China and progressive Latin America share a project of solidarity

Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez was invited by the World Anti-imperialist Platform to speak on 4 March 2023 at Bolívar Hall, London, alongside the ambassadors of Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela, at an event marking the 10th anniversary of the death of comrade Hugo Chávez.

Carlos addressed the accusations so often levelled at China that it is a new imperialist power in Latin America. He gave a brief history of US imperialism in Latin America in the postwar era, and compared that with China’s engagement with the region. He notes for example that, in stark contrast with the US, “China has precisely zero military bases in Latin America and the Caribbean. It has sponsored no coups, waged no wars, imposed no sanctions, and engaged in no destabilisation, economic coercion or propaganda.”

He further noted that Chinese loans and investment are carried out on the basis of equality, consensus and mutual benefit, and bear no relation to the notoriously predatory behaviour of the IMF and the major Western lending institutions. What’s more, China has excellent relations with the major progressive forces in the region, including Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia.

He concluded by opining that the rationale for these accusations of Chinese imperialism are to “break the inexorable trajectory towards a multipolar world”, and called on the audience to rebuke this slander and join hands with the peoples of the planet in the struggle against imperialism.

We reproduce the text of the speech below.

Since the themes for today are Latin America and the global anti-imperialist struggle, and since I’m here representing Friends of Socialist China, I’d like to talk about the relationship between China and Latin America, and in particular the accusations levelled by certain Western politicians – echoed in the media, and unfortunately also in some parts of the left – that China is a neo-colonial or imperialist force in Latin America.

These accusations have been repeated to such a degree that they’ve acquired the force of accepted truth.

Every US government over the last 20 years and more has sought to sabotage the rising economic and political ties between Beijing and the countries of the region – the US’s “back yard”, or as upgraded by Biden, “front yard”.

And the line they use is, approximately: be careful of those Chinese, they’re imperialist! The US Secretary of State under Trump, Rex Tillerson, directly accused China of being a “new imperial power” in Latin America. Hillary Clinton and Antony Blinken have levelled similar accusations.

Clearly we need a frame of reference. What does modern imperialism look like in Latin America? What examples do we have of a foreign power imposing political and economic domination on the countries of the region?

There are a few well-known examples.

The US-sponsored coup in Guatemala in 1954, which overthrew the popular and democratic government led by Jacobo Arbenz.

The Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961, in which the US trained, supplied, and transported Cuban exiles to overthrow the revolutionary government in Havana.

Continue reading China and progressive Latin America share a project of solidarity

The long-standing friendship between the Chinese PLA and the South African liberation forces

We are pleased to republish the following article that provides rare detail of the long-standing and sincere support provided by the People’s Republic of China to the armed struggle waged by South Africa’s national liberation movements to overthrow the racist apartheid regime.

It was originally published on IOL (Independent Online), a major South African news website, on August 1 2022, marking the 95th anniversary of the founding of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and was co-authored by Mbuelo Musi and Cedric Masters, who were respectively members of uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK), the armed wing of the African National Congress of South Africa (ANC), and the Azanian People’s Liberation Army (APLA, formerly known as Poqo), the armed wing of the Pan-Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC). Such collaboration is not only noteworthy in itself – it also enables a more comprehensive account of the totality of China’s long-term commitment to South African liberation.

The authors note that China’s support for the armed struggle dates back more than six decades, to October 1961, following the Sharpeville Massacre, when the apartheid regime killed 65 peaceful protestors, injured many more, and banned the organisations of the liberation movement.

The first group of MK trainees stayed in China from November 1961 to December 1962, in which time they met Chairman Mao Zedong on two occasions. The article notes the significance of the links between the Chinese and South African communist parties in facilitating this relationship. China’s support for MK from its inception was first discussed by Chairman Mao and visiting SACP leaders Yusuf Dadoo and Vella Pillay.

The article also highlights the training received by APLA cadres in the 1970s, which was notable for the evident degree of attention given by the Chinese instructors to the actual conditions and circumstances of South Africa. It also notes that the training provided in China itself, “constituted only a small portion of the PLA’s support”, it being complemented, for example, by training in African countries, including Ghana and Congo (Brazzaville).

In conclusion the authors note that the training provided by China to comrades of both organisations has also benefited the state and non-state institutions they have served since the end of apartheid.

Reading this article one can better understand why President Xi Jinping describes the ties between South Africa and China as a “special bond of comrades plus brothers.”

The occasion of the 95th Anniversary of the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) provides us, former members of the South African Liberation Movement, with a perfect opportunity to reflect on our experience, growth and military careers in the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) since those far-off days of our training by PLA instructors.

The training also benefited those who pursued civilian careers in democratic South Africa and elsewhere. Mbulelo Musi, National Political Commissar of MK Liberation War Veterans (MKLWV) and Major-General (Retired) Cedric Masters a former APLA operative recount the long-standing relations between the PLA and South African freedom fighters.

The politico-military relations between the People’s Republic of China and the ANC-led MK would be over 60 years today, dating back to October 1961. Historically, it was in October 1961 in China that these military relations began. This was after the then apartheid cruel minority system had unleashed brutal repression and banned all forms of protests.

It had just committed a massacre in Sharpeville, which led to the killing of over 65 people, and the injury and arrests of many. Organisations of the people such as the ANC and the PAC were banned and were thus forced to declare the armed Struggle against the racist regime. The apartheid colonial system had declared war against the majority of the people of SA.

Continue reading The long-standing friendship between the Chinese PLA and the South African liberation forces

Telling the truth about China, and learning from China’s example

We are pleased to publish the text of a speech by Eben Williams, a Glasgow-based member of the International Committee of the Young Communist League (Britain), 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 IDCPC.

Eben discusses the significance of the 20th Congress, in particular its relevance to young communists in Britain, contrasting Xi Jinping’s work report with the political pronouncements of Britain’s political leaders. The work of the CPC Congress reflects a profound orientation towards, and dedication to, meeting the needs of the masses of the people. The CPC’s adherence to the mass line couldn’t be more different to British parliamentary politics under the dictatorship of capital.

Eben calls on the progressive movement in Britain to learn from China’s experiences, to tell the truth about China, to take inspiration from the achievements of the Chinese people, to unite with Chinese people in the global struggle against imperialism, and to “redouble our efforts to strengthen the anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist resistance here at home.”

First of all, a warm hello to our comrades from the International Department of the Communist Party of China and a big thank you to Carlos and Keith and all of our comrades at Friends of Socialist China for the invitation to join this important discussion on the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China and its world significance. I hope to give a few of my own thoughts from watching the congress, the perspective of young communists in Britain that have grown up watching the rise of China, and a small call to practical action.

As communists, our work is obviously very broad, and we do all kinds of different things to help build power for the working class where we live, but one of the areas of our work that I’m most interested in is our work building relationships with other working class and communist organisations around the world through our membership of the World Federation of Democratic Youth and through our International Department. This includes both the Communist Party of China and its youth wing, the Communist Youth League.

Recently, comrades from the CYL invited us to watch the opening ceremony of the 20th National Congress online, together with them and other comrades from around the world. Many of our members are inspired by the Chinese socialist project and this was an exciting opportunity to say the least, like staying up until 3am to watch some kind of communist Superbowl of historic importance.

I was astounded by the scale of it, with more than 2,200 party delegates, representing over 96 million party members, representing over 1.4 billion Chinese citizens, all gathering together at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing to chart out the country’s future in one of the most advanced democratic exercises in the world.

I was moved by the Party’s commitment to ceremony and to its history, honouring the fallen martyrs of the revolution in a minute’s silence, including comrades Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Liu Shaoqi, Deng Xiaoping, Zhu De, and Chen Yun.

Continue reading Telling the truth about China, and learning from China’s example

Miguel Díaz-Canel signs the book of condolence for Jiang Zemin

The following report was published in Spanish on 9 December 2022, on the website of the Communist Party of Cuba. It has been translated into English by Friends of Socialist China.

At midday on Friday, during a break in the work session of the Fifth Plenary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, First Secretary and President of the Republic, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, arrived at the embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Cuba to sign the book of condolence opened there following the death of Jiang Zemin on 30 November.

“In the name of the Cuban people, Party and Government, we express our heart-felt condolences on the death of former General Secretary and former President Jiang Zemin,” wrote the Cuban dignitary, who on December 1 had decreed an official mourning in the country on the occasion of the death of the Chinese party leader.

He added: “We deeply lament the physical departure of a dear friend of Cuba, a prominent statesman, an outstanding communist and defender of the socialist cause in China and worldwide, whose exceptional political and humanist principles we will never forget.”

“With all respect and admiration,” President Díaz-Canel closed his message; that same respect and admiration manifested for years towards the leader of that friendly nation and which is recognized by generations of Cubans.

Continue reading Miguel Díaz-Canel signs the book of condolence for Jiang Zemin

People’s diplomacy: extending solidarity and addressing the common tasks facing humanity

On November 15, the China NGO Network for International Exchanges (CNIE), which works under the guidance of the International Department of the Communist Party of China (IDCPC), organised an online and offline international seminar on the theme, ‘Enhancing International Civil Society Solidarity and Cooperation to Build a Better World for All’.

The seminar aimed to enable international civil society to have a better understanding of the CPC’s 20th National Congress and to contribute to the building of a community with a shared future for humanity.

FoSC Co-Editor Keith Bennett was invited to deliver a speech. In his contribution, Keith stressed that a key theme of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s report to the party congress was the need for a people-centred approach. He linked this to the concept of people-to-people diplomacy put forward by late Premier Zhou Enlai and how this related to our tasks today.

We publish Keith’s speech below. The other speakers were:

  • Chen Zhou, Vice-Minister of the IDCPC
  • Hassan Ghafourifard, Former Vice President of Iran and Chairman of the Foundation for Islamic Development
  • Ek Sam Ol, Member of the Standing Committee of the Cambodian People’s Party and President of the Cambodia-China Friendship Association
  • Zuo Peng, Dean of the Marxist Theory Research Institute, Central Institute of Socialism
  • Ms. Zuliyati Simayi, Delegate to the 20th CPC National Congress, Deputy Secretary of the CPC Kashi University Committee, and Vice President of Kashi University
  • Yu Ruofei, Delegate to the 20th CPC National Congress, Leader of the Gansu Blue Sky Rescue Team
  • Dr. Ezzat Saad, Director of the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs
  • Zivadin Jovanovic, President of the Belgrade Forum for a World of Equals
  • Kassem Tofaili, President of the Arab Chinese Cooperation & Development Association
  • Russell Chia, President of the Malaysia Organization for International Exchange

Comrades and Friends

I would like to begin by congratulating the China NGO Network for International Exchanges (CNIE) for their initiative in organizing this timely meeting and thank them for inviting me to join all today’s excellent speakers in saying a few words.

It is very appropriate that we hold this event in the immediate aftermath of the Twentieth National Congress of the Communist Party of China. In an article I wrote on the eve of the Congress, I noted that, “considering China’s weight and role in the world, whether in economy, geopolitics or climate change, its decisions will impact in some way on every human being on Earth.”

I would like to highlight three quotations from the Report to the Congress presented by General Secretary Xi Jinping, which I believe set the context for our deliberations today:

“We have promoted the development of a human community with a shared future and stood firm in protecting international fairness and justice.”

“This country is its people; the people are the country.”

And: “Today, our world, our times, and history are changing in ways like never before. The historical trends of peace, development, cooperation, and mutual benefit are unstoppable. The will of the people and the general trends of our day will eventually lead to a bright future for humanity. And yet, the hegemonic, high-handed, and bullying acts of using strength to intimidate the weak, taking from others by force and subterfuge, and playing zero-sum games are exerting grave harm. The deficit in peace, development, security, and governance is growing. All of this is posing unprecedented challenges for human society. The world has once again reached a crossroads in history, and its future course will be decided by all the world’s peoples.”

There is one clear conception at the heart of all this, namely the people. And as Comrade Mao Zedong enjoined us: “The people, and the people alone, are the motive force in the making of world history.”

Continue reading People’s diplomacy: extending solidarity and addressing the common tasks facing humanity

Xi Jinping: Working together to meet the challenges of our times and build a better future

We are pleased to republish below the English translation of President Xi Jinping’s speech at the first session of the 17th summit of the G20, delivered on 15 November 2022.

Xi begins by highlighting some of the extremely serious problems currently faced by humanity: “The COVID-19 pandemic still drags on with cases surging here and there. The world economy is getting more fragile. The geopolitical environment remains tense. Global governance is seriously inadequate. Food and energy crises are compounded with one another. All this poses formidable challenges to our development.”

In order to face such challenges, it is essential for all countries to “replace division with unity, confrontation with cooperation, and exclusion with inclusiveness. All countries should join hands together to answer the question of our times – what is wrong with this world, what we should do about it – so as to tide over difficulties and create a better future together.”

It’s noteworthy that the G20 summit takes place at the same time as COP27 in Egypt, where developing countries are loudly raising their demands for climate justice. In his speech to the G20, Xi Jinping added his voice to those demands, reiterating the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities – a principle enshrined in international law, under which the advanced countries must provide funding, technology and support for climate change mitigation and renewable energy transition in the developing world.

Although China is still a developing country, the reality is that it’s China rather than the advanced western countries that’s providing key leadership on environmental issues. China is already working with a large number of Global South countries on green development projects, including in Zambia, South Africa, Kenya, Argentina and Cuba.

Xi spoke up for solidarity and common development, and called on the advanced countries to do more to assist developing countries. “Prosperity and stability cannot be possible in a world where the rich become richer while the poor are made poorer.” Further, he reiterated China’s support for the African Union joining the G20 (China was the first country to publicly do so, as noted by Senegalese President Macky Sall in his bilateral discussion with Xi Jinping the previous day).

The speech is a concise reflection of China’s consistent, enduring and whole-hearted commitment to peace, common prosperity, sustainable development, and global friendship and cooperation.

Your Excellency President Joko Widodo,


It gives me great pleasure to attend the G20 Bali Summit. At the outset, I wish to thank President Joko Widodo and the Indonesian government for making these thoughtful arrangements for the Summit. I also salute the Indonesian presidency for its important role in promoting G20 cooperation.

We meet at a time of momentous changes unseen in a century, changes that are consequential to the world, to our times, and to history. The COVID-19 pandemic still drags on with cases surging here and there. The world economy is getting more fragile. The geopolitical environment remains tense. Global governance is seriously inadequate. Food and energy crises are compounded with one another. All this poses formidable challenges to our development.

Faced with these challenges, it is imperative that all countries embrace the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind, and advocate peace, development, and win-win cooperation. All countries should replace division with unity, confrontation with cooperation, and exclusion with inclusiveness. All countries should join hands together to answer the question of our times — “what is wrong with this world, what we should do about it” — so as to tide over difficulties and create a better future together.

All G20 members should take the responsibility inherent in being major international and regional players, and should lead by example in promoting development of all nations, improving the well-being for the whole mankind, and advancing progress of the entire world.

We should make global development more inclusive. Solidarity is strength, but division leads nowhere. Living in the same global village, we should stand with each other in the face of risks and challenges. Drawing ideological lines or promoting group politics and bloc confrontation will only divide the world, and hinder global development and human progress. With human civilization already in the 21st century, the Cold-War mentality has long been outdated. What we need to do is to join hands together and elevate our win-win cooperation to a new height.

Continue reading Xi Jinping: Working together to meet the challenges of our times and build a better future

Fred M’membe and Kyeretwie Opoku: We have to defend China

We are pleased to run a further extract from the conversation, carried by Wave Media, between leaders of the Socialist Party of Zambia and the Socialist Movement of Ghana, Fred M’membe and Kyeretwie Opoku, regarding the past, present and future of relations between China and Africa. 

They note that more and more young people in both China and Africa are seeing through imperialist lies and that after just a few days stay in China, they have come to the conclusion that the Chinese revolution is unstoppable.

Noting that China and Africa understand each other and are drawn together by a similar history of oppression by colonialism and imperialism from the 19th century onwards, they affirm that China today offers an alternative path to overcome poverty and realize development. In fact, they state, it is now the only path, as the old path of colonial expansion is closed off to those seeking to develop in the contemporary world.  We have to defend China, they insist, because what China has achieved are our achievements, too. They also make the important point that non-interference does not preclude solidarity.

See also: When the West visits Africa, they talk about China

China forges bonds of friendship as it builds a modern socialist country

Co-editor of Friends of Socialist China Danny Haiphong places the historic meeting between Nguyen Phu Trong, general secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV), and Chinese President and CPC general secretary Xi Jinping in the context of the US’s ongoing trajectory of decline. He argues that while China is forging deep bonds of solidarity with socialist countries, the US is committing errors that will only strengthen China’s model of cooperation as a global alternative for oppressed nations.

This article originally appeared in CGTN.

The Communist Party of China (CPC) concluded its 20th National Congress in late October, marking a landmark period for China’s development. CPC delegates reviewed achievements, voted for top leadership and deliberated on China’s path forward to becoming a modern socialist country by 2050.

Among the most heralded of China’s achievements over the past five years since the 19th CPC National Congress has been the eradication of extreme poverty and the successful management of the COVID-19 pandemic. For the world’s largest economy, the United States, the overall picture is far less hopeful. While China is making history, the U.S. appears doomed to repeat it.

Nowhere is this more definitive than in the differences between China’s and the U.S.’s approaches to foreign policy and global cooperation. The first political leader to visit China following the 20th CPC Congress was Nguyen Phu Trong, general secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV). Despite numerous efforts of the U.S. to mobilize Vietnam and the broader Asia Pacific against China, the visit sent a strong message of regional unity.

Continue reading China forges bonds of friendship as it builds a modern socialist country

Tribute to Avtar Singh Jouhl, 1937-2022

In our contribution to the Fifteenth Forum of the World Association for Political Economy (WAPE), hosted by China’s Shanghai International Studies University last December, Friends of Socialist China surveyed the history of support for the Chinese revolution in the working-class movements in the United States and Britain and noted:

“As in the United States, it was again the political representatives of oppressed peoples who came to play an outstanding role in supporting and defending the People’s Republic, be it on the part of the outstanding Trinidadian communist Claudia Jones or of such organisations as the Indian Workers’ Association, its equivalent bodies among Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Kashmiri workers, the Black Unity and Freedom Party, the Black Panther Movement and many others. Very often out of the sight and hearing of much of the predominantly white left, they collectively constituted the mass proletarian base for China friendship and solidarity in Britain, from the early 1960s onwards.”

The working-class movement lost one of the true giants of that movement with the death on October 7th of Avtar Singh Jouhl at the age of 84. Avtar came to Britain in 1958 and joined the Indian Workers’ Association (IWA GB) the same year. He came intending to study at the London School of Economics (LSE) but instead found himself working in a foundry in the West Midlands for many years. His son Jagwant was quoted by the BBC as observing: “Most people think the streets were paved with gold, but the reality was they were paved with soot from the foundries.” 

In 1965, Avtar invited Malcom X to Smethwick, near Birmingham, to see the type and extent of racism and the ‘colour bar’ then prevalent in the area, just weeks before the African-American revolutionary leader was assassinated.

Becoming National President of the IWA, Avtar played a very full role in the life of the community, the struggle against racism, the trade union movement, and the struggles of the working class in Britain, along with mobilising support for the revolutionary struggle in India, for anti-imperialist struggles throughout the world, and in support of the socialist countries.

Besides the IWA, Avtar played a leading role in the Association of Indian Communists in Britain (Marxist-Leninist) (AICML), which guided the work of the tens of thousands strong IWA, and was at various times a member of different parties in the British working-class movement. 

Avtar followed the Marxist-Leninist line of “uniting all those who can be united” and this was reflected in the hundreds of people who attended his funeral, which was widely reported by the BBC and others, as well as in the tributes paid by trade unions like Unite and in the press of a number of left-wing parties, including the Socialist Workers’ Party (SWP).

Whilst sincere and affectionate, most of these tributes left out something that was central to Avtar’s politics. He was not simply a Marxist, but specifically an adherent of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought. Under the guidance of Avtar and a number of his comrades, especially the late Jagmohan Joshi and Teja Singh Sahota, the IWA and the AIC were staunch supporters of the Chinese revolution and friends of China, maintaining close comradely connections with the country, particularly through the 1960s and 1970s. When the Britain-based editors of Friends of Socialist China initiated the Hands off China! campaign in response to the attacks on China in the run up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Avtar was one of the first people to offer his support, joining veteran communist Isabel Crook and Ghanaian diplomat Kojo Amoo Gottfried as a patron of the campaign. Avtar also gave strong support to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Cuba and other socialist countries.

A year ago, Avtar’s son Jagwant recorded a long series of interviews in which his father recalled his life of struggle. We reproduce below two interviews devoted to China as well as a tribute carried in the Morning Star, written by Avtar’s friend Paul Mackney, the former General Secretary of NATFHE/UCU, the trade union for teachers in further and higher education.

We will remember Avtar as a great comrade and as a kind and sincere friend and extend our condolences to his family and all his many comrades and friends.

Avtar Singh Jouhl 1937 – 2022

Paul Mackney, former general secretary of NATFHE/UCU, remembers a beloved comrade, lifelong socialist and union man who once brought Malcolm X to the West Midlands during the fight against racial segregation.

ON Tuesday morning, October 10, a large and loud gathering of UCU strike pickets, outside South and City College Birmingham, stopped their singing, chanting, blowing of whistles and vuvuzela playing to observe a minute’s silence.

Continue reading Tribute to Avtar Singh Jouhl, 1937-2022

China and Cuba: a relationship of solidarity, friendship and cooperation

We are very pleased to publish below an interview with Carlos Miguel Pereira Hernández, Cuba’s ambassador to China, conducted by People’s Daily and published in Chinese on 13 October. The unabridged English translation has been provided to us by the Cuban Embassy in Beijing.

Timed to coincide with the 62nd anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Cuba and the People’s Republic of China, the interview gives an overview of the history and contemporary reality of relations between the two countries.

Noting that revolutionary Cuba was the first country in the Western hemisphere to extend diplomatic recognition to the People’s Republic of China – in 1960, just a year after the 26th of July Movement came to power – Pereira references the role played by Chinese immigrants in Cuba’s independence struggle. He points out that Cuba and China consider themselves “mutual referents in the construction of socialism with our own characteristics” and notes that President Miguel Díaz-Canel describes Cuba-China ties as “paradigmatic”, and President Xi Jinping describes them as those of “good friends, good comrades and good brothers”.

Describing the cooperation between China and Cuba fields in a vast array of fields, Comrade Pereira expresses confidence that the relationship will continue to deepen.

This year marks the 62nd anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Cuba, how do you assess the fraternal friendship between the two countries? What are your specific plans to further promote economic, trade and people-to-people exchanges between the two countries?     

Relations between Cuba and China were made official on September 28, 1960, a formal step after the announcement by Commander in Chief Fidel Castro a few days earlier in front of more than a million Cubans, in the context of the historic First Declaration of Havana, to recognize the New China and rescind ties with Taiwan. That just decision was born of the political and popular will that have accompanied our relations throughout these 62 years.

The nascent Cuban Revolution definitively broke with the Monroe Doctrine and blind obedience to Washington, allowing Cuba to become the first country in the entire Western Hemisphere to establish ties with New China. We are honored to have made that modest contribution as one of the first manifestations of independence from our foreign policy.

The historical foundations and deep bonds of friendship between our peoples go back to the arrival of those first Chinese immigrants 175 years ago, who also had an outstanding and glorious participation in our struggles for independence.

Throughout these years of uninterrupted relations, Cuba has had the historic privilege of always being in the front row in promoting exchanges with China. Our relations represent a model of cooperation based on equality, respect and mutual benefit. We consider ourselves mutual referents in the construction of socialism with our own characteristics and on that basis, we carry out a broad and systematic exchange of experiences.

Continue reading China and Cuba: a relationship of solidarity, friendship and cooperation

Red Salute to Dr DS Kotnis on the 110th anniversary of his birth

October 10 sees the 110th birthday of Dr. Dwarkanath Shantaram Kotnis, Indian surgeon, internationalist fighter, and member of the Communist Party of China.

Dr. Kotnis was one of a team of five Indian doctors, one of whom had previously served with the International Brigades in Spain, who were sent to help the Chinese people in their war of resistance against Japan by India’s Congress party, then led by Jawaharlal Nehru and Subhas Chandra Bose, after China’s Red Army leader Zhu De had written a request to Nehru on the suggestion of Agnes Smedley, the American internationalist who maintained deep ties with the freedom movements in both countries.

The team were seen off from Calcutta (today’s Kolkata) by Congress leaders Bose and Sarojini Naidu, who, at the conclusion of a mass meeting in Jinnah Hall, said: “You are sent to the war-stricken people of China as messengers of goodwill and sympathy.  One or some of you may not return home.” Dr. Kotnis is the one who did not return.

In the spirit of the great Canadian communist, Dr. Norman Bethune, who the team had gone to replace following his death from sepsis incurred while operating behind enemy lines, Dr. Kotnis worked tirelessly, sometimes for 72 hours without sleep. He refused any special treatment, taught himself fluent Chinese, and passed on his knowledge by writing two textbooks on surgery (one uncompleted, he was actually struck by a fatal seizure as he was writing), and becoming a teacher and then the head of the Bethune Medical School.

It was while teaching at the school that he met, fell in love with and married Guo Qinglan, a nurse and nursing teacher. Their son, Yinhua, whose name means India-China was born just four months before Dr. Kotnis’s death.

Participation in the Chinese revolution had a profound effect on Dr. Kotnis. In an April 1, 1942 letter to his fellow team member, Dr. BK Basu, he wrote: “You know very well how backward I was before reaching Yan’an, my brain full of bourgeois ideas, and though full of national sentiments, hazy ideas of revolutionary methods. During over one year’s stay here, living the life of an Eighth Route Army man, ever receiving criticism from comrades, both during meetings and personal talks, I have myself been experiencing a good deal of transformation in my character, ideas etc.”

In July that year, Dr. Kotnis was admitted to membership of the Communist Party of China. When a student graduated from the Bethune School, Kotnis would write them the following words of encouragement: “Study hard for the sake of the liberation of the oppressed mankind” in English, and “Victory in the war of resistance against Japan” in Chinese.

In Shijiazhuang, the capital of Hebei province, the Ke Dihua (Kotnis’s Chinese name) Medical Science Secondary Specialized School, was founded in 1992. More than 45,000 medical professionals have graduated from it. Each of the new students and staff must swear in front of a statue of Kotnis that they will work like him.

Continue reading Red Salute to Dr DS Kotnis on the 110th anniversary of his birth

Highlights of Wang Yi’s friendly meetings at the UN General Assembly

During his intensive working visit to New York last month for the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi held tens of meetings with his counterparts from all parts of the world. We present here some important highlights from his meetings with the representatives of a number of developing and progressive countries that are friendly to China. All materials are taken from news reports carried on the website of the Chinese Foreign Ministry.


In his September 19 meeting with Wang Yi, Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that the upcoming 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China is of historic and milestone significance. He is fully confident that the congress will be a complete success and boost China’s efforts to seek greater prosperity. Pakistan always regards its relations with China as the cornerstone of its foreign policy. This has become a common understanding of the whole Pakistani society. Bilawal expressed appreciation for China’s support to Pakistan in tackling the pandemic and floods. Pakistan is ready to work with China to implement the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, maintain close strategic coordination, consolidate Pakistan-China all-weather strategic cooperative partnership, and deepen all-round cooperation between the two countries.


Meeting Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla the same day, Wang Yi said that China and Cuba are good friends, good comrades, and good brothers with mutual trust and a shared future. The heads of state of the two countries have built their friendship and maintained close communication. The Chinese side stands ready to work with Cuba to follow the guidance of the important consensus reached by the two heads of state, deepen unity and cooperation, and consolidate and develop the special friendship between China and Cuba.

Rodríguez thanked the Chinese side for the long-term support for Cuba’s national course of justice and for the solidarity and assistance when Cuba suffered from the pandemic, disasters, and other difficult times. Cuba is glad about the profound friendship and political mutual trust between the heads of state of the two countries.

Continue reading Highlights of Wang Yi’s friendly meetings at the UN General Assembly

Congo-China friendship “not empty words”

The below article, which we republish from the Xinhua News Agency, details how the Republic of Congo stepped forward to rebuild a primary school in a Tibetan autonomous area of China’s Qinghai province after the region was hit by a devastating earthquake in 2010. This touching story highlights the fact that the Republic of Congo (capital Brazzaville) is one of China’s long-standing special friends in Africa. This close friendship dates above all to the presidency of the late Marien Ngoubai, who served as head of state, 1969-1977, in which time he made a serious attempt to build a socialist state and founded the Congolese Labour Party (PTC). A major landmark in this regard was his 1973 visit to China, (North) Vietnam and the DPRK. For his part, President Xi Jinping took Congo as the final stop of his first overseas visit as head of state, in March 2013, which saw him first visit Russia, Tanzania and South Africa, where he also attended a BRICS Summit. The PTC, which is still the ruling party in Congo, was among the participants in last month’s world forum of Marxist parties hosted by the CPC.

For Basile Ikouebe, former foreign minister of the Republic of the Congo, the day when he inaugurated a Congo-aided school on China’s Qinghai-Tibet Plateau 10 years ago remains fresh in his memory.

In April 2010, a 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in northwest China’s Qinghai Province.

As locals were struggling to rebuild their homes, Congo, a country on the other side of the world, decided to reach out. When attending the Shanghai World Expo in 2010, Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso announced that the country would help rebuild a primary school in the quake-hit area.

“The friendship between our two countries is not empty words,” said Ikouebe. Friendship between Congo and China has always stood the test of time with solidarity and a heart of gold.

“To see our partner dealing with such a difficult situation, we should express our compassion and solidarity,” explained Ikouebe in a recent interview with Xinhua, underlining that Congo has “the heart to honor its commitments and solidarity” with China.

Continue reading Congo-China friendship “not empty words”

Why the People’s Republic of China embraced Paul Robeson

The below article by Gao Yunxiang (Professor of History at Toronto Metropolitan University in Canada and author of the critically acclaimed Arise, Africa! Roar, China! Black and Chinese Citizens of the World in the Twentieth Century, published last year) is a fascinating and detailed account of the special relations between the Chinese revolution and the great African-American singer, actor and Marxist Paul Robeson (1898-1976), which date from the 1930s and which still resonate today. Professor Gao describes this as “part of the history that connects Black internationalism with the experiences of Chinese and Chinese American people.”

She explains that the Chinese love for Robeson “derives most of all from his role in globalising the future national anthem of the People’s Republic of China.” Introduced to it in November 1940, for Robeson, its lyrics “expressed the determination of the world’s oppressed, in their struggle for liberation.” In November 1941, he recorded it in an album together with the Chinese People’s Chorus, which had been organised by members of the Chinese Hand Laundry Alliance, an important working-class organisation in New York City’s Chinatown. Soong Qingling, widow of China’s first president Dr. Sun Yat-sen, and later Honorary President of the People’s Republic of China, described Robeson as the “voice of the people of all lands.”

However, Robeson’s connections to the struggles and aspirations of the Chinese people date back to at least 1935, when he met in London with Mei Lanfang, considered the father of modern Peking Opera, who was returning from three weeks of successful appearances in the Soviet Union.

On October 1 1949, when Chairman Mao proclaimed the founding of the People’s Republic of China, Robeson sang the national anthem on the streets of Harlem and cabled his congratulations to the Chinese leader. Despite vicious persecution, he stood firm when Chinese forces entered the Korean war. Mutual support between the People’s Republic of China and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea would, he insisted, be the “great truth” in their shared journey to freedom. It was only logical for Chinese volunteers to come to “the aid of the heroic Korean people.”

The article also highlights how the 1940 film ‘The Proud Valley’, starring Robeson and set in the mining communities of South Wales, was shown in China in the 1950s as well as his participation in mass China friendship activities in Britain after the US authorities were forced to restore his passport.

Whilst this article contains a couple of assertions towards its conclusion with which the editors of this website do not agree, we republish it because the fascinating and moving historical material it presents needs to be made known to the widest possible audience.

The article was originally carried by Australia’s Aeon Newsletter.

Several times in recent years, Chinese broadcasters have aired shows that feature Paul Robeson (1898-1976), one of the most popular African American singers and actors of his era and a well-known civil rights activist. China National Radio and various channels of the widely influential China Central TV showcased Robeson on programmes in 2009, 2012 and 2021 narrating China’s resistance to foreign military aggressions. This is a remarkable amount of coverage in Chinese media for an American who died decades ago. Though not widely known in the United States, the relationship between Robeson and China continues to resonate in China today. It’s part of the history that connects Black internationalism with the experiences of Chinese and Chinese American people. Robeson was one of the most important figures in an alliance between Maoist China and politically radical African Americans.

Continue reading Why the People’s Republic of China embraced Paul Robeson

Report: CPC and World Marxist Political Parties Forum

On July 28, Friends of Socialist China Co-Editor Keith Bennett joined more than 300 delegates from more than 100 Marxist political parties and organisations from more than 70 countries at the CPC and World Marxist Political Parties Forum held online with the theme, Adapting Marxism to the National Conditions and the Times of the 21st Century, organised by the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

In the opening ceremony, delegates were informed that Comrade Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China and President of the People’s Republic of China, had attached importance to the event and his message of greetings to all participants was then read. This was followed by the messages of greetings from Nguyễn Phú Trọng, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam; Miguel Díaz-Canel, First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba and President of the Republic of Cuba; and Gennady Zyuganov, General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation.

Xi Jinping pointed out that Marxism is an open ended theory that never ceases to develop. And it can only thrive when adapted to national conditions. Socialism with Chinese characteristics had been created by integrating Marxism with China’s specific conditions and fine traditional culture. Faced with changes unseen in a century, Marxism lights up the way forward for humanity and the Communist Party of China wishes to exchange experiences with Marxist parties worldwide.

In the plenary session, a keynote speech was given by Liu Jianchao, Minister of the CPC International Department, who stressed that the ‘end of history’ will never happen and that the contradiction between socialism and capitalism on a world scale was tipping in favour of socialism.

He was followed by Comrade Pany Yathotou, Member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party (LPRP) and Vice-President of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic; leading comrades from the Cuban and Vietnamese communist parties; Solly Mapaila, the newly-elected General Secretary of the South African Communist Party; Jeronimo de Sousa, General Secretary of the Portuguese Communist Party; and Rossana Cambron, Co-Leader of the Communist Party of the USA.

Following the plenary session, two parallel sessions were held, in which, besides representatives of the CPC, leaders of the following parties presented their contributions:

  • Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova
  • Communist Party of Argentina
  • Communist Party of Belarus
  • Communist Party of Brazil
  • Communist Party of Chile
  • Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia
  • Communist Party of India (Marxist)
  • People’s Party of Kazakhstan
  • Communist Party of Kenya
  • Party of Communists of Kyrgyzstan
  • Labor Party of Mexico (PT)
  • Communist Party of Uruguay
  • Communist Party of Australia
  • Communist Party of Bangladesh (Marxist-Leninist)
  • Worker’s Party of Belgium
  • Socialist Party of Egypt
  • Iraqi Communist Party
  • Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Center)
  • Palestinian People’s Party
  • And-Jëf/African Party for Democracy and Socialism (Senegal)
  • Vatan (Patriotic) Party of Türkiye
  • Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist)

This was an extremely important and inspiring event – a potential landmark in strengthening the unity and cohesion of the international communist movement around the advanced experience of the socialist countries and their theoretical innovations. We are pleased to republish the following four reports. The first from the Xinhua News Agency reports on the message sent to the forum by Comrade Xi Jinping. This is followed by a report carried on the website of the CPC International Department and then reports from Nhan Dan, the main newspaper of the Communist Party of Vietnam, and from the Cuban news agency Prensa Latina, highlighting their countries’ contributions to the event.

Xi says Marxism shows new vitality in 21st century

First published in Xinhua.

Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Thursday that Marxism has been showing new vitality in the 21st century, calling on all Marxist political parties to make the theory more relevant to the national conditions and the times.

Continue reading Report: CPC and World Marxist Political Parties Forum

Xi Jinping sends message of condolence on the death of José Eduardo dos Santos

José Eduardo dos Santos, who served as President of Angola from 1979-2017, passed away on July 8. Born in 1942, he joined the MPLA liberation movement in his early years. Sent by the MPLA to study in the Soviet Union, he obtained degrees in petroleum engineering and radar communications from Baku’s Oil and Chemistry Institute in Soviet Azerbaijan. He subsequently participated in the armed struggle against Portuguese colonial rule for several years and also represented the MPLA in a number of countries, including China and Yugoslavia. 

China and Angola established formal diplomatic relations in 1983, during President dos Santos’s term of office, and he went on to develop close political and economic relations with Beijing, with, according to 2021 figures, Angola now established as China’s third-largest trading partner in Africa. 

The following report of President Xi Jinping’s message of condolence on the death of President dos Santos is translated from the Portuguese language service of China Radio International.

On July 12th, Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message of condolences to Angolan President João Lourenço on the death of the former president of the African country, José Eduardo dos Santos.

Xi Jinping offered deep condolences on behalf of the Chinese government and people. He stated that José Eduardo dos Santos was an excellent leader of Angola and an old friend of China, as he made important contributions to the development of Sino-Angolan relations.

According to Xi Jinping, the Chinese side highly values ​​the traditional fraternal friendship with Angola and wants to work together with the Angolan side to expand and deepen friendly cooperation in all areas and generate more benefits for both peoples.

Li Mingxiang attends the 15th National Conference of the South African Communist Party

The South African Communist Party (SACP), Africa’s oldest communist party, held its 15th National Congress from July 13-16. Solly Mapaila was elected as the new General Secretary, replacing Blade Nzimande, who had held the post since 1998. Nzimande was elected Party President. Congress heard that the Party now had well over 330,000 members.

Li Mingxiang, Assistant Minister of the Communist Party of China’s International Department, attended and addressed the congress via video link, presenting greetings from the CPC Central Committee. He spoke positively of the SACP’s contributions to ending apartheid, founding and developing a new South Africa, and advancing the exploration of socialism in South Africa over the past century and more. Also addressing the congress were Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the African National Congress (ANC) and of the Republic of South Africa, representatives of the ruling parties of Cuba, Venezuela and Palestine, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, and others.

The following report was carried on the website of the CPC International Department.

Li Mingxiang, Assistant-minister of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee (IDCPC), attended here today the 15th National Conference of the South African Communist Party (SACP) via video link upon invitation, and read out the congratulatory letter of the CPC Central Committee to the SACP Central Committee.

In his speech, Li spoke positively of SACP’s contributions to ending apartheid, founding and developing a new South Africa, and advancing the exploration of socialism in South Africa over the past century and more. Li introduced the historic achievements of the CPC Central Committee, with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core, in pushing socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era against the backdrop of profound changes unseen in a century, and briefed on the upcoming 20th CPC National Congress and the fourth volume of “Xi Jinping: The Governance of China” which was released recently. Li said, the CPC is willing to work with the SACP to conform to the trend of times, march towards the right direction of building a community with a shared future for mankind, and open up a future together.

Themed on “Together, Let’s Build a Powerful, Socialist Movement of the Workers and Poor”, the 15th National Conference of the SACP was held from July 13th to 16th in Johannesburg, South Africa. Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the African National Congress and the Republic of South Africa, major leaders of the coalition, representatives from international friendly parties such as Communist Party of the Russian Federation and the Communist Party of Cuba, and some diplomatic envoys in South Africa attended the conference upon invitation.

My Impression: the CPC in the new era – report

On Wednesday May 25th, the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China organised an online meeting with comrades in Britain around the theme ‘My Impression: the CPC in the new era’.

According to the letter of invitation: “In 2021, the Communist Party of China (CPC) solemnly celebrated its centenary and convened the Sixth Plenary Session of its 19th Central Committee, through which we took stock of the major achievements and historical experience of the Party’s endeavours over the past century… In 2022, the CPC will hold its 20th National Congress, which is a major political event for both the Party and the country. As the changes of the times combine with the once-in-a-century pandemic, the international landscape is evolving at a faster pace, and the world finds itself in a new period of turbulence and transformation. As far as China itself is concerned, we are committed to upholding the CPC leadership, putting people first and sticking to the new path to modernisation of socialism with Chinese characteristics. In this process we look forward to strengthening communications and dialogues… and to understanding your take on China’s development as well as your expectations on China and the CPC in the new era and the upcoming 20th CPC National Congress.”

A delegation from Friends of Socialist China participated in the meeting, where the keynote address was given by Comrade Guo Yezhou, Vice-Minister of the CPC International Department.

Co-Editors of Friends of Socialist China, Keith Bennett and Carlos Martinez both delivered speeches, which we publish below.

Speeches were also made by Comrades Robert Griffiths, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Britain (CPB), Ella Rule, Chair of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) (CPGBML), Andy Brooks, General Secretary of the New Communist Party of Britain (NCPB), and Jacob Maseyk of the Young Communist League (YCL) of Britain.

The CPC International Department carried the following report on its website: International Department Central Committee of CPC (

Also embedded below is a short video produced by the International Department featuring clips from different ‘My Impression: the CPC in the new era’ meetings held with comrades in various countries. The video includes clips of the speeches made by Friends of Socialist China co-editors Keith Bennett and Carlos Martinez, as well as advisory group member (and Communist Party of Britain General Secretary) Robert Griffiths.

Speech by Keith Bennett

Dear Comrades

First, on behalf of Friends of Socialist China, I would like to thank the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China for their kind invitation and express our full support for this meeting. We are very pleased to join with all the other comrades participating here.

In the time available to me, I am choosing to focus on one of your suggested themes, namely important and most memorable moments of your interactions with the CPC and China. We are talking about several decades so I can only touch on a few aspects.

I suppose that my first contact with China was at the age of about 12 or 13, when I rang on the bell of the Chinese Embassy in London and asked to be given a copy of the Red Book and a badge with Chairman Mao’s portrait – which they were pleased to do.

Probably my first formal interaction with the CPC was around the 11th National Congress of the Party in August 1977. I proposed to the National Committee of the organisation I was a member of at that time that we send greetings to the congress, which I then drafted. Considering that I had celebrated my 19th birthday just days before, and considering that then, as now, I considered the CPC to be the most important party of the world communist movement, I was so thrilled when I saw the message printed in full in the Daily Bulletin of the Xinhua News Agency.

Since that time, although generally not sent in my own name, I have drafted messages of greetings to most, if not all, of the subsequent congresses. For the last, 19th Congress, I wrote my draft in the port of Gwadar, where I was able to see for myself how the China Pakistan Economic Corridor has the potential to transform not just Pakistan but the wider region as a flagship of President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative.

From the 11th Congress to the eve of the 20th is a long road. So much has changed in China, Britain and the world. But one thing that has remained constant is my friendship with the Communist Party of China and my support for socialist China. That is why I believe it is fair and accurate to describe ours as an all-weather friendship and as a relationship of good friends, good comrades and good brothers and sisters, united by the same ideals and beliefs and committed to the same cause, although the concrete circumstances of our struggles differ radically.

My first visit to China was made in April and May 1981, with the last week being as a guest of your department. In those days, from the centre of Beijing one had to drive through quite a bit of countryside to reach your guest house. I had travelled quite extensively in China before reaching Beijing, including seeing the early days of the household responsibility system in Anhui province. To reach Beijing we made a long train journey from Nanjing. The days when China would be covered by the world’s biggest network of high-speed rail seemed far off. I was still only 22 and this was my first time in Asia, so my memories of that visit are abiding ones. It was a time of taking pride in China’s immense achievements since Liberation, but also of summing up mistakes, rectifying errors, learning everything that was useful and charting a new course. One could sense the people’s aspirations for a better life and felt that China was on the cusp of great change. But still one could not have imagined how far and how fast China would develop in the ensuing decades.

The most abiding impression I took away with me, from which I have never wavered, is that whatever the obstacles they might face, and whatever the twists and turns, the Chinese people, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, will succeed in their goal of building a strong, modernised and prosperous socialist country and in making a greater contribution to humanity.

Another very memorable aspect of that visit is that it was a time for reassessment, not only with regard to China’s socialist development, but also with regard to the international communist movement and the international work of the party more generally. Naturally this was reflected in our discussions and I still recall the following words of one of your comrades:

“We deeply feel that the question of how to make a revolution in the countries of Western Europe remains an unanswered one.”

I am sure that he was trying to give me a message in a very polite, diplomatic and comradely fashion. I hope that it has been well received.

As part of this reassessment, the CPC was starting to move away from the policy it had hitherto followed for some years of overwhelmingly confining its relations to what were then termed the “genuine Marxist-Leninist parties and organisations”. One of the first developments was the resumption of relations with mass communist parties in Europe that displayed a degree of independence. Indeed, shortly before my own visit, Comrade Enrico Berlinguer had led the delegation of the Italian Communist Party, then well over a million strong and a very major participant in national political life. This was followed by the resumption or establishment of relations and exchanges with communist parties of various kinds, revolutionary democratic, national democratic and national liberation parties and movements throughout the Global South, socialist and social democratic parties, and then significant political parties without regard to ideology or differences in view. The culmination of this process has seen the CPC come to play an indispensable part in China’s overall diplomacy and external work and in global political affairs generally, as well as in steadily strengthening the unity, cohesion  and effectiveness of the world communist movement, of which today’s meeting is but one example. I am so proud to have accompanied you on that journey, enjoying and benefiting from our friendship at every step.

In November 1989, speaking with Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere, Comrade Deng Xiaoping said: “So long as socialism does not collapse in China, it will always hold its ground in the world.”

Today, under the bold and wise leadership of Comrade Xi Jinping, socialist China is steadily marching towards the centre of the world stage.  As Comrade Xi  said at the 19th Party Congress, the new era will be one “that sees China moving closer to centre stage and making greater contributions to humanity.” Socialism with Chinese characteristics, he further pointed out, “offers a new option for other countries and nations who want to speed up their development while preserving their independence; and it offers Chinese wisdom and a Chinese approach to solving the problems facing humanity.”

It is in this spirit and against this background that a small group of us formed Friends of Socialist China a year ago this month. We did so for two distinct reasons that together form an integrated whole: To support and defend the People’s Republic, especially in the context of the new Cold War being waged by the USA, Britain and other imperialist countries against China and other socialist and independent countries; and also to promote understanding of Chinese socialism, because, in the words of our founding statement:

“The global advance to socialism is indispensable if humanity is to survive and to flourish; humanity needs socialism in order to prevent climate breakdown, end poverty, establish global peace and work towards dismantling structural discrimination and oppression.”

We applaud Comrade Xi Jinping’s resolute opposition to historical nihilism with our statement that: “We believe that the record of the socialist countries is overwhelmingly positive; that socialism has been able to – or has the potential to – solve many of humanity’s most burning issues; that the most impressive advances in people’s living conditions have occurred under socialist systems; that socialist states and movements played the decisive role in the defeat of European fascism and Japanese militarism; that the socialist world was pivotal to the dismantling of colonialism; that the socialist states have made historic strides in tackling discrimination based on race, ethnicity and gender.”

The gains made by working people in the capitalist countries, for example our National Health Service, have always been inseparable from the strength, example and inspiration of the socialist countries. Equally, it is no coincidence that the setbacks encountered by global socialism, particularly around 1989-91, fuelled neoliberalism and savage attacks on working people everywhere that the socialist system did not exist. China’s historic elimination of extreme poverty, its advance to the front ranks of the world economy, its building of an ecological civilisation, its transition to a high income country, and the building of a China that is, in Comrade Xi’s words, “a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful” is decisive not only for the destiny of the Chinese people but also for that of global socialism and therefore humanity.

We need to study, disseminate and apply Xi Jinping Thought as 21st century Marxism and continue the long march with our Chinese comrades towards a bright socialist future for the whole of humanity.

Thank you once again for your initiative in organising this meeting and for inviting us. We wish every success to the 20th National Congress of the great Communist Party of China!

Speech by Carlos Martinez

China’s progress over the last decade has been truly inspirational.

At the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2012, General Secretary Xi Jinping put forward the Two Centenary goals: to achieve a “moderately well-off” society by 2021, and a “great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful” by 2049.

In pursuit of the first centenary goal, millions of cadres were mobilised in a targeted poverty alleviation campaign, with the goal of eliminating extreme poverty. At the start of that campaign, eight years ago, just under 100 million people were identified as living below the poverty line. By late 2020, the number was zero.

And it’s important to note that rising out of poverty in China means more than just surpassing an income threshold. It also means having assured access to adequate food and clothing, along with guaranteed access to medical services, safe housing with drinking water and electricity, and nine years of free education.

Meanwhile, the land ownership system in China means that the rural poor have rent-free access to land and housing – putting them in an entirely different category to the rural poor elsewhere in the world.

As Xi Jinping has observed, “thanks to the sustained efforts of the Chinese people from generation to generation, those who once lived in poverty no longer have to worry about food or clothing or access to education, housing and medical insurance.”

To eradicate extreme poverty in a developing country of 1.4 billion people, which at the time of the founding of the People’s Republic of China was one of the poorest countries in the world – characterised by widespread malnutrition, illiteracy, foreign domination and technological backwardness – is a truly extraordinary achievement, and it’s an achievement of socialism. It is possible because of the leading position of the working class and peasantry.

As Deng Xiaoping put it in 1987, “only the socialist system can eradicate poverty.”

Poverty alleviation is part of the DNA of the Communist Party of China. It’s a thread that runs throughout the history of the Chinese Revolution, starting with the land reform measures in the liberated areas before 1949, and continuing with the dismantling of the feudal system after the founding of the People’s Republic, then Reform and Opening Up, and now the targeted poverty alleviation program.

Meanwhile in the West, where the bourgeoisie is the ruling class – and where neoliberal economic theory has dominated for several decades – the last ten years have witnessed an alarming rise in poverty and inequality.

In 2019, I visited two important cities for the first time: Beijing and New York. New York is unquestionably a wonderful city in many respects, but the levels of deprivation and inequality, the widespread homelessness, along with the crumbling infrastructure and simmering social tensions, are quite stark – certainly when compared with Beijing, which stands out as a very modern, harmonious, well-organised city, in which the problems of homelessness and extreme poverty have been solved.

Another key area in which China has made outstanding progress in the last decade is in the fight against climate breakdown and in promoting biodiversity, clean air and clean water.

In 2017, Xi Jinping introduced the concept of ‘ecological civilisation’, putting environmental sustainability at the heart of Chinese policy-making. And in 2021, China committed to reaching peak carbon emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060, and has already developed systematic programs for reaching these goals.

China is already by far the world leader in renewable energy, with a total capacity greater than the US, the EU, Japan and Britain combined. China’s forest coverage has doubled in the last four decades. Meanwhile it also leads the world in the production and use of electric cars, trains and buses.

China has led the way in the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic. Its dynamic Zero Covid strategy has saved millions of lives in China. Furthermore China has provided extensive assistance to countries around the world, particularly in the Global South, supplying enormous quantities of medical supplies, as well as more than 2 billion vaccine doses.

The Belt and Road Initiative, first advanced in 2013, has transformed the global investment landscape for infrastructure and connectivity, particularly in the developing world. Over 140 of the world’s 195 countries have formally affiliated to the Belt and Road, assisting them in addressing their substantial needs in terms of physical infrastructure, telecommunications, transport, and energy production and transmission.

Meanwhile China is playing a crucial role in international organisations, promoting peace, dialogue, multilateralism and multipolarity.

American politicians sometimes refer to the US as “the indispensable nation”. But if we look at what country is contributing the most to poverty alleviation, to global development, to the construction of a more peaceful world, to the fight against the pandemic, to the fight against climate breakdown; and if we contrast that with the US’s record of non-stop war, unilateral sanctions, destabilisation and bullying; we would have to conclude that China is much closer to meeting the definition of “indispensable” than the US is.

Looking to the future, with the first centenary goal now achieved, the second goal is coming into sharp focus. Building a great modern socialist country in all respects implies taking on relative poverty, improving per capita GDP, reducing inequality between regions and groups, and developing in an ecologically sustainable manner.

Common prosperity will be a key theme: reducing inequality, increasing the size of the middle income population, and improving the lives of the least affluent.

The CPC and the government it leads are not in the habit of making empty promises, and significant progress has already been made on tackling the disorderly expansion of private capital, housing speculation, extreme income inequality, and excessive power of tech companies and private education providers.

In the coming years and decades, Chinese people will increasingly come to enjoy a standard of living and quality of life comparable to, or indeed ahead of, working people in the advanced capitalist countries. And unlike in the advanced capitalist countries, this shared wealth won’t have its origins in historic colonialism and ongoing hegemonism, but in the hard work of the people and the sustained wise leadership of the CPC.

China’s successes since the founding of the PRC, and the successes it will surely achieve on the path to becoming a great modern socialist country in all respects, should serve to inspire working people around the world as to what can be achieved under socialism.

And for this reason, the Western ruling classes are working round the clock to ensure that ordinary people know nothing about China’s progress. The mass media barely mentions China’s successes in poverty alleviation. Rather than commending China for its handling of the pandemic, newspaper headlines talk about how “oppressive” and “authoritarian” the dynamic Zero Covid strategy is. Politicians and journalists accept that millions of lives have been saved as a result of China’s Covid suppression efforts, but they never fail to ask: “but at what cost?” As if human life had a quantifiable cost, and as if millions of deaths might have been “worth it” for the sake of smoother-running supply chains and corporate profits.

In order to pull the wool over people’s eyes, the West is waging a systematic propaganda war against China. Consuming mainstream media in Britain or the US, what you hear about China is that a “cultural genocide” is happening in Xinjiang; that pro-democracy students are being attacked by the Hong Kong police; that China is trapping African, Asian, Latin American, Caribbean and South Pacific countries in “debt traps”.

This web of lies is serving to keep people ignorant about the reality of Chinese socialism, and therefore it is extremely important to debunk these fabrications.

The slander that there is a “genocide” or “cultural genocide” against Uyghur Muslims, or that there are “concentration camps” in Xinjiang, has been repeated a thousand times. And yet, anyone visiting Xinjiang can see the total falsehood – indeed the utter absurdity – of this slander.

I personally went to Ürümqi in January 2020, with a group of friends. We walked around freely and certainly didn’t see any evidence of religious persecution or ethnic oppression. In fact we saw hundreds of Uyghur Muslims, wearing Uyghur clothing, going about their normal lives and practising their culture, religion and traditions.

We ate in Uyghur restaurants, where the food was halal and where alcohol wasn’t available. We heard the Uyghur language being spoken everywhere. All road signs have both Uyghur and Chinese writing. You see Uyghur language newspapers and magazines everywhere.

It’s notable how many mosques there are. Indeed Xinjiang has one of the highest concentrations of mosques in the world. And this is what the Western media calls a “cultural genocide”!

One of the reasons we formed Friends of Socialist China, just over a year ago, was to systematically oppose this propaganda war – a propaganda war that serves the interests of the imperialist ruling classes, and that runs directly counter to the interests of the working classes and oppressed communities.

As Marxists, as communists, as people working to popularise and promote socialism, we consider it crucial to spread an understanding of the remarkable successes of socialist China.

We deeply value our relationship with the CPC International Department, and we look forward to expanding our work together with you and with the other organisations represented here today.

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.

The enduring friendship between China and Zambia

Two significant events on May 31st underscored the deep, traditional friendship between China and Zambia.

In a phone call with Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema, Chinese President Xi Jinping pointed out that China and Zambia are “all-weather friends” enjoying traditional and amicable relations and unbreakable friendship. He stressed that China and Zambia are both developing countries, and promoting solidarity and cooperation with Zambia and other African countries is China’s long-term and firm strategic choice and went on to suggest that they deepen cooperation in healthcare, poverty mitigation and agricultural development, trade and investment, green development, digital economy and other fields, help boost economic recovery and sustainable development in Africa, and promote the building of a China-Africa community with a shared future.

For his part, President Hichilema thanked China for its long-term and significant support for Zambia’s national development. Zambia, he said, is ready to strengthen exchanges with and learn from the Communist Party of China (CPC) and consolidate and deepen the traditional friendship forged by the elder generations of leaders of Zambia and China.

The same day, the Kenneth Kaunda International Conference Centre, an ultra-modern facility financed by China, with its main hall having a 2,500 seating capacity, and built to host the next mid-year summit of the African Union (AU), was opened in the Zambian capital Lusaka.

At the opening ceremony, Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema thanked China, saying his government was grateful to the support given to the country’s infrastructure development which dates back to the 1970s through the construction of the Tanzania-Zambia Railway (TAZARA).

“This was a critical point in our history, when Zambia had no access to oceans and, therefore could not import or export goods due to the blockade in Southern Rhodesia,” he said.

Kenneth Kaunda, who passed away on June 17th last year at the age of 97, was the father of independent Zambia, the pioneer of Zambia/China friendship and an outstanding leader of the African liberation struggle. He made numerous visits to China from the 1960s to the 2010s and forged deep friendships with generations of Chinese leaders from Chairman Mao Zedong, Premier Zhou Enlai and Comrade Deng Xiaoping to their successors, including President Xi Jinping. As one of the ‘frontline states’, Zambia under Kaunda’s leadership made great sacrifices to support the liberation struggle against apartheid, racism and colonialism throughout southern Africa. For example, the African National Congress (ANC) of South Africa maintained its headquarters in Lusaka through many years of exile and underground struggle. The TAZARA railway played a significant role in making this possible.

The following reports were originally published on the websites of the Chinese Foreign Ministry and the Xinhua News Agency.

Xi Jinping Speaks with Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema on the phone

On the afternoon of May 31, 2022, President Xi Jinping had a phone conversation with Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema.

Xi Jinping pointed out, China and Zambia are “all-weather friends” enjoying traditional and amicable relations and unbreakable friendship. In the past year, China-Zambia relations have maintained a positive momentum of development, with two-way trade volume hitting a record high and Zambia becoming the country attracting the most Chinese direct investment in Africa. The cooperation between the two countries enjoys huge potential and bright prospects. China attaches great importance to China-Zambia relations, and stands ready to work with Zambia to consolidate and deepen the China-Zambia friendship, and push bilateral ties to higher levels and broader areas.

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