The Chinese Communist Party's Propaganda on the Vietnam War, 1965-1976
As Reflected in People's Daily and other sources


Korean Minjok Leadership Academy
LHJ's paper, Teacher Comments



Table of Contents


Third Draft , Oct. 21 2013
Second Draft , Oct. 20 2013
First Draft , Oct. 15 2013



Third Draft (Final Draft) . . Go to LHJ's Log

This is the research paper of Lee Hye Jin, a Korean high school student who grew up living in China. She presently attends KMLA, a high school in the Republic of Korea, and during vacations regularly returns to China to join her family. She attended a Chinese middle school while in China, she fluently speaks and reads Mandarin Chinese.
At KMLA she took my history class for six semesters. Several of her term papers from early semesters have been posted at this site : Maritime History : The South China Sea until the later 19th Century (June 2012), Russian/Soviet Central Asia in Political Transition, 1800-1945 : a Collage of Biographies of Persons (Dec. 2012). In the Spring semester of 2012, Lee Hye Jin participated in Historiography Seminar. During that seminar, I introduced to students Types of Research Papers, mainly sorted by primary source base, with the focus on primary sources accessible to high school students.
Toward the end of Seminar Historiography, Lee Hye Jin told me that she wanted to write a research paper related to the history of Chinese propaganda.
My main concern : students have one entire semester for their term paper; according to experience, research papers take longer, somewhere between one and three semesters. So it was essential to narrow down the topic and establish a clearly defined primary source base. I suggested the topic of the Vietnam War; it lasted long enough for such a research paper to generate interest, as during this period domestic and international changes might have affected the Chinese propagandistic coverage of the Vietnam War.
Not being able to read Chinese myself, I suggested Lee Hye Jin to acquire a Chinese postage stamp catalogue. She then told me that the entire coverage of the People's Daily, back to 1949, was available on DVDs; on her trip to China she acquired both sources, and in the few months since she completed her research paper.
When writing her paper, for guidance she could refer to research papers of KMLA graduates such as Choi, Eun Seol's The History of Kazakhstan as Reflected in the New York Times, 1920-1969 (2007) and Park, Keun Woong's Chiang Kai-shek 1945-1949 as Reflected in the New York Times 2010.
This paper is extraordinary among the research papers written in history at KMLA, as it required command of Chinese language at a level which goes far beyond what can be taught at our school. It documents that the author applies study skills she learned over the semester in history class; that she has achieved a degree of independence as an analyst and scholar. In 8 years of experience in guiding students writing research papers, this may also been the paper which developed quickest from the conception of the topic to a completed final draft. Feedback Lee Hye Jin has received along the way is listed below, in my "teacher's comments".
            October 21st 2013
               Alexander Ganse



Second Draft . . Go to LHJ's Log

(1) As I have to translate your text into html, a few points I need to explain : I have to replace all apostrophes, quotation-marks, wavelines, dashes as they get garbled when I copy and paste your text into a text editor. So future changes : Just send me the change and tell me where in the text it applies; I spent 3 hours this morning posting your draft, and if you keep on working onb your word file, I have to do double work, replace all these characters again when I post your next draft.
(2) Notes : because it is easier for me, I converted your footnotes into endnotes.
For foot- or endnotes, please follow the pattern : author (family name only), year, page number(s). No urls should appear in notes. Keep in mind, in your final draft I will link the note to the respective reference.
(3) footnote 2 : Anup Shah; can't find this source in your reference list. I assume, Shah is his family name. Every source appearing in your notes shouls appear in your reference list.
(4) It's notable that CCP's propaganda tactic underwent several changes during the Vietnam War due to certain events in China's domestic politics and international affairs. both in China's domestic policies and in international affairs
(5) To answer these questions, this study utilizes primary sources, the news articles published by the Peoples Daily on the Vietnamese affairs from 1965 to1976, along with the relevant postage stamps released by the China's Posts and Telecom Press in pertaining period. (6)
Old joke : Smith tells his apprentice : 'When I nod with my head, you hit it with all the force in your body'. The mith thinks of 'it' being the hot piece of iron on the anvil. The apprentice thinks of 'it' being - the smith's head.
In the same manner, you when placing note (6) think of the Vietnam coverage of People's Daily. However, the last primary source category you mention are the postage stamps. So your reader may be confused, expecting note 6 to refer to the postage stamps. So I suggest you move note (6) to from 1965 to 1976
Also : your reference to the postage stamp catalogue lists the English title only. The vast majority of those who purchased/read the catalogue were/are Chinese; so also refer to the Chinese language title.
(6) In 1927, the communist China ..
Only persons with profound knowledge know that within China a communist state existed from the mid 1920s onward, which in fact did issue technically crude postage stamps. Please be aware that some of your potential readers do not have such a level of knowledge; so (a) reference(s) here are appropriate. And (b) the term "the communist China" is confusing. Since 1949, if one disregards Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, Communist China refers to all of China; by 1927 "Communist China" refers to part of the Chinese province of Jiangxi. So rephrase.
(7) The second page is filled with telegrams from eleven nongovernmental organizations that express antagonism against the United States and support for Vietnam
In accordance with my comment to your first draft, you have replaced "Vietnam" by "North Vietnam" / "Hanoi", even by "Ho" at many places in your paper where it seemed appropriate to you. Here a sentence which you overlooked.
(8) only African and Southeastern countries but also European countries and the Untied States typo
(9) 45,000 people from NVA as NVA refers to the North Vietnamese Army, soldiers, not people
(10) while 4,324 were killed in the combined forces of the United States and the Republic of Vietnam.
while the combined forces of the U.S. and the Republic of Vietnam suffered 4,234 dead.
(11) Clearly, the Tet Offensive was militarily a defeat for the communist bloc and substantially weakened its force.
defeat for the Communist bloc - yes. Weakened its force - no; only the forces of NVA and Viet Cong.
Double check the 45,000 dead; were they all losses of the NVA ? I assume the bulk of it to have been Viet Cong.
(12) According to the graph, in 1965
Here you distance yourself from a graph you created. Don't do that, because it implies that you do not trust in your own analysis.
(13) Graph 2,3,4 : Vietnam coverage of People's Daily 1965-1976; subtitle : your present title
Graph 4, y axes : add the character %, as the graph is not yet self-explicatory.
subtitle : The frequency of Nhan Dan articles used in Vietnam-related articles of People's Daily, in %
rephrase title of graph 2 so that redundance is avoided.
(14) According to the analysis so far, 1965 is the year when the quantitative intensity of propaganda is the most noticeable:
Skip "According to the analysis so far,". It may be understood as your research/analysis not yet being completed.
(15) Before moving on the next chapter to analyze motivations of the CCP behind such changes, I will look at how the CCP used postage stamps to propagate the war as well.
Avoid using "I". One can use an "impersonal" perspective : A look at postage stamps issued by the People's Republic of China on the topic of Vietnam reveals the following ...
Alternative : skip that sentence.
(16) IV. Motivations : motivation has no plural. If you want to keep a plural, better : Motives
(17) The de-Stalinization movement in the Soviet Union deeply .. Destalinization; quotation marks unnecessary.
(18) Disillusioned by the unrests unrest has no plural.
(19) that the Chiense "had impinged upon Vietnam's sovereignty." typo
(20) So far, this paper has demonstrated:
This sentence begins your conclusion. A conclusion is normally a summary. "So far" implies that you want to bring in further information, which is not the custom in a summary. And also another note (27) being listed in your conclusion supports my observation
So how about changing the chapter title to "Final Analysis" ?
(21) Furthermore, the reference to the American army's bombings
Bombing was mostly done by the US Air Force.
Overall : very impressive. Send just instructions what to fix where, not a fixed word article.
I began working on your draft at 5 a.m; now we have 8.40 a.m.



First Draft . . Go to LHJ's Log

(1) Notes : Add a note for the Churchill quote. Merge notes 9 and 10 into one note. In one note you can refer to as many sources as you want; avoid multiple notes (more than one note at the same spot).
(2) Send the graphs as separate image files.
(3) You will have to type your reference list into paintbrush, so that we can upload it as an image. As is, Chinese characters will be garbled.
(4) So far, impressive. One concern I have : you rely, understandably, mainly on Chinese language sources. But international sources also can help you improve your paper. Graph 4 especially : peak 1975 - that is when South Vietnam collapsed and the war ended; there was a lot of action, resulting in many articles. The dates when U.S. withdrawal began and was ended also may have affected the number of articles.
(5) At two places in your text I sense incomplete information (typos) : under graph 2 However, from 196 until 1972, one digit missing (196?); National An-American Day Anti-American Day ?
(6) You use the word "Vietnam" in the meaning of "North Vietnam". It would be better if you clarify your uage of terminology in your introduction.
(7) Terminology refers to all terms used; if you talk about an individual word/phrase, use "term".
(8) Try use less apostrophes. Especially double apostrophes (People's Daily's ...) read weird.
(9) "2,500,000 people from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Nanning held a great demonstration: Nanning does exist, but I suspect here Nanjing is meant.
(10) list of foreign countries where demonstrations were held : Colombia, Philippines
(11) With 45,000 people killed and 6,991 captured for the NVA while 4324 killed for the combined forces of the U.S. and the Republic of Vietnam, the Tet Offensive was militarily a defeat for the Communists that weakened them very substantially. / However, the propagandistic
PRC sources on the topic are obviously propagandistic. And the U.S. is a society which is based on a plurality of opinions. That does not mean that propaganda does not exist in the U.S. These casualty figures may be (roughly) correct, they may also have been modified in the interest of propaganda. Distance yourself from the figures, in the text name the source.
(12) "China Sacrifices Itself to Support Vietnam Against U.S.. 320 million people Participated in the War (?ڸ 32ز????)." People: Henan Channel. Ed. Liangfeng Zhao. 19 Aug.
320 million ? we talked about that number yesterday.
(13) Graph 4, y scale - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, I don't know what these numbers mean.
Explain all y scales in your graphs 1-4.
(14) Stamps : as a source base, they stand no comparison to the newspaper articles. But the absense of stamp issues related to the Vietnam War after 1971 says something.
(15) Also, you may somewhere in your paper want to discuss what the People's Daily does NOT report about, respectively what they report about rather little.
Overall : great start. You did the difficult part (of that paper section); fixing the paper according to my comments is the easy part.