Comparing the response to Covid-19 in China and the US

The following article by John V Walsh, republished from Popular Resistance, debunks various misconceptions about China’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and contrasts China’s performance with that of the US. Walsh observes that the deaths per million figure in the US currently stands at 3,042; for China the figure is 3.7. So on this metric – surely the most meaningful in terms of assessing a given country’s public health response to a pandemic – China has outperformed the US by a factor of over 800. Anticipating the usual cries of “you can’t trust the Chinese numbers”, Walsh links to numerous articles in the scientific literature confirming the validity of China’s statistics.

While China clearly pursued a strategy that prioritized human life over corporate profits, the author notes that, ironically, China’s economy has also fared far better than the US’s since the start of the pandemic. Walsh concludes that the Chinese experience “should not be lightly dismissed let alone be the subject of mean-spirited attacks” since the measures taken “may be a means of saving millions of lives when the next variant or the next pandemic strikes”.

Covid Deaths In The US (Over 1 Million) And China (About 5000).

“History Should Judge Us” – and it will.

In May and June of 2022 two milestones were passed in the world’s battle with Covid and were widely noted in the press, one in the US and one in China.  They invite a comparison between the two countries and their approach to combatting Covid-19.

The first milestone was passed on May 12 when  the United States registered over 1 million total deaths (1,008,377 as of June 19, 2022, when this is written) due to Covid, the highest of any country in the world.  Web MD expressed its sentiment in a piece headlined: “US Covid Deaths Hit 1 Million: ‘History Should Judge Us.’”

Second, on June 1, China emerged from its 60-day lockdown in Shanghai in response to an outbreak there, the most serious since the Wuhan outbreak at the onset of the pandemic.  The total number of deaths in Mainland China since the beginning of the epidemic in January 2020 now stands at a total of 5226 as of June 19,2022.

To put that in perspective, that is 3042 deaths per million population in the US versus 3.7 deaths in China due to Covid.  3042 vs. 3.7!  Had China followed the same course as the US, it would have experienced at least 4 million deaths.  Had the US followed China’s course it would have had only 1306 deaths total!

The EU did not fare not much better than the US with 2434 deaths per million as of June 19.

Continue reading Comparing the response to Covid-19 in China and the US

Guyana and China: 50 years of diplomatic ties and future prospects

On June 27th, China and Guyana celebrated the 50th anniversary of their establishment of diplomatic relations. Guyana’s bold move, becoming the first country in the English-speaking Caribbean to establish official relations with the People’s Republic, was followed by Jamaica on November 27th that year. Together this marked a milestone in the development of friendship and cooperation between the peoples of China and the Caribbean and in the developing countries’ common struggle against imperialism.

Marking this anniversary, Chinese President Xi Jinping exchanged messages with his Guyanese counterpart Irfaan Ali. Writing in the local media, China’s Ambassador to Guyana Guo Haiyan noted that trade between the two countries grew by 123% in 2021.

Friendship with China constitutes a bipartisan policy in Guyanese politics. A statement from the Office of the Leader of the Opposition noted that:

“We in Guyana will and must always appreciate that during the 1980s, when the country faced steep economic challenges, China without hesitation provided much needed assistance to Guyana. With modest beginnings in the seventies, the economic exchanges have grown to impressive dimensions. Guyana and China now cooperate over a wide range of economic areas and are involved in major projects which can transform Guyana and benefit China as well. The emergence of Guyana as a petro-state will further catalyse and intensify this trend.”

An example of this was the conclusion last month of a US$260 million agreement with a Chinese joint venture company for the construction of a new bridge across the Demerara River. Speaking at the ceremony, Guyana’s Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh said: “Make no mistake that you are witnessing history today. The making of modern Guyana is well underway, and today’s generation of Guyanese are incredibly privileged not only to witness it, but to be part of it.”

Writing in China Daily on June 15th, Donald Rabindranauth Ramotar, who was President of Guyana from 2011-2015, and General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) from 1997-2013, said that:

“When China established diplomatic relations with Guyana in 1972, it was still very underdeveloped. Guyana’s per capita GDP was higher than that of China. Yet China helped the country try to lessen its dependence on a few big capitalist countries and the unequal trade relations inherent in capitalist relations.”

Ramotar goes on to explain how this relationship has only deepened as China has grown from a poor developing country to become the world’s second-largest economy. China, he notes, “has become a great example. It is one of the most studied countries as mankind looks to build a better future.”

We are pleased to reprint his article below.

On June 27, Guyana and the People’s Republic of China will celebrate 50 years of diplomatic relations. These have been 50 very fruitful years, and our relations have been mutually enriching for both countries.

When China established diplomatic relations with Guyana in 1972, it was still very underdeveloped. Guyana’s per capita GDP was higher than that of China. Yet China helped the country try to lessen its dependence on a few big capitalist countries and the unequal trade relations inherent in capitalist relations.

We recall the assistance China provided for the establishment of the Sanata Textile Mill in Georgetown and the clay brick factory in Canal’s Polder. At that time, these were significant investments in the country. Many houses, built with materials produced by the clay brick factory, are still standing and are testament to the friendship between China and Guyana.

China has changed dramatically over the past 50 years. From being a poor developing country, it has developed into the world’s second-largest economy, and its prestige has soared, with its achievements known around the globe. It leads the world in many spheres of the scientific and technological revolution and has had an impact on almost every country. It is widely recognized for its innovation and progress.

China has become the greatest builder in the world, in terms of both physical structures that it has constructed at home and abroad and in its advocating of fair international relations. It promotes true equality and the independence of countries. China correctly describes its partnerships as “win-win”. This gives dignity to every country. For the first time, many small and middle-income developing countries have the belief that they are on an equal footing with other higher-income countries.

We in Guyana, like so many other countries, have benefited greatly from cooperation with China over the years. Some of our most important structures have been built by Chinese contractors. The convention center and the Marriott Hotel stand out in Georgetown and evoke pride among our people.

Our airport is being modernized by another contractor from China. Moreover, we have agreements with Chinese companies to build a modern bridge across the Demerara River.

In 2013, President Xi Jinping proposed the Belt and Road Initiative. This has the great potential to really unite the world and create new wealth and prosperity for all participants.

Guyana has signed up with China to be part of this historic project, which is uniting millions of people around the world.

This initiative has also prompted the West to react. Not so long ago, the United States and the European Union, still unable to shed their old habits in pursuit of self-interest, announced their own initiative to help build up world infrastructure. They have talked of millions of dollars to begin this work. At this time, its performance cannot be evaluated, since it is only at the embryo stage.

What is very significant about this Western project, though, is that it has come about primarily not as a means to assist the less wealthy Third World countries but to counter the constructive move of China and to try to limit China’s great influence in the world. That, of course, is not a good premise to start from.

China is now the largest trading partner for the majority of countries. Its contribution to global economic growth is now the largest in the world.

These are remarkable feats.

China has become a great example. It is one of the most studied countries as mankind looks to build a better future.

Fifty years of diplomatic relations between China and Guyana have seen very beneficial cooperation and a demonstration of support without strings attached. This is not unique, because this is how China relates with all countries it has ties with, and the win-win approach promotes friendship, solidarity and peace.

In evaluating this period, we must give it the highest marks and further deepen our ties with the People’s Republic of China. Most important, the past 50 years of good diplomatic relations between the two countries have strengthened the close friendship between our peoples.

The author is former president of Guyana.

Deciphering the Chinese economic miracle: lessons for the developing world

We are pleased to publish this important article by Associate Professor Efe Can Gürcan, which sets out what he describes as the ‘Chinese miracle’, “that China has enjoyed unprecedented economic success in world history despite enormous historical, demographic, geographical and geopolitical adversities.” Despite this, he notes, “China has developed an exemplary model of economic development that inspires much of the developing world.” Therefore, “to decipher the formula behind China’s historic economic success” is to “offer fundamental hints to guide developing countries in their endeavours to reach an advanced stage of economic development.”

Professor Gürcan surveys the various stages of China’s socialist development under Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping, noting that “the roots of the Chinese economic miracle can be traced back to the early phase of the Chinese revolution under the leadership of Mao,” who he sees as the real originator of the concept of socialism with Chinese characteristics. Deng Xiaoping developed this, including by digging deeper into Mao’s work, for example his, ‘A Critique of Soviet Economics’, and he highlights Deng’s view of the essence of socialism lying in the “liberation and development of the productive forces, elimination of exploitation and polarisation, and the ultimate achievement of prosperity for all.”

Professor Gürcan concludes by stating that: “In contrast to Western capitalism, the Chinese economic miracle does not originate from forced accumulation, wars, and colonialism. On the contrary, it springs from peaceful development and international cooperation. Understood as such, China’s model also constitutes the living example of the rising relevance and superiority of socialism over the capitalist system.”

This is an extremely important article that is worthy of careful study. It was originally published in Volume 3 Issue 2 of the Turkish journal Belt and Road Initiative Quarterly (BRIQ) and is reproduced with thanks. The article can be also be read/downloaded in PDF form.

Abstract

Despite enormous historical, demographic, geographical, and geopolitical adversities, China has enjoyed unprecedented economic success in world history. This article aims to decipher the formula behind China’s historic economic success and distill policy lessons for developing countries in their endeavors to reach an advanced stage of economic development. Based on descriptive case study and statistics, the article suggests that the Chinese economic miracle can be explained by a four-fold formula: a) devising an autocentric economic model aspiring to improve national autonomy and cushion the impact of foreign interference, b) insisting on socialism and the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), which allows for strategic coherence and long-term planning to overcome free-market anarchy, c) creating a state-driven industrial base fueled by national science and technology policies, and d) adopting a balanced approach to development centered on attaining a higher sociocultural and ecological quality of life. The findings also help to debunk the myths surrounding the Chinese miracle, particularly the “cheap labor thesis”, the “technology theft thesis”, the “foreign investment and capitalist integration theses”, the “imperialism thesis”, and the “Mao-the-monster thesis”.  

Keywords: Chinese miracle,economic development, Mao Zedong Thought, socialism with Chinese characteristics, Xi Jinping Thought

Deciphering the Chinese Economic Miracle: Lessons for the Developing World

The “Chinese miracle” has become a widely used term in development studies, inspiring developing countries to achieve high levels of prosperity, living standards, and stability over the last decade. The popularity of this term can be explained in large part by the fact that China has enjoyed unprecedented economic success in world history (Zakaria, 2011; Gürcan 2021a), despite enormous historical, demographic, geographical, and geopolitical adversities. China was one of the world’s poorest countries before the socialist revolution in 1949. In the early revolutionary era, China struggled much to overcome its crippling semi-colonial legacy characterized by the medieval conditions of an agricultural economy and the weakness of its industrial base. History aside, China is the largest country by population size, which currently accounts for 22% of the world’s population. This goes hand in hand with China’s resource scarcity problem as a structural adversity constraining its development potential. China possesses only 7% of the world’s arable land and freshwater resources and 8% of the world’s natural resources. Furthermore, only 19% of its surface area is suitable for human habitation, and 65% of its surface area is rugged. This severely cripples China’s farming capabilities and facilitates ethnic heterogeneity as a potential impediment to political cohesion (Morton, 2006; Naughton, 2018). Another adversity threatening China’s economic development concerns geopolitical circumstances. Cases in point are how China’s membership in the United Nations was stalled until 1971, and the US resorted to military interventions in China’s neighboring regions to suffocate the revolution. The current geopolitical circumstances find their sharpest expression in the current US containment strategy and the US-led trade and technology war against China (Gürcan, 2019; Gürcan, Kahraman & Yanmaz, 2021).     

Despite such adversities, China has developed an exemplary model of economic development that inspires much of the developing world. Since 1979, China is the only country that has remained untouched by any economic crisis. The 1979-2018 period testified to an average economic growth rate of 9.4% in the lead of the CPC, making China the world’s second-largest economy, top producer, and the leading exporter of technological goods (Hu, 2020). By 2015, China came to assume the global production of 40% of washing machines, 50% of textiles, 60% of buttons, 70% of shoes, 80% of televisions, and 90% of toys. Recently, China has made significant progress in producing higher-value added products in the computer, aviation, and medical technology sectors, among others. One should also note that China has risen to the world’s largest lender to the developing world, second-largest investor in foreign direct investment (FDI), and top leader in green bonds and credits. China’s contributions to green finance also bring to mind China’s global leadership in sustainable development. China has recently emerged as the world’s top leader in green transportation as the largest producer of electric buses and the largest market for electric vehicles and bikes. Similarly, China’s status as the world’s top producer of solar, wind, and hydroelectric power is closely related to its reputation as the world’s top investor in sustainable energy technology (Gürcan, 2021a). Besides China’s historic success in economic and environmental development, one should also note that the Chinese economic miracle is credited for 70% of global poverty eradication between 1990 and 2015 (Gardner, 2018).

Continue reading Deciphering the Chinese economic miracle: lessons for the developing world

Building the “New Three Rings”: China’s choice in the face of possible complete decoupling

We are pleased to republish, from Monthly Review (MR) Online, this interesting discussion article by Professor Cheng Yawen, from the School of International Relations and Public Affairs, Shanghai International Studies University, previously carried by Culture Vertical and China Environment News.

According to Professor Cheng, the conflict in Ukraine marks the end of the US-led globalisation wave. As a result, China urgently needs to make a new choice in its diplomatic and strategic priorities to downgrade the importance of Europe and the US and to promote a new international system based on South-South cooperation. He says that whilst many people believe globalisation to be irreversible, the question still needs to be posed as to what to do should a full decoupling occur in the future. Events in Ukraine mean that China no longer has the peaceful external environment it has enjoyed for the past 40 years. This necessitates a greater focus on other developing countries, who, in turn, need to break from dependence on western countries and intensify cooperation amongst themselves. Drawing on Mao Zedong’s thesis of surrounding the cities from the countryside, Professor Cheng notes that: “The Russia-Ukraine conflict and the West’s unrelenting sanctions against Russia further highlight the fact that most of the world’s countries are in the ‘countryside’ on the periphery, while a few are in the ‘city’ in the centre, and the United States is the ‘city centre.’”

Outlining how, since the days of the Communist International, and through all subsequent phases, the Chinese revolution has advanced in close coordination with the movements of oppressed nations and peoples, Professor Cheng shows in detail how South-South cooperation has actually become more realistic today.

Introduction

Since the change of China and the United States in 2018, the world situation has been in turmoil, and various “decoupling theories” have become popular at home and abroad. Especially since the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the international situation has become clearly camped, and the United States is targeting China from all aspects of domestic and foreign affairs. Although many people believe that globalization is irreversible and do not believe that there will be a day of full decoupling, how should we respond if full decoupling does occur in the future?

This article argues that the Russia-Ukraine conflict is a landmark event in the end of U.S.-led globalization, meaning that China no longer has the peaceful external development environment it has enjoyed for the past 40 years. In the future China will have to promote a new global system, a “three-ring” international system that will guarantee China’s national security and development: the first ring is China’s neighboring East Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East, with which China has formed a close industrial division of labor and through which it obtains a stable energy supply and a reliable security barrier. The second ring is the developing countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America, with which China exchanges raw materials and industrial goods and assists their development; the third ring extends to the traditional industrialized countries, mainly in Europe and the United States. The “first ring” is the key to China’s construction of a “new three-ring” international system. In recent decades, a new global system has been formed among developing countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, and the solid foundation formed by developing countries in terms of economic volume, trade exchanges, and economic cooperation is not what it used to be, but in order to further enhance their economic and political autonomy, they must break away from their financial and monetary dependence on Western countries. Therefore, to build a “new three-ring” international system, developing countries should also develop higher-level and broader financial and monetary cooperation among themselves.


Russia’s “special military operation” against Ukraine, and the ensuing full-scale confrontation between the West and Russia, is a landmark event in the end of the globalization tide that has been underway since the 1980s. The U.S. is holding its allies hostage to impose deadly sanctions on Russia and forcing the rest of the world to choose sides between the West and Russia, which has led to a recurrence of the deadly struggle of a century ago and poses a huge challenge to China. The “end of globalization” has left China without the external development environment it has had for the past four decades, and the U.S. push to rebuild its dominant international system and “decouple” from China and Russia is likely to intensify in the future. Today’s world is characterized by a paradigm shift. Faced with the possibility of a passive and comprehensive decoupling, China needs to take the initiative to make adjustments in its foreign strategic arrangements and make new choices in its national engagement priorities in order to shape a new international system that is conducive to counteracting the negative effects of the West’s decoupling of China.

In the thirty years since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia has gone from an initial active approach to the United States and the West, to a gradual alienation from them, to the current unrelentingly fierce confrontation, highlighting the political limits of globalization. Contrary to the romantic imagination of globalization, the latest round of globalization was initially an investment of U.S. hegemony, partly serving the purpose of dismantling the Soviet Union and the socialist camp, which determined that it could not be expanded indefinitely. In terms of the relationship between the leading and following countries of globalization, or between developed and developing countries, there are equal limits to international politics: when globalization backfires on its initiators and threatens their power advantage, globalization will inevitably be “reversed” and the path of operation will be redesigned. The process of globalization in recent decades and the pursuit of U.S. power dominance are the two sides of the same coin, and they are mutually conditional and mutually reinforcing. Russia’s “special military operation” against Ukraine is the result of this round of globalization, which has fully exposed its true nature of power and put an end to the U.S.-led globalization.

NATO’s expansion to the east is the main reason for Russia’s initiative. It appears to be a security issue, but in fact it is also an economic issue in the process of globalization. Peripheralization of the Soviet Union in the global system is the goal of the U.S.-initiated globalization process, and Russia’s intention to use globalization to achieve national renaissance and become a center-state clearly runs right counter to its occurrence and evolutionary logic. The interest of global capital, especially financial capital, in Russia is more focused on energy, food and minerals, which are the areas from which financial capital can make huge profits. But since Putin took power, Russia has strengthened its control over key industries that are crucial to national security and basic livelihoods, and is committed to building the Eurasian Economic Union and shaping an economic development space that is suitable for itself, something that external capital is not happy about. NATO’s expansion to the east is a manifestation of capital’s swaying politics to achieve market expansion, which continues to squeeze Russia’s development space and intensify Russia’s peripheralization. If no effective response is made, Russia will be further defined as a provider of primary products, lose its ability to participate in great power politics, and even have an internal crisis. This is what the Russian elite does not want to see.

NATO’s expansion to the east and the current Western sanctions against Russia have revealed the power structure of the contemporary world. “After the end of World War II, the European colonial system gradually collapsed, and the explicit rule of the international order since the second half of the 20th century was centered on the United Nations and international law, which embodied the principle of sovereign equality of states. However, the central-peripheral hierarchical international order under the European colonial system has not really disappeared, but has continued as a subtle rule and hidden order, except that the absolute hierarchical power relations characterized by direct drives in the past no longer exist, and have been replaced by a “common but differentiated” international order, i.e., all countries are sovereign and equal on the surface. In other words, all states are sovereign and equal, but in practice there are still differences in power. The “rule-based order” is the main expression of this order, in which all countries are required to follow the same rules, but the real meaning of these rules is not centered on the United Nations and international law, but on the Western countries.

The U.S. hegemony since the post-war period and the G-7 established after the 1970s are the main manifestations of the contemporary version of the global center-fringe order. The annual meeting of the G-7 discusses not only the affairs of seven countries, but also the affairs of the whole world, and they negotiate and then promote the transformation into global rules. The “rule-based order” is actually “an order based on the rules set by the West”, and it is the key who is the rule-maker. In a global division of labor system, rule-making, money supply and industrial goods production are the business of a few countries at the center, and if other countries want to join in, they risk dismantling the dominant position of a few countries, which is something countries that hold rule-making and monetary dominance and maintain technological superiority with intellectual property rights do not want to see. China’s unexpected economic growth in recent decades has disrupted the post-war center-periphery international order and threatened the unspoken rules centered on Western countries. The main reason for this is that China’s development has touched the cheese of the United States and other Western countries, which never envisioned that China could also “take center stage”, even if it is only “approaching” for now.

Whether it is the expansion of NATO to the east or the selection of China as a key target of the U.S. crackdown, it reflects that the U.S. and the West want to maintain and strengthen their own power advantage. The Russia-Ukraine conflict and the West’s unrelenting sanctions against Russia further highlight the fact that most of the world’s countries are in the “countryside” on the periphery, while a few are in the “city” in the center, and the United States is the “city center” in the global The “city center” of the “urban center”, the “city” does not want to see the “rural” like them The “cities” do not want to see the “countryside” become “cities” like them. The obstruction of the global “urban centers” by China and Russia lies both in their strong control over capital, which is the last two largest uncontrolled areas of capitalist globalization, and in the fact that they have become “urban centers” due to their much stronger state power compared to most countries. The two countries are also obstacles to the “urban centers” further controlling the “rural” fringes of the globe because they are much stronger than most countries. In this round of globalization, China, with its strong economic growth and overall increase in national power, has shown a tendency to move from the “rural” to the “urban” areas, and in contrast to its earlier overtures to globalization, the central countries have in recent years become “This has exposed the “common” limits of the post-war international order. The fact that China has become one of the “cities” is intolerable for the center-state.

In the first article of Selected Works of Mao Zedong, “Analysis of the Classes in Chinese Society,” the opening chapter poses the question: “Who are our enemies? Who are our friends? This question is the primary question of the revolution.” Over the past 40 years, China has carried out reform and opening up, and in recent years it has initiated the building of a community of human destiny. In its international exchanges, it no longer deliberately emphasizes the distinction between enemies and friends, but hopes to promote “beauty and commonwealth” in the “beauty of each, beauty of the beauty”. But can we achieve “commonwealth”? However, whether the world can achieve “commonwealth” is not determined by China’s wish alone. With the U.S.-led Western countries showing a full-scale confrontation with Russia and China, the contemporary world can no longer be considered mechanically as “peace and development”, but needs to seriously consider “competition” or even “war”. “Even if war can be ruled out, it is no longer possible to achieve better development in a globalized system dominated by Western countries. China has to rethink the “primary question” in its foreign dealings: who are the possible partners of China now and in the future, and who are the partners that China cannot pull in?

Things come together in groups, and people are divided by groups. The same is true for countries. Countries with similar experiences, situations and aspirations are more likely to form long-lasting cooperative relationships. In contemporary international relations discourse, Western vs. non-Western countries, developed vs. developing countries, and Northern vs. Southern countries are common distinctions between types of countries, with developed countries and Northern countries being mostly Western countries and Southern countries and developing countries being non-Western countries. Unlike the distinctions of developed vs. developing countries and North vs. South countries, which are economic in nature, the distinctions of Western vs. non-Western countries also point to political and cultural dimensions, implying global power relations. Since the nineteenth century, the world has undergone a “global transformation”: the formerly discrete “centerless, pluralistic world” has shifted to a highly interconnected and hierarchical “center-marginal” global system. The “imperialism” of the late 19th century and the revolutionary era of the first half of the 20th century is a description and characterization of the relationship between this order and the highly interconnected and hierarchical “center-periphery” global international system, of which the West was the center. Imperialism and globalization from the mid-to-late 19th century to the early 20th century were two sides of the same coin: imperialism came with globalization, and globalization strengthened imperialism, both of which together set up an “iron barrel formation” for countries on the periphery, from which it was very difficult to escape. The Western countries used to be the center of the global system and the place of imperialism, from which the colonial order of the modern world and the American hegemony since the middle and second half of the 20th century came; at the same time, many revolutions since modern times, including the anti-colonial movement in the middle and second half of the 20th century, were aimed at breaking this unequal and unjust center-marginal power structure.

In the center-fringe global power structure, the center states cannot sincerely help the revolution of the peripheral states, nor will they welcome the peripheral states to join the center states on an equal footing. During the Chinese revolution in the first half of the 20th century and the consolidation of power in the second half of the 20th century, the main external forces that China relied on were from the periphery of the global system. The Communist International network, in which the Chinese Communist Party was involved, was an alliance between the non-regime forces of the colonized and oppressed peoples of the time; in the war against Japan, China took the opportunity of its participation in the world war against fascism to continue the “anti-imperialist” demands of the previous Chinese revolution and to further promote the abolition of the various unequal rights imposed on China by the imperialist countries; in 1949, when the People’s Republic of China was founded, the Chinese government was able to achieve its goal. After the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, China attached great importance to cooperation with “Third World” countries and supported the anti-colonial movement and post-independence nation-building in Asia, Africa and Latin America, especially its active participation in the Bandung Conference in 1955 and its proposal of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, which were well received by Asian, African and Latin American countries and became the basis for China’s cooperation with them. It also became an important point in the virtuous circle of relations between China and Asian, African and Latin American countries, and with the latter’s support and cooperation, China returned to the United Nations in 1971 and became a permanent member of the Security Council.

China’s mutual solidarity and assistance with Asian, African and Latin American countries in their resistance to colonial rule and nation-building have established a key feature of Chinese multilateralism in recent times, namely, the high priority given to cooperation with non-Western developing countries in defending national independence and development progress in their joint resistance to the unequal and unjust international order constructed by the central state. In its all-round diplomacy based on non-Western developing countries, China does not exclude its contacts and even the development of friendly and cooperative relations with developed Western countries and other major powers. However, it should also be noted that China’s past interactions and cooperation with the centerland countries have always been based on two premises: first, from China’s perspective, China insists on developing its foreign relations under the premise of independence, equality and reciprocity, and opposes the hierarchy of power in international relations; second, from the perspective of the centerland countries, their cooperation with China has always had a ceiling, which is not to shake the global power structure centered on the Western countries. structure. When either of these two premises changes, it will be difficult for China, as a developing country, to continue to develop cooperative relations with Western countries in depth, especially politically.

Over the past four decades, China has abandoned ideological differences and avoided differences in national systems, and has committed itself to cooperating with all countries, gradually forming a pattern of foreign relations in which “major powers are key, the periphery is primary, developing countries are fundamental, and multilateralism is an important stage. However, this pattern has encountered many obstacles when the time of “the end of globalization” comes. The “decoupling” of China’s economy, technology, knowledge, and people-to-people contacts, initiated by the U.S. with the help of other Western countries, is unlikely to be withdrawn by the war between Russia and Ukraine, but may be intensified.

Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, it has undergone several changes in diplomatic direction, from the “one-sided” approach when the country was first established, to the “one line, one big area” and “three worlds” division in the 1970s, to the shift to reform and opening up after 1978, focusing on developing cooperation with Western countries. From the “one-sided” approach when the country was first founded, to the “one line, one big area” and “three worlds” division in the 1970s, to the shift to reform and opening up after 1978, focusing on developing cooperation with Western countries, all in response to the prevailing situation. At this time of “unprecedented changes”, Western countries are showing stronger and stronger intentions to suppress potential challengers, especially after the outbreak of the war between Russia and Ukraine, which has exposed the Western countries’ tendency to gather and suppress non-Western countries on all fronts, and will become a structural presence in international relations for a long time to come. China cannot help but be highly alert to the fact that the West’s omnipotent sanctions and repressive tactics against Russia will be applied to China in the future. For this reason, it is urgent to re-examine China’s past tradition of multilateralism, adjust the spatial pattern of its foreign relations, and strengthen cooperation with non-Western developing countries in order to create a new international environment conducive to safeguarding China’s national security and long-term development.

In 1974, Mao Zedong proposed the division of the “three worlds” and made an analysis of the three types of countries in the world at that time and the way China could interact with them, with the developing countries of the “third world” being the main target of China’s interaction and China itself being a member of the “third world”. “The Chinese government and people firmly supported the just struggle of all oppressed people and nations. The “three worlds” theory follows the previous experience of China’s foreign relations, which ranked the spatial priority of China’s foreign relations at that time and was an important ideological guide for China’s past participation in South-South cooperation, and it still has strong inspiration for China to reconstruct the spatial priority of its foreign relations at present. Compared to the increased emphasis on cooperation with Western countries since the reform and opening up, China will have to give prominence to promoting South-South cooperation in the future. Whether seeking diplomatic breakout, long-term development, or national rejuvenation, China’s foreign strategic arrangements will have to focus primarily on promoting the construction of a new global system based on Asia and its surrounding region for quite some time to come. The ultimate result is the formation of a “three-ring” international system to guarantee China’s national security and development: the first ring is China’s neighboring East Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East, where East Asia is connected to the world’s financial resources and China has formed a close industrial division of labor with the countries in this region, and Central Asia and the Middle East are connected to the world’s resources and China has to rely on the countries in this region for a stable energy supply and a reliable security barrier. The second ring is the vast number of developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, with which China exchanges raw materials and industrial products, and China’s foreign aid should be mainly directed to these countries; the third ring extends to the traditional industrialized countries, mainly Europe and the United States, with which China exchanges industrial products, technology and knowledge. This “three-ring” structure is used to prioritize and redirect foreign contacts and to redefine the direction and content of foreign contacts.

The first and key to the construction of the “new three-ring” international system is in the “first ring”, that is, the two wings of Asia: one is East Asia, the other is Central Asia, the Middle East. In order to continue to further promote the process of economic integration in East Asia and strengthen the linkage with Central Asia and the Middle East, it is necessary to enrich the issues of interaction with Asian countries as a prerequisite. Over the past years, China has devoted itself to promoting economic diplomacy with other countries, and has strongly promoted East Asian economic integration and economic cooperation with many Asian countries. The latest breakthrough in East Asian economic integration is the conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) after years of negotiations, which will enter into force on January 1, 2022. However, economic exchanges among East Asian countries have been increasingly affected by extraterritorial forces and security factors in recent years. Disputes over maritime rights in the South China Sea and the U.S. “Indo-Pacific” strategy have added uncertainty to the process of East Asian economic integration. China should step out of its previous “GDP supremacy” in international relations, pay attention to political and security issues, and promote more security cooperation among Asian countries to avoid internal problems in Asia from being exploited by external forces.

The basis of international relations for China’s promotion of a “new three-ring” international system is “South-South cooperation,” an old concept that emphasizes mutual cooperation and support among non-Western “third world” countries. It is an old concept that emphasizes mutual cooperation and support among non-Western “third world” countries. In the second half of the 20th century, the meaning of South-South cooperation was more political, as developing countries were generally economically underdeveloped and technologically weak, and the trade and technology exchanges between them were of limited help to each other and had little impact on the global economy. However, in fact, South-South cooperation is building a new foundation in the new century and has become more realistic today. The main reason is that, in recent decades, developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America have become industrialized or quasi-industrialized countries, following the wave of globalization and “laddering up” to a new global system in terms of global material production and circulation, and the original globalization “ladder” set up by the West has become a new global system. The original “ladder” of globalization built by the West has lost its color in their eyes. This new global system has the following main manifestations.

First, the global share of developing countries is not what it used to be: in 1980, developed countries accounted for 78.9 percent of global GDP, while developing countries accounted for only 21 percent; in 2021, developed countries’ share of global GDP falls to 57.8 percent, while developing countries’ share rises to 42.2 percent. The combined GDP share of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) plus Turkey, South Korea, and Indonesia in terms of purchasing power parity increases from 18 percent of the global economy in 1992 to 37.36 percent in 2021, while the G7 countries decline from 51 percent to 44 percent in the same period.

Second, trade exchanges and mutual investment among developing countries have also become pivotal. Trade between China and Africa increased 22.6 times between 1997 and 2010, and trade with Latin America increased 22 times; by 2021, China-Africa and China-Latin America trade will increase another 2 times and 2.5 times, respectively, compared to 2010. in 2000, China-Arab trade was only $15.2 billion, and by 2018 it reached $244.3 billion, an increase of 16 times in less than 20 years. Brazil’s trade with Arab countries increased fourfold from 2003 to 2010, while trade with Africa increased fivefold to a total of $26 billion, a figure higher than Brazil’s trade with traditional trading partners such as Germany or Japan; by 2019, Brazil’s trade with Arab countries and Africa increased 0.98 times and 0.68 times, respectively, compared to 2010. Since 2001, India’s trade with Africa has grown at an average annual rate of 17.2%, with 2.26 times more in 2021 than in 2011. India’s trade with Latin America and Middle East and North African countries has experienced similar growth. Both mutual trade and investment between emerging economies such as India and Brazil are also heating up rapidly, with trade volumes among developing countries growing faster than the global average growth rate, while trade exchanges with developed countries continue to decline, and the division of labor and cooperation among these countries in the production of primary and industrial goods replicates the historical globalized exchange of material goods.

Then again, from around China, Asia has formed a network of co-existing economic cooperation. This is demonstrated by the following.

In 1980, developing countries in Asia accounted for only 12.7% of the world’s GDP, but in 2010 it rose to 20.6%, and by 2021 it will reach 31.2%. By 2020, the 15 RCEP members will have a total population of 2.27 billion, a GDP of U.S.$26 trillion and total imports and exports of over U.S.$10 trillion, all accounting for about 30% of the global total. HSBC predicts that by 2030, the global share of economic volume of the RCEP economic circle will increase to 50%.

Second, the center of gravity of global trade and investment has also been shifting to Asia. Asia’s share in global trade increased from 15.7% in 1980 to 22.2% in 1990, 27.3% in 1995, 26.7% in 2000, 25.6% in 2001, and further rose to 36% of world trade in 2020, becoming the world’s leading trading bloc.

Third, the level of intra-Asian trade exceeds that of extraterritorial trade. between 2001 and 2020, total intra-Asian regional trade jumps from $3.2 trillion to $12.7 trillion, with an average annual nominal growth rate of 7.5%. During the same period, Asia’s share of total world trade increased from 25.6% to 36.0%, and in 2020, Asia’s intra-regional trade accounted for nearly 58.5% of foreign trade.

Fourth, the two wings of Asia are becoming one world economically, and the flow of energy from the Middle East has shifted from its previous direction mainly to Europe and the United States to East and South Asia.

To date, developing countries have initially formed a global economic system, but further economic and political unity is needed to achieve a higher degree of economic connectivity among them, as well as a stronger political influence in the international arena and freedom from the control or coercion of Western countries. Since the second decade of the 21st century, China has become the world’s largest real economy and the second largest economy, as well as the largest trading partner of most countries in the world; the global contribution of China’s manufacturing sector is close to 30% in 2021, and as the country that produces the most material goods in the world China’s global manufacturing contribution will be close to 30% by 2021, and as the world’s largest producer of material goods, it will play the role that the United States played at the end of World War II (at its peak, in 1953, the United States accounted for about 28% of global industrial output). What China can and should do is to actively promote the improvement of the global system of material exchange among developing countries in a global strategy, i.e., to truly realize South-South cooperation.

But there are still deficiencies. Current trade flows and mutual investments of developing countries still rely heavily on the financial and monetary networks provided by the West. If developing countries are to further enhance their economic and political autonomy, and if emerging economies are to gain political influence in the world system commensurate with their economic size, they must break away from their financial and monetary dependence on the West. Therefore, to build a “new three-ring” international system, it is necessary to consider not only the traditional geopolitical factors, but also the currency and information margins as important considerations. Over the past few years, China has explored this by developing currency swaps with some emerging market economies. A higher level and broader scope of financial and monetary cooperation should be developed among developing countries in general. To this end, there is a need to make good use of some existing platforms and mechanisms to take South-South cooperation to a new level, including upgrading and revamping the ADB and the BRICS Bank, and improving an autonomous and controllable international payment system; strengthening security cooperation in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and China-Russia-India-Iran cooperation under its framework, especially financial cooperation, and the need to see that Russia is also a developing country and that China and Russia are highly complementary economically. The government should further promote the economic integration of East Asia under the framework of “One Belt, One Road”, especially consolidate the achievements of RCEP; build a common energy market in Asia, so that the energy buyers’ markets in East and South Asia and the energy sellers’ markets in the Middle East, Central Asia and Russia can share the same energy trading and payment network; make good use of the BRICS meeting mechanism, thus leading to the deepening of South-South cooperation; and promote the international cooperation between China and Russia. It should promote the internationalization of the RMB in the context of the diversification of the international monetary system and South-South cooperation, and provide support to the international status of the euro while hedging against the hegemony of the U.S. dollar.

One hundred years ago, the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party proposed the revolutionary path of “encircling the city in the countryside. At this time of “unprecedented changes”, China and the developing countries need to break the center-periphery order of the contemporary world and the Western countries’ prevention and suppression of non-Western countries, as well as to improve solidarity and cooperation in the global “rural” areas. The emergence of a new global system and the deepening of South-South cooperation will create good conditions for China to enter the forefront of the world economy and politics, and to mobilize global resources to build a “three-ring” international system, to resolve international pressures and to break through. After more than 40 years of reform and opening up, China must adjust its understanding of “opening up” and make a new breakthrough in its thinking about foreign exchanges. Of course, China should still try to maintain its cooperation with the West as long as possible, and should not give up on working with the latter as long as they do not make the choice to be completely enemies of China.

Big Power Competition in the post-pandemic world order and the Belt and Road Initiative

As part of its Friends of the Silk Road Series, the Pakistan China Institute organised a webinar on the theme, ‘Big Power Competition in the Post-Pandemic World Order and the Belt and Road Initiative’ on June 20th. Co-Editor of Friends of Socialist China Keith Bennett made a presentation on ‘What to Expect in big power competition – how the Global South Should Respond’. We print his remarks below.

The event was chaired by Tehmina Janjua, former Foreign Secretary of Pakistan. The other speakers were Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Chairman of the Defence Committee of the Pakistan Senate and of the Pakistan China Institute; Mustafa Hyder Sayed, Executive Director of the Pakistan China Institute; Jayanath Colombage, former Foreign Secretary of Sri Lanka and former Commander of the Sri Lankan Navy; Suos Yara, Member of the Central Committee of the Cambodia People’s Party, Spokesperson and Vice-Chair of its Commission for External Relations, as well as member of the National Assembly of Cambodia and Chairman of its Commission of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation, Media and Information; Wang Wen, Executive Dean of the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Beijing’s Renmin University; and William Jones, Senior Non-Resident Fellow of the Chongyang Institute.

The full event stream is also embedded below.

Dear Friends

Thank you to the Pakistan China Institute for your invitation to speak at this important and timely webinar. And thank you for your consistent and sincere support to Friends of Socialist China which we greatly value.

It is nearly 33 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. And nearly 31 years since the red flag was lowered from the Kremlin and the USSR ceased to exist. Such was the air of triumphalism that one political philosopher was even moved to declare the end of history.

In return, we were promised a peace dividend. But for the peoples of the Global South, in particular, there was no dividend. And there was no peace. For the peoples of Iraq, Afghanistan and a number of other countries there was only starvation sanctions and devastating war.

Continue reading Big Power Competition in the post-pandemic world order and the Belt and Road Initiative

BRICS indispensable for the collective interests of developing countries

The following article, by Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez, is a slightly expanded version of a piece written for Global Times and published on 20 June 2022. Carlos writes about what to expect from the forthcoming BRICS Summit, which will be hosted by China on 24 June 2022, and discusses the global significance of BRICS in terms of the pursuit of a democratic and multipolar system of international relations.

The 14th BRICS Summit, to be held virtually on 24 June, comes at a crucial moment, as the US is escalating and expanding its New Cold War. While waging a proxy war in Ukraine with a view to inflicting a heavy blow against Russia, the US and its allies are also stepping up their anti-China rhetoric, recklessly undermining the One China principle, sending warships and spy planes to Chinese waters and airspace, and reviving their despicable slanders about the human rights situation in Xinjiang.

The Ukraine crisis has exposed important fault-lines in the so-called rules-based international order. The US has been able to persuade its European and Anglo-Saxon allies to impose unprecedented sanctions on Russia – at significant cost to ordinary people in those countries, who now face a cost of living crisis that threatens to drive millions into poverty. These sanctions, and the provision of heavy weaponry to Kyiv, are aimed not at resolving the conflict but prolonging it.

However, most countries of the developing world have rejected the West’s strategy of division and escalation. China’s principled opposition to unilateral sanctions and its emphasis on a negotiated solution to the crisis are well known. India, which the US has long sought to cultivate as a stable ally and stalking horse against China, has also been firm in its opposition to sanctions against Russia. South African president Cyril Ramaphosa incurred the wrath of the Western media when he stated the blunt truth that the Ukraine war was primarily a result of NATO expansion. Even Brazil, while tending under its current government to side with the US, is taking a position of neutrality in relation to Ukraine.

Continue reading BRICS indispensable for the collective interests of developing countries

China-based journalists respond to Western media attacks

In the video embedded below, Friends of Socialist China co-editor Danny Haiphong interviews CGTN’s Li Jingjing and China Daily’s Ian Goodrum on their insights into the Western media’s attacks on China-based journalism and anyone who stands up to anti-China narratives. Of particular note is Li Jingjing’s personal experience of being slandered by three different Western news outlets (The New York Times, AP, and the Daily Beast) in a span of less than six months.

China’s long war on poverty

This article by Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez provides a detailed analysis of China’s ongoing war against poverty. In addition to discussing the recently-concluded targeted poverty alleviation program, in which the government achieved its goal of ending extreme poverty, Carlos discusses the anti-poverty measures taken during the various phases of the Chinese Revolution, including land reform in the liberated areas in the 1930s and 40s; the period of initial socialist construction from 1949; Reform and Opening Up from 1978; and the more recent measures aimed at building common prosperity. He concludes that poverty alleviation, and more broadly the improvement of people’s living standards, is foundational to the entire Chinese socialist project and constitutes a key theme of each of its stages.

In late 2020, the Chinese government announced that its goal of eliminating extreme poverty by 2021 (the centenary of the founding of the Communist Party of China) had been met. At the start of the targeted poverty alleviation program in 2014, just under 100 million people were identified as living below the poverty line; seven years later, the number was zero.

To eradicate extreme poverty in a developing country of 1.4 billion people – which at the time of the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 was one of the poorest countries in the world, characterised by widespread malnutrition, illiteracy, foreign domination and technological backwardness – is without doubt “the greatest anti-poverty achievement in history”, in the words of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.1

What does it mean to not suffer extreme poverty in China? The most easily measurable aspect is having a daily income higher than the World Bank-defined international poverty line of 1.90 USD per day. But according to the Chinese government’s definition, a person can be considered to have left extreme poverty only if the “two assurances and three guarantees” have been met.2 The two assurances are for adequate food and clothing; the three guarantees are for access to medical services, safe housing with drinking water and electricity, and at least nine years of free education. Meanwhile, the land ownership system in China means that the rural poor have rent-free access to land and housing – putting them in a very different category to the rural poor elsewhere in the world.

Continue reading China’s long war on poverty

Taiwan: Red lines and strategic ambiguity

We are pleased to reproduce this article by Stefania Fusero, a Friends of Socialist China advisory group member from Italy, about recent developments in US rhetoric regarding Taiwan and the Biden administration’s undermining of the One China policy. The article was first published in New Cold War.

On May 5, 2022, the State Department amended its Taiwan factsheet removing the part in which it acknowledged that Taiwan is a part of China and stated that the US does not support Taiwan’s independence.

While Washington has said the update does not reflect a change in its policy, it has clearly increased both its military and political activism in the region and Biden even went so far as to say in Tokyo on May 23 that the US is ready to use military force to defend Taiwan in the event of an intervention from Beijing.

As the US-led proxy war of NATO against Russia in Ukraine continues, are we going to open a new front against another nuclear power, this time in Southeast Asia? Already our press has begun to compare the situation in Ukraine with the Taiwan issue, so we can expect that the great media circus will soon light up its spotlights to the seas of China – the narrative being likely the same as the one we have been made addicted to by now.

Will we therefore learn to recognise a glorious new flag to insert in the host of democratic countries, that of Taiwan? This will be the easy part, the harder one will be to understand what Taiwan is and why it will have become a vital issue for Western democracies. Will we once again be inundated with a thumping propaganda campaign focused on the epic struggle of democracy against autocracy, freedom against tyranny, light against darkness, good against evil?

Brief historical notes

First of all, it must be noted that Taiwan is not an independent state, in fact it is not even a state according to international law.

After the defeat of Japan in the Second World War, Taiwan returned to be an integral part of China, and as a consequence, after the defeat of Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang, of the People’s Republic of China.

The name of Taiwan denotes an island (+ some other islets) about 160 km from the south-eastern coast of China, surrounded by the East China Sea to the north, the Philippine Sea to the east, the Luzon Strait to the south and the South China Sea to the southwest. The inhabitants are about 23 million, the capital is Taipei.

Starting from the end of the 13th century groups of Chinese began to arrive from the mainland and settle on the island, but during the 17th century Taiwan, to which Portuguese explorers had given the name of Formosa, became a pole of attraction also for Europe: the Dutch colonised the south and the Spanish colonised the north.

In 1644 the Ming were defeated by the Manchus, who founded the new Qing dynasty, which would be the last in Chinese imperial history. The prince of Yanping, known in the West as Koxinga, did not recognise the authority of the new Qing dynasty, and attempted to restore the Ming. In 1661 he crossed the strait, attacked the Dutch settlers claiming the island of Taiwan as a historic property of China, and ended Dutch colonisation, which had lasted nearly 40 years. Taiwan thus became a military base from which Koxinga and later his descendants tried in vain to restore the Ming dynasty. After finally defeating them in 1683, the Qing integrated Taiwan into their empire.

England defeated the Qing in the First Opium War in 1842, ushering in the so-called “century of humiliation” for China, which became the prey of the greed of several empires. To Japan, the last newcomer to the imperial club, the dying Qing dynasty was forced with the 1895 treaty of Shimonoseki to cede the island of Taiwan, which remained a Japanese colony until October 25, 1945, when the government of China, which had been became a republic, finally regained possession of Taiwan and the Penghu archipelago, reassuming their full legitimate sovereignty.

The victory over the Japanese, however, did not mean the end of military hostilities in China, where since 1927 the civil war between the Communist Party led by Mao Zedong and Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang (KMT) had been intermittently raging.

 The civil war ended in 1949 with the victory of the Communists and the defeat of Chiang Kai-shek, who, just as Koxinga had done a few centuries earlier, fled the mainland and occupied Taiwan, where his regime took on the name of ROC (Republic of China), the same name adopted by the state entity born after the fall of the Qing Empire in 1912.

This is the origin of the so-called ‘Taiwan question’.

One China or two Chinas?

For its part, on the very day of its foundation, October 1, 1949, the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) announced to the world that it “… is the sole legitimate government representing the entire people of the People’s Republic of China”. It declared to the United Nations that the KMT authorities had “lost all basis, both de jure and de facto, to represent the Chinese people” and therefore had no right to represent China. Since the founding of the PRC, a sine qua non condition for any country wishing to have relations with the PRC has been to recognise the government of the PRC as the sole legitimate authority of the whole of China, as well as to sever or refrain from establishing diplomatic relations with the Taiwanese authorities.

At least on this point did Mao Zedong and Chiang Kai-shek agree: China is one and has only one legitimate government, which obviously for the PRC is that of Beijing and for the KMT that of Taipei.

The US, which during the civil war had gambled on the Kuomintang, supporting it militarily and economically against the Communist Party, did not resign to its victory and continued to give generous aid to the KMT.

After the start of the Korean War in June 1950, the US government not only sent troops to Taiwan, which General Mac Arthur compared to an “unsinkable aircraft carrier”, but even considered using nuclear weapons against the PRC.

From a diplomatic point of view, meanwhile, the US questioned the status of Taiwan and lobbied for “dual recognition” among the international community in order to create “two Chinas”, whereas the government of the PRC, to safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the nation, staunchly supported the one China principle: there is only one China in the world, Taiwan is an integral part of it, and the PRC government is the sole legitimate government representing the whole of China.

This principle came gradually to be accepted by the international community, until on October 25, 1971, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 2758, which expelled the representatives of the Taiwanese regime and awarded the seat in the United Nations to the government of the PRC.

In the following year, February 1972, President Nixon’s historic visit to China led to the total revision of the official position of the US towards Taiwan. With the famous Shanghai communiqué, which was to be followed by another two in 1979 and 1982, later defined as “the three joint communiqués”, the USA relinquished the doctrine of the two Chinas, recognised the indivisibility of China, declared that Taiwan is a province of China and that the liberation of Taiwan is an internal affair of China; they also pledged to withdraw all US military forces stationed in Taiwan.

Was that the happy ending for the Taiwan issue, then? Unfortunately not, as shown by the tensions which today, while a war is still being waged in Ukraine, are intensifying around the Seas of China.


The one-China principle vs the so-called US strategic ambiguity

If from the very moment of its foundation in 1949 the position of the PRC on Taiwan has remained unequivocal and constant overtime, that of the US has instead been configuring in terms of “strategic ambiguity”.

As early as in 1979 Deng Xiaoping’s government articulated the policy of “peaceful reunification and one country, two systems”: China is committed to achieving peaceful reunification but will not rule out the use of force if any of its red lines were to be overpassed, if for example Taiwan ceased to recognise the principle that China is one and inalienable and/or proclaimed independence from the PRC or were occupied by any foreign countries.

The PRC wants to achieve reunification through peaceful negotiations and is willing to negotiate any matter except the overriding one-China principle. After reunification, the “one country, two systems” policy will be practiced: mainland China will continue with its socialist system and Taiwan will maintain its capitalist system for a long time to come. After reunification, Taiwan will enjoy a high degree of autonomy and the central government will not send troops or administrative personnel to be stationed in Taiwan.

Economic and cultural exchanges and people-to-people contacts between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait have made rapid progress since the end of 1987, and economic data shows that imports from the PRC and exports to the PRC far outweigh those with all other countries. Despite these trends, the current majority party in Taipei, the DPP (Democratic Progressive Party) led by Tsai Ing-wen, has increased military spending, moved closer to the US, and sharpened the hostility of its government towards the PRC.

Notwithstanding the principles solemnly stated in the three Communiqués between 1972 and 1982, the US has in fact often contradicted the spirit and the letter of them, adopting a policy toward Taiwan that they equivocally define as “strategic ambiguity”, which certainly does not favour a climate of trust and détente between the USA and the PRC.

We could give many examples to illustrate the ambiguous US policy on Taipei, such as the steady increase in arms sales to the island, the incendiary declarations of members of Congress on official visits to what the US does not even officially recognise as a nation, as well as the fact revealed in the WSJ last October 2021 that US military advisers had been present in Taiwan for at least one year, all obviously in flagrant violation of the agreements made in the three communiqués.

And what about a 2002 act that: “… Taiwan shall be treated as though it were designated a major non-NATO ally (as defined in section 644(q) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961?”

We can get an idea of how their policy of “strategic ambiguity” can be correctly interpreted by turning directly to official US sources. I highly recommend reading the Taiwan fact sheet on the official website of the US State Department, or rather its different versions that have appeared between 2019 and a few days ago. To facilitate comparison for anyone wishing to go through them in detail, I have prepared a PDF with the three versions in chronological order, highlighting the most significant parts (see here).

June 8, 2019: the fact sheet begins with the 1979 communiqué  recognising the PRC as the sole legitimate government of one China. It also importantly states that the US does not support Taiwan’s independence.

May 8, 2022: what a twist! The sheet has dramatically changed: it begins by saying that Taiwan is a key partner of the United States in the Indo-Pacific and that the United States and Taiwan share the same values. US policy is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the three joint US-China Communiqués and the Six Assurances (in that order).

The PRC government is well aware that a few fundamental words have gone missing from the fact sheet, i.e.  “the US does not support Taiwan’s independence”. On the other hand, the so-called Six Assurances are in!

To understand the reason why the Chinese government promptly and firmly reacted to these changes, we need to say just a few words about the Taiwan Relations Act and the Six Assurances.

The Taiwan Relations Act is a pro-Taiwan lobby-inspired law passed by Congress in 1979 to offset the effects of the US government’s recognition of the PRC: “…the United States shall provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive character and shall maintain the capacity of the United States to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security, or social or economic system, of the people of Taiwan.”

The term ‘Six Assurances’, instead, refers to six Reagan-era security assurances unilaterally provided to Taiwan in 1982 but not formally made public, which the United States declassified in 2020, among which: the United States has not agreed to set a date for ending arms sales to Taiwan; the United States has not agreed to consult with the PRC on arms sales to Taiwan; the United States has not agreed to revise the Taiwan Relations Act.

May 28, 2022: the fact sheet, surreptitiously modified one more time, reaffirms that the US does not support Taiwan’s independence.

Playing with the Joint Communiqués as well as with laws and provisions that unilaterally regulate, in a more or less open way, relations between China and the USA, erratically emphasising either, is sufficient in itself to convey totally contradictory and obviously destabilising messages to the world.

What is China doing in the meantime? Its policy has constantly remained the same, that to foster a gradual and peaceful reunification but in the meantime, it is bracing for the worst. In fact, for the PRC Taiwan is not a pawn to be used to destabilise countries thousands of km away from its national territory, but “… it is part of the sacred territory of the People’s Republic of China. It is the sacred duty of all the Chinese people, including our fellow Chinese in Taiwan, to achieve the great reunification of the motherland.” (from the Preamble of the Constitution of the PRC)


Sources: 

https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Shanghai_Communiqu%C3%A9

https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Joint_Communiqu%C3%A9_on_the_Establishment_of_Diplomatic_Relations

https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/US%E2%80%93PRC_Joint_Communique,_August_17,_1982

https://web.archive.org/web/20190608140339/https://www.state.gov/u-s-relations-with-taiwan/

https://www.state.gov/u-s-relations-with-taiwan/

https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/us-state-department-website-deletes-taiwan-is-part-of-china-reference-2963338

https://oec.world/en/profile/country/twn#Profile

https://www.mfa.gov.cn/ce/celt/eng/zt/zgtw/t125229.htm

https://www.congress.gov/bill/96th-congress/house-bill/2479#:~:text=Taiwan%20Relations%20Act%20%2D%20Declares%20it,other%20people%20of%20the%20Western

https://www.ait.org.tw/our-relationship/policy-history/key-u-s-foreign-policy-documents-region/six-assurances-1982/

https://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?req=(title:22%20section:2321k%20edition:prelim)

http://www.npc.gov.cn/englishnpc/constitution2019/201911/1f65146fb6104dd3a2793875d19b5b29.shtml

Danny Haiphong: The trend toward a multipolar world is defined by class struggle

These edited remarks were given by Friends of Socialist China co-editor Danny Haiphong at our recent webinar, The Empire Strikes Back: Imperialism’s Global War on Multipolarity. The full event can be viewed on YouTube.

In the post-Soviet era, it has become fashionable to strip all geopolitical developments of their class roots. Wars have been explained away by bourgeois propaganda: the War on Terror, Great Power Competition, and matters of “national security.” The Ukraine crisis is a case in point.  Russia’s military operation in Ukraine has been labeled a war without a cause by Western detractors. But underneath the cacophony of capitalist ideology and propaganda is a class struggle occurring on the global stage for multipolarity where the Russia-Ukraine conflict is but one flashpoint.

Vladimir Lenin is perhaps the most well-known Marxist revolutionary to advance a modern theory of international relations rooted in the class struggle brought about by imperialism. Lenin concluded that the ascendency of monopoly and finance capital divided the world into colonies and oppressed nations. The self-determination of these nations would therefore form a core pillar in the struggle for socialism worldwide. Without self-determination, workers and oppressed people of the world would suffer immeasurable losses from the scourge of colonial domination and its triple evils of military occupation, economic plunder, and racial discrimination.

Multipolarity is in essence a continuation of the struggle for self-determination in the modern era. After years of imperialist ramblings about the “End of History” and “There is No Alternative” (TINA) to neoliberalism, the trend toward a multipolar world is demonstrating that the exact opposite is true. In all corners of the globe, the unipolar dominance of U.S. imperialism is collapsing upon its own contradictions. In Europe, U.S. imperialism threatens to shut the lights out and place what was once the center of capitalist development into a permanent state of decay. In Latin America, insurgent left-wing governments led by Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia, and others are rejecting U.S. domination in their pursuit of peoples-centered socialist development and integration. In Africa, Western plunder and militarization led by the U.S. has led many countries to pursue stronger relations with China and Russia.

Continue reading Danny Haiphong: The trend toward a multipolar world is defined by class struggle

Videos: The Empire Strikes Back – Imperialism’s global war on multipolarity

Our webinar The Empire Strikes Back – Imperialism’s global war on multipolarity took place on Saturday 11 June 2022, addressing the latest developments in international politics, particularly around NATO, AUKUS, the war in Ukraine, and the increasing militarization of the US-led New Cold War. The full set of videos is embedded below.

Full event stream

Radhika Desai: Pluripolarity is indispensable to the project of undermining imperialism

Victor Gao: China’s successes are based on its socialist system; its focus on peace and development

Li Jingjing: The West deliberately spreads disinformation about Xinjiang in order to discredit China

Ding Yifan: We must mobilize social forces to unmask and oppose the US’s wars and proxy wars

Ben Norton: Socialist countries play a vital role orienting multipolarity towards anti-imperialism

Rob Kajiwara: China doesn’t seek domination of Okinawa or Guam or Hawai’i or other Pacific islands

Jenny Clegg: The US-led empire is seeking to simultaneously crush Russia and isolate China

Mustafa Hyder Sayed: The US needs to understand that the world rejects a New Cold War

Chris Matlhako: In a time of crisis, unite against the forces of colonialism, neoliberalism, fascism

Ju-Hyun Park: The US opposes Korean reunification because it would undermine US regional domination

Sara Flounders: The socialist countries are leading the way in terms of meeting humanity’s needs

Danny Haiphong: US imperialism’s war on multipolarity is a war on self-determination and sovereignty

China cements its ties with Timor-Leste

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi concluded his recent visits to South Pacific island nations with a highly significant stop, with an intense and packed agenda, to Timor-Leste on June 3-4.

His first reported meeting was with Prime Minister Taur Matab Ruak, who said that his country, “thanked China for speaking up for [his] country in the international arena and supporting Timor-Leste’s integration into the international system.”  For his part, Wang “extended his congratulations on Timor-Leste’s 20th anniversary of the restoration of independence and the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries. The Independence Day of Timor-Leste coincides with the date of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, which fully demonstrates that the two countries have stood firmly together.”

Wang noted that last year, Timor-Leste’s exports to China increased by more than 90 times, leading Ruak to observe that, “under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), China has achieved miracles of rapid economic growth and poverty alleviation of hundreds of millions of people. Its great achievements are unparalleled. Timor-Leste looks forward to seizing the huge development opportunities brought by China, expanding bilateral practical cooperation in economy, trade, investment, infrastructure, education and tourism, among others, speeding up self-driven development and bringing more benefits to the people of Timor-Leste.”

In a meeting with Timor-Leste’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Adaljiza Albertina Xavier Reis Magno, Wang cited the cooperation between the two countries in fighting Covid-19, with nine medical teams sent by China having provided help to 300,000 patients.  Among many further areas identified for cooperation were the cultivation of hybrid rice and the building of agricultural high-tech development zones, to help Timor-Leste achieve self-sufficiency in grain and agricultural modernisation.

Wang also met with Xanana Gusmão, known as Timor-Leste’s Founding Father and who is often compared to Nelson Mandela. Xanana, noting that all the small and medium-sized Pacific Island countries were faced with the common task of development, added that: “What we need is a united response to the challenges, more attention and support from the international community and tangible assistance. The Chinese Foreign Minister’s visit to the South Pacific region sent a positive signal, showing that China stands with developing countries and brings hope to small island countries.”

Meeting with Mari Alkatiri, the Secretary-General of Fretilin (The Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor), the party which led the armed struggle for independence, Wang said that “Fretilin is a political party with a glorious tradition, which has been committed to the rebirth of the country and the nation since its birth and still plays an important role in the development and revitalisation of Timor-Leste today. The Communist Party of China (CPC) has time-honoured contacts with Fretilin and the two parties have always maintained inter-party exchanges.”  For his part, Alkatiri said that, “China not only firmly defends world peace, but also shares development dividends with other countries and stays committed to upholding fairness and justice. China has never exported its ideology and has brought development and opportunities to all countries. Timor-Leste trusts China, supports China’s development and growth, and is willing to work with China to dedicate to the common pursuits and goals of developing countries.”

Finally, Wang met with President Jose Ramos-Horta, to whom he expressed appreciation for his signing the joint communique on establishing diplomatic ties with China on the day of independence in 2002, when he served as the first Foreign Minister of Timor-Leste.

Prior to his Timor-Leste visit, Wang had visited Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea. He also held virtual meetings with the leaders of Micronesia, Cook Islands and Niue, the latter two being still in an essentially colonial relationship with New Zealand. He made a stop over in Malaysia on his way home from Timor-Leste.

The following reports on Wang Yi’s visit to Timor-Leste were originally published on the website of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Timor-Leste’s Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak Meets with Wang Yi

On June 3, 2022 local time, Timor-Leste’s Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak met with State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Dili.

Ruak warmly welcomed Wang Yi’s visit to Timor-Leste on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries, saying that the visit shows the great importance China attaches to bilateral relations and its positive willingness to deepen bilateral cooperation. Ruak said that Timor-Leste and China have a long history of exchanges and since the establishment of diplomatic ties, the two countries have carried out mutually beneficial cooperation in a wide range of areas. Timor-Leste sincerely thanked China for having assisted the country in a time of urgent need and helping the country safeguard security, deal with disasters and fight the pandemic since the establishment of diplomatic ties. Timor-Leste thanked China for speaking up for the country in the international arena and supporting Timor-Leste’s integration into the international system. Timor-Leste will always be a friend of China and will stay committed to consolidating the achievements of the establishment of diplomatic ties, firmly pursuing the one-China principle, expanding friendly cooperation and opening up new prospects for the development of bilateral relations.

Continue reading China cements its ties with Timor-Leste

On the continuous development of human rights in China

Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez was recently interviewed on the subject of democracy and human rights for the Chinese edition of People’s Daily. We publish below the English translation.

“The Chinese government listens to the voices of the people, is committed to meeting the needs of the people, and promotes the continuous development of the cause of human rights.” Recently, British writer and political commentator Carlos Martinez said in an interview with this reporter that the Chinese Communist Party leads the Chinese people. Unprecedented progress has been made in finding a human rights development path that suits the national conditions of the country. What is important is that China breaks the narrow definition of human rights in the West, “China’s human rights protection is extensive and sufficient”.

Martinez was deeply impressed by the whole process of people’s democracy in China. He said that this concept highlights the essential difference between socialist democracy with Chinese characteristics and Western capitalist democracy. The Chinese side believes that if the people are awakened only when they vote, and then go into a hibernation period, they only listen to hype slogans during elections, they have no right to speak after the election, they are favored during canvassing, and they are left out after the election. Such a democracy is not true democracy. Martinez agrees.

“The participation of ordinary Chinese people in running society is higher than that of Western countries. In terms of representing the basic interests of ordinary people, the Chinese government has done a far better job than Western governments.” Martinez said that in the whole process of China’s development of people’s democracy, the people have always enjoyed democratic rights, not limited to elections; available to all social classes, not limited to certain groups. China’s democratic system has its own historical background. It can ensure the enjoyment of democratic rights by the broadest masses of people and provide important support and guarantee for social governance.

Martinez said that China’s achievements lie not only in achieving rapid economic growth, but also in the government’s wholehearted commitment to improving the living standards of ordinary people. The Chinese government pays attention to poverty eradication, environmental protection, education development, etc., to improve people’s lives in general. “People’s demands are reflected in the government’s work, which is the real people’s democracy.” Martinez said.

“Eliminating absolute poverty in a developing country with a population of more than 1.4 billion is an extraordinary achievement and has historical significance.” Martinez specifically mentioned that due to the impact of the new coronavirus epidemic and geopolitical factors, poverty is rising. The Chinese government has historically solved the problem of absolute poverty and made important contributions to human development and progress. He said that while carrying out targeted poverty alleviation, China has actively shared its experience with other countries and regions, participated in many poverty alleviation projects in Africa, and carried out various cooperation with developing countries, which has promoted the sustainable development of these countries and regions.

China-Sri Lanka relations: Carry forward the spirit of the Rubber-Rice Pact

There has been much media attention and international public concern regarding the economic and humanitarian crisis that has recently developed in Sri Lanka. In this regard, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs released an unusually detailed, and in our view significant, report on a June 9 meeting between their Asian Affairs Department’s Director-General Liu Jinsong and the Sri Lankan Ambassador Dr. Palitha Kohona.

Liu began by noting that this year is the 70th anniversary of the Rubber-Rice Pact. Concluded five years before the two countries established diplomatic relations, this pact is considered the root of the modern friendship between the two countries and was of particular importance as the newly independent Sri Lanka concluded the deal at a time when crippling sanctions had been imposed on China following its entry into the Korean War. Liu described it as “breaking the Western ideological barriers and sanctions”.

According to Liu, “the reasons for Sri Lanka and other developing countries to fall into debt difficulties are very complex. One of the backgrounds is that certain developed countries have long implemented quantitative easing policies, irresponsibly unleash a deluge of strong stimulus policies, and recently raised interest rates and shrunk the balance sheet abruptly, leading to drastic changes in the international financial environment, with developing countries particularly impacted. Some countries imposed unilateral sanctions and tariff barriers and built various small cliques, which have undermined the security of global supply and industrial chains, and fuelled the soaring prices of energy, food and other commodities, worsening the economic and financial situations of developing countries including Sri Lanka.”

Outlining some of China’s practical help to Sri Lanka, he added that: “China believes that the wise and tenacious Sri Lankan people will stick to the independent domestic and foreign policies and overcome difficulties together with confidence and in solidarity.”

On June 9, 2022, Director-General of the Department of Asian Affairs of the Foreign Ministry Liu Jinsong met with Ambassador of Sri Lanka to China Dr. Palitha Kohona. The two sides had a candid and in-depth exchange of views on Sri Lanka’s economic and financial debt issues.

Liu Jinsong said, 70 years ago, China and Sri Lanka upheld the spirit of independence, braved external pressure and reached the Rubber-Rice Pact on the basis of equal consultation and mutual benefits, breaking the Western ideological barriers and sanctions, opening the door to friendly exchanges and also setting an example of mutually beneficial cooperation between different types of countries. The Buddhist Sigalovada Sutta says, “True friends are the ones who stand by you when you need them.” China and Sri Lanka have always been such friends. China is ready to work with Sri Lanka to draw wisdom from the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries, carry forward the spirit of the Rubber-Rice Pact characterized by “independence, self-reliance, unity and mutual support”, jointly advance high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, implement the Global Development Initiative and Global Security Initiative, and create a better future for the two countries and peoples.

Liu Jinsong said, the reasons for Sri Lanka and other developing countries to fall into debt difficulties are very complex. One of the backgrounds is that certain developed countries have long implemented quantitative easing policies, irresponsibly unleash a deluge of strong stimulus policies, and recently raised interest rates and shrunk the balance sheet abruptly, leading to drastic changes in the international financial environment, with developing countries particularly impacted. Some countries imposed unilateral sanctions and tariff barriers and built various small cliques, which have undermined the security of global supply and industrial chains, and fueled the soaring prices of energy, food and other commodities, worsening the economic and financial situations of developing countries including Sri Lanka.

Liu Jinsong said, China fully relates to the current difficulties faced by Sri Lanka and always provides assistance within its capacity. China immediately provided 500 million yuan of emergency humanitarian assistance to Sri Lanka. The first batch of materials arrived on June 3. China’s local governments and enterprises as well as the Red Cross Society of China have all lent a helping hand to the Sri Lankan people by providing them with diversified aids in multiple batches that improve people’s lives. The Buddhist Association of China and temples in different places voluntarily raised funds for the Sri Lankan people, and teachers and students from Caihe No. 3 Primary School in Hangzhou also sent love to children from low-income families in Sri Lanka thousands of miles away. China is ready to continue to work with Sri Lanka to jointly tackle risks and challenges and help Sri Lanka overcome the current difficulties, ease the debt burden and realize sustainable development. China believes that the wise and tenacious Sri Lankan people will stick to the independent domestic and foreign policies, and overcome difficulties together with confidence and in solidarity.

Kohona said, Sri Lanka has always pursued an independent and non-aligned foreign policy and opposed power politics and bloc confrontation. China-Sri Lanka friendship enjoys a time-honored history. China has provided full support and assistance in many important periods of Sri Lanka’s national development and is a reliable strategic partner of Sri Lanka. China’s Belt and Road Initiative and Chinese-funded projects have made important contributions to Sri Lanka’s economic development. Sri Lanka thanks China for mobilizing all resources possible to provide emergency humanitarian assistance at the most difficult time in Sri Lanka, and hopes to continue to work with Chinese friends to tide over the difficulties.

After the meeting, Ambassador Kohona presented to Director-General Liu Jinsong a sample commemorative album for the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Sri Lanka and China produced by the Embassy of Sri Lanka in China.

Arise, Africa! Roar China! Interview with Gao Yunxiang

‘Arise Africa, Roar China’ is an important book exploring aspects of the historic linkages between progressive African Americans and the Chinese revolution. Published by the University of North Carolina Press in December 2021, the author, Dr. Gao Yunxiang was born and grew up in the People’s Republic of China and is now Professor of History at Canada’s Toronto Metropolitan University.   Her book explores the close relationships between three of the most famous twentieth-century African Americans, W. E. B. Du Bois, Paul Robeson, and Langston Hughes, and their little-known Chinese allies during World War II and the Cold War—journalist, musician, and Christian activist Liu Liangmo, and Sino-Caribbean dancer-choreographer Sylvia Si-lan Chen. Charting a new path in the study of Sino-American relations, Gao Yunxiang foregrounds African Americans, combining the study of Black internationalism and the experiences of Chinese Americans with a transpacific narrative and an understanding of the global remaking of China’s modern popular culture and politics. Dr. Gao reveals interactions between Chinese and African American progressives that predate those that flourished in the 1960s and early 1970s in particular.

To introduce the book, we are pleased to republish this two-part interview with Dr. Gao conducted for the popular Sixth Tone website by Liu Zifeng, a doctoral candidate in Africana Studies at Cornell University in the US.  

Liu Zifeng: How did you get interested in the ties between Chinese and African Americans? What inspired you to write “Arise Africa! Roar China!”?

Gao Yunxiang: While conducting research on my first book, “Sporting Gender,” I came across laudatory articles on W. E. B. Du Bois and Shirley Graham Du Bois in The People’s Daily. They reminded me of some things I read in my childhood: specifically, an old newspaper article and a propaganda poster.

In my childhood home in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, our ceiling was a flat lattice of wooden boards pasted over with old newspapers purchased in bulk. After I learned to read and write, I was confronted every night by a headline pasted right above my pillow — until it was covered by a new layer of old newspapers the following Lunar New Year. Since I read those words daily, they were inscribed in my brain: “Robert Williams and Madam Du Bois Fervently Acclaim Chairman Mao’s Statement Supporting Black Americans’ Struggle Against Violent Repression.”

That title is in turn connected to the memory of a poster that hung in our little classroom for 18 students between grades one to three. Advocating solidarity in the liberation struggle, the poster featured indignant men and women of various ethnicities, all dressed in vibrant clothing and charging forward, with a muscular Black man holding a gun at the center.

“Sporting Gender” was released in 2013. Around the same time, I published an article in the journal Du Bois Review that explored how W. E. B. and Shirley Graham Du Bois’ endeavors in Maoist China added new dimensions to Sino-American relations and Black internationalism. Working on that article, I naturally came across Paul Robeson, a close ally of the Du Boises. Then, while researching the fascinating yet unknown dynamics between Paul Robeson and China, I came across his Chinese allies: Liu Liangmo and Sylvia Si-lan Chen.

Of course, I was immediately curious about who they were. While looking into Chen, I learned that Langston Hughes was her lover. So, I traced these figures just like interlocked chains.

Liu: What attracted African American intellectuals, artists, and activists to China? How did they encounter Chinese and China? What were their impressions of these encounters?

Gao: Solidarity between people of color globally and their shared destiny of anti-racism and anti-colonialism attracted these figures’ attention to China. As a minority facing overwhelming state-imposed systematic racism and white supremacy, Black intellectuals and activists looked toward the similarly oppressed China for inspiration and strength.

These figures’ ties with leftist Chinese and China were built on a profound emotional and intellectual foundation. They shared a faith in Sino-Afro racial, linguistic, philosophical, and artistic kinship. Hughes observed Chinese to be “a very jolly people, much like colored folks at home”; Du Bois lauded Chinese as “my physical cousins.”

Both Du Bois and Robeson consistently articulated the linkage between African and Chinese civilizations and cited famous Chinese cultural giants such as Confucius and Laozi to argue for the sophistication of African civilization, counter negative stereotypes associated with perceived African “primitivism,” and debunk white supremacism.

Cultural kinship necessitated a political alliance. By embracing China’s revolutions as vehicles for the social and economic uplift of nonwhites, Black intellectuals directly linked the struggles of African Americans with those of nationalist Chinese. Hughes’ 1933 journey to “incredible” Shanghai made him the first Black intellectual celebrity to set foot on Chinese soil. He was profoundly sympathetic to China’s suffering under colonial oppression, especially Japan’s latest aggressions. Hughes would pen a passionate poem, “Roar, China!” following Japan’s full-scale invasion of China in 1937, lionizing China’s resistance.

The Communist victory in 1949 made China a pillar of nonwhite peoples’ revolutionary struggles and a model for millions to beat colonialism. Robeson romantically imagined that the nonwhite world would view the rising China as a “new star of the East… pointing the way out from imperialist enslavement to independence and equality. China has shown the way.”

During his epic China trip in 1959, Du Bois repeatedly proclaimed Chinese and African dignity and unity in the face of Western racism, colonialism, and capitalism: “Africa, Arise, and stand straight, speak and think! Turn from the West and your slavery and humiliation for the last 500 years and face the rising sun … China is flesh of your flesh and blood of your blood.” He predicted that the “darker world” would adopt socialism as “the only answer to the color line,” and that the status of African Americans would thereby be elevated.

Despite withdrawing from radicalism due to anti-Communist hysteria in the United States, Hughes nevertheless remained confident of the power of the People’s Republic of China. His suppressed inspiration, drawn from the Chinese Communist Party, resurfaced in his fury at the brutal racial violence African Americans suffered. “Birmingham Sunday,” Hughes’ eulogy to the four Black girls killed in the dynamiting of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, on Sunday, September 15, 1963, connected his rage with the rage one once felt by oppressed Chinese.

Liu: How about the Chinese intellectuals and activists you profile? Who were they? What prompted them to reach out to African Americans and what did they do to build Sino-Black solidarity?

Gao: The Chinese intelligentsia had, through literature and drama, long connected the shared “enslavement” of the Chinese nation as a semi-colony state and the enslavement of African Americans. In the introduction to their 1901 translation of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” Lin Shu and Wei Yi argue that the tortures “yellow” people faced were even worse than those endured by Black Americans. Chinese people needed to read the book, Liu and Wei write, because “slavery is looming for our race. We had to yell and scream to wake up the public.”

In the face of harassment by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Immigration and Naturalization Service, as well as racial terror and segregation, Liu Liangmo’s and Sylvia Si-Lan Chen’s brave journeys to the United States brought Sino–African American cultural alliances into new historical settings. Liu was a talented musician, prolific journalist, and Christian activist who initiated the trans-Pacific mass singing movement for war mobilization during World War II. He was a pioneer among Chinese for his close collaboration with African Americans, lauding Black greatness without reservation and later facilitating the reception of the Du Boises and Robeson in the People’s Republic. Among the numerous areas in which Liu and Robeson collaborated, they helped to globalize the signature piece of the mass singing movement: “Chee Lai” or “March of the Volunteers.”

In 1941, Robeson, Liu, and the Chinese People’s Chorus, a group Liu had organized among members of the Chinese Hand Laundry Alliance in New York City’s Chinatown, recorded an album for Keynote Records titled, “Chee Lai: Songs of New China.” Liu’s liner notes for the album relay that he saw the collaboration as “a strong token of solidarity between the Chinese and the Negro People.”

Robeson’s notes read: “Chee Lai! (Arise!) is on the lips of millions of Chinese today, a sort of unofficial anthem, I am told, typifying the unconquerable spirit of this people. It is a pleasure and a privilege to sing both this song of modern composition and the old folk songs to which a nation in struggle has put new words.”

The song would be adopted as the national anthem of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.

Chen was the world’s first “modern Chinese/Soviet dancer-choreographer” with an international reputation, according to contemporary American media accounts. She was a daughter of Eugene Chen, China’s foreign minister in the 1920s, and his French Creole wife. She was also a cousin of Dai Ailian, the acclaimed “mother of China’s modern dance.”

The Chens and Dai were all born in Trinidad and barely spoke Chinese. Chen encountered Hughes romantically in Moscow, fanning his interest in China, connecting him with the international Communist network, and helping to propel him into Shanghai’s leftist cultural circles. Chen captured the fanciful imaginations of Hughes and Robeson, who saw her as personifying the “perfect” union of Black and Chinese. Meanwhile, her own journey to choreograph and dance ethnicity, war, and revolution around the globe illustrates the complex racial and political twists of such an interracial union.

Liu: How did the African American intellectuals profiled in your book shape Chinese perceptions of Blackness and visions of the world order? And how did China’s engagement with the Africana world, at least in the cases of Liu Liangmo and Sylvia Si-Lan Chen, inform African American understandings of Chinese politics and culture and Black radical thought more generally?

Gao: W.E.B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes, and Paul Robeson’s presence in China and their alliances with Chinese sojourners helped facilitate a shift in the dynamics of Pan-Africanism and Pan-Asianism and ultimately inspired the “color line” of Mao Zedong’s Third World theory.

The transformative process started with gradual changes in the images of Blacks in the Republic of China (1912-1949). Stung by its humiliating reputation as the “sick man of Asia” and alarmed by Nazi racism and Japan’s imperialist ambitions, China was acutely frustrated by the repeated defeats of Chinese athletes at the 1932 and 1936 Olympics. Thus, Chinese media celebrated the “natural” physical prowess of the boxer Joe Louis and track-and field athlete Jesse Owens on behalf of the world’s people of color.

The front cover of an issue of China’s leading cartoon magazine, Modern Sketch, devoted to the 1936 Olympics, drew inspiration from Owens’s triumph. The magazine’s back cover featured a drawing of a muscular Black woman resembling the American chanteuse Josephine Baker, clad in a banana skirt, captioned, “Victory of Colored People at the Olympics.”

Those two images exemplified Chinese portraiture of African Americans. Du Bois, who visited China around that time, announced that the race “must be represented, not only in sports, but in science, in literature, and in art.” Jazz musicians in nightclubs, who were dismissed as “foreign musical instrument devils” — yangqin gui — or else caricatured in advertisements for toothpaste and white towels, dominated Black representation in Republican Chinese media. The presence of Du Bois, Hughes, and Robeson, whose intellectual capacities Chinese critics described as “genius,” started to alter such stereotypes.

During his trip to Shanghai, Hughes was quickly embraced by the city’s leftist cultural circles, led by the author Lu Xun. Their magazines hailed him as the “first established Black revolutionary writer,” who was “howling and struggling for the oppressed races.” Hughes’ visit triggered ongoing interest in his work and Black literature in China.

The final step of connecting Blackness with revolution occurred during the People’s Republic of China. The narrative on the globally famous Robeson was quickly transformed from that of an exotic entertainer to a heroic model and inspiration for the country’s socialist citizens. He was introduced in state media as “the Black King of Songs” for the oppressed masses in the world, who “embodied the perfect marriage between art and politics.”

After Du Bois shifted his favorable gaze from Japan to the People’s Republic of China as the new pillar of the colored world, he was treated as an icon by a China aspiring to leadership in the “Third World.” During their visits, he and his wife received unprecedented state hospitality. The couple frequently rubbed shoulders with China’s top leadership, became the first Westerners to grace the Tiananmen Square podium during the country’s National Day celebrations, and frequently occupied the front pages of major newspapers. Du Bois’ birthdays were celebrated as major state events.

Liu and Chen, meanwhile, linked the burning issues facing Chinese Americans and African Americans — such as the poll tax, the Chinese Exclusion Act, Jim Crow laws, and the lynching of African Americans — while urging their abolition.


Liu Zifeng: How did the Cold War international order, Sino-Soviet relations, and shifts in Chinese and U.S. foreign policy impact relations between Chinese and African Americans?

Gao Yunxiang: Following its rough birth amid the intensifying Cold War atmosphere, the infant People’s Republic of China was forced to confront a superpower armed with nuclear weapons in the Korean War. By this point, the singer, actor, and activist Paul Robeson was enshrined as a fearless and reliable friend of China, and for Robeson, China was a strong source of support that he sorely needed.

April 20, 1949 marked the start of Robeson’s political downfall in the United States. On that day, he famously told the International Congress for Peace in Paris that it was “unthinkable that American Negroes would go to war on behalf of those who have oppressed us for generations against the Soviet Union.” That statement quickly drew widespread condemnation, including from Jackie Robinson, the famous African American baseball star, whom Robeson had helped to integrate the game.

Joining W.E.B. Du Bois in standing firmly behind Robeson was the Chinese Communist Party. The People’s Daily condemned Robinson and defended Robeson. The paper reported Robeson’s speech, highlighting the standing ovation the star received from the event’s 2,000 attendees, including Nobel Laureate and nuclear scientist Frederic Joliot-Curie and Robeson’s friend, the artist Pablo Picasso. Treating the organized regional and world peace movement as a powerful popular rebuke of U.S. involvement in China’s Civil War and later the Korean War, Chinese state media reported intensively on the involvement of Du Bois and Paul Robeson in the pacifist movement.

The United States quickly accelerated its attacks on Robeson. The most significant and ugliest example was the so-called Peekskill riots, in which right-wing mobs brutally attacked a Robeson concert in August 1949. Soon, the U.S. State Department cancelled Robeson’s passport and stalled his brilliant career. As is well documented in both Robeson’s writings and Chinese state media coverage, Robeson and the People’s Republic lent each other unyielding support during their most trying moments.

By the late 1950s, in the wake of the disastrous Great Leap Forward, China had immediate reasons to welcome public support from African American cultural giants. The CCP needed a new domestic perspective to reinvigorate the revolution and socialize the nation. In addition, it required new diplomatic defenders and tactics as it contested Soviet dominance of world communism and aspired to leadership of the “Third World” that bound the destinies of China with former agricultural colonies in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

The CCP was already reaching out to Africa, but the newly independent African states met Chinese overtures with caution and reserve. The stature of these African American figures among the African diaspora helped China open doors for alliances across the continent. Du Bois’ reputation and endorsement particularly meant a great deal. Chinese outreach to Africa through diplomatic exchanges, aid, and propaganda peaked following the Du Boises’ 1959 visit to China. For diplomatic and economic reasons, China continued to maintain a large presence in Africa, which the Du Boises helped to foster.

During the 1960s, Mao Zedong was interested in contacts with radical Blacks, who he valorized as true revolutionaries. Influential Black activist Robert Williams, author of “Negroes with Guns,” was mentioned in a People’s Daily headline plastered on the ceiling of my childhood bedroom, for instance. At the same time, Black Americans were impressed by Mao’s anti-American imperialism as well as his emphasis on violent struggles and cultural change as a revolutionary force.

Liu: As often happens in cases of transnational exchange, the intellectual and cultural interactions between China and African America that you chart were fraught with misunderstandings, ambiguity, and conflict. What were some of the complexities and contradictions of the internationalist politics of the five central figures in your book?

Gao: Caught in between the murky, sometimes treacherous, and shifting trans-Pacific political and ideological waters, all five citizens of the world I profile — W.E.B. Du Bois, Paul Robeson, Langston Hughes, Liu Liangmo, and Sylvia Si-lan Chen — experienced their share of ambiguity and conflict. For instance, in 1962, state media and publishers in the People’s Republic of China suddenly fell silent on Robeson, who had been promoted as a heroic revolutionary model for China’s socialist citizens throughout the 1950s. After the Sino-Soviet split came into the open, Robeson’s position of advocating for peaceful coexistence fell on the wrong side of Chinese politics amid a shift in dynamics between the trans-Pacific powers.

The official press took an alternative approach toward Hughes. Outlets awkwardly remained silent on Hughes’s public renunciation of his radical past at the peak of McCarthyism and the Korean War; instead, they fixed their gaze on the writer he was in the 1930s, an “established Black revolutionary writer,” as if he were preserved in a time capsule. Liu and Chen, meanwhile, were marginalized and even attacked during the radical Maoist years by a regime they had long idealized.

W.E.B Du Bois’ treatment of imperial Japan — which brutalized China and Asia — as a pillar of “the darker word” turned out to be the most controversial. Du Bois visited the segregated treaty port of Shanghai in 1936. Pampered by the Japanese authorities, he stayed at the luxurious Cathay Hotel on the Bund. At the University of Shanghai, Du Bois “occupied a seat on the dais,” listening as a Rockefeller Foundation representative spoke about scholarships to the United States.

“I said to the president that I should like to talk to a group of Chinese and discuss frankly racial and social matters,” Du Bois recalled. He soon “plunged…recklessly” into a luncheon at the Chinese Bankers’ Club at 59 Hong Kong Road on November 30. He wanted to know, in his own words, “Why is it that you (Chinese) hate Japan more than Europe when you have suffered more from England, France, and Germany than from Japan?” If Japan and China worked together, Du Bois continued, perhaps Europe could be eliminated permanently from Asia. Du Bois calmly reported, “There ensured a considerable silence, in which I joined.”

His dismayed hosts responded that whatever problems China suffered, Japan’s militarism hindered any progress. Unconvinced, Du Bois commented later that “the most disconcerting thing about Asia is the burning hatred of China and Japan (for each other).” As he sailed from Shanghai aboard the S. S. Shanghai Mari to Nagasaki on December 1, 1936, Du Bois hurled a final insult, claiming that the Chinese Nationalists were “Asian Uncle Toms,” likening them to the willing Black menials of white racism in the United States.

Du Bois repeated his belief in the virtues of Japanese rule and firmly urged a Sino-Japanese alliance, which would “save the world for the darker races.” He steadfastly maintained such views even after Japanese forces occupied Beiping (today’s Beijing) and Shanghai. To the news of the Nanjing Massacre, Japan’s genocidal occupation of China’s then-capital in late 1937 and early 1938, Du Bois responded that few of the white Americans expressing horror at the killing had said much about Italy’s recent depredations in Ethiopia.

Liu: What lessons do the stories recounted in your book offer for understanding China-U.S. relations?

Gao: While most scholarship on Sino-American relations treats the United States as default white, “Arise, Africa! Roar, China!” cuts a new path by foregrounding African Americans. It allows us to reimagine Sino-American relations by decentering Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon in the discourse, understanding Afro-Asian history as central to world history, and focusing on global anti-imperialism and popular movements which are still relevant today. My book combines the study of Black internationalism and the experiences of China and Chinese Americans with a trans-Pacific narrative. It reveals earlier and widespread interactions between Chinese and Black leftist figures prior to the better-known alliance between Black radicals and Maoist China in the 1960s.

It also shows the global remaking of China’s modern popular culture and politics. The book traces China’s transnational entanglements even during periods when the nation has commonly been regarded as insular and unconnected to the wider world.

The intertwined lives of these five citizens of the world, usually perceived as inhabiting non-overlapping domains, stand as powerful counters to narratives that foreground racism and alienation. Their endeavors across racial, national, cultural, and linguistic boundaries illustrate that the world always remains connected despite political, legal, immigration, and diplomatic hurdles. Their stories offer a view into the power and potential of Black internationalism and Sino–African American collaboration. “Arise, Africa!” and “Roar, China!” as articulated by Du Bois and Hughes, respectively, match the shared struggles of a nation and a nation-within-a-nation. Their power and promise resonate to this day.

Cuba-China cooperation leads to vaccine breakthrough

We’re pleased to re-publish this important article by Sara Flounders, posted in Workers World on 7 June 2022, about the progress made by a Cuban-Chinese cooperation project towards a universal coronavirus vaccine. Sara explains that these two socialist countries are far better positioned than their capitalist counterparts to work together on projects of long-term value to humanity, because their social systems are centered on meeting human need, as opposed to maximizing private profit. The article goes on to detail the outsized contribution made by China and Cuba to suppressing the pandemic in the developing world, as well as the ongoing and deepening cooperation between the two countries in a number of crucially important areas. Sara concludes: “The growing scientific cooperation of China and Cuba represents a hopeful future for humanity. Global problems can be solved. What is required is economic planning, cooperation and sharing of scientific knowledge and technology.”

Cuba and China formally announced June 2 that they have filed for joint patent for a Pan-Corona vaccine. The new vaccine, a collaboration between the biotechnological sectors of the two countries, is the first patent for a single vaccine effective against the many variants of COVID-19.

News of the jointly developed vaccine is particularly exciting because of the two countries’ cooperative approach in a field that is highly competitive, secretive and totally profit-oriented in Western capitalist countries.

Breakthrough in emerging virus protection

The Pan-Corona vaccine was announced to be effective against present variants of COVID-19 and thus of value in the current pandemic. 

But its strength is that it could also be effective against the appearance of new pathogens belonging to this family of viruses, noted Eduardo Martínez Díaz, president of the state-owned BioCubaFarma Business Group. (telesurenglish.net, June 3)

The Pan-Corona project is based in a joint biotechnological research and development center, operating since 2019 in the city of Yongzhou in Hunan province, and led by experts from Cuba’s Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB). Dr. Gerardo Guillén Nieto, the center’s director of Biomedical Research, explained the project arose at the request of the Chinese and had the approval of Cuba’s Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment. The equipment and laboratories at the Yongzhou center were designed by Cuban scientific personnel. (Radio Havana Cuba, June 3)

The two countries focused on coronaviruses because of the global pandemic and because this is the family of viruses most likely to jump from animals to humans. This phenomenon, called zoonosis, was the cause of previous epidemics such as the 2002 SARS outbreak and the 2012 MERS infection — both serious respiratory illnesses. 

Continue reading Cuba-China cooperation leads to vaccine breakthrough

Solomon Islands: build up to the US war against China

We are pleased to republish this insightful article from The Socialist Correspondent about the recent imperialist hysteria surrounding the Solomon Islands’ security agreement with China. The author contextualises this manufactured crisis within the escalating US-led New Cold War and the longstanding project to encircle and contain the People’s Republic of China and to roll back the Chinese Revolution. The article goes on to note that the West’s attempts to keep the island nations of the Pacific within its ‘sphere of influence’, plus the Biden administration’s undermining of the One China principle, pose a significant danger to world peace.

The Solomon Islands nation in the Pacific – 2000 kilometres north-east of Australia – has dared to assert its own independent foreign policy after decades spent under foreign tutelage. Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare hailed an agreement between his country and China – including a security pact – as a “milestone”. He said: “We need to diversify the country’s relationship with other partners. What is wrong with that?” China was not pressuring his country into signing the pact, he insisted, adding that “the Solomon Islands themselves requested the treaty.”

The USA and Australia are nevertheless threatening military intervention to prevent the deal from being enacted.

The issue is a potential Chinese military presence in the Solomons – under an agreement that would allow Chinese ships to visit and “carry out logistical replenishment” and allow Chinese police to assist in “maintaining social order” in the country.

“We have respect for Solomon Islands’ sovereignty, but…”

Even though Sogavare assured the West that there would be no Chinese military base on the Solomon Islands, Daniel Kritenbrink, the chief US diplomat for East Asia and the Pacific, made this veiled threat: “Of course, we have respect for the Solomon Islands sovereignty, but we also wanted to let them know that if steps were taken to establish a de facto permanent military presence, power projection capabilities, or a military installation, then we would have significant concerns, and we would very naturally respond to those concerns” (Guardian, 26 April).

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Cheng Enfu: Economic development in socialist countries – great achievements and future prospects

We reproduce below the text of a speech given by Cheng Enfu – former president of the Academy of Marxism at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), currently Academician of CASS, principal professor of the University of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and president of the World Association for Political Economy (WAPE) – at the recent book launch we co-hosted for Elias Jabbour and Alberto Gabriele’s ‘Socialist Economic Development in the 21st Century’. In his brief but comprehensive speech, Professor Cheng describes the trajectory of socialist economic development, starting with the extraordinary achievements of the Soviet Union, and continuing with China’s “three miracles”: the period of early socialist construction, which broke China out of underdevelopment and “fundamentally reversed the trend of China’s marginalization in the world system”; the Reform and Opening Up period from 1978, within which China became a major economic power; and the construction of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era since 2013, in which China’s “scientific, technological, economic and ecological construction has jumped to a new level.” Cheng discusses the escalating New Cold War, which is the imperialist camp’s response to China’s rise and humanity’s multipolar trajectory, concluding that “bad things can also become good things” and that the socialist countries – China, Vietnam, Laos, Cuba and the DPRK – will continue to achieve greater economic and social development in the face of the US-led onslaught.

Alberto Gabriele and Elias Jabbour’s monograph on the economic development of several socialist countries in the 21st century deserves careful reading and great attention. In the following, I will address a few potentially controversial points on the subject of economic development in China and the Soviet Union, as two representative examples of socialist countries, in response to the misconceptions prevailing in the world.

The first point: the Soviet Union has made great achievements in economic and social development. This year is the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Soviet Union, which is worth commemorating, but because of the betrayal and subversion of the Soviet Union by the Gorbachev and Yeltsin leadership groups, the Western world generally denies the achievements in economic and social development of the Soviet Union. In my opinion, after the October Revolution, the Soviet Union, under the leadership of Lenin, established the dictatorship of the proletariat and the centralized democratic system, carried out large-scale economic, social, educational and cultural construction, repelled the armed aggression of 14 capitalist countries, and developed a series of theories and successful practices for building socialism in one country under the siege of capitalist countries.

Continue reading Cheng Enfu: Economic development in socialist countries – great achievements and future prospects

How China strengthened food security and fought poverty with state-funded cooperatives

We are republishing this important and informative article by Joe Scholten, originally published on the Multipolarista website.

Joe explains that, due to a number of factors, the world is facing a chronic rise in food prices and mounting fear of famine. However, “Beijing has shown how to strengthen food sovereignty, and simultaneously fight poverty with a multi-pronged approach that combines state-funded agricultural cooperatives, stockpiling of nonperishable staples, a crackdown on waste, and government investment in new technologies.”

China’s agriculture, he notes, “is still significantly organized on the basis of cooperative farming. Nearly half of farms are agricultural cooperatives.” Between 2013-2019, the Chinese government rebuilt more than 10,000 primary supply and marketing cooperatives. By 2019 they were present in 95% of the country’s towns – up from just 50% in 2013. This policy, he argues, was crucial to the success of the anti-poverty campaign, as were such key elements of China’s socialist construction as state ownership of land and five-year plans.

Other features of the Chinese experience cited in the article include the system of ‘Two Assurances and Three Guarantees’, ensuring adequate food reserves, the introduction of penalties for commercial food waste, the development of such innovative technologies as salt water-tolerant rice crops, and further strengthening the rights and interests of the working class by, for example, extending unionisation to new sectors of the economy, such as delivery workers for popular apps.

The Covid-19 pandemic, the ensuing supply-chain crisis, and high rates of inflation around the world have led to rising food prices and fears of famine.

These cascading and interlocking problems have pushed governments to prioritize economic self-sufficiency and food security.

China is leading the way in this struggle. Beijing has shown how to strengthen food sovereignty, and simultaneously fight poverty, with a multi-pronged approach that combines state-funded agricultural cooperatives, stockpiling of nonperishable staples, a crackdown on waste, and government investment in new technologies.

While the United Nations warns of “the specter of a global food shortage,” the Chinese government has provided countries with an alternative model to meet the needs of their people.

Continue reading How China strengthened food security and fought poverty with state-funded cooperatives

The enduring friendship between China and Zambia

Two significant events on May 31st underscored the deep, traditional friendship between China and Zambia.

In a phone call with Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema, Chinese President Xi Jinping pointed out that China and Zambia are “all-weather friends” enjoying traditional and amicable relations and unbreakable friendship. He stressed that China and Zambia are both developing countries, and promoting solidarity and cooperation with Zambia and other African countries is China’s long-term and firm strategic choice and went on to suggest that they deepen cooperation in healthcare, poverty mitigation and agricultural development, trade and investment, green development, digital economy and other fields, help boost economic recovery and sustainable development in Africa, and promote the building of a China-Africa community with a shared future.

For his part, President Hichilema thanked China for its long-term and significant support for Zambia’s national development. Zambia, he said, is ready to strengthen exchanges with and learn from the Communist Party of China (CPC) and consolidate and deepen the traditional friendship forged by the elder generations of leaders of Zambia and China.

The same day, the Kenneth Kaunda International Conference Centre, an ultra-modern facility financed by China, with its main hall having a 2,500 seating capacity, and built to host the next mid-year summit of the African Union (AU), was opened in the Zambian capital Lusaka.

At the opening ceremony, Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema thanked China, saying his government was grateful to the support given to the country’s infrastructure development which dates back to the 1970s through the construction of the Tanzania-Zambia Railway (TAZARA).

“This was a critical point in our history, when Zambia had no access to oceans and, therefore could not import or export goods due to the blockade in Southern Rhodesia,” he said.

Kenneth Kaunda, who passed away on June 17th last year at the age of 97, was the father of independent Zambia, the pioneer of Zambia/China friendship and an outstanding leader of the African liberation struggle. He made numerous visits to China from the 1960s to the 2010s and forged deep friendships with generations of Chinese leaders from Chairman Mao Zedong, Premier Zhou Enlai and Comrade Deng Xiaoping to their successors, including President Xi Jinping. As one of the ‘frontline states’, Zambia under Kaunda’s leadership made great sacrifices to support the liberation struggle against apartheid, racism and colonialism throughout southern Africa. For example, the African National Congress (ANC) of South Africa maintained its headquarters in Lusaka through many years of exile and underground struggle. The TAZARA railway played a significant role in making this possible.

The following reports were originally published on the websites of the Chinese Foreign Ministry and the Xinhua News Agency.

Xi Jinping Speaks with Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema on the phone

On the afternoon of May 31, 2022, President Xi Jinping had a phone conversation with Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema.

Xi Jinping pointed out, China and Zambia are “all-weather friends” enjoying traditional and amicable relations and unbreakable friendship. In the past year, China-Zambia relations have maintained a positive momentum of development, with two-way trade volume hitting a record high and Zambia becoming the country attracting the most Chinese direct investment in Africa. The cooperation between the two countries enjoys huge potential and bright prospects. China attaches great importance to China-Zambia relations, and stands ready to work with Zambia to consolidate and deepen the China-Zambia friendship, and push bilateral ties to higher levels and broader areas.

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