Origin: Zhou Enlai to the Chinese Communist Party Congress, as quoted in The New York Times (1 September 1973).
Zhou Enlai (1898 – 1976), 周恩来, was born in Jiangsu Province and was a prominent Chinese politician. Zhou was China’s head of government, serving from October 1949 until his death in January 1976.
“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.” Zhou Enlai
“Premier Chou reaffirmed the Chinese position that relations with the Soviet Union should be normalized on the basis of the “five principles of peaceful co‐existence,” and the border issue should be settled without any threats.
But he added: “We will not attack unless we are attacked. If we are attacked, we will certainly counterattack. That is our principle and we mean what we say.”
Premier Chou declared that the United States and the Soviet Union would always contend with each other and that their “collusion” was only temporary.
“The West always wants to urge the Soviet revisionists eastward to divert the peril toward China, and it would be fine so long as all is quiet in the West,” he added. “China is an attractive piece of meat coveted by all. But this piece of meat is very tough and for years no one has been able to bite into it.”” (New York Times)