China’s Quest for Self-Reliance in Oil: The Story of Fushun, Yumen, and Daqing

Author: Lim, Tai-Wei
Examines the competing views of the influence of geopolitics on the source, continuity, and change in the development of Chinese oil production.


“Tai-Wei Lim has given us more than just an absorbing account of the history of continuity and change in the development of Chinese oil production, however. He uses his findings to evaluate competing schools of thought in the debate among historians on the sources of Chinese development, schools that have variously interpreted Chinese self-reliance in oil as the singular achievement of the PRC or, alternatively, as the realization of a concept enshrined in Chinese mentality for generations before the Communists took power. Lim argues that nationalist sentiments stimulated by external threats provide a continuous thread, linking the actions of the Nationalists in response to Japan’s invasion and annexation of Manchuria in 1931 to the similar reactions of the Communist government when the Soviet Union withdrew its support and called home its technicians in 1960. Oil, as a commodity linked to military and economic power, served as the focal point for mobilizing the national will and state resources to achieve self-reliance. It is hardly less important today.” - Prof. Judith Reppy, Cornell University

“. . . excellent for students and scholars who are studying China’s modern history, economy, and international relations.” - Prof. Sachiko Komatata, Gregorian Court University

“What is remarkable about Lim’s thesis is that by painstakingly examining English, Chinese and Japanese works on the oil industry in China, he casts new light on its history, thus giving a well-rounded perspective of all the players in what is a most secretive and fascinating sector. One comes away, too, with a better understanding of China through the angle of indigenous petroleum production. With the Chinese people’s overt “nation-building” sentiments resounding throughout its petroleum industry in the twentieth century, one can better understand why China continues to doggedly maintain national growth through its foreign policies, by securing external oil sources . . .” - Prof. Tan Hsien-Li Teresa, National University of Singapore

Table of Contents

List of Tables
Foreword by Judith Reppy
Introductory Note by Masaharu Yanagihara
Introductory Remark by Hank Lim
1 Introduction
2 Japan’s Fushun-First to Challenge Oil Impoverishment
3 NRC’s Yumen-Chinese Challenge to Oil Impoverishment
4 The Postwar Fushun-Yumen Debate and Fushun’s Legacies
5 Yumen’s Legacy and the Founding of Daqing
6 Response to the Russian Pullout and the Founding of Daqing
7 Conclusion