Dee Knight: Traveling to prove China is not our enemy

This fascinating article by Dee Knight describes a recent peace tour to China by a small group of activists from the US, and includes Dee’s reflections on his visit and a number of topics related to China and the New Cold War.

The report includes mention of the group’s brief stopover in Taipei, and Dee briefly discusses the US’s recent undermining of the One China policy:

“Visiting Taiwan enroute to mainland China reveals something nearly everyone agrees on: Taiwan is very much part of China. Both Chinese governments agree, and the US government has shared this view since at least 1972, when US President Nixon and Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping signed a treaty to that effect. It makes you wonder why the US is pushing for Taiwan to be ‘independent’ of the mainland, spending billions to arm it to the teeth, and sending war ships through the Taiwan Strait, thus violating China’s territorial waters, at the risk of triggering a flareup to war at any moment.”

Describing the group’s trip to Shanghai, Dee contrasts the relative affluence and modernity of the city today with the poverty and backwardness imposed upon it in the early part of the 20th century, when it was a playground for Western imperialists – a time when “the colonial powers forced China’s weak government to cede control of trade in both Shanghai and Beijing” and the streets of Shanghai’s ‘International Settlement’ concessions “had signs saying ‘No Chinese or Dogs Allowed.'”

Comparing Shanghai’s transport infrastructure with that of the US, Dee writes:

Underground, the metro hums along: more than 20 lines rival the extent of New York’s MTA, and humble it for cleanliness, courteous service and safety. All the stations I saw have escalators, elevators, and super-clean floors. They also have moving barriers between the passenger platforms and incoming trains, to protect riders.

On China’s network of high-speed rail, Dee observes: “These bullet trains now connect all of China’s major cities, following the gigantic infrastructure projects of recent decades. The US has no bullet trains, and can’t seem to find the financing for them, especially since the profit potential in military production is so much higher.”

Dee also includes some reflections on China’s system of governance, describing the mechanics of its whole-process people’s democracy and countering the Western media’s tropes about China as an authoritarian tyranny and police state.

We didn’t see homeless people anywhere in China. We also didn’t see any signs of repression or oppression anywhere – including Xinjiang. The Chinese people we encountered seemed both calm and content. Tension, conflict and stress are low.

Dee writes powerfully that “visiting China made me believe peace is possible”, that the Chinese people very much do not want war or confrontation with the US, and opining that the US’s policy of trade war and military brinkmanship is a dead-end for humanity.

Cooperation, common prosperity and a shared future make much more sense. That formula has found warm welcomes across the globe. It even includes major initiatives in green development, where again China is leading the way. It has more solar and wind energy generation than the rest of the world combined. And while it still uses more fossil fuel for energy than non-polluting sources, Xi Jinping has pledged that by mid-century fossil fuels will be phased out. That would be an accomplishment worth emulating. It’s much better to save the world from burning up than continue with the current US craze of military brinksmanship!

Dee Knight is a veteran of the US peace and socialist movements, and is a member of the International Committee of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and of the Friends of Socialist China advisory group.

“China Is Not Our Enemy” was the theme of a ten-day visit to China in early November. The visit was designed to find and highlight a path to common prosperity and a shared future between China, the United States, and the rest of the world. Visiting China made me believe peace is possible.

We flew from JFK to Taipei to Shanghai. Then we took a “bullet train” to Beijing. From there we flew to Urumqi and Kashgar, Xinjiang. Then back to Urumqi to Changsha, Hunan, and from Changsha to Shanghai. Then back to Taipei and from there to JFK.

1. Taiwan is part of China.

Getting to China from the USA is easier now than it was centuries ago for Marco Polo when he traveled from Venice by camel over the old Silk Road. We boarded a jumbo jet at 1am November 1 at Kennedy Airport in New York – actually 1pm in Taiwan and China, which are 12 hours ahead of New York. The flight was a mere 17 hours, so we landed at about 6am November 2. We flew nonstop through northern Canada, then down past Japan and Korea to reach Taiwan. Service on the China Airlines jumbo jet was impeccable – two main meals, enjoyable movies, and plentiful snacks with beverage service.

Visiting Taiwan enroute to mainland China reveals something nearly everyone agrees on: Taiwan is very much part of China. Both Chinese governments agree, and the US government has shared this view since at least 1979, when US President Nixon and Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping signed a treaty to that effect. It makes you wonder why the US is pushing for Taiwan to be “independent” of the mainland, spending billions to arm it to the teeth, and sending war ships through the Taiwan Strait, thus violating China’s territorial waters, at the risk of triggering a flareup to war at any moment.

Before landing in Taipei we spoke with a Chinese couple who were part of the original post-WW2 migration from the Mainland to Taiwan after the Red Army defeated Chiang Kai Shek’s Kuomintang (KMT). Chiang transferred what was left of his army, plus thousands of camp followers and businesspeople across the strait, and took over the Taiwan government with US backing. There was no pretense of democracy – Chiang staged a military takeover and set up a dictatorship that lasted till his death in 1975, always with lavish US support. It was much the same in the southern half of Korea following Japan’s surrender at the end of WW2. There the US backed one dictator after another until the 1990s, when massive popular protests led to brief periods of democratic government – in each case ultimately suppressed by military takeovers backed by the US. Recently Biden held a summit with the leaders of Japan and South Korea to forge an alliance against China and North Korea.

Continue reading Dee Knight: Traveling to prove China is not our enemy

Whole Process People’s Democracy is a significant contribution to human rights

The 2023 China-Europe Seminar on Human Rights was held in the Italian capital Rome on September 20, with the theme, “Modernisation and the diversity of human rights among civilisations”.

Organised by the Human Rights Institute of the South West University of Political Science and Law (SWUPL) in Chongqing, China, and the Roma 9 China-Italy Economic and Cultural Exchange Centre, and hosted by the China Society for Human Rights Studies and the Faculty of Law at Sapienza University of Rome, it was attended by distinguished academics and prominent political and social activists from China, Italy, Austria, Britain, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Spain and Switzerland.

In his paper, entitled ‘Whole Process People’s Democracy is a significant contribution to Human Rights’, our co-editor, Keith Bennett noted that:

“To frame international relations as being characterised by a supposed struggle between democracy and autocracy, and to stigmatise, sanction and even commit acts of war against other countries on such a basis, is itself the grossest violation of the most fundamental human rights of many millions of people and potentially of the majority of humanity.”

Drawing on The German Ideology, an 1846 work by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Keith noted that, “it is on the basis of this materialist Marxist principle that socialist countries like China, and many developing countries more generally, have placed such emphasis on the liberation and development of the productive forces. This has not been to negate or to violate human rights. On the contrary, it has been the prerequisite for their development and their guarantee.

“In this way, socialist countries, both historically and today, have paved, and are paving, the way for the elaboration of a human rights paradigm that is actually focused on people’s right and ability to manage the affairs of the state, economy and society as a whole.”

Xi Jinping’s concept of whole process people’s democracy, he explained, has its roots in Marxist theory, the historical experience of the Chinese revolution and in China’s fine traditional culture and civilisational experience.

According to this concept, politics, and therefore social relations, are not characterised by an adversarial division into contending and hostile camps, but rather by a search for consensus, harmony and inclusivity, whereby the achievement of the rights of all becomes the prerequisite for the achievement of the rights of one.

The necessary prerequisite, and material basis, to fully embody such inclusive and non-adversarial democracy is the establishment of a socialist system, where exploitation and oppression are no longer the defining characteristics of society, although they may persist to a certain extent in a primary phase of socialism.

In a situation characterised variously by frequent changes of prime ministers, unstable coalition governments, and the crisis and implosion of the traditional political party system, with once almost hegemonic political forces reduced to insignificance or even extinction, whilst new party formations prove to be nebulous and ephemeral, it surely behoves those of us in Europe to look without prejudice at alternative experiences and experiments and not least at China’s evolving whole process people’s democracy.

The full text of Keith’s paper is printed below.

We also reproduce a news report on the conference originally published by the Chinese newspaper, Global Times. Reporting the presentation made by Lord (Neil) Davidson, a member of the British House of Lords from the Labour Party and former minister, it notes his observation that certain sections in the UK’s political parties have been particularly vocal in their use of human rights criticisms to attack other states’ parties, adding:

“In the case of the UK, one does not require to be steeped in history to reflect that the history of the British Empire reveals case after case of the destruction of the human rights of peoples across the world.”

He noted that discussions on human rights with the objective of mutual understanding between countries can only serve to improve relations. Differing ideologies and differing cultures are a given in today’s world but an acceptance that mutual understanding makes for a safer world for all is hardly a controversial proposition.

Whole Process People’s Democracy is a significant contribution to human rights

Thank you very much for your invitation to participate in the 2023 China-Europe Seminar on Human Rights and for giving me an opportunity to say a few words.

Dialogue of this type is extremely relevant and timely. Human rights are the universal aspiration and entitlement of humanity. But each country and each people have to find their own way to realise them. No country can genuinely claim that its human rights situation is perfect. They remain a work in progress. To frame international relations as being characterised by a supposed struggle between democracy and autocracy, and to stigmatise, sanction and even commit acts of war against other countries on such a basis, is itself the grossest violation of the most fundamental human rights of many millions of people and potentially of the majority of humanity.

Continue reading Whole Process People’s Democracy is a significant contribution to human rights

Biden’s ‘Democracy Summit’ offers no anchor to a sinking US hegemony

In this article for Beijing Review, Friends of Socialist China co-editor Danny Haiphong assesses the recent ‘Summit for Democracy’. From the attendees and content of the event, which was dominated by the US and a few of its close allies in the West, Danny concludes that when the organizers use the term democracy, what they mean is “whatever policies and governance decisions serve US interests.”

Increasingly, the countries of the Global South cannot be duped by the West’s claims to democratic greatness. After all, “no one in the US, or the world, votes for or participates in the American policy of invading, sanctioning and destabilizing nations across the globe.” People are coming to understand the truth that US democracy is “a democracy for the few, a democracy of a tiny number of corporations and their political representatives; a democracy that serves the most destructive force on the planet: US hegemony.”

What the US has is “a system that weaponizes democracy for the sake of hegemony and economic domination.” This is not the democracy the world needs. It is China and the other socialist, progressive and anti-imperialist countries that are moving towards a genuinely democratic world order, based on peace, equality, sovereignty, non-interference, mutual learning and mutual benefit. The West needs to stop lecturing others on the topic of democracy, and instead learn some lessons.

U.S. President Joe Biden hosted the second “Summit for Democracy” from March 28 to 30. In the lead-up to the event, which first took place virtually in December 2021, the U.S. Department of State had promoted the three-day meeting as “a multilateral collaboration” between the U.S. and cohosts spanning four continents—Zambia, the Republic of Korea, Costa Rica and the Netherlands. But nothing could be further from the truth. The gathering proved an exercise in unilateralism that sought to reestablish the American monopoly on democracy, and a failed one at that.

The troubles for the meeting had already begun well before it got underway. Mainstream U.S. media as well as many in the U.S. foreign policy establishment questioned Biden’s decision to host the event during such a delicate period for his country’s global reputation. Chair of the Council on Foreign Relations and former Department of State official Richard Hass referred to it as “a bad idea that won’t go away.” The Washington Post called it “inconsequential” while outlets such as The New Yorker retorted that U.S. democracy is currently in “a worse state than ever before.”

British daily business newspaper Financial Times alternatively labeled the gathering “awkward” in its approach and lamented how the U.S. lacked an effective strategy toward developing stable relations with the Global South.

Continue reading Biden’s ‘Democracy Summit’ offers no anchor to a sinking US hegemony

Counter-Summit for Democracy: where the truth was told

This article by Dee Knight – member of the DSA International Committee’s Anti-War Subcommittee and of the Friends of Socialist China advisory group – provides a valuable summary of the Counter-Summit for Democracy we hosted on 2 April 2023.

A key theme running throughout the speeches is that there was nothing democratic whatsoever about Joe Biden’s Summit for Democracy, held a few days before our counter-summit. Prominent invitees to the Summit included Israel, where mass protests are currently taking place against Netanyahu’s authoritarianism; Ukraine, which has banned all communist and socialist parties; France, where millions are protesting Macron’s anti-democratic ramming through of pension changes; and Taiwan, a province of China which was invited specifically in order to undermine the One China Principle and escalate tensions across the Taiwan Strait. Meanwhile the host country – the US – has an entirely dubious democratic record, given its disastrous racism and inequality, not to mention its habit of spreading ‘democracy’ around the world via bombs, coups, sanctions and coercion.

Several speakers noted that the socialist countries are leading the way in terms of developing new forms of popular democracy that are responsive to the needs and aspirations of ordinary people. Meanwhile, US hegemony is dying and a multipolar world is emerging – a system of international relations based on equality, respect for sovereignty, and adherence to the UN Charter. As Calla Walsh commented, “Biden’s summit for democracy would better have been called a summit against a democratic world.”

This article first appeared in LA Progressive.

Speakers at the April 2 “Counter-Summit for Democracy” showed a rogues’ gallery of the “stars of democracy” at Joe Biden’s official summit: authoritarian right-wing leaders Netanyahu of Israel, Duda of Poland, Modi of India, Zelensky of Ukraine and Meloni of Italy. “Even Western officials, corporate media outlets, and mainstream human rights organizations have admitted [they] are authoritarian,” Ben Norton of the GeoPolitical Economy report observed. He said Italy’s far-right Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni “is a defender of former fascist dictator Benito Mussolini… Her far-right political party Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy) still uses the same symbols and colors of Mussolini’s fascist movement.”

Netanyahu spoke at Biden’s summit while mass protests were going on in Israel against his authoritarian regime. Israel’s most influential newspaper Haaretz warns that “‘Israel’s Government Has neo-Nazi Ministers. It Really Does Recall Germany in 1933′.”

The US pressured all invitees to sign a joint statement denouncing Russia over the proxy war in Ukraine, Norton said. Poland is virulently anti-Russia, so it was welcomed; Hungary has tried to balance good relations with both the West and Russia, so it was the only EU member not invited.

The governments of Lula Da Silva in Brazil and Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) of Mexico refused to support Washington’s denunciation of Moscow. Norton said “the US government exposed its cynical political designs by inviting Ukraine and Taiwan to participate in the summit, despite the fact that Taiwan island is not a country, but rather a province of the People’s Republic of China.”

Volodymyr Zelensky spoke at the conference in spite of his attacks on democracy at home, Norton said. “Zelensky’s regime has banned all communist and socialist parties, while imposing some of the most aggressive anti-worker legislation in the world, suspending collective bargaining rights and essentially making it illegal to form a union. Even the New York Times… acknowledged that Zelensky’s regime has imposed authoritarian control over the media. Meanwhile, Ukrainian opposition politicians and critics have been arbitrarily arrested.”

Continue reading Counter-Summit for Democracy: where the truth was told

Videos: The Counter-Summit for Democracy

On 2 April 2023, Friends of Socialist China and the International Manifesto Group co-hosted a powerful and successful Counter-Summit for Democracy, a response to the US-sponsored so-called Summit for Democracy held a few days earlier.

The participants at this counter-summit exposed the hegemonic reality behind the US’s talk of a ‘rules-based world order’; explored alternative models of democracy; denounced US-led attempts at ‘decoupling’ and incitement of division; promoted an emerging multipolar, multilateral model of international relations; and called for for global cooperation to solve the vast problems collectively faced by humanity.

The videos from the event are embedded below.

Full event stream
Carlos Martinez: the ‘democracies vs autocracies’ narrative is part of an imperialist propaganda war
Margaret Kimberley: democracy and imperialism are antithetical
Lowkey: the West’s record of genocidal war speaks to its commitment to human rights
Luna Oi: the US working class and oppressed groups suffer systematic abuse of their human rights
Carlos Ron: Latin Americans understand very well that the US has no respect for our sovereignty
Pawel Wargan: the antidote to this brutal capitalist democracy is popular, socialist democracy
Calla Walsh: the ‘democratic’ US is suffocating Cuba because of its socialist democracy
Ju-Hyun Park: Build solidarity with Korea’s anti-imperialist struggle
Mohammad Marandi: The West is a declining empire
Ben Norton: participant list shows that the Summit for Democracy is really a Summit for Hypocrisy

Interview: The US system is plutocratic rather than democratic

In this interview for Xinhua, carried out against the backdrop of President Biden’s so-called Summit for Democracy 2023, Carlos Martinez rejects the US ruling class’s claim to be the arbiter of which countries are democratic and which aren’t. The US is in fact “a democracy for the capitalist class – the ruling class, the group of people that own and deploy capital.” Such a democracy “prioritizes fossil fuel profits over preventing climate breakdown; it prioritizes private medical companies and pharmaceutical industry profits over saving lives; it prioritizes the military-industrial complex over preserving peace.” Noting the disastrous and escalating levels of systemic racism in the US, Carlos asks: “Does anybody seriously think this represents the pinnacle of democracy?”

Carlos contrasts the actions of the US government with those of China: “The Chinese government is prioritizing common prosperity, developing clean energy systems in order to protect the planet, rolling out infrastructure throughout the country, tackling corruption, building peaceful and mutually beneficial relations with the peoples of the world.” The alignment between the government’s actions and the needs and aspirations of ordinary people is a strong indicator that China is far more democratic than its detractors in the West.

The United States is portraying itself as the universal model of democracy, but in fact its system is “plutocratic rather than democratic,” British political commentator Carlos Martinez has said.

“As a capitalist democracy, the U.S. is a democracy for the capitalist class — the ruling class, the group of people that own and deploy capital. As many people have pointed out, it is a money democracy, and the government meets the interests primarily of the wealthy,” Martinez told Xinhua in a recent written interview.

“In England we say that ‘the proof of the pudding is in the eating.’ Similarly, you can tell the nature of a government by its actions; by its economic, political and social priorities,” he wrote.

In Martinez’s view, the U.S. government “prioritizes fossil fuel profits over preventing climate breakdown; it prioritizes private medical companies and pharmaceutical industry profits over saving lives; it prioritizes the military-industrial complex over preserving peace. These priorities match those of the elite, not the people, not the vast majority of people that work for a living.”

Despite being one of the richest countries in the world, the United States sees an increasing number of homeless people each year and declining life expectancy, he said.

“The scourge of racism is getting worse in the U.S. This structural racism is evident throughout society: in health indicators, in educational outcomes, in economic outcomes,” Martinez noted.

“Black people, Latinos and indigenous Americans are far more likely to suffer chronic poverty, to live in crowded housing, and to lack access to healthcare. This is the continuing unaddressed legacy of slavery, genocide, colonization and apartheid. Does anybody seriously think this represents the pinnacle of democracy?” he asked.

“Given the state of U.S. democracy, it’s nothing short of farcical that the (Joe) Biden administration persists with organizing the so-called Summit for Democracy,” Martinez said.

He further said that the U.S. government is failing to improve people’s lives, and so “it uses nice words about democracy to attract voters.”

On geopolitics, the Biden administration is using the summit to consolidate an alliance that seeks to protect U.S. hegemony and impede humanity’s movement towards multipolarity, noted Martinez, who also closely watched the first episode of the summit in 2021.

“The Summit for Democracy is, in reality, a summit for hegemony,” he said.

Speaking of China’s democratic practices, he said that the Chinese government is “prioritizing common prosperity, developing clean energy systems in order to protect the planet, rolling out infrastructure throughout the country, tackling corruption, building peaceful and mutually beneficial relations with the peoples of the world.”

“These priorities are entirely consistent with the needs and aspirations of the Chinese people,” he wrote.

Citing challenges such as climate change, nuclear proliferation and poverty, Martinez said what the world needs is genuine democracy in international relations.

“Cooperation, mutual respect, non-interference and a win-win approach are absolutely necessary to secure a safe future for humanity,” he said.

Summit for Democracy 2023 – “a bad idea that won’t go away”

This article by Dee Knight – member of the DSA International Committee’s Anti-War Subcommittee and the Friends of Socialist China advisory group – casts light on the stunning hypocrisy involved in Biden’s so-called Summit for Democracy, held in the last week of March 2023. Dee points out that, even among friends of the US ruling class, there are very few positive opinions about the Summit, and an increasingly generalized sense that US democracy is going in the losing influence. Dee cites Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador telling the hard truth at the Summit itself: “Many of the great crimes against humanity have been committed… in the name of democracy… In some countries, the oligarchy reigns with the façade of democracy.”

Dee also references a series of documents released by China in the days preceding the Summit, incuding State of Democracy in US: 2022 and the Report on US Human Rights Violations in 2022. These documents highlight the systematic abuse of democracy and the manifold human rights violations committed by the US administration, including the tight correlation between wealth and power; the loss of abortion rights; the extensive use of military force and unilateral sanctions; mass incarceration; the cruel treatment of migrants; and the alarming rise in hate crimes. In such a situation, Dee writes, “people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”

The author encourages readers to tune in to our Counter-Summit for Democracy.

This article was first carried in LA Progressive.

Positive descriptive terms for this year’s US-sponsored “Summit for Democracy” are scarce. A State Department press release quoted Joe Biden that “we have to prove democracy still works and can improve people’s lives in tangible ways.” That’s “a tough hill to climb,” according to the Washington Post’s March 29 “Today’s Worldview.”

“Critics see the event as an inconsequential talk shop,” the Post said, “or an unwelcome showcase into the inconsistency of US foreign policy on the world stage, as Washington goes to bat for human rights in some contexts and looks the other way in others.”

Some critics were harsher. Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, said “the summit for democracy is a bad idea that [won’t] go away,” adding that “American democracy is hardly a model for others.”

Le Monde, the French newspaper, wrote recently that 2022 was “a year of doubt for US democracy.” Sweden’s International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance added the US to its “list of regressive democracies.” US democracy is “in a worse state than ever before,” according to The New Yorker, Washington Post, and the Brookings Institution. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace reports that American democracy is “declining faster as the inherent ills of American capitalism worsen.”

So much for those who usually defend the US viewpoint. Stronger views are easy to find. Organizers of a Counter-Summit for Democracy say “Biden’s attempts to consolidate a ‘democratic’ alliance are part of the escalating US-led New Cold War. Labelling socialist and anti-imperialist states as ‘authoritarian,’ the US ruling elite seeks to consolidate a military, economic and political bloc on the basis of its own narrow interests, and to build popular support for its rising hostility towards China, Russia, Iran, Cuba, North Korea, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Syria, Eritrea, Zimbabwe and other countries in the crosshairs of imperialism.”

Organizers – Pivot To Peace, Veterans For Peace, Popular Resistance, Friends of Socialist China, and a dozen other groups – say the Counter-Summit “will expose the hegemonic reality behind the US talk of a ‘rules-based world order;’ explore alternative models of democracy; promote an emerging multipolar, multilateral model of international relations; and call for global cooperation to solve the vast problems faced by humanity.” 

Participants include Margaret Kimberley of Black Agenda Report, Vijay Prashad of India’s Tricontinental Institute, Pawel Wargan of the Progressive International, and Venezuela’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Carlos Ron, among others. There will also be voices from China, Cuba, Vietnam, Iran, Korea and Nicaragua.

Mexican President AMLO: ‘Crimes in the name of democracy’

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) of Mexico shook up the summit March 29, declaring “Many of the great crimes against humanity have been committed… in the name of democracy.” He added that “in some countries, the oligarchy reigns with the façade of democracy.” He asked, “How can we talk about democracy if there is no separation of economic power and political power?” In many countries he said there is “a mixture of oligarchy and democracy, or a simulated and mediated democracy,” adding that “We must search for greater equality to have more democracy.”

AMLO’s sharp comments follow his March 18 speech condemning US politicians who called for a military invasion of Mexico “to combat drug trafficking.” Speaking to a throng of hundreds of thousands in Mexico City’s “Zócalo” (central plaza), AMLO said “We remind those hypocritical and irresponsible politicians that Mexico is an independent and free country, not a colony or a protectorate of the United States!” He had convened the event to commemorate the 85th anniversary of the 1938 oil nationalization by revolutionary former President Lázaro Cárdenas. He mentioned that he recently re-nationalized Mexico’s oil resources, and its lithium reserves, which may have been a factor in recent US politicians’ invasion threats.

China’s English-language newspaper Global Times editorialized March 28 that the summit is being “used by the Biden administration as a tool to reaffirm US leadership in so-called democracy and human rights. Its ambition to pull more countries into its interest camp to contain its rivals, especially China and Russia.”

Economist Michael Hudson, speaking on Danny Haiphong’s Left Lens video show March 30, called the summit “a charade” that is “pushing the world away.” He pointed to Secretary of State Blinken’s insistence that participants “deplore Russia’s aggression against Ukraine,” ignoring the US-backed coup in 2014 that brought fascists to power and ignited a war against Russian speakers in eastern and southern Ukraine.

Last year’s Summit of the Americas hit many sour notes: “Official ‘Americas Summit’ Sags While People’s Summit Surges” (June 3, 2022); “Is the Failure of Biden’s Summit of the Americas a Welcome Event?” (June 8, 2022); “Storms at the Summit of the Americas” (June 12, 2022); “‘Summit of Exclusion’ Backfires on Biden” (June 15, 2022); “Summit of the Americas Flops” (June 22, 2022) – and on and on.

In “Storms at the Summit of the Americas,” Rosa Miriam Elizalde wrote “hypocrisy seems to be the glue of this summit, and mainstream U.S. media and analysts declared the June 6-10 meeting a failure before it even started.”

Continue reading Summit for Democracy 2023 – “a bad idea that won’t go away”

Online event: The Counter-Summit for Democracy

Our next online event takes place on Sunday 2 April 2023, 11am (US Eastern) / 8am (US Pacific) / 4pm (Britain) / 11pm (China).

Biden‘s attempts to consolidate a ‘democratic’ alliance are part of the escalating US-led New Cold War. Labelling socialist and anti-imperialist states as ‘authoritarian’, the US ruling elite seeks to consolidate a military, economic and political bloc on the basis of its own narrow interests, and to build popular support for its rising hostility towards China, Russia, Iran, Cuba, the DPRK, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Syria, Eritrea, Zimbabwe and other countries in the crosshairs of imperialism.

The US and its allies are seeking to universalize the Western model of so-called liberal democracy. This narrative provides valuable cover for the fundamentally plutocratic nature of neoliberal capitalism, whilst simultaneously asserting that all other models of democracy – such as China‘s whole-process people’s democracy – lack legitimacy.

Held to coincide with Biden‘s Summit for Democracy 2023, this counter-summit will: expose the hegemonic reality behind the US’s talk of a ‘rules-based world order’; explore alternative models of democracy; denounce US-led attempts at ‘decoupling’ and incitement of division; promote an emerging multipolar, multilateral model of international relations; and call for global cooperation to solve the vast problems collectively faced by humanity.

Confirmed speakers

  • Vijay Prashad (Executive Director, Tricontinental Institute)
  • Seyed Mohammad Marandi (Professor, University of Tehran)
  • Luna Oi (Vietnamese blogger and broadcaster)
  • Victor Gao (Chair Professor, Soochow University)
  • Margaret Kimberley (Executive Editor, Black Agenda Report)
  • Lowkey (Musician and activist / Journalist with MintPress News)
  • Carlos Ron (Venezuelan vice-minister / President of the Instituto Simón Bolívar)
  • Ben Norton (Editor, Geopolitical Economy Report)
  • Pawel Wargan (Coordinator of the International Secretariat, Progressive International)
  • Ju-Hyun Park (Organizer and writer with the Nodutdol collective)
  • Calla Walsh (Co-Chair of the National Network on Cuba)

Organizers

This webinar is jointly organised by Friends of Socialist China and the International Manifesto Group, and is co-sponsored by the following groups:

Please register and spread the word!

The Summit for Democracy is really a summit for hegemony

In this opinion piece for China Daily, Carlos Martinez exposes the hypocrisy and cynicism of Joe Biden’s second Summit for Democracy, which takes place 28-30 March 2023. Carlos writes that the goals of this Summit are: firstly, to buttress Biden’s 2024 presidential campaign, diverting attention from the startling lack of progress his administration has made thus far in improving people’s lives; and secondly, to consolidate a global military and economic alliance built around the specific interests of the US ruling class and its ‘Project for a New American Century’. This is a Cold War alliance aimed at the containment and encirclement of China, the undermining of Russia, and escalated hostilities against Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Iran, Syria, Belarus, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and other countries.

Carlos writes that “Biden’s Summit for Democracy is part of an elaborate marketing campaign that places an equal sign between hegemonism and democracy and, conversely, between sovereign development and authoritarianism.” Such division is reckless and dangerous, particularly at a time when humanity faces collective existential threats of the magnitude of climate change and nuclear war.

The article notes that Friends of Socialist China and the International Manifesto Group are organizing a Counter-Summit for Democracy on Sunday 2 April, in order to expose the hegemonic reality behind US talk of a “rules-based world order”.

Embedded below the article is a short video, produced by China Daily, in which Carlos Martinez and David Castrillon-Kerrigan, a professor and researcher at Externado University of Colombia, share their views on the Summit for Democracy.

With his second so-called Summit for Democracy, US President Joe Biden is seeking to achieve two goals, one domestic and one international.

On the domestic front, he is still struggling to define a political identity that can appeal to voters in next year’s presidential election. Consistently polling about 40 percent in approval ratings, Biden has delivered very little for the American people in over two years in office.

The Biden administration’s handling of the novel coronavirus pandemic has been abysmal. There has been precious little action on the social justice issues that are supposed to be the hallmark of a Democratic leadership. Real GDP growth is projected to be almost zero this year. And the United States is failing in its climate action responsibilities.

Worse, it has been sending tens of billions of dollars worth of heavy weaponry to Ukraine to fight a proxy war against Russia, while its infrastructure crumbles and tens of millions are denied access to healthcare.

In the face of his administration’s failure to actually improve people’s lives, Biden is campaigning on the basis of liberal democratic ideology — a very specific vision of democracy based on the political and economic needs of the capitalist class. His strategists have calculated that this narrative will help create some distance between him and his likely competitor for the presidency — which could be Donald Trump, who is not known for adhering to any sort of democratic thinking, bourgeois or otherwise.

Continue reading The Summit for Democracy is really a summit for hegemony

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.

Continue reading CPC enjoys close, unbreakable bond with people

Xi Jinping’s ‘authoritarian turn’: the CPC’s 20th Congress maintains internal stability at a time of multiple global crises

This article by Jenny Clegg, author of China’s Global Strategy: towards a multipolar world, addresses the question of China’s putative ‘authoritarianism’, and in particular the issue of Xi Jinping’s election for a third five-year term as General Secretary of the CPC, which marks a break with the two-term limit introduced in the 1980s.

The author opines that China is opting for continuity and stability, in the face of “complex, unpredictable and fast changing international currents” – in particular the escalating US-led New Cold War – and a crucial shift in the emphasis of China’s economic strategy towards common prosperity and sustainable development.

Jenny writes that Xi’s supposed ‘authoritarian turn’ is “keeping China on a steady course, united in purpose”, whilst continuing to encourage vibrant inner-party democracy and exhaustive debate on key policies. “At a time of growing political chaos as the world’s dominant ruling classes flail about amidst multiple crises, the 20th CPC Congress stands out as an example of orderliness and clarity of direction.”

The 20th Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) has made headlines in the mainstream media, but hardly because China’s future is of great consequence for the future of the world – rather, all eyes are on Xi Jinping’s continuing into a third 5-year term as Party General Secretary.  What an opportunity, so the pundits think, to hype up the New Cold War by contrasting China’s ‘autocratic’ methods of leadership succession against the virtues of the West’s democratic ways.

Xi is being ‘anointed,’ we are told, or ‘crowned’, as China’s leader. 

When, from the 1990s, the CPC introduced collective leadership, two-term limits on key posts, and other mechanisms institutionalising leadership selection in order to guard against the re-emergence of personality cults and political upheaval, this was widely welcomed both within China and beyond as a step forward in modernising and democratising the Party.  In 2018 however, under Xi’s leadership, the two-term limit was abolished – a major factor in causing Western political elites to give up hope of integrating China into the existing global system under their dominance.

Of course, China’s centralised system has cultural and historical roots going back millennia.  However, these traditions were profoundly transformed after 1949 by the CPC’s practice of democratic centralism – of ‘top-down, ‘bottom up’ processes of decision-making. Throughout its history the CPC has nevertheless gone through phases of relative tightening and relaxing of central control.

It is important then to understand why the CPC is once again strengthening its leadership, seeking to consolidate authority under a single leadership figure, at this time.  A number of factors are at play.

External conditions

In the first place there are the external conditions to consider. Since 2011 when Obama announced his Asian pivot, the US has increasingly squeezed China using both military and economic pressure not only to block China’s growing global influence – which has extended peacefully through for example the Belt and Road Initiative – but also, going beyond containment, to aggressively enforce technological and economic decoupling.  The US has now effectively pledged to do all it can to obstruct China’s further development whilst mobilising all possible global forces and resources in preparation for a war, with Taiwan as the most likely pretext. 

Amidst complex, unpredictable and fast changing international currents, the CPC must stay both firm and flexible in order to respond effectively at a time when China is also undergoing huge structural changes.

Continue reading Xi Jinping’s ‘authoritarian turn’: the CPC’s 20th Congress maintains internal stability at a time of multiple global crises

The CPC: the most successful political party in history

The following article, written for China Today by Carlos Martinez, describes the historic progress China has made over the last decade, and seeks to understand the political framework in which this progress has been made. “Why China? Why is it China and not another country that has carried out the most comprehensive poverty elimination in history? How has China been able to leap from a state of intense poverty, underdevelopment and backwardness just 73 years ago to becoming a country with the second-largest economy in the world, with the average life expectancy of its citizens surpassing that of people in the United States?” Carlos concludes that the answer lies in “China’s political system, its revolutionary history, and the leadership of the CPC”. He opines that China’s socialist system privileges the interests of the masses, unlike the capitalist countries, in which the capitalist class is the ruling class and the interests of the people are subjugated to those of profit. Carlos concludes by noting that China’s successes are a source of inspiration to progressive people the world over.

The 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), which commenced on October 16, 2022, is seen as a milestone event in the history of the CPC.

In the Report delivered by Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, to the Congress, major achievements that the country has accomplished over the past 10 years were summarized.

A decade ago, Xi Jinping put forward the Two Centenary goals: to achieve a “moderately prosperous society in all respects” by the centenary of the CPC in 2021, and a “great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful” by the centenary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 2049.

The core component of achieving a “moderately prosperous society in all respects” was the campaign to alleviate extreme poverty. This goal was achieved in late 2020 – remarkably, whilst China was concurrently battling the COVID-19 pandemic (a pandemic which has sadly resulted in a dramatic rise in poverty in many countries around the world). At the start of the targeted poverty alleviation program in 2014, just under 100 million people were identified as living below the poverty line; seven years later, the number was zero.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated that China had carried out “the greatest anti-poverty achievement in history.” To eradicate extreme poverty in a developing country of 1.4 billion people – which at the time of the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 was one of the poorest countries in the world – is without a doubt an extraordinary accomplishment.

Continue reading The CPC: the most successful political party in history

Video: Whose democracy? Beijing, New York show vast contrast

The video embedded below is the last in a three-part series on democracy made by China Daily, based on an interview with Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez. In this segment, Carlos talks about visiting both New York City and Beijing for the first time in 2019, and the stark contrast between the two cities. New York, in spite of being a major centre of wealth, contains terrible levels of poverty, inequality, homelessness and discrimination, and its infrastructure is collapsing. Beijing on the other hand is modern, efficient, clean and well-organised, and the fundamental human rights of all its citizens are guaranteed. What this small example reflects is the difference between Western democracy – a democracy for the elite – and Chinese socialist democracy, which works for the masses of the people.

You can also see part 1 and part 2 of the series.

The US is a serial human rights abuser

The following article by Carlos Martinez, written for the Chinese magazine China Today (founded under the name China Reconstructs by Soong Ching-ling in 1952), comments on the recent report issued by the China Society for Human Rights Studies (CSHRS) entitled U.S. commits serious crimes of violating human rights in the Middle East and beyond. Carlos discusses the irony of the US having such a disastrous human rights record at home and abroad, given that “it so often frames its aggressive foreign policy precisely within a context of human rights.” He further contrasts the US’s record with that of China, concluding that “the West’s attempts to smear China as a human rights abuser – and to portray the U.S. and its allies as upholders of freedom and democracy – are nothing but the hypocritical lies of a collapsing hegemonic world order.”

The latest report from the China Society for Human Rights Studies (CSHRS), entitled “U.S. commits serious crimes of violating human rights in the Middle East and beyond,” provides a detailed assessment of the United States’ human rights record, particularly in relation to its wars and regime change operations in the Middle East. 

Noting that U.S. imperialism has caused “permanent damage and irreparable losses to countries and people in the region,” the report highlights a valuable lesson to be learned by the peoples of the world: that the pervasive Western narrative of democracy and human rights is nothing but a façade, behind which lies hegemony, inequality, cruelty and violence.

A great irony of the U.S.’ record of human rights abuses is that it so often frames its aggressive foreign policy precisely within a context of human rights. For example, in early 2011, journalists and politicians in the West loudly raised their voices about the abuses supposedly being perpetrated by the government of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya. They spread numerous stories: that the government was preparing a massacre in Benghazi; that sub-Saharan Africans were being forced to fight for the government; that Gaddafi was instructing pro-government troops to use rape as a weapon of war. 

Continue reading The US is a serial human rights abuser

20th Congress of the CPC proposed for October 2022

The Communist Party of China announced on August 30 that it plans to open its 20th Congress on October 16. According to the Xinhua News Agency: 

“It was stressed at the meeting that the 20th CPC National Congress is a congress of great significance to be convened at a crucial moment, as the whole Party and the entire nation embark on a new journey toward building a modern socialist country in all respects, and advance toward the Second Centenary Goal…

“The congress will thoroughly review the international and domestic situations, comprehensively grasp the new requirements for the development of the cause of the Party and the country on the new journey in the new era, as well as the new expectations of the people.

“The congress will formulate action plans and major policies, mobilize all Party members and people from all ethnic groups across the country to firm up confidence in history, strengthen historical initiative, innovate on the basis of what has been done, and bravely charge ahead.”

The following report was originally carried by the Xinhua News Agency.

The Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee on Tuesday held a meeting on the preparatory work for the seventh plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Committee, and the 20th CPC National Congress. Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, presided over the meeting.

The meeting decided that the seventh plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Committee is to be convened on Oct. 9 in Beijing. The Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee will propose to the plenary session that the 20th CPC National Congress be convened on Oct. 16 in Beijing.

It was stressed at the meeting that the 20th CPC National Congress is a congress of great significance to be convened at a crucial moment, as the whole Party and the entire nation embark on a new journey toward building a modern socialist country in all respects, and advance toward the Second Centenary Goal.

The congress will hold high the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, uphold Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Theory of Three Represents and the Scientific Outlook on Development, and thoroughly implement Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.

The congress will take stock of the Party’s work over the past five years, as well as major achievements and valuable experience of the Party’s Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core in uniting and leading the whole Party and Chinese people of all ethnic groups to uphold and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era.

The congress will thoroughly review the international and domestic situations, comprehensively grasp the new requirements for the development of the cause of the Party and the country on the new journey in the new era, as well as the new expectations of the people.

The congress will formulate action plans and major policies, mobilize all Party members and people from all ethnic groups across the country to firm up confidence in history, strengthen historical initiative, innovate on the basis of what has been done, and bravely charge ahead.

All Party members and people from all ethnic groups across the country will be mobilized to continue advancing the Five-Sphere Integrated Plan and the Four-Pronged Comprehensive Strategy in a coordinated manner, pushing forward common prosperity for all, advancing the great new project of Party building, and promoting the building of a community with a shared future for humanity.

All Party members and people from all ethnic groups across the country will be mobilized to work together for building China into a modern socialist country in all respects and advancing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts.

A new CPC Central Committee and a new CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection will be elected at the congress.

All preparatory work for the congress is proceeding smoothly and preparations should be continued earnestly to ensure a successful congress, according to the meeting.

Other issues were also discussed at the meeting.

Video: China’s democracy serves the people

The video embedded below is the second in a three-part series on democracy made by China Daily, based on an interview with Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez. In this segment, Carlos contrasts Western capitalist democracy with China’s socialist democracy, observing that the political process prevailing in countries such as the US and Britain is closer to plutocracy than democracy, owing to the persistent connection between wealth and power. “In the US, you can choose between Democrats and Republicans, but both are going to represent the capitalist class; and both are going to pursue American imperialism.” Giving an overview of the structures of China’s whole-process people’s democracy, he concludes that China is much more meaningfully democratic than the capitalist world.

Part 1 of the series can be viewed here.

Video: Chinese democracy far more effective than Western democracy

Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez was recently interviewed by China Daily about the differences between Chinese and Western democracy. Citing the examples of China’s commitment to eradicating poverty, suppressing the Covid pandemic and preventing climate breakdown, Carlos asserts that Chinese democracy is proving itself far superior to the Western model in terms of being responsive to the needs and demands of the people.

The interview is embedded below.

On the continuous development of human rights in China

Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez was recently interviewed on the subject of democracy and human rights for the Chinese edition of People’s Daily. We publish below the English translation.

“The Chinese government listens to the voices of the people, is committed to meeting the needs of the people, and promotes the continuous development of the cause of human rights.” Recently, British writer and political commentator Carlos Martinez said in an interview with this reporter that the Chinese Communist Party leads the Chinese people. Unprecedented progress has been made in finding a human rights development path that suits the national conditions of the country. What is important is that China breaks the narrow definition of human rights in the West, “China’s human rights protection is extensive and sufficient”.

Martinez was deeply impressed by the whole process of people’s democracy in China. He said that this concept highlights the essential difference between socialist democracy with Chinese characteristics and Western capitalist democracy. The Chinese side believes that if the people are awakened only when they vote, and then go into a hibernation period, they only listen to hype slogans during elections, they have no right to speak after the election, they are favored during canvassing, and they are left out after the election. Such a democracy is not true democracy. Martinez agrees.

“The participation of ordinary Chinese people in running society is higher than that of Western countries. In terms of representing the basic interests of ordinary people, the Chinese government has done a far better job than Western governments.” Martinez said that in the whole process of China’s development of people’s democracy, the people have always enjoyed democratic rights, not limited to elections; available to all social classes, not limited to certain groups. China’s democratic system has its own historical background. It can ensure the enjoyment of democratic rights by the broadest masses of people and provide important support and guarantee for social governance.

Martinez said that China’s achievements lie not only in achieving rapid economic growth, but also in the government’s wholehearted commitment to improving the living standards of ordinary people. The Chinese government pays attention to poverty eradication, environmental protection, education development, etc., to improve people’s lives in general. “People’s demands are reflected in the government’s work, which is the real people’s democracy.” Martinez said.

“Eliminating absolute poverty in a developing country with a population of more than 1.4 billion is an extraordinary achievement and has historical significance.” Martinez specifically mentioned that due to the impact of the new coronavirus epidemic and geopolitical factors, poverty is rising. The Chinese government has historically solved the problem of absolute poverty and made important contributions to human development and progress. He said that while carrying out targeted poverty alleviation, China has actively shared its experience with other countries and regions, participated in many poverty alleviation projects in Africa, and carried out various cooperation with developing countries, which has promoted the sustainable development of these countries and regions.

Xi Jinping speech at the Central People’s Congress Work Conference

We are very pleased to publish the full text of President Xi Jinping’s speech on China’s practice of socialist democracy via the system of people’s congresses. This was originally delivered to the Central People’s Congress Work Conference on October 13th 2021. The full text has just been published in the latest Chinese and English language editions of Qiushi, the lead theoretical journal of the Communist Party of China.

President Xi dates China’s system of people’s congresses to ideas first put forward by Mao Zedong in 1945, four years before liberation, and notes that since the Party’s 18th National Congress in 2012, this system has been further developed in six aspects, namely:

  • Upholding the Communist Party’s leadership;
  • Making institutional provisions to ensure that the people actually run the country;
  • Advancing law-based governance;
  • Upholding democratic centralism;
  • Keeping to the path of socialist political development with Chinese characteristics;
  • Continuing to modernise China’s governance system and capacity.

To further improve the work of people’s congresses as China advances towards the status of a modern socialist country, Xi Jinping put forward a further six key tasks:

  • To ensure the full implementation of the constitution and safeguard its authority;
  • Improve the socialist legal system and use the law to ensure good governance;
  • People’s congresses should make good use of their oversight powers;
  • People’s congress deputies should respond to the demands of the people;
  • People’s congresses should intensify their self-improvement;
  • The party’s overall leadership should be strengthened.

In his speech, President Xi draws a powerful line of demarcation between bourgeois democracy and socialist democracy, stating:

“Democracy is not an ornament to be put on display, but an instrument for addressing the issues that concern the people. Whether a country is democratic or not depends on whether its people are truly the masters of the country. It depends on whether the people have the right to vote, and more importantly, the right to participate; what promises they are given during elections, and more importantly, how many of these promises are delivered after elections; what kind of political procedures and rules are set through state systems and laws, and more importantly, whether these systems and laws are truly enforced; and whether the rules and procedures for the exercise of power are democratic, and more importantly, whether the exercise of power is genuinely subject to public oversight and checks. If the people are only engaged with to solicit votes and then are left in the dark, if they must listen to grandiose election slogans but have no voice when the elections are over, or if they are only treated well by candidates during elections and are ignored after, this is not true democracy…

“The Communist Party of China has always upheld people’s democracy and has always adhered to the following basic ideas. First, people’s democracy is the life of socialism; without democracy, there would be no socialism, socialist modernisation, or national rejuvenation. Second, the running of the country by the people is the essence and heart of socialist democracy. The very purpose of developing socialist democracy is to give full expression to the will of the people, protect their rights and interests, spark their creativity, and provide a system of institutions to ensure that it is they who are running the country. Third, the Chinese socialist path of political development is the right path, as it conforms to China’s national conditions and guarantees the position of the people as the masters of the country. It is the logical outcome of history, theory, and practice based on the strenuous efforts of the Chinese people in modern times. It is a requisite for maintaining the very nature of our Party and fulfilling its fundamental purpose. Fourth, China’s socialist democracy takes two important forms: one in which the people exercise rights by means of elections and voting, and another in which people from all walks of life are consulted extensively in order to reach the widest possible consensus on matters of common concern before major decisions are made. Together these make up the institutional features and strengths of China’s socialist democracy. Fifth, the key to developing China’s socialist democracy is to fully leverage its features and strengths. As we continue to advance socialist democracy with well-defined institutions, standards, and procedures, we can provide better institutional safeguards for our Party and country’s prosperity and long-term stability.”

And the Chinese leader reminded his audience: “Deng Xiaoping once said, ‘The democracy in capitalist societies is bourgeois democracy – in fact, it is the democracy of monopoly capitalists.'”

This year marks the centenary of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Upon its founding a hundred years ago, our Party made the pursuit of happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation for the Chinese nation its founding aspiration and mission, and it has since explored every means to ensure that it is the people who run the country. During the New Democratic Revolution, our Party established people’s governments in base areas and provided practical experience for building a new political system. 

Through practice and theoretical reflection, Chinese Communists, with Mao Zedong as their chief representative, put forward the original idea to implement a system of people’s congresses. As early as April 1945, Mao Zedong said, “The organizational principle of the new democratic state should be democratic centralism, with the people’s congresses at all levels determining the major policies and electing the governments. It is both democratic and centralized, that is, centralized on the basis of democracy and democratic under centralized guidance. This is the only system that can give full expression to democracy with full powers vested in the people’s congresses at various levels and, at the same time, ensure centralized administration with the governments at each level exercising centralized management of all the affairs entrusted to them by the people’s congresses at the corresponding level and safeguarding whatever is essential to the democratic activities of the people.” 

Continue reading Xi Jinping speech at the Central People’s Congress Work Conference

Fact Sheet on the National Endowment for Democracy

We are pleased to republish below this comprehensive and thoroughly-researched report by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The report exposes the NED’s origins and rationale – as essentially an extension of the CIA, funded and controlled by the US government. It goes into detail, uncovering the NED’s extensive operations on behalf of US imperialism throughout the world, both in China (backing pro-independence and anti-China groups in Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong) and in other countries that refuse to go along with US diktat (including Bolivia, Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Belarus, Libya, Syria, Algeria, and more). The report is well worth reading in full.

Foreword

The United States has long used democracy as a tool and a weapon to undermine democracy in the name of democracy, to incite division and confrontation, and to meddle in other countries’ internal affairs, causing catastrophic consequences. 

The National Endowment for Democracy (NED), as one of the US government’s main “foot soldiers”, “white gloves” and “democracy crusaders”, has subverted lawful governments and cultivated pro-US puppet forces around the world under the pretext of promoting democracy. Its disgraceful record has aroused strong discontent in the international community. 

In today’s world, peace and development is the theme of the times, and the trend towards greater democracy in international relations is unstoppable. Any attempt to interfere in other countries’ internal affairs in the name of democracy is unpopular and is doomed to failure.

Continue reading Fact Sheet on the National Endowment for Democracy