Nancy Pelosi, Taiwan and Baltimore

In this article, first published by Struggle/La Lucha, Stephen Millies situates US Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan last week against the background of her family’s reactionary history. Both her father and brother were mayors of Baltimore, with a notorious track record of racism and segregation. Setting out some of the true history of Taiwan, he also unmasks Pelosi’s utterly specious claim to be upholding human rights, whether in Taiwan, the rest of China or the United States.

Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the U.S House of Representatives, landed in Taiwan Province on August 2. Her trip is a dangerous provocation against the People’s Republic of China.

Pelosi arrived on the 58th anniversary of the Gulf of Tonkin incident. In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson claimed Vietnamese torpedo boats in the Gulf of Tonkin had attacked a U.S. Navy destroyer.

The Pentagon Papers later admitted this was a lie, a complete fabrication. That it was a lie didn’t stop LBJ, who used the lie to start bombing Vietnam.

Even the United States government concedes that there’s only one China. Because it’s an island, Taiwan is the only part of China that wasn’t liberated in 1949 by the People’s Liberation Army during the Chinese civil war.

With U.S. assistance, the defeated dictator Chiang Kai-shek fled to Taiwan Province in 1949. His regime had already slaughtered 28,000 or more people in Taiwan during a massacre that began on Feb. 28, 1947. 

It’s doubtful that TV’s talking heads will mention that atrocity or that “democratic” Taiwan was under martial law from 1949 until 1987.

Continue reading Nancy Pelosi, Taiwan and Baltimore

Arise, Africa! Roar China! Interview with Gao Yunxiang

‘Arise Africa, Roar China’ is an important book exploring aspects of the historic linkages between progressive African Americans and the Chinese revolution. Published by the University of North Carolina Press in December 2021, the author, Dr. Gao Yunxiang was born and grew up in the People’s Republic of China and is now Professor of History at Canada’s Toronto Metropolitan University.   Her book explores the close relationships between three of the most famous twentieth-century African Americans, W. E. B. Du Bois, Paul Robeson, and Langston Hughes, and their little-known Chinese allies during World War II and the Cold War—journalist, musician, and Christian activist Liu Liangmo, and Sino-Caribbean dancer-choreographer Sylvia Si-lan Chen. Charting a new path in the study of Sino-American relations, Gao Yunxiang foregrounds African Americans, combining the study of Black internationalism and the experiences of Chinese Americans with a transpacific narrative and an understanding of the global remaking of China’s modern popular culture and politics. Dr. Gao reveals interactions between Chinese and African American progressives that predate those that flourished in the 1960s and early 1970s in particular.

To introduce the book, we are pleased to republish this two-part interview with Dr. Gao conducted for the popular Sixth Tone website by Liu Zifeng, a doctoral candidate in Africana Studies at Cornell University in the US.  

Liu Zifeng: How did you get interested in the ties between Chinese and African Americans? What inspired you to write “Arise Africa! Roar China!”?

Gao Yunxiang: While conducting research on my first book, “Sporting Gender,” I came across laudatory articles on W. E. B. Du Bois and Shirley Graham Du Bois in The People’s Daily. They reminded me of some things I read in my childhood: specifically, an old newspaper article and a propaganda poster.

In my childhood home in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, our ceiling was a flat lattice of wooden boards pasted over with old newspapers purchased in bulk. After I learned to read and write, I was confronted every night by a headline pasted right above my pillow — until it was covered by a new layer of old newspapers the following Lunar New Year. Since I read those words daily, they were inscribed in my brain: “Robert Williams and Madam Du Bois Fervently Acclaim Chairman Mao’s Statement Supporting Black Americans’ Struggle Against Violent Repression.”

That title is in turn connected to the memory of a poster that hung in our little classroom for 18 students between grades one to three. Advocating solidarity in the liberation struggle, the poster featured indignant men and women of various ethnicities, all dressed in vibrant clothing and charging forward, with a muscular Black man holding a gun at the center.

“Sporting Gender” was released in 2013. Around the same time, I published an article in the journal Du Bois Review that explored how W. E. B. and Shirley Graham Du Bois’ endeavors in Maoist China added new dimensions to Sino-American relations and Black internationalism. Working on that article, I naturally came across Paul Robeson, a close ally of the Du Boises. Then, while researching the fascinating yet unknown dynamics between Paul Robeson and China, I came across his Chinese allies: Liu Liangmo and Sylvia Si-lan Chen.

Of course, I was immediately curious about who they were. While looking into Chen, I learned that Langston Hughes was her lover. So, I traced these figures just like interlocked chains.

Liu: What attracted African American intellectuals, artists, and activists to China? How did they encounter Chinese and China? What were their impressions of these encounters?

Gao: Solidarity between people of color globally and their shared destiny of anti-racism and anti-colonialism attracted these figures’ attention to China. As a minority facing overwhelming state-imposed systematic racism and white supremacy, Black intellectuals and activists looked toward the similarly oppressed China for inspiration and strength.

These figures’ ties with leftist Chinese and China were built on a profound emotional and intellectual foundation. They shared a faith in Sino-Afro racial, linguistic, philosophical, and artistic kinship. Hughes observed Chinese to be “a very jolly people, much like colored folks at home”; Du Bois lauded Chinese as “my physical cousins.”

Both Du Bois and Robeson consistently articulated the linkage between African and Chinese civilizations and cited famous Chinese cultural giants such as Confucius and Laozi to argue for the sophistication of African civilization, counter negative stereotypes associated with perceived African “primitivism,” and debunk white supremacism.

Cultural kinship necessitated a political alliance. By embracing China’s revolutions as vehicles for the social and economic uplift of nonwhites, Black intellectuals directly linked the struggles of African Americans with those of nationalist Chinese. Hughes’ 1933 journey to “incredible” Shanghai made him the first Black intellectual celebrity to set foot on Chinese soil. He was profoundly sympathetic to China’s suffering under colonial oppression, especially Japan’s latest aggressions. Hughes would pen a passionate poem, “Roar, China!” following Japan’s full-scale invasion of China in 1937, lionizing China’s resistance.

The Communist victory in 1949 made China a pillar of nonwhite peoples’ revolutionary struggles and a model for millions to beat colonialism. Robeson romantically imagined that the nonwhite world would view the rising China as a “new star of the East… pointing the way out from imperialist enslavement to independence and equality. China has shown the way.”

During his epic China trip in 1959, Du Bois repeatedly proclaimed Chinese and African dignity and unity in the face of Western racism, colonialism, and capitalism: “Africa, Arise, and stand straight, speak and think! Turn from the West and your slavery and humiliation for the last 500 years and face the rising sun … China is flesh of your flesh and blood of your blood.” He predicted that the “darker world” would adopt socialism as “the only answer to the color line,” and that the status of African Americans would thereby be elevated.

Despite withdrawing from radicalism due to anti-Communist hysteria in the United States, Hughes nevertheless remained confident of the power of the People’s Republic of China. His suppressed inspiration, drawn from the Chinese Communist Party, resurfaced in his fury at the brutal racial violence African Americans suffered. “Birmingham Sunday,” Hughes’ eulogy to the four Black girls killed in the dynamiting of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, on Sunday, September 15, 1963, connected his rage with the rage one once felt by oppressed Chinese.

Liu: How about the Chinese intellectuals and activists you profile? Who were they? What prompted them to reach out to African Americans and what did they do to build Sino-Black solidarity?

Gao: The Chinese intelligentsia had, through literature and drama, long connected the shared “enslavement” of the Chinese nation as a semi-colony state and the enslavement of African Americans. In the introduction to their 1901 translation of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” Lin Shu and Wei Yi argue that the tortures “yellow” people faced were even worse than those endured by Black Americans. Chinese people needed to read the book, Liu and Wei write, because “slavery is looming for our race. We had to yell and scream to wake up the public.”

In the face of harassment by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Immigration and Naturalization Service, as well as racial terror and segregation, Liu Liangmo’s and Sylvia Si-Lan Chen’s brave journeys to the United States brought Sino–African American cultural alliances into new historical settings. Liu was a talented musician, prolific journalist, and Christian activist who initiated the trans-Pacific mass singing movement for war mobilization during World War II. He was a pioneer among Chinese for his close collaboration with African Americans, lauding Black greatness without reservation and later facilitating the reception of the Du Boises and Robeson in the People’s Republic. Among the numerous areas in which Liu and Robeson collaborated, they helped to globalize the signature piece of the mass singing movement: “Chee Lai” or “March of the Volunteers.”

In 1941, Robeson, Liu, and the Chinese People’s Chorus, a group Liu had organized among members of the Chinese Hand Laundry Alliance in New York City’s Chinatown, recorded an album for Keynote Records titled, “Chee Lai: Songs of New China.” Liu’s liner notes for the album relay that he saw the collaboration as “a strong token of solidarity between the Chinese and the Negro People.”

Robeson’s notes read: “Chee Lai! (Arise!) is on the lips of millions of Chinese today, a sort of unofficial anthem, I am told, typifying the unconquerable spirit of this people. It is a pleasure and a privilege to sing both this song of modern composition and the old folk songs to which a nation in struggle has put new words.”

The song would be adopted as the national anthem of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.

Chen was the world’s first “modern Chinese/Soviet dancer-choreographer” with an international reputation, according to contemporary American media accounts. She was a daughter of Eugene Chen, China’s foreign minister in the 1920s, and his French Creole wife. She was also a cousin of Dai Ailian, the acclaimed “mother of China’s modern dance.”

The Chens and Dai were all born in Trinidad and barely spoke Chinese. Chen encountered Hughes romantically in Moscow, fanning his interest in China, connecting him with the international Communist network, and helping to propel him into Shanghai’s leftist cultural circles. Chen captured the fanciful imaginations of Hughes and Robeson, who saw her as personifying the “perfect” union of Black and Chinese. Meanwhile, her own journey to choreograph and dance ethnicity, war, and revolution around the globe illustrates the complex racial and political twists of such an interracial union.

Liu: How did the African American intellectuals profiled in your book shape Chinese perceptions of Blackness and visions of the world order? And how did China’s engagement with the Africana world, at least in the cases of Liu Liangmo and Sylvia Si-Lan Chen, inform African American understandings of Chinese politics and culture and Black radical thought more generally?

Gao: W.E.B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes, and Paul Robeson’s presence in China and their alliances with Chinese sojourners helped facilitate a shift in the dynamics of Pan-Africanism and Pan-Asianism and ultimately inspired the “color line” of Mao Zedong’s Third World theory.

The transformative process started with gradual changes in the images of Blacks in the Republic of China (1912-1949). Stung by its humiliating reputation as the “sick man of Asia” and alarmed by Nazi racism and Japan’s imperialist ambitions, China was acutely frustrated by the repeated defeats of Chinese athletes at the 1932 and 1936 Olympics. Thus, Chinese media celebrated the “natural” physical prowess of the boxer Joe Louis and track-and field athlete Jesse Owens on behalf of the world’s people of color.

The front cover of an issue of China’s leading cartoon magazine, Modern Sketch, devoted to the 1936 Olympics, drew inspiration from Owens’s triumph. The magazine’s back cover featured a drawing of a muscular Black woman resembling the American chanteuse Josephine Baker, clad in a banana skirt, captioned, “Victory of Colored People at the Olympics.”

Those two images exemplified Chinese portraiture of African Americans. Du Bois, who visited China around that time, announced that the race “must be represented, not only in sports, but in science, in literature, and in art.” Jazz musicians in nightclubs, who were dismissed as “foreign musical instrument devils” — yangqin gui — or else caricatured in advertisements for toothpaste and white towels, dominated Black representation in Republican Chinese media. The presence of Du Bois, Hughes, and Robeson, whose intellectual capacities Chinese critics described as “genius,” started to alter such stereotypes.

During his trip to Shanghai, Hughes was quickly embraced by the city’s leftist cultural circles, led by the author Lu Xun. Their magazines hailed him as the “first established Black revolutionary writer,” who was “howling and struggling for the oppressed races.” Hughes’ visit triggered ongoing interest in his work and Black literature in China.

The final step of connecting Blackness with revolution occurred during the People’s Republic of China. The narrative on the globally famous Robeson was quickly transformed from that of an exotic entertainer to a heroic model and inspiration for the country’s socialist citizens. He was introduced in state media as “the Black King of Songs” for the oppressed masses in the world, who “embodied the perfect marriage between art and politics.”

After Du Bois shifted his favorable gaze from Japan to the People’s Republic of China as the new pillar of the colored world, he was treated as an icon by a China aspiring to leadership in the “Third World.” During their visits, he and his wife received unprecedented state hospitality. The couple frequently rubbed shoulders with China’s top leadership, became the first Westerners to grace the Tiananmen Square podium during the country’s National Day celebrations, and frequently occupied the front pages of major newspapers. Du Bois’ birthdays were celebrated as major state events.

Liu and Chen, meanwhile, linked the burning issues facing Chinese Americans and African Americans — such as the poll tax, the Chinese Exclusion Act, Jim Crow laws, and the lynching of African Americans — while urging their abolition.


Liu Zifeng: How did the Cold War international order, Sino-Soviet relations, and shifts in Chinese and U.S. foreign policy impact relations between Chinese and African Americans?

Gao Yunxiang: Following its rough birth amid the intensifying Cold War atmosphere, the infant People’s Republic of China was forced to confront a superpower armed with nuclear weapons in the Korean War. By this point, the singer, actor, and activist Paul Robeson was enshrined as a fearless and reliable friend of China, and for Robeson, China was a strong source of support that he sorely needed.

April 20, 1949 marked the start of Robeson’s political downfall in the United States. On that day, he famously told the International Congress for Peace in Paris that it was “unthinkable that American Negroes would go to war on behalf of those who have oppressed us for generations against the Soviet Union.” That statement quickly drew widespread condemnation, including from Jackie Robinson, the famous African American baseball star, whom Robeson had helped to integrate the game.

Joining W.E.B. Du Bois in standing firmly behind Robeson was the Chinese Communist Party. The People’s Daily condemned Robinson and defended Robeson. The paper reported Robeson’s speech, highlighting the standing ovation the star received from the event’s 2,000 attendees, including Nobel Laureate and nuclear scientist Frederic Joliot-Curie and Robeson’s friend, the artist Pablo Picasso. Treating the organized regional and world peace movement as a powerful popular rebuke of U.S. involvement in China’s Civil War and later the Korean War, Chinese state media reported intensively on the involvement of Du Bois and Paul Robeson in the pacifist movement.

The United States quickly accelerated its attacks on Robeson. The most significant and ugliest example was the so-called Peekskill riots, in which right-wing mobs brutally attacked a Robeson concert in August 1949. Soon, the U.S. State Department cancelled Robeson’s passport and stalled his brilliant career. As is well documented in both Robeson’s writings and Chinese state media coverage, Robeson and the People’s Republic lent each other unyielding support during their most trying moments.

By the late 1950s, in the wake of the disastrous Great Leap Forward, China had immediate reasons to welcome public support from African American cultural giants. The CCP needed a new domestic perspective to reinvigorate the revolution and socialize the nation. In addition, it required new diplomatic defenders and tactics as it contested Soviet dominance of world communism and aspired to leadership of the “Third World” that bound the destinies of China with former agricultural colonies in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

The CCP was already reaching out to Africa, but the newly independent African states met Chinese overtures with caution and reserve. The stature of these African American figures among the African diaspora helped China open doors for alliances across the continent. Du Bois’ reputation and endorsement particularly meant a great deal. Chinese outreach to Africa through diplomatic exchanges, aid, and propaganda peaked following the Du Boises’ 1959 visit to China. For diplomatic and economic reasons, China continued to maintain a large presence in Africa, which the Du Boises helped to foster.

During the 1960s, Mao Zedong was interested in contacts with radical Blacks, who he valorized as true revolutionaries. Influential Black activist Robert Williams, author of “Negroes with Guns,” was mentioned in a People’s Daily headline plastered on the ceiling of my childhood bedroom, for instance. At the same time, Black Americans were impressed by Mao’s anti-American imperialism as well as his emphasis on violent struggles and cultural change as a revolutionary force.

Liu: As often happens in cases of transnational exchange, the intellectual and cultural interactions between China and African America that you chart were fraught with misunderstandings, ambiguity, and conflict. What were some of the complexities and contradictions of the internationalist politics of the five central figures in your book?

Gao: Caught in between the murky, sometimes treacherous, and shifting trans-Pacific political and ideological waters, all five citizens of the world I profile — W.E.B. Du Bois, Paul Robeson, Langston Hughes, Liu Liangmo, and Sylvia Si-lan Chen — experienced their share of ambiguity and conflict. For instance, in 1962, state media and publishers in the People’s Republic of China suddenly fell silent on Robeson, who had been promoted as a heroic revolutionary model for China’s socialist citizens throughout the 1950s. After the Sino-Soviet split came into the open, Robeson’s position of advocating for peaceful coexistence fell on the wrong side of Chinese politics amid a shift in dynamics between the trans-Pacific powers.

The official press took an alternative approach toward Hughes. Outlets awkwardly remained silent on Hughes’s public renunciation of his radical past at the peak of McCarthyism and the Korean War; instead, they fixed their gaze on the writer he was in the 1930s, an “established Black revolutionary writer,” as if he were preserved in a time capsule. Liu and Chen, meanwhile, were marginalized and even attacked during the radical Maoist years by a regime they had long idealized.

W.E.B Du Bois’ treatment of imperial Japan — which brutalized China and Asia — as a pillar of “the darker word” turned out to be the most controversial. Du Bois visited the segregated treaty port of Shanghai in 1936. Pampered by the Japanese authorities, he stayed at the luxurious Cathay Hotel on the Bund. At the University of Shanghai, Du Bois “occupied a seat on the dais,” listening as a Rockefeller Foundation representative spoke about scholarships to the United States.

“I said to the president that I should like to talk to a group of Chinese and discuss frankly racial and social matters,” Du Bois recalled. He soon “plunged…recklessly” into a luncheon at the Chinese Bankers’ Club at 59 Hong Kong Road on November 30. He wanted to know, in his own words, “Why is it that you (Chinese) hate Japan more than Europe when you have suffered more from England, France, and Germany than from Japan?” If Japan and China worked together, Du Bois continued, perhaps Europe could be eliminated permanently from Asia. Du Bois calmly reported, “There ensured a considerable silence, in which I joined.”

His dismayed hosts responded that whatever problems China suffered, Japan’s militarism hindered any progress. Unconvinced, Du Bois commented later that “the most disconcerting thing about Asia is the burning hatred of China and Japan (for each other).” As he sailed from Shanghai aboard the S. S. Shanghai Mari to Nagasaki on December 1, 1936, Du Bois hurled a final insult, claiming that the Chinese Nationalists were “Asian Uncle Toms,” likening them to the willing Black menials of white racism in the United States.

Du Bois repeated his belief in the virtues of Japanese rule and firmly urged a Sino-Japanese alliance, which would “save the world for the darker races.” He steadfastly maintained such views even after Japanese forces occupied Beiping (today’s Beijing) and Shanghai. To the news of the Nanjing Massacre, Japan’s genocidal occupation of China’s then-capital in late 1937 and early 1938, Du Bois responded that few of the white Americans expressing horror at the killing had said much about Italy’s recent depredations in Ethiopia.

Liu: What lessons do the stories recounted in your book offer for understanding China-U.S. relations?

Gao: While most scholarship on Sino-American relations treats the United States as default white, “Arise, Africa! Roar, China!” cuts a new path by foregrounding African Americans. It allows us to reimagine Sino-American relations by decentering Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon in the discourse, understanding Afro-Asian history as central to world history, and focusing on global anti-imperialism and popular movements which are still relevant today. My book combines the study of Black internationalism and the experiences of China and Chinese Americans with a trans-Pacific narrative. It reveals earlier and widespread interactions between Chinese and Black leftist figures prior to the better-known alliance between Black radicals and Maoist China in the 1960s.

It also shows the global remaking of China’s modern popular culture and politics. The book traces China’s transnational entanglements even during periods when the nation has commonly been regarded as insular and unconnected to the wider world.

The intertwined lives of these five citizens of the world, usually perceived as inhabiting non-overlapping domains, stand as powerful counters to narratives that foreground racism and alienation. Their endeavors across racial, national, cultural, and linguistic boundaries illustrate that the world always remains connected despite political, legal, immigration, and diplomatic hurdles. Their stories offer a view into the power and potential of Black internationalism and Sino–African American collaboration. “Arise, Africa!” and “Roar, China!” as articulated by Du Bois and Hughes, respectively, match the shared struggles of a nation and a nation-within-a-nation. Their power and promise resonate to this day.

Kamila Valieva and Eileen Gu: Young Women Athletes as Enemies of Empire

In this article, originally published by Countercurrents, women’s historian Linda Ford analyzes and condemns the misogynist and racist animus directed by US imperialism towards two outstanding teenage woman athletes, Gu Ailing (Eileen Gu) of China and Kamila Valieva of Russia, in the service of the new Cold War.

As Ford rightly concludes:

“Here is hegemonic politics, and ruthless patriarchy and racism, coming together. And here are two remarkably strong and level-headed young women athletes who are braving the results of being who they are. In its overwhelming power, the US Empire has made evil all things Chinese and Russian, and women athletes have not been spared the weaponizing of that hate.”

As one who has followed Olympic women’s figure skating, especially since Michelle Kwan (ironically a Chinese-American), I was—as an egalitarian feminist when it comes to sports—excited to learn that there was a 15-year-old Russian woman skater, Kamila Valieva, who could do effortless quad jumps.  Waiting in anticipation of her first Olympic performance, I listened to commentators and former US skaters Tara Lipinsky and Johnny Weir rave about her spectacular talent.  They told the audience that we were about to see “the best skating in the world”…that “a talent like this comes around once in a lifetime.”  They found her first performance in the short skate “incredible… flawless… perfect in every way.”  It was, they said, a rare privilege to watch her perform:  “she will have an amazing legacy.”  Days later they would say nothing watching her perform.

Continue reading Kamila Valieva and Eileen Gu: Young Women Athletes as Enemies of Empire

The China Initiative and the New McCarthyism

In this detailed video interview, Professor Ken Hammond talks with Danny Haiphong about the China Initiative and associated programs attacking Chinese academics in the US. Ken observes that, while the program is ostensibly based on protecting US intellectual property and strengthening its IT security systems, the vast majority of cases have been about individual researchers’ supposed association with the Chinese state, and in particular the People’s Liberation Army. These connections are tenuous at best. Most Chinese universities have some relationship with the People’s Liberation Army, in the same way that most US universities have some relationship with the Department of Defense. If something like the China Initiative were applied around the world, practically no US scholar would be able to engage in joint research with any institution abroad. Meanwhile, in spite of the Biden administration claiming to have shut the program down, several thousands cases are ongoing. The reality of the China Initiative and associated programs is that they are are part of a broader campaign to demonize China and contribute to public support for a New Cold War.

Wang Wenbin: deeply-entrenched white supremacism at the heart of US anti-Asian racism

We reproduce below an important statement made by Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin in his March 30th press conference, responding to a question from a Beijing Daily correspondent, who noted that 75% of Asian seniors in New York City are afraid to leave their homes due to the threat of anti-Asian violence. Wang outlines the contributions made by the Asian communities to US economy and society. Despite this, he notes, they still face systemic racial discrimination. This is due to deep-seated white supremacism, which is still stirred by US politicians. According to Wang, the US needs to give up being a textbook example of double standards of human rights.

I have seen relevant reports and am concerned about the discrimination against Asian Americans and hate crimes in the US.

Ethnic minorities of Asian descent have made important contributions to the economic and social development in the US. For example, it is reported that Chinese Americans contributed over $300 billion to US GDP in 2019 through consumer spending, supporting 3 million jobs. As of 2017, there are over 160,000 Chinese American-owned businesses in the US, generating approximately $240 billion in revenue and supporting 1.3 million jobs. Chinese Americans have also made important contributions to public health and social welfare in the US through active involvement in non-profits, volunteering and philanthropy. Since March 2020, more than 690 Chinese American grassroots organizations have raised over $18 million and delivered millions of items of personal protective equipment (PPE) and meals to agencies in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. However, such hard work and important contributions brought them no respect or protection they so richly deserve, but unabated discrimination and injustice. After COVID-19 broke out, several doctors of Asian descent said that the patients are more afraid of them than the virus. On March 16 last year, a shooting spree in Atlanta targeting women of Asian descent have resulted in the death of six Asian female. The case later triggered fear and anger among Asian Americans nationwide as the US law-enforcement authorities refused to label it as an incident of hate crime. A report published by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University San Bernardino revealed that anti-Asian hate crime increased by 339% in 2021 compared to the year before. Besides hate crime, Asian Americans are also subjected to various discrimination in employment, education, income, social welfare and cultural rights. According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, only 54% of Asian American older adults surveyed said they were satisfied with their lives, significantly lower than respondents of other races and ethnicities.

It takes more than one cold day for the river to freeze three feet deep. At the heart of the persistent discrimination and xenophobic words and deeds against people of Asian descent lies the deeply entrenched white supremacism. Even worse, some US politicians instigate antagonism and confrontation and clamor for hostile anti-Asian policies to serve their selfish political interests, only to make things more difficult for Asian Americans. Former US leader openly called the coronavirus as “China virus” in a speech delivered at the UN General Assembly, sparking a public outcry in the international community. Six Republican congressmen in the US, who are also veteran anti-China politicians, voted against an anti-Asian hate crime bill. They even openly stigmatize and attack people of Asian descent by associating the coronavirus with them. The previous US administration’s infamous “China Initiative” fueled racial discrimination against Asians, especially Chinese Americans, and contributed to a 71% increase in violence against Asian Americans between 2019 and 2020. 

Although the “China Initiative” was suspended at request, the discrimination, stigmatization, suppression and attacks against Asian minorities, including those of Chinese descent, have continued. This is a stain on the US human rights record, an irony to the US’ reputation as melting pot of ethnic groups, and an affront to the US value of “freedom and equality”. UN Special Rapporteur Fernand de Varennes said the US human rights system is leading to growing inequality. Stephen Walt, a professor at Harvard University, said “Americans must first fix what has gone wrong at home and rethink how they deal with the rest of the world.” At the 48th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, many countries blasted the United States for being the “biggest destroyer” of human rights in the world and urged the country to address its own severe human rights violations. We urge the US government to heed these appeals from the international community and stop being a textbook example of double standard of human rights. 

Speech of W.E.B. Du Bois in Beijing University in 1959

On the 154th anniversary of his birth, we are pleased to republish this speech given in Beijing by the great African-American communist, Pan-Africanist, scholar and freedom fighter W.E.B. Du Bois on the occasion of his 91st birthday.

By courtesy of the government of the 600 million people of the Chinese Republic, I am permitted on my 91st birthday to speak to the people of China and Africa and through them to the world. Hail, then, and farewell, dwelling places of the yellow and black races. Hail human kind!

I speak with no authority; no assumption of age nor rank; I hold no position, I have no wealth. One thing alone I own and that is my own soul. Ownership of that I have even while in my own country for near a century I have been nothing but a “nigger.” On this basis and this alone I dare speak, I dare advise.

China after long centuries has arisen to her feet and leapt forward. Africa, arise, and stand straight, speak and think! Act! Turn from the West and your slavery and humiliation for the last 500 years and face the rising sun.

Continue reading Speech of W.E.B. Du Bois in Beijing University in 1959

Huey P Newton: What I experienced in China was the sensation of freedom

Black Panther Party founder Huey P Newton was born 80 years ago, on 17 February 2022. In his memoir, Revolutionary Suicide, he reflects on visiting socialist China in September 1971. Away from the system of institutionalized racism and white supremacy that he had endured all his life in the US, in China he “felt absolutely free for the first time in my life”.

What I experienced in China was the sensation of freedom – as if a great weight had been lifted from my soul and I was able to be myself, without defence or pretence or the need for explanation. I felt absolutely free for the first time in my life – completely free among my fellow human beings. This experience of freedom had a profound effect on me, because it confirmed my belief that an oppressed people can be liberated if their leaders persevere in raising their consciousness and in struggling relentlessly against the oppressor.

Huey P Newton, Revolutionary Suicide (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition, p348)

Eileen Gu controversy exposes the importance of racial loyalty to the American empire

This article by Friends of Socialist China co-editor Danny Haiphong, originally published on The Chronicles of Haiphong, unpacks the hysteria surrounding the decision of the young Chinese-American ski champion Eileen Gu (Gu Ailing) to represent China rather than the US at the Winter Olympics. Danny explains how the intense hostility Gu’s decision has generated in the US has its origins in the New Cold War, American exceptionalism, imperialism, and white supremacy.

Eileen Gu is a world class skier who has already won her first gold medal in the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics at the age of 18. Gu was raised in San Francisco by a mixed-race family. Her mom, who she posts about often on social media, is Chinese. In 2019, Gu announced that she planned to represent the Chinese national team for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games. But it is only within the last few weeks as the Winter Olympics prepared to launch that her decision began to stir a considerable amount of controversy. Gu has been labeled an ungrateful “traitor” to the United States for supposedly spurning the opportunities offered to her in the “land of the free.”

The vitriol directed at Gu has come from all corners of U.S. society. Former Olympic skier Jen Hudak told the media that Gu “became the athlete she is because she grew up in the United States, where she had access to premier training grounds and coaching that, as a female, she might not have had in China.” Popular right-wing talk show host Tucker Carlson claimed that Gu “renounced” her citizenship and betrayed her own country by choosing to ski for China.

A report in The Economist framed Gu’s decision as an agonizing moment for the teenage phenom who finds herself split between two countries engaged in a “superpower rivalry.” No evidence for this claim was provided in the article. Corporate media commentary has repeatedly emphasized that Gu was “born in the USA” while social media users on the far right have openly called for the Olympic skier to leave the country for her act of betrayal.

The intense reaction to Gu comes amid a tireless U.S. effort to delegitimize China in the lead up to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. U.S. President Joe Biden announced a “diplomatic boycott” of the Games last December, a relatively meaningless gesture that saw more than dozen State Department officials apply for visas to travel to the Games shortly after the policy went into effect. A non-stop propaganda blitz helped pass the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act a few weeks later. The bill effectively sanctions U.S. corporations from doing business in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region by requiring proof that products imported from the region are not made from “forced labor.” These policy moves just skim the surface of the U.S.-led New Cold War on China and its many forms of aggression in the military, diplomatic, economic, and information realms.

As I penned in a previous column, fear is a critical component of the U.S.’s racist and imperialist attacks on China. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi summed up modern American fear of China when she warned U.S. athletes on the day of the opening ceremony not to speak out against China for fear that its “ruthless” government would seek reprisal. Pelosi’s characterization of China fits one side of casual racism’s double-edged sword. Fear of China’s supposedly unmatched ruthlessness is complimented by a ceaseless suspicion of China’s COVID-19 response, poverty alleviation program, and overall political and economic stability. China is all-powerful yet never successful; a menace to the “free world” but on a never-ending road to collapse.

The U.S.-led New Cold War is an imperialist project. At its core is a ceaseless effort to undermine and eventually overthrow China’s socialist economic and political system. More visible to the naked eye is the palpable fear expressed by Western capitalists of China’s economy surpassing the U.S. in GDP terms over the next half decade. War profiteers have benefitted immensely from the New Cold War. The U.S. military budget continues to grow, with special funds set aside for countering the so-called “China threat.”

Of course, the New Cold War is also a reflection of a long history of imperialist aggression toward China dating back to the Opium Wars of the mid-19th century. The Opium Wars carved up China and left the nation impoverished and weak. Western imperialists justified plunging China into a “century of humiliation” with Yellow Peril racism. The Chinese were routinely dehumanized and portrayed in Western media as sneaky thieves and rapists who deserved to be deported or worse. Yellow Peril justified the passage of racist immigration laws which increased the rate of exploitation and violently managed the flow of surplus labor migrating from China.

China and Chinese people were only useful to the West so long as they were weak and subservient. This all changed after the Chinese revolution of 1949 sent shockwaves throughout the Western capitalist world. U.S. officials lamented over “losing China” to communism. China was placed under sanctions from 1949-1971 by the United States and threatened with nuclear war more than once.

However, Cold War imperialist aggression was unsuccessful in destabilizing China. To paraphrase Mao Zedong, the Chinese people stood up in 1949 and are showing no signs of sitting back down to their former oppressors. China’s achievements in poverty alleviationpublic healthrenewable energyhigh-technology, and a myriad of other fields have changed the course of history. A multipolar world is emerging where non-white, formerly colonized nations assert their self-determination in the midst of a declining imperialist order. China is leading the way.

Racial loyalty is an expression of both conscious and unconscious resentment toward these developments and plays a central role in the anger over Gu’s decision to represent China. To many in the United States, Gu has chosen the side of the “savages” and the “wretched of the earth.” She has rejected the United States as her white motherland. The overriding perception is that the U.S.’s superiority is as inherent as China’s supposed inferiority, making Gu’s decision a clear pledge of loyalty to a country inhabited by 1.4 billion non-white people and 90-plus million members of the Communist Party of China. In the eyes of her detractors, Eileen Gu is not just an ungrateful immigrant but an assault on American exceptionalism itself.

Such a view is entirely irrational once the blinders of racism are taken off. Gu is deeply connected to China on a personal and professional level. She is fluent in Mandarin and spends most summers in Beijing visiting loved ones. Gu is a Chinese citizen and has several Chinese sponsors. Her mother works for an investment firm in China.

In addition to her connections to China, it is obvious that Gu is developing her moral compass and views her actions as bigger than herself. She has been an outspoken advocate on issues of anti-Asian racism and gender equality. In her Instagram post announcing the decision to ski for China, Gu informed her audience that she hopes to “unite people, promote common understanding, create communication, and forge friendship between nations.”

This is a powerful message that demonstrates Gu is less interested in geopolitics as she is about using her platform to promote peace and mutual understanding.

Of course, racism is never about the facts. Racism makes people see things that are not there and create problems that do not exist. The reaction to Gu is a manifestation of the ongoing importance of racial loyalty to the American Empire. Americanism has always been synonymous with white imperialist power, both in identity terms and through politics. Those who are perceived to cross the boundaries of political whiteness are traitors to the empire’s civilizing mission to dominate, exploit, and plunder in the name of “freedom” and have crossed the line into enemy territory.

I personally identify with the attacks on Eileen Gu. Growing up as a Vietnamese-American of mixed race, I constantly felt that my racial loyalty to the empire was being tested by peers and institutions. Most people saw me as nothing but a “gook” or a “chink,” a target of imperialist wars of prior generations. The message from American society was clear as a young person: I could either put my head down and embrace the white American side of my family or face the threat of violence from white peers who took issue when I would speak up to their racist demagogy. When I would embrace my status as a subordinate and link with those of oppressed racial and national backgrounds, teachers would ask me why I chose to spend time with “knuckleheads” at the expense of my “potential.”

The U.S. is a racist society. No matter how “mixed-race” the U.S. becomes, white supremacy demands that the masses make political decisions based upon their loyalty to the American imperialist project. Racial loyalty subsumes class contradictions in a sea of confusion and directs political energy toward the destruction of an enemy “other.” Majorities of Americans Westerners have been convinced that China and its people are their enemies.

Eileen Gu has exposed how racial loyalty to the United States remains a prominent feature of a declining empire. Her positive message of peace and cooperation is viewed by many as an act of betrayal to her American citizenship—a euphemism for whiteness. White supremacy is inextricably bound with the Cold War 2.0. being led by the United States and its junior partners. Gu’s desire for common understanding among nations is unattainable unless white supremacy is confronted and thrown into the dustbin of history along with the system of imperialism that gave it birth.

Rally in London’s Chinatown against anti-Asian racism (Saturday 27 November)

On Saturday 27 November 2021, there will be a rally in London’s Chinatown (Gerrard Street, W1D 5PT) against anti-Asian racism. We encourage those readers that live locally to attend if they can. Below is an article from the Morning Star by Dr Ping Hua providing background and details for the rally.

Racism against the Chinese community is not a new phenomenon in British society.

There were reports of race riots targeting Chinese businesses and laundries as early as 1919. At times of national disaster in the country, the Chinese community has become the scapegoat on many occasions.

For example, we witnessed a spike in racist incidents against the Chinese community during the Foot & Mouth crisis in 2001, due to the unfounded accusations that the disease was caused by a Chinese restaurant using illegally imported meat.

Continue reading Rally in London’s Chinatown against anti-Asian racism (Saturday 27 November)

Danny Haiphong: The revenge of white colonialism motivates the AUKUS alliance against China

This original article by Friends of Socialist China co-editor Danny Haiphong exposes the true nature of the recently-announced AUKUS trilateral military pact – as being rooted in “a deepening desire among the historic white colonizers of the planet to exact revenge on China for refusing to relinquish its sovereignty and its world historic model of socialist development”.


The United States, United Kingdom, and Australia have formed an alliance called “AUKUS” to create, in the words of Australia PM Scott Morrison, “a partnership where our technology, our scientists, our industry, our defense forces are all working together to deliver a safer and more secure region that ultimately benefits all.” AUKUS is primarily a military relationship but is said to include broad economic measures that undoubtedly seek to counter China’s rise in all spheres of development. The deal has been met with some opposition in the West. New Zealand has rejected the legitimacy of the alliance while the French ambassadors to the US and Australia were recalled after AUKUS essentially tore up a submarine agreement between France and Australia.

Another point of controversy is whether AUKUS violates the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The first major initiative of AUKUS is to develop Australia’s first nuclear submarine fleet in the Pacific. Each party in the alliance has denied the intention of developing a “civil” (read military) nuclear weapons capacity in Australia. However, the fact remains that the United States and the UK are sharing nuclear-powered technology for military purposes. Nuclear submarines require the mining of uranium and the development of nuclear plants on Australian soil, both of which are environmentally toxic and prone to accidents.

Continue reading Danny Haiphong: The revenge of white colonialism motivates the AUKUS alliance against China

Danny Haiphong: Racism denies common prosperity in the United States

In this article for CGTN, Friends of Socialist China co-editor Danny Haiphong argues that the United States, instead of constantly maligning China and interfering in its internal affairs, would do well to tackle its entrenched racism and learn from China’s commitment to common prosperity.


Mainstream U.S. media frequently depicts China as a “closed off” country that treats ethnic minorities with contempt and oppression. The New York Times took this baseless accusation further in an op-ed published on September 9 that claimed China was closing itself off from the world and rejecting the English language. No verifiable proof was offered beyond reforms to the education system that seek to address economic and social stressors faced by Chinese families.

The op-ed argued that China’s decision to place tighter regulations on its private tutoring and examination process is a sign that the country is closing itself off from the world. Yet China’s reforms actually achieve the opposite by adhering to the goal set out by the central government to ensure “common prosperity” for all. After eliminating extreme poverty last year, China has tightened regulations on tech companies and educational institutions in a bid to create an environment where citizens of lower income levels can enjoy the prosperity of the fast-growing socialist economy.

Continue reading Danny Haiphong: Racism denies common prosperity in the United States

Counter Western Bias against China by Remembering Peter Norman’s Solidarity

By Danny Haiphong


The United States trailed China in gold medals for much of Tokyo2020 but finished atop the medal count after the games concluded on August 8th. Despite the U.S.’s late success, Western media used the Olympics competition to target China with nonstop negative press coverage. Much of the coverage was overtly political and racist in character.

On July 29th, the New York Times’ Hannah Beech unleashed a series of racist tropes in her analysis of China’s model for sporting success. The article claimed China uses inhumane methods to prepare athletes for the Olympic games and directly compared these methods to “the Soviet model.” Words like “harvest” and “assembly line” stripped Chinese athletes of their humanity. Meanwhile Beech stated that “Beijing’s focus has been on sports that can be perfected with rote routines, rather than those that involve an unpredictable interplay of multiple athletes.” This is a familiar dog-whistle, leading readers of the New York Times to believe that Chinese citizens are akin to machines and lack the cognitive skill to compete in unpredictable team sports.

On August 2nd, Helen Davidson and Jason Lu of the Guardian centered their attention on Taiwan, China. The authors argued that Chinese Taipei’s gold medal victory over mainland China in the badminton competition was a case of “David” defeating “Goliath.” They allege that Chinese Taipei’s Olympic success strengthens the argument in favor of Taiwan’s independence from China. This blatant interference in China’s internal affairs should come as little surprise given the U.S. and the U.K.’s military support for the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the refusal of Western governments to condemn its emphasis on separatism and hostile relations with the mainland. Curiously, they fail to mention that the One China Policy is recognized by the vast majority of countries in the world, including the U.S. and U.K.

The politicization of the Olympics went far beyond the Western media’s biased coverage of China, however. In the months leading up to Tokyo2020, prominent members of the U.S. Congress such as Nancy Pelosi and Ilham Omar supported a call to boycott the Olympics over China’s alleged “human rights abuses.” The International Olympics Committee (IOC) took the politicization of the games a step further by investigating whether Chinese cyclists Bao Shanju and Zhong Tianshi violated the Olympic Charter’s rule against “political and religious” propaganda by wearing pins of Mao Zedong. Implementation of this somewhat ambiguous rule was selective, to say the least. For example, Tokyo2020 participants wearing Christian crosses around their necks were not subjected to any such scrutiny.

The IOC concluded that no punishment would be rendered to Bao or Zhong. However, punishment was never the purpose of the investigation. Its true purpose was to create a scandal that would provide a veil of credibility to racist and degrading Western media coverage of China. Western media outlets from the Guardian to the BBC responded to the incident by spreading Cold War messages that demonized Mao Zedong as a murderous dictator who “ruled with an iron fist.” Left out entirely was the perspective of the athletes themselves or any other Chinese citizen who would surely disagree with the assertion that the founder of New China – during whose tenure at the helm of the PRC, life expectancy increased from 36 to 67 – could be described as a “monster.”

The Western media’s racist coverage of China during Tokyo2020 is a byproduct of the U.S.-led (and Western supported) New Cold War. The New Cold War is a zero-sum game. Racist depictions of China justify the aggressive policies of Western governments and foster a hostile political environment similar to the one that existed during the Cold War of the 20th century.

It was during the first Cold War that Black American track and field athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos engaged in their iconic protest at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. Smith and Carlos received medals barefoot and raised their black glove-covered fists to symbolize the plight of Black Americans and their struggle for liberation from centuries of racism. What fewer remember is that Peter Norman, who hailed from Australia, expressed solidarity with Smith and Carlos by wearing the badge of the Olympic Project for Human Rights on the podium alongside them. Smith, Carlos, and Norman were all ostracized from the sporting establishment in their respective countries for standing up to racism and injustice.

Still, Peter Norman’s solidarity can be applied to Tokyo2020. The West used Tokyo2020 to spread racism against China, in particular those athletes who exhibited pride in China’s long journey from an impoverished semi-colony to an independent, socialist power and the world’s second-largest economy. People across the West who stand for peace and social justice should follow in the footsteps of Peter Norman. This would mean firmly standing with the Chinese people against the West’s racist propaganda and opposing the New Cold War against China spearheaded by Western leaders and institutions.

The ‘lab leak’ theory is a racist trope

  • The ‘Wuhan lab leak’ theory was devised by the Trump regime to deflect from its failure containing the pandemic and to build hostility towards China.
  • A World Health Organisation team of 17 international experts concluded it was “extremely unlikely” that Covid emerged from a lab leak.
  • The WHO team confirmed that Chinese officials and scientists were open and cooperative and gave access to all relevant data.
  • The countries raising “concerns” about the WHO report are the same countries pushing the New Cold War: US, Britain, Australia, Canada, Japan.
  • Biden’s proposal for a new US-led investigation is just a variation of Trump’s “kung flu” racism, and serves to deepen anti-Asian hate.
  • US and British intelligence services have a notorious record of faking
  • material in order to serve their governments’ imperial interests.