Offers to flood US with surplus Chinese women
The US state department has released documents from 1973, shedding light on relations with China – and on then leader Mao Zedong’s attitudes to women.
The papers include transcripts of talks between Mao and the then US National Security Adviser, Henry Kissinger.
The talks covered a range of issues, including the Soviet threat and Taiwan.
But during the talks, the Chinese leader made a surprising offer to send what he described as an excess of 10 million Chinese women to the US.
The discussions between Mao and Mr Kissinger in February 1973 took place at a villa in Beijing.
The Chinese leader smoked cigars and the two men talked and joked into the early hours of the morning.
Apology to interpreter
The papers show that Mao’s comments about Chinese women were a recurring theme.
He lamented the dismal state of trade between the two countries but remarked that China had an excess of women.
He suggested sending tens of thousands to the US, but later in the conversation increased his offer to 10 million.
The remark provoked laughter and was clearly meant as a joke, but Mao went on to complain that Chinese women were giving birth to too many children.
If they were sent to the US he said, they would flood the country with disaster.
When discussing the possibility of a Soviet invasion of China, Mao complained that too many Chinese women didn’t know how to fight.
A Chinese official warned that his comments would incur public anger if they were released.
Mao later apologised to a female interpreter and he and Mr Kissinger agreed to remove his comments about women from the records.