Standing against NATO and AUKUS a key issue for the peace movement

On Saturday January 21, Britain’s Stop the War Coalition organised its first-ever trade union conference.

Speakers included former Leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn MP; President of the RMT rail workers union Alex Gordon; Deputy President of the PCS civil service union Martin Cavanagh; Alex Kenny from the National Education Union; Liz Wheatley of public service union Unison; Ricardo de la Torre of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU); Daniel Zahedi of the junior doctors section of the British Medical Association (BMA); striking ambulance worker George Solomou; José Nivoi from the Autonomous Collective of Dockworkers in Genoa, Italy, who have repeatedly prevented arms shipments from being sent to conflict zones in the Middle East; Deputy President of Stop the War Andrew Murray; Stop the War Convenor Lindsey German; and veteran anti-war campaigner Salma Yaqoob.

China specialist Dr Jenny Clegg, who is a member of the Friends of Socialist China advisory group, introduced and led a well-attended session on the AUKUS pact between Britain, Australia and the United States, and on the ‘coming war on China’. She was joined on the panel by Dr. Kate Hudson, General Secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), and Warren Smith of the Australian Maritime Union.

We reproduce Jenny’s opening remarks below, which present an admirable and concise summary of the regional situation. Their cogency and urgency are only underlined by the subsequent visit of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to Japan and South Korea.

Introduction

The Ukraine war, Russia, and NATO, have been demanding the attention of the anti-war movement, but there is also a whole other dimension to Global Britain that is unfolding in the Asia Pacific.

Some might say that the US and NATO want to weaken Russia before moving on to China in the future – in fact war preparations are accelerating right now in the East.

Progress on AUKUS

The announcement of AUKUS in September 2021 was a surprise, made with no democratic debate.  It came as the new Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier was engaging in multiple joint military exercises in the South China Sea – flying the flag for Johnson’s Global Britain, demonstrating the new Indo Pacific tilt, but the F35 fighter jets it carried actually belonged to the USAF.

The key feature of the AUKUS pact was seen to be the US and UK agreement to assist Australia in acquiring nuclear powered submarines.  BAE systems declared itself ready to support production. However, over the last year, as the US and UK have tried to wangle their way around the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) without apparent success, the deal has struggled and it is not certain that the US and UK can take on the building work given their own nuclear submarines programme commitments.

However, AUKUS is more than just the submarines: it is about Australian militarisation, about advancing military technologies and military industrial cooperation.  BAE systems, Rolls Royce and MBDA have long had subsidiaries in Australia helping to supply its armed forces.

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The Chinese path to modernization provides a reference for other developing countries

The following article, which was originally carried by China Daily, was a keynote speech delivered by Justin Yifu Lin at the Third Think-Tanks Forum on National Governance in Developing Countries. Originally from Taiwan Province, Lin is one of China’s leading economists. Currently the Dean of the Institute of New Structural Economics and Honorable Dean of the National School of Development at Peking University, he was Chief Economist and Senior Vice President at the World Bank, 2008-2012.

Noting how modernization was initiated by the West so as to shift from a traditional agricultural society to a modern industrial one, Lin notes that China’s modernization is a socialist modernization under the leadership of the Communist Party. It therefore combines features common to those of modernization as undertaken by the western countries along with its own unique features. These latter include the modernization of a huge population, of common prosperity for all, of harmony between humanity and nature, and of peaceful development.

Having summarized the key features of Chinese-style modernization, as first elaborated by President Xi Jinping, Lin advances the idea that governments in developing countries should facilitate industrial development, based on the country’s comparative advantage. “An efficient economy,” he notes, “could create wealth rapidly, and fair income distribution could lay a solid foundation for common prosperity.”

Whilst China’s development not only generates wealth for itself, but also brings more development opportunities to other countries, thereby promoting global peaceful development, “the practices have shown that there is barely any developing country that has achieved modernization by following the Western path. The few developing countries that have realized modernization did not copy the Western model.”

“Copying the Western model of modernization is the result of a wrong perception of modernization. According to Marx’s historical materialism, what Western nations possess, what they are good at doing, and what matters to them are all determined by their economic bases… In comparison, the Chinese path to modernization provides a reference for other developing countries that are exploring their own paths to modernization.”

Modernization is an important historical process that was initiated by the West since the Age of Discovery in the 15th century, especially after the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century. It features a shift from the traditional agricultural society to a modern industrial one, rapidly developing science and technology and booming the economy with increasingly improved livelihoods. The modernization which first started in a few Western countries spread all over the world, becoming the common aspiration of people in all countries. Chinese modernization is socialist modernization under the leadership of the Communist Party of China. It contains elements that are common to the modernization of Western countries, and also boasts features unique to the Chinese context.

Chinese modernization is modernization of a huge population. If China achieves modernization and becomes a high-income country, it will more than double the percentage of the world’s population living in high-income economies from the current 16 percent to 34 percent.

Chinese modernization is modernization of common prosperity for all. While Western modernization has created huge amounts of wealth after the Industrial Revolution, the process has also resulted in growing polarization between the rich and the poor.

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Martin Jacques: China embraces new post-Covid era while the West lives in the past

China’s adjustment of its policies for dealing with Covid-19 have led to considerable debate, including among friends of China. In this context, we are republishing this article by Martin Jacques, author of ‘When China rules the world’, which originally appeared in Global Times.

Martin does not shy away from controversy and his article suggests that China’s new policies to deal with Covid are part of a pattern that, in his view, also includes adjustments to both economic and foreign policies.

When China announced on December 7 that it was abandoning most of its COVID controls, it took the West by surprise. It never expected such a dramatic shift. Many had speculated that a crackdown would follow the protests against the COVID controls. There was no sign of it. There was a tsunami of predictions that there would be a huge death toll, 1 million, perhaps many millions. It is too early to say how many there might be. At the weekend, the latest official figures indicated around 60,000 so far, no doubt with many more to come. 

The Western reaction to China’s move has emphasized the negative. This is not surprising. Ever since January 2020, the West has sought to denigrate China’s approach to COVID-19, a strategy of distraction designed to divert attention from how well China handled COVID-19 in 2020-2021 and how abysmally the West performed. More than any other issue, COVID-19 served to poison the relationship between China and the West. It became inextricably bound up with the so-called new Cold War. The West is finding it difficult to come to terms with China’s emerging post-COVID strategy because its mindset is still rooted in the COVID era, as illustrated by the speed with which many countries chose to impose new requirements on Chinese travelers. 

There are growing signs that China’s abandonment of its COVID controls is the first act in a major shift of policy. The West has been slow to grasp the economic implications of China’s opening up. The term opening up, of course, is synonymous with China’s rise after 1978: COVID-19, alas, became all too symbolic of its opposite, closing down and partial isolation. Once more China is now opening up and the effects will be huge. Its growth rate in 2023 is likely to be in excess of 5 percent; its enormous domestic market is returning to growth as Chinese consumers start spending again; global tourism will receive a huge boost; blocked supply lines will be freed; Chinese entrepreneurs can once more travel the world in search of new business. China has long been the engine of global growth. It can now resume that role in a post-COVID context.

Continue reading Martin Jacques: China embraces new post-Covid era while the West lives in the past

Presentation: Give Peace A Chance – China and the World Today

This presentation by Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez was given at a webinar organised by the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA) Education Commission on the theme ‘Give peace a chance – China and the world today.’ The webinar took place on 22 January 2023.

Carlos discusses the current state of US-China relations, the reason for the deterioration in recent years, the bipartisan nature of the New Cold War, the dangers of ‘decoupling’, and the possibilities for moving towards a trajectory of peace and cooperation. He also answers the assertion that the hostility between US and China is a case of inter-imperialist rivalry, and explains why ‘Neither Washington Nor Beijing’ is a reactionary slogan, the effect of which runs counter to the aims of peace, progress, multipolarity and socialism.

CGTN interview with Serbian PM Ana Brnabić

In this episode of the CGTN series Leaders Talk, Zou Yun travels to Belgrade to interview Ana Brnabić, Serbia’s first woman Prime Minister, who has held office since June 2017.

According to Brnabić, the friendship between Serbia and China can be described as steel-like or ironclad in both the political and economic fields. She recalls the 1999 bombing of Serbia – and Montenegro – by US-led NATO, without any United Nations authorisation, which killed and injured thousands and displaced millions, noting that it is therefore very difficult for western countries to accuse anyone else of aggression. Brnabić was living in the UK at the time and found it very difficult not to be in her country but away from family and friends. The bombing of the Chinese Embassy, in which three Chinese journalists were killed, will, she said, never be forgotten by the people of either country and had created a very special emotional bond between them. During his state visit to Serbia in 2016, President Xi Jinping inaugurated an impressive Chinese Cultural Centre on the site of the former embassy.

Explaining Serbia’s attempts to pursue a balanced foreign policy, including with China, Russia and the European Union, Brnabić notes that China has proven to be a true friend, especially in the most difficult moments of crisis. Trade with China has boomed and she is looking forward to the conclusion of a Free Trade Agreement between the two countries. Recalling her visit to China’s Shanghai Import Expo in 2019, she strongly refutes the allegations that China practices protectionism. Serbia’s experience proves the opposite.

Congratulating China on the success of the Communist Party’s 20th National Congress, Prime Minister Brnabić describes General Secretary Xi Jinping’s election to a third term of office as good news for the entire world. Serbia, she says, is keen to replicate some of China’s development initiatives.

The full interview is embedded below.

Xi Jinping address to the CELAC Summit

The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) held its seventh summit meeting in the Argentine capital Buenos Aires on January 24th. CELAC groups 33 countries – that is, every country in the Americas with the exceptions of the USA and Canada. As such, it is one of the most important and representative bodies of Global South unity and solidarity.

All 33 member states were represented at the summit, 23 of them at head of state or government level. With the recent resurgence of the left in Latin America, the organisation has acquired a new lease of life, and nothing represented that more clearly than the presence of President Lula of Brazil. It was a case of ‘Lula returns; Lula returns Brazil’, as his far-right predecessor Jair Bolsonaro had suspended Brazil’s participation in the organisation. The CELAC family is once again complete.

Addressing the summit, Lula noted that its first gathering had taken place back in 2008 in the Brazilian state of Bahia. It was, he noted, the first time that Latin American heads of state had met without foreign tutelage, “to discuss our problems and seek our own solutions to the challenges we share.” Stressing the importance of multilateralism and multipolarity, Lula reminded his fellow leaders that, “nothing must separate us, since everything unites us.”

Another key indicator of the regional advance of progressive forces was the presence of Gustavo Petro, who assumed office as the first left-wing President of Colombia in August 2022. In his speech, Petro pointed out that Latin American countries can overcome their development limitations if they come together to increase the region’s geopolitical weight in the current world order. To achieve this, he proposed to collectively address what he considered the main problem facing humanity today, namely the exponential imbalances that contemporary capitalism generates in ecosystems.

For his part, Bolivian President Luis Arce called for strengthening the multilateral system in order to save the earth. “Today we are facing a multiple and systemic capitalist crisis that increasingly puts the lives of humanity and our Mother Earth at risk, a food, water, energy, climate, health, economic, commercial, and social crisis,” he said. “CELAC must return to the principles of multilateralism, but not to preserve the unfair international order that overwhelms states and peoples, but rather to move towards a better world.” 

Hosting the summit, Argentine President Alberto Fernández was one of many to speak out strongly against the USA’s unilateral sanctions and blockades against Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. This was also reflected in a 111-point Buenos Aires Declaration, adopted by the 33 nations, which also called for consolidating the region as a zone of peace free of nuclear weapons, advancing food security and deepening cooperation in health care. The declaration also expressed solidarity with Argentina’s demand for the return of the Malvinas (Falkland) and neighbouring islands and territorial seas from British colonial rule as well as for Puerto Rico’s right to self-determination.

At the conclusion of the summit, Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, took over from President Fernández as the pro tempore president of CELAC for the coming year. It is the first time for a member of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) to occupy this post.

One very important aspect of the summit, which highlighted the indispensable role of socialist China in cohering and standing in solidarity with the forces of the Global South, was the address to the summit, upon invitation and via video link, of President Xi Jinping. 

Xi Jinping noted that Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries are important members of the developing world. CELAC, he noted, has grown to be an indispensable driving force behind global South-South cooperation. It has played an important role in safeguarding regional peace, promoting common development and advancing regional integration.

President Xi Jinping stressed that China always supports the regional integration process of Latin America and the Caribbean. “We highly value our relations with CELAC and take the organisation as our key partner in enhancing solidarity among developing countries and furthering South-South cooperation.” He added that more and more countries in the region have engaged in high-quality Belt and Road cooperation with China, supported and participated in the Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative, and are working with China in building a China-LAC community with a shared future. 

The following article was originally published on the website of the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

On January 24, the seventh Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) is held in Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina. Upon the invitation of President Alberto Fernández of Argentina, the rotating president of CELAC, President Xi Jinping delivered a video address at the summit. 

President Xi Jinping noted that Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries are important members of the developing world. They also take an active part in global governance and make important contributions to it. CELAC has grown to be an indispensable driving force behind global South-South cooperation. CELAC has played an important role in safeguarding regional peace, promoting common development and advancing regional integration.

President Xi Jinping stressed that China always supports the regional integration process of Latin America and the Caribbean. We highly value our relations with CELAC, and take CELAC as our key partner in enhancing solidarity among developing countries and furthering South-South cooperation. That is why China has been working with LAC countries to steadily strengthen the China-CELAC Forum and take the China-LAC relationship into a new era characterized by equality, mutual benefit, innovation, openness and benefits for the people. More and more countries in the region have engaged in high-quality Belt and Road cooperation with China, supported and participated in the Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative, and are working with China in building a China-LAC community with a shared future. 

President Xi Jinping stressed that the world is in a new period of turbulence and transformation. We can only tackle the challenges and tide over this trying time through greater solidarity and closer cooperation. China is ready to continue working with LAC countries to help each other and make progress together, and advocate “peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom” — the common values of mankind. China is ready to join hands with LAC countries to promote world peace and development, build a community with a shared future for mankind, and open up an even brighter future for the world.

CPC enjoys close, unbreakable bond with people

In the following article, which was originally published by China Daily to coincide with the Communist Party of China’s 20th National Congress last October, Zheng Qi, a Professor at the Party School of the CPC Central Committee, provides a vivid and moving historical and contemporary exposition of the relationship between the CPC and the Chinese people. Replete with vivid and truthful examples, the article sheds profound light on a key to the party’s success and to the strength and durability of the Chinese revolution.

He begins with a true story from the epic Long March (1934-35) when a Red Army squad decided to spend the night at a small village. Three women soldiers took shelter under the eaves of a house belonging to a woman named Xu Jiexiu to escape the rain. Seeing their condition, Xu invited them to spend the night in her home.

The three women along with Xu and her child slept together under a worn-out cotton sheet and the quilt of the soldiers. Leaving the house the next day, the three women soldiers cut their only quilt in two, leaving one half with Xu. In those days of starvation and suffering, a quilt was a valuable asset for many Chinese people. Many years later, Xu recalled: “What is the CPC? It is a group of people that will cut and share their quilt with the poor even if they only have one.” 

Explaining the nature of such a bond, Professor Zheng says that, “the CPC is a Marxist party whose members are part of the working people.”  It was established in the summer of 1921 by 13 young people representing just over 50 communists. With an average age of 28, and predominantly students and intellectuals, they embodied a new force in Chinese society, determined to become a party of the people and not simply, “a Marxist society for men of letters”.

The article explains how, as the ruling party, the CPC is aware of the increased risk of becoming divorced from the people. Taking an example from Chongqing, a major city in western China, Zheng notes that the party committee might lose touch even with a community of just a few thousand people, hence party groups were formed for every residential building or cluster of buildings, with some party members putting signs on their doors so residents could easily approach them if they needed help at any time.

As Professor Zheng puts it: “There is no conflict between carrying out the instructions of higher authorities and addressing the needs of the people, because the Party has always represented the fundamental interests of the people. As CPC Central Committee General Secretary Xi Jinping said, ‘The people’s aspiration for a better life is what we are striving for.'”

And just as Marx and Engels wrote in 1847, in The Manifesto of the Communist Party, that the communists, “have no interests separate and apart from those of the proletariat as a whole. They do not set up any sectarian principles of their own, by which to shape and mould the proletarian movement,” so Professor Zheng echoes the words of Xi Jinping when he writes: “Aside from the fundamental interests of the people, the Party has no special interests of its own.”

Let me first explain the bond between the Communist Party of China and the Chinese people through a true story. A Red Army squad passing through Hunan province during the Long March decided to spend the night at a small village. Three women soldiers took shelter under the eaves of a house belonging to a woman named Xu Jiexiu to escape the rain. Seeing their condition, Xu invited them to spend the night in her home.

The three women along with Xu and her child slept together under a worn-out cotton sheet and the quilt of the soldiers. Leaving the house the next day, the three women soldiers cut their only quilt in two, leaving one half with Xu. In those days of starvation and suffering, a quilt was a valuable asset for many Chinese people.

A force that works for betterment of people

Many years later, Xu recalled: “What is the CPC? It is a group of people that will cut and share their quilt with the poor even if they only have one.” This ideally describes the bond between the Party and the Chinese people.

Why does the CPC enjoy such a close bond with the people?

The CPC is a Marxist party whose members are part of the working people. In the summer of 1921, 13 young people representing 50-plus communists founded the CPC. While their average age was 28 and many were still students, they embodied a new force in Chinese society. And despite many of its members being intellectuals, the Party declared its goal was to deeply engage with ordinary people and build a party of the people, instead of establishing a “Marxist society for men of letters”.

To this end, Mao Zedong who was then 28 visited Anyuan, a coal-mining town on the border of Hunan and Jiangxi provinces, to explore the revolutionary prospects there. During the first few days, Mao went down the pit wearing decent, if not expensive, clothes and shoes. No miner talked to him.

This prompted him to change into shabby clothes and shoes. Soon, Mao was talking with workers in their sheds and sharing revolutionary ideas. Later, the miners in Anyuan formed the backbone of the Autumn Harvest Uprising led by Mao. About 5,000 miners joined the revolution and followed Mao in establishing the revolutionary base in Jinggangshan.

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25 years of Sino-South African ties celebrated

January 1st 2023 marked the 25th anniversary of the formal establishment of diplomatic relations between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of South Africa.

In the following article, which was originally published in China Daily, Gert Grobbler, who was formerly a senior South African diplomat who served as his country’s Ambassador to Spain, Japan and Madagascar, and is now a senior research fellow at the Institute of African Studies at Zhejiang Normal University, notes that the establishment of diplomatic relations was the culmination of the long-standing fraternal relations and solidarity between the Communist Party of China and the African National Congress, as well as the country’s other liberation movements. 

The establishment of diplomatic relations, he points out, ushered in a new era of bilateral relations, with closer political, economic, cultural and people-to-people ties.

In May the following year, Nelson Mandela paid a state visit to China at the invitation of President Jiang Zemin. (Mandela had previously visited China in October 1992, following his release from prison but prior to his country’s first non-racial, democratic elections.)

China-South Africa relations have since registered consistent progress, for example with a Partnership Declaration signed in Pretoria in April 2000 by Jiang Zemin and then President Thabo Mbeki. Today, according to Grobbler, the two countries’ comprehensive strategic partnership has four major underpinnings – the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, BRICS, the Belt and Road Initiative, and South-South Cooperation. Bilateral trade has grown from less than $1.4 billion in 1998 to about $54.4 billion in 2021, despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

Having last met in Bali, Indonesia, in November 2020, during the G20 Summit, President Xi Jinping congratulated his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa last December 31st on his re-election as president of the African National Congress, whilst Ramaphosa recently greeted the people of China on the occasion of the Lunar New Year.

The long-standing fraternal relations and solidarity between the Communist Party of China and the African National Congress and other South African liberation movements culminated in 1997 with the signing in Pretoria of the Agreement on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between South Africa and China, with the provision for it to take effect on January 1, 1998.

The establishment of diplomatic relations ushered in a new era for South Africa-China cooperation. It paved the way for closer political, economic, cultural and people-to-people ties, in a spirit of increasing friendship and constructive dialogue.

The official establishment of diplomatic relations in 1998 was celebrated with a state visit of the highest symbolic significance by then South African president Nelson Mandela to China for discussions with then president Jiang Zemin on May 5, 1999.

During the visit, Mandela expressed the gratitude of the people of South Africa toward China for its firm support of the “people’s liberation struggle” against apartheid, which forged a strong sense of solidarity between South Africa and China.

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Stop US interference: Interview with the Labour Party of Taiwan

We are very pleased to republish this important and informative interview with Wu Rong-yuan, Chairperson of the Labour Party of Taiwan, the island’s main left-wing political party.

Wu explains that the Labour Party was founded in March 1989 by three groups of people: veteran political prisoners from the martial law period who had persisted in the struggle through long years of incarceration; progressive intellectuals who had grouped around journals published in the 1970s and 1980s; and some leaders of the ongoing labour and social movements. Through this regroupment, the party saw itself as re-uniting the labour movement with the movement for the reunification of China.

Reflecting on his own experience as a student in the 1970s, Wu explains that he and his contemporaries had a strong Chinese national identity, but began to question its representation by the contemporary Kuomintang (then the ruling party on the island), being inspired instead by the more pro-socialist orientation of its founder Dr Sun Yat-sen, along with the student movements in Japan, Europe and North America and the struggle against the Vietnam War and for African-American civil rights. “My personal political views didn’t stop at criticising capitalism and advocating anti-imperialism but were also characterised by a strong identification with our motherland.”

As a result, he was arrested and sentenced to death. This was later commuted to life imprisonment and then to 15 years. It was in prison “that I met many renowned political prisoners who, despite having been imprisoned for almost 20 years, were not demoralised. They were still in high spirits.” In words that will resonate with revolutionaries from Ireland to South Africa, and from Chile to Palestine, he quotes Lin Shu-yang, who was the honorary chairman of the party until his death in 2012, and who was imprisoned for 34 years and seven months: “Prison is a school for revolutionaries, so we must stick to our principles and maintain our fighting spirit.”

“Lin once said that when looking at the Taiwan issue from the historical perspective, the complete unification of the country would complete the liberation movement of the entire Chinese nation. This is the continuation of the anti-imperialist, anti-feudal, and anti-colonial Chinese national liberation movement that goes back to the 19th century.”

Responding to a question as to what kind of party the Labour Party is, Wu explains: “Since its founding, the Labour Party has represented the interests of the working class in Taiwan. Therefore, we have been fully involved as a political party in the Taiwan workers’ movement, the movement against imperialist domination and interference, and the movement for reunification…

“In the Labour Party of Taiwan’s analysis of the social and economic situation in Taiwan at the current historical stage, the contradiction between unification and independence is the main contradiction in Taiwan’s society, while the contradiction between the working class and the bourgeoisie is the basic contradiction. The Labour Party has always adhered to the One China principle… The main contradiction has not changed regardless of which political party has been in power in Taiwan.”

The interview also addresses how the Labour Party sees the present war in Ukraine, and Wu Rong-yuan notes: “We believe that the Russian-Ukrainian War was caused by the expansion of the US-led NATO military alliance to the east. However, we oppose the use of war as a means of resolving this dispute and we call on both sides to sit down for negotiations and talk. It is now clear that this is a proxy war, and Ukraine is just cannon fodder for Washington.”

However, the situation is different from that of Taiwan: “Taiwan is not Ukraine, because Taiwan is a part of China. Taiwan and the Chinese mainland are one country. It is an internal political issue.”

Wu links last summer’s provocative visit to Taiwan by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to a renewed wave of repression on the island, including tightening so-called ‘national security’ legislation and cooking up supposed ‘espionage’ incidents, whose targets have included mainland students, retired military personnel, Hong Kong businesspeople and political figures advocating reunification.

The interview was conducted by Wim De Ceukelaire of Belgium’s Médecine pour le Peuple and was previously published in English on the website of No Cold War.

In the West, very little is known about the politics and history of Taiwan. Some will remember the island was ruled by the Kuomintang dictatorship for decades during the latter half of the 20th century. Others will know that, since becoming a presidential democracy in the 1990s, the island has had a two-party system with the Kuomintang and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) as the main political parties. Few will know of your party, the Labour Party of Taiwan. Can you tell us about its history?

Wu Rong-yuan: The Labour Party of Taiwan was founded in March 1989 by three groups of people. First, the veteran political prisoners of the martial law period in Taiwan who persisted in their struggle while they were imprisoned for a long time. Second, a collection of progressive intellectuals who were united by the well-known magazine “China Tide” (夏潮) in the 1970s and the equally prominent publication “The Human World” (人間) in the 1980s, including Chen Ying-zhen (陳映真), Su Qing-li (蘇慶黎), Wang Li-xia (汪立峽), and others. Third, there were some leaders of the labour and social movements at that time, such as Luo Mei-wen (羅美文) (now a member of the Hsinchu County Council), Ngan Kun-chuan (顏坤泉), and others.

The establishment of the Labour Party of Taiwan initiated the third period in the history of the Left in Taiwan. The first period, from the early 1920s to 1931, was defined by the resistance against the Japanese Empire’s colonial rule;[i] the second period, from 1945 to the 1950s, was marked by the participation of the “Old Classmates” in the New Democratic Revolution[ii] in Taiwan; and the third period, from 1988 onwards,[iii] has been characterised by the re-uniting the labour movement with the movement for the reunification of China. Therefore, we can say that the Labour Party of Taiwan has inherited the history of the left-wing movement of the Taiwanese people since the 1920s, and has continued the history of its patriotic anti-imperialist and unification movement, which was interrupted for nearly 40 years due to the so-called “White Terror”.

Every fall, the Labour Party of Taiwan and many pro-unification groups pay tribute to the victims who died during the “White Terror” in Taipei City. Can you tell us more about what happened to them?

Wu Rong-yuan: My heart is heavy when I talk about this historical tragedy. Most of the victims of the White Terror in Taiwan during the 1950s were local patriotic progressives. Thousands were killed and at least 140,000 were imprisoned in harsh conditions.

During Taiwan’s martial law, the former political prisoners linked up across the island after their release from prison through mutual aid associations. Immediately after the lifting of martial law in October 1987, the Taiwan Political Prisoners’ Mutual Aid Association was established and in March of the following year, Lin Shu-Yang (林書揚), the longest-serving political prisoner in Taiwan, was elected chairperson. They called each other “Old Classmates” and worked hard to continue the tradition of the anti-imperialist patriotic movement of the Taiwanese people.

These “Old Classmates” had been eyewitnesses to Japanese colonial domination and to the civil war between the Communist Party of China and the Kuomintang. After the lifting of martial law, they laid the basis for a number of unification organisations, including the Labour Party of Taiwan.

Continue reading Stop US interference: Interview with the Labour Party of Taiwan

President Obiang: China is the first partner to help Equatorial Guinea

In this episode of the new CGTN series Leaders Talk, Li Peichun interviews Africa’s longest-serving head of state, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasago of Equatorial Guinea.

A Spanish colony for centuries, Equatorial Guinea was one of the poorest countries in Africa when it finally achieved independence in 1968. It was only with the discovery of major oil reserves that the country embarked on the road of rapid development in the 1990s. However, with reductions in the price of oil in recent years, the country now faces the task of economic diversification. President Obiang explains that as soon as his country discovered oil, it set out a short, medium and long-term national development plan, with the intention that the gains from oil production be used for national investment. The country’s economic diversification programme lays emphasis on agriculture and fisheries, so that the country can become self-sufficient in food and not rely on any one product. 

President Obiang paid the first of his 10 state visits to China in 1984, two years after he assumed the presidency. In the interview, he reflects on the major changes he has observed in China over that period, from a country where the main form of transportation was the bicycle to a strong economic power, with modern infrastructure, and a major provider of aid to developing countries. In his view, the ideal of the Communist Party of China (CPC) is to serve the people of China wholeheartedly, by promoting development and modernisation, so as to make both the country and the people strong. The CPC, the President says, is a pioneer party that can help other political parties, especially his Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea (PDEG), to develop their own ideals and principles. 

The programme highlights how, when Covid-19 was first detected in Wuhan, Equatorial Guinea promptly donated US$2million to assist the Chinese city in dealing with the unexpected outbreak. Later, China sent medical experts and materials, as well as batches of vaccines, to help Equatorial Guinea to fight the virus. Due to their trust in China, President Obiang and his family opted to receive Chinese vaccinations. 

Turning to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), President Obiang begins by noting that the development of Africa should be led by Africans. African leaders, he insists, must think about how to improve their countries, else they will not prosper. It was on this basis that his country had decided to cooperate with the BRI, because China is the first partner to help Equatorial Guinea and even Africa as a whole. The BRI, he notes, is the way for Africa to overcome the underdevelopment, suffering and poverty it is currently facing. 

Refuting accusations of Chinese ‘neo-colonialism’ or ‘debt trap diplomacy’, President Obiang is crystal clear: “This is a smear and western countries should be ashamed of it.” Africa, he notes, receives very little assistance from the western countries, and what they do receive is accompanied by political conditions that undermine the stability of the country. “Those who want to accept such assistance are often those who encounter great difficulties.” China, he notes, did not colonise any African countries, it was the west, so their criticism is intended to contain China and to prevent it from helping the development of the African continent. “But we have discovered that China is our best friend… Equatorial Guinea has not received any international development assistance except from China.”

In another example of the close friendship between the two countries, towards the end of the interview, President Obiang sends a personal message to the students of the China-Equatorial Guinea Friendship Primary School in China’s south-western Yunnan province, whose renovation was paid for by the Equatorial Guinean government.

The full interview is embedded below.

Decoupling from China, Russia suicidal for Europe

This article by Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez, originally published in Global Times, discusses the record of the Biden administration in ramping up Cold War hostilities against China and Russia, and its attempts to get Europe on board with its strategy for protecting US hegemony. Carlos points out that “Anti-Russia and anti-China positions are harming the people of Europe”: sanctions on China’s semiconductor and solar energy industries are utterly self-defeating, and sanctions on Russian energy are feeding directly into a very serious cost of living crisis. He concludes that “the countries of Europe would be well advised to exercise foreign policy independence and to make decisions based on the needs of their own populations, which are calling out for peace, prosperity and a sustainable future.”

When Joe Biden was elected in November 2020, many around the world were hoping for a change of course in the US’ reckless new Cold War.

US-China relations have always been complex and difficult; yet from the early 1970s onward, the trajectory had been toward deepening economic cooperation and a nuanced handling of the contradictions immanent in the relationship. Even with the Obama-Clinton “Pivot to Asia,” which signaled the US’ shift in geostrategic focus toward China containment, there was still significant and productive cooperation between the two countries – most notably in the drafting of the Paris Agreement.

Donald Trump came to power with a promise to stop China “raping” the US economy. Blaming China soon became the new magic wand for explaining away the problems of US capitalism without having to deal with any of the real underlying causes of American decline. Singaporean academic and former diplomat Kishore Mahbubani noted that, rather than blaming China for everything, living standards in the US might improve if America stopped fighting unnecessary foreign wars and used its resources to improve the well-being of its people.

The Trump team initiated a trade war, imposed a ban on Huawei, and sought to ban TikTok and WeChat. They aimed to generate mass anti-China sentiment by engaging in flagrant racism, most infamously blaming the coronavirus pandemic on China. They introduced sanctions and issued disgraceful slanders. So it was assumed that surely, things would only get better under Biden.

Continue reading Decoupling from China, Russia suicidal for Europe

Why is China’s battle against corruption grave and complex?

In this original article, Keith Lamb explains that, whilst China has scored enormous achievements in the battle against corruption, it still faces an uphill task in preventing new cases and rooting out existing ones.

Because the CPC is a Marxist party, Keith explains, with the historic mission to usher in socialism, it has to hold itself to higher standards than those political parties which operate within the framework of capitalism. However, when working towards socialism, utopian action will fail. Therefore, China took the pragmatic road by adopting a socialist market economy, which has advanced the forces of production and technology necessary for socialist development. However, this also creates a series of class and material contradictions that need to be navigated.

Achieving China’s goal of becoming a prosperous and modern socialist country by 2049, the author notes, not only requires a constant battle against corruption, but also provides part of the remedy for corruption.

Recently at the second plenary session of the 20th CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) it was noted that the corruption situation, in China remains grave and complex. The Communist Party of China (CPC) faces an uphill task in preventing new cases of corruption and rooting out existing ones.

In recent years, there have been enormous achievements in the battle against corruption at all levels of officialdom, which is encapsulated in the slogan “striking tigers and swatting flies.” In 2018, Lai Xiaomin the former state asset manager was executed for taking $277 million in bribes, and Sun Zhengcai, the former Chongqing Party Chief, was given life imprisonment for taking $27 million in bribes.

As of June 2022, a total of 4,516,000 corruption cases were handled by disciplinary authorities, and 4,439,000 people were punished for violating discipline. Just over a month after the closing of the 20th CPC National Congress, more than 10 officials who were suspected of severe violations of discipline and laws had turned themselves in.

Considering such successes, one may ask why the corruption situation still remains grave and complex. First, the massive anti-corruption campaign launched after the 18th National Congress was unprecedented in size, due to corruption becoming so deep-rooted. Consequently, considering the magnitude of the problem, no matter the achievements already accumulated, there is still much to do.

Continue reading Why is China’s battle against corruption grave and complex?

Event: Socialist solutions to the climate crisis

DateThursday 2 February
Time7pm Britain / 2pm US Eastern / 11am US Pacific
VenueMarx Memorial Library
London EC1R 0DU
And Zoom
OrganisersFriends of Socialist China
Morning Star
Marx Memorial Library
Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign Action Group
Cuba Solidarity Campaign

At this event, we will describe the evolving and diverse strategies being pursued in socialist and progressive countries (with a specific focus on Nicaragua, Cuba and China) in relation to preventing climate breakdown, the collapse of biodiversity, and other key ecological challenges. The speakers will compare these efforts with the alarmingly slow progress being made in the neoliberal West, which has been touting its ‘market-based solutions’ to humanity’s environmental crisis for the last three decades.

This will be a hybrid event, in-person at the Marx Memorial Library in London and online. If you register on Eventbrite, you will have the option to attend via Zoom and participate in the discussion. We will also be streaming on YouTube.

Participants

Dan Kovalik is a US-based lawyer, activist and teacher. He is the author of several books, the most recent of which is Nicaragua: A History of US Intervention and Resistance.

Guisell Morales Echaverry is Ambassador of the Republic of Nicaragua to the United Kingdom, Ireland and Iceland.

Lauren Collins is an honorary research fellow at the University of Nottingham and a member of the executive committee of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign.

Paul Atkin is a retired teacher and NEU activist, involved in setting up the NEU Climate Change Network. He is part of the Greener Jobs Alliance Steering Group and is active with No Cold War Britain.

Ben Chacko (chair) is editor of the Morning Star.

Please register and spread the word!

China’s economy is on a rebound

The following analysis from Indian researcher and former diplomat MK Bhadrakumar reviews China’s economic data from 2022 and assesses its prospects for the coming year. GDP growth for 2022 was down to 3 percent – its lowest since the late 1970s. Does this mean, as some Western politicians are (gleefully) predicting, that China’s dramatic rise is coming to an end? And is India, which recorded 7 percent growth last year, poised to catch up?

Bhadrakumar adds some much-needed context to these data points. First, China’s economy is over five times the size of India’s, and therefore its relatively slower growth in 2022 makes very little difference to the overall comparison between the two countries. Second, China’s pursuit of Dynamic Zero Covid, as well as the impact of fluctuations in the US market, had a significant impact on China’s economic performance over the last year, yet China’s 3 percent growth compares favourably with the less than 2 percent recorded by the US and Japan. The author writes that China is expected to record over 5 percent GDP growth in 2023, while US GDP is expected to increase by just 0.5 percent.

In summary, China’s economy is likely to perform far better in 2023 than the other major economies. One geopolitical implication is that European countries would be well advised to keep their distance from US-led efforts at decoupling: “Suffice it to say that the European countries will be inclined to view the Chinese market as holding the key to an early economic recovery. Recasting the global supply chains by decoupling from China is going to be easier said than done.”

This article was first published on Indian Punchline.

China’s economic data for the year 2022 has been released in Beijing on Tuesday. The striking part is that China’s GDP growth slowed down to 3 percent.

From an Indian perspective, it may seem momentarily that China’s economy is slowing while India’s expanded by nearly 7 percent (per World Bank predictions.) Can India catch up with China in a medium term scenario? 

This is where the devil lies in the fine print. The heart of the matter is that China’s GDP growth of 3 percent translates as a year-on-year expansion of its economy touching a whopping $18 trillion. 

To put matters in perspective, China has an economy that is five and a half times the size of India’s economy (GDP: $3.5 trillion). (Emphasis added.) 

Yet, this is being regarded as a lacklustre economic performance, attributed to headwinds stemming from a combination of adverse circumstances characteristic of 2022 — ranging from the coronavirus and geopolitical tensions to repeated US interest rate hikes and the waning overseas demand due to the world economy tiptoeing toward recession. 

The sporadic outbreaks of Covid in manufacturing bases including Shanghai and South China’s Guangdong Province disrupted production in local factories and logistics, which combined with a property market slump.

Continue reading China’s economy is on a rebound

Roland Boer: Stepping out of the pandemic, Chinese style

In this article for Global Times, Roland Boer – Professor of Marxist Philosophy at Dalian University of Technology, China, and member of the Friends of Socialist China advisory group – analyses the most recent updates to China’s diagnosis and treatment protocol for Covid-19.

Roland opines that, to a significant degree, China has set the ‘gold standard’ in terms of dealing with the pandemic. For three years, while more virulent mutations of the virus were circulating, China adopted extreme measures in order to protect people’s lives – an expression of the CPC-led government’s philosophy that “people come first, and life comes first.” These measures prevented literally millions of deaths, with the result that China’s rate of Covid-related deaths is among the lowest in the world.

Now, however, extensive and continuing investigation by China’s scientists – in coordination with their counterparts around the world – indicates that conditions exist for moving the coronavirus to endemic status. Thus it is now considered as seasonal and non-threatening, given the relatively low virulence of the dominant Omicron strains, China’s high level of vaccination, and the growing pool of treatment options.

Roland also notes that the government and health authorities have carefully learned the lessons of the last three years and that “China’s health system has seen impressive improvement” in response.

On January 6, 2023, China’s National Health Commission (NHC) and National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine issued China’s 10th edition of its diagnosis and treatment protocol for novel coronavirus infection. This is the NHC’s first national guiding protocol after China announced to downgrade management of COVID from Class A to Class B from January 8. Two items are worth noting here: the definition has changed from “novel coronavirus pneumonia” to “novel coronavirus infection” and its classification is now at a “B” level. The classification has significant implications for the measures taken to deal with the virus, but a question arises: Has China “lain down” before the virus, has it given up on dealing with it? The answer is a resounding no. Instead, China is the first country in the world to move from the coronavirus being a pandemic to it being endemic. This point needs some explanation.

First, for a little over three years I have been closely following China’s approach in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. The results have been nothing less than stunning: the number of per capita infections and deaths are at the lowest level in the world, life expectancy has increased during this time, and the dialectic of economic development and public health has been managed very well. 

The health of the population has not been significantly compromised – as has happened in some other countries – by the earlier and more toxic mutations of the virus, and the level of full vaccinations among the population above 3 years old is over 90 percent. In many respects, China has set a new “gold standard” for dealing with a pandemic. As one example, I have noted the huge amount of discussion with each revision of the measures for dealing with the pandemic, seeing how medical specialists and scientists were dealing daily with the many questions people had. The specialists were always “on message,” seeking to explain the content, connotations, implications, and reasons behind each revision of the measures. Friends and colleagues in China gave me regular updates concerning the experiences with their own families, their workplaces, their concerns, and – most importantly – their hopes.

Continue reading Roland Boer: Stepping out of the pandemic, Chinese style

Ambassador Ma Hui: China and Cuba always support each other

In an interview with CGTN’s Liu Xin, China’s Ambassador to Cuba Ma Hui outlines the Caribbean country’s approach to tackling Covid-19 and highlights the cooperation between the two socialist countries. He further criticises the US embargo and contrasts his experience as Ambassador in Havana with that in his previous position as Minister in the Chinese Embassy in London, both in the ‘time of Covid’.

Unlike the discriminatory approach adopted by the US, UK and some other countries, Cuba has welcomed China’s adjustment of its Covid policies and the country stresses that it always welcomes Chinese visitors. Ambassador Ma praises Cuba for managing to contain Covid despite suffering from a decades-long US embargo. Cuba, he notes, has one of the highest rates of administering vaccine boosters, using domestically researched and produced vaccines. There are currently only a few positive Covid test cases per day, with no deaths reported in the last five months. Cuba developed its own vaccines against all the odds – the only Latin American country to do so. The country is quite developed in terms of biotechnology.

China and Cuba always support each other, Ambassador Ma explained, including in fighting the virus. At the onset of Covid-19, Cuba offered material help to China despite its own difficulties and later China reciprocated, supplying ventilators, oxygen generators, medicines and personal protective equipment (PPE) on several occasions.

Cuba’s achievements are all the more impressive in that they have been won whilst fighting under a US embargo that has imposed huge suffering. Indeed, the Cuban people describe the embargo as another lethal virus. Cuba has not only put up a brave fight at home but has also helped others. Both China and Cuba have a tradition of sending medical teams to developing, and even on occasion developed, countries, and through their heroic efforts, the Cuban people sent doctors to some 30 or 40 countries to help them fight the pandemic.

Comparing his Cuban experience to his time in London, Ma Hui said that for the mainstream media and some politicians, China is a victim of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”. When it came to Covid, the UK failed miserably but lectures others. However, solidarity and cooperation are the only way out as the virus is a common challenge to all humanity.

Liu Xin’s interview with Ma Hui is embedded below.

Isabel Crook: Founder of New China’s foreign language education

On December 15, 2022, Canadian citizen Isabel Crook, a lifelong communist and one of the most outstanding foreign supporters of China’s revolution and socialist construction, celebrated her 107th birthday.

Born in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, in 1915 to a Canadian missionary family, her extraordinary life has paralleled successive phases of the Chinese revolution, to which she has made a remarkable and indelible contribution.

The article which we reprint below was originally published on the website of the Chinese Foreign Ministry on August 30, 2022, as part of a series entitled ‘100 Stories of the Communist Party of China in International Communication’, and highlights some vignettes of Isabel’s revolutionary life. It notes:

“Isabel’s love for China and the Chinese people was closely linked to the life of a man called David Crook, her husband and comrade… David Crook, a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain, came to China as a teacher under the arrangement of the Communist International. In 1940, Isabel met David in Chengdu and the two fell in love. Two years later, they got married in London and Isabel became a member of the Communist Party under her husband’s influence.”

The Crooks returned to the liberated areas of China in 1947 by arrangement between the British and Chinese communist parties. When they were due to leave in 1948, they were invited to stay to help the newly emerging China in foreign language teaching by Wang Bingnan, who was then in charge of the CPC’s foreign affairs work. The article notes that:

“Isabel was a bit unsure when she began to teach English, as both she and her husband had no professional teaching experience before. The good thing is that they knew a lot about the Chinese revolution. Isabel wanted to see how socialism would be built and learn about Mao Zedong Thought and its practice.”

Capturing the spirit of the times, the article continues: “After the outbreak of the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea in 1950, the army was in urgent need of English language professionals. Under Premier Zhou Enlai’s instruction, a small class of 16 students was opened and the Crooks were in charge of specialized training. They not only gave lessons during the day, but also helped the students with learning difficulties in the evening. What impressed Isabel was that everyone was eager and proud for joining the army. When they learned English well enough, they went to the battlefield.”

Isabel officially retired at the age of 66 in 1981 but did not stop working. “She said she and her husband had always been part of the Chinese revolution and they had a sense of belonging because of the trust the CPC placed in them. They never regret coming to China.”

On September 29, 2019, President Xi Jinping presented Isabel with the Friendship Medal, China’s highest order for foreign citizens.

On 29 September 2019, the presentation ceremony for the National Medals and Honorary Titles of the People’s Republic of China was held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. A white-haired senior walked slowly onto the stage and was awarded by President Xi Jinping the Friendship Medal, the highest order of honor of the PRC for foreigners. The laureate was Isabel Crook, one of the founders of New China’s foreign language education. In her more than a century of life, she spent more than 90 years in China, witnessing the Chinese revolution from hardship to victory, and cultivated a large number of foreign language students for New China.

In 1915, Isabel was born to a Canadian missionary family in Chengdu, Sichuan Province. After graduating from the University of Toronto with a master’s degree in 1938, 23-year-old Isabel couldn’t wait to return to Sichuan. Back then, the “hometown” where she was born and raised was battered by war. Determined like a fearless woman warrior, she nevertheless decided to settle down there and devote herself to anthropological studies.

Continue reading Isabel Crook: Founder of New China’s foreign language education

Webinar: Give peace a chance – China and the world today (22 January)

On Sunday 22 January (at 11am EST, 8am PST, 4pm GMT), the CPUSA Education Commission is organizing a webinar on the theme Give peace a chance – China and the world today. There will be a presentation by Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez, followed by discussion and Q&A.

Demonizing China’s Covid policies is fearmongering

In this insightful article for Global Times, Friends of Socialist China advisory group member Ken Hammond provides an overview of China’s evolving strategy for dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic – a strategy that has saved literally millions of lives to date.

Ken also discusses the extraordinary hypocrisy of the Western media’s portrayal of this strategy. For almost three years of Dynamic Zero Covid, “terms like ‘draconian’ were constantly used to criticize China’s measures to control and contain the virus”. Now restrictions have been loosened and “China is denounced for recklessly endangering its people and the rest of the world” – in spite of the fact that “governments in America and Europe have effectively abandoned any efforts to deal with the pandemic over the past year.”

The author makes the important point that this hypocritical reporting is part of a broader campaign of demonization – a reflection of rising anger among the US ruling class as all hopes fade away that China might be subjected to a ‘color revolution’ and become “a compliant, subordinate component of the American-dominated global capitalist order.” Ken opines that the relentless China-bashing is the product of a social class that has come to fear “the loss of the power and privileges they have so long enjoyed based on the extraction of wealth from working people around the planet.”

This demonization campaign creates a dangerous situation, fomenting conflict and standing in the way of the development of cooperation and understanding. People who support peace and progress should firmly oppose the propaganda war on China.

China’s COVID policies have saved millions of lives over the past three years. Yet those policies were attacked by some Western politicians, media pundits, and academics every day. Terms like “draconian” were constantly used to criticize China’s measures to control and contain the virus. China’s achievements in managing the epidemic were unmatched anywhere in the world, yet an ordinary citizen of a Western country can have very little idea of that given the relentless demonization of China to which they are regularly exposed.

Now, in the context of new scientific understandings of the latest variants of the virus, and in an effort to balance the ongoing need to protect the lives of the Chinese people with the goal of carrying forward the development of their economy, a new set of policies and practices is being implemented, relaxing many of the restrictions and controls which have been used over the last three years. One might expect that this would be welcomed in the West, yet quite the opposite has been the case. 

China is now denounced for recklessly endangering its people and the rest of the world, even as governments in America and Europe have effectively abandoned any efforts to deal with the pandemic over the past year. Well over 1.1 million people have died in the US. The same media voices, like the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, or The Guardian, which railed against China’s so-called “oppressive” COVID policies, now spout a steady stream of condemnation of China’s efforts to pursue a more flexible, adaptive COVID policy package.

Continue reading Demonizing China’s Covid policies is fearmongering

Islamic scholars impressed by development and religious freedom in Xinjiang

The following Global Times article is based on an interview with Emirati scholar Ali Rashid Al Nuaimi, chairman of the World Muslim Communities Council, following a recent delegation he led of more than 30 Islamic figures and scholars from 14 countries to Xinjiang Province.

Outlining the motivation for the visit, Al Nuaimi points out that there is gross misrepresentation of Xinjiang – and of the situation of Muslims in China generally – in the mainstream media. “I thought it’s very important for the Muslim world to understand what is happening in the Xinjiang region, as seeing is believing.”

Al Nuaimi stated that Muslims in China enjoy freedom of religion, and noted that a Muslim and Chinese identity coexist comfortably. He also spoke highly of the constantly improving standard of living in Xinjiang.

Countering the narrative of Chinese “concentration camps”, Al Nuaimi talks about his visits to technical colleges on this trip and on a previous trip in 2019. He speaks favorably of these colleges, saying they play an essential role teaching training and preparation for the job market. “I am an academician. I visited most of the universities in North America and Europe and their colleges and technical centers. They don’t have this for their youth. I wish that what we have seen today was available in all countries.”

He concludes by urging the people of Xinjiang to ignore the slanders hurled by Western politicians and journalists. “They criticize China because they want to slow or undermine your achievements and your development.”

Led by Ali Rashid Al Nuaimi, chairman of The World Muslim Communities Council from the UAE, a delegation including more than 30 Islamic figures and scholars from 14 countries visited Northwest China’s Xinjiang region starting on January 8. They went to mosques, the Xinjiang Islamic Institute, bazaars and many other places to communicate with local residents and religious groups in Urumqi, Altay and Kashi and to get a better understanding of the region’s development and protection of religious freedom.

On the last day of their visit in Kashi, Al Nuaimi was interviewed by Global Times reporters Liu Xin and Fan Lingzhi (GT). He shared his views on the current situation in Xinjiang and the smearing campaign led by a small group of countries to attack China on Xinjiang-related issues. 

GT: We’ve noticed that this is not your first visit to Xinjiang. Are there any specific reasons for you to make this trip?

Al Nuaimi: When I visited this region in 2019, I was with a small delegation from the UAE only. I thought it’s very important for the Muslim world to understand what is happening in the Xinjiang region, as seeing is believing. This is why I invited many colleagues from different countries to come and join the visit. I can see the difference and the development that’s happening here.

Yesterday we visited the old town in Kashi. We saw the market, we saw the people on the street, we engaged with them. We saw how people are enjoying a lifestyle, enjoying the development and you can see their happiness and their smiles.

Continue reading Islamic scholars impressed by development and religious freedom in Xinjiang