepal-China air bridge of friendship&rdquo. The significance of this fact can be assessed on two planes. It underscores the fact that the Himalayas are no barrier for direct, bilateral contacts at the highest levels and serves as a timely reminder of the intimacy of Nepal- China relations.
Since the Deng&rsquos visit is only to be expected, it should, of course, elevate the Sino-Nepal relations to new heights. Especially, it is clear that through this visit Beijing wishes to make clear the great importance which she places with her relations with the Kathmandu. The Deng visit will, among other things, achieve the laudable result of not only underscoring the fact that China is very much in the region contagious to Nepal and promoting the recent trends towards the greater regional harmony and trust.
On the economic cooperation front, it may not be unrealistic to expect that as a result of this important visit, China will signal its desire to help Nepal to become even more economically self-reliant than she is today.
What political benefits have been gained by Nepal from the Deng visit? To attempt to judge the implications of this important visit solely, or even primarily, by such a yardstick in clearly to miss the woods for the trees. The visit has been a definite political gain for Nepal
The visit ensures that a healthy, stabilizing dose of continuity will continue to characterize Nepal-China relations.
{This article is publish in The Weekly Mirror, On the occasion of the 58 th Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China. - P.K. Pant }