Britain issues malicious and groundless accusations about Chinese cyberattacks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading Britain issues malicious and groundless accusations about Chinese cyberattacks

Hands off China! Full solidarity with Palestine!

The following article by Sara Flounders, based on a talk given at our event Peace delegates report back from China: Building solidarity and opposing the New Cold War, calls for a joined-up anti-imperialism, positing that “the best way to oppose the new Cold War with China is to be the most militant opponent of every US war.”

Sara observes that the events of 7 October 2023 “opened a new chapter in the worldwide class war”. US imperialism is backing Israel to the hilt, desperate to protect its interests in the region – part of defending and expanding US global hegemony. “That means Palestine fights for all of us”, and those that oppose the US-led program to encircle and contain China should also stand with the people of Palestine.

Further, we should be standing firmly against the US’s unilateral sanctions, which are being used to undermine and destabilise a total of 40 countries currently.

The US and its allies are also engaged in a proxy war against Russia in Ukraine. The over-arching strategy is to “impose regime change on Russia, which would be a key step to their next move — against China.”

The basic dynamic in geopolitics today is the contest between a moribund imperialism and a rising multipolarity. As Sara writes, “China’s very existence as a prosperous, developing country confirms that humanity has another choice. The developing world, the Global South, looks to China — not to U.S. imperialism. That is a threat to imperialism.”

Sara concludes by calling on our movement to unite behind the slogans: “Hands off China! Full solidarity with Palestine!”

This article appeared first in Workers World.

With U.S. wars coming thick and fast, the best way to oppose the new Cold War with China is to be the most militant opponent of every U.S. war.

If Israel succeeds in crushing Palestinian resistance, based on U.S. financial, political and military support, then U.S. imperialism is stronger on a world scale. That means Palestine fights for all of us. Palestine’s resistance has ignited a global resistance.

Before October 7, Israel, after 75 years of U.S. backing, seemed all powerful. Now the Israeli military has been frustrated at every turn by the indomitable spirit of Palestinian resistance. The Israelis face ambushes without end.

There is a sea change in the U.S. working class. For the first time, a majority of the population supports Palestine. There is sharp opposition to U.S. policy, shown by mass marches, shutdowns, walkouts. Let’s build on this global outrage over the U.S. role as the “enabler” of this genocide!

Global support for Palestine

On a world scale, people side with Palestine, whose resistance is our resistance. The liberation of Palestine is an important step in the liberation of humanity.

October 7 opened a new chapter in the worldwide class war. The Israeli regime’s genocidal crimes against the people of Gaza demand our international solidarity.

Faced with an unwinnable quagmire, the U.S. and Israel have expanded this war. Just this week, they bombed Muslims in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Three days ago, they blew up two main natural gas pipelines in Iran, leaving millions of Iranians without heat and cooking fuel in winter. This is the way the U.S. and Israel fight wars — they target essential civilian infrastructure.

The U.S. and NATO countries cut off all food, medical care and schools to all Palestinians — even in Jordan and Lebanon, and on the West Bank, by cutting off funding to UNRWA [United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East].

I raise all of this, because the U.S. media and politicians claim they want to protect Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang. The sheer hypocrisy of this claim is blatant. Yet it is the basis of the sanctions! This false charge is a big weapon in the war on China and in lining up and demanding compliance of all U.S. allies against China.

Thousands of Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche cars are impounded on ships at U.S. ports, just because they include a small Chinese electronic part. These German auto corporations are told they must pay U.S. fines, remove the offending part and agree to U.S. charges against China regarding Xinjiang.

Bales of clothing made in Vietnam and Malaysia go through isotopic testing at U.S. Customs. If even a thread of cotton comes from Xinjiang, the clothing is destroyed. This is because the U.S. authorities allege there is slave labor in Xinjiang — even though Xinjiang’s cotton industry is fully mechanized.

Anti-war activists need to militantly oppose the wanton use of economic sanctions, which are used against not only China but a total of 40 countries, inhabited by one-third of the world’s population. Applying sanctions is a powerful weapon of economic destabilization.

However, this is a double-edged sword. Enforcement of these sanctions now widens U.S. isolation. They intensify trade wars with Washington’s imperialist “partners” — or are they better called imperialist rivals?

Much to the frustration of U.S. imperialism, sanctioned countries are finding new roads to cooperation and trade.

Continue reading Hands off China! Full solidarity with Palestine!

A short history of the semiconductor war

The following article, written for Friends of Socialist China by Mehmet Özbağcı, provides a brief history of the semiconductor industry, followed by a description of the ongoing ‘chip war’ initiated by the US in 2018.

Mehmet explains that the US is attempting to use its dominance of the semiconductor industry – particularly advanced chip design – to prevent China from developing its own semiconductor infrastructure and thereby impede China’s progress in advanced manufacture, artificial intelligence and modern military technology.

However, the US’s strategy – based primarily around sanctions – is likely to fail. The nature of China’s economic system is such that it can direct enormous resources to critical projects, and China has already made significant progress on domestic semiconductor design and production.

Mehmet concludes that “the US’s attempts to suppress China’s progress in semiconductors have been unsuccessful. The supply problems created by sanctions and the restriction on Chinese researchers’ access to new technologies have led the state, the private sector and academia to unite and work together towards the goal of technological self-reliance. It seems that China has not only developed short-term solutions to US sanctions, but has also paved the way to disrupt US control over semiconductors in the long term.”

Mehmet Özbağcı is a Turkish socialist currently studying towards a Master’s degree in Shanghai.

Throughout the industrialised world, steel was the peak of production technologies and the heart of all economic activities from the beginning of the 19th century to the second half of the 20th century. Machines that drove the industrial revolution, steamships and trains that shaped transportation and global trade, cannons, tanks and planes that changed the face of modern war… All of these were the result of steel production that became more widespread and efficient day by day.

The importance of steel began to decline from the second half of the 20th century for two reasons. First, technological advances and maturation of the production process reduced the strategic significance of the sector; and second, the emergence of nuclear weapons made direct war between great powers difficult and made steel, the raw material of conventional weapons, less important.

Towards the end of the 20th century, a new technology began to make different economic sectors (including transportation, communication and military) more and more dependent on itself. This technology was semiconductors, the basic building block of digital transformation. The increase in the processing capacity of semiconductors and the cheapening of their production led to the filling of every area of daily life and economy with digital technologies. (MILLER:2022)

The direct sales of semiconductors amounted to $515 billion in 2023, accounting for approximately 3.5 percent of global GDP. The main drivers of semiconductor demand are smart devices, computers, automotive, industrial technologies, and government services. Considering that semiconductors are vital for the existence and development of those technologies, it can be confidently stated that the impact of semiconductors on the global economy goes far beyond their share in global GDP: According to some calculations, the annual contribution of semiconductors to the global economy between 1995 and 2015 is more than $3 trillion. (SIA:2024)

Like steel, semiconductors also transcend the economic and social sphere and become decisive in the military field: air defence systems, drones, modern missile batteries, electronic warfare systems and surveillance technologies cannot be produced without semiconductors. But the military importance of semiconductors goes far beyond their current uses. According to many military analysts, artificial intelligence (AI) applications and autonomous weapon technologies, which will completely change the face of the battlefield, depend on access to the latest technology semiconductors. (Gargeyas:2022)

The importance of semiconductors has placed them at the centre of China-US rivalry. The aim of this article is to examine the mutual moves of these two actors in the process following 2018 and to list the factors that could be decisive in the semiconductor competition based on them.

United States: protectionist technology leader

The US, which is the birthplace of semiconductor technology, is the leader of the sector with a 48 percent share. Semiconductors are the US’s fourth largest export item. But this leadership does not stem from direct production. Semiconductor production is largely concentrated in East Asia and especially in the island of Taiwan. The US market share stems from its specialisation in semiconductor design and the licences it has in the sector: The copyrights of the main semiconductor architectures and the technologies that produce them belong to the US. (SIA:2024, MILLER:2022)

The US has considered its de facto monopoly on semiconductor technologies an important part of its national security long before 2018. Semiconductor manufacturers were also included in the Wassenaar Arrangement on export control for critical military technologies for American interests in 1996. (ACO:2022)

US protectionism specifically targeted China’s attempts to establish a semiconductor production substructure in 2018: the Trump administration banned the export of various technologies of critical importance for semiconductor production to China, claiming that China’s state incentives led to unfair competition. (MILLER:2022)

In 2020, Chinese communication giant Huawei and China’s largest semiconductor manufacturer SMIC’s access to US suppliers and technologies was effectively cut off. This move was justified on the basis of US national security interests and the relations of those companies with the PLA. (MILLER:2022)

Continue reading A short history of the semiconductor war

China hands over new parliament building to Zimbabwe

On Thursday October 26, the Chinese government handed over to Zimbabwe a new parliament building that was constructed and funded by China. The building, which photographs show to have been built in a distinct Zimbabwean national style, was handed over to President Emmerson Mnangagwa at a ceremony attended by government officials, diplomats, Chinese embassy officials, and others.

Speaking at the ceremony, President Mnangagwa said that the building is a pivot point around which a new administrative capital will be built.

“The new parliament building, which stands as one of the most magnificent and modern buildings in our country, signifies the excellent relations that exist between Zimbabwe and the People’s Republic of China,” he added.

These excellent relations date back to the Zimbabwean people’s armed struggle to overthrow the racist and colonial regime and win national independence. China fully supported that struggle. President Mnangagwa himself was one of those who were trained in guerilla warfare in China.

The timing of the handover of the parliament building was very apposite as it came the day after Anti-Sanctions Day. October 25 was designated as Anti-Sanctions Day by the 16-member Southern African Development Community (SADC) in response to the sanctions placed on Zimbabwe, and other anti-imperialist, independent countries, by leading imperialist powers such as the United States and Britain. According to Zimbabwean Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, addressing an Anti-Sanctions Day rally in the capital, Harare:

“Since 2001, we estimate that Zimbabwe has lost or missed over 150 billion US dollars through frozen assets, trade embargoes, export and investment restrictions from potential bilateral donor support, development loans, the International Monetary Fund and World Bank balance of payment support, and commercial loans.” 

A meeting was also held in New York to express solidarity with the Zimbabwean people on this occasion. It was organised by the December 12 Movement (D12), a revolutionary nationalist organisation that has maintained close ties with Zimbabwe and its ruling ZANU-PF party for many years. While three members of D12 were in Zimbabwe to take part in the anti-sanctions activities there, veteran member Colette Pean told the New York gathering that settlers had stolen 86% of Zimbabwe’s land. Despite the sanctions, Zimbabwe has built hydroelectric dams and shared development projects equally among its 10 provinces.

US and other capitalists now want to grab Zimbabwe’s large lithium reserves, vital to making batteries for electric cars. But December 12th Movement member Vinson Verdree said Zimbabwe won’t let its lithium be stolen. The country will build a battery plant and other facilities to process the raw material.

The timing of China’s handover of the new parliament to Zimbabwe therefore underlines its utter rejection of universal sanctions.

This was also made clear in the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s regular press conference on October 25. The Global Times newspaper asked spokesperson Mao Ning:

“During the General Debate of the United Nations General Assembly this year, leaders of many African countries condemned Western countries for abusing sanctions and interfering in internal affairs of African countries. Today, October 25, is the Anti-Sanctions Day declared by the Southern African Development Community (SADC). African countries have called on the West to lift illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe as soon as possible. What’s China’s comment?”

She replied: “The 39th SADC Summit held in 2019 named October 25 as the Anti-Sanctions Day and called on the US and some other Western countries and organisations to remove sanctions on Zimbabwe. Today, on the occasion of the fifth Anti-Sanctions Day, we noted that multiple African countries have once again strongly called for lifting the sanctions. China supports that.

“The unlawful sanctions of the US and some Western countries on Zimbabwe, which have lasted for over two decades, have seriously violated the country’s sovereignty, infringed upon the development right of the Zimbabwean people, and disrupted the international political and economic order and the global governance system. 

“China, as always, firmly supports Zimbabwe in opposing external interference and keeping to its own development path. We once again urge the few countries and organisations to listen to the international call for justice, lift the unlawful sanctions on Zimbabwe as soon as possible, take responsible and concrete steps to help the country develop its economy and improve people’s wellbeing, and play a constructive role in promoting world peace and development.”

The following articles were originally published by the Xinhua News Agency and the US publication Struggle/La Lucha.

China hands over Zimbabwe’s new parliament building

HARARE, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) — The Chinese government on Thursday handed over to Zimbabwe a new parliament building that was constructed and funded by China through a grant.

Tang Wenhong, vice chairman of China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA) and head of a visiting Chinese delegation, officially handed over the majestic building to Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa at a ceremony attended by government officials, diplomats, and Chinese embassy officials, among others.

The new parliament building, with a combined floor area of 33,000 square meters, is a pivot point around which a new administrative capital will be built, said Mnangagwa in his address at the ceremony.

“The new parliament building, which stands as one of the most magnificent and modern buildings in our country, signifies the excellent relations that exist between Zimbabwe and the People’s Republic of China. The attention to detail and high standards of workmanship exhibited in this project are indeed commendable,” Mnangagwa said.

Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe recognizes the development milestones achieved by China and its quest for global peace and a shared future for mankind.

Tang, in his address at the ceremony, said the project is a vivid manifestation of the cooperation between Zimbabwe and China.

Both sides have achieved fruitful results in practical cooperation in infrastructure, agriculture, health, education and other fields, setting a model for South-South cooperation, Tang said. 

Continue reading China hands over new parliament building to Zimbabwe

Video interview with Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki

In this edition of the CGTN series Leaders Talk, Zou Yun interviews Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki during the latter’s recent state visit to China.

Speaking on the day after his talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, and on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the counties’ diplomatic relations, which were established on the day that Eritrea proclaimed its independence, President Afwerki situated the bilateral relationship within what he described as the broader context of the historic mission of humanity. China had immediately stood on the side of the right of the Eritrean people to independence. Independence is the foundation of any international relationship. China, he said, stands on the side of the people of the world. And Eritrea, in solidarity with China, continues to uphold a mission for humanity.

The interview discussed the recent fallout from the conflict in Sudan, where Eritrea had assisted Chinese people who were being evacuated from the war-struck country, while China had also helped Eritrean people to leave Sudan. The Eritrean president described this as “our commitment to our common cause”. In  words that should shame British government ministers, he described how Eritrea had opened its borders to refugees – “No visa. No permissions. Everything is open for saving human lives.”

There was a need, Afwerki said, to create a new world order. No people can survive without solidarity and what China has achieved, both domestically and internationally, is very attractive to people around the world.

Saying that the future is bright, the Eritrean leader was of the view that hegemonism “is no longer the rule of the game” because of what China has achieved. 

Turning to the sanctions imposed on his country by the United States and some other countries, Afwerki described them as the product of a sick mind. Such sanctions, he said, are imposed on all those who defend their independence and sovereignty. Sanctions have inflicted tremendous damage on Eritrea and its development, but they have also taught a powerful lesson with regard to the struggle that needs to be waged to build a nation and have made the Eritrean people more determined to continue that struggle.

Zou Yun referred to President Afwerki as having a “special bond” with China. Over 50 years ago, at the age of 20, he came to China and spent two years in military and political training at the dawn of the Eritrean revolution. Questioned on this period, he said that he learned so much in a short time and what he had learned had changed lives. The main lesson, he said, was the commitment of the country’s leaders and the Communist Party to the people. This has provided a model of success for everyone. China had been considered a backward country by others, but now it is reshaping the global order.

The full interview with President Isaias Afwerki is embedded below.

Decoupling from China, Russia suicidal for Europe

This article by Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez, originally published in Global Times, discusses the record of the Biden administration in ramping up Cold War hostilities against China and Russia, and its attempts to get Europe on board with its strategy for protecting US hegemony. Carlos points out that “Anti-Russia and anti-China positions are harming the people of Europe”: sanctions on China’s semiconductor and solar energy industries are utterly self-defeating, and sanctions on Russian energy are feeding directly into a very serious cost of living crisis. He concludes that “the countries of Europe would be well advised to exercise foreign policy independence and to make decisions based on the needs of their own populations, which are calling out for peace, prosperity and a sustainable future.”

When Joe Biden was elected in November 2020, many around the world were hoping for a change of course in the US’ reckless new Cold War.

US-China relations have always been complex and difficult; yet from the early 1970s onward, the trajectory had been toward deepening economic cooperation and a nuanced handling of the contradictions immanent in the relationship. Even with the Obama-Clinton “Pivot to Asia,” which signaled the US’ shift in geostrategic focus toward China containment, there was still significant and productive cooperation between the two countries – most notably in the drafting of the Paris Agreement.

Donald Trump came to power with a promise to stop China “raping” the US economy. Blaming China soon became the new magic wand for explaining away the problems of US capitalism without having to deal with any of the real underlying causes of American decline. Singaporean academic and former diplomat Kishore Mahbubani noted that, rather than blaming China for everything, living standards in the US might improve if America stopped fighting unnecessary foreign wars and used its resources to improve the well-being of its people.

The Trump team initiated a trade war, imposed a ban on Huawei, and sought to ban TikTok and WeChat. They aimed to generate mass anti-China sentiment by engaging in flagrant racism, most infamously blaming the coronavirus pandemic on China. They introduced sanctions and issued disgraceful slanders. So it was assumed that surely, things would only get better under Biden.

Continue reading Decoupling from China, Russia suicidal for Europe

Book launch: Sanctions – A Wrecking Ball in a Global Economy (10 December)

Sanctions, the illegal unilateral coercive measures imposed on a third of humanity by the US and its allies, are a form of warfare and an ever more contested means of enforcing the dominance of the west on the majority of the world’s peoples. In fact, sanctions are boomeranging on the US bloc with inflation causing hardship at home and US dollar dominance being challenged. However, by far the greatest burden so is borne by some 40 countries targeted by the lethal sanctions, with the impacts ever more punishing.

We are proud to co-sponsor this webinar launching the new SanctionsKill book Sanctions: A Wrecking Ball in a Global Economy (to which we have contributed a chapter: Sanctions in the New Cold War on China).

  • DATE: Saturday 10 December 2022
  • TIME: 1pm US Eastern / 10am US Pacific / 6pm Britain

Speakers include:

  • Sara Flounders, International Action Center
  • Ajamu Baraka, Black Alliance for Peace
  • Carlos Martinez, International Manifesto Group
  • Lee Siu Hin, China-US Solidarity Network
  • Judy Bello, United National Antiwar Coalition, Syria Solidarity Movement
  • Erica Jung, Nodutdol Korean Community Development
  • Ann Garrison, Pacifica Radio Reporter and Black Agenda Report
  • Rick Sterling, Task Force on the Americas

The cruel irony of the US obsession with politicizing human rights

Co-editor of Friends of Socialist China Danny Haiphong explains why the US’s obsession with politicizing human rights against China is both baseless in substance and a deflection from its own heinous human rights record in all areas of economic, social, and political development. This article was originally published on CGTN.

The 50th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has entered its last week of deliberation. This particular session of the UNHRC saw the United States immediately politicize the issue of human rights by signing a statement from the Kingdom of the Netherlands and 46 other countries condemning China. The letter expressed “grave” concern over the human rights situation in China, listing the popular talking points in the West regarding the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and the Tibet Autonomous Region. 

China’s Permanent Representative to the UN Office at Geneva Chen Xu said that “disinformation has become rampant, which seriously runs counter to the original purpose of the Human Rights Council.” Cuba made a joint statement on behalf of 70 countries, stating that “the affairs of Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Tibet are China’s internal affairs.”

The U.S.’s politicization of human rights against China is ironic in a cruel way. Washington refuses to acknowledge the mountain of evidence proving that its allegations against China are illegitimate in the eyes of the rest of the world. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) sent a delegation to China and expressed satisfaction with its treatment of Muslims, including Uygurs, in a resolution on their findings. The OIC includes 57 member states and a population of near two-billion people. In 2020, Cuba made a statement on behalf of 45 countries that praised China’s counterterrorism and deradicalization policies in Xinjiang.

Continue reading The cruel irony of the US obsession with politicizing human rights

China, Ukraine and the Belt and Road Initiative

On Saturday May 21st, Friends of Socialist China joined the Belt and Road Initiative Quarterly (BRIQ) journal, the Russian Cultural House in Ankara, the Turkish Students Union in China and the Istanbul Kent University as a co-organizer of a conference themed on ‘The Challenges and Opportunities for BRI Under the Background of the Ukraine Crisis’. It was a hybrid event, held both online and physically at Kent University.

Our co-editors Danny Haiphong and Keith Bennett both presented papers and we reproduce them, slightly edited for publication, below. The other speakers were Adnan Akfirat, Chair of the BRIQ journal; Professor Hasret Comak of Istanbul Kent University; Professor Ma Xiaolin of Zhejiang University; Daria Platonova of Moscow State University; Rajiv Ranjan, Associate Professor at Shanghai University; Pakistani Senator Mushahid Hussain; Dr Vali Kaleji of Tehran University; and Dr. Ahmet Shahidov, Chair of the Azerbaijan Institute for Democracy and Human Rights.

The full event can be viewed on Facebook Live.

Danny Haiphong: Why the Belt and Road Initiative won’t be derailed by the Ukraine crisis

Thank you to all the organizers of this event, including the Belt and Road Initiative Quarterly Journal, the Russian Cultural House in Ankara, the Friends of Socialist China platform which I co-edit, the Turkish Student’s Union, and Kent University. My discussion centers on the politics of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and how they ensure that the development plan won’t be derailed by the monumental crisis underway in Ukraine.

The Ukraine crisis has revealed quite starkly that there is a huge divergence between the path that’s being taken by the United States, NATO, the EU, and that of China. The former, perhaps more aptly called the Western imperialist sphere, has poured gasoline onto the fire that is the Ukraine crisis. The consequences have been enormous. Sanctions on Russia have sent shockwaves throughout the global economy. Economic growth has declined and inflation skyrocketed. The IMF’s economic forecast is dimmer now than it was prior to the Ukraine crisis and much of this is due to Western imperialist policy.

On the other hand, for China and the BRI, the situation is quite different. A commitment to peace and neutrality, cooperation, and robust and quality growth characterizes the partnerships within the BRI. It is clear that the massive trade and infrastructure project is not a prisoner of the moment. The BRI is not just about a single region or a particular country but rather an overall vision for global development that seeks to harness the present to brighten the future. The BRI does what Western-led economies such as the United States and its allies cannot and will not do, which is to offer opportunities for economic progress and true investment in all areas social and economic development.

The BRI, as Xi Jinping remarked, began in China but its achievements belong to the world. There are 140 countries and 30 international organizations that have already signed on to the BRI since 2013. Thus far, 8 trillion USD in trade and investment has been directed toward the BRI to cover the cost of more than 2,500 projects worldwide. The size and scope of the BRI demonstrates that it is not dependent upon the whims and the interests of the U.S. and the West. The BRI operates almost entirely independent of from Western imperialism, with the exception of the European countries which have accepted China’s invitation to join the project.

It is also worth noting that China is no stranger to operating in conflict zones. The world has been engaged in a war against the COVID-19 pandemic over the past several years and yet China has not only been able to extend solidarity and cooperation over this period but also advance the aims of the BRI. China has adjusted its own economic and political development in a way that takes into account the challenges of the global pandemic. That’s why China has achieved so much success in containing the pandemic and led the way in providing critical solidarity in the form of vaccines and protective equipment to Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The pandemic has been a flashpoint for a people’s war to protect human life and this war is inextricably linked to the BRI’s overall vision.

China has also prioritized Belt and Road Initiative relationships with countries such as Pakistan that have been embattled with external and internal conflict. Pakistan has been subject to numerous conflicts over the past decade alone, whether in the form of the U.S.’s drone strikes killing thousands of civilians or the ongoing struggle in Kashmir. While these sensitive issues have inevitably caused economic difficulty, Pakistan and China’s cooperation in the BRI through the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has only grown. The BRI has already brought about significant achievements in Pakistan such as the launch of the first transit system in Lahore in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

No matter what is happening internally in Pakistan, the BRI’s vision of development which emphasizes win-win cooperation rather than political interference or influencing the politics internally of any one country has been a major reason as to why these two nations have been able to build such a strong friendship despite internal and external threats to Pakistan’s stability. This includes a recent change in political administration just in the last few months.

The Biden administration recently completed his first trip to Asia, visiting South Korea and Japan in an attempt to organize the Southeast Asia into a conflict with China. The region has quickly become the most important flashpoint in the U.S.’s New Cold War and has been flooded with hundreds of U.S. military bases and hundreds of thousands of U.S. military personnel. Still, China has been able to build even stronger relations with the region that have led to remarkable achievements in the last few years alone. In 2021, the Sino-Laos high-speed railway was launched and is projected to increase economic growth for Laos by several percentage points. Laos is a country that was bombed by the U.S. more times than the entire number dropped in World War II during the U.S. invasion of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia in the 1960s and 1970s.

In January 2022, Syria joined the BRI as a major step in its own rebuilding process from the U.S.-led war on the country. The U.S. currently occupies 30 percent of Syria’s territory. Despite being engaged in a deadly conflict that has displaced millions and killed more than 300,000 people, the Syrian government is committed to rebuild the country through the BRI.

Of course, the Ukraine crisis has indeed inflicted damage on the global economy. Mainstream media reports have emphasized disruptions in rail traffic that have slowed global trade to Europe. While these short-term challenges will delay certain aspects of the BRI, particularly the Eurasia rail link, the vision of the BRI is more than a century long and remains an incredibly attractive project for development. The Ukraine crisis does not take away from the BRI’s global advantages. In fact, the Ukraine crisis is likely to make the BRI even more attractive to countries around the world, including Ukraine.

For one, the United States and its allies offer few alternatives in the form of financial and economic arrangements to help rebuild from conflict and war. Furthermore, the United States and the West is pursuing a policy that will make the Ukraine’s economy “scream,” to paraphrase Henry Kissinger’s description of Chile in 1970s during the U.S.-backed coup there. The U.S. has provided predatory loans to Ukraine since the war began. In addition, the U.S.-sponsored lend-lease program has provided Ukraine billions in military aid, $40 billion of which was just passed in the U.S. Congress. Ukraine will be expected to pay back what it has received in conditional aid, making these arrangements detrimental to Ukraine’s long-term economic stability and growth.

The neoliberal policies of the U.S. and the West are laying the foundations for the BRI to become an even more important feature of Ukraine’s economic future. Ukraine is one of the earliest member of the BRI. China’s capacity to maintain a stable relationship with Ukraine and strengthen the Russia-China partnership at the same time has demonstrated what it means to place narrow and selfish interests to the background and the interests of humanity in the foreground. Whatever short term difficulties arise from the Ukraine crisis will not derail Latin America, Africa, and Central Asia’s desire to adhere to the BRI’s principles of creating a win-win model of infrastructure and economic development that addresses the need for real South-South cooperation, decreases extreme poverty, and reduces dependency on external lenders.

The BRI is already doing just that. The World Bank has acknowledged that the BRI offers a path forward out of extreme poverty. Monumental achievements have already come out of the BRI in countries such as Pakistan and Laos. Though the Ukraine crisis is a warning shot about the dangers of war and the neoliberal path led by Western imperialism, China’s approach to global development as manifested in the BRI will not just remain consistent but is also likely to strengthen its influence within the international order in the coming period.

Keith Bennett: China, Ukraine and the Belt and Road Initiative

Thank you for your invitation.

I would like to offer some brief comments on four of the topics you raise, namely:

  • The effect of the Ukraine crisis on the use of national currencies in foreign trade
  • The consequences of US and EU sanctions on the BRI
  • The impact of the crisis on the international pro-USA terrorist network
  • The impact of the crisis on the energy security of the EU and China

With regard to the first issue, namely the effect of the Ukraine crisis on the use of national currencies in foreign trade, I believe it is likely to have a profound impact. Developing countries, especially Russia and China, but also others, such as the other members of the Eurasian Economic Union, some African countries, the ALBA grouping led by Venezuela and Cuba, and so on, have been exploring this for some time. But this will now intensify. As will the development of digital currencies by countries like China.

The major sanctions imposed on Russia and Belarus will undoubtedly cause considerable difficulties in the short to medium term.

However, strategically they are an example of what the Chinese leader Mao Zedong called, lifting a rock only to drop it on your own feet.

In fact, they really announce the end of dollar hegemony. Measures like excluding Russian banks from the SWIFT international payments system were prefigured, for example, in the sanctions imposed on Iran. But this is the first time that such measures have been taken against a G20 economy, a member of the Permanent Five on the United Nations Security Council and a major nuclear power.

We know that China is looking very closely at the implications of this for its own economic and financial security.

We’ve also seen the imperialist powers freezing the assets of so-called Russian oligarchs. Literally stealing them. Incidentally, one should note that the likes of Roman Abramovich, Alisher Usmanov and Oleg Deripaska are always described with the pejorative term oligarch, whereas the likes of Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Bill Gates are described as entrepreneurs. However, the combined wealth of the last named three equals the combined wealth of all of Russia’s top 20 ‘oligarchs’ – that is before the recent assault on their wealth.

Such actions are again in a sense nothing new. We’ve seen them in numerous cases recently, like Afghanistan, Venezuela, Iran and so on. Even as far back as the Albanian gold illegally held by the Bank of England from 1948-1996, a full half century.

But again, this is unprecedented in its scope – being against a major power and not just against its national institutions, but also against numerous individuals, some of them apparently designated solely as a result of citizenship or even just ethnicity.

The implications of this are huge.

If you are a citizen of any country of the Global South – be it Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, India, Pakistan, or wherever – how secure should you now feel about investing, depositing funds, or acquiring assets in the United States or the United Kingdom? When, should your government do anything to displease Washington or London, they can be frozen or confiscated overnight, apparently on a whim and with little or no regard for the so-called ‘rule of law’.

Yet it is partnerships such as these that financial centres like the City of London, on which the UK economy is disproportionately dependent, are increasingly reliant upon. It will therefore lead to the relative decline of long-established financial centres in the UK and elsewhere and impel the growth and development of new ones, along the Belt and Road, including in countries like Turkiye and Kazakhstan, as well as in the Far East, including in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Regarding the consequences of US and EU sanctions on the BRI, I think it will have a contradictory impact. On the one hand, part of the dynamic of the BRI was to draw to draw together the whole of the Eurasian space through increased trade, enhanced connectivity, developed infrastructure and so on. Clearly the EU is to a large measure and for now excluding itself from a number of these aspects, which is absolutely not a situation that China wishes to see. However, the unity of the EU in this aggressive policy is not so solid as is being suggested. Countries with energy supplies that have pivoted on Russia, those with traditionally strong economic or cultural ties, or who preserve some measure of independence and neutrality in their politics and diplomacy are already restive. This can only increase as the economic pain that Europe has brought on itself increases. There are already signs that Berlin, Paris and Rome do not share London and Washington’s apparent appetite for endless war.

However, there are other challenges, too. In general terms, conflict is simply not conducive to investment and development. Trade, transport, logistics, communications and connectivity are disrupted, not only by the fighting itself, but also by ruptured political relations, sanctions, such as on overflights, and so on. And the threat or use of secondary sanctions is also a very serious one.

But, whilst serious, many of these issues are essentially transient in nature. The potential of this conflict to reconfigure the international balance of forces lends greater urgency to BRI and to enhancing the unity of the Global South, something that is reflected, for example, in their almost unanimous rejection of sanctions on Russia.

Regarding the impact of the crisis on the international pro-USA terrorist network, again I think the impact will be contradictory. Terrorist networks instigated or manipulated by the imperialist powers may ultimately serve one goal, but they take different forms.

If Russia is successful in attaining its military objectives, then the anti-hegemonic front will be strengthened and it will be in a more advantageous position to confront and defeat terrorist forces.

However, the resilience of such forces should not be underestimated. For example, the leadership of the Taliban has repeatedly expressed a wish to have good neighbourly relations with China and other countries. But it seems hard for them to fully enforce this, including on some of their rank and file and regional commanders. Hence, there have been border incidents with Pakistan and Iran, the Pakistan Taliban has increased its activities and the central Taliban authorities are not yet in a position to completely suppress groups like the East Turkistan Independence Movement (ETIM) or  Islamic State – Khorasan Province (IS-K), the local franchise of Daesh, which has emerged as the Taliban’s rival.

In the case of Ukraine, we know that neo-nazi and far right elements are flocking there from throughout Europe and North America. In the future, some of them will definitely pose a threat to their own societies. This is exactly what we saw with Afghanistan from the 1980s onwards and with Syria and Libya more recently. This is precisely what the American political scientist Chalmers Johnson termed blowback.

Finally, regarding the impact of the crisis on the energy security of the EU and China. In a word the impact is likely to be negative for the EU and positive for China. That the results are not what the EU intended can already be seen from the spiraling costs of energy, Russia’s increased earnings from energy exports and the strengthening of the ruble. At present, Germany has wasted billions on the now mothballed Gazprom 2 project. Meanwhile, countries like Hungary, are already indicating their willingness to pay their energy bills in rubles.

Further, in seeking to find alternative energy sources, it is not all plain sailing for the EU. Most of Qatar’s natural gas production is tied up in existing, long-term contracts, principally with the Far East. Saudi Arabia, at least for now, is sticking to its OPEC+ agreements and refusing to increase production. And it is indicating a willingness to price its oil exports to China in RMB, the so-called petroyuan. Both France and Spain have issues with Algeria – France due to the colonial legacy and Spain due to its acquiescence to Moroccan demands concerning the liberation struggle of the Saharawi people led by the Polisario Front.

In the case of China, close energy ties with Russia have been developing for some time now, for example through Gazprom’s Power of Siberia natural gas pipeline, part of a deal generally valued at $400 billion.

Whilst there are obvious, and not insignificant, obstacles to be overcome, China is essentially well positioned to absorb whatever Russian energy that the EU elects not to purchase.

China can also be expected to increase its interaction with other regional energy suppliers that are not impacted by potential maritime chokeholds. Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Myanmar and, with enhanced BRI connectivity, Iran and Iraq, are all important in this regard.

Developing nations should jointly deal with fallout of Western sanctions on Russia

We’re pleased to republish this thought-provoking opinion piece from Wang Jiamei in the Global Times. Wang notes that the unilateral sanctions being imposed by the major Western countries are causing significant economic harm around the world, driving up energy and food prices, along with inflation. Furthermore, the extreme financial sanctions (such as removing Russia from the SWIFT system) may affect the ability of developing countries to trade with Russia, and serve as a reminder that the developing countries need to deepen their coordination in order to insulate themselves from the negative effects of the decisions taken by the imperialist countries.

It seems that a gradual embargo on Russian oil has become the focus of the latest round of US-led economic sanctions against Russia, which may lead to further volatility throughout the world economy.

Leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) nations committed on Sunday to “phasing out or banning the import of the Russian oil” in an aim to remove reliance on Russian energy supplies, according to a joint statement.

The G7 decision came just days after Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, announced a plan last week to phase out Russian crude oil within six months and refined products by the end of the year.

Continue reading Developing nations should jointly deal with fallout of Western sanctions on Russia

Fact sheet: China’s position on the situation in Ukraine

We are pleased to present the following fact sheet about China’s position on the situation in Ukraine, sent to us by the International Department of the Communist Party of China.

The fact sheet debunks the US State Department’s allegations and insinuations that China is fomenting or taking sides in the Ukraine crisis. China consistently works toward peace and stands for negotiated solutions to problems between countries. Furthermore, as the largest trading partner of Russia, Ukraine and the European Union, China’s basic interests demand peace.

China has refused to support the US-led unilateral sanctions against Russia, on the basis that these sanctions are illegal and only serve to increase tensions and prolong the conflict. Meanwhile they are having a serious economic impact on countries around the world, particularly in the Global South, where the rise in prices for food and energy is seriously impacting wellbeing.

The fact sheet points out: “An enduring solution would be for major countries to respect each other, reject the Cold War mentality, refrain from bloc confrontation, and build step by step a balanced, effective and sustainable security architecture for the region and for the world. China has been doing its best for peace and will continue to play a constructive role.”

Zhao Lijian: China stands with the DPRK against sanctions and intimidation

The DPRK has long faced external threats to its security, which is the crux of the Korean Peninsula issue. To fundamentally solve the Korean Peninsula issue, the DPRK’s legitimate security concerns should be addressed. Otherwise, it’s like solving one problem only to find another cropping up. If the US truly cares about the well-being of the Korean people, it should stop pressuring the DPRK with sanctions. Instead, it should face up to the denuclearization measures already taken by the DPRK, respond to its legitimate and reasonable concerns and take measures to ease sanctions on the DPRK.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on February 9, 2022

Sanctions in the New Cold War on China

The following article by Carlos Martinez features as a chapter in the forthcoming book Sanctions Kill – The World Stands Up. The article provides a detailed analysis of the sanctions imposed by the US and its allies on the People’s Republic of China and exposes the role they play within the escalating New Cold War.

Sanctions Kill – The World Stands Up will be published by World View Forum in early Spring 2022.


The instinctive attitude of the United States towards the Chinese Revolution was of course one of hostility. In a protracted war between progress and reaction, between the future and the past, the governments of the US and the People’s Republic of China were, and are, are on opposite sides of the barricades. Hence shortly after the formation of the PRC in 1949, the US maintained a strict embargo on China.

With the move towards rapprochement in the early 1970s and a tacit agreement to ‘peacefully coexist’, the embargo was finally removed. Then with China’s strategic shift to integrate into the global economy, the trickle of trade and investment gradually expanded into one of the largest and most important economic relationships in the world, with bilateral trade volume currently standing at just over half a trillion dollars annually. Thousands of US businesses have generated enormous profits from their investments in China and (particularly in recent years) from selling to a vast and growing Chinese market.

Ruling classes in the West were, to a considerable extent, comfortable with incorporating China into globalised capitalism, to the extent that China’s role was limited to providing cheap, competent and well-educated labour. However, it was never the intention of the Chinese leadership to remain permanently at the lowest rung of the global economic ladder. China has pursued a patient strategy of welcoming foreign investment, setting up joint enterprises with Western companies, learning the latest technologies and management techniques, and building up its own advanced industry. Meanwhile it has invested very heavily in education and innovation. China’s R&D spending reached 378 billion USD in 2020 – 2.4 percent of its GDP and nearly three times the figure for the US.

As a result, China is on its way to becoming “a moderately developed socialist country by the middle of the 21st century”, as Deng Xiaoping predicted some 35 years ago.1 China has become a world leader in network technology, in renewable energy, nuclear energy, high-speed rail, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, quantum computing, and several other important areas. It is increasingly competing with the US in spaces that the US is used to dominating, such as cloud computing and industrial automation.

The US ruling class has not responded favourably to all this. These uppity Asian communists refuse to stay in their lane! Columbia University economist Jeffrey Sachs recently described the response of US elites to China’s emergence as a science and technology powerhouse: “The basic attitude, if I could paraphrase, was: ‘how dare they do that? That’s what we do, not what they do. They’re a workshop, we’re the technology leader.’”2

China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has caused further discomfort. The Belt and Road, described by British political analyst Jude Woodward as “a vision of continental integration on a historic scale”,3 is a growing economic network underpinned by rapid infrastructure development – particularly high-speed rail, ports, and energy production and transmission. Beijing leads the financing and macro planning for this historic initiative. The expansion of the Belt and Road into large parts of Central Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Africa and further afield has become a major source of concern for those that seek to preserve US hegemony. In the words of US ‘elder statesman’ Henry Kissinger, the practical significance of the BRI will be to “shift the world’s centre of gravity from the Atlantic to the Pacific.”4 That is, China is creating a development path that isn’t defined by the US or US-controlled institutions.

In summary, the US ruling class finds itself in a position in which its role as sole economic, political and military superpower is under threat. To make matters worse, the source of this threat is a socialist, non-white, developing country which is working in concert with other countries towards the democratisation of international relations.

This is the overall context for the New Cold War, in which the US is the principal antagonist and China is the principal target. Just like the original Cold War (waged against the Soviet Union, the socialist countries and the Global South), the New Cold War is being fought on multiple fronts: political, military, ideological, propagandistic and economic.

Wave of sanctions under Trump and Biden

Then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton wrote in 2011 that “one of the most important tasks of American statecraft over the next decade will be to lock in a substantially increased investment – diplomatic, economic, strategic, and otherwise – in the Asia-Pacific region.”5 These words heralded the launch of the ‘Pivot to Asia’, which clearly identified China as the primary concern of US foreign policy in the modern era. But it was under the Trump administration that the New Cold War started to escalate in a serious way, with the initiation of a trade war – supposedly to put a stop to “the greatest theft ever perpetrated by anyone or any country in the history of the world.”6 Trump imposed a wide range of tariffs, unprecedented since the lifting of the trade embargo some 50 years ago.

Alongside the tariffs, the Trump administration imposed new US sanctions against China for the first time since 1989. In 2018, two of China’s top technology companies, Huawei and ZTE, were banned from providing equipment to any federal US agency. A year later, US companies were prevented from doing business with Huawei or its subsidiaries unless they had specifically been provided with a government licence – due to Huawei allegedly violating the US’s unilateral (and illegal) sanctions against Iran.

In the summer of 2020, the Trump administration announced two new sets of sanctions against China. Under the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act, several senior Chinese officials were subjected to visa restrictions and asset freezing. Under the Hong Kong Autonomy Act, a number of top Hong Kong officials (including Chief Executive Carrie Lam) plus all 14 Vice Chairpersons of the National People’s Congress were subjected to similar punishment.

Things have only got worse in the first year of the Biden administration. In June 2021, Biden signed an executive order banning US citizens from investing in Chinese companies with alleged ties to the defence or surveillance technology sectors. The list of banned companies includes Huawei, China Mobile Communications Group, and Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC) – a key player in China’s bid to develop its homegrown semiconductor industry (semiconductors are a crucial component of modern electronic devices). The list of banned companies purportedly connected to the “Chinese military-industrial complex” was expanded in December 2021 to include SenseTime, which develops facial recognition technology.7

The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act was signed into law on 23 December 2021. Startlingly, this Act inverts the principle of presumption of innocence, since it contains “a rebuttable presumption that goods mined, produced, or manufactured (wholly or in part) in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region are made with forced labor, where goods designated as such will be subject to an import ban into the United States.”8 That is, there is a starting assumption that any item produced in Xinjiang incorporates forced labour. Any importer will have to provide “clear and convincing evidence” that goods have not been made with forced labour – a sufficiently high legal bar that, in practice, makes the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act a blanket ban on all goods produced in Xinjiang.

Aside from these economic sanctions, the White House announced in December that it would be conducting a ‘diplomatic boycott’ of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, in light of “China’s egregious human rights abuses and atrocities in Xinjiang.”9

The State Department has also been strongly encouraging US allies to join its growing system of sanctions and boycotts. Britain, Canada and the EU imposed travel bans and asset freezes over alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang, in parallel with the US’s sanctions.10 Canada, Britain and the European Union have also followed the US lead in passing Magnitsky legislation, providing for sanctions against individuals alleged to have committed human rights abuses. This essentially means that under a “unified set of rules”, US-imposed sanctions on individuals are automatically applied in those countries.11 Meanwhile, Australia, Britain and Canada have announced their support for Biden’s ‘diplomatic boycott’ of the Olympics.12

The overall picture then is one of steadily escalating sanctions against China over the course of the last four years, with the changed occupancy of the White House not impacting this trajectory in the slightest.

Sanctions as New Cold War propaganda

The typical motivation for imperialist sanctions is to foment popular unrest by causing serious economic harm; “making the economy scream”, like the CIA did in Chile when it had the temerity to elect a Marxist government.13 Sanctions against Zimbabwe, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Iran, Syria, Belarus and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) are manifestly designed with such a purpose in mind. Needless to say, such a strategy would have no chance of success in China, which is the second largest economy in the world and which is more than capable of imposing counter-measures that would cause significant damage to US business interests.

Sanctions against Chinese individuals over alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang and Hong Kong will have very little effect on China’s economic growth; rather, such sanctions form part of a propaganda ‘full-court press’ designed to vilify China, to cultivate broad anti-China sentiment, and to build public support for the New Cold War. This propaganda is already having an impact; in the US, it has produced “a bipartisan consensus in Washington towards getting tough with China that is now extending to the broader public.”14

The propaganda surrounding the treatment of the Uyghur Muslim population of Xinjiang is particularly pernicious. This web of lies has been comprehensively debunked elsewhere, for example in an academic study by Eurispes,15 an extensive report by the International Action Center,16 and numerous investigative reports in the Grayzone.17 Suffice here to briefly note the following points:

1) While the State Department has accused China’s government of perpetrating a genocide in Xinjiang,18 absolutely no credible evidence has been supplied. As Jeffrey Sachs points out: “The charge of genocide should never be made lightly. Inappropriate use of the term may escalate geopolitical and military tensions and devalue the historical memory of genocides such as the Holocaust, thereby hindering the ability to prevent future genocides. It behooves the US government to make any charge of genocide responsibly, which it has failed to do here.”19

2) The reports and data analysis implicating the Chinese government in genocide, cultural genocide and forced sterilisation come almost exclusively from two sources, both utterly devoid of credibility. One is Adrian Zenz, a professional anti-China fanatic and senior fellow at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation who is apparently “led by God” to spread slanders about China.20 The other is the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI). ASPI is an Australian government think tank which receives funding from, among others, NATO, the US Department of Defense, the US State Department, Britain’s Foreign Office, Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems and Raytheon. In short, it is deeply involved in the business of New Cold War and the militarisation of the Pacific, and obviously cannot be relied upon to carry out unbiased research on China.

3) The Uyghur population from 2010 to 2018 increased from 10.2 million to 12.7 million, an increase of 25 percent. In the same period, the Han Chinese population in Xinjiang increased by just 2 percent (the differential is explained largely by the fact that national minorities were exempt from the One Child Policy).21

4) As to claims of ‘cultural genocide’, there are over 24,000 mosques in Xinjiang, a higher number of mosques per capita of Muslim population than Turkey.22 All schools in Xinjiang teach the Uyghur language. All road signs have both Uyghur and Chinese writing. Pakistan’s Ambassador to China, Moin ul Haque, returning from an observer mission to Xinjiang, described the region as “a mosaic of 50-plus ethnic minorities, and these ethnic minorities exist in a very peaceful and harmonious manner.”23

Western sanctions against China over human rights abuses in Xinjiang can thus be clearly understood as part of an elaborate campaign of information warfare. Nobody that has researched the question can seriously believe that a genocide is taking place in Xinjiang. Any sanctions are not designed to punish Chinese officials for misdeeds but to support an overall structure of disinformation portraying China as a malevolent force.

Trying to slow China’s rise

Thanks to China’s economic strength, the West can’t starve the Chinese people into submission through economic warfare. However, one important motivation for the steadily escalating sanctions regime is to attempt to decelerate China’s emergence as the world’s pre-eminent leader in advanced technology. The authors of a recent report by Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs observe that “China’s rapid rise to challenge US dominance of technology’s commanding heights has captured America’s attention.”24 The report notes that China has already established a leading role in several key areas and, “in others, on current trajectories, it will overtake the US within the next decade.”

One ‘choke point’ the US can leverage is its head start in the design and manufacture of semiconductors. As noted above, semiconductors are at the core of all electronic devices. Advances in semiconductors are driving – and will continue to drive – transformative change in a wide range of industries, from energy to medicine to space research. The Belfer Center report estimates that China is on course to become “a top-tier player in the semiconductor industry by 2030.” As such, preventing (or at least slowing) China’s emergence as a semiconductor superpower is a key priority for the US.

This issue goes beyond economics. If China outpaces the US in technological innovation, it will shift the entire global balance of forces; it will significantly weaken the ability of the imperialist powers to impose their will on the rest of the world; and it will showcase the fundamental validity of socialism as a means of propelling human progress. As Deng Xiaoping stated in 1984, “the superiority of the socialist system is demonstrated, in the final analysis, by faster and greater development of the productive forces than under the capitalist system.”25

Indeed, developments in technology in the coming decades form a crucial component of the material basis for the progression to a more advanced socialism. British researcher Keith Lamb writes: “China’s goal of building a modern socialist country by 2049 is predicated on mastering semiconductor technology which is the linchpin of the modern age, making innovations such as self-driving electric vehicles; fully-automated AI production systems, and supercomputers possible.”26

Such are the reasons for the wave of sanctions connected to the semiconductor industry. The US wants to restrict China’s ability to import semiconductors and, more importantly, to prevent China achieving self-sufficiency in semiconductor production. Blacklisting SMIC, China’s biggest manufacturer of computer chips, in December 2020, means that it is no longer able to source supplies from US companies. Chinese chip designers have been cut off from access to leading-edge chip design tools.27 Meanwhile Huawei has been prevented from importing chips, impacting its production of high-end smartphones.28 The US has been able to enforce many of these sanctions on an international scale, by virtue of its ‘long-arm jurisdiction’ – sanctioning non-US chipmakers that use US-made components. One notable absurdity here is that Taiwan, a region of China, complies with the US sanctions regime, and therefore Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) – the world’s most valuable semiconductor company – has been forced to stop its exports to the companies on the US Entity List, including Huawei.29

Unfortunately for US imperialism – but thankfully for China and the peoples of the world – this campaign of economic warfare is doomed to failure. As Radhika Desai notes, “US efforts to restrict chip supply to China will only increase its resolve to develop the necessary technology to produce the chips it needs domestically.”30 Indeed, according to market analysis firm GlobalData, US coercion is fomenting a “high octane, whole nation, everything-it-takes campaign to create a de-Americanized domestic semiconductor supply chain able to supply 75% of its needs by 2025” and achieve full self-sufficiency ten years later.”31

In the meantime, while stimulating China’s fast track to semiconductor self-sufficiency, sanctions are adversely impacting technology companies outside China, which for the last two decades has been the largest market for computer chips, in addition to being the ideal hi-tech manufacturing location. In recent years, the US semiconductor industry has derived over a third of its revenues from sales to China.32 These revenues have in turn fed into the R&D cycle and contributed to an impressive pace of innovation. It seems the US has settled on a ‘lose-lose’ strategy to replace the framework of cooperation that had brought significant benefit to both sides in recent decades.

Another area in which the US is using sanctions to gain a competitive advantage is solar power. China is by far the world’s largest producer of solar energy, with an installed capacity of 254 GW – more than three times that of the US, and growing fast.33 China also produces the bulk of the global supply of polysilicon (a key material in the production of solar panels). Johannes Bernreuter, author of the Polysilicon Market Outlook 2024, predicts that “China’s share in the global solar-grade polysilicon output will approach 90 percent in the coming years.”34

Unable to compete on price or productivity, the US has resorted to imposing sanctions on large parts of China’s solar panel industry35 – ostensibly on the basis of evidence-free and comprehensively debunked claims of the manufacturers using Uyghur forced labour.36 This is profoundly irresponsible and short-sighted behaviour. Chinese investment in solar technology over the course of the last 10-15 years has pushed the entire industry forward, and has brought prices down to a level where solar power is more cost-effective than fossil fuel alternatives in many parts of the world. This is an important contribution to the global struggle to prevent climate breakdown. The Western powers should be working closely with China and other countries on developing and deploying clean energy, rather than imposing sanctions with a view to gaining some fleeting economic advantage.

Unite to oppose hegemonism and Cold War

China is a leading voice opposing the West’s illegal sanctions regime, consistently using its role in international forums (including the UN Security Council and the G20) to oppose unilateralism and bullying. China has added its voice to the global demand to end the blockade on Cuba. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian demanded last year that the US “immediately and completely lift unilateral sanctions against Cuba in compliance with the purposes of the UN Charter and basic norms governing international relations”, adding that China “resolutely rejects any external interference in other countries’ internal affairs, imposition of unilateral sanctions, and attempt to gang up on other countries.”37 China has consistently opposed unilateral sanctions against the DPRK,38 Zimbabwe,39 Eritrea,40 Afghanistan,41 Venezuela,42 Nicaragua,43 Syria,44 Iran45 and Belarus.46

With its strong opposition to sanctions, war, interference and hegemonism; through its pursuit of multilateralism and its support for the principles of the UN Charter; and through its consistent engagement with the countries of the world on the basis of equality, friendship, solidarity and mutual benefit, China is an indispensable force in the development of a new, multipolar system of international relations. Such a framework is desperately needed by the peoples of the world, and those of us living in the belly of the imperialist beast should do what we can to support it.


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  3. Woodward, Jude. The US vs China: Asia’s New Cold War? Geopolitical Economy. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2017, p246 ↩︎
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  11. Steinhaeuser, I 2021, How human rights sanctions need to evolve for everyone’s benefit, Thomson Reuters, accessed 10 January 2022, <>. ↩︎
  12. Mather, V 2022, The Diplomatic Boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, Explained, New York Times, accessed 10 January 2022, <>. ↩︎
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Elias Jabbour: Boycotts, hypocrisy and the organic intellectuals of imperialism

In this important article for CGTN, Elias Jabbour discusses the so-called ‘diplomatic boycott’ by some Western countries of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, explaining that the boycott forms part of a set of behaviours and slanders that are designed to delegitimise China’s government and to prepare public opinion in the West for further attacks on China. He notes that, sadly, some pseudo-Marxist intellectuals in Europe and North America are participating in this imperialist Cold War project.

It was early December when breaking news took the political and diplomatic circles around the world by surprise: the United States has declared a so-called “diplomatic boycott” of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

According to U.S. government spokeswoman Jen Psaki, the country would not treat the Olympics as something normal given the “atrocities” in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. As expected, England and Canada announced something similar later. Same posture Australia. Repeat a lie a thousand times and it becomes the truth?

Since then, EU countries have been pressured to take a similar stance, but for the time being, only Belgium has followed this lead, and in Latin America, there are no signs in this direction. As symbolic as this act can be, it is interesting to note the degree of isolation of U.S. imperialism in countless initiatives.

We must read this attitude in different ways. This “boycott,” although isolated and almost symbolic, is serious. The U.S. doubles its bet on the proliferation of lies for political purposes with a view to delegitimizing the government of the People’s Republic of China in the international community while continuing yet another colonial war.

Let us be under no illusion. What the U.S. plots against China is a colonial war with the purpose of subjugating the country to an order based on violence, blind obedience and punitive wars, applied to those who dare to leave the radar of imperialism’s control. As for the accusations of “genocide” in Xinjiang, the facts show that what we are seeing is an old policy, very similar to what was used by the Nazi propaganda machine. A simple survey is enough to demonstrate that, in reality, these charges are fallacies.

For example, one of the accusations is that China has a policy of mass sterilization, which would have seen the Xinjiang Uygur’s population falling from 15.5 births per thousand to 2.5 per thousand. However, according to the seventh national census report released in May, the Han population growth rate was 4.93 percent, while China’s ethnic minority population increased by 10.26 percent compared to 2010.

Specifically, the population of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang has grown by 14.27 percent in that same period. It is also good to remember that the birth control policies implemented in the early 1980s were not applied to Chinese ethnic minorities.

Another lie concerns the alleged “cultural genocide” preventing Uygur Muslims from freely practicing their religion, including restrictions on the use of their typical clothes and violation of mosques.

However, Xinjiang has more than 24,000 mosques, an average of 530 Muslims per mosque. This number is more than double the total number of existing mosques in the U.S., Britain, Germany and France. On the other side, in the name of “democracy” and “human rights,” U.S. soldiers looted relics from the Historical Museum of Baghdad in 2003.

For that, it is clear that this “boycott” is not supported by data, but by lies and a sea of hypocrisy. The deep contradictions of U.S. society, which was born under the combination of slave labor and reactionary ideologies that support theses such as “indispensable nation,” “manifest destiny” and “New Canaan,” are known by many.

The human rights situation is dire to the point that a 2021 national poll by researcher John Zogby found that 46 percent of the U.S. population believed that a future civil war was likely, another 43 percent thought it was unlikely and 11 percent were unsure.

War seemed more likely for young people (53 percent) than for older ones (31 percent), and for those residing in the South (49 percent) and Central/Great Lakes region (48 percent) compared to those in the East (39 percent).

Meanwhile, a real disaster is taking place in the country with the death of more than 817,000 people by COVID-19. Right-wing ideologies twist the minds of about half of the country’s population by spreading scientific denial, racism and hate crimes against blacks, Latinos and other minorities.

Finally, the new feature of this attempt of a “diplomatic boycott” is the strong resurgence of intellectuals within the so-called progressive camp at the service of the demoralization of socialist experiences.

This was something very common during the Cold War, and was usually due to the co-option, by imperialism, of European Marxist intellectuals, that were induced to criticize the former Soviet Union. Now, there are figures like the philosopher Slavoj Zizek, signatory of a petition pressing the French government to “boycott” the Winter Olympics.

The cultural war against China involves the mobilization of “intellectuals” to criticize China. History repeats itself, but now as farce.

China calls on the US to remove its illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe

We are pleased to republish this article from Global Times, reporting on China’s support for the Southern African Development Community’s Anti-Sanctions Day initiative and its consistent opposition to the Western countries’ cruel and suffocating sanctions against Zimbabwe.

China stands in solidarity with Zimbabwe in a consistent call for the unconditional removal of Western sanctions. African ambassadors in Beijing thanked China for the positive support on the third Anti-Sanctions Day on Monday.

“While the guns of the revolution fell silent in 1979, sanctions are a continuation of an unwarranted and unprovoked war against Zimbabwe by the West… 20 years of sanctions have negatively impacted all sectors of the Zimbabwean economy and its people…and even undermined Zimbabwe’s credibility and national image,” Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to China Martin Chedondo said at the event at the Zimbabwean Embassy in Beijing.

Continue reading China calls on the US to remove its illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe

Hua Chunying: Washington DC is the birthplace and headquarters of economic coercion

A powerful quote from Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Hua Chunying about the US use of economic warfare against developing countries.

For a long time, the US has been engaged in unilateral bullying practices, imposing long-term sanctions on Cuba, the DPRK, Iran, Venezuela, among other countries. Washington DC is the birthplace and headquarters of economic coercion. The US, through its policies and actions, has provided the world with textbook examples of coercive diplomacy, which means achieving one’s strategic goals with military threats, political isolation, economic sanctions and technical blockade.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying’s Regular Press Conference on September 29, 2021