Video: Black Liberation and People’s China – Rediscovering a History of Transcontinental Solidarity

Friends of Socialist China, in conjunction with the International Manifesto Group, organised a well-attended webinar on Saturday May 11 on the theme of Black Liberation and People’s China – Rediscovering a History of Transcontinental Solidarity.

The webinar marked the 65th anniversary of the historic visit to China by Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois, where, together with his wife Shirley Graham Du Bois, the great scholar and revolutionary celebrated his 91st birthday on February 23rd, 1959.

Focusing specifically on transcontinental solidarity between the Chinese revolution and the African-American freedom struggle, the webinar noted that this revolutionary history neither begins nor ends with Dr. Du Bois. It embraces Langston Hughes and Paul Robeson from the 1930s; Robert F. and Mabel Williams and Malcolm X in the 1960s; the Black Panther Party in the 1960s and 1970s; and many others, joined by Chinese leaders, including Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai, as well as Chinese American communists and progressives and returned overseas Chinese.

The event was moderated by our co-editor Keith Bennett and featured a distinguished panel of speakers as follows:

  • Professor Gerald Horne, John J. and Rebecca Moores Chair of History and African American Studies, University of Houston, USA; 
  • Dr. Charisse Burden-Stelly, Associate Professor of African American Studies, Wayne State University, USA; 
  • Dr. Gao Yunxiang, Professor of History, Toronto Metropolitan University, Canada; 
  • Dr. Zifeng Liu, Post Doctoral Scholar, Africana Research Center, Pennsylvania State University, USA; 
  • Margaret Kimberley, Executive Editor and Senior Columnist, Black Agenda Report; and
  • Qiao Collective, a diaspora Chinese media collective challenging US aggression against China

The video of this interesting and important webinar is embedded below, followed by the individual contributions.

Black Liberation and People’s China: Rediscovering a History of Transcontinental Solidarity
Keith Bennett
Gerald Horne
Gao Yunxiang
Charisse Burden-Stelly
Zifeng Liu
Charles Xu
Margaret Kimberley

The latest danger from China: too much clean energy?

This brief article by Friends of Socialist China advisory group member Stefania Fusero, originally published in Italian in Futura Società, brings some much-needed clarity to the question of US allegations concerning China’s “over-capacity”, particularly in green technologies such as renewable energy, electric vehicles and lithium-ion batteries.

Stefania rightly points out that, by demanding that China curtail its production of materials that are essential for a global green transition, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen “implicitly admits that the priority for the US government is not to join in the global fight against climate breakdown, but instead to sustain the profits of US corporations and financial elites.” This in turn serves to reiterate that “Western governments serve the interests of small oligarchic minorities, not the masses of their populations.”

Stefania notes that the diverging priorities of China and the US are amply evidenced by the fact that, while China directs enormous resources towards development, infrastructure, sustainable energy, and the fight against poverty, the US devotes enormous resources to war, domination, hegemonism, and the pursuit of a ‘rules-based international order’ where the rules are written in Washington and serve the exclusive interests of the US ruling class.

The article concludes by predicting failure for the US’s tactic, citing Radhika Desai’s recent article in CGTN: China “will not roll over and play dead when asked to harm its own economy, its own workers and the possibility of dealing with climate change, all only so that the interests of unproductive inefficient and financialised US corporations may be advanced.”

The article was translated into English by the author.

Giuseppe Masala gave an exhaustive explanation in l’Antidiplomatico of the real reasons which brought US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen back to China.

Among other things, after quoting from a statement by Yellen – ”we now see the development of excess capacity in ‘new’ industries such as solar panels, lithium-ion batteries and electric vehicles” – Masala rightly states that, translated into simple language, Yellen is saying that the US productive system cannot cope with Chinese competition.

Simplicius the Thinker gets to the same conclusion in his post Yellen Dispatched to Beg China for Face-Saving Slowdown: “The fact of the matter is, China is simply leaping ahead of the decrepit, deteriorating U.S. by every measure and the panicked elites have sent Yellen to beg China to ‘slow down’ and not embarrass them on the world stage.”

There’s more to it, though. When Yellen denounces and laments China’s “overcapacity of clean energy” – specifically mentioning solar panels, electric vehicles and lithium-ion batteries – she gets straight to the issue of the global climate breakdown.

In this context, contrary to incessant Western smearing campaigns, China has acted consistently with the commitment to defend the environment Xi Jinping announced in 2014, and has translated it into a climate strategy the extent of which has never been seen before, as acknowledged by the president of the Environmental Defense Fund: “the world has never before seen a climate program on this scale.”

In solar energy alone, the International Energy Agency noted that China’s PV-focused industrial policies have contributed to more than 80 percent cost reductions, helping the sector become the most cost-effective electricity generation technology in many parts of the world – an important contribution to global decarbonisation.

Complaining about what she calls “clean energy overcapacity”, Yellen implicitly admits that the priority for the US government is not to join in the global fight against climate breakdown, but instead to sustain the profits of US corporations and financial elites. She lays bare the fact that Western governments serve the interests of small oligarchic minorities, not the masses of their populations.

Just take a simple look at the composition of the US public debt, which has reached the stratospheric figure of $34 trillion, of which 14 trillion has gone to military spending since the start of the war in Afghanistan. While the US has been throwing money into the bottomless pit of its endless wars ‘on terror’, China has been investing in the development of its economy, its infrastructure, as well as the fight against poverty, demonstrating that the priority of the PRC is development, whereas the priority of the US is war.

It is thus unsurprising that the foreign policies of the two countries are poles apart, both in the guiding principles and the parlance set out in their respective official documents, and in the posture adopted towards other countries.

China uses the language of diplomacy, rejects the logic of opposing blocs, is not part to any military alliances, and engages with partners for its various international projects, the Belt and Road Initiative first and foremost, in ways which are beneficial both to itself and to them. The US, on the other hand, does not want partners, but vassals from whom it demands exclusive allegiance to the point of agreeing to sacrifice their own interests, and does not hesitate to use the weapons of military and economic threat, in line with a purported ‘international rules based order’, which the US bends to its own will and convenience.

Will China bow to the requests and more-or-less veiled threats coming from the USA and its satellites?

As Radhika Desai writes in a recent article: “Sadly, for Yellen, China is neither Japan nor Europe but a socialist economy whose government is oriented towards advancing egalitarian development for its people. Yellen will find it willing to cooperate for the benefit of people and the planet. But it will not roll over and play dead when asked to harm its own economy, its own workers and the possibility of dealing with climate change, all only so that the interests of unproductive inefficient and financialized US corporations may be advanced.”

US anti-war conference builds unity against the hybrid war on China

The following article by Joe Lombardo, first published in Workers World, reports on the recent United National Antiwar Coalition held in St. Paul, Minnesota, on April 5, 6 and 7. The conference brought together a wide range of progressive and anti-imperialist forces, including Black Alliance for Peace, the US Palestinian Community Network, Veterans For Peace, CODEPINK, US Peace Council, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Workers World Party, Alliance for Global Justice, Party of Communists-USA, Struggle La Lucha and more.

The various trends at the conference were united around support for Palestinian resistance against occupation, opposition to the genocide in Gaza, opposition to NATO, and opposition to the New Cold War on China. The article notes:

The impending U.S. war against China and how to oppose it was the focus of a major conference plenary, as well as a follow-up workshop where buzzing discussion provided participants with details of the bristling U.S. armada that now threatens China. Bruce Gagnon described the scale of U.S. space weapons blanketing the skies. Mike Wong, former national vice president of Veterans For Peace, gave a close-up view of the true stories in Hong Kong and Xinjiang, while Lee Siu Hin raised the importance of eyewitness delegations and video images to counter official U.S. propaganda’s false pictures of “genocide” and repression — hiding the true role of the CIA in both places.

Along with calling for an end to US aid to Israel and the abolition of the trillion-dollar US war budget, the conference demanded the dismantling of the US’s 800-plus overseas military bases and the unilateral elimination of its nuclear arsenal.

Over 400 antiwar, anti-imperialist and Palestine solidarity activists convened in St. Paul, Minnesota, on April 5, 6 and 7, in the first major conference of the U.S. antiwar movement since before the COVID-19 pandemic. Geographical representation ranged from Maine and New York to California and the Pacific Northwest, and from Minnesota to New Orleans and Florida, as well as Canada. There were international representatives from a number of countries.

More than 50 national and local groups participated — most notably the Black Alliance for Peace, the U.S. Palestinian Community Network, American Muslims for Palestine, Veterans For Peace, CODEPINK, U.S. Peace Council, Green Party Action Committee, BAYAN USA, International League for Peoples’ Struggle, Bolivarian Circle, Just Peace Advocates from Canada, Sanctions Kill Campaign, Task Force on the Americas, China-U.S. Solidarity Network, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Workers World Party, Alliance for Global Justice, Socialist Action, Party of Communists-USA, Struggle La Lucha and Movement Against War and Occupation.

Conference hosts included Minneapolis-based Women Against Military Madness, local antiwar committees, Twin Cities Students for a Democratic Society and Students for Justice in Palestine. There were community-based groups from around the country including the Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace, Bronx Anti-War Coalition, Virginia Defenders, New Orleans Stop Helping Israel’s Ports, antiwar committees from Dallas and Denver and others.

Ajamu Baraka of Black Alliance for Peace and UNAC’s National Coordinator Joe Lombardo opened the conference, and the Twin City Free Palestine Coalition provided the opening panel, recapping lessons from months of struggle. At sundown Friday, the Twin Cities Free Palestine Coalition hosted a fast-breaking for Ramadan, followed by a Palestinian drum performance.

United for Palestine

The Palestine issue and Palestinian delegations inspired a high level of spirited unity against the U.S.-backed Israeli genocide in Gaza. At its founding 15 years ago, UNAC came together as an antiwar coalition determined to include support for Palestine and united on the demand to “End All U.S. Aid to Israel.”

The Palestinian resistance struggle was a key focus throughout the conference, generating shared determination and strong unity. Other major issues included “No to NATO,” opposition to the U.S. hybrid war against China and resistance to racist U.S. government attacks on migrants and people of color.

Greetings and receptions from the United Nations Ambassador Lautaro Sandino of Nicaragua and Dr. Sidi M. Omar, Ambassador of the Polisario Front of Western Sahara, were highlights of the conference. Ambassador Sandino told participants that the Nicaraguan government has filed a charge against Germany in the International Court of Justice for providing weapons to Israel.

Mnar Adley, founding editor of MintPress News, gave an extremely moving account of her family’s experience living in Jerusalem/Al-Quds during the Israeli crackdown against the Second Intifada of the 1990s. Conference participants also heard a greeting from Olga Sanabria Davila, representing the struggle to  decolonize Puerto Rico, while William Camacaro of the Alliance for Global Justice raised accelerating U.S. interventions in Latin America and the significance of the return of diplomat Alex Saab to Venezuela after torturous imprisonment by the U.S.

A video message from the Union of Political Emigrants, speaking from Ukraine about popular resistance to U.S.-backed fascism, along with Jeff Makler and Tom Baker from Socialist Action, addressed the danger of an expanding NATO war in Ukraine.

Stop the U.S. war against China

The impending U.S. war against China and how to oppose it was the focus of a major conference plenary, as well as a follow-up workshop where buzzing discussion provided participants with details of the bristling U.S. armada that now threatens China. Bruce Gagnon described the scale of U.S. space weapons blanketing the skies. Mike Wong, former national vice president of Veterans For Peace, gave a close-up view of the true stories in Hong Kong and Xinjiang, while Lee Siu Hin raised the importance of eyewitness delegations and video images to counter official U.S. propaganda’s false pictures of “genocide” and repression — hiding the true role of the CIA in both places.

K.J. Noh, noted Korean researcher and analyst, provided valuable details of ongoing U.S. war plans against China and the ominous threats by U.S. generals of war with China by 2025. Dee Knight, an author and GI resister during the Vietnam War, raised a proposal to build large-scale support for the right of active duty U.S. soldiers and sailors to say no to being sitting ducks and cannon fodder in extremely dangerous U.S. war moves against China.

Sara Flounders of Workers World Party posed the setbacks and defeats confronting U.S. imperialism — Afghanistan, Syria, Ukraine and the global turning point of resistance in Gaza driving U.S. imperialism toward war with China — a desperate attempt to reassert its fading global economic position by military means.

Defending our movement, confronting repression

A key part of the conference program was fighting repression across the U.S. Mick Kelly opened the session by recounting the unity built by the Antiwar 23 against FBI frame-up charges. The panel focused on the “Uhuru Three,” leaders of the African People’s Socialist Party, who are being prosecuted for opposing the U.S. proxy war against Russia; and Efia Nwangaza on the campaigns to Stop Kop Cities.

Roger Harris described the international campaign to gain the return of diplomat Alex Saab to Venezuela. Colleen Rowley focused on the mobilization for Julian Assange, while Tom Burke described the continuing campaign to free Colombian Simon Trinidad, currently held in a U.S. prison. Mel Underbakke described the two decades focused on the hundreds of FBI frame-ups of Muslims to justify the so-called U.S. War on Terror.

The conference took months in planning, with over 60 sponsoring organizations, all of which experienced a major surge in street actions in the past six months, since the Palestinian resistance forces broke out of military encirclement in Gaza last October 7.

Action Plans

Major action plans discussed in workshops and approved at the conference included:

  • Support for May 1/May Day actions as Workers Day to Defend Palestinian Resistance,
  • Major national protests at NATO’s 75th Anniversary Summit July 6-7 in Washington, D.C.
  • Mobilization against the Republican National Convention July 15-18 in Milwaukee and the Democratic National Convention Aug 19-22 in Chicago.
  • A call to oppose the “RIMPAC” naval war games in the Pacific in July, sponsored by ILPS and BAYAN.

The conference called for ending all U.S. aid to Israel, opposing all U.S. wars, abolition of the trillion-dollar U.S. war budget, shutting down the 800-plus U.S. military bases around the world and elimination of nuclear weapons worldwide starting with the U.S. arsenal.

There were 16 workshops during the conference, providing ample time for participants to discuss and make proposals. Focus topics included Palestine organizing across the U.S.; the ominous U.S. Pivot to Asia; tactics in bringing anti-imperialist issues into community, workplace and school settings; tactics in movement building; building Zones of Peace in the Americas; challenging U.S. sanctions and hybrid warfare; imperialism out of Africa; and connecting climate change and climate justice to war.

In the final plenary, a full range of resolutions and action plans were developed that reflected the cohesion and level of unity at the conference. Margaret Kimberley, senior editor of Black Agenda Report, gave the concluding talk to a resounding ovation.

Webinar: Black Liberation and People’s China – Rediscovering a history of transcontinental solidarity

Date Saturday 11 May
Time4pm Britain / 11am US Eastern / 8am US Pacific

This year marks the 65th anniversary of the historic visit to China by Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois, where, together with his wife Shirley Graham Du Bois, the great scholar and revolutionary celebrated his 91st birthday on February 23rd, 1959.

This anniversary provides a fitting opportunity to reflect on a remarkable and enduring link between two peoples fighting for their liberation on opposite sides of the Pacific and under very different circumstances. This transcontinental solidarity between the Chinese revolution and the African-American freedom struggle neither begins nor ends with Dr. Du Bois. It embraces Langston Hughes and Paul Robeson; Robert F. and Mabel Williams; the Black Panther Party; Amiri Baraka; and many others, joined by Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai and Chinese American progressives and returned overseas Chinese like Tang Mingzhao.

Speakers

  • Professor Gerald Horne, John J. and Rebecca Moores Chair of History and African American Studies, University of Houston; Author of numerous books, including W.E.B Du Bois: A Biography and Black and Red: W.E.B Du Bois and the Afro-American Response to the Cold War
  • Dr. Charisse Burden-Stelly, Associate Professor of African American Studies, Wayne State University; Author, including of Black Scare/Red Scare: Theorizing Capitalist Racism in the United States and W.E.B Du Bois: A Life in American History (co-authored with Gerald Horne)
  • Dr. Gao Yunxiang, Professor of History, Toronto Metropolitan University and author of Arise Africa! Roar China!: Black and Chinese Citizens of the World in the Twentieth Century
  • Dr. Zifeng Liu, Post Doctoral Scholar, Africana Research Center, Pennsylvania State University, Author of Redrawing the Balance of Power: Black Left Feminists, China, and the Making of an Afro-Asian Political Imaginary, 1949-1976 (Ph.D thesis; book forthcoming)
  • Margaret Kimberley, Executive Editor and Senior Columnist, Black Agenda Report; Author of Prejudential: Black America and the Presidents
  • Qiao Collective, a diaspora Chinese media collective challenging US aggression against China.

To explore these historic connections and their contemporary significance for the global anti-imperialist struggle and the fight against the new cold war, this webinar is being organised by Friends of Socialist China and the International Manifesto Group.

Canada’s Chinese community rallies for Palestine

The Chinese community in Canada, particularly the youth, are taking an active part in the global movement of solidarity with the Palestinian people in the face of the Israeli genocidal onslaught, not least around the traditional celebration of the Lunar New Year.

The latest supplement to the TML Monthly, dated February 14, 2024, published online by the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) (CPCML) reports that the weekly solidarity march in Montreal, on February 11, was addressed by a young woman from the city’s Chinese community, who said: “We are humbled to speak as part of the pan-Asian contingent, composed of 15 grassroots collectives of the diaspora of Montreal, formed in solidarity with Palestine.”

She added: “The youth of the Asian community are celebrating the transition to the Lunar New Year of the Wood Dragon. As is the tradition, we send our greetings to our ancestors, by uniting in solidarity for the liberation of Palestine. It is a New Year, but the demands are the same.”

The speaker also made a powerful comparison between the historic racist oppression of the Chinese community in Canada and the Palestinian people’s forced displacement by Israel.

TML’s full report on the Montreal protest reads as follows:

“The weekly Montreal march in support of Gaza and the people of Palestine began with hundreds of people assembling downtown on February 11, for the 19th consecutive week, to listen to speeches from organizers and supporters.

“The first to address the crowd was a representative of the Palestinian Youth Movement who said, among other things, ‘The people in Gaza are facing an impossible situation. If you don’t die from U.S.-funded bombs, you die from the rubble. If you survive the rubble, you die because there is no other place to go. If you survive your injuries, you die of mass starvation and hunger.”

“‘It has become clear to everyone that the missiles funded by the U.S. and sold by Canada are not just trying to kill the Palestinians. These missiles are trying to destroy the very idea of the Palestinian homeland. These bombs are trying to eliminate the very concept of liberation. Israel and its bloody allies are committing this genocide to send a message to the world […] that if any colonized person threatens their power, their domination, and their hegemony, they will get killed. But what did the world say in response to this? What do we say in response to this?”

“‘We say that if you were a criminal, and you commit genocide in broad daylight, we will make sure that there isn’t a single moment of peace if there isn’t a single moment of justice. They have tried for over 75 years to destroy Palestine and they have failed, and they will continue to fail. Because nothing — no displacement, no bombs, no weapons, no missiles — can ever destroy a movement for liberation and justice. What do we want? Justice!’”

Continue reading Canada’s Chinese community rallies for Palestine

British and US hypocrisy over Chagos Islands exposes the true nature of their ‘values-based alliance’

The following article, which originally appeared in the Global Times on 9 December 2023, exposes the utter hypocrisy of the US and Britain in relation to their supposed ‘values-based alliance’ and its role in upholding a ‘rules-based international order’.

The article discusses the recent press conference by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and British Foreign Secretary David Cameron, at which Cameron refused to say whether Britain would return its Chagos Islands colony to Mauritius – as required by international law – and Blinken said that Washington “recognises UK sovereignty” over the territory. As the author points out: “The Chagos Islands do not belong to the UK; they belong to Mauritius. This has been formally determined by a UN resolution and a ruling of the International Court of Justice. It is also the general consensus of the international community and there is no dispute about it.”

Britain split the Chagos archipelago from Mauritius in 1965 in advance of the latter’s independence, essentially so that it could fulfil a promise to lease Diego Garcia – the largest of the islands – to the US as an airbase. Incidentally, this thoroughly unscrupulous act was carried out by Harold Wilson’s Labour government. The approximately 2,000 indigenous inhabitants of the islands were forcibly relocated to Mauritius and the Seychelles.

Mauritius has long fought for the return of Chagos to its sovereignty, and the Chagossian people have long fought for the right to return to their homeland. In 2019, the International Court of Justice ruled that Britain’s separation of the Chagos Islands from Mauritius was illegal, and ordered the UK to return the territory to Mauritius as soon as possible. The UN General Assembly passed a resolution by large majority calling for the same (the only six countries to vote against the resolution were Britain, the US, Australia, Israel, Hungary, and the Maldives).

The author notes that Diego Garcia has become an “‘unsinkable aircraft carrier’ for the US military in the Indian Ocean. It has been used for bombing missions in Afghanistan and Iraq and plays a crucial role in the later-introduced ‘Indo-Pacific strategy'”. Meanwhile, bizarrely, Britain and the US “argue that the island is crucial for the US, so it cannot be returned, and are even suggesting that returning it might benefit China.”

It is clear that these upholders of ‘democratic values’ are only too happy to flout international law in the pursuit of hegemony. As the article rightly concludes, “these new and old Anglo-Saxon empires still persist in attempting to apply imperialistic practices in many international affairs in 2023, treating their self-interest as international norms.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and visiting British Foreign Secretary David Cameron said on Thursday local time in a joint press conference that they had discussed the “vital” US-UK Indian Ocean air base at Diego Garcia. Cameron did not give a specific response when asked if the UK was dropping plans to return the Chagos Islands, of which Diego Garcia is the largest member, to Mauritius, while Blinken said that Washington “recognizes UK sovereignty over British Indian Ocean Territory.”

The word “recognize” here is full of darkness, injustice and irony. This immediately makes people think of the past and ongoing political deals between the UK and the US on the issue of the sovereignty of the Chagos Islands. The deals are extremely dirty and shameful. This is why Blinken and Cameron dare not speak clearly or elaborate.

The Chagos Islands do not belong to the UK; they belong to Mauritius. This has been formally determined by a UN resolution and a ruling of the International Court of Justice. It is also the general consensus of the international community and there is no dispute about it. As early as 2019, a UN resolution required the UK to transfer sovereignty of the Chagos Islands to Mauritius within six months, but the UK has delayed it until today, and it obviously wants to delay it further. In November last year, the UK and Mauritius decided to start negotiations, giving Mauritius some hope, but now various signs indicate that the UK is likely to change its mind again, and the negotiations are turning into a deception.

The Chagos Islands were Britain’s last colony in Africa and seen as the final “holdout” of colonialism. Britain occupied the Chagos Islands for over 200 years, during which illegal and inhumane acts of violence, plundering, and deception against the indigenous Chagossians were rampant. As the outcome of a war between colonial empires, the islands first came under British rule in 1814 after a British-led coalition defeated Napoleon, taking possession of Mauritius, including the Chagos Islands, as colonies. When Mauritius gained independence, Britain attempted to deceive Mauritius into relinquishing its sovereignty over the Chagos Islands, but this ploy was unsuccessful. It was at this point that the US entered the picture.

In 1965, the UK forcefully “acquired” the Chagos Islands. The following year, it transferred the largest island in the Chagos, Diego Garcia, as a “gift” to the US, leading to a grave humanitarian tragedy. In order to meet US military demands to “clear” the islands, the British authorities created an artificial famine by cutting off water and food supplies, prohibiting ships carrying food from reaching the island, and other measures. This forced over 2,000 indigenous people on the island to leave their ancestral homes, fleeing to Mauritius and Seychelles thousands of miles away. Many islanders resorted to suicide. Over the years, the Chagos Islanders and the Mauritius government have continuously sought justice through various avenues, including the British High Court, the European Court of Human Rights, and relevant courts and institutions in United Nations. They have achieved almost every legal victory, including the 2019 UN resolution, but remained limited to this.

After the US established the military base, the situation became even more complex. Diego Garcia Island became an “unsinkable aircraft carrier” for the US military in the Indian Ocean. It has been used for bombing missions in Afghanistan and Iraq and plays a crucial role in the later-introduced “Indo-Pacific strategy.” Some US media outlets even refer to Diego Garcia Island as “one of the most strategically important and secretive US military installations outside the US,” a description that may not be an exaggeration.

Therefore, whether the UK will return the Chagos Islands depends on the US attitude. If the US does not agree, the UK, even if willing, may not dare to return them. However, the reasons given by the UK and the US for refusing to return the islands are peculiar. They argue that the island is crucial for the US, so it cannot be returned, and are even suggesting that returning it might benefit China. This is akin to stealing someone’s belongings and then claiming it’s essential, so the stolen objects cannot be returned. What logic and reasoning is that? In the Chagos Islands issue, both the UK and the US have trampled on human rights, international norms, morality, and international law, subjects that they always talk about.

The US and the UK have one foot in the 21st century while the other remains planted in the 19th century, revealing the true nature of their “values alliance.” These new and old Anglo-Saxon empires still persist in attempting to apply imperialistic practices in many international affairs in 2023, treating their self-interest as international norms. However, they are not dealing with a “weak” Mauritius, but countless awakening developing nations. Fairness and justice are no longer dictated solely by powers like the US and the UK.

China and the US: who’s really in a ‘vulnerable negotiating position’?

In the following article, originally published in the Morning Star, Friends of Socialist China co-editor Keith Bennett argues that, contrary to the Western media consensus that China is in a “vulnerable negotiating position” vis-a-vis the US-China relationship, it’s actually the US which is struggling economically and which is increasingly isolated on the global stage.

Keith observes that the deterioration in the relationship over the last decade was not instigated or encouraged by China. “As a socialist country still engaged in a quest for modernisation and development, China is committed to peace and has no interest in war.” The US has been steadily undermining the One China Principle, surrounding China with military bases, and “rigged up a string of alliances aimed at containing China, be it the Quad with India, Japan and Australia, Aukus with Australia and Britain, or this summer’s Camp David deal with Japan and South Korea.”

However, while the US has continued to escalate its aggression towards China, it has comprehensively failed to achieve its objectives, and China’s weight in the global economy and standing in the international community have been steadily rising. Keith points out that, for example, more than 40 countries have now expressed interest in joining BRICS.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the recent Belt and Road Forum – which included representatives from more than 150 countries, including some 23 heads of state and government and the secretary-general of the UN – Xi Jinping set out in simple but powerful terms China’s vision of development and peaceful cooperation:

We have learned that humankind is a community with a shared future. China can only do well when the world is doing well. When China does well, the world will get even better.

This is a message that resonates with people around the world, and which stands in stark contrast to the US’s increasingly aggressive and belligerent stance. As Keith notes, “it is little wonder that this is a more appealing message to the majority of countries in the world, that wish to develop their economies while maintaining their independence.”

Meanwhile the US finds itself increasingly isolated on the world stage, for example with the vast majority of countries opposing its brutal embargo against Cuba and its pro-genocide stance in relation to the Gaza war.

The recent Apec summit in San Francisco was largely overshadowed by the meeting between US President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping that immediately preceded it.

The two men met for four hours on November 16, in a mansion once better known for the US soap opera Dallas having been filmed there. For what was almost certainly the most important diplomatic encounter of 2023 its actual results appear rather modest.

They featured an agreement on Artificial Intelligence, counternarcotics co-operation, the resumption of military-to-military communications, the expansion of direct flights, and the promotion of a range of bilateral exchanges, including a high-level dialogue on tourism and streamlining visa application procedures.

An agreement to co-operate on climate change was announced just before the summit. US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate Change John Kerry has been one of just a handful of US politicians to have retained a rational approach to China.

But what was actually significant about the meeting was that it took place at all — and in so doing, as a number of commentators have noted, established a floor under bilateral relations.

That this should rightly be regarded as a not inconsiderable achievement is in itself testimony to just how far the world’s most important diplomatic relationship has deteriorated in the last decade under the successive presidencies of Obama, Trump and Biden.

From the Chinese point of view, Xi’s visit was above all a voyage for peace. As the Chinese leader told a subsequent business dinner: “I often say that what the Chinese people oppose is war, what they want is stability, and what they hope for is enduring world peace.”

Continue reading China and the US: who’s really in a ‘vulnerable negotiating position’?

Xi Jinping: The principles we follow in handling China-US relations are mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation

During his recent visit to San Francisco, and following his meeting with US President Joe Biden, Chinese President Xi Jinping attended a gala business dinner on the evening of November 15. Organised by the National Committee on US-China Relations (NCUSCR), the US-China Business Council (USCBC), the Asia Society, the Council on Foreign Relations, the US Chamber of Commerce, and other organisatons with a stake in positive US-China relations, the several hundred participants included many of the most powerful figures in US business, including Tim Cook of Apple, Albert Bourla of Pfizer, Steve Schwarzman of Blackstone, Larry Fink of Blackrock, Stan Deal of Boeing, Ray Dalio of Bridgewater Associates, and (at the pre-dinner reception only) Elon Musk of Tesla. They were also joined, at the invitation of the Chinese side, by some US citizens who have made outstanding contributions to friendship between the two peoples and who have enjoyed a personal relationship with President Xi over many decades.

Attending the dinner was not without controversy and risks. Mike Gallagher, the hard right Chairman of the absurdly named congressional Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, wrote to the organisers that: “It is unconscionable that American companies might pay thousands of dollars to join a ‘welcome dinner’ hosted by the very same CCP officials who have facilitated a genocide against millions of innocent men, women, and children in Xinjiang.”  

He then insolently and threateningly demanded, with full McCarthyite intimidation tactics, that the organisers should, by no later than November 21:

  • “Please provide a complete list of individuals, companies, financial institutions, and other entities that have purchased tickets to the CCP dinner;
  • Please provide a separate list of individuals and companies that have paid the $40,000 fee to sit at the table with Xi;
  • Please provide a breakdown of how profits from the CCP dinner will be distributed between USCBC, NCUSCR, and other entities, as applicable; and
  • What steps, if any, has USCBC and NCUSCR taken to defend human rights in China and to prevent the genocide of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang?”

There can surely be few words adequate to describe the murderous, evil and cynical irony of venal US politicians working themselves up into a state of self-righteous and hypocritical hysteria over a completely non-existent ‘genocide’ in Xinjiang at the very time that they are facilitating and cheering on an all too real genocide in Gaza, having long supported and abetted genocidal US-led wars of aggression in numerous Muslim-majority countries, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and Somalia.

The success of the dinner was, therefore, a significant rebuttal of the most aggressive, warlike and fascistic circles of US imperialism.

President Xi delivered a warm speech at the dinner, in which he also addressed a number of important issues. He began by recalling that, “my first visit to the United States in 1985 started from San Francisco, which formed my first impression of this country,” and continued:

“San Francisco has borne witness to exchanges between the Chinese and American peoples for over a century. A hundred and fifty-eight years ago, a large number of Chinese workers came all the way to the United States to build the first transcontinental railroad and established in San Francisco the oldest Chinatown in the Western hemisphere.”

Another significant historical tie between San Francisco and China is that: “Seventy-eight years ago, after jointly defeating fascism and militarism, our two countries initiated together with others the San Francisco Conference, which helped found the United Nations, and China was the first country to sign the UN Charter.”

Since that time: “Over 100 countries have gained independence one after another. Several billion people have eventually shaken off poverty. The forces for world peace, development and progress have grown stronger.”

President Xi stressed the people’s role in laying the foundations of China-US relations:

“During World War II, our two countries fought side by side for peace and justice. Headed by General Claire Lee Chennault, a group of American volunteers, known as the Flying Tigers, went to the battlefield in China. They not only engaged in direct combats fighting Japanese aggressors, but also created ‘The Hump’ airlift [from Myanmar] to transport much-needed supplies to China. More than 1,000 Chinese and American airmen lost their lives on this air route. After Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, the United States sent 16 B-25 bombers on an air raid to Japan in 1942. Running low on fuel after completing their mission, Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle and his fellow pilots parachuted in China. They were rescued by Chinese troops and local civilians. But some 250,000 civilian Chinese were killed by Japanese aggressors in retaliation… I have kept in touch with some of them [the Flying Tigers] through letters. Most recently, 103-year-old Harry Moyer and 98-year-old Mel McMullen, both Flying Tigers veterans, went back to China. They visited the Great Wall and were warmly received by the Chinese people.”

Following this period: “For 22 years, there were estrangement and antagonism between our two countries. But the trend of the times brought us together, converging interests enabled us to rise above differences, and the people’s longing broke the ice between the two countries. In 1971, the US table tennis team visited Beijing – a small ball moved the globe. Not long after that, Mr. Mike Mansfield led the first US Congressional delegation to China.”

Continue reading Xi Jinping: The principles we follow in handling China-US relations are mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation

Xi-Biden summit offers hope for a de-escalation in the New Cold War

On Wednesday 15 November 2023, Presidents Xi Jinping and Joe Biden held what was described in Xinhua as “a positive, comprehensive and constructive summit, charting the course for improving and developing bilateral ties” during a four hour meeting in which “the two heads of state had a candid and in-depth exchange of views on strategic and overarching issues critical to the direction of China-US relations and on major issues affecting world peace and development.”

The summit hopefully represents an important step forward in terms of reducing tensions – tensions which, it must be said, have been generated exclusively by the US side as part of its New Cold War and its strategy of containing and encircling China and suppressing its rise. The Xinhua report cites Friends of Socialist China co-editor Keith Bennett on President Xi’s agreeing to the summit in spite of a long series of US provocations:

“It is a journey of a peacemaker and of a responsible leader and statesman with a sense of great responsibility to his people, the times, history and humanity as a whole.”

Of particular and urgent importance is the agreement signed between the two countries to step up their cooperation on tackling climate change and protecting the environment. The Global Times article we republish below notes that “China and the US agreed to jointly tackle global warming and operationalize a working group focused on areas including energy transition, methane, the circular economy and resource efficiency, low-carbon development and deforestation.”

However, the article correctly warns that “Washington should also take concrete actions and not walk back its own promises on climate cooperation.” At a time when the US is imposing sanctions and tariffs on Chinese renewable energy materials, and when China has emerged as the world’s leading renewable energy power, the US needs to demonstrate its seriousness when it comes to preventing climate breakdown.

We also republish below an interesting article by John Wojcik in People’s World, written shortly before the Xi-Biden summit, summarising the state of US-China relations and detailing how “those relations have been made unstable by continued U.S. attacks on and propaganda against China’s economic and political interests.” Wojcik calls on the US to work urgently and intensively with China on the pressing issues facing all humanity:

“At home in the US, Biden has to do battle with powerful fossil fuel capitalist interests to realize any of his environmental goals. In China, he could have a great friend with whom to cooperate on these matters.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping trying to repair damage done by Biden

People’s World, 15 November 2023

Presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping are meeting near San Francisco Wednesday, a get-together at which Biden claims he hopes to “stabilize” relations with China. He doesn’t mention, of course, that those relations have been made unstable by continued U.S. attacks on and propaganda against China’s economic and political interests.

The Biden administration has consistently tried to dictate to China that it end its friendly relations with Russia and numerous other countries, and it has levied all kinds of sanctions against countries that China deals with and against China itself.

Biden continues to hypocritically express concern about human rights in China even as his administration funds and fuels Israeli-propagated genocide in Gaza.

The two leaders, who are meeting on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Cooperation Forum summit, reportedly haven’t even spoken to one another in over a year. The U.S. hasn’t been silent during that period when it comes to China, though, having used every excuse to mount major propaganda campaigns against the Asian nation.

The two countries, for example, have long surveyed the military and other activities of one another, but the U.S. blew into major proportions the issue of a harmless balloon that had wandered off course over U.S. territory.

The U.S. flies armed airplanes over and near Chinese waters and has, on occasion, almost collided into Chinese planes over the South China Sea.

Also, during the year that the two leaders have not spoken, the U.S. has, without any proof, campaigned against what it says are Chinese intentions to “take over” Taiwan, an island off the coast of China that actually does belong to China—a reality even the U.S. recognizes.

Biden has used as justification for his war against Russia in Ukraine the excuse that “winning” in Ukraine is an essential first step in halting Chinese aggression against Taiwan. There has been, needless to say, no such aggression against Taiwan by China.

At the San Francisco meeting, according to the White House PR people, Biden is seeking to show the world that while the U.S. and China are economic competitors, they are not locked in a major battle for supremacy with global implications.

That flies in the face of reality, though, since his administration and hosts of top U.S. lawmakers constantly identify China as the “main security threat” facing the U.S.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The main security threat facing the U.S. is the threat of fascism and right-wing domestic terror coming from within our own borders.

China, unlike the U.S., is not involved in any military conflict anywhere in the world. It is the U.S., not China, that has 800 military bases scattered all around the world. A good chunk of these U.S. bases encircle China, and U.S. nuclear subs constantly patrol waters off China’s east coast. The Chinese have no such equivalent, so the reasonable question to ask is: “Who is a security threat to whom?”

The U.S., determined to be the world’s top gun, has also sought to control what nations China deals with around the world. The U.S. has tried to force China to end its neutrality in the Ukraine-Russia War, and it has condemned Chinese attempts to offer a peace plan to end that war. There, too, the U.S. backed what has now proven to be the blowing up of the Nordstream Pipeline by Ukraine. Imagine how the U.S. would react if China did anything like this.

The Biden administration also sees China, a big buyer of Iranian oil, as having considerable leverage with Tehran, and despite the economic relations between those two countries, it tries to get China to cut all ties with Iran and join its campaign against that country.

Again, imagine how the U.S. would react if China patrolled U.S. waters with nuclear missile submarines, flew its warplanes over Long Island or San Francisco Bay, and told the U.S. to stop backing the countries responsible for genocide in Gaza and the blowing up of international energy infrastructure.

Even as Biden claims he wants improved relations, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Biden was “not going to be afraid to confront where confrontation is needed on issues where we don’t see eye to eye.”

Continue reading Xi-Biden summit offers hope for a de-escalation in the New Cold War

The US has its own BRI: the Bomb and Ruin Initiative

The following article by Carlos Martinez, originally published in Global Times, compares the records of China and the US in terms of their engagement with the Global South. Specifically, Carlos summarises the impact of the China-led Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) over the course of its first decade, and contrasts this with the effect of the US’s equivalent projects.

While several US-led global infrastructure projects have been announced (such as the Build Back Better World and the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor), none of these have made any meaningful progress as yet. However, “if we look at the actual history and reality of US foreign policy, it becomes clear that the US does actually have its own BRI: the Bomb and Ruin Initiative.”

From Iraq to Palestine to Venezuela to Syria to Ukraine to Zimbabwe and beyond, the US uses war, proxy war, destabilisation, sanctions and coercion, “spreading death and destruction in pursuit of its own selfish economic and political interests,” while China cooperates with the countries of the world on the basis of respect, equality and common interest in pursuit of a global community of shared future.

The article is based on a speech given at a webinar themed Third Belt and Road Forum: Together for Common Development and Shared Prosperity, organised by the Pakistan-based Friends of the Belt and Road Forum, the Institute of Peace and Diplomatic Studies and the Centre for BRI and China Studies, which took place on Tuesday 7 November.

The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has attracted a great deal of attention recently, particularly with the Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation having taken place in Beijing last month.

Since it was announced a decade ago, the BRI has already become the world’s largest platform for international cooperation, with more than 150 countries and 30 international organizations participating across five continents. A trillion dollars have been spent or committed on projects that are increasingly transforming the development prospects for dozens of countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, the Caribbean and the Pacific. 

A number of these projects have already been delivered. The Chinese-built Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway, for example, is the largest infrastructure project carried out in Kenya since its independence. The China-Laos Railway, completed in 2021, has turned Laos from a land-locked country into a land-linked country, thereby stimulating trade, employment, economic opportunities and living standards. The Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway – the first high-speed rail system in Indonesia – has reduced the journey time from 3.5 hours to 45 minutes.

The BRI is becoming green. The prominent Norwegian environmentalist Erik Solheim, former minister of the environment, stated at a webinar hosted by Friends of Socialist China on November 4 that the BRI has become the most important global project in terms of green, sustainable development. 

Does the US – the world’s largest economy in nominal GDP terms – have an equivalent to the China-proposed BRI? A few such projects have been announced, to much fanfare. The Build Back Better World (B3W) was unveiled in 2021. The India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) was announced in September this year. But these initiatives are yet to experience any manifestation in reality – and it’s tempting to wonder if they ever will.

But if we look at the actual history and reality of US foreign policy, it becomes clear that the US does actually have its own BRI: the Bomb and Ruin Initiative.

The Bomb and Ruin Initiative started in earnest in 1950 with the launch of the Korean War, in which an estimated four million people were killed. The initiative continued with the Vietnam War, the brutal 1965 coup in Indonesia, the coups and proxy wars in Guatemala, Angola, Brazil, Chile, Mozambique, Argentina, Nicaragua, Grenada, just to name a few.

The flagship Bomb and Ruin Initiative project this century so far has been the illegal war on Iraq. Hundreds of thousands of civilians were killed. The country was flattened and its development set back by decades. 

China has taken a significantly different approach with respect to Iraq. Indeed Iraq is one of the major recipients of infrastructure investment under the BRI, with a vast array of bridges, roads and railways being constructed, alongside energy and telecommunications infrastructure. China is committed to building some 7,000 schools in Iraq. 

Iraq of course is best known for its abundance of oil – certainly that has been a central motivating factor for a century of British and American interference – but these days China is leading the investment in Iraq’s growing solar energy industry. The world can look forward to the day when Iraq is an advanced, prosperous country, and a green energy superpower.

In Iraq, the contrast between the BRI and the Bomb and Ruin Initiative is quite stark. So much so that there’s a popular saying: “America bombs, China builds.”

This contrast is emblematic of the US’ and China’s role in the world in general.

The US has brought misery and destruction to Afghanistan, that long-suffering country, with a 20-year war and occupation, and now cruel sanctions put in place to prevent the country from getting back on its feet.

The US and its allies bombed Libya into the Stone Age, turning it from a relatively prosperous country – with the highest Human Development Index in Africa – into a failed state.

The US has been a key player in fomenting and perpetuating the devastating war in Syria, supporting the emergence of terrorist groups in a strategy of regime change, and then using the presence of those same groups as a justification for its own uninvited and unwanted military presence in the country.

About two weeks ago, the US responded to attacks on its illegal Syrian facilities not by dismantling the facilities but by carrying out air strikes against Syrian government sites. 

It’s no secret that the US is the driving force behind the war in Ukraine. The essential character of this conflict is a proxy war to weaken Russia.

With the sponsorship and total support of the US, Israel is showing no regard at all for the people of Gaza. Already more than 10,000 people have been killed. The UN has called it a “children’s graveyard.” The people of the world want a ceasefire; China, Russia, Brazil and many others have called for a ceasefire. But the US – along with its most dependable ally, Britain – is standing in the way.

The US gets criticized for not building enough infrastructure. However, the US is building plenty of infrastructure of war and aggression: 800 overseas military bases; the stationing of nuclear-enabled missiles and warplanes in Japan, Guam and South Korea, along with tens of thousands of US troops; the placement of the THAAD so-called missile defence system in Guam and South Korea; the AUKUS trilateral nuclear pact between the US, UK and Australia. When it comes to the project of containing and encircling China, the US has no problem with building infrastructure.

The stark difference between China’s BRI and the US’ BRI is clear for all to see.

The US is pursuing a hegemonic, imperialist project; a Project for a New American Century. It is spreading death and destruction in pursuit of its own selfish economic and political interests. 

Meanwhile, China is pursuing what it calls a global community of shared future – described by President Xi Jinping as “an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security and common prosperity, charting a bright future for human development.”

This is an inspiring, democratic and inclusive vision that is rapidly gaining broad support around the globe.

Honouring Isabel Crook and carrying forward China-Canada friendship

The following op-ed, written by H.E. Cong Peiwu, Chinese Ambassador to Canada, pays tribute to Isabel Crook – the Canadian communist and lifelong friend of China who passed away in Beijing on 20 August 2023.

As well as summarising Isabel’s outstanding record in telling the truth about China and in developing foreign language teaching, Ambassador Cong describes how her life was “a vivid example of carrying forward China-Canada friendship.” In this context, the author references Dr Norman Bethune, the Canadian communist and brilliant doctor who worked on the front lines in China’s war of resistance against Japanese aggression, and about whom Mao Zedong wrote that “every Chinese communist must learn” from his spirit of internationalism.

Ambassador Cong concludes with a message to Canadians, but his words will resonate with people throughout the West at a time when imperialist governments and media are ramping up anti-China hostilities and McCarthyite repression:

I encourage all of you to experience China firsthand, and you will understand why many Canadians like Crook have forged such deep bonds with China and the Chinese people. I’m also confident that there will be more friendly personages like Isabel Crook and Norman Bethune, who will continue to nurture and carry forward China-Canada friendship.

This tribute was first published in The Canada Files.

The passing of Isabel Crook in Beijing at the age of 108, on August 20, has left us all saddened. Just like many of you, I have extended my condolences.

Crook’s life was a true reflection of people-to-people friendship between our two countries. Born in Chengdu, China, in 1915 to Canadian parents, she spent most of her life in China, and witnessed the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Crook once said, “I’m truly thankful to my parents for bringing me into this world in China.” Although she has passed away, her deeds and contributions continue to exert profound influence.

 Through her works, she provided Westerners with more insights into the real China. Most importantly, she demystified China for Westerners during her time, helping them recognize the significance of engaging with China and its people.

Isabel Crook witnessed China’s development and transformation throughout her lifetime. She cared about rural development in China, devoted herself to education, and nurtured numerous talents.

Having spent over 90 years in China, she witnessed monumental changes in Chinese society. She saw, experienced and participated in China’s tremendous transformation from standing upright to becoming prosperous and growing in strength. “I’m very fortunate to be an observer to this great era. I believe my beloved China is getting better and better,” Crook expressed. In 2019, in recognition of her outstanding contributions to China’s education and friendly exchanges with the world, the Chinese government awarded her the Friendship Medal of China, the country’s highest honor bestowed upon foreign nationals.

Crook’s entire life was a vivid example of carrying forward China-Canada friendship. She dedicated her glorious years to China, blazing a trail in English teaching in New China and nurturing countless foreign language talents. “We see the fruits of our work, batches of graduates, contribute their strength to building New China and the new world. We are very proud of them,” she remarked.

Friendship transcends borders, and she never walked alone. Henry Norman Bethune, a Canadian surgeon, made the ultimate sacrifice in China when helping the Chinese people resist Japanese aggressors during the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression. Besides, there are also many other Canadian recipients of the Chinese Government Friendship Award who have actively contributed to China-Canada friendship.

As an old Chinese saying goes, “Peaches and plums do not talk, yet a path is formed beneath them.” Beginning as a seed of hope, her spirit has grown into a towering tree. I encourage all of you to experience China firsthand, and you will understand why many Canadians like Crook have forged such deep bonds with China and the Chinese people. I’m also confident that there will be more friendly personages like Isabel Crook and Norman Bethune, who will continue to nurture and carry forward China-Canada friendship.

NYT McCarthyite “exposé” carries water for the MAGA right

In an August 11 statement, the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) joined the chorus of solidarity with Roy Singham, a progressive American businessman, and the network of organisations that stand for peace and positive relations with China that he reportedly funds, following the launch of a scurrilous witch-hunting attack, thinly disguised as “investigative journalism”, in the pages of the New York Times on August 5.

Condemning the article as one that, “would have made Joe McCarthy, Roy Cohn, and J. Edgar Hoover green with envy”, the CPUSA states:

“Once again, we see the revival of the notion that challenging US foreign policy is tantamount to acting as an ‘agent of a foreign power,’ a charge drawn straight from the playbook of the old House Un-American Activities Committee.”

It notes that, at the height of the McCarthy period, even a world-renowned scholar like Dr. WEB DuBois, then aged 83, was “handcuffed by the government on such patently false premises.”

According to the CPUSA, the New York Times’ work is not investigative journalism, but rather, “the putrid leftovers of a conspiracy theory that was already rotten the first time around, served up to delegitimise China’s emergence as a global power and discredit critics of US foreign policy.

“If the individuals and organisations targeted in the article were part of the welter of privately-funded NGOs, think tanks, conferences, and media networks used by the US ruling class to promote its foreign policy priorities, there would be no story here.”

We reprint the full text of the CPUSA statement below. It was originally published on the party’s website.

It’s official: The new Cold War is on—and the New York Times “proves” it by warning of a nefarious Chinese plot to influence U.S. public opinion.

In an article that would have made Joe McCarthy, Roy Cohn, and J. Edgar Hoover green with envy, the Times puts a bullseye on the activity of groups like Code Pink, the People’s Forum, and the Tricontinental Institute and the financial support they supposedly rely on from Neville Roy Singham, a wealthy American with a history of donating to left organizations.

The most damning piece of evidence in the prosecution’s arsenal is saved for the hit job’s ending sentence: “Just last month, Mr. Singham attended a Chinese Communist Party propaganda forum. In a photo, taken during a breakout session on how to promote the party abroad, Mr. Singham is seen jotting in a notebook adorned with a red hammer and sickle.” A notebook emblazoned with a red hammer and sickle? Oh no!

The article is replete with such “proof.” According to the Times, Singham also has offices in a building in Shanghai and has been seen in the company of Chinese officials at events where China’s role in the world is presented in a way that does not align with U.S. foreign policy discourse.

Continue reading NYT McCarthyite “exposé” carries water for the MAGA right

Arise, Africa! Roar, China!: Black and Chinese citizens of the world in the twentieth century

We republish below a review by Joel Wendland-Liu of the important and fascinating 2021 book Arise, Africa! Roar, China! Black and Chinese Citizens of the World in the Twentieth Century, which explores aspects of the historic linkages between progressive African Americans and the Chinese revolution.

As noted in the review, the book “documents the experiences of five individuals – W.E.B. Du Bois, Paul Robeson, Liu Liangmo, Si-lan Chen Leyda, and Langston Hughes – through the lens of their relations to China, with African America, racism, U.S. government persecution, and anti-imperialist working-class struggles for freedom.”

Joel’s review, originally published in People’s World, summarizes some of the key themes in the book, including the extensive work carried out by Liu Liangmo to promote understanding of China in the US; Paul Robeson’s longstanding and consistent support for the Chinese Revolution; the extraordinary life of Afro-Chinese dancer Sylvia Si-lan Chen Leyda; and W.E.B Du Bois and Shirley Graham Du Bois’s eight-week trip around China in 1959, of which W.E.B. Du Bois wrote: “We saw the planning of a nation and a system of work rising over the entrails of a dead empire.”

Also discussed is Langston Hughes’ famous trip to Shanghai in 1933:

Hughes differed from most Western visitors by refusing to stay within the racist cocoon that comprised the international concession zone in the city. He ate street food, enjoyed Chinese theater, and interacted with working-class Chinese people like humans. While these activities may seem normal today, at the time they set him apart from Euro-Americans who spread racist stereotypes about Chinese people, enforced Jim Crow rules, and typically viewed Chinese people as diseased, dangerous, and untrustworthy. Hughes’s experience in China, along with his political support for the revolutionary struggle, impacted his poetry, novels, and short stories over the next decade or so.

Joel observes that the book “gives new insights into the interactions and political relationships of revolutionary Chinese and African-American intellectuals, pointing frequently to new connections across cultures and languages that deserve even more scholarly scrutiny.”

We have previously carried an interview with the author, Gao Yunxiang.

When the slender, affable Chinese man took the podium in Harlem’s posh Golden Gate ballroom on a late autumn afternoon to denounce three recent lynchings in Mississippi, the audience’s FBI informant perked up. Liu Liangmo, a public speaker employed by United China Relief, a non-partisan charity that raised funds to aid China during a brutal Japanese invasion, proceeded to denounce racism as a system: lynchings, poll taxes, and Jim Crow apartheid. He highlighted white supremacy’s links to fascism and imperialism and called for equality and self-determination for all peoples. The bespectacled Liu took his seat to the applause of several hundred at an event sponsored by the Negro Labor Victory Committee, the Negro Quarterly, and the actor Orson Welles. As a professional public speaker, Liu’s task was to promote a deeper understanding of China to American audiences. In the age before television, public speaking events were among the most important ways an organization that couldn’t afford to make a movie or publish a newspaper could share its ideas. In his nine years in the U.S., Liu believed he had traveled 100,000 miles across most of the country.

Historian Gao Yunxiang is a Professor of History at Ryerson University in Toronto. In this original and well-researched book, Arise Africa! Roar, China!: Black and Chinese Citizens of the World in the Twentieth Century, she documents the experiences of five individuals—W.E.B. Du Bois, Paul Robeson, Liu Liangmo, Si-lan Chen Leyda, and Langston Hughes—through the lens of their relations to China, with African America, racism, U.S. government persecution, and anti-imperialist working-class struggles for freedom. Liu, persecuted by the FBI and the immigration regime, left the U.S. in 1949 to serve as a leader of the Chinese Democratic League, one of the several non-communist parties that continues to serve in the country’s National People’s Political Consultative Conference. He also helped to mobilize the Chinese Christian community in support of resistance to Japanese occupation and the ultimate revolutionary transformation of the country.

Continue reading Arise, Africa! Roar, China!: Black and Chinese citizens of the world in the twentieth century

US warships provoke in South China Sea, but don’t help fight fires in Hawaii

In this editorial the Chinese newspaper Global Times addresses the prolonged wildfires that have ravaged Hawaii’s Maui Island, which, as of Thursday August 17, had claimed the lives  of 99 people, with more than 1,000 missing. 

Global Times contrasts the US’ response to such disasters, citing also that to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 as well as the recent East Palestine train derailment, with its ability to project military power around the world, with its network of over 800 foreign military bases. It quotes a US internet user as observing:

“Our warships can provoke China in the South China Sea, they can shadow China in Alaska, but they can’t come to Hawaii to help Americans.” 

Global Times comments: “While the wildfires were raging in Hawaii, what was Washington busy with? It was occupied with imposing investment restrictions on China, preparing for the Camp David summit with Japan and South Korea, and announcing $200 million in new military aid to Ukraine. However, the specific amount of assistance provided by the FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] for the Hawaii wildfires, as announced to date, is a payment of $700 per household… The US government prefers to hype harmless balloon accidents as major security threats, but remains ‘calm’ about the tragic disasters causing significant casualties right in front of it.”

After a week of fierce wildfires in parts of Hawaii’s Maui Island in the US, the death toll continues to rise. As of Tuesday noon local time, 99 people have died and over 1,000 remain missing. This has been labeled by the US media as the deadliest wildfires in the country in a century. The dire situation in the affected areas has inflicted immense psychological shock upon the American people. Reports said local residents have “lost everything,” with some even being “forced to jump into the Pacific Ocean to escape the smoke and fire conditions.” Criticisms of failures in warnings, inadequate disaster relief efforts, and inaction from the stationed US military in Hawaii have fueled “growing anger.”

Such a large number of casualties would be a major disaster in any country, and it is even more shocking when it occurs in the world’s most developed country. The US is prone to natural disasters such as wildfires and hurricanes. However, the country’s patchy response when dealing with these disasters is perplexing. The US has always proclaimed itself as a “world leader” and claims to be capable of responding rapidly to security threats around the globe. It possesses over 800 military bases overseas and projects its military power with aircraft carriers worldwide. But when it comes to domestic disasters or public safety incidents within the US, its response is slow and its ability to cope seems inadequate.

Although Hawaii is not located on the continental US, it remains one of the most critical military bases for the country. Hawaii serves as the headquarters of the US Indo-Pacific Command. The Indo-Pacific Command claims to “govern” over 50 percent of the world’s surface area, but ironically remains indifferent to the disasters that occur in its own location. What has fueled anger among the local community is the fact that the initial relief work was largely organized by residents themselves, with little presence from the National Guard, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), state government, or local authorities. An American internet user sarcastically remarked, “Our warships can provoke China in the South China Sea, they can shadow China in Alaska, but they can’t come to Hawaii to help Americans.” This aptly illustrates the hierarchy of decision-making in the US.

US sluggish and indifferent response to its domestic catastrophic incidents sharply contrasts with its fervent resource mobilization in “competition” with other nations. Leaving a deep impression on us, there was the Hurricane “Katrina” in 2005 that resulted in the loss of 1,836 lives, and the train derailment in East Palestine earlier this year carrying hazardous chemicals. There was also the Florida building collapse in 2021 that claimed 98 lives, and the slow rescue efforts during that time were referred to as “archaeological-style rescue.” A foreign netizen said, “The ‘American-style rescue’ in Hollywood movies is nowhere to be seen, with no American rescue heroes or high-tech equipment.” This observation seems to be perfectly fitting for every disaster in America, including the current Hawaii wildfires.

While the wildfires were raging in Hawaii, what was Washington busy with? It was occupied with imposing investment restrictions on China, preparing for the Camp David summit with Japan and South Korea, and announcing $200 million in new military aid to Ukraine. However, the specific amount of assistance provided by the FEMA for the Hawaii wildfires, as announced to date, is a payment of $700 per household. The few discussions about the wildfires mostly serve as the latest pretext for mutual attacks between the two parties. The American media, which has always emphasized “supervision,” seems to consider all of this as a matter of course, leading to the repetition of the same events without any profound reflection.

The US actively exercises hegemony in its foreign affairs, and its internal mechanisms are very backward, failing to take the protection of citizens’ security as the starting point and foundation of national security. Specifically, the US wastes a large amount of resources meaninglessly in fighting against “imaginary external opponents,” while ignoring the life-threatening threats faced by its domestic population. The US focuses its investment in military power and military-related technological fields in terms of national security, while investing inadequately in domestic infrastructure construction, disaster reduction, and relief efforts that concern people’s wellbeing and national security.

The problems exposed by the deadly wildfires in Hawaii belong to the entire US. We can see that from the “9/11” attacks to the present, the US has witnessed numerous major events related to citizens’ security. However, there has been almost no obvious improvement in the construction of institutional mechanisms for responding to domestic disasters and accidents by the US government. The US government prefers to hype harmless balloon accidents as major security threats, but remains “calm” about the tragic disasters causing significant casualties right in front of it. When the next disaster strikes, the performance of the US government is unlikely to be any better. Every disaster is a reminder to the US, using innocent lives to remind it who its real enemies and challenges are. The US’ disregard for this reminder is the greatest desecration of the lives lost.

How to understand Kissinger and China’s high-level diplomacy

In this article, which was originally published on CGTN, Friends of Socialist China co-editor Danny Haiphong explains the significance of the recent visit to China by veteran US statesman Dr. Henry Kissinger and assesses some reactions to it.

Kissinger, who recently celebrated his 100th birthday, and who has visited China more than 100 times, pioneered the establishment of ties between the People’s Republic of China and the USA, together with President Richard Nixon, Chairman Mao Zedong and Premier Zhou Enlai.

Danny points out that Kissinger’s latest visit comes at a watershed moment in the two countries’ relationship. And, whilst US officialdom sought to belittle the visit, at least publicly, sourly observing that someone who is now a private citizen enjoys better access to Chinese leaders than their US counterparts, whilst some others on the left imagine that Chinese leaders are unaware of Kissinger’s historical role regarding Vietnam, Laos, Chile and other countries, both of them fail to take account of the overriding importance of China/US relations, not only for the people of the two countries, but for all humanity.

Kissinger’s warm reception, Danny notes, sent a strong message that China is ready to engage in dialogue with the US so as to get relations back on the right track. Kissinger has recently warned of the dangers of US relations with both China and Russia degenerating into open conflict. Against this background, Danny notes: “The era of hegemony for any country is… coming to an end.  Kissinger’s visit placed a spotlight on the choices in front of the US elite.”

At the age of 100, former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger traveled to Beijing and met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and other top officials on July 20, 2023, amid a watershed moment in China-U.S. relations.

The visit caused a great level of confusion among the Western media and members of the U.S. political class. Some outright dismissed the significance of the visit. Others expressed a “sour grapes” mentality. National Security Council Spokesperson John Kirby demonstrated this reaction best in his claim that it was “unfortunate that a private citizen can meet with the defense minister and have a communication and the United States can’t.”

Outside of the political class, social media users in the U.S. have gone so far as to claim that China misunderstands Kissinger’s true role in the world. Critics remarked that while Kissinger played a major role in normalizing ties between China and the U.S., his tenure within the foreign policy establishment has also been characterized by aggressive U.S. interventions in Vietnam, Laos, Chile, and several other countries. Thus, few on the U.S. side have attempted to truly understand China’s side.

Kissinger’s visit marked an important opportunity not only for China but also humanity as a whole. China-U.S. relations are not simply bilateral in nature. The relationship between these massively influential countries makes an impact on everyone, and everything, living on this planet.

Continue reading How to understand Kissinger and China’s high-level diplomacy

Britain seems doomed to join the new Washington Consensus

In this article for the Morning Star, Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez takes a look at the results of UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s recent official visit to the US. Sunak’s summit with Joe Biden produced very little of substance, but the Atlantic Declaration for a Twenty-First Century US-UK Economic Partnership reiterates Britain’s ongoing commitment to the New Cold War and the Project for an American Century. Carlos writes that the document “represents a shared commitment to doubling down on the new cold war, continuing with the encirclement and containment of China, and proceeding with the proxy war against Russia.”

While talking up the need for a “rules-based order”, the Declaration makes clear that the US and Britain intend to continue violating international law via their AUKUS nuclear pact and their extensive set of unilateral sanctions. Meanwhile, their calls for global action to tackle climate change ring decidedly hollow given their sanctioning of China’s solar energy products and the trend of replacing Russian energy with North American fracked shale gas.

Noting that Labour in its current iteration offers no improvement on the question of Britain-China relations, Carlos concludes that “Boris Johnson, Liz Truss, Sunak and Keir Starmer are all Trumpists when it comes to pursuing this incredibly reckless new cold war.”

Last Wednesday marked the second annual UK-US Friendship Day. Although this momentous occasion was met with near-universal indifference on both sides of the Atlantic, Rishi Sunak took the opportunity to celebrate by making his first official visit to the US as Prime Minister.

The discussions didn’t reap the variety of fruit Sunak had been hoping for; the Tories’ long-promised free-trade deal remains in deep freeze. Indeed, very little of substance was announced beyond the Atlantic Declaration for a Twenty-First Century US-UK Economic Partnership.

This declaration makes clear that the focus of US-UK collaboration today is to jointly manage “new challenges to international stability,” in particular “from authoritarian states such as Russia and the People’s Republic of China.”

Continue reading Britain seems doomed to join the new Washington Consensus

Liu Liangmo: China’s anti-imperialist, anti-racist, Christian revolutionary

We are pleased to republish the following article on the revolutionary life of Liu Liangmo (1909-1988), a Chinese anti-imperialist, progressive Christian, and pioneer of solidarity between the African-American people and the Chinese revolution. Written by Eugene Puryear, it was originally published by Liberation School, an initiative of the US Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL). As Comrade Puryear explains:

“While excavating this history is important in its own right, it is even more so because the promise and the contradictions of these wartime attempts to build unity among the exploited and oppressed hold important lessons for our own time.” 

Liu’s political activity began with the progressive cultural circles in Shanghai linked to the underground Chinese Communist Party, where he pioneered the use of mass singing of patriotic and anti-imperialist songs as a means of popular mobilization.

In 1940, he left China for the United States to work with United China Relief, which worked to build support for the Chinese people’s resistance to Japanese aggression, as an arm of the united front that had been re-established between the Communist Party and the Kuomintang. Once in the United States, his interest in cultural work inevitably and rapidly drew him into a close association and friendship with Paul Robeson, with whose work he had already become familiar before leaving China. 

Liu began writing regularly for the progressive black press in the United States. In 1942, he reported on a New York rally, also attended by Claudia Jones, demanding the opening of a Second Front in western Europe, at a time when the Soviet people were heroically resisting the Nazis at Stalingrad. Clearly linking this demand to the struggle for the liberation of oppressed people everywhere, he wrote:

“Forty thousand New Yorkers … attended the Second Front rally at Union Square… I was very much interested in the placards which people carried … the most outstanding ones are: ‘Smash Race Discrimination,’ ‘Equal Rights to Negroes NOW!’ and ‘Free India NOW!… It is interesting to me because it clearly demonstrated the inter-relationship of these problems … the reactionaries and Tories don’t want to see Soviet Russia win; neither do they want India to be free, nor Negro people to have equal rights so they delay the opening of a Second Front, they delay in giving freedom to India, and they keep on Jim-Crowing the Negro people in this country. But the people of the world black and white and brown together demand that: a Second Front be opened in Europe NOW; Free India NOW; Equal rights to Negroes NOW.” 

Liu returned to China after liberation and the founding of the People’s Republic, but his work and example undoubtedly helped to lay important foundations for ensuing decades of collaboration and solidarity between the black liberation movement and socialist China. Mentioning a number of key people who contributed to this, Puryear writes: 

“Harry Belafonte would tell Paul Robeson’s confidante Helen Rosen of his fascination with New China: ‘When Alassane Diop, Guinea’s former Minister of Communications, came back from a visit to the new China in the early 50s, he told me that the city of Shanghai was clean and beautiful, that its citizens had a decency and spirit unequaled anywhere else in the world. I asked myself how a nation devastated by war and riddled with hunger, disease, and illiteracy was able to order the lives of 800 million citizens. I erupted into an insatiable curiosity about China.'”

The great singer, actor and lifelong progressive activist and freedom fighter, Harry Belafonte, passed away this April 25th at the age of 96.

A second article by Puryear sets out the author’s view of the communist movement’s popular front policy, with particular reference to Liu’s work in the United States.

Introduction

Liu Liangmo (1909-1988) was a prominent Chinese anti-imperialist, religious leader and, from 1942-1945, columnist for the Pittsburgh Courier—at that time the nation’s widest circulating Black newspaper. Liu’s columns (and actions as an organizer) were a significant part of efforts by progressive Chinese people, on the mainland and in the diaspora, to build alliances with the Black Liberation movement as part of a broader effort to shape the post-war world.

His words linked the causes of ending colonialism, imperialism, and race discrimination—from the Yangtze to the Ganges to the Mississippi—mirroring the words and actions of millions of others involved in similarly-minded struggles around the world, including Liu’s favorite U.S. singer: Paul Robeson.

Liu’s columns represent the efforts of Communist and aligned currents to turn the allied effort in the favor of the exploited and the oppressed. This was counteracted in the so-called “Cold War,” as imperialist forces worked to make the world “safe for capitalism” in the wake of the World War II.

His columns and activities offer interesting insight into the struggle within the “Second United Front” in China between the Nationalist Kuomintang and the Communists during the Second World War and their differing approaches to the post-war world: whether China should be an anti-colonial vanguard or seek inclusion in the imperialist “great power” club. The “Nationalist” Chinese government’s chose the latter, heavily impacting their approach to racism in the US.

On the other side, the nascent global left-wing coalition hoped to use the new leverage the war created: notably the curtailing of the anti-Bolshevik crusade and the embrace of the USSR as an ally, the attendant rise in the prestige of communism, and the need to mobilize colonial and all resources on the U.S. home-front. This leverage opened some space for the first legal labor and political organizations in colonial Africa and the Black Liberation movement in the U.S. Also critical was the importance of India and China to the overall allied effort against Germany, Italy, and Japan; to end colonialism, Jim Crow, and the old imperialism.

Continue reading Liu Liangmo: China’s anti-imperialist, anti-racist, Christian revolutionary

US hegemony and its perils

On 20 February 2023, China released a comprehensive report, US Hegemony and its Perils, detailing the numerous ways in which US imperialism manifests itself throughout the world. “Under the guise of promoting democracy, freedom and human rights”, the US has waged endless war, organized color revolutions, undermined governments that refused to play by its rules, and applied economic coercion – all for the sake of creating and maintaining a favorable global environment for US profiteering; of dominating the world’s resources, land, labor and markets. “The United States does whatever it takes to rob and enslave the people of any country with underground resources.”

The document cites the US’s record of military intervention, starting with its expansion across the North American continent in the 18th and 19th centuries, and continuing with its imposition of hegemony over Latin America, and then its savage 20th and 21st century wars in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Iraq and Syria. “In recent years, the US average annual military budget has exceeded 700 billion US dollars, accounting for 40 percent of the world’s total, more than the 15 countries behind it combined. The United States has about 800 overseas military bases, with 173,000 troops deployed in 159 countries.”

The document further analyzes the US’s use of the dollar’s position at the center of the international monetary system to harvest unearned profits; further, “using its control over international organizations, it coerces other countries into serving America’s political and economic strategy.”

The report concludes by calling on the US to “quit its hegemonic, domineering and bullying practices”, to adopt the principles of non-interference and respect for sovereignty, to pursue a path of peace and cooperation, and to operate within a framework of international law.

At a moment in history where imperialist politicians and media are pointing the finger at China, labelling it as “aggressive” and a “threat to Western values”; and when many on the Western left are pursuing an absurd line of “neither Washington nor Beijing”, this document provides a powerful and valuable analysis of the state of global politics and the toxic role being played by the US ruling class.

The report was first published in English on the website of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Introduction

Since becoming the world’s most powerful country after the two world wars and the Cold War, the United States has acted more boldly to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries, pursue, maintain and abuse hegemony, advance subversion and infiltration, and willfully wage wars, bringing harm to the international community.

The United States has developed a hegemonic playbook to stage “color revolutions,” instigate regional disputes, and even directly launch wars under the guise of promoting democracy, freedom and human rights. Clinging to the Cold War mentality, the United States has ramped up bloc politics and stoked conflict and confrontation. It has overstretched the concept of national security, abused export controls and forced unilateral sanctions upon others. It has taken a selective approach to international law and rules, utilizing or discarding them as it sees fit, and has sought to impose rules that serve its own interests in the name of upholding a “rules-based international order.”

This report, by presenting the relevant facts, seeks to expose the U.S. abuse of hegemony in the political, military, economic, financial, technological and cultural fields, and to draw greater international attention to the perils of the U.S. practices to world peace and stability and the well-being of all peoples.

Continue reading US hegemony and its perils

US issues ludicrous spy balloon charge against China

The below article, which was originally carried by the World Socialist Website (WSWS), is a timely and succinct rebuttal of the ever more hyped war hysteria being stirred up by US imperialism by means of faux outrage at the accidental intrusion of a Chinese civilian airship, mainly used for meteorological research, into the airspace above the United States.

The article notes that the idea that China would use such outmoded means to conduct surveillance over sensitive nuclear sites – as alleged by the US – is patently ridiculous. However, the hysteria points to Washington’s increasingly strident war propaganda and the potential for this to be used to trigger military conflict. It also quotes China Daily as noting: “Surveillance balloons being used as military technology dates back to the early 20th century, the technology is outdated one can hardly imagine any nation like China still resorting to it today.”

It has however been given as the reason for US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to indefinitely postpone a visit to China that was reportedly to have taken place this weekend. However, it is noteworthy that the Chinese Foreign Ministry had not confirmed the dates for this visit – which was agreed in principle when Presidents Xi Jinping and Joseph Biden met in the margins of the G-20 Summit in Bali last November – making it at least possible that the two sides had failed to reach a consensus related to the visit and that therefore the US may have chosen to seize on an apparent excuse to call it off.

The article further notes that the extraordinary output of anti-China propaganda that has ensued is, “entirely hypocritical to say the least,” considering not least the ongoing intelligence gathering by US aircraft and spy ships operating close to the Chinese mainland. Moreover, the US move to delay or scrap Blinken’s visit comes, “amid a mounting series of aggressive and provocative moves by the US against China.” These include last week’s visits to South Korea and the Philippines by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, in which the US regained access to five military bases in the latter country; increased efforts to sabotage China’s hi-tech industries; plans by the new US House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy to visit Taiwan; and the leaking of an internal memo by Air Force General Michael Minihan, predicting that the US could be at war with China by 2025 and ordering his commanders to make detailed preparations.

As the article concludes: “It is Washington that is escalating its confrontation with China.”

The past several days have seen feverish accusations by US authorities and media outlets of an alleged Chinese spy balloon “hovering” over ballistic missile launch sites in Montana.

From China’s response and expert accounts, however, it appears that a clumsy, hard-to-manoeuvre, high-altitude weather test balloon was blown by winds across North America. On its current course, the balloon was expected to drift off the US east coast on Saturday.

The claim that China would use such outmoded and difficult-to-control means to conduct surveillance over sensitive nuclear war sites, rather than sophisticated low-orbit satellites, is patently ridiculous. But the hysteria points to the increasingly strident war propaganda emanating from Washington against China, as well as the potential for such an incident to be inflated to trigger a military conflict.

The Pentagon said it had readied fighter jets, including F-22s, to shoot down the craft if ordered to do so by President Joe Biden. On Friday, the White House abruptly used the incident to postpone a major two-day visit to Beijing by Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.

Prominent figures in the US ruling establishment, including 2024 Republican presidential candidates ex-president Donald Trump and former South Carolina governor and UN ambassador Nikki Haley, demanded that the US military immediately shoot down the balloon.

Biden apparently took Pentagon advice not to blow up the errant balloon, citing the danger of falling debris from the craft, which was said to be the size of three buses. Yet the administration took the confrontational step of calling off Blinken’s trip, just before he was due to embark. The top-level visit had been agreed between Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping at a summit last November in Indonesia. Blinken was due to meet Xi to discuss the worsening US-China relations.

Continue reading US issues ludicrous spy balloon charge against China

Dorise Nielsen: groundbreaking communist MP in Canada, people’s hero in China

We are pleased to republish this article by Mike Wu, originally carried in People’s Voice, newspaper of the Communist Party of Canada, about the revolutionary life of Dorise Nielsen.

Born in England in 1902, she settled in Canada in 1927. Politicised by the Great Depression, she joined the Communist Party of Canada around the time she met the legendary Norman Bethune, when she was fundraising to help send Canadians to join the International Brigades in Spain. In the 1940 federal election, she was elected as the first communist member of parliament in Canada or indeed North America.

During the McCarthyite conditions of the Cold War, she moved to China in 1957, traveling under the alias Judy Godefroy. She became a Chinese citizen in 1962. She worked in a number of capacities in China, moving to the Foreign Languages Press in the late 1960s.

Dorise died in Beijing on December 9 1980. A speaker at her memorial service, held at the Babaoshan Cemetery for Revolutionaries, said that she “had a deep love of China and the Chinese people, she lived a very simple life and was never extravagant, her feeling for the construction of socialism was profound.”

NB. The article refers to Dorise as the only Canadian in Beijing at the time she moved to China. However, another Canadian citizen, Isabel Crook, was also in Beijing (working at the same institution – the Beijing Foreign Studies University).

Norman Bethune is a well-known figure in the history of Canada–China relations. But there is another legendary figure: Dorise Nielsen, the first Member of Parliament from the Communist Party of Canada, went to China in her later years to support the Chinese people’s socialist construction, until her death in Beijing in 1980. 

Dorise was born in London, England in 1902 and settled in Saskatchewan in 1927 to work as a public school teacher. Dorise initially did not concern herself with politics, until the Great Depression broke out in 1929.

During the Depression, Dorise saw with her own eyes how workers, farmers, the ill and the old struggled under capitalism. In 1933, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) held its first convention and approved the Regina Manifesto, which described capitalism as an unjust and inhumane system that concentrated power and wealth in a small elite while leaving most people in poverty. 

Continue reading Dorise Nielsen: groundbreaking communist MP in Canada, people’s hero in China