Friday, December 31, 2021

2022: For Australian Independence and Socialism – Against War and Fascism

 Written by: CPA (M-L) on 1 January 2022

The Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) greets its friends and supporters – here and internationally – on New Year’s Day 2022.

Despite all the difficulties of the continuing Covid-19 pandemic, our members have remained committed to the fight for anti-imperialist independence and socialism, engaging in activities across a broad range of issues. The deplorable AUKUS arrangement has provided a particular spur to a mass movement of opposition to Australian subservience to US imperialism. 

China and the United States are global rivals, but their rivalry in the Indo-Pacific region is particularly acute. It is a region in which we are centrally located. China’s expansion is conducted largely through its main area of strength, the economic area, whilst US imperialism pushes back politically and militarily. US agents of influence in Australian media and political circles sing in chorus of the “threat from an increasingly aggressive China” and talk up the prospects of war. Defence Minister Dutton, in particular, is effectively a national traitor with an acknowledged adherence to the US as a foreign power. The majority of Australians do not want war with China, yet Dutton pushes us in that direction so as to serve his US masters. The task of frustrating the war plans of US imperialism and its Australian servants is of growing importance.

Fascism presents threats to the democratic rights fought for and won in the great working class struggles of the past. Fascism does not need to enter the stage wearing a crooked cross and a funny little moustache. Its characteristic is the use by the state of open repression in the place of the pretense that there is a democracy that works for the people. A licorice allsorts of right-wing groups has successfully mobilised around grievances associated with measures introduced to protect the population against Covid-19. Street thugs are a part of the armoury of fascism, but its big guns are in the corporate sector and its political parties. They constantly discuss ways to restrict and confine the struggles of the people. Legal restrictions on democratic rights are the essence of fascist measures that the people must mobilise to defeat.

A characteristic of capitalism is social division along class lines. In recent times, the gap between rich and poor has grown. The workers have been kept at stagnant levels of wages. Many have lost job security and its associated rights and have had to become “independent contractors” and gig workers. It compels people to find ways to organise and fight. New ways of conducting class struggle emerge. 

There is still the illusion that we can “learn to live with capitalism”.  Careers in the hierarchy of the union movement and the Labor Party are built on this illusion. We need to more vigorously champion the need to consign capitalism to the past, and to build support for the people’s own society, socialism.

One of the lessons of Covid-19, emphasised by some of the epidemiologists, is the power and necessity of collective action. Vaccinations, mask-wearing, social distancing and other measures have been overwhelmingly embraced. People have acted out of justifiable self-interest tied to the selfless responsibility of doing the right thing by family and community. Big business has pushed its own interests, telling people to “learn to live with Covid-19”. Whether it is the pandemic or the politics of the class struggle, the power and necessity of collective action will undoubtedly guide us through the coming year.

Solomon Islands 2021: Crisis of Neo-Colonialism

 Written by: (Contributed) on 31 December 2021

In late November, Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands experienced three days of extensive rioting targeted upon strategic areas including the official residence of the Prime Minister, a Police Station and Chinatown.

The country's small defence and security provision with their police were clearly outnumbered: the response from Australia was also immediate, followed by other countries. While Honiara has returned to relative stability, the situation remains tense with serious underlying problems: the Solomon Islands has a relatively small and weak economy, heavily dependent upon foreign aid and assistance, marked by neo-colonial diplomatic and economic relations.

On 24 November groups of Malaitians marched on Honiara, following a number of grievances which included the country switching diplomatic allegiance from Taiwan to China in September, 2019, and a declining economy causing greater hardship. The political situation had also been inflamed with separatist calls for independence of Malaita from the rest of the country.

The Solomon Islands is composed of six major islands and a further nine hundred smaller landmasses with a population of about 652,858. The country is also faced with a rising population together with relative economic decline. The population totals in 2010, at 555,453, are set to rise to 746,412 by 2025. (1) Economically, the country is faced with serious problems which include a decline in annual GDP growth rates from around six per cent in the period before independence in the 1960s to about minus four per cent last year. (2) While year by year totals show many erratic peaks and troughs, the general trend is decidedly downward; there has been little, if any, sustainable economic development for decades. A sudden peak of about 12.5 per cent GDP growth in the early 1990s, for example, fell away as quickly as it had arisen. (3)  

Internationally, the Solomon Islands economy is, therefore, minute: its total GDP in 2020 was $1.55 billion, amounting to less than 0.01 per cent of the global economy; three-quarters of the population live by subsistence agriculture and fishing with a per capita GDP income of about $600 per annum, which amounts to about $11-12 per person per week. (4) The rapidly rising population is living in a smaller and smaller economy; financial hardship is a common problem. Economic problems have been played-out in the political forums at provincial and national levels.

While the population are overwhelmingly Melanesian, they are sub-divided into many ethnic minorities. The two main ethnic groups, Malaitains and Guadacanalese, have long-standing rivalries. While the Malaitians are the biggest ethnic group with 168,000 population, for example, the capital Honiara is on the island of Guadacanal. (5) Hostilities between the two ethnic groups about twenty years ago resulted in a long-term western intervention to stabilise the country. The most recent disturbances, however, appear to date specifically from September, 2019, when the government of Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare switched their diplomatic allegiance from Taiwan to China, following 36 years of strong links with Taipei. At an official level it was diplomatically noted that in 36 years, the Solomon Islands 'has received considerable financial support from Taiwan'. (6)

Both China and Taiwan are major diplomatic players in the Pacific region; they use different styles of aid provision. Chinese diplomacy, for example, is invariably conducted through official government channels. Taiwan's, however, is usually conducted through dominant local figures and strongly localised patronage systems. A recent official statement from Malaitian Premier Daniel Suidani would appear to have clarified a great deal about the present situation when he stressed while Taiwan had been generous with diplomatic aid, 'some major developments in the country', did not take place due to problems with previous political leaders. (7) No reference was made to corruption although it was implicit that aid money had not been used in the usual manner for economic development programs.

Following the diplomatic switch to China the situation on Malaita would appear to have become tense; it is not particularly difficult to establish outside forces manipulating problems. In 2020, Taiwan and the US sent $25 million to Malaita which was accompanied with political demands for independence of the island from the Solomon Islands. (8) In September, 2020, Malaitian Premier Daniel Suidana, issued the demand for independence, outlining four criteria to support the move: the island had a defined territory, a permanent population, a government and a capacity for diplomacy with restoration of links with Taiwan. (9) It was accompanied with references to a Malaitian leaders' summit where 'delegates adopted a resolution calling for the province to break away from the Solomon Islands'. (10)

The present situation in Malaita would appear increasingly divided: while Suidana is pushing for the provincial government to conduct a survey 'regarding Malaita self-autonomy status', his deputy-premier, Manasseh Maelanga, has stated 'independence is not my agenda'. (11) The results of the survey are expected early 2022 and are likely to be highly divisive, not only in Malaita but across the whole country and possibly, the wider region.

The arrival of groups of Malaitains into Honiara last November was taken to influence political decision-makers in the federal parliament about long-standing and more recent grievances. The rioting that followed was met with a quick response from Australia which provided 73 Federal Police and 43 military personnel the following day. They were soon accompanied by similar support from New Zealand, PNG and Fiji. As dominant regional players, they feared political disorder spilling over into neighbouring areas of the Solomon Islands and elsewhere across the South Pacific. It was not coincidental that PNG military personnel were used to stabilise the situation: a recent poll on Bougainville saw the vast majority of those on the island vote for autonomy or independence from PNG. The matter is scheduled to be officially dealt with in their national parliament in 2022. The political decision is likely to have far-reaching implications, whatever the outcome.

The sins of the father continue to linger, with lasting implications: Australian colonial administrations, in the lead-up to independence for a number of Pacific countries, grouped smaller islands and land-masses into larger countries due to political expedience. The people of Bougainville, for example, regard themselves as ethnic Solomon Islanders not Papua New Guineans. The colonial administrations, furthermore, foisted spurious economic models and development programs upon countries to serve external, corporate interests.

Across the Pacific, islanders have seen their countries, islands and smaller land-masses literally handed over to mining companies, many of which remain registered in Australia. Despite huge levels of mineral extraction, most islanders have seen little, if any, benefit, for themselves, their families and communities. Huge dividends, however, continue to be paid to shareholders who have no interest in sustainable economic development.
It is important to note relative stability was soon achieved across Honiara and Sogavara easily survived a no-confidence vote in the national parliament in early December. He used the occasion to make an official statement accusing 'agents of Taiwan' for an attempted destabilisation of his government. (12) The curfew across Honiara, Legal Notice 359, was subsequently repealed by the Governor-General on 9 December. (13)   

The matter, however, is far from resolved; in fact, it is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future with serious implications for Australia. It is, therefore, not difficult to establish the position of the present Australian government and their adherence to US-led Cold War regional foreign policy and 'US interests'; they continue to carry all the hallmarks of neo-colonial relations which they want to preserve, in particular for Australian-based corporate business organisations. A recent highly critical statement from Canberra, for example, concluded with the lines: 'Sogavara will continue to lead his country to the brink of disaster by building ties with Beijing … Australia will have no intention of allowing a Chinese proxy to emerge in the Coral Sea'. (13)

It is important to note while the Solomon Islands have their own defence and security provision they generally rely upon Australian-based intelligence facilities which are then over-ridden by larger capacity US facilities also based in Australia. Two final factors arose which throw considerable light upon the manner in which decision makers in Canberra have monitored recent developments in the Solomon Islands: the timing of the march by Malaitians on Honiara and the rioting that took place together with the rapid response from Australia, followed by it being recorded that about forty per cent of all foreign arrivals in the country were Chinese and the later condemnation following China's offer to train local police with six liaison officers and their supplying of 'riot equipment'. (14) 

Those who continue to complain about China's diplomatic initiatives in the South Pacific, including politicians from both the Coalition and Labor, and many in the media, generally do so from a position of subservience and loyalty to US imperialism. 

Every country, big or small, has the right to independence from all foreign interference and control. might like to consider the fact the Solomon Islands are a sovereign country as ratified by the United Nations; decision-makers in Canberra should take note!

 We need an independent foreign policy, in our own right, and as a guarantee that Australia will not engage in foreign interference on behalf of US imperialism!

1.     Projected Population, Solomon Islands Statistics Office.
2.     GDP  Growth – Annual % - World Bank; and, Trading Economics, GDP Growth, Solomon Islands.
3.     Ibid.
4.     Ibid., and, Wikipedia: The Solomon Islands.
5.     Call for independence, PAC News / Solomon Times, 11 December 2021.
6.     China extends influence in the Pacific, The Guardian (U.K.), 16 September 2019.  
7.     Suidana says MARA stand for Malaita issues not Taiwan, The Solomon Star, 9 December 2021.
8.     Wikipedia: Rioting – The Solomon Islands.
9.     'Malaita has it all' / Why Suidana is pushing for independence vote, IslandSun (On-line), 8 September 2020.
10.   Ibid.
11.   Maelanga speaks, The Solomon Star, 10 December 2021; and, Call for independence dividing Malaita province of Solomon Islands, One PNG., 11 December 2021.
12.   Solomon Islands Prime Minister survives no confidence vote, The Guardian (U.K.), 6 December 2021.           
13.   Curfew lifted, The Solomon Star, 10 December 2021.
13.   A new year, and fresh turmoil in world order, Australian, 30 December 2021.
14.   Solomon Islands National Statistics Office: Press Release, International Arrivals, 26 October 2021; and, Solomon Islands accepts Chinese offer for riot police help, ABC News, 24 December 2021.   

China's Foreign Direct Investment In Australia - Not All Going To Plan For Xi Jinping

 Written by: Ned K. on 29 December 2021

China's foreign direct investment in Australia has undergone significant changes since the restoration of capitalism in China under Deng from the early 1980s. 

In the early 1980s Chinese foreign direct investment was mainly in the iron ore and steel industries and mainly through Chinese State Owned Enterprises (SOEs). It was also part of promotion of diplomacy between the Hawke Government and the Communist Party of China (CPC).

In 1984 Hawke encouraged Chinese- Australian investment cooperation, visiting China and launching the Iron and Steel Initiative (ISI).
In response, China's economic diplomacy took a step up when Hu Yaobang came to Australia for a joint promotion of iron and steel industry investment in Australia. Chinese investment contributed to the re-activation of a blast furnace at Kwinana steel works.

In February 1986, the state-owned China International Trust and Investment Corporation (CITIC) invested in the Alcoa Aluminum Smelter at Portland.
In November 1987, China's state-owned Metallurgical Import and Export Corporation (now Sinosteel) and Rio Tinto jointly funded the Channar iron ore mine in the Pilbara.

In the 1990s, the Communist Party of China’s overseas investment policy was accelerated with more encouragement for still mainly SOEs to "go out" and invest overseas with Australia of prime interest due to the large reserves of high-grade iron ore needed for China's expanding manufacturing industries and infrastructure programs.

However, according to a NSW based researcher, Haoyue Zu, it would be an over simplification to say that the increase in Chinese overseas direct investment in Australia was a controlled move by the Chinese state. Zu points out that since the "going out" policy, China's political system became fragmented with various state and non-state interests .

In the 1990s, the CPC relaxed its overseas foreign direct investment policies in its rush for more natural resources that it needed for its industrial economic growth. 

It encouraged private corporations in China to invest overseas as a well. However, the privately owned corporations and the increasing number of privatised SOEs started investing overseas to make a quick buck in industries that they fancied, rather than only investing in the more strategic areas of natural resources like iron ore, oil and gas.

In 2013, Chinese overseas direct investment in Australian real estate was much higher than Chinese overseas direct investment in the resource sector. Both privately owned Chinese corporations and SOEs invested more in the real estate sector than in resources in Australia.

According to researcher Zu, from 2013 Xi Jinping and the CPC made moves to centralise government to reduce the fragmentation of economic power. Ironically, the newly created bureaucracies designed to centralise government "resulted in bureaucratic overlaps and tensions" resulting in what Zu calls "disorderly" Chinese investment in Australia. 

In the period 2013 to 2018, Chinese foreign investment in Australia diversified further into agribusiness, infrastructure and even health care, as well as continuing in commercial real estate, but declining in the resources sector.

By 2016, 49% of Chinese overseas direct investment in Australia was from privately owned corporations in China. the other 51%was from SOEs, but both private and SOE corporations invested heavily in real estate rather than in mining, oil and gas which were of much more strategic value to the CPC.
in late 2016 the CPC set general guidelines to limit private Chinese overseas investment in real estate, tourism and entertainment, but encouraged it in oil, mining and infrastructures.

However Chinese overseas foreign direct investment in real estate in Australia continued to rise!

Then another twist! In 2018, the highest specific overseas foreign investment from China was in Healthcare at 41.7% of the total investment. Next was in commercial real estate at 36.7% while oil, gas and energy comprised just 8% of the total.

Zu argues that the erratic investment patterns in speculative ventures by Chinese capitalists "has even effected China's economic development because it involved a net loss of foreign exchange, leading the Chinese government to introduce further regulations."

Zu's research shows that while the CPC administers a form of capitalism with higher control than western capitalist countries, the CPC and the Chinese government are not completely in control of economic life in China. Zu demonstrates in her research paper that the class of private corporations and even SOE directors and managers have enough soft power in China to be able to disregard CPC and government guidelines about where and when they invest overseas and from which industries overseas they make their profits. 

Contradictions between the CPC leadership and the class of big capitalists in China involved in overseas investment have their origin in the economic base of the country. How this impacts on the Chinese working class and the Australian working class needs further analysis.

{For further information on this topic, read "China's Outward Foreign Direct Investment In Australia" by Haoyue Zu in Journal of Australian Political Economy (jape)]


CPA (M-L) greets the anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines

Comradely greetings and congratulations to the CPP from the CPA (M-L).

The CPP is recognised as leading the struggles of the Philippine people against foreign imperialism, bureaucrat capitalism and feudalism.

Its tireless work in building the united front through the NDFP has brought together all sectors of Philippine society struggling against exploitation and political repression – the workers, peasants, indigenous peoples, healthcare and educational workers, faith workers,  professionals, - and with extensive support from the many forced by poverty or repression to move to other countries.

Wherever struggle takes place, in the countryside, in factories and workshops, in villages, or on the streets, it is fierce and protracted and the victories are hard-earned.

We honour the martyrs, the imprisoned, the suffering of their families and comrades – all have fought courageously for a better life for the people against the murderous Duterte regime with its US imperialist backers and our own Australian running-dog government.

We are confident that the near future will bring greater victories for the CPP, strengthening the united front and advancing the Philippines revolution.   


Will new spymaster take on the far-right?

 Written by: (Contributed) on 26 December 2021

Observing the careers of senior government officials and their links with the Liberal Party is a particularly fascinating Australian pastime; it is possible to establish elite patronage systems, and how class and state actors respond to challenge and crisis, either by deliberate action or indifference. Recent media coverage of Australian defence and security provision and the role of the intelligence services, for example, has provided a fascinating insight into the upper echelons of Canberra.

Readers of the Weekend Australian for the Xmas break were able to study a massive two hundred centimetre column spread by Greg Sheridan, the newspaper's Foreign Editor about the new head of the National Intelligence Community, Andrew Shearer. (1) Written in Sheridan's usual sycophantic and obsequious journalistic style, the feature spread provided a fascinating study of the inner workings of an elite government department in Canberra.

Shearer was appointed director-general of the NIC in early December. The elite body consists of ten agencies which are part of Australia's defence and security system, which follow US Cold War directives. They include: the three main defence agencies together with the intelligence services and other government departments. Part of their stated brief has included 'co-operating on establishing a top-secret intelligence cloud that will enable the NIC to store its vast amounts of data securely and, for the agencies, accessibly'. (2)

Apparently, on 1 December, Canberra established 'a new vetting hub for the intelligence services … it sits within ASIO … and … this will make it easier for personnel to transfer between agencies … and enable … intelligence capability-sharing principles'.  (3)

Curiously, the publicity surrounding the NIC has cast serious doubts upon just how the umbrella-type body is actually supposed to be conducting its business. It was noted Shearer was already working overtime in order to 'take the inherited institutions and structures of Australian intelligence and make them more effective', presumably due to assessments about their failings. (3) Part of his workload, however, was 'combining the vast oceans of information that are out here unguarded in the public with the information Australia's intelligence agencies gather and transforming all this information into usable assessments'. (4) Have such people read newspapers, other publications and post-graduate research papers in previous times? Have they taken note of social and psychological traits in discourse?

Studies of the US intelligence services have revealed how their Crypto A.G. diplomatic equipment was used for intelligence-gathering; they spied on most countries using Operations Thesaurus and Rubicon. (5) Crypto A.G., Swiss-based business front organisation, folded in 2018 when 'the NSA's attention shifted to finding ways to exploit the global reach of Google, Microsoft, Venizon and other US technological powers'. (6) Recent studies have shown the internet is not a secure place in which to provide confidential information. Shearer, when questioned about the darker side of intelligence-gathering and the use of fake-identity and third-party actors, was both circumspect and unequivocal; stated 'it covers the whole spectrum'. (7)

John le Carre and Graham Greene both wrote extensively about such shadowy occupations and their stated terms and conditions of professional employment designed to deal with questionable matters. Le Carre, for example, wrote about philosophical considerations along the lines that 'it is bearing false witness … it's just so shitty … Lucan complained … I don't think its even ethical … is it'. (8) Moral considerations, quite clearly however, form a lower agenda consideration with such occupations inside the corridors of power.

Shearer would appear to have been chosen for the position due to his extensive experience in the corridors of power in both Canberra and Washington which have included senior government positions alongside John Howard and Tony Abbott and working with counterparts linked to the Clinton and Obama administrations. Each new appointment has taken him closer to the nerve-centres of power in his chosen profession.

One of the matters arising which Shearer and those in his employment will have to deal with is the rapid rise of the far-right in Australia and within the elite Five Eyes intelligence-sharing group. The Australian Federal Police, for example, admitted in 2019 that studies of the far-right consisted of about two per cent of their case-load; it is now about 15 per cent. (9) ASIO, likewise, have noted a dramatic increase in similar case-loads, from about ten per cent in 2019 to about fifty per cent at the present time. (10)

The far-right in recent years have taken to concentrating efforts with on-line recruitment through social media using endless conspiracy theories and other drivel-related items, including racial vilification and white supremacist political standpoints. Many of the groups remain small and appear fragmented; care, however, needs to be taken distinguishing between the leaders and the led, those in control manipulate the lowest common denominators as bully-boys and girls. The puppet-masters are the most aggressive side of the bourgeoisie and seek to weaken and divide organised labour.

The problem has also been exacerbated by government officials in Canberra and elsewhere who use their positions to shield and protect far-right personnel, either through deliberate means or by indifference. Brenton Tarrant, convicted of the terrorist outrage in New Zealand, for example, was able to move between countries using his Australian passport with impunity, socialise with like-minded counterparts and escape the scrutiny of those who were supposed to be tracking such persons of interest. The recent parliamentary inquiry into far-right political extremism, also revealed a senior Liberal government minister with two important and highly relevant and related portfolios in Home Affairs and later, Defence, openly state, 'I just don't care what their ideology is … I'm not getting into silly, stupid, petty arguments or discussions about that sort of interpretation'. (11) So much for NIC use of analytical trade-craft and data analytics.

A sensible person might also ask the question: how are you going to even identify far-right personnel and groups if you do not study the ideological nature of their publicity material, social media and email correspondence? It will be more than a little interesting to note how the NIC, with their new organisational networks, deal with such problems. Or, as is more likely, how they politically and organisationally manoeuvre around the problem, and not deal with the serious matter arising: Yes, Minister, is likely to be their chosen course.

For thousands of years epistemology, as an important philosophical tradition and theory of knowledge, has sought to distinguish between justifiable beliefs and opinion. A sensible person might hope contemporary Canberra should, likewise, form part of the same tradition and use such philosophical tools to identify the far-right and those who associate and collude with them, even if their findings prove uncomfortable and incriminating. Their failure to do so will have serious implications for Australia.  

1.     The man bringing national security out of the shadows, The Weekend Australian, 24-26 December 2021.
2.     Ibid.
3.     Ibid.
4.     Ibid.
5.     Operations: Thesaurus and Rubicon, The Washington Post, 11 February 2020; and, The intelligence coup of the century, The Washington Post, 11 February 2020.
6.     Ibid.
7.     The man…, Weekend Australian, op.cit., 24-26 December 2021.
8.     The Night Manager, John le Carre, (London, 1993), page 155.
9.     Australian far-right terrorism, SBS News, 8 October 2021.
10.   Ibid.
11.   Peter Dutton says distinctions between forms of extremism are 'silly, stupid, and petty', Today News Posts, 4 December 2020.


Saturday, December 25, 2021

Zhang Zhikun: Saying a few things to Commemorate Mao Zedong's 128th birth anniversary


(From Mao's Reply to Guo Moruo, 1963: So many deeds cry out to be done, And always urgently; The world rolls on, Time presses. Ten thousand years are too long, Seize the day, seize the hour!)

2021-12-25 22:48:58author: Zhang ZhiKun source: red song club network

(Translator's preface:  Today, December 26, 2021 is the 128th anniversary of the birth of Comrade Mao Zedong. There are dozens of articles like this one on the Chinese internet today, all praising Mao Zedong's revolutionary legacy and deploring the state of Chinese society today.  There are photos of commemorative activities being held throughout China - a Mao Zedong "fever" for sure!)

Mao Zedong fever[1] continues to rise in China, and there is a sea of articles commemorating him, in stark contrast to previous years. When I think about a decade ago, there were only a few articles like this, which made me feel the vicissitudes of time. Now it is completely different, as heroes and heroines from all walks of life have reunited under the banner of Mao Zedong, explaining Mao Zedong's thought and spirit, as well as its significance for contemporary China, and digging deeper into its future influence, reaching an unprecedented theoretical height and depth of thought that was previously unattainable. Since this is the case, I can only express some things on the memory of the great man Chairman Mao Zedong, as I did back then.

(1) Where did China's military power rank in the world during the Mao era?

In the current world, rankings are prevalent, and the military is no exception. It is said that in today's global military ranking, China is ranked second, the second military power after the United States. Of course, there is also a theory that it is in third place, behind the United States and Russia. But regardless of the second or third place, it is said to be a very impressive and significant achievement.

This leads one to wonder where China ranked militarily in Mao's time. Which is greater, lower or more important, the military achievements of China at that time or the military achievements of China today?

There are generally two dimensions that people recognise when measuring military achievements: one is the level of armed force building, and the other is the actual battle results and outcomes. The relationship between these two is that one takes into account the state of peace and the other focuses on the fundamental functions; one is a superficial phenomenon and the other is a deep and practical one, and they corroborate and support each other.

Using this yardstick to measure the military achievements of the world's major powers, one can find that the military achievements of the United States were brilliant after the Cold War, as the hegemony achieved a series of military victories during this period, while the Soviet Union, which had its share of victories and defeats during the Cold War and lost more than it won, entered the Russian period and experienced a turnaround from defeat to victory, a turnaround that was completed by Vladimir Putin. This is the basic point of departure and final destination for people evaluating US-Russian (Soviet) military power.

China is a different story. In Mao's time China was vastly inferior to the US and the Soviet Union in terms of weaponry, and although it was catching up fast, it was not modernised to the same extent as they were. Even so, no one would have dared to underestimate China's military achievements at the time, as it had achieved a series of impressive results in its campaigns against the United States, India and the border conflict with the Soviet Union, and because of this, China was recognised as the third largest military power in the world by the strategic reviews of the time.

Obviously, at that time, China had neither become "rich" nor "strong", but had only just "stood up". Some people describe this newly risen China as poor, chaotic, collapsed and a failure. But it is impressive that such a China has not only been ranked third in military power, but has also achieved a series of real military victories and become a globally recognised military power. If one follows the very fashionable GDP logic of today, it is difficult to justify in any way. To solve this conundrum, some simply overturn it and say that it is now time to say goodbye to war. Of course, this claim may be a demand for China to say goodbye to war and not for the US, because in reality, on the contrary, the hegemon is preparing to wage new and larger wars, including against China.

(2) Who could have designed the establishment of the Republic better than Mao Zedong

It is a well-known fact that Mao Zedong was the principal founder of the People's Republic of China, and it is also an accepted fact that today China's basic institutions, including the state and political systems, are still the same framework as they were then.

This being the case, we have to ask two questions.

One, is the basic system of the People's Republic as a country good?

Secondly, who else could have come up with a more brilliant political design than this?

To answer the first question, we say that the system of the People's Republic is a great political masterpiece, a design that has taken Chinese history to new heights, a system that fully embodies the superiority of socialism, the excellence of Chinese history and culture, the excellence of the Chinese nation, and is a model of combining the universal truths of Marxism with Chinese reality. This system is the prerequisite and basis for China's development and progress, and it is still alive and vibrant today, as evidenced by the rapid development to build a moderately prosperous society, as well as the achievements and spirit of the great anti-epidemic, and the so-called reform and opening up, all of which were essentially made possible on the basis of this basic system, as General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out in his speech at the conference to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, that the founding of China "created the fundamental social conditions for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. It has brought about the most extensive and profound social transformation in the history of the Chinese nation" and "laid the fundamental political premise and institutional foundation for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation". This is a brand new form of human civilisation.

To answer the second question, no one was wiser or more brilliant than Chairman Mao Zedong. Because he had very rich political experience, he had seen the various attempts at social systems and their failures after the fall of the Chinese dynasties, as well as the various cases under the systems of capitalist countries, and even more so the huge failure in the institutional design of the Republic of China before him, and therefore the difficult exploration of what kind of China the future should be began from the time of the Jiangxi base area, and after the victory in the War of Resistance had begun to be a quite concrete design, which did not take final shape until the moment of the founding of the new China. It can be said that without Mao Zedong there would have been no New China as a country and system; likewise, if it had not been for Mao Zedong, no other person would have been able to produce such a brilliant design.

(3) Mao Zedong is back, can the modern version of the landed gentry still stay?

Mao Zedong had many enemies throughout his life, one of the more prominent categories being the landed gentry, whose defeat was the most immediate goal of his revolution and struggle. After dozens of revolutions, Mao's goal was achieved and the landed gentry became extinct in mainland China. Not only did they lose the economic and social basis on which they existed, but even the remnants of their past were generally transformed into new people.

But history is always spiralling upwards. An upward spiral means that there is a constant reincarnation on newer and higher pedestals. This is also the case with the landed gentry, who have also undergone a historical reincarnation. Nowadays in China, the modern version of the landed gentry has become quite prominent and influential as a social group.

Of course, everyone knows that this is only a social phenomenon, and that the deeper reasons for the emergence of such a landscape are the result of dramatic economic and social structural changes, the inevitable fruits of a context in which exploitation and private ownership are once again growing, the gap between the rich and the poor is once again widening and aggravating, and the antagonism between the rich and the poor is once again confronting each other. Against such a background and under such conditions, it should be said that the new version of the landed gentry should have been given their own historical feast[2].

But history has played another big joke on them. The modern version of China's landed gentry had not even enjoyed themselves for a few days before they were surprised to find that Mao Zedong had returned, and returned very quickly and universally, from top to bottom, from inside to outside, from here to there, and his political spectre was almost everywhere and in everything, and what he brought back was the original heart of the Communist Party, collectivism, the socialist communalism, and common prosperity. This is troublesome, because the impact and shock will be so widespread and profound that the new-age tycoons will first be dumbfounded, and then terrified and distraught in the face of this.

Needless to say, the return of Mao's history will certainly provoke deep and widespread panic and fear, and the question of where China's modern version of the landed gentry will find itself in the future will once again become a major issue.

(4) On Mao's "mistakes"

For a long time, in modern Chinese politics and public opinion, there have been people who have been working on the proposition of Mao's "merits" and "faults", in essence, holding on to the mistakes of Chairman Mao Zedong and thus denying his historical status and political image.

Of course, Mao Zedong had made mistakes, and even he himself said that it was impossible for people not to make mistakes, but only for those who did so to make them less often and correct them better. Nowadays, when we look back and re-examine the proposition of Mao's "merits" and "faults" on a new historical basis, the insights can be renewed in a different way.

One is whether Mao Zedong's merits and demerits can be divided into several parts.

Some people think that Mao Zedong's merits and demerits should be divided into three or seven[3], others think it should be divided into two or eight, and others think it should be divided into four or six, and there was once a very heated debate. The author's experience is that, as the founder of the country, can Mao's performance and mistakes be compared in size, high or low, and measured in importance? The performance he created can be replaced by no one, and his mistakes can be changed completely, can these two be equal? I think that the division of Mao Zedong's merits and demerits can be put to rest, and this should be the conclusion of history.

Secondly, mistakes must also stand the test of time

Right and wrong are never absolute; they have historically varied from one person to another, and from one historical condition to another. What is considered wrong by one group of people may seem right to another group; what seems wrong in one era may seem right in another. This is also true of Mao's mistakes, and it is particularly worth pointing out that, after being tested and washed away by the passage of time, some of the many mistakes that were once said to be Mao's are today seen simply as far-sighted and remarkable in their historical penetration.

The third is what Mao Zedong thought of and did not think of

Mao Zedong was no exception, and there were things he did and did not think of. He had thought of and foresaw many things for the most backward China, such as modernisation, "overtaking the British and catching up with the Americans", the possible re-emergence of pro-American forces and a certain resurgence of capitalism, but he might not have imagined that corruption had been so widespread under the Communist Party, that some regimes had collapsed on a large scale, and that the people's army that he had built up had once been so widespread that it had become a "military". The triad society was so rampant that it developed to the extent that certain places and areas were completely blackened from the outside to the inside and from the bottom to the top; gambling and drugs were so widespread that they were once found in every street and alley...all these were things that this great man could not have imagined even if he had broken his head. The deterioration of the rulers is even more terrifying than the deterioration of China. This is an undeniable fact.

The fourth is what Mao could and could not do

A prominent grip of the accusations about Mao's mistakes is that he did not engage in reform and opening up, but was closed and conservative. In hindsight, this too is debatable. Let alone whether this was really the case, even if it was, under the social and historical conditions of China at that time, after the overthrow of the Three Great Mountains[4] and the triumph of the revolution, could the Chinese people allow Western capital to come back and set up factories in China? Could the capitalists be allowed to continue to exploit the workers? This does not make logical sense in any way.

Under the historical conditions of the time, all Mao could do was to rely on the strength of the Chinese people, to promote the spirit of self-reliance and hard work, to reduce the material wealth needs of all the people, especially those in power, to a minimum level, and to build a solid industrial and economic foundation for China for the future at this cost. The economy as understood in Mao's time was not the get-rich-quick economy of today, but an economy that made up for the country's historical debt of industrialisation, to walk the path of centuries of Western industrial development in just a few decades, and to place heavy industry in an overriding position of importance. Only after these things have been done can he go and fill his belly to put on make-up and dress up. He had to take a long-term view and be responsible to the people, to history, to the nation, not to a few people, a few categories of people, or a few groups. Mao's vow not to follow Li Zicheng's example[5] meant that some people's desire to have a good time after they had won the kingdom fell through. Otherwise, massive corruption might have had to start 30 or 40 years earlier.

(Above: There is a growing call for Mao's birthday to replace Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as a day of national celebration -  a People's Holiday)

(5) Mao Zedong was a strategic equal to the United States

The United States today claims to have many masters of strategy, and these people have indeed made many Chinese "experts" and "scholars" look up to them, thinking that they are models and pinnacles. The various concepts, judgments and logic developed by these American strategy scholars have become a guideline for some Chinese, and are followed with the same urgency as the orders of the Supreme Lord, lest they be neglected.

This is an embarrassing situation to put it mildly. China today is certainly below the US in terms of strategic strength, but more importantly, it is also below the US in terms of the academic and strategic level. I am not aware of any famous Chinese strategic scholars or masters who are highly regarded and respected by the US, which is almost like saying that if we compare the strategies of China and the US, China is not only inferior in power but also in skill. Such a situation would undoubtedly make China's disadvantageous and passive situation even more serious, and it is inevitable that China and the United States would not be on an equal footing in terms of strategy.

But this was not the case with China in Mao's time. At that time, China was vastly different from the United States in terms of strategic strength, much greater than today, but it was far superior to the United States in terms of the level of strategy and tactics. Simply put, it was weak in static strength and strong in dynamic play. Because of this, China at the time was never at a disadvantage in its dealings with the United States and was strategically on par. The reason for this was Mao's high level of strategic planning at the time. In the United States at the time, Mao was recognised and revered by the strategic community as a world-class strategic master. It was for this reason that the United States at that time had a very high strategic regard for China and was very cautious about conflict with China, and later was anxious to get out of confrontation with China. Imagine how the US, which claimed to be the world's hegemon, could have taken China seriously if it had not been in awe of it from the bottom of its heart.

In dealing with the United States, Mao Zedong was the highest and toughest, compared to Khrushchev, who was no good, and Jiang Jieshi (Chiang Kai-shek), who was nothing more than an aggrieved man.

Now, more and more Chinese people can look at Mao Zedong beyond the limits of their personal grudges and times. Under such a perspective, I am afraid that Mao fever is inevitable, and whether one wants it or not, it will become a major trend, and a new climax will occur this year when the anniversary of Mao's birth is approaching.

Above and below: Tens of thousands of people from all over China joined together to remember Mao Zedong in the early hours of Sunday morning at the Mao Zedong Bronze Statue Square in Shaoshan. (Photo taken from Hong Kong
The China News Service reports that many people have been arriving at Mao Zedong Square since 00:00 on Sunday. After putting on their masks and taking the initiative to cooperate with the staff to check their body temperature, health codes and trip cards, people held flowers and waved red flags as they sang and danced in the square.

[1] Think Beatlemania in the 60s to understand Mao Zedong fever today.

[2] A reference to "A Feast of History", a book published by Long March Publishing House in 2009, in which the great achievements of outstanding Chinese throughout history, was celebrated. Here it is used ironically.

[3] The 1981 Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of Our Party since the Founding of the People’s Republic of China, drawn up by Deng Xiaoping and his gang of capitalist-roaders, contained 25 references to “mistakes” made by or associated with Comrade Mao Zedong, but they still needed to hide behind his great reputation, so they said his achievements were 70% and his mistakes 30%.

[4] Feudalism, bureaucrat-capitalism and imperialism.

[5] Li Zicheng had led a peasant rebellion that invaded Beijing and, in 1644, toppled the Ming Dynasty. Even though he overran Beijing, the would-be emperor failed to keep power because he and his colleagues alienated the masses by adopting an aristocratic lifestyle. His rule lasted less than a year.