Stop the War Coalition condemns war preparations against China

Britain’s Stop the War Coalition held its Annual General Meeting in London on September 16.

In a significant development, a resolution proposed by Manchester Stop the War, opposing the preparation for war against China, was passed unanimously. It notes that the US Biden administration, “is overseeing a massive military buildup in the Pacific amidst constant talk of war with China”, and continues:

“Just as Ukraine served as a proxy to aggravate Russia, the US is stoking Taiwan with arms and military trainers, creating uncertainty around the One China policy agreed with China and supported internationally.”

The resolution further notes the attempts being made to extend NATO’s reach into Asia and criticises Britain’s participation in the AUKUS pact alongside the Australia and the United States, as well as its increased military collaboration with Japan.

Key speakers at the meeting included Stop the War leaders Lindsey German and Andrew Murray, Irish Member of the European Parliament Clare Daly, independent Member of Parliament for Leicester East Claudia Webbe, and President of the RMT rail and transport union Alex Gordon. Videos of their speeches can be viewed here. A message of solidarity was also read from former Leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn.

We reprint the full text of the resolution below. The full texts of all the resolutions passed can be read here along with the news report carried in the Morning Star.

Opposing the preparation for war against China

  1. This Conference notes that:
  • Biden’s administration is overseeing a massive military buildup in the Pacific amidst constant talk of war with China – now the main ‘strategic competitor’ – predictions ranging from 2 to 10 years;
  • Just as Ukraine served as a proxy to aggravate Russia, the US is stoking Taiwan with arms and military trainers, creating uncertainty around the One China policy agreed with China and supported internationally, in order to provoke aggression;
  • Increasing military activity in disputed waters in the South and East China Seas and around Taiwan runs a high risk of accidental collision escalating rapidly into a catastrophic war;
  • Increasing tensions jeopardise international cooperation essential to address the mounting climate catastrophe;
  1. We also note that:
  • With the claim ’Euro-Atlantic and IndoPacific security are linked’, the US is building an Atlantic-Pacific Global NATO-style partnership, drawing NATO into Asia, with Britain the most active accomplice;
  • Through AUKUS and a military forces exchange with Japan, Britain is not only stoking a Pacific arms race but also runs the risk of a direct clash with China;
  • Rishi Sunak has identified China as ‘the biggest challenge to the world’;
  • Spending on preparations for war with China is pushing up Britain’s military budget significantly.
  1. This Conference believes that a war between the US and China must be stopped before it starts.
  • We say no to war preparations and provocations;
  • We support the peaceful dialogue across the Taiwan Strait as well as between the countries bordering the South China Sea to resolve differences;
  • We oppose outside interference since this can only complicate dialogue, with failure likely leading into conflict;
  • We call for British withdrawal from AUKUS and from military commitments in the IndoPacific; the government should refrain from any moves that may contribute to destabilising the situation regarding Taiwan;
  • We support activists in the Pacific region opposing militarisation and the arms race, and calling for de-escalation of tensions.
  1. This Conference resolves to step up campaigning to oppose Britain’s part in the war preparations by

(i) developing understanding of the issues and dangers through discussion among our membership supported by educational materials;

(ii) raising public awareness of the dangers of Pacific militarisation and Britain’s part in this;

(iii) including in our campaigning to reverse the TUC’s decision on increasing military spending, factual material on the costs of Britain’s ‘IndoPacific tilt’.

British Museum must return Chinese cultural relics

In the two articles we reproduce below – the first an editorial followed by a news item – the influential Chinese newspaper Global Times responds to the recent news that some 2,000 artifacts have been found to be missing, believed stolen, from the British Museum, to demand the return of treasures, artifacts and cultural icons to China and other countries that were once the victims of colonial pillage by British imperialism. The paper estimates that the museum holds 23,000 cultural relics from China.

In its editorial, Global Times states: “We formally request the British Museum to return all Chinese cultural relics acquired through improper channels,” adding, “We also support the claims for the restitution of cultural relics made by other countries that have been looted by Britain, such as India, Nigeria and South Africa. We urge the British government to cooperate in the legal and other procedures to facilitate the process, which will be a test and verification of Britain’s sincerity in clearing the colonial stain and making amends for its historical sins.”

According to Global Times:

“The vast majority of the British Museum’s huge collection of up to 8 million items came from countries other than the UK, and a significant portion of it was acquired through improper channels, even dirty and sinful means. As a result, the British Museum has earned the name of the world’s largest ‘receiver of stolen goods’.”

Faced with growing demands over the years for the return of looted items by countries from Greece to Nigeria, the British Museum and the British government have fallen back on the frankly racist argument that the countries concerned are, unlike apparently the UK, incapable of taking care of their own property. The revelation of mass theft from the museum’s collections has blown that argument, such as it was, out of the water, and Global Times notes:

“The huge loopholes in the management and security of cultural objects in the British Museum exposed by this scandal have led to the collapse of a long-standing and widely circulated claim that ‘foreign cultural objects are better protected in the British Museum.'”

The editorial notes: “The UK, which has a bloody, ugly, and shameful colonial history, has always had a strong sense of moral superiority over others… We really do not know where their sense of moral superiority comes from.”

It also refers to Greece’s long-running campaign for the return of the so-called ‘Elgin Marbles’:

“Recently, Greece once again called for the return of sculptures taken from the Parthenon Temple by Britain in the past, only to be accused by British politicians of ‘blatant opportunism.’ This once again reveals the ‘traditions’ of imperialism and colonialism.”

In one of several news items recently carried by Global Times on this issue, the paper points out that: “It is estimated that 10 million artifacts were stolen from China from the first Opium War (1840-42) to the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1931-45).”

It also cites Abba Isa Tijani, director general of Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments, on his country’s demand for the return of the Benin Bronzes, and Zahi Hawass, Egypt’s former minister of state for antiquities affairs, on his country’s campaign for the return of the Rosetta Stone.

And it notes comments made to the Guardian newspaper by Bell Ribeiro-Addy, the left Labour MP for Streatham in south London, that: “What makes it more awful is that they’ve been so lax about the [suspected] theft of other people’s items that they haven’t even bothered to assess what it is that they have.”

British Museum must return Chinese cultural relics for free

Global Times, 28 August 2023

As a Chinese media, we formally request the British Museum to return all Chinese cultural relics acquired through improper channels to China free of charge, and to refrain from adopting a resistant, protracted and perfunctory attitude. First of all, a public commitment should be made to the world for the return of the relics and this long overdue work should begin as soon as possible. We also support the claims for the restitution of cultural relics made by other countries that have been looted by Britain, such as India, Nigeria and South Africa. We urge the British government to cooperate in the legal and other procedures to facilitate the process, which will be a test and verification of Britain’s sincerity in clearing the colonial stain and making amends for its historical sins.

The recent revelation that some 2,000 artifacts from the British Museum’s collection inexplicably went missing has shocked not only the UK, but also all other countries that have collections in the British Museum. The huge number of missing artifacts, the long duration of the case, and the seriousness of the suspected internal thief have made it impossible to connect it with the British Museum, one of the largest museums in the world. People have questioned why the British police and the museum have delayed releasing photos and detailed descriptions of the stolen artifacts. The failure to release photos may indicate that the British Museum still has not been able to find out exactly how much of its vast collection has been lost, probably more than 2,000 pieces.

Continue reading British Museum must return Chinese cultural relics

Cleverly’s Beijing mission a welcome contrast to backbench warmongering

The following Morning Star editorial discusses British foreign secretary James Cleverly’s recent visit to Beijing.

Before setting off, Cleverly observed that “no significant global problem – from climate change to pandemic prevention, from economic instability to nuclear proliferation – can be solved without China.” This is certainly true. Furthermore Britain would derive clear economic benefits from improved Britain-China relations.

Unfortunately, as the editorial points out, Cleverly’s relatively balanced position stands in stark contrast to that found elsewhere in parliament, “where the foreign select committee not only urges Aukus expansion but calls for Britain to join another anti-China military bloc, the Quad, a prescription for miring us still deeper in the preparations for a Pacific war that a US general has predicted for the year after next.”

What’s more, the basic political dynamics underlying the deterioration in relations have not meaningfully changed. The US is leading a New Cold War that includes military encirclement (via AUKUS, war games, freedom of navigation assertions and so on), attempting to stoke conflict across the Taiwan Strait, sanctions, tariffs, and a vicious propaganda war. Britain has involved itself in all of this. Prioritising our status as a loyal junior partner to US imperialism has become a consensus position in British politics.

The editorial concludes that a powerful mass peace movement is a necessary force to counter the Cold Warriors in Westminster.

The Foreign Secretary’s visit to Beijing is a welcome attempt to keep communications open with an economic, scientific and technological giant.

James Cleverly is spot on when he says global problems cannot be addressed without China, whether we are talking about climate change, co-operation on pandemics or — the elephant in the room given the feverish warmongering on Tory back benches — avoiding World War III.

The government’s attitude contrasts favourably to that of critics like ex-work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith. For Duncan Smith, for whom “anything to do with China is a security threat,” simply holding talks with Chinese leaders is “appeasement.”

Labour’s David Lammy does not go quite so far, though he calls on Cleverly to secure “tangible diplomatic wins” such as the removal of sanctions on British parliamentarians.

Continue reading Cleverly’s Beijing mission a welcome contrast to backbench warmongering

Chinese scholars discuss Engels in Eastbourne

The English coastal town of Eastbourne was the venue for an international conference on the life and work of Friedrich Engels’, Karl Marx’s closest comrade, friend and collaborator, in early June. The conference was co-hosted by the University of Brighton, which has a campus in Eastbourne, and the International Association of Marx & Engels Humanities Studies (MEIA).

Marxist scholars from more than 10 countries participated, marking the 175th anniversary of the publication of the Communist Manifesto, authored by Marx and Engels, and which remains a programmatic document of the communist movement worldwide. 

Eastbourne was chosen as the location as it was Engels’ favoured holiday location. After his death, and in accordance with his wishes, his ashes were scattered in the sea by Marx’s daughter and others from Beachy Head, a famous nearby landmark. An ongoing campaign to honour Engels with a commemorative plaque in the town has the support of Eastbourne Labour Party, Eastbourne Trades Council and local union branches, including those of Unite, Unison and the University & College Union (UCU). The conference was held at the View Hotel, which is owned by Unite.

Chinese scholars played a prominent role in the conference, addressing the influence of Marxism on China’s development path among other topics. 

According to Christian Høgsbjerg, the conference was, “an incredible opportunity to have so many Chinese scholars of Marxism here in Britain and to have those dialogues and make connections.” Høgsbjerg, who is senior lecturer in the School of Humanities and Social Science at the University of Brighton, is most well-known for his work on CLR James, the famous Trinidadian Marxist, and his pioneering work on the 1791-1804 Haitian revolution, first analysed by James in his seminal work, Black Jacobins.  Høgsbjerg is an author or editor of numerous books, including CLR James in Imperial Britain and Toussaint Louverture: A Black Jacobin in the Age of Revolutions. The Red and the Black: The Russian Revolution and the Black Atlantic (Racism, Resistance and Social Change), co-edited by Høgsbjerg, together with David Featherstone, outlines how the Russian revolution of 1917 was not just a world-historical event in its own right, but also struck powerful blows against racism and imperialism, and thereby inspired many black radicals internationally.

According to the publishers, Manchester University Press, it “explores the implications of the creation of the Soviet Union and the Communist International for black and colonial liberation struggles across the African diaspora…Challenging European-centred understandings of the Russian revolution and the global left, [it] offers new insights on the relations between communism, various lefts and anti-colonialisms across the Black Atlantic – including Garveyism and various other strands of Pan-Africanism.”

The following article was originally published by the Xinhua News Agency. We also embed a video report from New China TV, which is the broadcasting arm of Xinhua.

The seaside resort of Eastbourne in East Sussex, England, is hosting an international conference titled “Engels in Eastbourne,” which kicked off on Thursday and runs to Saturday.

Nearly a hundred professors, experts and scholars from more than 20 universities and research institutions in more than ten countries, including the United Kingdom, China, Germany, the United States, Ireland, Spain, Romania, Denmark, Turkey and India, hold in-depth discussions to commemorate the 175th anniversary of “The Communist manifesto.”

The conference is co-hosted by the University of Brighton and the International Association of Marx & Engels Humanities Studies (MEIA).

According to the MEIA, a British independent non-governmental organization, the subjects discussed include Friedrich Engels’ life and experiences, his contribution to the development of Marxism, the influence of Engels’ theories on the development of the contemporary world, and the influence of Marxism on China’s modernization path.

Continue reading Chinese scholars discuss Engels in Eastbourne

Britain seems doomed to join the new Washington Consensus

In this article for the Morning Star, Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez takes a look at the results of UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s recent official visit to the US. Sunak’s summit with Joe Biden produced very little of substance, but the Atlantic Declaration for a Twenty-First Century US-UK Economic Partnership reiterates Britain’s ongoing commitment to the New Cold War and the Project for an American Century. Carlos writes that the document “represents a shared commitment to doubling down on the new cold war, continuing with the encirclement and containment of China, and proceeding with the proxy war against Russia.”

While talking up the need for a “rules-based order”, the Declaration makes clear that the US and Britain intend to continue violating international law via their AUKUS nuclear pact and their extensive set of unilateral sanctions. Meanwhile, their calls for global action to tackle climate change ring decidedly hollow given their sanctioning of China’s solar energy products and the trend of replacing Russian energy with North American fracked shale gas.

Noting that Labour in its current iteration offers no improvement on the question of Britain-China relations, Carlos concludes that “Boris Johnson, Liz Truss, Sunak and Keir Starmer are all Trumpists when it comes to pursuing this incredibly reckless new cold war.”

Last Wednesday marked the second annual UK-US Friendship Day. Although this momentous occasion was met with near-universal indifference on both sides of the Atlantic, Rishi Sunak took the opportunity to celebrate by making his first official visit to the US as Prime Minister.

The discussions didn’t reap the variety of fruit Sunak had been hoping for; the Tories’ long-promised free-trade deal remains in deep freeze. Indeed, very little of substance was announced beyond the Atlantic Declaration for a Twenty-First Century US-UK Economic Partnership.

This declaration makes clear that the focus of US-UK collaboration today is to jointly manage “new challenges to international stability,” in particular “from authoritarian states such as Russia and the People’s Republic of China.”

Continue reading Britain seems doomed to join the new Washington Consensus

Rest in power Comrade Tongogara

Comrade Tongogara (born Danny Morrell), one of Britain’s staunchest and most outspoken supporters of Mao Zedong and friend of socialist China, passed away on May 11 2023. Born in Jamaica, he spent most of his adult life in north London, a life he devoted to the struggle for black liberation, socialism and communism, working tirelessly and supporting every progressive struggle. His belief in Mao’s concept and practice of the mass line made him many friends and comrades across a wide range of revolutionary and progressive organizations and campaigns, among different communities, and people from various walks of life. Alongside Marx, Lenin and Mao, he was equally inspired by the struggles of the Jamaican people, of the African liberation movements and of such African-American revolutionaries as George Jackson.

In 1970, he was a founding member of the Black Unity and Freedom Party (BUFP), whose newspaper was Black Voice. In a paper presented to the 15th Forum of the World Association for Political Economy (WAPE), hosted by Shanghai’s International Studies University in December 2021, the editors of this website cited the BUFP as one of the organizations that, “collectively constituted the mass proletarian base for China friendship and solidarity in Britain.” 

In his last years, Tongogara especially devoted his energies to the Free Mumia Campaign UK, which he launched at a meeting in Brixton, south London, in 2008. One of the most high-profile political prisoners in the United States, Mumia Abu-Jamal, a revolutionary journalist who first joined the Black Panther Party in 1968 at age 14, was originally sentenced to death on trumped up charges in 1982 and has been held in US prison hell holes ever since.

On being informed of Tongogara’s passing, FoSC co-editor Keith Bennett, who had been his friend and comrade since 1976, wrote in part:

“He was a staunch and constant supporter of Mao Zedong and his work embodied and bore testimony to Comrade Mao’s profound and powerful observation that the evil system of colonialism and imperialism arose and throve with the enslavement of black people and the trade in black people, and it will surely come to its end with the complete emancipation of the black people.

“Tongogara’s life and work helped bring that day closer. He will be remembered and honored.”

The below article was originally published in Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! and was written by comrades in the Mumia UK Campaign.

`Brother Tongogara (born Danny Morrell) passed away peacefully in Barnet Hospital on Thursday 11 May 2023. Born in Jamaica in 1942 on 6 February (he was proud to share a birthday with Bob Marley), he lived in Tottenham, London, for most of his adult life. A long-time friend and supporter of many campaigns across London and internationally, Comrade Tongogara will be well known to many FRFI readers. He was an untiring campaigner, omnipresent at events such as Africa Liberation Day, May Day, taking political messages to Notting Hill Carnival, picketing the Home Office and outside the BBC for Irish prisoners. He supported the free Leonard Peltier campaign as well as regularly protesting outside the US embassy and the high court.

In 1970 he was a founding member of Black Unity and Freedom Party which later became the African People’s Liberation Organisation in 1998. In the 1990s he supported the work of the Colin Roach Centre in Hackney, campaigning against deaths in police custody and highlighting the racist violence of the state.  He also brought learning to the movement, organising lectures with Caribbean Labour Solidarity, and celebrating Claudia Jones with an annual event. Alongside political action he believed in political study and shared liberation literature, taking books by George Jackson, Karl Marx, Assata Shakur, Mao Tse-Tung and Mumia Abu-Jamal to events and street stalls.

In 2008 he convened a meeting in Brixton to launch the Free Mumia Campaign UK and became an untiring campaigner and spokesperson. He brought many people into the campaign when Mumia was still facing the death penalty and kept the campaign going until the present day. Along with others, Tongogara set the political tone of the campaign which has always been anti-imperialist and anti-racist.

Tongogara took the Free Mumia banner, often alone, far and wide, including outside banks, train stations and Lloyds building in the City of London, demanding the release of Mumia. He was a powerful speaker and a tireless engaging street activist who had the ability to connect people and bring new people into the movement. His kind and principled approach, together with his determination and courage has been an example for many others.

This is a glimpse into the life and legacy of comrade Tongogara. All who knew Brother T can remember with a combination of joy and gratitude what he brought and gave to the struggle for class and race liberation over exemplary decades. May he rest in power.

Aukus might create jobs – but at what cost?

This article by Jenny Clegg, originally published in the Morning Star, discusses the recent announcement by Britain’s Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions (CSEU) that it welcomes the Aukus trilateral security deal on the grounds that it will ostensibly create thousands of well-paid jobs for British engineers.

Jenny points out that, even on the basis of purely economic calculations, directing Britain’s advanced engineering sector towards a project like Aukus is utterly self-defeating. It will adversely affect ties with China – trade with which is connected to orders of magnitude more jobs than Aukus is. Furthermore, it means divesting from far more promising and worthwhile projects, particularly in relation to preventing climate breakdown.

Aukus is part of an escalating US-led drive to war against China, and what’s more it violates the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). It is patently foolish for Britain to attach itself to such a project, and particularly so for the British working class. Jenny asks of CSEU members: “Do they want to be building a world of conflict, tension and destabilisation for decades to come? Is that the kind of future they envisage for their children and grandchildren?”

THE Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions (CSEU) has welcomed the benefits of Aukus, creating thousands of well-paid jobs, securing thousands more across the supply chains for years to come.

But what about the costs?

Within Britain’s constrained budgets, creating one job in the defence sector means cutting significantly more jobs — quite possibly those of trade union members — in sectors, for example, that provide for social welfare.

The £3 billion defence spending increase recently announced by PM Rishi Sunak to go on supporting the delivery of Aukus is enough to pay the junior doctors’ claims in full one-and-a-half times over. And it is just the start.

The benefits to the supply chain might not be that great either since over a third of MoD supplies are purchased from overseas.

The reactors to power the Aukus submarines are to be built by Rolls-Royce in Derby using weapons-grade highly enriched uranium.

Thousands of jobs will be created, yes, but these vessels are for war-fighting so this will breach the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) stipulation that the exchange of nuclear technology must be “for peaceful purposes.”

This also violates the spirit of the Nuclear Weapon Free Zones of the south Pacific and south-east Asia. There, the expanding authority of the Anglosphere is not something that is welcomed.

It goes against hopes to make the region a zone of peace, instead increasing the likelihood of regional nuclear proliferation and an escalating arms race.

A recent meeting of former Pacific leaders raised complaints about the “staggering” amount of money committed to Aukus which “flies in the face of Pacific Islands countries … crying out for climate change support,” the “threat … challenging our future existence,” they said, “is not China but climate change.”

The gross overexpansion of Britain’s military industrial base is to prepare for war with China. But China has not fought a war for 40 years; it maintains a defensive military posture with just one overseas base and only a small nuclear arsenal kept under “no first use.” By treating China as the enemy, Aukus will surely turn it into one.

China in fact is Britain’s fourth-largest trading partner; economic links have generated at least 150,000 jobs across the country and there is great potential for this to grow.

Not long ago Chinese companies stepped in to help in the rescue of Jaguar Land Rover and saved 3,000 jobs at British Steel.

Why put all this at risk? China should be seen as an opportunity not a threat.

By the time the submarines become operational in the 2040s, the world will be massively transformed.

The emerging markets of the Brics countries already exceed the G7 in economic size and will easily double this in 20 years.

A paradigm shift is under way as these rising powers reset world agendas — it is their priorities on climate change, health and tackling poverty that are now driving the world economy.

Yet Britain continues on the path of disproportionate military influence even as it drops out of the world’s top 10 economies in the coming years.

The CSEU is working with the Australian engineering unions, yet the Australian Council of Trade Unions (Actu), which brings together 36 trade unions, has not endorsed the pact and maintains its backing of Australia’s nuclear-free defence policy.

To support the huge Aukus military expansion, the Australian taxpayer will pay on average US$6bn per year for the next 30 years — a whacking total of US$245bn.

To secure Britain’s high-skilled base requires long-term contracts but the MoD’s seemingly easy solution stokes more problems for the future: the more that is invested in arms production, the harder it is to reverse — the end of a contract means thousands of jobs are at stake and the chase for investment becomes endless.

The British government has just spent over £6bn on the two aircraft carriers, now one is being mothballed. How many more white elephants are planned?

The CSEU needs to think again. Instead of delivering the labour movement into the pockets of BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce, instead of driving China onto a war-footing, it should inform its members of the implications of the scheme.

It should ask them: do they want to be building a world of conflict, tension and destabilisation for decades to come? Is that the kind of future they envisage for their children and grandchildren?

We are nowhere close to having sufficient green skills to deliver the green transition globally — the CSEU should be encouraging apprentices to hone their skills for a green future; and it should get creative and set up teams of members to come up with alternative ideas not least to serve the new agendas and growing markets of the global South.

People in Britain can only rely now on skilled engineers to ensure the economy remains relevant in the coming decades. Politicians are failing us — it is up to the unions to envisage a different future for the country and to see that Britain’s advanced engineering is put to good use in a vastly changing world.

Is London returning to a sane policy towards Beijing?

In this short op-ed for China Daily, Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez discusses the significance of Chinese Vice-President Han Zheng’s visit to London, in the context of recent indications from Westminster that it is shifting somewhat away from the viscerally anti-China strategy it has been pursuing in recent years. Although the UK government remains essentially tied to its heavily pro-US orientation, it is increasingly clear that ‘decoupling’ from China is a dead end.

Chinese Vice-President Han Zheng’s visit to London to attend the coronation ceremony of King Charles III is a reminder of China’s willingness to develop a productive and mutually-beneficial relationship with the United Kingdom.

The recent deterioration in relations between the two countries has not been instigated or fomented by Beijing. China has always sought to foster a bilateral relationship of friendship, exchange, mutual learning, trade and investment that brings material and cultural benefits to both sides.

The most emblematic moment of the “golden era” of UK-China relations was Chinese President Xi Jinping’s five-day visit to the UK in 2015. At the joint news conference addressed by both President Xi and then British prime minister David Cameron, it was announced that the two countries will build a global comprehensive strategic partnership for the 21st century.

There was even talk of the UK aligning its “Northern Powerhouse” project with the Belt and Road Initiative. Eight years later, Belt and Road projects have helped boost infrastructure development in many parts of the world, while almost no progress has been made on the Northern Powerhouse initiative, which is a real shame.

China’s strategic approach to its ties with Britain and its wish to establish long-term win-win relations have not changed. The major change in the relationship is that the British establishment seems to have become anti-China, in step with the United States’ geopolitical game to maintain its global hegemony.

This reflects two political shifts. First, the US, in recent years, has adopted an increasingly confrontational stance toward China: imposing sanctions and extra tariffs, forming the trilateral security alliance AUKUS, waging a trade war and initiating a tech war against China, undermining the one-China principle.

Second, in the aftermath of Brexit, the UK has been slowly but steadily losing its foreign policy independence, choosing to act on the instructions of the US in the hope it will prepare the ground for a comprehensive US-UK trade deal that makes up for what Britain has lost by leaving the European Common Market. The result is that the UK now follows the US’ lead when it comes to relations with China.

In 2015, Britain faced significant pressure from the US to not join the China-initiated Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, but it was able to withstand that pressure in defense of its own economic interests. It’s unlikely that Britain would act in a similarly independent way today.

However, British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly’s recent speech on UK-China relations seems to indicate some willingness on the part of the British government to return to a sane policy. Cleverly’s speech — and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s refusal to label China as a “strategic threat” — represent a growing understanding that Britain needs investment from, and trade with, China, and that “decoupling” of economies leads to a dead end. The British people will benefit greatly if this understanding can be turned into a policy of cooperation and mutually-beneficial relations.

And Han’s visit to the UK will hopefully provide an opportunity for Britain’s political leadership to take some concrete steps in this direction.

British Foreign Secretary indicates willingness to improve relations with China

In this brief article, based on comments given to the Morning Star, Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez analyses the speech about UK-China relations given by Foreign Secretary James Cleverly on 25 April 2023. Carlos states that the speech indicates “a partial – limited but nonetheless important – move by the British government to return to a more sane policy with regard to China.”

British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly’s speech on UK-China relations represents a partial – limited but nonetheless important – move by the British government to return to a more sane policy with regard to China.

Cleverly issues a reasonably stern rebuke to the China hawks in his own party (and indeed the opposition) by stating clearly that he doesn’t want a New Cold War; that the West and China are not compelled to fall into a Thucydides Trap; that Britain’s membership of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank has been beneficial; and that cooperation with China on the issues of climate change, pandemics and nuclear proliferation is indispensable. He makes a point of congratulating China on its extraordinary achievement of lifting 800 million people out of poverty.

Needless to say, these useful comments are couched in the usual red-scare tropes about China’s “ruthless authoritarianism”, human rights in Xinjiang, and so on. On the one hand, Cleverly claims not to want a Cold War; on the other hand, he stupidly parrots all the propaganda that supports and justifies that Cold War. This should be seen as a loyalty pledge to Washington, and as a concession to the deluded hard-right China hawks in the British government.

The geopolitical context for Cleverly’s speech is obviously the developing trend of European countries seeking to distance themselves from the US’s anti-China strategy. The highest point of this trend so far has been Macron’s trip to Beijing earlier this month and the remarks he made about the need to develop a sovereign French foreign policy. Certainly Macron went much further than Cleverly – saying (consistent with international law) that the Taiwan question is an issue for Chinese people on both sides of the Strait. Nevertheless, it’s noteworthy and welcome that Britain sees the need to shift in the direction of a more independent and sensible policy.

A Global Times editorial fairly characterised Cleverly’s speech as “a correction of the UK’s aggressive line involving China in the past, and an attempt to return to British balanced diplomatic tradition.” However, the editorial sensibly calls for realistic assessment: “We welcome Cleverly’s positive remarks, at least it can be seen a little possibility of a turnaround in China-UK relations, but we remain cautious about how much it will be implemented in the UK’s China policy.”

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning echoed this sentiment, calling on Britain to “be prudent in its words and actions” and to “do more things that are conducive to the development of China-UK relations and world peace and stability.” She further warned that “bloc politics and the Cold War mentality are against the trend of history and do not serve the interests of the UK or any other party in the world.”

The Post-Brexit political consensus has for several years been that Britain’s fundamental interests lie in appeasing the US on foreign policy matters, in the hope that this will help bring forth a comprehensive US-UK trade deal. Cleverly’s speech – and Sunak’s refusal to define China as a ‘strategic threat’ – indicate a growing understanding that Britain needs investment from, and trade with, China, and that ‘decoupling’ is a dead end. The British people will benefit greatly if this understanding can blossom into a strategy of cooperation and mutually-beneficial relations.

The sudden arrival of a cold war with China

In the following article, which we are pleased to reprint from the Morning Star, Ken Livingstone, former Mayor of London (2000-2008), denounces the new cold war that has been instigated against China, in which Britain has once again followed behind the United States. 

Outlining some of the hostile measures taken by the UK against China, Ken notes how recent ex-Prime Minister Liz Truss had been set to formally declare China to be an enemy of Britain while current Prime Minister Rishi Sunak describes the country as a “challenge to the world order.”

In contrast, Ken writes: “The rise of China is one of the greatest events in world history in my lifetime. When I was born, life expectancy in China was under 40. Around 90 per cent of the population was illiterate. The country had been torn apart by a century of foreign aggression, invasion, warlordism and civil wars. Millions died every year from floods and famine.

“What a contrast to today’s China, which is on the cusp of overtaking the US as the world’s greatest economy – a change unseen in over a century. China’s life expectancy has already overtaken that of the US… This economic transformation is one that all decent people should welcome.”

Ken compares the present policies towards China with the “golden era” declared by Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne as recently as 2015 and adds that when he was elected Mayor in 2000, “I was determined that London would develop positive relations with China.” He adds:

“We opened offices for London in Beijing and Shanghai, encouraged Stock Exchange listings, brought the annual celebration of Chinese New Year to Trafalgar Square, and expanded co-operation in a whole range of sectors, such as fashion, design and the creative industries.”

Whilst such positive policies were broadly supported by successive Labour leaders: “Sadly, they now find little or no echo from Keir Starmer and his shadow foreign secretary David Lammy. Their political horizons seem confined to attempting to outdo the Tories as to who can be the most bellicose cold warrior.”

This establishment consensus is leading us into dangerous waters, such as the Aukus nuclear submarine deal with Australia and the United States. Britain is vastly increasing military spending at a time when, “an increasing number of people aren’t being forced to choose between heating and eating because they can’t afford either.”

Ken concludes: “Progressives in the labour movement need to… build the broadest possible alliance to reverse the slide to disaster.”

AS SOMEONE who lived through the first cold war against the Soviet Union and its allies, and who was in some important respects politically shaped by it — including in terms of my decades-long opposition to nuclear weapons — I recognise all too well the depressing signs of a new cold war against China, being fomented by the US, Britain and a handful of other countries.

Here in Britain, we’ve seen:

● A thriving relationship with Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei scuppered at US insistence, leaving 5G infrastructure to be ripped out of our networks, increasing costs to the Treasury and leaving us in the broadband slow lane.

● A ban on the massively popular TikTok app on government devices.

● Attacks and threats to close Confucius Institutes, which play an invaluable role in lessening our educational deficit in the teaching of Chinese language and culture.

● Sanctions and refusal of investment from Chinese companies on dubious national security grounds, costing us jobs, markets and technical upskilling.

● A ban on the Chinese ambassador setting foot in the Palace of Westminster, instigated by a vociferous gang of right-wingers like Iain Duncan Smith.

Not surprisingly, all this, along with the attempts to blame China for the Covid pandemic from Donald Trump and his allies internationally, has led to an upsurge in racist attacks on members of Chinese and Asian communities.

Continue reading The sudden arrival of a cold war with China

Britain’s secret betrayal and repatriation of Chinese sailors after WWII

In this documentary, The Secret Betrayal, presented by Jamie Owen, CGTN exposes the racist deportation of thousands of Chinese seamen from Liverpool by the post-war British Labour government and movingly highlights the continuing and tenacious campaign for truth and justice being waged by their children and grandchildren.

One in seven of Britain’s merchant seamen, who manned the deadly Atlantic Convoys during World War II, were Chinese. Lauded as heroes in a 1944 government film, it was a different story post-war. Documents in the National Archives refer to the “compulsory repatriation of undesirable Chinese seamen”. They were “surplus to requirements” and to be subject to “bulk clearances”. Their wives and girlfriends, with whom many of them had young children, were dismissed as being “many of the prostitute class.” This racist and anti-working class disdain was doubtless compounded by many of the women in question being from Liverpool’s substantial Irish community. 

In order to expel the Chinese seamen, the racist British state resorted to both subterfuge (such as changing the dates of ships’ sailings to allow deportation) and brute force, with Special Branch, Britain’s political police, brought in to round up people from shipping offices and cafés. Families were left with no idea what had happened to their husbands and fathers. And, according to legislation in force at the time, women who had married foreign nationals were deemed to have acquired “alien status”, with no rights to benefits or state support. As a result, many were left completely destitute. Families were further destroyed, with children given up for adoption and babies buried in unmarked, mass graves. 

Left Labour MP Kim Johnson, a member of the Socialist Campaign Group, whose constituency includes Liverpool’s Chinatown, the oldest of its kind in Europe, has campaigned tirelessly for justice for the victims of this racist injustice. She tells the programme that it is not just a matter of securing an apology from the present Conservative government. This happened under a Labour government, and “to have a level of acknowledgment from our own party would be a step in the right direction.”

Looking at reasons for the deportations, the presenter notes, showing contemporary footage of Unite leader Sharon Graham addressing a workers’ meeting, that the Liverpool dockers have a long history of industrial militancy. The Chinese sailors were paid less than their white counterparts and denied bonuses until a strike led by the Liverpool Chinese Seamen’s Union in 1942. An excellent article by Dan Hancox, published in the Guardian in May 2021, describes the union as “Communist-affiliated”, adding that “the Shangainese Blue Funnel [a major shipping company that employed only Chinese seamen] crew were mostly active Communists and trade unionists.”

The Labour government responsible for these actions is lionised by much of the left for its creation of the NHS and a welfare state. But this racist crime was not the only one of which it was guilty. The ‘Windrush scandal’, for example, did not begin with Conservative governments of the last decade. Coinciding with the ship docking from Jamaica at Tilbury on June 22, 1948, 11 Labour MPs wrote to Prime Minister Clement Attlee, stating that: “This country may become an open reception centre for immigrants not selected in respect to health, education, training, character, customs and above all, whether assimilation is possible or not. The British people fortunately enjoy a profound unity without uniformity in their way of life, and are blest with the absence of a colour racial problem. An influx of coloured people domiciled here is likely to impair the harmony, strength and cohesion of our public and social life and to cause discord and unhappiness among all concerned.”

Attlee could only reply: “It is too early yet to assess the impression made upon these immigrants as to their prospects in Great Britain and consequently the degree to which their experience may attract others to follow their example. Although it has been possible to find employment for quite a number of them, they may well find it very difficult to make adequate remittance to their dependants in Jamaica as well as maintaining themselves over here. On the whole, therefore, I doubt whether there is likely to be a similar large influx.”

This same Labour government, as Keir Starmer never fails to remind us, was also central to the creation of NATO, and enthusiastically waged anti-communist and colonial wars in Greece, Malaya, Korea and elsewhere.

The CGTN documentary is embedded below.

Is there potential for improved relations between Britain and China?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Telling the truth about China, and learning from China’s example

We are pleased to publish the text of a speech by Eben Williams, a Glasgow-based member of the International Committee of the Young Communist League (Britain), given on 17 December at the second of two online seminars on the theme ‘The 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China and its World Significance’, organised jointly by Friends of Socialist China and IDCPC.

Eben discusses the significance of the 20th Congress, in particular its relevance to young communists in Britain, contrasting Xi Jinping’s work report with the political pronouncements of Britain’s political leaders. The work of the CPC Congress reflects a profound orientation towards, and dedication to, meeting the needs of the masses of the people. The CPC’s adherence to the mass line couldn’t be more different to British parliamentary politics under the dictatorship of capital.

Eben calls on the progressive movement in Britain to learn from China’s experiences, to tell the truth about China, to take inspiration from the achievements of the Chinese people, to unite with Chinese people in the global struggle against imperialism, and to “redouble our efforts to strengthen the anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist resistance here at home.”

First of all, a warm hello to our comrades from the International Department of the Communist Party of China and a big thank you to Carlos and Keith and all of our comrades at Friends of Socialist China for the invitation to join this important discussion on the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China and its world significance. I hope to give a few of my own thoughts from watching the congress, the perspective of young communists in Britain that have grown up watching the rise of China, and a small call to practical action.

As communists, our work is obviously very broad, and we do all kinds of different things to help build power for the working class where we live, but one of the areas of our work that I’m most interested in is our work building relationships with other working class and communist organisations around the world through our membership of the World Federation of Democratic Youth and through our International Department. This includes both the Communist Party of China and its youth wing, the Communist Youth League.

Recently, comrades from the CYL invited us to watch the opening ceremony of the 20th National Congress online, together with them and other comrades from around the world. Many of our members are inspired by the Chinese socialist project and this was an exciting opportunity to say the least, like staying up until 3am to watch some kind of communist Superbowl of historic importance.

I was astounded by the scale of it, with more than 2,200 party delegates, representing over 96 million party members, representing over 1.4 billion Chinese citizens, all gathering together at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing to chart out the country’s future in one of the most advanced democratic exercises in the world.

I was moved by the Party’s commitment to ceremony and to its history, honouring the fallen martyrs of the revolution in a minute’s silence, including comrades Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Liu Shaoqi, Deng Xiaoping, Zhu De, and Chen Yun.

Continue reading Telling the truth about China, and learning from China’s example

Former First Minister condemns UK government attack on Confucius Institutes in Scotland

Alex Salmond, former First Minister of Scotland and currently the Leader of the Alba Party, has condemned the British government’s announced intention to close Confucius Institutes, describing it as, “the sort of Cold War mentality on display in Westminster which ends in hot wars.”

Salmond added his condemnation to that expressed by his party’s Westminster Leader Neale Hanvey MP. Hanvey noted that: “Westminster’s feud with China undermines and will deeply damage over a century of Sino-Scottish educational relations.”

The first known student from China to study in the UK enrolled to study medicine at Edinburgh University in the 1860s.

Alex Salmond strongly supported friendship and cooperation with China throughout his time as Scotland’s First Minister, 2007-2014. The March 2014 edition of Voice of Friendship, the magazine of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, reported on his November 2013 visit to Beijing, describing him as, “an old friend who visited China successively in the years from 2009-2011.” 

On that occasion, Salmond presented State Councillor Yang Jiechi with his government’s document, ‘Scotland’s Strategy for Stronger Engagement with China’. 

Reporting his visit to the Confucius Institute Headquarters, Voice of Friendship noted: “Since he took office, Mr. Salmond has attached great importance to carrying out cultural exchanges with China. Right now, Confucius Institutes have been set up in four universities and Confucius Classrooms in 13 primary and secondary schools in Scotland, with a total of 150 schools and institutions teaching Mandarin.”

Mr. Salmond and the Alba party are to be congratulated for sticking to their principled stand in favour of positive and constructive relations with China. We reprint their statement below.

ALBA Party Leader and Former First Minister Alex Salmond has added his condemnation to the UK Government’s attack on Confucius Institutes in Scotland. 

Commenting Alex Salmond said: 

“This is the sort of Cold War mentality on display by Westminster which ends in hot wars. The Scottish Government should defend these valuable cultural exchanges and oppose any attempts by the UK Government to close them down. We have nothing to fear from talking and exchanging culture. The real danger is from those who wish to divide the world into armed camps and who wish to shut Scotland out from the international community.”

Earlier ALBA Westminster Leader Neale Hanvey MP also reacted to Minister of State for Security Tom Tugendhat MPs announcement that Confucius Institutes in the UK are to close. He said: 

“Scotland’s educational links with China have long presented opportunities to increase trade and secure Chinese investment in industry and infrastructure. 

“The Confucius programme helps promote Scotland’s innovative and creative sector through cultural exchanges and sporting links with China and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. These links also promote Scotland as a destination of choice for Chinese tourists – something which pre pandemic delivered 172,000 visits to Scotland from China bringing £142M into the Scottish economy. 

“While the Confucius scheme invests £3M in Scotland to foster these bonds between our two countries, this modest investment has generated a fee income of £790 million for our world class Scottish Universities. 

“Westminster’s unilateral decision to block this programme takes no account of Scotland and China’s cultural links and will have a devastating impact on the entire Scottish Higher Education system. 

“Westminster’s feud with China undermines and will deeply damage over a century of Sino-Scottish educational relations”

Tribute to Avtar Singh Jouhl, 1937-2022

In our contribution to the Fifteenth Forum of the World Association for Political Economy (WAPE), hosted by China’s Shanghai International Studies University last December, Friends of Socialist China surveyed the history of support for the Chinese revolution in the working-class movements in the United States and Britain and noted:

“As in the United States, it was again the political representatives of oppressed peoples who came to play an outstanding role in supporting and defending the People’s Republic, be it on the part of the outstanding Trinidadian communist Claudia Jones or of such organisations as the Indian Workers’ Association, its equivalent bodies among Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Kashmiri workers, the Black Unity and Freedom Party, the Black Panther Movement and many others. Very often out of the sight and hearing of much of the predominantly white left, they collectively constituted the mass proletarian base for China friendship and solidarity in Britain, from the early 1960s onwards.”

The working-class movement lost one of the true giants of that movement with the death on October 7th of Avtar Singh Jouhl at the age of 84. Avtar came to Britain in 1958 and joined the Indian Workers’ Association (IWA GB) the same year. He came intending to study at the London School of Economics (LSE) but instead found himself working in a foundry in the West Midlands for many years. His son Jagwant was quoted by the BBC as observing: “Most people think the streets were paved with gold, but the reality was they were paved with soot from the foundries.” 

In 1965, Avtar invited Malcom X to Smethwick, near Birmingham, to see the type and extent of racism and the ‘colour bar’ then prevalent in the area, just weeks before the African-American revolutionary leader was assassinated.

Becoming National President of the IWA, Avtar played a very full role in the life of the community, the struggle against racism, the trade union movement, and the struggles of the working class in Britain, along with mobilising support for the revolutionary struggle in India, for anti-imperialist struggles throughout the world, and in support of the socialist countries.

Besides the IWA, Avtar played a leading role in the Association of Indian Communists in Britain (Marxist-Leninist) (AICML), which guided the work of the tens of thousands strong IWA, and was at various times a member of different parties in the British working-class movement. 

Avtar followed the Marxist-Leninist line of “uniting all those who can be united” and this was reflected in the hundreds of people who attended his funeral, which was widely reported by the BBC and others, as well as in the tributes paid by trade unions like Unite and in the press of a number of left-wing parties, including the Socialist Workers’ Party (SWP).

Whilst sincere and affectionate, most of these tributes left out something that was central to Avtar’s politics. He was not simply a Marxist, but specifically an adherent of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought. Under the guidance of Avtar and a number of his comrades, especially the late Jagmohan Joshi and Teja Singh Sahota, the IWA and the AIC were staunch supporters of the Chinese revolution and friends of China, maintaining close comradely connections with the country, particularly through the 1960s and 1970s. When the Britain-based editors of Friends of Socialist China initiated the Hands off China! campaign in response to the attacks on China in the run up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Avtar was one of the first people to offer his support, joining veteran communist Isabel Crook and Ghanaian diplomat Kojo Amoo Gottfried as a patron of the campaign. Avtar also gave strong support to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Cuba and other socialist countries.

A year ago, Avtar’s son Jagwant recorded a long series of interviews in which his father recalled his life of struggle. We reproduce below two interviews devoted to China as well as a tribute carried in the Morning Star, written by Avtar’s friend Paul Mackney, the former General Secretary of NATFHE/UCU, the trade union for teachers in further and higher education.

We will remember Avtar as a great comrade and as a kind and sincere friend and extend our condolences to his family and all his many comrades and friends.

Avtar Singh Jouhl 1937 – 2022

Paul Mackney, former general secretary of NATFHE/UCU, remembers a beloved comrade, lifelong socialist and union man who once brought Malcolm X to the West Midlands during the fight against racial segregation.

ON Tuesday morning, October 10, a large and loud gathering of UCU strike pickets, outside South and City College Birmingham, stopped their singing, chanting, blowing of whistles and vuvuzela playing to observe a minute’s silence.

Continue reading Tribute to Avtar Singh Jouhl, 1937-2022

The left should resist the propaganda war against Beijing

The following Morning Star editorial highlights how absurd it is for ordinary people in Britain to blindly accept the dominant anti-China narrative, pointing to the impressive progress China has made in improving people’s lives at a time when Britain has been suffering under a brutal austerity and neoliberal free-market fundamentalism.

For example, while wages have consistently fallen in real terms over the last decade in Britain, in China they have been increasing at a rate of 10 percent per year. Meanwhile, while “China is developing mass rapid transit systems and leading the world in green technology,” Britain is “actively degrading its transport network and subsidising fossil fuel profits.”

The purpose of this relentless propaganda against China is to build public support for the New Cold War. The article concludes: “It is time socialists adopted greater scepticism towards our rulers’ claims about China. They are aimed at enrolling us in the defence of US and British imperialism — and undermining our systemic challenge to capitalism at home.”

Rising prices, falling living standards, a government in turmoil although united around its anti-union, anti-democratic and anti-environment agenda — but at least we don’t live in China.

That’s been the message of an amplifying propaganda discourse against Beijing in the run-up to its 20th Communist Party congress, which opened today.

Read Martin Wolf or Gideon Rachman in the Financial Times, and China’s economic policies are disastrous, even if they have delivered (as Rachman notes) “thousands of miles of new motorways and high-speed rail over the past 20 years” and made “Western executives sigh in envy at China’s ability to plan for the long term.”

British workers, who have endured more than a decade of falling pay, might envy China’s record (average wages have risen at over 10 per cent a year since 2010, leading the median wage to rise from 37,147 yuan in 2010 to 97,379 in 2020, a 162 per cent increase).

Of course, it is from a poorer base. But China’s GDP grew by 120 per cent between 2010 and 2020. So wages have outpaced GDP growth in China, while in Britain wages flatlined even while the economy was growing.

Continue reading The left should resist the propaganda war against Beijing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This article originally appeared in China Daily.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Truss and China: opening a new war front?

This important article by Jenny Clegg, academic and campaigner with CND and Stop the War Coalition (and member of the Friends of Socialist China advisory group), analyses the foreign policy of the current British government, led by Prime Minister Liz Truss. Jenny notes that Truss is known for her “extreme hawkishness and a highly ideological world view” and has adopted an aggressively anti-China stance, viewing China as a threat to the so-called rules-based international order.

However, Truss and her team are also facing an extremely difficult and complex economic situation, and “questions will surely be raised from the business community as to the wisdom of jeopardising economic ties with the world’s second largest economy.” Jenny writes that at least 150,000 British jobs are connected to economic links with China, and hence it would be prudent for the government to reconsider its alignment with the US-led New Cold War. Certainly ordinary people in Britain have nothing to gain from this adventurism. Jenny concludes that the people of Britain should exert pressure on their government to adopt a sane policy in relation to China: “No way should we allow these extreme reactionaries to march us into a US-led war with China, a war bringing two nuclear-armed states into face-to-face combat.”

This article first appeared in the Morning Star.

Liz Truss, in her first international speech as prime minister at the UN, called on the G7 and “like-minded countries” to join together to limit the influence of “authoritarian aggressors.” Meeting with President Joe Biden later, she clarified her plans “to ensure Britain is fully equipped to tackle the evolving challenge from countries like China and Russia.”

Truss talks of “refreshing” the Integrated Review, which outlines British priorities in diplomacy and defence over the coming decade, to elevate the designation of China in particular from “systemic competitor” to an “acute threat” on a par with Russia.

It is clear she brings to her new role as head of government an extreme hawkishness and a highly ideological world view.

She believes in a “strong and outward-reaching Global Britain,” proposing to boost defence spending from 2 to 3 per cent of GDP by 2030 to back this. She has vowed “to push Russia out of the whole of Ukraine” and has called for Nato to “go global” to tackle “worldwide threats.”

In her previous posts as international trade secretary and then foreign secretary, she advanced Britain’s Indo-Pacific tilt promoting military and military-industrial links with the region, and indeed it was she who signed the Aukus pact to supply Australia with the technology to build nuclear submarines aimed at containing China.

Truss views China as a threat to the “rules-based international order,” and calls for the G7 to form an “economic Nato” so as to play an even a greater role in rule-making.

Continue reading Truss and China: opening a new war front?