On 19th October 2015, President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping and first lady Peng Liyuan arrived in London; this is the first visit by a Chinese President to the UK in ten years. Red youth and CPGB-ML member Jackson went to welcome president Xi at his ceremonial parade in the Mall, and having witnessed the event and the media Frenzy to portray the occasion as an anti-chinese protest, he gives us his report on the occasion.
A lot has happened in world politics in the last ten years, and China’s importance in the world has seemingly increased immensely, this is in no small part due to China’s enormous economic growth, China has within the last decade overtaken Japan to become the world’s second biggest economy, has overtaken the USA as the world’s biggest trading nation and is on course to overtake the USA in terms of GDP within the coming years.
China has also within these past ten years strengthened its opposition to US world hegemony- for example via the development and expansion of the BRICS group, the Shanghai Co-operation organisation (with Ex-Soviet states), investment in African countries and support for the African Union and on multiple occasions, opposing US plans for attacks on the Syrian Arab Republic in the United Nations, using its UNSC veto along with Russia.
On the 20th October 2015, President Xi, on his visit to the UK oversaw the Horse Guards parade and was taken on a ceremonial trip up the mall with the Queen. Flanking both sides of the mall were red Chinese banners, which phrases like “Hello, Xi Jinping!” and “Welcome Papa Xi!” The well-wishers, comprising of Chinese students studying in UK universities, Chinese community organisations and the general public, numbered in the thousands and there was a carnival like atmosphere with traditional Chinese lion dancers, musical performances and singing.
Two Faced Media outraged by British government flunkeys!
However the media mostly chose to focus on a tiny minority of protestors. Those included were Amnesty International, who had called a protest to highlight so-called ‘Human rights abuses’ in China, supporters of the Dalai Lama clique, and ‘Spiritual’ organisation Falun Gong which is proscribed in China and spreads virulent Anti-Communist propaganda worldwide. It must be noted that supporters of China vastly outnumbered the ‘protestors’ of whom there were less than one hundred. The usually loud Anti-China rent-a-mob, confident in their reception by the imperialist meia, this time appeared to be lacking in strength and resolve.
The news media was so petty as to even make attempts to slur the Chinese well-wishers, creating a storm in a teacup about the banners used to welcome the president, accusing the Chinese Embassy of distributing them to the supporters. Despite many groups rejecting that claim, even if it were true, what would be wrong with an embassy doing so?
Anti-communist attacks, or a celebration of capitalism?
The bourgeois media is striving to use any method to attack those who support China. It seems the British bourgeois are themselves slightly unsure of how to react to China. Through their media, they at once revel in awe at China’s rise, attributing it to capitalism and the holy free market, whilst at the same time they viciously attack China as a ‘Communist police state’. This shows the nature of the bourgeois class- they are at once interested in China’s investment to prop up the UK’s ailing economy, but at the same time want to carve up China and destroy her Socialist system.
Jeremy Corbyn, newly elected Labour leader, in traditional social democratic protocol, said he would raise China’s ‘human rights issues’ to President Xi at the state banquet but later backtracked and said he would discuss said issues in private with the leader. It does pose an interesting question- why does Jeremy Corbyn, a so called Socialist, attack China for ‘Human rights abuses’, whilst David Cameron, who is very verbally opposed to Socialism, willingly accepts the Chinese leadership?
Plainly, this is because a cash-strapped Britain needs investment. The capitalist does not really care about who he trades with, and will act in their own self-interest. The Chinese comrades need to be vigilant of the sweet words of Western Monopoly Capital. They should remember that despite the so-called ‘Golden Era of relations’ that Cameron has heralded with this visit, China undoubtedly should not forget the way the West threw its all behind numerous attempts at regime change in the PRC – be it via Tibetan reactionaries or the Tiananmen counter-revolutionary incident of 1989. Even though the West lauded China’s 1979 decision to open certain areas to foreign capital, the PRC was left out in the diplomatic cold by the West for a while post 1989 and the EU even placed weapons embargoes on China which exist to this very day.
Of late there have also been obvious cracks in the imperialist camp. This year, China led the way in founding the Asian Infrastructure Investment bank as a break with imperialist hegemony in the World Bank and IMF. The USA promptly told its allies not to join. Japan complied, but the UK and even South Korea refused to accept the USA’s request.
This came at the same time European Union countries were forced to accept USA’s demand that they boycott Russian goods and stop many joint economic projects, for example the South stream pipeline. This shows the inevitability of conflicts of interest between capitalist powers and the USA’s weakening grip on the rest of the world’s economy.
What are ‘human’ rights?
A Guardian article by Simon Jenkins correctly put it- “What if the Chinese were to put ‘human rights’ to us?”. The UK is now embarking on a draconian program of cuts to basic services, benefits and public sector jobs. New pressures put on workers to work more hours for no more extra pay saw junior doctors flood the streets on Saturday to oppose this further attack on their profession and the NHS- the UK has no right to lecture China on human rights. Under capitalism, the last word in human rights is the right to exploit, the right to extract surplus labour.
The Chinese ambassador to the UK, Mr Liu Xiaoming, has been subjected time and time again to the loaded questions of the BBC and other mainstream media outlets. Having to defend China under attack from the BBC’s Andrew Marr he said “you might think your system is democratic, we in China think ours is democratic”.
He also went on to challenge the UK’s definition of human rights and emphasized that in China, human rights would mean the rights to a job and a happy life, which the Communist Party has been striving to provide. Jeremy Corbyn should remember that since the founding of the People’s Republic, China has been through great struggles to raise the living standards of its population.
Since 1978 China has lifted a record 600 million people out of poverty, and this year has set a target to raise the remaining 100 million out of poverty by the year 2020, unlike what is happening in the UK at the present time under the government’s austerity program.
Support the People’s Republic of China
I would like to end on the point that I believe all comrades should support China’s people in their socialist endeavours, and welcome this visit to showcase the success of Socialist China. The modern China is one that cannot be ignored. A hundred years ago China was a backward country in which warlords were vying for power, and an impoverished peasant mass lived in poverty and constant suffering under the landlords and foreign imperialists.
Despite the use of market measures for economic growth since the late 70s, China’s rise is largely thanks to its massive state enterprises. The ‘commanding heights of the economy’ are still very much in State hands and the party is delivering on its promises to improve the lives of its people. The British media would do well to remember this whilst they try their best to tarnish the atmosphere of the state visit, because the rise of China’s success is showing no signs of decelerating.