Zhou Enlai

Zhou Enlai


Zhou Enlai a prominent Chinese Communist leader, was the first Premier of the People's Republic of China, from 1949 until his death.


  • All diplomacy is a continuation of war by other means.
    • Saturday Evening Post (March 27, 1954)
    • A play upon the famous maxim of Clausewitz: "War is the continuation of politics by other means."

  • China is an attractive piece of meat coveted by all … but very tough, and for years no one has been able to bite into it.
    • To Chinese Communist Party Congress, New York Times (September 1, 1973)


  • China and North Vietnam are closely united to each other, like the lips and the teeth.
    • In Hanoi (March 5, 1971)

  • For us, it is all right if the talks succeed, and it is all right if they fail.

  • It is too soon to say. (Also cited as "It's too early to tell.")
    • When asked about the impact of the French Revolution of 1789.

  • Nikita Khrushchev: The difference between the Soviet Union and China is that I rose to power from the peasant class, whereas you came from the privileged Mandarin class.
    Zhou: True. But there is this similarity. Each of us is a traitor to his class.

Quotes about Zhou

  • It is a little bit humiliating when I have to say that Chou En-lai to me appears as the most superior brain I have so far met in the field of foreign politics... so much more dangerous than you imagine because he is so much better a man than you have ever admitted.
    • Dag Hammarskjöld, in a letter to a friend, as quoted in Hammarskjöld (1972) by Brian Urquhart