John Gittings

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Full name: John Gittings

Area of interest: World Affairs (esp. China and East Asia); Nuclear proliferation and peace history

Journals/Organisation: The Guardian


Personal website:

Website: / John Gittings

Blog: Comment is free...





Education: Midhurst Grammar School; School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London: Civil Service dip. Chinese language; Corpus Christi College, Oxford: MA Oriental Studies (first)

Career: Royal Institute of International Affairs: research assistant, 1963/1966; University of Chile, Institute of International Studies, 1966/1967; Far Eastern Economic Review: China editor, 1968/1969; London School of Economics, Centre for International Studies, 1969/1971; The China Quarterly: Acting Editor, 1971/1972; Polytechnic of Central London: senior lecturer in Chinese politics, 1976/1983

  • The Guardian: foreign desk, foreign leader writer, 1983/1998, East Asia editor, based in Hong Kong and Shanghai, 1998/2003

Current position/role:

  • also writes/has written for:

Other roles/Main role:

Other activities: Research Associate - Centre of Chinese Studies, School of Oriental & African Studies, London University; Oxford Research Group - Associate


Viewpoints/Insight: To deconstruct "ten years of madness" from The Drawbridge Issue 6, Autumn 2007

Broadcast media:






Books & Debate:

  • The role of the Chinese Army OCLC 234382 , 1966
  • Survey of the Sino-Soviet Dispute OCLC 40942 , 1968
  • A Chinese view of China OCLC 696549 , 1972
  • The World and China, 1922-1974 OCLC 1153447 , 1974
  • Superpowers in Collision OCLC 9075997 , with Noam Chomsky & Jonathan Steele, 1984
  • China changes face: The road from revolution, 1949-1989 OCLC18589474 , 1989
  • Beyond the Gulf War (ed.), OCLC 27108922 , 1992
  • Real China: From cannibalism to karaoke OCLC 34671073 , 1996
  • Britain in the 21st Century: rethinking defence and foreign policy (ed.) OCLC 36479269 , 1996
  • The Indonesian Massacres, 1965-1966: Image and Reality, in Mark Levene & Penny Roberts, ed., The Massacre in History OCLC 37663303 , 1999
  • The changing face of China: From Mao to market OCLC 60931445 , 2005

Latest work: International Encyclopaedia of Peace (Associate Editor) (OUP, New York)


Current debate:David Davies Memorial Institute, Annual lecture “After Trident: Peace or Proliferation?” 25 April 2007, ©John Gittings

The Guardian:

Column name:


Section: no column - regular Comment is free... blog




Personal website:

Website: / John Gittings

Commissioning editor:

Day published:

Regularity: varies

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Average length:


  • China's Uighur conundrum - For years, Beijing has talked up the threat of ethnic separatism in Xinjiang. Is reality finally catching up with the story? - 8th July 2009 (See: China: summary)
  • Shock tactics - China will need all the expertise that it has acquired in recent years to tackle the Sichuan earthquake - 13th May 2009
  • The problem of proliferation - We cannot pick and choose who takes the nuclear route as long as there is no effective movement towards global disarmament - 18th June 2009
  • Women of the revolution - John Gittings discovers the hidden stories and surprise successes of China past and present - BOOK REVIEWS: Factory Girls: Voices from the Heart of Modern China by Leslie T Chang; Chinese Whispers: Searching for Forgiveness in Beijing by Jan Wong; Lion's Head, Four Happiness by Xiaomei Martell - 6th June 2009
  • The heroic mums and dads of Beijing - Twenty years ago in Tiananmen Square I watched as ordinary working-class citizens took on the might of China's army - 4th June 2009
  • A welcome nuclear sub U-turn - David Cameron said he would consider abandoning the Trident missile force – that's not what he told me 10 days earlier - 7th May 2009
  • Bordering on deceit - Last year we were told that British naval officers were indisputably in Iraqi waters. If only we had been more sceptical - 18th April 2008
  • A chilling message - The Chinese government's decision to arrest a prominent activist at such a sensitive time is unlikely to be coincidence - 23rd March 2008
  • Losing Lhasa -Although the Dalai Lama's leadership is being questioned by young militants in Tibet, the real crisis of authority is Beijing's - 23rd March 2008
  • Waffling in Beijing - The British government seems reluctant to say anything in public about human rights in China - 3rd March 2008
  • Musharraf's missiles - Western leaders lecture Pakistan's president on democracy, while ignoring a much greater threat: the country's nuclear arsenal - 5th February 2008
  • Chairman Brown in Beijing - As the prime minister sets out his market stall and sells Britishness to China, is he guilty of selling out on human rights issues? - 18th January 2008
  • Keeping the peace - A new nuclear treaty must address the danger of civilian programmes and the failure of major powers to move toward abolition - 11th December 2007
  • He knew he was right - The concluding part of The Blair Years showed a PM who took pride in the 'inner strength' that allowed him to totally disregard other people's - 3rd December 2007
  • The nuclear culprits - By continuing to thumb its nose at the comprehensive test-ban treaty, the Bush administration is letting other countries off the hook - 20th September 2007
  • Contradictions of a client state - Shinzo Abe has resigned as PM, but the country still has to work out how to reconcile subordination to the US with nationalist sentiment - 12th September 2007
  • Nuclear distraction - Margaret Beckett's speech on non-proliferation was a departure from Britain's traditional stance. Does this signal a new Brown-era approach? - 29th June 2007
  • China by the book - Among many new writings on China, two works exploring the country's recent past and its changing present stand out - 2nd June 2007
  • Thinking beyond the radar - The US must look past its cold war policy of building new missile bases to curtail Iran's nuclear ambitions

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