Video: Black Liberation and People’s China – Rediscovering a History of Transcontinental Solidarity

Friends of Socialist China, in conjunction with the International Manifesto Group, organised a well-attended webinar on Saturday May 11 on the theme of Black Liberation and People’s China – Rediscovering a History of Transcontinental Solidarity.

The webinar marked the 65th anniversary of the historic visit to China by Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois, where, together with his wife Shirley Graham Du Bois, the great scholar and revolutionary celebrated his 91st birthday on February 23rd, 1959.

Focusing specifically on transcontinental solidarity between the Chinese revolution and the African-American freedom struggle, the webinar noted that this revolutionary history neither begins nor ends with Dr. Du Bois. It embraces Langston Hughes and Paul Robeson from the 1930s; Robert F. and Mabel Williams and Malcolm X in the 1960s; the Black Panther Party in the 1960s and 1970s; and many others, joined by Chinese leaders, including Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai, as well as Chinese American communists and progressives and returned overseas Chinese.

The event was moderated by our co-editor Keith Bennett and featured a distinguished panel of speakers as follows:

  • Professor Gerald Horne, John J. and Rebecca Moores Chair of History and African American Studies, University of Houston, USA; 
  • Dr. Charisse Burden-Stelly, Associate Professor of African American Studies, Wayne State University, USA; 
  • Dr. Gao Yunxiang, Professor of History, Toronto Metropolitan University, Canada; 
  • Dr. Zifeng Liu, Post Doctoral Scholar, Africana Research Center, Pennsylvania State University, USA; 
  • Margaret Kimberley, Executive Editor and Senior Columnist, Black Agenda Report; and
  • Qiao Collective, a diaspora Chinese media collective challenging US aggression against China

The video of this interesting and important webinar is embedded below, followed by the individual contributions.

Black Liberation and People’s China: Rediscovering a History of Transcontinental Solidarity
Keith Bennett
Gerald Horne
Gao Yunxiang
Charisse Burden-Stelly
Zifeng Liu
Charles Xu
Margaret Kimberley

Dr Rose Dugdale – fighter for Irish freedom, student of Chairman Mao

A huge crowd gathered at Dublin’s Glasnevin Cemetery on March 27th 2024 to bid farewell to Dr. Rose Dugdale, a fighter for Irish freedom for more than half a century, who passed away on March 18 at the age of 82.

Rose was born into immense wealth and privilege in England but gave it all up to devote her life to the working and oppressed people of the world and to the liberation of Ireland and the fight for a socialist republic in particular.

Former Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams joined some 10 Sinn Féin TDs (members of the Dublin parliament), a TD from People Before Profit, veterans of the Republican struggle, including Jim Monaghan, her partner of many decades, and her close friend and comrade Marion Coyle, as well as her son  Ruairí, and many others, at the non-religious ceremony.

Former Sinn Féin Assembly member and MEP Martina Anderson presided over the service and said that her friend had a “pivotal role” in the republican movement.

“I stand here with a sore yet proud heart, reminded of the remarkable journey I and so many others shared together with Rose in the depths of the Irish republican struggle.

“Through her, intellectually, politically and personally, I learned invaluable lessons, as did many others, about resilience, dedication, speaking up, speaking out and the power of conviction.

“Rose’s path from a privileged upbringing to the heart of the republican struggle was marked by her insatiable and unwavering commitment to economic equality, social justice and human rights.”

She added: “Rose’s legacy will forever be intertwined with the tapestry of Ireland’s fight for freedom.”

Rose’s partner, Jim Monaghan, one of the ‘Colombia Three’ Irish republicans who were jailed in the South American country after having spent time in the liberated areas then administered by the FARC liberation movement, spoke from his wheelchair, remembering Rose as “a force of nature.”

“Rose was a highly educated woman in politics, philosophy and economics [the subjects she had studied at Oxford University]. We both had a great interest in socialist politics and she taught me a lot.”

Jim was appointed as the head of Sinn Féin’s Education Department and Rose became his Deputy.

He described his partner as “an all-rounder in revolution, politics and education; a woman of many talents, she was well known as an IRA volunteer, but she was also a noted academic and gifted teacher, who taught economics, politics and philosophy.”

He referred to how Rose’s political awakening had been triggered not least by what she learned of the oppression and exploitation of Africa through her work as an economist and continued:

“She also taught English classes when she was in Limerick Prison. The women that were there, some of them couldn’t read, couldn’t write.

 “She helped them through and she helped them read their letters and helped them write letters.”

Continue reading Dr Rose Dugdale – fighter for Irish freedom, student of Chairman Mao

To be a socialist one must be an anti-imperialist

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

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

According to Sykes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

What imperialism is and what it is not

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

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

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

International Publishers, the Chinese Revolution, and world socialism

International Publishers, the Marxist book publishing company based in New York City, celebrated its centenary with a day-long syposium on 26 October 2023, held at NYU Libraries. Among those addressing the event were Gerald Horne, the revolutionary feminist scholar Elisabeth Armstrong, West African history specialist Dennis Laumann, and International Publishers vice-president Tony Pecinovsky. A summary of the event was published in People’s World.

Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez attended via Zoom, giving a presentation on the subject of “International Publishers, the Chinese Revolution, and world socialism”, in which he gave an overview of the role played by International Publishers and associated communist publishing houses in raising awareness of the Chinese Revolution in its early phases.

The presentation also touches on the Sino-Soviet split and its impact on relations between the Western left and China. Carlos posits that we are in an ongoing important process of overcoming the Sino-Soviet split, and that “International Publishers has a key role to play in this process… Its recent publication of China’s Economic Dialectic by Cheng Enfu – one of China’s foremost Marxist scholars – is an exciting step forward, particularly as there are so few good books available in the English language about modern Chinese Marxism.”

The speech also briefly discusses the issue of the social character of the People’s Republic of China, and the importance of opposing the US-led New Cold War.

The full text of the presentation is reproduced below.

Dear friends,

Many thanks for inviting me to participate in today’s event. It’s an honour to be with you.

The progressive movement in the United States, and other parts of the Western world, has a long history of solidarity with the Chinese Revolution and the project of building socialism in China, and of telling people the truth about China.

International Publishers – and the CPUSA – blazed a trail in this regard. In the case of International Publishers, support for Red China goes back almost to the very beginning of its history, for example printing in 1937 the first North American edition of Mao Zedong’s famous essay On Practice.

Other publishing houses with which IP worked closely – New Century Publishers and Workers Library Publishers – also printed a number of titles in solidarity with China during the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression, including China’s Fight for National Liberation and Hell Over Shanghai.

In 1945, William Z Foster wrote the foreword to the volume Fight for a New China, based on Mao’s report to the Seventh National Congress of the CPC.

A number of theoretical works were also published in English for the first time, including Liu Shaoqi’s On Inner-Party Struggle and Mao Zedong’s On New Democracy.

A great many prominent communists and anti-imperialists in the US threw their weight behind China’s liberation.

The great African-American activist, linguist and performer Paul Robeson became widely known in China for his powerful rendition in Chinese of the March of the Volunteers, the song that was to become, and remains, the national anthem of the People’s Republic. Robeson first recorded the song in 1941, with a chorus made up of Chinese workers in New York. The proceeds from the gramophone record went to support China’s war effort against Japanese invasion.

The sociologist Dr WEB DuBois, one of the greatest scholars of the 20th century, who joined the CPUSA in 1961 – at the tender age of 93 – forged a profound friendship with Mao Zedong and other Chinese leaders.

In the late 1930s, the CPUSA joined with the Communist Party of Canada to send Dr Norman Bethune to the frontline in China, where he was instrumental in setting up the system of “barefoot doctors”, training ordinary peasants to provide primary medical care. He died a martyr in 1939 while stationed with the Eighth Route Army in Shanxi Province, and became the embodiment of revolutionary internationalism for the people of China and beyond. In his eulogy, Mao wrote: “Every communist must learn the true communist spirit from Comrade Bethune.”

Continue reading International Publishers, the Chinese Revolution, and world socialism

Keith Bennett: The Belt and Road Initiative is a key component of Marxist internationalism in the 21st century

The following is the closing speech given by our co-editor Keith Bennett at our webinar held on November 4, marking 10 years of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Keith refers to the recent Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, held in Beijing, where President Xi Jinping said in his opening speech: “We have learned that humankind is a community with a shared future. China can only do well when the world is doing well. When China does well, the world will get even better.”

The BRI, Keith notes, is concerned with development, modernization and globalization. And there are two fundamentally different approaches to these questions in today’s world. It is not a coincidence that the approach to these questions that represents and embodies the interests of the overwhelming majority of countries, and the overwhelming majority of the people in every country, should be put forward by the world’s leading socialist country. Nor is it a coincidence that it is above all the world’s leading imperialist country that announces a supposed alternative to the BRI every few months, none of which achieve any traction or any concrete result.

Regarding globalization, in the western countries, the prevailing discourse, from much of both the left and the right, tends to assert that China has wholeheartedly embraced the model of globalization advanced by the major capitalist powers. This is so far from reality as to suggest that those who advance it are either ignorant or malicious. 

A White Paper issued by China’s State Council on October 10 makes clear that the fruits of economic globalization have until now been dominated by a small group of developed countries. Rather than contributing to common prosperity at a global level, it continues, globalization has widened the wealth gap between the rich and poor, between developed and developing countries, and within the developed countries themselves. Many developing countries have benefited little from economic globalization and even lost their capacity for independent development. Certain countries, it notes, have practiced unilateralism, protectionism and hegemonism. 

Keith argues that, grounded as it is in the stand, viewpoint, and method of Marxism, the BRI is based on and inherits not only the Silk Roads of antiquity, but also the diplomatic history of socialist China as well as the standpoint and practice of the international working-class movement more generally, particularly since the establishment of workers states. 

First, on behalf of Friends of Socialist China, I’d like to thank all those who registered for, attended, and supported our webinar today.

Special thanks go to our brilliant speakers who, from five continents, have shared their insights with us on the Belt and Road Initiative.

Thanks also to our co-organisers, the International Manifesto Group, as well as our sponsors, Connolly Books, Critical Theory Workshop, Geopolitical Economy Research Group, Geopolitical Economy Report, Hampton Institute, International Action Center, Iskra Books, Kawsachun News, Peace, Land and Bread, Pivot to Peace, and Veterans for Peace – China Working Group.

It is 10 years since President Xi Jinping put forward the Belt and Road Initiative and therefore a good time to take stock and make an initial summing up. Last month, I was privileged to be seated in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People to listen to President Xi open the Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, his speech being followed by those of President Putin and the Presidents of Kazakhstan, Indonesia and Argentina, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, and the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

As President Xi noted, in the course of its first decade, Belt and Road cooperation has extended from its initial focus on the Eurasian landmass to Africa, Latin America and elsewhere. Indeed, more than 150 countries and over 30 international organisations have signed Belt and Road cooperation documents. Through this process, he explained, belt and road cooperation has progressed from ‘sketching the outline’ to ‘filling in the details’, and blueprints have been turned into real projects.

Xi Jinping said that over the past decade, “we have learned that humankind is a community with a shared future. China can only do well when the world is doing well. When China does well, the world will get even better.”

President Xi, in my view, expresses things here with such simplicity and clarity, making it sound like obvious common sense, that it might seem that this is acceptable to all and that nobody could possibly disagree with it.

But this is far from the case. The BRI is concerned with development, modernization and globalization. And there are two fundamentally different approaches to these questions in today’s world. It is not a coincidence that the approach to these questions that represents and embodies the interests of the overwhelming majority of countries, and the overwhelming majority of the people in every country, should be put forward by the world’s leading socialist country. Nor is it a coincidence that it is above all the world’s leading imperialist country that announces a supposed alternative to the BRI every few months, none of which achieve any traction or any concrete result.

Comrade Liu Jianchao, the Minister of the International Department of the Communist Party of China’s Central Committee, spelled matters out clearly in a recent article, where he wrote:

“The vision of building a human community with a shared future and the three global initiatives are scientific. They encapsulate the stances, viewpoints, and methods of Marxism, reflecting the hallmarks of Marxism, and demonstrating salient theoretical character. Underpinned by dialectical and historical materialism, the vision and the three global initiatives reveal the laws governing the development of human society and its future direction.”

Careful study of the White Paper released by the Information Office of China’s State Council on October 10, to coincide with the tenth anniversary and the Beijing Forum, can help to understand this more concretely. And all the documents to which I refer may be read in full on our website, along with useful introductions.

The White Paper again makes clear that whilst the BRI has been launched by China, it belongs to the world and benefits the whole of humanity.

“Irrespective of size, strength and wealth, all countries participate on equal terms.”

Making very clear the distinction between the socialist and imperialist approaches to such questions, it notes that the type of development advanced by the BRI diverges from, “the exploitative colonialism of the past, avoids coercive and one-sided transactions, rejects the centre-periphery model of dependency, and refuses to displace crisis onto others or exploit neighbours for self-interest.”

The same point was made even more forcefully by President Xi Jinping in his report to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in October last year, where he stated:

“In pursuing modernization, China will not tread the old path of war, colonization and plunder taken by some countries. That brutal and blood-stained path of enrichment at the expense of others caused great suffering for the people of developing countries.”

These words of President Xi surely acquire even greater relevance and poignancy today in the face of Israel’s genocidal war in Gaza and the courageous resistance of the Palestinian people, a veritable 21st century Warsaw Ghetto. On one hand, the United States, Britain, France and Germany, aid and abet the genocide and even seek to curtail and deny their own peoples’ right to protest. On the other hand, socialist China, along with the overwhelming majority of the countries of the world, principally the Global South, and as seen in the recent United Nations General Assembly vote, stand for peace, an end to the war of aggression, and for the long overdue realization of the national rights to an independent state of the Palestinian people.

And the same fundamental distinction with regard to which road to take informs socialist China’s approach to globalization. In the western countries, the prevailing discourse, from much of both the left and the right, tends to assert that China has wholeheartedly embraced the model of globalization advanced by the major capitalist powers. This is so far from reality as to suggest that those who advance it are either ignorant or malicious. Or quite possibly both.

The White Paper is clear that the fruits of economic globalization have until now been dominated by a small group of developed countries. Rather than contributing to common prosperity at a global level, it continues, globalization has widened the wealth gap between the rich and poor, between developed and developing countries, and within the developed countries themselves. Many developing countries have benefited little from economic globalization and even lost their capacity for independent development. Certain countries, it notes, have practiced unilateralism, protectionism and hegemonism.

But just as, in their day, Marx and Engels could not endorse, but rather repudiated and stood against, the Luddite approach which, faced with the undoubted depredations and cruelties of the industrial revolution, sought to reverse the objective course of historical progress, China, unlike some, does not reject globalization. But it stands for a different globalization. Economic globalization, the White Paper insists, remains an irreversible trend. It is unthinkable for countries to return to a state of seclusion or isolation. But economic globalization must undergo adjustments in both form and substance.

The focus of BRI, it explains, is precisely on contributing to a form of globalization that generates common prosperity and that brings benefits particularly to developing countries. Thus, while the BRI is open to all, it is neither accident nor coincidence that the majority of its participants are developing countries. The developing countries as a whole all seek to leverage their collective strength to address such challenges as inadequate infrastructure, lagging industrial development, and insufficient capital, technologies and skills, so as to promote their economic and social development.

Grounded as it is therefore in the stand, viewpoint, and method of Marxism, it should be clear that the BRI is based on and inherits not only the Silk Roads of antiquity, but also the diplomatic history of socialist China as well as the international standpoint and practice of the international working-class movement more generally, particularly since the establishment of workers states, the constitution of the working class as the ruling class.

It resonates, for example, with China’s building of the Tazara railway in Zambia and Tanzania in the 1970s. With the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence put forward by Premier Zhou Enlai in 1954 and the Ten Principles adopted by the Afro-Asian Conference held in the Indonesian city of Bandung the following year.

As far back as 1921, even before the official formation of the USSR, Lenin’s government concluded treaties with Afghanistan, Persia and Turkiye, which provided for mutual support, aid in the financial, technical, personnel and other fields, and especially for support in their struggles to win and maintain independence from colonial and imperial powers.

This in turn built on the deliberations of the Second Congress of the Communist International, held in 1920, which established the absolute duty of the working-class movement to support the struggles of the colonial and oppressed countries and peoples for liberation and for independence against imperialism.

The Belt and Road Initiative, and the other global initiatives put forward by President Xi Jinping, are the 21st century inheritance and expression of this Marxist theory and practice. The difference is that today it is becoming a material force that is progressively uniting and mobilizing the majority of humanity. This is a major part of why President Xi constantly reminds us that we are presently witnessing changes unseen in a century. That is since the birth of the first workers’ state.

In Friends of Socialist China, we will continue to pay the closest attention to these developments. Thank you again for your support today and we hope to continue working with you.

Dorise Nielsen: groundbreaking communist MP in Canada, people’s hero in China

We are pleased to republish this article by Mike Wu, originally carried in People’s Voice, newspaper of the Communist Party of Canada, about the revolutionary life of Dorise Nielsen.

Born in England in 1902, she settled in Canada in 1927. Politicised by the Great Depression, she joined the Communist Party of Canada around the time she met the legendary Norman Bethune, when she was fundraising to help send Canadians to join the International Brigades in Spain. In the 1940 federal election, she was elected as the first communist member of parliament in Canada or indeed North America.

During the McCarthyite conditions of the Cold War, she moved to China in 1957, traveling under the alias Judy Godefroy. She became a Chinese citizen in 1962. She worked in a number of capacities in China, moving to the Foreign Languages Press in the late 1960s.

Dorise died in Beijing on December 9 1980. A speaker at her memorial service, held at the Babaoshan Cemetery for Revolutionaries, said that she “had a deep love of China and the Chinese people, she lived a very simple life and was never extravagant, her feeling for the construction of socialism was profound.”

NB. The article refers to Dorise as the only Canadian in Beijing at the time she moved to China. However, another Canadian citizen, Isabel Crook, was also in Beijing (working at the same institution – the Beijing Foreign Studies University).

Norman Bethune is a well-known figure in the history of Canada–China relations. But there is another legendary figure: Dorise Nielsen, the first Member of Parliament from the Communist Party of Canada, went to China in her later years to support the Chinese people’s socialist construction, until her death in Beijing in 1980. 

Dorise was born in London, England in 1902 and settled in Saskatchewan in 1927 to work as a public school teacher. Dorise initially did not concern herself with politics, until the Great Depression broke out in 1929.

During the Depression, Dorise saw with her own eyes how workers, farmers, the ill and the old struggled under capitalism. In 1933, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) held its first convention and approved the Regina Manifesto, which described capitalism as an unjust and inhumane system that concentrated power and wealth in a small elite while leaving most people in poverty. 

Continue reading Dorise Nielsen: groundbreaking communist MP in Canada, people’s hero in China

International condolences for Jiang Zemin

As a veteran statesman, late Chinese leader Jiang Zemin has been widely mourned not only in his own country, but also throughout the world. Naturally, his loss has been particularly felt in fraternal socialist and other anti-imperialist and progressive countries, something that is reflected in the four brief reports which we reproduce below from the Xinhua News Agency.

Comrade Thongloun Sisoulith, General Secretary of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party (LPRP) Central Committee and Lao President, described the former Chinese president as a close friend to the LPRP and the Lao people and said he had played a significant role in guiding the development of Laos-China relations. Comrade Jiang Zemin visited Laos in 2000.

According to Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba and Cuban President, Jiang was an outstanding statesman and communist leader, as well as a close friend of the Cuban Revolution.  Jiang Zemin visited Cuba in 1993 and 2001. He was the only head of state to visit the socialist island during the worst days of the ‘special period’.  Cuba declared a period of official mourning for Jiang on December 1st.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said Jiang had led the Chinese people to achieve prosperity and strength. Jiang Zemin visited Belarus in 2001.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he and the Palestinian people will always remember such an outstanding leader who was a supporter of the Palestinian people and their cause and legal rights, as well as a promoter of Palestine-China relations. Jiang Zemin visited Palestine in 2000. 

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said the spiritual and cultural legacy left by Jiang is guiding and will continue to guide the Chinese people towards greater development.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Jiang had forged a profound friendship with the people of Latin America and Venezuela. Jiang Zemin visited Venezuela in 2001.

According to Comrade Kim Jong Un, leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Jiang devoted all his life to the development and growth of the Communist Party of China and the country, as well as to the happiness of the Chinese people. Kim added that Jiang extended sincere support for and solidarity with the socialist cause of the DPRK people, and actively committed himself to consolidating and developing the traditional friendship between the DPRK and China. Jiang visited the DPRK in 2001 and also hosted the final overseas visit of the DPRK’s founding leader Kim Il Sung.

Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni said Jiang was an outstanding representative of the Chinese people and a great friend of the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Cambodian people and made great contributions to the restoration of peace and stability in Cambodia, to the country’s national unity as well as to closer brotherhood, stronger solidarity and deeper cooperation between Cambodia and China. Jiang Zemin visited Cambodia in 2000 and the Cambodian royal family, which has always stood on the side of anti-imperialist independence, has enjoyed an extraordinary friendship with socialist China ever since the present king’s father Samdech Norodom Sihanouk first met with Premier Zhou Enlai at the 1955 Bandung Afro-Asian Conference.

Brazilian President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said China, under the leadership of Jiang, had made remarkable achievements in development and lifting people out of poverty.

General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong and other top Vietnamese leaders sad that Jiang was an outstanding leader of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the country, who had made distinguished contributions to the cause of building socialism with Chinese characteristics.

The principles of “long-term stability, future orientation, good-neighborly friendship and all-round cooperation” and the spirit of “good neighbor, good friend, good comrade and good partner” were developed by Jiang together with his Vietnamese counterparts.  Jiang Zemin visited Vietnam in 2002.

Nepali President Bidya Devi Bhandari, a veteran leader of Nepal’s communist movement, said that her country will always remember Jiang’s contribution to fostering and consolidating the good-neighborly relations between Nepal and China. Jiang visited Nepal in 1996.

Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki observed that Jiang was full of foresight and wisdom and made great contributions to China’s rapid economic growth and the remarkable improvement of its international status in the past decades. 

Namibian President Hage Geingob said he appreciated Jiang’s indelible contributions to Namibia’s independence and soci-economic development.

World leaders mourn passing of former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin

Xinhua, 2 December 2022

Leaders of many countries and international organizations have expressed their deep condolences by phone, letter and other means to Chinese President Xi Jinping over the passing of former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin.

Underscoring Jiang’s important dedication to the economic and social development of contemporary China and the country’s rise in international standing, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Jiang was an old friend of Russia, who had made great contributions to elevating the Russia-China relationship to a strategic partnership of coordination.

He will always remember such a statesman with lofty prestige and tremendous personal charisma, Putin said, expressing his sincere sympathy to Jiang’s family and all the friendly Chinese people.

Jiang had made important contributions to the socialist cause with Chinese characteristics, said Thongloun Sisoulith, general secretary of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party (LPRP) Central Committee and Lao president.

The former Chinese president, a close friend to the LPRP and the Lao people, had played a significant role in guiding the development of Laos-China relations, Thongloun added.

Jiang was an outstanding statesman and communist leader, as well as a close friend of the Cuban Revolution, said Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba and Cuban president, adding that Cuba expressed its deepest condolences to the Communist Party of China (CPC), the Chinese government and people.

Jiang had made considerable contributions to improving the living standard of the Chinese people and leading the drive to grow China into a stable and prosperous economy, said Brunei’s Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, adding that Brunei highly appreciates Jiang’s efforts in deepening the long-standing ties between the two countries.

Jiang had led China on a period of rapid growth and development through sustained economic reforms, said Singaporean President Halimah Yacob, adding that their thoughts are with the people of China during this moment of grief.

Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said that Jiang had promoted the rapid development of the Chinese economy and society, and strengthened China’s role as an important contributor on the global stage, adding that Jiang will be remembered as a farsighted leader.

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said Jiang was dedicated to promoting China’s development and prosperity, and enhancing its international influence.

The former Chinese leader had made great contributions to strengthening friendship between Kazakhstan and China, and would be remembered forever by people of the two countries, he added.

Tajik President Emomali Rahmon spoke highly of the great contributions Jiang had made to the development of China and to Tajikistan-China relations, saying that his passing is a major loss.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said Jiang had led the Chinese people to achieve prosperity and strength. Calling Jiang a founder of Belarus-China relations, he said Jiang had made positive contributions to developing and cementing relations between the two countries.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he and the Palestinian people will always remember such an outstanding leader who is a supporter of the Palestinian people and their cause and legal rights, a promoter of Palestine-China relations and an eyewitness to the establishment of the diplomatic relations between Palestine and China.

Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan extended her deep sympathy to the CPC, the Chinese people and Jiang’s family.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said the spiritual and cultural legacy left by Jiang is guiding and will continue to guide the Chinese people for greater development.

President Xi, with his unquestionable leadership and rich experience, will surely lead the Chinese people forward to success along the road of socialism with Chinese characteristics, he added.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Jiang had forged a profound friendship with the people of Latin America and Venezuela, and the Venezuelan side expressed deep condolences over his passing.

Czech President Milos Zeman said Jiang had achieved a great success in promoting China’s economic reform and his achievements will be recorded in Chinese history, adding that he highly appreciates Jiang’s ability to promote China’s economic development and stability.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Jiang had promoted China’s reform and opening-up, made contributions to China’s development and played an important role in promoting the development of Japan-China relations.

Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Jiang had led China in promoting the reform and opening-up, guided the path for China to integrate into the global economy and play an important role on the world stage, and made important contributions to expanding Singapore-China relations. Singapore will always and deeply remember this respected friend.

Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif said Jiang had made valuable contributions to strengthening Pakistan-China relations and Pakistan will always remember this great friend.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that Jiang had firmly advocated China’s international engagement, promoted China’s great economic progress and its successful entry into the World Trade Organization, and led China in hosting the landmark Fourth World Conference on Women. On behalf of the United Nations, he offered sincere condolences to Jiang’s family and to the Chinese government and the Chinese people.

Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen and President of the European Council Charles Michel also mourned the passing of Jiang.


More world leaders mourn passing of former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin

Xinhua, 3 December 2022

Leaders of many countries and international organizations continued to express their deep condolences by phone, letter and other means to Chinese President Xi Jinping over the passing of former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin.

Jiang devoted all his life to the development and growth of the Communist Party of China and the country, as well as to the happiness of the Chinese people, said Kim Jong Un, general secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea and chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

He put forward the Theory of Three Represents, and made important contributions to the great cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics, said Kim.

Jiang extended sincere support for and solidarity with the socialist cause of the DPRK people, and actively committed himself to consolidating and developing the traditional friendship between the DPRK and China, Kim said, adding that Jiang’s legacy endures.

Jiang was an outstanding representative of the Chinese people and a great friend of the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Cambodian people, and made great contributions to the restoration of peace and stability in Cambodia, to the country’s national unity as well as to closer brotherhood, stronger solidarity and deeper cooperation between Cambodia and China, said Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni, noting that Jiang will be remembered forever.

Recognizing Jiang as a great leader who had led China to prosperity and development, and a good friend of South Korea and its people, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol said on behalf of the government and people of South Korea, he extended deep condolences to the bereaved family and the Chinese people.

Kyrgyzstan speaks highly of Jiang’s historic contributions to China’s national construction and the development of Kyrgyzstan-China relations, said Kyrgyz President Sadyr Zhaparov.

The former Chinese leader made great achievements in promoting China’s economic and social development, and greatly enhanced China’s international prestige, said Turkmen President Serdar Berdimuhamedov, adding that Jiang’s accomplishments will go down in history.

Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev said Jiang made significant contributions to developing the Uzbekistan-China partnership and promoting bilateral cooperation in politics, trade and economy, humanity and other areas, which the Uzbek side will always remember.

Jiang made outstanding contributions to laying a solid foundation for Azerbaijan-China friendly relations and practical cooperation, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said, extending the deepest condolences to all Chinese people.

Jiang led China in pushing forward the reform and opening-up and embarking on the path of economic development, showing to the entire world that a country can realize economic development through self-reliance, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said.

His leadership achievements in economy have far-reaching impacts and will always be remembered by the people of the world, Buhari said.

As an outstanding politician, Jiang devoted himself to strengthening the foundation of economic prosperity and safeguarding world peace, said Kenyan President William Ruto, extending sincere sympathy to Jiang’s relatives, friends and the Chinese people.

Senegalese President Macky Sall said he, in deep remembrance of Jiang, paid tribute to the glorious cause he had made, and extended sincere condolences to the friendly Chinese people.

Jiang’s pragmatic quality, innovative spirit, outstanding talents and great foresight will always be remembered by the whole world, said Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh.

Jiang has fulfilled his commitment to China and the Chinese people with concrete actions, Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou said, adding that as a statesman, Jiang’s fine moral character will be a valuable asset to future generations.

Brazilian President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said China, under the leadership of Jiang, had made remarkable achievements in development and lifted hundreds of thousands of people out of poverty.

Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen said Jiang was an outstanding Chinese statesman and his remarkable leadership not only inspired the Chinese people, but also won the respect of the international community.

On behalf of the Bangladeshi people and government, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed her deepest condolences and heartfelt sympathy and said that the friendship between Bangladesh and China was greatly strengthened during Jiang’s tenure.

Jiang was a great supporter of international cooperation, said Csaba Korosi, president of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly, noting that Jiang led China to success and played a prominent role in the United Nations.

Jiang was an outstanding figure in China’s and even the global political circles, and his death is a big loss to China and its friends around the world, said Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission.

Faki, on behalf of the AU Commission, extended sincere sympathy to the Chinese government, the Chinese people and Jiang’s family.

Jiang was an outstanding leader enjoying high prestige, said Zhang Ming, secretary-general of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), noting that Jiang was the main founder of the SCO, and made indelible historical contributions to the SCO’s establishment, development and growth.


More world leaders mourn former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin

Xinhua, 4 December 2022

Leaders of many countries and international organizations continued to express their deep condolences by phone, letter and other means to Chinese President Xi Jinping over the passing of former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin.

Jiang was an outstanding leader of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the country, who had made distinguished contributions to the cause of building socialism with Chinese characteristics, said General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong, Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue.

The principles of “long-term stability, future orientation, good-neighborly friendship and all-round cooperation” and the spirit of “good neighbor, good friend, good comrade and good partner” jointly established by Jiang and Vietnamese leaders have charted the course for the two parties and two countries to continuously develop relations and achieve important results, they said.

They believe that under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, the Chinese people will surely make new and greater achievements in building socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Recognizing Jiang as an outstanding leader and far-sighted statesman, Nepali President Bidya Devi Bhandari said the late Chinese leader has played an important role in enhancing China’s international status.

Bhandari added that her country will always remember Jiang’s contribution to fostering and consolidating the good-neighborly relations between Nepal and China.

King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia and the kingdom’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud expressed their deep condolences over the passing of Jiang, and extended sincere sympathies to the bereaved family and the Chinese people.

The late Chinese leader has laid a solid foundation for the vigorous development of China’s economy, said Israeli President Isaac Herzog, adding that the Israeli people will never forget Jiang’s important contribution to promoting the development of Israel-China relations.

President of Seychelles Wavel Ramkalawan said that Jiang successfully led China to achieve rapid economic growth and social transformation, and achieved remarkable achievements.

Jiang had laid a good foundation for today’s friendly and cooperative relations between Africa and China, Ramkalawan added.

Jiang was full of foresight and wisdom, and made great contributions to China’s rapid economic growth and remarkable improvement of its international status in the past decades, said Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki.

Jiang was an outstanding Chinese leader, said Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, adding that the government and the people of Solomon Islands join the Chinese people in mourning the passing of such a great leader.

Jiang made a profound impact on China during his tenure, and his name will always be associated with China’s economic take-off and accession to the World Trade Organization, said German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, adding that Jiang’s great efforts to promote the development of Germany-China relations will never be forgotten.

Jiang’s contribution to China’s development and reform and opening-up will always be remembered, said Polish President Andrzej Duda.

Those expressing condolences over Jiang’s passing to the bereaved family, the CPC, the Chinese government and the Chinese people also include:

Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Crown Prince of Kuwait Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah,

President of Cape Verde Jose Maria Neves,

Cameroonian President Paul Biya,

President of the Central African Republic Faustin-Archange Touadera,

Comorian President Azali Assoumani,

Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde,

President of Guinea-Bissau Umaro Sissoco Embalo,

Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi,

President of Niger Mohamed Bazoum,

Chairman of Sudan’s Sovereign Council Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan,

King of Tonga Tupou VI,

President of the Swiss Confederation Ignazio Cassis,

Finnish President Sauli Niinisto,

Norwegian King Harald V,

Estonian President Alar Karis,

Nepali Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba,

Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne,

Secretary General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development Rebeca Grynspan,

International Telecommunication Union Secretary-General Zhao Houlin,

President of the Economic Community of West African States Commission Omar Alieu Touray.


More world leaders mourn former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin

Xinhua, 4 December 2022

Leaders of many countries and international organizations continued to express their deep condolences via the phone, letters and other means to Chinese President Xi Jinping over the passing of former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin.

Jiang was not only an internationally renowned Chinese leader, but also deeply respected by the Thai people, said Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn Phra Vajiraklaochaoyuhua.

The King said Jiang’s state visit to Thailand in 1999 had substantially advanced the development of bilateral relations.

Jiang had made remarkable contributions to promoting China’s development and improving China’s international status, said Morocco’s King Mohammed VI.

Namibian President Hage Geingob said he appreciated Jiang’s indelible contributions to Namibia’s aspirations for independence and socio-economic development.

Jiang’s passing is a loss for the Chinese people and the Communist Party of China, as well as Namibia, Geingob said.

The relationship between China and Brazil was elevated to a strategic partnership when Jiang was Chinese president and Brazil became the first developing country to establish a strategic partnership with China, said Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. He extended his sincerest sympathy to the Chinese government and people.

Those expressing condolences over Jiang’s passing to the bereaved family, the Chinese government and the Chinese people also include:

President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan,

Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani,

Sultan of Oman Haitham bin Tarik,

King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa,

President of the Presidential Leadership Council of Yemen Rashad Mohammed Al-Alimi,

Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera,

President of Guinea Mamady Doumbouya,

Kiribati President Taneti Maamau,

UAE Vice President and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum,

Qatari Deputy Emir Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad Al Thani,

Qatari Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani,

Lao Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh,

Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth.

People’s diplomacy: extending solidarity and addressing the common tasks facing humanity

On November 15, the China NGO Network for International Exchanges (CNIE), which works under the guidance of the International Department of the Communist Party of China (IDCPC), organised an online and offline international seminar on the theme, ‘Enhancing International Civil Society Solidarity and Cooperation to Build a Better World for All’.

The seminar aimed to enable international civil society to have a better understanding of the CPC’s 20th National Congress and to contribute to the building of a community with a shared future for humanity.

FoSC Co-Editor Keith Bennett was invited to deliver a speech. In his contribution, Keith stressed that a key theme of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s report to the party congress was the need for a people-centred approach. He linked this to the concept of people-to-people diplomacy put forward by late Premier Zhou Enlai and how this related to our tasks today.

We publish Keith’s speech below. The other speakers were:

  • Chen Zhou, Vice-Minister of the IDCPC
  • Hassan Ghafourifard, Former Vice President of Iran and Chairman of the Foundation for Islamic Development
  • Ek Sam Ol, Member of the Standing Committee of the Cambodian People’s Party and President of the Cambodia-China Friendship Association
  • Zuo Peng, Dean of the Marxist Theory Research Institute, Central Institute of Socialism
  • Ms. Zuliyati Simayi, Delegate to the 20th CPC National Congress, Deputy Secretary of the CPC Kashi University Committee, and Vice President of Kashi University
  • Yu Ruofei, Delegate to the 20th CPC National Congress, Leader of the Gansu Blue Sky Rescue Team
  • Dr. Ezzat Saad, Director of the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs
  • Zivadin Jovanovic, President of the Belgrade Forum for a World of Equals
  • Kassem Tofaili, President of the Arab Chinese Cooperation & Development Association
  • Russell Chia, President of the Malaysia Organization for International Exchange

Comrades and Friends

I would like to begin by congratulating the China NGO Network for International Exchanges (CNIE) for their initiative in organizing this timely meeting and thank them for inviting me to join all today’s excellent speakers in saying a few words.

It is very appropriate that we hold this event in the immediate aftermath of the Twentieth National Congress of the Communist Party of China. In an article I wrote on the eve of the Congress, I noted that, “considering China’s weight and role in the world, whether in economy, geopolitics or climate change, its decisions will impact in some way on every human being on Earth.”

I would like to highlight three quotations from the Report to the Congress presented by General Secretary Xi Jinping, which I believe set the context for our deliberations today:

“We have promoted the development of a human community with a shared future and stood firm in protecting international fairness and justice.”

“This country is its people; the people are the country.”

And: “Today, our world, our times, and history are changing in ways like never before. The historical trends of peace, development, cooperation, and mutual benefit are unstoppable. The will of the people and the general trends of our day will eventually lead to a bright future for humanity. And yet, the hegemonic, high-handed, and bullying acts of using strength to intimidate the weak, taking from others by force and subterfuge, and playing zero-sum games are exerting grave harm. The deficit in peace, development, security, and governance is growing. All of this is posing unprecedented challenges for human society. The world has once again reached a crossroads in history, and its future course will be decided by all the world’s peoples.”

There is one clear conception at the heart of all this, namely the people. And as Comrade Mao Zedong enjoined us: “The people, and the people alone, are the motive force in the making of world history.”

Continue reading People’s diplomacy: extending solidarity and addressing the common tasks facing humanity

Why the People’s Republic of China embraced Paul Robeson

The below article by Gao Yunxiang (Professor of History at Toronto Metropolitan University in Canada and author of the critically acclaimed Arise, Africa! Roar, China! Black and Chinese Citizens of the World in the Twentieth Century, published last year) is a fascinating and detailed account of the special relations between the Chinese revolution and the great African-American singer, actor and Marxist Paul Robeson (1898-1976), which date from the 1930s and which still resonate today. Professor Gao describes this as “part of the history that connects Black internationalism with the experiences of Chinese and Chinese American people.”

She explains that the Chinese love for Robeson “derives most of all from his role in globalising the future national anthem of the People’s Republic of China.” Introduced to it in November 1940, for Robeson, its lyrics “expressed the determination of the world’s oppressed, in their struggle for liberation.” In November 1941, he recorded it in an album together with the Chinese People’s Chorus, which had been organised by members of the Chinese Hand Laundry Alliance, an important working-class organisation in New York City’s Chinatown. Soong Qingling, widow of China’s first president Dr. Sun Yat-sen, and later Honorary President of the People’s Republic of China, described Robeson as the “voice of the people of all lands.”

However, Robeson’s connections to the struggles and aspirations of the Chinese people date back to at least 1935, when he met in London with Mei Lanfang, considered the father of modern Peking Opera, who was returning from three weeks of successful appearances in the Soviet Union.

On October 1 1949, when Chairman Mao proclaimed the founding of the People’s Republic of China, Robeson sang the national anthem on the streets of Harlem and cabled his congratulations to the Chinese leader. Despite vicious persecution, he stood firm when Chinese forces entered the Korean war. Mutual support between the People’s Republic of China and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea would, he insisted, be the “great truth” in their shared journey to freedom. It was only logical for Chinese volunteers to come to “the aid of the heroic Korean people.”

The article also highlights how the 1940 film ‘The Proud Valley’, starring Robeson and set in the mining communities of South Wales, was shown in China in the 1950s as well as his participation in mass China friendship activities in Britain after the US authorities were forced to restore his passport.

Whilst this article contains a couple of assertions towards its conclusion with which the editors of this website do not agree, we republish it because the fascinating and moving historical material it presents needs to be made known to the widest possible audience.

The article was originally carried by Australia’s Aeon Newsletter.

Several times in recent years, Chinese broadcasters have aired shows that feature Paul Robeson (1898-1976), one of the most popular African American singers and actors of his era and a well-known civil rights activist. China National Radio and various channels of the widely influential China Central TV showcased Robeson on programmes in 2009, 2012 and 2021 narrating China’s resistance to foreign military aggressions. This is a remarkable amount of coverage in Chinese media for an American who died decades ago. Though not widely known in the United States, the relationship between Robeson and China continues to resonate in China today. It’s part of the history that connects Black internationalism with the experiences of Chinese and Chinese American people. Robeson was one of the most important figures in an alliance between Maoist China and politically radical African Americans.

Continue reading Why the People’s Republic of China embraced Paul Robeson

Interview: is China an imperialist force in Latin America?

Interviewed by Sean Blackmon and Jacquie Luqman for Sputnik’s By Any Means Necessary radio show, Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez discusses the recent expansion of the China-led Belt and Road Initiative in Latin America and the Caribbean. He specifically addresses the issue of whether China’s relationship with the region is exploitative, and compares and contrasts it with the behaviour of the US and the international financial institutions.

The full show can be found on Sputnik News.

Huey P Newton: What I experienced in China was the sensation of freedom

Black Panther Party founder Huey P Newton was born 80 years ago, on 17 February 2022. In his memoir, Revolutionary Suicide, he reflects on visiting socialist China in September 1971. Away from the system of institutionalized racism and white supremacy that he had endured all his life in the US, in China he “felt absolutely free for the first time in my life”.

What I experienced in China was the sensation of freedom – as if a great weight had been lifted from my soul and I was able to be myself, without defence or pretence or the need for explanation. I felt absolutely free for the first time in my life – completely free among my fellow human beings. This experience of freedom had a profound effect on me, because it confirmed my belief that an oppressed people can be liberated if their leaders persevere in raising their consciousness and in struggling relentlessly against the oppressor.

Huey P Newton, Revolutionary Suicide (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition, p348)

Edgar Snow, a lifelong friend of the Chinese people

On the 50th anniversary of his death, we celebrate the life of Edgar Snow, a lifelong friend of the Chinese people and proponent of US-China friendship. Snow’s pioneering book Red Star Over China, written in 1937, was the first introduction to the Chinese Revolution for millions in the English-speaking world. It remains essential reading today, and Snow’s life continues to inspire those that live by the principles of solidarity, international friendship and peace.

Cuba and China remain good friends, good comrades and good brothers

In this article for CGTN, Cuban ambassador to the People’s Republic of China Carlos Miguel Pereira Hernández details the deep bonds of friendship between the two socialist countries beginning with the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1960 to the announcement that Cuba would join China’s Belt and Road Initiative in 2022. Comrade Pereira Hernández notes that concrete solidarity between these two nations in the fields of economy, public health, and diplomacy have already paid, and continue to pay, enormous dividends for humanity.

On September 2, 1960, the Cuban Revolution carried out one of its first acts of sovereignty and independence when its leader, Fidel Castro, in front of more than a million Cubans gathered in the Revolution Square, announced the establishment of official ties with the New China. 

This way, Cuba became the first country in the Western Hemisphere to recognize the People’s Republic of China and, consequently, the initiator of diplomatic ties between China and the Latin American and the Caribbean region.

Since then, the high level of political dialogue and the will of our communist parties, governments and peoples to continue strengthening bonds based on equality, respect and reciprocal benefit have characterized the bilateral relations. Both nations have considered themselves as mutual references in the construction of socialism with their own characteristics, which has led to a broad and systematic exchange of experiences.

Continue reading Cuba and China remain good friends, good comrades and good brothers

China’s loans and projects transformed Malta’s economy

This year sees the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Malta. China is a large country in East Asia with a population of some 1.4 billion people. Malta is a small European country in the Mediterranean with a population of less than half a million. Yet the two countries share a deep and profound friendship.

With the Golden Jubilee of diplomatic relations approaching, on January 10, President Xi Jinping had a telephone conversation with his Maltese counterpart George Vella. According to the official read out from the Chinese Foreign Ministry:

“Xi Jinping pointed out, China and Malta are old and good friends that have withstood the test of time. Half a century ago, the elder generation of Chinese and Maltese leaders, with great vision and foresight, jointly forged friendly relations between China and Malta. Over the past 50 years, no matter how the international situation changes, China-Malta relations have been developing in a sound and steady manner, with deepening friendship and fruitful cooperation in various fields. In the face of challenges such as the international financial crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic, the two sides have always helped and supported each other.”

For his part, President Vella responded: “Bilateral relations have become more mature and made remarkable achievements, setting a good example of state-to-state relations. Malta is firmly committed to further developing its friendly relations with China and is ready to strengthen high-level exchanges and deepen practical cooperation with China in various fields. Malta cherishes the precious opportunities brought by Belt and Road cooperation and is ready to continue to advance relevant cooperation with China. I hope that Malta-China relations will develop even better in the next 50 years and bring more benefits to the two peoples. Malta firmly adheres to the one-China principle and firmly supports multilateralism. Malta is ready to play a positive role in promoting the development of EU-China relations. Malta highly appreciates China’s vaccine aid for the international community’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and its positive contribution to the global response to climate change, and looks forward to closer cooperation with China.”

Although Malta won its independence from a century and a half of British colonial rule in 1964, it remained a neo-colony under the military and economic domination of British imperialism. All that was set to change with the election of a Labour government under the Prime Ministership of Dom Mintoff in 1971. Under his visionary leadership, Malta was transformed from a British neo-colony into a bastion of anti-imperialism and a mainstay of the Non-Aligned Movement. He also expanded the state and public sector of the economy, with extensive nationalisation, established a comprehensive welfare state, and enacted key social reforms, including equal pay for men and women and the decriminalisation of homosexuality. All this required the forging of international alliances and Mintoff assiduously developed close friendships with such outstanding revolutionary leaders of the developing world as Mao Zedong, Kim Il Sung, Muammar Gadaffi and Nicolae Ceausescu, among others. Above all, it was Mintoff’s deep and genuine friendship with Socialist China that enabled Malta to expel the British military bases and to stand up in the world. This writer vividly remembers the consternation of the British TV newsreader reporting Mintoff’s crossing back into the then British colony of Hong Kong, sporting a large badge of Chairman Mao on his suit jacket lapel following a meeting in Beijing with the Chinese leader.

Naturally all this earned Mintoff the undying hatred of the British ruling class. Particular and sustained vitriol was poured by the Daily Mail, a right wing British daily which had supported the British Union of Fascists in the 1930s, who dubbed him “desperate Dom”. Their hatred became positively apoplectic when his daughter Yana, then a student in London, and a key activist in the Troops Out Movement (TOM), campaigning for Irish independence and reunification, hurled horse dung on MPs from the public gallery of the House of Commons in solidarity with the ‘dirty protest’ waged by Irish Republican prisoners in the north of Ireland. (The ‘dirty protest’ was to culminate in the 1981 hunger strike in which 10 young Volunteers from the Irish Republican Army and the Irish National Liberation Army were to heroically lay down their lives.)

Without the British military bases, Malta would have faced economic ruin. That is why, in 1975, China built Dock Number Six in the harbour of the Maltese capital Valetta. Far better known as the Red China Dock, this engineering feat remains the largest dry dock in the Mediterranean. At that time, China was still a poor country and its economy was reeling from the turmoil of the Cultural Revolution. On a per capita basis, Malta was clearly a more prosperous country. But Chairman Mao and Premier Zhou Enlai saw it as their solemn internationalist duty to help Malta take the road of independence and the building of a new society.

Visiting the Red China Dock on 7th September 2021, China’s Ambassador to Malta Yu Dunhai noted that it is, “a significant symbol of China-Malta friendship and remains as a monument in the heart of the people devoting themselves to China-Malta friendship. More than 40 years ago, China overcame its economic and technological limits, provided 100 million RMB interest-free loan and sent about 800 technicians to Malta to construct the dry dock, which showcases the sincere friendship between our two countries. Two Chinese engineers, Mr. Xu Huizhong and Mr. Gu Zhaoyan, lost their lives during the construction. Their great effort and sacrifice laid solid foundation for China-Malta ongoing friendship.”

We are therefore very pleased to reproduce from Shine News, the online platform of the prestigious Shanghai Daily, the following interview with Dr Alex Sceberras Trigona, Foreign Minister of Malta from 1981-87. In this period, Dr Trigona worked closely with Deng Xiaoping to carry forward and develop the friendship established with the preceding generation of Chinese leaders.

(Introduction by Friends of Socialist China co-editor Keith Bennett).

Dr Alex Sceberras Trigona recalls the big moment when he had to arrange a meeting between Malta Prime Minister Dom Mintoff and Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping in 1982 when he served as Malta’s minister for foreign affairs.

China and Malta established diplomatic ties in 1972, and Sceberras Trigona was instrumental in strengthening the relationship between the two countries during his tenure as foreign minister from 1981 to 1987. He has lost track of the number of times he has visited China but thinks “it could be 30 to 40 times” at least.

He has experienced the “hospitality and big heart” of China and was involved in the documentation and negotiations of projects that China helped build in Malta. He had negotiated and concluded Malta’s Neutrality Agreements in the worst years of the Cold War and has met generations of the Chinese people, from leaders to young students. He opened Malta’s embassy in Beijing.

Continue reading China’s loans and projects transformed Malta’s economy

Western experts should understand China’s building of socialism from China’s perspective

In this article, originally carried by CGTN, Keith Lamb makes the cogent point that it is not only Western specialists that need to make more effort to understand China and its rise on its own terms. Western socialists and Marxists do, too.

On January 11, Chinese President Xi Jinping, addressing the opening study session at the Party School of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, called for a greater effort to deepen the review, study, education, and promotion of the CPC’s history so as to better understand and make good use of the historical experience of the Party over the past century. With China’s rapid rise, this advice is also applicable to Western socialists and China observers.

China’s rise will usher in multi-polarity yet, bizarrely, few Western experts, including Western socialists, understand China from its own historical standpoint. This is highlighted by the many prophetic calls that have thus far proved wrong.

For example, that China would become more like a Western liberal democracy never came to pass. The “China collapse” theory fails regularly, only to get put on “life support” to extend it indefinitely into the future. Then, the “China is a neoliberal state working towards capitalist restoration,” posited by some Western Marxists, looks like a historical inaccuracy today.

Continue reading Western experts should understand China’s building of socialism from China’s perspective

Then and now: Proletarian internationalism and Friends of Socialist China

What follows is a presentation on the Western left’s solidarity with the Chinese Revolution and the People’s Republic of China over the years, and the motivation for setting up Friends of Socialist China. It was delivered at the the Fifteenth Forum of the World Association for Political Economy (hosted by the Shanghai International Studies University, China, and held online on 18-19 December 2021), and was jointly written by Friends of Socialist China’s co-editors.

The accompanying slides can be found at SlideShare.

Dear Comrades

On behalf of Friends of Socialist China, I would like to express our thanks to the World Association of Political Economy for inviting us to participate in this important conference and to extend our greetings to all our fellow participants.

Friends of Socialist China was formed in May 2021 by a small group of activists in Britain and the USA with a long record in the progressive movement and specifically of solidarity with the People’s Republic of China and the Chinese revolution. 

Our analysis of our tasks and our understanding of our work flow from the basic tenets of Marxism, starting from the observation by Marx and Engels in the Communist Manifesto that, unlike other parties in the working-class movement, communists bring to the fore the interests of the working class as a whole, independent of all nationality. This premise was further elaborated and developed by Mao Zedong, who noted that the people of countries yet to win their liberation have a duty to support the socialist countries, whilst the socialist countries have the responsibility to support the countries and peoples who are still struggling for their liberation.

Continue reading Then and now: Proletarian internationalism and Friends of Socialist China

Bertie Ahern: China’s infrastructure investment has been of major benefit to the people of Africa

In this short interview with CGTN in advance of the 8th Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), former Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern gives his opinions on China-Africa relations. He praises the growing role of FOCAC, points to the transformative impact of China’s infrastructure investment, and debunks the idea that China has laid a ‘debt trap’ for African countries; indeed he notes China’s leading role in debt relief for poor and indebted nations. Video embedded below.

Keynote speech by Xi Jinping at opening ceremony of 8th FOCAC ministerial conference

We are very pleased to publish the full text of President Xi Jinping’s important speech to today’s opening ceremony of the Eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. 

Noting that this year marks the 65th anniversary of the start of diplomatic relations between China and African countries, Xi notes that China and Africa have “forged unbreakable fraternity in our struggle against imperialism and colonialism”.

The Chinese President goes on to make four proposals, concerning fighting Covid-19, deepening practical cooperation, promoting green development and upholding equity and justice. 

He further notes that the two sides have jointly prepared the ‘China-Africa Cooperation Vision 2035’. Its first three-year plan features nine programmes, covering medical and health, poverty reduction and agricultural development, trade promotion, investment promotion, digital innovation, green development, capacity building, cultural and people-to-people exchange, and peace and security. 

Your Excellency President Macky Sall,

Distinguished Colleagues,

Dear Guests and Friends,

It is such a pleasure to attend the opening ceremony of the Eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). Let me first express sincere appreciation to President Sall and the government of Senegal for their excellent organization, and extend a warm welcome to the colleagues and guests attending the Conference.

This year marks the 65th anniversary of the start of diplomatic relations between China and African countries. Over the past 65 years, China and Africa have forged unbreakable fraternity in our struggle against imperialism and colonialism, and embarked on a distinct path of cooperation in our journey toward development and revitalization. Together, we have written a splendid chapter of mutual assistance amidst complex changes, and set a shining example for building a new type of international relations.

Continue reading Keynote speech by Xi Jinping at opening ceremony of 8th FOCAC ministerial conference

Remembering Mao Anying, son of Mao Zedong who died fighting US imperialism in Korea

The following article by Xia Yuansheng – president of the Hunan Provincial CPC Historical Figures Research Association – recalls the heroic sacrifice of Mao Anying (eldest son of Mao Zedong), who died on the frontlines of resistance against US imperialism and in solidarity with the Korean people. This episode forms part of a tremendously important history of militant anti-imperialist solidarity and enduring bonds of friendship between China and the DPRK.

The article was published in Chinese in 2010. It is included in the most recent issue of Dongsheng Chinese Voices, to mark the 71st anniversary of Mao Anying’s death (25 November 1950). Chinese Voices provides a valuable weekly newsletter containing a selection of articles by key Chinese thinkers.

On 25 June 1950, the Korean War broke out. On the third day, the United States imperialists announced armed assistance to south Korea and at the same time ordered its Seventh Fleet to sail into the Taiwan Strait, blatantly interfering in China’s internal affairs, and on 15 September the United States landed at Inchon and soon crossed the “38th parallel”, blatantly burning the war to the border of China and North Korea and the Yalu River, directly threatening the security and peace-building of new China. Faced with the most severe test of foreign war, political and military struggle, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, at the request of the Workers’ Party of Korea, the Government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the will of the Chinese people, decided to send troops to resist the U.S. and aid the DPRK. on October 18, Mao Zedong, Chairman of the Central Military Commission, issued the order “Resist the U.S. and aid the DPRK, protect the country”. On October 18, Mao Zedong, Chairman of the Central Military Commission, issued an order “to defend the interests of the Korean people, the Chinese people and the peoples of the East by transforming the Northeast Frontier Defense Army into the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army and marching to the territory of Korea at once to fight with the Korean comrades against the invaders and to strive for a glorious victory”. On October 25, the first battle was won, opening the prelude to the war against the U.S. and Korea, so the Chinese people have always taken this day as the anniversary of the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army’s departure for North Korea.

Continue reading Remembering Mao Anying, son of Mao Zedong who died fighting US imperialism in Korea

Chinese and international experts discuss China’s progress and vision for the future

On 19 November 2021, the International Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) held a briefing in Beijing about the recently-concluded 6th Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee. Friends of Socialist China’s co-editors were among the several hundred international guests attending via video link.

The speakers from the CPC gave an overview of the Plenary Session and the Resolution of the CPC Central Committee on the Major Achievements and Historical Experience of the Party over the Past Century it adopted. The key message of the Plenary and Resolution is a reaffirmation and further definition of China’s evolving socialist path in the present era, central elements of which include: a strong emphasis on sustainable development and the construction of an ecological prosperity; tackling relative poverty and building common prosperity; continuing to develop whole-process people’s democracy; continuing the party’s self-reform and the fight against corruption; expanding the Belt and Road Initiative, upholding multipolarity and working towards a human community with a shared future; and moving confidently towards the CPC’s Second Centenary Goal: “to build China into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful.”

Continue reading Chinese and international experts discuss China’s progress and vision for the future