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.

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.