Published: February 1972
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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This pamphlet is based on an interview with members of the delegation of the Revolutionary Union who visited China in September-October of 1971. The Revolutionary Union is publishing this pamphlet in answer to a number of questions that have been raised about the foreign policy of the People’s Republic of China over the past year.
QUESTION: In the past year the People’s Republic of China has established diplomatic relations with a number of capitalist countries and now, of course, the Chinese are allowing Nixon to come to China, representing a government the Chinese have all along called the number one enemy of the people of the world. Does this represent a basic change in Chinese foreign policy, or a kind of “softening” of the revolutionary line?
ANSWER: No. It represents a great victory for the Chinese people, in smashing the diplomatic, economic, political and military encirclement of a few superpowers, headed by the U.S. government.
The victory of the Chinese people’s revolution in 1949 and the establishment of a workers’ government was a real defeat for the Capitalists. The U.S. bankers and monopoly-owners had counted on continuing to have China as a vast territory, full of riches and people to exploit.
In October, 1949, the Chinese people took the road of building a new, independent, socialist China. In the past twenty years they have made great advances in industry, agriculture, science, culture and education. And they have shown an iron unity in safeguarding their country from aggression.
Their success in building socialism and in defending the political rule of the working people has become a powerful inspiration and Source of support to people all over the world who are struggling against imperialism, especially in the Third World countries.
In the twenty-five years since the end of World War II, country after country has taken the path of fighting for independence and national liberation. In Asia, China’s neighbors North Vietnam and North Korea have moved forward to build socialism.
Especially in the past few years, with the growing defeat of U.S. aggression in Indochina, every imperialist country has been gripped by an increasing political, economic and social crisis.
In this situation, country after country has broken away from complete domination by the U.S. government, has established relations with China, and supported the restoration of the People’s Republic of China as the only legitimate representative of the Chinese people in the UN.
The strengthening of socialism in China, the growth of national liberation struggles and the splits within the imperialist camp add up to a continual weakening of capitalism. So that even Nixon has to knock on China’s door, pretending to have peaceful and friendly intentions.
QUESTION: But why does China want to have diplomatic relations with these countries, especially the imperialist governments like the United States?
ANSWER: The Chinese people suffered greatly under the domination of these big foreign powers who carved up China and exploited her people and resources. Because of this, despite its tremendous progress since 1949, China is still backward in many areas.
Its agriculture is just beginning to be mechanized, and some parts of industry, such as heavy machine building and lumber, are still underdeveloped. So if they can enter into trade with other countries, even capitalist of imperialist countries, on a basis that is beneficial to the people of both sides, they are more than willing to do so.
No foreign power will ever dominate China again, like in the old days. No rich foreigners will set up plantations and sweat-shops to make millions off the Chinese people. But trade and exchange on a truly equal basis is another thing, and the Chinese people are strong enough to safeguard their independence even while trading with the biggest powers.
But more important than economic trade, the Chinese people are very anxious to have direct contact with the people of all the countries in the world in order to promote the unity of the world’s peoples in fighting for freedom and world peace against imperialism.
For this reason, the Chinese enter into relations with non-socialist, even imperialist countries on the basis of the five principles of “1) Mutual respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty; 2) Mutual non-aggression; 3) Non-interference in each other’s internal affairs; 4) equality and mutual benefit (in trade, etc.) and 5) Peaceful coexistence.”
QUESTION: You just mentioned “world peace” and “peaceful coexistence.” Haven’t the Chinese attacked the leaders of the Soviet Union as revisionists for seeking peaceful co-existence with the United States? What is the difference between the Chinese and the Soviet policy here?
ANSWER: The basic difference between the two lines is that the Chinese uphold peaceful coexistence as the correct basis for relations only between countries with different social systems, between socialist countries and non-socialist countries.
The Soviets try to make peaceful coexistence the general line for all relations with the imperialists, even between the imperialists and the people and nations oppressed by imperialism.
Genuine socialist countries have no need for war and do everything they can to prevent war. At the same time, they recognize that the imperialist system of international domination and exploitation inevitably produces wars, such as World Wars I and II, and the more than 100 “local wars” involving imperialist powers, mainly the US, since WW II.
So at the same time as they strive for peace, socialist countries like China must also prepare against the possibility of war.
The only way to put an end to war, once-and-for-all, is for the people in the countries dominated by imperialists to drive them out, and for the people of all countries to overthrow their reactionary ruling classes and take the road of building socialism under the leadership of the working class.
This is the Chinese position, and for this reason, while upholding the “five principles” in relations with non-socialist governments, they give support to all genuine anti-imperialist movements in the colonial and semi-colonial countries, and to the people’s movements in the capitalist and imperialist countries.
The Soviets, on the other hand have abandoned the struggle to rid the world of imperialism and reactionary forces.
Since the heyday of Khrushchev they have openly declared that “peaceful coexistence” should be the general line of the communist movement. In response to an attack by the Soviets in 1963 the Chinese published a pamphlet called “Peaceful Coexistence – Two Diametrically Opposed Lines.” They pointed out that the Soviets went so far as to call peaceful coexistence “the categorical imperative of modern times,” and the “imperious demand of the epoch.” (In Pravda, Nov. 18, 1962) They cited Khrushchev’s own remark that peaceful coexistence must be “the basic law of the whole of modern society,” and that “the general line of foreign policy of the Soviet Union and the socialist countries” must be peaceful coexistence. (Khrushchev’s speech at U.N. Sept. 23, 1960) (Speech to Koreans July 5, 1961)
Other top Soviet leaders spoke in exactly the same way, insisting that “the principle of peaceful coexistence determines the general line of foreign policy of the CPSU and other Marxist-Leninist parties . . . the basis of the strategy of communism.” (Some Problems of Peace and Socialism, No. 12, 1962) and (Kommunist No. 2, 1962)
Along with this, the Soviet leaders, beginning with Khrushchev, argued that it was too dangerous for the oppressed people to resist U.S. imperialism, because the U.S. has the Atom bomb and nuclear weapons, and they can destroy the whole world. “What good are principles when one’s head is cut off” Khrushchev and his successors are fond of saying as proof of their totally opportunist character. And they add to all this, the notions of “peaceful transition” to socialism and “peaceful competition” between socialist and imperialist states.
“Peaceful transition” means that all of a sudden these same imperialists (who the Soviets say will destroy the whole world before giving in) will be so willing or so weak that they will step down or be toppled from power by the working class and the people in their own country, without so much as putting up a fight! “Peaceful competition” means that somehow, just by producing more, the socialist countries will “bury” the imperialist countries, as Khrushchev once blustered.
All of the historical experience of the revolutionary struggle against imperialism shows that, especially in the face of severe crisis, far from melting into nothingness the imperialist ruling classes desperately resort to fascism (open terroristic dictatorship) and war, to try to prolong their system. Clearly these phony revisionist “theories” are just so much eyewash to cover up the betrayals of the Soviet rulers.
The Chinese say that the content of the general line of foreign policy for socialist countries should be 1) to develop relations of friendship, mutual assistance and cooperation among the countries of the socialist camp in accordance with the principle of proletarian internationalism; 2) To strive for peaceful coexistence on the basis of the Five Principles with countries having different social systems and oppose the imperialist policies of aggression and war; and 3) to support and assist the revolutionary struggles of all the oppressed peoples and nations. They emphasize that these three aspects are interrelated and not a single one can be omitted.
The leaders of the CPSU have one-sidedly reduced the general line of the foreign policy of the socialist countries to peaceful coexistence.
To call the Soviets revisionists means that they have betrayed the revolutionary spirit of Marxism-Leninism and the policies of Lenin and Stalin, leaders of the first successful socialist revolution. On the question of peaceful coexistence between countries with different social systems Lenin was very clear:
Only the working class, when it wins power, can pursue a policy of peace not in words . . . but in deeds . . . Let the U.S. capitalists refrain from touching us . . . The obstacle to such a peace? From our side there is none. From the side of the American (and all other) capitalists, it is imperialism.” (Lenin, “Reply to Questions by the Correspondent of the American newspaper, New York Evening Journal,” Collected Works, Vol. 30, p. 340)
Lenin was equally clear that peaceful coexistence could not be the general line of the communist movement, and that “peaceful transition” was a vicious deception.
. . . the lesson all workers and peasants must master is that we must be on our guard and remember that we are surrounded by men, classes and governments openly expressing their extreme hatred for us. We must remember that we are always a hair’s breadth from all kinds of invasions . . . the very thought of peacefully subordinating the capitalists to the will of the majority of the exploited, of the peaceful, reformist transition to Socialism is not only extreme philistine stupidity, but also downright deception of the workers, and embellishment of capitalist wage slavery, concealment of the truth.” (Lenin, “On the Domestic and Foreign Policies of the Republic,” Collected Works, Vol. 33, p. 122)
And Stalin said in 1927 that “our relations with the capitalist countries are based on the assumption that the coexistence of the two opposite systems is possible,” and he argued that “the maintenance of peaceful relations with the capitalist countries is an obligatory task for us.” (Stalin, “Political Report of the Central Committee,” at the 15th Congress of the CPSU(B), Works, Vol. 10, p. 296)
But like Lenin, Stalin also insisted that the policy of peaceful coexistence did not mean that communists could abandon proletarian internationalism.
“America demands that we renounce in principle the policy of supporting the emancipation of the working class in other countries, and says that if we made this concession everything would go smoothly.” And he immediately added “we cannot agree to these or similar concessions without being false to ourselves.” (Stalin, Vol. 11, pp. 58-60)
Clearly, in today’s world, the Chinese are firmly upholding the revolutionary line of Lenin and Stalin, while the Soviet leaders are writing a miserable record of betrayal of Marxism-Leninism.
QUESTION: You say that the Soviets have abandoned the anti-imperialist struggle, but aren’t they opposing U.S. imperialism in several key areas, like in Vietnam?
ANSWER: At times the Soviets oppose a particular imperialist power, especially their arch-rival, the U.S. But this is to strengthen their own imperialist position in the world. Whenever Soviet imperialist interests are best served by agreement with other imperialist powers, they don’t hesitate to sell-out the anti-imperialist struggle of the people.
Yes the Soviets have given aid to the Vietnamese. And the Vietnamese have accepted that aid in their fight against U.S. imperialism. But the Soviets have also restricted their support for the people of Indochina within narrowly defined limits.
In 1970, for example, the U.S. invaded Cambodia, after installing a fascist military dictatorship. The Soviet Union immediately recognized this puppet military “government” and continues to treat it as a legitimate representative of the Cambodian people. This clearly shows that their half-hearted aid to the Vietnamese people is not for the purpose of helping the people of Indochina to win national liberation, but to increase Soviet influence and power in that part of the world.
In direct opposition to this, the Chinese helped pull together a conference of the three Indochinese peoples–Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia-immediately after the U.S. invasion. This conference welded together a broad united front of the peoples of these countries and laid the basis for turning the U.S. expansion of the war into a bigger defeat for U.S. imperialism.
Another example is the Middle East.
In 1948 the Zionists, backed up by the imperialists, set up the state of Israel in the territory of Palestine. They forcibly expelled large numbers of Palestinians and created millions of refugees. For almost thirty years the Palestinians have been fighting to regain their homeland. They do not call for “pushing the Israelis into the sea,” but demand a multi-national secular state that restores full rights and land of Palestine to the Palestinians. In 1948, and again in 1967, the feudal and bourgeois leaders of various Arab countries were handed humiliating defeats by U.S.-backed Israeli armies. The main concern of these Arab governments has been to pursue their own power interests, while “redeeming” themselves in the eyes of the Arab peoples. Even though they have given some support to the Palestinian liberation movement, this support has been more in words than in reality. The capitalist press has consistently tried to confuse the fact that the liberation of Palestine is the main issue in the Middle East and put forward the idea that the main conflict is between other Arab states and Israel.
So after the June war of 1967 the British presented a plan in the United Nations (Nov. 22nd) that called for the withdrawal of all Israeli troops to the pre-1967 boundaries and, in exchange, called Upon the Arab states to recognize Israel and allow Israel to use the Suez Canal. This plan completely ignores the question of Palestine and the millions of Palestinian refugees. The Soviet Union supports that plan. China has denounced it as a political fraud that merely aids Israeli aggression.
But the Soviets have gone even further in opposing the struggle of the Palestinian people. During the height of Palestinian guerrilla warfare against Israel, the Soviet paper Pravda called the Palestinian people “extremists” and attacked their armed struggle as “ill considered actions which have objectively damaged the just cause of the Arab peoples.” And Soviet President Podgorny summed up their hopes for a “political settlement” in the Middle East this way: “As far as the Middle East is concerned, I won’t argue who is the aggressor, this isn’t the essence of the problem . . . But the question is how we can avoid a new war.” In other words, the Palestinians should practice peaceful coexistence with Israel.
In fact, the Soviets’ main interest in the Middle East is to establish a base for its own interests, including its interests in the vast oil resources of the Arab countries. So Soviet “aid” in the Middle East concentrates on getting a foothold in the economy and the armed forces of Arab States like Egypt. While our delegation was in China, a party member pointed out: in 1956, without any Soviet aid, the Egyptians defeated the combined efforts of the Israelis, British and French to grab control of the Suez Canal. In 1967, with millions of dollars of Soviet aid, and Soviet military personnel running all over Egypt, the Egyptians were defeated by the Israelis in just five days. Why? Because the Soviets, when they give aid, make sure that they control how it’s used, and that it won’t be used to help the recipient country to become more independent and self-reliant, since that would undermine Soviet domination.
Of course, the Soviet social-imperialists try to cover their tracks. For example, they recently invited several leaders of the Palestinian liberation movement to the Soviet Union and offered them medical aid and assistance in training some of the Palestinian armed forces. In view of the Soviets’ support of the U.N. plan, and the kind of aid they are giving to Egypt, it is not difficult to see through this flimsy offer of support to the Palestinian people.
And, like the U.S., the Soviets also like to make money as “merchants of death.” Even when they provide weapons to revolutionary forces, they charge outrageously inflated prices. For example, when some friends of ours were in the Middle East, a couple of years ago, they found out that Czechoslovakia-whose economy is completely controlled by the Soviet bosses-was selling the guerrillas AK 47 rifles for $367 a piece, while the Chinese were providing the same rifles for $2. And while our delegation was in Peking, representatives from Fateh emphasized to us the great support the Palestinian people have received from the Chinese people.
QUESTION: Some people say that all these China-Soviet disputes are not really political, but that both sides are just pushing their own big power interests. What is the ideological basis of the Soviet-China struggle?
ANSWER: That is a rather long and complicated question that we can’t go into in any detail here. The RU is planning to produce a pamphlet on Soviet revisionism soon. But to outline the basic points.
First of all, the Chinese have stated very emphatically on many occasions that they have no intentions of becoming a super-power. They say that all nations, big and small should be equal. And the Chinese do not base their foreign police on being a “super power.” It is based on doing all they can to support the various struggles of the oppressed peoples and nations for liberation. In other words, their relations with other socialist countries and governments, such as in northern Vietnam, and with other political parties and peoples, is based first and foremost on proletarian internationalism. One of the most constantly emphasized statements throughout China is Karl Marx’ famous quotation: “Only by emancipating all of mankind can the proletariat emancipate itself.” Proletarian internationalism is the general line of foreign policy of socialist countries and communist parties. Peaceful coexistence, the “five principles” is a specific policy for relations with non-socialist countries. The Chinese can maintain the principles of peaceful coexistence while upholding proletarian internationalism because they understand that revolutions within each country are made by the oppressed classes and peoples within those countries, in accordance with their own conditions.
The Soviet leaders abandonment of the anti-imperialist struggle is part and parcel of what has happened inside the Soviet Union. Since Khrushchev, and now Kosygin and Breshnev, have seized control of the Communist Party and the government of the Soviet Union, they have purged real fighters for the working class revolution and have turned the party into an instrument for forcing imperialist rule back on the Soviet people themselves, and the people of other countries they have dominated and invaded, such as Czechoslovakia.
In short, they have restored monopoly capitalism in the Soviet Union, with all of its “benefits:” unemployment, inflation, national oppression, inequality for women and the drive for control of the resources and markets of other countries.
Today in the Soviet Union, the top party people who control the finances of the country through the state banks, loan money at interest (about 6%) to the managers of the various enterprises. These managers then use this money as capital; that is, they buy machinery, raw materials and the labor of the Soviet workers.
The rule for the individual managers is to make profit for their own enterprise. And they are driven by the need to make enough profit to repay the loan plus interest to the finance capitalists at the top. This is completely opposed to the principles of socialism, where the state allocates (without interest) resources to the enterprises and sets wage and price levels.
In the Soviet Union today factory managers are free to lay-off workers, or even to discharge them; and they can buy and sell machines, raw materials and products with the managers of other enterprises. This has re-introduced capitalist anarchy in place of socialist planning into the Soviet economy, made a shambles of Soviet agriculture, and brought great suffering to the Soviet working people.
In the international sphere, the restoration of monopoly capitalism has led the Soviet Union into a world-wide competition with other imperialist forces for markets, resources and military bases. Sure, they might support a particular liberation struggle if they judge this to be in their interests in their rivalry with the U.S. But they are no more interested in promoting world-wide revolution and the establishment of the power of the working class than they were in maintaining the rule of the working class in the Soviet Union. In fact they are doing just the opposite.
This is why the Chinese oppose Soviet revisionism and Soviet “social-imperialism” (socialism in words, imperialism in deeds). And this is why the leaders of the Soviet Union are constantly attacking China.
But there is a very important lesson to be learned from the negative example of the Soviet betrayal. This experience shows that, even after the proletariat has seized state power, there must be a long struggle against the selfish ideas and the inequalities inherited from the old society. Unless this struggle is continually carried out, the socialist system can be corrupted from within and capitalism will be restored. And the main target of this struggle must be the people, especially the top leaders, within the Communist Party itself who have been corrupted by the old self-seeking ideology and try to use their position and influence to serve their own selfish interests instead of serving the people. If these people are not turned back from this course–or exposed and rooted out, if they cannot be reformed–they can drag society back to a system based on greed and self-seeking. This on-going struggle against those who would lead society back down the capitalist road is what the Cultural Revolution in China is all about. And that struggle is still going on today inside China.
QUESTION: To move to another area of foreign policy, what is the policy of the Chinese on nuclear weapons?
ANSWER: The Chinese know that nuclear weapons, or any other kind of weapons do not decide wars. The people determine the outcome of wars.
If a struggle is just, it will win the support of the people and finally win victory. Of course, with all their means of destruction, including nuclear weapons, the imperialists can do a lot of damage. But they can’t prevent their defeat at the hands of the overwhelming majority of the people of the world, including the people of then-own countries who oppose them.
The oppressed people and nations of the world have not been cowed by the nuclear blackmail of the U.S.–or the Soviet Union for that matter.
The Chinese have been forced to develop their own nuclear weapons as a deterrent to the U.S. and the Soviet Union, both of which have missile bases ringing China, including some very near her southern and northern borders.
At the same time, the Chinese have consistently and publicly declared, the first time as early as July 31, 1963, that all nuclear weapons should be completely destroyed and prohibited by international agreement. And, on several occasions the Chinese government has publicly declared that it will never be the first to use nuclear weapons.
But while continuing to call for prohibition and destruction of all nuclear weapons, China has just as consistently refused to take part in “Big Power Talks” to limit nuclear weapons. They point out that this is just a scheme by the U.S. and the Soviet Union to “limit” nuclear weapons to the control of the super powers and to practice nuclear monopoly and nuclear blackmail.
Instead the Chinese have called for a world conference of all the countries of the world, big and small, to work out an agreement for complete nuclear disarmament.
And China has called on both the U.S. and the Soviets to demonstrate their sincerity by doing two things: 1) declare publicly, as China has on several occasions, that they will not be the first to use nuclear weapons from now on (the U.S. has already used the atomic bomb against Japan) and 2) withdraw all their nuclear weapons and bases from all foreign countries. China has no nuclear weapons or bases, or bases of any kind in any other countries, and no troops stationed on foreign soil.
QUESTION: So far, we have touched on a number of separate points, especially on the differences between Chinese and Soviet foreign policy. But it seems necessary to understand how all this fits together. Perhaps you could touch on the basis for China’s present foreign policy, on the underlying strategy?
ANSWER: Yes. It’s very important to analyze the world situation within which the Chinese are developing their foreign policy. And it’s also important to understand that the principles underlying China’s foreign policy are the same that Mao Tse Tung and the Chinese Communist Party applied within China during the long and complicated struggle to liberate the Chinese people from the domination of the landlords and other reactionary classes led by Chiang Kai-shek, and the foreign powers who controlled them.
Let’s look at these principles first and then see how they apply to the current world situation. In 1940 Mao summarized this in a short speech, “On Policy” where he said: “Our tactics are guided by one and the same principle: to make use of contradictions, win over the many, oppose the few and crush our enemies one by one.”
After the Japanese had invaded China (Manchuria) in 1931, the Communist Party, representing the workers, in alliance with the peasants, entered into an agreement with Chiang Kai-Shek to oppose the Japanese. Mao and the Communist Party made the analysis that the main enemy was Japan and the sections of Chinese landowners, bankers and factory owners who were tied in with Japan. The Communists agreed to unite even with Chiang Kai-Shek, because he represented the sections of the Chinese landlords and big capitalists who were tied in with British and American big business interests in China.
This was a good application of the principle of “making use of contradictions” in the enemy camp. Chiang Kai-Shek, of course, was most interested in wiping out the Communists and keeping the workers and peasants under his boot. But he was dependent for support on the U.S. and England, whose primary concern at the time was making sure that they and not the Japanese controlled Asia. Despite this pressure, Chiang continually broke the United Front and initiated three campaigns to encircle and suppress the Communist forces.
The Communist-led Red Army of workers and peasants defeated all these efforts but they continued to direct their main fire at the Japanese forces. The result was that by the end of the war, Chiang Kai-Shek had become even more exposed and isolated. And large sections of China’s middle classes–city shopkeepers, professionals, small businessmen and better-off peasants joined forces more closely with the workers and poor peasants led by the Communists. Again an example of winning over the many to oppose the few, and of “crushing our enemies one by one.”
First they united with Chiang to defeat Japan. Then, when Chiang and his U.S. supporters tried to turn on them, they united the many and crushed him. Only a leadership with a thorough and all-sided understanding of the struggle for liberation could lead the Chinese people through so many twists and turns to victory.
A responsible member of the Chinese Communist Party, who reviewed this history with our delegation in China, recalled the famous “Sian Incident” in 1936. A couple of Chiang’s own generals, whom he had instructed to wipe out the Communists, captured him instead. They agreed with the Communist Party policy of uniting to drive out Japan. And together with the Communist Party, they forced Chiang to sign an agreement to ally with the Communists against Japan.
The party member said there was a debate within the Party, after Chiang was captured by these generals. Some party members said that they should kill Chiang then and there. He was responsible for selling China to imperialist powers and for the suffering of hundreds of millions of the people, as well as the murder of thousands of comrades in the Communist Party.
But Mao and other leaders convinced them that, even though what they said was true, the main enemy at the time was still Japanese imperialism. The correct thing was to unite with Chiang to defeat the Japanese and then deal with him.
In summing this up, the guy who told this story insisted: “If we had been guided by emotion, we would have killed Chiang Kai-Shek for sure. But emotion is one thing and policy is another. We had to do what was in the interests of the Chinese people and the people of the world. We couldn’t let our personal feelings get the best of us.”
QUESTION: O.K., how do the Chinese see that these principles are relevant to the world situation today.
ANSWER: Today the Chinese are applying the same principle on a world scale: “to make use of contradictions, win over the many, oppose the few and crush our enemies one by one.”
Their basic analysis of the world situation is summed up in a statement by Mao Tse-Tung on May 20, 1970, where he says that “the danger of new world war still exists and the people of all countries must get prepared, but revolution is the main trend in the world today.”
As to the danger of world war, the secondary aspect. This threat comes from the imperialist countries, and first and foremost the U.S. They are plunging deeper into a crisis situation. Especially with its growing defeat in Indochina, the ruling class of the United States finds itself surrounded by rebellion throughout the world and growing rebellion at home from all sections of the American people: Black and other Third World people, students, women, sections of small business, farmers and professionals, and more importantly, large numbers of workers. And look at the response to the people’s demands for a decent life: more unemployment, inflation, wage cuts, violent police reprisals. But increased repression only leads to greater resistance.
Internationally U.S. big business interests are challenged not only by its colonial and semi-colonial victims, but by other imperialist powers, such as Japan, France, West Germany and now the Soviet Union. Gripped by the same internal crises, these countries are forced into more bitter international competition for control of the world’s people, markets and resources.
So how do the capitalists react when faced with this crisis and conflict? The history of these crisis of the capitalist system, especially in its decayed imperialist stage, is that they lead to destruction and war, including world war.
Trade wars, like those threatened by Nixon’s latest tariff tax and dollar devaluation, directly preceded and led to outright warfare in the 1930s and 1940s. The thieves fall out and begin fighting among themselves. But history also shows that these crises and wars also lead to revolution.
World War I witnessed the first successful socialist revolution in Russia. And at the end of the Second World War, an even more earth-shaking event was unfolding: the liberation of one-forth of mankind in China. This has been followed by a wave of revolution in all parts of the world. In the long run, even if the imperialists launch a third world war, they will be weakened and defeated.
As the Chinese Ambassador put it in his opening speech to the United Nations: “Countries want independence, nations want liberation and the people want revolution. This has become an irresistible trend of history.” That’s the other half, the major emphasis, of Mao’s summation of the world situation.
Of course, the imperialist forces in the world aren’t just going to give up. They will do everything possible to prolong their rule, no matter what the cost in destruction and human suffering. And they also try to analyze their situation and the contradictions they face. They put their intellectuals to work in hundreds of government committees, policy institutes and universities to figure out a strategy for getting out of their crisis. But they always prescribe the same old solutions, slightly varied in form and intensity.
One of their key strategies is to try to isolate and destroy the powerful socialist countries, who aid and support the world revolution. In the 1930s Hitler, representing the big German industrialists and financiers, set his sights on conquering the Soviet Union. Since 1949 the imperialists, particularly in the U.S., have tried to isolate China and would like nothing better than to reconquer her.
Keep in mind that the capitalists always operate on the principle of letting others do the working, fighting and dying while they fatten themselves. Internationally, the imperialist countries also apply this principle to each other.
Each tries to maneuver itself into the position where it can sit back while the others carry the main burden of attacking the socialist countries, meanwhile raiding each other’s colonies, and even attacking each other. This has been especially true of the ruling class in the United States.
In World War I and II the U.S. imperialists held back for most of the war, selling war materials and making loans to one or both sides, and then moving in and imposing a ”peace” favorable to American big business. They were fairly successful, but, after World War II, with the other imperialist countries greatly weakened, the main burden of holding onto the colonies and opposing wars of national liberation fell to the U.S. imperialists.
Since the end of World War II, they have had nothing but trouble. They have suffered three big blows in trying to defend their empire: first in China, then Korea, and now Indochina.
So now Nixon is trying desperately to maneuver the U.S. once more into the position where it can sit back while its competitors – especially Japan and the Soviet Union – contend more and more with each other, are forced to carry more and more of the burden of containing China and (particularly with Japan) fighting against the wars of national liberation. In their own perverted way, the U.S. imperialists are trying to create and make use of splits among their enemies.
When our delegation was in China, a leading party member laughed and said: “You know Kissinger is now Nixon’s leading adviser on foreign policy. And do you know who he wrote his Ph.D. thesis on? Metternich.” Then he recalled that Metternich, an Austrian prince in the first half of the 19th century, skillfully built the Austrian Empire by playing off his enemies against each other. First he played off Napoleon against the Russian Tsar, and then he played off other powers against Napoleon. “Of course,” the Chinese comrade added, “Metternich, too, met the same fate as Napoleon and the Tsars. Nixon and Kissinger should have read that part also. But it is very significant that Kissinger is playing such a big role now, and trying the same strategy as Metternich.”
Look at how the U.S. is trying to carry out this strategy. Nixon is pushing the rearmament of Japan, whetting Japan’s appetite for re-conquering other parts of Asia, while insisting that Japan should take up the slack for the U.S. in its aggression in Asia. While Kissinger was in Peking, arranging for Nixon’s trip there, Secretary of Defense Laird was in Tokyo telling the Japanese that they must “do more to fight the Communists in Asia.” And Nixon is banking that the Soviet’s plans for controlling a bigger part of Asia will also lead them to attack China.
All the while the U.S. imperialists hope to take the familiar position of sitting back, reaping profits and waiting to clean up when they think the time is right.
The Chinese see the imperialist powers maneuvering and fighting among themselves, but they are under no illusions about the threat of war they face. Our delegation witnessed first-hand the very serious preparations the Chinese people are making to defend themselves against a possible nuclear attack from either the U.S. or the Soviet Union, or both, and from a possible land invasion by even the combined forces of the U.S., the Soviet Union, India and Japan. Remember that Japan invaded China in the 1930’s, the Indians have twice crossed the border to attack China, in 1959 and 1962, and the U.S. bombed inside China during the Korean war (before the Chinese entered the war). In 1969 the Soviets twice attacked the Chinese along the China-Soviet border.
This is the background to China’s present application of the principle of making use of contradictions in the enemy camp, uniting the many to oppose the few and crushing our enemies one by one.
They have broken through the barrier of isolation the U.S. tried to erect. They have established relations with increasing numbers of countries, they have continued to build socialism and give concrete aid to the people of the world fighting imperialism. They are defending themselves against the possibility of attack both diplomatically and militarily.
And they have consistently applied this principle in the interests not only of the Chinese people and the Chinese revolution, but the interests of the revolutionary struggles of the people throughout the world.
QUESTION: Well, that’s just the part that some people are having difficulty understanding these days. Can you give some examples?
ANSWER: Sure. One very important example is China’s recent relations with Japan.
On the one hand we see the U.S. trying to use Japan as a front man for continued aggression in Asia. On the other hand, U.S. business interests have forced their way into Japan and are trying to deal with increased Japanese competition by buying into Japanese companies, especially electronics and automobiles. At the same time they are trying to limit Japanese exports to the U.S. (especially textiles) and to make U.S. companies “more competitive” by the recent tariff tax on imports and the devaluation of the dollar. Japan’s economy has suffered a big blow.
Under these circumstances, Chou En-Lai announced that China will not trade with any Japanese company that is involved in any of the four following things: 1) Has investments in either Taiwan or South Korea; 2) Has aid agreements with the so-called “governments” of either Taiwan or South Korea; 3) Has any joint ventures with U.S. companies; or 4) Makes or sells any materials for the war in Vietnam.
The result has been that splits between sections of the Japanese ruling class and the U.S. ruling class have become wider and sharper. And the same splits have intensified among the bankers and corporation chiefs within Japan.
The overall effect is to make it more difficult for the rulers of Japan and the U.S. to join together to try to dominate Asia and gang up on China.
This policy of the Chinese, which is a perfect example of making use of contradictions within the imperialist camp, not only benefits the Chinese people, but also the people of Vietnam, Korea and the people throughout Asia who are resisting U.S. and Japanese domination and aggression.
Another example goes back to the first question–about China establishing diplomatic relations with many countries in different parts of the world. Ethiopia is one example.
Up until now Ethiopia has been a strong ally of the U.S. in East Africa. Ethiopian ports on the Red Sea have been a base for U.S. and Israeli naval forces. And the U.S. has important “communication” stations there. Further, Ethiopia has opposed the liberation struggle in Eritrea, a territory it claims as its own, and which gives it its only access to the Red Sea. Ethiopia is not a revolutionary country; it is ruled by a reactionary Emperor.
But Ethiopia has also been subjected to fascist and imperialist domination. And like many of the countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America, even those ruled by capitalist or reactionary governments, Ethiopia is taking advantage of the weakening of U.S. imperialism and trying to break away from total domination by foreign imperialist powers.
By establishing diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China, Ethiopia stated openly that the People’s Republic is the sole legitimate government of China.
This was a direct slap in the face to the U.S. government. And Haile Salaise, Emperor of Ethiopia, came to China and made this statement, right before the vote in the U.N., which as everybody knows was a resounding defeat for U.S. imperialism.
True, the people of Ethiopia can never become truly independent, economically or politically, until they have a government representing the interests of the workers and peasants.
But short of that, they can resist foreign domination to one degree or other.
China encourages them in resisting and also gives support to the laboring people within these countries, and to all the peoples and nations who are resisting foreign domination and imperialist exploitation.
QUESTION: It seems like you are trying to draw distinctions between reactionary governments. Isn’t one boss as bad as another? By having relations with these governments, even those that aren’t imperialist powers in their own right, aren’t the Chinese in effect, supporting those reactionary governments in suppressing the people’s revolutionary movements within those countries?
ANSWER: Well, on the first part, that all bourgeois, or capitalist governments are the same. This is just not the case. In the final analysis, they are all the same in that they don’t represent the working people and in fact rule by oppressing and exploiting the working people.
But today, outside the socialist countries, it is the capitalist countries that have reached the stage of imperialism that try to extend their rule throughout the world. They even try to control and dominate lesser capitalist powers.
These lesser capitalist powers resist them. The socialist countries must try to make use of this contradiction in the enemy camp, and as much as possible, win the dominated countries, even those ruled by capitalist and reactionary governments, to their side in fighting the imperialist powers.
This is exactly what the Chinese are doing. They say that the revolutionary forces need long-term stable allies and short-term unstable allies in the struggle against imperialism.
In this they are consistent with the policy developed by Lenin. In 1920, after the workers- revolution won victory in Russia, Lenin said:
We now set as the main task for ourselves: to defeat the exploiters and win the waverers to our side–this task is a world-wide one. The waverers include a whole series of bourgeois states, which as bourgeois states hate us, but on the other hand, as oppressed states prefer peace with us. (Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 30, p. 299)
Secondly, the Chinese have always made it clear that relations or agreements between socialist countries and non-socialist governments are not at all a call for the people of those countries to stop their struggle for emancipation.
As early as 1946, commenting on the international situation, Mao said:
Such compromise (between socialist and non-socialist countries) does not require the people in the countries of the capitalist world to follow suit and make compromises at home. The people in these countries will continue to wage different struggles in accordance with their different conditions. (See Mao, Works, Vol. IV, pp. 87-88)
The Chinese line is to make diplomacy serve the struggle of the people, in all parts of the world. When diplomatic relations come into conflict with support for the struggle of the oppressed people, diplomatic relations must take a back seat.
Just one example is Algeria. The Chinese gave full support to the war of resistance off the Algerian people to win independence from France. Near the end of this war, at a key point, the French government offered to establish diplomatic relations with China, if the Chinese would withdraw support from the Algerians. China refused. Diplomatic relations were not established until some time after the Algerian people had won independence.
QUESTION: What about Pakistan? A lot of people, including some who consider themselves to be Marxists and revolutionaries, are blasting China for betraying what they say is the Marxist line on the question of self-determination for oppressed nations. How do you explain China’s opposition to the current struggle to make “Bangla Desh” an independent country?
ANSWER: We won’t go into this in too much detail, because the Revolutionary Union has published a pamphlet on the Pakistan-India question. Let’s just sketch out a few things regarding China’s position.
First of all, many people, including some people who call themselves Marxists, have tried to analyze this situation either on the basis of emotion or opportunism. Either way, they are playing right into the hands of the imperialist forces. This is a case where it is essential to have a firm grasp of the principles of Marxism-Leninism to cut through the maze of bourgeoisie propaganda.
India has, for a long time, wanted to exercise complete control on the South Asian subcontinent. Ever since Pakistan and India were partitioned in 1947, the Indian ruling class has hoped to forcibly reabsorb Pakistan. These expansionist plans go hand in hand with India’s attacks on China. In 1959 and 1962 India invaded Chinese territory in an effort to expand India’s boundaries. India has been supported in her expansionist drives and her attacks on China by the Soviet Union.
Pakistan, for its part, has been an ally of the U.S. up to a certain point. (Pakistan is a member of SEATO and CENTO). But the Pakistanis knew that their main threat was from India. In 1962 Pakistan refused to go along with the Indian invasion of China. The U.S., of course, supported this invasion, along with the Soviets. The Pakistani government opposed the India invasion, because Pakistan realized that its strongest ally against Indian aggression was China.
China has consistently maintained the principle of nonintervention in the affairs of other states as a key point in its policy of peaceful coexistence. So when India used the Awami League to stir up secessionist revolts in East Pakistan, and then used the pretext of the East Pakistani refugee question to invade the territory of East Pakistan and set up the puppet government of “Bangla Desh,” China supported the government and the people of Pakistan in resisting foreign intervention and aggression.
Of course, the people of East Bengal (East Pakistan) suffered under the rule of the Pakistan government. Of course there was national oppression against the people of East Bengal. And just as surely there was resistance by the people of East Pakistan to this oppression.
The Chinese are well aware of this. And they put the blame first of all on the British imperialists, who after WW II deliberately divided the people of South Asia, instigated national, communal and religious riots among the people, and created two states, with Pakistan divided into two parts, separated by 1000 miles of Indian territory. This was just the old policy of divide and rule. Since that time, the British imperialist have been largely pushed aside by the U.S. and Soviet imperialists, who are competing for control of the area.
At the same time, the Chinese have also pointed out that the national question in Pakistan is the internal affair of Pakistan, that it must be resolved by people of Pakistan themselves. No foreign power has the right to forcibly “settle” this question by invasion. And this is just what India did.
In fact, the Indian aggression was opposed by the revolutionary forces inside East Pakistan. They realized that one reason India wanted to intervene and set up its puppet Awami League was to cut off the possibility that real revolutionary forces, opposed to India’s expansionist plans might come to lead the movement in East Pakistan.
The hypocritical attempts of India to mask her invasion of Pakistan (concern for the refugees and the oppression of the East Pakistanis) can be seen clearly by looking at the Bengali people in India (West Bengal). The Indian state of West Bengal is now ruled by military dictatorship from New Delhi. Thousands of people have been arrested and hundreds killed in Indian jails. Calcutta, the capital of West Bengal, is synonymous with the worst in human poverty and degradation. Concern for the refugees? It is well known that thousands of people die every week in the major Indian cities from starvation and disease, while the country is ruled by a handful of rich capitalists and landlords, in league with the Soviet Union, and the U.S.
Wherever there is oppression there is resistance. Throughout India, and especially among the Bengali people of India, there is widespread rebellion and armed struggle. In fact, another reason the Indian government moved into East Bengal, (through West Bengal) was to move its troops into a better position to attack the developing revolutionary movement in West Bengal.
The people of East Bengal will not be liberated by the establishment of “Bangla Desh.” They will merely suffer the increased burden of Indian and Soviet domination. If there is any question of the nature of the Awami league government, look at its leader Sheik Muijibur Rahman. The first thing he has done is to take back the Indian arms from the secessionist “guerrilla forces.” He and his Indian bosses are even afraid of the people they supposedly liberated. And he has intensified the oppression of the Bihari Moslems of “Bangla Desh.”
For that matter, when has Mujib ever said anything about the savage oppression of the Bangali people within India? He has done nothing to encourage or support their struggle against the reactionary Indian government. And this struggle in West Bengal is very widespread. It is the most developed revolutionary struggle within India.
The fact that Rahman has said or done nothing in support of this genuine people’s struggle makes it clear that he is not even a bourgeois nationalist. He is a mere puppet, a tool of Indian expansionism. Only the people of Pakistan can overthrow the big capitalists and landlords and eliminate national oppression. And it is harder for them to do this when they are invaded and occupied by yet another reactionary force. In opposing the Indian-Soviet subversion and aggression, the Chinese are not only acting in the interests of defending their socialist state, but also in the interests of the people of Pakistan and the people of India itself.
And one final point. The fact that China supported the government and the people of Pakistan in resisting Indian-Soviet intervention does not mean that the Chinese are giving political support to the government of Pakistan in its relations with the people of either East or West Pakistan.
The Chinese position on Pakistan is based on the policy of fighting Indian expansionism and opposing the efforts of the U.S. and the Soviet Union to gain imperialist domination. It does not oppose, but supports the just struggles of the people of Pakistan and India to throw off their oppressors. It is opposed to the establishment of a regime in “Bangla Desh” that is nothing more than a pawn of India and the Soviet Union. And it is opposed to India’s setting up the Awami League as its client government in “Bangla Desh” in an effort to cut off the development of real revolutionary leadership in East Pakistan.
China’s position is consistent with that developed by Lenin and Stalin on the question of national self-determination.
Tsarist Russia was known as the “prison house of nations.” There were more than one hundred oppressed nationalities, some of which occupied large territories and had developed capitalist relations. For this reason, the capitalist class of these nations often demanded the right to self-determination, to set up a separate state.
But both Lenin and Stalin insisted that, for Marxists, as opposed to “bourgeois democrats,” the national question was subordinate to the class question. To put it simply: Whether a particular national struggle should be supported depended on whether or not it was striking real blows against imperialism, weakening imperialism, or whether it was playing into the hands of imperialism.
In his series of lectures, “Foundations of Leninism”, Stalin summed up this Marxist position: “. . . Lenin was right in saying that the national movements of the oppressed countries should be appraised not from the point of view of formal democracy, but from the point of view of the actual results, as shown by the general balance sheet of the struggle against imperialism, that is to say, ’not in isolation, but on a world scale.’” And Lenin put it bluntly:
The several demands of democracy, including self-determination, are not an absolute, but only a small part of the general-democratic (now general-socialist) world movement. In individual concrete cases, the part may contradict the whole; if so it must be rejected.” (Lenin, “The Discussion on Self-Determination Summed Up,” Collected Works, Vol. 22, p. 341)
This is just what Lenin and Stalin did. After the establishment of the political rule of the workers and peasants in Russia, a number of capitalists and landlords among the minority nationalities tried to secede from the Soviet Republic and set up a bourgeois state. In fact, the imperialist powers were behind these secessionist moves. The Bolsheviks led the working people of all nations within Russia in smashing these phony “national liberation movements.”
To bring it closer to the immediate situation. In “The Discussion on Self-Determination Summed Up,” (1916) Lenin also pointed out that Marx and Engels, who supported the national struggle of the Germans in the period 1848-1871, at the same time opposed the movement for “independence” among the Czechs and south Slavs, because
“From that time (1849) until Marx’s death, and even later, until 1890, when there was a danger that tsarism, allied with France would wage a reactionary war against a non-imperialist and nationally independent Germany, Engels stood first and foremost for a struggle against tsarism. It was for this reason, and exclusively for this reason, that Marx and Engels were opposed to the national movement of the Czechs and South Slavs.” (Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 22, p. 340, emphasis in original)
Marx and Engels were absolutely correct in opposing the “independence movements” of the Czechs and South Slavs, Lenin pointed out, because these nations were “whole reactionary nations,” serving as “Russian outposts.” This applies directly today to the situation in the Indian sub-continent, where the new Tsars of Russia, trying to realize the empire that the old tsars failed to achieve, are once again using a reactionary national movement–“Bangla Desh”–as an outpost and a base for an attack, not on an independent bourgeois state, but on the stronghold of socialism, People’s China. And I think that this demonstrates, once again, that China’s policy is in fact the Marxist-Leninist policy on the question of self-determination as part of the overall struggle against imperialism.
Again, this is just a short statement on the India-Pakistan question. A more detailed analysis can be found in our pamphlet “India’s Aggression in Pakistan: The Background of ’Bangla Desh.’”
QUESTION: Many people also point to China’s recent actions in relation to Ceylon, Iran, and Sudan as “proof” that China is “selling out the revolution.” Is this the same case as Pakistan?
ANSWER: It’s the same in that it’s slander against China. But of course the situations are not exactly the same.
First on Iran. Last year the Chinese government invited the sister of the Shah of Iran to Peking, and China sent representatives to the Shah’s celebration of 2500 years of monarchy in Iran.
Why did China do this?
A main reason is that in the past few years, Iran has been one of the petroleum exporting countries that has demanded a higher price from the imperialist oil monopolies (Standard Oil, Shell, etc.) for the exploitation of the oil of these countries. Now of course, this money doesn’t go to the people of these countries, but it does come out of the profits of the imperialists and makes things more difficult for them. So the Chinese are encouraging the petroleum exporting countries in doing this. This is why China has related to the Shah’s government more recently.
We should add that in 1953, when there was a real anti-imperialist movement in Iran, even though it was led by bourgeois forces, the Chinese gave great support to it. At that time China had only been liberated for less than four years, and China’s economy was still very backward. Still China extended economic aid to Iran to help that country resist imperialist control, especially after Iran nationalized a lot of foreign oil holdings.
The Chinese offered the aid free, but the Iranians insisted on an exchange so they sent dates to China. Now the Chinese people had plenty of dates, but they ate dates in everything, in cereal, in bread, just about everything, in order to support the people and government of Iran.
Still, the CIA and the reactionary Iranian military overthrew that national bourgeois, anti-imperialist government and the monarchy was restored. But today even that reactionary monarchy has conflicts with the imperialists. The Chinese are willing to unite with the government of Iran on the basis of its efforts to resist imperialist domination, limited though it be. This in no way means that China supports the government of Iran in its repression of the Iranian people. Nor does it mean that China will not continue to give aid and support to the revolutionaries in Iran. In fact just the opposite is true. The other side of China-Iran relations is that even Iran’s basic dependence on the U.S. government has also pushed the Shah into a more friendly attitude toward China, in the wake of Nixon’s retreat.
It’s interesting to note here that communists in Iran see clearly the correctness of China’s policy of using contradictions within the imperialist camp and between the imperialist and other reactionary states. The Communist, organ of the Organization of Revolutionary Communists (M-L) of Iran points out (Vol. 1 No. 5, July 1971):
. . . the growth of China’s diplomatic relations with the imperialist countries and their puppet governments such as Iran does not in any way reflect a disregard of Leninism in China’s foreign policy; in fact, it is rather the imperialists and the other reactionary governments like the Iranian regime who have backed down ard lost their long-waged struggle of resistance against establishing diplomatic relations with China and have now asked China for conciliation.
As to the fact that the Shah’s sister, Ashraf, was invited to Peking, the Iranian revolutionaries point out:
. . . to establish diplomatic relations under the Leninist peaceful coexistence policy is to establish relations between two governments, not between two peoples. The relationship between two peoples is based on continuous revolutionary brotherhood, cooperation and unity and is not summarized in the five principles of peaceful coexistence. . . . Who could be better than this reactionary professional traitor (the Shah’s sister) to represent a traitorous government like the government of Iran....
The Iranians also deal with the charge that China’s relations with Iran will hurt the development of the revolutionary movement there and give the Shah a propaganda edge to cloak his regime in some sort of “Chinese bestowed” legitimacy,
It is very obvious that the reactionary governments like the Shah’s government are now trying to cover up their diplomatic defeat and their weaknesses with all sorts of false and deceptive publicity and are dramatizing it as a manifestation of their growing strength and as a political and diplomatic victory. . .
This kind of tactic which the Shah’s regime is using with the sole purpose of diverting the people away from the just and correct path which the People’s Republic of China is following, will bring him nothing but more defeats on top of the diplomatic defeat he has already suffered. In the course of the political and revolutionary struggle of the Iranian people, especially as it reaches its higher steps, it will become clear that the People’s Republic of China supports and confirms the Iranian people and their struggle. At the same time, it is the duty of all Marxist-Leninists and revolutionary people to thoroughly explain and disseminate the truth about China’s revolutionary foreign policy and her relations with Iran. . .
. . . ’Are we afraid we won’t be able to explain the truth to the workers?’ (Lenin, Report delivered to the Eight Congress of Soviets, December 21, 1920) Of course not! With pride, we answer Lenin’s question positively . . . This is our stand and it should be the stand of all genuine revolutionaries and patriots. (ibid.)
Secondly, on Ceylon. Last year, some so-called “revolutionaries,”, mainly misguided students, started a rebellion against the government of Ceylon, headed by Madame Bandaranaike. These same “revolutionaries” did not attack the previous government, which was much more right wing that the Bankaranaike government.
This previous government of the Nationalist Party was openly the tool of U.S. imperialism. It supported the U.S. in Vietnam, as just one example. The Bandaranaike government, while it is not a socialist government, nevertheless opposes U.S. aggression in Vietnam, and has broken from the old policy of hostility towards China.
The Chinese had given both economic and military aid to this government to help it resist imperialist control. When the rebellion broke out, the Chinese continued their aid, and opposed the rebellion, because there the only effect it could have was to create a crisis so that the old right wing party could come back in and open the door wider to the U.S.
Of course, some sections of the Ceylonese people took part in this rebellion, because there are real injustices, real oppression in Ceylon. But once again, this movement in Ceylon would not have weakened, but strengthened imperialism and so China could not support it, but had to oppose it.
Ceylon is a semi-colonial, semi-feudal country. The correct strategy for such a country is protracted people’s war, to surround the cities from the countryside; not urban rebellions that can’t succeed and can only aid counter revolution. This was proved by the Chinese revolution; it is being brilliantly applied in Vietnam. And it is also grasped and applied by genuine revolutionary forces in Ceylon.
Finally, the situation in Sudan is much the same as in Ceylon. Last year, so-called “communists,” in this case in league with Soviet imperialism, tried to stage a palace coup and overthrow the government of President Gaafar Mohamed Nimeri.
First of all, Communists don’t stage palace coups. They organize the people to fight for liberation and to overthrow the reactionaries. Palace coups have nothing in common with revolution. In fact, this was a clumsy attempt by the Soviet Union, through their allied party in Sudan, to topple a government friendly to China. And, by the way, the government of Sudan has also expressed strong support for the people of Indochina in resisting aggression, and the people of Asia, Africa and Latin America in their struggles against imperialist domination. Recently the deputy Chief of State of Sudan, Major General Khalid Hassan Abbas, visited China and re-stated this stand of the Sudan government. Even this kind of statement, especially delivered in Peking, is a blow against U.S. imperialism and Soviet social imperialism. For these reasons, China has continued to give aid to Sudan.
And let me add one very important thing about Chinese aid to other countries.
Unlike either the U.S. or the Soviet Union, the Chinese charge nothing (or next-to-nothing) for military aid. And their economic aid is almost always interest free. The purpose of this aid is to help other countries struggle for independence and resist foreign control. As one leading Chinese party member told our delegation: “We give all military aid free, and we only give it to people resisting aggression and fighting imperialism. If they are resisting aggression and fighting imperialism, why charge them? If they are not resisting aggression and fighting imperialism, why give it to them?”
QUESTION: What about Nixon’s trip to China. What do you think he wants to talk to the Chinese about?
ANSWER: First, Nixon asked to go to China. He took the initiative. The Chinese accepted because they are willing to explore possibilities for better relations with other countries based on the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence.
In fact, there is nothing new in China’s willingness to meet with the government of the U.S. As early as 1955, the Chinese offered to meet and negotiate openly with the U.S. The U.S. refused, but since that time, representatives of the Chinese people have met with U.S. government officials secretly, for more than 15 years.
These secret negotiations never proved fruitful, because the U.S. government was determined to hang on to Taiwan. Nixon’s visit is the first time the U.S. government has agreed to open U.S.-China talks. This is a sign of the weakness of U.S. imperialism and the strength of China and the revolutionary forces of the world.
It is also a victory for China’s policy of upholding peaceful coexistence while basing their foreign policy on proletarian internationalism. The Chinese have continued to work for peaceful coexistence, even with countries that have taken military action against her.
For example, after repelling Indian invasions of her territory in 1959 and ’62, and by the Soviet Union in ’69, the Chinese still agreed to negotiate these border questions. And they have been very reasonable. With the Soviets, for example, they agreed to accept (pending negotiations) the boundaries imposed on China by the old tsars, even though long ago Lenin, acting on behalf of the Soviet government, renounced these boundaries as unjust.
And towards the United States also, they have always been reasonable, even though the U.S. has committed more than 500 violations of China’s land, air and sea space, and the U.S. continues to forcibly occupy the Chinese province of Taiwan.
It has been the U.S. government that has maintained a hostile position toward China since 1950. And Nixon has for years taken one of the most aggressive stances. Now Nixon has been forced to sing a different tune, for the time being. So the Chinese are allowing him to come and talk.
If we could refer to Lenin once more. He called attention to the same kind of action by the imperialists toward the young Soviet state. In November, 1919 Lenin said: “That is the way it always is–when the enemy is beaten he starts talking peace. We have told these gentlemen, the imperialists of Europe, time and again that we agree to make peace, but they continued to dream of enslaving Russia. Now they have realized that their dreams are not fated to come true. . .” (Lenin, “Speech Delivered at the First All Russian Conference on Party Work in the Countryside,” Vol. 30) And in 1921 Lenin made a statement that calls to mind the current situation:
The imperialist powers, with all their hatred of Soviet Russia and desire to throw themselves upon her, have had to reject this thought, because the decay of the capitalist world is increasingly advancing, its unity is becoming less and less, and the pressure of the forces of the oppressed colonial people, with a population of over 1000 million, is becoming stronger with each year, each month, and even each week. (Lenin, “Speech at the Conclusion of the Tenth National Conference of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks), Vol. 32)
So the Chinese people regard Nixon’s request to come to China as a great victory–for the Chinese revolution, and the struggle for liberation throughout the world. One member on the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party told our delegation: “Nixon’s coming here is because of the victories of the Vietnamese people and the people of the world. A few years ago, not only would Nixon not have asked to come, but he would not have come if we asked him. And we will never forget our obligations to the people of the world.”
But at the same time, the Chinese recognize that Nixon’s coming to China does not mean that the imperialists have suddenly changed their nature and become peaceful. “The capitalists are coming to us to wage a new kind of war,” was Lenin’s summation, when various capitalist countries that had previously invaded the new Soviet Republic reversed themselves and offered to establish diplomatic and trade relations. Mao Tse-Tung has several times pointed out that the imperialists and reactionaries use “dual tactics” in opposing the revolutionary forces. Open hostility and aggression is their main tactic; but especially when this is being defeated, they turn, temporarily, to negotiations. This is exactly what U.S. imperialism is doing in Indochina: in the face of growing military defeat, the U.S. government tries to use negotiations to win through discussion what it cannot win on the battlefield, or to buy time, to re-group its force for further aggression. In order to defeat U.S. imperialism, the peoples of Indochina must expose and defeat Nixon in Paris as well as in lndo-china. For the revolutionary forces, as well as the counterrevolutionary forces, negotiation is also continuing the struggle through other means. As Mao Tse-Tung pointed out, at the time of negotiations with Chiang Kai-Shek at the end of the anti-Japanese war:
How to give “tit for tat” depends on the situation. Sometimes not going to negotiations is tit-for-tat and sometimes, going to negotiations is also tit-for-tat. (Mao Tse-Tung, “On the Chungking Negotiations,” Vol. IV, p. 56)
Today, for the Chinese, as well as the Indochinese people, negotiating is giving tit-for-tat.
As far as what Nixon might want to discuss, there are probably two major questions. First, the question of U.S.-Chinese relations. The key here is the question of Taiwan. Our delegation was a part of a group of about seventy Americans who met with Premier Chou En-Lai and other leading officials to discuss some of these questions of foreign policy. He pointed out that for centuries Taiwan has been part of China. Even Chiang Kai-Shek has said this. And the imperialist states, including the U.S. agreed to this during and after the Second World War.
In 1950, just before the Korean war, both President Truman and Secretary of State Dean Acheson declared that the U.S. had no designs on Taiwan. But of course, the U.S. supported Chiang Kai-Shek’s occupation of Taiwan after he was driven off the mainland. The U.S. continues to occupy Taiwan with its own bases and has the 7th fleet stationed between mainland China and Taiwan.
So any “normalization of relations” with China will have to begin with a U.S. agreement to withdraw from Taiwan, take the 7th fleet out of the Taiwan Straights, and allow the Chinese people to settle this internal question.
Secondly, there is the question of Vietnam and Indochina. Chou En-Lai told the group of Americans that the Chinese will give Nixon their advice on Vietnam if he asks for it, but if he wants to settle the question he must negotiate directly with the Vietnamese.
The Chinese support the 7-point proposal of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam. The heart of this proposal is that the U.S. withdraw all troops and bases, give up its “Vietnamization” scheme of propping up corrupt governments in Saigon, stop all bombing and take out all U.S. military bases. In return, the Vietnamese agree, as one of the 7 points, to release all American P.O.W.’s as soon as the U.S. agrees to this proposal and sets a date for the complete withdrawal of troops and bases. Nixon has now put forward his own 8-point program that would call for a cease-fire throughout Indochina (but, of course, no agreement that the U.S. would withdraw all its troops and bases from all of Indochina). Nixon also talked about holding an “internationally supervised” election in South Vietnam. But the U.S. government, with Nixon as Vice-President, forcibly blocked this same kind of election in Vietnam in 1956. The Vietnamese people have long and bitter experience with capitalist-style “free elections.” For these reasons, the Vietnamese have denounced Nixon’s plan for the fraud it is. The Chinese have also strongly condemned this latest effort by the U.S. government to maintain a foothold in Indochina.
The advice the Chinese people have for Nixon on Indochina is very simple: get out! Take all of your troops, all of your bases, all of your planes, all of your “allies,” and get out. If you refuse to get out, the people of Indochina will continue to resist you, and the Chinese people will continue to support them until victory, even at the cost of the greatest national sacrifice, even if the U.S. directly attacks or invades China. This was Chou En-Lai’s summation.
While our delegation was in China, a new aid agreement was signed between China and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. This agreement increased by several times the amount of aid China is giving to the Vietnamese people. And in November of 1971, the Chinese invited Premier Pham Van Dong of the DRV to China and signed a joint declaration with him. In this joint declaration the Chinese stated:
To support the Vietnamese and Indochinese peoples in their war against U.S. aggression and for national salvation is the unshirkable internationalist duty of the Chinese people. As long as the U.S. aggressors do not stop their interference and aggression against Indochina, as long as the three Indochinese peoples’ sacred national rights are not realized, the Chinese people will go on performing their internationalist duty .. . the Chinese people have long since made very serious preparation and will not flinch from even the greatest national sacrifices. In our view, all this makes it clear that the Chinese people are determined to do everything not only to continue the revolution in their own country, to strengthen the rule of the working people and their socialist system, but to give every assistance to the oppressed people throughout the world who are fighting for liberation.
QUESTION: We have covered a lot of ground in this interview. Could you sum up what are the major points about Chinese foreign policy you have made?
ANSWER: There are two main points. The first is the relationship between proletarian internationalism and peaceful coexistence. The Chinese hold that the general line of the foreign policy of a socialist state is proletarian internationalism, support for all the genuine anti-imperialist struggles of the peoples and nations of the world, and assistance to other socialist states in building socialism and resisting imperialist subversion and aggression. At the same time, the Chinese work to establish relations with non-socialist countries on the basis of the five principles of peaceful coexistence. This is also an important part of the anti-imperialist struggle, because it opposes the aggression, bullying, and expansionist drives of the imperialist powers. This is the Leninist line on foreign policy. It is completely opposed to the Soviet revisionist policy of making peaceful coexistence the general line for relations not only between socialist and non-socialist countries, but between nations and peoples oppressed by imperialism and the imperialists and other reactionaries who oppress them.
The second point is that, in order to defeat imperialism, it is necessary to form the broadest possible united front, to unite all who can be united against the main enemy, at every point in the struggle.
This means that the revolutionary forces must have short-term unstable allies, as well as long-term stable allies. And in order to carry out this policy, to unite the many to oppose the few and crush our enemies one-by-one, it is necessary, at every point, to make use of contradictions within the enemy camp and win over, or neutralize, the weaker forces in the non-revolutionary camp. The brilliant application of this strategy by Mao Tse-Tung and the Chinese Communist Party guided the Chinese people to liberation; and today it is giving the greatest support to the struggle of the oppressed peoples and nations for liberation, throughout the world.