Zhang Kun, Shanghai University, “Public Diplomacy, Chinese Propaganda and Radio Beijing: The Spread of Maoism in Cold War Latin America”

Research on Maoism in Latin America has made great strides in recent years. While some scholars have traced the rise and fall of different Maoist guerrilla groups in various Latin American countries, others focused more on the literary works of Latin American writers, hoping to reconstruct the multilayer relations between Maoism and Latin American society. In contrast, this chapter tackles another crucial theme of the spread of Maoism from China to Latin America during the Cold War. Based on archive materials in China, Taiwan, the United States, and Latin America, this chapter reveals the three main methods used by the CCP to propagate Maoism in Latin America: public diplomacy, Chinese propaganda, and radio broadcasts. More importantly, it shows the inter-dependence of the three methods. Public diplomacy first helped facilitate the exportation of Chinese propaganda materials to Latin America and the broadcasting of Spanish radio program in Beijing. The latter two methods in turn assisted the conduct of public diplomacy targeting Latin American travelers to China. The combination of these three methods that the CCP employed ensured an incessant flow of Maoist ideas into Latin America, which had a profound impact on the Leftist movement in the continent.