Some of Our Comrades who read the article: “China’s Concentration Camps for Uyghurs: In China’s Own Words” in the Liberation (organ of CPI (ML) Liberation) September issue, have asked, Has Liberation changed its stand on China? what is its present stand? Yes, as far as we know, its basic stand on China has not changed from its earlier stand “China is a puzzle”! Even its 2017 International Document state:” In our 9th Congress we had commented on China’s drift away from “any meaningful progress towards socialism,” and noted “the conspicuous absence of the essential emancipatory vision of a revolutionary social transformation – one that reduces social disparities and elevates the basic masses from a position of mere recipients of benefits from a state power standing above them, to one of real rulers of the land.” This situation continues without any change for the better; in fact disturbing reports from China suggest that living and working conditions of the people have further deteriorated, and suppression of their struggles has intensified. The 19th Congress of the CPC has not made any attempt at course-correction with regard to its handling of key issues such as working class and feminist protests, and nationality movements in the Tibet and Xinjiang regions. China’s treatment of its Muslim minority population is also a cause for concern. The growing extension of the surveillance state and the introduction of the ‘social credit’ system to rate the ‘trustworthiness’ of citizens clearly have dangerous implications for the rights and welfare of the people.
“China has made a visible break with its former policy of maintaining a low profile in terms of intervention in international affairs, increasing its foreign policy footprint in various parts of the world including a military base away from home. This assertiveness has been accompanied by the abolition of term limits on the presidency, opening up the possibility for the current President Xi Jingping to hold his position for an unlimited period. While this increased assertiveness augurs well as a potentially countervailing force against US hegemony towards a more multi-polar world, we must carefully observe and assess the implications of China’s increased foreign policy engagement in specific cases.
“BRICS never lived up to its potential to promote multi-polarity either against unilateral political domination by the US or the economic stranglehold of IMF-World Bank-WTO. Even within BRICS there is very little development of economic cooperation among the member countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa). ….” It amounts to saying, China is a socialist state, but with many shortcomings! It is almost a repetition of its stand on Soviet Union taken by its 4th Party Congress in 1987 after abandoning the CPI(ML) 8th Congress stand that it has transformed in to a social imperialist state, ‘preaching socialism, but practicing capitalism’. In effect, it took the stand that Soviet Union continues to be a socialist state, and upheld Gorbachov’s Glassnost and Perestroika as an effort to strengthen its socialist base and to democratize the superstructure! It was a stand similar to that of CPI(M). Its leadership explained: “As we pointed out in our Fourth Party Congress held in 1987, our mistakes did not lie in criticising the essential degeneration of socialism during the Brezhnevian period in Soviet Russia but in altogether negating the possibilities of change from within the Party and the system themselves.
“We, however, continued to criticise the superpower status of the Soviet Union and pinpointed Gorbachev’s policy of painting imperialism in rosy colours… However, we must continue to have a positive evaluation of glasnost and perestroika in the Soviet Union, and support the Soviet Union’s measures directed towards disarmament and world peace.”
But just one year after this evaluation, when the East European peoples democracies started taking open capitalist positions after throwing out the communist party governments and in 1991 Soviet Union itself disintegrated in to open capitalist states, abandoning their pseudo-socialist phrase-mongering, the Liberation leadership had to come out with the following justification: “…To defend the socialist Soviet Union from imperialist aggression a huge nuclear arsenal was built up. Achieving military parity with the USA, and even surpassing it, had become the sole motto of the socialist state… Socialist democracy was given the go by, no dissidence of any sort was tolerated and, in return, people were served the illusions of ‘developed socialism’, ‘primary stage of communism’ and of a superpower syndrome often reminiscent of the great Russian chauvinism. Under cover of all this, a communist party and a regime grew which was detached from the masses and was corrupt and degenerate.
“The socialist economic base could not sustain this superpower structure for long and the Soviet Union was already sitting on a volcano by the middle of the ’80s. Gorbachev initiated reforms to salvage the situation, but it was already too late. His perestroika and glasnost brought far-reaching changes in Eastern Europe, kindled national aspirations within Soviet Union and unleashed a host of social forces within the Soviet society and soon a pole emerged around Yeltsin demanding full-fledged restoration of capitalism”. Even after committing such a serious mistake by deviating from the evaluation of the developments taking place in these countries by the CPI(ML)’s 8th Congress, Liberation continued its confused stand towards China. In continuation to the inner party struggle during Mao’s time, when the capitalist roaders led by Deng Tsiaoping usurped power through a military coup following Mao’s death in 1976, and started capitalist transforming China to an imperialist power by launching Four Modernizations in 1978, though by 1985 almost all the Marxist-Leninist forces all over the world recognized this fact and started calling it a social imperialist state. Still Liberation and a section of the UCCRI(ML) led by DV Rao, continued to evaluate it as socialist country like CPI and CPI(M)! Throwing away Mao’s teaching, “Grasp Revolution, Promote Production”, even when the Dengists started demolishing everything that was done for socialist transition during Mao’s time, the People’s Communes, the self-reliant development based on providing food, housing, healthcare, education and employment to all as top priority, ecological protection, the Cultural Revolution launched for transforming the decadent feudal, capitalist thinking, which will destroy the socialist base being constructed, to socialist thinking, creating new renaissance, socio-cultural-egalitarian values, and resorted to extraction of surplus value from workers at unprecedented levels to provide cheapest labour to attract the leading MNCs in the world to invest in China for producing cheapest possible manufactured goods in order to capture the world market, to intensifying the inter-imperialist contradiction with US imperialism for world hegemony, to border conflicts with neighbouring countries instead of taking initiative to resolve them peacefully, even if the other side reacted antagonistically, upholding the spirit of proletarian internationalism, to arrogant stands aggravating the standoff in South China sea, on the border with India and in numerous other issues like suppressing the national and religious minorities, the Liberation leadership did not think it necessary to change its evaluation of China.
But, it is quite natural that questions are asked if abruptly it comes out with such a strong criticism against China for its suppression of the Muslim minorities in Urghur, without changing its evaluation of China still. It is quite clear that it is not Marxist-Leninist compulsions which are leading them to it. Then, why do they come out with such an article on Uyghur suppression, even when it is not ready for criticizing it for abandoning the socialist path and embracing the capitalist path, which is the basic reason for all these basic deviations? But the reason is very clear. It is afraid of changing its opportunist evaluation of China taken during the time of its former general secretary!
But, at the same time it knows very well that what is China doing to Muslim minorities in Uyghur and nearby regions cannot be pushed under the carpet by saying these are all Xenophobic propaganda of the US and its friends. So, even China is forced to come out with a White Paper accepting some of these criticisms, justifying them as a process of “re-education’! Re-education at such a huge level, organizing massive concentration camps! Its own cadres from the minorities and its Muslim supporters will naturally ask: how can you still support China and call it socialist when it is resorting to such fascist suppression of Uyghur people? Its opportunist line of supporting China which is suppressing the Muslims will have adverse impact among the minority voters in the coming Bihar elections where it has heavy stakes.
Already many of its cadres and followers are leaving it for taking the opportunist line of claiming to uphold Naxalbari Uprising and Charu Majumdar and at the same time joining the CPI(M) Left Front, rejecting the fact that Naxalbari Uprising took place and CPI(ML) was formed as a result of the fierce ideological struggle against revisionist CPI and neo-revisionist CPI(M), who had abandoned the path of revolution and embraced parliamentary cretinism and apologists of neo-colonialism? So, while continuing with opportunist justifications for calling China still socialist, it has come out with a strong criticism of Chinese actions in organizing concentration camps for Uyghurs to save the situation, with the following justification: “In fact, it is important that if rightwing discourse is attacking China, a consistent Left must assess and critique China’s policies from a firmly Marxist vantage point. Even at the height of the Cold War, the CPIML made its own independent assessments and critiques of the Soviet Union from a Marxist perspective, rather than taking stances based on Cold War camps. The CPIML also opposed the Tiananmen Square massacre”!
But such justifications will not convince comrades who are familiar with the opportunist line it pursued compromising earlier with Soviet social imperialism, and now with Chinese social imperialism, and the degeneration of Liberation from the Communist Revolutionary camp to the camp of social democrats by fighting against whom the Naxalbari Uprising took place. They can easily see through the hollowness of this article, which we are reproducing below fully, which is highly critical of China for its suppressive policy towards the minorities in general and against the Uyghurs in particular, throwing millions of them in to concentration camps. n
China’s Concentration Camps for Uyghurs:
In China’s Own Words
(Reproduced from Liberation, September 2020)
In the past few years, there are increasingly disturbing reports about China’s internment camps for Uyghurs in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region of China. There have been many credible academic studies as well as journalistic reports documenting the systemic incarceration of an entire nationality/ethnicity, in the name of a “war on terror.” China, and Chinese media, have claimed that these reports are distortions by the “western media” and “western nations” interested in discrediting China.
Information on the issue tends to be from ideologically polarised sources. So, like so many issues in today’s world, there is a tendency to take positions based on ideological camps rather than facts. Every report in the BBC, New York Times or Washington Post can be dismissed as “fake news” and “Western propaganda”, while likewise any report from Xinhua or Global Times can be called “Chinese propaganda”.
How should we, on the communist, Marxist Leninist Left in India and the world, view the matter? Marxists have to look at any matter from the perspective of facts and the highest principles of the rights of people and of oppressed communities. No one should choose to believe or disbelieve facts, or support or oppose oppression, based on “camps” in the global world order. There is no doubt that the US and its allies have vested interests in isolating China; and also in spreading a variety of racially motivated Sinophobic material, which has many takers in India. But that cannot mean that those who are firmly opposed to any such US/NATO agenda, make no independent assessment/criticism of China’s policies and its treatment of dissenters, minorities and oppressed nationalities. In fact, it is important that if rightwing discourse is attacking China, a consistent Left must assess and critique China’s policies from a firmly Marxist vantage point. Even at the height of the Cold War, the CPIML made its own independent assessments and critiques of the Soviet Union from a Marxist perspective, rather than taking stances based on Cold War camps. The CPIML also opposed the Tiananmen Square massacre. We pointed out that facts simply did not support the claim that the protesting students were all part of a rightwing pro capitalist plot, and that regardless, nothing could justify the massacre of protesting students. In August 2009, Liberation carried a piece by Arindam Sen titled ‘Mao Zedong Thought and Ethnic Clashes in Xinjiang’, outlining the Chinese State’s divergence from Mao’s “emphasis on opposing Han chauvinism” in dealing with contradictions with minority nationalities.
On the current situation of the Uyghurs in China, Liberation attempts to separate the wheat from the chaff, by closely and critically reading China’s own official public White Paper on their Uyghur policy; and their official responses to leaked documents and other reports in various news outlets. We scrutinise these official positions and responses of the Chinese state and ruling regime, to see if they match up to the principles of upholding the rights of people and oppressed communities that we on the Left demand from any regime. So, does China’s policy towards the Uyghur people stand up to such scrutiny?
China’s 2019 White Paper on Uyghurs
After a period of denying all reports of the existence of internment camps for Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region, China changed course, and decided not only to admit the existence of the camps but to justify and even boast of these camps as a successful model of fighting “terrorism.” In March 2019, The State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China published a white paper titled “The Fight Against Terrorism and Extremism and Human Rights Protection in Xinjiang”. This position paper can be accessed on the official website of the Chinese Government.
This paper begins with a long discourse on “terrorism”, and stating that since the 1990s, and especially in the wake of the September 9/11 terror attack in the US, separatist forces aiming to establish Xinjiang as “East Turkestan” separate from China, have been indulging in terrorist activities there. The paper cites several of these instances.
Marxist Leninist principles demand that we try to identify and address the material and political basis for militancy, rather than blaming it on “outside” forces or on “religious extremists.” For instance, we remind our fellow Indians that the Indian State cannot be allowed to get away with the claim that militancy in the Kashmir Valley is a product purely of Pakistani interference or “Islamic extremism”. There are genuine political grievances that the Kashmiri people have: and militancy is primarily a product of the refusal of the Indian State to admit or address those grievances. For militancy in Kashmir, Manipur, or Nagaland, there are historical and political grievances at root, compounded by Indian State’s brutal and repressive policy of treating entire communities in these regions as potentially “terrorist”. The Chinese Government’s paper on Uyghurs does exactly the same as what the Indian State does: blame militancy on “outside interference” and “religious extremists”. Our August 2009 piece analysed the issued underlying Uyghur resentment and alienation. Why does the Chinese state not reflect on their own failings in addressing the root political issues, and failure to win the confidence and support of the people in the Xinjiang province?
It is also interesting that while the Chinese State blames all criticism of its Uyghur policy on “Western capitalist propaganda”, its own policy document echoes the US, NATO “War on Terror” propaganda and policy (a fountainhead of Islamophobic state sponsored violence), complete with the invocation of 9/11 as a watershed moment.
Policing a Community In The Name of “Preventing” Crime
Across the world, from Black communities in the US to India’s policy in Kashmir, Manipur, Nagaland, and Bastar, repressive states have labelled entire communities as prone to “crime” or “terror”, to justify intrusive surveillance and state terror against people of those communities, based on their identity not on crimes committed by them. “Salwa Judum” in Bastar is one instance, where the Indian State justified acting to displace and imprison entire adivasi villages, in the name of “preventing Maoist terror”.
The White Paper makes it clear that the Chinese State does much the same: treating the entire Uyghur population as prone to religious extremism and terrorism, and justifying mass incarceration of Uyghurs in “re-education camps” in the name of “preventing” terrorism.
A UAPA on Steroids
So what is the legal basis for the Chinese State to send vast numbers of Uyghur people to such camps? What is the legal basis for judging that an Uyghur individual is in need of “reeducation”? The Counterterrorism Law of the People’s Republic of China attempts to cover its own back by stating that no one should be targeted on the basic of any specific religion or ethnic identity. But this is how the Government White Paper describes the scope of the law under which persons can be sent by “people’s courts” to the “deradicalisation” centres: “In the course of counterterrorism and de-radicalization, the local government forbids any organization or individual from using religion to split the country, spread religious extremism, incite ethnic hatred, undermine ethnic unity, disturb social order, harm citizens’ physical or mental health, hinder the implementation of the country’s administrative, judicial, educational and cultural systems, or harm national security, national interests, public interests and civil rights and interests. It prevents ill-intentioned people from using religion or religious activities to create disorder or commit crimes.”
Nearly every word in this paragraph is vague and open to arbitrary and subjective interpretation by the State. For instance, there is no clarity on how the law distinguishes spreading religious faith from “spreading religious extremism.” If a religious preacher advocates abstaining from alcohol, for example, is he spreading faith or extremism? If an Uyghur person speaks about Han Chinese majoritarian domination, or imposition of the Mandarin language, is he or she guilty of “undermining ethnic unity” or “disturbing the social order”? If an Uyghur person wears a beard, or observe a fast during Ramzan, are they hindering “implementation of the country’s cultural systems”? How does the State distinguish “ill-intentioned people” from “well-intentioned” ones?
All in all, the Counterterrorism Law of the People’s Republic of China is like India’s draconian UAPA (or its predecessors POTA and TADA) on steroids: a handy tool which empowers the State to surveil and criminalise the most innocent and ordinary of actions, especially if the said actions are committed by a religious minority or ideological dissenter.
Imposition of Mandarin Chinese Language
As Indians, we are acutely aware of the sensitivities and sensibilities of various nationalities and ethnicities regarding language. We are also aware of how India’s fascists seek to impose homogeneity in the name of “Hindi” linguistic and “Hindu” religious supremacy. India has witnessed and continues to witness mass protests — in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Assam, Karnataka, for example — against the imposition of Hindi.
Likewise, for the Uyghurs and other minority ethnicities in the Xinjiang region, language is a key, precious and sensitive part of their identity. Imposition of Mandarin Chinese (the language of the Han Chinese that constitute the majority in China) is resented, and seen, understandably as an attempt to erase Uyghur culture and identity.
The White Paper repeatedly states that the Xinjiang people’s weak command over the Mandarin Chinese language makes them less capable of telling right from wrong, illegal from legal. The vocabulary of the White Paper implies that the Uyghur people are uncivilised and childlike: and need to be civilised by being taught Mandarin Chinese and the rule of law.
The White Paper is peppered by a disturbing number of references to how “rural residents in Xinjiang” have a tendency to become criminals because they “are weak in the use of standard spoken and written Chinese language, slow in acquiring modern knowledge, and have poor communication skills”, and thus “such people are more inclined to be incited or coerced into criminality by terrorist and extremist forces.” Perhaps what is most disturbing about reading this White Paper is that it is a document China has made available in the public domain. The Chinese State feels no qualms or hesitation about declaring such racist stereotypes as its official policy! This policy terming the speakers of ethnic minorities’ own languages as “slow”, non “modern”, and “poor in communication skills”, and therefore prone to crime, is reminiscent of the Criminal Tribes Act in colonial India. Reading these passages, there is no doubt that the Chinese State’s official policy seeks to humiliate and criminalise the language, culture, and entire communities of Uyghur people.
Note: Chinese State policy openly sees knowledge of Mandarin Chinese as a test of patriotism. To put this in perspective: If the Modi regime were, in an official policy document, to declare knowledge of Hindi to be a test of patriotism, (and conversely, a lack of knowledge of Hindi as a proof of lack of intelligence and criminal/terrorist potential) it would easily be recognised and resisted as a fascist policy of enforced homegenisation.
Mass Displacement/Forced Labour?
The White Paper refers repeatedly to “transfer employment” as a job policy for the Xinjiang region: it speaks of “implementing the plan of transfer employment for 100,000 laborers in southern Xinjiang in three years (2018-2020)”; “having realized the transfer employment of 75,000 people”; and “transferring 8.305 million surplus rural labourers for employment in Xinjiang from 2016 to 2018.” What exactly does “transfer employment” mean? Do the labourers have any choice in the matter of where they choose to work, and whether or not they would like to “transfer”? There have been reports of China relocating thousands of Uighurs from Xinjiang in western China to factories across the country where they work “under conditions that strongly suggest forced labour,” producing for a variety of global brands including Apple, Nike, Amazon, Samsung, Zara, H&M, Microsoft, Mercedes-Benz, and Uniqlo.
Is this policy of “transfer employment” forced labour? This question can only be decided by the Uighur workers themselves, if they could answer in an environment free of fear of loss of liberty. All we can say, based on the official documents and statements of the Chinese State, is that such an environment certainly does not exist.
Does China Deny The Authenticity of Leaked Documents?
Now, we come to the documents leaked, reportedly by someone from within the Chinese regime, to the New York Times newspaper in November 2019.
The first thing we at Liberation did was to check whether China questioned the authenticity of the documents. The answer is: No.
A report titled “Western media report on Xinjiang lacks morality”, the Global Times (the international version of the Chinese Community Party’s People’s Daily newspaper) dated 17 November 2019, wrote that “The New York Times disclosed more than 400 pages of “leaked files” from Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and maliciously attacked China’s governance in Xinjiang.” The use of the word “disclosed” suggests that the Chinese State and CPC are not denying the authenticity of the documents.
The same report merely blames the critical analysis of the said documents by the NYT, on “Western public opinion used their value system to criticize the vocational education and training centers in Xinjiang.”
This very notion of a “Western value system” which is distinct from an Eastern one is a racist and colonial trope, embraced and regurgitated by rightwing ideologues in both the supposed “East” and “West”. The Indian far right, for instance, denounces Marxism and communism itself as a “Western value system”.
The report, after claiming that Xinjiang cities are now free of terror and crime, asks a question: “How many people in the world will oppose such changes in their own cities and prefer to live in a so-called democratic and free society where extremism prevails and terrorism is rampant?” Repressive regimes across the world (including that of India in Kashmir) justify restrictions on liberties and democracy as a necessary sacrifice in exchange for “safety”, “welfare” and “development”. We may recall the Right to Privacy verdict in India which rightly observed that “The refrain that the poor need no civil and political rights and are concerned only with economic well-being has been utilised though history to wreak the most egregious violations of human rights. Above all, it must be realised that it is the right to question, the right to scrutinize and the right to dissent which enables an informed citizenry to scrutinize the actions of government.”
In the voice of the Global Times, the Chinese State effectively admits that Xinjiang under their rule is neither democratic nor free. But if you hold democracy and freedom to be vital components of any substantive safety, welfare, and development, the Chinese State dismisses you as being an advocate of a “Western value system”!
Note that the Chinese State does not claim to be upholding a socialist value system as opposed to a capitalist or imperialist one. That is a relief, since any socialist value system should by definition have higher standards of democracy, human rights, freedom, and civil liberties than the ones held by bourgeois capitalist democracies.
The Thought Police
The leaked documents read as though they are pages from a dystopian novel like Orwell’s 1984.
Students returning to Xinjiang from campuses in other parts of China for summer holidays are dismayed to find their parents, grandparents, or other relatives missing. The documents lay down instructions and a detailed Question and Answer script for local government officials, explaining the protocol for responding to the students’ anguished questions.
The first thing that strikes one, is that the documents repeatedly refer to the camps as “concentrated education and training school students”. Naturally, this is a translation from Chinese into English: but China has not claimed there is anything wrong with the translation. So, it seems clear that China in its internal documents effectively admits to holding Uyghur people in “concentration camps”.
The Q&A script makes it very clear that the persons are being detained in camps without having committed any crime at all. For instance, in reply to the question “Did they commit a crime? Will they be convicted?”, the scripted reply is: “They haven’t committed a crime and won’t be convicted.”
But the script repeatedly uses the dehumanising language of lack of “health”, “infection”, “virus”, “disease” and “malignant tumour” to describe the condition of the incarcerated Uyghur persons: “It is just that their thinking has been infected by unhealthy thoughts, and if they don’t quickly receive education and correction, they’ll become a major active threat to society and to your family. It’s very hard to totally eradicate viruses in thinking in just a short time. It needs to be dealt with like detox for drug addicts.”
The script warns the students that their own conduct can affect the amount of time for which their relatives are detained: “family members, including you, must abide by the state’s laws and rules, and not believe or spread rumors, and take an active part in collective life. Only then can you add points for your family member, and after a period of assessment they can leave the school if they meet course completion standards.”
The script also indicates that the camps are no less than prisons. In reply to the question “Can my family members ask for leave to visit me?”, the script offers the reply: “This is strict, regulated and concentrated training behind closed doors....In general, leave won’t be granted while they’re in training and study. If you want to see your family member, we can arrange for you to see them through video.”
The documents also prescribe strict surveillance and censorship of the students and their social media posts, and “direct thought guidance” to indoctrinate these students, warning that “Returning students from other parts of China have widespread social ties across the entire country. The moment they issue incorrect opinions on WeChat, Weibo and other social media platforms, the impact is widespread and difficult to eradicate.” It is clear from this that the Chinese State is the Thought Police which decides which opinions are “incorrect”, and which openly and unashamedly claims the authority to tell students what to think.
The documents’ claims that they are providing “jobs” and “vocational training” to improve the lives of the incarcerated persons is undermined by the fact that many detainees had careers as scholars, civil servants and entertainers, and are being detained as punishment for their “incorrect thoughts”.
“He refused to round up everyone who should be rounded up”. The documents leaked to NYT revealed that in August 2016, a hard-liner named Chen was transferred from Tibet to govern Xinjiang. Chen issued an order to “Round up everyone who should be rounded up.” This vague order made it clear that the criteria for being “rounded up” were entirely arbitrary. One official Wang, who ordered the release of more than 7,000 camp inmates, was punished by being “detained, stripped of power and prosecuted.” His confession, in which he wrote (presumably under duress) that “Without approval and on my own initiative, I broke the rules,” was publicly read out to officials in Xinjiang. But the real reason for his punishment was hidden in a secret internal report which was among the leaked documents. The report said that “He refused to round up everyone who should be rounded up”: a phrase that could have come straight from the pen of Orwell. (The New York Times article on the leaked documents can be read in Indian Express)
Islamophobia and Double Standards
Remember when Trump instituted the “Muslim Ban”, banning immigrants or refugees from certain Muslim majority countries, associating those countries with terrorism? That policy was rightly protested for its Islamophobia and racism. The Chinese State’s documents display a similar Islamophobia. The Q&A script cites a question frequently asked by students about their incarcerated relatives: why were Xinjiang residents being detained in camps for travelling to two dozen Muslim majority countries (including Turkey and Saudi Arabia) using passports issued by the Chinese State? The reply: “Because they have visited countries where religious extremism is very serious and they may have come under its influence, the dangers are immense as soon as the buds of religious extremism appear. That’s why it’s really necessary to put them through legal-system education and patriotic education after they return.” The Global Times report cited above states that some areas in southern Xinjiang are sensitive to chaos and terror because they “are bordered by Pakistan and Afghanistan.”
The double standards and hypocrisy of the US when it comes to attacking China on the question of Islamophobia, civil rights, racism, and detention/ internment camps is obvious. But the hypocrisy and double standards of countries like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey in supporting China’s Uyghur policy are also glaringly obvious.
Among the more than 50 countries that have signed onto a letter endorsing Chinese “governance” in Xinjiang, are the same Pakistan and Saudi Arabia that Chinese State documents associate with terror and religious extremism. So, Uyghur persons are persecuted for visiting Pakistan and Saudi Arabia: yet Pakistan and Saudi Arabia support this persecution. Turkey under Erdogan is busy repatriating Uyghur refugees to China to face certain imprisonment and possible death, using the underhand means of first allowing them to be extradited to a third country. Pakistan and Turkey are very loud on the violation of human rights of the people of Kashmir by the Indian State. Why are they silent and complicit in the violation of human rights of the Uyghur people by the Chinese State?
We do not have to look further than China’s own documents and its own propaganda organs to recognise that the Chinese State is holding vast numbers of Uyghurs in concentration camps, subjecting the entire Uyghur community both inside and outside the camps to forced indoctrination, surveillance and censorship, and attempting to erase the identity and culture of the Uyghur people. China has been touting its Xinjiang model as a successful model of “counterterrorism” which the world should adopt. Certainly, Narendra Modi and his fascist regime in India, would be happy to adopt China’s Xinjiang model for Kashmir, and for minorities and dissenters in the whole of India, lock, stock, and
Mao Tsetung passed away 44 years ago on 9th September, 1976. These 4 -5 decades were tumultuous and more event-full even compared to the period when he was with us, not only for China, but for the international communist movement (ICM) as well. When we remember him it is necessary to make a proper evaluation of his contributions in the context of China and the ICM. Probably even compared to the vicious campaign organized by the imperialists and lackeys through the media and by all other means under their command against Lenin and Stalin, the attacks by them on Mao was more ferocious. He is attacked not only for his revolutionary work during the 60 years of his active political life, but also for what the anarchist activities of the so-called “Maoists” after his death. The US imperialists were so furious with him that through their CIA propaganda from Hong Kong they almost convinced the world that he is dead at least a dozen times, before actual death!
After the formation of the CPC, in spite of the writings of Mao on Hunan Uprising and on Class Analysis of China, till 1927 when the Kuomintang forces under Chiang Kai-shek organized a massacre of the communists working in the urban areas, the general understanding was that the revolutionary line followed in Russia can be mechanically followed everywhere. It was after 1927, following the withdrawal to Chinkang mountain area with the section of the Kuomintang army under Chu Te which defected and joined the CPC, Mao developed his line of protracted people’s war in the semi-colonial, feudal, semi-feudal conditions of China as the path of revolution. Still, the struggle continued with a section following the Comintern positions mechanically criticizing Mao for deviating from the Russian Path. Most of the Western Marxist scholars are still attacking him as a ‘peasant revolutionary’. But, Mao has repeatedly explained that it was according to the class analysis based on the concrete conditions, he has defined the peasantry as the main force of revolution in Chinese conditions.
In his writings, he has always pointed out that the revolution shall take place under the guidance and concrete application of the proletarian ideology, Marxism-Leninism. Edgar Snow in his Red Star Over China has mentioned that when M N Roy had gone to China as part of a Comintern team and started taking class about the superiority of the Russian path, how Mao explained why they have to follow a Chinese path, and suggested if Roy goes to India and study the Indian conditions, he will also understand the importance of following an Indian path! But, Roy could not understand India after he settled in India and went astray is another story. At the same time, however small was the number of working class in China as compared to that of countries like then India, CPC had started organizing the working class also. Similarly, contrary to what is repeated by some ‘Maoists’, CPC had given lot of importance to building the party and mass organizations in all parts of the country, even when the armed conflict between the Kuomintang army and Red Army was taking place in limited areas. Even though the Kuomintang army was resorting to criminal attacks and suppression of the people, instead of criticizing this, imperialists were propagating lies about the liberated areas under the control of Red Army.
Once the liberation struggle of mainland China became victorious and the constitution of the People’s Republic of China was declared on 1st October, 1949, using Hong Kong as the centre of espionage and counter revolutionary propaganda against China, the CIA like agencies of US as well as other imperialist powers resorted to distortion of facts, manufacture of lies and slander against the communist forces. In this large number of imperialist think tanks from Harvard, MIT like universities in US also actively participated. After the 20th Congress of the Soviet Communist Party in 1956 by which time the capitalist roaders had succeeded to usurp power and later turned SU in to a social imperialist super power, its impact was severe. The Soviet revisionists had built up their line based on an erroneous evaluation that US led imperialist camp had weakened in the post-World War years and argued that in this situation the working class parties can peacefully compete and co-exist with imperialism, and through peaceful transition socialism can be achieved.
It went against the realities of the concrete situation. With the transformation of colonial forms of plunder to neo-colonial forms, US imperialism and its allies had only become more aggressive and pernicious. But, because of the great prestige Soviet Union had among the communist parties formed under the guidance of the Comintern, the Soviet revisionist deviation led to degeneration of all the people’s democracies formed in Eastern Europe as well as almost all the communist parties except that of China and Albania in to revisionist path. These developments not only severely weakened the ICM, it created serious ideological confusion among the left intellectuals also. Many interpretations of what happened to Soviet socialism appeared; many solutions also. The imperialist think tanks worked hard to deepen this confusion by supporting postmodernism like reformist theories. It was a very critical period for the ICM
Combating it, the CPC under Mao’s leadership rejected the Krushchovite revisionist line and put forward the General Line of the ICM in the new situation along with nine articles explaining various aspects of the problems confronting the working class movement as part of the Great Debate against Soviet revisionist line, it led to new hopes before the communists internationally, and they started challenging the party leaderships pursuing the Soviet revisionist’s class collaborationist ideas, and to build Marxist-Leninist groups and parties in a number of countries. It was in this new situation, they recognized the importance of upholding the contributions of Mao to the ICM, in leading the Chinese revolution to victory, in guiding the socialist transition in China struggling against the capitalist roaders within the party and in fighting the Soviet revisionist line.
The life and death struggle taking place at the international level between revolutionary Marxism and revisionism had its grave impacts within the CPC also. In its 8th Congress in 1956 itself the right trend led by Liu Shaochi and Deng Tsiaoping had tried to assert that as the democratic revolution is completed, China should focus on promoting production in whichever way possible. Mao led a bitter struggle against this line and speeded up socialist transformation by introducing a self-reliant development plan and People’s Communes. As this struggle intensified, Mao led the Cultural Revolution calling on the people to come to the streets to defend socialism. In this period Mao had to struggle not only against the capitalist roaders inside who had powerful influence in the party and administration, but against the Soviet revisionists and their supporters, as well as against the imperialists and their lackeys of all hues. In spite of all these Mao succeeded to remove the capitalist roaders from positions of power.
But, by that time, in the name of speeding up Maoist revolution a new trend emerged within the CPC led by the defense minister Lin Biao, which came to dominance in the CPC with the support of the military. It claimed that, in spite of the setbacks in Soviet Union, socialism is advancing towards worldwide victory and imperialism to total collapse! Contrary to what Mao was telling all the time, it analyzedthat all the Asian, African, Latin American countries are like pre-revolutionary China, semi-colonial and semi-feudal, with protracted people’s war as their strategy. This left adventurist line called for taking armed struggle as the only form of struggle to advance revolution! As this line was coming out from Chinese media, and no refutation of Mao reached outside, all the newly emerging Marxist-Leninist parties adopted it mechanically, leading to their disintegration very fast.
But by 1970 this line was defeated. Then with the help of the Centrist/pragmatist line led by the prime minister Chou Enlai, from the beginning, the capitalist roaders started returning to power. The 10th Congress of the CPC in 1973 reflected the struggle between this alliance and those forces led by Mao. Following the 10th Congress, the rightists were further strengthened with Deng returning to deputy prime minister post. The struggle went on intensifying, and in 1976 beginning when Chou Enlai died, the rightists made their first coup attempt which the revolutionary trend under Mao’ leadership defeated. But, when Mao died soon in on 9th September, using the centrist Huao Kuofeng, who had become prime minister after Chou, and the military, the rightists led another coup in which all Mao’s followers in the leadership were thrown to jail and communist revolutionaries were brutally crushed by the military all over China. In 1978, with the return of Deng Tsiaoping as the supremo the Chinese government started reversing all socialist policies of Mao, and under Four Modernizations drive, and launched the capitalist transformation in full swing.
The revisionist forces all over the world, including the CPI-CPI(M) parties in India, who were wildly attacking the socialist transition in China and the Cultural Revolution, hailed Deng’s return as a great victory; similar to their upholding of the Soviet social imperialists, till Soviet union’s disintegration in 1991. These revisionists defamed Marxism, and wherever they came to power faithfully implemented the neo-liberal/corporate policies, while upholding the social imperialists in power in China who are fighting for world hegemony with the US imperialist led forces, still under the banner of ‘socialism with Chinese characteristics’! The US led imperialists also do the same thing, in their bid to destroy the communist challenge for ever. By vulgarizing Mao’s contributions as Maoism in line with what Lin Biao advocated during 1966-70, creating havoc in China and among the communist revolutionary forces everywhere, the so-called Maoists are also doing the same damage to the revolutionary Marxism through left adventurist, anarchist acts.
Unlike all the writings of Lenin and Stalin are available, except the first four volumes and to a great extent the fifth volume, no authentic documents of the CPC and writings of Mao are available to the outside world still. What came out through Hong Kong, most of them were distorted, or censored. Many of the documents and Mao’s writings which were collected from Hongkong are spurious ones. As far as Albanian party (PLA) is concerned, in 1978 it made a 180 degree turn, threw away its hitherto writings of Mao, and denounced Mao; their followers are living in a make-believe world, with the ritualistic argument that history ended suddenly with Stalin!, like the Trotskyites around the world who believe that Trotsky’s is the last word on everything. Even after all that has happened in history, even after the severe setback to the ICM, even after the devastation of nature and humanity by the capitalist imperialist system which has taken its re-creation of the world in its own image to its peak, when the humanity is facing the grave challenge of either overthrow this barbarous system and create a socialist world, or perish under ecological catastrophe to extinction of human species, these petti-bourgeois reformist, anarchist trends continue their heinous task of confusing as many people as possible, making as many of their followers as non-partisans, ultimately serving the imperialist barbarians.
In this present grave situation, the task of the Marxist-Leninist forces is to uphold the teachings from the Marxist teachers, develop them according to the present situation, develop the theory and practice of World proletarian Socialist Revolution and Indian Revolution, by building a powerful Bolshevik style party according to present conditions by mobilizing all communist revolutionaries and advanced elements of the working class and all oppressed classes and sections, mobilizing the revolutionary masses in their tens of millions, develop class struggle in an all-embracing and comprehensive manner using all forms of organization and struggles, creating waves of struggles against the corporate fascist rule led by RSS parivar by inspiring the people with the vision of people’s democracy and socialism, and overthrow it as part of the WPSR. Let us uphold Mao’s contributions, Mao Tsetung Thought, for the role it played in inspiring and guiding the revolutionary long march the humanity has taken up, spearheaded by the revolutionary classes and sections as an urgent task in present situation.