Online Exhibits@Yale

Conflict Research - Section 1

I started out researching China’s connections to the Middle East and to Africa as a way to bridge these two areas: Middle East and Africa, and China. The first result of this was a paper I wrote looking at China’s historical political ties to both Israel and Palestine, and how that informs China’s current stance on that conflict and towards both of those political entities. Those observing foreign policy interactions on the world stage have recently seen China attempting to establish more of a presence in the international community. Particularly under President Xi Jinping who assumed office in late 2012, foreign prestige has moved up the priority list and much more effort has gone into improving China’s image and influence abroad. One way in which this effort currently manifests itself is China’s increased political profile in the Middle East. Due to a special set of historical factors, China may be in a unique position to positively interfere in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and may now be inclined to do so. This paper examines the historical context of China’s previous and possible future involvement with the Middle East and analyses China’s evolving relationship with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including prospects for China becoming involved as the main broker of peace.

This paper was the first I wrote at Yale that required me to first really search strategically through Orbis, and to use specialized databases to look at old Chinese newspapers as sources. Turns out, those two newspaper databases were incredibly helpful and fascinating, and knowing about their existence has encouraged me to keep using them for future papers on China-Africa or China-Middle East related subjects.

Photograph taken at Bandung Conference

Photograph taken by Richard Wright at Bandung conference, [April 1955].

This is a digitized version of a photograph taken at the Bandung conference in April 1955. As shown by the multitude of flags on stage, this was a well attended conference. Various influential leaders from Africa and Asia were present, including China’s Premier Zhou Enlai who used the conference to initiate and strengthen Chinese ties to other Third World countries, including Egypt and Palestine.

Screen capture of  "People's Daily Article"

周恩来总理过仰光回到昆明.” People’s Daily, April 30, 1955. Chinese People’s Daily Archives

This is a digitized version of an article from the Chinese newspaper The People’s Daily. The archives of this paper are available online from the mid-1940s, and this article describes Premier Zhou Enlai’s successful visit to the 1955 Bandung Conference in Indonesia. This conference was one of the main gatherings of Third World leaders like Zhou, Nehru, and Nasser, and forged a lot of alliances and relationships between Third World countries during the Cold War. It was this conference that marked the establishment of the Middle East (and Africa) as part of Chinese foreign policy, particularly China’s engagement with the Arab World.

Conflict Research - Section 1