Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Italian Communist Party visit to China sets back Soviets

First Published: Unity, Vol. 3, No. 12, June 6-19, 1980.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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There were two noteworthy events last month concerning the European political scene. One was Moscow’s orchestration of a meeting of a number of European communist parties in Paris. The other was the Communist Party of Italy’s (CPI) visit to China and the resumption of liaison relations between the CPI and the Chinese Communist Party (CPC).

Moscow had hoped that the Paris meeting would solidify its domination over the European parties and gain endorsement for its Afghanistan invasion. But a number of groups refused to attend, including the Yugoslavian, Rumanian, Italian, Spanish, British, Swedish, Dutch, San Marino and Icelandic organizations. The fact that Moscow could not rally these groups shows a trend of independence from Soviet dictate. Several of the parties that didn’t go to the meeting openly criticized Moscow’s invasion of Afghanistan and linked their absence to it.

The days are ending when the Soviets can manipulate these parties to endorse Soviet ambitions. This is significant as Moscow has frequently used “invitations” from forces within other countries to justify Soviet aggression. This is what happened in both Czechoslovakia and Afghanistan.

Communist Party of Italy

Just as the Paris meeting was about to begin, Communist Party of Italy General Secretary Enrico Berlinguer and his delegation were winding up a visit to China. During a nine-day stay from April 14 to 23 he met with Hua Guofeng, Deng Xiaoping, Hu Yaobang and other Chinese leaders to exchange views and reestablish party to party relations.

Official contact between the two groups had broken off some 15 years ago during China’s struggle against modern revisionism, headed by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The Chinese criticized the CPI as representative of Moscow’s line at the time. During the past several years however the CPI has charted an increasingly independent course from the Soviets especially on a number of international issues. In fact, the relations between them have become openly sharp.

It is within this context that the resumption of party relations with the Chinese has taken place. As stated several times during the CPI trip, the new liaison relations between the CPI and CPC will be helpful in “opposing war and safeguarding world peace.”

Liaison policy

During the visit Chinese Party General Secretary Hu Yaobang also elaborated on the CPC’s liaison policy. He said that the CPC is willing to “establish, restore and develop relations with all working class parties that uphold independence and a correct position. But we firmly oppose those parties that flaunt the banner of ’communist party’ but in effect bully other parties, interfere with other countries’ internal affairs and even invade and occupy other countries’ territories by force.” A clear line must be drawn with such “parties,” he added, so as to defend the international communist movement and uphold world peace.

Hu also stated he saw no possibility of resuming liaison relations with the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU).

The CPI visit highlights a development in the CPC’s liaison policy. Following the Cultural Revolution the CPC had liaison relations with relatively few political parties and organizations in other countries. But this is evidently changing. In addition to the CPI, the CPC also recently established relations with the ruling party in Guinea, the African Party for Independence in Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC).