China affirms Palestinian people’s right to wage armed struggle for liberation

The government of China has made an extremely important statement affirming the right of the Palestinian people to engage in armed struggle for liberation.

Speaking on February 22, on the second day of the International Court of Justice (ICJ)’s hearings on ‘The Legal Consequences arising from the Policies and Practices of Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jersusalem’, held at the Hague, Holland, Ma Xinmin, Legal Adviser to China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said, referring to the results of the ‘Six Day War’ in June 1967, that 57 years have passed since Israel began its occupation and that the unlawful nature of the occupation as well as the sovereignty over the occupied territory remain unchanged. The Palestinians must not be denied justice, he added. “Justice has been long delayed, but it must not be denied.”

In the section of his speech released as a short clip by Al Jazeera, Ma said that the “Palestinian people’s use of force to resist foreign oppression and complete the establishment of an independent state is an inalienable right. This recognition is also [having previously referred to a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly] reflected in international conventions. For example, the Arab Convention for the Suppression of Terrorism of 1998 affirms, ‘the right of peoples to combat foreign occupation and aggression by whatever means, including armed struggle, in order to liberate their territories and secure their right to self-determination and independence.’ Armed struggle in this context is distinguished from acts of terrorism.”

Telesur reported that: “Besides mentioning the United Nations General Assembly’s resolutions related to the Palestinian case, the Chinese ambassador indicated that the armed struggle is usually one of the means to which nations resort when seeking to achieve their self-determination.”

“The 1973 UNGA Resolution 3070 reaffirms the legitimacy of the people’s struggle for liberation from colonial and foreign domination and alien subjugation by all available means, including armed struggle,” he stressed.

The Palestine Chronicle described the Chinese statement as the strongest made in the day’s proceedings.

It quoted Ma as saying that: “The struggle waged by peoples for their liberation, right to self-determination, including armed struggle against colonialism, occupation, aggression, domination against foreign forces should not be considered terror acts.” 

In a separate article, The Palestine Chronicle reports that, “Ma also noted that the conflict stems ‘from Israel’s prolonged occupation of Palestinian territory and Israel’s longstanding oppression of the Palestinian people.’

Therefore, according to the Chinese representative, “‘the Palestinian peoples’ fight against Israeli oppression and their struggle for completing the establishment of an independent state under occupied territory are essentially just actions.’”

Hugo Chávez, Xi Jinping, and a global community of shared future

The following is the text of the presentation delivered by Carlos Martinez, co-editor of Friends of Socialist China, at a round-table discussion on Venezuela’s foreign policy in a changing world, held on 20 February 2024 at Bolivar Hall in London. The event was organised by the Ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in the UK in coordination with the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign.

The speech discusses Hugo Chávez’s vision of a multipolar world, and explores how that vision overlaps with China’s strategy of pursuing a global community of shared future.

Other speakers at the event included Her Excellency Rocío Maneiro, Ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in the UK; Francisco Domínguez, Secretary of the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign; Calvin Tucker, Campaigns Manager of the Morning Star; and Radhika Desai, Convenor of the International Manifesto Group.

Dear friends and comrades, thanks so much for inviting me to today’s important event.

And thank you in particular to Her Excellency compañera-embajadora Rocío Maneiro, who continues to do such a wonderful job representing her country and standing in solidarity with the progressive movement here in Britain and with the working class and oppressed peoples of the world.

Thanks also to the indefatigable comrade Francisco Domínguez for his hard work putting this event together.

I’m going to focus these brief remarks on the connection between Venezuela’s foreign policy and that of China.

As you’re all no doubt aware, Hugo Chávez had an extremely far-sighted worldview. While the Bolivarian Revolution has always aimed to have good relations with the US, its foreign policy has nonetheless been informed by the identification of that country as the principal enemy to sovereignty and to socialism, not just in Venezuela but throughout the world.

And of course the US’s consistently aggressive stance in relation to Venezuela – its campaign of sanctions, of coercion, of destabilisation – has only confirmed what Chávez and his comrades already knew.

Chávez saw Venezuela as part of a global movement challenging half a millennium of colonialism, imperialism and racism; a global movement that included the growing leftist and pro-sovereignty trend in Latin America and the Caribbean, but also China, Cuba, Russia, Libya (until NATO’s war of regime change in 2011), Syria, South Africa, Vietnam, Iran, the DPRK, Belarus and others.

This global movement seeks to put an end to the unipolar era of US hegemony, and to create a multipolar – or as Chávez called it, pluripolar – world, with multiple centres of power, in which countries and regions all have their role in global politics and in which no one power can impose its will on others.

Under the guidance of Hugo Chávez and then Nicolás Maduro, Venezuela has become one of the most prominent voices in support of this multipolar project.

Indeed, one of the slogans of Chávez’s 2012 presidential election campaign was: “to develop a new international geopolitics forming a multicentric and pluripolar world to achieve equilibrium in the universe and guarantee planetary peace.”

Continue reading Hugo Chávez, Xi Jinping, and a global community of shared future

Dismantling Western hypocrisy on Xinjiang and Gaza

We are pleased to republish below a valuable article by Arjae Red, a union activist and Workers World Party leader, on the attempts by the imperialist media to misdirect pro-Palestinian sentiments on the left towards an anti-China narrative based on slanders about the treatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang.

Arjae observes that Western propagandists are “making bogus comparisons between the Israeli settler regime’s treatment of Palestinians and the treatment of Uyghur people by the Chinese government and Communist Party.” He points out that, however, not a single government in a majority-Muslim country has backed these slanders against China, whereas they do unequivocally condemn Israel’s genocidal acts.

The article explores the national question as it relates to both situations. The US views Palestine as a “strategic staging ground for US military and economic domination of West Asia”, and the Palestinian people as “an obstacle in the way of the accumulation of superprofits”. This provides the clear context for the sustained national oppression of the Palestinians. The People’s Republic of China, on the other hand, was founded “as a multinational workers’ state, forged through the overthrow of feudal and capitalist ruling classes and by ousting parasitic forces, such as Japanese and British imperialism.” From the beginning, the PRC has promoted the rights and cultures of minority nationalities. Indeed, “the Chinese People’s Republic inscribed into its political framework regional autonomy for formerly oppressed nationalities, like the Uyghurs in Xinjiang.”

Comparing the Israeli state’s treatment of Palestinians with the Chinese state’s treatment of Uyghurs, the difference could hardly be starker. While Palestinians experience blockade, occupation, siege, apartheid, ethnic cleansing and bombardment, “Uyghur and other ethnic minorities enjoy government grants and other affirmative action programs in education and job opportunities… Rather than destruction and extraction in Xinjiang, Beijing’s policies promote development. Major infrastructure projects have built housing, schools, hospitals and high-speed public transport.”

Arjae further notes that the US-led sanctions over Xinjiang have a dual purpose: to disrupt Xinjiang’s integration into the Belt and Road Initiative; and to cause economic hardship and discontent among the local population.

The author concludes with two key slogans of our time: “Free Palestine from the river to the sea! US hands off China!”

This article was originally published in Workers World on 16 January 2024.

The movement in the U.S. supporting Palestinian national liberation has drawn truly massive numbers of people in action. On Jan. 13, for example, a reported 400,000 people marched on the White House, marking the largest pro-Palestine demonstration in U.S. history.

To counter this growing outpouring of support for Palestine in the center of world imperialism, Western propagandists are trying to misdirect the popular outrage towards People’s China. They are trying to revive the discredited “Uyghur genocide” narrative, making bogus comparisons between the Israeli settler regime’s treatment of Palestinians and the treatment of Uyghur people by the Chinese government and Communist Party. A closer look at each situation reveals enormous differences.  

Who do we believe? 

The intense propaganda charging “Uyghur genocide,” starting in 2016, saturated the U.S. corporate media, quoting statements by U.S.-funded NGOs and U.S. politicians. The statements aimed to slam through heavy sanctions against China.

Following a fact-finding trip to the region, however, a 2019 delegation from the Council of Foreign Ministers — a key decision-making body of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) — endorsed and commended China’s treatment of its Muslim citizens (hongkongfp.com, March 3, 2019). With 57 member states, the OIC is one of the largest intergovernmental bodies in the world.

A week after our trip to Xinjiang last year, a large delegation from the League of Arab States, including top official representatives from more than 16 Arab/Muslim countries, visited Xinjiang. In a June 2023 press statement, the delegation praised “the social harmony, economic development, people of all ethnic groups living in harmony in Xinjiang and accelerated progress.” They urged caution toward “international forces who smear and even demonize Xinjiang.”

No governments in majority-Muslim countries support the U.S. charge of “genocide” of a Muslim minority population in Xinjiang. Meanwhile, these governments publicly criticize U.S.-supported Israeli genocide in Gaza.

Multinational workers’ state vs. Zionist settler colony

Central to the comparison is a class analysis of the social foundation of the states of Israel and the People’s Republic of China. Like the United States, Israel was founded as a settler colony, built upon the slaughter and forced removal of Indigenous peoples, theft of their lands and the settlement of a majority European population. 

U.S. strategists viewed the Israeli state on Palestine’s land mainly as a strategic staging ground for U.S. military and economic domination of West Asia, and thus as a major contributor to the profits of the world imperialist ruling class. They saw Palestinians as an obstacle in the way of their accumulation of these superprofits. To accomplish this conquest, the Israeli state has threatened to appropriate or erase every vestige of Palestinian culture, including Palestine’s history and food.

Israel as a state is thoroughly exploitative, extractive, and oppressive to the core. The state and the settler population, if it subscribes to Zionist ideology, serve the ends of the global imperialist ruling class.

The People’s Republic of China, on the other hand, was founded as a multinational workers’ state, forged through the overthrow of feudal and capitalist ruling classes and by ousting parasitic forces, such as Japanese and British imperialism. The Chinese Revolution established a state based on the political rule of an alliance between the workers, peasants and other progressive classes, led by the Communist Party. 

The Chinese People’s Republic inscribed into its political framework regional autonomy for formerly oppressed nationalities, like the Uyghurs in Xinjiang. Historic Uyghur cities, such as Ürümqi, which had been renamed “Dihua” (meaning “to civilize”) following a 1755 Qing Dynasty invasion, regained their original Uyghur names. 

Uyghur culture is widespread and celebrated in today’s China, which includes teaching the Uyghur language, as well as the languages of other ethnic populations in the region, in public schools. Before the Chinese Revolution, these languages were suppressed.

The People’s Republic is thoroughly multinational, based on the political rule of the working class and guided by the Communist Party. Its public goals involve developing a socialist economy and maintaining social harmony between ethnicities. 

Israel destroys, China builds

Videos abound of the unmitigated destruction of Gaza by Israeli Occupation Forces. The IOF have bombed and bulldozed entire city blocks to dirt and rubble, razing homes, hospitals and schools. 

Over decades, Israel has kept Gaza under a brutal blockade and crushed Palestinian businesses. Now the attacks have left the population without food, water, medicine and electricity.

Rather than destruction and extraction in Xinjiang, Beijing’s policies promote development. Major infrastructure projects have built housing, schools, hospitals and high-speed public transport. These projects outdo anything U.S. business or government projects have done on U.S. territory. 

Uyghur and other ethnic minorities enjoy government grants and other affirmative action programs in education and job opportunities, which enable them to establish their own thriving businesses and fully participate in the vibrant Chinese economy. All of this has gradually reduced the wealth and development gap between the western Xinjiang region and the eastern coastal region of China, where, historically, all of the heavy industry was concentrated. 

Xinjiang experiences no economic blockade except what U.S. policies impose. The Chinese government ensures that the basic needs of the people are met. During the COVID-19 outbreak, for example, Communist Party organizations delivered food and other supplies to Uyghur communities.

Continue reading Dismantling Western hypocrisy on Xinjiang and Gaza

Zhang Jun: While the US vetoes ceasefire resolution, innocent civilians in Gaza are dying

On February 20, the United States again vetoed a resolution in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) calling for a ceasefire in Israel’s war of aggression against the Palestinian people in Gaza. The resolution was moved by Algeria, currently the only Arab member of the Security Council. Thirteen countries voted in favour, Britain abstained and the United States, as one of the five permanent members, exercised its veto in flagrant defiance of the overwhelming view of the international community.

In a statement following the vote, China’s UN Ambassador Zhang Jun expressed “strong disappointment and dissatisfaction” with the US action. 

Algeria, he noted, had held lengthy and extensive consultations on the draft resolution with all parties and taken many ideas on board. He added:

“The outcome of today’s vote clearly shows that on the issue of a ceasefire to halt the fight in Gaza, it is not that the Security Council does not have an overwhelming consensus, but rather it is the exercise of veto by the United States that stifles the Council consensus…

“While the Council ceasefire resolution has been vetoed, innocent civilians in Gaza are dying in the fighting and struggling on the brink of death. The US claimed that the Council resolution would interfere with the ongoing diplomatic efforts. Such a claim is totally untenable. Given the situation on the ground, the continued passive avoidance of an immediate ceasefire is nothing different from giving a green light to the continued slaughter.”

Noting that as the resolution has been vetoed, the spillover of the Gaza conflict is destabilising the entire region, Zhang said:

“Only by extinguishing the flames of war in Gaza, can we prevent the fires of hell from engulfing the entire region. The Council must act quickly to stop this carnage in the Middle East.”

With the US veto, “the basics of international law are being trampled upon, and the bedrock of the multilateral system is being eroded.”

According to the Chinese Ambassador:

“The Security Council must take actions to push for a ceasefire. This should not be a matter of debate, but rather a moral obligation that the Council cannot shy away from. It is a legal responsibility that the Council must assume. Even more so, this is a political requirement that the Council must fulfil in accordance with the Charter. The veto cannot muffle the strong call for a ceasefire and an end to the war. The Security Council cannot stop its work to uphold justice and fulfil its responsibilities just because of the veto. 

“China urges Israel to heed the call of the international community, abandon its plan for a Rafah offensive, and stop its collective punishment of the people of Palestine.”

We reproduce the full text of Ambassador Zhang Jun’s statement below. It was originally published on the website of the Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the UN.

Madam President,

China has voted in favor of the draft resolution, and we express our strong disappointment by and dissatisfaction with the veto of the United States. Algeria, on behalf of the Arab states, put forward the draft resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, immediate release of all hostages, guaranteed access for humanitarian supplies, and the rejection of forced displacement. This is both urgently required by the situation on the ground and it is also based on the minimum requirements of humanity. It deserves the support of all Council members. 

Algeria, demonstrating reason, sincerity, and an open attitude, held lengthy and extensive consultations with all parties on the draft resolution and took on board many constructive ideas, making the draft resolution more balanced. The outcome of today’s vote clearly shows that on the issue of a ceasefire to halt the fight in Gaza, it is not that the Security Council does not have an overwhelming consensus, but rather it is the exercise of veto by the United States that stifles the Council consensus. The US veto sends a wrong message, pushing the situation in Gaza into a more dangerous one. 

While the Council ceasefire resolution has been vetoed, innocent civilians in Gaza are dying in the fighting and struggling on the brink of death. The US claimed that the Council resolution would interfere with the ongoing diplomatic efforts. Such a claim is totally untenable. Given the situation on the ground, the continued passive avoidance of an immediate ceasefire is nothing different from giving a green light to the continued slaughter. 

While the Council ceasefire resolution has been vetoed, the spillover of the conflict is destabilizing the entire Middle East region, leading to rising risks of a wider war. Only by extinguishing the flames of war in Gaza, can we prevent the fires of hell from engulfing the entire region. The Council must act quickly to stop this carnage in the Middle East. 

While the Council ceasefire resolution has been vetoed, the basics of international law are being trampled upon, and the bedrock of the multilateral system is being eroded. The Secretary-General of the United Nations has already written to the Council invoking Article 99 of the Charter and the International Court of Justice has issued provisional measures. The Council must respond forcefully to the serious violations of international law and international humanitarian law in the Gaza conflict and uphold the authority of international rule of order. 

Madam President, 

The Security Council must take actions to push for a ceasefire. This should not be a matter of debate, but rather a moral obligation that the Council cannot shy away from. It is a legal responsibility that the Council must assume. Even more so, this is a political requirement that the Council must fulfill in accordance with the Charter. The veto cannot muffle the strong call for a ceasefire and an end to the war. The Security Council cannot stop its work to uphold justice and fulfill its responsibilities just because of the veto. 

China urges Israel to heed the call of the international community, abandon its plan for Rafah offensive, and stop its collective punishment of the people of Palestine. We expect country with significant influence to do less of its political calculations, to be truly impartial and responsible, and to make the right choice to push for a ceasefire in Gaza. We call on the international community to pool all diplomatic efforts to give the people of Gaza a chance to live, give the people of the entire Middle East region a chance to have peace, and give it a chance for justice to be upheld. 

I thank you, Madam President.

To be a socialist one must be an anti-imperialist

In the following article, which was originally published by Fight Back! News, the US Marxist-Leninist, J. Sykes argues forcefully that to be a socialist one must be an anti-imperialist.

He develops his argument not least on the basis of comparing and contrasting the global roles played respectively by the United States and other imperialist powers on the one hand and socialist China on the other as well as by drawing on the theoretical contributions of Mao Zedong to the Marxist understanding of the anti-imperialist struggle.

According to Sykes:

“For the US, this [necessity of imperialism to resort to military force] includes a network of military bases, spanning the world, and its military alliances, like NATO, which it dominates. It will not hesitate to intervene militarily, or to arm and fund its proxies, such as Ukraine and Israel. It will stage coups and assassinate leaders. There is no price in human bloodshed and suffering that is too high to protect US hegemony and imperialist super-profits.

“China’s foreign policy in the developing world is nothing like this. It is neither exploitative nor extractive and is based on equal and mutually beneficial trade agreements. It is also fundamentally peaceful. The countries that benefit from trade and development from China are not locked into underdevelopment by China. Nor are they targeted for Chinese military intervention, or coups. On the contrary, China provides an alternative to imperialist underdevelopment that many countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America are glad to take.

“China doesn’t do this because the Chinese are nice and the imperialists aren’t. The imperialists are violent, exploitative and extractive because they must be. The imperialist system is governed by laws, laws inherent to capitalism. China behaves differently because these are laws from which the working class has freed itself in the socialist countries. Socialism, and China in particular, is thus a counterbalance to imperialism in the world. This counterbalance causes the contradiction between the imperialist and socialist systems to sharpen, leading to a constant barrage of anti-China propaganda and increasing aggression from the US towards China.”

Sykes further draws on Mao Zedong’s famous article On Protracted War to explain the difference between just and unjust wars, and on Mao’s The Role of the Chinese Communist Party in the National War for its specific application of this understanding to World War II, where Chairman Mao made his famous observation that, “in wars of national liberation patriotism is applied internationalism.”

Since the writing of The Communist Manifesto and the founding of the First International, proletarian internationalism has been a cornerstone of scientific socialism, and is a pillar of Marxism-Leninism. Today, in the era of imperialism, putting genuine proletarian internationalism into practice demands that we be consistent anti-imperialists.

Beyond any moral questions, there are two obvious, material reasons for this proletarian internationalist, anti-imperialist unity. On the one hand every dollar that goes to imperialist war is a dollar that could have been spent on people’s needs at home. But even more importantly, every blow struck against imperialism weakens the monopoly capitalist class here.

What imperialism is and what it is not

First, let’s be clear on what imperialism means. Understanding the link between imperialism and monopoly capitalism is essential. Indeed, imperialism and monopoly capitalism aren’t just linked, they’re synonymous. Failing to understand this, some people think any kind of big country is an empire and that any empire is imperialist, from ancient Rome to socialist China. But this is an idealist and metaphysical view. In other words, this view fails to look at how imperialism develops historically, according to definite material processes. It should be obvious that the Roman Empire and the U.S. empire are qualitatively different.

If we look at imperialism historically, we have to understand its relationship to the dominant socio-economic system. V.I. Lenin developed the scientific analysis of imperialism in his book Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, to help the working-class movement understand the demands that this new historical stage of capitalism placed on the socialist movement. In “Imperialism and the Split in Socialism,” Lenin writes, “Imperialism is a specific historical stage of capitalism. Its specific character is threefold: imperialism is monopoly capitalism; parasitic, or decaying capitalism; moribund capitalism. The supplanting of free competition by monopoly is the fundamental economic feature, the quintessence of imperialism.”

Continue reading To be a socialist one must be an anti-imperialist

Tazara: Why China built a railway that many thought would fail

This short film made by CGTN documents the history, present situation and prospects of the Tazara Railway which links Zambia and Tanzania. 

By far China’s largest foreign aid project at the time, it was built during the first half of the 1970s, when China was itself still a poor country and after the United States, Britain, Japan and even the Soviet Union had all refused to build it. It enabled landlocked Zambia to get its copper to port whilst avoiding countries then still under colonial and white racist rule.

The 1,800 km railway took five years to build, with 50,000 Chinese workers taking part in the project. 65 of them gave their lives. 

In recent years, the railway has encountered problems, with freight traffic, not least due to the availability of other options since the liberation of all countries in southern Africa. Nevertheless, it still plays an important role in the lives of local people and communities. A joint statement adopted by China and Zambia in September last year, during the state visit of the Zambian president, saw China pledge support to the railway’s upgrading and renovation.

Disappointing “rush to judgment” on China’s role in the Congo

The article below, written by Dee Knight and republished from Black Agenda Report, responds to a recent review by Ann Garrison of Siddharth Kara’s 2023 book Cobalt Red: How the Blood of the Congo Powers Our Lives.

Garrison had written, also in Black Agenda Report, that “huge Chinese corporations so dominate Congolese cobalt mining, processing and battery manufacture that one has to ask why a communist government, however capitalist in fact, doesn’t at least somehow require more responsible sourcing of minerals processed and then advanced along the supply chain within its borders.”

Dee Knight responds with a comradely criticism – while recalling Garrison’s “strong record of incisive anti-imperialist reporting on Africa” – that the book review (and the book under review) ignores some important facts about Congo’s mining industry and China’s role in it.

Referencing the work of Isabelle Minnon, a lawyer and activist in Belgium, and others, Dee observes that “China’s role has been to bring new, large-scale investment on a new basis: combined financing for industrial mining and public infrastructure – roads, railroads, dams, health and education facilities.” The effect of this has been to reverse the trajectory towards de-industrialisation of Congo’s cobalt economy, and to provide much-needed infrastructure for development.

Furthermore, “China cancelled the DRC’s interest-free loans worth an estimated $28 million, promised to fund more infrastructure projects and also give $17 million in other financial support as the DRC joins the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).”

The win-win nature of the China-DRC relationship – as opposed to some sort of neo-colonial dynamic – is what has provoked the ire of Western commentators.

Based on her reading of Cobalt Red, Ann Garrison writes that “Huge Chinese corporations so dominate Congolese cobalt mining, processing and battery manufacture that one has to ask why a communist government, however capitalist in fact, doesn’t at least somehow require more responsible sourcing of minerals processed and then advanced along the supply chain within its borders.” [emphasis added]

Garrison has a strong record of incisive anti-imperialist reporting on Africa, so it is necessary to consider her question seriously. Unfortunately, the result of such consideration suggests Garrison rushed to judgment about China’s role in the Congo, and failed to look beyond Cobalt Red for facts and analysis of the DRC’s rapidly changing mining industry.

Others have researched the issue more fully and accurately. One is Isabelle Minnon, a lawyer and activist in Belgium. Her research report, “Industrial Turn-Around in Congo?” appeared last October in Lava, a Belgian magazine of social criticism and Marxist analysis.

Minnon shows that China has been part of the solution, not of the problem. “China has responded to the DRC’s need to have partners who invest in industrialization,” she writes. Western colonists had bled Congo dry through onerous debt, leaving it “weighed down by a burden that prevented it from developing economically. In 2001 industrial production was at a standstill, mining sites deserted.”

When the DRC turned to the World Bank and IMF for help, they insisted on privatizing the mining sector, laying off thousands of mine workers. Hundreds of mines were sold with “dormant mining titles” to foreign companies – “not to produce but to resell them at the right time” for big profits.

The measures didn’t wipe out the mining industry, but they pushed thousands of laid-off mine workers and their families to fend for themselves as artisanal miners, and then sell the minerals to processing companies. That was the situation described in Cobalt Red.

China’s role has been to bring new, large-scale investment on a new basis: combined financing for industrial mining and public infrastructure – roads, railroads, dams, health and education facilities. The result was “After decades of almost non-existent industrial production, the country became and remains the world’s leading producer of cobalt and, by 2023, became the world’s third largest producer of copper.” The new deal “puts an end to the monopoly of certain Western countries and their large companies whose history shows that this exclusivity has not brought development to the country.”

The arrangement has dramatically reduced the role of artisanal mining. “Since the enormous increase in production in the mining sector in Congo, 80% of mining production is done industrially. Sicomines [China-Congolese Mining Co.] has built the most modern factory in the DRC for processing raw copper.” The same is true for cobalt, replacing artisanal mining with organized, industrial production. Industrial mining is a reversal of artisanal mining.

“Resource-for-Infrastructure (RFI) deals like this all over Africa have helped China foster strong relations with several countries,” writes Halim Nazar of India’s Institute for Chinese Studies .

Western competitors are not happy. “The IMF publicly criticized the DRC for taking on too much debt,” Nazar writes. But it has been a “debt-investment” based on real growth.

A Peace-for-Concessions Swap?

Avril Haines, US Director of National Intelligence, visited Kinshasha airport last November 20, to meet with DRC President Tshisekedi, together with Molly Phee, Undersecretary of State for Africa, the State Department’s most senior official for Africa. It was the first day of Tshisekedi’s presidential campaign, reports Tony Busselen , author of Congo for Beginners. The top US officials focused on peace between the DRC and neighboring Rwanda, offering help in difficult upcoming elections. Tshisekedi won the heavily contested elections in a landslide .

December 1 report in Politico suggests it may have been a peace for concessions swap. “The meeting with Haines comes at a time when Washington is trying to counter China in Africa. Congo is home to about 70 percent of the world’s cobalt reserves and China is the largest producer. Beijing is Kinshasa’s largest trading partner and has acquired important mining rights since the 2000s. Control of the market gives the country a big lead over the US in the race for crucial parts for electric vehicle batteries.”

Did Haines press for Tshisekedi to review Congo’s contracts with China? Politico quotes Cameron Hudson, a former CIA intelligence analyst for Africa: “If anything, this administration has already shown that it is willing to review contracts with China.” Last February 16, Tshisekedi’s administration published a highly critical report on the China contract. The President ordered an audit of the contract, and called on China to revise it on a “win-win” basis.

When President Tshisekedi was invited to China last May, he gave an interview on Chinese TV in which he distanced himself from the policy of condemnation and interference against China. China had cancelled the DRC’s interest-free loans worth an estimated $28 million , promised to fund more infrastructure projects and also give $17 million in other financial support as the DRC joins the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Isabelle Minnon cites Franz Fanon’s observation that “Africa has the shape of a revolver whose trigger is in the Congo.” She adds that “those whose finger is on this trigger have the power to build or destroy the DRC and all of Africa.” She says this is how, following the 1961 US-and-Belgium-backed coup d’état and assassination of Patrice Lumumba, the colonialists were able to install Mobutu Sese Seko, who governed for 31 years, and cooperated with them in destroying the Congolese economy by miring it in debt. After the DRC and China agreed on a resource-for-infrastructure deal, the situation has improved – so much that the deal “fueled the fury of Western countries to the point that” the World Bank and IMF tried to force a 50 percent reduction in the infrastructure budget.

The Wilson Center published a report in September 2021, that “Artisanal miners produce 20% of the country’s cobalt output. The remainder comes from foreign-owned firms, primarily Chinese, whose rechargeable battery industry accounts for around 60 percent of global cobalt demand.” [emphasis added] Note that industrialized mining is many times more productive than artisanal mining, so even producing 20% of output, there are more artisanal miners than industrial mine workers.

Who likes Cobalt Red, and who doesn’t

Ann Garrison acknowledges criticism of Cobalt Red – she says Open Democracy “called it a sensationalistic, self-aggrandizing ‘White Saviour’ exposé.” OD said Cobalt Red “simply rehashes old stereotypes and colonial perceptions of the DRC, with indulgent use of dehumanizing rhetoric, lack of research ethics, and ignorance and/or erasure of local knowledge.” Perhaps most telling, the OD critics say Cobalt Red’s author “is intent on portraying the DRC as an unchanging, suffering world out of time.” But times are changing, and much of this change can be traced to the innovation of the resource-for-infrastructure deal with China.

Garrison notes that “Kara (the author of Cobalt Red), “has been interviewed on countless podcasts, on Democracy Now, and at the Foreign Policy Association. This last – along with bestseller ranking in the NY Times and Publishers Weekly and shortlisting for the Financial Times Best Business Book of the Year – suggest approval from questionable sources. There is questionable honor sharing glory with such “heroes” of the Foreign Policy Association as Antony Blinken and Madeleine Albright, General David Petraeus, journalists Robin Wright and David Sanger, and foreign policy titans like William Burns and Fiona Hill.

It may be that Ann Garrison didn’t notice that China’s role in the Democratic Republic of Congo was a significant change. In one sense that’s understandable. Change has not manifested itself completely, and the process may well be far from perfect. But in her article she rushed to judgment too quickly, without making appropriate comparisons.

Isabel Crook: an appreciation

We are very pleased to publish this touching and informative tribute to the outstanding communist and lifelong friend of China, Isabel Crook (1915-2023), written by her close friend of many decades, Dr. Jenny Clegg.

Jenny, a retired academic, peace activist and member of our advisory group, provides rich insights in the course of summing up Isabel’s lifelong commitment to the Chinese revolution, her unique and path breaking approach to anthropology, her deep empathy for China’s rural poor, and her enduring yet careful optimism regarding the future of socialist China.

We previously reported on Isabel’s death, including here. Among many other obituaries were those published by British newspapers, The TimesFinancial Times, Guardian, and Economist; the New York Times and Canada’s Globe and Mail

“A rare bridge between the West and China”; “a committed communist”; “a peoples’ diplomat”; “a pioneering anthropologist” – so read the obituaries for Isabel Crook (1915-2023). Indeed, she was all of these in one.

Isabel’s 107 years, almost all spent in China, were to span two world wars, two great revolutions, a socialist transition under a Cold War, all through the twists and turns of Mao’s mass campaigns to Deng’s reform and opening up, with China now led by Xi Jinping stepping onto the world stage.

No mere observer, Isabel’s participation in the New China along with husband David saw them personally suffer under the excesses of the Cultural Revolution.  Isabel was kept in confinement for three years by Red Guards, in a room on the top floor of a campus building separated from her boys, still only teenagers, and with husband David in prison. Freed from detention in 1972, both were cleared of all charges in 1973 and, along with other foreign experts, received an apology from Premier Zhou Enlai.

Her commitment was again put to the test with the suppression of the Tiananmen protests in 1989 – the Crooks had called on the government not to use force. Yet despite all this Isabel was to remain optimistic as to China’s future under CPC leadership.

To properly appreciate Isabel’s special contribution to understanding China, and the reasons why she never succumbed to disillusionment, requires both a consideration of her life experiences as well as her anthropological work on rural China.

In particular, through many months spent in the rural areas, living among the people gathering materials on village life, Isabel was to develop a particular empathy for Chinese country folk. Her two separate studies of villages undergoing reform, under first a Nationalist, then a Communist-led government, provided deep insight from a comparison between the failure of one and the success of the other.

Early influences: the Rural Reconstruction Movement

Isabel was born in China, the daughter of Canadian missionary educators.  Leaving for Canada to study, she was to graduate from the University of Toronto with a bachelors and then a masters degree[1] [2] , returning to China in 1939 aged 24 to do anthropological field research in the western province of Sichuan among the Yi, a slave owning society. 

From this remote ‘opium country’, she moved nearer to the wartime capital of Chongqing in 1941 to take part in a year-long ‘action research’ project sponsored by the National Christian Council.  Hired by rural reformer, THSun, Isabel was to carry out a survey of a small market town of 1,500 households.  With the overwhelming majority of its families living in desperate poverty, Prosperity township was decidedly ill-named.

Joining a small team including two experts on cooperatives, Isabel was introduced to the progressive ideas of the rural reconstruction movement.  Founded in 1926 by the influential James Yen, whose work in mass literacy, begun amongst the Chinese labourers in France during World War I, was to gain international acclaim, the movement had a strong following among China’s Christian community and the left wing of the nationalist KMT.

Continue reading Isabel Crook: an appreciation

Chip wars: breaking the siege

The following article by Bappa Sinha, originally published in People’s Democracy (the English-language weekly newspaper of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)) provides valuable insight into the US-initiated “chip wars” against China, which “show no signs of abating and have escalated further in 2023 with indications of more to come.”

Sinha describes the rationale for the chip wars as being essentially economic, with the US seeking to maintain its technological dominance. “Having already lost its manufacturing leadership due to outsourcing production, the US is critically dependent on its lead in advanced technologies to retain its global dominance. With China catching up and, in many cases, leapfrogging the US in frontier technologies, the US sees the denial of semiconductor technologies with its outsized impact on modern production and economy as an effective mechanism of keeping China down.”

The author details the numerous measures that have been taken by both the Trump and Biden administrations to restrict China’s access to advanced semiconductor technologies, including the imposition of export controls, the blacklisting of Chinese companies, and the imposition of sanctions.

However, “China has not been sitting on its hands waiting for its economic development to be choked.” China has been leveraging its particular advantages – its huge internal market, its dominant position in manufacturing, its education system, massive funding for research, and its “socialist economic planning which can set national industrial policy to undertake long term strategic initiatives” – in order to break the US’s technology siege.

In August 2023, Huawei released the Mate 60 pro, powered by a Chinese-manufactured 7nm chip – “precisely the kind of processor that the US sanctions had sought to prevent with their stated goal of denying China access to 14nm and below chip technology.” Industry insiders expect that China will soon be able to produce a 5nm chip. “These releases and announcements indicate China has weathered the storm and is poised to break through the siege that the US sanctions have sought to enforce.”

Sinha concludes that the US’s chip wars are destined for failure.

“Despite its head start in semiconductor technologies and massive financial resources at its disposal, the US, under neoliberal capitalism, is unlikely to be able to put policies in place to be able to remain ahead of China in the long run.”

The chip wars launched by the United States and its allies against China show no signs of abating and have escalated further in 2023 with indications of more to come. These wars are, in effect, a siege on China’s technological progress and economy. These across-the-board sanctions on leading-edge semiconductor chips, technology and equipment are a desperate attempt by the US to hold on to its geopolitical hegemony.

Background

While people are focused on the Ukraine war and Taiwan as frontiers of the geopolitical tussle between the US-led western alliance and the emerging powers of China and Russia, another front where the battle is being waged is in the tech domain – specifically, the semiconductor sanctions that the US is using to curtail China’s access to advance chips and technology to manufacture them. The US’s excuse for these measures is framed in military terms, saying that advanced semiconductors enable China to produce advanced military systems and improve the speed and accuracy of military decision-making. The tired western bogeyman of human rights violations is also cited as a reason for these sanctions. The sanctions are a naked attempt by the US to wage economic war against China. Having already lost its manufacturing leadership due to outsourcing production, the US is critically dependent on its lead in advanced technologies to retain its global dominance. With China catching up and, in many cases, leapfrogging the US in frontier technologies, the US sees the denial of semiconductor technologies with its outsized impact on modern production and economy as an effective mechanism of keeping China down. These actions are akin to technology denial regimes that the US, along with its allies, implemented during the Cold War.

The current round of technology sanctions by the US started in 2018 under the Trump administration. With the US increasingly getting concerned with China’s progress and leadership in telecommunications, especially in 5G, the US barred procurement of Huawei and ZTE equipment by all US federal government agencies, citing security concerns. This was especially ironic given the Snowden revelations about all leading US telecom equipment makers routinely having backdoors in their equipment for snooping purposes by the US intelligence agencies. The ban was preceded and followed by intense US lobbying worldwide, asking foreign governments to implement similar restrictions on Huawei. In December 2018, Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada on US request under the pretext of violating US sanctions against Iran. These actions wouldn’t suffice as Huawei was already the global leader in 5G technology, having become the world’s largest manufacturer of telecommunications equipment and the second largest manufacturer of mobile phones, supplanting Apple from that position.  In May 2019, the US cut off Huawei from access to American technology. This not only cut off Huawei from procuring US chips but also from designing and getting the chips made from foundries such as TSMC, as those also depended on US technology. On the software side, Google announced that it would cut Huawei’s access to the Android platform. These moves were a fatal blow to Huawei’s phone business as Huawei had no short-term solutions for the loss of access to mobile chips. Their telecom equipment business (such as bay stations) survived as it didn’t depend on leading-edge chips and could be procured locally.

Continue reading Chip wars: breaking the siege

Canada’s Chinese community rallies for Palestine

The Chinese community in Canada, particularly the youth, are taking an active part in the global movement of solidarity with the Palestinian people in the face of the Israeli genocidal onslaught, not least around the traditional celebration of the Lunar New Year.

The latest supplement to the TML Monthly, dated February 14, 2024, published online by the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) (CPCML) reports that the weekly solidarity march in Montreal, on February 11, was addressed by a young woman from the city’s Chinese community, who said: “We are humbled to speak as part of the pan-Asian contingent, composed of 15 grassroots collectives of the diaspora of Montreal, formed in solidarity with Palestine.”

She added: “The youth of the Asian community are celebrating the transition to the Lunar New Year of the Wood Dragon. As is the tradition, we send our greetings to our ancestors, by uniting in solidarity for the liberation of Palestine. It is a New Year, but the demands are the same.”

The speaker also made a powerful comparison between the historic racist oppression of the Chinese community in Canada and the Palestinian people’s forced displacement by Israel.

TML’s full report on the Montreal protest reads as follows:

“The weekly Montreal march in support of Gaza and the people of Palestine began with hundreds of people assembling downtown on February 11, for the 19th consecutive week, to listen to speeches from organizers and supporters.

“The first to address the crowd was a representative of the Palestinian Youth Movement who said, among other things, ‘The people in Gaza are facing an impossible situation. If you don’t die from U.S.-funded bombs, you die from the rubble. If you survive the rubble, you die because there is no other place to go. If you survive your injuries, you die of mass starvation and hunger.”

“‘It has become clear to everyone that the missiles funded by the U.S. and sold by Canada are not just trying to kill the Palestinians. These missiles are trying to destroy the very idea of the Palestinian homeland. These bombs are trying to eliminate the very concept of liberation. Israel and its bloody allies are committing this genocide to send a message to the world […] that if any colonized person threatens their power, their domination, and their hegemony, they will get killed. But what did the world say in response to this? What do we say in response to this?”

“‘We say that if you were a criminal, and you commit genocide in broad daylight, we will make sure that there isn’t a single moment of peace if there isn’t a single moment of justice. They have tried for over 75 years to destroy Palestine and they have failed, and they will continue to fail. Because nothing — no displacement, no bombs, no weapons, no missiles — can ever destroy a movement for liberation and justice. What do we want? Justice!’”

Continue reading Canada’s Chinese community rallies for Palestine

Britain using ‘China threat’ narrative to divert from real problems

In the following article, which was originally published in the Global Times newspaper, a Chinese analyst explains that the moves by the British police to establish a new unit to counter supposed threats posed by China, Russia and Iran is actually an attempt to shift the blame for the UK’s present predicament while blindly following the United States. 

According to Zhang Jian, vice president of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), in the past few years, especially after Brexit, the UK has faced numerous difficulties, including economic underdevelopment and a domestic cost of living crisis:

“The ruling Conservative Party has been unable to address these problems and has instead blamed external factors, such as countries like China and Russia.”

Some extreme right-wing members of the Conservative Party are constantly seeking out the so-called threats and enemies after Brexit in order to divert public attention, he noted. “Especially with the upcoming general election in the UK, the issues of the Conservative Party’s ineffective governance are becoming more prominent, prompting them to work harder to blame their problems on foreign countries.”

The article further notes that police investigations into previous claims that China was supposedly operating “secret police stations” from businesses owned by members of the Chinese community in such places as Hendon in north London, Croydon, south of London, and Glasgow in Scotland, had concluded that there had been no illegal activity.

In response to the reports that British police are establishing a new unit to “counter threats posed by China, Russia and Iran,” Chinese experts on Sunday pointed out that the UK intends to shift the blame for its domestic underdevelopment issues onto foreign countries while blindly following the US’ diplomatic policies.

According to media reports, the UK police said on Friday that they had set up the new unit as they were very concerned about “risks ahead of a national election expected this year.” Matt Jukes, the UK’s head of counter-terrorism policing, said the evidence and the sense among his officers was that the challenge posed by hostile states was “greater now than since the days of the Cold War,” Reuters reported. 

However, this move by the British security agencies, especially the naming of certain countries, is only to shift the focus from the government’s inability to handle domestic affairs to external issues, rather than being based on justified security considerations, Chinese analysts told the Global Times on Sunday.

In the past few years, especially after Brexit, the UK has faced numerous difficulties, including economic underdevelopment and a domestic cost of living crisis, Zhang Jian, vice president of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times. 

“The ruling Conservative Party has been unable to address these problems and has instead blamed external factors, such as countries like China and Russia,” Zhang said.

Some extreme right-wing members of the Conservative Party are constantly seeking out the so-called threats and enemies after Brexit in order to divert public attention, he noted. “Especially with the upcoming general election in the UK, the issues of the Conservative Party’s ineffective governance are becoming more prominent, prompting them to work harder to blame their problems on foreign countries.”

Observers pointed out that the Conservative Party has been leaning toward the US in its post-Brexit foreign policy, and the establishment of an anti-China unit is part of that policy. 

“This is because after Brexit, the UK has had to rely more on the US,” Zhang told the Global Times on Sunday. 

The UK enacted a national security act in December 2023, which the government stated “will help ensure that the UK remains the hardest operating environment for malign activity undertaken by foreign actors.” Before the act was enacted, the UK has repeatedly accused China of stealing its information or operating unofficial agencies in the country, which China has firmly opposed.

The claim that the Chinese side is suspected of “stealing British intelligence” is completely baseless and malicious slander, said a spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in the UK in September 2023. 

“We urge the relevant British authorities to stop manipulating anti-China politics and cease this self-directed political farce,” said the embassy in a statement.

Earlier in April 2023, the Chinese Embassy in the UK also made it clear that there are no so-called Chinese overseas police stations. “It is important that some from the UK side respect the facts rather than spread false accusations,” said an embassy spokesperson.

In June, a police investigation into “secret Chinese police stations” in London has concluded that “no criminal activity” has taken place, according to the BBC. 

Tanzania’s ambassador to China refutes debt trap slander

This year sees the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Tanzania and China and, according to Khamis Omar, Tanzania’s Ambassador in Beijing, the enduring bilateral friendship is growing stronger and their mutually beneficial cooperation has great potential.

According to the Ambassador: “China and Tanzania have a lot in common. In the past both had a common kind of quest to fight against colonialism and oppression and to lift people’s human rights in a real sense. Now both sides share a common vision of advancing toward prosperity and have enjoyed a substantial and supportive relationship.”

In an interview with China Daily, he further recalled that China supported Tanzania even when the former was relatively poor itself. He specifically cited the1,860-kilometre Tazara Railway, which links landlocked Zambia with the Tanzanian port of Dar es Salaam, and which opened in 1976.

“It was the first regional project that happened in our region in Africa, so it was really appreciated because at that time China itself did not have much financial muscle… It was also a symbol of Chinese contribution to the liberation, freedom and independence of Africa.”

The railway allowed Zambia to export its copper without being reliant on countries then still under colonial and white racist rule. It was, by a considerable margin, China’s biggest foreign aid project at that time.

Now, Omar notes, China is the world’s second-largest economy and represents a vast market with immense possibilities for Tanzania. The prospects for collaboration are substantial, particularly in areas such as agriculture, textiles and apparel, beverages, laser items, livestock, and the maritime economy.

Refuting the ‘debt trap’ calumny levelled against China by western powers, Omar said: “African countries need to borrow money during the process of economic development. It is important for the country that borrowed money to make sure that it spends wisely and prudently. China provides loans at preferential interest rates. What is wrong with China doing that?”

Meanwhile, the South China Morning Post has reported that China plans to spend US$1 billion to refurbish the Tazara rail line. China’s Ambassador to Zambia Du Xiaohui handed the proposal to the country’s Transport Minister, Frank Tayali, saying that China wished to work together with “Zambian and Tanzanian brothers and sisters” on the project.

Minister Tayali said that he “was particularly excited that the Chinese experts will work alongside Zambian labour.”

The following article was originally published by China Daily.

The enduring friendship between China and Tanzania is growing stronger, and collaboration between the two benefits both and has great potential, says Tanzania’s Ambassador to China, Khamis Omar.

The 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and Tanzania is being celebrated this year, and the friendship between the two continues to grow increasingly robust, Omar said.

“China and Tanzania have a lot in common. In the past both had a common kind of quest to fight against colonialism and oppression and to lift people’s human rights in a real sense. Now both sides share a common vision of advancing toward prosperity and have enjoyed a substantial and supportive relationship.”

China supported Tanzania even when the former was relatively poor itself, he said. The most notable venture the two sides have been involved in is the 1,860-kilometer Tazara Railway, which links landlocked Zambia with the Tanzanian port of Dar es Salaam, and which opened in 1976.

“It was the first regional project that happened in our region in Africa, so it was really appreciated because at that time China itself did not have much financial muscle,” Omar said. “It was also a symbol of Chinese contribution to the liberation, freedom and independence of Africa.”

China has played a substantial role in bolstering Tanzania’s economy by supporting plantations and industrial facilities and by deploying technicians, which has been instrumental in initiating economic modernization. Moreover, since 1964 China has been sending medical teams to help Tanzania.

Over time China and Tanzania have expanded and strengthened their collaboration. Beyond aiding Tanzania in certain areas, both countries have worked together in many fields, promoting prosperity.

“China emphasizes mutual gains in its foreign cooperation and ensures that the other side also benefits,” Omar said.

Largest trading partner

Last year China continued to be Tanzania’s largest trading partner and biggest investor. The value of trade between January and November was $7.96 billion, a year-on-year increase of 6.8 percent, according to official figures. Chinese companies made investments worth more than $11 billion in Tanzania.

China, the world’s second-largest economy, represents a vast market with immense possibilities for Tanzania, Omar said. The prospects for collaboration are substantial, particularly in areas such as agriculture, textiles and apparel, beverages, laser items, livestock and the maritime economy.

He is keen to see provinces in China and regions in Tanzania forge stronger connections and explore collaborative opportunities, he said.

Omar first came to China in 2005, and since then he has traveled extensively throughout the country, he said. He takes pleasure in exploring its impressive progress by visiting various places, particularly to gain insights into China’s development and governance.

In Shenzhen, a model city for China’s reform and opening-up, he discovered that the keys to its prosperity lie in being open, having a youthful work force, adopting innovative practices and policies that give priority to people, engaging in sustainable development and having robust manufacturing, he said.

“Socialism with Chinese characteristics is a different kind of governance that one has to know to unpack and try to understand the Chinese context. This is not one size fits all. It’s very important to understand the context of Chinese development and Chinese civilization with different dynasties… I’m learning about it.”

The Belt and Road Initiative has brought tremendous benefits to Africa over the past decade, he said. However, some countries have said the initiative is creating “debt traps”, which is “propaganda targeted at China”, Omar said.

“African countries need to borrow money during the process of economic development. It is important for the country that borrowed money to make sure that it spends wisely and prudently. China provides loans at preferential interest rates. What is wrong with China doing that?”

This year is the China-Tanzania Culture and Tourism Year, he said. Tanzania has more than 130 tribes with different kinds of cultures, music and social life, and it is endowed with rich tourism resources that he would like to tell Chinese people about this year.

Martin Jacques: China will reach climate goal while West falls short

In this concise opinion piece for the Global Times, Martin Jacques discusses the extraordinary progress made by China in recent years in green technology, in particular solar photovoltaics, wind energy and electric vehicles.

China is already “by far the biggest producer of green tech”, and the gap is widening. As such, “it looks as if China’s voice on global warming will carry an authority that no other nation will be able to compete with.”

Martin observes that China is becoming a major exporter of green technology, and that its investment and innovation has driven an unprecedented decrease in prices globally, most notably for renewable energy. “China’s dramatic breakthrough in new green technologies is offering hope not just to China, but to the whole world, because China will increasingly be able to supply both the developed and developing world with the green technology needed to meet their global targets.”

This should of course be a boon for the green transition in the West, but the author points out the contradiction between the goals of saving the planet and pursuing a New Cold War against China: “How can the West become dependent on China for the supply of these crucial elements of a carbon-free economy when it is seeking to de-risk (EU) or decouple (US) its supply chains from China?”

Martin describes the West’s protectionist response to China’s green tech as “a petty and narrow-minded response to the greatest crisis humanity has ever faced”, and urges politicians to cooperate with China on ecological issues and to embrace its contribution to the shared global project of protecting the planet.

Martin Jacques is a visiting professor at Tsinghua University, and the author of the best-selling book “When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order.”

There has been constant low-level sniping in the West against China’s record on climate change, in particular its expansion of coal mining, and its target of 2060 rather than 2050 for carbon zero. I have viewed this with mild if irritated amusement, because when it comes to results, then China, we can be sure, will deliver and most Western countries will fall short, probably well short. It is now becoming clear, however, that we will not have to wait much longer to judge their relative performances. The answer is already near at hand. 

We now know that in 2023 China’s share of renewable energy capacity reached about 50 percent of its total energy capacity. China is on track to shatter its target of installing 1200GW of solar and wind energy capacity by 2030, five years ahead of schedule. And international experts are forecasting that China’s target of reaching peak CO2 emissions by 2030 will probably be achieved ahead of schedule, perhaps even by a matter of years. 

Hitherto, China has advisedly spoken with a quiet voice about its climate targets, sensitive to the fact that it has become by far the world’s largest CO2 emitter and aware that its own targets constituted a huge challenge. Now, however, it looks as if China’s voice on global warming will carry an authority that no other nation will be able to compete with.

There is another angle to this. China is by far the biggest producer of green tech, notably EVs, and renewable energy, namely solar photovoltaics and wind energy. Increasingly China will be able to export these at steadily reducing prices to the rest of the world. The process has already begun. It leaves the West with what it already sees as a tricky problem. How can it become dependent on China for the supply of these crucial elements of a carbon-free economy when it is seeking to de-risk (EU) or decouple (US) its supply chains from China? 

Climate change poses the greatest risk to humanity of all the issues we face today. There are growing fears that the 1.5-degree Celsius target for global warming will not be met. 2023 was the hottest year ever recorded. Few people are now unaware of the grave threat global warming poses to humanity. This requires the whole world to make common cause and accept this as our overarching priority. 

Alas, the EU is already talking about introducing tariffs to make Chinese EVs more expensive. And it is making the same kind of noises about Chinese solar panels. The problem is this. Whether Europe likes it or not, it needs a plentiful supply of Chinese EVs and solar panels if it is to reduce its carbon emissions at the speed that the climate crisis requires. According to the International Energy Authority, China “deployed as much solar capacity last year as the entire world did in 2022 and is expected to add nearly four times more than the EU and five times more than the US from 2023-28.” The IEA adds, “two-thirds of global wind manufacturing expansion planned for 2025 will occur in China, primarily for its domestic market.” In other words, willy-nilly, the West desperately needs China’s green tech products.

Knee-jerk protectionism demeans Europe; it is a petty and narrow-minded response to the greatest crisis humanity has ever faced. Instead of seeking to resist or obstruct Chinese green imports, it should cooperate with China and eagerly embrace its products. As a recent Financial Times editorial stated: “Beijing’s green advances should be seen as positive for China, and for the world.”

The climate crisis is now in the process of transforming the global political debate. Hitherto it seemed relatively disconnected. That period is coming to an end. China’s dramatic breakthrough in new green technologies is offering hope not just to China, but to the whole world, because China will increasingly be able to supply both the developed and developing world with the green technology needed to meet their global targets. Or, to put it another way, it looks very much as if China’s economic and technological prowess will play a crucial role in the global fight against climate change. 

We should not be under any illusion about the kind of challenge humanity faces. We are now required to change the source of energy that powers our societies and economies. This is not new. It has happened before. But previously it was always a consequence of scientific and technological discoveries. Never before has humanity been required to make a conscious decision that, to ensure its own survival, it must adopt new sources of energy. 

Such an unprecedented challenge will fundamentally transform our economies, societies, cultures, technologies, and the way we live our lives. It will also change the nature of geopolitics. The latter will operate according to a different paradigm, different choices, and different priorities. The process may have barely started, but it is beginning with a vengeance. Can the world rise to the challenge, or will it prioritize petty bickering over the vision needed to save humanity? On the front line, mundane as it might sound, are EVs, wind power, and solar photovoltaics.

Everyone should wake up to US’ blame game in Red Sea, Ukraine crises

In this article, originally published in Global Times, British academic James A. Smith notes that the United States and Britain are currently engaged in a bombing campaign against Yemen, which flows from US support for Israel’s genocidal war in Gaza, yet “according to US officials, it is China who should apparently be making the peace.”

Smith argues:

“We’ve heard this all before. The US has also repeatedly stated that it is China’s responsibility to ensure peace in the Ukraine conflict too. However, the reality is that in both scenarios, not only does US foreign policy run completely contrary to the interests of peace, but moreover, the White House has no intention in either instance of attempting a balanced peace scenario brokered on China’s terms.

“Instead, what is being asked is that Beijing capitulates to enforcing American-centric goals and interests in respect to each conflict. And of course, because US officials know there is no chance of that happening, the goal of these public overtures is merely a propaganda effort to smear China as being responsible or culpable for the given wars that US is in fact escalating, and thus to frame China as a threat to the international order. American foreign policy is not driven by an attempt to ensue balance, peace or stability, but on a prerequisite goal that it must always maintain unilateralist hegemony at all costs.”

According to the author, as China will not support unilateralist American foreign policy goals in seeking peace, the US subsequently uses this to push a narrative that China is a threat to the peace. This is the propaganda game played by US officials. It is an act of gaslighting to demand that China support peace, when in fact it means supporting American strategic goals.

Dr. James A. Smith is a senior lecturer in Literature and Theory at Royal Holloway, University of London, and the author of Other People’s Politics: Populism to Corbynism.

Recently, the US asked China to “help” maintain the flow of Red Sea shipping. The US is currently in a state of conflict with Houthi rebels in Yemen. The cause of the conflict is a failure of the US to push for a ceasefire and peace negotiations in Israel, which has caused regional tensions and instability. The US and UK, in turn, have responded with a bombing campaign in Yemen. However, according to US officials, it is China who should apparently be making the peace.

We’ve heard this all before. The US has also repeatedly stated that it is China’s responsibility to ensure peace in the Ukraine conflict too. However, the reality is that in both scenarios, not only does US foreign policy run completely contrary to the interests of peace, but moreover, the White House has no intention in either instance of attempting a balanced peace scenario brokered on China’s terms. 

Instead, what is being asked is that Beijing capitulates to enforcing American-centric goals and interests in respect to each conflict. And of course, because US officials know there is no chance of that happening, the goal of these public overtures is merely a propaganda effort to smear China as being responsible or culpable for the given wars that US is in fact escalating, and thus to frame China as a threat to the international order.

American foreign policy is not driven by an attempt to ensue balance, peace or stability, but on a prerequisite goal that it must always maintain unilateralist hegemony at all costs. To this end, contemporary US foreign policymaking, unlike the Cold War, does not yield a notion of compromise with states that it deems to be adversaries. Rather, its objectives focus on preventing the breakdown of unipolarity and enabling strategic competitors to emerge which challenge the post-1991 status quo. In other words, the US pursues maximalist goals and does not compromise on “strategic space” in its diplomacy and continually aims to expand its leverage.

That is why, for example, the US was not prepared to compromise on the subject of NATO in order to alleviate tensions with Russia or bring a swift end to the Ukraine conflict. Instead, it sets itself on a policy that aimed to use the conflict as a means to impose a zero-sum strategic defeat on Moscow so that it could eliminate them as a competitor and destroy economic integration between Russia and Europe. The US only finds a peace outcome acceptable if it supports all its strategic goals. 

Given this, when China proposed a peace plan for the Ukraine conflict last year, the US readily dismissed it. Yet at the same time, the US had repeatedly asked China to put “pressure” on Russia, to end the conflict. What does this mean? It does not mean brokering a peace or a mutually acceptable resolution, but rather subduing Moscow to follow American foreign policy preferences, which is of course a total non-starter. China isn’t being asked to make peace or find a mutually acceptable resolution, but to act on the behalf of the US.

Therefore, as China will not support unilateralist American foreign policy goals in seeking peace, the US subsequently uses this to push a narrative that China is a “threat” to the peace. This is the propaganda game played by US officials. It is an act of “gaslighting” to demand that China support “peace,” when in fact it means supporting “American strategic goals.” When China does not comply, it is accused of deliberately prolonging and enabling the conflict. 

The mainstream media in turn responds by assuming that China “supports” the side against the US in the given conflict. In the process, the narrative then whitewashes the actual culpability America has in having created those wars in the first place through its pursuit of unilateralist and zero-sum policies. One example of this is refusing to compromise on the expansion of NATO, or alternatively, giving Israel unconditional and uncritical backing in the war on Gaza and even resorting to more military solutions when the instability escalates. Yet China, a bystander, who does not have a direct stake in any of these conflicts, and would prefer peace and stability as its primary goals, is somehow framed as the threat in a conspiracy against the West. This is the game the US plays, and everyone should wake up to it. 

Xi says China-Russia relations embrace new development opportunities

The Presidents of China and Russia exchanged friendly greetings and reviewed their bilateral relations, along with a range of regional and international issues, in a February 8 telephone call in advance of the Chinese New Year.

President Xi Jinping told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that China and Russia withstood many tests together in the past, and their relations embrace new development opportunities in the future. He added that it has become a fine tradition for him and Putin to exchange greetings at the turn of the year, review the achievements of the development of bilateral relations, and jointly look forward to the future.

Noting that this year marks the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Russia, Xi said that China is ready to continue to uphold the spirit of mutual assistance and everlasting friendship with Russia so as to jointly write a new chapter in China-Russia relations.

He stressed that the two sides should strengthen strategic coordination, safeguard the national sovereignty, security and development interests of their respective countries, and resolutely oppose external interference in their internal affairs.

He also called on both sides to support Kazakhstan in holding a successful Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit this year, enhance unity and mutual trust, and safeguard regional security and stability as well as the common interests of regional countries, adding that China also actively supports Russia as the rotating BRICS presidency this year.

President Putin said this year marks the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Russia and China. Under the joint efforts of both sides, bilateral relations have reached an unprecedented high level.

Expressing thanks to China for supporting Russia’s work in the BRICS rotating presidency this year, Putin said Russia stands ready to strengthen communication and coordination with the Chinese side in regional and international multilateral frameworks such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, to support each other, and to uphold multilateralism and safeguard respective legitimate interests.

Russia firmly abides by the one-China principle, opposes any dangerous actions provoking China on the Taiwan question, and believes that any plot impeding China’s peaceful reunification will not succeed, Putin noted.

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

BEIJING, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) — China and Russia withstood many tests together in the past, and their relations embrace new development opportunities in the future, said Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday.

Xi made the remarks in his phone conversation with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, ahead of the Chinese New Year. In the phone call, the two heads of state also exchanged greetings of the Chinese New Year.

Noting that the Chinese Spring Festival is approaching and the festive atmosphere is strong, Xi said that the Chinese people are full of hope and confidence towards the coming Year of the Dragon.

Extending his best wishes to the friendly Chinese people, Putin said that the dragon symbolizes wisdom and strength in the Chinese culture.

He wished the Chinese people happiness in the Year of the Dragon and hoped that all their wishes would be fulfilled.

In the phone call, Xi said that it has become a fine tradition for him and Putin to exchange greetings by the turn of the year, review the achievements of the development of bilateral relations, and jointly look forward to the future.

Noting that he and Putin met twice and reached many important consensuses in the past year, Xi said that under the two leaders’ joint guidance, the governments, legislatures and political parties of the two countries have engaged in active exchanges, and bilateral cooperation in various fields has shown resilience and vitality, Xi said.

The annual bilateral trade volume met the aim ahead of schedule, while cultural and local exchanges between the two countries were vigorously carried out, and the Years of Sports Exchange between China and Russia were successfully concluded, Xi said.

Noting that this year marks the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Russia, Xi said that China is ready to continue to uphold the spirit of mutual assistance and everlasting friendship with Russia to jointly write a new chapter in China-Russia relations.

Xi stressed that the two sides should strengthen strategic coordination, safeguard the national sovereignty, security and development interests of their respective countries, and resolutely oppose external interference in their internal affairs.

The two sides should cultivate new momentum for bilateral cooperation, maintain the stability of the industrial and supply chains, jointly host the China-Russia Years of Culture, hold down-to-earth and warm cultural exchanges that connect the hearts of the two peoples, and constantly tighten the bonds of their people, Xi said.

Xi called on both sides to support Kazakhstan in holding a successful Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit this year, enhance unity and mutual trust, and safeguard regional security and stability as well as the common interests of regional countries, adding that China also actively supports Russia as the rotating BRICS presidency this year.

China stands ready to strengthen international multilateral coordination with Russia, practice the true multilateralism, advocate an equal and orderly multipolar world and economic globalization that benefits all, and make the global governance system more just and reasonable, so as to make positive contributions to building a community with a shared future for mankind, Xi said.

For his part, Putin said this year marks the 75th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between Russia and China. Under the joint efforts of both sides, bilateral relations have reached an unprecedented high level.

Last year, Russia-China cooperation in various fields yielded fruitful results, Putin said, expressing his willingness to continue to maintain close interaction with President Xi, so that the two leaders can guide the two countries to achieve new progress in cooperation in all fields.

He hopes the two sides will successfully hold the Russia-China Years of Culture and a series of cultural and people-to-people exchanges this year, further cementing the foundation of friendship between the two peoples.

Expressing thanks to China for supporting Russia’s work in the BRICS rotating presidency this year, Putin said Russia stands ready to strengthen communication and coordination with the Chinese side in regional and international multilateral frameworks such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, to support each other, and to uphold multilateralism and safeguard respective legitimate interests.

Russia firmly abides by the one-China principle, opposes any dangerous actions provoking China on the Taiwan question, and believes that any plot impeding China’s peaceful reunification will not succeed, Putin noted.

The two heads of state also exchanged in-depth views on current international and regional hotspot issues. The two heads of state agreed to keep close contact in the new year, and have in-depth exchanges on China-Russia relations and strategic issues of common concern. 

China and Norway call for immediate ceasefire in Gaza

Since the start of 2024, in its diplomatic dealings with European countries, China has placed considerable emphasis on identifying areas of common ground and promoting friendly cooperation with the continent’s small and medium-sized countries.

Particularly significant in this regard was the early February visit to Beijing by Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide. 

Noting that Eide is the first European foreign minister to visit China in 2024, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Eide’s visit shows the importance Norway attaches to China and the fact that relations between the two countries are maintaining forward momentum. Norway is a uniquely influential European country and one of the first Western countries to establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of those relations. China appreciates the Norwegian government’s objective, rational and friendly view of China’s development, its adherence to the one-China principle and its friendship with China.

Wang Yi stressed that, to promote greater development of China-Norway relations in the next stage the two sides should first uphold the right way to get along with each other, respect the choices of their respective people, and accommodate each other’s core interests and major concerns. The two sides should deepen practical cooperation, promote bilateral cooperation in various fields with a vision for development and a proactive attitude, strengthen multilateral collaboration, advocate multilateralism, adhere to openness and inclusiveness, and jointly promote peace and prosperity in the world.

Eide said that after 70 years of development, China-Norway relations have entered a mature stage. The Norwegian side firmly adheres to the one-China policy and advocates mutual respect and constructive dialogue to promote greater development of relations between the two countries, so as to jointly build a universal and inclusive, peaceful and prosperous world. 

The two sides have broad space for cooperation in areas such as green transformation, and Norway is ready to work with China to jointly address global challenges such as climate change. China’s great achievements in poverty eradication are admirable and have made important contributions to the global poverty reduction cause.

What was undoubtedly of greatest significance in this visit, given Israel’s current genocidal war in Gaza, is that the two sides had an in-depth exchange of views on the recent situation in the Middle East and agreed on the need for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and a substantial increase in humanitarian assistance. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East should be allowed to continue its vital humanitarian work in Gaza and the region, and donor countries were urged not to suspend their support to the Agency. Both sides also agreed on the need to strengthen support for the Palestinian National Authority and to start a political process leading to a two-state solution in which both the Israeli and the Palestinian peoples could live in peace and security. They also expressed concern about the spillover of the rising situation in the Middle East and agreed to continue to maintain communication on the issue.

Besides Norway, other West European countries calling for a ceasefire in Gaza include Ireland, Spain, Belgium, Malta, and Luxembourg, along with the devolved government in Scotland.

Former Minister Eide also met with Vice Premier Ding Xuexiang and Minister Liu Jianchao of the International Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee (IDCPC).

Minister Liu said that the CPC is willing to strengthen exchanges with the Labour Party and other major political parties in Norway, carry out exchanges on governing concepts and development strategies, deepen mutual understanding and trust, and build bridges for local exchanges and practical cooperation between the two countries through inter-party channels, so as to promote the development of bilateral relations.

He also highlighted the need to deepen cooperation in the fields of economy and trade, along with green and maritime issues, as well as winter sports.

The Norwegian Foreign Minister’s Beijing visit was immediately followed by that of Swiss Federal Councillor and Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis, who jointly held the third round of China-Switzerland Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue with Foreign Minister Wang Yi. He also met with Chinese Vice President Han Zheng.

This visit had been preceded in January by Premier Li Qiang making Switzerland and Ireland his first overseas destinations of 2024.

Also, on February 8, Chinese President Xi Jinping said that China and Portugal have upheld the idea of mutual respect, openness and inclusiveness since their diplomatic ties were established, vividly demonstrating the right way for countries to get along with one another. He made the remarks as he exchanged congratulations with his Portuguese counterpart, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, on the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, in the wake of the ‘Carnation Revolution’ that overthrew the previous fascist dictatorship.

China and Portugal have properly settled the Macao issue through friendly consultation and taken stock of the situation to establish their comprehensive strategic partnership, Xi added, and noted that the two sides have jointly coped with the global financial crisis and public health challenges, expanded mutually beneficial cooperation among their enterprises, worked together for stronger Belt and Road cooperation and the development of China-EU relations, and upheld multilateralism.

For his part, Rebelo de Sousa said that despite the long distance, Portugal and China have always been getting along and maintained friendly exchanges in political, economic, cultural, social, and other fields.

Noting that bilateral ties have been thriving since the establishment of diplomatic relations, Rebelo de Sousa said the two countries have successfully achieved the smooth handover of Macao, worked together to boost the development of the Forum for Economic and Trade Co-operation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries, and actively carried out multilateral cooperation.

Meanwhile, the Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo visited China in January, and in a February 2 phone call, Premier Li Qiang and his Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte agreed to further promote cooperation between their two countries. 

In contrast to some naïve and simplistic analyses of the current international situation that see only a united Global North, essentially devoid of contradictions, China’s sophisticated and nuanced handling of its relations with various countries in Europe, not least with regard to the present war in Gaza, embodies Leninist strategy and tactics as, for example, set out here in VI Lenin’s, “Left-Wing” Communism: an infantile disorder (and further developed by Mao Zedong, particularly with his concept of intermediate zones, as initially set out, for example, in his August 1946 talk with Anna Louise Strong):

“To carry on a war for the overthrow of the international bourgeoisie, a war which is a hundred times more difficult, protracted and complex than the most stubborn of ordinary wars between states, and to renounce in advance any change of tack, or any utilisation of a conflict of interests (even if temporary) among one’s enemies, or any conciliation or compromise with possible allies (even if they are temporary, unstable, vacillating or conditional allies) – is that not ridiculous in the extreme?”

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

Wang Yi Holds Talks with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway Espen Barth Eide

On February 5, 2024, Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Foreign Minister Wang Yi held talks with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway Espen Barth Eide in Beijing.

Noting Eide is the first European foreign minister to visit China in 2024, Wang Yi said Eide’s visit shows the importance Norway attaches to China and the fact that relations between the two countries are maintaining forward momentum. Norway is a uniquely influential European country and one of the first Western countries to establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Norway. After 70 years of development, China-Norway relations have become more mature and resilient, and have maintained a strong endogenous momentum. China appreciates the Norwegian government’s objective, rational and friendly view of China’s development, its adherence to the one-China principle and its friendship with China.

Wang Yi said that the world today has entered a new period of turbulence and change, and the global political, economic and security situation is full of uncertainties. Human society is at a critical crossroads. China believes that the overall direction of pursuing peace and development by people of all countries will not change, the overall dynamics of human civilization moving forward will not change, and the overall trend toward a shared future for the international community will not change. Although China and Norway are geographically apart with different national conditions and systems, the two countries should be the forces of stability, peace and prosperity in the international community. The two sides should insist on candid communication, pragmatically promote cooperation, properly deal with differences, follow the overall direction, overall dynamics and overall trend, and jointly inject more certainty, stability and positive energy into the world.

Wang Yi stressed that to promote greater development of China-Norway relations in the next stage, the two sides should first uphold the right way to get along with each other, respect the choices of their respective people, and accommodate each other’s core interests and major concerns. The two sides should deepen practical cooperation, treat bilateral cooperation in various fields with a vision for development and a proactive attitude, strengthen multilateral collaboration, advocate multilateralism, adhere to openness and inclusiveness, and jointly promote peace and prosperity in the world.

Continue reading China and Norway call for immediate ceasefire in Gaza

Embracing the Year of the Dragon

In the following article, which was originally published by China Today to coincide with the start of the Year of the Dragon, our co-editor Keith Bennett, noting that the Lunar New Year has increasingly become a common festival of people throughout the world, goes on to illustrate how it has become an integral part of British life, celebrated not only by the Chinese community and all those with a connection to China, but increasingly by people from all communities and all walks of life. 

Keith notes how the celebration in London’s Chinatown, which had already become one of the largest and most spectacular outside Asia, was brought to Trafalgar Square by progressive mayor Ken Livingstone, and due in large part to the hard work and efforts of two great friends of China, the late Redmond O’Neill and Jude Woodward. 

Highlighting how China’s late Premier Zhou Enlai had stressed that his country’s diplomacy rested on a tripod of state-to-state, party-to-party and people-to-people relations and that President Xi Jinping has often stressed that good people-to-people relations are the foundation for sound state-to-state relations, Keith concludes:

“British people from all walks of life and backgrounds have been increasingly taking Chinese New Year to their hearts. It has become part of our culture and calendar. This is one more reminder that Cold War hostility and bellicosity do not represent the interests of the people of any country and are therefore destined to fail.”

Chinese people, and people throughout the world, are looking forward to welcoming the Year of the Dragon, which falls on February 10, 2024. The Dragon is considered the most auspicious of the 12 signs in the Chinese zodiac and this year is specifically the Year of the Wood Dragon, the first since 1964. According to Lifestyle Asia, “Wood Dragons enjoy fulfilling careers. They’re likely to materialize all their ambitions into actions, coming up with truly revolutionary ideas.”

In the run up to the Chinese people’s greatest holiday, there has already been some good news. On December 22, 2023, the 78th United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution by consensus that, as from 2024, the Chinese, or Lunar, New Year shall be designated as a UN “floating holiday,” to be taken into consideration when drafting the world body’s calendar of conferences and meetings.

This might be best understood as a welcome and quite possibly overdue recognition of reality. The Lunar New Year has long since ceased to be solely a great festival for all Chinese people; for other countries and peoples in East Asia sharing a cultural heritage and numerous neighborly bonds with China; and for overseas Chinese and people of Chinese heritage on the five continents and across the four seas. It has increasingly become a common festival of people throughout the world.

In my country, Britain, it is, of course, a special occasion for our Chinese community and for all those of us with a connection to China. This naturally especially applies to Chinatowns, such as those in London, Liverpool (the oldest in Europe), Manchester and elsewhere.

The London Chinatown Chinese Association (LCCA), one of the U.K.’s most important Chinese organizations, long led by the indefatigable Chu Ting Tang, proprietor of the Imperial China restaurant, works hard throughout each year to stage one of the greatest and most spectacular Chinese New Year celebrations outside Asia, which attracts tens of thousands of people – not just Chinese people, but Londoners from every background in this most multicultural and multinational of cities, joined, too, by visitors and tourists from all over.

This great celebration had long since outgrown the crowded pavements of Gerard Street, Lisle Street, Wardour Street, Newport Place, and others in the heart of Chinatown, when Ken Livingstone, the progressive mayor of London, brought it to the heart of the capital in nearby Trafalgar Square.

This was a key part of Ken’s ambitious program to recognize and celebrate the city’s great diversity, from Ireland’s national Saint Patrick’s Day, to the Notting Hill Carnival (originally inspired by Claudia Jones, a communist of Trinidadian origin, who met Chairman Mao and is now buried to the left of Karl Marx), to the Eid, Diwali, Vaisakhi, and Hannukah festivals of the Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, and Jewish faiths.

None of this would have been possible without the devoted and tireless work of two great friends of China, who were mainstays of the mayor’s office and administration. Redmond O’Neill and Jude Woodward, socialists, Marxists, and internationalists, left us far too early, but we remember them not least at Chinese New Year. Its central place in London life is thanks in great part to them.

The Chinese New Year is also a focus for all in the business community with an interest in China and the Chinese market. This is now marked by an ever-increasing number of dinners and receptions, but the flagship event has long been the “Icebreakers” Chinese New Year Dinner, customarily held in the ballroom of the iconic Dorchester Hotel, home also to the China Tang Restaurant, founded by the late Sir David Tang, on Park Lane, and organized by the 48 Group Club. Originally hosted by the London Export Corporation (LEC), the first U.K. company to trade with the new China following the establishment of the People’s Republic, and founded by the late Jack Perry, it is now joined by the China Britain Business Council (CBBC) and the China Chamber of Commerce in the U.K. (CCCUK), and features keynote speeches by the Chinese ambassador and other VIPs, both British and Chinese. It has even received letters and messages of greetings from President Xi Jinping and other top Chinese leaders.

For the last couple of decades, the Chinese affiliates, and China interest groups, of the Conservative, Labor and Liberal Democrat parties have all also hosted celebratory dinners, although these have now been somewhat negatively impacted by the new Cold War mentality and the rise of neo-McCarthyism. My personal highpoint from these events – although they have also been attended by a number of serving prime ministers and receptions have been held at 10 Downing Street, the prime minister’s official residence – was when former Chinese Ambassador to the U.K. Liu Xiaoming joined Jeremy Corbyn, the first socialist leader of the Labor Party in at least eight decades, to celebrate at the Phoenix Palace, one of London’s most outstanding Cantonese restaurants, as well as brought the traditional lion dance to life at Labor’s headquarters.

But, as mentioned, Chinese New Year in the U.K. has now gone well beyond those with a specific China interest. It is, for example, marked with special projects and lessons in many of our primary schools up and down the country.

China’s late Premier Zhou Enlai, in my view the greatest diplomat of the 20th century, stressed that China’s diplomacy rested on a tripod of state-to-state, party-to-party, and people-to-people relations.

President Xi Jinping has often stressed that good people-to-people bonds are the foundation for sound state-to-state relations.

British people from all walks of life and backgrounds have been increasingly taking Chinese New Year to their hearts. It has become part of our culture and calendar. This is one more reminder that Cold War hostility and bellicosity do not represent the interests of the people of any country and are therefore destined to fail.

Happy New Year of the Wood Dragon!  

BRICS+ and the future of the international order

This thought-provoking article by Elias Jabbour – associate professor of theory and policy of economic planning at Rio de Janeiro State University, and member of the Friends of Socialist China advisory group – explores the shifting dynamics of global power and the emergence of BRICS+ as a significant factor in the evolving international order. The article underlines the significance of China’s socialist development in particular – which has positioned it at the centre of a rising multipolar world – and an emerging “globalisation with Chinese characteristics” which promotes development, peace and common prosperity, in contrast to the enforced inequality and violence that characterise imperialist globalisation.

Elias notes the resurgence of the Global South as a key factor in the transformation of the international order, and the role of BRICS+ in this process. While the Global South is made up of “a heterogeneous set of countries, with differentiated levels of development”, these countries collectively “have the ability to converge on some fundamental issues for their own future, and for that of humanity itself.” Put in other words, the countries of the Global South have a shared interest in opposing imperialism, defending sovereignty and pursuing peaceful development. China stands at the centre of the process of uniting the countries of the Global South in promoting a multipolar, democratic and fair system of international relations.

The article also highlights the significance of the Belt and Road Initiative as a key component of China’s global strategy, and the potential for BRI to transform the global economic landscape by promoting infrastructure development, economic integration, and a shift away from the financialised neoliberal model associated with the US.

Elias discusses the disastrous consequences of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the concurrent global imposition of neoliberalism. On the other hand, the US’s moment of triumph did not last long, and the last decade and a half have witnessed “the erosion of the ability to reinvent capitalism due to financialisation and the emergence of a socialist country (China) as an economic power whose path reflects nothing of the neoliberal recipes sold by the IMF and the World Bank have contributed to the acceleration of a systemic transition, in which a new globalisation centered on China is only its greatest expression.”

In conclusion, the article argues that the political future of BRICS+ and the broader Global South is intricately linked to China’s trajectory and its ability to offer a developmental model that counters neoliberalism. It suggests that the global struggle against underdevelopment and for independence is gaining momentum, with BRICS+ playing a pivotal role in shaping a more equitable global order.

This article first appeared in Geopolitical Economy Report.

The emergence and rise of new poles of power to the detriment of existing ones is nothing new in history. Since the 18th century, there have been countless examples of transitions in international hegemony. This accelerated with the emergence of industrial capitalism in England, which was more advanced than the Portuguese and Spanish commercial capitalism that for centuries had dominated much of the world, especially Latin America.

Even the capitalist dynamic inaugurated by England has characteristics that are not unfamiliar to economic historians with great theoretical and conceptual rigor.

Well known is Vladimir Lenin’s discovery of the uneven nature of the development of nations and the tendency of the most developed countries to lose dynamism while others begin to enjoy what economist Alexander Gerschenkron called the “advantages of backwardness”.

So the international order cannot be observed, from a historical point of view, as a march where countries change positions like in a military parade.

The emergence of monopolistic capitalism brought with it the tendency toward war, for example. We have witnessed two great world wars where the center of the dispute was world power, with results that consolidated new political actors on the international stage, mainly the United States.

A new systemic transition

I start from the historical principle that reality has shown Lenin to be correct, regarding the uneven development of the system and the tendency toward stagnation in the developed centers. These processes open spaces of power in the world.

I also say that we will have little to offer in terms of explanation for the future if we do not relate the transformation of the United States into a unified continental economy at the end of the 19th century, and its impacts on the development of the international capitalist system, with what we have witnessed in China over the past decades: the emergence of a unified continental economy in the third-largest country in the world, which is generating huge impacts on the international political economy – and is still little investigated by so-called experts.

This is a fundamental point when we want to develop a sophisticated thinking about the BRICS+ and the future of the international order. I will return to this point.

On the other hand, we are witnessing a new wave of systemic transition today. This time, there is the emergence of new poles of global power on one side, while on the other there is an accelerated stage of political, social, moral, and economic decomposition of a hegemonic power: the United States of America.

It is interesting to note that the new order that is emerging is itself the product of the order created by the United States after World War II, which accelerated in the late 1970s with the rise of neoliberalism, and especially after the end of the Soviet Union.

Globalization led by the powerful finance of the United States was a reality that transformed the economic geography of the world, but which is eroding within its own limits. Since the moment when financialization became the dominant dynamic of accumulation in capitalism, and neoliberalism won hearts and minds around the globe, the world has entered a spiral of greater instability and unpredictability.

Continue reading BRICS+ and the future of the international order

Wang Yi: Contributing to a brighter future of peace, security, prosperity and progress in the world

Following last December’s Central Conference on Work Relating to Foreign Affairs, held in Beijing, an important article by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi was published on January 16, in which China’s top diplomat comprehensively outlined the themes of the conference and gave a profound exposition of the key features and theoretical background of Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy.

According to Wang Yi, Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy is “a shining example of applying the basic tenets of Marxism to the practice of China’s diplomacy and fine traditional Chinese culture. It has not only built on the proud diplomatic tradition of New China but also kept abreast of the times, broken new ground and opened up new vistas in China’s diplomatic theory and practice.”

He goes on to explain that “building a community with a shared future for humanity is the core tenet of Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy. It reflects the high consistency of the Communist Party of China’s founding aspiration and mission with the trend of our times, and embodies the broadest common expectations of people around the globe for a better world. With tremendous theoretical value and far-reaching historical significance, this vision is gaining increasingly strong influence, vitality and appeal.”

The fundamental safeguard for China’s diplomacy and foreign policy, he notes, is the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC). “CPC leadership is our greatest political strength and the defining feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics. It is also the most fundamental principle and greatest source of strength for China’s diplomacy.”

Reviewing the achievements of China’s diplomacy over the last decade, Wang Yi outlined six imperatives, namely that it “is imperative to uphold principles, shoulder China’s responsibility as a major country, apply systems thinking, uphold fundamental principles and break new ground, carry forward our fighting spirit, and leverage our institutional strengths.”

Further developing this theme, he explains:

“On major issues of right and wrong, it is imperative to uphold principles. China is a socialist country led by the CPC. We should take a clear position by standing on the progressive side of history and on the side of fairness and justice, work actively to meet the common aspirations and legitimate concerns of people of all countries, and demonstrate the people-centeredness of the CPC and the commitment to serving the people in China’s foreign policy. This way, we will always rally abundant support for the just cause, hold the high ground of justice and have strategic initiative.

“It is incumbent on China, the biggest developing country and a major country, to uphold justice in a world undergoing profound changes and turbulence and to shoulder responsibility at critical moments, and hence be a firm defender of world peace and champion of global development. “At the same time, and through Chinese modernisation, we are ready to be helpful in the efforts of other developing countries that want to achieve development while preserving their independence, so that all countries will be able to embark on the right path toward modernisation through peaceful development.

“In developing strategies and policies, it is imperative to apply systems thinking. The CPC, a Marxist party armed with theories of dialectical and historical materialism, should know how to analyse, study and assess the international situation with the understanding that things are universally connected and constantly evolving. “We should be able to see the present from a historical perspective and look beyond the surface to get to the crux of issues, so as to discern and analyse accurately the laws and direction of the profoundly changing world, and formulate sound foreign policies.”

Regarding assessing risks and challenges, “it is imperative to carry forward our fighting spirit. The CPC has never been deterred by intimidation, swayed by fallacies, or cowed by pressure. Only with the courage and ability to carry on our fight, can we overcome various difficulties and obstacles. Going forward, we will face an even more severe international situation and more complex external environment. We must forge ahead with an indomitable spirit and tenacious efforts to open up new horizons in our external work.”

Wang notes that at the conference, it was pointed out that great transformation is accelerating across the world. Changes of the world, of our times, and of historical significance are unfolding like never before, and the world has entered a new period of turbulence and transformation. Yet the overall direction of human development and progress will not change, the overall dynamics of world history moving forward amid twists and turns will not change, and the overall trend toward a shared future for the international community will not change.

A country’s foreign policy, he went on to explain, is closely linked to its domestic agenda as its external and internal imperatives correlate and interplay with each other. “At a fundamental level, we should handle the relationship between the three well: a community with a shared future for humanity, global transformation, and Chinese modernisation. Building a great modern socialist country in all respects and achieving national rejuvenation through Chinese modernisation is the top political priority on the new journey of the new era. To accomplish this central task of the Party and the country, we must hold high the banner of building a community with a shared future for humanity to steer global transformation in the right direction. We need to pursue China’s development in the broader development of the world, and advance the interests of both the Chinese people and people the world over. By doing so, we will facilitate the move toward a brighter future of peace, security, prosperity and progress in the world.”

Turning to multipolarity, Wang described it as the general trend of the world today. Great transformation is accelerating across the world. The international balance of power is undergoing profound realignment. The Global South is gaining a stronger momentum, shaping the trajectory of world history in a profound way. The overwhelming majority of the members of the international community, be they big or small, all stand for a multipolar world and reject the old path of bloc confrontation and zero-sum competition, still less a repeat of war and conflict.

The multipolar world China champions is one based on equality. It means all countries, regardless of their size, are treated as equals; hegemonism and power politics are rejected; international affairs are not dominated by only a handful of countries; and democracy is truly promoted in international relations. Each and every country or group of countries should have its place in the multipolar system, and the conventional myth that multipolarity is the monopoly of a few big powers should be debunked.

Similarly, the economic globalisation China advocates is one that is universally beneficial. It means meeting the common needs of all countries, especially the developing countries, properly addressing the development imbalances between and within countries resulting from the global allocation of resources and delivering balanced and adequate development. This will help foster a globalisation process that enables faster development of all countries, especially the developing countries, and ensure universal benefit and common prosperity.

The following is the full text of Comrade Wang Yi’s article. It was originally published on the website of the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Implementing the Guiding Principles of the Central Conference On Work Relating to Foreign Affairs and Breaking New Ground In Major-Country Diplomacy with Chinese Characteristics

At the end of December 2023, the Central Conference on Work Relating to Foreign Affairs was successfully held. General Secretary Xi Jinping delivered an important address at the conference, in which he presented a comprehensive review of the historic achievements and valuable experience of major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics in the new era, gave a profound exposition on the international environment and historical mission of China’s external work on the new journey, and made comprehensive plans for China’s external work for the present and coming periods. The conference identified the theme of China’s external work as building a community with a shared future for mankind, set the noble goal pursued by China in conducting major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics, and laid out the top-level plan for China’s diplomatic strategies on the new journey ahead. Practiced and developed over the first decade of the new era, Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy has increasingly demonstrated its extraordinary theoretical quality of keeping in sync with and leading the times, a testament that our Party’s understanding of China’s relations with the world has reached a new and higher level.

Continue reading Wang Yi: Contributing to a brighter future of peace, security, prosperity and progress in the world

Clean energy was top driver of China’s economic growth in 2023

The following detailed article by Lauri Myllyvirta and Qi Qin, originally published in Carbon Brief, highlights the unprecedented expansion of clean energy technology in China in 2023.

The authors’ analysis shows that clean energy investment in China increased 40 percent year-on-year – the $890bn total is slightly higher than the GDP of Switzerland. Furthermore, clean energy sectors “were the largest driver of China’ economic growth overall, accounting for 40 percent of the expansion of GDP in 2023… This shift positions the clean-energy industry as a key part not only of China’s energy and climate efforts, but also of its broader economic and industrial policy.”

The largest growth was in solar energy, the value of which sector increased by 63 percent. “While China has dominated the manufacturing and installations of solar panels for years, the growth of the industry in 2023 was unprecedented.” There was also significant growth of solar product exports to countries along the Belt and Road, particularly in Africa and Southeast Asia.

The article finds that China’s production of electric vehicles grew 36 percent in 2023. Over a third of cars purchased in China in the last year were electric; this growth is supported by a vast charging infrastructure – the article notes that by November 2023 there were 8.6m charging points (around 50 times the number in the US).

The article also notes that China is rapidly scaling up its electricity storage capacity. “This has the potential to significantly reduce China’s reliance on coal- and gas-fired power plants to meet peaks in electricity demand and to facilitate the integration of larger amounts of variable wind and solar power into the grid.”

The authors argue that the growth of clean energy in China is a result of the country’s overall economic strategy and its clear political commitment to climate goals. “China’s clean-energy policies and wider industrial policy built the foundation and scaled up these sectors so that they were primed for rapid growth.”

It is likely that the Chinese government will continue to direct vast resources towards green energy – benefitting not only China but the whole world. In this light, the recklessness of the US-led strategy of “decoupling” and New Cold War is ever more apparent. Those in the West that care about the future of the planet should work towards friendly relations and close cooperation with China in support of a global green energy transition.

Clean energy contributed a record 11.4tn yuan ($1.6tn) to China’s economy in 2023, accounting for all of the growth in investment and a larger share of economic growth than any other sector.

The new sector-by-sector analysis for Carbon Brief, based on official figures, industry data and analyst reports, illustrates the huge surge in investment in Chinese clean energy last year – in particular, the so-called “new three” industries of solar power, electric vehicles (EVs) and batteries.

Solar power, along with manufacturing capacity for solar panels, EVs and batteries, were the main focus of China’s clean-energy investments in 2023, the analysis shows.

(For this analysis, we used a broad definition of “clean energy” sectors, including renewables, nuclear power, electricity grids, energy storage, EVs and railways. These are technologies and infrastructure needed to decarbonise China’s production and use of energy.)

Other key findings of the analysis include:

  • Clean-energy investment rose 40% year-on-year to 6.3tn yuan ($890bn), with the growth accounting for all of the investment growth across the Chinese economy in 2023.
  • China’s $890bn investment in clean-energy sectors is almost as large as total global investments in fossil fuel supply in 2023 – and similar to the GDP of Switzerland or Turkey.
  • Including the value of production, clean-energy sectors contributed 11.4tn yuan ($1.6tn) to the Chinese economy in 2023, up 30% year-on-year.
  • Clean-energy sectors, as a result, were the largest driver of China’ economic growth overall, accounting for 40% of the expansion of GDP in 2023.
  • Without the growth from clean-energy sectors, China’s GDP would have missed the government’s growth target of “around 5%”, rising by only 3.0% instead of 5.2%.

The surge in clean-energy investment comes as China’s real-estate sector shrank for the second year in a row. This shift positions the clean-energy industry as a key part not only of China’s energy and climate efforts, but also of its broader economic and industrial policy.

Continue reading Clean energy was top driver of China’s economic growth in 2023