Political crisis in Pakistan won’t affect friendship with China

The current political crisis in Pakistan, which, at time of writing, has seen Prime Minister Imran Khan forced to relinquish office following his loss of a parliamentary vote of no confidence, a vote he had attempted to derail by dissolving parliament, only to have the dissolution overruled by the Supreme Court, has led to considerable speculation in some anti-imperialist circles, focused not least on the nature and extent of the US role in the crisis and the prospects for China/Pakistan relations.

In an attempt to provide some clarity on these matters we are pleased to republish two important and thoughtful articles from China’s Global Times, both published on April 10. They deserve to be carefully read in full, but we highlight here some salient points by way of introduction. 

An OpEd piece bylined simply as Observer and entitled Futile for US to sow discords between Pakistan and China, states:

“[Imran] Khan implied that the US was behind the motion against him. Chinese scholars argue that even if the US was playing tricks from behind the scene, it cannot sow discord between China and Pakistan.” 

It goes on to quote Qian Feng, director of the research department at the National Strategy Institute at Beijing’s Tsinghua University, as saying:

“There is no difference between Pakistan’s major political parties in their friendship and the all-weather strategic cooperative partnership with China. If there’s a difference, it would lie in which party will uphold such relations better.”

Qian further notes that, “In China-Pakistan relations, the Pakistani military has played the role of a stabilizer and ballast stone in building a closer China-Pakistan community with a shared future”, adding that, “no matter which party is in power in Pakistan in the future, it should not be labeled as pro-US.”

In similar  vein, the article Pakistan’s political change ‘won’t affect solid friendship with China’ written by senior journalists Yang Sheng and Liu Caiyu, notes:

“The potential successor of Khan is from the Sharif family which has been promoting China-Pakistan ties for a long time, and cooperation between the two countries could be even better than under Khan.”

This article also quotes Qian Feng as noting: “The latest political change in Pakistan is mainly caused by political party struggles and issues with the economy and people’s livelihoods,” adding that “due to the impact from the COVID-19 pandemic, many people in the country believe that Khan’s administration has failed to stop the economic situation from worsening… In general, current internal problems in Pakistan have nothing to do with its solid ties with China, so there will not be a significant impact on China-Pakistan cooperation.  Khan is from a newly rising political party – the Pakistan Movement for Justice, and when traditional major political parties like the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) or the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) return to power, China-Pakistan cooperation could be even better because these traditional major parties have much closer and deeper ties with China.” 

“When [Shehbaz] Sharif [candidate for Prime Minister] was regional leader of the eastern province of the Punjab, he struck many BRI cooperation deals with China directly to improve local infrastructure and economic development, and his family have maintained long-standing ties with China as his brother Nawaz Sharif is a three-time former prime minister and the leader who kicked off the CPEC project,” the paper quoted unnamed experts as saying.

Neither article seeks to deny that the US is interfering in Pakistan and attempting to create discord both internally and in the country’s relations with China. However the newspaper quotes Rana Ali Qaisar Khan, executive member of the Central Standing Committee of the Pakistan National Party, one of the country’s historic left-wing parties, with its main base in Balochistan Province, as saying, “the US has always tried to influence many countries’ domestic affairs, including Pakistan’s, but its role should not be exaggerated and the current political situation in Pakistan is mainly caused by internal reasons.”

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Mushahid Hussain: China’s entry into the Muslim world

We are very pleased to republish this important article by Senator Mushahid Hussain, Chairman of the Pakistan-China Institute and a member of our advisory group, originally published by Wall Street International and also republished by the Inter Press Service (IPS) news agency. Taking the recent ‘historic first’ of Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s address to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting in Islamabad as his starting point, Senator Hussain notes that the connection between the Chinese and Muslim civilisations dates back to the very earliest days of the Islamic faith and has been a consistent cornerstone of New China’s diplomacy since the founding of the People’s Republic to the present. Key early examples given by the Senator include China’s key role in the 1955 Bandung Conference in Indonesia and its pioneering recognition of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO).

The retrenchment of American power in the Middle East and the larger Muslim world, coupled with the war in Ukraine, has provided a geopolitical breather for China. Beijing is effectively deploying this to make strategic inroads into the region, given this vacuum and focus on Europe. The recent invitation to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to address the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) conference in Islamabad is a ‘historic first,’ and a significant breakthrough for Chinese diplomacy. For the first time, the foreign minister of the Peoples Republic of China was invited to address the most representative platform of the 57 member body representing the 1.5 billion Muslims. During his speech at the OIC conference in Islamabad on the 22nd March 2022, Foreign Minister Wang Yi talked about the “long standing relationship between China and the Muslim world” and reaffirmed that China would continue supporting Muslim countries in their quest for political independence and economic development.

Historically, China has always been etched in the Muslim consciousness as a country with a great civilisation based on knowledge, learning and development. For example, there is a famous saying of the Holy Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him), 1,400 years ago, which urged Muslims to “seek knowledge, even if you have to go to China,” implying that although China was physically far away from Arabia, it was a land of learning. Soon after the end of the Cold War in the 1990s, a professor of the prestigious American university Harvard, Prof. Samuel Huntington, talked of a ‘clash of civilisations’ in which he implied that Western civilization would be at odds with both the Islamic and the Confucian civilisations. Interestingly, he also talked of a united front of the Islamic and Confucian civilisations.

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China votes against Russia’s suspension from the UN Human Rights Council

We publish here the text of the statement made by Chinese Ambassador Zhang Jun at the Emergency Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly, held on April 7th, where the Russian Federation’s membership of the UN Human Rights Council was suspended. In explaining his country’s negative vote, Ambassador Zhang reiterated China’s respect for international humanitarian law and called on all parties to the conflict in Ukraine to protect civilians, especially women, children and other vulnerable groups. Noting that dialogue and negotiation are the only way out, he further noted that the people of the world, especially of the developing countries, are paying a price, for example in soaring food and oil prices, although they are not parties to the conflict.

Consistent with US pressure, the resolution was passed with 93 votes. However 24 countries (including all the socialist countries) voted against, 58 abstained and 18 did not participate in the vote. As only negative votes were counted in this way, the resolution was deemed to have passed with the required two thirds majority. It is, however, a noteworthy fact that a small majority of UN members actually failed to vote in favour of the resolution.

Mr. President,

On the Ukraine issue, China always believes that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, including Ukraine, should be respected, that the purposes and principles of the UN Charter should be upheld, that the legitimate security concerns of all countries should be taken seriously, and that all efforts conducive to a peaceful settlement of the crisis should be supported. Putting an early end to the fight is the urgent expectation of the international community. It is also what China is striving for. China supports all initiatives and measures that will help ease the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. We call on the parties concerned to respect international humanitarian law, and take concrete actions to ensure the safety of civilians, and protect the basic rights and humanitarian needs of women, children and other vulnerable groups. The reports and images of civilian deaths in Bucha are disturbing. The relevant circumstances and specific causes of the incident must be verified and established. Any accusations should be based on facts. Before the full picture is clear, all sides should exercise restraint and avoid unfounded accusations.

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China-Korea friendship from one century into the next

February 16 marked the 80th birthday of Kim Jong Il, the late leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). Marking this occasion, the DPRK published a special commemorative photo album depicting his contributions to strengthening and developing the traditional friendly relations between the two socialist nations of China and Korea. The contents of this significant historical record were subsequently reproduced in video format. We are pleased to make it available here. It vividly depicts the great importance that Kim Jong Il attached to the relationship with China until the end of his life.


America COMPETES Act of 2022: A manifesto for a New Cold War

In this article, originally carried by CGTN, Keith Lamb argues that the America COMPETES Act of 2022, in which China is mentioned a staggering 666 times, and which now only awaits presidential approval following its passage in the House and Senate, amounts to a formal declaration of the New Cold War, not only against China but against the entire Global South.

The America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education and Science (COMPETES) Act of 2022 has passed in the House and the Senate. It now only needs presidential approval to become law. If it is passed, it will mark the official start of a new Cold War against China and the Global South.

Importantly, the “America COMPETES Act of 2022” is actually the “United States Innovation and Competition Act of 2021.” This is because, on March 28, the Senate voted to use the more belligerent text of the 2021 Act for the 2022 Act.

The United States Innovation and Competition Act of 2021, originally known under the imperial sounding “Endless Frontier Act,” was drawn up by those conditioned by the ideology of neoliberal imperialism, namely Senator Todd Young and Chuck Schumer. Schumer was a supporter of the illegal occupation of Iraq, and Young, an ex-naval officer with an MBA from the University of Chicago, one of the centers of neoliberal ideology, worked at the anti-China think tank “The Heritage Foundation.”

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Book review: China’s Great Road – Lessons for Marxist Theory and Socialist Practices

By John Ross, Praxis Press, 2021
Reviewed by Dr Jenny Clegg

Updated 09 April 2022: John Ross contacted us to note that the review incorrectly quoted him as describing Deng Xiaoping as “the greatest Marxist of all time”. This should have been “the world’s greatest economist.”

John Ross has, for some years now, been one of the most forceful advocates of the present Chinese road to socialism on the Western left. His ‘China’s Great Road’ (for which we held an online launch) presents his key arguments. In this detailed review, Dr Jenny Clegg, writer, China specialist, peace campaigner and Friends of Socialist China advisory group member, acknowledges Ross’s useful contribution to the debate, but also draws attention to what she considers its flaws, regarding both the complexities of China’s recent trajectory and the historical record of socialism under Stalin and Mao.


Literature on China’s supposed ‘reversion to capitalism’, whether of the neoliberal or state-led kind, abounds. It has been argued over again that China’s success over the last four decades came as a result of its abandoning ideology for pragmatism so as to follow policies of ‘reform and opening up’.  Either that or the wholesale embrace of markets unleashing the creativity of its individual capitalist entrepreneurs.  John Ross, a Senior Fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Beijing’s Renmin University, swims hard against this tide in his book, China’s Great Road, arguing the exact opposite:that China’s remarkable achievements are the result, not of a reversal of Marxism, but in fact a return to basic Marxist tenets.

The book comprises a collection of recent articles, some originally published in Chinese, others in English, which makes for some repetition, but leaves no doubt as to the arguments.  Ross’s aim is to persuade others on the international left to look seriously at China’s socialism and see what can be learnt from its success.

The book presents two key propositions.

The first, that China has achieved far more than any other country in history in improving the well-being of its people, is set out with the help of easy-to-read graphs.  The evidence, as Ross shows, is all there in World Bank figures: China has lifted over 900 million people out of poverty, raising livelihoods and life expectancy at unprecedented rates, whilst exceeding every other economy in output, wage growth and household consumption over the last 30 years. 

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Carlos Martinez: Latin America’s socialist project is inextricably linked with global anti-imperialism

Below is the video and text of a speech by Carlos Martinez, co-editor of Friends of Socialist China, introducing our recent event 21st Century Socialism: China and Latin America on the Frontline. Carlos explains the motivation for organising a webinar focused on socialist processes in China and Latin America: that both China and progressive Latin America are building a vision of 21st century socialism, and this is of immense importance and interest for Marxists around the world.

On behalf of Friends of Socialist China, I’d like to thank you all for joining today’s webinar.

I’m not going to speak for long, but I wanted to quickly say something about the motivation for putting on this event. Why China and Latin America?

Of course our platform focuses on China in particular. Not because of our special appreciation for jasmine tea or Ming dynasty pottery, but because, as the largest socialist country, and the largest developing country, and as a rising power, China has a critically important role in terms of the global transition both towards a multipolar framework of international relations, and towards socialism.

And if we’re talking about socialism in the 21st century, it’s obvious we need to discuss China. Having achieved its historic goal of eliminating extreme poverty by 2021, China’s now building systematically towards its Second Centenary Goal: to build “a great modern socialist country in all respects.”

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