Increasing international support for China’s human rights achievements in Xinjiang

‘No investigation, no right to speak [meiyou diaocha jiu meiyou fanyanquan]’.

This Chinese saying is particularly relevant for some in a small number of former colonising countries who like to make unfounded statements about China. That they have been used to seeing the world in their image is obvious; that they misunderstand much of the rest of the world is also obvious. But times are changing fast, for the voices from precisely such parts are increasingly strong and being heard.

Xinjiang and its highly successful counter-terrorism and de-radicalisation programs are a case in point. In contrast to the former colonisers, many foreign delegations and journalists from other countries have visited Xinjiang and undertaken proper investigation. Notably, this includes investigators from Muslim-majority and developing countries, which support China’s approach.

One recent result of this process of investigation is a joint letter from the ambassadors of 37 countries, which was sent to the UN’s human rights council. The letter indicates strong support for China’s successes in Xinjiang and its promotion of a Chinese Marxist approach to human rights.

As Xinhua news reports:

July 12 (Xinhua) — Ambassadors of 37 countries on Friday sent a joint letter to the President of the UN Human Rights Council and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to show their support for China on its “remarkable achievements in the field of human rights”.

“We commend China’s remarkable achievements in the field of human rights by adhering to the people-centered development philosophy and protecting and promoting human rights through development,” the joint letter said.

“We also appreciate China’s contributions to the international human rights cause,” it said.

The ambassadors expressed their “firm opposition” to relevant countries’ practice of politicizing human rights issues, by naming and shaming, and publicly exerting pressures on other countries.

“We urge the OHCHR, Treaty Bodies and relevant Special Procedures mandate holders to conduct their work in an objective and impartial manner according to their mandate and with true and genuinely credible information, and value the communication with member states,” the joint letter said.

The letter was signed by the ambassadors to UN at Geneva from Russia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Cuba, Algeria, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Nigeria, Angola, Togo, Tajikistan, Philippines, Belarus and a number of other countries from Asia, Africa, the Middle East and other parts of the world.

RESPECTING HUMAN RIGHTS IN COUNTER-TERRORISM

As for issues related to China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the UN envoys said that terrorism, separatism and religious extremism have caused enormous damage to people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang, which has seriously infringed upon human rights, including right to life, health and development.

“Faced with the grave challenge of terrorism and extremism, China has undertaken a series of counter-terrorism and de-radicalization measures in Xinjiang, including setting up vocational education and training centers,” they noted.

They mentioned that safety and security has returned to Xinjiang and the fundamental human rights of people of all ethnic groups there are safeguarded.

“The past three consecutive years has seen not a single terrorist attack in Xinjiang and people there enjoy a stronger sense of happiness, fulfillment and security,” the envoys stressed.

The ambassadors said they noted “with appreciation” that human rights are respected and protected in China in the process of counter-terrorism and de-radicalization.

“We appreciate China’s commitment to openness and transparency. China has invited a number of diplomats, international organizations officials and journalist to Xinjiang to witness the progress of the human rights cause and the outcomes of counter-terrorism and de-radicalization there,” they said, adding that what they saw and heard in Xinjiang completely contradicted what was reported in some western media.

“We call on relevant countries to refrain from employing unfounded charges against China based on unconfirmed information before they visit Xinjiang,” they concluded.

FULL SUPPORT FROM LOCAL PEOPLE

At the end of the letter, the ambassadors, on behalf of the respective country of them, request that this letter be recorded as an official document of the 41st session of the UN Human Rights Council and be published on the official UN Website.

Friday marked the last day of the 41st session of the UN Human Rights Council, which started on June 24.

Li Song, the Charge d’Affaires of the Permanent Mission of China to UN at Geneva, spoke on Friday at a UN Human Rights Council session, expressing appreciation and gratitude to the 37 ambassadors for their supports.

Li Song told the Council that China welcomes those who truly adhere to the principles of objectivity and fairness to come to visit Xinjiang, to take a look and feel its beauty, prosperity, hospitality, development and progress.

Once plagued by terrorist attacks, Li said, Xinjiang was determined to take lawful actions to fight crimes of violence and terrorism, and at the same time to take prevention and de-radicalization means to address the root causes, including the setting up of vocational education and training centers.

“Now these measures have achieved good results and gained full support from the local people,” the senior Chinese diplomat said.

“The people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang, along with the entire Chinese people, will stride forward to build a brighter future of their own,” Li added.

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Neo-colonialism and Hong Kong: Ambassador Liu Xiaoming responds to a couple of ignorant UK politicians

Following my earlier post about ‘Colonial Policy By Other Means‘ (in relation to Hong Kong and Taiwan), I have been enjoying reading the replies by the Chinese Ambassador to the UK, Liu Xiaoming, in response to one or two ignorant politicians in the UK, who have been cheering on the violence in Hong Kong.

In reply to someone called Jeremy Hunt (seems to be important over there):

It seems that he [Jeremy Hunt] is still immersed in the faded glory of colonialism. He is obsessed with condescendingly criticizing other countries. He keeps lying without remorse. Here I will say a few more words.

First, after Hong Kong’s return to China, British rights and obligations as outlined in the Sino-British Joint Declaration were completed. On July 1, 1997, China resumed sovereignty over Hong Kong. The Chinese Government started exercising jurisdiction over Hong Kong in accordance with the Constitution and the Basic Law of Hong Kong SAR.

The UK has no sovereignty or rights to rule and supervise Hong Kong after the handover. There is no room for Britain to claim any so-called responsibility over Hong Kong whatsover. Claiming itself the guardian of Hong Kong is nothing more than self-entertaining.

Second, Mr Hunt says that the UK negotiated freedoms for Hong Kong. How brazen is that! Was there any democracy when the British governors were in Hong Kong? People in Hong Kong didn’t even have the right to take to the streets then. It is only after the return that Hong Kong residents started enjoying unprecedented democratic rights and freedoms. The Chinese Government strictly follows the Constitution and the Basic Law. It earnestly implements the  one country, two systems” policy. It ensures that the people of Hong Kong govern Hong Kong with a high degree of autonomy.

Third, the violent storming of the Legislative Council on July 1 is a grave illegal activity. It tramples on the rule of law and undermines social order. In total disregard of facts, Mr. Hunt called the SAR government’s response “repression”. That is entirely misleading. I want to ask Mr. Hunt, if it were the British Parliament that had been stormed and vandalized, what would the British government do? Will it sit by idly and let the protesters have their way? If this is the democracy he believes in, should the police guarding the Parliament withdraw to allow in protesters across the street? Will he call the British police’s handling of the August 2011 riot in London “repression”?

I shall stress that Hong Kong is China’s special administrative region. Its affairs are purely China’s internal affairs. They brook no interference from any country, organization or individual in any form. We hope that the UK side, especially Mr. Hunt, will cease to overreach and interfere. Such attempts are doomed to fail.

And in reply to last colonial governor of Hong Kong, Chris Patten, who claims that as a former colony, the UK has a ‘right’ to interfere:

As the last governor of Hong Kong, his body is in the 21st century, but his head remains in the old colonial days. This bill won’t make it easier for Hong Kong to extradite people to the mainland. There are many safeguards. You know, first of all, there are 37 clauses as safeguards in this Bill. That means, no people would be extradited to mainland because of their religious or political beliefs. And the crime has to be punishable in both places. That means, to make an extreme case, if murder was not regarded as a crime in Hong Kong, then people who committed murder would not be extradited to the mainland.

As for the bill of extradition itself, what was its origin?

The whole thing was started by Hong Kong SAR government. Just as the Chief Executive said, she received no instruction from Beijing. She received no order from Beijing. It is completely the initiative launched by Hong Kong SAR government, to make Hong Kong system more perfect, to improve the legal system.

You mentioned “One China, Two Systems” for 50 years. We are fully committed to this promise. There is no question about that. So you can see that from day one till now, the central government has not interfered at all. Every step of the way, we let the Hong Kong SAR government handle this. Instead, it is the British government that was trying to interfere, voicing support for the demonstrators … they tried to obstruct the legal process. To answer your question in a simple way, have full confidence in Hong Kong SAR government. And it shows that they are capable of handling the situation.

 

Why Is Chinese Governance Better?

Recently, Martin Jacques observed that Chinese governance under the CPC is a better, more efficient and higher form of governance than we have seen thus far. To begin with, Jacques is correct. This is particularly obvious if we compare it with bourgeois (liberal) democracy, which is now obsolete and quite clumsy. The latter arose in a specific context, in eighteenth and nineteenth century Western Europe, and may have been appropriate in that part of the world in the wake of the bourgeois revolutions. It has also been transplanted to some former colonies in North America, Australia and New Zealand. But the system is rather crude, with nearly every feature of public life politicised, with antagonistic political engagement in which one policy is promulgated by a particular political party only to be undone by the next. Chaotic, clumsy and outdated.

As is usually the case with Martin Jacques, he tries to explain this reality by going back into China’s more distant past. Strangely, he skips past the central role of Marxism in shaping the current practice of governance in China. So let us see what such a focus indicates (this article is also useful).

Here I draw on a book I am writing on Engels, for it is precisely Engels (more than Marx) who provides the philosophical basis for socialist governance. The book has taken longer than expected, since I need to work carefully through material few consider. In the final chapter, I examine Engels’s ideas concerning what a socialist form of governance might be.

There are two main points.

First, the organs of governance ‘stand in the midst of society’. Engels draws this insight from his careful study in the 1870s and 1880s of what he calls ‘pre-state’ societies, but which may also be called ‘base communism’ and ‘base democracy’. Why ‘pre-state’? For Engels, the state is a ‘separated public power’, which arises from class conflict and stands over against society. By contrast, base communism does not have this separation. All the various organs of governance – and there are many – stand in the midst of society. They are woven within social structures, being part and parcel of society as a whole. In my book, I have developed the category of ‘enmeshment’ to understand how this might work: society, state and economy are not separated from one another, but rather enmeshed within one another.

One might respond: but Engels is dealing with ancient societies, in a historical and anthropological way, so these insights are not relevant for how socialism today functions. The answer: in a crucial but under-studied piece called ‘The Mark’, Engels points out that this type of base communism would be dialectically transformed under socialism, so as to become the type of society and governance that would be appropriate.

This point I have realised for some time, but the second is relatively new: ‘public functions will lose their political character and be transformed into the simple administrative functions of watching over the true interests of society’. This text is quoted from Engels’s 1873 piece, ‘On Authority’, in which he castigates the impractical proposals of the Anarchists, especially under Bakunin’s leadership. But the core idea of political character disappearing and being replaced by an efficient administration focused on the public good is crucial (it appears elsewhere in Engels’s work and is voiced by Marx).

Let us begin with political character. Under bourgeois democracies, a whole spate of areas are political footballs: education, health, environment, public transport, immigration and refugees, economic policy, and so on. They are the subject of election campaigns, of bewildering changes in policy with changes in the party in power, of implementation and winding back. But if they lose their political character, they cease to be tossed back and forth depending on the whims of political parties.

In place of this political character is efficient administration focused on the public good. Let me give three examples drawn from China. In education, the long-term plan is to improve the already impressive educational system in all respects. This entails careful research, significant funding, trials of new methods in some areas before extending them to the rest of the country, and so on. For this reason, people with whom I speak in China find it unbelievable that the Australian government – as one example – has been reducing funding for education for quite some time now.

Another example concerns public transport, which is reasonably well-known internationally. Simply put, the Chinese rail system is now the best in the world. Three levels of high-speed train operate across the country, while the slower ‘green skin’ trains ply local routes. In cities across China, world-leading metro systems are being implemented at a breath-taking pace. One that I know well is in Beijing, where they are working towards increasing the total kilometres covered from about 500 km to 1,000 km. Currently, it caters for 6 billion passenger trips per year, but this will increase. Again, this is seen as a public good, requiring long-term planning and efficient implementation.

Finally, environmental policy and action, which is called in China ‘ecological civilisation [shengtai wenming]’. The term refers to the modes of life and their relation to the environment: only when this is sorted out can we speak of wenming, which is not so much ‘citification’ (as the Latin origins of ‘civilisation’ suggest) but the just, peaceful, healthy and stable nature of culture. In China, the realities of climate change are not politicised; instead, they needs to be addressed directly. I have seen this with my own eyes, in what may be called the greening of China. The country leads the world in reafforestation, the water, plants and air of major cities have been improving year on year, and green technologies are leaping ahead. Again, this is efficient administration for the public good.

So yes, Chinese governance is clearly the highest form we have seen thus far, precisely because of the CPC and the socialist road. We should of course be careful: Engels’s formulations are not the final word on the matter. He had never experienced the actual process of constructing socialism, let alone a successful communist revolution. But it is rather striking how he and Marx provide the philosophical basis of socialist governance in terms of the disappearance of its political character and the development of efficient and careful administration for the public good. That the Chinese have developed these much further, in light of their conditions and the actual experience of constructing socialist governance, should be clear.

Marxism is China’s Basic Guiding Ideology

This point should be ovbious by now: Marxism has been and remains the basic approach in China for 7 decades. But it is worth reminding ourselves, in this piece by Song Wei on the China Daily:

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China. In the seven decades since then, China has made remarkable achievements and moved closer to realizing the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation. To stay true to its mission of realizing the Chinese Dream, the Communist Party of China needs to apply Marxism according to China’s actual conditions.

Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the CPC Central Committee with General Secretary Xi Jinping as the core has been promoting the cause of the Party and nation by applying Marxism to China’s real conditions. In this regard, Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era is a great contribution to Marxism.

Marxism is a practical, scientific, ever-developing and open theory, which not only highlights the social laws of development but also prompts people to make efforts to build a better world. Since its establishment, the CPC has led the Chinese people to many victories, by applying Marxism to solve real problems and promote the localization of Marxism.

Led by the Party, the Chinese people emerged out of thousands of years of feudalism to build people’s democracy through the New Democratic Revolution; China changed its destiny by moving toward prosperity during the socialist revolution and construction period; and the nation stood up by becoming prosperous and strong during the reform and opening-up as well as socialist modernization period.

The reason the CPC could achieve these unprecedented and arduous tasks is that it followed the scientific theory of Marxism, and continuously enriched and developed Marxism both in theory and practice.

Since the 18th Party Congress, the Party has solved many long-term, outstanding problems under the strong leadership of the Party Central Committee, and China has made many achievements in the economic, political, cultural, social and ecological fields under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, which is the latest addition to Marxist philosophy in China.

Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era makes clear what kind of socialism we should adhere to and develop in the new era, and how we can adhere to and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics.

It also advances a series of major creative and people-oriented arguments, which manifest the power of Marxism and the value of scientific socialism.

Xi’s thought writes a new chapter in Marxism, and serves as a guide to better apply the basic principles of Marxism to China’s actual conditions. In other words, it is a milestone in the process of Marxism’s localization in China.

President Xi Jinping has stressed that Marxism is the basic guiding ideology of our nation and Party. So we should always and under any circumstances adhere to Marxism.

The fundamental reason Marxism has been our guiding philosophy for the past seven decades is that the Party has organically combined the adherence to Marxism with the development of Marxism, and continuously promoted the localization of Marxism in China.

So in the new era, we should review Marxism’s development in China on a broader scale, continuously develop Marxism and further promote the localization of Marxism in China.

Colonial Policy by Other Means: Losurdo on Hong Kong’s Supposed ‘Self-Determination’

A small number of former colonial powers are fond of trotting out the mantra of ‘self-determination’ for parts of the world they would like to control. Hong Kong and Taiwan are good examples (even though the USA has the world’s strongest measures against self-determination of its own states). In the last few days, deliberate misinformation concerning Hong Kong has been peddled in a small number of places. If you want to get a fuller picture, see the reports here, here, here, here and here.

So it is worth recalling Losurdo’s observations on such a matter. The first comes from his essay, ‘Lenin and Herrenvolk Democracy’ (2007):

Colonial domination has left its mark: on the economic level, the inequality of development among different regions has been accentuated; while the hegemonic presence at every level of the great powers and the policy of ethnic engineering, often promoted by them, has accentuated cultural, linguistic, and religious fragmentation. Secessionist tendencies of every kind are once again lying in wait, regularly fed by the ex-colonial powers. When it wrested Hong Kong from China, Great Britain certainly did not conceive of self-determination, and it did not remember it even during the long years in which it exercised its dominion. But, suddenly, on the eve of Hong Kong’s return to China, to the motherland, the governor sent by London, Chris Patten, a conservative, had a species of illumination and improvised conversion: he appealed to the inhabitants of Hong Kong to claim their right to ‘self-determination’ against the motherland, thus remaining within the orbit of the British Empire.

Analogous considerations are true for Taiwan. When, at the beginning of 1947, the Kuomintang, which had fled from continental China and the victorious People’s Army, let loose a terrible repression that provoked about ten thousand deaths, the United States was careful not to invoke the right to self-determination for the inhabitants of the island; on the contrary, it sought to impose the thesis according to which Chiang Kai-shek’s government was the legitimate government not only of Taiwan but also of the whole of China. The great Asian country had to remain united but under the control of Chiang Kai-shek, reduced to a simple pro-consul of Washington’s sovereign imperialism. As the dream of reconquering the mainland slowly faded away, and the stronger became the aspiration of the whole Chinese people to achieve full territorial integration and independence, ending the tragic chapter of colonial history, so the presidents of the United States experienced an illumination and a conversion similar to that of Chris Patten. They too began to caress the idea of ‘self-determination’. Incoherence? Not at all: ‘self-determination’ is the continuation of imperial policy by other means. If it was not really possible to get their hands on China as a whole, it was, meanwhile, convenient to secure control of Hong Kong or Taiwan (249-50).

 

And as he writes in one his last books, Class Struggle (2016):

 

Perhaps it would be better to learn the lesson of old Hegel, who, with the Sanfedista and anti-Semitic agitation of his time in mind, observed that sometimes ‘courage consists not in attacking rulers, but in defending them’. The populist rebel who would be bound to consider Hegel insufficiently revolutionary could always heed Gramsci’s warning against the phraseology of ‘primitive, elementary “rebellionism,” “subversionism” and “anti-statism,” which are ultimately an expression of de facto “a-politicism”’ (337).

Chinese economic indicators stable, indicating further growth in 2019

As a number of reports (here and here) indicate, China’s economic situation is stable and set to grow at over 6 percent in the rest of 2019. One example: as this report from the always reliable Xinhua News (via the People’s Daily) indicates, the foreign trade figures are very good indeed. Obviously, the BRI and AIIB are major factors, as well as the inherent strength of the Chinese socialist market economy.

BEIJING, June 10 (Xinhua) — China’s foreign trade registered steady growth in the first five months this year despite growing external uncertainties.

The country’s foreign trade of goods rose 4.1 percent year on year in the first five months of this year to 12.1 trillion yuan (about 1.76 trillion U.S. dollars), data from the General Administration of Customs (GAC) showed Monday.

Exports increased 6.1 percent year on year to 6.5 trillion yuan during this period, while imports grew 1.8 percent to 5.6 trillion yuan, resulting in a trade surplus of 893.36 billion yuan.

In May alone, the country’s exports and imports totaled 2.59 trillion yuan, up 2.9 percent from one year earlier.

Li Kuiwen, director of the GAC’s statistics and analysis department, said although faced with the slowdown of global economic growth and international trade, the Chinese economy has continued an overall stable upward trend.

The fundamentals of China’s economy, in that it is resilient and full of potentials, have not changed either, he added.

Government policies aimed at stabilizing foreign trade and investment as well as the improving business environment have also laid a solid foundation for the steady growth of China’s foreign trade, he said.

Zhuang Rui, deputy head of Institute of International Economy with the University of International Business and Economics, called the trade reading a “hard-won” result amid sluggish trade growth around the globe.

Last week, the World Bank revised down its forecast for global trade growth in 2019 by a full percentage point to 2.6 percent, the weakest since the global financial crisis, citing growing trade tensions, among other factors.

Monday’s GAC data also showed China’s trade with the European Union surged 11.7 percent year on year in the first five months, while trade with the ASEAN was up 9.4 percent.

As cooperation between countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative keeps strengthening, China’s trade with Belt and Road countries increased 9 percent year on year during the period, with the pace of growth 4.9 percentage points higher than the overall pace.

Benefiting from the prosperous cooperation under the initiative, bilateral trade volume between China and Belt and Road countries accounted for 28.8 percent of China’s total trade volume, up 1.3 percentage points from the same period last year, the GAC data showed.

China’s private businesses reported faster trade growth in the first five months. Their trade volume increased 11.1 percent to 5.02 trillion yuan, accounting for 41.4 percent of the total trade volume in the period, up 2.6 percentage points year on year.

 

 

China and Russia agree to work together more closely for global stability

Other parts of the world may not have paid so much attention to the extraordinary developments in China-Russia cooperation and integration, but perhaps they might begin to do so in this very well-timed visit by Xi Jinping to Russia, currently under way.

A couple of powrful images, followed by an article copied from Xinhua News. In an increasingly unstable world as the ‘West’ loses its way, China and Russia have become the bulwarks of global stability.

 

MOSCOW, June 5 (Xinhua) — China and Russia agreed on Wednesday to upgrade their relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era.

The decision was made at a meeting between visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.

During the meeting, the two heads of state highly evaluated the development of bilateral ties over the past 70 years, agreed to uphold the notion of good neighborliness and win-win cooperation, develop a comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era in a bid to take bilateral ties to a higher level and better benefit the peoples of the two countries and the world as well.

Xi noted that it is his first state visit to Russia following his re-election as Chinese president last year, and is the eighth time he travelled to the country since 2013, saying that the China-Russia relationship is seeing a continuous, steady and sound development at a high level, and is at its best in history.

Both sides, said Xi, have firmly supported each other in their efforts to defend respective core interests and nurtured strong political and strategic mutual trust, adding that they have actively pushed forward all-around cooperation as internal driving forces of bilateral ties are emerging, and the convergence of the two countries’ interests is deepening.

China and Russia have played active roles in international affairs and global governance, and made important contributions to maintaining world peace and stability as well as international fairness and justice, he said.

The Chinese leader noted that this year marks the 70th anniversary of the China-Russia diplomatic relationship, calling it a milestone and a new starting point.

Acknowledging the world is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century, Xi said China and Russia shoulder an even greater expectation from the peoples of the two countries and the international community.

He added that the Chinese side is ready to join Russia in amplifying the positive effect of the two countries’ high level of political relationship, bringing more benefits of bilateral cooperation to the two peoples, and presenting more China-Russia options for global affairs.

Noting that the world today is becoming increasingly uncertain and unstable, Xi said enhancing the China-Russia relationship is the call of history, and a firm strategic choice by both sides.

He called on the two sides to strengthen strategic communication and coordination, and further their mutual support on issues regarding their respective core interests.

Xi also urged the two countries to further promote their economic and trade cooperation, push forward cooperation on major strategic projects as well as in emerging fields at the same time, and boost cooperation at local levels, and in economy and trade, investment, energy, technology, aerospace, inter-connectivity, agriculture and finance sectors.

The two sides, according to Xi, should actively push forward their cooperation to dock the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Eurasian Economic Union so as to promote regional economic integration.

To step up people-to-people exchanges, Xi said the plan for the China-Russia year of scientific and technological innovation from 2020 to 2021 should be well designed.

He said China and Russia, both permanent members of the UN Security Council, are going to continue working with the international community to safeguard the international order that is based on the international law with the UN at the core, maintain multilateral trading system and make new contributions to the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

Putin warmly welcomed Xi for his visit, saying that with joint efforts from both sides since the establishment of diplomatic ties 70 years ago, the Russia-China relationship has reached an unprecedented high level, and the two countries’ all-around exchanges and cooperation have been fruitful.

The Russia-China comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination has not only benefited the two peoples, but has also become an important force for safeguarding global security and strategic stability, he said.

Putin called on the two countries not to be complacent about what they have achieved, but be dedicated to bettering their bilateral relations.

Xi’s visit is of great significance in the complicated and volatile international situation, and it will inject strong impetus into the development of the Russia-China ties in the new era, Putin said.

Russia and China should continue to strengthen coordination on major international and regional issues, jointly deal with the challenges of unilateralism and protectionism, and maintain global peace and stability.

The Russian leader said his country is committed to deepening cooperation with China in the fields of economy and trade, agriculture, finance, science and technology, environment protection, telecommunications and infrastructure construction.

Russia is willing to boost interactions at local levels, and promote exchanges in education, culture and tourism, according to him.

Putin also said Russia is ready to provide China with sufficient oil and gas, and export more soybeans and other farm produce to China, and expects a faster alignment between the Eurasian Economic Union and the BRI.

Also at the meeting, Xi and Putin were briefed by officials from both countries on bilateral cooperation in priority areas, and they exchanged views on the Korean Peninsula situation, the Iran nuclear issue and the Venezuela issue, among others.

The two heads of state agreed to step up communication and coordination in the United Nations, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the BRICS, the APEC, and the G20 to jointly safeguard multilateralism and the norms of international relations.

Following the meeting, Xi and Putin signed the statements on elevating bilateral ties to the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era, and on strengthening contemporary global strategic stability.

According to the joint statement on the strategic partnership, the China-Russian relationship has entered a new era, and is facing new opportunities for greater development.

It said that the goal of such a new kind of partnership is for both sides to give more support to each other as they seek to take their own development paths, preserve respective core interests, and protect sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Therefore, said the statement, the two sides will closely coordinate with each other in aligning their development strategies, expand mutually beneficial cooperation in economy and trade, as well as investment, and further tap into the potential of bilateral ties.

The statement also said the two sides will give full play to the guiding role of the two heads of state in developing bilateral ties, and will regard political, security, practical, people-to-people exchanges, as well as international coordination cooperation as priorities of the China-Russia partnership.

The two leaders, after their meeting, have also witnessed the signing of a number of cooperation documents, met the press, visited an exhibition of cars produced by Great Wall Motors’ plant in Russia’s Tula region, and attended the inauguration ceremony of the panda house in Moscow Zoo.

Before their meeting, Putin held a grand welcome ceremony for Xi at the Kremlin.

‘June 4’: Thwarting an Out-Sourced ‘Colour Revolution’ (Losurdo) – updated

In some corners of former colonising countries, it has become a habit to resuscitate around this time some of the old fabrications concerning ‘June 4’, or the Tiananmen incident in 1989. I have written elsewhere that the notion of a ‘massacre’ in the square was a slick MI5 ‘black ops’ effort – based on mysteriously vanishing ‘eye-witnesses’ – to tarnish China and whip up pressure from the usual quarters. Of course, the underlying narrative is that the CPC is a secretive and paranoid bunch bent on world domination – a narrative all too easy to rebut, since the vast majority of Chinese people trust and support the CPC. In fact, as a very insightful and long article in the Global Times points out, in a recent survey polling young people with an average age of 27, the results show that ‘87.6 percent approve of Marxism, with the approval rate among the 2000s generation – 89.3 percent – being the highest among the participants, as the 1980s got 88 percent and the 1990s 87.8 percent’. In other words, Chinese youth today are increasingly confident of the leadreship role of the CPC.

Thirty years ago the situation was different for young people. So why did Deng Xiaoping decide the act? Sovereignty, stability, security and the core human right to socio-economic wellbeing were the underlying reasons why Deng Xiaoping and those around him made the correct decision to act in 1989. These reasons remain valid today.

However, here I would like to copy an insightful analysis by Domenico Losurdo. It appears in his book, Non-Violence: A History Beyond the Myth (pp. 191-94). In his typical style, he pulls apart ‘Western’ colonial materials to show that even these sources contradict what they are ostensibly trying to achieve.

In spring 1989, imposing demonstrations occurred in Beijing and other cities of China, which seemed set to suffer the fate of the Communist governments of Eastern Europe. After a fairly extended period of negotiations and attempts at compromise, the crisis ended with the proclamation of martial law and the intervention of tanks in Tiananmen Square. Some days later, on 9 June, Deng Xiaoping paid tribute to the “martyrs” of the police and army, to the “numerous” dead and “thousands” wounded, therewith alluding to bitter, large-scale clashes. On the other side, the West denounced a massacre of peaceful demonstrators. Which version is to be trusted?

In 2001, the so-called Tiananmen Papers were published and subsequently translated into the world’s principal languages. According to the (US) editors, the book reproduces secret reports and confidential minutes of the decision-making process that resulted in the repression of the protest movement. Here we have a paradox. We are dealing with papers whose authenticity is challenged by China’s leaders, who possibly find it difficult to admit the high-level leaking of confidential documents, which recount such a tormented decision-making process that it ended only thanks to the decisive intervention of the charismatic leader, Deng Xiaoping. By contrast, the publishers and editors swear to their authenticity. According to them, the documents they have published demonstrate the extreme brutality of a “regime” that did not hesitate to drown an absolutely peaceful, in a sense Gandhian, protest in blood. However, a reading of the book yields a very different picture of the tragedy that unfolded in Beijing. It is true that the leaders of the movement sometimes made professions of “non-violence.” However, the US editors of the Tiananmen Papers themselves underline that the troops summoned at the start of June to clear the square “encountered anger and some violence.” The names given to themselves by the most active groups speak for themselves: “Flying Tiger Group,” “Dare-to-Die Brigade,” “Army of Volunteers.” And in fact:

More than five hundred army trucks were torched at dozens of intersections . . . On Chang’an Boulevard an army truck’s engine was turned off and two hundred rioters stormed the cab and beat the driver to death . . . At the Cuiwei intersection a truck carrying six soldiers slowed down to avoid hitting people in a crowd. A group of rioters then threw rocks, Molotov cocktails, and flaming torches at the truck, which tipped to the left when nails that the rioters had scattered punctured a tire. The rioters then flung burning objects into the truck, exploding its gas tank. All six soldiers burned to death.

Not only was there repeated recourse to violence, but surprising weapons sometimes came into play:

A yellowish-green smoke suddenly arose from one end of the bridge. It came from a broken-down armored car that was now set out to block the street . . . The armored cars and tanks that had come to clear the roadblocks could do nothing but mass at the bridgehead. Suddenly a young man ran up, threw something into an armored car, and then scurried off. A few seconds later the same yellowish-green smoke was seen pouring from vehicles as soldiers scrambled out and squatted down in the street, grabbing their throats in agony. Someone said they had inhaled poison gas. But the enraged officers and soldiers managed to maintain their self-control.

Such acts of war, with repeated use of weapons banned by international conventions, coincided with initiatives that are even more thought provoking – for example, “counterfeit[ing] the masthead of [the] People’s Daily.” On the other side, we see the instructions issued by the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party and government to the military forces tasked with repression:

. . . even if the troops should be beaten, burned, or killed by the unenlightened masses, or if they should be attacked by lawless elements with clubs, bricks, or Molotov cocktails, they must maintain control and defend themselves with nonlethal methods. Clubs should be their major weapons of self-defense, and they are not to open fire on the masses. Violators will be punished.

If the picture painted by a book published in, and propagated by, the West is reliable, it was not the demonstrators who displayed caution and moderation, but the People’s Liberation Army, even if there must have been units which, in a difficult situation, failed to maintain the stipulated self-control.

In subsequent days, the armed character of the rebellion became more evident. A very senior leader of the Communist Party drew attention to a very alarming fact: “the rioters seized armored cars and set up machine guns on top of them, just to show off.” Would they confine themselves to a threatening display? Yet the instructions issued to the army were not substantially altered: “the Martial Law Command must make it quite clear to all units that they are to open fire only as a last resort.”

The very episode of the young demonstrator blocking a tank with his body, celebrated in the West as a symbol of non-violent heroism at grips with a blind, indiscriminate violence, was viewed very differently by China’s leaders, according to The Tiananmen Papers:

We’ve all seen that videotape of the young man blocking the tank. Our tank gave way time and time again, but he just stayed there, right in the way, and even crawled up on to the tank, and still the soldiers held their fire. That says it all! If our soldiers had fired, the repercussions would have been very different. Our soldiers carried out Party Central’s orders with precision. It’s amazing they could stay cool and patient in a spot like that!

The use of asphyxiating or poison gas by demonstrators, and especially the pirate edition of the People’s Daily, clearly indicate that the incidents in Tiananmen Square were not exclusively internal to China. We can infer what the West, and especially the United States, aimed at from another book, written by two proudly anti-Communist authors (Richard Bernstein and Ross H. Munro, The Coming Conflict with China, New York: Knopf, 1997). They report how at the time Winston Lord, former ambassador in Beijing and leading adviser to future President Clinton, tirelessly repeated that the fall of the Communist “regime” was “a matter of weeks or months” away. This forecast seemed all the more justified because at the summit of government and party stood Zhao Ziyang, who (stress the two US authors) is to be regarded as “probably the most pro-American senior Chinese leader in recent history.”

In retrospect, the events of Tiananmen Square in 1989 seem to be a dress rehearsal for the “color revolutions” that occurred in subsequent years.

NOTE: The so-called “colour revolutions” are of course out-sourced “regime change” by former colonisers who still try to shape the world in their image.

China will not be humiliated again

More than two centuries ago, high quality Chinese goods were in heavy demand. Back then, the goods were porcelain, silk and tea, which the peoples of North America and Western Europe were unable to produce. Gold and especially silver flowed into China, including most of the stuff extracted from mines in Central and South America.

Back then, capricious Western regimes began decrying the ‘trade imbalance’ with China, saying it was the result of ‘unfair’ practices and ‘despotic’ restrictions on ‘legitimate’ Western trade.

From that point on, these same regimes began trying all sorts of tricks to force the Chinese to act ‘fairly’. The British began smuggling opium to China, against which China resisted, especially under Lin Zexu in 1839, who seized and burnt more than 20,000 chests of opium in Guangzhou. The British then initiated the first of the two Opium Wars (1840-1842), providing not only a textbook example of  ‘gunboat diplomacy’, but also the first of a series of unequal treaties. This was the Treaty of Nanjing of 1842, which was not so much a treaty as a unilateral imposition of British imperial demands on the Chinese (including, among other items, the occupation of Hong Kong).

For the Chinese, this was the beginning of a century of humiliation.

Sound familiar?

It should, since the United States is trying the same tactics now. The specifics might be different. Back then it was high quality goods such as porcelain, silk and tea; now it is high-technology, railway expertise, navigation equipment, quantum communication and so on. Back then, the Chinese were accused of using ‘unfair’ practices to develop a ‘trade imbalance’. And back then, a more powerful empire imposed its arbitrary will on the Chinese.

With this kind of history, you can see why China simply will not accept the unilateral and arbitrary demands of the United States in the so-called ‘trade war’. China will not be humiliated again.

Why? One crucial factor is now different: China is strong enough to resist, fight back and insist on its own integrity. Or rather, two factors are different: now the United States is a drug-addled country, tearing itself apart internally and in noticeable decline.