The following speech on why China's economic, geopolitical and foreign policy thinking is the world's most advanced, and on certain features of Chinese classical culture and its relation to the modern global order, was given by me to the 7th World Forum on China Studies in Shanghai.
First, thank you very much for the invitation to speak for which I am greatly honoured.
The theme of this session is “China towards 2050: New Era, New Thought, New Journey”. I would like to take as the starting point for examining this a profound speech on the development of human civilization delivered at the headquarter of UNESCO by President Xi Jinping in which he reminded us of the Chinese saying, ‘The ocean is vast because it refuses no rivers.’
Not all rivers are the same size of course. Of those that have flowed into the ocean of human civilization China’s is certainly one of the largest. But, as China itself states, its river has not flowed at all times with the same strength.
As everyone here knows, from the fifth decade of the 19th century the river of China encountered many blockages and problems. At that time, therefore, the flow of China’s river into the ocean of human civilization was also weakened. Today, thanks to immense sacrifices by the Chinese people and the leadership of the Communist Party of China, that river is again running very strongly through China’s own territory. But therefore, as will be discussed here, it is flowing increasingly powerfully into the general ocean of human civilization.
This reality means China’s national rejuvenation and its contribution to humanity are not counterposed, but inextricably linked. As President Xi Jinping put it in his first press conference as General Secretary of the CPC regarding China’s people: ‘Throughout 5,000 years of development, the Chinese nation has made significant contributions to the progress of human civilization… Our responsibility is… to pursue the goal of the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, so that China can stand firmer and stronger among the world’s nations, and make new and greater contributions to mankind.’
Because I know I am speaking in front of many distinguished Chinese and international experts on China I would like to divide my speech assessing some aspects of this into two parts.
The first part is my specific area of professional competence - economics. This is not only the great impact of China on the global economy but a simple considered statement – that China’s economic thinking is already the most advanced in the world. The second, as someone who came to be interested in Chinese culture 52 years ago not through economics but through Chinese poetry, I hope to make a few brief non-professional, but I hope intelligent, comments on the reasons why the global impact of Chinese culture and philosophy will also greatly increase. I hope by doing so also to justify another considered statement - that China’s geopolitics and foreign policy thinking is the most advanced in the world. Finally, I hope to show why these aspects are interrelated.
China’s economic thinking is the most advanced in the world. First, to deal with the obvious impact of China, and its ‘New Era, New Thought, New Journey’, let us note the significance of the regrettable fact that I have to deliver this speech in English – for which, as there are many foreigners at this conference who speak fluent Chinese I have to deeply apologise! But this reality also shows the enormously growing impact of China.
For many years the Chinese economy was an object of study outside China only for specialists – whose first skill was precisely their knowledge of the Chinese language. These specialists were naturally varied in their output. Some produced extremely valuable books. Some regrettably are still active today ‘bad mouthing’ China and predicting disaster in the Chinese economy despite the fact that China has produced the greatest economic growth over a sustained period in the whole of human history. But they shared a common feature that the study of China’s economy outside China was not part of the mainstream of economics.
If I may recall a personal experience, I vividly remember in 1992 publishing an article in English and Russian ‘Why the Economic Reform Succeeded in China and Will Fail in Russia and Eastern Europe’. This was based on careful study of Deng Xiaoping, Chen Yun and available material outside China on China’s economic reform. The reaction of the most people in the West was ‘why are you so interested in China? It is a poor country, it is not a very big economy.’ And in 1992 those latter remarks were true.
My answer was simple: ‘because study shows China’s economic theory is correct and more advanced than anything in the West. And because China’s economic theory is correct the actions based on this will produce economic success, whereas because the West’s economic theories on these issues are wrong they will produce a disaster in Russia and the former USSR’. As I summarised this later in an article with the deliberately self-explanatory title ‘Deng Xiaoping, the world’s greatest economist’: ‘Deng Xiaoping was above all a great leader of the Chinese people. Through pursuit of his country's national revival… he also made an unparalleled contribution to humanity's overall well-being. But if that were not enough, Deng Xiaoping had another achievement. By far the greatest economist of the 20th century was not Keynes, Hayek or Friedman but Deng Xiaoping.’
Facts proved which of these analyses was correct. China, developing the theory of a ‘socialist market economy’ underwent the greatest sustained economic growth in a major country in human history. Russia, under the influence of Western economic theories which were counterposed to China’s, underwent the greatest economic collapse in a major economy in peacetime since the Industrial Revolution – with a decline of GDP of 39% in seven years.
The theory of economics does not recognise national boundaries nor is it the monopoly of any one language. To accurately predict what would happen it was possible to make up for very poor knowledge of the Chinese language with good economics!
Twenty-five years later of course no economist considers it strange to study China’s economy. Hundreds of articles appear every day in the media outside China about China’s economy. Numerous major economists write about China. A subject which 25 years ago was considered a ‘niche’ one outside China is now totally mainstream.
China’s achievements are too great to need exaggeration. I have no romantic concept, and neither should any serious scholar, that ‘China is the best in the world at everything’. If you are a physicist, for example, top prize is still held by a German, Einstein, and a Britain, Newton. But in the field of economics it should be stated bluntly that China’s unparalleled economic development, China’s ability to avoid the disaster produced in the former Soviet Union by Western economic ideas in ‘shock therapy’, and China’s ability to come through the international financial crisis without any setback comparable to that in the major Western economies confirms that China’s economic thinking is already the most advanced in the world. I will also outline later why the same applies to foreign policy and geopolitics.
But before going on to other issues, the reasons for this advanced character of China’s economic thinking was well stated not in my words but in those of one of China’s most important economists, Justin Yifu Lin.
‘Adam Smith's ‘Wealth of Nations’ marked the birth of modern economics. From Adam Smith up to the year 1930, most master-economists were British or foreigners working in the UK. This trend changed during the 1930s, when the United States started to become home to great economists. This phenomenon has something to do with the nature of economics. Only when an economist lives in an important economy can he or she have a good command of real social and economic variables key to better illustrate cause/result relationship... It is inevitable, then, that the research center of economics will move eastward to China.’
In short, it is the tremendous success of China’s economy that has taken study of China’s economy from being a niche speciality to being one of the most important and mainstream issues in economics. The same process is going to take progressively take place in other subjects – I am just able to follow it most closely in economics.
This process, I believe, also explains what a foreigner can contribute to one of China’s most important new think tanks, Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China – where I work. Obviously, as I have been writing on the issue for 25 years, I have by Western standards a good knowledge of China’s domestic economy, but I would immediately state that many Chinese economists have a more detailed knowledge of its domestic economy than any foreigner. The areas where a foreigner can particularly contribute are on the relation of China and the international economy and on issues of economic theory.
Foreign policy and geopolitics.For the second part of my speech, I hope I may be permitted to make a few non-professional, but I hope intelligent, observations on other issues and why I believe they relate to more professional issues of foreign policy and geopolitics.
As I stated my own intellectual engagement with China did not begin with economics, it began 52 years ago with poetry. At university I read in translation Li Bai and Du Fu and was fascinated by their reflection of Chinese culture and by certain key ideas which were different to own European ones. Only more than 40 years later, aided by the impact of living in China, could I work out clearly why.
China is unique in that it is the only one of the powerful civilizations that is not founded on a religion. All the others – Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism – are religions. Confucianism is not. It is a system of social values.
This interacts deeply with China’s current reality and aids China’s role in another field in which China has the most advanced ideas – foreign policy and geopolitics. No one here with specific religious values should be insulted, but it is clear a truly global system of organisation cannot be based on a religion – because there is a disagreement as to which religion is correct and there are a large number of people who are not religious. Therefore, a global order must itself be based on social values not on a religion. This fact that China is uniquely the one great civilization based on social values and not a religion gives it an advantage in thinking about a global order.
Xi Jinping has put forward as the central concept for developing foreign policy and geopolitics a ‘community of common destiny’. In developing this his book The Governance of China is full of references to classical Chinese authors. For example fundamental to his vision of global order, quoting The Mencius, is: ‘As early as over 2, 000 years ago, the Chinese people came to recognize that “it is natural for things to be different.” civilizations are equal, and such equality has made exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations possible….all have their respective strengths and weaknesses. No civilization is perfect on the planet. Nor is it devoid of merit.’
In short, China’s fundamental concept of foreign policy and geopolitics is simultaneously of equality and diversity. This is fundamentally different to the hierarchical concept of ‘one nation superior to others’ of, for example, the US neo-cons – who, because of this concept of a hierarchy, also aim at uniformity in which all nations should aspire to a single model, namely their own. It could be demonstrated that this formula of ‘equality and diversity’ is also present in European philosophy – for example in Spinoza, Leibniz and Hegel. But Xi Jinping shows the deep roots of this concept in classical Chinese thought.
But this ancient thought of China is also deeply related to economic theory. The opening sentence of the first chapter of the founding work of modern economics, Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations, from which the whole of the rest of it flows is clear:
'The greatest improvement in the productive powers of labour, and the greater part of the skill, dexterity, and judgment with which it is directed, or applied, seem to have been the effect of the division of labour.'
But the advantage of division of labour is precisely that of the difference of the different parts of the economic system – not of their similarity. Advantage of division of labour is not of similarity but of difference. If every part of the economic system were the same there would be no advantage from division of labour, it is the fact that the different parts are not the same, that creates the advantage of the division of labour. It is this which also explains why it is a ‘community of common destiny’. No single part, and therefore no single country, of the modern global economic order could achieve the advanced levels of productivity, and therefore of human well-being, which differentiated division of labour makes possible. The well being of each part of the world depends on the well being of others. That is precisely why it is a ‘community of common destiny.’
The concepts of China’s traditional philosophy and morality therefore integrate with economics in a way no other countries does. This is why, from a fundamental point of view, the attempt to integrate Confucianism and modern reality is not artificial.
It is therefore in these areas – of economics, foreign policy and geopolitics – that China’s thinking is already the most advanced in the world. For reasons outlined China’s classic thinking is not an obstacle to this but an aid. It reflects what I believe is a profound reality – that China is simultaneously the oldest country in the world and the most modern.
Finally, what does this mean for the place of China’s river flowing into the ocean of human civilization? It means precisely what Xi Jinping said: ‘Throughout 5,000 years of development, the Chinese nation has made significant contributions to the progress of human civilization… Our responsibility is… to pursue the goal of the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, so that China can stand firmer and stronger among the world’s nations, and make new and greater contributions to mankind.’
But these words can also be seen from another angle – inevitably so by someone who is a member of humanity but not Chinese.
The great German Philosopher Hegel noted that at a particular moment in history the general progress of humanity becomes determined by a specific country. This meant that the pursuit of the progress of a particular country is decisive for the progress of the whole of humanity.
To take an historical process, in Europe, at the end of the 16th century, Holland carried out the first successful anti-feudal revolution in history. Holland was a tiny country, but so progressive and so great was the impact of this event that it inspired writers and other struggles for centuries. In 1776 the launching of the US struggle for independence was the first break with the British Empire and created what became the world’s most powerful state. At the end of 18th century the French Revolution created a struggle for liberty which shook Europe to its foundations. In 1917 a revolution took place in Russia that was not only one of the greatest events in world history but hastened the fall of all colonial Empires - and had a decisive effect on China itself.
Today, in equal measure, the greatest step that can be taken not only for China but for all humanity can only be taken by Chinese people, on Chinese soil, and in pursuing a Chinese Dream.
10 December 2017
Elias Jabbour and Alexis Dantas, two economists in Brazil, have published an important study of China's economic reform 'The political economy of reforms and the present Chinese transition'. In general this refutes many myths on China's economic reform in analysing the relation of the state and the market in China's 'socialist market economy'. It is a good introduction for economists to the processes during China's economic 'reform and opening up'.
For specialists I particularly found extremely valuable, collecting together much information, the section on the decisive role played by agriculture during the launching of China's reform in 1978 - I knew the process in general but this provides much detailed information I had not seen elsewhere.
Strongly recommended. The paper is freely available in English at http://www.rep.org.br/PDF/149-8.PDF
On 1 December President Xi Jinping delivered a speech to the Conference of the ‘CPC in Dialogue with World Political Parties High-Level Meeting’. With over 200 political parties from 120 countries represented this was certainly the largest such international meeting of political parties for decades. Also striking was the very wide range of political viewpoints represented - from the Treasurer of the Republican National Committee of the US to the Communist Party of Bangladesh (Marxist Leninist), and taking in numerous social democratic, conservative, religious, nationalist, labour and other parties. As the name suggests the representation at the conference was on a very high level with numerous former or serving prime ministers, speakers of national parliaments and those holding similar positions.
As I was at the speech it was of course extremely interesting to hear China’s President speak in person, but even more striking was the speech’s content. It gave a clear framework for foreign policy and was simultaneously profound intellectually and explained why such a wide range of opinion was represented at the conference.
The fundamental concepts in the speech, with its self-explanatory title, ‘Work Together to Build a Better World’, took up ideas already outlined in Xi Jinping’s book ‘The Governance of China’ but developed them further. Although President Xi Jinping was presenting a positive framework, and therefore did not polemicize with other views, alternative frameworks the speech was counterposed to will be briefly mentioned at the end of this article. The official English translation of the speech has not yet been published so the following excerpts have been translated from the Chinese but must not be taken as the official translation.
Community of common destiny
The central point of the speech, as of China’s foreign policy, was the concept of the ‘community of common destiny’, resulting from the fact the world is increasingly interconnected. The speech emphasised: ‘China has always striven for the view that "the world is a big family"… People in the world are living under the same sky, share one home, and should be one family despite the fact they have differences.’
Therefore, ‘The community of human destiny, as its name implies, is that the future and destiny of every nation and every country is closely linked’
And more precisely regarding human civilization: ‘The prosperity of civilization and the progress of humankind cannot be separated from seeking common ground while differences will remain. It is open and inclusive. It cannot be separated from cultural exchanges and from learning from each other. History calls for human civilization to shine in its splendour, and different civilizations should live in harmony and complement each other. We should uphold the view that the world is rich and colourful, and civilizations are diverse, so that all the kinds of civilizations created by humankind enhance each other’s beauty and weave beautiful and gorgeous pictures.’
These points clearly developed further President Xi Jinping’s speech, also with the self-explanatory title ‘Exchanges and Mutual Learning Make Civilizations Richer and More Colourful’, made at the headquarters of UNESCO in March 2014 in which he stated: ‘civilizations are equal, and such equality has made exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations possible. All human civilizations… have their respective strengths and weaknesses. No civilization is perfect on the planet. Nor is it devoid of merit. No single civilization can be judged superior to another.’
Classical Chinese and Western thought
The roots in China of this understanding that civilizations are equal but different was noted earlier by President Xi Jinping quoting the classical Chinese text The Mencius: ‘As early as over 2, 000 years ago, the Chinese people came to recognize that “it is natural for things to be different.”
Although, as Xi Jinping is China’s President he naturally cited classical Chinese sources, these ideas were equally formulated by, and could also be expressed in the language of, the most important Western philosophers. The fact that everything which exists differs was first formulated in Western thought by the Greek philosopher Heraclitus 2,000 years ago in his famous statement ‘no man ever steps in the same river twice’, it was proved by the Western philosophers Spinoza and Leibniz, while the concept of the combination of difference and equality was formulated by Hegel - and was also known to the CPC via Marx.
This fact that that the same conclusion is arrived at by different civilizations, which had no substantial intellectual connection with each when other such ideas were formulated, is a fundamental expression of the fact that although there are many starting points there is only one truth on such issues – which is therefore arrived at no matter how much these starting points differ.
From the interconnectedness of nations, the practical foreign policy conclusion Xi Jinping stated is popularly expressed as ‘win-win’ and more formally as the ‘community of common destiny’. This means that while naturally there are differences and conflicts between countries this is less important in the long run than their common interests. This is the key guideline for foreign policy.
The alternative framework
Although President Xi Jinping naturally did not engage in polemics it is clear the concept of certain major figures in the US is directly counterposed to this. For example, US National Security Adviser McMaster and Director of the US National Economic Council Cohn jointly authored a Wall Street Journal article arguing: ‘the world is not a “global community” but an arena where nations, nongovernmental actors and businesses engage and compete for advantage.’ Or as they put it drawing the practical conclusion. ‘America First signals the restoration of American leadership.’
To summarise, in the concept expressed in Xi Jinping’s speech countries are different but equal, and need to cooperate for common interests. In the alternative concept countries are unequal, with one ‘leader’ and the others therefore necessarily ‘followers’, engaged in a primarily competitive struggle for advantage.
As not merely China but other countries will never accept that they are inferior to other countries, Xi Jinping’s concept of equality and difference, which expresses the most advanced ideas of both classical Chinese and Western thought, is therefore of far greater interest to countries throughout the world than the idea that they should be ‘followers’ of a single other country.
It was because of China’s fundamental concepts of the relations between countries that not merely was there such a large attendance at the ‘CPC in Dialogue with World Political Parties High-Level Meeting’, but President Xi Jinping’s speech was so well received.
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An edited shorter version of this article appeared at China.org.cn.
By far the two largest groups of socialists in the world are in China, in the tradition created by Mao Zedong, and in Latin America - the followers of Fidel Castro. Dialogue between these two currents is therefore of critical importance for the future of socialism in the world. The following article by Ajit Singh outlines the analysis of China by Fidel Castro.
This issue is of great importance to socialists throughout the world but in particular to the left in Latin America at the present time. Following the election of Hugo Chavez as President of Venezuela, and the successful defeat of the right wing coup d'etat in that country in 2002, a wave of victories of left wing forces occurred across most of the Latin American continent. These governments then had great achievements in ensuring that the benefits from the commodity price boom that lasted up until 2014 went to the people of Latin America and not merely to elites within their countries and banks in the US. Living standards rose and there was a dramatic reduction in poverty and inequality in Latin America - a real 'revolution in distribution' took place.
But in 2014, when commodity prices began to fall, one of the after effects of the international financial crisis, the Latin American left wing governments were not able to respond adequately to downward pressures on major economies such as Argentina, Brazil and elsewhere - they were not able to make a 'revolution in production'. This was despite the fact that China and Vietnam were simultaneously coming successfully through the international financial crisis with scarcely any slowdown in their economies. But left wing forces in Latin America had paid insufficient attention to studying and learning from China's enormously successful economic policies - including the world's greatest poverty reduction programmes.
This mistake was aided by influence of Western socialists, whose writings show that they did not in fact understand Marx, who claimed China was a capitalist country and therefore the left should not study it. The confused views and proposed policies of such writers therefore did damage to the Latin American left. It is therefore crucial that the views of a socialist leader such as Fidel Castro on China are clearly understood. Ajit Singh clearly outlines Fidel Castro's analyses of Cuba and its importance for developing countries.
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China Is Most Promising Hope for Third World: Fidel
By: Ajit Singh
Fidel always firmly maintained his support for China and believed that the Communist Party was genuinely and capably pursuing revolutionary socialism.
This Saturday marked the first year anniversary of the death of Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro. Around the world, progressives and revolutionaries commemorate his life and continue to be inspired by his example.
Often prescient, Fidel continues to be a source of insight for understanding today's political landscape, including the defining feature of the 21st century: the rise of the People's Republic of China.
Fidel on China
Since 1978, China has implemented economic reforms in order to overcome its severe underdevelopment — historically imposed upon it by Western and Japanese imperialism — and the monopoly over technology held by the imperialist powers. Following their introduction China has achieved unprecedented economic growth, building a modern, moderately prosperous country and becoming the second most powerful economy in the world. Although the Communist Party of China has always insisted that it remains committed to Marxism and socialism, the reforms have been considered by many — particularly in the West — to be an abandonment of socialism for capitalism.
Fidel, however, always firmly maintained his support for China and believed that the Communist Party was genuinely and capably pursuing revolutionary socialism. In a 1994 interview, Fidel stated: "If you want to talk about socialism, let us not forget what socialism achieved in China. At one time it was the land of hunger, poverty, disasters. Today there is none of that. Today China can feed, dress, educate, and care for the health of 1.2 billion people.
"I think China is a socialist country, and Vietnam is a socialist nation as well. And they insist that they have introduced all the necessary reforms in order to motivate national development and to continue seeking the objectives of socialism.
"There are no fully pure regimes or systems. In Cuba, for instance, we have many forms of private property. We have hundreds of thousands of farm owners. In some cases they own up to 110 acres. In Europe they would be considered large landholders. Practically all Cubans own their own home and, what is more, we welcome foreign investment.
"But that does not mean that Cuba has stopped being socialist."
In 2004, Fidel awarded Cuba's state honor — the Order of José Martí — to Hu Jintao, then President of China and General Secretary of the Communist Party. At the ceremony, Fidel expressed his admiration for the achievements of Chinese socialism: “The significant thing, the extraordinary thing for me and for the world, is that the legendary China, one of the first and richest civilizations and the most populated country on Earth, less than a century ago was a territory occupied and cruelly exploited by the powers imperial of that time. Millions of people died of hunger every year; rivers of Chinese blood ran through their fields and cities. Imperialist expansionism and brutality were raging against that noble and generous people. Injustices and inequalities rooted for thousands of years seemed destined to last forever.
"Socialism will definitively remain the only real hope of peace and survival of our species. This is precisely what the Communist Party and the people of the People's Republic of China have irrefutably demonstrated. They demonstrated at the same time, as Cuba and other brotherly countries have shown, that each people must adapt their strategy and revolutionary objectives to the concrete conditions of their own country and that there are not two absolutely equal socialist revolutionary processes. From each of them, you can take the best experiences and learn from each of their most serious mistakes.
"The Chinese process counted, in addition, with the contributions of great and brilliant political thinkers, who continued to develop and enrich the doctrines of socialism.
"China has objectively become the most promising hope and the best example for all Third World countries. I do not hesitate to say that it is already the main engine of the world economy. In what time? In only 83 years after the foundation of its glorious Communist Party and 55 years after the founding of the People's Republic of China.
"The relations between China and Cuba are today an example of transparency and peaceful collaboration between two nations that hold the ideals of socialism.
"Today there is not only a solid basis for the development of relations between the two countries, but also a greater political will to deepen them, continue to expand them, and defend the noble cause of socialism, unity among peoples and respect for the principles of international right.
"The role that China has been playing in the United Nations Organization, including the Security Council, is an important element of balance, progress and safeguard of world peace and stability.
"I beg you to receive [this award] as further proof of the respect and sincere affection of all Cubans for you and your heroic people, and for our enormous admiration for legendary and revolutionary China, one China, unique, intangible and immortal."
In 2014, Fidel stated that current Chinese President and General Secretary of the Communist Party “Xi Jinping is one of the strongest and most capable revolutionary leaders I have met in my life.”
History vindicates Fidel as well as China
Fidel rejected as idealist and utopian, the notion put forward by many that China has failed to conform to preconceived notions of a “true” socialism. Having led a socialist country in the Global South at the front-line of imperialist aggression, Fidel understood and respected that socialist countries had to respond to the concrete conditions and challenges which they faced and not merely apply dogmas.
Here too, history has proven the truth of Fidel’s assessment. China’s achievements are undeniable as the country has soared to heights never before reached by formerly colonized nations, making tremendous progress in overcoming underdevelopment and improving the living conditions of the Chinese people. Since 1978, China has lifted over 800 million people out of poverty — more than the rest of the world combined — and real income for the bottom half of earners has grown 401 percent (compared to decreasing by 1 percent in the U.S.)
Internationally, China strives to play a leading role, promoting cooperation, peaceful development, and environmental sustainability to build a multilateral, more democratic international order. China works with countries in the Global South, providing beneficial alternatives to imperialism and promoting independent development and empowerment.
China has been crucial ally for Cuba in the face of U.S. attempts to isolate the island nation, becoming Cuba’s largest partner for trade. China has vowed that it will continue to “put Cuba at a special place in its foreign policy and will as always support Cuba's legitimate fight for sovereignty and its endeavors against the U.S. embargo.” Fidel’s legacy is celebrated by the Chinese people, and following his deat, President Xi Jinping stated that “he has made immortal historic contributions to the Cuban people and to the world socialism development. Comrade Fidel Castro is a great figure of our times and will be remembered by history and people.”
As China enters a “new era,” it is definitively leading the struggles against imperialism, climate change, and inequality, and for peace, sustainable development, and socialism. There is much which can be learned from Fidel in how to understand, respect, and demonstrate genuine solidarity with this revolutionary country.
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This article originally appeared on Telesur.
On 27 November socialists from China and Latin America met in China at the fifth Forum on the Left and Socialism in Latin America and the Caribbean and honoured the achievements of Fidel Castro who died one year ago. The article below from Prensa Latina reports the meeting.
The great respect of China for Fidel Castro, and of Fidel Castro for China, is of course in direct contradiction to any claims that China is a capitalist country. No capitalist country pays such respect to Fidel Castro, and Fidel Castro said of Xi Xinping: '‘Xi Jinping is one of the strongest and most capable revolutionary leaders I have met in my life.’
The photo below is of Xi Jinping bowing at the Cuban embassy in Beijing last year to honour the death of Fidel Castro. Below the article from Prensa Latina is the article from Chinese official news agency Xinhua on the visit of Xi Jinping to the Cuban Embassy in Beijing on the occasion of Fidel Castro's death.
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China: Forum on Latin American Left Highlights Fidel's Legacy
Prensa Latina 27 November 2017: Those attending the fifth Forum on the Left and Socialism in Latin America and the Caribbean - held today in China - highlighted the legacy of Fidel Castro and his contributions to different causes of humanity.
The event that was held in this capital had several moments and brought together former ambassadors of this country on the island, representatives of the ruling Communist Party, scholars and members of the diplomatic corps of Havana here, an official note confirmed.
The former officials spoke of their experiences with Fidel while they were in Cuba and other personalities of the academic sector of China analyzed his political, economic, and social thinking.
The Forum was organized by the Institute of Latin American Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in coordination with the Cuban embassy.
This celebration took place as part of the homage paid in China to the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution on the occasion of the first anniversary of his death, which occurred on November 25, 2016.
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Xi visits Cuban embassy to mourn passing of Fidel Castro
Beijing, Nov. 29 2016 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a visit to the embassy of Cuba in Beijing on Tuesday morning to mourn the passing of Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro.
Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, said Comrade Fidel Castro, founder of the Communist Party of Cuba and Cuba's socialist cause, was a great leader of the Cuban people.
"He is a great figure of our times, and his immortal historic contributions to the world's socialist development and support for the cause of justice for all countries will be forever remembered," Xi said.
Xi said he went to the embassy to show that "the Chinese party, government and people stand together with the Cuban party, government and people at this special moment."
"I believe that under the strong leadership of Comrade Raul Castro, the Cuban party, government and people will carry on the will of Comrade Fidel Castro, turn sorrow into strength and continue to make new achievements in national construction and the development of socialism," he said.
Calling Fidel Castro the founder of Sino-Cuba relations, Xi said the Chinese people have lost a "close comrade and sincere friend."
He noted that Cuba was the first Latin American country to establish diplomatic relations with China, and there is special friendship between the two nations.
Xi said China will work more closely with the Cuban comrades to carry forward the friendly relationship between the two parties as well as the two nations to fulfill Fidel Castro's will.
The newly appointed Cuban Ambassador to China, Miguel Angel Ramirez Ramos, expressed sincere thanks for Xi's condolences on behalf of the Cuban party, government and Raul Castro, first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba.
He said Xi's presence showed the friendship between the two countries and the high level of their relationship.
Ramirez said the Cuban party and government will carry on Fidel Castro's work to continuously push forward the development of Cuba-China ties.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, top legislator Zhang Dejiang, top political advisor Yu Zhengsheng, and former Chinese leaders Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao also sent wreaths to the Cuban embassy.
The Financial Times carried on 27 November a long article on China's increasing impact in Central and Eastern Europe under the self-explanatory title 'Eastern Europe’s China pivot'. Unfortunately for copyright reasons it is not possible to republish the article and a subscription to the FT is necessary to read it. However the general analysis of China's impact can be understood from the following excerpts:
'In Hungary it is hailed as the “Eastward Opening”. Serbian authorities see it as the glue in a “reliable friendship”, while the Polish government describes it as a “tremendous opportunity”. ... the 16+1, a grouping of 16 central and eastern European countries led by China... [is a] catalyst for... China’s ability to finance and build the roads, railways, power stations and other infrastructure that some poorer central and eastern European countries need....