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

Socialist and progressive countries greet China’s 72nd National Day

Countries around the world that are in the forefront of building socialism and struggling against imperialism sent warm greetings to the People’s Republic of China on the 72nd anniversary of its founding on 1 October. We are pleased to present some highlights below.


Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

The leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) Comrade Kim Jong Un congratulated his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping as follows:

“On behalf of the Workers’ Party of Korea, the Government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Korean people, and on my own behalf, I extend warm congratulations to you, Comrade General Secretary, and to the Communist Party of China, the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the fraternal Chinese people on the occasion of the 72nd founding anniversary of the PRC.

“For 72 years after the founding of the PRC, the Chinese people have achieved great successes in the struggle to carve out the destiny of the nation and bring prosperity under the leadership of the CPC, braving all sorts of challenges and difficulties of history.

Continue reading Socialist and progressive countries greet China’s 72nd National Day

Review of ‘China and the Left: a socialist forum’

We are pleased to republish this detailed and helpful summary of the recent ‘China and the Left’ forum recently organised by Qiao Collective in association with the People’s Forum, Monthly Review and CODEPINK. The review first appeared on Charles McKelvey’s blog.

A full playlist of videos from the forum can be found on YouTube.



A socialist forum on China and the Left, sponsored by the Qiao Collective, was held in New York City on September 18, 2021.  The Qiao Collective was formed in January 2020 by intellectuals and activists of the Chinese diaspora, with the intention of defending Chinese socialism against imperialist aggression. 

Opening Keynote Address by the Qiao Collective

In the Opening Keynote address on the “The U.S. Hybrid War,” Michelle of the Qiao Collective maintained that Chinese trade has long stimulated imperialist aggression, which has included the colonial concession zones, the taking of Hong Kong, the backing of Chinese nationalists, and the support of Formosa.  Imperialist aggression against China is historic. 

Continue reading Review of ‘China and the Left: a socialist forum’

Xi Jinping’s reply to letter sent by the family members of historic friends of China

Demonstrating the unbroken internationalist ties between the Chinese revolution and its internationalist comrades across centuries and generations, President Xi Jinping has replied to a joint letter received from the family members of foreign comrades and friends who made outstanding contributions to China’s liberation and the building of socialism. They include relatives of such legendary figures as Edgar and Helen Snow, George Hatem (Ma Haide), Rewi Alley, Israel Epstein, Hans Muller and David Crook.

Originally published on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.


On September 14, 2021, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and President Xi Jinping replied to the letter from family members of some international friends, including Edgar and Helen Snow, George Hatem, Rewi Alley and Israel Epstein, paying high tribute to the international friends who had stood and fought shoulder to shoulder with the CPC and the Chinese people through thick and thin and made invaluable contributions to China’s revolution, development and reform.

In his reply, Xi Jinping pointed out that in the first half of the 20th century, a large number of international friends, including Snow, Hatem, Norman Bethune, Dwarkanath Kotnis, Alley and Epstein, traveled thousands of miles to China, where they shared weal and woe and fought side by side with the CPC and the Chinese people. We always remember their invaluable contributions to China’s revolution, development and reform and their genuine friendship with the CPC and the Chinese people.

Xi Jinping underlined, in the past 100 years since its founding, the CPC has, answering the call of the times, people’s expectations, and trust of its international friends, united and led the Chinese people in delivering the first centenary goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects through unrelenting hard work, and is now leading the Chinese people in marching toward the second centenary goal of fully building a great modern socialist country and in promoting the noble cause of world peace and development. The choices your loved ones made decades ago are exactly right.

Xi Jinping noted, history keeps surging on, and the great spirit is passed down from generation to generation. I hope you will follow the steps of your loved ones, and contribute your fair share to strengthening the friendship and cooperation between the Chinese people and people of the world, and to building a community with a shared future for mankind.

Recently, 16 family members of international friends, including Snow, Hatem, Alley, Epstein, Hans Muller, David Crook, Zheng Lvcheng, Elizebetta Pavlovna Kishkina, Richard Frey, Ruth Weiss, Eva Sandberg and Betty Chandler, have jointly sent a letter to President Xi Jinping. In the letter, they extended warm congratulations on the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC, and expressed their hope of jointly commemorating the martyrs on the occasion of the 76th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War. They said, they are proud that their family members chose to stand with the CPC and the Chinese people, and are willing to carry forward the internationalist spirit in the new era under the guidance of the initiative of building a community with a shared future for mankind, and make new contributions to enhancing the friendship between Chinese and foreign people and supporting China in realizing the second centenary goal.

Xi Jinping sends condolences over passing of former Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika

We reproduce below a report from Xinhua about the message of condolence sent by Xi Jinping to his Algerian counterpart, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, over the passing of former Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. The message highlights the longstanding close friendship between China and Algeria, which extends from the early days of the Algerian war of liberation against French colonialism through to the present day. We note that Bouteflika was, for much of the 1960s and 70s, Algerian minister of foreign affairs, at a time when Algeria was sometimes referred to as the “capital of world revolution”.


Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday sent a message of condolence to Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune over the passing of former Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

Continue reading Xi Jinping sends condolences over passing of former Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika

Xi Jinping on China’s friendship with Latin America and the Caribbean

Embedded below is the video (Chinese with Spanish and English subtitles) of President Xi Jinping’s virtual address at the 6th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), held in Mexico City on 19 September 2021. Beneath the video is the transcript.


Dear colleagues and friends,

I wish to extend my warm congratulations on the opening of the Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States. I also wish to take this opportunity to congratulate you, President López, and the Mexican people, on the 200th anniversary of the consummation of Mexico’s independence.

Ten years ago, CELAC came into being in response to Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries’ efforts to pursue independence and strength through unity. This is a milestone in promoting integration in your region.

Continue reading Xi Jinping on China’s friendship with Latin America and the Caribbean

Yang Jiechi on the CPC’s century of achievement in foreign affairs work

We are republishing this wide-ranging and valuable article by Yang Jiechi, Chinese politburo member and Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2007 to 2013. The article describes the basic goals underlying the CPC’s foreign policy since its inception: maintaining a peaceful environment for China’s development, and contributing to a peaceful future for humanity. Yang describes the four major periods of the CPC’s foreign affairs work, and presents his vision of how China will engage in international relations in the coming period. The article originally appeared in Qiushi Journal, the leading theoretical journal of the CPC.


This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Having been founded for 100 years, this major Party is right in its prime. China is now on course to complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects, thus realizing the first centenary goal. Building on this momentum, we will embark on a new journey toward the second centenary goal of fully building a modern socialist country. Around this historic point of advancing from the first centenary goal to the second one, it is of great significance that we take a thorough and systematic review of the glorious journey traveled by the Chinese people under the leadership of the Party. It will inspire the whole Party, the entire nation, and all ethnic groups to rally more closely around the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, press ahead on the new journey toward a modern socialist country, and work tirelessly for realizing the Chinese dream of great national rejuvenation.

Continue reading Yang Jiechi on the CPC’s century of achievement in foreign affairs work

The first international Marxist study group in Shanghai

We are pleased to republish this fascinating history, written by Zhang Wei and published in the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries‘ quarterly magazine ‘Voice of Friendship’ (June 2021), about the first international Marxist study group in Shanghai. The group was supported by Soong Chingling and included such legendary friends of China as Rewi Alley, Agnes Smedley and Helen Foster Snow.


In 1934, encouraged and supported by Soong Ching Ling, about 20 Chinese and foreign leftists established the first international Marxist study group in Shanghai. They studied classic theories, conducted social research, discussed current affairs and actively joined in and assisted the struggle of the Communist Party of China. In fact, the group became the foreign ally of the Chinese revolution.

Three core members

Rewi Alley, a core member of the study group, was a social activist and writer from New Zealand. At the time, he was chief inspector of the fire department and the chief of the industrial department under the municipal council in the Shanghai international settlement. He was shocked to witness a large number of Chinese people in deep distress during an inspection of the factories. He gave an important description of the study group in the 1980s when recalling those days. He presented a clear list of the members of the group as follows:

“In 1934, like-minded people gradually gathered together to discuss politics. The idea was mainly put forward by German political economy writer Hans Shippe. He wrote articles for the English magazine Pacific Affairs under the pen name Asiaticus. His Chinese name is Xibo. Agnes Smedley said that “we were supposed to know the theories,” but she was too busy and didn’t understand the theories herself. Alec Camplin, an electrical engineer who lived in the same apartment with me in a three-story building on Yuyuan Road, joined our study group. There was also Dr. Hatem, whom Agnes considered a potential participant for the revolution. Other members included the young Austrian progressive Ruth Weiss; Hans Shippe’s wife, Gertrude Rosenberg; the Dutch manager of the leftist Zeitgeist Book Store, Irene Wiedemeyer; four secretaries of the Young Women’s Christian Association, namely, Talitha Gerlach, Maud Russell, Lillian Haass, and Deng Yuzhi; and a teacher at Medhurst High School, Cao Liang. Hans Shippe served as our political instructor. Later, he was killed by enemies while working in the New Fourth Army at Yimeng Mountain, Shandong.”

Continue reading The first international Marxist study group in Shanghai

Wang Yi: China breathes the same air and shares common destiny with developing countries

We are republishing this important speech by Foreign Minister Wang Yi, originally published on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, reiterating China’s enduring commitment to representing the voice and aspirations of the developing world.


On July 19, 2021 local time, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi answered questions on the relationship between China and developing countries when he met with the press together with Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra in Algiers.

Wang Yi said, back to 50 years ago when a resolution jointly submitted by Algeria and other countries was passed by an overwhelming majority at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, the vast number of developing countries “carried” China into the UN, which is a vivid illustration of the solidarity and cooperation between China and other developing countries. The purpose of my special visit to Algeria is to relive the experience of the joint struggle, and express my heartfelt thanks once again to Algeria and all other friends from other countries which stood up to pressure, upheld justice and firmly supported China.

Continue reading Wang Yi: China breathes the same air and shares common destiny with developing countries

International figures support the CPC and PRC throughout history

We are republishing this lovely article from Beijing Review highlighting the life and contributions of Rewi Alley, the New Zealand-born writer, social reformer and educator who spent 60 years of his life working in China.


The life path of many an international figure has crossed with that of the Communist Party of China (CPC) over the past 100 years. As China witnessed tremendous progress and change, their stories, too, have been remembered. Rewi Alley (1897-1987) was one of those international friends, who shared long-term ties with the CPC dating all the way back to the earliest of days when the Party was embracing the struggle to save the nation from peril.

The New Zealand-born writer, social reformer and educator spent 60 years of his life working in China. He arrived in Shanghai on April 21, 1927, and later decided to align himself with China’s working class after witnessing their trials and tribulations. 

During the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1931-1945), Alley and a handful of his both Chinese and foreign associates, including American journalist Edgar Snow and his wife, initiated and organized the Gung Ho movement, short for the Chinese Industrial Cooperatives movement, in 1938, mobilizing mass production to support the war effort. By 1942, they had set up about 2,000 such cooperatives.

“The movement made important contributions to the Chinese people’s victory against the invaders and the success in China’s new democratic revolution,” Lin Songtian, President of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship With Foreign Countries (CPAFFC), a national organization engaged in people-to-people diplomacy, told Beijing Review.

Additionally, from the mid-1940s to the early 1950s, Alley founded the Shandan Bailie Schools in the northwestern county of Shandan in Gansu Province. Through the creation of a work-study program, students would use their brains as well as brawn. The school ended up generating a host of young technical staffs ready to support the country’s economic construction.

“After the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949, Alley spared no efforts in supporting China’s development, promoting the people-to-people friendship between China and other countries, and safeguarding world peace,” Lin added.

Alley passed away in Beijing on December 27, 1987.

On July 10, the former residence of Alley in Beijing was reopened after having been renovated in memory of his years in China.

A friendly p(a)lace 

Located in the CPAFFC compound, the house is also known as the Friendship Palace. However, strictly speaking, it did not just belong to Alley as four other expats also took up residence there at one time or another, according to Lin.

Many people must have heard about Chairman Mao Zedong’s assertion that “all reactionaries are paper tigers.” It owes its publicity to an American journalist by the name of Anna Louise Strong, who once lived in the house. During her fifth trip to China in 1946, Strong interviewed Mao in Yan’an, the headquarters of the CPC Central Committee from 1935 to 1948. She then had the chance to listen to this famous thesis and went on to include the term “paper tiger” in her book.

In 1958, Strong, then 73, visited China for the sixth time. This time around, she decided to not return to her old home and instead adopted China as her new haven where she would live out the rest of her days. On March 30, 1970, this American writer with a profound passion for China passed away from illness in the country that she considered her “ideal resting place.”

Other residents included Chilean painter Jose Venturelli, the first well-known Latin American artist to visit China after the founding of the PRC. Venturelli, who died in Beijing in 1988, always expressed a deep concern for those living and working at the grassroots throughout his body of work. Then there was American activist Robert F. Williams, who stood at the forefront in the fight for African American rights, and Japanese politician Kinkazu Saionji, who was active in promoting good relations between Japan and China following his move to Beijing in the late 1950s.

Michael Crook, Chairman of the International Committee for the Promotion of Chinese Industrial Cooperatives (ICCIC), established in 1939 based on the Gung Ho movement, attended the ceremony together with his mother, 106-year-old Isabel Crook, who has spent most of her life in China, teaching English and training students.

Aside from those who actually lived here, many more made their choice to come and stay in China and support the cause of peace and justice, including Korean composer Zheng Lucheng, who joined China’s fight against Japanese aggression, according to Michael Crook.

New chapters 

Lebanese-American doctor George Hatem, known as Ma Haide in China, was the first foreigner to join the CPC, in 1937, and the first expat to obtain Chinese citizenship after the founding of the PRC, in 1950. Alley used to live with Hatem in a cave house in Yan’an back in early 1939, according to Zhou Youma, Hatem’s son.

Zhou scattered both Alley’s and his father’s ashes across the places dearest to them in China. “With my own hand, I sent them, two dear friends who forged a friendship through thick and thin, back to the land where they had devoted their lives to the Chinese people,” he said.

Zhou added that he and the descendants of Alley and other international friends of China are also part of the endeavor to realize the great rejuvenation for the Chinese nation. “We will keep putting our best foot forward,” Zhou said.

“Today, under the leadership of the CPC, we have realized the first centenary goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and brought about a historic resolution to the problem of absolute poverty in China,” Lin said. “I believe our international friends can be satisfied with the CPC’s achievements, and proud of the contributions they themselves have made.”

Michael Crook said if Alley and the other residents who used to live in the house had known they would serve as an inspiration to so many Chinese and foreigners in the pursuit of peace and development, they would have been absolutely thrilled.

In 2017, Chinese President Xi Jinping called on the ICCIC to continue its international cultural exchanges and make new contributions to world peace and development in a letter responding to the ICCIC and Beijing Bailie University, one of the Bailie schools.

Beijing Bailie University has managed to uphold the notion of vocational education as championed by its founding and former presidents, and over the course of its history has cultivated a large talent pool for China’s modernization.

The ICCIC, on its part, has played a role in helping to lift people out of absolute poverty, proving an enduring inspiration to all international friends, according to Michael Crook. “We are continuing Alley’s legacy,” he said. “Let’s try and answer Xi’s call for Gung Ho and start writing some new chapters in international friendship.”