China supports peace, unity and development in Ethiopia

During his recent visit to Ethiopia, the first leg of his ongoing Africa tour, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang addressed the current peace process in the East African country in a press conference he gave together with Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen. 

Asked for his views on the recent peace agreement, signed on November 2, 2022 in South Africa, Qin Gang noted that that Ethiopia is the common home of all Ethiopian people, including those from Tigray.

Ethiopia has now entered a new stage of looking forward to peace and focusing on development after the recent signing of a ceasefire agreement between the federal government of Ethiopia and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which has been gradually implemented, he said.

China is sincerely glad to see this and extends warm congratulations to the government and people of Ethiopia, Qin added.

He said China has always taken the view that the conflict in Tigray is an internal affair of Ethiopia and that the Ethiopian people have the wisdom and ability to independently resolve their internal differences.

The TPLF was the principal component of the now defunct Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), which was the ruling party in Ethiopia until 2019.

Qin Gang also responded to questions on the “Outlook on Peace and Development in the Horn of Africa”, proposed by China.

The following article was originally published by the Xinhua News Agency.

Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang on Tuesday addressed members of the press along with Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen, after their talks in Addis Ababa.

When asked about China’s views on the peace agreement in Ethiopia and the progress of the China-proposed “Outlook on Peace and Development in the Horn of Africa” in Ethiopia, Qin said that Ethiopia is the common home of all Ethiopian people, including those from Tigray.

Ethiopia has now entered a new stage of looking forward to peace and focusing on development after the recent signing of a ceasefire agreement between the federal government of Ethiopia and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which has been gradually implemented, he said.

Continue reading China supports peace, unity and development in Ethiopia

Video: Lao president speaks about close bonds with China

In this episode of the new CGTN series Leaders Talk, Zou Yun interviews Thongloun Sisoulith, President of Laos and Secretary-General of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party. 

Describing the inauguration of the Laos-China High-Speed Railway as the dream of the Lao people come true, President Thongloun refers to the long history of brotherly connections between the two countries and peoples, specifically to their helping each other in the fight against foreign aggressors. During the Lao people’s war of liberation, the communist party, army and people of China rendered timely, effective and unconditional support to their Lao comrades, and this friendship, comradeship and brotherhood has continued in the new phase of nation building. 

Thongloun recalls his own first visit to China in 1970, when he was a young man in his 20s, working in the Hanoi office of the Lao Patriotic Front. At that time he was escorting 500 students who were to study at the China-Laos Friendship School, which had been established in the city of Nanning in 1967. With Laos facing a brutal US war of aggression, “we sent our kids to China for the Chinese comrades to take care of them.”

Over many subsequent visits to China, Thongloun notes that the Chinese economy has boomed, the country has remained stable, and China has become a pillar of world peace and stability. 

He speaks at some length about his impressions of, and personal relationship with, President Xi Jinping, which is clearly characterised by a deep friendship and comradeship. He also talks about the cultural similarities between Laos and China. Noting that China has “many good old revolutionary songs”, he says that he “loves them very much.”

Zou Yun also takes a ride on the high-speed train to get the impressions of some passengers. 

The full interview is embedded below.

China hosts state visits from the Philippines and Turkmenistan

China’s diplomatic year began in the first week of January with President Xi Jinping hosting state visits by President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. of the Philippines from January 3-5 followed by that of President Serdar Berdimuhamedov of Turkmenistan from January 5-6. China’s hosting in this way of two leaders from neighbouring countries, in South East Asia and Central Asia respectively, reflects the strong and increasing emphasis given in its foreign policy to relations with fellow Asian countries, neighboring countries in particular.

Marcos was not only the first foreign leader hosted by China in 2023 – this was also his first visit to China since he assumed his country’s presidency on June 30 2022 and his first official visit to a country outside the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). However, he is certainly no stranger to the country. In 1974, at the age of 17, he accompanied his mother, Imelda Marcos to a meeting in Beijing with the late Chairman Mao Zedong, one year before his father, the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos established diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic.

His visit this time was a major success, resulting in the adoption of an extensive Joint Statement between the two countries along with 14 cooperation documents across a wide range of sectors. In particular, both sides agreed to continue to properly handle maritime issues through friendly consultation and resume negotiations on oil and gas exploration.

According to their joint statement: “The two leaders had an in-depth and candid exchange of views on the situation in the South China Sea, emphasized that maritime issues do not comprise the sum-total of relations between the two countries and agreed to appropriately manage differences through peaceful means. Both sides reaffirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace and stability in the region and the freedom of navigation in and overflight above the South China Sea, and reached consensus on the peaceful resolution of disputes on the basis of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), the United Nations Charter and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).”

For his part, President Xi, “expressed readiness to stay in regular strategic communication with President Marcos Jr. and make comprehensive plans for the growth of bilateral ties so that the two countries will stay good neighbors helping each other, good relatives sharing affinity, and good partners pursuing win-win cooperation, delivering more benefits to the two peoples and contributing more positive energy to peace and stability in the region.”

All of this constitutes a significant blow to the efforts of the United States, which has worked overtime to create and exacerbate discord between the Philippines and China over the maritime and other issues with a view to maintaining its own neo-colonial domination over the Philippines alongside its strategic position in the region.

Hosting his Turkmen counterpart, Xi Jinping highlighted the similar values, goals and converging interests shared by the two nations, saying that they should work together in their respective paths toward rejuvenation, enhance their strengths, explore further potential for cooperation and attain common growth. It was the two leaders’ second meeting in a few months, having met in September on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit held in the Uzbek city of Samarkand.

At their meeting this time, they announced that their two countries were elevating their bilateral ties to those of a comprehensive strategic partnership. Turkmenistan is a major producer of natural gas and President Xi noted that cooperation in this sector is the cornerstone of their bilateral relations, with the two countries needing to further explore the potential for cooperation in green energy, natural gas exploitation and technological equipment, and work toward cooperation covering whole industry chains.

Turkmenistan is a key supplier of natural gas to China, with the two nations having developed three gas pipelines in a project known as the China-Central Asia Gas Pipeline. The project supplies natural gas to over 500 million residents in 27 provincial-level regions and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, according to Xinhua News Agency.

Berdimuhamedov told a ceremony in June that the construction of a fourth line of the China-Central Asia Gas Pipeline will take the annual transmission capacity to China to 65 billion cubic meters. The current pipeline delivered over 40 billion cubic meters of natural gas in the January-November period last year, according to its operator.

During their meeting, Xi said the cooperation mechanism between China and the five Central Asian countries is open, transparent, mutually beneficial, equal and pragmatic. China stands ready to work with Turkmenistan to ensure the success of the first summit between China and the five nations, he said.

Xi said China supports constructive cooperation between Turkmenistan and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and is willing to make joint efforts in practicing true multilateralism. Since its emergence as an independent state, following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Turkmenistan has firmly upheld its independence and practices strict neutrality. It presently attends SCO meetings in the capacity of an official guest. Coinciding with his visit, President Berdimuhamedov contributed an article to the Decision Makers platform of CGTN, where he wrote that:

“Turkmenistan closely monitors the development of China and is pleased with the nation’s achievements. In a very short period of its history, China has emerged as a world pioneer in economic and scientific development, with robust growth in industrial output and the completion of many large-scale social development programs. China has managed to pull off an outstanding achievement ‒ the eradication of absolute poverty. Today, China is taking confident steps towards building a modern socialist country in an all-round way. There is no doubt that the above brilliant achievements are made possible by the political will, strong determination and correct strategic policies of the Communist Party of China, as well as the understanding and support of the Chinese people.”

The following articles were originally published by the Xinhua News Agency, China Daily and CGTN.

China, Philippines cement ties in new year

Xinhua, 5 January 2023

Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with Philippine President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. at the Great Hall of the People during the latter’s state visit to China on Wednesday.

Marcos is the first foreign leader hosted by China in 2023. This visit is his first visit to China as president and his first official visit to a country outside the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

“This speaks volumes about the close ties between China and the Philippines and the important place that the two countries take in each other’s foreign policies,” Xi told Marcos.

A journey to retrace history and plan for the future

China and the Philippines are close neighbors facing each other across the sea. In their exchanges over a millennium, good faith and mutual assistance have remained the defining feature of bilateral relations and a precious legacy cherished by the two peoples, Xi said.

Continue reading China hosts state visits from the Philippines and Turkmenistan

China and Angola celebrate 40 years of diplomatic relations

China and Angola celebrated the 40th anniversary of their establishing diplomatic relations on January 12, with an exchange of messages between President Xi Jinping and his Angolan counterpart João Lourenço.

Xi pointed out in his message that since the establishment of diplomatic ties, China and Angola have always been sincere and friendly towards each other, worked hand in hand, and understood and supported each other on issues involving their respective core interests and major concerns.

For his part, Lourenço noted that the two countries agree with each other on many international issues. He said Angola is willing to strengthen friendly and cooperative relations with China, build a shared win-win future, as well as achieve common progress, prosperity and development, so as to bring more benefits to the people of the two countries.

Meanwhile, some 600 people attended a reception marking the occasion on the evening of July 11, held by the Chinese Embassy in the Angolan capital Luanda. Chinese Ambassador to Angola Gong Tao said in his address that China and Angola have always adhered to solidarity and mutual assistance, achieving fruitful cooperation and exchanges in various areas during the past 40 years.

For many years, China has been Angola’s biggest trading partner, biggest export market, and significant source of investment. In turn, Angola has become China’s second-largest trading partner and the largest supplier of crude oil in Africa.

Underlining these excellent relations, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang, presently on a tour of Africa, will visit Angola shortly.

The following articles were first published by the Xinhua News Agency.

Xi, Angolan president exchange congratulations on 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties

Xinhua, 12 January 2023

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday exchanged congratulations with Angolan President Joao Lourenco on the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Xi pointed out in his message that since the establishment of diplomatic ties 40 years ago, China and Angola have always been sincere and friendly towards each other, worked hand in hand, and understood and supported each other on issues involving their respective core interests and major concerns.

At present, China-Angola relations enjoy a sound development momentum, and bilateral cooperation in various fields has yielded fruitful results, bringing tangible benefits to the people of the two countries, Xi noted.

Continue reading China and Angola celebrate 40 years of diplomatic relations

Qin Gang: May China-Africa friendship last forever

Following his appointment as China’s Foreign Minister at the end of December, Qin Gang, who was previously China’s Ambassador to the United States, left Beijing on January 9 to continue a 33-year-old tradition in Chinese diplomacy, whereby the country’s Foreign Minister starts the new year by visiting a number of countries in Africa.

Making a brief stopover in Bangladesh, where he met his counterpart Abdul Momem, in the early hours of January 10, Qin Gang’s first visit was to Ethiopia. He will continue to Gabon, Angola, Benin, and Egypt, returning home on January 16. His tour also includes visits to the headquarters of the African Union (AU), which is based in Ethiopia, and of the League of Arab States, which is based in Egypt. President Xi Jinping attended the China/Arab League Summit, which was held in Saudi Arabia, last month.

On January 11, Qin Gang held the eighth China-AU Strategic Dialogue, together with the AU Commission Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat, at the AU headquarters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

He noted that China had taken the lead in supporting the AU’s membership in the G20 and in enhancing Africa’s representation and voice in the UN Security Council, while Faki said that China stands with Africa in its struggle for national independence and liberation; it stands with Africa in its efforts to accelerate development and revitalization and to participate more in international affairs. 

Following their talks, Qin and Faki attended the completion ceremony for the China-aided project of the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters. Addressing the ceremony, Qin put forward a four-point proposal on developing China-Africa relations. In it he expressed China’s support for South Africa in its rotating BRICS presidency and for Uganda in hosting the Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Non-Aligned Movement.

China makes no empty promises, still less presses others against their own will, Qin said, adding that when the Africa CDC headquarters is handed over to China’s African friends, it will be wholly run and managed by the AU without any interference from China. 

The following articles were originally carried by CGTN and the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

China, AU vow to build a China-Africa community with a shared future in new era

China is ready to continue to work with Africa as a development partner and build a China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang said on Wednesday during a meeting with African Union (AU) Commission Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat. 

Qin and Faki held the eighth China-AU Strategic Dialogue at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia on Wednesday.

China has taken the lead in supporting the AU’s membership in the G20, enhancing the representation and voice of African countries in the UN Security Council and other international organizations, and safeguarding the common interests of the vast number of developing countries, Qin said.

He added that China is willing to continue to play a constructive role in maintaining peace and security in Africa.

Continue reading Qin Gang: May China-Africa friendship last forever

Video: Xi Jinping’s visit to the Gulf and changing geo-political realities

In this interview with People’s Dispatch, Rania Khalek assesses the significance and results of Xi Jinping’s December 2022 visit to Saudi Arabia and his meetings with the leaders of the region. Rania observes that, while US-Saudi relations have been on a downturn in recent years, China has been steadily strengthening its ties with the countries of the Middle East. The Riyadh Declaration of the First China-Arab States Summit, conducted on 10 December, announced that China and the Arab States would work collectively to build a China-Arab community with a shared future – one component of which may very well include the emergence of China’s yuan in global energy markets.

Rania notes that the rise of China is helping to create an alternative foreign policy path for Saudi Arabia, which for decades has tended to act as a proxy for US imperialism in the region. Such a development is profoundly consequential, since China has a strong and consistent interest in promoting peace and stability in the region, and operates on the basis of peaceful coexistence, mutual respect and non-interference. Rania points out that the Riyadh Declaration affirmed the illegality of Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories and condemned Israel’s unilateral attempts to change the status quo in Jerusalem. The spirit of this text is profoundly different to what would have been written in Washington, and bodes well for the struggle of the Palestinian people to restore their national rights. Indeed, Xi stated in his keynote speech at China-Arab States Summit: “The historical injustices done to the Palestinian people should not be left unattended indefinitely. The legitimate rights of a nation are not up for trade, and the demand for an independent state shan’t be denied. China firmly supports the establishment of a State of Palestine.”

Summit links biodiversity with culture

The following article, published in China Daily, summarizes the proceedings of a Nature and Culture summit held during the 15th meeting of the United Nations’ Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity, held in Montreal on 11-12 December 2022. The article is particularly interesting for the points it makes regarding the role of minority groups in protecting the environment and promoting a harmonious coexistence between humanity and nature.

Huang Runqiu, China’s Minister of Ecology and Environment, and the president of COP15, “stressed the importance of cultural diversity, especially the experience and knowledge from minority groups.” Huang also highlighted the importance of fully respecting and protecting traditional cultures around the world, appreciating and making use of their understanding of biodiversity protection and encouraging the transmission of this understanding from generation to generation.

The article contrasts this approach with the colonial powers’ record of land grabs, intellectual property restrictions and profiteering. Indigenous Canadian activist and academic Priscilla Settee, professor emeritus at the University of Saskatchewan, told the meeting that “we need to get our history right. We need to acknowledge the centuries of colonialism … based in global imperialism through land grabs. We need to take a critical look at international free trade agreements that I call bills of rights for the rich and powerful.”

A global dialogue on strengthening the links between nature and cultures to achieve a sustainable and ecological civilization also highlighted the achievements and actions taken by China.

Officials, experts and nongovernmental organization (NGO) members gathered at a Nature and Culture summit during the 15th meeting of the United Nations’ Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Dec 11-12, in support of the implementation of the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF).

In his opening remarks, Huang Runqiu, the Chinese minister of ecology and environment and the president of COP15, stressed the importance of cultural diversity, especially the experience and knowledge from minority groups.

The relationship between nature and culture is vibrant, said Huang. Culture is deeply intertwined with the natural world. Chinese culture contains a clear concept of harmonious coexistence between humanity and nature, he said.

For example, Yunnan province, where the first phase of the COP15 meeting was held, is home to 26 traditional ethnic groups and 15 unique minority groups, forming a series of traditional ecological cultures such as the Hani Terrace Culture, Naxi Dongba Culture, Dai Long Mountain Culture, and Tibetan Holy Land Culture.

Their worldviews, cultural values and identities are closely connected to nature, as per their saying, “Humans and nature are half-brothers”.

Continue reading Summit links biodiversity with culture

Video: How the US’s Taiwan policy makes war with China a self-fulfilling prophecy

In this important episode of The Socialist Program on BreakThrough News, Brian Becker and Ken Hammond conduct a detailed discussion about the US strategy of fomenting tensions across the Taiwan Strait. Taking as their starting point a recent article in the Wall Street Journal entitled ‘To Deter China, Taiwan Must Prepare for War’, Brian and Ken describe how the US is deliberately and determinedly creating instability in the region, encouraging Taiwanese separatism and undermining the One China Principle in order to create a potential war scenario that will slow down China’s rise and undermine popular support for the CPC-led government. The geopolitical context, of course, is that of a global New Cold War in which US imperialism is hitting out in all directions in order to perpetuate American global dominance and reverse its process of decline.

Brian and Ken note that China’s position in relation to Taiwan has not changed in the course of many decades: China is very clear that the Taiwan question is an internal affair and will be resolved by Chinese people on both sides of the Straits. The CPC has consistently stated – including most recently at its 20th National Congress in October 2022 – that it aims to achieve reunification by peaceful means. While the Western media narrative is that recent escalated tensions are due to Chinese truculence, what has changed isn’t the Chinese position but the US’s steady erosion of the One China Principle and its flouting of international law – including its recent commitment to provide direct military aid to Taiwan.

Brian and Ken also observe that, sadly, this strategy has bipartisan support within US ruling circles and that meaningful opposition to imperialist aggression will have to be based on the action of the masses of the people fighting for peace.

China extends congratulations to leaders of South Africa, Antigua and Barbuda, and Nepal

China’s leaders exchanged some significant messages with foreign counterparts around the turn of the new year.

On December 31st 2022, President Xi Jinping wrote to his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa, who he met most recently in November at the G20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia, to congratulate him on his re-election as President of the ruling African National Congress at the ANC’s National Conference. Xi noted that the Communist Party of China and the ANC enjoy a profound traditional friendship and fruitful exchanges and cooperation, which has played an important role in promoting the in-depth development of the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries.

On January 1st, Xi exchanged messages with Rodney Williams, Governor-General of Antigua and Barbuda, on the 40th anniversary of their establishing diplomatic relations. Describing Antigua and Barbuda as China’s important cooperative partner in the Caribbean, Xi noted that over four decades, bilateral relations have been developing smoothly with ever stronger political mutual trust, fruitful practical cooperation and ever deeper friendship between the two peoples.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang also exchanged greetings with Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne, who noted that Antigua and Barbuda has always pursued the one-China policy and that China has provided generous assistance for Antigua and Barbuda. 

Having been colonised in the 17th century, Antigua and Barbuda finally won independence from British colonial rule on November 1st 1981 and established diplomatic relations with China on January 1st 1983. Today the country plays an active part in the Caribbean Community (Caricom) as well as in ALBA, the progressive regional alliance led by Cuba and Venezuela. 

Following a general election, on December 26th 2022, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, also known as Prachanda, the leader of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Center) returned as Prime Minister of Nepal, a position he last held in 2017, at the head of a coalition government that also includes Nepal’s other major communist party, the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist). On December 29th, Premier Li Keqiang sent a message to his Nepalese counterpart, noting that China and Nepal were traditional friendly neighbors linked by mountains and rivers, have always respected each other, treated each other as equals and sincerely helped each other.

The following reports were originally carried by the Xinhua News Agency.

Xi congratulates Cyril Ramaphosa on re-election as president of African National Congress

Xinhua, 31 December 2022

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday congratulated Cyril Ramaphosa on his re-election as president of the African National Congress (ANC), South Africa’s ruling party.

In his message, Xi said he is glad to hear of Ramaphosa’s re-election, and would like to extend sincere congratulations to him. Xi also wishes Ramaphosa new and greater success.

Continue reading China extends congratulations to leaders of South Africa, Antigua and Barbuda, and Nepal

Dorise Nielsen: groundbreaking communist MP in Canada, people’s hero in China

We are pleased to republish this article by Mike Wu, originally carried in People’s Voice, newspaper of the Communist Party of Canada, about the revolutionary life of Dorise Nielsen.

Born in England in 1902, she settled in Canada in 1927. Politicised by the Great Depression, she joined the Communist Party of Canada around the time she met the legendary Norman Bethune, when she was fundraising to help send Canadians to join the International Brigades in Spain. In the 1940 federal election, she was elected as the first communist member of parliament in Canada or indeed North America.

During the McCarthyite conditions of the Cold War, she moved to China in 1957, traveling under the alias Judy Godefroy. She became a Chinese citizen in 1962. She worked in a number of capacities in China, moving to the Foreign Languages Press in the late 1960s.

Dorise died in Beijing on December 9 1980. A speaker at her memorial service, held at the Babaoshan Cemetery for Revolutionaries, said that she “had a deep love of China and the Chinese people, she lived a very simple life and was never extravagant, her feeling for the construction of socialism was profound.”

NB. The article refers to Dorise as the only Canadian in Beijing at the time she moved to China. However, another Canadian citizen, Isabel Crook, was also in Beijing (working at the same institution – the Beijing Foreign Studies University).

Norman Bethune is a well-known figure in the history of Canada–China relations. But there is another legendary figure: Dorise Nielsen, the first Member of Parliament from the Communist Party of Canada, went to China in her later years to support the Chinese people’s socialist construction, until her death in Beijing in 1980. 

Dorise was born in London, England in 1902 and settled in Saskatchewan in 1927 to work as a public school teacher. Dorise initially did not concern herself with politics, until the Great Depression broke out in 1929.

During the Depression, Dorise saw with her own eyes how workers, farmers, the ill and the old struggled under capitalism. In 1933, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) held its first convention and approved the Regina Manifesto, which described capitalism as an unjust and inhumane system that concentrated power and wealth in a small elite while leaving most people in poverty. 

Continue reading Dorise Nielsen: groundbreaking communist MP in Canada, people’s hero in China

Nicolás Maduro: China treats Venezuela with friendship and solidarity

China’s CGTN television recently started airing a new interview programme under the name Leaders Talk, with the first ever episode featuring an interview with Indonesian President Joko Widodo, being broadcast to coincide with his hosting of the G20 Summit in Bali last November. As part of the series, CGTN traveled to the Venezuelan capital Caracas for an exclusive and wide-ranging interview with President Nicolás Maduro.

President Maduro details the illegal sanctions and blockade imposed on his country by the United States, which his interviewer rightly describes as an economic war, but notes that despite this, in the last year, Venezuela has managed to achieve economic growth of 17%. Moreover, the country’s non-petroleum economy is growing for the first time in 120 years. 

Highlighting the rising multilateral trend in world politics, President Maduro describes his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping as a thinker of the new era, lauding his concept of a community of shared future for humanity. He also condemns the visit last August by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to China’s Taiwan as a challenge to peace and stability and to the One China principle.

Detailing his long friendship with Venezuela’s revolutionary leader Hugo Chávez, Maduro reflects on his own background as a worker, a trade unionist and a militant in the Marxist-Leninist movement, noting that he was once a bus driver and is now the driver of the country, acting in the proletarian spirit and the spirit of Commander-in-Chief Chávez. 

Recalling President Xi’s state visit to Venezuela in 2014, Maduro says that the Chinese leader treats Venezuela with friendship and solidarity. US imperialism tightened its blockade during the Covid pandemic, preventing pharmaceutical companies from exporting to Venezuela, but China had not only provided vaccines but also sent its best specialists and experts to his country. 

The Venezuelan leader praised the Communist Party of China for putting not only the interests of the Chinese people first but also the interests of the people of the world. Although only screened at the end of December, the interview was evidently filmed just prior to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, held last October. President Maduro said that he was especially interested in socialism with Chinese characteristics as Venezuela is also building a socialist model with its own features. China’s success, he observes, has provided an important socialist model for the 21st century.

The full interview is embedded below.

Xi Jinping congratulates Lula on inauguration as Brazilian president

On January 1st, the progressive forces in Latin America, standing for independence against imperialism, national development and social progress, took a big step forward with the return as President of Brazil of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

A co-founder of the BRICS, which presently groups Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, and veteran leader of Brazil’s Workers’ Party (PT), Lula addressed his country’s Congress as “a representative of the working class”, who “promotes economic growth in a sustainable way and to the benefit of all, especially those most in need.” The full text of Lula’s emotional and inspiring inauguration speech and his address to Congress can be read here.

In his message of greetings to his Brazilian counterpart, Chinese President Xi Jinping said that he attaches great importance to the development of the China-Brazil comprehensive strategic partnership, and is willing to work with Lula to continue to firmly support each other in taking a development path in line with their own national conditions, respect each other’s core interests, promote their practical cooperation, strengthen multilateral coordination, and lead and push the partnership to a higher level from a strategic and long-term perspective, so as to better benefit the two countries and their people.

China’s Vice President Wang Qishan attended the inauguration in the capital Brasilia as the Special Representative of President Xi. Wang joined a large number of other world leaders, including what amounted to a roll call of progressive Latin America, namely:

  • President Gustavo Petro of Colombia
  • President Xiomara Castro of Honduras
  • President Luis Arce of Bolivia and former President Evo Morales
  • President Alberto Fernandez of Argentina
  • President Gabriel Boric of Chile
  • President Irfaan Ali of Guyana
  • Former President Pepe Mujica of Uruguay (as part of a bipartisan national delegation that also included the current and another former President)
  • Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Cuban Vice-President Salvador Valdés Mesa
  • Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Denis Moncada
  • Mexican First Lady Beatriz Gutiérrez Müller
  • President of the Venezuelan National Assembly Jorge Rodriguez (according to the Orinoco Tribune, President Nicolás Maduro had been due to attend but was prevented by a last-minute security issue.)

They were also joined by a range of political leaders from other countries, including Russia, Serbia, Azerbaijan, Palestine, Iran, Algeria, Angola, Mozambique, Guinea Bissau, Cape Verde, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea, Mali, Timor Leste, Spain, Portugal, Germany Ecuador and Peru.

In their meeting, Wang Qishan said that President Lula is an old friend of the Chinese people, who has long been caring for and supporting the development of China-Brazil relations. Noting that both countries had recently completed major domestic political agendas, with the Communist Party of China holding its 20th National Congress and Brazil electing a new government, Wang said he believes that on their respective new journey, both countries and their people, and both the CPC and the Brazilian Workers’ Party (PT), will continue to strengthen solidarity and coordination, and jointly create an even better future for China-Brazil relations. He also said that the two countries can together play an important role in strengthening the overall cooperation between China and Latin America, for example with the holding of the Forum of China and the Community of Latin American States (CELAC) and in deepening relations with other regional organisations, such as the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) and the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).

For his part, Lula said that his PT is willing to strengthen inter-party exchanges with the CPC, adding that he looks forward to leading a delegation to China to further deepen bilateral practical cooperation in various fields, enhance friendship between the people of the two countries, and lift Brazil-China relations to a new level.

The following reports were originally carried by the Xinhua News Agency.

Xi congratulates Lula on inauguration as Brazilian president

Xinhua, 3 January 2023

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday sent a congratulatory message to Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on his inauguration as president of the Federative Republic of Brazil.

In his message, Xi pointed out that China and Brazil are major developing countries with global influence and important emerging markets.

The two countries are comprehensive strategic partners sharing extensive common interests and shouldering common development responsibilities, Xi added.

Continue reading Xi Jinping congratulates Lula on inauguration as Brazilian president

Backgrounder: Optimisation of Covid-19 response measures in China

The following report on the optimisation of Covid-19 response measures in China has been provided to us by our comrades at the International Department of the Communist Party of China. It provides a comprehensive description of the changes that have been introduced in the last few months, along with a clear explanation of the rationale behind those changes.

The report points out that the success of China’s Dynamic Zero Covid strategy has meant that “the infection rate and fatality in China have been kept at the lowest level globally”. The extraordinarily low infection rate over three years has given China’s healthcare system, epidemiologists and medical researchers time to better understand the virus, to develop vaccines and treatments, and to prepare medical facilities and supplies.

The authors note that, “in the light of the marked decline of the pathogenicity and virulence in Omicron and the steady rise of China’s capacity for medical treatment, pathogen detection and vaccination, China has taken the initiative to refine its Covid-19 response measures.” The essence of the changes is to shift focus from preventing infection to preventing severe cases and fatality, whilst at the same time allowing a return to some level of normality for the bulk of the population.

The major changes described in the report are: 1) An end to routine compulsory PCR testing; 2) An end to hospital quarantine for asymptomatic and mild cases; 3) An end to nucleic acid test and health code requirements for public spaces (other than schools, nursing homes and medical facilities); and 4) a re-opening of borders to international travellers.

These changes do not constitute an adoption of the type of “laissez-faire” or “let it rip” approach being implemented in the West. The new measures are being adopted in an orderly fashion in response to changing reality, most notably the reduced virulence of the dominant Omicron variant, and China’s high level of vaccination coverage (92 percent). Beijing, Guangzhou and other cities have already passed the peak of infection and are gradually returning to normal – without having experienced high levels of severe illness and death.

The report concludes by citing China’s contribution to international cooperation against the pandemic – “China shared COVID-19 prevention, control and treatment protocols with more than 180 countries and international organisations, dispatched 38 medical expert teams to 34 countries, and provided over 2.2 billion doses of vaccines for 120 plus countries and international organisations” – and calling for continued mutual learning and close cooperation between the countries of the world.

Over the past three years, the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc around the globe and posed enormous challenges to all countries including China. In 2020 when this public health emergency first broke out, the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Chinese government made a decisive decision to categorise COVID-19 as a Class-B infectious disease that would be subject to the preventive and control measures for a Class-A infectious disease in accordance with the Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Prevention and Treatment of Infectious Diseases. The strict management of the disease has enabled China to pull through the difficult times when the virus was wreaking havoc and to withstand multiple global waves. It has also helped buy precious time for the research, development and application of vaccines and therapeutics and getting medical supplies ready, thus minimising the number of severe cases and mortality, and greatly protecting the health and safety of the people.

The global COVID-19 situation has changed significantly. In the light of the marked decline of the pathogenicity and virulence in Omicron and the steady rise of China’s capacity for medical treatment, pathogen detection and vaccination, China has taken the initiative to refine its COVID-19 response measures. We have adopted in an orderly fashion the 20 refined measures and 10 new measures, and decided to manage COVID-19 with measures against Class-B instead of the more serious Class-A infectious diseases, shifting the focus of our response from “stemming infection” to “protecting health and preventing severe cases”. We aim to better adapt our response measures to the new development in the epidemic and features of new mutations, effectively coordinate COVID-19 response and socioeconomic development, protect the safety and health of the people to the maximum extent possible, and restore normalcy to people’s work and life. The shift is science-based, timely and necessary.

Continue reading Backgrounder: Optimisation of Covid-19 response measures in China

China under Xi Jinping: putting politics in command

This article by Jenny Clegg – a revised and enlarged version of a three-part series originally published in the Morning Star (part 1 | part 2 | part 3) – provides a broad overview of China’s political trajectory in the present era.

Jenny takes on the media caricature of Xi Jinping as an “authoritarian” leader, analysing his political development over the course of several decades, noting in particular his longstanding commitment to combating climate change, his dedication to poverty alleviation, and his belief that China should shift away from using GDP growth as the central metric of economic success. As CPC General Secretary and China’s President, the most prominent aspects of Xi’s record have been the extremely rigorous (and popular) anti-corruption campaign; the success in eliminating extreme poverty; a major focus on environmental questions; and the centring of a common prosperity agenda that is already operating to reduce inequality and improve the conditions of the poor.

Sympathetic but not uncritical, the article provides valuable insights and a realistic assessment of China’s prospects for developing into a “modern advanced socialist country that is strong and prosperous” by the centenary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (2049).

1. Who is Xi Jinping?

The Communist Party of China’s 20th Congress confirmed Xi Jinping as General Secretary for a third term. According to the mainstream media, China is lurching once again toward ‘one-man rule’ under the ‘thrice crowned’ leader. But what kind of rule will this be? China is the world’s second largest economy and the politics of its leader is of great consequence for the world.

So what are Xi’s politics? What has his leadership over the last 10 years meant for China and what direction does he intend the country to take over the next 5 years and beyond?

Xi’s political development

The son of a revolutionary hero who became a vice premier of China in the 1950s only to later fall victim to political turmoil in the Mao period,[1] Xi himself was a ‘sent down’ youth spending seven years from the age of 15 working in a poor community in China’s West. Serving for a time as a commune leader, he adopted the work style of ‘plain living and hard work’ – the ideal followed by the CPC from its earliest days.

Whilst these formative experiences moulded his core political outlook, it was through his work as Party Secretary of Zhejiang Province from 2002 to 2007 that a more concrete politics took shape.

Zhejiang is a commercialised province, one of those key Eastern seaboard areas which have driven the country’s hi-speed growth.  After China joined the WTO in 2001, local cadres were exhorted to promote business, help new enterprises and court foreign investment, creating new jobs and opportunities.

But rapid industrialisation also brought increasing inequality, environmental degradation as well as corruption as the boundaries between politics and business blurred.  Now in the senior ranks of Party leadership, one of some 3,000, Xi expressed his concerns in a series of articles in which he put great stress on the moral standards of the cadres and the need to prevent Party officials from solidifying into a privileged elite removed from the rest of society.

Power, he argued, was not a personal possession, to be used not for self-aggrandisement but for the public good. Grass roots levels were crucial – this was where the Party worked together with the people to build a better future.  Emphasising the quality not just the quantity of growth – ‘not everything has to be done for GDP’; and the importance of the environment – ‘there is only one world and only one environment’ – Xi was paving a new way forward.[2]

Cleaning up the Party

By 2012, when Xi became Party leader, China had recovered rapidly after taking a serious hit in the 2008/9 world financial crisis, resuming the fast growth that had seen the economy more than double in the previous decade.  It was up to him now to realise the previously set goals of achieving a ‘moderately prosperous society’ by 2020.

Xi’s first step was to refocus the Party on its high values of public service, launching a far-reaching anti-corruption campaign targeted at ‘tigers’ at the top as well as ‘flies’ at the bottom.  His insistence that his immediate family should not undertake any business dealings struck a chord with people, gaining him much popularity.

A graduate in chemical engineering, with a PhD in Marxist legal theory, Xi was also a good communicator, a skill acquired during his years in the countryside, and the fact that he could put over his political message in an accessible manner, avoiding stilted rhetoric, also added to his popularity.

Determined to restore ideology to the heart of the Party, he encouraged Marxist study as well as wider Marxist intellectual debate, these not for the sake of theorising but in order to drive policy and practice forward.

His affirmation in 2013 of the role of the market as playing ‘a decisive role in the allocation of resources in the economy’ saw a widening of market reforms whilst a new emphasis on commercial law which, together with the wider establishment of enterprise-based Party committees, vastly improved business practice.  From 2015, a massive infusion of government support reinforced the role of state-owned enterprises at the centre of economic policy.

Two particular advances of Xi’s first term were, on the domestic front, the 2016 Made In China Initiative which laid the basis of China’s technological upgrading to a higher stage of modernisation; and, of international consequence, the Belt and Road Initiative, setting out a new mode for China’s integration with the world community.

Continue reading China under Xi Jinping: putting politics in command

A look back on three years of China’s anti-Covid-19 fight

In this important and in-depth article, Tings Chak, researcher and the art director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research and co-founding member of the Dongsheng collective, provides a detailed description of China’s evolving strategy for managing Covid-19, from December 2019 until today. Having lived in China since March 2020, Tings has witnessed each phase of China’s approach at close quarters.

Countering the endlessly repeated claims in the Western media that the recent adjustments and loosening of restrictions (since November 2022) are “chaotic” and will inevitably lead to vast numbers of deaths, Tings writes that “China has used the last three years to try to prepare itself the best that it can by vaccinating the people, studying the virus, building medical infrastructure, training workers, and waiting until a much less deadly strain had emerged.”

In the last two months, there have been outbreaks in several major cities, but the government and health authorities have responded quickly and effectively, for example distributing antipyretic medication for free, ramping up production, and exploring various measures to encourage older people to get vaccinated. There has been no major increase in fatal illness from Covid, and, “in Beijing where I live, people are back and bundled in the streets, at work, and on the subways, with traffic and travel recovering.”

The article was first published in MR Online.

I arrived in Shanghai, 36 hours after leaving São Paulo, a near deportation in South Africa, and a canceled connecting flight. It was March 21, 2020. In the following days, China implemented its mandatory centralized quarantine for all international travelers. Exactly a week later, on March 28, China started its travel ban1 to prevent the spread of a still little-known virus called Covid-19, which was making its way to all corners of the earth.

Nearly three years later, on the coming January 8, 20232, China will officially open its borders, remove the mandatory quarantine and nucleic acid tests for people entering the country, and downgrade the management of Covid-19 from Class A to Class B3. It is not an end of an era; rather, it is a continuation of a rigorous process of confronting a historic and global pandemic, while putting science and the people at its center. It has been an incredible experience to see how the Chinese government and people have taken on this pandemic, while the world has suffered4 6.68 million recorded deaths, with over 650 million people infected. The impact of this virus is one for the history books, the lasting effects to be studied for years to come, and the fight has not yet ended.

The Western mainstream media, however, has been quick to criticize China every step of the way, from the “draconian5” Zero-Covid strategy to the “dystopian6” measures to ensure a safe Winter Olympics games in Beijing, and now to the “nightmare7” of relaxing the country’s Covid-19 requirements. Rhetoric aside, what has the fight against the virus been like in China—characterized by the Zero-Covid strategy—and why are the relaxation measures happening now? It is important to look back at the last three years to understand how we arrived at this point today. Having lived in China throughout the ebbs and flows of the Covid-19 virus, I would categorize the country’s dynamic strategy into four key phases.

Phase 1: Emergency response (December 2019 to May 2020)

Two-and-a-half weeks after I arrived in China, on April 8, the country celebrated the end to the 76-day historic lockdown in Wuhan, where the pandemic first broke out and claimed the lives of 4,512 Chinese people8. It was an emotional and bittersweet victory for the entire country, which had mobilized its people and resources to fight a very deadly and never-before-seen virus.

On December 26, 2019, Dr. Zhang Jixian9, director of the Department of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine of Hubei Province hospital of Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine, saw an elderly couple that had a high fever and a cough—symptoms that characterize the flu. But further examination ruled out influenza A and B, mycoplasma, chlamydia, adenovirus, and SARS. She and her team then quickly determined there was a new virus at play. Three days later, the provincial authorities were alerted, then the Chinese Center for Disease Control (CDC) and by December 31 the WHO was informed10. On New Year’s Day, the CDC officials called11 Dr. Robert Redfield, head of the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, while he was on vacation, to inform him of the severity of their findings.

Continue reading A look back on three years of China’s anti-Covid-19 fight

Is there potential for improved relations between Britain and China?

The following Op-Ed by our Co-Editor Keith Bennett was originally published by China Daily and was excerpted from a long conversation with their reporter Xing Yi.

In the article, Keith assesses the current prospects for relations between Britain and China, following Rishi Sunak’s first major foreign policy speech as Prime Minister, in which he claimed that China presented a “systemic challenge” to the values and interests of the UK and advanced the ambiguous concept of “robust pragmatism”. 

According to Keith, Brexit has left the British ruling class even more tightly aligned with the United States, which is presently in the grip of a McCarthyite new cold war hysteria. That and the increased right wing grip on a bitterly divided Conservative Party constrains Sunak’s freedom to manoeuvre. Despite this, the Prime Minister managed to dial down some of the more extreme cold war rhetoric (his ill-fated and hopeless predecessor Liz Truss was intent on labelling China with the even more incendiary designation of a threat) and acknowledged the need for a degree of engagement with the world’s second-largest economy. Previously, as Chancellor, Sunak had advocated a business-like relationship with China and had attempted to resume the two countries’ Economic and Financial Dialogue. 

The United Kingdom’s latest Prime Minister Rishi Sunak recently declared that the “golden era” for the UK’s relations with China was over and he defined China as a “systemic challenge” to values and interests of the UK.

This was not surprising given that the dominant political thinking in most Western countries with regard to China is currently hostile, driven by a new McCarthyism fueled by the United States. The UK is a victim of this poisonous mindset.

With the current cost-of-living and energy crisis worsening and a looming recession ahead, it would be logical for the UK to take a more constructive attitude toward China, instead of following the US lead in trying to contain China.

However, since UK imperialism has been in a state of slow and managed decline over the last century, the mainstream thinking has been that the UK could best maintain its position in the world by being closely aligned to the US, and so it sought a “special relationship”.

Continue reading Is there potential for improved relations between Britain and China?

Wave of anti-Asian racism fuelled by the New Cold War

We are pleased to publish below the text of the speech by an activist from the Goldsmiths Anti-Imperialist Society, given on 17 December at the second of two online seminars on the theme ‘The 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China and its World Significance’, organised jointly by Friends of Socialist China and the International Department of the Communist Party of China.

The speech focuses on the problems faced by minority communities in Britain, particularly people of Chinese descent in the context of a rising New Cold War, linking the recent rise in anti-Asian racism to the ‘yellow peril’ narrative pioneered in Britain in the 19th and 20th centuries – part of a campaign of demonisation connected to Britain’s attempts to impose colonial domination on China. Today’s anti-Asian racism represents “the imperialist legacy of the Yellow Peril in the 21st century, propagated by the New Cold War.” In spite of these problems, the speech concludes on an optimistic note, observing that there is a “growing number of young people who are fighting back against the propaganda that seeks to divide us and isolate us from each other”. This generation is building a united front based on opposing racism, imperialism and capitalism, and stands “in solidarity with our Chinese comrades and all our siblings in the Global South in self-determining and working together to create a fairer, multilateral world.”

I would like to use this opportunity to thank Friends of Socialist China and the Communist Party of China for hosting this meeting here today. My speech is from the perspective of an activist in anti-racist collectives. When I refer to the term ‘black’ in this speech it is used as an umbrella term referring to African, Asian, Arab, Caribbean and all non-white communities.

As a member of the Chinese diaspora, a British Born Chinese, it brings me great joy to speak with you all, though the topics of what I will be sharing will not be so joyous. In sharing my lived experience and material analysis of the current socio-political environment, I hope to share insight on what it is like to live as a Chinese in Britain and the impact of anti-China rhetoric on Asian communities.

After the murder of George Floyd, the Black Lives Matter movements that emerged around the world highlighted the institutional racism embedded in every aspect of western society, from how the media portrays Black children in negative, stereotypical ways to how the police brutalise Black people. Institutional racism towards Asian communities is perhaps not as overt as it is towards our African and Caribbean siblings but it is equally as insidious.

Racism against Asian communities has relied on the same vestiges of Yellow Peril that never left British shores after it arrived on the coattails of the Opium Wars almost two centuries’ ago. This “Yellow Peril” is the fear of the East – the anxiety that the so-called Orient was coming to colonise and conquer the West in the same way it has done. Historically, the Yellow Peril was enshrined in law such as the Chinese Exclusion Act in the US and Home Office policies that led to the deportation of Chinese seamen in Liverpool, UK. How many of us here know that 6 Chinese seamen survived the sinking of Titanic? Now Chinatowns are bustling hubs of culture and commerce. But there was a time when some Chinatowns were formed as self-contained protective enclaves against the tides of white supremacists intent on driving Asian immigrants out of their jobs.

For a while, the concept of the “model minority myth” has acted in counter to the yellow peril: quelling fears of Asian world domination with stereotypes of the typical Asian being smart but submissive, adept at assimilating, unthreatening to the white worker. Though it may seem harmless at first glance, Asians have been required to fulfil the role of the quiet, unassuming worker in order to be accepted as legitimate citizens. But this acceptance has been conditional. The Asian diaspora lives in the duality of being the Yellow Peril or the Model Minority. When the Asian diaspora has fought back or challenged anti-China, anti-Asian rhetoric, they – we – are no longer seen as friends but foes. Spies, saboteurs, traitors to the state.

When the Covid pandemic hit in 2020, this awoke the dormant beast of Yellow Peril once more. It became acceptable to spread vitriol, fake news, and disinformation as long as the precedent was set that there was no blame to be placed on the British state or the UK government for mismanagement of the pandemic.

Instead of reflecting inwards on how it could have handled the pandemic better, the British state opted to blame China for its failure to curb the early waves and with the mainstream media’s help, made China culpable for the deaths of hundreds of thousands in the UK. This was internalised by the general public.

“China” became synonymous with Asian which became synonymous with everything bad in the world. The novel coronavirus wasn’t just associated with China or Chinese people; Chinese people were seen as the virus itself. Everyone who looked Chinese became a sitting target for abuse and hatred; it did not matter their ethnicity nor place of birth.

Continue reading Wave of anti-Asian racism fuelled by the New Cold War