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NYTimes
New York Times
16 Dec 2023
Clay Risen


NextImg:Merle Goldman, a Leading Expert on Communist China, Dies at 92

In November 1974, a small group of American college presidents spent three weeks traveling through China, visiting universities, communes, factories and even the office of Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping, who was still four years away from taking over as Communist Party leader.

Though the United States had recently re-established relations with China, it was an insular, even forbidding place, utterly foreign to these Western visitors. Fortunately, the delegation had a famed Sinologist as a guide: Merle Goldman.

A historian at Boston University, Dr. Goldman was still relatively early in her career but was already widely considered one of the world’s leading analysts of Chinese politics. She was far from the only prominent China scholar of her generation, but she stood apart in her ability to communicate her insights to the nonacademic public.

She wrote opinion articles and book reviews for The New York Times, The Boston Globe and The Washington Post, and her reports from her trips to China were required reading for government and business leaders.

Just weeks after returning from that trip to China, she wrote a probing analysis of the country’s defense strategy for The Times.

“Not only does there appear to be a genuine reservoir of good will toward the United States,” she concluded, “but China wants American support in its hostility to the Soviet Union.”


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