During the International Geological Congress in Sydney, Australia, August 1977, The People's Republic of China (PRC) was admitted to membership in the International Union of Geological Sciences, and the way was open for earth scientists in China to take part in international activities sponsored by the IUGS and its affiliated and associated organizations for the first time since 1949. To understand better how they might take part in some of these activities, the Geological Society of. China invited the President of IUGS, Professor Rudolph Trümpy to lead a mission to visit China for a month and to explain to them how international research was organized and how they might participate. The mission represented IUGS and its Commissions and Committees; International Geological Congress, Commission for the Geological Map of the World, the International Geological Correlation Programme, International Geodynamics Project, and it included the Geological Society of London, and the Geological Society of. America.

It soon became apparent that to understand the activities in the geological sciences in the PRC. now and in the past, one must view them in the context of the political climate and bureaucratic fashions, a phenomenon not completely unknown to us in the West. Thus there have been peaks and valleys in geological activity that correspond to the current political philosophy.

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