Antiguan PM: China-Antigua relationship is one of the closest in the world between a big and a small country

Gaston Browne, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, a small island state in the Eastern Caribbean, paid an official visit to China from January 22-28, becoming the first leader from the region to visit China in 2024.

During his visit he was interviewed by Wang Guan for the CGTN series Leaders Talk. 

Prime Minister Browne noted how small island states are extremely vulnerable in today’s world, citing as contributory factors, climate shocks, the COVID pandemic, the impact of conflicts and wars, limited resource endowments and the debt burden.

He sees the relationship with China as crucial to Antigua’s ability to meet these challenges. His country was one of the earliest in the Eastern Caribbean region to establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic, 41 years ago. 

Today he says that their bilateral relationship is one of the closest in the world between a big and a small country. Antigua has a population of less than 100,000. 

China’s contribution to global peace and prosperity, the Prime Minister says, is unmatched. He sees it as being driven by President Xi Jinping’s philosophy and noble vision of a shared future for all. He describes President Xi as easily the most powerful and respected leader on the planet. Antigua and Barbuda is a beneficiary of China’s benevolence in many aspects of its development, not least in poverty alleviation.

In 2018, Antigua became the first country in the Eastern Caribbean to sign up to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). This has had a beneficial impact on many aspects of the country’s development, for example in the renovation and extension of the port in the capital, St. John’s. Funding for this could not be obtained from the World Bank or the IMF and Browne categorically rejects any suggestion of a Chinese ‘debt trap’. Rather, he views China as the most benevolent country on the planet, adding that this and other projects could not have been accomplished without its concessional loans and aid.

Another example he cites is that of agricultural cooperation. This is aimed at taking steps towards food security. At present, some 80% of the food consumed in Antigua is imported, mostly from the United States, with contributory factors being the lack of a sufficient labour force and the exacerbation of the county’s natural aridity due to the impact of climate change. China’s assistance in modernising and replacing the country’s water supply infrastructure is playing a key role here.

With regard to Taiwan,  Browne says that his country is a consistent supporter of the one-China principle. This will not change under his leadership or that of the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party, which he leads.

The full interview with Prime Minister Gaston Browne is embedded below.

Videos: China proves that a new world is possible! Delegates report back from China

On 16 June 2024, we held a webinar reporting back on the first exclusive Friends of Socialist China delegation to the People’s Republic of China, which took place from 14 to 24 April 2024. At the webinar we heard back from the delegates about their experiences and observations of Chinese socialism. The speakers were:

  • Danny Haiphong (Broadcaster; Author, ‘American Exceptionalism and American Innocence’)
  • Fiona Sim (Black Liberation Alliance)
  • Roger McKenzie (International editor, Morning Star)
  • Margaret Kimberley (Editor-in-chief, Black Agenda Report)
  • Russel Harland (trade unionist and Friends of Socialist China Britain Committee member)
  • Sage Stanescu (researcher and Friends of Socialist China Britain Committee member)

Embedded below is the full livestream (unfortunately including, in the first few minutes, various interruptions by racist trolls attempting to sabotage the event) and the individual panel contributions (thankfully without interruptions!).

China’s modernisation is a historic contribution to the global socialist project

What follows is a presentation by Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez for a webinar on China’s modernisation organised by the International Department of the Communist Party USA.

Carlos discusses the meaning and importance of modernisation, going on to describe China’s process of modernising over the course of 75 years and its proposal for “basically realising socialist modernisation by 2035”.

Carlos continues by describing the modernisation process in the advanced capitalist countries – in particular its reliance on colonialism, domination, hegemony, slavery and plunder – and compares that with China’s modernisation trajectory. While China doesn’t have the ‘advantage’ of dominating other countries, it does have the advantage of a socialist system which “enables us to pool resources in a major mission”, as Xi Jinping has put it. China’s modernisation will therefore differ enormously from Western modernisation in that it will not be based on hegemony; it will be a modernisation of common prosperity; and it will be sustainable – the modernisation of harmony between humanity and nature.

The presentation concludes:

China’s modernisation will be a historic contribution to the global socialist project, to the struggle against imperialism, and to humanity’s shared goal of a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable future.

The other presentations submitted to the webinar (by members of the CPUSA and the Communist Party of Australia) can be found on the CPUSA International Department’s Youtube channel: @idcpusa

Today’s webinar is all about modernisation, which is something that’s talked about a great deal in China today, but which is not a concept that’s discussed very much in the West.

Is it something that’s worth talking about? Is it something that’s worth pursuing?

For China and for other developing countries, what modernisation means is higher living standards for the masses of the people.

Modernised industry, greater productivity, modern communication methods, transport systems, energy systems, healthcare strategies and so on add up to the possibility of providing a healthy, meaningful and dignified life to every human being.

That means every single person having reliable access to nutritious food, to good quality housing, guaranteed education and healthcare, modern energy, clean water, and to a vibrant cultural, social, intellectual and working life. So when we talk about modernisation, we’re essentially talking about attending to people’s basic human rights.

It’s called modernisation because it involves leveraging developments in science and technology; it means adapting to the latest, the most advanced ideas and techniques for meeting humanity’s material and cultural needs.

We can broadly think of it as transitioning from ‘developing country’ status to ‘developed country’ status; from a predominantly rural society to a predominantly urban society; from a technologically backward society to a technologically advanced society.

Continue reading China’s modernisation is a historic contribution to the global socialist project

Roosevelt Skerrit: China-Dominica relations have become a model of south-south cooperation

Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica, visited China from March 23-29. During his visit he gave an interview to Wang Guan for the CGTN series Leaders Talk. 

Skerrit, who has visited China 12 times in the 20 years since the two countries established diplomatic relations shortly after he became Prime Minister, describes the country as a true and reliable friend in difficult times.

His meeting with President Xi Jinping had been the highlight of his current visit. They had reached a consensus on bilateral and multilateral issues, especially the need to take stronger measures to tackle the threats posed by climate change and to build stronger resilience in this regard. 

Skerrit acclaims the Chinese leader’s work for global peace and prosperity, in a way that will allow every country to prosper. China’s example in this regard should be emulated by the developed countries.

The Dominican Prime Minister agreed with President Xi’s observation that China-Dominica relations have become a model of south-south cooperation. He noted that although Dominica is a very small country, Xi always treats him as an equal. 

Dominica fully supports the one China principle, which it regards as a tenet of international law, and will support and play its part in the peaceful reunification of China. 

Expanding on China’s friendship in difficult times, Skerrit said that whenever Dominica faces difficulties, China comes to its aid without even having to be asked. As a small Caribbean island country, Dominica is highly susceptible to natural disasters, such as Hurricane Erika in 2015 and Hurricane Maria in 2017, which destroyed or damaged some 90% of buildings on the island, and climate change is truly an existential threat for small island states in particular, whether in the Caribbean or the South Pacific. Dominica is seeking to harness its own resources, such as geothermal and hydro, with the aim to achieve 100% renewable energy usage by 2030.

China had played a major role in reconstruction following the hurricanes, for example, completing the reconstruction of the West Coast Road, which links the capital Roseau with the second city of Portsmouth, in 2020, despite the challenges posed by COVID. Other key aid projects of China are the Dominica-China Friendship Hospital along with the building of six schools. The Friendship Hospital is described by Skerrit as the most modern one to be found in the Caribbean and he singles out its cardiology unit as a key example of a facility that ensures that Dominicans can now receive specialist treatment without needing to travel abroad.

In agricultural technology, China is helping Dominica to contribute to regional food security through the development of seedlings that are more resilient to pests and to the vagaries of the climate.

As for his impressions of the changes in China that he has been able to witness in 12 visits over two decades, Skerrit simply describes them as magical, citing in particular achievements in technology, infrastructure, education and the promotion of common prosperity.

Skerrit also commends China’s promotion of dialogue in dealing with international issues as well as its rejection of unilateral sanctions, especially the United States’ unfair and unjust sanctions on Cuba. He rejects the misconceptions harboured by the United States and some European powers regarding China’s engagement with the countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This engagement is focused on economic development and social advancement and China’s support and cooperation come with no conditions. Loans extended to the Caribbean and Latin America by China have the lowest interest rates, sometimes being fixed at zero.

The full interview with Prime Minister Skerrit is embedded below.

Video: Black Liberation and People’s China – Rediscovering a History of Transcontinental Solidarity

Friends of Socialist China, in conjunction with the International Manifesto Group, organised a well-attended webinar on Saturday May 11 on the theme of Black Liberation and People’s China – Rediscovering a History of Transcontinental Solidarity.

The webinar marked the 65th anniversary of the historic visit to China by Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois, where, together with his wife Shirley Graham Du Bois, the great scholar and revolutionary celebrated his 91st birthday on February 23rd, 1959.

Focusing specifically on transcontinental solidarity between the Chinese revolution and the African-American freedom struggle, the webinar noted that this revolutionary history neither begins nor ends with Dr. Du Bois. It embraces Langston Hughes and Paul Robeson from the 1930s; Robert F. and Mabel Williams and Malcolm X in the 1960s; the Black Panther Party in the 1960s and 1970s; and many others, joined by Chinese leaders, including Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai, as well as Chinese American communists and progressives and returned overseas Chinese.

The event was moderated by our co-editor Keith Bennett and featured a distinguished panel of speakers as follows:

  • Professor Gerald Horne, John J. and Rebecca Moores Chair of History and African American Studies, University of Houston, USA; 
  • Dr. Charisse Burden-Stelly, Associate Professor of African American Studies, Wayne State University, USA; 
  • Dr. Gao Yunxiang, Professor of History, Toronto Metropolitan University, Canada; 
  • Dr. Zifeng Liu, Post Doctoral Scholar, Africana Research Center, Pennsylvania State University, USA; 
  • Margaret Kimberley, Executive Editor and Senior Columnist, Black Agenda Report; and
  • Qiao Collective, a diaspora Chinese media collective challenging US aggression against China

The video of this interesting and important webinar is embedded below, followed by the individual contributions.

Black Liberation and People’s China: Rediscovering a History of Transcontinental Solidarity
Keith Bennett
Gerald Horne
Gao Yunxiang
Charisse Burden-Stelly
Zifeng Liu
Charles Xu
Margaret Kimberley

China and Global Development: podcast interview with Carlos Martinez

In the video embedded below, Carlos Martinez, co-editor of Friends of Socialist China, speaks to Jason Smith on the latter’s “The Bridge” podcast about a range of topics concerning China.

The two discuss the rationale for the formation of Friends of Socialist China; China’s achievements in poverty alleviation, environmental protection, and the fight against Covid-19; the nature of China’s political system; the slanders in the Western media about human rights in Xinjiang; the Belt and Road Initiative; China’s role promoting development in the Global South; the accusations around “debt trap diplomacy”; and the prospects for improving relations between China and the West.

The Bridge podcast can be found on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and YouTube.

Serbian President completely rejects suggestions of Chinese ‘debt trap diplomacy’

In this episode of the CGTN series Leaders Talk, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić speaks to Wang Guan about the special friendship that links the two countries. Chinese people often refer to Serbia as their “iron clad brother”.

Vučić recalls that China has been the most supportive country to Serbia in difficult times, mentioning, in particular, the fight against Covid-19. Other countries talked about solidarity yet hoarded vaccines, incubators, and other medical equipment. But China came to the aid of Serbia and of countries around the world. In 2020, President Vučić touched the hearts of many people in China when he went to the airport to personally receive the medical relief supplies from China and kissed first the Serbian and then the Chinese flag.

He also recalled how his intercession with President Xi Jinping during the Chinese leader’s state visit in 2016 had saved the country’s Smederevo steel mill and also spoke about the 2022 inauguration of the Belgrade to Novi Sad (Serbia’s second largest city) link of the Serbia-Hungary high-speed railway.

Vučić completely rejects suggestions of Chinese ‘debt trap diplomacy’. He was presented with such allegations in Brussels but countered that Serbia had taken many loans from China, but the country’s public debt to GDP ratio was some 51-52% whereas the average in the Eurozone is 92% and, in some cases, it is over 100%.

Additionally, the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) that Serbia signed with China last October will bring many benefits to his country, both in facilitating exports and making imports cheaper.

Recalling the NATO bombing of the then Yugoslavia 25 years ago, which also claimed the lives of Chinese citizens, the Serbian President notes that NATO’s actions were illegal and criminal – there was no resolution or authorisation from the United Nations Security Council. Territorial integrity is important to both China and Serbia and his position on Taiwan is very straightforward: Taiwan is China. It is up to China when and how it achieves reunification. Whatever China does in this regard will be supported by Serbia.

Reflecting on President Xi Jinping, Vučić says that you can see the depth of his thoughts, and his love for his country, from the simple but profound way in which he deploys Chinese proverbs in his writings.

The full video of President Vučić’s interview is embedded below.

Angolan President: We know what colonisation is and the Chinese are not colonising Africa but cooperating with us

Angolan President João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço paid a state visit to China from March 14-17 at the invitation of his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. 

Whilst in China he gave an exclusive interview to He Yanke for the CGTN series Leaders Talk. 

He Yanke noted that Lourenço has visited China on numerous occasions since 2000, including as the Secretary General of the ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), as the Special Envoy of his predecessor, and this is his third visit as head of state. 

Summing up his impressions from all these visits, Lourenço remarked that what impressed him most was that China was continually making progress and bringing surprises to the world. 

Noting that last year saw the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Angola, he described the relationship as exemplary. During very difficult times for his country, for example the period of post-war reconstruction, China had lent a helping hand. And the same was true, not only for his country but for the world, when humanity was suddenly faced with the Covid pandemic. 

Asked for his views on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), he recalled that China has provided Angola with strong financial support for infrastructure construction, including for roads, ports, airports, and hydropower plants, all of which are necessary for development. In his last few days in China, he had talked with 24 major companies, who had shown willingness to take risks and invest in his country.

Noting that China was building what will be Africa’s largest hydropower plant in Angola, and also training local personnel for the project, that will not only meet his country’s needs but also produce surplus electricity to be supplied to neighbouring southern African countries, Lourenço  was asked, given that Chinese companies are providing tens of thousands of jobs in Angola, how he would respond to the accusations levelled against China’s role in Africa from some quarters.

His answer was emphatic. Not just the Portuguese colonialists, he said, but the Europeans in general, including the British and French, had been in Africa for centuries. They had never engaged in the kind of infrastructure construction that we are seeing now. They are not just critics but slanderers acting out of malice. The facts are clear: China has not invaded any African country. The Chinese in Africa are not there for colonisation. We know what colonisation is and the Chinese are not colonising Africa but cooperating with us. China did not come to us fully armed but with funds and technology and a willingness to work with us.

The results are plain to see. In 2002 (when Angola’s long-running civil war finally ended), our country was in ruins. Thanks to the help from China, we now have land-based infrastructure connecting provinces and cities which didn’t exist before. 

The construction of roads, bridges, ports and railways was all done with the help of China. If these critics want to be part of the process, then they must act and do better than China. But we don’t believe they can.

Asked about President Xi Jinping’s three global initiatives, on development, security and civilisation, President Lourenço described the Chinese leader as a visionary and insightful statesman. Without peace and security, there can be no development – this is true both from the Angolan experience and also on a world scale.

The full interview with President Lourenço is embedded below.

Peace delegates report back from China

Although the Biden administration has made some small gestures towards improving US-China relations, the US continues to escalate its campaign of encirclement and containment. The US has ramped up its military aid to Taiwan; it is attempting to strengthen the AUKUS nuclear alliance; it is doing everything it can to prevent China’s emergence as a major computing power; it is imposing sanctions and tariffs on China; and it is relentlessly spreading lurid anti-China slander.

Recognising the terrible dangers posed by the New Cold War (and its potential degeneration into a hot war), a number of peace activists from the US have recently taken part in delegations to China, in order to build understanding and solidarity, and to see China’s reality with their own eyes.

On Sunday 18 February 2024, we heard back from these peace delegates and discussed ways to continue building people-to-people links between the West and China, and to develop a powerful movement for peace and cooperation.

Embedded below are the videos from the event.

Full event stream

Lee Siu Hin: building US-China relations at the grassroots

Charles Xu (Qiao Collective): reflections on a trip to China

Sara Flounders: Organize collectively to demand hands off China and show solidarity with Palestine

Danny Haiphong: telling the truth about China and being an ambassador for peace

Dee Knight: If we want to make peace, more of us should visit China

Bahman Azad: debunk lies about China in order to advance the cause of peace

CPUSA: By developing people-to-people relations, we can all build a bedrock for peace

Tazara: Why China built a railway that many thought would fail

This short film made by CGTN documents the history, present situation and prospects of the Tazara Railway which links Zambia and Tanzania. 

By far China’s largest foreign aid project at the time, it was built during the first half of the 1970s, when China was itself still a poor country and after the United States, Britain, Japan and even the Soviet Union had all refused to build it. It enabled landlocked Zambia to get its copper to port whilst avoiding countries then still under colonial and white racist rule.

The 1,800 km railway took five years to build, with 50,000 Chinese workers taking part in the project. 65 of them gave their lives. 

In recent years, the railway has encountered problems, with freight traffic, not least due to the availability of other options since the liberation of all countries in southern Africa. Nevertheless, it still plays an important role in the lives of local people and communities. A joint statement adopted by China and Zambia in September last year, during the state visit of the Zambian president, saw China pledge support to the railway’s upgrading and renovation.

Lenin, China, Palestine, and the global struggle against imperialism

Below is the text and video of a short speech given by Carlos Martinez on behalf of Friends of Socialist China at the International Assembly Against Imperialism in Solidarity with Palestinian Resistance, held at the Malcolm X & Dr Betty Shabazz Memorial & Educational Center in New York City on January 21, 2024.

The event was organised by Workers World Party, and the date was chosen to honour the centennial of Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin, who died that day in 1924.

Carlos asks “what ties together these seemingly disparate themes of Palestine, China and Leninism”, suggesting that the answer lies in the global struggle against imperialism. He explains the effect of Lenin’s analysis of imperialism in expanding the scope and applicability of Marxism to cover the entire world; how this informed Soviet support for socialist and national liberation projects in the Global South; and how People’s China carried forward this tradition. “China has been and remains a bulwark against imperialism, standing in solidarity with the Global South.”

The speech discusses China’s long history of solidarity with Palestine, and its current positive diplomatic role in opposition to the genocide in Gaza, and concludes:

“The brave Palestinian people, with the solidarity and support of freedom-loving people around the world, will surely win their liberation.”

Dear comrades and friends,

It’s a great honour for Friends of Socialist China to be invited to contribute to this International Assembly Against Imperialism, in solidarity with the Palestinian resistance and coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the death of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.

What ties together these seemingly disparate themes of Palestine, China and Leninism?

The answer lies in the struggle against imperialism.

The original slogan of the communist movement, ‘Workers of the world unite’ – the rallying cry and final phrase from the Communist Manifesto, written by Marx and Engels in 1848 – was put forward at a time when the nascent communist movement was geographically limited to Europe and North America, and focused almost exclusively on the industrial working class.

Lenin’s study of global political economy, and particularly of the dynamics of monopoly capitalism and the emergence of modern imperialism, led him to an acute understanding of the expanded – global – applicability of Marxist thought. He understood that, as a result of imperialist domination, the capitalist class of the metropolis had become an enemy not just to the working class in the advanced capitalist countries but to the broad masses of the oppressed in all countries.

Lenin and the Bolsheviks thus proposed the development of a worldwide united front of the working class and all peoples oppressed by imperialism. Such a united front would be capable – indeed still is capable – of taking the fight to the oppressors, of defeating imperialism, of establishing national independence and sovereignty for the peoples of the Global South, and thereby opening the possibility for a global advance to socialism.

Hence at the second congress of the Comintern in 1920, ‘Workers of the world unite’ was updated to ‘Workers and oppressed peoples of all countries, unite’.

In his letter titled Better Fewer, But Better, the last document he wrote, Lenin observed that “in the last analysis, the outcome of the struggle will be determined by the fact that Russia, India, China etc account for the overwhelming majority of the population of the globe. And during the past few years it is this majority that has been drawn into the struggle for emancipation with extraordinary rapidity, so that in this respect there cannot be the slightest doubt what the final outcome of the world struggle will be. In this sense, the complete victory of socialism is fully and absolutely assured.”

The Chinese communists of course played a crucial role in developing this ideology and applying it in practice. The overthrow of imperialist domination and the construction of socialism in China, Korea and Vietnam represented a profound shift of the revolutionary centre of gravity in the world towards the East and the South.

The Chinese benefited enormously from the solidarity of the Soviet peoples.

Mao Zedong stated in 1949, just two months before the proclamation of the People’s Republic, that “it was through the Russians that the Chinese found Marxism. The salvoes of the October Revolution brought us Marxism-Leninism. The October Revolution helped progressives in China, as throughout the world, to adopt the proletarian world outlook as the instrument for studying a nation’s destiny and considering anew their own problems.”

In turn, China has been and remains a bulwark against imperialism, standing in solidarity with the Global South.

China’s history of support for the Palestinian national struggle in particular goes back to the 1950s. As Xi Jinping has put it, no matter how the international and regional situation changes, China always firmly supports the just cause of the Palestinian people to restore the legitimate rights and interests of their nation, and always stands with the Palestinian people.

China sent its first aid to the Palestinian people in 1960, and when the PLO was founded in 1964, China became the first non-Arab country to recognise it. The first Palestinian fighters were sent for military training in China in 1965. It was also one of the first countries to recognise the State of Palestine – on 20 November 1988. Indeed Yasser Arafat – Chairman of the PLO from 1969 to 2004 – stated in 1970 that “China is the biggest influence in supporting our revolution and strengthening its perseverance.”

Premier Zhou Enlai wrote in 1967; “Wherever there is oppression, there is resistance; wherever there is aggression, there is struggle against aggression. I believe that having taken up arms, the revolutionary Arab people of Palestine and the entire Arab people will not lay down their arms and, like the heroic Vietnamese people, will fight on unflinchingly, resolutely and stubbornly until final victory.”

Today, China is among the loudest voices calling for a ceasefire in Gaza and insistently calling for the restoration of the legitimate national rights of Palestine, and for the establishment of an independent State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital and with the right of return.

The heroic Palestinian resistance has put the issue of Palestine back at the centre of global politics. Meanwhile the shift towards a multipolar world and away from US hegemony is creating favourable conditions for finding a lasting and just solution.

Even as we witness the horrors of Israel’s genocidal assault on Gaza, we remember the words of the great Paul Robeson, that the people’s will for freedom is stronger than atom bombs. The brave Palestinian people, with the solidarity and support of freedom-loving people around the world, will surely win their liberation.

Prime Minister Manuel Marrero: Cuba has much to learn from the Chinese experience

In this episode of the CGTN interview series Leaders Talk, Zou Yun speaks with Cuban Prime Minister Manuel Marrero, who was primarily in China to attend the sixth China International Import Expo, which was held in Shanghai between November 5-10, 2023. It was his first China visit since his assumption of office and he also visited Beijing and Zhejiang province. Marrero previously served as Cuba’s Minister of Tourism for 16 years.

Marrero welcomed the open and inclusive spirit of the expo, the only one of its kind in the world, providing both the developed countries and those of the Global South with opportunities to promote their products and services. Cuba had particularly displayed its rum, coffee and seafood this time. 

He also acclaimed the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), describing it as the pinnacle of China’s global initiatives. President Xi Jinping’s considerations, the Cuban Prime Minister observed, go well beyond China. They are for prosperity and development worldwide. 

Thanks to China, and the Communist Party of China, many forgotten and exploited countries now have opportunities to acquire technology and development experiences. 

He was particularly moved by his meeting with President Xi Jinping. Cuba and China, Marrero said, share years of a traditional friendship and they face many similar situations. Cuba has much to learn from the Chinese experience, aligning it to their national realities, particularly, for example in terms of attracting foreign investment despite the US blockade. 

Speaking of the impact of the 60 plus years US blockade of the socialist island, he notes Raúl Castro’s constant reminder that those responsible are the US government, not the US people, towards whom the Cuban people always maintain a positive and friendly standpoint. 

The full video of the interview is embedded below.

George Galloway: The West sucks the blood of Africans, while China transfuses hope

In this short, three-minute film for Chinese broadcaster CGTN, George Galloway, former Member of Parliament, and leader of the Workers’ Party of Britain, refutes western propaganda regarding China’s role in Africa and makes a stark contrast between the western record with regard to the African continent and that of China. The West, George insists, sucks the blood of Africans, while China transfuses hope.

The United States has 29 military bases in Africa. China has one – in Djibouti, where the US also has a base. Yet it is China that is accused of interference. China is building the infrastructure that the colonial powers never did and promoting the post-independence economic development that the West did everything to try to strangle at birth. 

Unlike the West, George notes, China did not enslave anybody in Africa. It occupied nowhere – unlike the imperialist scramble for every last square inch of the continent. Again, unlike the west, China murdered no African leaders, carried out no coups, did not “buy” uranium from Niger at grotesquely undervalued prices and nor did it support apartheid in South Africa or the former Rhodesia – rather it supported the freedom struggle. 

Under the Belt and Road Initiative, George notes, China is building road, rail and air transportation networks across the continent, along with schools, hospitals, universities and kindergartens.

This succinct and poweful video is embedded below.

Senator Mushahid Hussain: Two visions, two destinies

In this short commentary for CGTN Reality Check, Senator Mushahid Hussain – Chairman of the Senate Defence Committee of Pakistan, Chairman of the Pakistan-China Institute, and member of the Friends of Socialist China advisory group – compares and contrasts two of this year’s anniversaries: the 10th anniversary of China advancing the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the 20th anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq. 

Mushahid describes the BRI as “probably the most important diplomatic and developmental initiative launched in the 21st century… about connectivity, about cooperation, about reviving the ancient Silk Road, which 2,000 years ago was probably the first instance of globalisation linking China’s Silk Road with Central Asia, with the Middle East, with even Europe.”

In contrast he notes that the US-led invasion of Iraq was “a war that was unjust, a war that was illegal, a war that was immoral, because it had no sanction of the United Nations, no sanctions of legality behind it.”

And while China is talking about connectivity and cooperation, “the West, led by the United States, is obsessed with the militarisation of international relations, igniting a new Cold War, talking of containing China, building a new pattern of military alliances.”  In this regard, Mushahid draws attention to the moves to create an ‘Asian NATO’, along with AUKUS, the Quad, and the tripartite alliance agreed between the United States, Japan and South Korea at their Camp David meeting. The senator concludes:

“These two contrasting visions show that the world is headed in a manner of confrontation sparked by the West, while what the world needs today in the post-pandemic world is to have a common approach, to face common challenges in a collective manner. And that is what China is doing and that is what the Global South would like – to build a better tomorrow without overlords and without underdogs.”

We reprint the article and embed the video below.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative – BRI, which is probably the most important diplomatic and developmental initiative launched in the 21st century. And it was done by President Xi Jinping of China when he spoke at Astana in Kazakhstan, about connectivity, about cooperation, about reviving the ancient Silk Road, which 2000 years ago was probably the first instance of globalization linking China’s Silk Road with Central Asia, with the Middle East, with even Europe. Connectivity through commerce and culture among countries and continents.

And this year on March 16, and I was present then, when President Xi Jinping launched the Global Civilization Initiative at the World Political Parties High-level Dialogue. Dialogue among civilizations, respect among civilizations, cooperation among civilizations, learning from each other. A civilizational cooperation in contrast to the vision that had been once presented and very popular in the West about the clash of civilizations.

But 2023 also marks another anniversary, and if I may say so, a dark anniversary, a sad anniversary. Twenty years ago, the United States launched unilaterally a war in Iraq. A war that was unjust, a war that was illegal, a war that was immoral, because it had no sanction of the United Nations, no sanctions of legality behind it. It was an attempt to bully and browbeat a country for ideological and geopolitical reasons. 

And these two anniversaries also present humankind today two contrasting visions. I would say that we are perhaps at an inflection point when the global center of gravity is shifting, when we are facing turbulence and transformation.

China is talking of connectivity and cooperation. The West is talking of containment, conflict, confrontation. China is talking of modernization, of being more inclusive, of diversity, of equality in international relations. The West, led by the United States, is obsessed with the militarization of international relations, igniting a new Cold War, talking of containing China, building a new pattern of alliances, military alliances.

NATO is now becoming an “Asian NATO.” NATO was talking of a threat from China while China is not part of the North Atlantic. China is thousands of miles away from the North Atlantic.

They are talking of AUKUS, Australia, UK, U.S., a new military organization. They are talking of Quad, which is again a military alliance, and recently U.S. President Biden hosted the leaders of South Korea and Japan at Camp David to forge yet another alliance, yet another pact ostensibly to contain China.

So, these contrasting visions are reflected in the pattern of contemporary international relations. China is building bridges, and a great example of that bridge building has been the China-brokered rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia, who were at loggerheads for the last three-four decades, which destabilized the Middle East. And thanks to China’s efforts, there’s been normalization, there’s been rapprochement, and there’s been the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Conversely, we see the United States, the Western countries, building barriers based on protectionism, tariffs and trying to isolate China. These two contrasting visions show that the world is headed in a manner of confrontation sparked by the West, while what the world needs today in the post-pandemic world is to have a common approach, to face common challenges in a collective manner. And that is what China is doing and that is what the Global South would like – to build a better tomorrow without overlords and without underdogs.

Vladimir Putin: US exceptionalism is an extension of the colonial mindset

In this edition of the CGTN series Leaders Talk, Wang Guan travels to Moscow to interview Vladimir Putin, shortly before the Russian President left for Beijing to attend the Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. 

President Putin notes that, in building their relations, Russia and China have “always tried to reach a compromise, even on complicated issues inherited from the old days. Our relations have always been driven by goodwill. It helped us solve the border delimitation issues that had remained outstanding for 40 years.”

Wang Guan gives his impression of the thriving economic relations between the two countries, saying that on this visit to Moscow, he “saw that the streets and stores, including online trading platforms, were increasingly filled with Chinese brands. At the same time, Russian gas is supplied to the homes of Chinese consumers and Russian meat and dairy products, for example, are becoming more and more common in Chinese stores.”

President Putin agrees that his country and China are well on the way to meeting their joint target for two-way trade to reach 200 billion US dollars by 2024.

Turning to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the Russian leader commented that: “Yes, we see that some people consider it an attempt by the People’s Republic of China to put someone under its thumb, but we see otherwise, we just see desire for cooperation. Our own ideas on the development of the Eurasian Economic Union, for example, on the construction of a Greater Eurasia, fully coincide with the Chinese ideas proposed within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative.”

Thanks to the BRI, the countries of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) have already secured $24 billion dollars’ worth of investments, Putin says, and continues:

“It seems to me that the main advantage of the concept of cooperation proposed by the Chinese side is that nobody imposes anything on anybody in the framework of this work. Everything is done within the framework of finding not only acceptable solutions, but such projects and such ways of achieving a common goal that are acceptable to all. This is what makes China today, under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, unique in building relations with others: no one imposes anything on anyone; no one forces anything on anyone, but only gives them opportunity. And, as I said, if there are difficulties, compromises are sought and always found. In my view, this is what distinguishes the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by the Chinese President from many others that countries with a heavy colonial legacy are trying to implement in the world.”

Reflecting his well-known interest, President Putin refers several times to sports, especially the martial arts and ice hockey, and to his hope to increase cooperation with China in this field, and, citing the importance of sports in his own life, states:

“Everyone knows and it’s not a secret that I come from a simple working-class family, and in the past, I had a lot of time to spend in the yard. I don’t know how my life would have turned out if I hadn’t taken an interest in sports. It doesn’t really matter what kind of sports I did, it’s important that I paid a lot of attention to it.”

Following up on what he said recently at the annual meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club, President Putin excoriated the Western verbiage about a “rules-based order”:

“Have you ever seen those rules? No, you haven’t, because no one has agreed on them with anyone. So how can one talk about order based on rules that no one has ever seen? In terms of common sense, it’s nonsense. But it is beneficial to those who promote this approach. Because if no one has seen the rules, it only means that those who talk about them are making them up themselves from time to time to their own advantage. That is the colonial approach.

“Because colonial countries have always believed that they are first-rated people. After all, they have always talked about bringing enlightenment to their colonies, that they are civilized people who bring the benefits of civilization to other nations, whom they consider second-rate people. No surprise today’s political elite, say, in the United States, talks about its exceptionalism. This is the extension of this colonial mindset, meaning that when they consider themselves exceptional in the United States, it means that other people, all the people in fact, are just some second-rate people. How else could one understand it? Those are mere vestiges of colonial thinking, nothing else.

“Our approach is quite different. We proceed from the fact that all people are equal, all people have the same rights; the rights and freedoms of one country and one nation end where the rights and freedoms of another person, of an entire state, appear. This is the way in which a multipolar world should be evolving gradually. This is exactly what we are striving for, and this is the basis of our interaction with China on the international stage.”

He also speaks about the BRICS cooperation mechanism and its recent expansion from five to 11 members, saying that “all those who have joined BRICS support the idea and concept of forming a multipolar world. No one wants to play second fiddle to some sovereign, everyone wants equal rights. And when they join BRICS, they see that we can achieve this goal by joining efforts within the framework of expansion and strengthening of such a format.”

President Putin also discusses the conflict in Ukraine and the Chinese proposal for a political solution:

“We are thankful to our Chinese friends for trying to think about ways to end this crisis. However, I would like to remind you that hostilities in Ukraine did not start with our special military operation, but way before – in 2014, when the Western countries, after having volunteered as guarantors of the agreements between President Yanukovich and the opposition, forgot about those guarantees in a matter of days and – worse still – supported a coup d’état. United States Administration officials even acknowledged spending big money on it…

“Therefore, the start of the special military operation was not the start of a war, but an attempt to end it.”

Referring to the negotiations held in the Turkish city of Istanbul, shortly after the start of the special military operation, Putin notes that agreement was almost reached, however, “as soon as we pulled our troops back from the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, the Ukrainian side committed all the arrangements to flames.” Therefore:

“Of course, we know the proposals of our Chinese friends. We highly value those proposals. I think they are absolutely realistic and could lay the foundation for peace arrangements. But, unfortunately, the opposing side does not want to enter into any negotiations. In fact, the President of Ukraine has even issued a decree prohibiting everyone – including himself – to conduct any negotiations with us. How can we conduct negotiations if they are not willing to and even issued a regulation prohibiting such negotiations?”

Asked if there is any possibility to make progress based on the Chinese standpoint of building shared, common, and indivisible security, Putin says:

“Yes, we have always said that, too… In this context, it is extremely important for us that Ukraine stays outside any blocs. We were told as far back as 1991 – by the then US Administration – that NATO would not expand further east. Since then, there have been five waves of NATO expansion, and every time we expressed our concerns. Every time we were told: yes, we promised you not to expand NATO eastwards, but those were verbal promises – is there any paper with our signature on it? No paper? Good-bye.

“You see, it is very difficult to engage in a dialogue with people like that. I have already cited the example of the Iranian nuclear programme. The negotiations on the Iranian nuclear programme were very, very lengthy. An agreement was reached, a compromise found, and documents signed. Then came a new Administration and threw everything in the trash, as if those arrangements never existed. How can we agree on anything if every new Administration starts from scratch – begin each time from the centre of the playing field?”

The CGTN interview with President Putin is embedded below. We also reproduce the full text of the interview as published by the Russian President’s website. The quotations above are taken from the latter version.

Continue reading Vladimir Putin: US exceptionalism is an extension of the colonial mindset

Nicaraguan Ambassador: China helping to build 5G network in Nicaragua

In the following short interview, given to CGTN in the margins of the Sixth China International Import Expo, recently held in Shanghai, Michael Campbell, Nicaragua’s Ambassador to China, explains how his country is benefiting from its economic cooperation with China and the immense opportunities of the Chinese market.

Nicaragua and China resumed their diplomatic relations in 2021, shortly thereafter Nicaragua signed up to the Belt and Road Initiative, and more recently the two countries concluded a free trade agreement.

Ambassador Campbell points out that in this context it is important to understand that the relations between the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) and the Communist Party of China (CPC) “go way back”. Nicaragua wants, he continues, to strengthen the relations between the two countries, parties, and peoples, and to be China’s strategic partner for the Central American region. 

Asked for his interpretation of the pledge made by Chinese Premier Li Qiang, in his opening speech to the Expo, that China would engage in higher level opening up, Campbell describes it as another example of China’s willingness to construct a shared future of greater prosperity for the entire world. The expo was giving Nicaragua the opportunity to present its products to the enormous Chinese market, showing how far China’s solidarity and willingness to cooperate with the world goes.

He contrasts China’s cooperation under the auspices of the BRI, characterised by mutual respect, trust and win-win cooperation, with the conditionalities and political interference that Nicaragua had experienced from the imperialist countries. The BRI is giving Nicaragua opportunities that it did not have before. For example, during the recent Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, an agreement was signed to build a new airport in Nicaragua, which will enable the country to welcome wide-bodied aircraft, thereby improving connectivity and ease of transportation.

Meanwhile, on November 7, Li Mingxiang, Vice-Minister of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee (IDCPC), met with a Nicaraguan delegation led by Laureano Ortega, advisor on investment, trade and international cooperation at the Nicaraguan president’s office, and coordinator for cooperation with China.

Li said the CPC is willing to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with the FSLN, so as to push China-Nicaragua relations to new highs. Laureano said the FSLN is willing to strengthen exchanges of experience in party building and state governance and to deepen traditional friendship with the CPC.

We embed the interview with Ambassador Campbell below and also reproduce a short news article from the IDCPC website.

Li Mingxiang Meets with a Nicaraguan Delegation

Beijing, November 7th—Li Mingxiang, Vice-minister of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee, met here today on the afternoon with a Nicaraguan delegation led by Laureano Ortega, advisor on investment, trade and international cooperation at the Nicaraguan president’s office, and coordinator for cooperation with China.

Li said, under the strategic guidance of the top leaders of the two Parties and two countries, China-Nicaragua cooperation in various fields has achieved fruitful results. The CPC is willing to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) of Nicaragua, to push China-Nicaragua relations to new highs.

Laureano said, Nicaragua sees China as an important strategic partner, firmly adheres to the one-China principle, and is willing to continuously strengthen practical cooperation with the Chinese side in economy, trade, investment, and infrastructure under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative. The FSLN is willing to strengthen experience exchanges in party building and state governance and deepen traditional friendship with the CPC.

Prachanda: China’s successes building socialism provide great encouragement to the peoples of the world

In this episode of the CGTN series Leaders Talk, recorded on September 25, two days after the opening of the Asian Games in Hangzhou, Li Tongtong interviews Pushpa Kamal Dahal, the Prime Minister of Nepal, known as Prachanda.

Noting that Prachanda is now serving his third term as Prime Minister, Li notes that the first of his many visits to China was to attend the closing ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics during his first term. Now, 15 years later, he is in China for the opening of the Asian Games, having moved up his speaking slot at the United Nations General Assembly session in New York to be present. Nepal set a record with more than 250 of its athletes competing in the games this time and Prachanda observes that the 2008 Olympics showcased China’s progress to the world. And now the Asian Games show that China has taken another leap forward. 

Prachanda says that he has met President Xi Jinping five times and finds him a very sincere and visionary leader. Topics he had discussed with him this time included the common interests of the two countries, how to better facilitate China’s support and help to Nepal, for example in aviation, railway, road and transmission line connectivity, as well as climate change, poverty reduction and friendly relations between the two peoples.

The Nepalese Prime Minister, who is also the leader of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre), says that the glorious history of the Communist Party of China (CPC), since its founding in 1921, has seen it amass a wealth of experience. As a result, it has achieved a great success in building a new model of socialism, namely socialism with Chinese characteristics. This has provided great encouragement to and made a positive impact on communist parties and people who want development and social justice around the world. They all want to learn from China’s experience.

The friendship between Nepal and China, Prachanda observes, has deep roots and one example of their special relations is that Nepal is the only country to have diplomatic representation in Xizang (Tibet), which Prachanda went on to visit as the last stop of his visit. Its consulate in Lhasa is one of five Nepali consulates in China, more than it has in any other country. 

Whilst the number of people engaged in agricultural production in Nepal is gradually decreasing, Prachanda explains that his country is still primarily an agricultural one. So China’s experience and assistance in the agricultural field is very meaningful and important for Nepal. He always aim to study agricultural matters each time he visits China and this time he is focusing on how Nepal can enhance its agricultural production through the adoption of modern technologies.

Turning Nepal from a landlocked to a land-linked country is another key priority and in this respect Chinese experts are now engaged in active feasibility studies for the construction of a China/Nepal railway. Prachanda dismisses allegations of a ‘debt trap’ or the idea that a rail link could somehow pose a a security threat to other countries as baseless.

Irrespective of international, regional or domestic changes, he insists, his country’s position on relations with China will not change or be allowed to change. Nepal has always pursued a foreign policy of independence and non-alignment. It is resolute in defending its national sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence. Nepal has never wavered or capitulated under pressure and it never will.

Guided by the United Nations Charter and the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, Nepal firmly believes that all countries are equal, that no country should be allowed to interfere in the internal affairs of others, and that all countries have the right to decide on their own affairs.

Asked finally about his use of the name Prachanda, he said he adopted it when he was leading the revolutionary struggle. But he also used it during the peace process. He is more recognised by this name than by his original name and he will continue to use it as it symbolises both revolution and peace.

The full interview is embedded below.

Clare Daly: ‘derisking’ from China would be suicidal for European industry

In this episode of the CGTN program Dialogue, Xu Qinduo interviews Clare Daly, the outspoken, anti-imperialist member of the European Parliament (MEP) from Ireland on the EU’s attitude towards the conflicts in Gaza and Ukraine, as well as on China.

Clare notes that the recent resolution on Gaza adopted by the European parliament, which she and her colleague Mick Wallace voted against, did not address the root causes of the conflict or the crimes, including ethnic cleansing and genocide, perpetrated by the Israeli apartheid state. The EU and the United States, she notes, are complicit in Israeli genocide and that makes them equally culpable in international law.

On Ukraine, she is not presently hopeful of prospects for peace. Rather she fears that working class Ukrainian men will continue to be killed in the interests of western arms companies who seek to perpetuate the conflict. 

Asked about the moves to expand NATO to Asia, possibly starting with the establishment of an office in Tokyo, Clare responds that she has said before that the last bite of a dying snake is the most dangerous. US hegemony is in decline and there is no going back on this. But in its lashing out in desperation it is very dangerous. In this regard, she cites President Biden’s recent demand for US$100 bn for not only Israel and Ukraine but Taiwan as well. She feels that the US managed to provoke Russia and now seeks to do the same to China over Taiwan. However, she believes that Chinese diplomacy is more measured and the country will not walk into a similar trap.

Asked what impressed her most on her recent visit to China, she says there is not enough time to recount all the amazing things she saw. China, she notes, has built whole cities, but in Dublin it has not been possible to build even one metro station in 30 years. Ireland does not have a single high-speed train and neither does the US. Unfortunately, the EU has been following the US in seeking to restrict relations with China under the guise of ‘derisking’ and similar terms. Such a policy, she notes, if followed through, would be suicidal for European industry. In the face of these provocations, Clare advises China to continue with its diplomatic overtures and says she can think of nothing that China should be doing differently.

Within this situation, Clare asserts that Ireland has a special role to play. The EU is largely made up of former colonising powers or former socialist countries. Ireland, however, was colonised. It knows what it is like to be oppressed. Therefore, Ireland can be a voice for neutrality, non-alignment, multilateral cooperation and international solidarity.

The full interview with Clare Daly MEP is embedded below.

Hakainde Hichilema: China’s modernisation is a crucial reference point for Zambia

Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema paid a state visit to China from September 10-16, where, following talks with his counterpart Xi Jinping, the two countries upgraded their bilateral relationship to that of a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.

In this episode of the CGTN series Leaders Talk, President Hichilema recaps with Li Tongtong his six day journey through four provinces. 

He started his visit in Shenzhen, China’s first special economic zone, visiting such cutting edge companies as the telecoms giant Huawei and the electric vehicle pioneer BYD. An enthusiast for China’s modernisation path, he next went to the Jinggangshan mountainous region in Jiangxi province, which was Chairman Mao’s first revolutionary base area in the fight he led to liberate China and the Chinese people. Hichilema opined that Mao had displayed great vision in selecting this region and he saw his own visit as a key part of completing his understanding of the jigsaw of China’s development.

In a similar vein, he also visited a fishing village and other local areas in Fujian province where Xi Jinping had worked and led at the grassroots level, especially in the areas of poverty alleviation and green development. He sees the leapfrog progression to digital development as a crucial reference point for Zambia’s own development path. Zambia needs to drive industrialisation, so that it does not simply extract its natural resources but also processes them to add value.

Zambia joined the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in 2018 and tangible benefits so far include the stabilising of the energy sector, to eliminate the frequent power cuts known as ‘load shedding’, and the revival of the Tazara Railway, originally built by China in the 1970s to help free landlocked Zambia from the economic strangulation of its southern neighbours, then under European colonialist and white racist rule. The programme includes some moving footage from those years as a highlight of the long and consistent friendship between the two countries and peoples. Winning independence from British colonialism on October 24, 1964, Zambia established diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China just five days later, becoming the first country in southern Africa to do so.

The full interview with President Hichilema is embedded below.

Bashar al-Assad: China has gone from being the world’s factory to being the world’s innovation powerhouse

In this edition of the CGTN series Leaders Talk, Zou Yun interviews Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who was visiting China for the first time in 19 years. His 21-26 September visit began in Hangzhou, where he and his wife Mrs. Asma al-Assad were among the international leaders to attend the opening of the 19th Asian Games. Talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping saw the two countries establish a strategic partnership and their agenda focused in particular on the Syrian people’s efforts to rebuild their country after years of war and its full return to the regional and international stage.

In the interview, President Assad was clearly touched by the warm and spontaneous welcome given by Chinese spectators to the Syrian athletes as they entered the stadium as well as by the subsequent comments by Chinese netizens on social media. Comparing the China of today with the one he saw on his previous visit in 2004, he said it had gone from being the world’s factory to being the world’s innovation powerhouse. But what was even more important than the changes was that the patriotic qualities of the Chinese people had not changed.

Reflecting on his talks with President Xi, the Syrian leader noted that China rejects hegemony and always stands with Syria politically. He felt that there was much that could be learned from the Chinese experience of modernisation as China’s own situation was once similar to that of many other third world countries. Syria and other countries, he continued, had once tried to learn from the western experience, but these attempts had proved to be unsuccessful and even counterproductive.

Turning to the current situation in Syria, Assad noted that the war is not over. The physical destruction could be addressed, as Syria had done many times in its long history, but the destruction of national culture and civilisation by western neoliberalism led by the United States, along with the related issue of extremism, was more dangerous. If Syria is rebuilt, he continued, his country will have a bright future. It had previously enjoyed high growth and low debt, was an exporter of wheat and other foodstuffs and had been developing various industries.

He praised the recent reconciliation between Iran and Saudi Arabia, which was facilitated by China, as a huge achievement and a wonderful surprise. Syria had suffered for years from the estrangement between these two neighbouring countries. According to the Syrian President, the world is now in a period of transition from the centuries of colonialism, which had begun with the “discovery” of the Americas, and which has been characterised by slaughter and exploitation. It is this transition that underlines the significance of the various international initiatives proposed by President Xi Jinping.

The full interview with President Bashar al-Assad is embedded below.