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.

Capitalist and socialist modernisation

The Sixteenth Forum of the World Association for Political Economy (WAPE) took place from 25 to 27 September 2023 in Fuzhou, China, co-organised by Fujian Normal University. The theme of the forum was Chinese modernisaton and the prospects of world modernisation. Although unable to attend in person, Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez was invited to submit a video presentation.

Carlos’s presentation, entitled Capitalist and socialist modernisation, takes up a number of questions: What is modernisation? Is modernisation desirable? How has modernisation been achieved in the West? What is China’s modernisation plan? What are the unique characteristics of Chinese modernisation? How does socialist modernisation differ from capitalist modernisation? What effect does China’s modernisation on the global journey towards development and socialism?

The video and the text of Carlos’s presentation are available below.

What is modernisation, and is it necessary?

Modernisation is a somewhat nebulous concept. It means different things to different societies at different times. By definition, its parameters are constantly changing.

In the broadest sense, it means adapting to the latest, most advanced ideas and techniques for meeting humanity’s material and cultural needs.

In sociology, there is more or less an equals sign between modernisation and industrialisation, and is generally held to begin with Britain’s Industrial Revolution. We can think of it essentially as the transition 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.

Is this desirable? Beauty is of course in the eye of the beholder, but most people consider modernisation to be desirable, because it enables higher living standards for the masses of the people.

With modernised industry, production techniques, communication methods, transport systems, energy systems and healthcare strategies, there exists the possibility of providing a healthy, meaningful and dignified life to all, such that each individual has reliable access to a healthy diet, to decent housing, to clothing, to education, to healthcare, to a vibrant cultural, social and intellectual life, and to fulfilling work. In short, modernisation makes it possible to attend to people’s basic human rights.

The fruits of modernisation have thus far been divided extremely unequally: the process of industrialisation in North America, Europe and Japan has created previously unimaginable wealth for a few, but this has been accompanied by desperate poverty and alienation for significant numbers. However, modernisation creates a material basis for common prosperity, far beyond what a pre-modern economy can offer.

Specifically in the case of China, the government has set a goal of “basically realising socialist modernisation by 2035”, and has defined some parameters for this:

  • Reaching a per-capita GDP on a par with that of the mid-level developed countries such as Spain or the Czech Republic
  • Joining the ranks of the world’s most innovative countries in the realm of science and technology
  • Becoming a global leader in education, public health, culture and sport
  • Substantially growing the middle-income group as a proportion of the population
  • Guaranteeing equitable access to basic public services
  • Ensuring modern standards of living in rural areas
  • Steadily lowering greenhouse gas emissions and protecting biodiversity, so as to restore a healthy balance between humans and the natural environment

If achieved, these aims will constitute a significant – indeed world-historic – improvement in the living standards of the Chinese people, and will blaze a trail for other developing countries.

How did the West modernise?

But is China doing anything new? After all, it won’t be the first country to achieve modernisation.

In mainstream modernisation theory in the West, the dominant narrative is that the countries of Western Europe, North America and Japan achieved their advances via a combination of good governance, liberal democracy, free-market economics, scientific genius, geographical serendipity and a dash of entrepreneurial spirit.

Historical investigation reveals a considerably different story.

The most important precursors of the West’s modernisation are colonialism, slavery and genocide. The conquest of the Americas, the settlement of Australia, the transatlantic slave trade, the colonisation of India, the rape of Africa, the Opium Wars, the theft of Hong Kong, and more. The profits of colonialism and the slave trade were essential for propelling the West’s industrialisation, as was so eloquently uncovered in Eric Williams’ classic 1944 work, Capitalism and Slavery.

As Karl Marx famously wrote in Volume 1 of Capital: “The discovery of gold and silver in America, the enslavement and entombment in mines of the aboriginal population, the beginning of the conquest and looting of the East Indies, the turning of Africa into a warren for the commercial hunting of black-skins, signalled the rosy dawn of the era of capitalist production.”

Such is the ugly truth of European modernisation. And the story is not so different in the United States. Many of the so-called founding fathers of that country were slave-owners, and they established a slave-owners’ society. They went to war against the indigenous peoples and against Mexico in order to expand their territory.

In the 20th century, having established their domination over the Americas, they constructed a neocolonial global system that is still in place to a significant degree, imposing American hegemony on the world.

A network of 800 foreign military bases. NATO. An enormous nuclear arsenal. Genocidal wars waged on Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya. Systems of economic coercion and unilateral sanctions.

Proxy wars, coups, regime change projects, destabilisation.

This is the global system of violence that has facilitated and accompanied North American modernisation.

Japan’s rapid rise was facilitated first by its brutal expansionist project in East Asia, particularly Korea and China, and then through adaptation to and integration with the US-led imperialist system, the much-vaunted ‘rules-based international order’.

South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan Province constitute the small handful of non-imperialist territories that have been able to achieve modernisation, but these are special cases. Their shared proximity to China and the DPRK is no coincidence; they have been inducted into the imperialist club by the US, to play a dual role as regional policemen and living advertisements for capitalism on the frontline of its confrontation with socialism. Both roles rely on at least a certain degree of prosperity for a section of the population.

There is no shortage of countries of the Global South which have attempted to apply the “liberal democracy plus free market capitalism” formula, but none have been successful in modernising. Indeed the West’s prescriptions for (and interference in) developing countries have largely led to chaos and disaster.

The contrast between the West’s success in modernising and the Global South’s failure has fed into a largely unspoken but widespread and pernicious racism: an assumption that white people are somehow inherently more advanced than everyone else.

This supremacism is allowed to fester, because in addition to dividing working class and oppressed communities, it provides convenient cover for the reality that capitalist modernisation is built on the foundations of colonialism, imperialism and hegemonism.

As Kwame Nkrumah commented, “in the era of neocolonialism, under-development is still attributed not to exploitation but to inferiority, and racial undertones remain closely interwoven with the class struggle.”

How is China modernising?

China’s journey towards modernisation starts in 1949 with the founding of the People’s Republic, the early construction of socialist industry, land reform and the extirpation of feudalism and the landowning class, and the provision of at least basic levels of education and healthcare services to the whole population.

In 1963, Premier Zhou Enlai, supported by Liu Shaoqi, Deng Xiaoping and Chen Yun, first raised the question of the Four Modernisations: of agriculture, industry, national defence, and science and technology. Despite a complex political environment this goal was revived in the early 1970s, and, with the launch of reform and opening up in 1978, China accelerated its pursuit of those goals, and ushered in an era of rapid development of the productive forces and improvement in the people’s living standards.

China’s journey of modernisation has evolved again in recent years with the pursuit of the second centenary goal: of building a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful by 2049.

China is on a fast track to becoming an advanced, developed country, and this process stands in stark contrast to the West’s modernisation process:

First, China’s modernisation is built on the efforts of the Chinese people rather than on war, colonialism and slavery.

Second, its fruits are to be shared by everybody, not dominated by the wealthy. As General Secretary Xi Jinping said in his work report to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, China’s modernisation is “the modernisation of common prosperity for all.”

Even today, not everyone in the West is able to enjoy the fruits of modernisation. Consider for example the US, where tens of millions lack access to healthcare; where over half a million people are homeless; where life expectancy for African Americans is six years less than for their white counterparts; where – according to the US Department of Education – over half of adults read below a sixth-grade level.

Third, China’s modernisation is becoming a green modernisation, fuelled by clean energy, careful not to destroy the planet that sustains us. Again quoting Xi Jinping’s work report, “it is the modernisation of harmony between humanity and nature.”

Capitalist modernisation has had a disastrous impact on the environment. With 4 percent of the global population, the US alone is responsible for 25 percent of historic greenhouse gas emissions. The simple fact is that humanity literally cannot afford for China’s modernisation to follow this pattern.

Socialist modernisation will become the ‘new normal’

The West’s modernisation path is not open to the countries of the Global South, and it wouldn’t be desirable even if it were. Today, the road of capitalist modernisation is closed, so how is China able to modernise?

China does not have an empire, formal or informal, but it does have a particular advantage of being a socialist state, a “people’s democratic dictatorship based on the alliance of workers and peasants”, to use Mao Zedong’s expression. Such a state can use its power to direct economic activity towards the goals of the social classes it represents.

Thus the specificities of China’s modernisation – the commitment to common prosperity, to ending poverty and underdevelopment, to preventing climate collapse and to peaceful development – are a function of China’s political system, its revolutionary history, and the leadership of the CPC.

At a meeting of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2016, Xi Jinping made this point very succinctly: “Our greatest strength lies in our socialist system, which enables us to pool resources in a major mission. This is the key to our success.”

Or as Deng Xiaoping famously commented in 1984: “the superiority of the socialist system is demonstrated, in the final analysis, by faster and greater development of the productive forces than under the capitalist system.”

In a world still largely dominated by capitalism – and an intellectual world still dominated by bourgeois ideology – it’s easy to forget this system’s fundamental and irreconcilable contradictions, which Marx identified with such clarity and profundity 150 years ago; contradictions which lead inexorably to inefficiency, stagnation and crisis. A political economy directed at the production of exchange values rather than use values can never result in common prosperity.

In China, the capitalist class is not the ruling class and is therefore not able to direct the country’s resources according to its own prerogatives. At the top level, resources are allocated by the state, in accordance with long-term planning carried out by, and in the interests of, the people.

This is what is enabling a new type of modernisation, which is blazing a trail for socialist and developing countries the world over.

The fruits of this process are being shared with the world, via mechanisms such as the Belt and Road Initiative and the Global Development Initiative, which are creating a path for the countries of the Global South to break out of underdevelopment, even where they lack China’s resources and political advantages.

As such, China’s evolving modernisation has great historic significance, and offers valuable lessons for the world. It is an embodiment of historical materialism in the current era: capitalism has long since exhausted its ability to fundamentally drive human progress, and therefore the future lies with socialism.

CGTN interview with Senegalese President Macky Sall

In this episode of the CGTN series Leaders Talk, filmed in the South African city of Johannesburg immediately following the BRICS Summit and the China/Africa Leaders Dialogue held in its margins in August, Wang Guan interviews President Macky Sall of Senegal.

President Sall sets out a strong case for the reform of international institutions formed in the wake of World War II. The world has changed greatly since then and reform is demanded by Africa and the Global South as we are moving towards a multipolar world. 

Senegal was the first country in West Africa to sign up for the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) advanced by President Xi Jinping. President Sall extols his personal and friendly relationship with his Chinese counterpart and is full of praise for China’s relations with Africa.

China, he notes, once suffered aggression from the colonial powers, so today it shows empathy and humility in its dealings with others. Citing a recent discussion he held with French President Emmanuel Macron, he said that his message to Africa’s other partners is that we want the same from them. There is now a generation, including himself, born after the end of colonial rule, and they have a new mentality.

Turning to questions of development financing and foreign debt, Sall makes the point that China’s financing is based on requests made by Africa and priorities set by Africa. Refuting ideas of a ‘Chinese debt trap’, he notes that Africa’s debt to China is only some 12% of its total. Moreover, the interest rate is low, at a maximum of 2.5%, with a minimum repayment period of 20 years, and a grace period before payments become due that is generally longer than that offered by others.

Furthermore, citing a China-built expressway in his country as an example, because China’s projects are built quickly, they can often be generating revenue for a few years before any loan repayments fall due.

The full interview with President Macky Sall is embedded below.

The New Cold War is failing

On 6 September 2023, Carlos Martinez and Dr Ken Hammond joined Danny Haiphong live on his YouTube channel to discuss the latest developments regarding the US’s hybrid war on China and the multipolar world.

They have a detailed discussion on the US attempts to prevent China from developing advanced semiconductors; the recent advances made by Huawei and SMIC in precisely the field of advanced semiconductors; the contradiction between the requirements of the US business community and the strategic designs of the New Cold War; the state of the Chinese economy; the successes of the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg; the significance of BRICS; China’s prioritisation of relations with the countries of the Global South and those countries outside the US imperialist orbit; and more.

The three pay tribute to the recently-deceased comrade and veteran friend of China Isabel Crook, and also discuss Carlos’s and Ken’s books on China, both of which have been published in 2023.

Comorian President Azali Assoumani: Africa can rely on China

In this episode of the CGTN series, Leaders Talk, Wang Guan interviews Azali Assoumani, President of the Union of the Comoros, who is also this year’s rotating Chair of the African Union (AU). The president of the Indian Ocean island country was interviewed in South Africa’s largest city, Johannesburg, where he was attending the BRICS Summit in late August, alongside the related China/Africa Leaders Dialogue.

President Assoumani was very positive both about the role in international affairs currently being played by the BRICS cooperation mechanism as well as for the prospects of an expanded BRICS Plus, which was first proposed by China. Citing the two examples of the disproportionate control exercised by the western powers over the traditional international financial institutions, as well as the allocation of Covid vaccines, he notes that he had discussed the latter issue with his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa several times. Africa, he points out, has the ability to produce its own vaccines, an area where South Africa, Senegal, Morocco and Egypt, among other countries, have already taken a continental lead.

The Comorian leader was also emphatic on the need for industrialisation, so that Africa can export finished goods and not just raw materials. While the era of political colonialism may be largely over, that of economic colonialism is not. Often Africa exports raw materials and then imports finished goods made from them at ten, twenty or even thirty times the original export price. He therefore endorses the priorities China has set for its economic cooperation with Africa, namely industrialisation, agricultural modernisation and upscaling of the African workforce.

On agricultural modernisation, he highlights the centrality of both food processing and storage, the latter being of particular importance given the propensity of many African countries to drought and to resultant famine.

The president is also an advocate of the growing trend towards dedollarisation. Noting the successful development of the BRICS-initiated New Development Bank (NDB), he says this shows that BRICS countries could also find their way towards a common currency.

Assoumani praises China’s long standing commitment to Africa and notes that the Asian country has been fuelling Comoros’ deveopment. China was one of the first countries to recognise Comoros when it finally won independence from French colonial rule in 1975. China has always supported and stood by Comoros, he says. Therefore Comoros must also do everything it can to support China. Drawing on a popular Comorian saying, he asserts that China is now becoming a wall on which not just his country, but Africa and indeed the whole world can rely.

Africa and China, he notes, have a bond of brothers. Some other countries may be jealous of this relationship, but they, too, could enjoy a similar relationship if they treated their African counterparts as friends and brothers.

Located at the northern end of the Mozambique Channel in the Indian Ocean, Comoros consists of four main islands and numerous smaller islands. However, France remains in colonial occupation of Mayotte, one of the major islands, making this issue part of the unfinished business of African decolonisation. France has even vetoed UN Security Council resolutions that would affirm Comorian sovereignty over the island. The CGTN commentary correctly refers to Mayotte as part of the sovereign territory of the Union of the Comoros.

The full interview with President Assoumani is embedded below.

Dilma Rousseff: China’s poverty alleviation a historic event in the story of human development

In this edition of the CGTN series, Leaders Talk, conducted in May but only recently screened, essentially coinciding with the BRICS summit in South Africa, Zou Yun interviews Dilma Rousseff, former President of Brazil and now President of the BRICS-initiated New Development Bank (NDB). The interview was recorded at the bank’s Shanghai headquarters. As President of Brazil in 2014, Dilma was one of the signatories to the founding document of the bank.

Dilma explains how developing countries and emerging markets of the Global South need investment, for example in physical and digital infrastructure so as to improve their people’s lives. But they suffer from problems such as a lack of access to credit and the non-convertibility of their currencies. The latter, in particular, contributes to reinforcing dollar hegemony, which adversely affects them, whether in terms of susceptibility to changes in US interest rates or the US propensity to arbitrarily impose sanctions and exercise ‘long-arm jurisdiction’, seeking to impose US domestic legislation on others. Therefore, conducting at least a portion of external trade in local currencies is vital. It is related to the development of a multipolar world.

According to Dilma, the US’ imposition of punitive tariffs on China is a grave mistake. Not only does it cause economic problems for China – it fragments global supply chains and impacts economic growth in a way unfavourable to all countries. She notes that 40 years ago, China was an impoverished country, but today it is the world’s second greatest economy. US tactics such as ‘friend shoring’, she notes, can be no substitute for China’s huge market.

Regarding US sanctions policy, Dilma insists that they are effectively just another form of war. Their aim is to prevent development and negatively impact the lives of the people, with the aim of triggering a change of system.

In contrast, she expresses her strong support for the series of international initiatives put forward by President Xi Jinping, which she considers have peace and development at their core. She further describes Xi as a great leader, who has appeared at the right time and place. During her term of office, and under President Lula, Brazil succeeded in lifting 36 million people out of absolute poverty. She knows the challenges that had to be met to achieve that, so lifting 800 million people out of poverty, as China has done, is a historic event in the story of human development.

The full interview with Dilma Rousseff is embedded below.

CGTN interview with Burundian President Évariste Ndayishimiye

In this episode of the CGTN series Leaders Talk, Wang Guan interviews Évariste Ndayishimiye, the President of Burundi. The interview was filmed in Shanghai during the Burundian leader’s recent state visit to China.

Burundi is a small, landlocked country in east central Africa, sharing land borders with Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania. It was colonised by Germany during the imperialist “scramble for Africa”. Following World War I, it was handed to Belgium under a League of Nations mandate and after World War II was made a so-called United Nations Trust Territory, finally winning national independence in 1962.

Burundi established diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China the year after it obtained independence, making this year the 60th anniversary of their bilateral ties. 

They have been 60 years of fruitful cooperation, leading President Xi Jinping, in his meeting with his Burundian counterpart, to describe the relationship of one of all-weather friendship. For his part, President Ndayishimiye, who was making his first visit to China as president, but who has previously visited the country on a number of occasions, describes the relationship as one of friendship, solidarity and brotherhood. If there is one country, he says, that always stands with Burundi, whether in good times or bad, it’s China, which is always the first to come to his country’s support in times of difficulty.

Whenever he visits China, Ndayishimiye is keen to delve deeply into the lessons provided by China’s development. His ambition is for Burundi to become an emerging country by 2040 and a developed country by 2060. China, he notes, has become a global power in a very short time, so it is possible. He seeks to learn from China by reorganising his own country to work for the people’s well-being.

Ninety per cent of Burundi’s population currently works in agriculture, so this sector is also the foundation of its collaboration with China. Since 2009, under the auspices of FOCAC (the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation), agricultural experts from China have introduced various hybrid rice strains to Burundi, leading to a huge increase in the country’s food production. President Ndayishimiye praises the role of Chinese experts, who “work with our people shoulder-to-shoulder on the ground.”

However, China’s assistance to Burundi does not stop at agriculture, but also embraces such sectors as healthcare, education and infrastructure, including energy, roads and the expansion of the international airport in the country’s largest city and former capital, Bujumbura. 

Burundi’s president is scathing about the record and legacy of European colonialism in his country. “Burundi is like a big family, but the colonisers’ strategy was to divide in order to rule over the resistant people.” He contrasts this to China and utterly refutes any suggestion of “Chinese colonialism” in Africa. He has studied Chinese history and the country was itself once a victim of colonialism. A devout Christian, the president invokes words from the Bible when he insists that China does not believe in doing unto others what has been done unto itself. Interestingly, almost the identical words can be found in the sayings of the Chinese sage Confucius. According to Ndayishimiye, the colonial powers are simply judging China by their own standards.

The full interview with President Évariste Ndayishimiye is embedded below.

China: socialist or capitalist?

This presentation by Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez was given to the Communist Party USA on 20 August 2023 as part of its Marxist Classes series.

Introducing his book, The East is Still Red – Chinese Socialism in the 21st Century, Carlos goes into detail as to the class character of China today.

The book is available in paperback and ePub formats from Praxis Press, and is also available for Kindle. The voucher code ‘Carlos’ provides a site-wide 10 percent discount on Praxis Press.

Azerbaijani president: Belt and Road an important contribution to Central Asia’s development

In this recent episode of the CGTN series, Leaders Talk, Wang Guan, travels to the Azerbaijani capital, Baku, to sit down with President Ilham Aliyev.

He notes that this year is the 100th birth anniversary of the current president’s father, former President Heydar Aliyev, who is, it is noted, not only the founding father of independent Azerbaijan, but also of China-Azerbaijan friendship. 

President Aliyev emphasises that his father created a framework for cooperation with China based on mutual respect and friendship. And, as illustrated in photos shown by Wang Guan, during his China visits, Heydar Aliyev also took particular care to visit ordinary Chinese families and to learn about their daily lives. 

President Aliyev noted that his father was already well aware of developments in China from the time when he served in the Soviet government. In the history of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), Heydar Aliyev held the highest position ever attained by someone of Muslim heritage.

The current president considers the relations between China and Azerbaijan to be on a long journey of strategic cooperation. They are based on an alignment of major positions in international relations, for example with regard to sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference in internal affairs.

All this also helps to create a favourable backdrop for economic cooperation, particularly within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which, in turn, contributes to regional security, stability and development. The progress of the BRI enables Azerbaijan to leverage its geographical location to its advantage, through the development of both the Caspian seaport and international rail links. 

Noting that he has met President Xi Jinping on many occasions, both in China and at international gatherings, Aliyev describes his Chinese counterpart as a person of vision and intelligence. This, he notes, contributes to the fact that the number of international friends of China is growing year by year. 

Aliyev also praises China for the assistance it provides to other countries, particularly when other countries refuse to do so. For example, China was the only country to supply Covid-19 vaccines to Azerbaijan when they were first developed. His letter to President Xi drew an immediate response, making Azerbaijan one of the first countries to start a vaccination programme during the global pandemic.

With regard to the question of Taiwan, he said that Azerbaijan always supports China’s territorial integrity and reunification. HIs country’s support for the one-China principle is absolutely unchanged and will never be changed.

Turning to negative western perceptions of developing countries like China and Azerbaijan, Aliyev says that the basic reason is his country’s pursuit of independent policies based on the national interest. Besides the western media, President Aliyev also excoriated the role played by supposedly independent NGOs such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, noting that their agendas did not diverge from those of their funders.

The full interview with President Aliyev is embedded below.

Algerian President: No matter how the world changes, our friendship with China will remain unchanged

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune paid a state visit to China, from July 17-21 2023. During this visit, shortly after his meeting with President Xi Jinping, he sat down with CGTN’s Li Tongtong to record an episode of the channel’s Leaders Talk series.

The Algerian leader began by expressing his people’s “sincere admiration for the great nation of China.” Algeria and China, he noted, share a similar history of development. Both of them started from scratch. Algeria endured 130 years of colonialism, but friendly countries like China helped both during the struggle for national liberation and when embarking on the road of development.

Li Tongtong noted the emotional way in which Xi Jinping had recalled how the two countries had stood together against imperialism and colonialism.

China was the first non-Arab country to recognise the Algerian provisional government, 65 years ago, at the height of the liberation war. China’s very first overseas medical team was sent to Algeria in 1963 – they were the first foreign doctors to reach the newly liberated country, which was then in dire need of medical assistance. In 1971, together with Albania, Algeria was the key sponsor of UN Resolution 2758, which restored China’s UN seat to its legitimate government.

President Tebboune said that China and Algeria had shared the same experiences. China had suffered from war, poverty and famine, but the indomitable Chinese people, under the leadership of revolutionaries like Chairman Mao Zedong, had fought hard for a better future and now China stands tall in the world.

Beijing’s action, in recognising the Algerian provisional government, he continued, had helped his country to win a complete victory in the war of liberation, and to embark on a new journey hand in hand with friends like China.

President Tebboune expressed great confidence in Xi Jinping, who he described as a wise leader. The weight on his shoulders is immense. China’s new path of development has implications for the whole world and many countries are looking to China. Algeria wholeheartedly supports him.

Algeria, which was the first Arab country to enter into a comprehensive strategic partnership with China, and which joined the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in 2018, is seeking to deepen its economic cooperation with China, which has long been its main partner in infrastructure development and other areas. One plan is for a railway to link the north and south of this vast country. Algeria’s first satellite, itself the first product of Sino-Algerian aerospace collaboration, is proudly featured on an Algerian banknote.

According to President Tebboune: “True friends step forward in times of adversity. So we are very clear about who our friends are and who are not. No matter how the world changes or what difficulties we face, our friendship with China will remain unchanged.”

Algeria, he noted, explaining the basis of his country’s regional and foreign policy, had struggled for national liberation, justice and freedom, and this had entered deep into the Algerian people’s subconscious. The Algerian people had paid a heavy price for these ideals. Fifteen percent of the total population at the time had sacrificed their lives in the national liberation war. So Algeria is very clear – it supports national liberation and rejects hegemonism of any kind. Some powers were now pursuing attempts at neo-colonialism, but the African peoples, he said, have awakened. 

Referring to last November’s reconciliation agreement between 14 Palestinian factions, including Fatah and Hamas, which was brokered in Algiers with his country’s mediation, President Tebboune said Algeria pursued no selfish interest in this. Palestine’s strength lies in unity. The older generation of his country’s leaders had said that Algeria’s independence would be incomplete without the independence of Palestine and his country always adhered to this.

Algeria is striving for a multipolar world together with China and looked forward to joining the BRICS cooperation mechanism and its New Development Bank. 

The full interview with President Tebboune is embedded below. Our previous report on his state visit to China can be read here

Mia Mottley: China and Barbados share a commitment to putting people first

In this recent episode of the CGTN series Leaders Talk, Zou Yun interviews Mia Mottley, the first woman Prime Minister of Barbados, during her official visit to China in June.

Comparing what she has seen in China this time to her previous visits in 2004 and 2007, Prime Minister Mottley refers to the palpable changes in terms of China’s growth. This growth has continued to fuel the global economy despite recent challenges. She cites climate change as one of the challenges that “unite us in common purpose”. Small island developing states, the Barbadian PM notes, are on the frontline in the fight against climate change. They are the “canaries in the mine” and the world might have seen quicker action had people listened to their concerns.

Zou Yun notes that Mottley has a special bond with China in that she shares an October 1st birthday with the People’s Republic of China. Barbados, the Prime Minister notes, established diplomatic relations with China 46 years ago as an act of courage and on the premise that China and the Chinese culture and civilization are worthy of respect. Noting that a commitment to putting people first is a foundation of the two countries’ relationship, she praises China for its adherence to the principle of equality between big and small nations. An example was the response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Many countries had refused to provide vaccines to countries like Barbados on the grounds that their market share was too small, but China had provided her country with 30,000 doses of vaccine. She had personally gone to the airport to receive the first batch. 

When some countries had criticized Barbados’ strong relationship with China, she had retorted that since independence, her country had resolved, under successive governments, formed by different political parties, to be, “friends of all, satellites of none.” This had dictated Barbados’ recognition of China in 1977 and also its friendship with Cuba and Venezuela.

In 2021, Barbados had become the world’s newest republic, removing the late Queen Elizabeth II as head of state. Mia Mottley describes this as being about finishing the journey of independence – which started with the emancipation from slavery in 1838, continued with women gaining the vote in 1944, independence in 1966, and removing the UK’s Privy Council as the final court of appeal in 2005. A non-Barbadian head of state, she explained, was no longer acceptable to our people. This was about “the business of nation building” and overcoming the legacy of racism that was intrinsic to British colonialism.

Moving to the conclusion of the interview, Prime Minister Mottley described her mission as being to improve people’s lives and to fight injustice. It cannot just be that the market determines that the victors should live well. The levelling hand of the state is also needed to bring as many people as possible to development.

The full interview with the Barbados Prime Minister is embedded below.

Solomon Islands PM: establishing relations with China one of the best decisions in our history

In this episode of the CGTN series Leaders Talk, Zou Yun interviews the Prime Minister of Solomon Islands Manasseh Sogavare at the start of his second official visit to China in July. Sogavare came to China nearly four years after his previous visit, which marked the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. This time, he officially opened his country’s embassy in Beijing and the two countries formally established a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership of Mutual Respect and Common Development in the New Era. When asked how he felt to be visiting China again, he simply says: “It’s good to be back home.”

Solomon Islands finally won independence from British colonial rule in 1978, but Sogavare repeatedly describes the decades between the proclamation of independence and the establishment of diplomatic relations with China as ones of “wandering in the wilderness”. This strikingly biblical phrase doubtlessly reflects his own Seventh Day Adventist faith, as well as the deep religious sentiments of the Solomon Islands people as a whole, and therefore, in turn, his deep attachment to the China relationship, which, despite being just under four years old, has been on the fast track to become a model of solidarity, cooperation and joint development between large and small countries and between developing countries. For Sogavare, the establishment of diplomatic relations was one of the best decisions made in his country’s history and he praises the attitude he ascribes to President Xi Jinping that, “no country is too small; no one comes too late.”

In the very short history of diplomatic relations between his country and China, Sogavare asserts that the achievements have been huge, not least China’s provision of the national stadium, where Solomon Islands will host the Pacific Games this year. He expresses himself vehemently with regard to those countries who have criticised his relations with China, saying that, “we are a sovereign state and who we have diplomatic relations with and who we develop cooperation with is no one’s business.” He dismisses the theory of a ‘Chinese debt trap’ as “nonsense”, saying that some countries are afraid that they are losing their grip over the small island states.

Establishing relations with China was the best decision because his country is struggling for development. Decades after independence, Solomon Islands is still aid dependent and the country is still poor, despite its immense resources and potential, including in forestry, marine resources, minerals and tourist attractions. Unless his country realigned itself to open up to the opportunities provided by China, he feared it would remain poor forever. Asked about his impressions of President Xi Jinping, he singles out his leadership in lifting the Chinese people out of poverty. This does not simply happen by chance and is something that other countries should emulate.

As the leader of a Pacific Island country, and home to some of the world’s greatest diversity of corals and coral reef species, Sogavare expressed serious and grave concern with regard to both the Japanese plan to release contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear reactor into the ocean and the AUKUS agreement between Australia, the UK and the US that will see the introduction of nuclear powered submarines into the South Pacific. The South Pacific countries had jointly sent the Prime Minister of Cook Islands to Japan to convey their concern. 

Regarding the AUKUS agreement, he explained that the first he had heard of this was on the media – the countries concerned had not even had the courtesy to inform Solomon Islands. This is despite the fact that both Australia and Solomon Islands are signatories to the 1986 South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty, also known as the Treaty of Rarotonga. The South Pacific, he says, is very clear on its nuclear free policy, citing the impact of the nuclear tests on Moruroa (a part of Polynesia still under French colonial rule) and the continued suffering of the people there.

Finally, Prime Minister Sogavare speaks of his personal admiration for the Chinese martial arts icon Bruce Lee. Himself a Second Dan (black belt) in the Japanese Shotokan school of karate, it was Bruce Lee who inspired him to take up the martial arts seriously and the Prime Minister recalls how meaningful it was for him to visit Lee’s Hong Kong home in 1997.

The full interview with Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare is embedded below.

How China became the world’s industrial superpower – and why the US is desperate to stop it

In this detailed and informative video explainer on Geopolitical Economy Report, Ben Norton discusses China’s extraordinary rise and the economic dynamics of the New Cold War.

Ben notes that in 1950, China represented just 5 percent of global GDP. In purchasing power parity (PPP) terms, it currently represents 19 percent of global GDP, compared to 15 percent for the US. No other country in history has undergone such a dramatic transformation in so short a period. Ben makes the critically important point that this progress is the result of socialist, not capitalist, economics. He notes that in China’s socialist market economy, the commanding heights, including finance, infrastructure, transport and energy, are run by the state, and that the state continues to guide the economy overall, via five-year plans and multiple other mechanisms. China’s strategy has succeeded in transforming an overwhelmingly agrarian country into a leading industrial power, thereby creating the resources needed to develop more advanced socialism.

China’s rapid industrialization has led to it becoming the world’s largest manufacturer, and a leading innovator in advanced industry. This has some important – and contradictory – consequences for the West. Firstly, the West – and particularly the US – has been deindustrializing while China has been industrializing, and it now finds itself in a position where it is unable to outcompete China in terms of industrial innovation. This leads the US towards notions of ‘decoupling’ and trying to engage in various forms of economic coercion to suppress China’s rise. Secondly, however, China has become the global manufacturing center, and its high levels of productivity and innovation make it integral to multiple crucial value chains. As such, Western companies tend to be unwilling to ‘decouple’ or divest from China.

These competing needs are fomenting divisions within the Western ruling classes and are leading to decidedly incoherent foreign policy in Washington, London and elsewhere. The US is intent on preventing China from continuing to develop and becoming the world’s foremost economy, and yet the US’s financialized capitalism lacks the means to compete with (or indeed decouple from) China.

Campaigning against the New Cold War is crucial for all who value peace and justice

We are pleased to publish below the video and speech of a presentation made by Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez at a 28 June webinar of the United National Anti-War Coalition, on the theme of US anti-China propaganda, a prelude to war. Carlos exposes the extraordinary hypocrisy and falsehood of the propaganda war that the Western powers are waging against China, and highlights how it is being leveraged to shift public opinion in favor of anti-China hostility.

He points out that the escalating campaign of China encirclement and containment is threatening to derail global progress on key issues, noting that “the future of humanity actually hinges on global cooperation to address our collective problems.” As such, Carlos calls on all progressive and peace-loving people to make campaigning against the New Cold War a core part of their work.

Other speakers at the event included Lee Siu Hin of the China-US Solidarity Network, Sara Flounders of the International Action Center, and Arjae Red of Workers World Party. The full webinar can be viewed on YouTube.

Dear friends, thank you so much for inviting me to speak at this important event. I’m very sorry not to be able to join you in person, as I’m currently in Guiyang, China, on a delegation.

The theme of today’s event, “Anti-Chinese propaganda, a prelude to war”, is closely connected to the rationale for writing my book, “The East is Still Red: Chinese socialism in the 21st century.”

I had two key aims in mind with the book.

One was to talk about socialism, about how China is a socialist country. So many people think that China used to be a socialist country and then became capitalist with the introduction of market reforms. I wanted to show that China remains a socialist country and that socialism provides the framework for its incredible successes in poverty alleviation, development, renewable energy, and so on.

And I wanted to say to the Western left – which tends to be a bit unsure about China – look, China’s achieved all these things, it’s raised living standards beyond recognition, it’s gone from being a technologically backward and oppressed country to being a science and tech powerhouse, it’s leading the global shift to multipolarity; why on earth would we want to ascribe these successes to capitalism rather than socialism? Let’s celebrate socialist victories, let’s uphold the history and politics of the global working class.

Hence ‘The East is Still Red’.

The second key aim in writing the book was to stand up to the propaganda war, which is part of a wider New Cold War against China, and that’s the focus of my talk today.

This work of standing up to the propaganda war is urgent. It needs to be a major focus for socialists, communists, progressives, for anti-war campaigners worldwide; really for anyone that doesn’t think “better dead than red” is a viable slogan for the 21st century.

Because the propaganda war is war propaganda.

It seeks to build the broadest possible public support for a New Cold War, for a campaign of containment and encirclement, and ultimately very possibly for a hot war.

Let’s get something straight. This New Cold War, this anti-China campaign, has absolutely nothing to do with human rights.

When the West throws disgraceful slanders at China over alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang, does anybody seriously think they’re manifesting a hitherto secret fondness and respect for Muslim people and their religion?

Where was that sentiment when they killed over a million people in Iraq?

Where was that sentiment when they destroyed Afghanistan, turning a quarter of its population into refugees and imposing brutal poverty on the rest?

Where was that sentiment when they bombed Libya into the Stone Age?

Where’s that sentiment today as they wage a disastrous proxy war against Iran in Yemen, creating the most severe humanitarian crisis in the world?

If they’re concerned about Muslims being placed in prison camps and denied their human rights, the first place they need to look is their illegally occupied corner of Cuba, that is, Guantanamo Bay.

When the West spreads outright lies about the suppression of Tibetan or Inner Mongolian language and culture, does anyone seriously think they’re standing up for the rights of indigenous peoples and for the preservation of precious human history?

How many indigenous languages are taught in US schools? To what extent is indigenous culture – and righteous resistance against colonialism – celebrated in US society? When was the last time native rights were upheld over drilling rights? Why does the US Congress seem more concerned with preserving Tibetan heritage than shutting down the Dakota Access pipeline?

These anti-China stories – all of which can be and have been comprehensively debunked – have nothing to do with upholding the principles of freedom, democracy and justice.

Continue reading Campaigning against the New Cold War is crucial for all who value peace and justice

CGTN interview with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

In this latest instalment of the CGTN series, Leaders Talk, Wang Guan interviews Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during his recent state visit to China. 

Abbas says that that the upgrading of relations between China and Palestine to that of a strategic partnership this time is of great significance. It is a good fortune to the Palestinian people that China always firmly stands on their side and provides assistance to them. Agreements reached during this visit include major projects in economy, agriculture, sister city programs, and so on. 

The Palestinian leader regards China’s brokering of reconciliation between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and the resulting steps to resolve other disputes, both long-standing and more recent, in the region, as a miracle, adding that all Arabs are pleased with China’s efforts. 

In response to his interviewer’s observation that the Palestinian issue is at the heart of Middle Eastern politics, but no progress has been made in its resolution due to the unbalanced US position, Abbas notes that Israel has discussed a ‘two-state solution’ but not enacted it. The US, he explains, acts as a roadblock, with little interest in solving the Palestinian issue. However, the United States also once refused to recognise Nelson Mandela and supported the racist policy of apartheid in South Africa, but they eventually capitulated and changed their stance. 

Asked for his impressions of Chinese leader Xi Jinping, Abbas described him as a dear friend, both to himself and to the Palestinian people – a man who keeps his promises and never resorts to empty talk. Palestine, he continued, stands with China on the Taiwan issue. “If any country opposes China, we will resolutely oppose them and firmly stand with China.”

At the age of 13, Abbas, together with his family, had to leave their home and become refugees in Syria at the time of the Palestinian Nakba in 1948. Abbas reflects: “Our land was seized by others and Palestinians were forced into displacement. Today we are still fighting to return to our homeland and establish an independent Palestinian state.” The Palestinian President, who has visited China a total of 13 times, five of them as state visits, says that one significant similarity between the Palestinian and Chinese peoples is their determination to tirelessly strive for their goals once they have resolved to do so.

The full interview with President Abbas is embedded below.