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.


  • 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.

Spectre of Fu Manchu still influences UK’s modern Sinophobia

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

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

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

The author concludes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sinophobia unmasked: the racism pandemic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Western powers hypocritical in smearing China on Xinjiang but neglecting Palestinians’ suffering

On 18 October 2023, the UK ambassador to the UN, James Kariuki, read a joint statement about putative human rights violations in Xinjiang at the Third Committee of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

The statement – which was signed by Albania, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Eswatini, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Guatemala, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Nauru, Netherlands, North Macedonia, New Zealand, Norway, Palau, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Marshall Islands, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tuvalu, Ukraine, the US and UK – repeated the various now-familiar tropes about the treatment of Xinjiang’s Uyghur population: “arbitrary detention and systematic use of invasive surveillance on the basis of religion and ethnicity”, forced labour, forced sterilisation and more.

At the same session, Pakistan, on behalf of 72 countries, made a statement explicitly supporting China’s position on Xinjiang-, Hong Kong- and Tibet-related issues, strongly opposing the politicisation of human rights, double standards, and interference in other countries’ internal affairs under the pretext of human rights.

Meanwhile Venezuela, on behalf of 19 members of the Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter of the United Nations, made a joint statement to support China’s position and to fiercely criticise the Western powers’ outrageous double standards in the field of human rights, racial discrimination and unilateral coercive measures.

The following article, originally carried in Global Times on 19 October, summarises ambassador Zhang Jun’s contribution to the session, in which he resolutely rebuffs the slanders thrown by the imperialist countries and their hangers-on. Observing that the whole narrative around Xinjiang is aimed entirely at weakening and maligning China, Zhang noted the astounding irony of accusing China of anti-Muslim discrimination at a time when Gaza is facing a ferocious assault and the same countries throwing accusations at China are at the same time impeding a ceasefire in the Middle East.

Zhang further addressed the rise in racism and Islamophobia in the Western world:

It is the UK that has seen a rise in racism in recent years. It is the US that is known for committing genocide against Native Americans. Its hypocrisy and double standards on the Israeli-Palestinian issue have also aroused anger among Muslims worldwide. It is some European countries that, under the guise of freedom of speech, condone the desecration of Koran and fuel Islamophobia. The list goes on and on! Your hypocrisy, darkness, and evil are the biggest obstacles to the progress of the international human rights cause.

With the countries of the Global South, including the vast majority of Muslim-majority countries, showing their support for China, it’s abundantly clear that “the political plot to destabilize Xinjiang and contain China has long been seen through by the world and has already completely failed”.

China strongly opposed the US, UK, and a small number of other nations’ attempts to misuse the UN platform to incite conflict and baselessly defame China after they groundlessly blamed China on topics related to the country’s Xinjiang region at a session of the UN General Assembly. Analysts said that the world has once again witnessed the hypocrisy and political motivations of the US and some other Western nations as they claim to “care about” Muslims in China’s Xinjiang area, who live peacefually, while turning a blind eye to the pain of the people in Gaza.

On Wednesday, James Kariuki, UK Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, represented some countries and delivered a joint statement at the 78th session of the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee, in which they alleged China has “violated” human rights of Muslims minorities in the country’s Xinjiang region. 

Zhang Jun, China’s permanent representative to the United Nations,  strongly refuted these accusations and stated that the bad habits of a few countries like the UK and the US remain unchanged, as they once again abused the Third Committee of the General Assembly to provoke confrontation and groundlessly accuse China, which China firmly opposes and strongly rejects.

“I want to seriously tell a few countries like the UK and the US that the various lies and deceptions about Xinjiang cannot deceive the world. Currently, Xinjiang enjoys social stability and harmony, economic prosperity and development, and religious harmony. These are basic facts that any unbiased person can see clearly,” Zhang said. 

No matter what political performance the US, UK and some countries put on or how desperately they try to rally other countries, their political plot to destabilize Xinjiang and contain China has long been seen through by the world and has already completely failed, said Zhang. 

While refuting lies about China’s Xinjiang region, Ambassador Zhang also warned that a few countries like the UK and the US that using human rights issues as an excuse to accuse and attack China cannot cover up their own blemishes.

“It is the UK that has seen a rise in racism in recent years… It is the US that is known for committing genocide against Native Americans… Its hypocrisy and double standards on the Israeli-Palestinian issue have also aroused anger among Muslims worldwide. It is some European countries that, under the guise of freedom of speech, condone the desecration of Koran and fuel Islamophobia… This list can go on and on! Your hypocrisy, darkness, and evil are the biggest obstacles to the progress of the international human rights cause,” Zhang added. 

It is not uncommon to see the US and other Western nations take advantage of international forums, particularly the UN Assembly, to “siege” China by spotlighting “human rights” issues in China’s Xinjiang. Their goal is to keep these topics the focus in the international media and to continue stigmatizing China, analysts said.

“China has invited foreign diplomats, reporters, professors, and individuals from a variety of fields to see what actually happened in the Xinjiang region with their own eyes for the past few years. These individuals have then come out to debunk lies propagated by anti-China forces in the US and other nations,” Jia Chunyang, an expert at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times.

“Do the US and other Western countries sincerely care about the welfare of Muslims across the world? The response is ‘no,'” Jia brought out the worsening discrimination toward Muslims living in the US. 

Additionally, the US and some Western nations ignore the suffering of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip while voicing their “concerns” for Muslims in China’s Xinjiang region – this amply demonstrates that their true priorities are to use the Xinjiang topic to contain China rather than to genuinely care about the lives of the people living there, analysts said. 

Also on Wednesday, the US vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that would have called for “humanitarian pauses” to deliver lifesaving aid to millions in Gaza, according to media reports. 

The US’ biased stance on the current situation in the Middle East fully exposed its hypocrisies and its practices of politicizing and instrumentalizing human rights, Wang Jiang, an expert at the Institute of China’s Borderland Studies at Zhejiang Normal University, told the Global Times.

The West and the US have historically contributed to the human rights cause, but what they are doing now completely contradicts the ideas and perspectives that were first introduced about human rights. The US and certain other Western nations have various standards on human rights for other nations, as well as for adversaries and allies, and which standard they employ depends on their own political requirements, Wang said. 

Ambassador Zhang on Wednesday also criticized the US and some Western countries’ politicization of human rights, noting that such actions are “completely unpopular.”

On Wednesday, the representative of Oman, on behalf of the six member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council, made a joint statement in support of China. In the meeting held the previous day, developing countries and friendly nations actively spoke in support of China. 

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

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.


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

Chinatowns squeezed between capitalist development, New Cold War

This article by Tina Ngo, Ningshun Chen and Wai Lee Chin Feman, first published in Liberation News shines a light on the pressures faced by Chinatowns in the US. The authors point to a longstanding trajectory of gentrification that is making Chinatowns increasingly unviable, with rising rents and major construction projects that prioritize capitalist profit over the needs of communities. “For the few Chinatowns in which working-class immigrants and families still reside, rabid gentrifying forces are pushing the local residents to fight for their lives.”

Additionally, the article discusses how the New Cold War between the US and China is affecting Chinatown communities, fomenting anti-Asian racism and McCarthyite witch-hunting. The authors draw a parallel with the Red Scare of the 1950s, when state agents “rampaged through Chinatowns in search of Chinese communists and sympathizers”, and the FBI “raided universities and student clubs in search of Asian-American radicals.” The New Cold War and the propaganda that surrounds it are creating the conditions for a new wave of repression and intimidation.

The article concludes with a call for a joined-up struggle against US militarism, racism, McCarthyism and gentrification.

For decades, Chinatowns across the United States have been under attack by racist capitalist developments. Developers, banks and politicians are competing to construct the newest arenas, the tallest mega-jails and the grayest luxury apartment condos. These seemingly upscale yet unsafe and unsound projects have effectively priced out long-time residents and small businesses. Capitalist developments have destroyed entire communities — places where people used to live, gather, and thrive — now sit as empty vessels and lifeless tourist destinations. For the few Chinatowns in which working-class immigrants and families still reside, rabid gentrifying forces are pushing the local residents to fight for their lives.

Profiteering developments are just one instance of the extensive social phenomena threatening our Chinatowns. Notably, the COVID-19 pandemic, combined with a right-wing propaganda campaign, ignited anti-Asian sentiments and hate crimes. Countless acts of violence, most of which targeted women and the elderly, took place within and around Chinatowns across the country. Victims of these hate crimes were shoved off subway platforms and sidewalks, beaten with objects, and dehumanized with racial slurs. 

Mainstream media portray these assaults as supposedly senseless incidents and reduce them to individualized racial “hate.” They exalt that the solution to these problems is to increase crime reporting, expand police budgets, and to strengthen the system of mass incarceration. The news media is cynically manipulating the plight of Asian Americans to promote reactionary “tough on crime” policies. 

Capitalists are opportunistically banking on the latest rise of anti-Asian violence to drive a wedge between oppressed communities, as a means to keep them divided and powerless. This strategy of racial division is part of the larger profit scheme to encroach on Chinatowns by dividing communities fighting for the same right to housing. 

Continue reading Chinatowns squeezed between capitalist development, New Cold War

Britain’s secret betrayal and repatriation of Chinese sailors after WWII

In this documentary, The Secret Betrayal, presented by Jamie Owen, CGTN exposes the racist deportation of thousands of Chinese seamen from Liverpool by the post-war British Labour government and movingly highlights the continuing and tenacious campaign for truth and justice being waged by their children and grandchildren.

One in seven of Britain’s merchant seamen, who manned the deadly Atlantic Convoys during World War II, were Chinese. Lauded as heroes in a 1944 government film, it was a different story post-war. Documents in the National Archives refer to the “compulsory repatriation of undesirable Chinese seamen”. They were “surplus to requirements” and to be subject to “bulk clearances”. Their wives and girlfriends, with whom many of them had young children, were dismissed as being “many of the prostitute class.” This racist and anti-working class disdain was doubtless compounded by many of the women in question being from Liverpool’s substantial Irish community. 

In order to expel the Chinese seamen, the racist British state resorted to both subterfuge (such as changing the dates of ships’ sailings to allow deportation) and brute force, with Special Branch, Britain’s political police, brought in to round up people from shipping offices and cafés. Families were left with no idea what had happened to their husbands and fathers. And, according to legislation in force at the time, women who had married foreign nationals were deemed to have acquired “alien status”, with no rights to benefits or state support. As a result, many were left completely destitute. Families were further destroyed, with children given up for adoption and babies buried in unmarked, mass graves. 

Left Labour MP Kim Johnson, a member of the Socialist Campaign Group, whose constituency includes Liverpool’s Chinatown, the oldest of its kind in Europe, has campaigned tirelessly for justice for the victims of this racist injustice. She tells the programme that it is not just a matter of securing an apology from the present Conservative government. This happened under a Labour government, and “to have a level of acknowledgment from our own party would be a step in the right direction.”

Looking at reasons for the deportations, the presenter notes, showing contemporary footage of Unite leader Sharon Graham addressing a workers’ meeting, that the Liverpool dockers have a long history of industrial militancy. The Chinese sailors were paid less than their white counterparts and denied bonuses until a strike led by the Liverpool Chinese Seamen’s Union in 1942. An excellent article by Dan Hancox, published in the Guardian in May 2021, describes the union as “Communist-affiliated”, adding that “the Shangainese Blue Funnel [a major shipping company that employed only Chinese seamen] crew were mostly active Communists and trade unionists.”

The Labour government responsible for these actions is lionised by much of the left for its creation of the NHS and a welfare state. But this racist crime was not the only one of which it was guilty. The ‘Windrush scandal’, for example, did not begin with Conservative governments of the last decade. Coinciding with the ship docking from Jamaica at Tilbury on June 22, 1948, 11 Labour MPs wrote to Prime Minister Clement Attlee, stating that: “This country may become an open reception centre for immigrants not selected in respect to health, education, training, character, customs and above all, whether assimilation is possible or not. The British people fortunately enjoy a profound unity without uniformity in their way of life, and are blest with the absence of a colour racial problem. An influx of coloured people domiciled here is likely to impair the harmony, strength and cohesion of our public and social life and to cause discord and unhappiness among all concerned.”

Attlee could only reply: “It is too early yet to assess the impression made upon these immigrants as to their prospects in Great Britain and consequently the degree to which their experience may attract others to follow their example. Although it has been possible to find employment for quite a number of them, they may well find it very difficult to make adequate remittance to their dependants in Jamaica as well as maintaining themselves over here. On the whole, therefore, I doubt whether there is likely to be a similar large influx.”

This same Labour government, as Keir Starmer never fails to remind us, was also central to the creation of NATO, and enthusiastically waged anti-communist and colonial wars in Greece, Malaya, Korea and elsewhere.

The CGTN documentary is embedded below.

Wave of anti-Asian racism fuelled by the New Cold War

We are pleased to publish below the text of the speech by an activist from the Goldsmiths Anti-Imperialist Society, given on 17 December at the second of two online seminars on the theme ‘The 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China and its World Significance’, organised jointly by Friends of Socialist China and the International Department of the Communist Party of China.

The speech focuses on the problems faced by minority communities in Britain, particularly people of Chinese descent in the context of a rising New Cold War, linking the recent rise in anti-Asian racism to the ‘yellow peril’ narrative pioneered in Britain in the 19th and 20th centuries – part of a campaign of demonisation connected to Britain’s attempts to impose colonial domination on China. Today’s anti-Asian racism represents “the imperialist legacy of the Yellow Peril in the 21st century, propagated by the New Cold War.” In spite of these problems, the speech concludes on an optimistic note, observing that there is a “growing number of young people who are fighting back against the propaganda that seeks to divide us and isolate us from each other”. This generation is building a united front based on opposing racism, imperialism and capitalism, and stands “in solidarity with our Chinese comrades and all our siblings in the Global South in self-determining and working together to create a fairer, multilateral world.”

I would like to use this opportunity to thank Friends of Socialist China and the Communist Party of China for hosting this meeting here today. My speech is from the perspective of an activist in anti-racist collectives. When I refer to the term ‘black’ in this speech it is used as an umbrella term referring to African, Asian, Arab, Caribbean and all non-white communities.

As a member of the Chinese diaspora, a British Born Chinese, it brings me great joy to speak with you all, though the topics of what I will be sharing will not be so joyous. In sharing my lived experience and material analysis of the current socio-political environment, I hope to share insight on what it is like to live as a Chinese in Britain and the impact of anti-China rhetoric on Asian communities.

After the murder of George Floyd, the Black Lives Matter movements that emerged around the world highlighted the institutional racism embedded in every aspect of western society, from how the media portrays Black children in negative, stereotypical ways to how the police brutalise Black people. Institutional racism towards Asian communities is perhaps not as overt as it is towards our African and Caribbean siblings but it is equally as insidious.

Racism against Asian communities has relied on the same vestiges of Yellow Peril that never left British shores after it arrived on the coattails of the Opium Wars almost two centuries’ ago. This “Yellow Peril” is the fear of the East – the anxiety that the so-called Orient was coming to colonise and conquer the West in the same way it has done. Historically, the Yellow Peril was enshrined in law such as the Chinese Exclusion Act in the US and Home Office policies that led to the deportation of Chinese seamen in Liverpool, UK. How many of us here know that 6 Chinese seamen survived the sinking of Titanic? Now Chinatowns are bustling hubs of culture and commerce. But there was a time when some Chinatowns were formed as self-contained protective enclaves against the tides of white supremacists intent on driving Asian immigrants out of their jobs.

For a while, the concept of the “model minority myth” has acted in counter to the yellow peril: quelling fears of Asian world domination with stereotypes of the typical Asian being smart but submissive, adept at assimilating, unthreatening to the white worker. Though it may seem harmless at first glance, Asians have been required to fulfil the role of the quiet, unassuming worker in order to be accepted as legitimate citizens. But this acceptance has been conditional. The Asian diaspora lives in the duality of being the Yellow Peril or the Model Minority. When the Asian diaspora has fought back or challenged anti-China, anti-Asian rhetoric, they – we – are no longer seen as friends but foes. Spies, saboteurs, traitors to the state.

When the Covid pandemic hit in 2020, this awoke the dormant beast of Yellow Peril once more. It became acceptable to spread vitriol, fake news, and disinformation as long as the precedent was set that there was no blame to be placed on the British state or the UK government for mismanagement of the pandemic.

Instead of reflecting inwards on how it could have handled the pandemic better, the British state opted to blame China for its failure to curb the early waves and with the mainstream media’s help, made China culpable for the deaths of hundreds of thousands in the UK. This was internalised by the general public.

“China” became synonymous with Asian which became synonymous with everything bad in the world. The novel coronavirus wasn’t just associated with China or Chinese people; Chinese people were seen as the virus itself. Everyone who looked Chinese became a sitting target for abuse and hatred; it did not matter their ethnicity nor place of birth.

Continue reading Wave of anti-Asian racism fuelled by the New Cold War

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