Spectre of Fu Manchu still influences UK’s modern Sinophobia

In the following brief article, Ding Gang, a senior editor with People’s Daily and senior fellow with the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, discusses the historical roots of the current wave of anti-China fearmongering in the British media and political establishment.

Ding Gang references the notorious fictional character Fu Manchu, invented by Sax Rohmer in the early 20th century. Fu Manchu was the personification of the “menace from the East”, masterminding a dangerous conspiracy to undermine Western civilisation. As China expert and peace activist Jenny Clegg has pointed out, the image of Fu Manchu came to “resonate into the deepest recesses of popular consciousness the world over”.

Ding Gang explains that the Fu Manchu character feeds into a racist ‘yellow-peril’ narrative, within which “East Asians pose a mortal threat to the Western world … reflecting and reinforcing Western anxieties about Asian influence and power.” This mentality continues to stand in the way of mutual understanding and cooperation between China and the West.

The author concludes:

Recognizing and addressing the historical roots of Western perceptions can lead to an informed, respectful and conducive approach to engaging with China for a constructive global future, fostering dialogue and exchanges between China and Britain to build mutual understanding and respect.

This article first appeared in Global Times on 27 March 2024.

The concepts in this article are explored further in a 2021 Society for Anglo-Chinese Understanding webinar Standing Up to Sinophobia – from Fu Manchu to Bat Soup!.

“China could use its electric cars to attack the West” was the title of a commentary I recently read on The Telegraph’s website. The article has even more eye-catching content: “Data espionage has become the signature weapon of the Chinese party state.”

Several other major British media outlets ran front-page headlines on Monday and Tuesday about the so-called Chinese cybersecurity threat, “identifying” China as a significant threat to the UK.

A wave of Sinophobia is sweeping across the country, reminding me of a name that Chinese people have long forgotten, Dr Fu Manchu.

Fu is a fictional character created by English author Sax Rohmer in the early 20th century. He first appeared in the 1913 novel The Mystery of Dr Fu Manchu. Fu is depicted as a brilliant but evil genius, embodying the Western archetype of the “yellow peril.” Over the years, the character has appeared in a series of Rohmer novels and numerous movies, television shows, radio dramas and comic books.

The term refers to the racist ideology that East Asians pose a mortal threat to the Western world. Fu and his adventures inspire and perpetuate fears of the “exotic” and “mysterious” Orient, reflecting and reinforcing Western anxieties about Asian influence and power. Fu’s opponents are usually the British and other Western protagonists who endeavor to thwart Fu’s evil schemes.

As we explore the complexities of modern-day Sinophobia in the UK, it is essential to recognize that the specter of Fu and the historical prejudices he represents still influence contemporary attitudes toward China and its people.

Few figures in the tapestry of British cultural history have cast such a long and dark shadow over perceptions of China as Fu.

While today’s Sinophobia is shaped by the realities of the geopolitical and economic challenges posed by a rising China, it cannot be fully understood without recognizing this historical legacy.

Fu is a creation of the early 20th-century imagination that has continued to resonate in the Western collective consciousness for over a century, regardless of Britain’s shift from a dominant empire to its current state as a declining Western power.

This is not to diminish the possibility of an old empire’s fears about an Eastern power, especially one it once colonized, but to emphasize how historical biases can affect our perceptions and responses today.

If we fail to scrutinize these issues, there will be a danger of worsening the conflict and misinterpreting China’s growth and its population in the future, which will pose a significant challenge to the Western world.

The narrative of China as an economic and security threat, engaging in unfair trade practices and threatening jobs in the West, may help politicians gain votes, but it hinders constructive engagement with China. Misunderstanding the country only fuels unfounded fears and narrow-mindedness.

It reveals, in one way or another, how complex, challenging, and long-term the process of Western acceptance of China’s rise has been. However, there is one thing that even these politicians who promote the “China threat” theory know only too well: China’s rise is unstoppable. What the West needs to do is to sit down with China and find the best way for common development.

In the face of modern Sinophobia, there are serious shortcomings in Western historical education and views on civilization. Their insistence on the superiority of Western civilization often causes them to project their current issues onto external changes, hindering their ability to effectively address such transformations.

As we move forward, let us remember that the shadows cast by figures like Fu Manchu are long. Still, through work and efforts that the sunlight of civilization’s evolution can shine.

Recognizing and addressing the historical roots of Western perceptions can lead to an informed, respectful and conducive approach to engaging with China for a constructive global future, fostering dialogue and exchanges between China and Britain to build mutual understanding and respect.

Dismantling Western hypocrisy on Xinjiang and Gaza

We are pleased to republish below a valuable article by Arjae Red, a union activist and Workers World Party leader, on the attempts by the imperialist media to misdirect pro-Palestinian sentiments on the left towards an anti-China narrative based on slanders about the treatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang.

Arjae observes that Western propagandists are “making bogus comparisons between the Israeli settler regime’s treatment of Palestinians and the treatment of Uyghur people by the Chinese government and Communist Party.” He points out that, however, not a single government in a majority-Muslim country has backed these slanders against China, whereas they do unequivocally condemn Israel’s genocidal acts.

The article explores the national question as it relates to both situations. The US views Palestine as a “strategic staging ground for US military and economic domination of West Asia”, and the Palestinian people as “an obstacle in the way of the accumulation of superprofits”. This provides the clear context for the sustained national oppression of the Palestinians. The People’s Republic of China, on the other hand, was founded “as a multinational workers’ state, forged through the overthrow of feudal and capitalist ruling classes and by ousting parasitic forces, such as Japanese and British imperialism.” From the beginning, the PRC has promoted the rights and cultures of minority nationalities. Indeed, “the Chinese People’s Republic inscribed into its political framework regional autonomy for formerly oppressed nationalities, like the Uyghurs in Xinjiang.”

Comparing the Israeli state’s treatment of Palestinians with the Chinese state’s treatment of Uyghurs, the difference could hardly be starker. While Palestinians experience blockade, occupation, siege, apartheid, ethnic cleansing and bombardment, “Uyghur and other ethnic minorities enjoy government grants and other affirmative action programs in education and job opportunities… Rather than destruction and extraction in Xinjiang, Beijing’s policies promote development. Major infrastructure projects have built housing, schools, hospitals and high-speed public transport.”

Arjae further notes that the US-led sanctions over Xinjiang have a dual purpose: to disrupt Xinjiang’s integration into the Belt and Road Initiative; and to cause economic hardship and discontent among the local population.

The author concludes with two key slogans of our time: “Free Palestine from the river to the sea! US hands off China!”

This article was originally published in Workers World on 16 January 2024.

The movement in the U.S. supporting Palestinian national liberation has drawn truly massive numbers of people in action. On Jan. 13, for example, a reported 400,000 people marched on the White House, marking the largest pro-Palestine demonstration in U.S. history.

To counter this growing outpouring of support for Palestine in the center of world imperialism, Western propagandists are trying to misdirect the popular outrage towards People’s China. They are trying to revive the discredited “Uyghur genocide” narrative, making bogus comparisons between the Israeli settler regime’s treatment of Palestinians and the treatment of Uyghur people by the Chinese government and Communist Party. A closer look at each situation reveals enormous differences.  

Who do we believe? 

The intense propaganda charging “Uyghur genocide,” starting in 2016, saturated the U.S. corporate media, quoting statements by U.S.-funded NGOs and U.S. politicians. The statements aimed to slam through heavy sanctions against China.

Following a fact-finding trip to the region, however, a 2019 delegation from the Council of Foreign Ministers — a key decision-making body of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) — endorsed and commended China’s treatment of its Muslim citizens (hongkongfp.com, March 3, 2019). With 57 member states, the OIC is one of the largest intergovernmental bodies in the world.

A week after our trip to Xinjiang last year, a large delegation from the League of Arab States, including top official representatives from more than 16 Arab/Muslim countries, visited Xinjiang. In a June 2023 press statement, the delegation praised “the social harmony, economic development, people of all ethnic groups living in harmony in Xinjiang and accelerated progress.” They urged caution toward “international forces who smear and even demonize Xinjiang.”

No governments in majority-Muslim countries support the U.S. charge of “genocide” of a Muslim minority population in Xinjiang. Meanwhile, these governments publicly criticize U.S.-supported Israeli genocide in Gaza.

Multinational workers’ state vs. Zionist settler colony

Central to the comparison is a class analysis of the social foundation of the states of Israel and the People’s Republic of China. Like the United States, Israel was founded as a settler colony, built upon the slaughter and forced removal of Indigenous peoples, theft of their lands and the settlement of a majority European population. 

U.S. strategists viewed the Israeli state on Palestine’s land mainly as a strategic staging ground for U.S. military and economic domination of West Asia, and thus as a major contributor to the profits of the world imperialist ruling class. They saw Palestinians as an obstacle in the way of their accumulation of these superprofits. To accomplish this conquest, the Israeli state has threatened to appropriate or erase every vestige of Palestinian culture, including Palestine’s history and food.

Israel as a state is thoroughly exploitative, extractive, and oppressive to the core. The state and the settler population, if it subscribes to Zionist ideology, serve the ends of the global imperialist ruling class.

The People’s Republic of China, on the other hand, was founded as a multinational workers’ state, forged through the overthrow of feudal and capitalist ruling classes and by ousting parasitic forces, such as Japanese and British imperialism. The Chinese Revolution established a state based on the political rule of an alliance between the workers, peasants and other progressive classes, led by the Communist Party. 

The Chinese People’s Republic inscribed into its political framework regional autonomy for formerly oppressed nationalities, like the Uyghurs in Xinjiang. Historic Uyghur cities, such as Ürümqi, which had been renamed “Dihua” (meaning “to civilize”) following a 1755 Qing Dynasty invasion, regained their original Uyghur names. 

Uyghur culture is widespread and celebrated in today’s China, which includes teaching the Uyghur language, as well as the languages of other ethnic populations in the region, in public schools. Before the Chinese Revolution, these languages were suppressed.

The People’s Republic is thoroughly multinational, based on the political rule of the working class and guided by the Communist Party. Its public goals involve developing a socialist economy and maintaining social harmony between ethnicities. 

Israel destroys, China builds

Videos abound of the unmitigated destruction of Gaza by Israeli Occupation Forces. The IOF have bombed and bulldozed entire city blocks to dirt and rubble, razing homes, hospitals and schools. 

Over decades, Israel has kept Gaza under a brutal blockade and crushed Palestinian businesses. Now the attacks have left the population without food, water, medicine and electricity.

Rather than destruction and extraction in Xinjiang, Beijing’s policies promote development. Major infrastructure projects have built housing, schools, hospitals and high-speed public transport. These projects outdo anything U.S. business or government projects have done on U.S. territory. 

Uyghur and other ethnic minorities enjoy government grants and other affirmative action programs in education and job opportunities, which enable them to establish their own thriving businesses and fully participate in the vibrant Chinese economy. All of this has gradually reduced the wealth and development gap between the western Xinjiang region and the eastern coastal region of China, where, historically, all of the heavy industry was concentrated. 

Xinjiang experiences no economic blockade except what U.S. policies impose. The Chinese government ensures that the basic needs of the people are met. During the COVID-19 outbreak, for example, Communist Party organizations delivered food and other supplies to Uyghur communities.

Continue reading Dismantling Western hypocrisy on Xinjiang and Gaza

Understanding China Conference calls for correcting misperceptions about China

The 2023 Understanding China Conference was held in Guangzhou at the beginning of December. It marked the 10th anniversary of the conference, which has developed into a major platform for the world to gain insight into China’s development strategies.

The three-day conference attracted 70 international guests from more than 30 countries and regions, and took as its theme, “China’s New Endeavours amid Unprecedented Global Changes – Expanding the Convergence of Interests and Building a Community of Shared Future”.

President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory letter to the conference, saying that “to understand China, the key lies in understanding Chinese modernisation.” China is advancing the noble cause of building a great country and national rejuvenation on all fronts through a Chinese path to modernisation and promoting the building of a community with a shared future, Xi wrote, noting that China’s future is closely linked with the future of humanity.

Speaking to Global Times during the conference, Martin Jacques, Senior Fellow at the Department of Politics and International Studies at Cambridge University, said:

“I think one of the characteristics of Chinese modernisation, which is profoundly different from Western modernisation, is that while Western modernisation was really built on exploiting the rest of the world through colonialism, Chinese modernisation, as a developing country, builds a very close and constructive relationship with the developing world.”

Chinese modernisation is actually a gift that benefits the developing world, where the great majority of the world’s population lives, whereas Western modernisation was really about preventing and suppressing, Jacques added.

We are seeing the world today with two different parts, two different narratives and two different world views, Mushahid Hussain Syed, Chairman of the Pakistani Senate’s Defence Committee and Chairman of the Pakistan-China Institute, told Global Times.

“One has been presented by the US and Western countries, which is security centered, which is military dominated with talks of conflicts, with talks of confrontation,” he said, noting that in China the world view is about connectivity, cooperation and inclusivity.

David Ferguson, Honorary Chief English Editor of Beijing’s Foreign Languages Press, added: “China doesn’t have an exploited working-class enduring poverty to enrich a small elite. Chinese modernisation is about shared development, about everybody rising.”

The following article was originally published by Global Times.

The 2023 Understanding China Conference (Guangzhou), which concluded on Sunday, has become a major platform to address a significant “understanding deficit” between different countries and civilizations and to help fostering mutual trust. 

As the key to understanding China is understanding Chinese modernization, which is different from Western modernization, a number of attendees to the conference told the Global Times that it’s significant to promote and increase the understanding between China and the people around the world, especially when the US’ and Western media have not only been misleading the public on China but also deliberately orchestrating and engineering hostility that has been deepening the understanding deficit. 

The three-day conference, attracting 70 international guests from more than 30 countries and regions, kicked off under the theme of “China’s New Endeavors amid Unprecedented Global Changes — Expanding the Convergence of Interests and Building a Community of Shared Future” on Friday.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Understanding China Conference, which has developed into a major platform for the world to gain insight into China’s development strategies.

President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory letter to the conference on Saturday, saying that “to understand China, the key lies in understanding Chinese modernization.” 

China is advancing the noble cause of building a great country and national rejuvenation on all fronts through a Chinese path to modernization, and promoting the building of a community with a shared future for mankind, Xi said, noting that China’s future is closely linked with the future of humanity.

Continue reading Understanding China Conference calls for correcting misperceptions about China

Dee Knight: Eyewitness Xinjiang

We are pleased to republish below the second of Dee Knight’s reports from his recent visit to China (we posted the first instalment last week).

This article focuses specifically on the trips to Xinjiang’s two largest cities – Urumqi and Kashgar – where the group aimed to deepen their understanding of the region, particularly in light of the slanderous accusations routinely hurled by the Western media about putative human rights abuses against the Uyghur Muslim population.

Describing the group’s trip to Urumqi’s main bazaar, Dee observes that Uyghurs and Han Chinese can be seen “mixing, mingling and melding nonchalantly while shopping and doing business.” Meanwhile, contrary to the claims of cultural genocide, “street signs and advertisements typically appeared in both Chinese characters and Uyghur script.”

Dee addresses the claim that the Chinese government uses ‘concentration camps’ to indoctrinate Uyghurs and to destroy their cultural identity. He explains: “Such facilities were set up by the government to provide under-employed Uyghurs with vocational skills, recreational activities, medical services and other benefits. Most have included dormitories, where people who lived far from the center could stay during the week, and return home on weekends.” He describes meeting a 21-year-old Uyghur woman “who spoke near-perfect English” which she had learned precisely in one of these supposed ‘concentration camps’. “The training gave her the skill she needs to earn a living in the bazaar, where other members of her family also work.”

The author further discusses China’s policy in relation to minorities and religion, and notes that none of the accusations levelled at China about suppression of religious freedoms in Xinjiang are borne out by either statistics or observation. The Uyghur birth rate has been steadily rising at a far faster rate than that of Han Chinese; Uyghur life expectancy has increased from 31 years in 1949 to 72 currently; Xinjiang, like the rest of China, enjoys near-100 percent literacy; and there are a huge number of mosques in Xinjiang, which are very well maintained.

Dee concludes:

More westerners need to come and see for themselves. That may be the best way to disprove the official government and media slanders. It could also help to build people-to-people friendship. We found nothing but friendliness everywhere we visited. People were pleased when we tried to communicate in Chinese, and also pleasant and patient to communicate with us however possible. The Chinese people are definitely not our enemy, and their government is doing a very good job serving and protecting them. It really is time for the US government to try harder to make friends with China, and help forge common prosperity and a shared future.

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

This article was first published in LA Progressive on 19 November 2023.

As US President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping prepare to meet this week at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in San Francisco, the question arises whether Biden will pull back from spurious claims of “genocide” and “forced labor” against the Uyghur population in Xinjiang, China’s economically dynamic far western province.

Xinjiang, China’s far western province, has borders with Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. It is China’s Belt and Road portal to all these countries.

On a ten-day visit to China in early November with the theme that “China Is Not Our Enemy,” I had an opportunity to visit Xinjiang’s two major cities – Urumqi and Kashgar – hoping to see the situation up close. There have been horrific claims by US officials and the mainstream media of severe repression of Xinjiang’s Muslim Uyghur population. While these claims have recently been “walked back,” or reduced to claims of “cultural genocide” according to a YouTube report by Cyrus Janssen, our delegation wanted to see for ourselves. (The “cultural genocide” claim relates to the fact that Mandarin Chinese is a required subject in Xinjiang’s schools, while the Uyghur language is an elective.)

Xinjiang’s Surprises

No matter what you might expect from Xinjiang, it’s full of surprises – mostly very pleasant. After a five-hour flight from Beijing, Urumqi, the capital, appears like a valley oasis emerging as the rugged and craggy (and very high) Tianshan mountains loom nearby. This city of 4 million (of whom over half are Uyghurs and smaller percentages are Hui and Khazak), is a market center serving as a portal to Central Asia on the western edge of China’s famous Belt and Road. It buzzes with activity, especially near the wholesale markets where traders come to order all kinds of consumer products from everywhere, but mainly either from local artisans or from China’s manufacturing centers in the east and southeast of the country. We took advantage of wholesale prices to get a coat and hat suitable for the chilly autumn weather, and an extra piece of luggage to manage our tourist acquisitions.

China’s State Council on October 31 announced a plan to build a Xinjiang Free Trade Zone, including the regional capital of Urumqi, Kashgar prefecture and Horgos. It is the first such zone in China’s northwest border region and the 22nd pilot Free Trade Zone in China.

While shopping for beautiful silk scarves in the main bazaar, we were served by a 21-year-old Uyghur woman who spoke near-perfect English. She told us she learned it in a 10-month course in a government-sponsored training center. The training gave her the skill she needs to earn a living in the bazaar, where other members of her family also work.

Continue reading Dee Knight: Eyewitness Xinjiang

A tale of two Chinas: Rhetoric on foreign domination and domestic instability

The following original article, submitted to Friends of Socialist China by Nolan Long (a Canadian undergraduate student studying politics at the University of Saskatchewan), shines a light on the absurdly contradictory Western media coverage of China. “First, China is described as a global superpower in terms of its supposedly dominating and exploitative foreign policy; on the other hand, China is represented as an unstable, backward, underdeveloped country, bound to inevitably collapse due to the failures of socialism.”

This portrayal and the various popular narratives associated with it – that China is engaged in “debt trap diplomacy”, or that the Belt and Road Initiative is a form of colonialism, or that the Chinese economy is on the verge of collapse – are promoted as part of an ongoing propaganda war, itself a crucial component of an escalating effort to contain and encircle the People’s Republic. These various claims “exist at the heart of the West’s insecurity about its decreasing relevancy and power in the twenty-first century.”

The falsity of this anti-China hysteria is amply exposed by its contradictory nature; and yet it is unlikely to go away any time soon. As Nolan concludes: “The tale of two Chinas presents a picture of Western insecurity and modern Chinese power, a theme that will increasingly come to the fore as China continues to develop on its own and on the world stage.”

Contemporary rhetoric on the People’s Republic of China, as disseminated by Western corporate media, is made up of contradictory claims about Chinese domination and Chinese instability. It is simple enough to find intentionally missing information or context, exaggerations, and even outright lies in the muniments of most corporate media. But a deeper analysis reveals two competing narratives, both of which have become increasingly (and paradoxically) common over the last few years.

First, China is described as a global superpower in terms of its supposedly dominating and exploitative foreign policy; on the other hand, China is represented as an unstable, backward, underdeveloped country, bound to inevitably collapse due to the failures of socialism.

Notably, the first typified China is used in Western capitalist media to generate fears about China’s development efforts in the Global South, which have largely been at the expense of Western hegemony and financial interests. Despite the positive results of the Belt and Road Initiative, capitalist media portrays China as a rapacious villain running rampant across the globe.

Here, China is described as an economic powerhouse. But when discussing Chinese domestic affairs, Western journalists suddenly think China is a poor, underdeveloped state, sometimes on the brink of complete collapse. These two conceptions of China cannot coexist, and go a long way in demonstrating the irrationality and lack of scholarship among anti-communists and defenders of American hegemony.

Continue reading A tale of two Chinas: Rhetoric on foreign domination and domestic instability

U.S. media narrative on Xinjiang attempts to ingrain hostility toward China

This article by Sara Flounders, originally published in Global Times and reprinted by Workers World, connects the dots between the US’s military-industrial complex and the ongoing slander campaign concerning alleged human rights abuses in China’s western province of Xinjiang.

Sara writes that the huge, complex and powerful corporate media web – which “seeps into every area of conscious life” – is “intermeshed with the top US military corporations.” These in turn “are also privately owned capitalist corporations. Their survival is based on enormous, government subsidized military contracts. Military corporations make the highest rate of profit with the highest returns to stockholders.” Sara continues: “The media’s task is to sell war and to justify war,” in this instance the New Cold War and the escalating campaign of China encirclement.

Noting that “no Muslim country has ever backed up the charges of genocide in Xinjiang”, Sara points out that numerous delegations from Muslim-majority countries – as well as the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation – have sent delegations to Xinjiang in recent months and have “praised the Chinese government’s policies and the harmonious relations and respect for the religion and culture of the people that they observed.”

Seeing China’s rise as a threat to its global hegemony, and furthermore “attempting to deflect attention away from the massively destructive US wars against Muslim people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria”, the US is issuing baseless slanders against China. Our movements must understand, reject and expose this cynical propaganda.

A recent nine-day visit to Xinjiang in September 2023 by 22 foreign journalists from 17 overseas media organizations reported favorably on the vibrant local economy and China’s efforts to preserve the local traditional and diverse cultures.

Instead of ending the flood of lies in the U.S. media about Xinjiang, a U.S. State Department agency, the Global Engagement Center, attacked this fact-finding visit, the visiting journalists and also China. This U.S. agency released a 58-page report warning that China’s information campaign on Xinjiang “could sway public opinion and undermine U.S. interests.” The U.S. corporate media dutifully picked up the report and spread it. 

An [Associated Press] news story, “The U.S. warns of a Chinese global disinformation campaign that could undermine peace and stability,” used quotes from other government-funded organizations to reinforce its lies. This included Freedom House, which is 90% funded by U.S. federal grants. 

The antiwar movement in the U.S. is aware of the media’s role. At a recent rally in front of CNN News followed by a march through busy Times Square to the New York Times media conglomerate, the resounding chant was: “Corporate media, we can’t take lies anymore! Stop your drumbeat for war!” This reflected the growing rage at the role of the largest media conglomerates in promoting militarism and racism. 

The Big Lie

“Repeat a lie often enough, and it becomes the truth.” This comment, attributed to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels, is obvious in how news coverage in the U.S. is organized today. Sometimes this leads even well-meaning people astray. They might say that, “I’ve heard so often that there is slave labor and genocide of the Uygur Muslim people in Xinjiang, so it must be true.”

I’ve held a series of talks and interviews with different audiences describing the diversity of cultures, modern cities and new farming techniques in Xinjiang, which I visited this May. My comments were greeted with a mixture of interest, curiosity and a frustrated suspicion from the U.S. media, which have continually lied in the past and demonized a targeted country to justify each war.

Continue reading U.S. media narrative on Xinjiang attempts to ingrain hostility toward China

Humor in the headlines over China in Latin America

The following article by Roger D. Harris, originally published in Orinoco Tribune presents a biting, satirical critique of the Washington Post’s portrayal of China’s growing influence in Latin America, particularly highlighting Honduras’s diplomatic pivot towards Beijing.

The piece contrasts US indignation at Honduras’s recognition of the People’s Republic of China with the US’s own longstanding adherence to the One China policy. The author also observes that China’s engagement with the countries of the region – offering trade, aid and investment, whilst maintaining a strict policy of non-interference and mutual benefit – is a breath of fresh air, certainly compared to the US’s record (which, in the case of Honduras, includes engineering a coup to depose the elected leftist government of Manuel Zelaya in 2009).

Western media and politicians have been warning about the threat of China’s growing influence in Latin America for some time now, and the author cites a Financial Times article warning that a proposed deepwater port in Peru is “large enough to be used by Beijing’s navy to resupply warships.”

Harris responds sarcastically: “If a few hundred more deals like this were transacted and subsequently somehow weaponized, the Chinese could remotely in the distant future be on their way to create the equivalent of what BBC calls the complete arc of US military bases that presently surround China… China may soon export fortune cookies with subversive messages or, more threatening yet, launch another weather balloon over the Pacific.”

In truth, China’s growing engagement with Latin America is a welcome development, and the US’s hostility to it is not based on any concern for the wellbeing of the region’s population, but rather forms part of a systematic campaign of anti-China propaganda.

In a break from its hysterical coverage of the existential threat posed by Donald Trump, the Washington Post – house organ of the Democratic National Committee – cautions us of the other menace, China. “When the leader of this impoverished Central American country visited Beijing in June,” we are warned, “China laid out the warmest of welcomes.”

Apparently in a grave threat to US national security, the president of Honduras attended a state banquet and actually ate Chinese food. What next for the country the Post affectionately describes as “long among the most docile of US regional partners?”

Honduras changes its China policy

In a classic example of do-as-I-say-and-not-as-I-do diplomacy, the US was miffed when Honduras recognized the People’s Republic of China as the sole representative of China in March. Curiously, the US implemented its one-China policy 44 years ago. 

Today, a mere baker’s dozen of the world’s countries still recognize Taiwan as sovereign. Among them, Guatemala will switch Chinas if president-elect Bernardo Arévalo is allowed to assume office in January. Another holdout, Haiti, literally does not have an elected government of its own but may soon be receiving a US-sponsored occupying army

China has emerged as South America’s leading and the wider Latin American region’s second largest trading partner, with over twenty states joining Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative. This provides a substitute to monopolar dependence on commerce with Uncle Sam. Russia, too, has been pushing under the greenback curtain. The BRICS+ alliance with China and Russia also includes Brazil and Argentina among others.

“US aid and investments throughout the region are historically seen as slow in coming,” the Post explains as the cause for the trade and diplomatic shifts seen in the region and reflected in Honduras.  

The Post hastens to add with a straight face that US investments come with “significant stipulations on human rights and democracy.” Supporting this ridiculous claim, the Post notes: “Honduras, long known for violence and corruption, has been subject to particular US scrutiny.” 

The Post, it should be noted, proudly runs the tagline “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” So they should know what form the “particular” US scrutiny took.  

Tellingly omitted from the Post’s story is mention of the 2009 US-backed coup that deposed the democratically elected president of Honduras, Manual Zelaya. In her memoirs, then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took credit for preventing Zelaya’s return to his elected post. That was in the original hardcover version of the vanity book. The subsequent paperback expunged the boast. 

Continue reading Humor in the headlines over China in Latin America

Global Times interview with Carlos Martinez

What follows below is the full text of a written interview of Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez, conducted by the Global Times.

The interview deals with a wide range of issues, including the New Cold War on China, the nature of Chinese socialism, the Belt and Road Initiative, capitalist versus socialist democracy, and anti-China propaganda in the Western media.

An abridged version was published in the Global Times on 31 August 2023.

Could you please briefly introduce yourself to us? When did you start to study China? And what made you start to be interested in the country?

I’m an author and campaigner from London, Britain, with a longstanding interest in the socialist countries and global anti-imperialism. My first book, released in 2019, was about the reasons for the collapse of the Soviet Union. I was involved in setting up the No Cold War campaign in 2020, and the Friends of Socialist China platform in 2021.

There were two main motivations for me to start studying China. The first comes from being a Marxist and wanting to understand how socialism is constructed in the real world. The second comes from being anti-imperialist and anti-war, and wanting to understand China’s role in the development of a peaceful and multipolar world.

The more I study China, the more I realise how poorly it’s understood in the West. In recent years, the anti-China propaganda in the media has been increasingly intense, corresponding to the rise of the US-led New Cold War. Many people have this absurd idea of China as some sort of authoritarian dystopia that’s intent on taking over the world. Many people believe the media’s disgraceful slanders about the suppression of human rights in Xinjiang, and so on.

China is misunderstood even on the left: lots of people believe that, because China uses market mechanisms, or because there are some very rich people in China, that it can’t be socialist any more. But then how do we explain China’s achievements? China has raised living standards beyond recognition; it’s become the world leader in renewable energy; it’s gone from being a poor and backward country to being a science and technology powerhouse; it’s leading the global shift to multipolarity; its life expectancy now exceeds that of the US. All this is historic and unprecedented progress, on a scale which has never been achieved by any capitalist country. Why on earth would the left want to attribute these successes to capitalism rather than socialism?

Continue reading Global Times interview with Carlos Martinez

Aymeric Monville: Report back from Xinjiang

We are very pleased to publish below the report by the progressive French academic Aymeric Monville of his recent (August 2023) trip to Xinjiang. The report responds directly to the obscene anti-Chinese propaganda that has been raging for several years in the Western media regarding ostensible human rights abuses against China’s Uyghur population.

Aymeric describes his visits, along with the writer Maxime Vivas, to Kashgar, Urumqi and assorted villages. The picture he paints is dramatically different from the stereotype found in the Western media of a dystopian nightmare characterised by brutal repression and cultural genocide.

Arriving at the Kashgar bazaar in the middle of the night, I found it to be a profusion of light, joy, song and happy people in the streets. In particular, the sight of young women on scooters, their hair blowing in the wind, gave me an impression of great freedom.

He notes that, if the whole thing had been somehow staged for his benefit, it would have been a remarkable feat of organisation: “an absolute record for a Hollywood production involving literally thousands of people”.

Of particular note is the account of a visit to a de-radicalisation centre – what would be described in the Western media as a “concentration camp”:

In fact, it was a school where young people who had not committed any crimes but had been influenced by jihadism were taught not only Mandarin so that they could integrate into Chinese society, but also the constitution and a trade. They can play sport, winning table tennis competitions for example, and can go home at weekends. Recognising the basic characters 图书馆, I realise that this is the school library and ask to enter. I also asked to be shown books in Uyghur as well as Mandarin, which was done. I was also assured that the pupils’ Muslim faith is respected and I have no reason to doubt this.

The report includes an interesting discussion of the Uyghur language – its origins, widespread use, and connection to Uyghur culture – as well as various observations on the everyday activities and living conditions of the Uyghur people. There is no evidence of any “cultural genocide”; indeed massive efforts are made to protect the diverse cultures of the region. Monville points out that, if religious fundamentalist separatists were allowed to succeed in their aims, this cultural diversity would come under serious threat: “We can be sure that Uyghur culture in all its diversity, like that of the other ethnic groups living in the region, would have been very much at risk of eradication.”

The report is highly recommended reading for anyone interested in the truth about Xinjiang. We hope it will be widely disseminated.

Aymeric Monville, born in France in 1977, is the author of several philosophical and political essays. In English, he has just published “Neocapitalism according to Michel Clouscard” (foreword by Gabriel Rockhill). He is deeply involved in the fight against anti-Chinese propaganda, and has published essays in France such as “The Ramblings of the Antichinese in France” and “China without Blinkers”.

I am back from Xinjiang, where I spent several days in the company of the writer Maxime Vivas, some of whose books I have had the honour of publishing. We visited Kashgar, a town close to the Afghan border with a 92 percent Uyghur population; then Urumqi, the capital with a population of over 2 million; and finally the new town of Shihezi, developed in the 1950s by the bingtuan (兵团), peasant-soldiers sent by Mao Zedong to develop pioneer areas so as not to have to compete with the local population for water in this semi-desert region. Not forgetting a diversion to sublime Lake Tianchi, to the east of the Celestial Mountains.

Xinjiang has around 25 million inhabitants in an area three times the size of France, but only 9.7 percent of the territory is inhabitable, so I think that this visit to the major urban centres and the main roads used to reach them gives me a sufficiently representative overview to be able to talk about this region with more authority than many French journalists who have never been there, certainly not recently, and particularly since the slander campaign orchestrated by Mike Pompeo and the CIA from 2019.

It was my first visit, and the third for Maxime Vivas.

Having long understood that the campaign about the alleged “genocide of the Uyghurs”, the “genocide in progress” (according tothe French daily Libération) or the “cultural genocide”, the forced sterilisation of women and so on, which has even been voted on by the French National Assembly, is nothing more than a copy and paste of the same campaign that took place ten or fifteen years earlier on Tibet, I was obviously expecting to meet many Uyghurs living in perfectly decent conditions. Nevertheless, I was struck by the relative prosperity of this remote region of China. Arriving at the Kashgar bazaar in the middle of the night, a few hours late, I found it to be a profusion of light, joy, song and happy people in the streets. In particular, the sight of young women on scooters, their hair blowing in the wind, gave me an impression of great freedom and made me think of what their fate would be on the other side of the Afghan border, where they would lose all their rights. We asked people in the street to pose for photos with us. Everyone, including the women, happily participated.

Continue reading Aymeric Monville: Report back from Xinjiang

NYT publishes hit job on anti-war activists; solidarity must be the answer

In the following article, published by Workers World, John Catalinotto exposes the agenda behind the now notorious August 5 article carried by the New York Times purportedly exposing a number of organisations in the United States and elsewhere that stand for peace, against the new cold war, and for constructive relations with China, as agents of the Chinese state and communist party.

Many of these organisations have apparently been funded by Roy Singham, former owner of a software consultancy, who has evidently been following a well-trodden path of wealthy Americans, namely devoting a portion of his fortune to bodies and institutions that share his personal convictions and interests. The only thing that is exceptional, and to the ruling class unacceptable, is that Roy’s personal convictions and interests happen to be those of peace, anti-imperialism and socialism.

Following the publication of the Times story, Marco Rubio, the arch-reactionary Florida senator and a leading contender for the Republican presidential nomination, has written to US Attorney General Merrick Garland demanding that the Department of Justice investigate whether Roy and nine named organisations are complying with the terms of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), an anti-democratic law that has historically been used to target a range of progressive people, including leading figures struggling for African-American liberation and Irish freedom.

In his Workers World article, John explains how, over decades, the New York Times, a house journal of the US ruling class that grandiloquently claims to be the repository of “all the news that’s fit to print”, has, liberal pretentions notwithstanding, touted for every US act of aggression, from Vietnam through Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya and others, to Ukraine and China today. 

John makes the important point that the attack triggered by the New York Times article is but the latest salvo in a neo-McCarthyite wave that has already targeted others, from the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP), its Chairman Omali Yeshitela, and the organisations that work in the white community under its leadership, the African People’s Solidarity Committee and the Uhuru Solidarity Movement, to numerous Chinese Americans, from prominent academics and scientists to a Boston hotel worker and union activist. As John notes:

“It’s important to include all these attacks, because the movement must respond in a united way. An attack on one is an attack on all.”

Once in a while, the New York Times runs an article that reveals what this media conglomerate really represents.

People often call the Times “liberal.” That’s because it seems to oppose some of the most reactionary politicians, like president #45, and gives ample opinion space to diverse voices.

When Washington mobilizes for war, however, the Times doffs its liberal cloak and exposes itself as a loudspeaker for U.S. imperialist interests. That’s what it did Aug. 5, running a front page hit job on progressive organizations and on a donor to these causes. The verbal attack replayed 1950s McCarthyism.

Though the article had clear political goals and lacked hard evidence, the Times disguised it as investigative journalism. Four Times’ reporters produced propaganda aimed at repressing voices that oppose Washington’s preparation for war, in this case war with China. It’s important in the context of the Aug. 5 article to be conscious of the fact that the Times pays these journalists to write —  and to follow editorial “guidelines.”

Continue reading NYT publishes hit job on anti-war activists; solidarity must be the answer

Report: Online launch of The East is Still Red

On Sunday 13 August 2023, Friends of Socialist China, the International Manifesto Group, Midwestern Marx and Critical Theory Workshop jointly held an online book launch for Carlos Martinez’s The East is Still Red: Chinese Socialism in the 21st Century.

Speakers included Carlos Martinez, Ben Chacko (editor of the Morning Star), Chen Weihua (China Daily EU bureau chief), Amanda Yee (writer and podcaster), Dan Kovalik (author of NICARAGUA: A History of US Intervention and Resistance), Sara Flounders (author of SANCTIONS – A Wrecking Ball in a Global Economy) and Charles Xu of Qiao Collective. The event was chaired by Professor Radhika Desai.

In Carlos’s introduction, he focused on debunking the notion that China has become an imperialist country, describing this as a powerfully demobilising idea at a time when we should be uniting the broadest possible forces against the US-led New Cold War. Carlos posed the following questions about China: Does it seek to dominate foreign markets, land, labour and resources? Does it use its economic strength to dictate policy or assert hegemony over poorer countries? Does it go to war in pursuit of its economic interests? Does it engage in regime change, destabilisation, unilateral sanctions and economic coercion, in pursuit of its economic interests?

Carlos argued that the answer to all these questions is a resounding no. He pointed out that China has not been involved in a war in over four decades, and does not have a global infrastructure of military bases or troop deployments. He also pointed out that China does not engage in regime change, destabilisation or unilateral sanctions, and has never used its economic strength to dictate policy or assert hegemony over poorer countries. He contrasted this with the record of the US and its allies – a record of military, economic and political imperialism.

Ben Chacko pointed out that it is crucial to develop a better understanding of China at the current time, in the context of rising US hostility and an emerging New Cold War. Highlighting the Biden regime’s extreme inconsistency in its China policy – on the one hand saying that it wants a cooperative relationship, and on the other hand undermining the One China Principle and escalating attempts at containment and encirclement – Ben noted that the US isn’t at all sure of its ability to actually win a Cold War against China. As such, it is making preparations for a potential hot war on China, which would clearly be disastrous for humanity.

Continue reading Report: Online launch of The East is Still Red

Richard D Wolff: The fatal contradictions of China-bashing

This short essay by Marxist economist Richard D Wolff assesses the frenzied China-bashing that the US political and media mainstream is currently engaged in. Wolff observes that the wave of sinophobic propaganda is designed to “provide convenient cover” for US attempts to militarily intimidate and economically strangle China.

Additionally, scapegoating China provides a convenient way for the US ruling class to deflect criticism of a vicious neoliberal capitalism that has working people experiencing a chronic decline in living standards. “Scapegoating China joins with scapegoating immigrants, BIPOCs, and many of the other usual targets. The broader decline of the U.S. empire and capitalist economic system confronts the nation with the stark question: whose standard of living will bear the burden of the impact of this decline?” As long as China can be blamed for all problems, the US government can continue with its program of austerity, deregulation and inflation.

The author points out that antagonizing, and decoupling from, China could prove to be highly detrimental to the US economy. He calls on people to “see through the contradictions of China-bashing to prevent war, seek mutual accommodation, and thereby rebuild a new version of the joint prosperity that existed before Trump and Biden.”

This article was originally published in Asia Times.

The contradictions of China-bashing in the United States begin with how often it is flat-out untrue.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the “Chinese spy” balloon that President Joe Biden shot down with immense patriotic fanfare in February did not in fact transmit pictures or anything else to China.

White House economists have been trying to excuse persistent US inflation saying it is a global problem and inflation is worse elsewhere in the world. China’s inflation rate is 0.7% year on year.

Financial media outlets stress how China’s GDP growth rate is lower than it used to be. China now estimates that its 2023 GDP growth will be 5-5.5%. Estimates for the US GDP growth rate in 2023, meanwhile, vacillate around 1-2%.

China-bashing has intensified into denial and self-delusion – it is akin to pretending that the United States did not lose wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq and more.

The BRICS coalition (China and its allies) now has a significantly larger global economic footprint (higher total GDP) than the Group of Seven (the United States and its allies).

China is outgrowing the rest of the world in research and development expenditures.

The American empire (like its foundation, American capitalism) is not the dominating global force it once was right after World War II. The empire and the economy have shrunk in size, power and influence considerably since then. And they continue to do so.

Putting that genie back into the bottle is a battle against history that the United States is not likely to win.

Continue reading Richard D Wolff: The fatal contradictions of China-bashing

Reality in Xinjiang belies US propaganda

In the second article carried by the US newspaper Workers World regarding the recent visit by Workers World Party and International Action Center members to China as part of a delegation organised by the China/US Solidarity Network, Sara Flounders, who is also a member of our advisory group, reports on their visit to Xinjiang, where the group gathered footage for a forthcoming documentary that aims to show the reality of life in the autonomous region, which has been a major propaganda focus of the US-led new cold war on China.

Having visited the regional capital of Urumqi and the ancient city of Kashgar, as well as the countryside, small towns and villages, Sara writes: “Torrents of US media reports had told us to expect cities under martial law, military forces of occupation and heavily armed police on every corner…Coming from the New York City area, I expected a police force of at least equal size. The New York City police force is the world’s eighth-largest armed body. On our return, reports of ‘Stop and Frisk’ programs centered on Black and Brown youth dominated the media…

“What we saw in Xinjiang was vibrant cities…full of tens of thousands of tourists, along with the local population of many nationalities. Huge and colorful marketplaces and bazaars, almost all of them run by Uygur families, stretched for many blocks. Busy subway lines crossed the cities. Everywhere we saw food markets brimming with inexpensive produce. Restaurants,  cafés,  and street food stalls were packed with local people. In the evenings, the streets were full – not silent and ominous.”

Outlining the region’s social progress in health, education and other areas, Sara notes: “The illiteracy rate in Xinjiang has fallen to 2.66%, lower than the country’s impressive 2.85% national average. At the time of the 1949 Chinese Revolution, illiteracy was 80% throughout China and more than 90% in Tibet and Xinjiang. Today 97.51% of small children are in preschool programs. Some 98.82% of the youth are enrolled in senior high schools in Xinjiang.”

In Kashgar, she reports that the 15th century Idkah Mosque can house up to 20,000 worshippers. “It is only one of the numerous Islamic centers and mosques, which we saw while walking the city streets and in several villages. Tall, slender minarets and dome-shaped roofs seemed to be a part of every block.”

No wonder, therefore, that, in stark contrast to the harsh sanctions imposed by the US government: “No Arab or Muslim countries have joined in the US rewriting of history and its targeted attacks on China. This is because these countries know that the US government is responsible for 30 years of massively disruptive wars, sanctions, drone attacks and targeted assassinations in a series of Muslim countries, including Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Libya, Syria, Sudan, Somalia and Afghanistan.”

Sara’s article is republished below.

U.S. propaganda is powerful. Responding to an increase in U.S. attacks on China, a delegation was organized by the China / U.S. Solidarity Network, which then visited China from May 11 to May 31.

One focus of the trip was a visit to Xinjiang (pronounced Shinjaang) province to gather video footage and interviews that give a more realistic picture of this vast and quickly modernizing, multiethnic region. Footage for the documentary, currently named “Voice of Xinjiang,” focuses on an area with 4,000 years of history, which is at the center of the ancient Silk Road that today is a major hub in China’s ambitious Belt and Road trade program.

The Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (XUAR) is a vast arid, mountainous and high-desert region in China’s far northwest. Xinjiang has significant oil and mineral reserves and is currently China’s largest natural gas-producing region. The province — although the largest in geographic area, covering one-sixth of China’s total land mass — is sparsely populated, having only 2% of China’s 1.4 billion population. Of Xinjiang’s population of 25 million, 60% belong to 13 ethnic minorities.

Continue reading Reality in Xinjiang belies US propaganda

John Pilger: The coming war – time to speak up

This powerful and wide-ranging essay by the Australian journalist John Pilger, originally published in Consortium News, decries mainstream journalists’ role in building support for the US-led Cold War against China and NATO’s proxy war against Russia.

The author notes that leading Australian newspapers have been hyping up “the looming threat” of China and calling on the Australian government to bolster the country’s military defences. Essentially this is a thinly-concealed marketing campaign for the AUKUS nuclear submarine deal. Pilger states bluntly – and correctly: “There is no threat to Australia, none.” However, “China-bashing draws on Australia’s long history of racism towards Asia,” and much of the Australian public finds it all too easy to accept an anti-China narrative, no matter how transparently idiotic.

Turning to the United States, and the Obama-Clinton Pivot to Asia that initiated the now-escalating New Cold War, Pilger assesses the claims that this ‘pivot’ was a response to a serious threat:

There was no threat from China; there was a threat to China from the United States; some 400 American military bases formed an arc along the rim of China’s industrial heartlands, which a Pentagon official described approvingly as a “noose.”

The article compares today’s war by media with the techniques used by the Nazis, as described by a Nuremberg prosecutor in 1945:

Before each major aggression, with some few exceptions based on expediency, they initiated a press campaign calculated to weaken their victims and to prepare the German people psychologically… In the propaganda system… it was the daily press and the radio that were the most important weapons.

Pilger concludes by demanding that journalists report the truth; that they expose – rather than amplify – the cynical lies that are used to justify the military murder of millions.

In 1935, the Congress of American Writers was held in New York City, followed by another two years later. They called on “the hundreds of poets, novelists, dramatists, critics, short story writers and journalists” to discuss the “rapid crumbling of capitalism” and the beckoning of another war. They were electric events which, according to one account, were attended by 3,500 members of the public with more than a thousand turned away. 

Arthur Miller, Myra Page, Lillian Hellman, Dashiell Hammett warned that fascism was rising, often disguised, and the responsibility lay with writers and journalists to speak out. Telegrams of support from Thomas Mann, John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, C Day Lewis, Upton Sinclair and Albert Einstein were read out. 

The journalist and novelist Martha Gellhorn spoke up for the homeless and unemployed, and “all of us under the shadow of violent great power.” 

Martha, who became a close friend, told me later over her customary glass of Famous Grouse and soda:

“The responsibility I felt as a journalist was immense. I had witnessed the injustices and suffering delivered by the Depression, and I knew, we all knew, what was coming if silences were not broken.”

Her words echo across the silences today: they are silences filled with a consensus of propaganda that contaminates almost everything we read, see and hear.  Let me give you one example: 

Continue reading John Pilger: The coming war – time to speak up

Chinese ‘police stations’ and war propaganda

This article by Margaret Kimberley in Black Agenda Report discusses how the ‘Chinese police stations’ story currently doing the rounds in the West is nothing more than “laughable war propaganda”, designed to “incite fear and hatred of China and to normalize the idea of armed conflict”. It is yet another Cold War scare story to occupy people’s minds now that the ‘Chinese spy balloons’ hype has well and truly deflated.

Margaret points out that the putative ‘Chinese police stations’ are in fact “offices where Chinese citizens can get licenses renewed”. They “don’t have lock-ups or armed officers and are definitely not police stations.” Thanks to centuries of white supremacy and systematic repression of African-origin people, the Black community in the US is only too capable of distinguishing police stations from administrative offices.

The article highlights the fact that China’s stature is rising globally, especially in the light of its recent diplomatic activity, which has helped to bring about a rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia (which is creating conditions for a prospective end to the horrific war in Yemen). Meanwhile the US’s insistence on desperately protecting its hegemony is only deepening its own isolation. “The US should be engaging in peaceful co-existence with the rest of the world. But that isn’t what the oligarchs and plutocrats here want.” Ultimately, it’s the working class and oppressed communities of the US and its allies that suffer from this New Cold War.

President Lula da Silva of Brazil recently visited China’s President Xi Jinping. French President Emmanuel Macron, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko, Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi and Spain’s prime minister Pedro Sanchez have all made the journey in recent months. Even Germany’s amateurish Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock went, but her goal was to make sure that double talking Macron didn’t stray far from the EU’s pro-U.S. orthodoxy.

The frequency of high level meetings is interesting when one considers Joe Biden’s bizarre rant in his State of the Union Speech. He blurted out, “Name me a world leader who would trade places with Xi Jinping! Name me one!” Apparently the answer is all of them because they are making a collective beeline to Beijing. Because of his odd screed and shooting down a weather balloon, Biden can’t get Xi to take his phone call. Nor can Secretary of State Blinken schedule a meeting with his Chinese counterparts that was planned before the balloon fiasco. China is “ghosting” the U.S., which responds in typical fashion.

Like every small child does when frustrated about not getting their way, the U.S. ups the ante with a brand new tantrum.  Balloons are so two months ago, as are demented questions about Tik Tok. Now the courts are tools of the futile effort to subjugate China. In New York City prosecutors charged two Chinese-Americans with failing to register as agents of a foreign government by setting up a “police station” under the control of China’s government.

The trope of the Chinese police station has gone from a laughable war propaganda theory to war by other means. Federal prosecutors are charging the two men with obstruction, not espionage, and it appears they may not have been charged at all had they exercised their right not to talk to the FBI.

The charges are a prosecutor’s dream complete with press conferences where they can make outrageous claims against defendants. U.S. Attorney Breon Peace waxed particularly eloquently, “Today’s charges are a crystal clear response to the P.R.C. that we are onto you, we know what you’re doing and we will stop it from happening in the United States of America. We don’t need or want a secret police station in our great city.”

Of course the office was not a secret as it had been opened publicly. Nor is it anything resembling a police station. The term is a fiction, a creation of the state and their friends in the media meant to incite fear and hatred of China and to normalize the idea of armed conflict. These offices where Chinese citizens can get licenses renewed don’t have lock-ups or armed officers and are definitely not police stations.

The charges filed against the two men are purely political and will not lead to any advantage for the United States. While camera-loving prosecutors make nonsensical statements, China’s Defense Minister was in Moscow meeting with Vladimir Putin. China and Russia are now inextricably linked and are preparing to face the U.S. in whatever way it may choose to confront them.

In addition to the two New York men, the Justice Department indicted 34 people in China and charged them with conspiracy to transmit foreign threats but the complaint is a rehash of the old Russian troll farm stories. What was their crime? Among other things, “…an account controlled by the Group made numerous posts about George Floyd’s death and accusing U.S. law enforcement institutions of racism.” Any accusation of racism in law enforcement is a fact and not a reason for an indictment of any kind, but facts are never the issue when the U.S. declares another nation an enemy.

In attempting to diminish China’s economic prowess the U.S. has elevated its stature around the world. The ceasefire between Yemen and Saudi Arabia is the result of Chinese diplomacy as is the recent rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The Ukraine obsession and failure to harm Russia with sanctions has instead demonstrated the need to minimize relations with the U.S. and move away from the use of the dollar as the world reserve currency. China is leading in this regard and the more the U.S. amateurishly tries to isolate Beijing, the more it isolates itself.

China’s diplomatic success proves that the U.S. cannot be a peacemaker in the world. Its system depends upon domination and making what passes for friends through threats of force and interference. When another nation was able to bring persuasion to bear, the U.S. role as a hegemon and international aggressor was exposed for all to see.

The U.S. can call names, create hysteria about Tik Tok, claim that China uses “spy balloons” and “police stations” or make up anything else it wants. One quote in the Department of Justice press release is particularly revealing. “This case serves as a powerful reminder that the People’s Republic of China will stop at nothing to bend people to their will and silence messages they don’t want anyone to hear.” That statement is more accurately directed at the U.S.

The people of this country are the ultimate losers. Thanks to the corporate media repeating state talking points, they have no idea that China is moving up in the world and the U.S. is more and more isolated. They don’t know that the long predicted process of dedollarization is beginning to take shape.

The U.S. should be engaging in peaceful co-existence with the rest of the world. But that isn’t what the oligarchs and plutocrats here want. There would be no need for a military industrial complex if the U.S. wasn’t constantly creating new enemies and undermining other countries. All it has is aggression and the spectacle of name calling and incompetent diplomacy. The descent is obvious to anyone paying attention.

Hypocrisy, histrionics and hot air: the US and one Chinese balloon

The following Morning Star editorial analyses the ongoing propaganda blitz in relation to the Chinese weather balloon that drifted over the continental United States. Noting that “both the US parties of the ruling class have been falling over each other to sound more confrontational and shout louder for escalation and more aggression towards China,” the author concludes that this escalating rhetoric signifies US determination to continue pursuing a New Cold War.

The editorial points to the shameless hypocrisy of the US complaining about its sovereignty being violated by China, given “the innumerable very real and outrageous US transgressions against China’s national and territorial sovereignty.” These include “the ring of US bases surrounding China from the Pacific to the Indian Ocean and the Middle East”, as well as the “aggressive manoeuvres of massive US fleets, thousands of miles from the US, in the South China Sea and all across the Pacific.”

The editorial makes a powerful call for the left to oppose the drive to war and to expose the monopoly media offensive against China – “and the racist and anti-communist tropes which characterise it.”

You would have struggled to miss the sensationalist coverage of the Chinese weather balloon which drifted over the continental United States last week, only to be heroically downed by a $400,000 sidewinder missile.

The Chinese government has been clear from the outset that the balloon is from China and is a civilian airship, mainly for meteorological research.

It asserts that the balloon was blown off course and was never intended to pass over the US and that this was an unfortunate accident which should be dealt with sensibly and calmly.

Eager to never let a good crisis go to waste or, in this case, fabricate one out of thin (or perhaps hot? …) air, the US government has responded with hysteria and sabre-rattling of the highest order.

The US military establishment has been feverishly declaring that the very obvious and apparently helpless balloon is a sophisticated spying device and that the “deliberate” act by China amounts to a gross threat to sacrosanct US “national security” and a violation of its territorial sovereignty.

Continue reading Hypocrisy, histrionics and hot air: the US and one Chinese balloon

Demonizing China’s Covid policies is fearmongering

In this insightful article for Global Times, Friends of Socialist China advisory group member Ken Hammond provides an overview of China’s evolving strategy for dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic – a strategy that has saved literally millions of lives to date.

Ken also discusses the extraordinary hypocrisy of the Western media’s portrayal of this strategy. For almost three years of Dynamic Zero Covid, “terms like ‘draconian’ were constantly used to criticize China’s measures to control and contain the virus”. Now restrictions have been loosened and “China is denounced for recklessly endangering its people and the rest of the world” – in spite of the fact that “governments in America and Europe have effectively abandoned any efforts to deal with the pandemic over the past year.”

The author makes the important point that this hypocritical reporting is part of a broader campaign of demonization – a reflection of rising anger among the US ruling class as all hopes fade away that China might be subjected to a ‘color revolution’ and become “a compliant, subordinate component of the American-dominated global capitalist order.” Ken opines that the relentless China-bashing is the product of a social class that has come to fear “the loss of the power and privileges they have so long enjoyed based on the extraction of wealth from working people around the planet.”

This demonization campaign creates a dangerous situation, fomenting conflict and standing in the way of the development of cooperation and understanding. People who support peace and progress should firmly oppose the propaganda war on China.

China’s COVID policies have saved millions of lives over the past three years. Yet those policies were attacked by some Western politicians, media pundits, and academics every day. Terms like “draconian” were constantly used to criticize China’s measures to control and contain the virus. China’s achievements in managing the epidemic were unmatched anywhere in the world, yet an ordinary citizen of a Western country can have very little idea of that given the relentless demonization of China to which they are regularly exposed.

Now, in the context of new scientific understandings of the latest variants of the virus, and in an effort to balance the ongoing need to protect the lives of the Chinese people with the goal of carrying forward the development of their economy, a new set of policies and practices is being implemented, relaxing many of the restrictions and controls which have been used over the last three years. One might expect that this would be welcomed in the West, yet quite the opposite has been the case. 

China is now denounced for recklessly endangering its people and the rest of the world, even as governments in America and Europe have effectively abandoned any efforts to deal with the pandemic over the past year. Well over 1.1 million people have died in the US. The same media voices, like the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, or The Guardian, which railed against China’s so-called “oppressive” COVID policies, now spout a steady stream of condemnation of China’s efforts to pursue a more flexible, adaptive COVID policy package.

Continue reading Demonizing China’s Covid policies is fearmongering

Islamic scholars impressed by development and religious freedom in Xinjiang

The following Global Times article is based on an interview with Emirati scholar Ali Rashid Al Nuaimi, chairman of the World Muslim Communities Council, following a recent delegation he led of more than 30 Islamic figures and scholars from 14 countries to Xinjiang Province.

Outlining the motivation for the visit, Al Nuaimi points out that there is gross misrepresentation of Xinjiang – and of the situation of Muslims in China generally – in the mainstream media. “I thought it’s very important for the Muslim world to understand what is happening in the Xinjiang region, as seeing is believing.”

Al Nuaimi stated that Muslims in China enjoy freedom of religion, and noted that a Muslim and Chinese identity coexist comfortably. He also spoke highly of the constantly improving standard of living in Xinjiang.

Countering the narrative of Chinese “concentration camps”, Al Nuaimi talks about his visits to technical colleges on this trip and on a previous trip in 2019. He speaks favorably of these colleges, saying they play an essential role teaching training and preparation for the job market. “I am an academician. I visited most of the universities in North America and Europe and their colleges and technical centers. They don’t have this for their youth. I wish that what we have seen today was available in all countries.”

He concludes by urging the people of Xinjiang to ignore the slanders hurled by Western politicians and journalists. “They criticize China because they want to slow or undermine your achievements and your development.”

Led by Ali Rashid Al Nuaimi, chairman of The World Muslim Communities Council from the UAE, a delegation including more than 30 Islamic figures and scholars from 14 countries visited Northwest China’s Xinjiang region starting on January 8. They went to mosques, the Xinjiang Islamic Institute, bazaars and many other places to communicate with local residents and religious groups in Urumqi, Altay and Kashi and to get a better understanding of the region’s development and protection of religious freedom.

On the last day of their visit in Kashi, Al Nuaimi was interviewed by Global Times reporters Liu Xin and Fan Lingzhi (GT). He shared his views on the current situation in Xinjiang and the smearing campaign led by a small group of countries to attack China on Xinjiang-related issues. 

GT: We’ve noticed that this is not your first visit to Xinjiang. Are there any specific reasons for you to make this trip?

Al Nuaimi: When I visited this region in 2019, I was with a small delegation from the UAE only. I thought it’s very important for the Muslim world to understand what is happening in the Xinjiang region, as seeing is believing. This is why I invited many colleagues from different countries to come and join the visit. I can see the difference and the development that’s happening here.

Yesterday we visited the old town in Kashi. We saw the market, we saw the people on the street, we engaged with them. We saw how people are enjoying a lifestyle, enjoying the development and you can see their happiness and their smiles.

Continue reading Islamic scholars impressed by development and religious freedom in Xinjiang

Human rights crisis as US Covid cases surpass 100 million

The following article, written by FoSC co-editor Carlos Martinez for CGTN, compares the rising hysteria in the Western media over China’s Covid situation with its near-total silence in relation to the ongoing public health crisis in the US. The US has just surpassed 100 million Covid cases; its Covid death toll exceeds 1 million; and its average life expectancy has dropped to 76.4 years – the lowest since 1999. What’s more, as a result of centuries of systemic racism, the impact of this crisis is multiplied for the black, Latino and indigenous population. The media prefers to sensationalize the wave of Covid cases in China – as a form of deflection and diversion, and as part of the generalized campaign of China-bashing. People should be awake to this tactic, and refuse to be fooled by it.

While the United States is failing to provide global leadership in such areas as ecological protection and the pursuit of peace, it has established itself as something of a COVID-19 trailblazer, with by far the highest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths.

This week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. surpassed 100 million. Somewhat surprisingly, this milestone received precious little attention in the Western media, which appears to be far more interested in the evolving COVID-19 situation in China. A Washington Post editorial on December 20 went so far as to claim that “China’s new COVID nightmare could become a global catastrophe.”

Any sentient being would be hard pressed to miss the hypocrisy. The corporate media in the West has, for the last three years, loudly denounced China’s dynamic zero-COVID policy, labeling it as “authoritarian” and “unsustainable.” Now that China’s health authorities have adjusted the strategy in accordance with changing circumstances – the far lower pathogenicity of the dominant Omicron strain, the high level of vaccination, and the improved understanding of how to effectively treat symptoms – all of a sudden U.S. journalists and politicians are concerned for the people of China.

As the veteran Chicago-based education specialist and campaigner Michael Klonsky points out: “The common thread running through all these media stories is that the imperialist mind in the West knows what’s best for China’s health and wealth and has that country’s best interests at heart.”

Continue reading Human rights crisis as US Covid cases surpass 100 million

Covid in China: Western propagandists look set to be disappointed again

The following article by Indian commentator Maitreya Bhakal, originally published in the Global Times, addresses the latest round of Coming Collapse of China hysteria in the imperialist media. Bhakal observes that, having relentlessly mocked China’s dynamic Zero Covid strategy for the last three years, the West is now hoping beyond hope that the lightening of Covid restrictions will trigger a massive public health crisis which will in turn foment widespread dissatisfaction with the Communist Party of China-led government. In these hacks’ fantasy world, the ensuing instability could deliver a mortal blow to Chinese socialism.

Bhakal concludes that the West’s journalists and politicians are destined for frustration: “As with many of their other predictions, whether China’s economy that’s been collapsing for thirty years, or the Communist Party that will be overthrown any time now, Western propagandists look set to be disappointed again.”

If there’s one quality that defines Western civilization, it is racism. Western culture is often filled with bigotry and intolerance.

Few things demonstrate this better than the West’s propaganda around COVID-19.  After all, people generally don’t die in China like the way they do back home. Children aren’t shot in schools, civilians aren’t randomly killed by the police, and drug deaths and violent crime are extremely rare. As a result,  any event that causes Chinese deaths is warmly welcomed by Western propagandists.

As usual, all of this is blamed on China’s political system. Western propaganda is as one-sided as it is lazy: anything wrong in China – from an initial setback against a new disease, to bad weather – is always blamed on China’s supposed “authoritarianism.”

Today, almost three years into the pandemic, Western “democracies” lie devastated. China has four times the population of the US, and its COVID death toll is about 5,200. So far, America’s death toll is 211 times higher, Britain’s 37 times higher, Italy’s 34 times higher, Germany’s 30 times higher, Spain’s 22 times higher, and Canada’s 9 times higher. All these “rich” “democracies” are at the forefront of criticizing China on “human rights”, but they can barely provide their own populations with the most basic human right: the right to live.

So much for the superiority of “democracy.”

Last month, China witnessed a few small-scale protests. The aims and political persuasion of the protestors varied. Some had genuine questions on the direction of China’s COVID policy. Some were protesting local lockdowns in their localities or cities. Some were university students. Some were Westernized liberals. Others were Western propagandists and provocateurs – Western “journalists” or “NGO workers” or “English teachers”, who somehow always seem to materialize at Chinese protest sites. 

Continue reading Covid in China: Western propagandists look set to be disappointed again