Category Archives: China

Zimbabwe reelects Robert Mugabe as president

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The following article below was originally published by Fight Back! News, the news wing of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization:

ZANU-PF sweeps parliamentary election on platform of land and freedom

By Dave Schneider
August 3, 2013

ZANU-PF supporters rallying ahead of the Zimbabwean election.

ZANU-PF supporters rallying ahead of the Zimbabwean election.

Although official vote totals in the July 31 election are still coming in, the people of Zimbabwe voted overwhelmingly to reelect President Robert Mugabe to another five-year term. Mugabe’s party, the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), also won the parliamentary election in a landslide, making gains and solidifying their majority. Despite claims by Mugabe’s opponent, Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), that the elections were rigged, monitors from the African Union called the elections “peaceful, orderly, free and fair.”

Mugabe’s victory is a mandate for the ZANU-PF manifesto, which calls for over $1.8 trillion in idle mining assets and $7.3 billion in foreign-owned assets to be turned over to Zimbabweans. Voters similarly favor the ZANU-PF plan for “education for all,” “housing for all,” and gender equality “through laws, empowerment programs and promotion of women in sectors and positions previously held by men only,” according to the ZANU-PF 2013 election manifesto.

This is the third and latest defeat of MDC candidate Tsvangirai, who ran against Mugabe for President in 2002 and 2008. Although Tsvangirai led the 2008 presidential election, he failed to garner a majority vote and lost decisively in the runoff to Mugabe. Wikileaks cables from 2010 revealed collaboration between Tsvangirai with his MDC party and the U.S. Tsvangirai called on the Western countries to toughen the economic sanctions on his own country and people after he lost the election. Since that time, more and more Zimbabweans disapprove of the MDC in opinion polls.

In February 2013, Zimbabweans approved a new constitution, ending a power-sharing deal between ZANU-PF and the MDC. A decisive election victory for ZANU-PF provides a mandate and curbs outsider meddling in the internal affairs of Zimbabwe.

Indigenization Program central to election

Zimbabwe’s election comes at a time of profound revolutionary changes in the nation. In May 2012, ZANU-PF announced the implementation of the Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Program, to transfer ownership of the major national industries to Zimbabweans and workers. According to the ZANU-PF’s election manifesto, called “Taking Back the Economy,” the indigenization “seeks to enforce the transfer to local entities of at least 51% controlling equity in all existing foreign owned businesses.” The aim is to “create dignified employment especially for the youth, distribute wealth amongst citizens more equitably, cause a general improvement in the quality of life of every Zimbabwean and bring about sustainable national development which is homegrown.”

ZANU-PF’s campaign focused on strengthening the nation’s land reform – which redistributed more than 7 million hectares of land, mostly to African peasants and farmworkers – and deepening the indigenization policies. In a preface to the manifesto, Robert Mugabe and his wife, Grace, write, “The essence of ZANU-PF’s ideology is to economically empower the indigenous people of Zimbabwe by enabling them to fully own their country’s God-given natural resources and the means of production to unlock or create value from those resources.”

Indigenization policies already distributed more than 120 mining companies to black Zimbabweans, organized into employee ownership trusts. These trusts allow working people in Zimbabwe to share in their nation’s resources, rather than Western companies taking profits out of Zimbabwe. ZANU-PF also aims to transition the current stock exchange into an indigenized market owned by Zimbabweans called the Harare Stock Exchange. They claim that shares will be distributed to at least 500,000 people in the first year, with the greatest beneficiaries being women, youth, and disabled people.

Zimbabwe’s struggle against colonialism and imperialism

ZANU-PF’s victory demonstrates the continued importance of Zimbabwe’s revolutionary history. British Imperialists, led by infamous mass murderer Cecil Rhodes and his British South Africa Company, invaded and colonized Zimbabwe around 1880. Rhodes named the country after himself as white colonists seized the best land. With most of the land and the government in white hands, the whites ruled the country despite never being more than 4.3% of the population. In 1966, Zimbabweans waged a 13-year liberation war against white minority rule that ended the racist Ian Smith regime in 1980.

Mugabe’s continued popularity and re-election as President comes from his leadership during the liberation war, called the ‘Second Chimurenga’ by Zimbabweans. Influenced by the Chinese communist revolutionary Mao Zedong, Mugabe founded ZANU along with other black revolutionaries in Zimbabwe. Ian Smith imprisoned Mugabe for more than a decade, and then he was elected President of ZANU in 1974 shortly before his release.

After winning majority rule, most black Zimbabweans remained dispossessed and poor while white colonizers kept the best farmland. After a series of austerity measures forced upon Zimbabwe by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the people of Zimbabwe began occupying large farms and taking control of their own resources in 2000. Almost 75% of the beneficiaries of the land reform were poor peasants, former farmworkers and urban workers – many of whom were women – making it one of the most progressive land reforms in the history of Africa.

By stripping wealthy whites of their land and political power, Zimbabwe angered the U.S. and Britain, who responded with economic sanctions that sent Zimbabwe down a destructive path of hyperinflation and economic turmoil. However, with new investment from socialist countries like the People’s Republic of China, Zimbabwe’s economy began to recover, with their gross domestic product growing by 11% in 2011 alone.

Unemployment remains a persistent struggle in Zimbabwe, caused by the continued sanctions placed on Zimbabwe by the U.S. and Britain. However, ZANU-PF designed the indigenization program to create dignified jobs for Zimbabwean workers and allow them greater ownership of the nation’s resources.

At 89, Mugabe is the oldest African head of state, and constitutionally this will be his final term as president. ZANU-PF spent the past five years, after the 2008 election, holding party cadre schools to train activists to continue the revolution. With a new victory on the horizon, the days ahead shine bright for Zimbabweans.

Fidel Castro’s Reflections: The duty to avoid a war in Korea

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April 5, 2013

A few days ago I mentioned the great challenges humanity is currently facing. Intelligent life emerged on our planet approximately 200,000 years ago, although new discoveries demonstrate something else.

This is not to confuse intelligent life with the existence of life which, from its elemental forms in our solar system, emerged millions of years ago.

A virtually infinite number of life forms exist. In the sophisticated work of the world’s most eminent scientists the idea has already been conceived of reproducing the sounds which followed the Big Bang, the great explosion which took place more than 13.7 billion years ago.

This introduction would be too extensive if it was not to explain the gravity of an event as unbelievable and absurd as the situation created in the Korean Peninsula, within a geographic area containing close to five billion of the seven billion persons currently inhabiting the planet.

This is about one of the most serious dangers of nuclear war since the October Crisis around Cuba in 1962, 50 years ago.

In 1950, a war was unleashed there [the Korean Peninsula] which cost millions of lives. It came barely five years after two atomic bombs were exploded over the defenseless cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki which, in a matter of seconds, killed and irradiated hundreds of thousands of people.

General Douglas MacArthur wanted to utilize atomic weapons against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Not even Harry Truman allowed that.

It has been affirmed that the People’s Republic of China lost one million valiant soldiers in order to prevent the installation of an enemy army on that country’s border with its homeland. For its part, the Soviet army provided weapons, air support, technological and economic aid.

I had the honor of meeting Kim Il Sung, a historic figure, notably courageous and revolutionary.

If war breaks out there, the peoples of both parts of the Peninsula will be terribly sacrificed, without benefit to all or either of them. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was always friendly with Cuba, as Cuba has always been and will continue to be with her.

Now that the country has demonstrated its technical and scientific achievements, we remind her of her duties to the countries which have been her great friends, and it would be unjust to forget that such a war would particularly affect more than 70% of the population of the planet.

If a conflict of that nature should break out there, the government of Barack Obama in his second mandate would be buried in a deluge of images which would present him as the most sinister character in the history of the United States. The duty of avoiding war is also his and that of the people of the United States.

Fidel Castro Ruz

April 4, 2013

11:12 p.m.

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China mobilizes military forces around Korean peninsula amid rising tensions

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April 2, 2013

AFP Photo / China Photo

China has started mobilizing military forces around the Korean peninsula in response to rising tensions that follow recent threats by North Korea to launch missile attacks against its southern neighbor and the United States.

According to US officials, Pyongyang’s declaration of a ‘state of war’ against South Korea has led to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to increase its military presence on the border with the North. The officials say the process has been going on since mid-March, and includes troop movements and readying fighter jets. The PLA is now at ‘Level One’ readiness, its highest.

Chinese forces, including tanks and armored personnel carriers, have been spotted in the city of Ji’an and near the Yalu River, which splits China and North Korea. Other border regions were also reportedly being patrolled by planes.

China has also been conducting live-firing naval exercises in the Yellow Sea, scheduled to end on Monday. The move is widely viewed as open support for North Korea, which continues to show extreme opposition to the US-South Korean military drills that are to last until May.

The news comes as the US deployed its USS Fitzgerald destroyer off the coast of North Korea, adding to its Sunday deployment of F-22 fighter jets to take part in the drills with the friendly South, which has further served to heighten tensions on the peninsula.

Meanwhile, North Korea has been mobilizing its short and medium-range missile arsenal, according to analyses of satellite imagery. Officials say Pyongyang is set to test its new KN-08 medium-range mobile missile; they say preparations have been spotted in the past. Pyongyang claims that since March 26, its forces have been placed on their highest possible status of alert.

Although officials believe Pyongyang will not provoke Seoul during the war games, they also fear that a miscalculation by South Korea could lead to all-out war, following its promise of retaliation against the North, should it launch its missiles first.

South Korean anti-aircraft armoured vehicles move over a temporary bridge during a river-crossing military drill in Hwacheon near the border with North Korea on April 1, 2013 (AFP Photo / KIim Jae-Hwan)

North Korea and China have maintained a long-standing defense treaty under which Beijing is to come to Pyongyang’s aid in the event of an attack. The last time this was put into practice was during the Korean War, when tens of thousands of Chinese volunteer forces were deployed on the Korean Peninsula. The relationship between the two countries is often referred to as being “as close as lips and teeth” by Chinese military spokesmen.

Despite the heated tensions leading to an apparent disruption in trade and commerce between China and North Korea, the two are already making future plans to bolster their economic ties. March 27 saw the announcement of a new high-speed railway, as well as a special highway passenger line.

Still, many in Chinese circles have shown displeasure at Pyongyang’s seemingly aggressive relationship with Seoul and Washington. A Chinese official, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, has testified that US presence in the region is a helpful restraint against an unpredictable Kim Jong-un, which many believe to be the real reason Beijing has not been strong in its criticism of the amassing of US forces in the region.

Furthermore, Chinese websites and blogs could sometimes be found openly bashing the North Korean leader for an apparent mishandling of the situation in the region, playing diplomatic games amid chronic food shortages in his country. An editor at the country’s Study Times newspaper was recently suspended for openly criticizing China for abandoning North Korea.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un attending the plenary meeting of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea in Pyongyang (AFP Photo / KCNA via KNS)

Expert opinion differs on what China’s exact position is in the unfolding regional crisis.

US officials claim the China’s main fear is a collapse of order in North Korea, which would lead to a large-scale refugee flow into China.

Another possible reason for China to worry is advanced by journalist James Corbett, host of the Corbett Report, who believes that foreign military presence in the region is just as unnerving to China as it is to Pyongyang. He discussed this in the light of the latest war drills.

“I think that this has the possibility of ratcheting things up to the point where tensions might actually spill over as a result of this, and we saw that recently with the deployment of B-2 nuclear armed bombers in South Korea which is not only, I think, worrying to Pyongyang, but also to China, to have nuclear bombers that close to the peninsula there, on China’s southern border. I think that China wouldn’t be pleased with that either, so this is quite an escalation that’s taking place.”

Others believe openly that the US strategy is geared not towards the destabilization of North Korea, but that of China. Li Jie, an expert with a Chinese navy research institution, has told Reuters that “the ultimate strategic aim is to contain and blockade China, to distract China’s attention and slow its development. What the US is most worried about is the further development of China’s economy and military strength.”

Retired Major General Luo Yuan, who is one of China’s foremost military authorities, believes, however that “once the joint US-South Korean exercises have finished and with birthday celebrations for (late founder of North Korea) Kim Il-sung imminent, the temperature will gradually cool and get back to the status quo of no war, no unification.”

While it has been urging calm and peace in the region, Beijing has been very obliging at the UN Security Council, when it helped push through the latest round of sanctions against North Korea in March, following its third nuclear test the previous month. Despite being Pyongyang’s greatest ally in the region, some experts believe this is a sign of Beijing’s growing impatience. American diplomat Christopher R. Hill, who helped under the Bush administration to negotiate a deal for the dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear facilities (which didn’t last), says that the Chinese strategy is“not about the words, it is about the music.”

The resolution came hours after North Korea, angered at both the US-South Korean war games, and at the proposed UN plan, threatened pre-emptive nuclear action against the South and US military bases in the region.

This latest standoff between North and South Korea and the US is credited to have started on February 12, when Pyongyang supposedly performed its latest underground nuclear weapons test. Just this weekend, North Korea vowed to boost its nuclear arsenal, calling it a “treasure of a reunified country”which it would never trade for anything, even “billions of dollars” worth of aid.

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How The World Will Respond To North Korea’s Nuke

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The following article below was originally published by NKnews.org:

This test will be the first of many challenges for Park Geun-hye and could dictate South Korean policy towards the North for the next five years.

By Markus Bell & Geoffrey Fattig
February 12, 2013

Following the news today that North Korea has successfully tested another nuclear device, the international community is currently working to implement measures to ensure it is Pyongyang’s last.

Under the aegis of the UN, the international community is preparing to voice its condemnation while imposing fresh sanctions on Kim Jung Un’s regime – but this is where the truth ends and unfounded optimism begins. As with the previous two nuclear tests and the ineffective – yet rhetorically pleasing – response on the part of the international community, this round of “sanctions and tightening of existing measures,” to quote American UN ambassador, Susan Rice, will have led to a great deal of ink being spilt while doing precious little to alter North Korea’s present course of action.

The 2006 nuclear test brought near unanimous condemnation from the global community. The economic effects were instantly seen, as a ripple of instability coursed its way through the Korean, Japanese and Taiwanese stock exchanges. Statements expressing ‘deep concern’ were issued from the most unexpected corners of the globe, including China, North Korea’s closest ally. Nevertheless, condemnation stopped short of calling for military intervention and, after a brief period of finger wagging, things returned to the status quo of unceasing missile and nuclear weapons development by the DPRK, and half-hearted engagement efforts on the part of the United States through the Six Party Talks.

In 2009 a similar sequence of events played out; following the nuclear test, the international community roundly condemned the actions of North Korea, condemnation was concomitant with further sanctions.  Meanwhile, stock exchanges took a tumble, weapons were sold in larger quantities to South Korea, and Japan started investing in some hardware of its own in the form of a satellite early warning system.

In a game of swings and roundabouts, what factors could mark the aftermath of this test and its fallout (excuse the pun) as any different from what has come before?  Two important questions need to be examined:  first, will the Chinese finally decide to take the kind of tough steps that will get the attention of leaders in Pyongyang? Secondly, will the election of Park Geun-hye lead to any significant change in the inter-Korean relationship?

There are hopeful signs that China may be nearing the limit of its patience with its recalcitrant dependent. A recent editorial in the state-run Global Times called for reductions in aid should the North press ahead with its nuclear test. # Given that China supplies roughly 90% of the DPRK’s fuel and energy, it is the sole player in the game that has real leverage over the North. # While the present warnings suggest that times may be changing, if fears of regime collapse continue to trump worries over a nuclear North Korea, counting on the Chinese government to maximize its influence is a risky proposition at best.

The real catalyst for change could come from south of the DMZ.  On February 25th, Park Geun-hye officially enters the Blue House; while campaigning, the President elect was reported as offering “hopeful generalities” in regards to relations with the North. “I plan to break with this black-or-white, appeasement-or-antagonism approach and advance a more balanced North Korea policy,” Park is reported as promising. The operative word here, of course, is “hopeful.”  Until the latest back-and-forth invective following the missile test and UN sanctions, there were actually some positive signs coming from Pyongyang about re-engaging with its brethren in the South, including a prompt announcement of Park’s victory in North Korean media and Kim Jong-un’s New Year’s speech calling for “reconciliation” between the two sides.

The third nuclear test will be the first of many challenges for Park’s administration and could, for better or for worse, dictate South Korean policy towards the North for the next five years. Almost from the day he took office, outgoing President Lee Myung-bak painted himself into a corner in regards to North Korea, pursuing the misconceived idea that squeezing North Korea would force the regime to choose between weapons development and survival. Increased economic engagement with China on the part of the North rendered this strategy completely ineffective and ensured that many of the positive achievements of the ‘Sunshine Policy’ era were rolled back. The worst thing possible would be for President-elect Park to make the same mistake as her predecessor. In terms of inter-Korean dialogue and a possibility of seeing some concrete action towards the much idealised idea of reunification, an idea which persists despite the turmoil of the past 60 years, now is the time for engagement rather than stonewalling.

Given there is so much at stake in terms of peace and co-operation in Northeast Asia, let us hope the variable in how events play out this time will be the ‘balanced approach’ of Park. Let us hope the new South Korean leadership can break five years of stalemate with positive engagement, rather than empty saber-rattling. Let us hope “hopeful generalities” are more than they appear at first sight.

BREAKING: North Korea Tests Nuclear Device

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Large seismic activity reported near known nuclear test site

February 11, 2013

Update 1300EST: North Korea’s offiicial state mouthpiece the KCNA said the nuclear explosion ‘great, stronger and higher’ than last time, and had ‘no negative impacts’.

Update 1248EST: The Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary said in a press conference at 1330 local time they would take “all possible measures to prepare for any contingencies in order to ensure safety and peace of mind of the public” and asked that people “carry on with their normal lives and activities as normal.

Update 1245EST: South Korean President-elect Park Geun-hye received an emergency briefing from transition team officials Tuesday on what appeared to be North Korea’s third nuclear test, officials said.

Update 1237EST: South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman said Minister Kim Sung-hwan spoke with U.S. Sec of State John Kerry after nuclear test reports.

Update 1205 EST: USGS upgrades report of 4.9 magnitude test to 5.1.

Update 1203 EST: Earthquake of 4.6M reported in China just two minutes before suspected North Korean nuclear detonation. Earthquake took place near Tibet. (http://bit.ly/XtzSN1)

Update 1148 EST: CTBTO Executive Secretary Tibor Toth makes a statement on activity:  ”The event shows explosion-like characteristics and its location is roughly congruent with the 2006 and 2009 DPRK nuclear tests…If confirmed as a nuclear test, this act would constitute a clear threat to international peace and security.” 

Update 1142EST: Steve Herman at Voice of America reports that a source in Yanji, China, reported that a swaying motion was felt for 10 seconds around the time of the blast. Yonhap add that 163 nationals residing in the Kaesong Industrial Complex are reported to be safe.

Update 1139EST: Reports suggest the test could have been anywhere between 6-10 kilotons. South Korean authorities are currently warning of the potential for a second test imminently. 

Update 1114EST: United Nations Security Council will convene at 9AM tomorrow to discuss the test. South Korea holds the current presidency of the Security Council. 

Update 10:58 EST: South Korean President Lee Myung-bak announces emergency meeting with the National Security Council at 1300KST, while other reports suggest North Korea already warned U.S. and China of test

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Reports suggest that North Korea may have conducted a third nuclear test following reports of a 4.9 magnitude earthquake in DPRK territory.

The U.S. Geological Survey (UGCS) has reported large seismic activity in northern North Korea on 02:57:51 UTC Tuesday, not far from the site of the secretive regime’s two previous nuclear tests.

The area around the reported epicenter of the magnitude 4.9 disturbance has little or no history of earthquakes or natural seismic hazards, according to U.S. Geological Survey maps. The disturbance took place at a depth of about 1 kilometer in Punggye-ri, the USGS said, 24km ENE of Kilju County, North Hamkyung Province.

Pyongyang gave “advanced notice” of the test to the U.S. and China, a South Korean official told theYonhap news agency. John Swenson-Wright, Chatham House fellow and Senior Lecturer in East Asian studies at the University of Cambridge said:

“The test is no surprise, although reports from South Korea that the North had informed the US and China a day before the test are unusual. This may indicate a desire (perhaps misguided and naive) on the part of Pyongyang to minimize the political consequences of having tested.”

“A key question now will be determining the size and nature of the test. Expect governments and scientists to be looking for evidence of radioactive isotope gas traces, alongside signs of seismic activity, to gauge nature of tests.”

In terms of the yield, North Korea nuclear expert Jeffrey Lewis said on Twitter that the seismic reaction would mean a nuclear device of,

Current estimates put the yield of the device as 6 to 7 kilotonnes. The first device detonated by North Korea in October 2006 produced an explosive yield at less than 1 kiloton of TNT. A second test in May 2009 was believed to be approximately in the range of 2-4 kilotons.

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Is a New Maoist Revolution Brewing in Nepal?

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The following article below was originally published by News Junkie Post

By Dustin Lewis
January 25, 2013

Around 1,000 leading cadre of the regrouped Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) agreed to pursue a strategy of “people’s revolt” against the coalition government that includes their former allies, during their seventh general convention on January 9-14. The event was the first of its kind since a radical faction of the United Communist Party of Nepal (UCPN) split last June and retook the CPN-Maoist name that the party held during its decade-long insurgency that resulted in the ousting of the Nepali monarchy in 2007.

In a document released to the press following the convention, CPN-Maoist Chairman Mohan Baidya described the current coalition-led Nepali government as “puppets.” The document called for scrapping the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) and other economic treaties with India. Critics inside and out of CPN-Maoist say such agreements go against the interests of the Nepali people and relinquish the country’s political and economic sovereignty to imperialism. Convention declarations of CPN-Maoist also included harsh words for UCPN Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Vice-Chair and Nepali Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, describing them as “stooges of foreign powers” and criticizing them for betraying the revolution.

CPN-Maoist leaders say a strategy of people’s revolt will be pursued on the foundations of the previous “people’s war.” The goal, CPN-Maoist cadre say, is a “new democratic revolution.” According to documents released by the Maoists, plans for a revolt in the Himalayan country will be carried out in secret. Immediately after the convention, Baidya publicly warned that his party will take up arms if the “rights of the people” are not ensured by the present government.

UCPN Chair Dahal simultaneously assured Western monitors of his party’s desire to improve the country’s strained political and economic conditions. Mr. Dahal recently proposed an ideological shift away from the goal of a “new democratic revolution” and towards a “Nepali revolution.” According to his comrades-turn-critics in CPN-Maoist, Dahal’s recasting of the revolution’s aim is a ploy to deceive the Nepali people.

Background on Nepal’s Maoists

The roots of CPN-Maoist go back to 1991, when the Communist Party of Nepal (Unity Centre) held its first convention and pledged to pursue a strategy of “protracted armed struggle on the route to new democratic revolution.” In practice, the party continued along the route of parliamentary struggle. Three years later a militant faction broke away and named itself the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist).

In 1996, the new Maoist party launched its guerrilla “people’s war,” kicking off a decade-long armed civil conflict. This conflict escalated after a 2001 attack by the Maoist guerrillas on Nepalese Army forces. The People’s Liberation Army, the CPN-Maoist’s armed-wing, controlled a majority of Nepal’s rural territory by 2005. That same year the Maoists, under the leadership of Dahal, changed their strategy and opted for permanent peace accords while seeking a multi-party alliance against the monarchy. In 2006, following a general strike and waves of popular demonstrations in Kathmandu, King Gyanendra stepped down and a 240 year-old dynasty was annulled.

In a bid to gain legitimacy, later in 2006 the Maoists signed the Comprehensive Peace Accords, which promised that the insurgents would lay down their arms in return for a seat in a U.N.-sponsored political process. In 2009, the CPN-Maoist merged with another communist party and renamed itself the United Communist Party of Nepal. Since laying down its arms in 2006, the UCPN has achieved what many would describe as worthy goals. Both its Chairman Dahal and Vice-Chairman Bhattarai have served as the country’s Prime Minister. During the 2008 constituent assembly election, the UCPN came out ahead of all other parties and garnered 229 out of 601 seats. In 2012 UCPN was removed from the U.S. State Department’s list of terrorist organizations.

CPN-Maoist cadre contend that these achievements do not outweigh drawbacks that include a failure to implement revolutionary changes in Nepali society. For example, the failure of the constituent assembly to write a new constitution led to its dissolution in May 2012. Now that members of CPN-Maoist have accomplished a vertical split, it is unlikely that the UCPN will repeat its electoral success during the next constituent assembly election in 2013.

Maoist International Relations

Besides leading to a split within his own party, the Dahal-led 2005 strategic reorientation has created tensions with the neighboring Communist Party of India (Maoist) (CPI-Maoist).

A 2009 open letter from CPI-Maoist questioned the strategic turn taken by the UCPN, describing it as “right-deviationist” and “Euro-communist.” The CPI-Maoist letter also partly blamed the UCPN for causing the collapse of two international Maoist organizations: the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement and the Coordination Committee of Maoist Parties and Organizations in South Asia. Security analysts worry that the reconstitution of CPN-Maoist may once again lead to cross-border operations and relations between armed Maoist groups from both countries. The CPI-Maoist is the largest party in India behind the Naxalite insurgency: an ongoing civil conflict rarely reported in Western media.

Maoist parties are also currently engaged in armed conflicts with state forces in Bhutan, Bangladesh, Turkey, the Philippines, and Peru.

Geo-Political Considerations

One of the controversies dividing CPN-Maoist from UCPN is the relationship between Nepal’s revolutionary movement and the neighboring states of India and China. While in power the UCPN has fostered close ties with the Indian state, a move that CPN-Maoist and CPI-Maoist cadre disapprove of.

The UCPN, on the other hand, accuses the leadership of the CPN-Maoist of secretly meeting with Chinese state officials, a taboo within international Maoism. Maoist parties have ideologically and practically distanced themselves from the Chinese state and Communist Party since the early 1980s because, according the historical narrative followed by most Maoists outside of the People’s Republic of China, Maoist ideology was abandoned by the ruling Chinese Communist Party after the death of Mao Zedong in 1976 and a subsequent coup led by supporters of Deng Xiaoping against the Gang of Four.

Though China and Nepal are neighbors, they are economically and politically cut off from each other by the mountainous terrain between them. CPN-Maoist supporters contend that any meeting between the Nepali Maoists and Chinese officials would serve to create the distance from India necessary to carry forward the revolution in Nepal. CPN-Maoist supporters argue that, since India is a key regional ally of the U.S., moves by the UCPN to further tie Nepal to India strengthen U.S. imperialism regionally and globally.

Dustin Lewis is an independent writer and political analyst in the United States. He can be contacted directly at dustin.reads.much[at]gmail[dot]com.

China backs Ayatollah Khamenei’s decree against nuclear weapons

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January 17, 2013

China voices support for Iran’s reaffirmation of the fatwa (religious decree) issued by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on the prohibition of nuclear weapons and its registration as an international document.

China attaches special significance to the issue that Iran intends to register the Leader’s fatwa as an international document, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters on Wednesday.

“China welcomes Iran’s position. Iran is a party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). We hope relevant sides can strengthen dialogue and cooperation to increase trust and make progress as soon as possible towards a long-term solution to the Iranian nuclear energy issue,” he added.

On February 22, 2012, Ayatollah Khamenei said the Islamic Republic considers the pursuit and possession of nuclear weapons “a grave sin” from every logical, religious and theoretical standpoint.

On Tuesday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Ayatollah Khamenei’s fatwa is binding for Iran, adding, “There is nothing more important in defining the framework for our nuclear activities than the Leader’s fatwa.”

The Chinese official’s remarks came as Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) wrapped up the first day of their talks over Iran’s nuclear energy program in Tehran.

The United States, Israel and some of their allies accuse Iran of pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program.

Iran argues that as a committed signatory to the NPT and a member of the IAEA, it is entitled to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

In addition, the IAEA has conducted numerous inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities but has never found any evidence showing that Iran’s civilian nuclear program has been diverted to nuclear weapons production.

As a member of the P5+1 – the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany – China says it recognizes that constant IAEA inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities has detected no diversion of nuclear material. Chinese experts say that makes it impossible for Iran to build a bomb.

Iran and the six major world powers have held several rounds of talks with the main focus being on Iran’s nuclear energy program. The last round of the negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 was held in Moscow in June, 2012.

China and Russia, as two veto-wielding powers at the UN Security Council, have persistently expressed their support for Iran’s civilian nuclear program.

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Chinese cities surrounded by US warships, fighter jets

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Imperialism seeks recolonization of China

By William West
January 12, 2012

For the past year the Obama administration has been touting the policy of the “Asian pivot,” a gradual redistribution of U.S. resources into southeast Asia. Pres. Barack Obama’s November trip through Asia was promoted as a diplomatic tour designed to reinforce established alliances and forge new allies in the region. That same month, the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development released a report saying that the People’s Republic of China would have the world’s largest economy by 2016, overtaking the United States. The gradual refocusing of U.S. foreign policy towards Asia is meant to stop the OECD’s prediction from coming true.

Obama’s tour began in Myanmar, where he was the first sitting U.S. president to visit the country. The visit coincided with the lifting of sanctions against Myanmar. Myanmar and several of the nations on the tour, such as Cambodia, have long been allies of China and the U.S. appears to be trying to forge alliances with them as a way of curbing Chinese influence in the region.

But other recent actions by the U.S. in Asia have not had nearly so “diplomatic” a flavor. In August, the U.S. launched a “missile shield” in Japan, ostensibly to knock away debris from a North Korean satellite. But experts point out that the trajectory of the “shield rockets” would not intercept falling debris, but could be used against China and North Korea.

In December, the Pentagon announced that there would be an increase in U.S. troops, ships and aircraft in the Philippines, a U.S. client state that has recently been in territorial disputes with China over the Spratly Islands. Chinese leaders have called the expansion of U.S. forces in the Philippines a threat to their national security, with Chinese Communist Party Chief Xi Jinping going so far as to urge the country’s military to “prepare for struggle” without naming the enemy.

Laughably, the United States’ response to China is that the military presence in the Philippines is “humanitarian” in nature, and that the U.S only intends to help the Philippines recover from Typhoon Bopha. How aircraft carriers are supposed to help the Filipino people rebuild is anyone’s guess. Meanwhile, the government of the Philippines has continued its policy of torturing and disappearing dissenters while enjoying $700 million in “aid” from Washington, just since Obama took office.

Last summer, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced that the U.S, which already has 50 percent of its Navy in the Asia-Pacific region, will have 60 percent of its warships—the majority of the largest navy in the world—in Asian waters by 2020. This comes as the U.S. is planning the construction of a large naval base on the South Korean island of Jeju, despite the fact that 94 percent of the residents of the island’s largest village voted against the building of the naval base.

Still, Panetta thoroughly refuted any notion that the buildup of the U.S. war machine in Asia should be any cause of alarm for the Chinese. “Some view the increased emphasis by the United States on the Asia-Pacific region as some kind of challenge to China. I reject that view entirely,” Panetta said. “Our effort to renew and intensify our involvement in Asia is fully compatible … with the development and growth of China. Indeed, increased US involvement in this region will benefit China as it advances our shared security and prosperity for the future.”

But in November, Panetta announced that F-22 and F-35 fighter planes would be in Japan by 2017. This means that China’s major cities would be within striking distance of the world’s most advanced warplanes by the time it becomes the world’s largest economy.

Many in the U.S. government allege that it is nonsensical to claim that the U.S would want to ever wage war against China, as the Communist Party of China has decided to provisionally open the country’s markets up to foreign finance capital, and that capitalists in the U.S have much to gain from China’s market. But it must be remembered that China’s ruling Communist Party, upon coming to power under the leadership of Mao Zedong, ended decades of colonial exploitation of the Chinese people. The CPC still dictates the terms under which foreign companies can enter into the Chinese market. Even this is unacceptable to U.S. imperialism. They would like to overthrow the CPC and see the installation of a regime fully compliant to the whims of imperialism.

In addition, the U.S, as the current master of the capitalist-world, cannot allow a foreign market to overtake it in profitability, as the Chinese market currently seems capable of doing. It must thus seek to break up that market into more easily controlled fiefdoms. U.S. imperialism aspires to the ultimate break-up of the People’s Republic of China, and the recolonization of the Chinese people.

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China ready for worst-case Diaoyu scenario

Standard

January 11, 2012

Chinese demonstrators march on the Japanese embassy in Beijing, declaring the Diaoyu Islands belonging to China.

Chinese demonstrators march on the Japanese embassy in Beijing, declaring the Diaoyu Islands belonging to China.

According to Japanese media, Japan’s Self-Defense Forces have scrambled fighter jets against China’s military aircraft, including fighter jets, which flew to the Diaoyu Islands. It was the first time that military aircraft from both China and Japan confronted each other over the Diaoyu Islands. All of East Asia is now facing intense uncertainty.

Thanks to Japan’s arrogance toward China, the Diaoyu Islands dispute has come to this point. Japanese politicians, including Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara and former prime minister Yoshihiko Noda, are to blame.

China and Japan may stand at a turning point that leads to confrontation. The resentment toward each other has come to the highest level since World War II. The Sino-Japanese relationship is looking dim.

Japan has mistakenly estimated China’s strategic stance toward constant external provocations. A year ago, Japanese politicians wouldn’t have thought that China would send fighter jets.

Some Japanese believed China had to be restrained at any costs to ensure a peaceful period of strategic opportunities. But the fighter jets yesterday proved them wrong.

How far the Diaoyu crisis goes depends on whether Japan is just putting on a show by intercepting China’s military aircraft or it really wants to confront China. If it chooses the latter, then it is choosing a military clash.

Chinese society is tired of simple verbal protests toward Japan. The Chinese people hope the country will carry out actions against Japan’s provocations. China’s sending fighter jets to the islands reflects Chinese public opinion.

A military clash is more likely. We shouldn’t have the illusion that Japan will be deterred by our firm stance. We need to prepare for the worst.

China and Japan are likely to become long-term rivals or even enemies. Japan has become the vanguard of the US’ strategy which aims to contain China.

Chinese society should reach consensus on a number of issues. First, China should firmly respond to any Japanese provocation. It won’t be the initiator of the war, but it shouldn’t be hesitant to take military revenge. Meanwhile, it will not take the lead in escalating the war, nor will it be afraid of any escalation. Last, but not least, China’s strategic aim is to make Japan accept China’s current position on the Diaoyu Islands, rather than extend the crisis to disputes over historical issues.

China should have the courage to face military confrontations with any rival when provoked. At the same time, we should remain cool-headed.

China and Japan have been cooperating in trade and other economic fields. We should try not to let political confrontations affect business. This will minimize China’s losses, which conforms to China’s overall interest and would help the nation gain support from the public in any confrontation.

The Diaoyu crisis is a test of China’s unity in the Internet era. China’s strength has enabled it to take countermeasures against Japan and face any uncertainty. This requires society to remain united.

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