During the Cold War, Switzerland functioned as a hub for Chinese propaganda networks. Focusing on cultural diplomacy and questioning the notion of soft power, this book explores how the People’s Republic of China (PRC) developed its influence and its prestige abroad through its Embassy in Bern, the most important in Western Europe. Despite its fierce anti-communism, the Swiss Confederation was one of the first capitalist countries to recognise the PRC. As a neutral country and as the home base for many international organisations, Switzerland represented a strategic centre for the spread of Maoism throughout the world. The book also discusses how China’s approach in Switzerland, bypassing traditional diplomatic structures, and relying on contacts with individual people – "foreign friends" – was then used, and continues to be used, in many other countries, including the United States, France and Japan.

chapter |21 pages


part I|54 pages

Diplomacy and propaganda

chapter 2|14 pages

Swiss cultural events in China

chapter 3|16 pages

China's “people's diplomacy”

chapter |3 pages

Conclusion of the first part

part II|59 pages

The many faces of friendship

chapter 4|18 pages

Under surveillance (1949–1964)

chapter 5|20 pages

Golden age (1964–1976)

chapter 6|14 pages

Bittersweet twilight (1976–1989)

chapter |2 pages

Conclusion of the second part

part III|71 pages

Pro-Chinese culture and politics

chapter 7|17 pages

The voice of Beijing in Switzerland

chapter 9|18 pages

With a friend like Han Suyin…

chapter |2 pages

Conclusion of the third part

chapter |10 pages