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.

China and the struggle for peace

The following text is based on presentations given by Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez at Morning Star Readers and Supporters meetings in Manchester (19 February), Leeds (13 March) and Brighton 24 March), on the subject of China’s global strategy.

Carlos responds to the assertion by Western politicians and media that China is an aggressive and expansionist power, comparing China’s foreign policy record with that of the United States. He shows that China’s foreign policy is based on the principles of peace, development and win-win cooperation, and explains how this approach is rooted in China’s history and ideology, and is consistent with China’s overall strategic goals.

Carlos also takes note of China’s contribution to the global struggle for multipolarity and to the project of global development. He highlights the Belt and Road Initiative and China’s role in the struggle against climate catastrophe.

The text concludes:

On questions of peace, of development, of protecting the planet, China is on the right side of history. It’s a force for good. As socialists, as progressives, as anti-war activists, as anti-imperialists, we should consider China to be on our side… Those of us who seek a sustainable future of peace and prosperity, of friendship and cooperation between peoples, have a responsibility to oppose this New Cold War, to oppose containment and encirclement, to demand peace, to promote cooperation with China, to promote understanding of China, to build people-to-people links with China, and to make this a significant stream of a powerful mass anti-war movement that our governments can’t ignore.

The Manchester event was also addressed by Jenny Clegg; the Leeds event by Kevan Nelson; and the Brighton event by Keith Bennett.

I’m going to focus my remarks on China’s international relations and its global strategy. This is a subject about which there’s a great deal of misunderstanding and obfuscation, particularly in the context of an escalating New Cold War that’s being led by Washington and that the British ruling class is only too happy to go along with.

The mainstream media is full of hysteria about China’s “aggression” or “assertiveness”. When China reiterates its position on Taiwan – a position which in fact has not meaningfully changed in the last seven decades, and which is completely in line with international law – it’s accused of ramping up the threat of war.

When China refuses to go along with the US’s illegal, unilateral sanctions (for example on Russia, Iran, Syria, Nicaragua, Cuba, Venezuela, Eritrea and Zimbabwe), it’s accused of “subverting the international rules-based order”.

When China establishes bilateral relations and trade agreements with Solomon Islands, Honduras, Nicaragua and Nauru, it’s accused of engaging in colonial domination.

When Chinese companies invest in Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and the Pacific, they’re accused of imposing debt traps.

And unfortunately much of the left takes a fairly similar position to the ruling class on these issues, considering that China’s an imperialist power, that it’s engaged in a project of expansionism.

This sort of analysis on the left leads inexorably to a position of “Neither Washington Nor Beijing”, putting an equals sign between the US and China; putting China in the same category as the imperialist powers. According to this analysis, the basic dynamic of global politics is today that of inter-imperialist rivalry between the US and China.

And of course if that’s the case, if China’s just another imperialist power, and its only interest is growing its own profit margins and competing with the US, Britain, the EU, Canada and Japan for control of the world’s resources, labour, land and markets, it goes without saying that the global working class and oppressed – the vast majority of the population of the world – cannot possibly consider China to be a strategic ally in the pursuit of a better, fairer, more peaceful, more equal, more prosperous, more sustainable world.

China’s view of international relations

How does China consider its role in the world? What does the Communist Party of China propose regarding China’s foreign relations?

What the Chinese leadership calls for is “building a global community of shared future, with the goal of creating an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security, and common prosperity.”

China consistently expresses its commitment to multipolarity; to peace; to maximum and mutually beneficial cooperation around economic development and tackling climate change, pandemics, and the threat of nuclear war; to working within the context of the UN Charter and international law in support of peaceful coexistence.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi, at his recent Meet the Press session, talked of China “advocating vigorously for peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit”, and urged that “countries should rise above their differences in history, culture, geography and system, and work together to protect the Earth, the only inhabitable planet for us all, and make it a better place.”

Xi Jinping often talks about China’s orientation towards peace: “Without peace, nothing is possible. Maintaining peace is our greatest common interest and the most cherished aspiration of people of all countries.”

All of this is of course a pretty beautiful and compelling vision. But to what extent does it line up with reality? To what extent is China actually working towards peace, development and sustainability? To what extent does China diverge from the model of international relations pursued by the US and its imperialist allies?

Continue reading China and the struggle for peace

What’s really behind the campaign to ban TikTok?

The following article by Chris Garaffa, originally published in Liberation News, provides valuable insight into the US government’s campaign to ban TikTok.

Chris notes that, while some in the US are concerned about TikTok’s data collection, such concerns “play into racist tropes about surveillance in China”. In reality, US social media apps such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram “collect as much or more information than TikTok and use it to create profiles on users in order to target advertisements”. Furthermore, “these companies willingly hand over information to US law enforcement and surveillance agencies.” Data privacy is an important consideration in general, but it can only be addressed by regulation of the entire industry, not by singling out Chinese companies.

The attempt to ban TikTok must be considered in the context of “the ongoing effort by the US government to stop China’s ascendance on the global stage as part of its new Cold War efforts”, writes Garaffa. This broader campaign also incorporates the US government’s efforts to block Chinese technology companies such as Huawei from participating in the development of 5G networks, and the ongoing (and hapless) ‘semiconductor war’.

The author makes an important connection between the campaign against TikTok and the US-based genocide taking place in Gaza:

The renewed focus on TikTok also comes at a time when millions of people have continuously mobilized in defense of the Palestinian people since Oct 7. The genocide in Palestine is being livestreamed for the world to see on TikTok, and young people increasingly get their news from short-form videos on the platform…

Banning TikTok, or forcing it to be sold to a company based in the United States to continue operating, would have a chilling effect on the ability for people to see what Israel is doing to Palestinians with U.S. political, diplomatic, military and financial support. Such a ban would only be beneficial for U.S. tech giants and their investors, and would serve as a stepping stone in the growing confrontation that the United States is building towards with China.

On March 13, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 7521. This bill, called the “Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act,” but more commonly known as the TikTok ban, was passed just eight days after its introduction in the House. If the bill passes the Senate, President Joe Biden has said he will sign it.

The bill explicitly targets ByteDance, the owner of popular social media app TikTok, both in its introduction and in its text. If passed, the legislation would force the sale of the app so long as it’s owned by ByteDance, a Beijing-based company. It would also allow for the blocking of applications and websites with more than 1 million monthly active users if the company that makes the app is based in one of four “foreign adversary countries” defined by U.S. law: North Korea, China, Russia and Iran. App stores run by companies like Apple and Google would be prevented from allowing users to download TikTok and other covered apps to users in the United States.

Not a win for data privacy

Some privacy advocates claim this bill is a win for privacy rights, citing concerns about data collection by TIkTok. While some of these concerns may come from a well-intentioned place, they play into racist tropes about surveillance in China. U.S.-based social media apps collect as much or more information than TikTok and use it to create profiles on users in order to target advertisements. These companies also willingly hand over information to U.S. law enforcement and surveillance agencies.

Apple’s App Store added privacy labels to apps in 2020. Facebook’s app lists a massive 17 categories of information under the “Data Used to Track You” and “Data Linked to You” sections, including ominous and vague Sensitive Info and Other Data items.

Data Used to Track You includes information that may be shared directly with other companies including data brokers, while Data Linked to You includes information that is tied to your identity on the app. By comparison, TikTok lists 13 categories of data under these sections, and doesn’t include Sensitive Info, Health & Fitness or Other Data. X, formerly Twitter, similarly has 17 items under the two sections, with many more items listed directly as “Data Used to Track You” than either Facebook or TikTok. 

Data privacy is not the real concern of those pushing for a TikTok ban. If it were, they would be focusing on the multi-trillion dollar data collection industry that seeks to monetize every video view, every tap, every reaction GIF, and every message we send as users of these apps. If the U.S. government had real data protection regulations, all apps — including TikTok — would be required to follow them in order to do business in the country.

TikTok is already banned on the work devices of federal employees and of state employees in a majority of states. Donald Trump similarly tried to force the sale of TikTok to U.S. companies in 2020, giving retailer Walmart and enterprise software company Oracle a combined 20% stake in the company. Austin, Texas-based Oracle got its start in 1977 with the Central Intelligence Agency as its first customer, and heavily relies on government contracts for its business. Oracle co-founder and multi-billionaire Larry Ellison called for “a national security database combined with biometrics, thumb prints, hand prints, iris scans or whatever is best…” that could be “built in a few months” in a New York Times opinion piece months after the 9/11 attacks.

Continue reading What’s really behind the campaign to ban TikTok?

Cyberattack allegations: smoke and mirrors instead of truth

In the following brief article for the Morning Star, Carlos Martinez scrutinises the British government’s recent claim that China is engaged in “malicious” cyber activities directed against the UK.

While these allegations are being led by fanatically anti-China Tory MPs such as Iain Duncan Smith, the article notes that Starmer’s Labour Party has also been quick to jump on the bandwagon, with shadow foreign secretary David Lammy promising that a Labour government would put a stop to Chinese cyberattacks by “working with Nato allies to develop new measures designed to protect our democratic values, institutions and open societies”. Carlos comments: “Lammy perhaps missed the irony of lauding Nato’s ‘democratic values’ on the 25th anniversary of that organisation’s criminal bombing campaign against Yugoslavia.”

The slanders about Chinese cyberattacks “contribute to anti-China hysteria, thereby building public support for Britain’s role in a reckless US-led new cold war.” Carlos concludes:

There is no benefit to the British working class of joining in with the new cold war. China does not pose a threat to us. China’s proposal is for mutual respect and non-interference; an economic relationship based on mutual benefit; and for close co-operation on the central issues of our era: climate change, pandemics, peace and development. This is a vision worthy of our support.

On Monday March 25 2024, in an obviously co-ordinated move, the US, UK, New Zealand and Australia accused the Chinese government of backing cyberattacks in order to gather data and undermine Western democracy. On top of their unproven allegations, these countries announced the introduction of new sanctions against China.

Claiming that China was engaged in “malicious” cyber campaigns against MPs, and that it was responsible for a cyberattack on the UK Electoral Commission between August 2021 and October 2022, Deputy PM Oliver Dowden announced: “The UK will not tolerate malicious cyber activity. It is an absolute priority for the UK government to protect our democratic system and values.”

The accusations were led by members of the viscerally anti-China Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), the ostensible purpose of which is to “counter the threats posed by the Chinese Communist Party to democratic principles.”

IPAC lists its funding sources as the Open Society Foundations, the National Endowment for Democracy and the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, which should give readers some idea as to its ideological orientation.

Its most prominent British member is Tory MP Iain Duncan Smith, a notoriously fanatical China hawk, who talks often about the “terrible genocide in Xinjiang,” while simultaneously defending Israel’s actual genocide in Gaza. In short, he is an utter reactionary, albeit not a terribly bright one — his rambling utterances bring to mind Marx’s quip about the “British Parliament, which no one will reproach with being excessively endowed with genius.”

His Majesty’s Loyal Opposition was eager to show the ruling class that its foreign policy is every bit as absurd as that of the Tories. Writing in the Mirror on Monday, shadow foreign secretary David Lammy stated: “The wave of cyber-attacks against British politicians and the hack of 40 million voters’ data is chilling. One country, China, is responsible.”

He promised that, if elected, “Labour will work with Nato allies to develop new measures designed to protect our democratic values, institutions and open societies.”

Lammy perhaps missed the irony of lauding Nato’s “democratic values” on the 25th anniversary of that organisation’s criminal bombing campaign against Yugoslavia.

Needless to say, the government singularly failed to back up its accusations with meaningful evidence. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lin Jian commented quite reasonably that “there should be comprehensive and objective evidence, rather than slandering other countries without any factual support.”

He added: “China firmly opposes and combats all kinds of cyberattacks, and is committed to working with all countries, on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, to strengthen co-operation and jointly deal with the threats of cybersecurity through channels such as bilateral dialogue or judicial assistance.”

He further affirmed that “the evidence provided by the British side was inadequate and relevant conclusions lack professionalism,” and noted that the US, Britain and their allies themselves have a long history of cyberattacks and espionage against China.

He called on the US and Britain to “stop politicising cybersecurity issues, stop smearing China and imposing unilateral sanctions on China, and stop cyberattacks against China.”

A statement issued by the Chinese embassy in London branded Britain’s accusations “completely unfounded and malicious slander,” adding that “China has always adhered to the principle of non-interference in each other’s internal affairs.”

The embassy statement observed drily that: “whether the British government is good or bad, the British people will come to a conclusion sooner or later.”

Of course, the key purpose of these latest slanders is to contribute to anti-China hysteria, thereby building public support for Britain’s role in a reckless US-led new cold war.

An editorial in the Global Times pointed out that Britain’s shift away from a “golden era” of relations with China towards a position of hostility coincides with an increased economic and political dependence on the US in the aftermath of Brexit.

“It seems that the only way for Britain to secure its position in the ‘co-pilot’ seat is by closely aligning with the US and causing trouble for China.” Issuing slanders against China is simply an example of “deliberately stoking fear to advance their political agendas and achieve their political goals.”

An additional incentive for Britain in painting China as a security threat is to promote protectionism, for example in relation to Chinese-made electric vehicles — which are well known to be both cheaper and better than their European and North American counterparts, and could help meet Britain’s stated environmental objectives.

There is no benefit to the British working class of joining in with the new cold war. China does not pose a threat to us. China’s proposal is for mutual respect and non-interference; an economic relationship based on mutual benefit; and for close co-operation on the central issues of our era: climate change, pandemics, peace and development.

This is a vision worthy of our support.

ALBA party calls for calm to stop UK-China cold war becoming a hot war

Alba, the Scottish nationalist party founded by former First Minister Alex Salmond, has condemned the latest cold war moves by the British government against China.

In a March 26 statement the party’s General Secretary Chris McElney said that the sort of Cold War mentality on display by Westminster ends in hot wars. He called on the Scottish government to reject this approach, adding: “The real danger is from those who wish to divide the world into armed camps and who wish to shut Scotland out from the international community.”

Scotland had benefitted from a positive relationship with China in areas including education, trade, investment and tourism.

The below is reprinted from the Alba website.

Reacting to the UK Government statement on China, Alba Party General Secretary Chris McEleny said:

“As Alex Salmond has previously warned, this is the sort of Cold War mentality on display by Westminster which ends in hot wars. The Scottish Government should reject this viewpoint, defend valuable cultural exchanges and oppose any attempts by the UK Government to close them down or reduce the number of Chinese students who have the ability to be educated in Scotland. We have nothing to fear from talking and exchanging culture. The real danger is from those who wish to divide the world into armed camps and who wish to shut Scotland out from the international community.

“Scotland’s educational links with China have long presented opportunities to increase trade and secure Chinese investment in industry and infrastructure.

“These links also promote Scotland as a destination of choice for Chinese tourists – something which pre-pandemic delivered 172,000 visits to Scotland from China bringing £142M into the Scottish economy.

“Westminster’s feud with China undermines and will deeply damage over a century of Sino-Scottish educational relations”

Britain issues malicious and groundless accusations about Chinese cyberattacks

On Monday 25 March 2024, in an obviously coordinated move, the US, UK, New Zealand and Australia expressed concerns over Chinese cyber-hacking, which they claim is being leveraged by the PRC government to gather data and undermine Western democracy. On top of their unproven allegations, these countries announced the introduction of new unilateral sanctions against China.

In Britain, the charges were led by members of the viscerally anti-China Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), the ostensible purpose of which is to “counter the threats posed by the Chinese Communist Party to democratic principles”. IPAC lists its funding sources as the Open Society Foundations, the National Endowment for Democracy and the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, which should give readers some idea as to its ideological orientation.

Unfortunately the two major British political parties are equally enthusiastic about waging a propaganda war against China. Writing in the Mirror of 25 March 2024, shadow foreign secretary David Lammy stated: “The wave of cyber-attacks against British politicians and the hack of 40 million voters’ data is chilling. One country, China, is responsible.” He promised that, if elected, “Labour will work with NATO allies to develop new measures designed to protect our democratic values, institutions and open societies.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lin Jian responded that “China firmly opposes and combats all kinds of cyberattacks, and is committed to working with all countries, on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, to strengthen cooperation and jointly deal with the threats of cybersecurity through channels such as bilateral dialogue or judicial assistance.”

He further affirmed that “the evidence provided by the British side was inadequate and relevant conclusions lack professionalism”, and noted that the US, Britain and their allies have a long history of cyberattacks and espionage against China. He called on the US and Britain to “stop politicising cybersecurity issues, stop smearing China and imposing unilateral sanctions on China, and stop cyberattacks against China.”

A statement issued by the Chinese Embassy in the UK noted that “China has always adhered to the principle of non-interference in each other’s internal affairs”, adding drily that “whether the British government is good or bad, the British people will come to a conclusion sooner or later.”

An editorial in the Global Times pointed out that Britain’s shift away from a ‘golden era’ of relations with China towards a position of hostility coincides with a post-Brexit economic decline and corresponding increased dependence on the US. “It seems that the only way for Britain to secure its position in the ‘co-pilot’ seat is by closely aligning with the US and causing trouble for China.” Issuing slanders against China is simply an example of “deliberately stoking fear to advance their political agendas and achieve their political goals.”

A further Global Times report points to another incentive for Britain in painting China as a security threat: it paves the way for protectionism, for example in relation to Chinese-made electric vehicles and telecommunications infrastructure.

The Chinese Embassy statement and the two Global Times reports are reproduced below.

The Chinese Embassy in the UK issues statement to strongly condemn the UK side’s groundless accusation

On 25 March, the UK government made the groundless accusation that China had carried out cyberattacks against the UK, and announced sanctions on two Chinese individuals and one Chinese entity. In response to this, the Chinese Embassy in the UK issued a statement, strongly condemning the UK’s sinister action. The statement reads as follows:

The UK’s claim that China was responsible for malicious cyber campaigns targeting the UK is completely unfounded and constitutes malicious slander. We firmly oppose and strongly condemn this and have made a serious démarche to the UK side.

China is a major victim of cyberattacks. We have firmly fought and stopped all kinds of malicious cyber activities in accordance with the law, and have never encouraged, supported or condoned cyberattacks. The UK’s hype-up of the so-called “Chinese cyber attacks” without basis and the announcement of sanctions is outright political manipulation and malicious slander.

China has always adhered to the principle of non-interference in each other’s internal affairs. We have no interest or need to meddle in the UK’s internal affairs. Whether the British government is good or bad, the British people will come to a conclusion sooner or later.

The UK falsely accused China of attempting to interfere with UK democracy. This is nothing more than a publicity stunt. This is also a typical example of a thief crying “catch thief”.

China has always stood against illegal unilateral sanctions and will make a justified and necessary response to this.

We strongly urge the UK to immediately stop spreading false information about China, stop such self-staged, anti-China farces, and refrain from going further down the wrong path that leads only to failure.

Continue reading Britain issues malicious and groundless accusations about Chinese cyberattacks

Britain, China, and the struggle for peace

What follows is the text of a speech given by Kevan Nelson, International Secretary of the Communist Party of Britain (CPB), at a public meeting in Leeds on 13 March 2024 on the theme of The Struggle for Peace: Understanding China’s Position in 21st Century Geopolitics. The meeting was organised by the Morning Star Readers and Supporters Group in Yorkshire, and was also addressed by Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez.

Kevan starts with an overview of the British media’s portrayal of China – overwhelmingly negative and fearmongering – and goes on to explain the CPB’s position on China, which is based on a Marxist-Leninist analysis of the country’s history, politics and economy. He observes that “our Party has always been committed to the defence of countries building socialism”, and affirms the party’s firm opposition to the propaganda war and the escalating US-led New Cold War. Kevan explains that the CPB’s position is based on the pursuit of peace and cooperation, and that it wholeheartedly supports the efforts of campaigns and platforms such as Friends of Socialist China, the Stop the War Coalition, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and No Cold War.

While “income inequality remains a major concern” in China (one that is being actively addressed), Kevan argues that “the processes of capital accumulation are politically subordinated to state power aligned to socialist goals” and that “a mass communist party and the potential for popular mobilisation remains the basis of this state power”.

Kevan notes the importance of Chinese trade and investment to the British economy, and the potential for mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries. However, “the New Cold War threatens to undermine all these mutual benefits – particularly tens of thousands of jobs in the affected sectors – something trade unionists should consider when facing externally orchestrated calls for a boycott of China.”

The speech concludes with a call for developing deeper people-to-people relations between Britain and China, and building friendship and solidarity around shared interests of peace, progress and socialism.

Thanks for the invitation to speak at this important meeting which is an antidote to the relentless barrage of anti-China propaganda we are being subjected to in this period of the New Cold War against China.

Anyone reading the British press – the magnificent Morning Star excepted – is left in little doubt: China is our enemy.

The FT reported that ‘Biden vows to fight if China invades Taiwan’ – the same paper three days later ran a headline ‘China poses greatest threat, warns Blinken’.

The Guardian informs us that ‘China offers cash and spiritual rewards to citizens for national security tip offs’ (the spiritual reward being a mere certificate, not a weekend in heaven!).

The Economist (by far the worst offender) warns that ‘Chinese money is pouring into Britain’s universities. Critics say it comes at the cost of free speech’.

The Daily Mail claimed that the ‘NHS is dangerously reliant on China with 1 in 6 medical items coming from Beijing’, and a final example from the Daily Mirror: ‘I survived a labour detention camp where prisoners had organs harvested’ – this from a Falun Gong sect member who defected to Britain 15 years ago and did not witness anything of the sort.

At a Friends of Socialist China webinar last year – co-sponsored by the Morning Star – about the propaganda warfare being waged against China by the US and its allies, Danny Haiphong dismissed this relentless propaganda as ‘an imperialist and racist set of fabrications wielded in the interests of US unipolar hegemony’. The examples of this are endless and explain why many in the West increasingly perceive China as a hostile power.

The Communist Party of Britain’s attitude to China

In terms of the Communist Party’s attitude to China, our Party has always been committed to the defence of countries building socialism.

That is no less the case with China today than with the Russian Revolution in its early years, the Chinese Revolution in 1949 and the Cuban Revolution in 1959.

Looking back at Party statements, it is remarkable at how little has changed since the early days of China leaving the orbit of capitalism and imperialism.

In his report to the 21st National Congress of the Communist Party, November 1949 (75 years ago), Harry Pollitt said:

‘In the Far East, American imperialism is building up Japan… as well as maintaining puppet governments in South Korea and the Philippines, and Chiang Kai-shek in Formosa (today known as Taiwan). It has threatened New China with disruption and is fomenting counter-revolution wherever it can find agents in China. Under cover of warning the People’s Armies that any advance beyond the frontiers of China will be met by force, American imperialism is encouraging war preparations in Tibet, which is an old province of China. At the same time, the British Government has heavily reinforced Hong Kong, and may at any moment launch provocative action’.

Today the Uyghurs of Xinjiang may have replaced the Dalai Lama and Tibet as the main focus of destabilisation and propaganda, but the playbook of imperialism remains the same.

Continue reading Britain, China, and the struggle for peace

Sinophobia unmasked: the racism pandemic

In this article for the Morning Star, published to coincide with the UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Fiona Sim links the rise in sinophobia in the West with the unfolding New Cold War being waged against China. Understanding this context is crucial in order to tackle the issue of anti-Chinese racism in anything more than a superficial way: “The dilution of sinophobic racism into atomised incidents of discrimination and criminality — which, in the liberal discourse, can be resolved through unconscious bias training and the checking of privileges — comes at the cost of obfuscating the geopolitical origins of sinophobia.”

Fiona observes that “turning China into the Yellow Peril stops the masses from seeing China’s rise as an objective good for the world and enables the West to justify maintaining its imperialist hegemony.” And on both sides of the Atlantic, the issue is not limited to the right-wing: “Whether it’s far-right ideologues like Laurence Fox harping on about Biden taking ‘Chinese money’ or Labour Party MPs stoking fears of Chinese spies and Chinese-made CCTV cameras threatening national security, the spectre of sinophobia continues to haunt British politics.”

Fiona concludes that it’s imperative to “challenge the new cold war on China and look past the political theatre to pick apart the logics of anti-Chinese sentiment”, and furthermore to “push back against how China is constructed as the perpetual villain in the public consciousness.” This means challenging the anti-China propaganda that is being used to prop up the US-led imperialist system and which in the process is fuelling racism against East Asian communities in the West.

It is often said that when we name something, we give it power. This week we marked the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination — now is the time to to name sinophobia as one of the most insidious scourges of our time.

It has seeped into the mainstream media, stories of Chinese spies and Chinese subterfuge becoming as natural as the daily weather forecast. China’s rise as a global economic powerhouse and a challenge to Western capitalist hegemony has triggered a “new cold war.” With it has come the rise in sinophobia on a worldwide scale which even the Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has pointed out.

Especially in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, sinophobia manifested as accusations of China manufacturing the virus as a bioweapon and the dehumanisation of Chinese people globally as harbingers of disease. It was around the same time that the number of reported hate crimes against Asian communities skyrocketed.

The phrase Stop Asian Hate became a powerful rallying cry to raise awareness of the wave of violence against East and South-east Asian communities.

The slogan makes sense in the US context where Asian Americans bring visuals of East and South-east Asian communities, but not so applicable to the British one — where Asian usually refers to South Asian communities, and “Chinese” has been used as a catch-all for anyone of East Asian descent.

In both contexts, Stop Asian Hate was a convenient way to obscure the sinophobic roots — that East and South-east Asians were targeted because they were assumed to be Chinese or affiliated with China, not simply because they were Asian.

It could be argued that the impact of the Stop Asian Hate movement is the greater visibility of the issues faced by East and South-east Asian communities. The proliferation of hate crimes in the US, for example, quickly rose to the attention of Congress.

The Biden administration signed the Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act into power, targeted at tackling so-called anti-Asian hate. Yet, since the signing of this Bill, the US has only ramped up its discrimination against the Chinese-US diaspora and Chinese immigrants. In 2022, 1,764 Chinese scholars were denied visas to the US because of the Chinese universities they attended — a presidential directive from the Trump era that Biden has retained.

In 33 states, Bills have been passed to restrict Chinese nationals from buying agricultural land or property. In fact, a new poll showed that a third of Asian US and Pacific Islanders have experienced racial abuse in 2023.

Now, the US’s move to ban TikTok and the pressure on Britain to do the same, citing national security concerns from China, has only rekindled the anti-China hysteria. Much like the framing of China as responsible for Covid-19 resulted in the scapegoating of East and South-east Asians, it seems inevitable that this will only heighten the hostile environment against all those perceived as Chinese. China the country and the Chinese people are not mutually exclusive, nor should the distinction between the two be discouraged.

The limitations of framing racism as an interpersonal issue are clear. Politicians telling people not to commit sinophobic hate crimes is ludicrous when they, in the next breath, pass policies that incite fear of China and all things Chinese.

The dilution of sinophobic racism into atomised incidents of discrimination and criminality — which, in the liberal discourse, can be resolved through unconscious bias training and the checking of privileges — comes at the cost of obfuscating the geopolitical origins of sinophobia.

In reality sinophobia and imperialism are intertwined. From the years of the Opium War to the era of the Chinese Exclusion Act, sinophobia has been the weapon of choice to instil a fear of the Yellow Peril during times of political instability and uncertainty.

The Yellow Peril has provided an easy target for the masses to direct their frustrations toward an identifiable group and away from the failures of government. In the modern age, turning China into the Yellow Peril stops the masses from seeing China’s rise as an objective good for the world and enables the West to justify maintaining its imperialist hegemony.

Both the left and right are culpable of feeding into the moral panic about the Chinese. Whether it’s far-right ideologues like Laurence Fox harping on about Biden taking “Chinese money” or Labour Party MPs stoking fears of Chinese spies and Chinese-made CCTV cameras threatening national security, the spectre of sinophobia continues to haunt British politics.

The attacks on China correlate with the rise in attacks on people of East and South-east Asian descent. One only has to look to the 20th century’s epidemic of Chinese pogroms in south-east Asia for an example of how imperialism-fuelled sinophobia can have the most devastating and in some cases lethal consequences.

Thus, the most effective way of combating sinophobia is analysing it within the geopolitical scope of imperialist hegemony. One must challenge the new cold war on China and look past the political theatre to pick apart the logics of anti-Chinese sentiment, fighting against narratives that seek to cause fissures in the relationship between China and the rest of the global South.

The defeat of sinophobia requires interrogating centres of Western knowledge production and pushing back against how China is constructed as the perpetual villain in the public consciousness.

A rising China and a rising Africa? This is doubly frightening to the imperialist powers

What follows below is the text of a speech given by Fiona Sim on behalf of the Black Liberation Alliance at the recent Friends of Socialist China event Africa, China and the Rise of the Global South, held at the Marx Memorial Library on 16 March 2024.

Fiona describes the blossoming relationship between Africa and China – which even extends to South Africa and China collaborating to build a research base on the moon – and contrasts it with the “playbook of neo-colonial extraction and political puppeteering” that the West has used to exploit Africa for centuries. The China-Africa partnership is inspiring fear and loathing in the West, representing as it does a challenge to the global hegemony of the US and its allies:

“A rising China and a rising Africa? This is doubly frightening to the imperialist powers. It is the precursor to the fall of western hegemony altogether.”

The West’s response has been to ramp up its propaganda war against China and to try to drive a wedge between China and Africa – most obviously by denouncing Chinese “imperialism” and slandering its investments as “debt traps”. But the reality is that “China’s loans to African countries have some of the lowest interest rates, no political strings attached, mass debt relief programmes, and the massive infrastructure projects they fund and build result in positive net growth.” Chinese loans and investment are paving a road out of poverty and underdevelopment.

Fiona concludes by calling for solidarity with China and Africa in their struggle against imperialism, for countering the lies and distortions of the Western media, and for resolutely opposing the New Cold War.

It is my great honour to be included in this panel alongside our esteemed comrade from the Communist Party of Kenya and all these powerful organisers and activists. There is nothing more powerful than being united in struggle with comrades who are not only from across the diaspora but from around the globe. 

It is a reminder of the importance of internationalist, anti-imperialist solidarity that transcends borders and bureaucracy. Our struggles are connected by the chains of imperialist domination and sown from the seeds of destruction left by colonial conquest. But our joint history stretches back centuries further. 

While Europe was in its so-called Dark Ages, Africa, Asia and the Islamic world were experiencing their Golden Ages. The renowned Chinese Muslim naval navigator Zheng He led peaceful expeditions along the ancient Silk Road, with voyages as far as East Africa, where the seas connecting the two continents would go on to establish trade routes and friendly relations for years to come.

Now, centuries later, with the Silk-Road-inspired Belt and Road initiative, we are seeing the rebirth of Africa-China relations and establishment of South-South cooperation at an unprecedented scale. The relationship between Africa and China could not be stronger. Kenya is China’s number one trade partner in East Africa. South Africa and China are collaborating to build a research base on the moon. After the uprisings in the Sahel, the coup governments formed were quick to affirm their relations with China, which reiterated its policy of non-intervention and non-interference in African politics. Burkina Faso’s President Traore declared that he considered China an important trade partner early on, and Niger’s interim President General Tchiani has reportedly met with the Central and North African representative for BRICS in the last few weeks.

It is no wonder that the countries of the West – where whole civilisations have been built on the foundations of plunder and pillaging of the global South – see this as a threat. The West has seen that Africa has taken great interest in the rise of China especially in the last decade and it is running scared. Scared that its playbook of neo-colonial extraction and political puppeteering is no longer going to work on its former colonies. 

Let us be clear. The West only sees China as a threat to its hegemony because it cannot conceive a country that less than a century ago was one of the poorest in the world is now a global powerhouse whose economy rivals the US. Since the 1990s, China has been the only country whose GDP has grown exponentially, increasing on average by 9 percent a year. In 2023, China’s GDP increased by 5.2 percent – the highest among the major powers, with the US in second place at 1 percent. 

Continue reading A rising China and a rising Africa? This is doubly frightening to the imperialist powers

US targets TikTok in escalating economic war against China

The following article by Gary Wilson addresses the US government’s latest attempt to ban TikTok, the hugely popular social media app owned by Chinese company ByteDance.

Gary points out that “there isn’t even a sliver of evidence” for politicians’ claims that TikTok poses a national security threat or that ByteDance is working with the Chinese military. Meanwhile, Facebook’s well-documented history of working with the Pentagon provides ample proof of the US government’s hypocrisy.

The true reason for the attack on TikTok is that “the US government, under both the Trump and Biden administrations, has been escalating its economic war against China by imposing sanctions and restrictions on Chinese tech companies. The goal is to eradicate socialist China’s entire system of advanced technology.” This is part of a wider New Cold War strategy to contain China’s rise, in a geopolitical context where “US imperialism considers socialist China’s economic rise as its most significant contemporary challenge.”

This article was originally published in Struggle/La Lucha on 15 March 2024.

TikTok has emerged as a dominant force in social media, reshaping not just online culture but also extending its influence beyond the digital realm. Since its launch in 2016, TikTok has become one of the most popular social media platforms in the world, surpassing Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and YouTube in terms of downloads and engagement.

Through its unique format of short, audio-driven videos curated through algorithms, TikTok has propelled numerous artists, like Lil Nas X and Noah Kahan, into the mainstream spotlight. Music from Africa has gained a global audience. Even the Biden campaign is on TikTok with “BidenHQ,” hoping to appeal to a younger audience than its base of retirees and Wall Street bankers.

Facebook is considered to be TikTok’s biggest competitor. 

“Meta clearly sees itself in a battle against TikTok for the hearts, minds, and attention spans of millennials, a significant chunk of the social media market. TikTok has experienced a staggering growth of users since the onset of the global pandemic, taking over a huge chunk of its competitor’s audience,” the Guardian reported.

So why do the Biden administration and Congress want to ban TikTok?

Are they all just fans of Mark Zuckerberg? Or in Zuckerberg’s pocket? For sure, they’ve all probably had a few clubhouse dinners with Meta.

But this goes beyond Facebook. The target, and they clearly say this, is China. The ban passed by the House of Representatives is called the “ Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act.” China is the “foreign adversary.” 

A day after the House passed the bill, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (under Donald Trump) announced he is putting together an investor group to take over TikTok. “This should be owned by U.S. businesses,” he said.

TikTok’s only “crime” is beating out Facebook and the others. They claim TikTok is somehow working with the Chinese military, but there isn’t even a sliver of evidence of that.

Facebook has ties to the Pentagon (google “Fake Facebook and Instagram accounts promoting U.S. interests had ties to U.S. military” or “Big Tech Has Made Billions Off the 20-Year War on Terror”). Maybe we should ban Facebook. But that’s another discussion.

Trump, Biden both target China

The U.S. government, under both the Trump and Biden administrations, has been escalating its economic war against China by imposing sanctions and restrictions on Chinese tech companies. The goal is to eradicate socialist China’s entire system of advanced technology.

Reuters just reported on March 14 that while he was president, “Trump launched CIA covert influence operation against China.” Reuters says that Trump had also given the CIA greater powers to launch offensive cyber operations against China and Russia. “Sources described the 2019 authorization uncovered by Reuters as a more ambitious operation.”

The anti-TikTok propaganda is part of what Reuters calls a “covert messaging” operation.

“Covert propaganda campaigns were common during the Cold War,” Reuters adds.

Some call it the New Cold War. However, the New Cold War cannot reproduce the old Cold War. China has emerged as a major manufacturing power, including in advanced technology, and is the largest trade partner for 70% of the world’s countries. The U.S. no longer has the same dominant position in the global market.

The global landscape has changed dramatically since the Cold War era, but capitalism’s fundamental contradictions persist today, mirroring those of the 1960s during the Vietnam War. 

Financially and militarily, the U.S. empire is dangerously overextended.

Before the genocidal invasion of Gaza, the Biden administration was seeking to consolidate its dominance in the region by brokering Saudi Arabia’s recognition of Israel. Now, the U.S. is spending billions of dollars on bombs and weapons systems for the Zionist regime’s war on the Palestinian people. 

For two years, the U.S. has engaged in the largest arms transfer in history, sending to Ukraine some $113.4 billion in “emergency funding” over and above the regular Pentagon budget. Growing war fatigue, however, has now reduced the funds.

The New York Times puts it this way: 

“American support has sharply declined. House Republicans have blocked additional aid to Ukraine, and the Biden administration cannot send many more weapons. (The $300 million package announced this week will likely help Ukraine for only a few weeks.)” 

In fact, the Times almost says, it is only U.S. weapons and ammunition that started this war and have kept it going. “It falls on the U.S. to supply Ukraine,” the Times says. “The war is at a stalemate.” The funds have run out.

U.S. imperialism considers socialist China’s economic rise as its most significant contemporary challenge. It is resolute in thwarting Chinese industry from dominating the global markets. This ongoing “New Cold War” raises the specter of a potential war in the Pacific.

George Galloway: Chinese dragon soars despite West’s biased caricature

The veteran British parliamentarian and anti-imperialist campaigner George Galloway has been returned to Westminster after a dramatic February 29th byelection victory in the northwestern English town of Rochdale, caused by the death of the sitting MP, Tony Lloyd.

The leader of the Workers’ Party of Britain (WPB) polled 12,335 votes, giving him a majority of 5,697 and 39.7 percent of the vote. He began his victory speech with reference to the current leader of the British Labour Party:

“Keir Starmer, this is for Gaza. You will pay a high price for the role that you have played in enabling, encouraging and covering for the catastrophe presently going on in occupied Palestine, in the Gaza Strip.”

George Galloway is also a long-standing and prominent friend of China. In this short video, shown by CGTN on February 5, five days before the start of the Year of the Loong or Dragon, George cites examples of how western media have used dragon imagery to project a hostile picture of China. For example, the Economist had branded China as the “world’s worst polluter”, ignoring both the culpability of western countries since the industrial revolution and current per capita emissions.

Such narratives, George continues, contrast with China’s actual contributions and initiatives fostering global cooperation and prosperity. Referencing this year’s 75th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic, George notes that many western leaders have tried to stop the rise of the dragon, but all have failed in the face of modern China with its mixed economy under socialist leadership. The sun has risen in the east.

Referring to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), in which more than 130 countries participate, George says that while China’s adversaries deliver lectures, orders, threats and invasion, China delivers airports, high-speed rail, six-lane highways and rising prosperity.

Last year, he concludes, Britain named China as its biggest threat. He relates this to the increasing dysfunction and decay of Britain’s economy, politics and society. The more China advances, the more the UK falls behind.

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

Chip wars: breaking the siege

The following article by Bappa Sinha, originally published in People’s Democracy (the English-language weekly newspaper of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)) provides valuable insight into the US-initiated “chip wars” against China, which “show no signs of abating and have escalated further in 2023 with indications of more to come.”

Sinha describes the rationale for the chip wars as being essentially economic, with the US seeking to maintain its technological dominance. “Having already lost its manufacturing leadership due to outsourcing production, the US is critically dependent on its lead in advanced technologies to retain its global dominance. With China catching up and, in many cases, leapfrogging the US in frontier technologies, the US sees the denial of semiconductor technologies with its outsized impact on modern production and economy as an effective mechanism of keeping China down.”

The author details the numerous measures that have been taken by both the Trump and Biden administrations to restrict China’s access to advanced semiconductor technologies, including the imposition of export controls, the blacklisting of Chinese companies, and the imposition of sanctions.

However, “China has not been sitting on its hands waiting for its economic development to be choked.” China has been leveraging its particular advantages – its huge internal market, its dominant position in manufacturing, its education system, massive funding for research, and its “socialist economic planning which can set national industrial policy to undertake long term strategic initiatives” – in order to break the US’s technology siege.

In August 2023, Huawei released the Mate 60 pro, powered by a Chinese-manufactured 7nm chip – “precisely the kind of processor that the US sanctions had sought to prevent with their stated goal of denying China access to 14nm and below chip technology.” Industry insiders expect that China will soon be able to produce a 5nm chip. “These releases and announcements indicate China has weathered the storm and is poised to break through the siege that the US sanctions have sought to enforce.”

Sinha concludes that the US’s chip wars are destined for failure.

“Despite its head start in semiconductor technologies and massive financial resources at its disposal, the US, under neoliberal capitalism, is unlikely to be able to put policies in place to be able to remain ahead of China in the long run.”

The chip wars launched by the United States and its allies against China show no signs of abating and have escalated further in 2023 with indications of more to come. These wars are, in effect, a siege on China’s technological progress and economy. These across-the-board sanctions on leading-edge semiconductor chips, technology and equipment are a desperate attempt by the US to hold on to its geopolitical hegemony.

Background

While people are focused on the Ukraine war and Taiwan as frontiers of the geopolitical tussle between the US-led western alliance and the emerging powers of China and Russia, another front where the battle is being waged is in the tech domain – specifically, the semiconductor sanctions that the US is using to curtail China’s access to advance chips and technology to manufacture them. The US’s excuse for these measures is framed in military terms, saying that advanced semiconductors enable China to produce advanced military systems and improve the speed and accuracy of military decision-making. The tired western bogeyman of human rights violations is also cited as a reason for these sanctions. The sanctions are a naked attempt by the US to wage economic war against China. Having already lost its manufacturing leadership due to outsourcing production, the US is critically dependent on its lead in advanced technologies to retain its global dominance. With China catching up and, in many cases, leapfrogging the US in frontier technologies, the US sees the denial of semiconductor technologies with its outsized impact on modern production and economy as an effective mechanism of keeping China down. These actions are akin to technology denial regimes that the US, along with its allies, implemented during the Cold War.

The current round of technology sanctions by the US started in 2018 under the Trump administration. With the US increasingly getting concerned with China’s progress and leadership in telecommunications, especially in 5G, the US barred procurement of Huawei and ZTE equipment by all US federal government agencies, citing security concerns. This was especially ironic given the Snowden revelations about all leading US telecom equipment makers routinely having backdoors in their equipment for snooping purposes by the US intelligence agencies. The ban was preceded and followed by intense US lobbying worldwide, asking foreign governments to implement similar restrictions on Huawei. In December 2018, Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada on US request under the pretext of violating US sanctions against Iran. These actions wouldn’t suffice as Huawei was already the global leader in 5G technology, having become the world’s largest manufacturer of telecommunications equipment and the second largest manufacturer of mobile phones, supplanting Apple from that position.  In May 2019, the US cut off Huawei from access to American technology. This not only cut off Huawei from procuring US chips but also from designing and getting the chips made from foundries such as TSMC, as those also depended on US technology. On the software side, Google announced that it would cut Huawei’s access to the Android platform. These moves were a fatal blow to Huawei’s phone business as Huawei had no short-term solutions for the loss of access to mobile chips. Their telecom equipment business (such as bay stations) survived as it didn’t depend on leading-edge chips and could be procured locally.

Continue reading Chip wars: breaking the siege

Britain using ‘China threat’ narrative to divert from real problems

In the following article, which was originally published in the Global Times newspaper, a Chinese analyst explains that the moves by the British police to establish a new unit to counter supposed threats posed by China, Russia and Iran is actually an attempt to shift the blame for the UK’s present predicament while blindly following the United States. 

According to Zhang Jian, vice president of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), in the past few years, especially after Brexit, the UK has faced numerous difficulties, including economic underdevelopment and a domestic cost of living crisis:

“The ruling Conservative Party has been unable to address these problems and has instead blamed external factors, such as countries like China and Russia.”

Some extreme right-wing members of the Conservative Party are constantly seeking out the so-called threats and enemies after Brexit in order to divert public attention, he noted. “Especially with the upcoming general election in the UK, the issues of the Conservative Party’s ineffective governance are becoming more prominent, prompting them to work harder to blame their problems on foreign countries.”

The article further notes that police investigations into previous claims that China was supposedly operating “secret police stations” from businesses owned by members of the Chinese community in such places as Hendon in north London, Croydon, south of London, and Glasgow in Scotland, had concluded that there had been no illegal activity.

In response to the reports that British police are establishing a new unit to “counter threats posed by China, Russia and Iran,” Chinese experts on Sunday pointed out that the UK intends to shift the blame for its domestic underdevelopment issues onto foreign countries while blindly following the US’ diplomatic policies.

According to media reports, the UK police said on Friday that they had set up the new unit as they were very concerned about “risks ahead of a national election expected this year.” Matt Jukes, the UK’s head of counter-terrorism policing, said the evidence and the sense among his officers was that the challenge posed by hostile states was “greater now than since the days of the Cold War,” Reuters reported. 

However, this move by the British security agencies, especially the naming of certain countries, is only to shift the focus from the government’s inability to handle domestic affairs to external issues, rather than being based on justified security considerations, Chinese analysts told the Global Times on Sunday.

In the past few years, especially after Brexit, the UK has faced numerous difficulties, including economic underdevelopment and a domestic cost of living crisis, Zhang Jian, vice president of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times. 

“The ruling Conservative Party has been unable to address these problems and has instead blamed external factors, such as countries like China and Russia,” Zhang said.

Some extreme right-wing members of the Conservative Party are constantly seeking out the so-called threats and enemies after Brexit in order to divert public attention, he noted. “Especially with the upcoming general election in the UK, the issues of the Conservative Party’s ineffective governance are becoming more prominent, prompting them to work harder to blame their problems on foreign countries.”

Observers pointed out that the Conservative Party has been leaning toward the US in its post-Brexit foreign policy, and the establishment of an anti-China unit is part of that policy. 

“This is because after Brexit, the UK has had to rely more on the US,” Zhang told the Global Times on Sunday. 

The UK enacted a national security act in December 2023, which the government stated “will help ensure that the UK remains the hardest operating environment for malign activity undertaken by foreign actors.” Before the act was enacted, the UK has repeatedly accused China of stealing its information or operating unofficial agencies in the country, which China has firmly opposed.

The claim that the Chinese side is suspected of “stealing British intelligence” is completely baseless and malicious slander, said a spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in the UK in September 2023. 

“We urge the relevant British authorities to stop manipulating anti-China politics and cease this self-directed political farce,” said the embassy in a statement.

Earlier in April 2023, the Chinese Embassy in the UK also made it clear that there are no so-called Chinese overseas police stations. “It is important that some from the UK side respect the facts rather than spread false accusations,” said an embassy spokesperson.

In June, a police investigation into “secret Chinese police stations” in London has concluded that “no criminal activity” has taken place, according to the BBC. 

Martin Jacques: China will reach climate goal while West falls short

In this concise opinion piece for the Global Times, Martin Jacques discusses the extraordinary progress made by China in recent years in green technology, in particular solar photovoltaics, wind energy and electric vehicles.

China is already “by far the biggest producer of green tech”, and the gap is widening. As such, “it looks as if China’s voice on global warming will carry an authority that no other nation will be able to compete with.”

Martin observes that China is becoming a major exporter of green technology, and that its investment and innovation has driven an unprecedented decrease in prices globally, most notably for renewable energy. “China’s dramatic breakthrough in new green technologies is offering hope not just to China, but to the whole world, because China will increasingly be able to supply both the developed and developing world with the green technology needed to meet their global targets.”

This should of course be a boon for the green transition in the West, but the author points out the contradiction between the goals of saving the planet and pursuing a New Cold War against China: “How can the West become dependent on China for the supply of these crucial elements of a carbon-free economy when it is seeking to de-risk (EU) or decouple (US) its supply chains from China?”

Martin describes the West’s protectionist response to China’s green tech as “a petty and narrow-minded response to the greatest crisis humanity has ever faced”, and urges politicians to cooperate with China on ecological issues and to embrace its contribution to the shared global project of protecting the planet.

Martin Jacques is a visiting professor at Tsinghua University, and the author of the best-selling book “When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order.”

There has been constant low-level sniping in the West against China’s record on climate change, in particular its expansion of coal mining, and its target of 2060 rather than 2050 for carbon zero. I have viewed this with mild if irritated amusement, because when it comes to results, then China, we can be sure, will deliver and most Western countries will fall short, probably well short. It is now becoming clear, however, that we will not have to wait much longer to judge their relative performances. The answer is already near at hand. 

We now know that in 2023 China’s share of renewable energy capacity reached about 50 percent of its total energy capacity. China is on track to shatter its target of installing 1200GW of solar and wind energy capacity by 2030, five years ahead of schedule. And international experts are forecasting that China’s target of reaching peak CO2 emissions by 2030 will probably be achieved ahead of schedule, perhaps even by a matter of years. 

Hitherto, China has advisedly spoken with a quiet voice about its climate targets, sensitive to the fact that it has become by far the world’s largest CO2 emitter and aware that its own targets constituted a huge challenge. Now, however, it looks as if China’s voice on global warming will carry an authority that no other nation will be able to compete with.

There is another angle to this. China is by far the biggest producer of green tech, notably EVs, and renewable energy, namely solar photovoltaics and wind energy. Increasingly China will be able to export these at steadily reducing prices to the rest of the world. The process has already begun. It leaves the West with what it already sees as a tricky problem. How can it become dependent on China for the supply of these crucial elements of a carbon-free economy when it is seeking to de-risk (EU) or decouple (US) its supply chains from China? 

Climate change poses the greatest risk to humanity of all the issues we face today. There are growing fears that the 1.5-degree Celsius target for global warming will not be met. 2023 was the hottest year ever recorded. Few people are now unaware of the grave threat global warming poses to humanity. This requires the whole world to make common cause and accept this as our overarching priority. 

Alas, the EU is already talking about introducing tariffs to make Chinese EVs more expensive. And it is making the same kind of noises about Chinese solar panels. The problem is this. Whether Europe likes it or not, it needs a plentiful supply of Chinese EVs and solar panels if it is to reduce its carbon emissions at the speed that the climate crisis requires. According to the International Energy Authority, China “deployed as much solar capacity last year as the entire world did in 2022 and is expected to add nearly four times more than the EU and five times more than the US from 2023-28.” The IEA adds, “two-thirds of global wind manufacturing expansion planned for 2025 will occur in China, primarily for its domestic market.” In other words, willy-nilly, the West desperately needs China’s green tech products.

Knee-jerk protectionism demeans Europe; it is a petty and narrow-minded response to the greatest crisis humanity has ever faced. Instead of seeking to resist or obstruct Chinese green imports, it should cooperate with China and eagerly embrace its products. As a recent Financial Times editorial stated: “Beijing’s green advances should be seen as positive for China, and for the world.”

The climate crisis is now in the process of transforming the global political debate. Hitherto it seemed relatively disconnected. That period is coming to an end. China’s dramatic breakthrough in new green technologies is offering hope not just to China, but to the whole world, because China will increasingly be able to supply both the developed and developing world with the green technology needed to meet their global targets. Or, to put it another way, it looks very much as if China’s economic and technological prowess will play a crucial role in the global fight against climate change. 

We should not be under any illusion about the kind of challenge humanity faces. We are now required to change the source of energy that powers our societies and economies. This is not new. It has happened before. But previously it was always a consequence of scientific and technological discoveries. Never before has humanity been required to make a conscious decision that, to ensure its own survival, it must adopt new sources of energy. 

Such an unprecedented challenge will fundamentally transform our economies, societies, cultures, technologies, and the way we live our lives. It will also change the nature of geopolitics. The latter will operate according to a different paradigm, different choices, and different priorities. The process may have barely started, but it is beginning with a vengeance. Can the world rise to the challenge, or will it prioritize petty bickering over the vision needed to save humanity? On the front line, mundane as it might sound, are EVs, wind power, and solar photovoltaics.

Everyone should wake up to US’ blame game in Red Sea, Ukraine crises

In this article, originally published in Global Times, British academic James A. Smith notes that the United States and Britain are currently engaged in a bombing campaign against Yemen, which flows from US support for Israel’s genocidal war in Gaza, yet “according to US officials, it is China who should apparently be making the peace.”

Smith argues:

“We’ve heard this all before. The US has also repeatedly stated that it is China’s responsibility to ensure peace in the Ukraine conflict too. However, the reality is that in both scenarios, not only does US foreign policy run completely contrary to the interests of peace, but moreover, the White House has no intention in either instance of attempting a balanced peace scenario brokered on China’s terms.

“Instead, what is being asked is that Beijing capitulates to enforcing American-centric goals and interests in respect to each conflict. And of course, because US officials know there is no chance of that happening, the goal of these public overtures is merely a propaganda effort to smear China as being responsible or culpable for the given wars that US is in fact escalating, and thus to frame China as a threat to the international order. American foreign policy is not driven by an attempt to ensue balance, peace or stability, but on a prerequisite goal that it must always maintain unilateralist hegemony at all costs.”

According to the author, as China will not support unilateralist American foreign policy goals in seeking peace, the US subsequently uses this to push a narrative that China is a threat to the peace. This is the propaganda game played by US officials. It is an act of gaslighting to demand that China support peace, when in fact it means supporting American strategic goals.

Dr. James A. Smith is a senior lecturer in Literature and Theory at Royal Holloway, University of London, and the author of Other People’s Politics: Populism to Corbynism.

Recently, the US asked China to “help” maintain the flow of Red Sea shipping. The US is currently in a state of conflict with Houthi rebels in Yemen. The cause of the conflict is a failure of the US to push for a ceasefire and peace negotiations in Israel, which has caused regional tensions and instability. The US and UK, in turn, have responded with a bombing campaign in Yemen. However, according to US officials, it is China who should apparently be making the peace.

We’ve heard this all before. The US has also repeatedly stated that it is China’s responsibility to ensure peace in the Ukraine conflict too. However, the reality is that in both scenarios, not only does US foreign policy run completely contrary to the interests of peace, but moreover, the White House has no intention in either instance of attempting a balanced peace scenario brokered on China’s terms. 

Instead, what is being asked is that Beijing capitulates to enforcing American-centric goals and interests in respect to each conflict. And of course, because US officials know there is no chance of that happening, the goal of these public overtures is merely a propaganda effort to smear China as being responsible or culpable for the given wars that US is in fact escalating, and thus to frame China as a threat to the international order.

American foreign policy is not driven by an attempt to ensue balance, peace or stability, but on a prerequisite goal that it must always maintain unilateralist hegemony at all costs. To this end, contemporary US foreign policymaking, unlike the Cold War, does not yield a notion of compromise with states that it deems to be adversaries. Rather, its objectives focus on preventing the breakdown of unipolarity and enabling strategic competitors to emerge which challenge the post-1991 status quo. In other words, the US pursues maximalist goals and does not compromise on “strategic space” in its diplomacy and continually aims to expand its leverage.

That is why, for example, the US was not prepared to compromise on the subject of NATO in order to alleviate tensions with Russia or bring a swift end to the Ukraine conflict. Instead, it sets itself on a policy that aimed to use the conflict as a means to impose a zero-sum strategic defeat on Moscow so that it could eliminate them as a competitor and destroy economic integration between Russia and Europe. The US only finds a peace outcome acceptable if it supports all its strategic goals. 

Given this, when China proposed a peace plan for the Ukraine conflict last year, the US readily dismissed it. Yet at the same time, the US had repeatedly asked China to put “pressure” on Russia, to end the conflict. What does this mean? It does not mean brokering a peace or a mutually acceptable resolution, but rather subduing Moscow to follow American foreign policy preferences, which is of course a total non-starter. China isn’t being asked to make peace or find a mutually acceptable resolution, but to act on the behalf of the US.

Therefore, as China will not support unilateralist American foreign policy goals in seeking peace, the US subsequently uses this to push a narrative that China is a “threat” to the peace. This is the propaganda game played by US officials. It is an act of “gaslighting” to demand that China support “peace,” when in fact it means supporting “American strategic goals.” When China does not comply, it is accused of deliberately prolonging and enabling the conflict. 

The mainstream media in turn responds by assuming that China “supports” the side against the US in the given conflict. In the process, the narrative then whitewashes the actual culpability America has in having created those wars in the first place through its pursuit of unilateralist and zero-sum policies. One example of this is refusing to compromise on the expansion of NATO, or alternatively, giving Israel unconditional and uncritical backing in the war on Gaza and even resorting to more military solutions when the instability escalates. Yet China, a bystander, who does not have a direct stake in any of these conflicts, and would prefer peace and stability as its primary goals, is somehow framed as the threat in a conspiracy against the West. This is the game the US plays, and everyone should wake up to it. 

Embracing the Year of the Dragon

In the following article, which was originally published by China Today to coincide with the start of the Year of the Dragon, our co-editor Keith Bennett, noting that the Lunar New Year has increasingly become a common festival of people throughout the world, goes on to illustrate how it has become an integral part of British life, celebrated not only by the Chinese community and all those with a connection to China, but increasingly by people from all communities and all walks of life. 

Keith notes how the celebration in London’s Chinatown, which had already become one of the largest and most spectacular outside Asia, was brought to Trafalgar Square by progressive mayor Ken Livingstone, and due in large part to the hard work and efforts of two great friends of China, the late Redmond O’Neill and Jude Woodward. 

Highlighting how China’s late Premier Zhou Enlai had stressed that his country’s diplomacy rested on a tripod of state-to-state, party-to-party and people-to-people relations and that President Xi Jinping has often stressed that good people-to-people relations are the foundation for sound state-to-state relations, Keith concludes:

“British people from all walks of life and backgrounds have been increasingly taking Chinese New Year to their hearts. It has become part of our culture and calendar. This is one more reminder that Cold War hostility and bellicosity do not represent the interests of the people of any country and are therefore destined to fail.”

Chinese people, and people throughout the world, are looking forward to welcoming the Year of the Dragon, which falls on February 10, 2024. The Dragon is considered the most auspicious of the 12 signs in the Chinese zodiac and this year is specifically the Year of the Wood Dragon, the first since 1964. According to Lifestyle Asia, “Wood Dragons enjoy fulfilling careers. They’re likely to materialize all their ambitions into actions, coming up with truly revolutionary ideas.”

In the run up to the Chinese people’s greatest holiday, there has already been some good news. On December 22, 2023, the 78th United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution by consensus that, as from 2024, the Chinese, or Lunar, New Year shall be designated as a UN “floating holiday,” to be taken into consideration when drafting the world body’s calendar of conferences and meetings.

This might be best understood as a welcome and quite possibly overdue recognition of reality. The Lunar New Year has long since ceased to be solely a great festival for all Chinese people; for other countries and peoples in East Asia sharing a cultural heritage and numerous neighborly bonds with China; and for overseas Chinese and people of Chinese heritage on the five continents and across the four seas. It has increasingly become a common festival of people throughout the world.

In my country, Britain, it is, of course, a special occasion for our Chinese community and for all those of us with a connection to China. This naturally especially applies to Chinatowns, such as those in London, Liverpool (the oldest in Europe), Manchester and elsewhere.

The London Chinatown Chinese Association (LCCA), one of the U.K.’s most important Chinese organizations, long led by the indefatigable Chu Ting Tang, proprietor of the Imperial China restaurant, works hard throughout each year to stage one of the greatest and most spectacular Chinese New Year celebrations outside Asia, which attracts tens of thousands of people – not just Chinese people, but Londoners from every background in this most multicultural and multinational of cities, joined, too, by visitors and tourists from all over.

This great celebration had long since outgrown the crowded pavements of Gerard Street, Lisle Street, Wardour Street, Newport Place, and others in the heart of Chinatown, when Ken Livingstone, the progressive mayor of London, brought it to the heart of the capital in nearby Trafalgar Square.

This was a key part of Ken’s ambitious program to recognize and celebrate the city’s great diversity, from Ireland’s national Saint Patrick’s Day, to the Notting Hill Carnival (originally inspired by Claudia Jones, a communist of Trinidadian origin, who met Chairman Mao and is now buried to the left of Karl Marx), to the Eid, Diwali, Vaisakhi, and Hannukah festivals of the Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, and Jewish faiths.

None of this would have been possible without the devoted and tireless work of two great friends of China, who were mainstays of the mayor’s office and administration. Redmond O’Neill and Jude Woodward, socialists, Marxists, and internationalists, left us far too early, but we remember them not least at Chinese New Year. Its central place in London life is thanks in great part to them.

The Chinese New Year is also a focus for all in the business community with an interest in China and the Chinese market. This is now marked by an ever-increasing number of dinners and receptions, but the flagship event has long been the “Icebreakers” Chinese New Year Dinner, customarily held in the ballroom of the iconic Dorchester Hotel, home also to the China Tang Restaurant, founded by the late Sir David Tang, on Park Lane, and organized by the 48 Group Club. Originally hosted by the London Export Corporation (LEC), the first U.K. company to trade with the new China following the establishment of the People’s Republic, and founded by the late Jack Perry, it is now joined by the China Britain Business Council (CBBC) and the China Chamber of Commerce in the U.K. (CCCUK), and features keynote speeches by the Chinese ambassador and other VIPs, both British and Chinese. It has even received letters and messages of greetings from President Xi Jinping and other top Chinese leaders.

For the last couple of decades, the Chinese affiliates, and China interest groups, of the Conservative, Labor and Liberal Democrat parties have all also hosted celebratory dinners, although these have now been somewhat negatively impacted by the new Cold War mentality and the rise of neo-McCarthyism. My personal highpoint from these events – although they have also been attended by a number of serving prime ministers and receptions have been held at 10 Downing Street, the prime minister’s official residence – was when former Chinese Ambassador to the U.K. Liu Xiaoming joined Jeremy Corbyn, the first socialist leader of the Labor Party in at least eight decades, to celebrate at the Phoenix Palace, one of London’s most outstanding Cantonese restaurants, as well as brought the traditional lion dance to life at Labor’s headquarters.

But, as mentioned, Chinese New Year in the U.K. has now gone well beyond those with a specific China interest. It is, for example, marked with special projects and lessons in many of our primary schools up and down the country.

China’s late Premier Zhou Enlai, in my view the greatest diplomat of the 20th century, stressed that China’s diplomacy rested on a tripod of state-to-state, party-to-party, and people-to-people relations.

President Xi Jinping has often stressed that good people-to-people bonds are the foundation for sound state-to-state relations.

British people from all walks of life and backgrounds have been increasingly taking Chinese New Year to their hearts. It has become part of our culture and calendar. This is one more reminder that Cold War hostility and bellicosity do not represent the interests of the people of any country and are therefore destined to fail.

Happy New Year of the Wood Dragon!  

Asian NATO under a new guise

In the following article, which was originally published on the Australian website Pearls and Irritations, Tim Beal analyses the increasing focus on the Asia-Pacific region by the NATO military alliance, with China as its main potential target.

Tim notes recent military activities in the region on the part of Germany, France and the Netherlands, while Britain, “enthused with imperial nostalgia and memories of the Opium War, flaunts its very expensive but very vulnerable aircraft carriers in a mix of high ambition and low farce.”

There are, however, impediments to NATO’s regional expansion, including the potential role of more independent minded leaders in some member countries, such as Türkiye, Hungary, Slovakia, and even France. Tim therefore argues that the Seoul-based United Nations Command (UNC) might be pressed into service as a more pliant alternative, citing an article by US strategist Clint Work to explain:

“Although the Koreas, both South and North, are important in their own right the peninsula’s position in US geostrategy is principally as an instrument against China. Sometimes, Work mentions China, sometimes he uses North Korea as a surrogate for China and on other occasions he employs coded phrases for China such as South Korea’s ‘broader regional responsibilities’.”

Regarding the UNC, Tim further notes that: “Despite its name it is not an organisation under the control of the United Nations but in fact a US-controlled military alliance that got its misleading title during the early stages of the Korean War when the Soviet Union was boycotting the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) over the US blocking of recently-established People’s Republic of China (PRC) taking over the China seat from Chiang Kai-shek’s Republic of China (ROC) which had retreated to Taiwan province. And because of its name and its illegal use of the UN flag and logo, the UNC can be portrayed as a UN body, an expression of ‘the international community’, rather than the US military.”

Tim Beal is a retired New Zealand academic, whose main focus has been Northeast Asia. He is the author of ‘North Korea: The struggle against American power’ (2005) and ‘Crisis in Korea: America, China and the risk of war’ (2011), both published by Pluto Press.

Over the past couple of years there has been a flurry of activity linking NATO, and some of its constituent countries with the states of American East Asia, principally Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has been a frequent visitor, and in December 2023, the US embassy in Seoul arranged for senior representatives from eight NATO countries to visit South Korea to “engage in discussions on the security situation in the Indo-Pacific region and other pertinent issues”. Meanwhile back in Washington Representative Mike Lawler has introduced a bill in Congress aimed at “establishing [a] task force for NATO-like Indo-Pacific Alliance”. The Luftwaffe made headlines in August 2022 by flying non-stop, refuelling in air, to participate in the Pitch Black exercises in Australia and more of the Bundeswehr returned in 2023 for the Talisman Sabre 23 exercises. In November a British army unit participated in military exercises in South Korea.  France and the Netherlands have been doing their bit, and Britain, enthused with imperial nostalgia and memories of the Opium War, flaunts its very expensive but very vulnerable aircraft carriers in a mix of high ambition and low farce. The participation of Asian militaries in the NATO space has been, so far, very low key. The Japanese sent observers to Air Defender 23 in Germany, and the South Koreans joined in a cyberwar game in Estonia in November 2023. However regional leaders – the Asia Pacific Four (AP4), Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand – have been invited with some fanfare to mix with the grown-ups at NATO summits in Madrid and Vilnius. Moreover, NATO has been active in crafting Individually Tailored Partnership Programmes (ITPPs) with Japan, South Korea, Australia, and soon, New Zealand.

The reasons for this accelerating activity are easily discernible. For regional leaders – Yoon, Kishida, Albanese, etc – the illusion of European support in a war against China must offer comfort; delusionary given the state of European militaries but something to clutch at. For the Europeans in NATO, civilians and military, there is a desperate need to convince Washington that they are still relevant, given the shift of USA attention towards China and the failure of the proxy war in Ukraine. The search for relevance has been a constant since the Soviet collapse; as Senator Richard Lugar put it in 1993, for NATO it’s either ‘out-of-area or out-of-business’. NATO chose out-of-area and Beijing is the logical, and final, destination.

Continue reading Asian NATO under a new guise

US peace activists call for dialogue and understanding with China

The following article in China Daily reports on a recent delegation to China by the US Peace Council, at the invitation of the Chinese People’s Association for Peace and Disarmament (CPAPD). Among the delegates were Bahman Azad (president of the US Peace Council), Ajamu Baraka of Black Alliance for Peace, Immanuel Ness (chair of the New York Peace Council), and Roger Harris of the US Peace Council executive committee.

The purpose of the trip was to encourage dialogue between the US and China, to promote peace and mutually beneficial relations, and to oppose an escalating New Cold War. Bahman Azad commented: “It is our hope that with the information obtained from this visit and closer cooperation with CPAPD, we will be able to help clear the fog of misunderstanding that is being created about China in our country”.

The delegates all commented on the profound difference between the US and China in terms of their approach to international relations. Ajamu Baraka contrasted China’s commitment to building a community with a shared future for mankind with the “crisis-oriented zero-sum diplomacy” of the West. Ajamu points out in a report on the delegation for Black Agenda Report that “we have witnessed concretely the results of the Chinese approach with the historic agreement brokered by the Chinese between Saudi Arabia and Iran that effectively ended the Obama war in Yemen.” Ajamu explores these issues further in an interview on Margaret Flowers’ Clearing the FOG podcast.

In the Black Agenda Report article, Ajamu also talks about the Global Security Initiative (GSI), linking it to the long-term multipolar project – “the transition from Western colonial/capitalist domination of the last five hundred years to new power configurations and social systems that have not yet taken a permanent form but, nevertheless, are in dialectical emergence.” Roger Harris supports this point in an article about the delegation written for Counterpunch: “in this contentious geopolitical climate, China and by extension the Global South pose a countervailing space from US imperial hegemony.”

We will hear from Bahman and Ajamu – alongside Sara Flounders, Danny Haiphong, Dee Knight, Lee Siu Hin, Qiao Collective, Radhika Desai, and representatives of the Chinese People’s Association for Peace and Disarmament and Communist Party USA International Department – on Sunday 18 February at a webinar organised by Friends of Socialist China and the International Manifesto Group, entitled Peace delegates report back from China: Building solidarity and opposing the New Cold War.

At a time when China-United States relations are increasingly defined by narratives of rivalry, a recent visit by US peace activists to China offered a refreshing counterpoint.

Seeking to build bridges of understanding between the two nations, a delegation from the US Peace Council visited China last month at the invitation of the Chinese People’s Association for Peace and Disarmament.

They shared their firsthand experience in China at a recent webinar to demonstrate that cooperation, not competition, is the path to a peaceful future.

“What we witnessed was a modernizing China focused on promoting peaceful development of all nations and respect for international law by all states,” said Bahman Azad, the organization’s president.

This commitment to peaceful development stands in stark contrast to the “China threat” narrative often peddled by the US media and government officials. That narrative “presents China’s economic development and its growing diplomatic role in the global affairs as a ‘threat’ to the United States”, said Azad.

“It is our hope that with the information obtained from this visit and closer cooperation with CPAPD, we will be able to help clear the fog of misunderstanding that is being created about China in our country,” he said.

For Immanuel Ness, chair of the New York Peace Council and a professor of political science at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, China’s commitment to equity and noninterference resonates deeply.

“The idea of creating equity, not just equity within a country, but equity among countries came across to me as being extremely important,” he said. “Peaceful development means noninterference in the internal affairs of countries of the Global South, and the world as a whole. That was one of the important aspects of creating a sense of peace.”

He said China’s efforts to develop global partnerships and build political trust are key to creating a more peaceful world. “That level of trust is based on openness and inclusiveness, and on the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter, something that has been abrogated by the West,” he added.

Roger Harris, a member of the US Peace Council’s Executive Committee and a member of the delegation, highlighted the fundamental divergence in core values between the two nations.

While the US national security doctrine emphasizes “full spectrum dominance”, he said he was impressed by China’s principles of “independence, common prosperity, and peaceful development”.

“The Chinese recognize and celebrate the fact that there’s a very high level of integration between China and the US, particularly in economics. They also see that these intertwined relationships are positive and that they result in the mutual benefits of both countries,” said Harris.

Ajamu Baraka, another member of the delegation and chair of the coordinating committee of the Black Alliance for Peace, further emphasized the difference in the two nations’ diplomatic approaches.

He contrasted China’s commitment to building a “community with a shared future for mankind” with the “crisis-oriented zero-sum diplomacy”, what he called “characteristic of diplomacy emanating from the West”.

China is also committed to pursuing peaceful development based on mutual respect and win-win cooperation and steering the reform of the global governance system under the principle of fairness and justice, said Baraka.

This fundamental divergence in core values underscores the importance of open dialogue and understanding in bridging the divide, he added.

During the visit to China, the delegation members and their Chinese counterparts held “informative, constructive, and productive” discussions, said Azad from the US Peace Council.

At the heart of the agreements reached between the two sides lie people-to-people exchanges. Recognizing the power of direct interaction, both sides pledged to facilitate youth travel and cultural exchanges, allowing citizens to experience each other’s realities firsthand.

Joint webinars and seminars are planned, tackling complex topics like the intricacies of US-China relations and broader issues of global peace. By encouraging open dialogue and knowledge sharing, these initiatives aim to dispel the fog of misinformation and mistrust that clouds bilateral relations, said Azad.

Self-confidence and self-reliance, openness and inclusiveness, fairness and justice, and win-win cooperation

China’s top diplomat, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who is also a Member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and Director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs, delivered an important and comprehensive speech at a Beijing Symposium on the International Situation and China’s Foreign Relations on January 9, 2024.

Saying that in the preceding year China had created a favourable environment for building a great modern socialist country and advancing the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, and had made new contributions to maintaining world peace and promoting common development, Wang Yi went on to identify six highlights:

Our head-of-state diplomacy has been immensely successful, achieving new milestones in major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics.

In 2023, President Xi Jinping was personally involved in the planning and execution of major diplomatic actions. He chaired two home-ground events, attended three multilateral summits, made four important overseas visits, and held more than 100 meetings and phone calls.

Solid progress has been made in building a community with a shared future for mankind, lending new impetus to the building of a brighter future for humanity.

During General Secretary Xi Jinping’s historic state visit to Vietnam in December 2023, the most important political outcome reached between the two sides was to upgrade the bilateral relationship to a community with a shared future that carries strategic significance. This characterisation has marked not only a new level in the “comradely and brotherly” relations between the two socialist neighbours but also a full commitment of the Indochina Peninsula to jointly building a community with a shared future. 

The inclusion of Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan has brought its coverage to the whole of Central Asia. China is working with Cambodia and Laos on a new, five-year action plan, and has reached agreement with Malaysia, in addition to Thailand and Indonesia, adding to the good momentum toward a closer China-ASEAN community with a shared future. In his visit to South Africa, President Xi Jinping announced with President Cyril Ramaphosa the decision to build a high-quality China-South Africa community with a shared future, taking China-Africa relations to a new stage.

The Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was successfully held, taking BRI cooperation to a new stage of high-quality development.

 Ten years on, Belt and Road cooperation has extended from the Eurasian continent to Africa and Latin America and expanded from physical connectivity to institutional connectivity and people-to-people bonds. 

The BRICS mechanism achieved a historic expansion, adding new strength to unity and cooperation in the developing world.

BRICS countries have made dedicated efforts to promote global growth and improve global governance. Inspired by the vibrancy and appeal of the mechanism, dozens of developing countries have officially applied for its membership. The expansion marks a milestone in the development of the BRICS mechanism, and ushers in a new era of strength through unity for the Global South. The expanded “greater BRICS” will surely play a stronger role in shaping a more just and equitable global governance system and increasing the representation and voice of the Global South in international affairs.

A successful China-Central Asia Summit was held, creating a new platform for good-neighbourliness and friendly cooperation in the region.

China and the five Central Asian countries, connected by mountains and rivers, have always been friendly neighbours. China hopes to see, more than anyone, a stable, prosperous, harmonious, and interconnected Central Asia. At a key moment in the evolving international landscape, President Xi Jinping and the heads of state of the five Central Asian countries gathered in the historical city of Xi’an, the starting point of the ancient Silk Road, for the inaugural China-Central Asia Summit. 

President Xi Jinping comprehensively elaborated on China’s foreign policy toward Central Asia, and decided, together with the heads of state of the five Central Asian countries, to build a closer China-Central Asia community with a shared future, formally establish the mechanism of meetings between the heads of state of China and Central Asian countries and set up a permanent secretariat for the China-Central Asia mechanism. 

We facilitated the historic reconciliation between Saudi Arabia and Iran, setting a new example of political settlement of hotspot issues.

President Xi Jinping had in-depth communication with the leaders of Saudi Arabia and Iran, persuading the two countries to let go of past grievances and meet each other halfway. We are glad to see that Syria has rejoined the family of the League of Arab States; Qatar, Syria, Iran, and Türkiye have restored diplomatic ties or normalised their relations respectively with Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, with Tunisia and Saudi Arabia, with Sudan and with Egypt; and the people of regional countries are taking the future of the Middle East back into their own hands.

Wang Yi went on to say that over the past year, when faced with major issues concerning the future of humanity and the direction of world development, China has all along stood firmly on the right side of history and on the side of human progress in its diplomacy, and made decisions that can stand the test of practice and time, and gave a further six examples in this regard:

Continue reading Self-confidence and self-reliance, openness and inclusiveness, fairness and justice, and win-win cooperation