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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.” 

Documentary: Isabel Crook – We belonged and this is why we stayed

This feature length documentary aired by CGTN last week provides a vivid account of the lifelong dedication to the Chinese revolution on the part of communist fighters David and Isabel Crook and of the love and respect in which they have been held by successive generations of Chinese people from all walks of life.

Raúl Castro and ‘The East is Red’

We are reproducing this article from the Global Times, published on 9 July 2021, about Raúl Castro’s longstanding connection with socialist China. With the US and its allies stepping up their hostility against the socialist world, it is more important than ever to build solidarity against imperialism.

“The east is red. The sun rises. China has a Mao Zedong…” On the afternoon of November 18, 2008, a man in his seventies was singing in Chinese Dong Fang Hong or The East is Red, a most well-known song in China, on the Tarara Campus of the University of Havana. On this campus set up specially for Chinese students in Cuba, the several hundred Chinese students present were amazed by this improvised performance. They never expected “grandpa Raúl” would know this song, let alone to sing it with such a good rhythm and pronunciation. This “grandpa Raúl” is Raúl Castro Ruz, brother of the leader of the Cuban Revolution Fidel Castro, and then President of the Cuban Council of State and the Council of Ministers.

Raúl Castro Ruz

Raúl Castro has quite a long story with the song The East is Red. In 1953, the 22-year-old Raúl met a delegation from the People’s Republic of China when attending the fourth World Festival of Youth and Students in Bucharest. Deeply impressed by the performance of The East is Red by the young Chinese, he learned the song in just a few days and kept the melody in his heart ever since. When Cuba commemorated the 100th anniversary of the birth of Mao Zedong in 1993, Raúl, then First Vice President of the Cuban Council of State and the Council of Ministers, led Cuban officials and the Chinese embassy staff in a chorus of The East is Red. Since then, the song has become a fixture when Raúl and Chinese comrades get together. His sonorous singing has been heard at Hotel Nacional de Cuba, Plaza Vieja in Havana, and the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, among many other places.

Raúl’s love for the song speaks to his longstanding, profound affections for China. He was the messenger who contributed to the establishment of diplomatic ties between the PRC and Cuba, the first Latin American country to do so. In the late 1950s, almost a decade after the founding of the PRC, quite a few Latin American countries still maintained so-called “diplomatic relations” with Taiwan. In July 1959, a Chinese press delegation visited Cuba, hoping to get a sense of Cuba’s attitude toward establishing diplomatic ties. In a press conference, the delegation asked Fidel Castro what was the expectation of the Cuban people for the people in China and Asia and Africa. Fidel said that the Chinese and Cuban people shared the same need in their fight for economic independence, and that most Cubans supported this need and he himself hoped that the Chinese people could make greater achievements. The next day, Raúl had a private meeting with the delegation where he asked China to send a liaison and, when conditions were right, set up an embassy in Cuba. This message reassured the Chinese delegation, bringing the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries officially on the agenda. One year later, Cuba became the first Latin American country to establish diplomatic ties with the People’s Republic.

The Cuban economy was hit hard following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Stressing that “beans are more important than cannons,” Raúl launched several small-scale market-oriented economic reforms. He believed that Cuba should draw on the development experience of China and other countries and explore a development path of socialism compatible with Cuba’s national conditions. Raúl showed a strong interest in China’s reform and opening-up which by then had been on-going for over a decade as well as the various changes China had undergone.

In 1997, Raúl Castro paid his first visit to China and stayed for 18 days for an in-depth understanding of China’s development experience. He travelled to Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, the forefront of China’s reform and opening-up, where he took a close look at how China built special economic zones and reformed its state-owned enterprises. Through all the projects and presentations on that trip, Raúl gained a first-hand experience of the tremendous changes brought about by reform and opening-up in China. After returning to Cuba, Raúl shared with Cuban government officials what he had learned from his visit and carried out pilot reforms of some Cuban enterprises based on China’s experience. He visited China again in 2005 and 2012, during which he learned more about China’s reform measures and commended on multiple occasions China’s development experience.

Raúl said that the Cuban people are proud of the Cuba-China friendship. He pointed out that as Cuba explores a development path in line with its national conditions, it values China’s successful experience in development and would love to increase communication and mutual-learning with China on governance and socioeconomic development. During his talks with President Xi Jinping in 2014, Raúl fondly recalled his previous visits to China, and stressed again that China is a great country; it will surely succeed in building socialism with Chinese characteristics under the leadership of the Communist Party of China and make greater contributions to world peace and human progress with its own development.

On September 29, 2019, Raúl Castro Ruz was awarded the “Friendship Medal” of the People’s Republic of China for his long, outstanding contribution to China-Cuba relations and China-Latin America friendship. The then Cuban Ambassador to China Miguel Angel Ramirez Ramos said that the Cuban people are very much delighted by this award, for it was not only an honor for Raúl Castro, but also an embodiment of the friendship between the two peoples. With the passage of time, the everlasting friendship between China and Cuba epitomized by the song The East is Red will remain unshakable and grow from strength to strength.

The internationalism of the Communist Party of China

The following is the text of a speech given by Keith Bennett at a recent webinar hosted by the Morning Star and Friends of Socialist China to celebrate the centenary of the CPC. Keith shines a light on the CPC’s history of internationalism and the different forms this has taken over the years.

Comrades and Friends

On behalf of Friends of Socialist China, we are pleased to join our friends and comrades of the Morning Star in celebrating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China. The role of the Morning Star is becoming ever more vital in opposing the new cold war and in defending and supporting China.

Friends of Socialist China is a new platform based on supporting the People’s Republic of China and spreading understanding of Chinese socialism. We have a website and a presence on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Our first webinar, held last Saturday on the theme of ‘China’s Path to Zero Poverty’, was watched live by several hundred people and featured speakers from China, Pakistan, India, Nigeria, Bolivia, Britain and the United States.

The Communist Party of China is the world’s most important political party. With more than 95 million members, leave alone the hundreds of millions more organised in diverse mass organisations upholding the party’s leadership, its membership is greater than all the other communist and workers parties in the world, and all other political parties professing a commitment to socialism, combined.

The CPC is a Marxist political party. It leads the world’s most populous country and the world’s second (or according to at least one method of calculation first) largest economy. China is a permanent member of the UN Security Council and today, be it international financial crisis, global pandemic, the looming threat of climate change or regional hotspots, no major issue facing humanity can be successfully tackled without China’s active and constructive input.

The centenary of the CPC is, therefore, or at least ought to be, an occasion for celebration not only for the Chinese people but also for all socialists, anti-imperialists and progressive people throughout the world.

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Xi Jinping: Strengthening Cooperation Among Political Parties to Jointly Pursue the People’s Wellbeing

This keynote address by president Xi Jinping, delivered at the CPC and World Political Parties Summit on 6 July 2021, succinctly expresses China’s vision of multilateralism and multipolarity: working together with all countries to shape a shared future for humanity. The English translation was originally published on Xinhua.

Your Excellencies leaders of political parties,

Ladies and Gentlemen,


It gives me great pleasure to join you, leaders of more than 500 political parties, political and other organisations from over 160 countries as well as the ten thousand and more representatives of political parties and various circles, at this cloud event to discuss the important question of “working for the people’s wellbeing and the responsibility of political parties”, just as the Communist Party of China (CPC) reaches its one hundredth anniversary. Over the past weeks, more than 600 political parties, political and other organisations from over 170 countries have sent 1500-plus congratulatory messages and letters on the CPC’s centenary conveying their goodwill and best wishes. I wish to take this opportunity to express to all of you, on behalf of the Communist Party of China, our heartfelt thanks!

A few days ago, we celebrated the CPC’s centenary with a grand gathering. Over the past hundred years, the CPC has united and led the Chinese people in working ceaselessly towards the tremendous transformation of the Chinese nation from standing up and growing prosperous to becoming strong. Over the past hundred years, the CPC has persisted in closely associating the future of the Chinese people with that of other peoples of the world and steered the course of China’s development amid the general trend of the world and the currents of the times to promote common development and prosperity of all countries.

The historic achievements the CPC and the Chinese people have made would not have been possible without the generous support of world peoples.

Here, on behalf of the CPC and the Chinese people, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to political parties, peoples and friends of all countries who have cared about, supported and helped the CPC and the cause of revolution, development and reform in China.

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Wang Yi: Uphold World Peace and Promote Human Progress

We reproduce below this important keynote speech by State Councilor Wang Yi at the opening ceremony of the 9th World Peace Forum, Tsinghua University, 3 July 2021.

Distinguished Guests,

It is a great pleasure to join you at Tsinghua University for the 9th World Peace Forum. This year marks the first decade of the forum. Over the past ten years, the forum has embraced the trend of the times and focused on the world’s most defining challenges. It has provided a source of wisdom for deeper understanding between China and the world and contributed its fair share to advancing world peace. Its global influence as a platform for exchange of ideas and insights is increasingly growing. At the outset, let me extend warm congratulations on the achievement of the forum and on the opening of its ninth edition.

Just two days ago, we held grand celebrations to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC). In the important speech made on that occasion, General Secretary Xi Jinping gave a thorough account of the great accomplishments of the CPC leading the Chinese people through the past 100 years of struggle, and made a solemn declaration that China has realized the first centenary goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and is now marching in confident strides toward the second centenary goal of building a great modern socialist country in all respects. General Secretary Xi reviewed the course of history and envisioned the journey ahead, emphasizing that the CPC always keeps in mind the future of humanity and stands ready to work together with all progressive forces in the world on the way forward.

Throughout the past 100 years, the CPC has remained committed to peaceful development and worked tirelessly to uphold world peace and stability. The Chinese nation cherishes peace, amity and harmony, values that have been honored and carried forward throughout history. The CPC has written on its flag the faith in peace, development and win-win cooperation. From actively promoting an international united front against Fascism during the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression to adopting an independent foreign policy of peace after the founding of New China, and from putting forward the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence to accurately identifying peace and development as the theme of our times, the CPC has unremittingly pursued the path of peaceful development. It has remained committed never to seek hegemony, territorial expansion or spheres of influence, and has achieved development by upholding world peace and promoted world peace through its own development.

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China stands on the side of the developing world

Foreign Minister Wang Yi on 25 June 2021:

In the five decades since joining the United Nations, China has upheld the legitimate rights and interests of fellow developing countries and spoken up for the developing world. Past, present and in the future, China always stands together with developing countries. China’s vote in the United Nations is always for the well-being of developing countries and for justice in the world.

China stands with Cuba against the blockade

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Zhao Lijian on 24 June 2021:

China always believes that we should respect the right of each country to independently choose its social system and development path, uphold international order based on international law, safeguard international fairness and justice, and oppose unilateral coercive measures imposed on other countries by military, political, economic or other means. China urges the US to immediately and fully lift its economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba, which is the universal call of the international community.

Rest in power, Kenneth Kaunda (28 April 1924 – 17 June 2021)

Kaunda was a key leader of the North Rhodesian struggle for liberation from British colonialism, first president of Zambia, lifelong friend of socialist China, and personal friend of Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping.

China helped us to struggle for our independence. China helped many other countries in Africa to get their independence. Now they are working with us to help us develop our economies. That’s what China is doing, helping us, as friends, genuine friends.

Kaunda affirms China’s contribution to Africa

My Bond and My Country: Israel Epstein

Israel Epstein (20 April 1915 – 26 May 2005) was a Chinese journalist and author, born in Poland but taken to China by his parents at the age of two. A prolific journalist and strong supporter of Chinese socialism, he was one of the few foreign-born Chinese citizens of non-Chinese origin to become a member of the Communist Party of China.

His book From Opium War to Liberation (1956) is one of the key texts about the Chinese Revolution available in English.

We are pleased to republish this short documentary about him, created by China Focus.

Why the CPC’s foreign policy is crucial not only for China but for humanity

We are pleased to republish this article by John Ross, Senior Fellow at Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China, which originally appeared in English on Learning from China on 11 June 2021.

The 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC) comes as not only China but humanity faces a fundamental crossroads – as will be seen this is not a rhetorical exaggeration but a literal reality.  On the one hand, with the CPC’s leadership, China’s national rejuvenation has proceeded at an unprecedented pace. Taking simply the economic dimension of this, in 1949 China was almost the world’s poorest country – only two Asian and eight African countries had lower per capita GDPs than China.[i] By 2020 China had not only eliminated absolute poverty and achieved “moderate prosperity” by its own domestic criterion, but it was on the brink of becoming a “high-income economy” by international World Bank standard. For a major country to go in only just over 70 years, a single lifetime, from such poverty to a high-income economy is historically unparalleled.

But simultaneously various international forces are attempting to block China’s development – as seen graphically in the new “cold war” launched against China by powerful US circles. And the international context is that humanity today faces a series of great crises which will inevitably affect billions of people – and the worst of which are capable of eliminating a large part of humanity.

Neither China, nor any other individual country, can by themselves escape the consequences of this. Scientists estimate that well within a decade decisive action must be taken to deal with climate change or humanity faces uncontrollable risks which at a minimum would gravely affect the condition of life of billions of people and in the most extreme developments would gravely threaten human civilization. The threat of nuclear war, devastating human civilisation, still exists. In the shorter term, internationally the Covid19 pandemic is not under control and, in addition to its large-scale loss of life globally, this has produced the greatest international economic downturn since the Great Depression – the World Bank estimates this will push around 100 million people into poverty globally and hundreds of millions will suffer falls in incomes or loss of jobs.

Xi Jinping has repeatedly underlined the inevitable interrelation of China’s domestic situation with this international context in referring to: “this global village of ours, where countries’ interests and future are so interconnected.”[ii] Therefore, from the positive angle: “The Chinese people are well aware that China’s development has benefited from the international community.” [iii] The reverse equally applies – China would be unable to escape the consequences of serious adverse international developments. China’s interaction with the rest of the world, its foreign policy, is therefore of critical importance both globally and for China’s own progress.

In this situation China’s foreign policy shows the continuing development of the CPC. As will be analysed, the CPC’s concept of a community of “common destiny for humanity” is fundamental for dealing with the critical challenges of the coming period of international relations. That this foundation of China’s foreign policy is both based in Marxism, but is also a development of it, shows the dynamic and creativity of the CPC itself.

Continue reading Why the CPC’s foreign policy is crucial not only for China but for humanity

From Spain to China: The story of David Crook

We are pleased to republish this fascinating article by He Yan about David Crook, a friend of socialist China if ever there was one. The article appeared in the March 2021 issue of Voice of Friendship, the magazine of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries.

“Cmour sacré de la Patrie,
Conduis, soutiensnos bras
Liberté, Libertéchérie,
Combats avec tesdéfenseurs,
Combats avec tesdéfenseurs!
Sous nosdrapeaux que la victoire
Accoure a tesmales accents,
Que tesennemisexpirants
Voient ton triomphe et notre

Speaking of his teacher David Crook, Zhou Nan, a Chinese diplomat in his 90s lying in bed at Beijing Hospital, began to sing The Marseillaise in French. The Marseillaise is a popular paean of freedom popularized by the French Revolution and the Spanish Civil War.

It was the morning of May 16, 2018, when the sun shone into the room and the song filled my ears. Zhou Nan then stopped singing and said to me, “In 1948, I learned The Internationale and the Marseillaise at the Central Foreign Affairs School in Nanhaishan.”

Spanish anti-fascist battlefield

On the morning of Nov 4, 2020, I went to Zhou Nan’s home. Zhou recalled: “In 1937 before he came to China, David Crook took part in the International Brigades to support the government of the Republic of Spain in fighting Franco’s fascist regime. He taught me The Internationale and The Marseillaise, which he had learned in the International Brigades. Later on, I myself often sang The Marseillaise. Although I forgot the first half, the second half is still in my mind.”

David Crook was born in London on Aug 14, 1910. His Jewish grandparents had escaped from Poland and gone to the United Kingdom in avoid of czar’s religious persecution. His father’s fur business, in spite of earlier development, failed in 1921. As a result, David dropped out of school when he was 15 years old.

David was working at a relative’s factory during the great labor strike in 1926 in the UK. His parents sent him to London Polytechnic and then to Paris to learn French so that he was able to enter the middle class. Dreaming of becoming a millionaire to repay his parents for their upbringing, David traveled to the United States alone in April 1929. As he wrote in his unpublished autobiography — From Hampstead Heath to Tian’anmen (finished in 1993) — “… it is a bad timing. I chose to come to America six months before the US stock market crashed in October 1929.”

David worked at a leather factory as the Great Depression settled in across the United States. He processed stinking pelts every day and earned a pitiful $15 a week. Witnessing the miserable life of laborers on the bottom rung of society, he began to read books and reports about the Soviet Union.

Through part-time work and part-time study, he was admitted to Columbia University. He then joined the Communist Youth League and became an activist in the student movement, which gave him a chance to gain more knowledge about communism. Combining communist theory and practice, he and his schoolmates supported the local miners’ strike in Harlan County, Kentucky, which ended up with his being expelled. That prompted him to join the Communist Party of Britain in London after his graduation from Columbia.

In July 1936, Francisco Franco led a military coup to overthrow the democratically elected left-wing government of the Republic of Spain and establish fascist rule, triggering a civil war in the country. David joined the International Brigades and fought with the Spanish people. He wrote: “Our batch of volunteers rode on from the border of France and Spain to Barcelona at the beginning of January 1937. Uniformed young soldiers of the Republican Army leaned out of the windows, their faces smiling, their right arms raised in the clenched-fist popular front salute, above the vow, whitewashed on the wooden sides of the train: ‘Rather die than submit to tyranny.’ That was the spirit of Republican Spain.”

David was shot in the leg in the battle defending the Jarama Valley. Later, the song Jarama commemorated the battle. The lyrics include: “There’s a valley in Spain called Jarama. It’s a place that we all know right well. For it’s there that we gave of our manhood. And many of our brave comrades fell.”

David recalled in an article: “On Feb 12, 1937, Sam Wild and I were part of a platoon of British Volunteers stationed on the crest of a hill, having been told, ‘Don’t leave that bloody hill till you’re told to.’ Bloody it was and we obeyed orders until none of our mates were left alive. Then we retreated down the slope into a grove of olive trees. There we took cover behind the mounds of earth banking up the trees.”

At midnight, he was sent to the hospital in Madrid where Norman Bethune worked. During his six weeks of hospitalization, he became an assistant broadcaster in English and interviewed Ernest Hemingway. “Ernest Hemingway covered the Spanish Civil War with his pen. Hemingway in a hotel room in Madrid, laughing, gambling, drinking with friends as the bombs burst nearby. It was, of course, the top floor of the hotel, the most dangerous place to be. I was in that room one night with Hemingway and his pals.”

During his stay in the hospital, he borrowed a book from Bethune called Red Star Over China by American journalist Edgar Snow and thus began to follow the Chinese revolution. As he later wrote in his article Red Star Leads Me to China, “I read Snow’s reports on five counterattacks against (the Kuomintang’s) Encirclement and Extermination Campaign and the (Red Army’s) Long March, including the crossing of the Dadu River, flying away from the Luding Bridge and tramping over snow mountains and marshy grasslands. I got to know Yan’an, a revolutionary base area in China, and its local life. I was deeply touched by the heroism of the Chinese workers, farmers, intellectuals and populace in the face of Japanese invaders. … I found things in common between the Chinese People’s War of Resistance against the Japanese Aggression and the Spanish people’s war against fascism. When the International Brigades left Spain, I was eager to fight in Yan’an one day.”

In the summer of 1938, David was sent by the Communist International from Spain to Shanghai, which was under Japanese occupation, to prepare reports on local workers. He taught at St. John’s University. In 1940, he went to Chengdu, Sichuan province, and taught at the University of Nanking, which had been forced to move to Chengdu because of the Japanese invasion. David met Isabel Brown in the office and fell in love with her at first sight. Isabel was born in Chengdu and her parents were Canadian missionaries. In 1938, she earned a master’s degree in child psychology from the University of Toronto in Canada and came back to China. She came to replace her sick sister as a teacher.

Employed by the National Christian Council of China, Isabel participated in the rural construction of Xinglongchang, Bishan county. David often went to see her at that time. In the summer of 1941, they visited a spot by the Dadu River where the Red Army had fought a fierce battle. On the iron chain bridge stretching across the river, David proposed to Isabel.

In June 1941, when Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union, David decided to return to Britain via New York to fight fascism. He worked with Edgar Snow at the American Committee in Aid of the Chinese Industrial Cooperatives in New York and raised money for China’s anti-fascist war. After a long journey, David and Isabel returned to London one after another. They married in 1942. David was enlisted in the British Royal Air Force and was sent to India, Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and Burma (today’s Myanmar) for intelligence work. Isabel joined the Communist Party of Britain and served in the Canadian Women’s Army Corps.

After the end of World War II in 1945, David retired from military service and began to study the Chinese language at the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London, while Isabel pursued her PhD in philosophy in anthropology under Raymond Firth at the London School of Economics. Rereading Red Star Over China renewed their interest in the country. The couple wanted to see changes in China, and their ideas were supported by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Britain which gave them a letter of introduction.

In the autumn of 1947, the couple traveled via Hong Kong to Shanghai and Tianjin. With the help of the underground organization of the Chinese Communist Party, they arrived at Shilidian (Ten Mile Inn) in Shidong village of Hebei province’s Wu’an county, in the Taihang mountain area. They participated in the land reform as observers. In homespun uniforms, they integrated into the local community, eating with farmers while carrying bowls and squatting on the ground. Through talks, they collected historical data and materials on land reform in the village between 1937 and 1947, yielding two works: Revolution in a Chinese Village: Ten Mile Inn; and Ten Mile Inn: Mass Movement in a Chinese Village.

With the liberated areas of north China expanded and merged, the liberation of Beijing and Tianjin were close at hand. In the summer of 1948, the couple finished their investigations and were ready to return to Britain. Wang Bingnan, deputy director of the Foreign Affairs Department of the CPC Central Committee, invited them to teach English at the Central Foreign Affairs School. They agreed.

Continue reading From Spain to China: The story of David Crook