The liberal world order fashioned in the aftermath of WWII by Western democracies has brought peace and prosperity for much of the world over the past 75 years. China, more than any other nation, was a significant beneficiary of a stable, rules-driven international order. Indeed, China was transformed nearly overnight from an agrarian peasant society to an industrial giant that raised millions of ordinary Chinese out of poverty and set the stage for China’s aspiration as an emerging world superpower. U.S.-China relations during this period prospered as well, with mutually beneficial trade, cultural, and political cooperation reaching new heights.
The World War II “Flying Tigers”, or Fei Hu in Mandarin Chinese, was a highly respected group of American pilots, the American Volunteer Group (AVG), that was recruited by the Chinese Nationalist government to fight the Japanese in the early years of the war. In the summer of 1941, about 260 AVG members (including 110 pilots and 99 P-40 fighters) reached southwest China under the command of Claire Chennault, as part of the Chinese Air Force. The P-40 fighters of the AVG were originally painted with the design of a shark’s mouth. To the Chinese in southwest mountainous region, that image of “flying tigers” was the ultimate power and ideal symbol to fight the enemy. Thus was born the nickname and the legacy of Flying Tigers, including the Disney designed insignia.