Source: Soong Ching Ling,
"Friendship of the Peoples and Peace", in China Reconstructs
magazine, vol. III, no. 1 (January-February 1954); pages 2-4
Transcription & HTML Markup for marxists.org: Juan Fajardo, January 2022.
“LONG LIVE friendship among the peoples!”
This is a call the Chinese people support fully: for its humaneness, for its strength, for its ringing guarantee that peace in the world can be preserved.
We believe that there is no fundamental cause for the peoples to quarrel with each other. We believe that international disputes do not originate with ordinary men and women, but are injected by the few who profit from prejudice, splitting and conflict. We believe that no matter what their differences in colour, customs, worship or politics, the interests of the mass of the people everywhere are common —and will sooner or later unite them.
This belief is a basic tenet of our thinking. It is written into our law and guides our daily actions within our own Chinese family of nations; and toward the family of the nations of the world. Since the founding of our People’s Republic we have applied it faithfully, and have been able, in consequence, to establish cordial, frank and sincere relations with peoples from every corner of the globe.
These are relations between equals, each concerned for the welfare of the other. They are associations by free choice, founded on understanding of the will of each people to be free and independent. Relations so based create rock-like solidarity.
WITHIN the part of the world where the people rule, we have lifted the friendship among states to a level never before attained. Here all activity is not for selfish individual profit but for the benefit of whole populations, so antagonism of interests is unknown. Here, because each step of progress by one is a matter of
rejoicing for all, the exchange of material necessities is truly mutual. Here, because cooperation is the way of life, all obstacles are surmounted to plan and effect vast constructive undertakings that change nature and improve the livelihood of man. Here cultural development is given full play and appreciation for the contribution of each people to civilization grows steadily.
Past history has nothing to show comparable to the neighbourly aid the Soviet Union has given China. It has dispatched its best specialists, to help rebuild our economy from the ruins of war and reactionary mismanagement. It has transferred to us, without any compensation, railways and other enterprises in which the Soviet people made huge investments in funds and labour. It has sent the most accomplished of its experts to train our personnel in every sphere, passing on experience and technical information without stint. In our Five-Year Plan, it is assisting in the setting up and re-equipping of 141 major industrial installations which will play a great role in the industrialization of China. We have many trade agreements with the Soviet Union and People’s Democracies. In culture, we have a constant exchange of books, films, delegations, students, dramatic and concert groups on a scale never before imagined —let alone carried out. This is friendship in its fullest development.
If it were left to the world’s peoples, such would be the characteristics of every contact between them. We have proved, that where states reflect the will of the people, wholesome relations are bound to develop. Friendship among the peoples benefits everyone. It allows the full concentration of energy and resources for the improvement of our own lives, and those of our neighbours, with fear laid aside once and for all.
THE INCREASING, broad and worldwide support for negotiations to settle the differences between nations indicates that more and more people are recognizing this truth. They see the immense expenditures of materials and money which some nations are devoting to war preparations, ma-terials and money which the people need to live, to keep healthy, to take care of their children. It is only natural for them to make com-parisons with a situation that would reverse matters, that would make normal relations between nations and peoples possible. It is becoming self-evident that friendship is the only sensible way.
In the past half year there have been new and significant developments along those lines. People are not only discovering the correct path; they are learning the value of following it with persistence.
This, along with the heroic efforts of the Korean and Chinese peoples, led to the Korean armistice. That the “warlords of Washington”, as an American writer has called them, were finally compelled to sign the agreement despite their unwillingness to negotiate, that it now hobbles their continued efforts to turn the course back from peace to war, shows that even they can no longer ignore the wishes of the people. Before the armistice, it was the fashion among certain politicians to speak the word “negotiations” only with contempt. Force, they said, was the only way to get one’s point across. But their force did not work in Korea, any more than it can work elsewhere. The frightful losses they caused only angered the people further. Today no statesman in a position of responsibility dares openly to oppose the idea of talking over differences — unless he is bent on political suicide.
SO NOW we have come to an-other critical stage in international affairs, one which marks great progress but requires us to see all the more clearly, to keep our eyes open and concentrated on the objective —peace.
On the one hand, all peoples are anxious to put an end to the pro-vocations of the war-minded, to their constant probing and testing to see where they can start another fight. Everywhere, including the countries dragged into the Atlantic Pact and other military alliances, the people want to have done with constant uproar and tension. They do not want to let the opportunity of taking far-reaching steps toward general peace slip from their hands. They see no threats of “aggression” against their own countries from the Soviet Union or China, or the other people’s lands. The proof that this fake “stimulant” is on the wane is the isolation of those who persist in shouting the alarm, the crumbling of such schemes as the “European Army” which the people would support if there were any real menace to arm against. The proof is in the growing response to the hand of friendship extended again and again from the countries of the peace camp, which have advanced reasonable proposals, made many concessions, and extricated the world from one dangerous crisis after another. “Action instead of words”, the enemies of peace sneer at us. Our actions are there. The peoples see them and understand.
The evil trickery of those who concoct the thick, black, scare head-lines is failing. It is perfectly evident who is constructing ring upon ring of military bases, boasting of how they will “surround” us, obviously intent on using them for attack. The peoples of the West, the other peoples of the East, want peace no less than we do. They are tired of the sword rattling, tired of the price they have to pay for it. What makes them particularly uneasy is that they are expected to approve of the resurrection of the very dregs of humanity, the Japanese military fascists, the German nazis, the very forces which, eight short years ago, they smashed with such great sacrifice. Increasingly aware of the danger, they are demanding that their affairs be carried on differently; that disagreements be discussed on a give-and-take basis. The world wants to relax.
WHO NEEDS the tension then?
Only the small group of corporation executives in high posi-tions in certain governments, men of the stamp of Charles Wilson of General Motors who, being both the chief manufacturer of war materials for the U.S. government and its Secretary of Defence, says: “What is good for my business is good for the country.” For such men, things are “good” when enmity is rampant, suspicion brews, and disorder reigns. For them war is the goose that lays the golden eggs of armament sales, which nothing can match for quick, high profits. Yet they too, in the present mood of the people, cannot be frank about such things. They are compelled to resort to slick statements about friendship, about how the world must realize that times have changed, about the old colo-nial patterns being outdated, about how “the door to peace is never closed.” At the same time, behind this smokescreen of words, they manoeuvre in quite a different direction; hundreds of millions of dollars are spent for subversive activities in peaceful countries; billions are spent to stifle independence struggles in Asia, Africa, and Latin America in support of the very colonialism which has been pronounced “outdated”; to prepare to turn the “cold war” into a hot one. The men who do this, despite all they say, do not want the world to relax.
The fight between what the people want and what the war profiteers want is basic. Its outcome, in each country and in the world, will determine whether we have peace or war. It is a fight to uphold the natural affinity between peoples, who have no reason to bear arms against each other. It is a fight to frustrate those who want to thrust arms into the hands of deceived men for the purpose of slaughtering their fellows, filling their own pockets with blood-money at the same time.
Peace is scoring successes. In order that they may continue, we must be vigilant. It is required of us that we pierce with truth every malicious web of lies spun to snare the people. If we can do this, the people will take the truth, make it their own, and act on it for peace.
CHINESE men and women, loyal to the principle of friendship between peoples, will go on striving for it whole-heartedly, side by side with all —of whatever views— who want world tranquillity. We will continue to press for sincere negotiations to lay the groundwork for a relaxation of international tensions, for the resumption of cultural exchange, for a peace that lasts. First of all, we call for a conference of the United States, United Kingdom, France, the Soviet Union and our People’s Republic of China, devoted to this purpose.
On the Korean question, alongside the Korean people and in accordance with the wish of the majority everywhere, we will seek for a peaceful solution. At the same time, we will demand that agreements be adhered to; that no “side deals” like the post-armistice connivance with Syngman Rhee be entered into to nullify the work done and stop further progress; that under no circumstances should fighting in Korea be resumed. We will also strive for the termination of all other hostilities now going on, and for their just settlement.
The Chinese people, joining hundreds of millions of others in East and West, welcome and support every effort of the German and Japanese peoples to prevent the return of the militarists who have led them to national disaster and to take, at last, the road to peace and democracy.
The Chinese people will join all those who want to end the actions that are destroying the prestige and functions of the United Nations. We want this international organization strong, acting as a forum for peace instead of a catspaw for war, worthy of the peoples’ confidence. We demand that the U.N. Charter, won by the vast sacrifices of World War II, be protected from tampering. We demand that the true representatives of the Chinese people be seated on all international bodies. Without the representatives of nearly a quarter of mankind, no organ can deal adequately and effectively with any world problem.
The Chinese people stand with all those who want civilization preserved, not destroyed, in demanding the immediate prohibition of all weapons of mass annihilation. The major powers must agree on disarmament, which will mean so much to the safety and livelihood of all.
Ours is a peaceful country. In China, the dreams which so many of us worked for over the years are daily becoming reality—our people healthy, a rapidly developing industry and agriculture, a rich cultural life. Who can deny these advances? Who can deny that they have been made at the expense of no other people or nation? And in our further forward movement, it will be the same. Our system allows no different way. In small things and big, its basis is the cooperative spirit.
That is what enables us to hold high the banner of friendship among peoples. We have confidence in our own strength and still more in the strength of peoples striving together. We firmly believe that this banner will be carried forward everywhere, to victory for the peoples and peace.