Blinken’s visit and Biden’s true colors: imperialist arrogance toward China

In this informative discussion on Breakthrough News, Brian Becker and Ken Hammond address the latest developments in US-China relations, in particular Antony Blinken’s visit to Beijing and Joe Biden’s labelling of Xi Jinping as a “dictator”.

The two note that there was some short-lived optimism following Blinken’s visit that there could genuinely be scope for improving US-China relations, which are currently at their lowest ebb in half a century. Blinken had a lengthy discussion with Chinese foreign minister Qin Gang, as well as meeting separately with President Xi and Wang Yi, China’s top diplomat. The Chinese Foreign Ministry reported that Wang Yi reiterated China’s baseline – and entirely reasonable – demands: “that the US stop playing up the so-called ‘China threat’, lift illegal unilateral sanctions against China, stop suppressing China’s scientific and technological advances, and not wantonly interfere in China’s internal affairs.” Blinken meanwhile asserted that the US is committed to “managing differences responsibly and cooperating in areas of common interests.”

However, Biden’s foolish comments about the so-called spy balloon incident, in which he referred to Xi Jinping as a “dictator”, almost immediately wiped out any goodwill resulting from the Blinken visit. Ken observes that Biden’s comment betrays the US administration’s profound hostility towards China, and its fear of China’s rise. This fear, combined with the continued need of US capitalism to engage economically with China, leads to erratic and confused statements and policies.

Brian points to certain parallels between the McCarthyism of the Cold War era and the New McCarthyism of the New Cold War, including a nasty, racist and deeply antidemocratic witch-hunt. He points out, however, that China’s integration into the global economy means that attacks on China also cause significant harm to the West. Furthermore, import restrictions on Chinese products such as solar panels lead to inflated prices for US consumers and are impeding meaningful climate action. As such, the New Cold War is damaging for ordinary people in the West.

Ken and Brian describe the US as being addicted to war, and observe that the propaganda war against China is part of a broader war drive. They call for a determined struggle against this propaganda war.

Professor Hammond’s new book, China’s Revolution and the Quest for a Socialist Future, is available on 1804 Books.

Interview with DR Congo President Felix Tshisekedi

President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Félix Tshisekedi, paid a state visit to China, from May 24-29, visiting Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong. During his visit, President Tshisekedi was interviewed by Wang Guan for the CGTN series, Leaders Talk. 

Noting that he had never visited China before, Tshisekedi congratulated the country on its achievements in modernization, pointing out that, in the late 1960s, China and Congo were at approximately the same level of economic development. The leap China has made, he continued, is impressive. The Chinese model is one that he would like to emulate and replicate in his own country. 

Asked why he had made a point of laying a wreath at the Monument to the People’s Heroes and visiting the Museum of the Communist Party of China, Tshisekedi explained that there are notable parallels between the history of the two countries. They had both suffered from poverty and famine. But China has leveraged its strength and resources to escape from this legacy. Coming to China to see how this had been achieved was, he said, important to him. Regarding some of the negative things said about China by some international voices, he noted that to ensure the safety of more than one billion people, in terms of food security, education and health, is an enormous challenge. Rather than condemn China, he is inspired by its achievements and seeks to build a strong friendship.

Surveying some of the key areas of enhanced cooperation agreed during his visit, the President cited climate change, where the bilateral partnership could benefit the whole world, particularly with the DRC being the most biodiverse country in Africa.

He also laid strong emphasis on the need for the DRC to stop being purely an extractive site for its vast mineral wealth. By moving to refining, jobs would be created and development promoted. China, he explained, had agreed to join hands to promote the industrialisation of the DRC. Without added value, Tshisekedi asserts that Congo’s vast resources are virtually worthless in terms of the country’s development needs. The same could be said for its agricultural produce. Tshisekedi is grateful to China for its understanding and support, which is already producing tangible results, for example in terms of Chinese investment in battery manufacturing facilities that are crucial for renewable energy.

Development is a pressing need and for this peace and security are also needed. In Tshisekedi’s view, Xi Jinping’s concepts of the Global Development Initiative, Global Security Initiative and Global Civilization Initiative can all be of immense benefit to the DRC as well as to Africa as a whole. The DRC and Africa need China to stand alongside them in the search for peace and as a partner for development.

Moving to the end of the interview, President Tshisekedi struck an optimistic note. One day, he insisted, the DRC would achieve zero poverty. It is possible. China has done it.

The full interview with President Tshisekedi is embedded below.

Chen Weihua on the New Cold War, Taiwan and Ukraine

On the road in Brussels, Friends of Socialist China co-editor Danny Haiphong caught up with the prominent Chinese journalist Chen Weihua (China Daily’s EU bureau chief) for a very interesting interview.

Chen comments at length on the New Cold War and the deterioration in US-China relations during the Trump administration. Having worked in the US for several years during the Obama years, Chen witnessed a far healthier bilateral relationship, characterized mainly by cooperation – in spite of the launch of the Pivot to Asia, which obviously heralded a strategic shift on the part of the US. However, Trump dismantled the policy of engagement that had been in place since the restoration of relations between the two countries in the 1970s and, sadly, the Biden administration has been no improvement when it comes to US-China relations. Biden on the campaign trail criticized Trump’s trade war, but in office he’s continued and deepened it.

Regarding the Taiwan issue, Chen Weihua appealed to US politicians to not undermine the One China Principle or attempt to change the status quo over Taiwan. He stated that there is a consensus in China in favor of peaceful national reunification, and a general understanding that this process may take considerable time. For the US to encourage Taiwanese separatism and stoke the flames of conflict in the region is dangerous and ill-advised.

Video interview with Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki

In this edition of the CGTN series Leaders Talk, Zou Yun interviews Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki during the latter’s recent state visit to China.

Speaking on the day after his talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, and on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the counties’ diplomatic relations, which were established on the day that Eritrea proclaimed its independence, President Afwerki situated the bilateral relationship within what he described as the broader context of the historic mission of humanity. China had immediately stood on the side of the right of the Eritrean people to independence. Independence is the foundation of any international relationship. China, he said, stands on the side of the people of the world. And Eritrea, in solidarity with China, continues to uphold a mission for humanity.

The interview discussed the recent fallout from the conflict in Sudan, where Eritrea had assisted Chinese people who were being evacuated from the war-struck country, while China had also helped Eritrean people to leave Sudan. The Eritrean president described this as “our commitment to our common cause”. In  words that should shame British government ministers, he described how Eritrea had opened its borders to refugees – “No visa. No permissions. Everything is open for saving human lives.”

There was a need, Afwerki said, to create a new world order. No people can survive without solidarity and what China has achieved, both domestically and internationally, is very attractive to people around the world.

Saying that the future is bright, the Eritrean leader was of the view that hegemonism “is no longer the rule of the game” because of what China has achieved. 

Turning to the sanctions imposed on his country by the United States and some other countries, Afwerki described them as the product of a sick mind. Such sanctions, he said, are imposed on all those who defend their independence and sovereignty. Sanctions have inflicted tremendous damage on Eritrea and its development, but they have also taught a powerful lesson with regard to the struggle that needs to be waged to build a nation and have made the Eritrean people more determined to continue that struggle.

Zou Yun referred to President Afwerki as having a “special bond” with China. Over 50 years ago, at the age of 20, he came to China and spent two years in military and political training at the dawn of the Eritrean revolution. Questioned on this period, he said that he learned so much in a short time and what he had learned had changed lives. The main lesson, he said, was the commitment of the country’s leaders and the Communist Party to the people. This has provided a model of success for everyone. China had been considered a backward country by others, but now it is reshaping the global order.

The full interview with President Isaias Afwerki is embedded below.

Introducing ‘The East is Still Red – Chinese socialism in the 21st century’

Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez was interviewed by Sean Blackmon on the Sputnik Radio show By Any Means Necessary about his new book, The East is Still Red – Chinese socialism in the 21st century.

Carlos talks about his motivations for writing the book, the crucial importance of opposing the US-led New Cold War, the necessity for Marxists to understand and defend Chinese socialism, and the ever-contentious question of whether contemporary China is indeed socialist.

The full interview can be viewed on Rumble.

Find out more about the book | Buy the book | Join the book launch on 4 June 2023

Interview with Roland Boer on the nature of Chinese socialism

In this very interesting and detailed discussion, Roland Boer and Ben Norton delve into a number of the key issues from Roland’s book Socialism with Chinese Characteristics: A Guide for Foreigners. The core of the discussion is around answering the left critique of China’s post-1978 economic reforms: that these constitute a return to capitalism; that Deng Xiaoping and his colleagues were capitalist roaders who sought to overturn socialism via the introduction of market mechanisms.

Roland points out that markets go back thousands of years, long pre-dating capitalism. As such, there’s no equals sign between capitalism and markets; markets existed before capitalism and they can exist after capitalism. The question for socialists is how to use markets within a socialist context; how to use market mechanisms within a framework of an overall planned economy which is directed at meeting the immediate and long-term needs of the people, and preparing the ground for an eventual transition to a classless society.

Roland makes an important distinction between two key aspects of socialism: that of common ownership of the means of production, and liberation of the productive forces. The two do not necessarily always advance in neat and predictable correlation. This is something that is understood by all existing socialist societies – in China, Vietnam, Cuba, Laos and the DPRK. Deng Xiaoping and his colleagues understood very well that a high level of the productive forces was a material prerequisite for China’s development of an advanced socialism and ultimately for communism. The whole purpose of the reform process has been to develop China’s productive forces whilst simultaneously pursuing the fundamental socialist objective of improving people’s lives. On both counts, the process has been phenomenally successful.

Ben contrasts the level of development and living standards in India and China, noting that hundreds of millions in India continue to face devastating poverty, while China is responsible for at least 70 percent of all poverty alleviation in the last four decades. He points out that this disparity is primarily a manifestation of the two countries having different social systems.

The two take on a number of other key questions, including the nature of socialist democracy, the treatment of migrant workers, the household responsibility system, corruption, and the consolidation of Marxism in China under the leadership of President Xi Jinping.

The video was first posted on Ben’s Geopolitical Economy Report channel.

Interview: China is governed in the interests of working people, the US in the interests of capital

In this interview with Global Times, Sara Flounders – a contributing editor to Workers World and a member of our advisory group – shares her analysis of the escalating New Cold War and the US’s global hegemonic project. Comparing the West’s approach of war, sanctions, coercion and destabilisation with China’s vision of a human community with a shared future, Sara observes:

The very concept of shared future and cooperation has a profound impact. It’s not threatening to other countries, and it has the win-win idea, meaning if your economy is growing and our economy is growing, that’s better for both of us. That’s the basis of building further and deeper trust.

Sara points out that the differing approaches to international and domestic politics taken by the US and China can ultimately be explained by their differing social systems. In socialist China, the government operates in the interests of working people, whereas “the political parties in the US operate in the interests of the top corporations and banks.”

The interview concludes with a note of caution: with US hegemony in decline, the US ruling class is hitting out in all directions in a bid to prevent that decline. “It’s a very dangerous juncture, because this is very threatening to US imperialism and we have to be prepared what they will do to try to preserve their role.” The situation calls for maximum unity of the global working class and oppressed nations, to defend our collective interests and press ahead to a multipolar future free from imperialism.

GT: The Russia-Ukraine conflict has dragged on for more than a year. What lessons can the world draw from this conflict?

Flounders: Hopefully, they will draw the conclusion not to go along with US provocations, intentional disruptions, and efforts to create crisis.

Now, out of this war in the past year, Russia has not only survived economically, its currency and its trade with the Global South have been reinforced and are stronger today. However, for the EU, they’re in a much weaker position. We shouldn’t forget that even though they are US allies, they are also competitors. The euro is now weaker than the dollar, the war has benefited the US and yet has been very harmful for all of the EU countries that went along with the war.

I think countries around the world will draw their conclusions. Do they want to be roped into this? Especially in Asia, who can US imperialism rope in in terms of their own sovereignty? Who can resist the US pressure?

GT: Taiwan regional leader Tsai Ing-wen was in California and met US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. While the US contains Russia through the Ukraine war in Europe, does it also want to provoke a war in the Taiwan Strait to contain China?

Flounders: This meeting was a direct and intentional violation of signed agreements that the US has made with China. China is one. Taiwan is a province of China. This is agreed to by the world, by the United Nations, by the US and by Taiwan’s “constitution.” For Kevin McCarthy to line up other congressional members and meet with Tsai Ing-wen is a direct violation of past agreements.

In the same way that Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan last year was a direct and deliberate violation of the agreement. There’s no reason to do this, except to attempt to create provocations, to create further disruption of what had been an orderly process of reconciliation and of Taiwan becoming part of China, which is the wish for great majority of the people, even in Taiwan.

China’s approach is to continue to use diplomacy to not be baited into an intentional provocation. However, it is becoming a difficult situation because one offense after another, one arms shipment after another. And US aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, destroyers, sail into the Taiwan Straits. These are all intended provocations, and any one of them could be a dangerous jumping-off point. 

GT: The US pursues hegemony by provoking conflicts. China promotes a human community with a shared future. What do the two differing governance concepts bring to the world?

Flounders: The very concept of shared future and cooperation has a profound impact. It’s not threatening to other countries, and it has the win-win idea, meaning if your economy is growing and our economy is growing, that’s better for both of us. That’s the basis of building further and deeper trust.

Continue reading Interview: China is governed in the interests of working people, the US in the interests of capital

Interview: The US system is plutocratic rather than democratic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

China isn’t our enemy, targeting of Tiktok is xenophobic

In this brief interview for CGTN, North American anti-war activist Calla Walsh – one of the co-chairs of the National Network on Cuba, and a speaker at our Counter-Summit for Democracy – explains that a growing number of young people in the US do not see China as their enemy but rather as a friend; “as a global leader that is really paving the way to a more peaceful and multi-polar world where all countries have a right to sovereignty, instead of living under the yoke of the United States.” Although young people in the West are exposed to a relentless barrage of anti-China propaganda, increasingly people are able to see and understand certain powerful facts: that it’s the US and its allies that go round the world waging war and imposing domination, while China stands with the Global South; that it’s the US that’s failing to make meaningful progress addressing the climate crisis, while China has emerged as a global leader in green energy. In summary, “China is a progressive force, and the US is extremely regressive.”

Calla also addresses the attack on TikTok – an attack based on xenophobia, anticommunism, and a fear of China’s economic rise. However, this attack is having the opposite of its intended effect: “I think it’ll make the entire user base, which is hundreds of millions of people, even more skeptical of the US government’s narrative on TikTok and on China as a whole.”

The anti-China onslaught in the U.S. doesn’t seem to be having the desired effect on its younger population. A recent survey by The Economist and YouGov reveals that younger Americans are friendlier to China than their older counterparts. Nearly a quarter of Americans aged 18 to 44 view China as “friendly,” only 4 percent of Americans above the age of 45 view China this way.

The report comes amid the U.S. efforts to ban TikTok, a video app that has become a craze among American youth in recent years. At the Congressional hearing of TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew, U.S. lawmakers couldn’t hide their racism and xenophobia.

To understand how a large number of young Americans are contesting the anti-China narrative within the U.S., CGTN spoke with Calla Walsh, a youth anti-war activist who is on the board of Massachusetts Peace Action and one of the co-chairs of the National Network on Cuba.

Edited Excerpts:

CGTN: Let me ask you the question that The Economist-YouGov poll asked its respondents: Do you consider China to be a friendly nation or an enemy of the United States?

Walsh: China is not our enemy and I’m among the substantial group of young people in the U.S. that sees China as a friend. And I see China not only as a friend, but as a global leader that is really paving the way to a more peaceful and multi-polar world where all countries have a right to sovereignty, instead of living under the yoke of the United States. And it’s really hard to buy the U.S. demonization of China as this existential threat when in the past several decades the U.S. is the country that has committed hundreds of military interventions and invasions.

And I think young people can see through these warmongering lies that the U.S. is spreading about China. And we can also see China is actually delivering on the issues we care about, for example, climate. [U.S. President Joe] Biden is signing off on the willow project; he’s breaking his campaign promises to stop new drilling on federal land while China’s leading the world and reducing carbon emissions, building green infrastructure. So it’s very easy to tell China is a progressive force, and the U.S. is extremely regressive.

CGTN: Does the poll indicate that we are witnessing a slow but gradual generational change in perception about China?

Walsh: I think there is a slow generational shift in how we regard China and how we regard U.S. imperialism as a whole. We are not the generation of the first Cold War against the Soviet Union. I think our generation has been much more shaped by social movements that have really made us more skeptical of the U.S. government narrative on things. We’re the generation of these mass mobilizations against Climate Change, against gun violence, against racism and police brutality. And young people are becoming more civically engaged, having record-breaking voter turnout, and I think we’re much more skeptical of the U.S. government because of the failures on those issues I just mentioned.

CGTN: How do you see the ongoing targeting of TikTok? How will the Congressional hearing of the TikTok CEO affect the view of its user base?

Walsh: The ongoing targeting of TikTok is very much xenophobic, and red-scare tactic. And just when I’ve logged on to TikTok in the past few days, I’ve seen lots of popular accounts, ones that are even apolitical, that are calling this hearing a witch hunt. They’re mocking U.S. Congress members, for not even understanding how the internet works. So it’s really putting into light how ridiculous this anti-China propaganda is. And I think that’ll make the entire user base which is hundreds of millions of people even more skeptical of the U.S. government’s narrative on TikTok and on China as a whole.

And of course the U.S. government literally mass spies on its own citizens. So we know this isn’t about privacy at all. And other U.S. social media companies, like Meta, engage in very harmful data sharing practices. So what we should be talking about is why the U.S. really is doing this and that’s because of the economic competition that China poses.

Is Taiwan the next Ukraine?

Interviewed on BreakThrough News by Eugene Puryear and Rania Khalek, Professor Ken Hammond gives an extremely clear explanation of US policy in relation to Taiwan. Ken points out that the corporate media has reached fever pitch, encouraging the Western public to think that China is on the cusp of launching a military invasion of Taiwan Island; that this is a prima facie example of China’s disruption of the peaceful “rules-based order” that the US so benevolently presides over. This narrative functions to raise public support for a New Cold War, and to silence those voices making the rather obvious point that US-China cooperation over climate change and other global problems is both urgent and necessary.

Ken points out that China’s position in relation to Taiwan has not changed. China has always reiterated its commitment to a peaceful resolution of the issue, whilst maintaining its right to use force in the face of interference or any unilateral attempt by separatists to declare Taiwan’s independence. The issue is a fundamental concern of China: for hundreds of years, Taiwan has been part of China, and the only reason Taiwan is administered separately today is that the US Navy positioned itself in the Taiwan Strait following the victory of the Chinese Revolution in order to protect the remnants of the Nationalist regime and prevent national reunification under the CPC-led government in Beijing.

The US continues to provoke China over the Taiwan issue – and other issues – in the hope of triggering an incident that can be parlayed into a conflict which the US can somehow leverage to stall China’s development and its emergence as a major player in global affairs. Ultimately, Ken points out, this is done in order to protect US hegemony, and would certainly not benefit the ordinary people of the US. It’s a profoundly dangerous strategy which must be exposed and opposed.

The interview is embedded below.

The life and legacy of Zhou Enlai: an interview with Professor Ken Hammond

To mark the 125th anniversary of the birth of Zhou Enlai – one of the top leaders of the Chinese Revolution, and Premier of People’s China from 1949 until his death in 1976 – we conducted an extensive interview with Professor Ken Hammond about Zhou’s life and legacy.

The interview covers Zhou Enlai’s formation as a revolutionary; his role in the early years of the Chinese Revolution in the 1920s; his working relationship with Mao Zedong; his contribution to Marxist understanding of socialist foreign policy; his role in establishing links of solidarity between China and Africa; his role in the negotiations with Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon that brought about the start of a rapprochement between the US and China; his experiences in the Cultural Revolution; and his lasting legacy, both in China and globally.

Ken Hammond is a professor of East Asian and Global History at New Mexico State University, founding director of the Confucius Institute at New Mexico State University, and an activist with Pivot to Peace. He’s also a member of the Friends of Socialist China advisory group, and is working on a biography of Zhou Enlai. He is interviewed by our co-editor Carlos Martinez.

President Raisi: Iran and China share a deep friendship

In this episode of the CGTN series Leaders Talk, Wang Guan goes to Beijing’s Diaoyutai State Guest House to interview Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi during his recent visit to China.

The Iranian President notes that the two countries share a deep friendship, both being ancient Asian civilisations with rich histories and now sharing common positions and interests. China and Iran, he notes, both believe in maintaining independence, but some countries do not want to see them grow stronger. However, their mutual cooperation is increasing, whether in the fields of economy and trade, or through joint participation in such multilateral bodies as the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), which Iran recently joined as a full member. President Raisi’s meeting with President Xi Jinping was their second in six months, following the SCO Summit in the Uzbek city of Samarkand.

The interview devotes considerable attention to the United States’ illegal and unilateral sanctions against Iran. These were not eased even during the worst days of the Covid-19 pandemic. Raisi describes the sanctions as “incredibly cruel”, with no fundamental difference from outright military aggression. With essential medicines, for example those needed by cancer patients, and Covid-19 vaccines, embargoed, Iran has successfully developed its own vaccines, both in cooperation with other countries and independently, and has now become a net exporter. Seventy per cent of Iranians have been vaccinated, with help from China playing a crucial role. Noting that Iran has been under US sanctions for over four decades, and under eight US Presidents, Raisi notes that they expected the Iranian government to fall, but they are the ones who have departed one after another. Biden had claimed to oppose Trump’s Iran policy, but his own policy once in office has proved to be no different.

The Iranian leader expresses strong support for Xi Jinping’s signature policies of the Global Development Initiative (GDI) and the Global Security Initiative (GSI), which he sees as necessary due to the fact that US hegemony and its cronies are responsible for wars and bloody conflicts around the world. Some developed countries, he says, only pay lip service to promoting development while oppressing people in other countries and even their own people. China makes commendable and determined efforts to lift all people out of poverty while in some other countries only two or three per cent of the people benefit from government policies.

Marx’s writings on the Opium Wars and capital accumulation in the Global South, with Lucia Pradella

In the interview below, Lucia Pradella engages with Joseph Mullen of The Cadre Journal on the subject of Karl Marx’s understanding of colonialism and capital accumulation in the Global South, with particular reference to China.

Dr. Pradella is a Senior Lecturer in International Political Economy at King’s College London and the author of ‘Globalization and the critique of political economy: New insights from Marx’s writings’, published as part of the Routledge Frontiers of Political Economy series. The Cadre Journal is a student-run journal and podcast on anti-imperialism and communism.

Lucia explains how in her study for her master’s and PhD degrees, as well as a period spent working on the major project to publish the Complete Works of Marx and Engels, she acquired greater understanding of the breadth and depth of Marx’s studies of pre-capitalist societies and of the central role played by colonialism, and not least the Opium Wars, in primitive capital accumulation and his value theory. Whilst greater attention has tended to be paid to Marx’s writings on India, it is significant that Marx’s positive attention to, and appraisal of, the first stages of the Taiping Revolution essentially coincides with the defeat suffered by the European revolutions of 1848. Arising from his study of the Taipings, Marx postulated the possibility of a republican revolution in China.

In the Communist Manifesto, she notes, Marx and Engels proceeded from the premise that the industrial proletariat of Europe constituted the agency of the international revolutionary process, but developments post-1848 created two possible paths to revolution, on the part of the industrial proletariat and on the part of the colonised peoples. However, she contends that Marx did not abandon his view that a developed capitalism was necessary for there to be a socialist revolution. 

The views and contributions of a range of people, including Rosa Luxemburg, David Harvey, Immanuel Wallerstein, Giovanni Arrighi, Andre Gunder Frank and Samir Amin are touched on, with Lucia arguing that the dependency theorists and proponents of world systems theory overlooked some aspects of Marx’s Capital.  Asked for her views on the theory of combined and uneven development, and its applicability, she expresses the view that Trotsky did not understand the centrality of colonialism in Marx’s analysis.

Noting Marx’s acuity with regards to the potential impact of developments in China on the world economy, she says that some of the developments we see today are processes that Marx already analysed at a very abstract level in Capital Volume One.

The full interview is embedded below.

Interview with Hun Sen: No one can replace China

In this edition of the CGTN series Leaders Talk, Zou Yun travels to the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh to interview Prime Minister Hun Sen just prior to his recent visit to China.

Noting that he will be the first foreign leader to visit China following the Spring Festival, and that he was the first to visit China three years ago during the Covid pandemic, Hun Sen recalls that at that time he, “felt the need to stand in solidarity with the Chinese people” and also to reassure Cambodians living and studying in China.

His expectations this time were particularly focused on deepening economic cooperation, not least through the free trade agreements of both Cambodia and the ASEAN regional bloc with China as well as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

Lauding China’s comprehensive contribution to Cambodia’s infrastructural development, Hun Sen firmly stands by his earlier statement, “who can I rely on if not on China?” “I have made it clear and will continue to say it…Who can replace China? They [Cambodia’s critics] do nothing, but question us instead.”

China’s development, he points out, “brings benefits to the whole world.” Some countries, he notes, press Cambodia to follow their political path, but he refuses this. “Though poor and underdeveloped, Cambodia has its dignity…Some countries threaten and impose sanctions on us, but I am confident that China will never do such a thing to us.”

Describing President Xi Jinping as a great leader, Hun Sen says that the Chinese leader’s concepts of a Global Development Initiative (GDI) and a Global Security Initiative (GSI) are “truly visionary.” If they were to be universally adopted, the world will “become a harmonious community without fear of war.”

The full interview is embedded below.

War fever: after Ukraine, Taiwan?

The text below is the English translation of an interview with Dirk Nimmegeers, co-editor of and Friends of Socialist China advisory group member, originally published in De Wereld Morgen.

The interview focuses on the prospects for peace across the Taiwan Strait, particularly in the light of the recent comment by US General Mike Minihan that “my gut tells me” there will be a war over Taiwan in 2025. Dirk gives a summary of Taiwan’s 20th century history and the evolution of US policy in relation to the province, which since the signing of the Shanghai Communiqué in 1972 has officially been that “the United States acknowledges that all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China.” Dirk notes that, in spite of this official adherence to the One China policy, the US has been encouraging “the most reckless separatist and militaristic politicians on Taiwan” and increasing arms sales to the province. Furthermore President Biden has repeatedly (and unilaterally) stated that the US would would intervene militarily if the People’s Republic attempted to change the status quo by force.

With China and Russia in particular in the crosshairs, Washington is boosting its ‘defence’ spending, modernising its nuclear arsenal, and escalating its militarisation of the Pacific – via AUKUS, its encouragement of Japan’s remilitarisation, the Pacific Deterrence Initiative, and more. “It is clear, and Washington does not deny it, that all this is primarily directed against China.” As part of this overall campaign of China encirclement, “one could argue that Taiwan has been assigned the role of a kind of military base by the US”. Additionally, Dirk opines that US strategists seem determined to use Taiwan against China in much the same way as they are using Ukraine against Russia, stoking conflict in order to weaken the emerging powers and thereby protect US hegemony.

Dirk concludes with a call for the peace movement in the West to make its voice heard loud and clear in forceful opposition to the US policy of escalating tensions over Taiwan. While the media presents the issue as one of Chinese bellicosity, the truth is that China’s position on the Taiwan question has not changed for many decades: “China is aiming at a peaceful reunification. But it also wants past agreements to be respected.” However, China will naturally defend its sovereignty against rising provocations. Peace can only be guaranteed if the US and its allies cease their provocations and return to a framework of cooperation, respect for international law, and respect for China’s sovereignty.

To fully understand what exactly is going on, it is important to grasp Taiwan’s special status. Can you explain that status a bit?

Taiwan does have its own government and parliament, but it is not a sovereign or independent state because it is part of China. Almost every state in the world, including the US, recognises that. Taiwan, for instance, has no seat in the UN.

There is only one China, with its government based in Beijing. The Taiwanese political entity was installed in 1949 by the losing side in the Chinese civil war, whose leaders fled to Taiwan.

Legally, the island has been part of China for centuries – like Flanders is part of Belgium, or Friesland is part of the Netherlands. In a way you can see Taiwan as a rebellious province.

What is China’s relationship towards this ‘rebellious province’?

China’s policy has been unchanging for decades: Taiwan should be reunited peacefully with the rest of the country. Beijing would like to see economic ties between the mainland and the island province restored to the same level as they were until recently. More social and cultural contacts would also be beneficial.

However, Beijing has always warned – and does so every time it is gravely provoked – that any declaration of Taiwanese independence or serious moves towards it would lead to a military response. Essentially, the ‘Taiwan issue’ is a domestic one, which the Chinese on both sides of the Taiwan Strait will settle between themselves.

Continue reading War fever: after Ukraine, Taiwan?

President of Guyana: Sino-Guyanese relations are imperishable, based on shared ties of blood and history

In this edition of the CGTN series Leaders Talk, Wang Guan interviews Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, President of Guyana. The only English-speaking country in the South American mainland, for reasons of historical and cultural background, Guyana is also considered a part of the Caribbean. In 1972, Guyana became the first country in the English-speaking Caribbean to establish diplomatic relations with China. And in 2018, it became the first country in South America to join China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

But whilst China and Guyana have enjoyed just over 50 years of diplomatic relations, the Chinese presence in Guyana dates back to 1853, which leads President Ali to describe Sino-Guyanese relations as imperishable ones, based on shared ties of blood and history. The Chinese, he says, are part of our country and its diversity and bloodline. This finds expression in a line of the Guyanese national anthem: One land of six peoples, united and free.

Indeed, the first President of Guyana, Arthur Chung, was himself of Chinese heritage, serving between 1970-1980 and visiting China in 1977, five years after the establishment of diplomatic relations. Opening the Arthur Chung Convention Centre in 2015, then President David A. Granger said: “I would like the first President in this country to be remembered… This is the 45th anniversary year of becoming a Republic and Mr. Chung was the first person of Chinese descent who was President in a non-Asian country and it was historic.”

With the recent discovery of massive oil reserves, Guyana has been registering exponential rates of economic growth. President Ali reveals that by 2027-28, Guyana is expecting to produce close to one million barrels of oil per day (bpd). He wants to use this to give the people the best possible education and health care, develop and diversify agriculture, enhance manufacturing and industry, bring down energy costs, meet the housing needs of every single family, and establish proper institutional mechanisms to protect revenues, thereby ensuring that the country enjoys a ‘resource blessing’ rather than a ‘resource curse’.

China is already involved in his country’s oil consortium, but besides welcoming further bids and tenders from Chinese companies, going forward Dr. Ali is particularly keen to see China become Guyana’s most important partner on a path of low carbon development, with gas playing a transitional role, but also focusing on hydro, solar and wind, to fast track green energy development.

President Ali stresses that his country respects the One China Principle and the One China Policy, seeing them as a key plank of international peace and security, just like the regional demand for the Caribbean to be a Zone of Peace. Referencing conflicts such as the ongoing one in Ukraine, he notes that it is the developing world and the poorest countries, who, as a result, face the worst crises in, for example, food and fuel price inflation.

China’s ‘thought leadership’, as expressed, for example, in the Global Security Initiative and the Global Development Initiative, as well as the BRI, can, in the president’s view, contribute especially to the resolution of four key global crises – of inequality, climate change, food security, and energy security. The developing countries, he notes, did not cause these crises, but suffer the most from them.

Stressing that both countries are committed to growing their relations, President Ali says that this work should put people at the centre. If there is investment in the future generations, knowledge and technology transfers, and cultural exchanges, the bilateral ties can only get stronger.

The full interview is embedded below.

Interview with Gennady Zyuganov on Chinese socialism

The recently concluded 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) attracted the close attention of communist and progressive forces around the world.

In that regard, shortly before the opening of the Congress, Comrade Gennady Zyuganov, Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF), gave an extensive interview to the leading Chinese newspaper, Guangming Ribao.

Acclaiming the CPC’s century of struggle, the Russian communist leader noted that: “Over the past hundred years the CPC dramatically changed the destiny of the Chinese people. It liberated them from the shackles of semi-colonial dependence, national humiliation and economic enslavement and made the people masters of their land and their destiny. Under the leadership of the CPC the working people of China have driven out foreign invaders, established and consolidated their power and built a middle-income society.”

Speaking of his Chinese counterpart, Zyuganov said: “Xi Jinping is flesh of the flesh of the great Chinese people.” He further noted that the Chinese leader’s father, Comrade Xi Zhongxun, is “a representative of the first generation of Chinese revolutionaries. He was among the founders and leaders of the revolutionary base in the liberated regions of the Shanxi and Gansu provinces and organizers of political work in the People’s Liberation Army of China.”

Noting that the ideas contained in Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era are “universal in character,” and that they “constitute a major innovative contribution to the development of the Marxist theory”, Zyuganov continued: “Writing about socialist society in 1890, Friedrich Engels pointed out that it is not ‘something given once and for all.’ And the great thinker stressed: ‘Like any other social system it should be seen as subject to constant changes and transformations’ … Marx, Engels and Lenin have repeatedly stressed that the characteristics of the socialist social and economic system manifest themselves in the practice of socialist construction in each individual country. Life has vindicated these theoretical premises: a socio-economic system cannot be created according to a single template. Historical experience shows that transition to socialism calls for a combination of the fundamental ideas of Marxism-Leninism and the real state of affairs.”

After speaking about the present situation regarding relations between Russia and China, and such related topics as the conflict in Ukraine, the heightened imperialist hostility and threats to both Russia and China, and the related moves to rehabilitate and revive fascism and militarism and reverse the correct verdicts passed in 1945, Comrade Zyuganov concludes:

“The CPRF is preparing to mark the centenary of the formation of the USSR. Moving along the path of building socialism our country has achieved great successes which have an intransient significance for the whole human race. In 1917 Russia was the first to breach the international front of imperialism and embark on the building of a new society. Following this path under the leadership of the Communist Party the Soviet people have created the most advanced economy for that time, raised living standards, developed science and culture, vanquished fascism and conquered outer space. In the 21st century the relay of victories and accomplishments has been confidently taken from the USSR by socialist China…

“It is only by working persistently to strengthen the unity of the Russian and Chinese people and build up our joint efforts in the struggle against the West’s neo-colonial aspirations that we can uphold the sovereignty of our countries. As Stalin would have said in a similar situation, we will either do it quickly, or we will be crushed.”

We are pleased to republish the full text of this important interview. It was originally published in English on the website of the CPRF.

Speaking at the International Forum of the CPC and Marxist Parties organized by the Communist Party of China you noted that the centenary of the CPC which was marked a year ago was an outstanding milestone in the history of the Chinese people which had great resonance in many countries. How do you assess the successes achieved by the Chinese people under the leadership of the Communist Party of China during the 101 years of revolutionary development?

During its more than a century-long existence the Communist Party of China has traversed a glorious path of creative endeavor. Following its initial goal and fulfilling its mission of social restructuring it managed to unite the popular masses and launch the struggle for a great resurgence of the country on the basis of the values of peace, labor, justice, humanism and progress. In this struggle it has achieved outstanding historic results. Over the past hundred years the CPC dramatically changed the destiny of the Chinese people. It liberated them from the shackles of semi-colonial dependence, national humiliation and economic enslavement and made the people masters of their land and their destiny. Under the leadership of the CPC the working people of China have driven out foreign invaders, established and consolidated their power and built a middle-income society. Today the Chinese look to the future with complete confidence and are making the history of their great Motherland in the new era. Within a historically brief space of time a massive leap has been made toward creating a high-tech industry and dramatically raising people’s living standards. Along with dynamic economic growth long-term stability of the Chinese society has been ensured. This is extremely important for the country as a whole and for each concrete individual. Socialist China is an indisputable leader on many key parameters.

Continue reading Interview with Gennady Zyuganov on Chinese socialism

Video: China’s socialist development model speaks for itself

In the video below, originally carried on CGTN, Li Jingjing interviews Carlos Martinez about the recently-concluded 20th National Congress of the CPC – in particular its focus on common prosperity – as well as the successes of China’s development model.

Carlos outlines the core principles of common prosperity – reducing poverty, reducing inequality, improving distribution, and increased regulation of capital. He highlights in particular the measures that have already been taken in support of workers in the ‘gig economy’, including recent legislation supporting and encouraging unionisation, and mandating that all workers have proper contracts and full insurance entitlement. These measures compare very favourably with the situation in the West, where casual workers face terrible working conditions, zero-hour contracts and anti-union policies.

Discussing China’s development model of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics, Carlos points out that the successes of this model speak for themselves. It is a model that has been able to eliminate extreme poverty in a huge country of 1.4 billion people – an unprecedented achievement. “Anyone saying it’s a bad model is saying that it’s bad for people who used to face famines to now live comfortable lives.”

China and Cuba: a relationship of solidarity, friendship and cooperation

We are very pleased to publish below an interview with Carlos Miguel Pereira Hernández, Cuba’s ambassador to China, conducted by People’s Daily and published in Chinese on 13 October. The unabridged English translation has been provided to us by the Cuban Embassy in Beijing.

Timed to coincide with the 62nd anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Cuba and the People’s Republic of China, the interview gives an overview of the history and contemporary reality of relations between the two countries.

Noting that revolutionary Cuba was the first country in the Western hemisphere to extend diplomatic recognition to the People’s Republic of China – in 1960, just a year after the 26th of July Movement came to power – Pereira references the role played by Chinese immigrants in Cuba’s independence struggle. He points out that Cuba and China consider themselves “mutual referents in the construction of socialism with our own characteristics” and notes that President Miguel Díaz-Canel describes Cuba-China ties as “paradigmatic”, and President Xi Jinping describes them as those of “good friends, good comrades and good brothers”.

Describing the cooperation between China and Cuba fields in a vast array of fields, Comrade Pereira expresses confidence that the relationship will continue to deepen.

This year marks the 62nd anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Cuba, how do you assess the fraternal friendship between the two countries? What are your specific plans to further promote economic, trade and people-to-people exchanges between the two countries?     

Relations between Cuba and China were made official on September 28, 1960, a formal step after the announcement by Commander in Chief Fidel Castro a few days earlier in front of more than a million Cubans, in the context of the historic First Declaration of Havana, to recognize the New China and rescind ties with Taiwan. That just decision was born of the political and popular will that have accompanied our relations throughout these 62 years.

The nascent Cuban Revolution definitively broke with the Monroe Doctrine and blind obedience to Washington, allowing Cuba to become the first country in the entire Western Hemisphere to establish ties with New China. We are honored to have made that modest contribution as one of the first manifestations of independence from our foreign policy.

The historical foundations and deep bonds of friendship between our peoples go back to the arrival of those first Chinese immigrants 175 years ago, who also had an outstanding and glorious participation in our struggles for independence.

Throughout these years of uninterrupted relations, Cuba has had the historic privilege of always being in the front row in promoting exchanges with China. Our relations represent a model of cooperation based on equality, respect and mutual benefit. We consider ourselves mutual referents in the construction of socialism with our own characteristics and on that basis, we carry out a broad and systematic exchange of experiences.

Continue reading China and Cuba: a relationship of solidarity, friendship and cooperation

Capitalism’s senility and socialism’s vigor are increasingly apparent to world

We are pleased to republish this important interview with Professor Radhika Desai, Convenor of the International Manifesto Group and member of our advisory group, originally published by Global Times. The focus of the interview is the ever more stark demarcation between stagnating western capitalism and booming socialist China.

Analysing the turn to neo-liberalism, particularly in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis, Radhika asserts: “Liberal democracy is a contradiction in terms… Capitalism is not in the interests of the vast majority of working people.”

Questioned on the premise of earlier Western engagement with China, and its expectation that it would lead to the demise of socialism, Radhika notes: “China’s development is entirely attributed to the country’s adherence to socialism, both in the early period under Mao and in the later reform and opening-up period… After reform and opening-up, the US stepped up economic engagement with China and the idea, particularly after the end of the Soviet Union in 1991, was that such engagement would also make China more or less capitalist, even neoliberal. However, for China this engagement was only another means to advance socialism… Capitalism’s senility and socialism’s vigor are increasingly apparent.”

For the Chinese people, the past decade has been epic and inspirational. The country, under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core, has made great endeavors in boosting its economy, deepening reforms, improving the rights of its people and acting as a responsible power globally.

The world has been increasingly turbulent in recent years due to multiple crises triggered by the US-led West, while there is an obvious tendency that the West is more and more difficult to maintain its development momentum like in the last century. After the 2008 financial crisis, economic growth in Western countries has remained low, in stark contrast to China’s boom. Global Times (GT) reporter Yan Yuzhu talked to Radhika Desai (Desai), convenor of International Manifesto Group and professor of political studies at the University of Manitoba in Canada, about her opinion toward the weakness of capitalism, the adverse consequences of neoliberalism for Western development, as well as China’s role in making a way to pluripolarity. 

This is the 25th of the series about this special decade.

GT: After the 2008 financial crisis, especially in the last decade, economic growth in the West has remained very low and the crisis of their domestic political system has been highlighted time and again. In contrast, China has maintained a relatively stable momentum of development, and the gap between China and the US has gradually narrowed. What do you think are the reasons for this difference? 

Desai: The low economic growth of major capitalist countries since 2008 is the result of the turn to neoliberalism. It never managed to restore the growth of the 1970s. It occurred because production had outstripped demand and, rather than solving the demand problem, neoliberalism only made it worse. Its attack on organized labor and social spending restricted consumption demand while its encouragement towards financial and rentier activity reduced investment demand, siphoning away funds into speculation and predatory activity. The attempt to compensate for low demand, low growth and low government revenues by extending credit to consumers and governments has only led to mountains of debt and asset bubbles that have regularly burst, weakening economies further. 

This process has been ongoing for more than four decades. At the start, the major capitalist countries were much healthier thanks to their “golden age” of robust growth and the broad-based distribution of incomes. But over time, the disastrous effects of neoliberal policies were assailing ever weaker economies. 

Continue reading Capitalism’s senility and socialism’s vigor are increasingly apparent to world