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Declassified papers cause academic stir
By Wu Chong (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-10-18 07:44

A window into the history of Sino-US relations has opened following the release of diplomatic documents.

The archives, open for the first time to the Chinese public cover the period 1786 to 1944. Later this month Washington will release further declassified papers covering the years 1949 to 1976 - the most sensitive Cold War period.

A senior official with the US Embassy Donald M.Bishop said the documents will enable Chinese scholars to gain a more complete picture of what happened.

"Contemporary problems all have backgrounds. A better understanding of the history can help people make wiser decisions on today's questions," said Bishop with the embassy's press and cultural affairs office.

Professor Lin Jinshui of College of History, Fujian Normal University was the first Chinese scholar to look at the documents.

By September, more than 300 people, mainly academics, graduates and journalists had applied to examine the documents copied on microfilm.

The US embassy intends to offer small grants to Chinese scholars and graduates outside Beijing to broaden the scope of access.

The soon-to-be declassified 1949 and 1976 documents will, said Bishop, be brought to China "as soon as possible."

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