Why Is The Left Not Opposing The West’s New Cold War With China?

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ANTI-RACISM IS BIG at the moment – very big. Why, then, are so many on the left of politics, both here and overseas, climbing aboard the Western powers’ New Cold War Express? The European nations that profited most from the trans-Atlantic slave trade; the ruthless beneficiaries of the plantation system; the peoples who introduced the terms “white” and “black” to the world’s vocabulary; these are the racist capitalist imperialists the Left is lining up with against the Peoples Republic of China. Given that the Old Cold War brought the world to the very brink of nuclear annihilation, the idea of joining in the creation of a new one seems ever-so-slightly daft. Why can’t the Left see that?

The answer, sadly, is that the contemporary Left is almost entirely ignorant of geopolitics and the strict limitations it places on diplomatic action. Even when it comes to basic economics and its decisive influence on politics, the Left’s powers of analysis have atrophied to an astonishing degree. All that remains to those who still identify themselves as “left-wing” is the ersatz “morality” with which the Western powers are so adept at cloaking their attacks on geopolitical and economic rivals. China must become our enemy because of its treatment of Tibet, the persecution of the Uighurs, and the suppression of political dissent in Hong Kong.

Let’s deconstruct this analysis piece by piece – starting with Tibet.

In geopolitical terms, Tibet constitutes the “high ground” of Eurasia. Whenever the Chinese Empire was strong enough to assert its suzerainty over Tibet (which was most of the time) the Tibetan theocracy willingly paid homage to Beijing. In the nineteenth century, however, the British transformed Tibet into one of its many “protectorates”. In the “Great Game” (the euphemistic term employed to describe the imperial moves and counter-moves of the British and Russian empires for control of Central Asia) Tibet was seen by London as crucial to the protection of India’s northern flank. China, humbled in the same wars that secured the island of Hong Kong for Her Britannic Majesty, was in no position to resist.

Fast-forward to the middle of the twentieth century. The British Empire is in full retreat. India has won its independence. The Chinese Communist Party has driven the nationalist Kuomintang regime off the Chinese mainland and, with the support of its Soviet ally, is well-positioned to restore China’s suzerainty over Tibet. In geopolitical terms, the CCP has little choice. Acknowledging Tibet’s “independence”, would be interpreted by the Indians and the Soviets as an invitation to fill the power vacuum themselves. Accordingly, the Peoples Liberation Army occupies Tibet, dismantles its feudal Buddhist theocracy, and drives the Dalai Lama over the Himalayas to exile in India.

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While the Communist Party retains power in Beijing, Tibet will remain under Chinese control. And, for as long as well-meaning new-agers in the West demand the restoration of the Dalai Lama, Beijing will do everything it can to smother Tibetan nationalism. Tragically, that means smothering the ancient religious culture which inspires the nationalists’ resistance. The louder the international clamour for an independent Tibet, the more determined the CCP becomes to transform the territory into just another Chinese province. Perhaps Richard Gere and his fellow travellers might like to think about that the next time they feel moved to raise the flag of “Free Tibet”?

An equal determination to crush the forces of religious nationalism is evident in Xinjiang, where the CCP has launched a massive campaign to neutralise the ability of the Islamic faith to arm – both literally and figuratively – the nascent movement for Uighur independence. With Xinjiang sharing its western border with five Islamic states: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Beijing’s nervousness is understandable. The concentration of upwards of a million “suspect” Uighurs in massive high-rise complexes reflects the CCP’s longstanding belief in the superiority of coercive social-engineering over the much more costly alternative (in every sense) of full-scale military engagement and “pacification”.

Beijing has observed the philosophical cul-de-sacs into which the West’s policies of multicultural diversity and religious tolerance have driven it, and remains committed to enforcing a single, Han Chinese-derived definition of citizenship. That China’s official communist ideology now finds itself engaged in a no-holds-barred, hearts-and-minds struggle with the Islamic religion is in no way considered wrong or unfortunate. Rather, it is seen as a necessary and unavoidable confrontation between progressive and reactionary thinking. A vast “struggle session” from which, it is confidently assumed, the Chinese state will emerge stronger and more united than ever.

Beijing is no more willing to countenance a challenge to its sovereignty from the eastern extremity of the Peoples Republic than it is from its uttermost west. Indeed, the threat of an Islamic jihad breaking out in Xinjiang, and the year-long protests bedevilling the “Special Administrative Region” of Hong Kong, are viewed as evidence of a single, US-led, effort to divert and delay China’s re-emergence as the world’s dominant power. From the CCP’s perspective, the slightest indication of weakness on the part of the Chinese state will only encourage the West to apply new and greater pressures at other points of perceived vulnerability.

The story of Hong Kong is illustrative of the West’s long-term Chinese strategy. It has been an article of faith in Western capitals for many decades that the adoption of what they considered “capitalism” by Deng Xiaoping in 1979 would lead China inexorably towards “liberal democracy”. Far from being seen as proof that Beijing will do whatever it takes to avoid the fate of the Soviet Union, the West interpreted the 1989 massacre in Tiananmen Square as merely the first act in a drama that would expand and intensify until the inevitable triumph of human rights and freedoms. Hong Kong was supposed to show Beijing the way. In time the whole of China would embrace free speech and the rule of law.

What China saw was something quite different. “Liberal democracy”, as applied in what had been the Soviet Union, brought only territorial disintegration, corruption and Nato’s relentless advance to Russia’s suddenly buffer-less and strategically vulnerable borders. Boris Yeltsin, a boorish drunkard, epitomised the humiliation of the once proud Soviet state. He presided over a vicious kleptocracy while the life expectancy of the Russian people plummeted. That he won re-election was due almost entirely to the shameless intervention of American political fixers. If these were the blessings of liberal democracy, Beijing wanted none of them!

China’s national security apparatus was particularly determined to ward off any hint of the so-called “colour revolutions” which had swept Europe’s former socialist states. It familiarised itself with the tactics of these initially student-based “non-violent” protest movements. They noted how, when met with brutal state repression, these movements were able to blossom into society-wide uprisings. They also tracked the involvement of foreign advisers and their American funders.

What had worked in Belgrade, Tbilisi and Kiev would not be permitted to work in Hong Kong. While Washington waited impatiently for the arrival of the PLA – and another Tiananmen bloodbath – Beijing quietly prepared its new Security Law. Slowly, but unmistakably, the yellow ribbons and umbrellas of Hong Kong’s year of living dangerously are melting away.

In 1900, an eight-nation alliance of Western powers mounted a military intervention to suppress the popular revolutionary movement which was threatening to end foreign influence in China. Comprised of British, French, German, Russian, Austro-Hungarian, Italian, United States and Japanese military units (along with state contingents from Australia) this 45,000-strong force subdued the revolutionaries, pillaged Beijing, and forced the Imperial Chinese government to meet the costs of their punitive expedition.

The moral tenor of this frankly and unapologetically imperialist intervention is best captured in the message sent to his troops by the German Kaiser, Wilhelm II:

“A great task awaits you: You must see to it that a serious injustice is expiated. The Chinese have overturned the law of nations. Never before in world history have the sanctity of diplomats and the obligations of hospitality been subjected to such contempt. It is all the more outrageous that these crimes have been committed by a nation which prides itself on its ancient culture ….. When you come upon him, know this: Pardon will not be given. Prisoners will not be taken. Bear your weapons so that for a thousand years no Chinaman will dare even to squint at a German.”

120 years later, the racist assumptions of the Western powers vis-à-vis China have hardly changed at all. They still arrogate to themselves the right to dispose of the future of the Chinese people as they see fit. There remains the same racist assumption that the West’s values and institutions are superior in every way to those of a civilisation that has endured for 3,000 years. The same hunger for profits that drove the British to force their opium into the lungs of the Chinese people at the point of a gun, continues to drive the Western capitalist elites. Nothing is forbidden to those whose skins are white.

Such is the historical force alongside which the Western Left has chosen to position itself.

57 COMMENTS

  1. Superbly composed and completely factual, Chris.

    ‘Why Is The Left Not Opposing The West’s New Cold War With China?’

    The answer is the same as for so many of our dilemmas and now unsolvable predicaments: the education system exists to provide pupils/students with sufficient information to make them useful to the [capitalist] empire whilst denying them information that would make them dangerous to the empire; the corporate media (and that includes RNZ and state-owned television, of course) exists to propagandise the general public, not to inform them of the facts. Put those together and you have a nationwide system for the promotion of ignorance and stupidity!

    Thus, we have a nation of ignorant people who have stupid ideas and do stupid things -like sabotaging their own futures. Not all of them, fortunately, and there is evidence that more and more people are rejecting the narratives of empire. That is especially true now that most of the narratives of empire have proven to be faux and manipulative, and are generating extremely bad outcomes, to put it mildly.

    Nevertheless, there is sufficient ignorance out there for people to say and do outlandish things.

    A number of years ago I had a conversation with a prominent trade unionist in (I won’t say where, but I will say it was in a trade union offices in a particular Vivian St very closely connected with Andrew Little); he declared the way forward for NZ was to encourage Japanese investment in here in Godzone. I had a WTF moment and tried to point out to him that Japan peaked in its economic power in the late-1980s, and had been on the slippery slope downwards ever since -but to no avail, so I didn’t waste too much time on it (him).

    I suspect that, as employment opportunities rapidly decline and household finances deteriorate over the coming months, people will look for someone [other than themselves] to blame. And who better than ‘little yellow men (and women)’?

    Placing the blame where it fairly and squarely lies, with the international bankers and the so-called capitalists (as I’ve sad many times before, usually there is no capital, just debt created out of thin air) does not occur to most people because they don’t know how the system works or what the prime agenda is. Just the way the controllers like it.

    I personally do not believe the ‘champion of freedom and democracy’ -the most mendacious rogue nation on the planet- has the capacity to take on China -either economically or militarily. My considered opinion is that we will see so much upheaval as the United States disintegrates into a collection of largely ungovernable city states and rural backwaters (as a consequence of the extraordinary levels of ignorance and stupidity there) no one in America will care very much what China decides to do about the Uighurs or Taiwan.

    On the other side of the coin, I believe China is facing so many monumental predicaments at home -not least the unprecedented flooding and collapse of dams- it won’t have the capacity to interfere with what other nations are doing.

    Indeed, we are well and truly living in the Age of Consequences [of many of the stupid decisions made over the past several centuries, but mostly in the past several decades] and I firmly believe the environment, at the local level and the global level, will soon the number one issue on everyone’s mind.

    Dam collapse in China could point to a ‘black swan’ disaster

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-weather-floods-dams-idUSKCN24N047

    First hurricane of the season to hit the US?

    https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/refresh/graphics_at2+shtml/173330.shtml?tswind120#contents

    And there goes the ice that has been providing the last vestiges of climate stability:

    https://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/charctic-interactive-sea-ice-graph/

    • While your thoughts on the education system regarding the capitalist empire are a good description we also have promotion of a religious system that is nothing like the teaching of the apostles as if it is the truth causing many problems in the world today as various groups try to force their views on society.

      • I absolutely agree. Most of what has gone on in so-called Christian countries over the past thousand years or so has been the antithesis of anything suggested by Christ….and much more like the old Jewish god of the Old Testament, who was vain, fickle, jealous, vengeful, inconsistent and hypocritical.

        • No He wasn’t, the 10 commandments embodies good health in relationships between all- except we dont follow them….Hence the reason Jesus had to come.

          If you read Genesis 6 you’ll understand who and what he commanded war against : the Nephilum. Half men , half demon hybrids which left unchecked, would have polluted the human race, hence the Great Flood,… but they came back… aka Goliath in King Davids time, which would have destroyed the bloodline of Jesus Christ…and these things are foretold they will come again in the end times…ufo’s?

          Who knows.

          Trey Smith Nephilim
          http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6Y2z3vRm3Gb_KSLtcRERWnUNXTt5bIsM

          • I suggest you read the Bible yourself, rather than cite what someone else says.

            Then you will discover the sections that command a person whose son is disobedient to gather his neighbours and stone the son to death; similarly, a woman who wears clothing of two different fabrics needed to be stoned to death. Under the vengeful, inhumanitarian god, it was okay to keep slaves and punish them severely… like kill them, if they were disobedient, but not kill another persons slave without compensating that person.

            ‘Now go and strike Amalek, and devote to destruction all they have. Do not spare them but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDP0NM9eAvU

            Sound like a homicidal, no omnicidal, maniac to me.

            • Goes back to what I said about not following the ten commandments, – thus the Levitical laws , expanding on what is and what isnt acceptable interpersonal relations, – in other words, not following the customs of the surrounding cultures.

              But people messed that up. It was clear people couldn’t follow those laws so hence why Jesus had to come. So it went from a situation of following the the law to accepting grace.

  2. No comments about the constant industrial espionage, or the extensive and brutal police state in China, or the militarisation of the South China Sea, or the ‘Wolf-Warrior’ diplomacy?

    • Ada: “No comments about the constant industrial espionage, or the extensive and brutal police state in China, or the militarisation of the South China Sea, or the ‘Wolf-Warrior’ diplomacy?”

      How do you know that these stories are true? Think about where you read or heard about this. In virtue of what would you just accept uncritically western propaganda?

      • I love China, have lived there a number of years, speak the language and enjoy Chinese society. However, China has never tried very hard to cover up its activities – its strategy has always been to tell others to butt out.
        What would you doubt? China’s activities around islands off the coast of its Southeast Asian neighbours? The camps in Xinjiang that China first claimed didn’t exist and then claimed were occupational training centres, but about which rumours are spreading even from sections of the Han Chinese population of Xinjiang? The buying up of Chinese Language media all around the world and suppression of critical voices? The demands that protesters be removed in foreign countries when Chinese dignitaries visit?
        I know that powerful countries have always interfered unethically in other countries (in recent years none more so than the US), but I am glad there is finally some recognition from western countries of the danger of becoming dependent on a country that has no scruples about trying to suppress freedom of speech all over the world.
        Where it could, America has reshaped much of the world according to its own perceived interests and values. You can be sure that China will do the same if it meets no resistance.

        • Bob for Apples: “What would you doubt?”

          Pretty much everything reported by the msm.

          I’ve left a comment at the end of this thread, which responds to much of what you say here.

          Propaganda and outright lies (not the same as propaganda, of course): this is how the US msm in particular operates.

    • The tipping point for many of us, was China’s involvement in allowing the infection of the whole global village with a Virus that is a “mass weapon of war” that now has infected 6 million and will kill many before the worst global Depression hits us all.

      Then it will effectively bring the financial system down including China’s so they have a made a rod for their own back now.

      Now today we see that China has spent large amounts of money on their own space mission rocket launch to Mars while the global financial system is in free-fall.

      Pity China didn’t care how they infected humans on our planet.

      https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/rover-mars-china-1.5659873

      “China’s tandem spacecraft — with both an orbiter and a rover — will take seven months to reach Mars, like the others. If all goes well, Tianwen-1, or “quest for heavenly truth,” will look for underground water, if it’s present, as well as evidence of possible ancient life.”

  3. Dear Chris

    I usually find your stuff really illuminating. And here your history deep. Thanks.

    But On this one, two things: 1) the NZ left, and indeed whole establishment, IS desperate to oppose a new Cold War; and 2) “understandable” as CCP action in Xingjiang may be on geopolitical grounds, those actions must be close to if not already genocidal. Is that not worth opposing, even for “the Left”?

    • “the NZ left, and indeed whole establishment, IS desperate to oppose a new Cold War”
      Clearly not the case. Recall the savagely anti-Chinese (not just anti-China) comments in “The Daily Blog” from the likes of “JacindaFan” and you get a more accurate impression of the state of mind on the left.
      As for the “establishment” recall the “Security Chiefs’ memo” to Jacinda Ardern, which shows how eager elements of the New Zealand political establishment are to join in a new cold war – or even something worse than that.
      It is fair to say that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is much less keen on the prospect, but how would you rate MFAt’s chances in a contest with the combined influence of the security forces and their Five Eyes partners?

  4. Kia ora Chris
    Do I want Chinese capital in control of New Zealand assets?
    Frankly no.
    Do I think that China should leave Tibet and Xinjiang and even Hong Kong pursue their own destiny?
    Yes I do.
    By the same token I would like to see the United States broken up into its constituent states, and the United Kingdom devolve into independent Scots, Welsh and English nation states.
    But as tangata whenua of Aotearoa it would be vain for us to tell these imperial powers to change their ways, and stupid of us to go to war in an attempt to drive kingdoms and empires to destruction.
    The only war which we can win, and the only war which we are morally entitled to wage, is the war for our own freedom, rangatiratanga and mana motuhake.
    Our concern must be to extract our nation from its present subjection to the imperial powers which constitute the “Five Eyes” of “Anglo-Saxon” English speaking states.
    However the left – in which I include the New Zealand Labour Party and the leading columnists of the Daily Blog – is deeply wedded to the concept of multi-cultural Anglo-imperialism. Therefore the left has been first to join with the United States and United Kingdom in their moves to initiate a new cold war with China.
    The left supports conflict with China because it is unwilling to honestly confront colonialism at home. It is that simple.
    But, ironically, an economic or military conflict with China will end in the collapse of the colonial regime in New Zealand.
    To be relevant to the emerging reality the New Zealand left would need to be courageous, effectual and honest. Right now it is none of those things.

    • “Do I want Chinese capital in control of New Zealand assets?
      Frankly no.”
      Fair enough but who is selling them to China. Surely that is in Kiwi hands not hands of Chinese based in China.

      • We will suffer consequences if we choose against China and place our morals in front of our economic security, comrade. So it’s neither here nor there, we either ignore Chinas crimes against humanity or we sell or we permanently reduce NZs GDP ripping NZs China FTA. So how serious the consequences will depend on how competent the government of the day is in finding a balance and I dont really want to preempt those machinations but this is all like throwing dice i mean I’d just like to see a real no nonsense hard man just come over and take charge because I’m sorry Winston youre to old for this crap. I just think someone like Ron Marks needs to take over foreign policy and really up the tempo on all of this.

  5. The article completely ignored that main feature of Chinese aggression – the Pacific.

    Over the years the CCP has made enemies of all it’s SE Asian neighbours because of it’s behavior regarding territorial claims. So this is NOT a struggle between China and the West as Chris portrays it.

    This increasing belligerence by China has alarmed everyone and nations with their eyes open are taking appropriate action. Today they threaten Taiwan (Sudetenland) and tomorrow it’s Australia (Poland)

    Si vis pacem, para bellum

    • Great tie in with 30’s ‘Road to War’ and completely agree (wrote a politics thesis back in the day on this particular subject so I would like to think I have some depth of understanding on all of this as well).

    • Well who would’ve thunk it I agree with you Andrew. Impressive tho Chris’s Historical analysis is, it’s missing a bunch of relevant information.. China’s racist policy of exterminating indigenous peoples( e.g. in Tibet thru forced abortions and sterilization programs) so that the Han Chinese may dominate the racial mix is only one such policy. So yeah nah Mr Trotter. China is a violent aggressive totalitarian regime . The CCP has interfered in NZ politics and abused our agricultural land for 30 years.
      I could not give a rats arse about China. Arrogant bullies.
      My attitude towards the USA is only marginally less desrespectful.
      I have been reflecting for a few years now upon how my Dad my Uncles and other male relatives who understood Germany’s aggression in 1930’s( and who all fought in WW2) must have felt in little old NZ. Thankfully we had Peter Fraser to lead us eventually.

      • WWII grew out of WWI and the manipulation of the political alliances so setting up agreements that were tailored to fail.
        Japan was “our” ally in WWI and escorted NZ troops to fight for Britain’s European adventure. Prime minister Massey was a self confessed British Israelite. The war was prolonged by the Balfour agreement.
        Turkey was an ally of Britain in early WWI years but Britain confiscated two Turkish battleships which were not even trialed
        Churchill deliberately forced Turkey to ally with Germany stealing Turkey’s expensive ships..
        https://padresteve.com/2014/08/02/winston-churchill-turkey-and-the-high-cost-of-two-dreadnoughts/
        Britain was angling to snaffle Persian Oil.
        Wars are made and not accidentally.
        British and American oil got massive wealth and the consequences still have the middle East in turmoil today.

    • Clan Gunn
      Aut pax aut bellum (Either peace or war)

      Me Dads clan, I’ll have peace thanks ! 🙂

      In my opinion any politician who wishes to get bolshy should be forced to undertake 3 years of French cookery and flower arrangement classes before they are allowed back into power by decree of the World Court. That’ll gentle em all down some!

  6. Worthy of the great Walter Duranty himself Chris! Can’t make an omlette without breaking a few eggs eh. CCP should employ you as their Kiwi stringer.

  7. thank you for this.
    propaganda wars always ignore context and leave us thinking we have to choose sides.
    lets choose the side of understanding of complex histories and relationships in context.

  8. Well writteb, Chris.
    Regarding that proud, free and independent nation of Tibet, I would point out the following: During WW2, the US Department of Information issued a film series called “Why We Fight.” Volume 3 included “The Battle of China.” The noble, ancient civilisation of China had been inexcusably attacked by the barbaric Japanese, who had learned all they knew by aping older and superior cultures. That great nation (China) had five great provinces.
    And yes, the 5th great province of China was….. Tibet!
    After WW2, the Chinese majority chose Communism (Mao) instead of the USA-favoured Kuomintang. Once China was Communist, a miraculous transformation came about. Tibet suddenly became a free, proud, and independent nation!
    Not only that. The Kuomintang retreated to Taiwan, protected by the USA naval fleet. In the eyes of the USA, Taiwan became the true, one and only nation of China, and Red China was no longer recognised at all: no place in the UN, or anywhere else. China was Taiwan, and Taiwan was China.
    I find it depressing that the NZ public (not only the Left) so readily swallows the 1984-style propaganda put out by our Western leaders.

    • Memories are conveniently short. A helpful summary.

      China has suffered with European colonialism for many generations and when the Kuomintang battled to support the old warlord despotism, the USA had troops their to help them. Sure the occupying Japanese were being chased out of China but as it turns out the Chinese were rejecting foreign occupation including the Americans again.
      The communist movement had grown before WWII and this thinking seemed preferable to the USA/Kuomintang setting up a new dynasty of colonialism.
      Mao emerged as a leader . Land reforms were introduced taking land out of the hands or the warlord/landowner class and distributing allocations to cooperative communes to farm for community food supply initially.
      The Kuomintang were forced to flee to Formosa ( Taiwan ) where they overwhelmed the native people who fought the US supported Kuomintang.

      If the USA had not been involved China and Taiwan would be one country again. In spite of the US propaganda and incentives there is still a growing core of Taiwanese of various ethnic backgrounds who want to reunite with China.

      Western sourced information is heavily tainted with propaganda and straight lies repeated over and over. Fools and suckers buy it.

  9. In line with your analysis Chris, much of the Western ‘left’ sees China as still oppressed by the US bloc of Western imperialisms and the ‘lefts’ answer to US hegemony. So it is more correct to say the ‘left’ is split between supporting the white racist imperialist powers against China, and those supporting China as a rapidly rising force to put an end to Western hegemony.

    But this ‘left’ is a fake left, a ‘left’ that lives in the space of bourgeois democracy and acts as a fig leaf for bourgeois dictatorship. It is a liberal left that allows history be made by the ruling classes and not the common people, while the liberating left holds the proletariat to be the agent of progress and liberation, not this or that ruling class (or ruling bureaucracy as some of the pro-China left still maintain).

    Those who put the proletariat at the centre of the analysis recognise that national oppression is rooted in class oppression. While China has been oppressed by the West for centuries, in the last decades its ruling bureaucracy has turned itself into a new imperialist ruling class. It has turned the tables on the Western ruling classes by restoring capitalism and powering its way towards the No 1 imperialist state.

    So China is now an oppressor state in its own right. It is spreading its influence as an imperialist state in the same way as the Western powers did before it, yet faster and stronger. It may seem a nice historic irony that the East is now challenging the West, but this is being paid for by the workers and peasants in China and all around the world whose labour is now contributing tribute to the Red bourgeoisie in China.

    The liberating left is to side with the proletariat East and West as the only force that can put an end to the growing inter-imperialist rivalry between the Eastern and Western ruling classes which is driving humanity towards disaster and extinction.

    In any war between China and the US the world proletariat has no side, except its own in the class war.

    • A magnificent summation of the pure Marxist-Leninist position, Dave. Congratulations!

      As has been the case since the outbreak of World War I, however, you are discounting the power of patriotic emotion to over-power the class-consciousness so essential to the Marxist revolutionary schema.

      If you asked those Chinese peasants and workers (as I did when I last visited China in 2008) how they thought their government was doing, I think you would hear nothing but enthusiasm. That support being all the greater in light of their terrible experiences during the years of “The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution”.

      I also believe you would find that their awareness of the damage inflicted upon China by the imperialist powers during the 19th and 20th centuries remains very acute. The Chinese people know very well what we did to them in the past and they are absolutely determined that we will never be allowed to do it again.

      • The Chinese people may very well be aware of the humiliations inflicted upon them by the European powers in the past but that does not mean that they unwilling to do the same themselves to their neighbours in the future (and with even less reservations I suspect than Israel and it’s expansion into the West Bank).

        • And conversely it does not mean they wound be willing to inflict humiliation on others. The Chinese think is different to Westerners.

          I don’t know where Israel’s genocide comes into a speculation on Chinese diplomacy with neighbors. There is not sign of such deplorable hubris from China.

      • And then there was the Japanese occupation and Manchuria. A militaristic and Imperial force from the east… in fact,… right next door to them….who later went on to attack those same western ‘imperialists’….

      • Not at all. Ideology, especially nationalism, is a powerful influence dividing workers internationally and weakening working class solidarity. As with the old divisions along race and gender lines. Its logical endpoint is fascism unless defeated by proletarian revolution.

        Ideology is only a mask mask hiding the reality of class, and we see at the present time that reality breaking through the mask and the class contradictions appearing on the surface. This rupture can only intensify and with it growing international movements like BLM weakening those divisive ideologies.

        That is why its not Marxist Leninism (I prefer Leninism Trotskyism to avoid the Stalinist claim to ML) that is pushing people onto the streets but the terminal crisis of rotting capitalism operating behind our backs and breaking down capitalist institutions.

        China is no different. Loyalty to the ruling regime built on ideology and history will be undermined as working conditions worsen and repression mounts. It will be class war that determines our fate.

        Again the old cry from Rosa Luxemburg rings out: Socialism or Barbarism!

        • Dave the reports and figures from inside China support the reduction of poverty being evident and the stated goals by the CCP is to reduce poverty..
          In most if not all Western countries the equity gap and poverty is increasing.

    • Dave Brown.
      “So China is now an oppressor state in its own right.”
      That statement would need a lot of support to be valid in this international environment.
      The 1.4 billion Chinese have a core loyalty fostered over a long period of change. Poverty is being relieved progressively driven by CCP initiatives. Money is spent on infrastructure lifting china to a position of being a world leader in this area.
      Responsibility is shown in the population limiting policy controlling fertility. China’s numbers will peak and then decline. All countries should be implementing similar goals.
      China does not have troops in other countries unlike the USA which has over 800 military bases globally and wars that have run nearly 20 years in some cases.

      The problem for Kiwis is that we have been bombarded with US/UK sourced propaganda for several generations so our base for thinking is affected by this imposed climate of untruths.

  10. I’m sorry but racism is most definitely not while so many people are annoyed with China.
    It is because it is a fascist state that has imperialistic ambitions fare beyond even the United States.
    Not everything is due to racism, sexiam, ageism or whateverism.
    Sometimes people are fucked off at other people (or in this case countries) because they are a bunch of wankers.

    • Nicely put!

      I suggest the China apologists here have a serious chat with a mainland Chinese man, preferably over a few beers to loosen them up.
      You’ll find there is a strong thread of racial superiority in their veins because they come from the ‘Middle Kingdom’ and are taught in the schools that we are hairy semi-humans. Hitler would smile on them.

    • Certainly not but an attempt to understand it may help. Racism is alive and well in NZ but not common with many groups. It may well be similar in China.
      Must China tolerate our intolerance.

  11. Very good article, Chris Trotter. Thank you.

    The AO/NZ Left.

    5 possible reasons for the biased reception of Chinese policy:

    1. Insufficient analysis of the class structure in NZ society with misconceptions on own strengths and weaknesses, potential and priorities (as Left, and as a nation state).
    2. Weak international exchange with progressive, left opinions, theoretical streams and developments, main events outside AO/NZ.
    3. Very weak interaction with intellectual left streams in China, India, Russia, Asia and the Pacific in general.
    4. Important parts of the AO/NZ Left’s knowledge base are rooted in mainstream ‘bourgeois” interpretation of history, political geography, sociology dominating the education system.
    5 Socialization of individuals and groups with selective Anglo-Saxon world views, often not sufficient critically reflected (this may include some form of unconscious racism).

  12. Why, then, are so many on the left of politics, both here and overseas, climbing aboard the Western powers’ New Cold War Express?

    Because China is outright attacking us and that attack is probably based, at least party, on racism.

    • Using terms like “outright attack” is best reserved for historical events like the Japanese air and naval assault on the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbour on 7 December 1941.

      Have I missed the Chinese Navy bombarding the naval base at Devonport, or the PLA’s amphibious landings along the Otago coast?

      Be careful in your use of language.

  13. My favourite part about the column is how Chris outsourced his favouritism to the highest bidder in the spirit of globalised labour capitalism

  14. When I was at school the cultural revolution was taking place. What we heard of life in China was grim.
    The Marxist revolution’s murderous and violent reconstruction eventually created a new order for the survivors and life improved for the masses. But it really started to improve when America decided to recognise it and it was allowed to join the world economy. Especially as China was allowed to join up without being required to adhere to some of the critical rules that the rest of the trading world had agreed to. Particularly and crucially a floating exchange rate and an independent banking regime.
    This has enabled China to manipulate it’s exchange rate so that goods from China could not be competed with by any country with a floating exchange rate. A situation that businessmen from all over the world were able to take advantage of by setting up their businesses in China.
    More recently China has been prevailed apon to ease the currency distortions but it still basically retains control.
    Allowing this advantage was seen quite reasonably as being the prudent thing to do to give the giant nation a leg up so as to feel part of the world and engage in dialogue in the interests of a more peaceful world, And the West especially in those days could well afford the indulgence.
    But the advantage has been allowed to go too far, and America has been gutted by it. There is no industry worth talking about , no economy left in America save the military industrial complex.
    The recovery of US industry , bringing it back from China , is not going to be easy or tidy. Especially when those who have undertaken that project are so peculiarly undiplomatic and so unattractive. But it is what the US has to do one way or another.
    And though China has astutely recognised that soft power and diplomacy is far more successful and far more pleasant than conflict as a way to advance, she will do her best to maintain her position.
    I think the trade war is inevitable. The US can’t bleed debt forever. And China’s amazing prosperity has been largely made out of America’s impoverishment. It can’t go on.
    Hopefully China can turn inward to a degree without loosing all she has gained and the US can recover without violence. But they seem to be itching for a fight.
    D J S

    • US industry has not been gutted by China.
      US retail has got their stuff made in China because there is no import duty and the US investor can make for profit without putting money in US workers pockets not supporting the US manufacturing.
      China can hardly be blamed for US capitalists ditching US industry and its workers.
      The so called unfair exchange rate of China’s money is up to China and it has provided good business for China and the US importers and major retail chain shareholders.
      The US has written its own epitaph for its industry. Authored by greed.

      • I wasn’t blaming China John , It is the policy to blame that sets out the course of best advantage to business being that course that has destroyed America’s industrial heart.
        Just as New Zealand it is up to our politicians to look after tha country’s interests .
        China is just looking after her own much more astutely than we are. That is what they should be doing, and should be expected to do.
        D J S

        • Agreed David
          NZs problem is that we need to protect out industry at a basic level of providing a healthy variety of food stuffs at affordable prices for kiwi consumption.
          That will mean some protection from the importation of foods we have filling our supermarket shelves. Good money for the importers but very bad for NZ resilience and self reliance.
          The temptation of variety helps drive consumer demand created over at least two generations.
          Free trade agreements are implemented to foster business but are usually counter productive to many local businesses and local manufacture. Once the infrastructure has been destroyed as it has in NZ, then it takes a massive effort to resort. Consumer resistance will impede reform until we have a crash and virtual starvation and very high pricing of food will destroy the poor families.
          China is not to blame for NZ’s lost industries. We have allowed Moore and co destroy our small town manufacturing of goods and local food stuffs.

  15. That went down like a cup of cold sick, Chris. I remember China’s oppressions, it doesn’t excuse their oppressions — see Israel. I understand completely their response, as also Israel’s. Both countries know deep to their bones the central message of industrialism and colonialism is power, with which I agree. Liberalism comes off the back of that. But I can’t smear my conscience knowingly … til I’m forced.

  16. Why don’t we understand that the “conceptual European white race” will never allow black man, yellow men, green man or blue man to be in charge of this planet.

    • Because the crown has a little bit to go with crown Maori relations before they can strut their stuff on the world stage with there heads held high. But it’s all there, there are good good people in the police, health, so on and so on who really want the best and we just have to stay positive.

  17. “ANTI-RACISM IS BIG at the moment – very big.”

    In my view, members of the contemporary Left wouldn’t recognise racism if they fell over it.

    My generation, on the other hand, knows what it is. And isn’t.

    “….the contemporary Left is almost entirely ignorant of geopolitics and the strict limitations it places on diplomatic action. Even when it comes to basic economics and its decisive influence on politics, the Left’s powers of analysis have atrophied to an astonishing degree.”

    Yup. Beginning with what’s taught at high school level (land rights for gay whales, as we used to say, instead of actual history).

    In recent years, uni has been no better. I doubt there’d be a contemporary student who would have the faintest idea about Westphalianism. A family member who’s very well-informed has got that way despite, rather than because of, uni study. Said family member is scathing about – in particular – what passes for history, at least in the uni they attended. A focus on woke social justice hobbyhorses instead of history: that’s their view.

    I have an undergraduate degree in Mandarin, from many years ago, before the Confucius Society took over the delivery of courses in our universities. As part of that course, I studied some Chinese history, and did a bucket load of reading.

    China has a deep history, going back to neolithic times. Tibet was traditionally part of China in imperial times. It’s still seen that way, no matter what westerners might think about it.

    “…the 1989 massacre in Tiananmen Square…”

    We knew NZ people who were there at the time; watched what happened in Tiananmen Square, told us about it. There was no massacre. There were deaths, right enough; just no massacre. I’m well aware of what was reported by Western media, but it by no means follows that they were accurate. In recent times, I’ve read accounts which corroborate what was reported to us.

    It’s important to remember that Tiananmen was an early attempt by the US to bring about political change in China, just as it had been successfully doing in Africa – and South America and the Caribbean. (And Australia, notoriously.) It bore resemblances to the so-called “colour” revolutions we saw in the former Soviet satellite states, after the fall of the USSR.

    There is an Islamist uprising, which has been going on for some time in Xinjiang. This is evidenced in part by the numbers of Uighur fighters who’ve turned up fighting with jihadi groups in Syria. We’ve seen what Islamists have been doing in the ME and elsewhere: doubtless it’s been the same sort of violence in Xinjiang, especially when the jihadists return from that fighting.

    Hong Kong: it has always been part of China, and will remain so. I guess that I don’t have to explain the shabby story of how it came to be a British colony. But apparently it’s necessary to point out that it was never a democracy while the British ruled it. Oh, the hypocrisy of the Brits! I well remember the handover of HK to the PRC. Such democratic rights as the citizens now have were instituted as part of the handover deal. At that time, there were many HK citizens who’d come here to live and work: I knew and worked with some of them.

    The current pro-democracy protests in HK are being fomented by the US. And doubtless the UK has also been involved. This is more of the “colour” revolution technique, perfected by the NED, a CIA-funded organisation.

    I also vividly remember the point at which the US again turned its malevolent eye on China. It was in 2012, when Obama the Odious announced the US’ “pivot to Asia”. This consisted of pretty much constant needling of China, both diplomatically and militarily. It was similar to the almost constant needling of Russia by NATO over the last 20 years or so (ever since the west woke up to the fact that Putin was standing on the neoliberals’ hands and preventing them from stealing any more Russian assets).

    Now here we are: the US and its various lapdogs attempting to fire up a new cold war, largely on the basis of trumped-up charges (pun intended).

    The Left needs to learn (again) the meaning of Westphalianism. We should encourage our own country’s government to take an independent line with regard to China. We would all be better off, were this country non-aligned, and we were to cast our lot in with other non-aligned countries.

  18. For Anarchists, the games of states is bloody depressing. Like John Pilger’s documentary the coming war with China. Why has the USA been building base after base around China? And why has our government never questioned this? Pax Americana is happy to be in a forever war in Afghanistan to keep China encircled. How much was the current hike in their budget for the military, and did you see all those democrats vote against a 10% reduction of the USA war machine.

    Anarchist only have one solution – engage with people in China, talking, exchanging music, playing video games, etc. Because people can only be free, when they know what freedom feels like. Saber rattling is horse shit, always has been and always will be. War is a even more shit option.

  19. “ANTI-RACISM IS BIG at the moment – very big.”

    In my view, members of the contemporary Left wouldn’t recognise racism if they fell over it.

    My generation, on the other hand, knows what it is. And isn’t.

    “….the contemporary Left is almost entirely ignorant of geopolitics and the strict limitations it places on diplomatic action. Even when it comes to basic economics and its decisive influence on politics, the Left’s powers of analysis have atrophied to an astonishing degree.”

    Yup. Beginning with what’s taught at high school level (land rights for gay whales, as we used to say, instead of actual history).

    In recent years, uni has been no better. I doubt there’d be a contemporary student who would have the faintest idea about Westphalianism. A family member who’s very well-informed has got that way despite, rather than because of, uni study. Said family member is scathing about – in particular – what passes for history, at least in the uni they attended. A focus on woke social justice hobbyhorses instead of history: that’s their view.

    I have an undergraduate degree in Mandarin, from many years ago, before the Confucius Society took over the delivery of courses in our universities. As part of that course, I studied some Chinese history, and did a bucket load of reading.

    China has a deep history, going back to neolithic times. Tibet was traditionally part of China in imperial times. It’s still seen that way, no matter what westerners might think about it.

    “…the 1989 massacre in Tiananmen Square…”

    We knew NZ people who were there at the time; watched what happened in Tiananmen Square, told us about it. There was no massacre. There were deaths, right enough; just no massacre. I’m well aware of what was reported by Western media, but it by no means follows that they were accurate. In recent times, I’ve read accounts which corroborate what was reported to us.

    It’s important to remember that Tiananmen was an early attempt by the US to bring about political change in China, just as it had been successfully doing in Africa – and South America and the Caribbean. (And Australia, notoriously.) It bore resemblances to the so-called “colour” revolutions we saw in the former Soviet satellite states, after the fall of the USSR.

    There is an Islamist uprising, which has been going on for some time in Xinjiang. This is evidenced in part by the numbers of Uighur fighters who’ve turned up fighting with jihadi groups in Syria. We’ve seen what Islamists have been doing in the ME and elsewhere: doubtless it’s been the same sort of violence in Xinjiang, especially when the jihadists return from that fighting.

    Hong Kong: it has always been part of China, and will remain so. I guess that I don’t have to explain the shabby story of how it came to be a British colony. But apparently it’s necessary to point out that it was never a democracy while the British ruled it. Oh, the hypocrisy of the Brits! I well remember the handover of HK to the PRC. Such democratic rights as the citizens now have were instituted as part of the handover deal. At that time, there were many HK citizens who’d come here to live and work: I knew and worked with some of them.

    The current pro-democracy protests in HK are being fomented by the US. And doubtless the UK has also been involved. This is more of the “colour” revolution technique, perfected by the NED, a CIA-funded organisation.

    I also vividly remember the point at which the US again turned its malevolent eye on China. It was in 2012, when Obama the Odious announced the US’ “pivot to Asia”. This consisted of pretty much constant needling of China, both diplomatically and militarily. It was similar to the almost constant needling of Russia by NATO over the last 20 years or so (ever since the west woke up to the fact that Putin was standing on the neoliberals’ hands and preventing them from stealing any more Russian assets).

    Now here we are: the US and its various lapdogs attempting to fire up a new cold war, largely on the basis of trumped-up charges (pun intended).

    The Left needs to learn (again) the meaning of Westphalianism. We should encourage our own country’s government to take an independent line with regard to China. We would all be better off, were this country non-aligned, and we were to cast our lot in with other non-aligned countries.

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