China and the struggle for peace: a dialogue between Andrew Murray and Ken Hammond

DateThursday 30 May
Time6pm Britain / 1pm US Eastern / 10am US Pacific
VenueZoom, YouTube and Facebook
OrganisersFriends of Socialist China
Morning Star

There is an escalating paranoia in the West about China’s rise: China is accused of stealing Western technology; spying on British parliamentarians; sending surveillance balloons to the US; preparing for war over Taiwan; undermining Western sanctions against Russia, Cuba, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Iran and Syria; and generally subverting the “rules-based international order”. Politicians and media pundits are calling for a tougher stance on China, accusing it of manufacturing overcapacity, debt trap diplomacy and human rights abuses. In response to these purported violations, the G7 countries have imposed sanctions and heavy tariffs on Chinese products, including solar energy materials and electric vehicles.

China meanwhile has not been at war in over four decades, maintains a constitutional commitment to peaceful development, and claims to be “building a global community of shared future, with the goal of creating an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security, and common prosperity”.

This dialogue between Ken Hammond and Andrew Murray – following on from their November 2022 dialogue on the evolving significance of the Chinese Revolution – will explore the history and contemporary reality of China’s foreign policy, the “China threat”, multipolarity, the New Cold War, nuclear weapons, the principles of peaceful coexistence, and more.

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

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

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

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