East Asia Watch

From peaceful evolution to colour revolution to... regime change?

As Washington noticeably hardens on China, with pundits saying the US is pushing for regime change, will its tough stance result in China's capitulation and change or even its collapse?

During the Cold War in the 1950s, then United States Secretary of State Frank Foster Dulles coined the phrase "peaceful evolution" which, despite its pacific-sounding words, is an attempt to infiltrate and subvert a country via non-military means. This was Washington's ploy to spread Western political ideas and lifestyles to nudge communist dictatorships into evolving into democracies.

Staunchly anti-communist, Mr Dulles refused to shake the hand of then Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai at the 1954 Geneva Conference on Indochina.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 18, 2020, with the headline 'From peaceful evolution to colour revolution to... regime change?'. Print Edition | Subscribe