A clash of civilizations means a collapse of civilization

We are republishing this important article by Keith Lamb – an expert in China’s international relations – on how the US-led New Cold War is standing in the way of urgently-needed global cooperation to prevent climate breakdown. The article was first published in CGTN on 10 August 2021.

After Donald Trump took office, a new cold war started heating up between China and the United States. Regrettably, U.S. President Joe Biden doesn’t seem predisposed to cooling tensions anytime soon. However, beyond man-made cold wars, which if they turn hot, threaten the collapse of civilization with nuclear weapons, there is another war taking place where the U.S. and China are, or at least should be, the closest of allies.

This war is also man-made but, unlike the cold war, it is a hot one. And it’s getting hotter. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), human activity has warmed the earth by 1.1 degrees Celsius since 1850-1900. The IPCC’s new report now believes we need rapid large-scale action to prevent the earth from warming by 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius within the next 20 years. This amount of warming is believed to be a tipping point that, if reached, could lead to climate change spiralling beyond repair.

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Counter Western Bias against China by Remembering Peter Norman’s Solidarity

By Danny Haiphong

The United States trailed China in gold medals for much of Tokyo2020 but finished atop the medal count after the games concluded on August 8th. Despite the U.S.’s late success, Western media used the Olympics competition to target China with nonstop negative press coverage. Much of the coverage was overtly political and racist in character.

On July 29th, the New York Times’ Hannah Beech unleashed a series of racist tropes in her analysis of China’s model for sporting success. The article claimed China uses inhumane methods to prepare athletes for the Olympic games and directly compared these methods to “the Soviet model.” Words like “harvest” and “assembly line” stripped Chinese athletes of their humanity. Meanwhile Beech stated that “Beijing’s focus has been on sports that can be perfected with rote routines, rather than those that involve an unpredictable interplay of multiple athletes.” This is a familiar dog-whistle, leading readers of the New York Times to believe that Chinese citizens are akin to machines and lack the cognitive skill to compete in unpredictable team sports.

On August 2nd, Helen Davidson and Jason Lu of the Guardian centered their attention on Taiwan, China. The authors argued that Chinese Taipei’s gold medal victory over mainland China in the badminton competition was a case of “David” defeating “Goliath.” They allege that Chinese Taipei’s Olympic success strengthens the argument in favor of Taiwan’s independence from China. This blatant interference in China’s internal affairs should come as little surprise given the U.S. and the U.K.’s military support for the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the refusal of Western governments to condemn its emphasis on separatism and hostile relations with the mainland. Curiously, they fail to mention that the One China Policy is recognized by the vast majority of countries in the world, including the U.S. and U.K.

The politicization of the Olympics went far beyond the Western media’s biased coverage of China, however. In the months leading up to Tokyo2020, prominent members of the U.S. Congress such as Nancy Pelosi and Ilham Omar supported a call to boycott the Olympics over China’s alleged “human rights abuses.” The International Olympics Committee (IOC) took the politicization of the games a step further by investigating whether Chinese cyclists Bao Shanju and Zhong Tianshi violated the Olympic Charter’s rule against “political and religious” propaganda by wearing pins of Mao Zedong. Implementation of this somewhat ambiguous rule was selective, to say the least. For example, Tokyo2020 participants wearing Christian crosses around their necks were not subjected to any such scrutiny.

The IOC concluded that no punishment would be rendered to Bao or Zhong. However, punishment was never the purpose of the investigation. Its true purpose was to create a scandal that would provide a veil of credibility to racist and degrading Western media coverage of China. Western media outlets from the Guardian to the BBC responded to the incident by spreading Cold War messages that demonized Mao Zedong as a murderous dictator who “ruled with an iron fist.” Left out entirely was the perspective of the athletes themselves or any other Chinese citizen who would surely disagree with the assertion that the founder of New China – during whose tenure at the helm of the PRC, life expectancy increased from 36 to 67 – could be described as a “monster.”

The Western media’s racist coverage of China during Tokyo2020 is a byproduct of the U.S.-led (and Western supported) New Cold War. The New Cold War is a zero-sum game. Racist depictions of China justify the aggressive policies of Western governments and foster a hostile political environment similar to the one that existed during the Cold War of the 20th century.

It was during the first Cold War that Black American track and field athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos engaged in their iconic protest at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. Smith and Carlos received medals barefoot and raised their black glove-covered fists to symbolize the plight of Black Americans and their struggle for liberation from centuries of racism. What fewer remember is that Peter Norman, who hailed from Australia, expressed solidarity with Smith and Carlos by wearing the badge of the Olympic Project for Human Rights on the podium alongside them. Smith, Carlos, and Norman were all ostracized from the sporting establishment in their respective countries for standing up to racism and injustice.

Still, Peter Norman’s solidarity can be applied to Tokyo2020. The West used Tokyo2020 to spread racism against China, in particular those athletes who exhibited pride in China’s long journey from an impoverished semi-colony to an independent, socialist power and the world’s second-largest economy. People across the West who stand for peace and social justice should follow in the footsteps of Peter Norman. This would mean firmly standing with the Chinese people against the West’s racist propaganda and opposing the New Cold War against China spearheaded by Western leaders and institutions.

Online discussion: “Leak Leak” and other anti-China Conspiracy Theories

On Thursday 19 August 2021 (8pm US Eastern, 5pm US Pacific), Workers World Party is hosting an online roundtable discussion about the rising tide of anti-China conspiracy theories. The discussion will be led by Lee Siu Hin and Sara Flounders.

Register for the Zoom event here.

Rather than change course from the disastrous policies of former President Donald J. Trump, the Biden administration has doubled down on the deadliest aspects of the U.S. COVID response. The U.S. capitalist state is refusing to put modest safety protocols and lockdown procedures in place despite the skyrocketing infection rate of the even more deadly and contagious Delta variant.

Meanwhile, President Biden and other U.S. lawmakers are hell bent on blaming the COVID catastrophe on China. Join revolutionaries in the U.S. and China for this necessary pushback on “lab leak theory” and the Cold War being waged against China and the entire global working class.

Eric Li on China’s peaceful rise

Interviewed on RT on 5 August 2021, Eric Li made an important point about how China’s emergence as a great power contrasts with the rise of Britain, the US and others, in that it has not been accompanied by bloodshed, aggression and expansionism.

China put forward this idea of a peaceful rise. This is what has happened. We went from a poor agrarian country to the great industrial powerhouse that China is today in merely two generations… Yet China hasn’t invaded a single country, not a single shot fired. That’s unprecedented in human history… That’s a great accomplishment. But instead of celebrating that accomplishment, we have this hostility from the Western powers. I find it preposterous, unfortunate and disappointing.

Virus blame game infecting ‘Trumpiden’ presidency

We are republishing this article by Radhika Desai, first published on CGTN, about the Biden administration’s continuation of Trump’s hybrid warfare against China.

What are we to make of the fact that after originally opposing Donald Trump’s outrageous allegations about a “lab leak theory,” U.S. President Joe Biden is now pressuring the World Health Organization (WHO) to mount a new inquiry into the origins of COVID-19? The WHO only last March completed a study, which included experts from 10 nations. 

Why is he giving new life to the lab leak theory, which he once dismissed and the scientific community still does? Why has Biden also asked the U.S. “intelligence community” to investigate the same matter? Why is he threatening to sue China in U.S. courts on this matter? 

In this as in many other matters – pandemic policy, economic policy and, above all, on waging a new Cold War on China – after straining every nerve to appear different from its predecessor, the Biden administration appears to be merging with its predecessor into a single “Trumpiden” presidency. The only differences are style: Motor mouth Trump vs. the inarticulately mumbling Biden.

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Sovereign development as a human right

This article by Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez first appeared (in condensed form) on the Global Times website on 2 August 2021.

Multiple perspectives on human rights

Starting with the Carter administration (1977-81), the US has made human rights a centrepiece of its foreign policy. Jimmy Carter, seeking to improve the international image of the US in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, criticised human rights abuses and the lack of political freedoms in various US-allied dictatorships, including Chile, Nicaragua, Argentina and Brazil. Such criticisms were designed not only to enhance the US’s reputation internationally but also to buttress and give credibility to its ongoing ideological warfare against the socialist world.

Taking up residence of the White House in 1981, Ronald Reagan – a Cold Warrior par excellence – shifted the human rights spotlight away from the US’s geostrategic allies and towards its enemies, particularly the Soviet Union. The USSR’s refusal to implement a Western-style parliamentary system was painted as the quintessential abuse of human rights, and was used to rally support for the Reagan administration’s ‘full-court press’ hybrid warfare against the socialist camp and the Global South. Ironically, this included propping up some of the world’s most violent and repressive regimes, including in apartheid South Africa.

Since then, the conversation on human rights – at least in the West – has been whittled down to a discussion on a specific set of individual political rights. This narrative is framed such that the leading capitalist countries appear as the poster children of human rights; conversely, countries with alternative political models are pariahs.

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A hundred years of the Communist Party of China

We are republishing this useful historical outline of the CPC by Belgian journalist Marc Vandepitte. The article first appeared on ChinaSquare (in Dutch), and the English translation was first published on Global Research.

Historical context

For centuries, China had been a leading and powerful empire. That situation changed dramatically after the opium wars starting in 1840.[i] The country was relegated to the status of a semi-colony. Large areas were occupied by foreign powers or fell under their sphere of influence. The imperialist countries destroyed the fledgling industrialization. The population was totally impoverished, riddled with famines.[ii] Tens of millions of Chinese perished during that period through deprivation and political violence. It was also during this period that the black slave trade was replaced by the yellow trade in Chinese people.

Repeatedly, the Chinese revolted against the poor living conditions and for national independence. In 1911 there was a revolution in which the emperor was ousted. The new president Sun Yat-sen was the founder of the Republic of China. However, he failed to get rid of foreign domination and the feudal structures of the country.

That was the context in which, ten years later, thirteen men met in secret to establish a new, Communist Party (CPC). One of them was Mao Zedong. Their great example was the Russian Revolution of 1917. At the time, the party had only 53 members.

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The first international Marxist study group in Shanghai

We are pleased to republish this fascinating history, written by Zhang Wei and published in the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries‘ quarterly magazine ‘Voice of Friendship’ (June 2021), about the first international Marxist study group in Shanghai. The group was supported by Soong Chingling and included such legendary friends of China as Rewi Alley, Agnes Smedley and Helen Foster Snow.

In 1934, encouraged and supported by Soong Ching Ling, about 20 Chinese and foreign leftists established the first international Marxist study group in Shanghai. They studied classic theories, conducted social research, discussed current affairs and actively joined in and assisted the struggle of the Communist Party of China. In fact, the group became the foreign ally of the Chinese revolution.

Three core members

Rewi Alley, a core member of the study group, was a social activist and writer from New Zealand. At the time, he was chief inspector of the fire department and the chief of the industrial department under the municipal council in the Shanghai international settlement. He was shocked to witness a large number of Chinese people in deep distress during an inspection of the factories. He gave an important description of the study group in the 1980s when recalling those days. He presented a clear list of the members of the group as follows:

“In 1934, like-minded people gradually gathered together to discuss politics. The idea was mainly put forward by German political economy writer Hans Shippe. He wrote articles for the English magazine Pacific Affairs under the pen name Asiaticus. His Chinese name is Xibo. Agnes Smedley said that “we were supposed to know the theories,” but she was too busy and didn’t understand the theories herself. Alec Camplin, an electrical engineer who lived in the same apartment with me in a three-story building on Yuyuan Road, joined our study group. There was also Dr. Hatem, whom Agnes considered a potential participant for the revolution. Other members included the young Austrian progressive Ruth Weiss; Hans Shippe’s wife, Gertrude Rosenberg; the Dutch manager of the leftist Zeitgeist Book Store, Irene Wiedemeyer; four secretaries of the Young Women’s Christian Association, namely, Talitha Gerlach, Maud Russell, Lillian Haass, and Deng Yuzhi; and a teacher at Medhurst High School, Cao Liang. Hans Shippe served as our political instructor. Later, he was killed by enemies while working in the New Fourth Army at Yimeng Mountain, Shandong.”

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Foreign Ministry spokesperson denounces US sanctions against Cuba

At a Ministry of Foreign Affairs press conference on 4 August 2021, the spokesperson was asked for China’s response to the announcement by the US of new sanctions against Cuba. The response demonstrates China’s solidarity with socialist Cuba and its strict adherence to international law and the principles of non-interference, global cooperation.

Q: It is reported that on July 30, the US Treasury Department announced sanctions against Cuba’s national revolutionary police and its top two officials, citing repression of anti-government protests. During a meeting with Cuban-American figures at the White House, US President Joe Biden said that there would be more sanctions, “unless there’s some drastic change in Cuba”. In response, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said on July 30 that “these arbitrary measures, coupled with disinformation and aggression, are used to justify the inhumane blockade of Cuba”. Separately, 30 ventilators provided by the Chinese government to the Cuban government arrived in Havana on July 31. What is China’s comment?

A: China firmly opposes any move to arbitrarily impose unilateral sanctions and interfere in other countries’ internal affairs under the pretext of so-called “freedom”, “human rights” and “democracy”. The recent US sanctions against Cuban institution and officials severely violate the basic norms governing international relations and once again demonstrate to the world the typical US-style double standard and bullyism. As is known to all, it is the economic, commercial and financial embargo of the US that gravely impedes Cuba’s efforts to improve its economy and people’s livelihood, and tramples on the Cuban people’s right to subsistence and development. We urge the US to heed the universal appeal of the international community, immediately and completely lift the sanctions and embargo against Cuba, and immediately stop making excuses to engage in gross interference and destabilization.

Enough with sanctions! The right way is to support. Recently, China and many other friendly countries and international organizations have extended a helping hand to Cuba, aiding the Cuban government and people to fight the epidemic and improve people’s livelihood, illustrating that true friendship stands the test of adversity. China will continue to implement the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, deepen China-Cuba friendly relations and firmly support Cuba’s efforts to overcome the impact of the epidemic, promote economic development and maintain social stability.

Martin Jacques: There should be an international investigation into why the West failed so disastrously containing Covid

We are republishing this important analysis by Martin Jacques, writing in Global Times, about the West’s reversion to a colonial mentality in its attitude to China.

Covid-19 arrived three years after the anti-China crusade began. From the outset the virus was infused with Cold War politics. Imagine if the first case of COVID-19 had occurred at the end of 2012 rather than the end of 2019. Many things would have been the same, but one would have been different. At the end of 2012, relations between China and the US were relatively benign; by 2019 we were in a different world. The new occupant of the White House took every opportunity to attack, denigrate and undermine China. 

From January onwards a tsunami of abuse was directed at China. It was accused of secrecy and a cover-up. And to this day it has never ceased. China could do no right. It received zero compassion even when it was struggling on its own against the virus in the first three months. If this had been 2012, it would not have been like this. There would have been criticism of China, but also dialogue and cooperation. Now there was none, just abuse. COVID-19 became the symbol and bearer of a new cold war and the breakdown of the US-China relationship. 

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