Xi Jinping’s ‘authoritarian turn’: the CPC’s 20th Congress maintains internal stability at a time of multiple global crises

This article by Jenny Clegg, author of China’s Global Strategy: towards a multipolar world, addresses the question of China’s putative ‘authoritarianism’, and in particular the issue of Xi Jinping’s election for a third five-year term as General Secretary of the CPC, which marks a break with the two-term limit introduced in the 1980s.

The author opines that China is opting for continuity and stability, in the face of “complex, unpredictable and fast changing international currents” – in particular the escalating US-led New Cold War – and a crucial shift in the emphasis of China’s economic strategy towards common prosperity and sustainable development.

Jenny writes that Xi’s supposed ‘authoritarian turn’ is “keeping China on a steady course, united in purpose”, whilst continuing to encourage vibrant inner-party democracy and exhaustive debate on key policies. “At a time of growing political chaos as the world’s dominant ruling classes flail about amidst multiple crises, the 20th CPC Congress stands out as an example of orderliness and clarity of direction.”

The 20th Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) has made headlines in the mainstream media, but hardly because China’s future is of great consequence for the future of the world – rather, all eyes are on Xi Jinping’s continuing into a third 5-year term as Party General Secretary.  What an opportunity, so the pundits think, to hype up the New Cold War by contrasting China’s ‘autocratic’ methods of leadership succession against the virtues of the West’s democratic ways.

Xi is being ‘anointed,’ we are told, or ‘crowned’, as China’s leader. 

When, from the 1990s, the CPC introduced collective leadership, two-term limits on key posts, and other mechanisms institutionalising leadership selection in order to guard against the re-emergence of personality cults and political upheaval, this was widely welcomed both within China and beyond as a step forward in modernising and democratising the Party.  In 2018 however, under Xi’s leadership, the two-term limit was abolished – a major factor in causing Western political elites to give up hope of integrating China into the existing global system under their dominance.

Of course, China’s centralised system has cultural and historical roots going back millennia.  However, these traditions were profoundly transformed after 1949 by the CPC’s practice of democratic centralism – of ‘top-down, ‘bottom up’ processes of decision-making. Throughout its history the CPC has nevertheless gone through phases of relative tightening and relaxing of central control.

It is important then to understand why the CPC is once again strengthening its leadership, seeking to consolidate authority under a single leadership figure, at this time.  A number of factors are at play.

External conditions

In the first place there are the external conditions to consider. Since 2011 when Obama announced his Asian pivot, the US has increasingly squeezed China using both military and economic pressure not only to block China’s growing global influence – which has extended peacefully through for example the Belt and Road Initiative – but also, going beyond containment, to aggressively enforce technological and economic decoupling.  The US has now effectively pledged to do all it can to obstruct China’s further development whilst mobilising all possible global forces and resources in preparation for a war, with Taiwan as the most likely pretext. 

Amidst complex, unpredictable and fast changing international currents, the CPC must stay both firm and flexible in order to respond effectively at a time when China is also undergoing huge structural changes.

Continue reading Xi Jinping’s ‘authoritarian turn’: the CPC’s 20th Congress maintains internal stability at a time of multiple global crises

Xi Jinping urges efforts to carry forward the founding spirit of the CPC

Shortly after the conclusion of the 20th National Congress of the CPC, General Secretary Xi Jinping led a visit of all seven members of the newly elected Politburo Standing Committee to Yan’an, in Shaanxi, a very important location in China’s revolutionary history. Yan’an is where the Chinese Red Army set up its base at the conclusion of the Long March, in late 1935 – a base that served as the centre of the Chinese Revolution for over a decade. It was in Yan’an that several of the key building blocks of Chinese socialism – including the ‘barefoot doctor’ system of basic healthcare provision – were first developed. It is also where some of the classic musical and literary works of the Chinese Revolution were composed, including the famous song ‘The East is Red’, the melody of which was based on a local folk song.

This is the third time that Xi has led a post-Congress visit of the newly elected Standing Committee to an important revolutionary site (the first was in 2012, to The Road to Renewal exhibition in Beijing; the second was in 2017, to the site of the CPC’s First Congress in Shanghai), stating that “the revolutionary sites are like a book that is worth reading all the time” in order to feel inspired by the heroic feats of the Chinese Revolution and to continuously deepen the leadership’s connection to the CPC’s founding principles and objectives. To uphold the legacy of the Yan’an period, “all Party members must stand firmly with the people, act on the Party’s purpose, put into practice the mass line, maintain close ties with the people, take the initiative to apply the people-centered development philosophy to all work, and achieve solid progress in promoting common prosperity, so that the people share more fully and fairly in the gains of modernization.”

We reproduce two articles below reporting on the trip, one from China Daily and one from Xinhua.

Xi urges efforts to carry forward great founding spirit of CPC and Yan’an Spirit

Less than a week after the conclusion of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, president of the People’s Republic of China, and chairman of the Central Military Commission, led the members of the Standing Committee of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau to visit Yan’an, an old revolutionary base in Northwest China’s Shaanxi province. The members are Li Qiang, Zhao Leji, Wang Huning, Cai Qi, Ding Xuexiang and Li Xi. They were there to pay tribute to this sacred land of the Chinese revolution, review the eventful days of the Party Central Committee in Yan’an in the years of the revolutionary war, commemorate the great achievements made by revolutionaries of the older generation, and manifest the conviction of the new central leadership to carry forward the Party’s revolutionary legacy and fighting spirit and present an excellent answer sheet to the people and posterity with new achievements on the road ahead. Xi stressed that we will carry forward the great founding spirit of the Party, the Yan’an Spirit, and our fighting spirit, remain confident in our history, and exhibit greater historical initiative to strive in unity for the fulfillment of the objectives and tasks set forth at the 20th CPC National Congress.

On the morning of October 27, Xi Jinping and the others arrived at the revolutionary site of Yangjialing in northwest Yan’an. In November of 1938, all departments of the CPC Central Committee moved from Fenghuang Hill to Yangjialing, where the CPC held its Seventh National Congress, launched the Yan’an Rectification Movement, and led the Chinese people in the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression.

Continue reading Xi Jinping urges efforts to carry forward the founding spirit of the CPC

Why Biden is unleashing a full scale chip war against China

The following article, by Marc Vandepitte and Jan Jonckheere, was originally published in Dutch on De Wereld Morgen. It explains the crucial significance of semiconductor chips to advances in modern technology, and goes on to describe the “chip war” currently being waged by the US government against China. The authors note that this is not the first time the US has attempted to suppress another country’s technological development, but they express significant doubt about the chances of success in this case. “In the past, the US has often succeeded in bringing countries to order and keeping them in line. However, whether it will succeed with China is highly questionable.”

Keith Lamb’s article Blocking China’s semiconductor industry is an attempt to impede the construction of socialism provides useful supplementary reading.

Recently, the US has identified China as its main enemy and is trying to thwart its economic and technological rise. Chips play a key role in this as they are the backbone of economic and military performance in the digital age. Whether the U.S. will succeed in its endeavour is highly questionable.

The key to the future

Technology is the key to the future. It is the basis for military might on the one hand, and economic productivity and a competitive position in the world market on the other.

Until recently, the US had an unassailable, dominant position on both fronts. The White House wants to maintain that hegemony at all costs, but the rise of China threatens to put an end to that.

According to US Presidential Security Adviser Sullivan, “we are facing a competitor that is determined to overtake US technological leadership and willing to devote nearly limitless resources to that goal”.

That is why the US has identified the People’s Republic of China as its main enemy and is trying to thwart the economic and technological ascent of this Asian giant.

Chip War

Semiconductors and chips[1] are particularly targeted. This makes sense, because in the future geopolitical supremacy may increasingly depend on computer chips. Chips are integrated circuits that are pretty much the nervous system of electronic devices.

Until last century, military strength was based on firearms, warships, fighter jets or (nuclear) missiles. In the digital age, chips are the backbone of economic as well as military performance.

According to James Mulvenon, an expert on Chinese cybersecurity, “the Pentagon has decided that semiconductors is the hill that they are willing to die on. The sector of semiconductors is the last industry in which the US is leading, and it is the one on which everything else is built”.

In early October 2022, the White House put its money where its mouth is. The Biden administration introduced sweeping export controls that will severely hamper Chinese companies’ attempts to obtain or manufacture advanced computer chips.

Under Trump, US companies were no longer allowed to sell chips to Huawei. Biden has now extended those trade restrictions to more than 40 Chinese companies, including several chip makers. The new measure effectively prohibits any US or non-US company from supplying those Chinese companies with hardware or software whose supply chain includes US technology.

The export restrictions not only target military applications but seek to block the development of China’s technological power by all means available. The strategy is to cut China off from the rest of the world in chip supply chains in order to deny it the opportunity to indigenise its semiconductor industry.

Paul Triolo, China and technology expert describes the new measure as a “major watershed” in US-China relations. “The US has essentially declared war on China’s ability to advance the country’s use of high-performance computing for economic and security gains.”

Conversely, the US is doing all it can to further increase its technological lead. For example, the White House’s National Science and Technology Council has just published a 47-page ‘National Strategy for Advanced Manufacturing’ that includes 11 strategic goals to increase US competitiveness in chips.

Geopolitics aside, the chip industry is also big business. The market capitalization of the largest listed chip firms now exceeds $4,000 billion. China spends more on computer chip imports than on oil.

Quest for allies

Although Biden claims to be eager to work with allies, this chip war is only initiated by the US. Experts admit that if other countries continue to supply China, the restrictions will have little effect. The only consequence then is that US chip companies will miss out on the large Chinese market.

In the past, the US already pressured other countries and regions to stop supplying high-tech products to China. In the case of chips, this mainly involves South Korea, Japan, the Netherlands and the de facto autonomous Chinese province of Taiwan. With the new measure, foreign companies working with US technology are now supposed to act following US restrictions. They must seek US permission on a case-by-case basis.

Of course, foreign countries are not eager to comply with that, because China is a very important if not the most important customer. Samsung, for example, is the world’s largest builder of memory chips. Partly as a result of the new measure, this South Korean company expects 32 percent less revenue. It remains to be seen whether and to what extent these countries will seek and find possible loopholes.

Washington especially wants to bring Taiwan along in its isolation strategy. Taiwan accounts for 92 percent of the world’s high-value chips. For China, imports from Taiwan are economically and technologically vital

It is in the context of this chip war that the provocative visit by Pelosi and other US politicians to the separatist leadership of Taiwan must be viewed. Mid-September, the US Senate approved a bill providing $6.5 billion in direct military aid to the island. Washington is putting pressure on China on several fronts.

Chances of success?

Chips are the main engine of electronics. China itself manufactures about 12 percent of global production. That is by no means enough for its own use. Only one-sixth of what it needs in chips is produced domestically. Moreover, for the time being, it is still unable to produce the most advanced chips.

In other words, in terms of chips, the country is highly dependent on imports. Annually they account for about $400 billion. If that supply were compromised, it would not only mean a very large economic loss, but it would also seriously undermine technological progress. In this sense, chips are considered the Achilles heel of Chinese industry.

To overcome that dependency and catch up with the technological backlog, China is investing more than any other country in this strategic industry. The country has already made serious progress in a number of areas. For example, it has successfully produced a 7 nanometre chip.[2] This puts it only one or two ‘generations’ behind industry leaders in Taiwan and South Korea.  

But with these breakthroughs, it will remain dependent on imports of parts from other countries for the time being.[3] It doesn’t have to stay that way. Analysys Mason, a leading consulting firm, says in a recent report that China could be self-sufficient in chips within three to four years.

In any case, the US restrictive strategy will motivate the Chinese government to allocate even more resources and make breakthroughs. Asia Times gives the example of the 2015 blocking of the supply of Intel’s high-end Xeon Phi processors to Chinese supercomputer makers. A year later, Chinese researchers developed those processors themselves.

In the past, the US has often succeeded in bringing countries to order and keeping them in line. However, whether it will succeed with China is highly questionable. By the end of this decade, we will know whether the US attempt to wreck China’s chip industry has succeeded or failed.


[1] Semiconductors are electronic components based on semiconductor material. A diode and a transistor are examples of semiconductors. In a sense you can think of semiconductors as the building blocks of chips. Chips are integrated circuits, small in size. They are part of a computer or other electronic devices. In the mainstream media, there is usually no distinction between semiconductors and chips.

[2] The company in question, SMCI, is reportedly now working on even more advanced 5 nanometer chips.

[3] For example, China cannot make advanced semiconductor devices without EUV lithography equipment from ASML (Netherlands) and electronic design automation (EDA) tools from Synopsis and Cadence (US) or Siemens (Germany).

Dialogue: On the evolving significance of the Chinese Revolution, with Andrew Murray and Ken Hammond (28 November)

DateMonday 28 November
Time7pm Britain / 2pm US Eastern / 11am US Pacific
VenueMarx Memorial Library
London EC1R 0DU
And Zoom
OrganisersFriends of Socialist China
Morning Star
Marx Memorial Library

The Communist Party of China has established a goal of “building a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful” by 2049 – the centenary of the founding of the People’s Republic. This sounds like an exciting project, and yet Chinese socialism is a poorly understood subject in the West, including among much of the left. Meanwhile, China is being subjected to an intense propaganda war, which in many ways resembles the treatment of the Soviet Union and the East European socialist countries during the Cold War.

This dialogue will explore the history and contemporary reality of the Chinese socialist project, including an analysis of trends in Chinese Marxism, the Reform and Opening Up process, China’s trajectory under the Xi Jinping leadership, the escalating US-led New Cold War, and more.


Andrew Murray is vice-president and founding chair of Stop the War Coalition, a longstanding trade unionist, peace campaigner, and one of the leading thinkers of the British left. He has written a number of books, including most recently ‘Is Socialism Possible in Britain?’, reflecting on his time serving as a political advisor to Jeremy Corbyn. Andrew has maintained an active interest in China for several decades, and has been vocal in his opposition to the New Cold War.

Ken Hammond is a professor of East Asian and Global History at New Mexico State University. He was a student organiser at Kent State University at the time of the shocking incident of 4 May 1970, when the Ohio Army National Guard shot and killed four students peacefully protesting the invasion of Cambodia when Nixon escalated the Vietnam War, and was indicted as one of the ‘Kent 25’. Ken lived and worked in Beijing between 1982 and 1987 managing activities for American educational delegations.

Ken earned his PhD in History and East Asian Languages from Harvard University in 1994, and has worked in support of friendly US-China relations for many decades. He is a founder of the US-based movement Pivot to Peace, set up in 2020 in response to the escalating anti-China rhetoric emanating from US politicians and media. He is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Chinese History, published by Cambridge University Press, and the author of several books, including From Yao to Mao: 5,000 Years of Chinese History. Over the years he has taught at universities in Beijing, Shanghai and Shijiazhuang.

The dialogue will be moderated by Roger McKenzie, International Editor of the Morning Star, and introduced by Iris Yau.

Please register and spread the word!

Keith Bennett: Join hands in the struggle for socialism and against imperialist war

At the recent webinar marking the first anniversary of the International Manifesto Group’s document ‘Through Pluripolarity to Socialism’, Friends of Socialist China co-editor Keith Bennett made a speech assessing geopolitical developments since the launch of the manifesto. Keith observes that imperialism’s hasty retreat from Afghanistan has flowed into escalating aggression against both Russia and China, noting that both “NATO’s proxy war against Russia, which it seems determined to fight to the last Ukrainian” and the new Cold War against China have only intensified under the Biden administration.

Keith further states that the international left – albeit in a partial and contradictory way – is embarked on a process of realignment that has significant parallels to the realignment that took place a century ago, when the lines were drawn between those willing to fight against imperialism and those choosing the path of class collaboration. The questions our movement is asking itself are: “Whether to oppose imperialist war wherever it is waged; whether to support all those who fight imperialism, no matter the banner under which that struggle is waged; and whether to give resolute, wholehearted and unqualified support to any and every country, no matter where and no matter how, where our class, the working class, takes power, and sets out on the long and difficult road of building a new society, a socialist society.”

The late British Prime Minister Harold Wilson reputedly said that a week is a long time in politics. Certainly that might seem to be the case for former UK Chancellor Kwesi Kwarteng. The one who turned up in Washington for the annual meeting of the IMF, declaring he wasn’t going anywhere, only to have to leave early to return home for the dubious pleasure of being sacked.

But if a week is a long time in politics, it’s already one year since we launched our Manifesto, Through Pluripolarity to Socialism. Of course, in the broad sweep of human history, a year is far less than a blink of an eye. But perhaps we should reflect more on Lenin’s famous observation that there are periods of years when nothing seems to happen and then there come days into which years are compressed. We seem to be headed more in that direction.

Two things occupied particular attention when we were drafting the Manifesto. One was the global Covid-19 pandemic, the variegated response to it, the contradictions that it had bought to the surface and exacerbated, and the social, economic and political crises it had triggered. The other was the chaotic US, British and NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan and the ignominious collapse of the puppet regime they had sought to leave behind.

We noted that the response to Covid-19 on the part of the socialist countries had been exemplary. And that has continued to be the case, whether in China, Vietnam, Laos, Cuba, or the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, despite the fact that the last two named countries have laboured for decades under crippling and asphyxiating sanctions and blockades. China, Vietnam and Cuba have not only carried out exemplary policies at home. They have been providers of much-needed aid, primarily to developing countries, but also to developed countries, in the finest traditions of working-class international solidarity. By being the very first country to introduce lockdown measures, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea registered not a single case of Covid for over two years, and then, thanks to a huge nationwide mobilization, rapidly suppressed the virus when it finally entered the country. As the Manifesto stated:

“No wonder, the ruling Communist Party of China celebrated a proud centenary in July 2021.”

As we meet today, the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China has opened in Beijing. It will not only set the scene for the next five years of China’s socialist development, but also map out more generically the route from the achievement of a moderately prosperous society and the complete elimination of extreme poverty, achieved just before the first centenary, that of the party, to the realisation of a modern, powerful and prosperous socialist country in all respects by the time the nation marks its second great centenary, that of the founding of the People’s Republic in 2049.

Continue reading Keith Bennett: Join hands in the struggle for socialism and against imperialist war

Xi Jinping: Hold high the great banner of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics and strive in unity to build a modern socialist country in all respects

We are pleased to reproduce below the full text of the report to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, given by General Secretary Xi Jinping on 16 October 2022. At nearly 25,000 words, it is a long document but deserves careful reading, as it sets out in detail the CPC’s vision for the coming period. You can also read a summary, written by Friends of Socialist China co-editor Keith Bennett.

The English translation of the report was originally published in Xinhua.


On behalf of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), I will now deliver a report to the 20th National Congress.

The 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China is a meeting of great importance. It takes place at a critical time as the entire Party and the Chinese people of all ethnic groups embark on a new journey to build China into a modern socialist country in all respects and advance toward the Second Centenary Goal.

The theme of this Congress is holding high the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, fully implementing the Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, carrying forward the great founding spirit of the Party, staying confident and building strength, upholding fundamental principles and breaking new ground, forging ahead with enterprise and fortitude, and striving in unity to build a modern socialist country in all respects and advance the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts.

Since its founding a century ago, the Communist Party of China has taken a remarkable journey. Our Party has dedicated itself to achieving lasting greatness for the Chinese nation and committed itself to the noble cause of peace and development for humanity. Our responsibility is unmatched in importance, and our mission is glorious beyond compare. It is imperative that all of us in the Party never forget our original aspiration and founding mission, that we always stay modest, prudent, and hard-working, and that we have the courage and ability to carry on our fight. We must remain confident in our history, exhibit greater historical initiative, and write an even more magnificent chapter for socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era.

I. The Work of the Past Five Years and
the Great Changes in the First Decade of the New Era

The five years since the 19th National Congress have been truly momentous and extraordinary. The Party Central Committee has pursued a strategy of national rejuvenation amid global changes of a magnitude not seen in a century. It has convened seven plenary sessions, at which it adopted decisions and resolutions on major issues such as revising China’s Constitution, deepening reform of Party and state institutions, upholding and improving the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics and modernizing China’s system and capacity for governance, formulating the 14th Five-Year Plan for Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Objectives through the Year 2035, and conducting a thorough review of the Party’s major achievements and historical experience over the past century. At these sessions, major strategic plans were also made for advancing the cause of the Party and the country. The Central Committee has brought together the entire Party, the military, and the Chinese people and led them in effectively responding to grave, intricate international developments and a series of immense risks and challenges. With great effort and determination, we have steadily advanced socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era.

Continue reading Xi Jinping: Hold high the great banner of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics and strive in unity to build a modern socialist country in all respects

Interview with Gennady Zyuganov on Chinese socialism

The recently concluded 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) attracted the close attention of communist and progressive forces around the world.

In that regard, shortly before the opening of the Congress, Comrade Gennady Zyuganov, Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF), gave an extensive interview to the leading Chinese newspaper, Guangming Ribao.

Acclaiming the CPC’s century of struggle, the Russian communist leader noted that: “Over the past hundred years the CPC dramatically changed the destiny of the Chinese people. It liberated them from the shackles of semi-colonial dependence, national humiliation and economic enslavement and made the people masters of their land and their destiny. Under the leadership of the CPC the working people of China have driven out foreign invaders, established and consolidated their power and built a middle-income society.”

Speaking of his Chinese counterpart, Zyuganov said: “Xi Jinping is flesh of the flesh of the great Chinese people.” He further noted that the Chinese leader’s father, Comrade Xi Zhongxun, is “a representative of the first generation of Chinese revolutionaries. He was among the founders and leaders of the revolutionary base in the liberated regions of the Shanxi and Gansu provinces and organizers of political work in the People’s Liberation Army of China.”

Noting that the ideas contained in Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era are “universal in character,” and that they “constitute a major innovative contribution to the development of the Marxist theory”, Zyuganov continued: “Writing about socialist society in 1890, Friedrich Engels pointed out that it is not ‘something given once and for all.’ And the great thinker stressed: ‘Like any other social system it should be seen as subject to constant changes and transformations’ … Marx, Engels and Lenin have repeatedly stressed that the characteristics of the socialist social and economic system manifest themselves in the practice of socialist construction in each individual country. Life has vindicated these theoretical premises: a socio-economic system cannot be created according to a single template. Historical experience shows that transition to socialism calls for a combination of the fundamental ideas of Marxism-Leninism and the real state of affairs.”

After speaking about the present situation regarding relations between Russia and China, and such related topics as the conflict in Ukraine, the heightened imperialist hostility and threats to both Russia and China, and the related moves to rehabilitate and revive fascism and militarism and reverse the correct verdicts passed in 1945, Comrade Zyuganov concludes:

“The CPRF is preparing to mark the centenary of the formation of the USSR. Moving along the path of building socialism our country has achieved great successes which have an intransient significance for the whole human race. In 1917 Russia was the first to breach the international front of imperialism and embark on the building of a new society. Following this path under the leadership of the Communist Party the Soviet people have created the most advanced economy for that time, raised living standards, developed science and culture, vanquished fascism and conquered outer space. In the 21st century the relay of victories and accomplishments has been confidently taken from the USSR by socialist China…

“It is only by working persistently to strengthen the unity of the Russian and Chinese people and build up our joint efforts in the struggle against the West’s neo-colonial aspirations that we can uphold the sovereignty of our countries. As Stalin would have said in a similar situation, we will either do it quickly, or we will be crushed.”

We are pleased to republish the full text of this important interview. It was originally published in English on the website of the CPRF.

Speaking at the International Forum of the CPC and Marxist Parties organized by the Communist Party of China you noted that the centenary of the CPC which was marked a year ago was an outstanding milestone in the history of the Chinese people which had great resonance in many countries. How do you assess the successes achieved by the Chinese people under the leadership of the Communist Party of China during the 101 years of revolutionary development?

During its more than a century-long existence the Communist Party of China has traversed a glorious path of creative endeavor. Following its initial goal and fulfilling its mission of social restructuring it managed to unite the popular masses and launch the struggle for a great resurgence of the country on the basis of the values of peace, labor, justice, humanism and progress. In this struggle it has achieved outstanding historic results. Over the past hundred years the CPC dramatically changed the destiny of the Chinese people. It liberated them from the shackles of semi-colonial dependence, national humiliation and economic enslavement and made the people masters of their land and their destiny. Under the leadership of the CPC the working people of China have driven out foreign invaders, established and consolidated their power and built a middle-income society. Today the Chinese look to the future with complete confidence and are making the history of their great Motherland in the new era. Within a historically brief space of time a massive leap has been made toward creating a high-tech industry and dramatically raising people’s living standards. Along with dynamic economic growth long-term stability of the Chinese society has been ensured. This is extremely important for the country as a whole and for each concrete individual. Socialist China is an indisputable leader on many key parameters.

Continue reading Interview with Gennady Zyuganov on Chinese socialism

The CPC: the most successful political party in history

The following article, written for China Today by Carlos Martinez, describes the historic progress China has made over the last decade, and seeks to understand the political framework in which this progress has been made. “Why China? Why is it China and not another country that has carried out the most comprehensive poverty elimination in history? How has China been able to leap from a state of intense poverty, underdevelopment and backwardness just 73 years ago to becoming a country with the second-largest economy in the world, with the average life expectancy of its citizens surpassing that of people in the United States?” Carlos concludes that the answer lies in “China’s political system, its revolutionary history, and the leadership of the CPC”. He opines that China’s socialist system privileges the interests of the masses, unlike the capitalist countries, in which the capitalist class is the ruling class and the interests of the people are subjugated to those of profit. Carlos concludes by noting that China’s successes are a source of inspiration to progressive people the world over.

The 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), which commenced on October 16, 2022, is seen as a milestone event in the history of the CPC.

In the Report delivered by Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, to the Congress, major achievements that the country has accomplished over the past 10 years were summarized.

A decade ago, Xi Jinping put forward the Two Centenary goals: to achieve a “moderately prosperous society in all respects” by the centenary of the CPC in 2021, and a “great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful” by the centenary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 2049.

The core component of achieving a “moderately prosperous society in all respects” was the campaign to alleviate extreme poverty. This goal was achieved in late 2020 – remarkably, whilst China was concurrently battling the COVID-19 pandemic (a pandemic which has sadly resulted in a dramatic rise in poverty in many countries around the world). 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.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated that China had carried out “the greatest anti-poverty achievement in history.” 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 – is without a doubt an extraordinary accomplishment.

Continue reading The CPC: the most successful political party in history

Video: China’s socialist development model speaks for itself

In the video below, originally carried on CGTN, Li Jingjing interviews Carlos Martinez about the recently-concluded 20th National Congress of the CPC – in particular its focus on common prosperity – as well as the successes of China’s development model.

Carlos outlines the core principles of common prosperity – reducing poverty, reducing inequality, improving distribution, and increased regulation of capital. He highlights in particular the measures that have already been taken in support of workers in the ‘gig economy’, including recent legislation supporting and encouraging unionisation, and mandating that all workers have proper contracts and full insurance entitlement. These measures compare very favourably with the situation in the West, where casual workers face terrible working conditions, zero-hour contracts and anti-union policies.

Discussing China’s development model of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics, Carlos points out that the successes of this model speak for themselves. It is a model that has been able to eliminate extreme poverty in a huge country of 1.4 billion people – an unprecedented achievement. “Anyone saying it’s a bad model is saying that it’s bad for people who used to face famines to now live comfortable lives.”

China and Cuba: a relationship of solidarity, friendship and cooperation

We are very pleased to publish below an interview with Carlos Miguel Pereira Hernández, Cuba’s ambassador to China, conducted by People’s Daily and published in Chinese on 13 October. The unabridged English translation has been provided to us by the Cuban Embassy in Beijing.

Timed to coincide with the 62nd anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Cuba and the People’s Republic of China, the interview gives an overview of the history and contemporary reality of relations between the two countries.

Noting that revolutionary Cuba was the first country in the Western hemisphere to extend diplomatic recognition to the People’s Republic of China – in 1960, just a year after the 26th of July Movement came to power – Pereira references the role played by Chinese immigrants in Cuba’s independence struggle. He points out that Cuba and China consider themselves “mutual referents in the construction of socialism with our own characteristics” and notes that President Miguel Díaz-Canel describes Cuba-China ties as “paradigmatic”, and President Xi Jinping describes them as those of “good friends, good comrades and good brothers”.

Describing the cooperation between China and Cuba fields in a vast array of fields, Comrade Pereira expresses confidence that the relationship will continue to deepen.

This year marks the 62nd anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Cuba, how do you assess the fraternal friendship between the two countries? What are your specific plans to further promote economic, trade and people-to-people exchanges between the two countries?     

Relations between Cuba and China were made official on September 28, 1960, a formal step after the announcement by Commander in Chief Fidel Castro a few days earlier in front of more than a million Cubans, in the context of the historic First Declaration of Havana, to recognize the New China and rescind ties with Taiwan. That just decision was born of the political and popular will that have accompanied our relations throughout these 62 years.

The nascent Cuban Revolution definitively broke with the Monroe Doctrine and blind obedience to Washington, allowing Cuba to become the first country in the entire Western Hemisphere to establish ties with New China. We are honored to have made that modest contribution as one of the first manifestations of independence from our foreign policy.

The historical foundations and deep bonds of friendship between our peoples go back to the arrival of those first Chinese immigrants 175 years ago, who also had an outstanding and glorious participation in our struggles for independence.

Throughout these years of uninterrupted relations, Cuba has had the historic privilege of always being in the front row in promoting exchanges with China. Our relations represent a model of cooperation based on equality, respect and mutual benefit. We consider ourselves mutual referents in the construction of socialism with our own characteristics and on that basis, we carry out a broad and systematic exchange of experiences.

Continue reading China and Cuba: a relationship of solidarity, friendship and cooperation

Summary of Xi Jinping’s report to the 20th National Congress of the CPC

The following article by Friends of Socialist China co-editor Keith Bennett provides a brief summary of Xi Jinping’s highly significant and substantial report given at the opening of the CPC’s 20th National Congress on 16 October 2022.

As soon as the official English translation of the report is available, we will republish it on this site.

Entitled Hold High the Great Banner of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics and Strive in Unity to Build a Modern Socialist Country in All Respects, Comrade Xi Jinping’s report to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China is a political document of great significance, summing up the work of a 96-million strong party over the last period and outlining its course ahead.

Comrade Xi begins by noting that the congress, “takes place at a critical time as the entire Party and the Chinese people of all ethnic groups embark on a new journey to build China into a modern socialist country in all respects and advance toward the Second Centenary Goal”, which is that of building a fully modernized socialist country. In this course, it is imperative that the party “never forget our original aspiration and founding mission”, and “always stay modest, prudent, and hard-working.”

Calling the five years since the last congress, “truly momentous and extraordinary”, he noted that the Party had led the Chinese people in “effectively responding to grave, intricate international developments and a series of immense risks and challenges.” It had promoted high-quality development, whole-process people’s democracy, improved public well-being as a matter of priority, put the people and their lives above all else, and launched an all-out people’s war to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Moreover, it had dealt with “drastic changes in the international landscape, especially external attempts to blackmail, contain, blockade, and exert maximum pressure on China”, by showing a “fighting spirit” and a “firm determination to never yield to coercive power.”

Over the last five years, the party had led the people “in solving a great number of problems that had long gone unsolved, securing many accomplishments that hold major future significance, and achieving impressive advances in the cause of the Party and the country.”

Continue reading Summary of Xi Jinping’s report to the 20th National Congress of the CPC

Video: China plans new era of revolution in 20th CPC national congress

On 21 October 2022, Friends of Socialist China co-editors Danny Haiphong and Carlos Martinez joined Multipolarista editor Ben Norton to discuss the CPC’s 20th National Congress, currently drawing to a close in Beijing.

In the 90-minute stream embedded below, the three discuss some of the key themes emerging from the Congress, including the pursuit of China’s Second Centenary Goal (“building a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful”), common prosperity, ecological civilization, whole-process people’s democracy, and the need for self-reliance and military modernization in the face of escalating hostility from the imperialist countries.

The stream was broadcast simultaneously on Multipolarista, The Left Lens, and Friends of Socialist China.

Video: When the West visits Africa, they talk about China

We are pleased to reproduce this video from Wave Media featuring a dialogue between Fred M’membe, President of the Socialist Party of Zambia, and Kyeretwie Opoku, Convenor of the Socialist Movement of Ghana, two of the new-emerging Marxist parties in Africa, on the question of relations between Africa and China. 

According to the discussants, China is not an enemy of Africa.  China has never attempted to colonize an African country and still has no ambitions to do so.  In contrast, they note that the imperialist powers, particularly the United States, are increasingly trying to recolonize the continent. With their setting up of more military bases, their aim is both to suppress popular revolts as well as to exclude those they deem to be external competitors. The US and other Western powers are not there to defend the local people but rather their control of strategic minerals. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has an estimated 70% of the world’s cobalt resources, and neighboring countries like Zambia, Namibia and Niger are also rich in cobalt, uranium and other minerals. A Nigerien uranium mine supplies one third of France’s electricity. In one of the world’s poorest countries, people are being poisoned for generations to come by having to work in this open-pit mine.

When the west was colonizing Africa, the discussants note, China was supporting the liberation struggle, and subsequently helped defend Africa’s newly won independence. A key example was the Tazara Railway, which enabled landlocked Zambia to break out of its blockade and encirclement by countries still then under racist and colonial rule. Both the United States and Britain refused to help build the railway, but China stepped in, even though it had no comparable railways of its own at that time and many African countries had a higher GDP per capita than China. Today, almost all the major new infrastructure projects to be seen in Africa have been built by China.

Similarly, in the 1970s, Zambia was repeatedly bombed by the white racist regimes in South Africa and ‘Rhodesia’. The country had no air defenses to protect its territory or the bases of the national liberation movements it was hosting. The Americans, British and even the Soviet Union refused to sell air defenses to Zambia. China was the only country prepared to aid Zambia in this way, sending an entire squadron of MiG21s, even though China itself possessed only limited defenses at that time.

Why is the great project of Ecological Civilization specific to China?

The following article, reprinted from MR (Monthly Review) Online – and also published by the Poyang Lake Journal in China – is an extensive interview by three Chinese scholars with Professor John Bellamy Foster on the specificity of the ecological civilization project to China. Bellamy Foster is a significant and original Marxist theoretician and edits the long-established independent socialist journal Monthly Review. Much of his work in recent years has been devoted to exploring the synergy between ecology and Marxism.

The interviewers note that he opposes and refutes the severing of connections between Chinese ecological tradition and Marxism, in a way that would place the latter in opposition to Chinese traditional culture. Bellamy Foster contends that synergizing the various factors involved is a daunting task, “but I would immediately dispel the notion that… [it is] insurmountable by pointing to one of the foremost Marxist thinkers of the twentieth century: Joseph Needham.”

Bellamy Foster’s citing of Needham in this context is significant. The main compiler of the monumental, multi-volume series, Science and Civilization in China, in its obituary, the Independent newspaper described him as “possibly the greatest scholar since Erasmus.” Yet his contributions to Marxism remain largely overlooked by the left. According to Bellamy Foster, “For Needham, it was the dialectical vision of Karl Marx that was most crucial in creating a renewed ecological vision in the present day. But it was also necessary to draw on… traditional Chinese thought,” including Daoism, a method that Bellamy Foster also employs.

Developing his argument that it is specifically China’s socialist orientation that enables the country to be today’s pioneer in the development of an ecological civilization, Bellamy Foster notes:

“As Needham insisted, there are deep ecological roots in Chinese culture. Nevertheless, it is socialism with Chinese characteristics and ecological Marxism that have put the concept of ecological civilization on the agenda today in China in a way that is entirely absent in the capitalist world system itself… [President] Xi spoke of ‘socialist eco-civilization,’ involving ‘a new model of modernization with humans developing in harmony… [with] nature.’ Here he was acknowledging that there can be no true ‘global endeavor for ecological civilization’ unless it is at the same time a movement toward socialism.”

In contrast, Bellamy Foster notes that: “Although it is true that the notion of a Green New Deal has been raised by progressives in the West, that conception is usually seen as simply a Green Keynesianism or green corporatism… Moreover, while China has made moves to implement its radical conception of ecological civilization, which is built into state planning and regulation, the notion of a Green New Deal has taken concrete form nowhere in the West. It is merely a slogan at this point without any real political backing within the system. It was talked about by progressive forces and then rejected by the powers that be.”

In the course of the interview, Bellamy Foster develops his thinking on the process of urbanization and the evolving rural/urban balance in China, in the course of which he makes the important point that: “One of the extraordinary results of the Chinese Revolution that still persists today, but is not commonly understood in the West, is that despite the breakup of collective farms and the earlier communal structure, the land in China still is collectively owned by the rural population. In this sense, de-collectivization did not extend to full privatization. Agriculture is still to a considerable extent organized by village communities.”

Questioned on his assertion that “ecological communism cannot be truly realized if there is no environmental proletariat, Bellamy Foster takes issue with the historic influence of economism in socialist thought, explaining that: “The concept of the proletariat was economistically reduced to the industrial proletariat or industrial working class and commonly restricted to the urban population. Yet Marx and Engels themselves had a much wider conception of the proletariat, not restricted to, say, the role of factory workers. Nor did they see material conditions simply in narrow economic terms, but rather as encompassing the larger environment of the workers.”

This, he asserts, can be most clearly seen in Engels’ Condition of the Working Class in England, and continues: “Contrary to myth, Marx and Engels were not anti-peasant but wrote a great deal supporting peasant class struggles. Moreover, the great socialist revolutions in Russia, China, and elsewhere, involved proletarian-peasant alliances… The ‘wretched of the earth’ today are struggling over material conditions that are as much environmental as economic, with changing environmental conditions an indirect product of world capital accumulation.”

All in all, this is a very serious and thought-provoking interview that merits careful reading.

Guo Jianren: Professor Foster, thank you for doing this interview. This is my first interview with you and, as far as I know, the first interview you have completed with an ecological Marxism scholar from mainland China. The honor is mine, especially as I have a fairly long acquaintance with your great works. Back in 2004, in my doctoral dissertation, I introduced your works on ecological Marxism in a systematic way to the Chinese Marxist academic readers. In the following decades, we have studied your ecological Marxism closely, and your important contributions have been recognized, examined, and disseminated further. Thank you again for giving this lecture on “Ecological Civilization and Ecological Revolution: An Ecological Marxist Perspective” at the invitation of the Sunshine Valley Cobb Ecological Institute. This interview will mainly follow the key points of your speech.

Your lecture begins with the dialectical connections among ecological civilization, ecological Marxism, and ecological revolution, viewed from both historical and practical perspectives. You demonstrate the importance of ecological socialism or ecological Marxism in the conception of ecological civilization, and point out that in non-socialist countries, people can only talk about ecological civilization in an abstract and empty way. You oppose and refute the cultural theorist Jeremy Lent’s interpretation of the conception of Chinese ecological civilization, which separates the connections between Chinese ecological civilization, socialism, and the Marxist ideological tradition, placing Chinese traditional culture in opposition to Marxism. This makes Lent’s analysis seriously inconsistent with the historical process and practical reality of China’s ecological civilization’s conceptional development. In contrast, your analysis leads to an issue that we are very concerned about. In relation to your ecological-materialism method developed on the basis of historical materialism and dialectical materialism, and in accordance with the theoretical research into ecological Marxism and Chinese ecological civilization, the question arises: How is this connected to ideological and cultural elements other than Marxism, such as achievements in natural science, incorporation of Chinese traditional cultural concepts, or the role of Whiteheadian organic philosophy? This is a critical issue for studies of ecological Marxism in China right now, and one in which there is an urgent need for theoretical breakthroughs. Under the guidance of President Xi Jinping’s thoughts on ecological civilization in China, the practice of eco-civilization is making progress day by day. China’s practice of rapid renewal in this area requires continuous progress in theoretical updating, so that the development of practice and theory are advanced at an accelerating synergetic pace.

Continue reading Why is the great project of Ecological Civilization specific to China?

Capitalism’s senility and socialism’s vigor are increasingly apparent to world

We are pleased to republish this important interview with Professor Radhika Desai, Convenor of the International Manifesto Group and member of our advisory group, originally published by Global Times. The focus of the interview is the ever more stark demarcation between stagnating western capitalism and booming socialist China.

Analysing the turn to neo-liberalism, particularly in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis, Radhika asserts: “Liberal democracy is a contradiction in terms… Capitalism is not in the interests of the vast majority of working people.”

Questioned on the premise of earlier Western engagement with China, and its expectation that it would lead to the demise of socialism, Radhika notes: “China’s development is entirely attributed to the country’s adherence to socialism, both in the early period under Mao and in the later reform and opening-up period… After reform and opening-up, the US stepped up economic engagement with China and the idea, particularly after the end of the Soviet Union in 1991, was that such engagement would also make China more or less capitalist, even neoliberal. However, for China this engagement was only another means to advance socialism… Capitalism’s senility and socialism’s vigor are increasingly apparent.”

For the Chinese people, the past decade has been epic and inspirational. The country, under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core, has made great endeavors in boosting its economy, deepening reforms, improving the rights of its people and acting as a responsible power globally.

The world has been increasingly turbulent in recent years due to multiple crises triggered by the US-led West, while there is an obvious tendency that the West is more and more difficult to maintain its development momentum like in the last century. After the 2008 financial crisis, economic growth in Western countries has remained low, in stark contrast to China’s boom. Global Times (GT) reporter Yan Yuzhu talked to Radhika Desai (Desai), convenor of International Manifesto Group and professor of political studies at the University of Manitoba in Canada, about her opinion toward the weakness of capitalism, the adverse consequences of neoliberalism for Western development, as well as China’s role in making a way to pluripolarity. 

This is the 25th of the series about this special decade.

GT: After the 2008 financial crisis, especially in the last decade, economic growth in the West has remained very low and the crisis of their domestic political system has been highlighted time and again. In contrast, China has maintained a relatively stable momentum of development, and the gap between China and the US has gradually narrowed. What do you think are the reasons for this difference? 

Desai: The low economic growth of major capitalist countries since 2008 is the result of the turn to neoliberalism. It never managed to restore the growth of the 1970s. It occurred because production had outstripped demand and, rather than solving the demand problem, neoliberalism only made it worse. Its attack on organized labor and social spending restricted consumption demand while its encouragement towards financial and rentier activity reduced investment demand, siphoning away funds into speculation and predatory activity. The attempt to compensate for low demand, low growth and low government revenues by extending credit to consumers and governments has only led to mountains of debt and asset bubbles that have regularly burst, weakening economies further. 

This process has been ongoing for more than four decades. At the start, the major capitalist countries were much healthier thanks to their “golden age” of robust growth and the broad-based distribution of incomes. But over time, the disastrous effects of neoliberal policies were assailing ever weaker economies. 

Continue reading Capitalism’s senility and socialism’s vigor are increasingly apparent to world

The importance of the 20th CPC National Congress to the world

Writing in CGTN, co-editor of FoSC Danny Haiphong analyzes the importance of the ongoing 20th CPC National Congress to the rest of the world. Danny asserts that the CPC’s leadership over China’s socialist modernization process offers inspiration that developing countries seeking a way out of the Western framework of imperial hegemony can draw from.

The 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) began on October 16 and gathered more than 2,200 party delegates to deliberate on the progress of the goals set forth in the 19th Congress and those to be achieved moving forward.

With the opening of the 20th CPC National Congress, Western media attempted to undermine China by spreading innuendos about the country. Such baseless rumors demonstrated the ceaseless attempts of certain countries, namely the U.S. and its European allies, to discredit China’s governance system. Yet no amount of anti-China slander changes the importance of the 20th CPC National Congress to the world.

Contrary to Western media hype, the CPC has already demonstrated a high level of stability that is sorely missing in much of the world. The CPC has proven its legitimacy to the people through concrete actions. China comes into the 20th CPC National Congress having achieved the CPC’s first centenary goal of “Xiaokang,” a moderately prosperous country in all respects, in 2021. The CPC led the way in eradicating extreme poverty in China ahead of schedule and has met recent challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic and a U.S.-led containment with strength and resolve. The interests of the Chinese people have been safeguarded by the CPC in national development, and the principal of peace has been prioritized by the Party in all aspects of its foreign policy.

Continue reading The importance of the 20th CPC National Congress to the world

Cheng Enfu: The new pattern of international economy and politics is conducive to the development of world socialism

The International Manifesto Group (IMG), a discussion group of academics and activists in which Friends of Socialist China participates, held an online symposium on Sunday October 16 to mark one year since the launch of its manifesto, Through Pluripolarity to Socialism.

Joining an impressive line-up of speakers, Professor Cheng Enfu, a leading academician at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) and President of the World Association of Political Economy (WAPE), lauded the Manifesto for its “clear theme, profound ideas and magnificent momentum” in appraising the past, present and future of socialism.

According to Professor Cheng, the response to Covid and the Ukraine conflict have both served to expose imperialism and led more people in the world to support socialism. 

Faced with imperialist aggression, the close relationship between China and Russia objectively constitutes the core of the world progressive forces today, he argues.

According to Professor Cheng, the Soviet Union did not collapse due to any failure of socialism, but rather to the treachery of the Gorbachev and Yeltsin leading groups combined with the long imperialist encirclement.

We are pleased to publish Professor Cheng’s speech below.

In September 2021, I spoke at the launch meeting of the Manifesto: Through Pluripolarity to Socialism. The Manifesto has a clear theme, profound ideas, magnificent momentum, and clearly articulated the history of world socialism, its present status quo and future. The international situation over the past year has continued to confirm the fundamental point of the Manifesto. In the following I would like to share with you a few points of mine on the development of socialism in the world, for the sake of discussion.

First, the severe situation of the Covid-19 pandemic in the West has led more people around the world to realize the advantages of the socialist system and its way of governance. So far Russia has exposed dozens of US biological labs in Ukraine, scientists from various countries have revealed that the coronavirus originated in the United States, and the spokesperson of China’s Foreign Ministry has also raised questions about whether the coronavirus originated in the United States. The United States has evaded all these questions. It is now the third year of the pandemic, and no one knows how long it is going to last. As the Manifesto rightly says, “As ramshackle capitalisms responded to the pandemic inevitably shambolically, matters nosedived. Whether they denied it or falsely pitted lives against livelihoods—the capitalist class’s euphemism for profits—their response to the pandemic amounted to the social murder of millions and induced economic crises of historic proportions.”

More and more people around the world are realizing that the developed capitalist countries in the West are responsible for the pandemic and the high mortality rate. The class position and prejudice of Francis Fukuyama, Joseph Nye, etc. lead them to defend the Western system, claiming that the difference between governments of Western countries such as the US and that of China is only the capacity of governance. Such defense is futile. In contrast to the situation in the West, socialist countries like China, Vietnam, Cuba and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea follow the human rights principle that prioritizes people’s life and health and have achieved the dual goal of epidemic prevention and control and economic development.

Continue reading Cheng Enfu: The new pattern of international economy and politics is conducive to the development of world socialism

Video: Why has China suddenly become a ‘threat’ to the UK?

In the video embedded below, FoSC co-editor Keith Bennett discusses with George Galloway the recent decision by the British state to designate China as a security threat. Keith points out that this reflects a foreign policy trajectory in Britain of providing unquestioning support to the US; essentially outsourcing its foreign policy to Washington, which, starting with Obama’s Pivot to Asia and then escalating through the Trump and Biden administrations, seems intent on waging a New Cold War to contain China and suppress its rise.

George and Keith both observe that, just a few years ago, Britain and China were enjoying a ‘golden era’ of relations. Britain under the Cameron-Osborne administration was strongly encouraging trade with, and investment from, China. Indeed, Keith points out that British Steel would have gone out of business had it not been acquired by a Chinese company. At that time, the British government was operating on the (correct) basis that good relations with China were positive for the British economy. The idea that China has suddenly become more aggressive or changed its basic policy orientation is absurd: China isn’t sailing gunboats through the Solent; rather Britain is sailing its warships through the Taiwan Strait and forming a nuclear alliance with Australia and the US. British policy-makers have clearly decided, counter to the interests of the British economy, to join in with the US-led hybrid warfare against China. Nothing good will come of this strategy for the British people.

The Communist Party of China’s congress matters to us all

In the following article, first published in the Morning Star, Friends of Socialist China co-editor Keith Bennett previews the 20th National Congress of China, which started on 16 October 2022. Noting the superficial and, in no small measure, racist coverage of the Congress in the Western mainstream media, Keith explores some of the key themes that are likely to figure prominently in the proceedings, including common prosperity, tackling inequality, continuing the struggle against corruption, and promoting sustainable development and the pursuance of an “ecological civilisation”.

Keith notes that, at the 19th Congress five years ago, Xi Jinping defined the principal contradiction in Chinese society as being between unbalanced and inadequate development on the one hand and the people’s ever-growing needs for a better life on the other. As such, the CPC-led government has in recent years developed a laser focus on corruption, regional disparities, excessive inequality and environmental degradation; since 2020, the extraordinarily effective campaign to suppress Covid-19 must be added to this list. Readers in the West may well find themselves wishing their own governments would learn a lesson or two.

The article concludes on an inspiring note: “In July 1921, 13 delegates representing 57 party members met in conditions of secrecy, in fear of their lives but with great optimism and courage, to found the Communist Party of China. From there to a party of nearly 97 million, from a ruined to a strong and proud nation, is a long march without historical equal.”

The Communist Party of China (CPC) will open its 20th national congress on October 16. While Western media obsess about personalities, gossip and supposed intrigues, a sort of the West Wing meets I, Claudius, overlain with a not very well disguised coating of racist orientalism, this is actually a very serious political event.

How could it be otherwise? The CPC leads a country of some 1.4 billion people, the most populous on Earth. That country is the world’s second largest economy. By some methods of calculation, it may already be the largest.

As the CPC is a proudly Marxist party and leads a country engaged in a long-term socialist project, this five-yearly gathering is naturally of great interest to the communist and socialist movements.

However, considering China’s weight and role in the world, whether in economy, geopolitics or climate change, its decisions will impact in some way on every human being on Earth.

As befits such a serious political event, the congress will have been meticulously prepared. The political report to be delivered by general secretary Xi Jinping will sum up the work since the 19th congress held in October 2017 and set out the roadmap not just for the next five years, but also, more generically, to the 100th anniversary of the People’s Republic in 2049, by which time the goal is for China to have become a highly developed, modern socialist country, with 2035 being seen as a significant midway point from the “first centenary,” namely that of the CPC last year.

Certainly, the report will bear Xi’s personal imprint and reflect his leading role, but it will also be very much a collective effort. Over the last year, it will have gone through numerous drafts, with a huge number of contributions and suggestions from specialised groups and party structures at all levels from the grassroots up.

The contrast with the clownish and dysfunctional farces into which the conferences of Britain’s major political parties have descended could scarcely be starker.

The Chinese media has reported that a total of 2,296 delegates have been elected to the congress. Quoting an official statement, China Daily reported that they “are outstanding CPC members who are highly qualified ideologically and politically, have good work styles and high moral standards, are competent in discussing state affairs and have made remarkable achievements in their work.”

Considering that they have been chosen to represent more than 96.7 million party members that should certainly be the case.

The paper further reported: “Among the delegates are party members in leadership positions and those from the grassroots, a considerable number of female party members and those from ethnic minority groups. They also come from all walks of life, such as the economy, science, national defence, law enforcement, education, health, sports and culture.”

The congress can be expected to reflect both the essential continuity of the long Chinese revolution, through all its many phases, but particularly the changes that have occurred since Xi was elected to lead the party at the 18th congress in 2012.

At the last congress, Xi announced that the principal contradiction in Chinese society had changed. It was now to be understood as being between unbalanced and inadequate development on the one hand and the people’s ever-growing needs for a better life on the other.

This may seem to be a somewhat arcane formulation, but it is actually extremely important. Following the death of Mao Zedong in 1976 and the formal end to the Cultural Revolution, the party leadership abandoned the view that the principal contradiction in Chinese society was represented by the class struggle, considering it inappropriate for a country in which the basic system of socialism had already been established, but which had a crying need for development.

Instead, the leadership around Deng Xiaoping decided that the principal contradiction was now that between people’s ever-growing material and cultural needs and China’s relatively backward social productive forces. According to this formulation, overriding priority was to be given to development.

The result was, of course, the most rapid and dramatic economic transformation of any society in human history. With hundreds of millions of people lifted out of poverty, the creation of the world’s largest middle income group, a country whose per capita GDP was below that of most of sub-Saharan Africa (albeit its “social wage” was mostly higher) and which was quite marginal to the global economy, became the “workshop of the world,” and by 2020 was the top trading partner of some 128 countries.

Continue reading The Communist Party of China’s congress matters to us all

China’s rapid, peaceful rise not a threat to any country

In the following article, China Daily’s EU bureau chief Chen Weihua responds to news reports that British Prime Minister Liz Truss is planning to declare China a “strategic threat” to the United Kingdom. Noting the total lack of evidence in support of such a label, Chen mourns the fact that China-bashing, which “has long been a favorite sport in Washington”, has developed unprecedented popularity in London’s corridors of power.

Chen observes that, behind the West’s rising hostility towards China, there is a certain outrage that China’s rise disrupts the natural order of things, in which the West imposes its hegemony on the rest of the world. Chen writes that China’s rapid rise is seen as threatening because “its ascent has been achieved peacefully, without waging wars, bombing or occupying a foreign country, seizing or colonizing any foreign territory, staging coups or assassinating any foreign leaders.” Unfortunately the same cannot be said of the rise of North America and Western Europe.

The author concludes by calling for a return to sanity; for dialogue, cooperation, exchanges, trade, and an end to the hysterical fearmongering that the British side has adopted in recent years.

This article originally appeared in China Daily.

It was shocking to read British news media reports on Tuesday that the United Kingdom government under Prime Minister Liz Truss is likely to declare China a “threat” to the UK in its new review of the country’s strategic enemies.

The reports quoted Jeremy Fleming, head of the Government Communications Headquarters, or the UK’s intelligence agency, as saying that China’s “great strength combined with fear is driving them into actions that could represent a huge threat to us all”.Fleming even warned parents to think before they allow their kids to use the TikTok app.

Delivering a lecture at the Royal United Services Institute, Fleming said China’s approach to technology dominance puts them against “the whole open, democratic order and the international rules-based system”.

But such allegations are nothing but speculation, lies and fearmongering.

It’s the British government which disregarded its own experts’ recommendation two years ago that Huawei 5G does not pose a national security threat to the UK and chose to kowtow to US pressure to ban Huawei 5G from its 5G network.

Fleming called China’s rise as a “security issue that will define our future”. But does he really believe that countries such as China should be condemned to making shoes and shirts for the West, and never be allowed to catch up or lead the world in technologies?

Continue reading China’s rapid, peaceful rise not a threat to any country