China

Christine Lee, Barry Gardiner and the labour movement

The media is awash with stories about the fact that lawyer Christine Lee, who has links with many politicians and has donated almost £600,000 to the office of Labour MP Barry Gardiner, has been revealed as an operative of the Chinese state’s “United Front Work Department”. (The donations to Gardiner became public two years ago; there is no suggestion he has broken any law or rule.) The "United Front" organisation exists to strengthen and spread Chinese political influence in other countries. Contrary to some claims in the media, Lee seems to be more like a lobbyist than a spy. (Of course China...

“Success” for China. And for China's workers?

Click on to the website of the Socialist Action group and the banner at the top of the Home page tells you what to expect. There is no place here for Marx, Trotsky, or Lenin. But enough space for pictures of Malcolm X, Chavez, Castro and Guevara. That certainly sets the scene nicely. Socialist Action was one of the splinters that emerged in the mid-1980s from the break-up of International Marxist Group (from 1982 renamed Socialist League). Inside the IMG the faction that eventually became the current Socialist Action group had traditionally been led by John Ross. Socialist Action was launched...

Beijing renews Hong Kong clampdown

Workers' Liberty will be discussing the political crackdown in Hong Kong at our online meeting on Sunday 16 January at 6.30pm. More details here. Hong Kong authorities renewed their legal attacks on dissent at the end of December 2021. That followed a couple of months when the authorities had refrained from arrests in the hope of getting credible votes for their candidates for the part-elected Legislative Council (LegCo). The office of the recently-established bilingual Stand News, which had extensively covered the democracy revolt, was raided on 29 December. Senior staff and board members...

Paul Mason, China and Marxism

Paul Mason’s reply to John Ross of Socialist Action on Xi Jinping’s China annihilates Ross’ apologism and makes many valuable points. Mason sets himself the task of defending Marxism against its traducement by the Chinese elite. But his own comments about Marxism are confused. “Stalin faced no significant alternative form of Marxism”, claims Mason. “Even his opponents within the Soviet bureaucracy, from Leon Trotsky to Nikolai Bukharin, adhered to the same rigid historical method that was killing them. They knew nothing of Marx the humanist, Marx the philosopher of alienation, Marx the eco...

Revanchism, irredentism... and the Chinese state

Revanchism, from the French revanche or “revenge”, is the will to reverse territorial losses following war or social upheaval. The term originated in the 1870s, after the Franco Prussian War, for nationalists who wanted to revenge the defeat and the reparations extracted by Germany, and to reclaim the lost territories of Alsace-Lorraine. Revanchism is also linked to irredentism — the drive to expand nation-state territory to claim fragments of the cultural and ethnic nation outside the borders of the core. When Mao Zedong took power in 1949, he set an immediate goal of re-establishing the...

Uyghur Tribunal delivers its verdict

On 9 December, the Uyghur Tribunal delivered a judgement that the Chinese state has committed torture, crimes against humanity, and genocide in its assault on the Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other Turkic Muslim groups in East Turkestan (“Xinjiang” province). This was an unofficial “people’s tribunal”. A civil society panel of lawyers and human rights experts assessed evidence against international law and the threshold of proof was “beyond reasonable doubt”. It concluded that the Chinese state — under policies directed by leaders including Xi Jinping — had committed crimes against humanity including...

Kino Eye: One of China’s best films, Red Sorghum

Directed by Zhang Yimou, Red Sorghum is set in the thirties in Shandung province around the time of the second Chinese-Japanese war (1937-45). Jiu’er (Gong Li) is sold in an arranged marriage to Li Datou, a leper, who owns a distillery which brews Red Sorghum wine. Jiu’er falls in love with a distillery worker, “Grandpa” (Jiang Wen), who rescues her from bandits and later they have a child. Li Datou dies (possibly murdered); he has no heirs and Jiu’er becomes the owner of the distillery. Grandpa is the butt of a practical joke and peevishly urinates in the huge wine vats (don’t try this at...

Free Huang Xueqin and Wang Jianbing

In September Chinese investigative journalist and #Metoo activist Huang Xueqin (pictured) planned to fly to the UK to begin a postgraduate course at the University of Sussex. Her friend, labour and disability rights activist Wang Jianbing, planned to see her off to the airport. On 19 September they were both arrested at Wang’s home in Guangzhou – and are still detained. It has been confirmed that Wang Jianbing’s arrest was on charges of “inciting subversion of state power”. As Amnesty International put it: “As well as shining a light on the dire treatment of victims of sexual violence, [Huang...

Before Maoism: why we must reclaim the early history of the Chinese Communist Party

New Youth, journal of the Chinese revolutionary youth movement after the First World War, helped found the original, pre-Stalinist, revolutionary Chinese Communist Party • This is taken from a longer article about Chinese history and class struggle, 'China and independent working-class politics', published in 2001 How did the independent working class movement develop? China in 1919 was ripe for revolution. For two thousand years it was ruled by successive dynasties organised around a state bureaucracy. Still overwhelmingly a peasant country, it had stagnated for centuries until its last...

Too shameful to be reported?

On Saturday 27 November, there was a rally in London’s Chinatown, supposedly against anti-Asian racism and, more specifically, anti-Chinese racism. There is, indeed, strong evidence of an increase in racism against Chinese people and those of “Chinese” appearance in the UK. It’s been fuelled at least in part by the Covid-19 pandemic and Trump’s description of it as the “China virus”. All socialists would, as a matter of course, support a genuine campaign against anti-Chinese racism, but there can be no doubt that this rally was, in reality, a propaganda front for the Chinese Communist Party...

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