China: Imperialism or Semi-Periphery?

Minqi Li

Monthly Review | 2021Volume 73, Issue 3 (July-August 2021)

China is currently the world’s largest economy measured by purchasing power parity. As the rapid expansion of the Chinese economy reshapes the global geopolitical map, Western mainstream media has begun to define China as a new imperialist power that exploits cheap energy and raw materials from developing countries. Some Marxist intellectuals and political groups, drawing from the Leninist theory of imperialism, argue that the rise of monopoly Chinese capital and its rapid expansion in the world market have turned China into a capitalist imperialistic country.

Whether China has become an imperialist country is a question of crucial importance for the global class struggle. I argue that although China has developed an exploitative relationship with South Asia, Africa, and other raw material exporters, on the whole, China continues to transfer a greater amount of surplus value to the core countries in the capitalist world system than it receives from the periphery. China is thus best described as a semi-peripheral country in the capitalist world system.

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China Firmly Rejects Illegal Detention of Venezuelan Diplomat Alex Saab

Orinoco Tribune | September 19, 2021

On Friday, September 17, the People’s Republic of China firmly rejected the illegal detention of Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab and urged the United States to respect the norms that govern international law.

Zhao Lijian, spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry, stated at a press conference that the US “has been playing a shameful role in regard to Venezuela. The US has constantly abused political and judicial maneuvers, including sanctions and extraditions; with the purpose of meddling in the internal affairs of Venezuela.”

Lijian went on to point out that the US harassment policy “affects the regular international personnel exchange and endangers mutual trust and cooperation between countries,” and due to this reason “China firmly rejects this.”

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Call for emergency action to limit global temperature increases, restore biodiversity, and protect health

Lukoye Atwoli, Abdullah H Baqui, Thomas Benfield, Raffaella Bosurgi, Fiona Godlee, Stephen Hancocks, Richard Horton, Laurie Laybourn-Langton, Carlos Augusto Monteiro, Ian Norman, Kirsten Patrick, Nigel Praities, Marcel G M Olde Rikkert, Eric J Rubin, Peush Sahnim, Richard Smith, Nicholas J Talley, Sue Turale, Damián Vázquez

Lancet | Open Access | Published: September 04, 2021 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2468-2667(21)00204-8

The UN General Assembly in September, 2021, will bring countries together at a critical time for marshalling collective action to tackle the global environmental crisis. They will meet again at the biodiversity summit in Kunming, China, and the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, UK. Ahead of these pivotal meetings, we—the editors of health journals worldwide—call for urgent action to keep average global temperature increases below 1·5°C, halt the destruction of nature, and protect health.
Health is already being harmed by global temperature increases and the destruction of the natural world, a state of affairs health professionals have been bringing attention to for decades.1 The science is unequivocal; a global increase of 1·5°C above the pre-industrial average and the continued loss of biodiversity risk catastrophic harm to health that will be impossible to reverse.2, 3 Despite the world’s necessary preoccupation with COVID-19, we cannot wait for the pandemic to pass to rapidly reduce emissions.

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Reflections on Events in Afghanistan

M. K. Bhadrakumar

Indian Punchline

15. Enter regional states 

The Taliban hoisted their black and white flag on the presidential palace in Kabul on September 11, which happens to be the twentieth anniversary of the Al-Qaeda’s attack on New York and Washington, DC. The symbolism is too obvious to be missed. Although the Taliban had no hand in the 9/11 attacks, it took the brunt of the US’ revenge act to invade Afghanistan. 

No doubt, the flag hoisting is an assertion by the Taliban that they have returned as the ruling elite 20 years after their government was overthrown, and that is a reality the US cannot ignore. 

Read Full Article: https://www.indianpunchline.com/reflections-on-events-in-afghanistan-15/

16. Biden’s Taliban blues 

The best part of the visit by the Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, Nikolay Patrushev to New Delhi (September 7-8) was that the two countries may embark upon a voyage of discovery of each other at a phase in their relationship when the US-led Quad irrevocably sets them apart and as Delhi climbs on board the US’ Indo-Pacific Strategy to fight the Chinese on the beaches, in the hills and in the air. 

The Americans are of course back on the cold war era track obsessed with weakening and possibly dismembering Russia, if they can, to realise their elusive dream of ‘nuclear superiority’. 

Read Full Article: https://www.indianpunchline.com/reflections-on-events-in-afghanistan-16/

17. Foreign Devils on the Silk Road  

The title of an unputdownable 1980 classic by Peter Hopkirk comes to mind even as the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and the Collective Security Treaty Organisation are preparing to hold back-to-back summit meetings at Dushanbe, Tajikistan, on September 17. 

Foreign Devils on the Silk Road: The Search for the Lost Treasures of Central Asia tells the breathtaking story of the intrepid men who made long-range archaeological raids in far west China looking for the lost cities of the Taklamakan Desert before they were gradually swallowed by the shifting waves of sand (and weren’t rediscovered until the early 19th century.) 

Read Full Article: https://www.indianpunchline.com/reflections-on-events-in-afghanistan-17/

18. India’s ‘over-the-horizon’ dilemma 

In England, they’d plan a park, build it but wouldn’t complete it until they could observe  for a while the foot tracks of walkers, before deciding where to lay the pathways for optimal utility. 

The Blinken Administration and Modi Govt apparently think they don’t have that luxury when it comes to Afghanistan. That is the troubling signal out of the Congressional hearing on Monday in Washington with Secretary of State Antony Blinken. 

But, for a start, Blinken was rather muted in his reaction on Pakistan’s perceived duplicity in taking advantage of the US. Certainly, he would know three things. 

Read Full Article: https://www.indianpunchline.com/reflections-on-events-in-afghanistan-18/

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Reflections on Events in Afghanistan

M. K. Bhadrakumar

Indian Punchline

11. US slips out of Kabul but is vengeful

The back-to-back press briefings on August 30 by General Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr, commander, US Central Command and Antony Blinken, Secretary of State, on Afghanistan conveys the picture of a superpower badly bruised and embittered but remaining vengeful. This is bad news. 

Gen. McKenzie said, “Taliban had been very — very pragmatic and very business-like… they were actually very helpful and useful to us as we closed down operations”. But then, Americans wouldn’t even share with the Taliban the exact time of their “tactical exfiltration”. Nor was there any “discussion of turning anything over.” 

Read Full Article: https://www.indianpunchline.com/reflections-on-events-in-afghanistan-11/

12. To recognise, or not to recognise, that’s the question

At the weekly briefing in Moscow on Thursday by the Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova stated that Russia will consider recognising Afghanistan’s new authorities once an inclusive government is formed in the country. 

To quote Zakharova, “We call for the establishment of an inclusive coalition government in Afghanistan that would involve all of the country’s ethnic and political forces, including ethnic minorities, so the question of recognising the country’s authorities will rise after the process is over.” (TASS

Read Full Article: https://www.indianpunchline.com/reflections-on-events-in-afghanistan-12/

13. Panjshir revolt becomes footnote

At the daily foreign ministry briefing in Beijing on Friday, Russian correspondent of Sputnik asked spokesperson Ambassador Wang Wenbin how China viewed the Taliban decision to attack Panjshir and how this will affect the Afghan situation. 

Ambassador Wang replied that “it is China’s sincere hope that all parties in Afghanistan will go with the Afghan people’s eager aspiration and the international community’s expectation to resolve differences through consultation and ensure a steady transition so that the people of this war-torn country can live free from war and conflict and build lasting peace at an early date.” 

Read Full Article: https://www.indianpunchline.com/reflections-on-events-in-afghanistan-13/

14. The fall of Panjshir

Panjshir has fallen to the Taliban with a bang — and a whimper. The bang is because a 40-year old legend lies shattered, the legend of the invincibility of Panjshir Valley. And the whimper is because the short-lived ‘resistance’ had a tame ending. 

A BBC report said the revolt’s two top leaders Ahmad Massoud and Amrullah Saleh were not even in Panjshir during the past 4 days at least but had left for Tajikistan and were apparently leading the so-called ‘resistance’ via Twitter. It may seem farcical and will have deleterious consequences. 

Read Full Article: https://www.indianpunchline.com/reflections-on-events-in-afghanistan-14/

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Afghanistan Crisis: Statements by Communist Parties

idcommunism.com | August 27, 2021

Since the beginning of the rapid developments in Afghanistan and the comeback of Taliban in the power, Communist and Workers’ Parties from all over the world have issued statements concerning the situation in the country.  The vast majority of statements refer to the disastrous role of US-EU imperialism, the military intervention in 2001, as well as the immense responsibilities of the U.S. and European governments for supporting the rise of Taliban in the 1980s, primary in the war against the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. 

Read here the statement of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE)

Read here the joint statement by the Communist Party of India and the Communist Party of India (Marxist). 

Other Statements:

Party of Labour, Austria (PdA)

On the developments in Afghanistan

The developments in Afghanistan confirm the reactionary and for the peoples devastating character of imperialist wars and interventions. The fall of the Afghan puppet government and the return of the Islamist Taliban movement to power after the withdrawal of the US and NATO occupation forces of course mean a continuation of the sufferings of the Afghan people caused by the uninterrupted interference of imperialist forces in the country for decades.

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Mikis Theodorakis: I want to leave this world as a communist

idcommunism.com | September 03, 2021

Mikis Theodorakis, anticipating the end of his life, had contacted by telephone the Secretary General of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Greece, Dimitris Koutsoumbas, giving him the stigma of his last wishes.

In his personal letter on October 5, 2020, to Dimitris Koutsoumbas, he wrote:

“Now at the end of my life, at the time of reckoning, the details fade from my mind and remain the big picture. So I see that my most critical, strong and mature years were spent under the banner of the KKE. That is why I want to leave this world as a communist.”

The great composer and fighter of social justice, democracy and peace, Mikis Theodorakis, died yesterday, 2 September, at the age of 96. Read here the statement of the Communist Party of Greece.

SOURCE: http://www.idcommunism.com/2021/09/mikis-theodorakis-i-want-to-leave-this.html

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Humanitarian measure granted to Alex Saab

Últimas Noticias | 2 September, 2021

In the order dated August 31, to which the Cape Verdean digital medium Notícias do Norte had access, the court considers that “being so, and because it seems to us that such a decision will not create great limitations, and even if it does, health it must come first, it is granted to the transfer of residence requested by Alex Saab to the city of Praia, Santiago ”.

This decision is the result of a request from the defense, to transfer from the city of Santa María, Sal, where the ambassador is under house arrest, to the Cape Verdean capital, alleging “the need for the ambassador to have assistance of specialists in the area of ​​oncology that do not exist on the Island of Sal ”, according to what was reported by the Saab defense team in a press release.

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Workers’ Inquiry and Global Class Struggle: Strategies, Tactics, Objectives

Robert Ovetz (ed)

Pluto Press, London, 2020. 288 pp., £19.99 pb
ISBN 9780745340869

Reviewed by Katjo Buissink

Robert Ovetz begins this edited volume with a frank admission, that there ‘is little doubt that the global working class is on the retreat and has been for a very long time’ (1). Recognition of this might draw, and indeed has drawn significant parts of the left, into an inescapable pessimism about the future potential of class struggle and a militant workers’ movement. Workers’ Inquiry and Global Class Struggle, however, harnesses this sentiment to present a down-to-earth yet optimistic selection of case studies into the contemporary workers’ movement.

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Reflections on Events in Afghanistan

M. K. Bhadrakumar

Indian Punchline

8. US senses that Taliban is reality – Implications   

This week will stand out as a pivotal moment in President Joe Biden’s presidency. It has been a humble moment yet bold and decisive, far-sighted but tactical, and focused on America’s self-interests. It underscores that the US’ capacity to force its will on other countries (or even non-state actors) has dramatically diminished. 

To Biden’s detractors and critics, this might seem a moment of weakness — that the CIA Director William Burns had to travel to Kabul to seek a concession from the Taliban leadership to extend the August 31 deadline for the evacuations at Kabul Airport, which the Taliban political chief Mullah Ghani Baradar plainly refused. 

Read Full Article: https://www.indianpunchline.com/reflections-on-events-in-afghanistan-8/

US President Biden enters Roosevelt Room in the White House to give a statement on US withdrawal from Afghanistan, Aug 24, 2021

9. A political windfall for Taliban

The horrific terrorist strikes in Kabul on Thursday which killed at least 12 US servicemen and dozens of civilians will lead to a higher level of cooperation between the US and the Taliban. 

The commander of CENTCOM Gen. Kenneth McKenzie disclosed to journalists on Thursday that  the US was already sharing information on terror threats in Afghanistan with Taliban. As he put it, “We share versions of this information with the Taliban so that they actually make searches… We think they’ve thwarted some.”

Read Full Article: https://www.indianpunchline.com/reflections-on-events-in-afghanistan-9/

10. Taliban has a package deal with US. Coast is clear for new government in Kabul. 

The US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan discussed today in an interview with CBS “Face the Nation” the evolving relationship between Washington and the Afghan Taliban. Three things emerge. 

First, Sullivan disclosed that “over-the-horizon strikes” against the ISIS-K from outside Afghanistan will continue but he ruled out any return to combat missions.

Read Full Article: https://www.indianpunchline.com/reflections-on-events-in-afghanistan-10/

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