Monday, January 09, 2006

Premier Zhou Enlai (1898-1976) remembered

Yesterday was the 30th anniversary of the passing away of the great international and Asian statesman Zhou Enlai (1898-1976) who was also the first premier of New China.

Zhou not only secured for New China one of the five permanent seats of the United Nations' Security Council in 1971 but was instrumental in restoring the bilateral ties between New China and the United States in 1972 as well as establishing diplomatic relations between New China and Malaysia in 1974. Zhou, like Indian PM Jawahartal Nehru and Indonesian President Sukarno, was also a towering figure in the 1955 Bandung Conference championing mutual respect and peaceful co-existence of all nations, big or small.

Domestically, Zhou was a voice of reason, moderation and self-restraint in the 10-year turbulence of the 1966-1976 'Cultural Revolution' as well as the rampage of the 'Gang of Four' and their 'Red Guards'.

For my father, Premier Zhou was a true hero. In his forthcoming memoirs Dalam Ribuan Mimpi Gelisah: Memoir Said Zahari, Pak Said also ranks Premier Zhou as a great leader of the anti-colonial and national liberation struggle in Asia.

The Zhou Enlai Reference Archive

The Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence