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Tuesday, October 19, 2004


CIA releases declassified papers on Mao’s China

The Central Intelligence Agency has made public 71 previously classified documents on China, including the National Intelligence Estimates issued over the 30-year period of Mao Zedong's rule.

The collection is available on the agency's web site and will be released by the US Government Printing Office on compact disc.

In his introduction to the documents, Robert L. Suettinger, a career intelligence analyst, described the collection as "an impressive one" in which "the fundamentals are consistently right."

Among the most important judgments, Mr. Suettinger wrote, was a consistently accurate assessment that the Communist Party in China was never challenged from 1948 on its predominance of power on the Chinese mainland. Other assessments contained in the documents include:

A main shortcoming, Suettinger wrote in his assessment, was "overestimating the importance of ideological solidarity and other centripetal forces within the Communist Bloc at least during the 1950's."

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