Real debt trap: Sri Lanka owes vast majority to West, not China

With world attention still focused on the multiple crises – political, economic, humanitarian – gripping the South Asian island nation of Sri Lanka, we are very pleased to republish this admirable and thorough article by our Advisory Group member Benjamin Norton, originally carried on Multipolarista. With the Sri Lankan situation being cynically distorted into a supposed example of alleged Chinese ‘debt trap diplomacy’, Benjamin makes clear that 81% of Sri Lanka’s external debt is owed to US and European financial institutions, along with those of Japan and India. China accounts for just 10%. Sri Lanka has already suffered the imposition of no less than 16 IMF structural adjustment programs – a key factor in the country’s economically parlous state.

Benjamin notes that the Sri Lankan protests have been “driven by skyrocketing rates of inflation, as well as rampant corruption and widespread shortages of fuel, food and medicine – a product of the country’s inability to pay for imports.” He considers claims that the popular protests constituted some kind of “anti-China uprising” in the former British colony to be “even more detached from reality” than those suggesting ‘debt trap diplomacy’ on the part of Beijing. With regard to that issue, he shows in detail how both the BBC and mainstream academics have debunked such notions.

Facing a deep economic crisis and bankruptcy, Sri Lanka was rocked by large protests this July, which led to the resignation of the government.

Numerous Western political leaders and media outlets blamed this uprising on a supposed Chinese “debt trap,” echoing a deceptive narrative that has been thoroughly debunked by mainstream academics.

In reality, the vast majority of the South Asian nation’s foreign debt is owed to the West.

Sri Lanka has a history of struggling with Western debt burdens, having gone through 16 “economic stabilization programs” with the Washington-dominated International Monetary Fund (IMF).

These structural adjustment programs clearly have not worked, given Sri Lanka’s economy has been managed by the IMF for many of the decades since it achieved independence from British colonialism in 1948.

As of 2021, a staggering 81% of Sri Lanka’s foreign debt was owned by US and European financial institutions, as well as Western allies Japan and India.

This pales in comparison to the mere 10% owed to Beijing.

According to official statistics from Sri Lanka’s Department of External Resources, as of the end of April 2021, the plurality of its foreign debt is owned by Western vulture funds and banks, which have nearly half, at 47%.

The top holders of the Sri Lankan government’s debt, in the form of international sovereign bonds (ISBs), are the following firms:

  • BlackRock (US)
  • Ashmore Group (Britain)
  • Allianz (Germany)
  • UBS (Switzerland)
  • HSBC (Britain)
  • JPMorgan Chase (US)
  • Prudential (US)

The Asian Development Bank and World Bank, which are thoroughly dominated by the United States, own 13% and 9% of Sri Lanka’s foreign debt, respectively.

Continue reading Real debt trap: Sri Lanka owes vast majority to West, not China

Who really profits from ‘forced labor’?

The “Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act”, the latest anti-China legislation to be enacted in the United States, came into effect on June 23, having been signed by President Biden last December. Under this law, all goods from China’s Xinjiang are barred from the US unless the importer can prove they were produced “free of forced labor”. It is, of course, notoriously difficult to “prove” a negative, something compounded by the arbitrary designations and assertions already advanced by the US with regard to the autonomous region.

In this article, originally published by Workers World, Betsey Piette notes that this measure will harm US industries and further fuel inflation. More especially she notes that, “if US politicians and anti-China lobbyists are genuinely concerned about protecting people from being subjected to ‘forced labor,’ they should look no further than the US prison-industrial complex. According to a report the American Civil Liberties Union released June 15, incarcerated workers in the US produce roughly $11 billion in goods and services each year but receive pennies an hour in ‘wages’ for their work.”

The US imprisons a higher percentage of its population than any other country, with some 800,000 people subject to such forced labor.

First signed by President Joe Biden in December, the “Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act” took effect June 23. Under this latest anti-China measure, all goods made in Xinjiang province are banned, unless the importer can demonstrate the imports were produced “free of forced labor.” The ban also impacts programs that transport Uyghur workers to job sites. 

The new law could affect a handful of companies or far more. Its implementation could result in more detention of goods at the U.S. border, further delaying product deliveries and further fueling inflation. Hardest hit will be U.S. industries that rely on the import of commodities using lithium, nickel manganese, beryllium copper and gold mined in Xinjiang. These include manufacturers of solar panels, auto companies and energy firms.

This latest U.S. anti-China propaganda campaign is based on unsubstantiated claims that Uyghur people were forced to take up new jobs in industries recently relocated to Xinjiang. 

However, if U.S. politicians and anti-China lobbyists are genuinely concerned about protecting people from being subjected to “forced labor,” they should look no further than the U.S. prison-industrial complex. According to a report the American Civil Liberties Union released June 15, incarcerated workers in the U.S. produce roughly $11 billion in goods and services each year but receive pennies an hour in “wages” for their work.

Jennifer Turner, principal author of the report stated: “The United States has a long, problematic history of using incarcerated workers as a source of cheap labor and to subsidize the costs of our bloated prison system. Incarcerated workers are stripped of even the most minimal protections against labor exploitation and abuse. They are paid pennies for their work in often unsafe working conditions, even as they produce billions of dollars for states and the federal government.”

In the U.S., which imprisons a higher percentage of its population than any other country, roughly 800,000 people are subject to this forced labor, making roughly 13 cents to 52 cents per hour. In Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas, incarcerated workers are essentially enslaved — paid nothing for their labor.

Over 75% of incarcerated workers interviewed by the ACLU told researchers that if they refuse to work, they are subjected to punishment, including solitary confinement, loss of family visits and denial of reduced sentences.

The Global Times, which is publishing a series of stories to expose the U.S. as a real “contemporary slavery empire,” says that this exploitation of incarcerated workers “plainly demonstrates the U.S.’s real disregard for basic human rights and their brutal exploitation of the country’s workforce.”

The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, passed on Jan. 31, 1865, while abolishing enslavement actually allowed enslavement to remain legal, as “a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.” This amendment lets the government legally impose forced labor on incarcerated workers across the country.

Prison labor insourcing

Part of the problem for the U.S. enforcement of the anti-China labor ban is identifying what companies produce goods involving Uyghur labor in Xinjiang province. But it is very easy to find what U.S. companies are profiting directly from privatizing prisons or exploiting prison labor.

A majority of the labor performed by exploited prisoner-workers directly benefits the states managing prisons. Incarcerated workers are forced to perform various tasks from food preparation to laundry services. But many private companies profit as well.

Two major companies — Core Civic and Geo Group — are the giants of the U.S. private prison industry. Core Civic recognized $526 million in annual gross profits in 2021. Geo Group made $628 million. But these companies are not alone in profiting from prisons.

A Feb. 15 report by estimated that 4,200 large corporations use over 600,000 incarcerated workers to produce goods and services. There are several well-known companies on this list. McDonalds and Wendy’s use prison labor to produce frozen beef patties and other products. Calls to Verizon, Sprint or Avis for service may be answered by incarcerated workers.

Walmart and Starbucks use enslaved prison labor to cut down their costs of producing goods and services. Prison labor produces circuit boards for Compaq. For years Aramark has used incarcerated workers to prepare and package most food items used in prisons. In 2019 Aramark was sued for using “involuntary servitude” — they were not paying incarcerated workers anything.

Politicians could amend the 13th Amendment to remove the prison labor exclusion clause. Biden could take measures to end contracts with private prison companies. But none of this is likely to happen under capitalism.

Those genuinely concerned about “forced labor” should be on board with the movement to abolish prisons.

Hong Kong: the truth is out

On his first visit back to Hong Kong since 2019, long-term East Asian resident, and Friends of Socialist China Advisory Group member, Kenny Coyle writes that he found a city becalmed. “Rarely”, he observes, “has Western mainstream propaganda so successfully shrouded the truth about a city and society as open as Hong Kong.”

Kenny clarifies the meaning behind China’s insistence that Hong Kong was never a British colony, but rather a Chinese territory under illegal British occupation. His article, which also features an interview with Nixie Lam, a Legislative Council member from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), the territory’s largest and most influential patriotic political party, is full of useful information. It was originally published in the Morning Star and we are pleased to reprint it here.

Hong Kong marked the 25th anniversary of its return to Chinese sovereignty with Chinese president Xi Jinping appearing in the city to witness the inauguration of the Chinese territory’s new leadership headed by John Lee.

The largely indoor ceremony had been forecast to take place amid a mild tropical typhoon, but for the past three years Hong Kong has been battered by quite different kinds of storms.

Xi’s visit takes place after an unprecedented period of turmoil. The first stage beginning in 2019 was characterised by a wave of initially peaceful mass protests against extradition legislation, which rapidly spiralled into violent anti-China protests.

The second stage by the ongoing battle to control the Covid pandemic in the city.

Continue reading Hong Kong: the truth is out

China’s leadership celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Algerian people’s victory in their war of independence

This month marks the 60th anniversary of the Algerian people’s victory in their war of independence and the foundation of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria. It is estimated that more than a million Algerians sacrificed their lives as the French colonialists fought a brutal war to hold on to their North African colony.

Greeting his Algerian counterpart Abdelmajid Tebboune on this significant occasion, Chinese President Xi Jinping wrote that “the Algerian people realised national independence and liberation after going through an arduous struggle, writing a glorious chapter of the liberation movements of the Arabian and African peoples. The Chinese government and the Chinese people provided support and assistance to Algeria’s independence revolution, and the two countries and two peoples forged a profound friendship during the struggles.”

Premier Li Keqiang and Foreign Minister Wang Yi also addressed messages to their Algerian counterparts.

China was the first non-Arab country to recognise the Algerian provisional government declared by the National Liberation Front (FLN) in 1958 and provided extensive assistance to the Algerian people in the form of weapons, funds and training. Algerian Foreign Minister Abdelkader Messahel, referred in a 2018 speech to “the vital contribution that China has brought to the Algerian revolution to help it regain its independence. The unwavering support of China continued as it was the first country to recognise the Provisional Government of the Algerian Republic (GPRA) a few weeks after its proclamation.”

Shortly after independence, Algeria welcomed the first ever medical aid team that China sent to Africa.

The following report was first carried on the website of the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Xi Jinping Sends Message of Congratulation to Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune on the 60th Anniversary of the Victory of the Algerian War of Independence / Li Keqiang Sends Message of Congratulation to Algerian Prime Minister Aymene Benabderrahmane

On July 5, 2022, President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory message to President of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria Abdelmadjid Tebboune on the 60th anniversary of the victory of the Algerian War of Independence.

Xi Jinping pointed out, sixty years ago, the Algerian people realized national independence and liberation after going through an arduous struggle, writing a glorious chapter of the liberation movements of the Arabian and African peoples. The Chinese government and the Chinese people provided support and assistance to Algeria’s independence revolution, and the two countries and two peoples forged a profound friendship during the struggles. In recent years, political mutual trust between the two countries has been strengthened continuously and bilateral practical cooperation has been fruitful, taking the China-Algeria comprehensive strategic partnership to ever new levels. I attach great importance to the development of China-Algeria relations and stand ready to work with President Tebboune to push forward exchanges and cooperation in all fields within the framework of the Belt and Road cooperation for the benefit of the two countries and two peoples.

On the same day, Premier Li Keqiang sent a congratulatory message to Algerian Prime Minister Aymene Benabderrahmane. Li Keqiang said, since the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries 64 years ago, bilateral relations have been developing in a sound and stable manner. I would like to join hands with Prime Minister Aymene Benabderrahmane to expand and deepen mutually beneficial cooperation across the board, enrich the China-Algeria comprehensive strategic partnership and continuously improve the well-being of the two peoples.

The decline of the US and the rise of the East

In this article written for the Global Times, lawyer and peace activist Dan Kovalik provides a big-picture analysis of the major trends in geopolitics. Dan points out that for the last several decades, while the US and its key allies have oriented their economies largely to finance capital and the military-industrial complex, the socialist countries of Asia “are lifting hundreds of millions out of poverty and building sustainable infrastructure in their own countries and around the world.” It would benefit the people of the US to work with, and learn from, China and other developing countries rather than treating them as enemies.

We are now witnessing a great realignment and transformation. The so-called “American Century” has given way to a new century in which other countries are asserting themselves and taking the lead in the world. This new world order seemed quite unlikely several decades ago when the USSR collapsed and it appeared, and the US certainly declared, that the United States would be the one, dominant power for many decades to come. Ironically, it was the US’ very attempt to maintain this status which has inexorably led to its losing it, and to its decline as a nation.

While ironic, this was all quite predictable. Indeed, the Democratic Party, in its 1900 party platform, warned of this very outcome when it stated, “[w]e assert that no nation can long endure half republic and half empire, and we warn the American people that imperialism abroad will lead quickly and inevitably to despotism at home.” But no sooner were these words uttered than that the US embarked upon unprecedented empire-building beyond its already-giant mainland which itself was the product of a brutal settler-colonial project which displaced, subdued and killed millions of people already living from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

The US, of course, settled upon the instruments of war and violence to achieve its imperial aims. After all, the reasoning went, these had worked so well for it in building the nation to begin with. This addiction to unending expansion through costly wars, however, was not and is not sustainable. Indeed, in his farewell address in 1961, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, himself a former General, warned that the US republic was under threat, not from abroad, but from a growing “military-industrial complex” which was threatening to usurp democratic and civilian rule of the country.

More recently, in what sounded like a postmortem of the United States, Jimmy Carter told President Trump when discussing China in 2019 that the US is “the most warlike nation in the history of the world,” and that this has cost the US dearly.

As Carter explained, “We have wasted, I think, $3 trillion [on military spending since 1979]. … China has not wasted a single penny on war, and that’s why they’re ahead of us. In almost every way.

Continue reading The decline of the US and the rise of the East

NATO is the real ‘systemic challenge’ against global peace and stability

The following article, published recently in People’s Daily (one of the most important, longstanding and widely-read newspapers in China), responds to NATO’s recently-issued Strategic Concept document, which describes China as a ‘systemic challenge’ and outlines NATO’s role in confronting this purported challenge. The article points out that – unlike the US or NATO – China’s record is one of consistently pursuing peace, multilateralism, non-interference and mutual benefit in international relations. The author calls on NATO to drop its anti-China aggression, put an end to New Cold War activity, and orient itself towards global peace.

The so-called new “Strategic Concept” document issued at the just-concluded 2022 NATO Summit distorts China’s domestic and foreign policies. It claims that China challenges NATO’s “interests, security and values,” and NATO will jointly respond to such “systemic challenge” posed by China.

NATO’s efforts to make and spread lies about China and hype the so-called “China threat” are driven by the organization’s reemerging Cold War mentality and ideological bias. It is just an awkward show staged by the U.S. to extend NATO’s reach to the Asia-Pacific region.

NATO’s practice encourages confrontation and threatens global security. Regional countries and the international society must stay alert to it.

China follows an independent foreign policy of peace and is always a staunch force for global peace and prosperity. The country has never initiated a war or conflict and never taken an inch of foreign land, nor has it interfered in other countries domestic affairs or exported ideology. It never engages itself in long-arm jurisdiction, unilateral sanctions, or economic coercion.

China is firmly committed to upholding multilateralism, supporting the international system with the United Nations at its core and the international order based on the Charter of the UN, international law and the universally recognized basic norms governing international relations.

Pursuing a peaceful development path, China is actively building a society with a shared future for mankind and advancing the high-quality construction of the Belt and Road Initiative. It has proposed and been implementing the Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative, and offered a number of public products to help the international community deal with major issues on peace and development.

China presents valuable opportunities for world peace and development. It does not pose “systemic challenges”, as wrongly purported by NATO. NATO has disregarded facts and confounded black with white when making groundless accusations, smears and attacks against China. However, it will never change the fact or the international society’s positive evaluation on China.

NATO is a Cold War product that is gradually becoming a tool for the U.S. to maintain its hegemony and instigate a new “Cold War.” The first-ever mentioning of China in NATO’s so-called “Strategic Concept” document is closely related to U.S. coercion.

The incumbent U.S. administration inherits the wrong practices of its predecessor and keeps seeing China as a strategic competitor. It has formed cliques to oppress China.

The NATO Summit this year has not only hyped the so-called “China threat,” but also invited some Asia-Pacific allies of the U.S. It exactly exposed the strategic scheme of the U.S. to make NATO’s foray into the Asia-Pacific.

China has to pay a high attention and make a systematic response to NATO’s so-called “systemic challenge” rhetoric. Any attempt to hurt China’s legitimate interests will be met with strong reactions. The country has a firm resolution to safeguard its sovereignty, security and development interests. The U.S., emboldening itself by involving a few of its allies, will only see its plot fail at the end.

NATO has always been haunted by the Cold War mentality though the geopolitical tension has already ended for some 30 years. It has never stopped making enemies out of nothing. Indeed, NATO is a “systemic challenge” for global security.

NATO, or North Atlantic Treaty Organization, always poses as a regional defensive organization. However, it has never stopped geographical expansion. It has started and been involved in a big number of wars, killing innocent civilians, hurting world peace and creating humanitarian disasters.

To seek its own absolute security, NATO constantly moved its borders eastward, which led to the bitter fruit of the Ukraine crisis that seriously impacted the peaceful development of Europe and even the world at large.

NATO”s previous expansions and disruptive practices were all under the disguise of “consolidating democracy” and “extending stability, promoting common values.” Today, it is once again playing the same old trick, calling its conspiracy to disrupt the Asia-Pacific region a move to protect “international order” and safeguard its values. Even former NATO Secretary General Javier Solana warned that a “global NATO” or “NATO plus” could divide the world into adversarial blocs.

The outdated Cold War script must not be repeated in the Asia-Pacific, neither shall the disorder and conflict currently taking place in Europe be duplicated in the region.

We sternly warn NATO that it must immediately stop its groundless accusation and provocative remarks on China, abandon its outworn Cold War mentality and zero-sum game, and halt its dangerous practice of disordering Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

Any attempt to reverse the trend of history is doomed to fail.

The US’s cynical misuse of human rights

This article by Carlos Martinez discusses the themes emerging from the recently-concluded 50th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, in particular the stark disparity in the conduct of the imperialist powers (plus a few hangers-on) and the majority of the world’s countries. While the US and its allies continue their campaign to cynically use human rights issues to slander certain countries and promote their New Cold War, the rest of the world increasingly demands the depoliticisation of human rights. This article was originally published on CGTN.

Global politics seems to be moving in two opposite directions. On the one hand, the US and its closest allies are stepping up their efforts to consolidate and expand US hegemony. On the other hand, the countries of the developing world, the socialist countries and the formerly-colonised countries are increasingly united in their efforts to promote multipolarity, multilateralism, sovereign development, and democracy in international relations.

These two contrasting approaches have been evident during the 50th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, which concluded recently on 8 July.

A group of 47 countries issued a joint statement to the session, making all sorts of lurid accusations against China regarding its treatment of the people of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The countries signing up to this slanderous statement were the “usual suspects” of the US, Western Europe, Japan, Australia, Canada and a handful of others.

Out of 30 NATO members, the only countries not to sign were Turkey, Greece and Hungary. All the ‘Five Eyes’ signed. Meanwhile, not a single one of the approximately 50 Muslim-majority countries put their names to this statement, although it purportedly represents the interests of Uyghur Muslims.

Continue reading The US’s cynical misuse of human rights

Press TV’s record countering disinformation against China

On the occasion of the 15th anniversary of Press TV, on July 2, 2022 an extensive interview was carried out by the Tehran-based channel’s anchor and producer Kaveh Taghvai with Arnold August of Montreal, and journalist Elijah Magnier of Marseille, France. We are pleased to reproduce extracts from the special anniversary edition of the Spotlight programme of Iran’s Press TV that deal with China. August focused on the impressive Press TV pushback against US-led disinformation regarding China, such as “genocide” in Xinjiang, Hong Kong protesters, Taiwan, the “authoritarian” rule of the Communist Party of China. Also dealt with were the Press TV coverage of the China-Iran twenty-five-year cooperation agreement, BRICS and the Belt and Road Initiative.

Danny Haiphong and Carlos Martinez discuss NATO, BRICS and the New Cold War

On 1 July, our co-editors Danny Haiphong and Carlos Martinez had a detailed discussion on Danny’s Left Lens YouTube show about the crisis in Ukraine, NATO’s escalation against both Russia and China, the comparison between the recent BRICS and NATO Summits, and the foreign policy continuity from Trump to Biden. Watch below.

The cruel irony of the US obsession with politicizing human rights

Co-editor of Friends of Socialist China Danny Haiphong explains why the US’s obsession with politicizing human rights against China is both baseless in substance and a deflection from its own heinous human rights record in all areas of economic, social, and political development. This article was originally published on CGTN.

The 50th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has entered its last week of deliberation. This particular session of the UNHRC saw the United States immediately politicize the issue of human rights by signing a statement from the Kingdom of the Netherlands and 46 other countries condemning China. The letter expressed “grave” concern over the human rights situation in China, listing the popular talking points in the West regarding the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and the Tibet Autonomous Region. 

China’s Permanent Representative to the UN Office at Geneva Chen Xu said that “disinformation has become rampant, which seriously runs counter to the original purpose of the Human Rights Council.” Cuba made a joint statement on behalf of 70 countries, stating that “the affairs of Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Tibet are China’s internal affairs.”

The U.S.’s politicization of human rights against China is ironic in a cruel way. Washington refuses to acknowledge the mountain of evidence proving that its allegations against China are illegitimate in the eyes of the rest of the world. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) sent a delegation to China and expressed satisfaction with its treatment of Muslims, including Uygurs, in a resolution on their findings. The OIC includes 57 member states and a population of near two-billion people. In 2020, Cuba made a statement on behalf of 45 countries that praised China’s counterterrorism and deradicalization policies in Xinjiang.

Continue reading The cruel irony of the US obsession with politicizing human rights

Introduction to The Selected Works of Deng Xiaoping, Volume 2

The following article was written by Friends of Socialist China co-editors Keith Bennett and Carlos Martinez on request from our friends at Laika Press. Their new edition of Volume 2 of the Selected Works of Deng Xiaoping can be found on their website.

History will record Deng Xiaoping as one of the great communist leaders of the 20th century; someone who made an indispensable contribution to the development of Chinese socialism and to the global socialist project. Yet this contribution is widely misunderstood among the left in the imperialist countries, much of which shows more ignorance and prejudice than knowledge and understanding when it comes to assessing actually (and formerly) existing socialism.

Deng Xiaoping might be said to suffer particularly in that regard. Left and right are seemingly united in assessing him as the man who led China back to capitalism – their difference confined to whether they see this as a good or a bad thing. Yet the veracity of this myth (not to say gross calumny against a man who devoted his entire life from his teenage years until his death at age 92 to the liberation and uplifting of the Chinese people and the international cause of communism) becomes harder to sustain with each passing day in the face of the steady progress made by socialist China.

In contrast to his appraisal by much of the western left, Deng Xiaoping is loved by hundreds of millions of ordinary people in China – as a man who was devoted to their welfare, did more than anyone else to lift them out of poverty and gave them life chances of which they could not previously have dreamt. Not for nothing is it said that China stood up under Mao Zedong, became rich under Deng Xiaoping and is becoming strong under Xi Jinping.

Viewed internationally, Deng’s wisdom in finding a way to both preserve and advance socialism in China overlapped with the demise of the Soviet Union and the collapse of socialism in Central and Eastern Europe. Deng Xiaoping therefore rendered not only immortal service to the Chinese people but also to the international working class, oppressed nations and peoples, and humanity in general. In a critical period, it is not an exaggeration to say that Deng Xiaoping, along with his veteran comrades like Chen Yun – as well as the leaders of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Cuba, Vietnam and Laos – literally saved world socialism. As he said in a talk with Tanzania’s Julius Nyerere in 1989, “so long as socialism does not collapse in China, it will always hold its ground in the world.”

Historical continuities

This volume covers the period from 1975-1982. However, there is a gap between October 1975 and May 1977. This is itself significant in that it coincided with the second time that Deng was removed from office in the history of the PRC. Inevitably this finds reflection in the tone of the articles. Prior to his dismissal Deng Xiaoping was working closely with an ever more ailing Premier Zhou Enlai to bring order and stability to the economy and society after nearly a decade of turmoil and upheaval. Chairman Mao was also gravely ill and the ambitious Gang of Four were scheming to seize complete power. It was the Gang of Four’s suppression of popular mourning for the much-loved Premier Zhou when he passed away in February 1976 that allowed them to, in turn, engineer Deng’s second dismissal. However, and as officially reported at the time, it was on Mao Zedong’s proposal that Deng, whilst dismissed from his posts, was not expelled from the party. Despite all the complexities of the time, this should be affirmed as one of Chairman Mao’s last great services to the people of China and the world.

A simplistic reading of modern Chinese history views Deng Xiaoping Theory, Reform and Opening Up and Socialism with Chinese Characteristics as constituting a fundamental break with the politics of the Mao leadership. While it is certainly true that Deng led the introduction of significant changes to which Mao would likely have been opposed, at least in his later years, we contend that these innovations were strongly grounded in the Chinese Marxism to which Mao Zedong had made the single most important contribution. Indeed the slogan so often identified with Deng’s practical approach – seek truth from facts – had been used by Mao as far back as the Sixth National Congress of the CPC in 1938, as Deng himself notes in his 1978 speech Hold High the Banner of Mao Zedong Thought and Adhere to the Principle of Seeking Truth From Facts: “Comrade Mao Zedong wrote a four-word motto for the Central Party School in Yan’an: ‘Seek truth from facts.’ These four words are the quintessence of Mao Zedong Thought.”

The late Egyptian Marxist Samir Amin wrote that the economic take-off of the post-1978 period “would not have been possible without the economic, political and social foundations that had been built up in the preceding period”. One crucially important factor was a relatively stable international environment, in particular China’s improved relations with the leading capitalist countries.

From 1950 the US imposed a tight embargo on China and mobilised its allies to prevent China from taking its rightful place at the United Nations. Then China’s access to the technologically advanced countries was further circumscribed from the late 1950s with the Sino-Soviet split. It was the re-establishment of relations between the US and China from 1972, and China’s accession to the UN in 1971, that transformed China’s international environment and laid the ground for developing trade links with, and absorbing technological expertise from, the capitalist world. Although Opening Up became official policy in 1978, the process can be considered as having begun several years earlier, guided by Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai.

Premier Zhou had long been vocal about the need for China to catch up with the West in science and technology, in order to raise productivity and improve the material wellbeing of the population. In his last major speech, at the Fourth National People’s Congress in 1975, he spoke of the need to take advantage of the relatively stable international context to “accomplish the comprehensive modernisation of agriculture, industry, national defence and science and technology before the end of the century, so that our national economy will be advancing in the front ranks of the world.”

In Deng’s speech at the Opening Ceremony of the National Conference on Science in 1978 (contained in this volume), he observed: “Modern science and technology are now undergoing a great revolution… Profound changes have taken place and new leaps have been made in almost all areas. A whole range of new sciences and technologies is continuously emerging. Modern science opens the way for the improvement of production techniques and determines the direction of their development.” However, as things stood at the time, there was still an “enormous gap between the level of our science and technology and that of the most advanced countries.” To bridge the gap and push forward China’s program of comprehensive modernization, it was imperative to learn from others.

One must learn from those who are more advanced before he can catch up with and surpass them… Independence does not mean shutting the door on the world, nor does self-reliance mean blind opposition to everything foreign. Science and technology are part of the wealth created in common by all mankind. Every people or country should learn from the advanced science and technology of others… Even after we catch up with the most advanced countries, we shall still have to learn from them in areas where they are particularly strong.

Only by opening up, learning new techniques, improving productivity and realising the Four Modernizations would it finally be possible “to rid our country of poverty and backwardness” and create the conditions for building common prosperity.

Four Cardinal Principles

Deng insisted on the essential political continuity between the era of initial socialist construction and the era of reform, encapsulating this unity in the Four Cardinal Principles:

  1. We must keep to the socialist road.
  2. We must uphold the dictatorship of the proletariat.
  3. We must uphold the leadership of the Communist Party.
  4. We must uphold Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought.

In his speech Uphold the four cardinal principles, he put forward the formula that “socialism and socialism alone can save China,” warning that if China drops its commitment to socialism, it will “inevitably retrogress to semi-feudalism and semi-colonialism.”

Upholding the dictatorship of the proletariat and the leadership of the Communist Party – that is, upholding the principles of socialist democracy rather than capitalist democracy – provides the fundamental guarantee for continuing along the path of socialism. The Chinese leadership well understood the risks involved in encouraging private capital, foreign investment, and “letting some get wealthy first.” Only by sticking to socialist democracy, to the rule of the working classes, is it possible to restrict the power of capital, to protect the overall interests of the masses, and to prevent a regression to capitalism.

Reiterating the continued relevance of Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought, Deng highlights the fundamental correctness of the Chinese Revolution, its socialist path and its anti-imperialist strategy. His remarks were made in a context where there was wide discussion of mistakes the party had made during the last years of Mao’s life, particularly during the Cultural Revolution (1966-76). By upholding Mao Zedong Thought, Deng was warning against what Xi Jinping has referred to as “historical nihilism” – painting a distorted and unnecessarily negative picture of the first decades of the People’s Republic. Deng asserts: “Despite our errors, in the past three decades we have made progress on a scale which old China could not achieve in hundreds or even thousands of years.” In another speech in this volume, Emancipate the Mind, Seek Truth from Facts and Unite as One in Looking to the Future, he appraises Mao’s record in the following terms:

The great contributions of Comrade Mao in the course of long revolutionary struggles will never fade… It is no exaggeration to say that were it not for Chairman Mao there would be no New China.

In a fascinating 1980 interview with the Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci, Deng again insists that Mao’s “contributions are primary and his mistakes secondary”, and that “we will forever keep Chairman Mao’s portrait on Tiananmen Gate as a symbol of our country”. Poignantly, he adds: “We will not do to Chairman Mao what Khrushchev did to Stalin.”

Relations between fraternal parties

Deng Xiaoping also spearheaded reforms and changes to the party’s international work, adopting a broader and more flexible approach. In his talk with senior party officials on May 31 1980, published here as An Important Principle for Handling Relations Between Fraternal Parties, Deng began by stating:

When a Communist Party comments on the actions of a foreign fraternal Party, it may often judge them according to some rigid formula or established pattern. Facts have shown that this approach gets one nowhere. Conditions vary greatly from country to country, the level of political awareness varies from people to people, and the class relations and the alignment of class forces in one country are vastly different from those in another. How can a fixed formula be applied mechanically despite all these differences?

Specifically, China had, at that time, started to resume relations with major communist parties that were considered ‘Eurocommunist’ and he argued:

Similarly, the correctness of Eurocommunism should not be judged by outsiders: it is not for others to write articles affirming or denying it. It should be judged by the European Parties and peoples themselves, and in the final analysis their own practice will provide the answer. We can’t criticize people when they conduct experiments in line with their own conditions. Even if they are wrong, it is up to them to sum up their own experience and try a different path.

This article certainly struck a chord with one of us, as he made his first visit to China just under a year later and was told by the Party International Department: “As for the internal policies of these parties [the communist parties of Spain and Italy] we do not want to say very much…, but we deeply feel that the question of how to make a revolution in the countries of Western Europe remains an unanswered one.”


Comrades! While building our own country, our working class must always keep in mind the proletariat and the oppressed people and nations of the world. We must go on strengthening our unity with the workers and revolutionary people the world over and support their struggles against imperialism, colonialism and hegemonism as well as their struggles to win or safeguard national independence and to make social progress. We must make our contribution to the emancipation of the working class throughout the world and to the progress of all mankind.

Depending on how you measure, China is now the world’s largest or second-largest economy. It is the only country to have jumped from ‘low’ to ‘high’ in the Human Development Index since the measure was launched in 1990. China has successfully eliminated extreme poverty, is the global leader in renewable energy, has become a science and technology powerhouse, and is a key driving force in support of development throughout the Global South. Such remarkable successes are testament to Deng Xiaoping’s vision.

As with other maligned revolutionaries, the greatest antidote to the slanders is to read and learn what they actually stood for, said and wrote. In publishing the works of Deng Xiaoping, and other great revolutionary leaders, and making them widely available and affordable, Laika Press is to be warmly congratulated and supported.

Keith Bennett and Carlos Martinez

London, July 2022

My Impression: the CPC in the new era – report

On Wednesday May 25th, the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China organised an online meeting with comrades in Britain around the theme ‘My Impression: the CPC in the new era’.

According to the letter of invitation: “In 2021, the Communist Party of China (CPC) solemnly celebrated its centenary and convened the Sixth Plenary Session of its 19th Central Committee, through which we took stock of the major achievements and historical experience of the Party’s endeavours over the past century… In 2022, the CPC will hold its 20th National Congress, which is a major political event for both the Party and the country. As the changes of the times combine with the once-in-a-century pandemic, the international landscape is evolving at a faster pace, and the world finds itself in a new period of turbulence and transformation. As far as China itself is concerned, we are committed to upholding the CPC leadership, putting people first and sticking to the new path to modernisation of socialism with Chinese characteristics. In this process we look forward to strengthening communications and dialogues… and to understanding your take on China’s development as well as your expectations on China and the CPC in the new era and the upcoming 20th CPC National Congress.”

A delegation from Friends of Socialist China participated in the meeting, where the keynote address was given by Comrade Guo Yezhou, Vice-Minister of the CPC International Department.

Co-Editors of Friends of Socialist China, Keith Bennett and Carlos Martinez both delivered speeches, which we publish below.

Speeches were also made by Comrades Robert Griffiths, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Britain (CPB), Ella Rule, Chair of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) (CPGBML), Andy Brooks, General Secretary of the New Communist Party of Britain (NCPB), and Jacob Maseyk of the Young Communist League (YCL) of Britain.

The CPC International Department carried the following report on its website: International Department Central Committee of CPC (

Also embedded below is a short video produced by the International Department featuring clips from different ‘My Impression: the CPC in the new era’ meetings held with comrades in various countries. The video includes clips of the speeches made by Friends of Socialist China co-editors Keith Bennett and Carlos Martinez, as well as advisory group member (and Communist Party of Britain General Secretary) Robert Griffiths.

Speech by Keith Bennett

Dear Comrades

First, on behalf of Friends of Socialist China, I would like to thank the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China for their kind invitation and express our full support for this meeting. We are very pleased to join with all the other comrades participating here.

In the time available to me, I am choosing to focus on one of your suggested themes, namely important and most memorable moments of your interactions with the CPC and China. We are talking about several decades so I can only touch on a few aspects.

I suppose that my first contact with China was at the age of about 12 or 13, when I rang on the bell of the Chinese Embassy in London and asked to be given a copy of the Red Book and a badge with Chairman Mao’s portrait – which they were pleased to do.

Probably my first formal interaction with the CPC was around the 11th National Congress of the Party in August 1977. I proposed to the National Committee of the organisation I was a member of at that time that we send greetings to the congress, which I then drafted. Considering that I had celebrated my 19th birthday just days before, and considering that then, as now, I considered the CPC to be the most important party of the world communist movement, I was so thrilled when I saw the message printed in full in the Daily Bulletin of the Xinhua News Agency.

Since that time, although generally not sent in my own name, I have drafted messages of greetings to most, if not all, of the subsequent congresses. For the last, 19th Congress, I wrote my draft in the port of Gwadar, where I was able to see for myself how the China Pakistan Economic Corridor has the potential to transform not just Pakistan but the wider region as a flagship of President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative.

From the 11th Congress to the eve of the 20th is a long road. So much has changed in China, Britain and the world. But one thing that has remained constant is my friendship with the Communist Party of China and my support for socialist China. That is why I believe it is fair and accurate to describe ours as an all-weather friendship and as a relationship of good friends, good comrades and good brothers and sisters, united by the same ideals and beliefs and committed to the same cause, although the concrete circumstances of our struggles differ radically.

My first visit to China was made in April and May 1981, with the last week being as a guest of your department. In those days, from the centre of Beijing one had to drive through quite a bit of countryside to reach your guest house. I had travelled quite extensively in China before reaching Beijing, including seeing the early days of the household responsibility system in Anhui province. To reach Beijing we made a long train journey from Nanjing. The days when China would be covered by the world’s biggest network of high-speed rail seemed far off. I was still only 22 and this was my first time in Asia, so my memories of that visit are abiding ones. It was a time of taking pride in China’s immense achievements since Liberation, but also of summing up mistakes, rectifying errors, learning everything that was useful and charting a new course. One could sense the people’s aspirations for a better life and felt that China was on the cusp of great change. But still one could not have imagined how far and how fast China would develop in the ensuing decades.

The most abiding impression I took away with me, from which I have never wavered, is that whatever the obstacles they might face, and whatever the twists and turns, the Chinese people, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, will succeed in their goal of building a strong, modernised and prosperous socialist country and in making a greater contribution to humanity.

Another very memorable aspect of that visit is that it was a time for reassessment, not only with regard to China’s socialist development, but also with regard to the international communist movement and the international work of the party more generally. Naturally this was reflected in our discussions and I still recall the following words of one of your comrades:

“We deeply feel that the question of how to make a revolution in the countries of Western Europe remains an unanswered one.”

I am sure that he was trying to give me a message in a very polite, diplomatic and comradely fashion. I hope that it has been well received.

As part of this reassessment, the CPC was starting to move away from the policy it had hitherto followed for some years of overwhelmingly confining its relations to what were then termed the “genuine Marxist-Leninist parties and organisations”. One of the first developments was the resumption of relations with mass communist parties in Europe that displayed a degree of independence. Indeed, shortly before my own visit, Comrade Enrico Berlinguer had led the delegation of the Italian Communist Party, then well over a million strong and a very major participant in national political life. This was followed by the resumption or establishment of relations and exchanges with communist parties of various kinds, revolutionary democratic, national democratic and national liberation parties and movements throughout the Global South, socialist and social democratic parties, and then significant political parties without regard to ideology or differences in view. The culmination of this process has seen the CPC come to play an indispensable part in China’s overall diplomacy and external work and in global political affairs generally, as well as in steadily strengthening the unity, cohesion  and effectiveness of the world communist movement, of which today’s meeting is but one example. I am so proud to have accompanied you on that journey, enjoying and benefiting from our friendship at every step.

In November 1989, speaking with Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere, Comrade Deng Xiaoping said: “So long as socialism does not collapse in China, it will always hold its ground in the world.”

Today, under the bold and wise leadership of Comrade Xi Jinping, socialist China is steadily marching towards the centre of the world stage.  As Comrade Xi  said at the 19th Party Congress, the new era will be one “that sees China moving closer to centre stage and making greater contributions to humanity.” Socialism with Chinese characteristics, he further pointed out, “offers a new option for other countries and nations who want to speed up their development while preserving their independence; and it offers Chinese wisdom and a Chinese approach to solving the problems facing humanity.”

It is in this spirit and against this background that a small group of us formed Friends of Socialist China a year ago this month. We did so for two distinct reasons that together form an integrated whole: To support and defend the People’s Republic, especially in the context of the new Cold War being waged by the USA, Britain and other imperialist countries against China and other socialist and independent countries; and also to promote understanding of Chinese socialism, because, in the words of our founding statement:

“The global advance to socialism is indispensable if humanity is to survive and to flourish; humanity needs socialism in order to prevent climate breakdown, end poverty, establish global peace and work towards dismantling structural discrimination and oppression.”

We applaud Comrade Xi Jinping’s resolute opposition to historical nihilism with our statement that: “We believe that the record of the socialist countries is overwhelmingly positive; that socialism has been able to – or has the potential to – solve many of humanity’s most burning issues; that the most impressive advances in people’s living conditions have occurred under socialist systems; that socialist states and movements played the decisive role in the defeat of European fascism and Japanese militarism; that the socialist world was pivotal to the dismantling of colonialism; that the socialist states have made historic strides in tackling discrimination based on race, ethnicity and gender.”

The gains made by working people in the capitalist countries, for example our National Health Service, have always been inseparable from the strength, example and inspiration of the socialist countries. Equally, it is no coincidence that the setbacks encountered by global socialism, particularly around 1989-91, fuelled neoliberalism and savage attacks on working people everywhere that the socialist system did not exist. China’s historic elimination of extreme poverty, its advance to the front ranks of the world economy, its building of an ecological civilisation, its transition to a high income country, and the building of a China that is, in Comrade Xi’s words, “a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful” is decisive not only for the destiny of the Chinese people but also for that of global socialism and therefore humanity.

We need to study, disseminate and apply Xi Jinping Thought as 21st century Marxism and continue the long march with our Chinese comrades towards a bright socialist future for the whole of humanity.

Thank you once again for your initiative in organising this meeting and for inviting us. We wish every success to the 20th National Congress of the great Communist Party of China!

Speech by Carlos Martinez

China’s progress over the last decade has been truly inspirational.

At the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2012, General Secretary Xi Jinping put forward the Two Centenary goals: to achieve a “moderately well-off” society by 2021, and a “great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful” by 2049.

In pursuit of the first centenary goal, millions of cadres were mobilised in a targeted poverty alleviation campaign, with the goal of eliminating extreme poverty. At the start of that campaign, eight years ago, just under 100 million people were identified as living below the poverty line. By late 2020, the number was zero.

And it’s important to note that rising out of poverty in China means more than just surpassing an income threshold. It also means having assured access to adequate food and clothing, along with guaranteed access to medical services, safe housing with drinking water and electricity, and 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 an entirely different category to the rural poor elsewhere in the world.

As Xi Jinping has observed, “thanks to the sustained efforts of the Chinese people from generation to generation, those who once lived in poverty no longer have to worry about food or clothing or access to education, housing and medical insurance.”

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 was one of the poorest countries in the world – characterised by widespread malnutrition, illiteracy, foreign domination and technological backwardness – is a truly extraordinary achievement, and it’s an achievement of socialism. It is possible because of the leading position of the working class and peasantry.

As Deng Xiaoping put it in 1987, “only the socialist system can eradicate poverty.”

Poverty alleviation is part of the DNA of the Communist Party of China. It’s a thread that runs throughout the history of the Chinese Revolution, starting with the land reform measures in the liberated areas before 1949, and continuing with the dismantling of the feudal system after the founding of the People’s Republic, then Reform and Opening Up, and now the targeted poverty alleviation program.

Meanwhile in the West, where the bourgeoisie is the ruling class – and where neoliberal economic theory has dominated for several decades – the last ten years have witnessed an alarming rise in poverty and inequality.

In 2019, I visited two important cities for the first time: Beijing and New York. New York is unquestionably a wonderful city in many respects, but the levels of deprivation and inequality, the widespread homelessness, along with the crumbling infrastructure and simmering social tensions, are quite stark – certainly when compared with Beijing, which stands out as a very modern, harmonious, well-organised city, in which the problems of homelessness and extreme poverty have been solved.

Another key area in which China has made outstanding progress in the last decade is in the fight against climate breakdown and in promoting biodiversity, clean air and clean water.

In 2017, Xi Jinping introduced the concept of ‘ecological civilisation’, putting environmental sustainability at the heart of Chinese policy-making. And in 2021, China committed to reaching peak carbon emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060, and has already developed systematic programs for reaching these goals.

China is already by far the world leader in renewable energy, with a total capacity greater than the US, the EU, Japan and Britain combined. China’s forest coverage has doubled in the last four decades. Meanwhile it also leads the world in the production and use of electric cars, trains and buses.

China has led the way in the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic. Its dynamic Zero Covid strategy has saved millions of lives in China. Furthermore China has provided extensive assistance to countries around the world, particularly in the Global South, supplying enormous quantities of medical supplies, as well as more than 2 billion vaccine doses.

The Belt and Road Initiative, first advanced in 2013, has transformed the global investment landscape for infrastructure and connectivity, particularly in the developing world. Over 140 of the world’s 195 countries have formally affiliated to the Belt and Road, assisting them in addressing their substantial needs in terms of physical infrastructure, telecommunications, transport, and energy production and transmission.

Meanwhile China is playing a crucial role in international organisations, promoting peace, dialogue, multilateralism and multipolarity.

American politicians sometimes refer to the US as “the indispensable nation”. But if we look at what country is contributing the most to poverty alleviation, to global development, to the construction of a more peaceful world, to the fight against the pandemic, to the fight against climate breakdown; and if we contrast that with the US’s record of non-stop war, unilateral sanctions, destabilisation and bullying; we would have to conclude that China is much closer to meeting the definition of “indispensable” than the US is.

Looking to the future, with the first centenary goal now achieved, the second goal is coming into sharp focus. Building a great modern socialist country in all respects implies taking on relative poverty, improving per capita GDP, reducing inequality between regions and groups, and developing in an ecologically sustainable manner.

Common prosperity will be a key theme: reducing inequality, increasing the size of the middle income population, and improving the lives of the least affluent.

The CPC and the government it leads are not in the habit of making empty promises, and significant progress has already been made on tackling the disorderly expansion of private capital, housing speculation, extreme income inequality, and excessive power of tech companies and private education providers.

In the coming years and decades, Chinese people will increasingly come to enjoy a standard of living and quality of life comparable to, or indeed ahead of, working people in the advanced capitalist countries. And unlike in the advanced capitalist countries, this shared wealth won’t have its origins in historic colonialism and ongoing hegemonism, but in the hard work of the people and the sustained wise leadership of the CPC.

China’s successes since the founding of the PRC, and the successes it will surely achieve on the path to becoming a great modern socialist country in all respects, should serve to inspire working people around the world as to what can be achieved under socialism.

And for this reason, the Western ruling classes are working round the clock to ensure that ordinary people know nothing about China’s progress. The mass media barely mentions China’s successes in poverty alleviation. Rather than commending China for its handling of the pandemic, newspaper headlines talk about how “oppressive” and “authoritarian” the dynamic Zero Covid strategy is. Politicians and journalists accept that millions of lives have been saved as a result of China’s Covid suppression efforts, but they never fail to ask: “but at what cost?” As if human life had a quantifiable cost, and as if millions of deaths might have been “worth it” for the sake of smoother-running supply chains and corporate profits.

In order to pull the wool over people’s eyes, the West is waging a systematic propaganda war against China. Consuming mainstream media in Britain or the US, what you hear about China is that a “cultural genocide” is happening in Xinjiang; that pro-democracy students are being attacked by the Hong Kong police; that China is trapping African, Asian, Latin American, Caribbean and South Pacific countries in “debt traps”.

This web of lies is serving to keep people ignorant about the reality of Chinese socialism, and therefore it is extremely important to debunk these fabrications.

The slander that there is a “genocide” or “cultural genocide” against Uyghur Muslims, or that there are “concentration camps” in Xinjiang, has been repeated a thousand times. And yet, anyone visiting Xinjiang can see the total falsehood – indeed the utter absurdity – of this slander.

I personally went to Ürümqi in January 2020, with a group of friends. We walked around freely and certainly didn’t see any evidence of religious persecution or ethnic oppression. In fact we saw hundreds of Uyghur Muslims, wearing Uyghur clothing, going about their normal lives and practising their culture, religion and traditions.

We ate in Uyghur restaurants, where the food was halal and where alcohol wasn’t available. We heard the Uyghur language being spoken everywhere. All road signs have both Uyghur and Chinese writing. You see Uyghur language newspapers and magazines everywhere.

It’s notable how many mosques there are. Indeed Xinjiang has one of the highest concentrations of mosques in the world. And this is what the Western media calls a “cultural genocide”!

One of the reasons we formed Friends of Socialist China, just over a year ago, was to systematically oppose this propaganda war – a propaganda war that serves the interests of the imperialist ruling classes, and that runs directly counter to the interests of the working classes and oppressed communities.

As Marxists, as communists, as people working to popularise and promote socialism, we consider it crucial to spread an understanding of the remarkable successes of socialist China.

We deeply value our relationship with the CPC International Department, and we look forward to expanding our work together with you and with the other organisations represented here today.

US ‘forced labor’ allegations in Xinjiang nothing but imperial projection

The following article by Friends of Socialist China co-editor Danny Haiphong, originally carried in the Global Times on 3 July 2022, addresses the recent implementation of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, effectively imposing a blanket ban on goods produced in Xinjiang. Danny notes the startling hypocrisy of the US – the global capital of prison labor and modern slavery – slandering China on this basis. He further points to the two central motivations for the ‘China Bad’ narrative: firstly, creating a scapegoat for the steadily worsening problems of contemporary US capitalism; secondly, increasing demand (and thereby profits) for the military-industrial complex. What is abundantly clear is that ordinary people in the US have absolutely nothing to gain from the ruling class’s New Cold War.

US President Joe Biden has begun enforcing the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act that was passed in late 2021. The legislation is comprised of a set of economic sanctions that represent some of the broadest the US has leveled upon China since the normalization of relations between the two countries. This includes a ban on all imported goods from the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and a US Department of Commerce review of all goods produced outside of the region that may have connections to economic institutions in Xinjiang. These measures have been justified by Biden and the US political establishment as a measured response to China’s use of “forced labor” in Xinjiang, particularly of its Uygur minority ethnic group. Allegations of forced labor in the region have never been proven and both foreign companies and Uygur workers alike have denied its existence.

That the US would attempt to punish China over forced labor is a clear act of imperial projection. Forced labor is a serious problem in the US. According to a new report from the American Civil Liberties Union, US prisoners produce more than $11 billion in profits and services despite being paid an hourly wage of between $0.13 and $0.52. Seven states were found to pay no compensation for prison labor. Prisoners cited that punishment in the form of solitary confinement and family visitation was routinely employed against those who refused to work. 

Continue reading US ‘forced labor’ allegations in Xinjiang nothing but imperial projection

China stands with progressive Latin America

Two recent events served to underline the close and developing relations between China and progressive Latin America.

As part of a regional tour, Special Representative of the Chinese Government on Latin American Affairs, Qiu Xiaoqi, visited Nicaragua from June 25-27.

Meeting Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Denis Moncada on June 25, Qiu said that since the resumption of diplomatic ties more than six months ago, bilateral relations have been developing rapidly and flourishing with all-round progress. China, Qiu noted, “firmly supports Nicaragua in safeguarding its sovereignty, independence and national dignity and independently choosing its development path and governance model.”

For his part, Moncada said that Nicaragua “is willing to be a trustworthy brother and partner of China. The Nicaraguan side thanked China for its selfless help and is ready to seize the huge opportunities brought by China’s development and create more benefits for the Nicaraguan people. The Nicaraguan side thanked China for speaking up for Nicaragua in the international arena and will work with China to safeguard international fairness and justice as well as the rights and interests of developing countries.”

Meanwhile, on June 28, State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi had a phone conversation with his Venezuelan counterpart Carlos Faria, coinciding with the 48th anniversary of the two countries’ establishing diplomatic relations.

Wang Yi said that the Chinese side thanks Venezuela for standing firmly with China and speaking out for justice. China will, as always, firmly oppose external forces’ interference in Venezuela’s internal affairs under any pretext, firmly support Venezuela in safeguarding national sovereignty and social stability and support the Venezuelan people in choosing a development path suited to their national conditions.  He added that the trend toward a multi-polar world, economic globalisation and greater democracy in international relations is irresistible. China is ready to work with Venezuela to stand on the right side of history, uphold international fairness and justice, safeguard the common interests of developing countries and jointly build a community with a shared future for humanity.

For his part, Faria extended warm congratulations on the forthcoming 101st anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, hailing the CPC as a great political party that holds high the banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics and has always been committed to serving the Chinese people.

The following reports were originally carried on the website of the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Denis Moncada Meets with Special Representative of the Chinese Government on Latin American Affairs Qiu Xiaoqi

From June 25 to 27, 2022, Special Representative of the Chinese Government on Latin American Affairs Qiu Xiaoqi visited Nicaragua. On June 25, Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Denis Moncada met with visiting Special Representative Qiu Xiaoqi in Managua. The two sides had an in-depth exchange of views on bilateral relations and international and regional issues of common concern. Chinese Ambassador to Nicaragua Chen Xi attended the meeting.

Qiu Xiaoqi said that since the resumption of China-Nicaragua diplomatic ties more than six months ago, bilateral relations have been developing rapidly and flourishing with all-round progress in political, economic and trade, and cultural cooperation. China firmly supports Nicaragua in safeguarding its sovereignty, independence and national dignity and independently choosing its development path and governance model. China is ready to strengthen synergy with Nicaragua and promote fruitful practical cooperation across the board. In the face of global challenges, the two countries should take the implementation of the Global Development Initiative and Global Security Initiative as an opportunity to strengthen coordination and cooperation in international affairs and jointly build a more peaceful, secure and prosperous world.

Moncada said, the rapid development of bilateral relations since the resumption of diplomatic ties more than six months ago fully proves that the resumption of diplomatic ties between Nicaragua and China is a correct decision that accords with the historical trend and serves the fundamental interests of the two countries and two peoples. Nicaragua will unswervingly abide by the one-China principle and is willing to be a trustworthy brother and partner of China. The Nicaraguan side thanked China for its selfless help, and is ready to seize the huge opportunities brought by China’s development and create more benefits for the Nicaraguan people. The Nicaraguan side thanked China for speaking up for Nicaragua in the international arena, and will work with China to safeguard international fairness and justice as well as the rights and interests of developing countries.

Wang Yi Speaks with Venezuelan Foreign Minister Carlos Faria on the Phone

On June 28, 2022, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi had a phone conversation with Venezuelan Foreign Minister Carlos Faria at the latter’s request.

Wang Yi said that today coincides with the 48th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Venezuela, and our phone conversation is just at the right time. Since the establishment of diplomatic ties, China-Venezuela relations have remained rock-solid regardless of changes in the international landscape. The leaders of the two countries have established solid mutual trust and friendship, providing important political guarantee and strategic guidance for the development of the China-Venezuela comprehensive strategic partnership. China is ready to continue to deepen political mutual trust, pass on the traditional friendship and enhance mutually beneficial cooperation with Venezuela.

Wang Yi said that the Chinese side thanks Venezuela for standing firmly with China and speaking out for justice on Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang and human rights issues. China will, as always, firmly oppose external forces’ interference in Venezuela’s internal affairs under any pretext, firmly support Venezuela in safeguarding national sovereignty and social stability, and support the Venezuelan people in choosing a development path suited to their national conditions. The Chinese side will continue to provide assistance within its capacity to the Venezuelan side in fighting the pandemic.

Wang Yi pointed out that China and Venezuela should continue to strengthen solidarity and coordination in multilateral affairs, safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of the two countries, practice true multilateralism, and safeguard the international system with the United Nations at its core and the international order underpinned by international law. China appreciates Venezuela’s active support for President Xi Jinping’s Global Development Initiative (GDI) and stands ready to strengthen cooperation with Venezuela to jointly forge a global development partnership and well implement the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The trend toward a multi-polar world, economic globalization and greater democracy in international relations is irresistible. China is ready to work with Venezuela to stand on the right side of history, uphold international fairness and justice, safeguard the common interests of developing countries and jointly build a community with a shared future for mankind.

Faria said that under the guidance of the two heads of state, the Venezuela-China comprehensive strategic partnership has made great progress and is full of vitality. He thanked China for providing strong support to Venezuela in its fight against the pandemic. Venezuela firmly supports the one-China principle and the principle of “one country, two systems”, firmly supports China in safeguarding national sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, and stands ready to work with China to deepen mutually beneficial cooperation in innovative ways. China is playing an increasingly important role in the international arena. The Venezuelan side speaks highly of President Xi Jinping’s GDI and other initiatives and is ready to deepen communication and coordination with China within the frameworks of the Group of Friends of the Global Development Initiative and the Group of Friends in the Defense of the Charter of the United Nations to jointly uphold multilateralism. In particular, Faria extended warm congratulations on the 101st anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in advance, hailing the CPC as a great political party that holds high the banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics and has always been committed to serving the Chinese people.

CPC deepens relations with Nepal’s communist parties

Liu Jianchao was recently appointed as the Minister of the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, succeeding Song Tao, who completed his term of office. On being informed of his appointment, in a message to a relevant official of the International Department, Friends of Socialist China wrote:
“We wish him every success in his responsible work, and good health, and stand ready, as ever, to maintain and develop our greatly valued friendship and our close cooperation.”

Comrade Liu’s first announced engagement in his new role was to meet separately with the Ambassadors of the four other socialist countries to China, namely the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Vietnam, Laos and Cuba. In a brief report, the International Department noted that the meetings, “focused on exchanging views on consolidating and deepening the traditional friendship between China and the four countries, and relations between the ruling parties of China and the four countries, continuously promoting cooperation in various areas, and jointly boosting the development of socialist causes in the new era.”

A longer report was issued on his next reported engagements, which took place on June 23 and 24, when he held video calls with the leaders of Nepal’s two main communist parties – Prachanda, Chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Center) and KP Sharma Oli, Chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist), both of whom are also former Prime Ministers.

According to Liu, the CPC and the two Nepalese parties share similar philosophies and close ties. In turn, both Nepalese parties said that they give top priority to relations with China and the CPC.

Following the calls, the CPC signed memoranda of exchange and cooperation with both parties.

Some days later, Liu also held a video call with Nepalese Foreign Minister Narayan Khadka, who is also the leader of the Nepali Congress party.

The following report on the online meeting with the Nepali communist leaders was originally carried on the website of the CPC International Department.

On June 23 and 24, Liu Jianchao, Minister of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee, held video calls with Prachanda, Chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Center) and former Prime Minister of Nepal, and KP Sharma Oli, Chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) and former Prime Minister of Nepal respectively.

Liu said that China and Nepal are friendly neighbors linked by mountains and rivers, and development partners sharing the same destiny. In October 2019, General Secretary Xi Jinping paid a historic visit to Nepal. China-Nepal relations were upgraded to the China-Nepal strategic partnership of cooperation featuring ever-lasting friendship for development and prosperity, and entered a new era of rapid development. The Chinese side is willing to work with the Nepali side to implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, deepen mutual political trust, actively promote practical cooperation in major projects and various fields under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, and push the friendship across the Himalayas to new heights.

Liu said, the CPC and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Center) and the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) share similar philosophies and close ties. The CPC is willing to strengthen inter-party exchanges, promote “political parties plus” cooperation, enhance people-to-people bond, and respect each other’s core interests and major concerns, so as to play a role in facilitating the healthy and stable development of China-Nepal relations. The 20th CPC National Congress will be held in the second half of this year, which will draw a blueprint for China’s development in the next phase and will certainly provide new impetus for the development of China-Nepal relations. The CPC is willing to strengthen exchanges with political parties in Nepal on state governance and administration.

Prachanda and Oli said, the friendship between Nepal and China has grown ever stronger as time goes by and the Nepali side appreciates the Chinese side’s support for Nepal in safeguarding sovereignty and territorial integrity and opposing foreign interference and China’s valuable help for Nepal to fight against the Covid-19 epidemic. The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Center) and the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) give top priority to the relations with China and the CPC. The two Parties will continue to firmly uphold the one-China principle, support the issues related to each other’s core interests and major concerns, adhere to the path of independent development, and will never allow any forces to use the Nepali territory to engage in any anti-China activities. The major achievements and historical experience of the CPC’s century-long struggle have provided important inspiration and lessons for the Nepali political parties. The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Center) and the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) are willing to strengthen cooperation with the CPC in such areas as the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative, so as to promote the long-term and stable development of Nepal-China relations. We look forward to the 20th CPC National Congress and wish it a complete success.

After the video calls, the Chinese representatives also signed memorandums of exchange and cooperation with the representatives of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Center) and the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) respectively.