What China Saw in Kissinger
Chinese tributes to Henry Kissinger and what they might tell us about China and its relationship with America
This article by yours truly was published yesterday in’s excellent Sinocism, the go-to newsletter on China. If you haven't already, you can subscribe here.
China’s leadership went out of its way to pay tribute to former US secretary of state and national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, following his death at the age of 100 on 29 November. In a message to US president Joe Biden, China’s leader Xi Jinping (习近平) called Kissinger “a world-renowned strategist and an old friend and good friend of the Chinese people” who will be “remembered and missed”, while China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi (王毅), visited the US Embassy in Beijing to convey his condolences. Cynics may view this as testimony to Kissinger’s transactional relationship with Beijing: access to the highest echelons of power in return for praise, moderation and no crossing of any red lines. But China’s appreciation of Kissinger is more complex than this.
The man who Mao is said to have referred to playfully as the “carrier pigeon” …