Sanctions in the New Cold War on China

The following article by Carlos Martinez features as a chapter in the forthcoming book Sanctions Kill – The World Stands Up. The article provides a detailed analysis of the sanctions imposed by the US and its allies on the People’s Republic of China and exposes the role they play within the escalating New Cold War.

Sanctions Kill – The World Stands Up will be published by World View Forum in early Spring 2022.

Background

The instinctive attitude of the United States towards the Chinese Revolution was of course one of hostility. In a protracted war between progress and reaction, between the future and the past, the governments of the US and the People’s Republic of China were, and are, are on opposite sides of the barricades. Hence shortly after the formation of the PRC in 1949, the US maintained a strict embargo on China.

With the move towards rapprochement in the early 1970s and a tacit agreement to ‘peacefully coexist’, the embargo was finally removed. Then with China’s strategic shift to integrate into the global economy, the trickle of trade and investment gradually expanded into one of the largest and most important economic relationships in the world, with bilateral trade volume currently standing at just over half a trillion dollars annually. Thousands of US businesses have generated enormous profits from their investments in China and (particularly in recent years) from selling to a vast and growing Chinese market.

Ruling classes in the West were, to a considerable extent, comfortable with incorporating China into globalised capitalism, to the extent that China’s role was limited to providing cheap, competent and well-educated labour. However, it was never the intention of the Chinese leadership to remain permanently at the lowest rung of the global economic ladder. China has pursued a patient strategy of welcoming foreign investment, setting up joint enterprises with Western companies, learning the latest technologies and management techniques, and building up its own advanced industry. Meanwhile it has invested very heavily in education and innovation. China’s R&D spending reached 378 billion USD in 2020 – 2.4 percent of its GDP and nearly three times the figure for the US.

As a result, China is on its way to becoming “a moderately developed socialist country by the middle of the 21st century”, as Deng Xiaoping predicted some 35 years ago.1 China has become a world leader in network technology, in renewable energy, nuclear energy, high-speed rail, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, quantum computing, and several other important areas. It is increasingly competing with the US in spaces that the US is used to dominating, such as cloud computing and industrial automation.

The US ruling class has not responded favourably to all this. These uppity Asian communists refuse to stay in their lane! Columbia University economist Jeffrey Sachs recently described the response of US elites to China’s emergence as a science and technology powerhouse: “The basic attitude, if I could paraphrase, was: ‘how dare they do that? That’s what we do, not what they do. They’re a workshop, we’re the technology leader.’”2

China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has caused further discomfort. The Belt and Road, described by British political analyst Jude Woodward as “a vision of continental integration on a historic scale”,3 is a growing economic network underpinned by rapid infrastructure development – particularly high-speed rail, ports, and energy production and transmission. Beijing leads the financing and macro planning for this historic initiative. The expansion of the Belt and Road into large parts of Central Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Africa and further afield has become a major source of concern for those that seek to preserve US hegemony. In the words of US ‘elder statesman’ Henry Kissinger, the practical significance of the BRI will be to “shift the world’s centre of gravity from the Atlantic to the Pacific.”4 That is, China is creating a development path that isn’t defined by the US or US-controlled institutions.

In summary, the US ruling class finds itself in a position in which its role as sole economic, political and military superpower is under threat. To make matters worse, the source of this threat is a socialist, non-white, developing country which is working in concert with other countries towards the democratisation of international relations.

This is the overall context for the New Cold War, in which the US is the principal antagonist and China is the principal target. Just like the original Cold War (waged against the Soviet Union, the socialist countries and the Global South), the New Cold War is being fought on multiple fronts: political, military, ideological, propagandistic and economic.

Wave of sanctions under Trump and Biden

Then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton wrote in 2011 that “one of the most important tasks of American statecraft over the next decade will be to lock in a substantially increased investment – diplomatic, economic, strategic, and otherwise – in the Asia-Pacific region.”5 These words heralded the launch of the ‘Pivot to Asia’, which clearly identified China as the primary concern of US foreign policy in the modern era. But it was under the Trump administration that the New Cold War started to escalate in a serious way, with the initiation of a trade war – supposedly to put a stop to “the greatest theft ever perpetrated by anyone or any country in the history of the world.”6 Trump imposed a wide range of tariffs, unprecedented since the lifting of the trade embargo some 50 years ago.

Alongside the tariffs, the Trump administration imposed new US sanctions against China for the first time since 1989. In 2018, two of China’s top technology companies, Huawei and ZTE, were banned from providing equipment to any federal US agency. A year later, US companies were prevented from doing business with Huawei or its subsidiaries unless they had specifically been provided with a government licence – due to Huawei allegedly violating the US’s unilateral (and illegal) sanctions against Iran.

In the summer of 2020, the Trump administration announced two new sets of sanctions against China. Under the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act, several senior Chinese officials were subjected to visa restrictions and asset freezing. Under the Hong Kong Autonomy Act, a number of top Hong Kong officials (including Chief Executive Carrie Lam) plus all 14 Vice Chairpersons of the National People’s Congress were subjected to similar punishment.

Things have only got worse in the first year of the Biden administration. In June 2021, Biden signed an executive order banning US citizens from investing in Chinese companies with alleged ties to the defence or surveillance technology sectors. The list of banned companies includes Huawei, China Mobile Communications Group, and Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC) – a key player in China’s bid to develop its homegrown semiconductor industry (semiconductors are a crucial component of modern electronic devices). The list of banned companies purportedly connected to the “Chinese military-industrial complex” was expanded in December 2021 to include SenseTime, which develops facial recognition technology.7

The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act was signed into law on 23 December 2021. Startlingly, this Act inverts the principle of presumption of innocence, since it contains “a rebuttable presumption that goods mined, produced, or manufactured (wholly or in part) in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region are made with forced labor, where goods designated as such will be subject to an import ban into the United States.”8 That is, there is a starting assumption that any item produced in Xinjiang incorporates forced labour. Any importer will have to provide “clear and convincing evidence” that goods have not been made with forced labour – a sufficiently high legal bar that, in practice, makes the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act a blanket ban on all goods produced in Xinjiang.

Aside from these economic sanctions, the White House announced in December that it would be conducting a ‘diplomatic boycott’ of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, in light of “China’s egregious human rights abuses and atrocities in Xinjiang.”9

The State Department has also been strongly encouraging US allies to join its growing system of sanctions and boycotts. Britain, Canada and the EU imposed travel bans and asset freezes over alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang, in parallel with the US’s sanctions.10 Canada, Britain and the European Union have also followed the US lead in passing Magnitsky legislation, providing for sanctions against individuals alleged to have committed human rights abuses. This essentially means that under a “unified set of rules”, US-imposed sanctions on individuals are automatically applied in those countries.11 Meanwhile, Australia, Britain and Canada have announced their support for Biden’s ‘diplomatic boycott’ of the Olympics.12

The overall picture then is one of steadily escalating sanctions against China over the course of the last four years, with the changed occupancy of the White House not impacting this trajectory in the slightest.

Sanctions as New Cold War propaganda

The typical motivation for imperialist sanctions is to foment popular unrest by causing serious economic harm; “making the economy scream”, like the CIA did in Chile when it had the temerity to elect a Marxist government.13 Sanctions against Zimbabwe, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Iran, Syria, Belarus and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) are manifestly designed with such a purpose in mind. Needless to say, such a strategy would have no chance of success in China, which is the second largest economy in the world and which is more than capable of imposing counter-measures that would cause significant damage to US business interests.

Sanctions against Chinese individuals over alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang and Hong Kong will have very little effect on China’s economic growth; rather, such sanctions form part of a propaganda ‘full-court press’ designed to vilify China, to cultivate broad anti-China sentiment, and to build public support for the New Cold War. This propaganda is already having an impact; in the US, it has produced “a bipartisan consensus in Washington towards getting tough with China that is now extending to the broader public.”14

The propaganda surrounding the treatment of the Uyghur Muslim population of Xinjiang is particularly pernicious. This web of lies has been comprehensively debunked elsewhere, for example in an academic study by Eurispes,15 an extensive report by the International Action Center,16 and numerous investigative reports in the Grayzone.17 Suffice here to briefly note the following points:

1) While the State Department has accused China’s government of perpetrating a genocide in Xinjiang,18 absolutely no credible evidence has been supplied. As Jeffrey Sachs points out: “The charge of genocide should never be made lightly. Inappropriate use of the term may escalate geopolitical and military tensions and devalue the historical memory of genocides such as the Holocaust, thereby hindering the ability to prevent future genocides. It behooves the US government to make any charge of genocide responsibly, which it has failed to do here.”19

2) The reports and data analysis implicating the Chinese government in genocide, cultural genocide and forced sterilisation come almost exclusively from two sources, both utterly devoid of credibility. One is Adrian Zenz, a professional anti-China fanatic and senior fellow at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation who is apparently “led by God” to spread slanders about China.20 The other is the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI). ASPI is an Australian government think tank which receives funding from, among others, NATO, the US Department of Defense, the US State Department, Britain’s Foreign Office, Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems and Raytheon. In short, it is deeply involved in the business of New Cold War and the militarisation of the Pacific, and obviously cannot be relied upon to carry out unbiased research on China.

3) The Uyghur population from 2010 to 2018 increased from 10.2 million to 12.7 million, an increase of 25 percent. In the same period, the Han Chinese population in Xinjiang increased by just 2 percent (the differential is explained largely by the fact that national minorities were exempt from the One Child Policy).21

4) As to claims of ‘cultural genocide’, there are over 24,000 mosques in Xinjiang, a higher number of mosques per capita of Muslim population than Turkey.22 All schools in Xinjiang teach the Uyghur language. All road signs have both Uyghur and Chinese writing. Pakistan’s Ambassador to China, Moin ul Haque, returning from an observer mission to Xinjiang, described the region as “a mosaic of 50-plus ethnic minorities, and these ethnic minorities exist in a very peaceful and harmonious manner.”23

Western sanctions against China over human rights abuses in Xinjiang can thus be clearly understood as part of an elaborate campaign of information warfare. Nobody that has researched the question can seriously believe that a genocide is taking place in Xinjiang. Any sanctions are not designed to punish Chinese officials for misdeeds but to support an overall structure of disinformation portraying China as a malevolent force.

Trying to slow China’s rise

Thanks to China’s economic strength, the West can’t starve the Chinese people into submission through economic warfare. However, one important motivation for the steadily escalating sanctions regime is to attempt to decelerate China’s emergence as the world’s pre-eminent leader in advanced technology. The authors of a recent report by Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs observe that “China’s rapid rise to challenge US dominance of technology’s commanding heights has captured America’s attention.”24 The report notes that China has already established a leading role in several key areas and, “in others, on current trajectories, it will overtake the US within the next decade.”

One ‘choke point’ the US can leverage is its head start in the design and manufacture of semiconductors. As noted above, semiconductors are at the core of all electronic devices. Advances in semiconductors are driving – and will continue to drive – transformative change in a wide range of industries, from energy to medicine to space research. The Belfer Center report estimates that China is on course to become “a top-tier player in the semiconductor industry by 2030.” As such, preventing (or at least slowing) China’s emergence as a semiconductor superpower is a key priority for the US.

This issue goes beyond economics. If China outpaces the US in technological innovation, it will shift the entire global balance of forces; it will significantly weaken the ability of the imperialist powers to impose their will on the rest of the world; and it will showcase the fundamental validity of socialism as a means of propelling human progress. As Deng Xiaoping stated in 1984, “the superiority of the socialist system is demonstrated, in the final analysis, by faster and greater development of the productive forces than under the capitalist system.”25

Indeed, developments in technology in the coming decades form a crucial component of the material basis for the progression to a more advanced socialism. British researcher Keith Lamb writes: “China’s goal of building a modern socialist country by 2049 is predicated on mastering semiconductor technology which is the linchpin of the modern age, making innovations such as self-driving electric vehicles; fully-automated AI production systems, and supercomputers possible.”26

Such are the reasons for the wave of sanctions connected to the semiconductor industry. The US wants to restrict China’s ability to import semiconductors and, more importantly, to prevent China achieving self-sufficiency in semiconductor production. Blacklisting SMIC, China’s biggest manufacturer of computer chips, in December 2020, means that it is no longer able to source supplies from US companies. Chinese chip designers have been cut off from access to leading-edge chip design tools.27 Meanwhile Huawei has been prevented from importing chips, impacting its production of high-end smartphones.28 The US has been able to enforce many of these sanctions on an international scale, by virtue of its ‘long-arm jurisdiction’ – sanctioning non-US chipmakers that use US-made components. One notable absurdity here is that Taiwan, a region of China, complies with the US sanctions regime, and therefore Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) – the world’s most valuable semiconductor company – has been forced to stop its exports to the companies on the US Entity List, including Huawei.29

Unfortunately for US imperialism – but thankfully for China and the peoples of the world – this campaign of economic warfare is doomed to failure. As Radhika Desai notes, “US efforts to restrict chip supply to China will only increase its resolve to develop the necessary technology to produce the chips it needs domestically.”30 Indeed, according to market analysis firm GlobalData, US coercion is fomenting a “high octane, whole nation, everything-it-takes campaign to create a de-Americanized domestic semiconductor supply chain able to supply 75% of its needs by 2025” and achieve full self-sufficiency ten years later.”31

In the meantime, while stimulating China’s fast track to semiconductor self-sufficiency, sanctions are adversely impacting technology companies outside China, which for the last two decades has been the largest market for computer chips, in addition to being the ideal hi-tech manufacturing location. In recent years, the US semiconductor industry has derived over a third of its revenues from sales to China.32 These revenues have in turn fed into the R&D cycle and contributed to an impressive pace of innovation. It seems the US has settled on a ‘lose-lose’ strategy to replace the framework of cooperation that had brought significant benefit to both sides in recent decades.

Another area in which the US is using sanctions to gain a competitive advantage is solar power. China is by far the world’s largest producer of solar energy, with an installed capacity of 254 GW – more than three times that of the US, and growing fast.33 China also produces the bulk of the global supply of polysilicon (a key material in the production of solar panels). Johannes Bernreuter, author of the Polysilicon Market Outlook 2024, predicts that “China’s share in the global solar-grade polysilicon output will approach 90 percent in the coming years.”34

Unable to compete on price or productivity, the US has resorted to imposing sanctions on large parts of China’s solar panel industry35 – ostensibly on the basis of evidence-free and comprehensively debunked claims of the manufacturers using Uyghur forced labour.36 This is profoundly irresponsible and short-sighted behaviour. Chinese investment in solar technology over the course of the last 10-15 years has pushed the entire industry forward, and has brought prices down to a level where solar power is more cost-effective than fossil fuel alternatives in many parts of the world. This is an important contribution to the global struggle to prevent climate breakdown. The Western powers should be working closely with China and other countries on developing and deploying clean energy, rather than imposing sanctions with a view to gaining some fleeting economic advantage.

Unite to oppose hegemonism and Cold War

China is a leading voice opposing the West’s illegal sanctions regime, consistently using its role in international forums (including the UN Security Council and the G20) to oppose unilateralism and bullying. China has added its voice to the global demand to end the blockade on Cuba. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian demanded last year that the US “immediately and completely lift unilateral sanctions against Cuba in compliance with the purposes of the UN Charter and basic norms governing international relations”, adding that China “resolutely rejects any external interference in other countries’ internal affairs, imposition of unilateral sanctions, and attempt to gang up on other countries.”37 China has consistently opposed unilateral sanctions against the DPRK,38 Zimbabwe,39 Eritrea,40 Afghanistan,41 Venezuela,42 Nicaragua,43 Syria,44 Iran45 and Belarus.46

With its strong opposition to sanctions, war, interference and hegemonism; through its pursuit of multilateralism and its support for the principles of the UN Charter; and through its consistent engagement with the countries of the world on the basis of equality, friendship, solidarity and mutual benefit, China is an indispensable force in the development of a new, multipolar system of international relations. Such a framework is desperately needed by the peoples of the world, and those of us living in the belly of the imperialist beast should do what we can to support it.

References

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  32. ibid ↩︎
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  34. Pickerel, K 2021, No avoiding it now: Soon the Top 4 polysilicon manufacturers will be based in China, Solar Power World, accessed 14 January 2022, <https://www.solarpowerworldonline.com/2021/05/no-avoiding-it-now-soon-the-top-4-polysilicon-manufacturers-will-be-based-in-china/>. ↩︎
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  38. China opposes ‘unhelpful’ unilateral U.S. sanctions on DPRK, CGTN, accessed 14 January 2022, <https://news.cgtn.com/news/2022-01-13/DPRK-is-sanctioned-by-Biden-for-first-time-after-missile-tests-16MqSSqFanK/index.html>. ↩︎
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  42. China Ratifies Its Rejection of US Sanctions Against Venezuela, Telesur, accessed 14 January 2022, <https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/China-Ratifies-Its-Rejection-of-US-Sanctions-Against-Venezuela-20210927-0007.html>. ↩︎
  43. Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on January 12, 2022, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, accessed 14 January 2022, <https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/eng/xwfw_665399/s2510_665401/202201/t20220112_10481428.html>. ↩︎
  44. Zhou, L 2021, China says Syria needs end to US sanctions, not a colour revolution, South China Morning Post, accessed 14 January 2022, <https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3142089/china-says-syria-needs-end-us-sanctions-not-colour-revolution>. ↩︎
  45. Reuters Staff 2021, U.S. should lift Iran sanctions, including on China -Chinese envoy, Reuters, accessed 14 January 2022, <https://www.reuters.com/article/iran-nuclear-china-idUKL1N2SK2OY>. ↩︎
  46. Majeed, Z 2021, Belarus Strengthens Ties With ‘ironclad Friend’ China As West Slaps Sanctions On Regime, Republic World, accessed 14 January 2022, <https://www.republicworld.com/world-news/europe/belarus-strengthens-ties-with-ironclad-friend-china-as-west-slaps-sanctions-on-regime.html>. ↩︎

China launches Global South economic alliance to challenge US unilateralism

We are very pleased to republish this article by US anti-imperialist journalist Benjamin Norton discussing how China is taking the lead in fashioning an international united front of developing countries against imperialism and in favour of independence, peace and development on both the political and economic fronts. Benjamin notes that the Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter of the United Nations has a stronger core of anti-imperialist and progressive governments promoting its explicitly political agenda whereas the Group of Friends of the Global Development Initiative, launched earlier this month, embraces a considerably broader range of developing countries.

In republishing this article, we also take this opportunity to warmly welcome Benjamin’s new Multipolarista media platform. We wish it every success and look forward to cooperating.

China is leading an international effort to develop alliances to counter US hegemony.

In March 2021, 17 nations — many led by anti-imperialist and progressive governments, including Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Bolivia among others — formed a diplomatic alliance called the Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter of the United Nations, which seeks to defend sovereignty and multilateralism against the unilateral domination of the United States and Western Europe.

This January 20, China’s mission to the UN launched a new, economic version of this diplomatic alliance, called the Group of Friends of the Global Development Initiative.

Continue reading China launches Global South economic alliance to challenge US unilateralism

DSA open letter opposing the US Innovation and Competition Act (USICA)

We are pleased to reproduce and invite support for this Open Letter to US Congressional Representatives, initiated by the International Committee, and its Asia & Oceania and Anti-War Subcommittees of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), expressing opposition to the US Innovation and Competition Act (USICA), which they describe as a move “to counter China as part of a New Cold War fuelled by US imperialist interests, which further destabilizes geopolitical relations and jeopardizes efforts toward greater global cooperation on issues affecting everyone worldwide.” The statement decries further militarisation of the Pacific region along with the increased anti-Asian racism and violence in the US and declares:

We believe that US industrial policy should not be built upon imperialist ambitions that serve only to drag the world into a new Cold War. We believe that working people in the US and elsewhere deserve policies that invest in public works programs, climate resilience, infrastructure, healthcare, and more.

The undersigned chapters and members of the Democratic Socialists of America and other allied organizations and individuals strongly condemn Congress’s use of industrial policy and other elements of the proposed US Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) to counter China as part of a new Cold War fueled by US imperialist interests, which further destabilizes geopolitical relations and jeopardizes efforts toward greater global cooperation on issues affecting everyone worldwide.

We call on members of Congress to oppose this aggressive escalation and push back on the narratives that have fueled rising anti-Chinese sentiment in the US, marked by increased anti-Asian racism and violence. We oppose the USICA and other legislation that calls for increased military budgets, further militarization of the Indo-Pacific region, and fosters anti-Chinese propaganda efforts, all based on nothing more than perceived threats to US geopolitical interests. Elected members of the US Congress have the duty to prioritize the needs and concerns of their working class constituents instead of those of arms manufacturers and defense contractors who have fueled decades of endless war at the expense of genuine global cooperation and common prosperity for working class people everywhere.

We believe that US industrial policy should not be built upon imperialist ambitions that serve only to drag the world into a new Cold War. We believe that working people in the US and elsewhere deserve policies that invest in public works programs, climate resilience, infrastructure, healthcare, and more. The US Innovation and Competition Act is not created for those purposes, instead it is overwhelmingly focused on preserving US global hegemony by fabricating narratives aimed at painting China as a threat and riling up global conflict in an effort to undermine an increasingly multipolar world. If enacted, the bill would ramp up interference in the sovereignty of nations throughout the world, establish an anti-Chinese federal bureaucracy, intensify the militarization of US global policies, and continue the legacy of US industrial policy being weaponized against socialist movements globally. This legislation will promote confrontation and conflict with China, escalate the potential for military conflict between nuclear powers, and hinder global cooperation needed to address critical issues like climate change.

For these reasons, we strongly condemn the USICA and urge members of Congress to oppose the bill and call for an end to US policies that threaten hundreds of millions of people in the Indo-Pacific region and could spiral into worldwide conflict.

“Everyone’s happy to do their part”: interview with a Xi’an resident in lockdown

We’re pleased to republish this interview of Shi Huli, a community education worker in Xi’an. At the time the interview took place, Shi had been locked down with his family for just over two weeks (the Xi’an lockdown has since been lifted after several days in a row with no transmission). Shi’s description contrasts sharply with the tales of “authoritarianism” published in the Western media: thousands of community workers worked night and day to ensure that every family had sufficient food and supplies, and that people’s medical needs were met. Meanwhile, multiple rounds of mass testing were carried out. The overall result is that a small outbreak in Xi’an – a major city of 13 million people – was prevented from getting out of control.

The interview was carried out by Eben Dombay Williams and originally appeared in Challenge.

Following a recent outbreak of 127 cases of COVID-19, Xi’an, the ancient capital of China and home to the Terracotta Warriors, has become the latest lockdown as a part of China’s “zero COVID” strategy. Despite being the most populous country on Earth and the first to face the disease, China has been one of the greatest success stories in the fight against COVID, achieving not only one of the lowest death rates in the world, but sustaining sharp economic growth while many Western countries have stagnated.

The global fight against the pandemic has now turned into a tale of two systems. Socialist China, which has a planned economy and is able to combine state intervention with grassroots mobilisation to prioritise human need, has only had 4,639 deaths from the disease since the pandemic began, and only two deaths on the mainland throughout the whole of 2021 (Hong Kong and Taiwan have different systems of government and had 64 deaths and 843 deaths respectively). Meanwhile, as two major centres of global capitalism and neoliberalism, the US and the UK have so far had 859,046 and 150,056 deaths apiece from the pandemic, mostly among the poor and working class. Between them, these two countries now have over half the active COVID cases in the world.

Continue reading “Everyone’s happy to do their part”: interview with a Xi’an resident in lockdown

One virus, two systems: infographic comparing Covid strategies in China and the US

It’s been a year since the last death from Covid in China, yet the Western media continues to claim China’s Zero Covid strategy is “unsustainable”. Compared with the West, however, China’s strategy looks decidedly sustainable.

Covid in the US

  • Nearly 900,000 deaths due to pandemic
  • Every state has suffered multiple major outbreaks
  • Epidemic of Long Covid affecting millions
  • Elderly and vulnerable people still having to limit social contact
  • 63 percent of population fully vaccinated
  • Hoarded vaccine doses, perpetuating global vaccine apartheid
  • Millions have fallen deeper into poverty

Covid in China

  • Fewer than 5,000 deaths due to the pandemic
  • Hubei the only province to experience severe outbreak
  • Very few people suffering with Long Covid
  • Virus is under control so people are able to live ordinary lives
  • 87 percent of population fully vaccinated
  • Exported over 2 billion vaccine doses, prioritising Global South
  • Poverty alleviation program continues uninterrupted

Gyude Moore on the significance of China investments in Africa

In this informative speech, Gyude Moore – Senior Policy Fellow at the Center for Global Development and Liberia’s former Minister of Public Works – discusses the nature of the economic relationship between China and Africa. He draws on his personal experience of dealing with Chinese private and public investors to debunk the standard ‘debt trap’ myth that’s pervasive in the West, pointing out that China is extensively building infrastructure in Africa that’s essential for development and the improvement of living standards.

He notes that whereas the infrastructure built by colonisers was directed exclusively towards serving the economic needs of the European powers, the infrastructure being built by China is increasing connectedness between the different countries on the continent, allowing regional value chains to develop. Furthermore, Moore points out that China, as a developing country, tends to treat its African partners as equals rather than seeking to impose its authority in the way the imperialist countries are so used to doing.

Zero Covid: China silences the critics

This article by Carlos Martinez, originally published in the Morning Star on 24 January 2022, discusses the recent Covid-19 outbreaks and containment measures in the major Chinese cities of Xi’an and Tianjin. The article addresses the flurry of criticism that has appeared in the Western mainstream media in relation to China’s Zero Covid strategy, and concludes that this criticism is designed specifically to demobilise progressive opinion around developing a people-oriented approach to suppressing the pandemic in the West.

It’s coming up to a year since the last death from Covid in China. Since 26 January 2021, China’s Covid death count has been stuck on 4,636. The vast majority – 99.9 percent – of these deaths took place during the first three months of the pandemic, and the most were in Hubei, the province in which the outbreak was first detected. In the southern province of Guangdong, population 125 million, there have been just eight deaths from Covid.

This extraordinary record has been achieved through strict adherence to a Zero Covid policy. Traditional epidemic containment measures – lockdowns, mass testing, social distancing, mask-wearing, hand-washing – have been combined with advanced technology such as AI-based outbreak modelling. In addition, China developed some of the first vaccines, and so far just under 90 percent of the population has received at least two doses.

The Communist Party government has led an incredible, society-wide mobilisation to suppress SARS-CoV-2 and thereby protect human life.

Continue reading Zero Covid: China silences the critics

China is not a democracy… or is it? The Chinese Toolkit

The following article, written by independent researcher and Friends of Socialist China advisory group member Stefania Fusero, explores China’s system of socialist democracy, providing a valuable corrective to the lazy stereotypes so widely spread in the West that China is “authoritarian” and “undemocratic.”

On December 4, 2021, the State Council of China published a white paper on the Chinese political system entitled Democracy that Works. It opens like this:

Peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy, and freedom are common values of humanity. Democracy is not a prerogative of a certain country or a group of countries, but a universal right of all peoples. It can be realized in multiple ways, and no model can fit all countries… Ultimately, it relies on the support of the people and will be proven by its contribution to human progress.

Therefore, a basic criterion of democracy should be about the people, i.e. whether the people have the right to govern their country, whether their needs are met, and whether they have a sense of fulfilment and happiness. If the people are only awakened when casting their votes and sent back to hibernation when voting is over, if they are served with sweet-sounding slogans in campaigns but have no say after the election, if they are wooed during canvassing but left out in the cold after that, this is not a genuine democracy.”

Continue reading China is not a democracy… or is it? The Chinese Toolkit

Fidel Castro on Chinese socialism (1993)

China is no longer the China of the feudal lords, nor the constant victim of the aggressions of colonial and imperial powers. This is the new China that emerges from the victorious national liberation struggle and the socialist revolution, exploits unsurpassed in human history. Everything was carried out under the immortal ideas of Marxism-Leninism and their wise application to China’s conditions. The path China has had to travel following liberation has been long, difficult, and risky in a world where imperialism exercised and still exercises power and hegemonic influence. Colossal successes have been attained. The era of disasters and famines has been left behind. Only socialism could have been capable of the miracle of feeding; clothing; providing with jobs, education, and healthcare; raising life expectancy to 70; and providing decorous shelter for more than 1 billion human beings in a minute portion of the planet’s arable land. Thanks to such a feat at this difficult time for the world’s peoples, over one-fifth of humanity remains under the banner of socialism.

Castro Presents Jose Marti Order to Jiang Zemin

NYT equates China’s health workers with Adolf Eichmann

In the infamous words of Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda chief: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”

It would seem that this maxim has been taken to heart by the editors of the New York Times. Every day, this dependable mouthpiece of the US ruling class pumps out a steady diet of increasingly deranged anti-China articles. However, on 13th January, they excelled themselves with a new low – a front page story despicably comparing the public health and medical personnel, who have been bravely fighting an outbreak of Covid in the Chinese city of Xian, to Adolf Eichmann, a key architect of the Holocaust.

We are pleased to publish this excellent and succinct rebuttal of this ‘big lie’ by John Walsh, originally carried by Asia Times. John was until recently a professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in the US.

In a article on the front page of The New York Times on January 13, reporter Li Yuan equated the public health and medical personnel behind China’s successful battle against Covid-19 in the city of Xian to Adolf Eichmann, a principal architect of the Holocaust. The article’s opening sentence views these personnel as typical of “the millions of people who work diligently toward” containing Covid-19 in China.  

The anti-Covid campaign in Xian, a city of 13 million, has terminated the spread of Covid-19 without a single death and limited its spread to about 2,000 cases. The Nazi Holocaust designed and managed by Eichmann resulted in the extermination of millions of Jews.  

The piece takes aim at the millions of Chinese who have worked tirelessly to do the rapid mass testing, tracing, quarantining and vaccinations and to staffing the lockdowns including ensuring that those under lockdown were supplied with necessities of life.

Continue reading NYT equates China’s health workers with Adolf Eichmann

Senator Mushahid Hussain on the 3D strategy against China: Demonise, Damage and Destabilise

Speaking at a webinar held on 20 January 2022 by the Islamabad-based think-tank Pakistan-China Institute, Senator Mushahid Hussain, chairman of the Pakistani Senate’s Defense Committee, discusses the motivation and methods of the US-led New Cold War against China. Addressing the Xinjiang situation, Senator Hussain describes the US strategy as being to “demonise, damage and destabilise” in order to put a stop to China’s peaceful rise.

Below the video, we reproduce a report of the event that appeared in Pakistan Today.

Pakistan-China Institute (PCI) organized a first-of-its-kind webinar on the “New Cold War about playing the Xinjiang card against China” under its flagship event series, “Friends of Silk Road (FOSR)”.

The Webinar was attended by over 35 participants online, and featured six speeches, including Dr. Ejaz Akram, Chairman of the Rehmat ul Lil Alameen Authority, Dr. Shireen Mazari, Federal Minister for Human Rights, Professor Li Xiguang, Director of the Center for Pakistan Cultural and Communication at Tsinghua University, Allama Tahir Ashrafi, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Religious Affairs, Sabah Aslam, Founder and Executive Director of the Islamabad Institute of Conflict Resolution, and Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Chairman of the Senate Defence Committee and the Pakistan-China Institute.

The dialogue was moderated by Mustafa Hyder Sayed, Executive Director of the Pakistan-China Institute. Mr. Mustafa Hyder Sayed highlighted that the US has weaponized human rights and is engaged in the selective application of human rights principles. He emphasized that Pakistan should continue to support China on Xinjiang since China has always supported Pakistan on its core interests.

Continue reading Senator Mushahid Hussain on the 3D strategy against China: Demonise, Damage and Destabilise

The world needs cooperation, not cold war

We are pleased to republish the following statement, issued recently by the CPUSA Peace & Solidarity Commission and the International Department.

What the world needs is peaceful international relations, equality, global cooperation, and development

What is needed above all in the world today is cooperation among all nations to address existential threats to humanity and indeed life on earth. What is needed now is for all nations to abide by the UN Charter, to join the Treaty to Ban Nuclear Weapons, to honor other nuclear weapons treaties, and to pivot national budgets to dismantling and eliminating nuclear weapons. What is needed above all is immediate action to prevent tectonic environmental shifts. All nations must act together to prevent the observable climate calamities from getting far worse and to seek out solutions to material energy needs that benefit all humankind while protecting the health of the planet. What is needed now is global collaboration to significantly reduce the pandemic through immediate universal access to vaccines and medicines. Making the world safe and humanity healthy should top the priority list of all nations. In particular, the two countries with the biggest economies and biggest impact on earth, the United States and China, along with their partners and allies have the responsibility to cooperate to these ends.

The CPUSA welcomes the joint statement by China and the U.S. on climate cooperation and demands its urgent, practical implementation and extension to other critical domains. Such offers of cooperation have to be deepened, widened, and urgently acted upon.

Continue reading The world needs cooperation, not cold war

Beijing Winter Olympics boycott is the product of imperial jealousy

In this article, first published on CGTN, Danny Haiphong traces the motivation of the ‘diplomatic boycott’ of the Beijing Winter Olympics being carried out by the US and a handful of its allies. Danny observes that the boycott – like the overall New Cold War of which it is a part – is intended to further to central objectives: to undermine China’s accomplishments and to deflect from the shortcomings of the political and economic system prevailing in the major capitalist countries.

In a few weeks, athletes from across the globe will compete in the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing. The Games come amid a challenging period for the world. COVID-19 continues to contribute to greater economic and social instability. Militarism and climate change threaten the future of humanity. Instead of facing these challenges head on, some countries such as the United States have chosen to politicize the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing.

The politicization of the Olympics has taken many forms but the most significant is the U.S.-led “diplomatic boycott” of the Games announced early last month, which was justified on the basis of fraudulent and unproven claims of human rights violations in China. Organizations such as the World Uygur Congress and Students for a Free Tibet, both of which receive funding from the National Endowment for Democracy linked with the Central Intelligence Agency, are leading forces in the boycott campaign. The effort has also received bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress, with several Western countries following Joe Biden’s lead. In a blatant act of hypocrisy, 18 U.S. officials applied for visas with plans to visit Beijing during the Games shortly after the announced “diplomatic boycott.”

Continue reading Beijing Winter Olympics boycott is the product of imperial jealousy

China’s solidarity with Tonga and the islands of the Pacific

The eruption of an underwater volcano off the South Pacific island nation of Tonga has triggered a humanitarian crisis, cutting the country off from the outside world and damaging vital connectivity and infrastructure. This once again demonstrates the vulnerability of small island states in particular, faced with the challenges of overcoming centuries of colonial rule, developing their national economies and facing the existential threat of climate change. This useful article, which we reproduce from Global Times, notes that China has pledged all possible support and assistance to Tonga, both now and in the future. China, it further notes, is prepared to cooperate with all other countries in this endeavour and does not wish to see the South Pacific as an arena for any new Cold War. The island nations, it notes, “are not the backyard of the US and its allies”.

The massive eruption of an underwater volcano off Tonga, which triggered tsunami waves to hit the Pacific island nation and other locations in the Pacific, has become a focus of global headlines. 

Tonga is in need of emergency aid, and China said it is willing to help. On Sunday, Chinese Foreign Ministry said that China is ready to provide every possible support and assistance to Tonga. 

We hope those who see Tonga as a battlefield with China, such as the US and its allies, could work together with China to provide help to the Pacific island nation.

While the danger of the Tongan volcano erupting again remaining largely unknown, videos posted on social media and various news reports so far suggest that the eruption has caused serious damages to the island nation. For instance, Tonga’s submarine cable connectivity to the outside world has been offline since Saturday due to the earthquake caused by the volcanic eruption.

Continue reading China’s solidarity with Tonga and the islands of the Pacific

China and Iran united on the path of peace and multipolarity

The following article by Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Iran’s foreign minister, first appeared in the Global Times on 13 January 2022. The article provides an outline of China and Iran’s ongoing cooperation on a number of key issues, and highlights the shared purpose of the two countries in pursuing global peace, development and multipolarity.

Iran and China, the two great civilizations in West and East Asia, have enjoyed good, stable and strong relations during history.

Confucius, a famous educator in ancient China, said: It is always a pleasure to greet a friend from afar. 

With the best wishes of the Iranian people to the Chinese friends, I am visiting China on the occasion of the beginning of 2022 and on the eve of the Chinese New Year of the Tiger and 1401 solar year. 

Our two countries will celebrate the 51st anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations and will enter the second half of the century of bilateral exchange, which opens a new page of our relationship. Especially coinciding with the Chinese Communist Party entering the journey of its second 100 years, the visit will be a promising new horizon for our promotion and development of cooperation in various domains.

Continue reading China and Iran united on the path of peace and multipolarity

Xi Jinping’s address to the 2022 World Economic Forum

The following speech was delivered by President Xi Jinping on Monday 17 January by video link to the 2022 World Economic Forum virtual session.

In his special address, the Chinese President addressed a broad range of critical issues currently facing the global economy and human society, whilst also detailing his country’s domestic situation and goals. He remarked:

“The world today is undergoing major changes unseen in a century. These changes, not limited to a particular moment, event, country or region, represent the profound and sweeping changes of our times. As changes of the times combine with the once-in-a-century pandemic, the world finds itself in a new period of turbulence and transformation. How to beat the pandemic and how to build the post-COVID world? These are major issues of common concern to people around the world. They are also major, urgent questions we must give answers to.”

The first task, he noted, was to embrace cooperation and jointly defeat the pandemic rather than holding one another back or shifting blame. China, he reported, has already sent over two billion doses of vaccine  to more than 120 countries and international organisations.

Further, President Xi remarked, steps have to be taken in a coordinated way to promote steady recovery of the world economy, to bridge the development divide, realise global development, and tackle climate change, based on a people-centred philosophy.

All this means, the Chinese President continued, that “we need to discard Cold War mentality and seek peaceful coexistence and win-win outcomes. Our world today is far from being tranquil; rhetoric that stokes hatred and prejudice abound. Acts of containment, suppression or confrontation arising thereof do all harm, not the least good, to world peace and security… Even worse are the practices of hegemony and bullying, which run counter to the tide of history.”

Professor Klaus Schwab, 
Ladies and Gentlemen, 
Friends, 

Greetings to you all! It is my pleasure to attend this virtual session of the World Economic Forum. 

In two weeks’ time, China will celebrate the advent of spring in the lunar new year, the Year of the Tiger. In Chinese culture, tiger symbolizes bravery and strength, as the Chinese people often refer to spirited dragon and dynamic tiger, or soaring dragon and leaping tiger. To meet the severe challenges facing humanity, we must “add wings to the tiger” and act with the courage and strength of the tiger to overcome all obstacles on our way forward. We must do everything necessary to clear the shadow of the pandemic and boost economic and social recovery and development, so that the sunshine of hope may light up the future of humanity. 

The world today is undergoing major changes unseen in a century. These changes, not limited to a particular moment, event, country or region, represent the profound and sweeping changes of our times. As changes of the times combine with the once-in-a-century pandemic, the world finds itself in a new period of turbulence and transformation. How to beat the pandemic and how to build the post-COVID world? These are major issues of common concern to people around the world. They are also major, urgent questions we must give answers to. 

As a Chinese saying goes, “The momentum of the world either flourishes or declines; the state of the world either progresses or regresses.” The world is always developing through the movement of contradictions; without contradiction, nothing would exist. The history of humanity is a history of achieving growth by meeting various tests and of developing by overcoming various crises. We need to move forward by following the logic of historical progress, and develop by riding the tide of development of our times. 

Notwithstanding all vicissitudes, humanity will move on. We need to learn from comparing long history cycles, and see the change in things through the subtle and minute. We need to foster new opportunities amidst crises, open up new horizons on a shifting landscape, and pool great strength to go through difficulties and challenges. 

First, we need to embrace cooperation and jointly defeat the pandemic. Confronted by the once-in-a-century pandemic, which will affect the future of humanity, the international community has fought a tenacious battle. Facts have shown once again that amidst the raging torrents of a global crisis, countries are not riding separately in some 190 small boats, but are rather all in a giant ship on which our shared destiny hinges. Small boats may not survive a storm, but a giant ship is strong enough to brave a storm. Thanks to the concerted efforts of the international community, major progress has been made in the global fight against the pandemic. That said, the pandemic is proving a protracted one, resurging with more variants and spreading faster than before. It poses a serious threat to people’s safety and health, and exerts a profound impact on the global economy. 

Strong confidence and cooperation represent the only right way to defeat the pandemic. Holding each other back or shifting blame would only cause needless delay in response and distract us from the overall objective. Countries need to strengthen international cooperation against COVID-19, carry out active cooperation on research and development of medicines, jointly build multiple lines of defense against the coronavirus, and speed up efforts to build a global community of health for all. Of particular importance is to fully leverage vaccines as a powerful weapon, ensure their equitable distribution, quicken vaccination and close the global immunization gap, so as to truly safeguard people’s lives, health and livelihoods. 

China is a country that delivers on its promises. China has already sent over two billion doses of vaccines to more than 120 countries and international organizations. Still, China will provide another one billion doses to African countries, including 600 million doses as donation, and will also donate 150 million doses to ASEAN countries. 

Second, we need to resolve various risks and promote steady recovery of the world economy. The world economy is emerging from the depths, yet it still faces many constraints. The global industrial and supply chains have been disrupted. Commodity prices continue to rise. Energy supply remains tight. These risks compound one another and heighten the uncertainty about economic recovery. The global low inflation environment has notably changed, and the risks of inflation driven by multiple factors are surfacing. If major economies slam on the brakes or take a U-turn in their monetary policies, there would be serious negative spillovers. They would present challenges to global economic and financial stability, and developing countries would bear the brunt of it. In the context of ongoing COVID-19 response, we need to explore new drivers of economic growth, new modes of social life and new pathways for people-to-people exchange, in a bid to facilitate cross-border trade, keep industrial and supply chains secure and smooth, and promote steady and solid progress in global economic recovery. 

Economic globalization is the trend of the times. Though countercurrents are sure to exist in a river, none could stop it from flowing to the sea. Driving forces bolster the river’s momentum, and resistance may yet enhance its flow. Despite the countercurrents and dangerous shoals along the way, economic globalization has never and will not veer off course. Countries around the world should uphold true multilateralism. We should remove barriers, not erect walls. We should open up, not close off. We should seek integration, not decoupling. This is the way to build an open world economy. We should guide reforms of the global governance system with the principle of fairness and justice, and uphold the multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organization at its center. We should make generally acceptable and effective rules for artificial intelligence and digital economy on the basis of full consultation, and create an open, just and non-discriminatory environment for scientific and technological innovation. This is the way to make economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial for all, and to fully unleash the vitality of the world economy. 

A common understanding among us is that to turn the world economy from crisis to recovery, it is imperative to strengthen macro-policy coordination. Major economies should see the world as one community, think in a more systematic way, increase policy transparency and information sharing, and coordinate the objectives, intensity and pace of fiscal and monetary policies, so as to prevent the world economy from plummeting again. Major developed countries should adopt responsible economic policies, manage policy spillovers, and avoid severe impacts on developing countries. International economic and financial institutions should play their constructive role to pool global consensus, enhance policy synergy and prevent systemic risks. 

Third, we need to bridge the development divide and revitalize global development. The process of global development is suffering from severe disruption, entailing more outstanding problems like a widening North-South gap, divergent recovery trajectories, development fault-lines and a technological divide. The Human Development Index has declined for the first time in 30 years. The world’s poor population has increased by more than 100 million. Nearly 800 million people live in hunger. Difficulties are mounting in food security, education, employment, medicine, health and other areas important to people’s livelihoods. Some developing countries have fallen back into poverty and instability due to the pandemic. Many in developed countries are also living through a hard time. 

No matter what difficulties may come our way, we must adhere to a people-centered philosophy of development, place development and livelihoods front and center in global macro-policies, realize the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and build greater synergy among existing mechanisms of development cooperation to promote balanced development worldwide. We need to uphold the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, promote international cooperation on climate change in the context of development, and implement the outcomes of COP26 to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Developed economies should take the lead in honoring their emissions reduction responsibilities, deliver on their commitment of financial and technological support, and create the necessary conditions for developing countries to address climate change and achieve sustainable development. 

Last year, I put forward a Global Development Initiative at the UN General Assembly to draw international attention to the pressing challenges faced by developing countries. The Initiative is a public good open to the whole world, which aims to form synergy with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and boost common development across the world. China stands ready to work with all partners to jointly translate the Initiative into concrete actions and make sure that no country is left behind in this process. 

Fourth, we need to discard Cold War mentality and seek peaceful coexistence and win-win outcomes. Our world today is far from being tranquil; rhetoric that stokes hatred and prejudice abound. Acts of containment, suppression or confrontation arising thereof do all harm, not the least good, to world peace and security. History has proved time and again that confrontation does not solve problems; it only invites catastrophic consequences. Protectionism and unilateralism can protect no one; they ultimately hurt the interests of others as well as one’s own. Even worse are the practices of hegemony and bullying, which run counter to the tide of history. Naturally, countries have divergences and disagreements between them. Yet a zero-sum approach that enlarges one’s own gain at the expense of others will not help. Acts of single-mindedly building “exclusive yards with high walls” or “parallel systems,” of enthusiastically putting together exclusive small circles or blocs that polarize the world, of overstretching the concept of national security to hold back economic and technological advances of other countries, and of fanning ideological antagonism and politicizing or weaponizing economic, scientific and technological issues, will gravely undercut international efforts to tackle common challenges. 

The right way forward for humanity is peaceful development and win-win cooperation. Different countries and civilizations may prosper together on the basis of respect for each other, and seek common ground and win-win outcomes by setting aside differences. 

We should follow the trend of history, work for a stable international order, advocate common values of humanity, and build a community with a shared future for mankind. We should choose dialogue over confrontation, inclusiveness over exclusion, and stand against all forms of unilateralism, protectionism, hegemony or power politics. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, 
Friends, 

Last year, the Communist Party of China (CPC) celebrated the 100th anniversary of its founding. Through a century of tenacious struggle, the CPC has rallied and led the Chinese people in accomplishing remarkable achievements in the advancement of the nation and betterment of people’s lives. We have realized a moderately prosperous society in all respects and won the battle against poverty, both according to plan, and found a historic solution to ending absolute poverty. Now, China is marching on a new journey of building a modern socialist country in all respects. 

– China will stay committed to pursuing high-quality development. The Chinese economy enjoys a good momentum overall. Last year, our GDP grew by around eight percent, achieving the dual target of fairly high growth and relatively low inflation. Shifts in the domestic and international economic environment have brought tremendous pressure, but the fundamentals of the Chinese economy, characterized by strong resilience, enormous potential and long-term sustainability, remain unchanged. We have every confidence in the future of China’s economy. 

“The wealth of a country is measured by the abundance of its people.” Thanks to considerable economic growth, the Chinese people are living much better lives. Nonetheless, we are soberly aware that to meet the people’s aspiration for an even better life, we still have much hard work to do in the long run. China has made it clear that we strive for more visible and substantive progress in the well-rounded development of individuals and the common prosperity of the entire population. We are working hard on all fronts to deliver this goal. The common prosperity we desire is not egalitarianism. To use an analogy, we will first make the pie bigger, and then divide it properly through reasonable institutional arrangements. As a rising tide lifts all boats, everyone will get a fair share from development, and development gains will benefit all our people in a more substantial and equitable way. 

– China will stay committed to reform and opening-up. For China, reform and opening-up is always a work in process. Whatever change in the international landscape, China will always hold high the banner of reform and opening-up. China will continue to let the market play a decisive role in resource allocation, and see to it that the government better plays its role. We will be steadfast in consolidating and developing the public sector, just as we are steadfast in encouraging, supporting and guiding the development of the non-public sector. We will build a unified, open, competitive and orderly market system, where all businesses enjoy equal status before the law and have equal opportunities in the marketplace. All types of capital are welcome to operate in China in compliance with laws and regulations, and play a positive role for the development of the country. China will continue to expand high-standard opening-up, steadily advance institutional opening-up that covers rules, management and standards, deliver national treatment for foreign businesses, and promote high-quality Belt and Road cooperation. With the entry into force of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) on 1 January this year, China will faithfully fulfill its obligations and deepen economic and trade ties with other RCEP parties. China will also continue to work for the joining of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA), with a view to further integrating into the regional and global economy and achieving mutual benefit and win-win results. 

– China will stay committed to promoting ecological conservation. As I have said many times, we should never grow the economy at the cost of resource depletion and environmental degradation, which is like draining a pond to get fish; nor should we sacrifice growth to protect the environment, which is like climbing a tree to catch fish. Guided by our philosophy that lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets, China has carried out holistic conservation and systematic governance of its mountains, rivers, forests, farmlands, lakes, grasslands and deserts. We do everything we can to conserve the ecological system, intensify pollution prevention and control, and improve the living and working environment for our people. China is now putting in place the world’s largest national parks system. Last year, we successfully hosted COP15 to the Convention on Biological Diversity, contributing China’s share to a clean and beautiful world. 

Achieving carbon peak and carbon neutrality are the intrinsic requirements of China’s own high-quality development and a solemn pledge to the international community. China will honor its word and keep working toward its goal. We have unveiled an Action Plan for Carbon Dioxide Peaking Before 2030, to be followed by implementation plans for specific sectors such as energy, industry and construction. China now has the world’s biggest carbon market and biggest clean power generation system: the installed capacity of renewable energy has exceeded one billion kilowatts, and the construction of wind and photovoltaic power stations with a total installed capacity of 100 million kilowatts is well under way. Carbon peak and carbon neutrality cannot be realized overnight. Through solid and steady steps, China will pursue an orderly phase-down of traditional energy in the course of finding reliable substitution in new energy. This approach, which combines phasing out the old and bringing in the new, will ensure steady economic and social development. China will also actively engage in international cooperation on climate and jointly work for a complete transition to a greener economy and society. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, 
Friends, 

Davos is known as a heaven for winter sports. The Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games will open soon. We are confident that China will present a streamlined, safe and splendid Games to the world. The official motto for Beijing 2022 is “Together for a Shared Future.” Indeed, let us join hands with full confidence, and work together for a shared future. 

Thank you.

British intelligence services make up a James Bond film script

Republished below is an incisive article from Global Times exposing the reactionary, racist and damaging nature of the MI5’s allegations against Christine Ching Kui Lee. Ms Lee, a British citizen, is being targeted for the sole reason that she works to develop cooperative and mutually beneficial relations between Britain and China. A few years ago, during the ‘golden era’ of Britain-China relations, Ms Lee was widely praised for her work; now, however, with Britain closely following the escalating US-led New Cold War, she has suddenly become the quintessence of the ‘China threat’.

MI5 recently issued a warning to MPs, claiming Christine Lee, a woman of Chinese origin, has been working as a spy on behalf of the Communist Party of China with the aim to infiltrate Parliament to interfere in UK politics. Some MPs immediately followed suit to hype the “China threat.” MP Tom Tugendhat, chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, said “the challenge from Beijing is increasing.” Meanwhile, Conservative MP and former party leader, Iain Duncan Smith, called for Ms Lee to be deported and demanded the government make a statement to the House.

MI6 is famous around the world because of the James Bond films. MI5 is a brother department of MI6. Ken McCallum, the current director general of MI5, was given the nickname “007” by his teammates before he took office in April 2020. In his annual threat update for 2021, he warned that the activities of China, Russia and other “hostile states” could have as large an impact on the public as terrorism. This is just the epitome of how deeply he is poisoned by McCarthyism. 

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China’s loans and projects transformed Malta’s economy

This year sees the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Malta. China is a large country in East Asia with a population of some 1.4 billion people. Malta is a small European country in the Mediterranean with a population of less than half a million. Yet the two countries share a deep and profound friendship.

With the Golden Jubilee of diplomatic relations approaching, on January 10, President Xi Jinping had a telephone conversation with his Maltese counterpart George Vella. According to the official read out from the Chinese Foreign Ministry:

“Xi Jinping pointed out, China and Malta are old and good friends that have withstood the test of time. Half a century ago, the elder generation of Chinese and Maltese leaders, with great vision and foresight, jointly forged friendly relations between China and Malta. Over the past 50 years, no matter how the international situation changes, China-Malta relations have been developing in a sound and steady manner, with deepening friendship and fruitful cooperation in various fields. In the face of challenges such as the international financial crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic, the two sides have always helped and supported each other.”

For his part, President Vella responded: “Bilateral relations have become more mature and made remarkable achievements, setting a good example of state-to-state relations. Malta is firmly committed to further developing its friendly relations with China and is ready to strengthen high-level exchanges and deepen practical cooperation with China in various fields. Malta cherishes the precious opportunities brought by Belt and Road cooperation and is ready to continue to advance relevant cooperation with China. I hope that Malta-China relations will develop even better in the next 50 years and bring more benefits to the two peoples. Malta firmly adheres to the one-China principle and firmly supports multilateralism. Malta is ready to play a positive role in promoting the development of EU-China relations. Malta highly appreciates China’s vaccine aid for the international community’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and its positive contribution to the global response to climate change, and looks forward to closer cooperation with China.”

Although Malta won its independence from a century and a half of British colonial rule in 1964, it remained a neo-colony under the military and economic domination of British imperialism. All that was set to change with the election of a Labour government under the Prime Ministership of Dom Mintoff in 1971. Under his visionary leadership, Malta was transformed from a British neo-colony into a bastion of anti-imperialism and a mainstay of the Non-Aligned Movement. He also expanded the state and public sector of the economy, with extensive nationalisation, established a comprehensive welfare state, and enacted key social reforms, including equal pay for men and women and the decriminalisation of homosexuality. All this required the forging of international alliances and Mintoff assiduously developed close friendships with such outstanding revolutionary leaders of the developing world as Mao Zedong, Kim Il Sung, Muammar Gadaffi and Nicolae Ceausescu, among others. Above all, it was Mintoff’s deep and genuine friendship with Socialist China that enabled Malta to expel the British military bases and to stand up in the world. This writer vividly remembers the consternation of the British TV newsreader reporting Mintoff’s crossing back into the then British colony of Hong Kong, sporting a large badge of Chairman Mao on his suit jacket lapel following a meeting in Beijing with the Chinese leader.

Naturally all this earned Mintoff the undying hatred of the British ruling class. Particular and sustained vitriol was poured by the Daily Mail, a right wing British daily which had supported the British Union of Fascists in the 1930s, who dubbed him “desperate Dom”. Their hatred became positively apoplectic when his daughter Yana, then a student in London, and a key activist in the Troops Out Movement (TOM), campaigning for Irish independence and reunification, hurled horse dung on MPs from the public gallery of the House of Commons in solidarity with the ‘dirty protest’ waged by Irish Republican prisoners in the north of Ireland. (The ‘dirty protest’ was to culminate in the 1981 hunger strike in which 10 young Volunteers from the Irish Republican Army and the Irish National Liberation Army were to heroically lay down their lives.)

Without the British military bases, Malta would have faced economic ruin. That is why, in 1975, China built Dock Number Six in the harbour of the Maltese capital Valetta. Far better known as the Red China Dock, this engineering feat remains the largest dry dock in the Mediterranean. At that time, China was still a poor country and its economy was reeling from the turmoil of the Cultural Revolution. On a per capita basis, Malta was clearly a more prosperous country. But Chairman Mao and Premier Zhou Enlai saw it as their solemn internationalist duty to help Malta take the road of independence and the building of a new society.

Visiting the Red China Dock on 7th September 2021, China’s Ambassador to Malta Yu Dunhai noted that it is, “a significant symbol of China-Malta friendship and remains as a monument in the heart of the people devoting themselves to China-Malta friendship. More than 40 years ago, China overcame its economic and technological limits, provided 100 million RMB interest-free loan and sent about 800 technicians to Malta to construct the dry dock, which showcases the sincere friendship between our two countries. Two Chinese engineers, Mr. Xu Huizhong and Mr. Gu Zhaoyan, lost their lives during the construction. Their great effort and sacrifice laid solid foundation for China-Malta ongoing friendship.”

We are therefore very pleased to reproduce from Shine News, the online platform of the prestigious Shanghai Daily, the following interview with Dr Alex Sceberras Trigona, Foreign Minister of Malta from 1981-87. In this period, Dr Trigona worked closely with Deng Xiaoping to carry forward and develop the friendship established with the preceding generation of Chinese leaders.

(Introduction by Friends of Socialist China co-editor Keith Bennett).

Dr Alex Sceberras Trigona recalls the big moment when he had to arrange a meeting between Malta Prime Minister Dom Mintoff and Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping in 1982 when he served as Malta’s minister for foreign affairs.

China and Malta established diplomatic ties in 1972, and Sceberras Trigona was instrumental in strengthening the relationship between the two countries during his tenure as foreign minister from 1981 to 1987. He has lost track of the number of times he has visited China but thinks “it could be 30 to 40 times” at least.

He has experienced the “hospitality and big heart” of China and was involved in the documentation and negotiations of projects that China helped build in Malta. He had negotiated and concluded Malta’s Neutrality Agreements in the worst years of the Cold War and has met generations of the Chinese people, from leaders to young students. He opened Malta’s embassy in Beijing.

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Why we shouldn’t fall for the ‘Chinese influence’ scare at Westminster

We publish below two editorials from the Morning Star (Why we shouldn’t fall for the ‘Chinese influence’ scare at Westminster and China dismisses claims of an agent targeting British MPs) dealing with the absurd recent story about China allegedly buying ‘political influence’ in the British Parliament. The second editorial includes a quote from Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez noting that this escalating reds-under-the-bed narrative is performing the function of repressing individuals and organisations that oppose the West’s reckless New Cold War.

The latest scare over Chinese “influence” at Westminster should be taken with several barrels of salt.

Pointing to the convenience of a national security story being broken at a time when both Downing Street (over “partygate”) and Buckingham Palace (because of Prince Andrew’s increasing vulnerability over sex abuse allegations) could do with distracting the public will invite charges of conspiracy theories.

But the left would be naive to ignore the political role of the intelligence services.

The convention of seeing state institutions which are not party-political as not political at all works to promote the idea that the likes of MI5 are neutral professionals.

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Western experts should understand China’s building of socialism from China’s perspective

In this article, originally carried by CGTN, Keith Lamb makes the cogent point that it is not only Western specialists that need to make more effort to understand China and its rise on its own terms. Western socialists and Marxists do, too.

On January 11, Chinese President Xi Jinping, addressing the opening study session at the Party School of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, called for a greater effort to deepen the review, study, education, and promotion of the CPC’s history so as to better understand and make good use of the historical experience of the Party over the past century. With China’s rapid rise, this advice is also applicable to Western socialists and China observers.

China’s rise will usher in multi-polarity yet, bizarrely, few Western experts, including Western socialists, understand China from its own historical standpoint. This is highlighted by the many prophetic calls that have thus far proved wrong.

For example, that China would become more like a Western liberal democracy never came to pass. The “China collapse” theory fails regularly, only to get put on “life support” to extend it indefinitely into the future. Then, the “China is a neoliberal state working towards capitalist restoration,” posited by some Western Marxists, looks like a historical inaccuracy today.

Continue reading Western experts should understand China’s building of socialism from China’s perspective