Introduction: China's Role in the Post-Cold War Era One of the most enduring confrontations of the last half of the twentieth century was that which pitted non-communist Southeast Asia, backed by the United States, against communist China and its proxies. Europe had its "iron curtain", so Asia had the so-called "bamboo curtain". Tens of thousands of men and women died in wars and insurgencies that supposedly kept China in check. Military governments were promoted and. protected; dictators were coddled, and freedoms were suppressed -- all in the name of battling communism.