Wang Yi: The ‘China debt trap’ narrative is being promoted by imperialist forces that oppose Africa’s sovereign development

Continuing a tradition of 32 years, the Chinese foreign minister’s first external trip of the year is to Africa. Wang Yi has been in Eritrea, Kenya and Comoros, cementing the longstanding relationship of friendship and solidarity between China and the peoples of the continent. Speaking in Nairobi, he referred to the accusation – popular in the West – that China is trapping African countries in debt:

China has never attached any political conditions to its cooperation with Africa, and has never imposed its own will on others. The so-called ‘debt trap’ is in fact a narrative trap created by forces who do not want to see rapid development in Africa. If there is any ‘trap’ in Africa, it is the ‘poverty trap’ and the ‘underdevelopment trap,’ both of which should be got rid of as soon as possible.

Xinhua: Chinese FM refutes “debt trap” allegation in China-Africa cooperation

Quote: Wang Wenbin on the US’s brazen misuse of the word ‘democracy’

For too long the US has been using democracy as a cover to flagrantly engage in infiltration and subversion in sovereign countries, impose economic sanctions, cause turmoil and chaos, and wage wars of occupation, bringing disaster to the affected countries and the international community.

The so-called ‘Summit for Democracy’ will not turn Washington into a democratic high ground. It will only expose further the true face of the US as a manipulator and saboteur of democracy in front of the whole world.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on December 1, 2021

Drop the illusions: Biden is a vicious Cold Warrior

This original article by Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez analyses the recently-announced AUKUS military pact in the context of the Biden administration’s aggressive foreign policy. The article points out that any pro-peace hopes in Biden have been comprehensively dashed; this administration is pursuing an imperialist New Cold War with all the zeal of its predecessor.

After four years of Trump’s unhinged anti-China rhetoric, combined with the intensification of US diplomatic and economic attacks on China, many people on the left and in the anti-war movement breathed a sigh of relief upon Joe Biden’s arrival in the White House.

Gone were such fanatical China hawks as Mike Pompeo, John Bolton, Stephen Bannon, Robert Lighthizer and Peter Navarro. Gone was the bombastic and openly demagogic style of the far-right Republican administration, with its racism, its blackmail, its threats. Perhaps it would now be possible to end the trade war; to accept China’s emergence as an important global power; to build an environment conducive to urgently-needed cooperation on climate change, pandemics, nuclear proliferation and peace.

The leopard has not changed its spots

Such hopes were misplaced, and have since been comprehensively dashed. As Demetri Sevastopulo noted in the Financial Times back in April, “Joe Biden’s hawkish stance on China has been much closer to that of his predecessor Donald Trump than experts had predicted.” Biden has made it abundantly clear that he has every intention of continuing – and indeed escalating – the New Cold War against China, stating: “China has an overall goal to become the leading country in the world, the wealthiest country in the world and the most powerful country in the world; that’s not going to happen on my watch.”

One of the Biden team’s first acts in the realm of foreign policy was to work to undermine the EU-China investment deal, which is currently still frozen. Nine months into Biden’s administration and there is no sign of Trump’s trade war being dropped, in spite its manifest failure to revive US manufacturing. Biden continues to repeat Trump’s talking points about China’s “coercive and unfair” trade practices and its “abuses of the international system.”

Meanwhile the US continues to ramp up its military presence in the South China Sea. The US Coast Guard has commenced a massive upgrade of its fleet, for the specific purpose of “countering China’s growing influence in the region.” This has been combined with increased weapons sales to Taiwan.

Facing the reality of US defeat in Afghanistan, you might expect the US military budget to decrease somewhat, and yet even the relatively moderate proposal by Bernie Sanders to reduce military expenditure by 10 percent has been met with resolute, bipartisan opposition. In fact Biden’s 715 billion dollar defence budget will be the largest in history, making a mockery out of his widely lauded infrastructure plan, which commits to spending 3.5 trillion dollars over 10 years – meaning that he proposes to spend more than twice as much on the military as on solving the most basic needs of the American people.

The information warfare against China has if anything accelerated under Biden. His insistence on spreading conspiracy theories about Covid’s origins – dismissing the WHO’s findings that a lab leak was “extremely unlikely” and ordering US intelligence services to conduct a separate investigation focused on the Wuhan Institute of Virology – is nothing more than a sugar-coating of Trump’s flagrant ‘kung flu’ racism. When Trump first put proposed the lab leak hypothesis, Democrats correctly dismissed it as a conspiracy theory; now in the driving seat of the New Cold War, these so-called progressives have chosen to take the same road.

The Democratic administration and its media supporters have amplified the crazed accusations of Mike Pompeo about genocide in Xinjiang. In the first week of the administration, national security adviser Jake Sullivan warned that the US would “impose costs for what China is doing in Xinjiang, what it is doing in Hong Kong, for the bellicosity and threats that it is projecting towards Taiwan”. Accusing China of “genocide and crimes against humanity” – on the basis of extremely dubious evidence that has been comprehensively debunked (for example by The Grayzone and the Eurispes Institute of Political, Economic and Social Study) – the US, EU, UK and Canada co-ordinated to impose sanctions on China. The Western media has ramped up its slander campaign in order to win broad public support for anti-China actions at an economic, political, diplomatic and military level.

In summary, as Danny Haiphong has observed, when it comes to the New Cold War, Joe Biden is “a Democrat with Trumpian Characteristics.” The imperialist leopard has not changed its spots. Biden is just as committed as his predecessors were to the preservation and expansion of the US-led imperialist world system. The New Cold War on China constitutes the cornerstone of this bipartisan strategy.

AUKUS and the attempted rebuilding of an imperial alliance against China

Trump’s bluster, his crudity and his unfiltered aggressive nationalism served to alienate some of the US’s traditional allies. The longstanding coalition of advanced capitalist countries – the US, Canada, Western Europe, Australia and Japan – started to fracture under the weight of Trump’s refusal (or inability) to convincingly pretend that neoliberal imperialist plutocracy is good for everyone.

Once installed in the White House, Joe Biden lost no time in declaring that “diplomacy is back” and that he would work to “repair our alliances” in order to “confront China’s economic abuses; counter its aggressive, coercive action; to push back on China’s attack on human rights, intellectual property, and global governance.” In particular he promised to coordinate with “other democracies” to contain China.

In June, Biden travelled to the NATO and G7 summits in order to promote this anti-China alliance and to reiterate the importance of a “rules-based international order” A genuinely independent press might have queried whether the phrase “rules-based international order” should actually refer to the existing framework of international law as defined by the United Nations – of which, for example, the US’s wars, drone strikes and unilateral sanctions are a clear violation. Needless to say, such analysis was noteworthy by its absence.

The Quad alliance (the ‘Quadrilateral Security Dialogue’ of the US, Japan, Australia and India), dormant for nearly a decade, was revived by Trump in 2017 as an ‘Asian NATO’ with a mandate to increase military pressure on China. Biden’s administration is picking up this ball and running with it – “making the Quad the core dynamic of its Asia policy.” Biden convened the first leaders’ summit of the Quad in March, and on 24 September 2021 the Quad holds its first ever in-person leaders’ summit.

The latest move in this deepening New Cold War is the announcement on 15 September 2021 of AUKUS – a trilateral security pact between Australia, the UK and the US. The pact is designed to “deepen diplomatic, security, and defense cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region” and involves cooperation on cyber warfare, underwater capabilities, and long-range strike capabilities.

The composition of the AUKUS pact serves to expose its nature as a colonial throwback. Boris Johnson may try to present the three countries’ core commonality as being “English-speaking maritime democracies”, but what the world sees is an “alliance of white colonial states” attempting to reassert imperial hegemony and keep the natives in line.

The pact’s most obvious practical significance is in improving Australia’s ability to police the Pacific on behalf of US-led imperialism – specifically, with the aid of nuclear-powered submarines. Julian Borger and Dan Sabbagh write that “the aim is to put Australia’s currently diesel-powered navy on a technological par with China’s navy.”

Nobody is in any doubt that AUKUS is part of a strategy to contain and encircle China. Kate Hudson, General Secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), observes: “this major new multifaceted defence agreement between the US, UK and Australia sees the latter firmly jump into the US camp and the former strengthen and renew its Pivot to Asia through unashamedly militaristic means.” Gideon Rachman, writing in the Financial Times, describes it as being “ultimately aimed at deterring Chinese power, much as NATO deters Russia in Europe” (Rachman of course considers this a good thing).

Former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating argued vociferously against Australia’s membership of such a pact, on the basis that it would induce a “further dramatic loss of Australian sovereignty” and that its only objective – “to act collectively in any military engagement by the US against China” – runs counter to Australia’s basic interests.

The provision of nuclear-powered submarines to Australia certainly violates the spirit – and quite possibly the letter – of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), involving as it does the provision of weapons-grade enriched uranium to a non-nuclear weapons state. Kate Hudson points out that the NPT “stipulates that any sharing of nuclear technology must be ‘for peaceful purposes’, and a military pact does not have ‘peaceful purposes’”.

Given these nuclear submarines will doubtless be deployed in and around the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait, AUKUS adds significantly to the threat of the New Cold War turning extremely hot. As the spokesperson of the Chinese embassy in Britain put it: “The AUKUS military partnership and cooperation on nuclear submarines risk intensifying global arms race, crippling international non-proliferation efforts and severely undermining regional peace and stability.” Even New Zealand, a fellow “English-speaking maritime democracy”, is keeping its distance from AUKUS, stating that Australia’s new nuclear-powered submarines will be banned from New Zealand waters.

Build opposition to the New Cold War

It is an inescapable fact that the Biden administration does not plan to end the New Cold War or pursue a cooperative, multipolar foreign policy. The US remains a hegemonist power, armed to the teeth and ready to risk humanity’s future for the sake of preserving the imperialist status quo.

The fight against the New Cold War therefore requires a global alliance of the socialist countries, the developing world, the working class and oppressed communities in the imperialist heartlands; alongside the peace movement, the environmental movement, and all forces that can be united to oppose this reckless strategy. Cold War benefits only a tiny handful of people. Meanwhile humanity face global problems that require global solutions: climate change, containment and prevention of pandemics, microbial resistance, and the threat of nuclear confrontation.

Kishore Mahbubani puts the case simply and eloquently in his recent book, Has China Won?: “If climate change makes the planet progressively uninhabitable, both American and Chinese citizens will be fellow passengers on a sinking ship.”

The cooperation we urgently need cannot be built in an atmosphere of fear and distrust, in the context of a New Cold War and a relentless slander campaign. Those of us in the West must demand of our governments and media that they cease their hysterical hostility towards China, stop demonising China, stop attempting to prevent its rise, stop constructing military alliances against it, and start creating an environment conducive to deep and lasting cooperation.

China’s approach to international relations provides an example for others to follow: “No matter how the international landscape evolves, China will resolutely safeguard UN’s core role in international affairs, stay firmly on the right side of history, strive to build a community with a shared future for mankind, join hands with all progressive forces in the world, and work tirelessly to advance the noble cause of peace and development for humanity.”

Let us consolidate and expand our forces, and put our shoulders to the wheel of ending the New Cold War.

Towards a shared vision, a shared prosperity and a shared partnership between China and Vietnam

We are pleased to reproduce the following articles from CGTN and Nhân Dân, reporting on Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s recent visit to Vietnam. Both reflect a growing consensus between the two states to deepen cooperation, reject US interference and trouble-making, and settle historic differences in the spirit of peace and friendship.

CGTN: For Vietnam, China is a bulwark against Western interventionism

As a part of his tour of regional countries, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Vietnam and participated in the 13th meeting of the China-Vietnam Steering Committee for Bilateral Cooperation. Vietnam official media described the visit and the meeting as two countries maintaining positive trends and that Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh sees win-win cooperation in a number of areas, including senior leadership visits, security issues, economic cooperation and COVD-19 management.

Continue reading Towards a shared vision, a shared prosperity and a shared partnership between China and Vietnam

US intelligence agents are not scientists but experts in making chaos

The latest article by Danny Haiphong, published on CGTN on 1 September 2021, addresses the recent report by the US Office of National Intelligence, commissioned by the Biden administration, on the origins of Covid-19. The article points out that US intelligence agencies have no competence or mandate in this matter; they are simply being used for the same purpose they have so often been used for in the past: furthering the political interests of the US imperialist ruling class.

The lab leak theory has received another blow to its questionable legitimacy following the report by the U.S. Office of National Intelligence (ONI) on its “investigation” into whether the virus now known as SARS‑CoV‑2 was intentionally or accidentally leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). The report released on August 27 came to a number of conclusions. It asserted that SARS‑CoV‑2 was not developed as a “biological weapon” and speculated that the virus might have initially spread from an infected animal. No evidence for any “lab leak” at the WIV was offered. Still, the report left open the possibility that such a scenario could have occurred in the November leading up to the first discovered cases in Wuhan.

Biden’s 90-day intelligence investigation was never meant to be a genuine inquiry into the origins of novel coronavirus. The ONI’s continued speculation into a “lab leak” at the WIV left the door open for U.S. officials and their allies to blame China for a virus that was circulating in Europe and the United States well before the first known cases in Wuhan. Rather than build from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) late March report indicating the likely natural origins of the virus, U.S. intelligence agencies have chosen to operate outside of their scope of practice. Their interference in the origins-tracing process has only led to further confusion in the scientific community.

Continue reading US intelligence agents are not scientists but experts in making chaos

DSA International Committee condemns recent Congressional legislation that fuels a new Cold War with China

The following statement, posted by the Democratic Socialists of America International Committee on 30 August 2021, is an important and powerful condemnation of the US strategy of waging a New Cold War against China. It correctly highlights that such a war presents a danger to humanity, while offering nothing to ordinary people in the US.

Summary: The International Committee of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA IC) strongly condemns Congress’s use of industrial policy and other elements of the proposed US Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) to counter China as part of a new Cold War fueled by US imperialist interests, a stance that further destabilizes geopolitical relations and jeopardizes efforts toward greater global cooperation on issues affecting everyone worldwide.

The United States Congress is in the midst of drafting, debating, and presenting significant legislation regarding US industrial, diplomatic, and military policy. Industrial policy in the US is a prominent and important concern, as US infrastructure and development are under increasing strain. Infrastructure failures, privatized utilities, and a gutted social safety net clearly call for state intervention via a positive vision for American society. The most prominent element of the industrial policy legislation that has been drafted is the bipartisan US Innovation and Competition Act (USICA). Unfortunately, the legislation being drafted for infrastructure investments is being crafted to reinforce US imperial control throughout the world and to antagonize China. While there are overtures made toward the underlying need for American industrial policy, this entire discussion has been subsumed into a broader US imperialist position of “combating” China. The DSA International Committee (IC) condemns the use of industrial policy and other elements of the USICA to counter China, which will further destabilize geopolitical relations, entrench a new Cold War, and jeopardize global cooperation on issues no country can solve alone. 

Continue reading DSA International Committee condemns recent Congressional legislation that fuels a new Cold War with China

China and the Left: a socialist forum (18 September 2021)

Our friends at Qiao Collective are organising a one-day forum with an all-star lineup of speakers on Saturday 18 September 2021 (10am-8pm US Eastern, 3pm-1am Britain, 7am-5pm US Pacific).

The event, co-sponsored by Monthly Review, The People’s Forum and Codepink, will take place in person at the People’s Forum (320 W 37th St, New York, NY 10018) and online on Youtube:

You can find more details and RSVP over at the People’s Forum.

Continue reading China and the Left: a socialist forum (18 September 2021)

Fighting corruption remains central to good governance

We are republishing this useful article by Keith Lamb, which first appeared on CGTN on 30 August 2021, about the continuing fight against corruption in China.

Although there has been less in the news about China’s anti-corruption struggle, it is in full swing. The trial of Dong Hong is but one example of this. On August 26, Dong, former deputy head with the central disciplinary inspection team, pleaded guilty to accepting bribes worth $70.98 million during 1999-2020.

Since Chinese President Xi Jinping came to office, there has been a greater focus on fighting corruption than before. In his latest collection of speeches published in “Xi Jinping: The Governance of China III,” Xi mentions “corruption” 85 times. He rightly states that “the people resent corruption most; and corruption is the greatest threat our Party faces … a Marxist ruling party, our Party must always hold itself to the highest standards.”

Continue reading Fighting corruption remains central to good governance

Press release to mark the 1000th day of incarceration of Meng Wanzhou

This press release was issued by the Cross-Canada Campaign to Free Meng Wanzhou. It was released on 26 August 2021 in order to mark the thousandth day of Meng’s unjust incarceration by the Canadian authorities, acting on the orders of the Trump administration. We congratulate the campaign for the important work it is doing.

Thursday, August 26, 2021, marks the 1000th day of unjust incarceration by the Trudeau government of Meng Wanzhou. That’s 1000 days during which Mme. Meng has been denied her freedom, has not been able to be with members of her family, has not been able to carry on the duties of her very responsible position as Chief Financial Officer of Huawei Technologies, one of the world’s leading tech companies, with 1300 employees in Canada.

Meng’s ordeal began on December 1, 2018, the date on which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau kowtowed to the request of former USA President Donald Trump’s to extradite Meng. This was a colossal blunder on Trudeau part’s because it torpedoed fifty years of good relations between Canada and China, resulted in China curtailing major economic purchases in Canada (to the detriment of 1000’s of Canadian producers), and, because the Trudeau government dithered on the question of Huawei’s participation in the deployment of Canada’s 5G network, may have threatened the entire future existence of Huawei in Canada. Furthermore, Trudeau’s obsequiousness towards Trump embarrassingly called into question the very sovereignty of the Canadian state in front of the entire world, that it would sacrifice its own national interest in the service of its imperial neighbour.

Continue reading Press release to mark the 1000th day of incarceration of Meng Wanzhou

China has every right to reject WHO’s embrace of lab leak theory

We are republishing this article by Friends of Socialist China co-editor Danny Haiphong, which originally appeared on CGTN, about the recent announcement by China’s National Health Commission that it has rejected the WHO’s proposal for a second phase of investigation into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Deputy of the National Health Commission Zeng Yixin asserted that China will not follow the World Health Organization’s (WHO) suggested plan to focus second phase research into the origins of COVID-19 on the lab leak theory. The remarks came at a press briefing held on July 22. Outlets such as CNN and Reuters reported on the development with a strong negative bias. Each report appeared to conclude that China was shirking its commitments to the international effort to uncover COVID-19’s origins.

Yet China has every right to be suspicious of the undue focus that has been placed on the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). The lab leak theory emerged from far-right political forces in the United States such as Senator Tom Cotton very early in China’s battle with COVID-19 and has since been mainstreamed by the likes of Donald Trump’s former Center for Disease Control (CDC) Director Robert Redfield.

Current President Joe Biden ordered an intelligence investigation into COVID-19’s possible origins in Wuhan after a Wall Street Journalreport claimed that workers at the WIV had become ill in November 2019.

Michael R. Gordon co-authored the report using evidence from anonymous former intelligence officials. Gordon also co-authored the famous article in 2002 with Judith Butler which claimed that Saddam Hussein was harboring Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) in Iraq. This report was influential in the U.S. decision to invade Iraq in 2003. Over eight years, U.S. military forces were culpable in the death of nearly one million people and the massive instability currently plaguing the region.

The lab leak theory is a highly politicized framework for pursuing answers into the origins of COVID-19. That China would exercise caution in supporting an investigation that possesses far-from-impartial motives should come as no surprise.

The WHO’s study into the origins of COVID-19 released this past March declared that a lab leak was “extremely unlikely.” From this vantage point, Zeng remarked that any follow up investigation on the origins of COVID-19 should build upon the basis of the first study.

COVID-19 is an extremely complex phenomenon. It will likely take years for scientific experts to fully understand a virus that has facilitated such a historic public health crisis in every part of the world. China has been targeted unfairly by U.S. and Western governments for the virus’ origins without any evidence. Without full and equal cooperation among all governments and countries, more questions than answers are likely to arise from investigations into COVID-19’s roots.

China is not turning its back to the international effort to understand the development of COVID-19, but is simply asking that fairness be exercised in the process. The undue focus on WIV ignores several additional indications that the virus may not have emerged from the first known outbreak in Wuhan. Traces of COVID-19 were found in Spain’s sewage system as early as March 2019. Research further suggests that COVID-19 was spreading in Italy as early as September 2019.

That the lab leak theory would be a priority at this time is neither consistent with these developments nor the global situation. Millions of Chinese netizens have signed a petition demanding that the U.S.’s lab in Fort Detrick become subject to international investigation. Fifty-five nations have denounced the politicization of investigations into COVID-19’s origins. China is thus not alone in its rejection of the WHO’s intention to investigate the lab leak theory.

Experts who attended the press briefing made clear that they supported a wide-ranging investigation of COVID-19’s origins that takes more than just a few, politicized hypotheses into account.

Detractors in the U.S. and the West will undoubtedly argue that China is not being transparent in its rejection of a lab leak investigation. But facts are stubborn things. China has been a model of transparency throughout the duration of the COVID-19 crisis. Health and government officials in China have worked tirelessly with the WHO and countries around the world in the fight against COVID-19. The U.S. and West, on the other hand, have latched onto a theory of the virus’ origins which relies upon arguably the least transparent institutions in the world: their own intelligence agencies.

Experience is the greatest teacher. The U.S. and West have yet to contain the pandemic and lead the world in global cases and deaths. China is rapidly vaccinating its population and has already provided hundreds of millions of doses to beleaguered countries after bringing COVID-19 under control last year. It should be clear by now that those who have accused China for lacking transparency during this delicate moment are in fact the ones placing the interests of hegemony over the needs of humanity.

International figures support the CPC and PRC throughout history

We are republishing this lovely article from Beijing Review highlighting the life and contributions of Rewi Alley, the New Zealand-born writer, social reformer and educator who spent 60 years of his life working in China.

The life path of many an international figure has crossed with that of the Communist Party of China (CPC) over the past 100 years. As China witnessed tremendous progress and change, their stories, too, have been remembered. Rewi Alley (1897-1987) was one of those international friends, who shared long-term ties with the CPC dating all the way back to the earliest of days when the Party was embracing the struggle to save the nation from peril.

The New Zealand-born writer, social reformer and educator spent 60 years of his life working in China. He arrived in Shanghai on April 21, 1927, and later decided to align himself with China’s working class after witnessing their trials and tribulations. 

During the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1931-1945), Alley and a handful of his both Chinese and foreign associates, including American journalist Edgar Snow and his wife, initiated and organized the Gung Ho movement, short for the Chinese Industrial Cooperatives movement, in 1938, mobilizing mass production to support the war effort. By 1942, they had set up about 2,000 such cooperatives.

“The movement made important contributions to the Chinese people’s victory against the invaders and the success in China’s new democratic revolution,” Lin Songtian, President of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship With Foreign Countries (CPAFFC), a national organization engaged in people-to-people diplomacy, told Beijing Review.

Additionally, from the mid-1940s to the early 1950s, Alley founded the Shandan Bailie Schools in the northwestern county of Shandan in Gansu Province. Through the creation of a work-study program, students would use their brains as well as brawn. The school ended up generating a host of young technical staffs ready to support the country’s economic construction.

“After the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949, Alley spared no efforts in supporting China’s development, promoting the people-to-people friendship between China and other countries, and safeguarding world peace,” Lin added.

Alley passed away in Beijing on December 27, 1987.

On July 10, the former residence of Alley in Beijing was reopened after having been renovated in memory of his years in China.

A friendly p(a)lace 

Located in the CPAFFC compound, the house is also known as the Friendship Palace. However, strictly speaking, it did not just belong to Alley as four other expats also took up residence there at one time or another, according to Lin.

Many people must have heard about Chairman Mao Zedong’s assertion that “all reactionaries are paper tigers.” It owes its publicity to an American journalist by the name of Anna Louise Strong, who once lived in the house. During her fifth trip to China in 1946, Strong interviewed Mao in Yan’an, the headquarters of the CPC Central Committee from 1935 to 1948. She then had the chance to listen to this famous thesis and went on to include the term “paper tiger” in her book.

In 1958, Strong, then 73, visited China for the sixth time. This time around, she decided to not return to her old home and instead adopted China as her new haven where she would live out the rest of her days. On March 30, 1970, this American writer with a profound passion for China passed away from illness in the country that she considered her “ideal resting place.”

Other residents included Chilean painter Jose Venturelli, the first well-known Latin American artist to visit China after the founding of the PRC. Venturelli, who died in Beijing in 1988, always expressed a deep concern for those living and working at the grassroots throughout his body of work. Then there was American activist Robert F. Williams, who stood at the forefront in the fight for African American rights, and Japanese politician Kinkazu Saionji, who was active in promoting good relations between Japan and China following his move to Beijing in the late 1950s.

Michael Crook, Chairman of the International Committee for the Promotion of Chinese Industrial Cooperatives (ICCIC), established in 1939 based on the Gung Ho movement, attended the ceremony together with his mother, 106-year-old Isabel Crook, who has spent most of her life in China, teaching English and training students.

Aside from those who actually lived here, many more made their choice to come and stay in China and support the cause of peace and justice, including Korean composer Zheng Lucheng, who joined China’s fight against Japanese aggression, according to Michael Crook.

New chapters 

Lebanese-American doctor George Hatem, known as Ma Haide in China, was the first foreigner to join the CPC, in 1937, and the first expat to obtain Chinese citizenship after the founding of the PRC, in 1950. Alley used to live with Hatem in a cave house in Yan’an back in early 1939, according to Zhou Youma, Hatem’s son.

Zhou scattered both Alley’s and his father’s ashes across the places dearest to them in China. “With my own hand, I sent them, two dear friends who forged a friendship through thick and thin, back to the land where they had devoted their lives to the Chinese people,” he said.

Zhou added that he and the descendants of Alley and other international friends of China are also part of the endeavor to realize the great rejuvenation for the Chinese nation. “We will keep putting our best foot forward,” Zhou said.

“Today, under the leadership of the CPC, we have realized the first centenary goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and brought about a historic resolution to the problem of absolute poverty in China,” Lin said. “I believe our international friends can be satisfied with the CPC’s achievements, and proud of the contributions they themselves have made.”

Michael Crook said if Alley and the other residents who used to live in the house had known they would serve as an inspiration to so many Chinese and foreigners in the pursuit of peace and development, they would have been absolutely thrilled.

In 2017, Chinese President Xi Jinping called on the ICCIC to continue its international cultural exchanges and make new contributions to world peace and development in a letter responding to the ICCIC and Beijing Bailie University, one of the Bailie schools.

Beijing Bailie University has managed to uphold the notion of vocational education as championed by its founding and former presidents, and over the course of its history has cultivated a large talent pool for China’s modernization.

The ICCIC, on its part, has played a role in helping to lift people out of absolute poverty, proving an enduring inspiration to all international friends, according to Michael Crook. “We are continuing Alley’s legacy,” he said. “Let’s try and answer Xi’s call for Gung Ho and start writing some new chapters in international friendship.” 

From 30 million cases to zero: China is certified malaria-free by WHO

We are republishing this press release from the World Health Organization (WHO) certifying China as malaria-free. This is an extraordinary achievement and a testament to China’s people-centred public health strategy. We also note that China is working with several other countries to share its experience in support of their anti-malaria efforts.

Following a 70-year effort, China has been awarded a malaria-free certification from WHO – a notable feat for a country that reported 30 million cases of the disease annually in the 1940s.

“Today we congratulate the people of China on ridding the country of malaria,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “Their success was hard-earned and came only after decades of targeted and sustained action. With this announcement, China joins the growing number of countries that are showing the world that a malaria-free future is a viable goal.”

China is the first country in the WHO Western Pacific Region to be awarded a malaria-free certification in more than 3 decades. Other countries in the region that have achieved this status include Australia (1981), Singapore (1982) and Brunei Darussalam (1987).

“Congratulations to China on eliminating malaria,” said Dr Takeshi Kasai, Regional Director, WHO Western Pacific Regional Office. “China’s tireless effort to achieve this important milestone demonstrates how strong political commitment and strengthening national health systems can result in eliminating a disease that once was a major public health problem. China’s achievement takes us one step closer towards the vision of a malaria-free Western Pacific Region.”

Globally, 40 countries and territories have been granted a malaria-free certification from WHO – including, most recently, El Salvador (2021), Algeria (2019), Argentina (2019), Paraguay (2018) and Uzbekistan (2018).

China’s elimination journey

Beginning in the 1950s, health authorities in China worked to locate and stop the spread of malaria by providing preventive antimalarial medicines for people at risk of the disease as well as treatment for those who had fallen ill. The country also made a major effort to reduce mosquito breeding grounds and stepped up the use of insecticide spraying in homes in some areas.

In 1967, the Chinese Government launched the “523 Project” – a nation-wide research programme aimed at finding new treatments for malaria. This effort, involving more than 500 scientists from 60 institutions, led to the discovery in the 1970s of artemisinin – the core compound of artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs), the most effective antimalarial drugs available today.

“Over many decades, China’s ability to think outside the box served the country well in its own response to malaria, and also had a significant ripple effect globally,” notes Dr Pedro Alonso, Director of the WHO Global Malaria Programme. “The Government and its people were always searching for new and innovative ways to accelerate the pace of progress towards elimination.”

In the 1980s, China was one of the first countries in the world to extensively test the use of insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) for the prevention of malaria, well before nets were recommended by WHO for malaria control. By 1988, more than 2.4 million nets had been distributed nation-wide. The use of such nets led to substantial reductions in malaria incidence in the areas where they were deployed.   

By the end of 1990, the number of malaria cases in China had plummeted to 117 000, and deaths were reduced by 95%. With support from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, beginning in 2003, China stepped up training, staffing, laboratory equipment, medicines and mosquito control, an effort that led to a further reduction in cases; within 10 years, the number of cases had fallen to about 5000 annually.

In 2020, after reporting 4 consecutive years of zero indigenous cases, China applied for an official WHO certification of malaria elimination. Members of the independent Malaria Elimination Certification Panel travelled to China in May 2021 to verify the country’s malaria-free status as well as its programme to prevent re-establishment of the disease.

Keys to success

China provides a basic public health service package for its residents free of charge. As part of this package, all people in China have access to affordable services for the diagnosis and treatment of malaria, regardless of legal or financial status.

Effective multi-sector collaboration was also key to success. In 2010, 13 ministries in China – including those representing health, education, finance, research and science, development, public security, the army, police, commerce, industry, information technology, media and tourism – joined forces to end malaria nationwide.

In recent years, the country further reduced its malaria caseload through a strict adherence to the timelines of the “1-3-7” strategy. The “1” signifies the one-day deadline for health facilities to report a malaria diagnosis; by the end of day 3, health authorities are required to confirm a case and determine the risk of spread; and, within 7 days, appropriate measures must be taken to prevent further spread of the disease.

Keeping malaria at bay

The risk of imported cases of malaria remains a key concern, particularly in southern Yunnan Province, which borders 3 malaria-endemic countries: Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar and Viet Nam. China also faces the challenge of imported cases among Chinese nationals returning from sub-Saharan Africa and other malaria-endemic regions.

To prevent re-establishment of the disease, the country has stepped up its malaria surveillance in at-risk zones and has engaged actively in regional malaria control initiatives. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, China has maintained trainings for health providers through an online platform and held virtual meetings for the exchange of information on malaria case investigations, among other topics.

The Tanzania-Zambia Railway: A Testament to China-Africa Friendship

We’re pleased to republish this article from Global Times, shining a light on a powerful and inspiring episode in the history of China-Africa solidarity.

It was the beginning of the year 1970. News came that Wang Xingguo was about to work on a railway project in Africa. His wife Zhang Yunhua was very reluctant to let him go: Africa is so far away and their sons are still too little — the elder one is three years old and the younger one is only two. Wang tried to explain: He is a cadre, a CPC member; when duty calls, he must be the first to sign up. In October that year, Wang, together with over 1,000 co-workers, got on board the ocean liner Jianhua in Guangzhou and left for Tanzania.

The Civil Affairs Bureau of Taixing City still keeps a copy of an article written by Wang Xingguo in 1971. He began the article with two quotes from Chairman Mao Zedong. One goes, “I am for the slogan ‘fear neither hardship nor death.'” and the other, “China ought to make a greater contribution to humanity.” For Wang, the first quote reflects his attitude; the second explains why he decides to go to Africa.

In Tanzania, Wang Xingguo took part in the construction of the Irangi Number 2 Tunnel. Undeterred by the risks of flood and possible collapse of the soil structure, he was working with frontline workers on the foundation pit of the tunnel portal when the structure suddenly came down. He was buried underneath right away and died from lethal injury despite the best efforts of doctors. For the cause of world revolution, Wang made the ultimate sacrifice. He was only 35 years old.

Chinese and African Workers Building the Railway Together
Chinese and African Workers Building the Railway Together

The Chambeshi River Bridge was the largest railway bridge in Zambia, spanning a length of 267 meters. The river below was 5.6 meters deep. To survey the riverbed, Li Jinyu and three of his colleagues from the Chinese engineer team, jumped into the river without any diving or underwater lighting equipment but only a rope tied around their waists. Repeated exposure to freezing waters caused Takayasu arteritis and permanent loss of sensation in both of Li’s legs. He had to be amputated and was paralyzed for life. Carpenter Cai Jinlong was diagnosed at a late stage of stomach cancer, and threw up everything he tried to eat. Despite the biting pain, he insisted on working on the scaffold and refused to leave his post. When he was finally sent back to his wife in China, Cai was thinned to the bone.

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