Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

The New Voice

Two “Communist Countries”?

Why China is a Friend, Soviet Union is Not

First Published: The New Voice, Vol. IX, No. 5, April 28, 1980.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.

Although both China and the Soviet Union are frequently called communist countries, the contrast in their actions could hardly be stronger.

Socialism in China serves the working people’s needs and makes the country a bulwark for peace on the world scene. The Soviet Union, since it abandoned socialism in the 1950’s to become a capitalist country, is a bleak scene of worsening conditions at home and a threat to peace and independence all over the globe.

China’s Ten Year Plan (1976-85) emphasizes the “four modernizations”: agriculture, industry, national defense, and science and technology. Its goals are to strengthen the country and raise the standard of living of the masses. The concentration at this time is on agriculture and light industry to develop an abundance of first rate, attractive and reasonably priced goods with a considerable increase in per capita consumption.

The government has successfully demonstrated that increases in production raise the people’s standards of living; expanded production is for workers and peasants, not a minority class (such as the big owners of corporations in the United States).

In the Soviet Union the emphasis is on military expenditure; it dominates the economy. The Soviet Union’s rulers look outside their own territory for markets, cheap raw materials and opportunities for imperialist investment. Domestically, the sabotage of agricultural production has caused the import of grain, meat and other foodstuffs, and common goods of daily life are in short supply.


China has established trade relations with over 120 countries and regions in the Third World. In 1963-64, as the Soviet Union stepped up its arms production, Chinese premier Zhou En-lai made a tour of 14 countries in Asia, Africa and Europe. He set forth eight principles concerning economic and technical aid to countries. The principles stress China’s policy never to attach any conditions or ask any privileges of those it trades with; such aid should aim at helping the recipient countries on the road to self-reliance and independent development.

An example is China’s aid to Tanzania and Zambia to build the Tan-Zam railway. China is famous for not seeking economic, military or political gain. The aid helped landlocked Zambia bypass then-colonial Rhodesia.

This is entirely opposite to the Soviet Union’s concept of foreign “aid.” To the Soviets, economic assistance means large amounts of Soviet-made weapons, military materiel and personnel to support Vietnam’s aggression against Democratic Kampuchea. It means strings attached to military and economic loans to Vietnam, Cuba, Malaysia and African countries. A contrast to China’s selfless aid to Zambia and Tanzania is the $120 million in Soviet aid to Guinea’s Kindia Bauxite Company. Moscow takes 50% of the bauxite produced (the principal ore of aluminum) as payment on its loan and then another 40% for repayment of old debts, mainly “military aid.” Only 10% of the product is controlled by Guinea, whose debts to the Soviet Union now run to $450 million.


China holds that the most effective means to eliminate the threat of nuclear war is the complete prohibition and banning of all nuclear weapons. It has reaffirmed time and again that under no circumstances will China use nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear country. It has pledged’ not to be the first to use nuclear weapons, too.

The Soviet Union makes no such promises. At the 1978 session of the United Nations, the Soviet Union put forth a proposal for “strengthening the guarantees of the security of non-nuclear countries.” In reality the proposal called for small and medium countries to abandon their rights to possess nuclear strength for self-defense. The proposal further allowed the Soviet Union to possess large numbers of nuclear weapons; in fact, not content with the large amounts of nuclear weapons the Soviets now have, they are desperately expanding their nuclear arsenal.

In contrast to capitalist countries like the Soviet Union, socialist countries like China have no economic compulsion to maintain any given level of military expenditure; there are no economic interests in China who would lose if it were totally eliminated. China needs peace, an enduring, peaceful international environment in which to build a strong socialist economy. China has no material reasons for seeking hegemony or acting in an imperialist way.

The China-Japan treaty of peace and friendship includes the specific stipulation “That neither of them should seek hegemony in the Asian-Pacific region or in any other region and that each is opposed to efforts by any other country or group of countries to establish such hegemony.” The stipulation is the first of its kind and is based on China’s Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence: mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence.

Socialist China is aware of impending war and knows it is in danger of being attacked by one superpower or the other. In case of attack it is prepared to fight a people’s war. People’s war is a political concept for serving the people and relying on them. The Chinese people used it to liberate their country, and they use it now to defend socialism.

Their army is not an aggressor. It took a Vietnamese armed attack on the Chinese border last year to bring the People’s Liberation Army into action. China sees no material reason to counterattack unless it is attacked; for this, it is armed and ready to fight a war of active defense against aggression.

The Soviet Union, on the other hand, grows stronger as an imperialist country every day. It was on August 20, 1968 that the Soviet Union entered the international imperialist arena as a major contender to United States world power. That day marks the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia by hundreds of thousands of Soviet aggressor troops, thousands of tanks and aircraft. Twelve years later the “temporarily” stationed troops show no sign of withdrawing. And the total number of Soviet troops stationed in Eastern Europe has increased from 500,000 to 600,000.

Today it is not only Moscow’s “back yard” that is the victim of social-imperialism. It was Moscow mercenary forces, the Cubans, who intervened in Angola and Zaire. It is their junior partner in the drive to world hegemony, the Vietnamese, who attacked Democratic Kampuchea. It is the Soviets themselves coming out openly as the aggressor in Afghanistan.

In their goal to outflank and encircle Europe, social-imperialism has stepped up its aggression and expansionism in Africa, the Middle East and the Gulf region, seizing positions and resources of strategic importance and trying to control transportation routes.

There can be no hard-thinking person today who views the foreign policy of the Soviet Union as acting in the interests of socialism. In order to build its vast military strength (at a rate faster than any other country in the world!), it has had to rule its people with an iron hand; its military elite has seen the country stagnate economically as it pushes forward its goal of world hegemony.

China has followed socialist principles, putting forth a national plan 3for its people that will insure a healthy economy; its concern is for national defense and protection of its people, not world domination. The will of the people has been acted upon; in the Soviet Union it has been flagrantly violated.