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News :: International
Vietnamese Stalinists Fuel Anti-China Frenzy - WORKERS VANGUARD
20 Jun 2014
Modified: 01:21:52 PM
For Workers Political Revolution from Hanoi to Beijing!

For several days in mid May, upwards of 20,000 Vietnamese waving flags and carrying metal bars rampaged through industrial parks in central and south Vietnam. They hunted down Chinese workers and set fire to Chinese and other foreign-owned factories, screaming: “We are Vietnamese!” This outpouring was the culmination of a series of anti-China protests in at least 22 of Vietnam’s 63 provinces that left over 20 people dead and nearly 100 injured. Beijing sent a small armada to evacuate its nationals. Seeking to prevent foreign investors from pulling out of the country, the Vietnamese Stalinist bureaucrats moved to rein in the anti-China frenzy they had unleashed.
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The stated reason for this bloody nationalist rampage was a $1 billion deepwater oil-drilling platform deployed by China near the Paracel Islands, which lie roughly equidistant from the coastlines of Vietnam and China. Vietnam also mobilized its navy and coast guard to face off with the approximately 80 Chinese vessels that accompanied the rig, resulting in periodic clashes and skirmishes between the two countries.

What is behind this confrontation is that the Vietnamese government is directly lined up with the U.S. imperialists in their drive to encircle China, the most powerful of the remaining countries where capitalist/imperialist rule was overthrown. The Chinese Stalinist bureaucracy is seeking to push back against Washington’s attempts to dominate the South China Sea. A crucial component of U.S. strategy is building closer ties with Vietnam, which like China is a bureaucratically deformed workers state. Today, the Vietnamese coast guard is partly U.S.-funded and is trained by the U.S. and Japan.

The Vietnamese actions took place following Obama’s recent tour of Asia, which was all about, as CNN pointed out, “China, China, China.” While unable to secure firm commitments to sign onto the Trans-Pacific Partnership—an attempt by the U.S. to create an anti-China Asian economic bloc—Obama was successful on the military front. In Japan, he expanded the parameters of the longstanding Japan-U.S. security treaty to include the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands in the East China Sea, a strategically important link in China’s military perimeter. We support China’s claim to these islands against imperialist Japan (see “U.S., Japanese Provocations in East China Sea,” WV No. 1041, 7 March).

In the Philippines, an American neocolony, the U.S. Commander-in-Chief signed a new ten-year defense deal that will give U.S. troops, ships and planes expanded access to bases there. A new “comprehensive partnership” was signed with the Malaysian government that includes strengthening “security” and cooperation on “defense.” We demand the removal of all American bases and all 80,000 U.S. troops from the Asia-Pacific region, as part of the struggle to mobilize the U.S. working class against its own exploiters and their predatory military adventures.

Vietnam Signs on to U.S. Anti-China “Pivot”

Four decades ago, the U.S. imperialists were humiliated on the battlefield by the heroic Vietnamese workers and peasants in a victorious social revolution against landlord and capitalist rule. The cost was high: almost three million Vietnamese killed and many more maimed. Even today, Vietnam suffers a high rate of birth defects resulting from the millions of tons of Agent Orange defoliant dropped by American planes. The vengeful U.S. imposed a starvation embargo on Vietnam that was lifted only in the late 1990s.

It is a bitter irony that today Vietnam is acting in concert with U.S. imperialism in targeting China. The diplomatic rapprochement of the Vietnamese Stalinists with Washington is a product of the country’s isolation following the counterrevolutionary destruction of the Soviet Union, as well as the continuing pressures of poverty and the historic mutual animosity between Vietnam and its bigger and stronger Chinese neighbor. This rapprochement began with Democrat Bill Clinton’s visit to Vietnam in 2000, the first by a U.S. president since the American defeat. Following in her husband’s footsteps, ten years later Hillary Clinton declared at a meeting of ASEAN member states held in Hanoi that the U.S. has a “national interest” in the South China Sea. Since then, U.S. diplomatic, economic and military ties with Vietnam have increased. It was reported that in the anti-Chinese rampage at the Binh Duong industrial park outside Ho Chi Minh City, an electronics plant flying U.S. and Vietnamese flags was not touched.

Vietnamese prime minister Nguyen Tan Dung has called on the U.S. to play a more forceful role in the region. Top military officials from both countries have met, and U.S. naval ships are now permitted to visit Vietnamese ports. On a visit to Washington last July, Vietnamese president Truong Tan Sang and Obama announced a U.S.-Vietnam comprehensive partnership, which, in the words of the East Asia Forum (6 August 2013), provides Vietnam with “more confidence—and indeed more options—in confronting China in the South China Sea.”

To cement that agreement, in December John Kerry pledged $18 million in new assistance to enhance the capacity of coastal patrol units, beginning with training and the provision of five fast patrol vessels to the Vietnamese coast guard. On May 20, Vietnam signed onto the Proliferation Security Initiative, created by George W. Bush, that allows member countries to stop ships carrying cargo “for a recipient that might use it to harm the U.S. or other country.”

Stalinist Policies Benefit Imperialism

The characterization of China and Vietnam as deformed workers states signifies that the economies in both countries are based on collectivized property forms, which have made possible a tremendous leap in the living standards and social conditions of the working masses. But at the same time, the working class does not wield political power, does not control production and does not decide international policy. We stand for the unconditional military defense of these countries against imperialism and counterrevolution, while fighting for workers political revolution to oust the parasitic bureaucratic castes.

Formed and organized on a national basis, the bureaucracy of every deformed workers state seeks to maximize its own economic privileges and political grip on society. The anti-Marxist dogma of “socialism in one country,” first put forward by Stalin in 1924 as the ideology of the consolidating conservative bureaucracy in the Soviet Union, is at the root of the nationalist policies of all Stalinist regimes. Hoping to placate the imperialist powers, Stalin increasingly turned the Communist parties worldwide away from any fight to overthrow their own rulers and toward pressuring those rulers to peacefully “coexist” with the USSR. The same suicidal policy is today pursued by Beijing and Hanoi, leading to periodic alignments with imperialist powers as the bureaucrats seek to defend the “socialism” of their own country at the expense of other workers states.

In the late 1950s and during the 1960s, antagonism between the Soviet Union and Beijing developed into a full-blown split. Among the betrayals marking this split were the Kremlin’s delivery of MIG fighter planes to capitalist India during its 1962 border war with China and China’s seriously disrupting, at times, the flow of Soviet military aid to Vietnam during that country’s war with the U.S. Mao declared “Soviet social imperialism” to be his main enemy. This dovetailed with the American rulers’ strategic aim of destroying the Soviet degenerated workers state, at the time the main obstacle to U.S. world domination. The Chinese Communist Party’s stance led it into an alliance with U.S. imperialism against the Soviet Union, sealed with Richard Nixon’s 1972 visit to China in which he drank champagne with Mao as the U.S. escalated its bombing of Vietnam and mined Haiphong harbor.

In 1979, China invaded Vietnam, acting as a cat’s paw for U.S. imperialism. The invasion came in the wake of Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping’s visit to the U.S. in pursuit of foreign investment. Recently, the Chinese Stalinists have worked together with the imperialists to draw up sanctions to punish North Korea for testing its nuclear weapon systems. By pursuing such policies, the Stalinist bureaucracies dangerously undermine the defense of the social gains of the revolutions that overthrew capitalist rule.

An example of how the Vietnamese bureaucracy promotes reactionary anti-Chinese chauvinism among the workers and peasants was a ceremony held for the first time in Hanoi in January to protest China’s having taken control of the Paracel Islands in 1974. This anniversary has traditionally been commemorated by counterrevolutionary Vietnamese émigrés overseas, who are bitter that China took these islands away from the capitalist South Vietnamese government, a U.S. puppet. But this year in Hanoi, demonstrators chanted anti-China slogans while laying flowers at the feet of the statue of eleventh-century emperor Ly Thai To.

Trying to explain the phenomenon of two “Communist” countries facing each other down in a military confrontation, the Workers World Party (WWP) wrote a May 22 editorial that was completely in sync with their Stalinoid tradition and utter anti-Marxist liberalism. On the basis that China is “a strong power” and Vietnam “a relatively small, underdeveloped country,” they call on China “to take the first step in de-escalating this crisis.” While claiming to defend both countries against imperialism and capitalist counterrevolution, WWP does not acknowledge that Vietnam is in fact giving a hand to the U.S. as it tightens the noose around China. Using language similar to everyone from neo-cons to Obama to anti-Communist social democrats, WWP demands that China “erase all traces of big power domination.” Refusing to distinguish between the workers states and their imperialist-appeasing bureaucratic rulers, WWP can only plead with the latter to do the right thing.

If the imperialists succeed in transforming China once again into a giant sweatshop through capitalist counterrevolution, it would give a shot of adrenaline to the imperialists’ whole decaying profit system. Both military encirclement and economic penetration have their place in achieving this goal. Beijing’s “socialism with Chinese characteristics” has meant fostering profit-making enterprises and welcoming imperialist and overseas Chinese investors. Such measures have sharply increased inequality and favored the growth of capitalist forces within China.

Yet the impact of imperialist investment in China and Vietnam is contradictory: economic growth has raised incomes and brought about significant growth of a young, urbanized proletariat. The bureaucrats of both countries understand that they are sitting atop a volcano of social unrest. Although lacking the infrastructure and more sophisticated technology of China, Vietnam has a vibrant, militant proletariat that has been fighting against low wages, inflation, growing inequality and the corruption of the bureaucracy, staging over 800 strikes in 2011. In many cases, their exploiters are the same, such as the Taiwanese sports shoe manufacturer Yue Yuen, which was the target of the biggest strike in China in decades and which manufactures one-third of its total output in Vietnam.

If revolutionary workers governments were in power in Beijing and Hanoi, the conflict over the Paracels would be easily resolved with both countries sharing technology and cooperating in development of the area’s natural resources, and in mutual defense against imperialism. The Trotskyist program of proletarian political revolution—the overthrow of the Stalinist bureaucracies and the establishment of governments based on workers, peasants and soldiers councils—constitutes the only truly effective defense of these states and is part of the strategy of proletarian revolutions internationally to put an end to the imperialist order.

See also Dailymotion video report - Riots in Vietnam as China Sea tension-
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20 Jun 2014
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22 Jun 2014
UK Spartacist - Workers Hammer No. 202 - Spring 2008

For unconditional military defence of the Chinese deformed workers state!

China is not capitalist - For proletarian political revolution!

In the run-up to the Beijing Olympics in August there is a growing crescendo of imperialist anti-Communism against the Chinese deformed workers state, promoted by the Labour government and echoed by the reformist left. There has been a military build-up against China by US and Japanese imperialism and a barrage of China-bashing that ranges from crocodile tears over the “oppression of Tibet” and “human rights” to claims that China is responsible for the horrific violence in Sudan’s Darfur region.

Prime minister Gordon Brown’s announcement that he will meet the Dalai Lama in London in May is the latest in this ongoing anti-Communist offensive by the bourgeoisie and its ideologues against China. Not coincidentally, the Dalai Lama has recently been met by German chancellor Angela Merkel and US president Bush. These meetings prefigured the monk-led riots in Tibet in mid-March which were a counterrevolutionary provocation against the Chinese deformed workers state. “An orgy of anti-Chinese rioting convulsed the Tibetan capital, Lhasa” is how it was described by a correspondent for the Economist (14 March) who reported that Tibetans were shouting slogans like “long live Tibet” and “long live the Dalai Lama”.

Gordon Brown used his high-profile visit to Beijing in January to try to persuade the Chinese regime to invest its $200 billion wealth fund in London. Fearful of incurring a diplomatic rift with Beijing, Brown refuses to boycott the Beijing Olympics and was initially hesitant to grant the Dalai Lama a meeting in London. Brown agreed to a meeting after he came under fire from the Tories and from none other than heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, who happens to be a long-time friend of the counterrevolutionary Tibetan “God King”.

Despite their differences, the aim of all the imperialist powers towards the People’s Republic of China is to destroy the workers state by counterrevolution. On the one hand they use China’s “market reforms” to pursue intensified economic penetration, thus British capitalism is a prime investor in China and a competitor for Chinese overseas investment. On the other hand the imperialists are ratcheting up the military pressure on China. British foreign secretary David Miliband leaves no doubt about British imperialism’s support for this military build-up. In a February statement he cited “the moral imperative to intervene — sometimes militarily — to help spread democracy throughout the world”, adding that: “After the end of the cold war it was tempting to believe in the ‘end of history’ — the inevitable process of liberal democracy and capitalist economics. Now with the economic success of China, we can no longer take the forward march of democracy for granted” (Guardian, 12 February).

In the name of “democracy”, British imperialism is currently heavily involved in the brutal occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan which have resulted in the slaughter of countless thousands of people. Historically, the kind of “democracy” and “human rights” the British Empire visited upon China is exemplified by the opium wars and by the Empire lording it over Hong Kong as racist and repressive overseers, holding the island as a protectorate until it was rightfully returned to the People’s Republic of China in 1997. As in the Cold War against the Soviet Union, what the imperialists understand by “human rights” above all is one thing: the right of the bourgeoisie to unlimited exploitation and enslavement of the working masses. And this “right” was “violated” in China by the 1949 Revolution, which drove the bourgeoisie off the Chinese mainland.

The reformist left agrees with bourgeois public opinion that with the market reforms capitalism has been restored in China, or is irreversibly being restored. On the contrary, China today remains what it has been since 1949: a bureaucratically deformed workers state. While the rule of the capitalists has been overthrown, laying the basis for tremendous economic and social development, China is ruled by a nationalist, Stalinist bureaucratic caste that is hostile to workers democracy and revolutionary internationalism.

As the strongest of the remaining deformed workers states, China has been drawn ever more into the cross-hairs of the imperialists since the counterrevolutionary destruction of the deformed workers states of Eastern Europe and, in particular, the destruction of the Soviet degenerated workers state in 1991-92. As a result of the treacherous Stalinist policy of “socialism in one country” and its associated illusions in “peaceful coexistence” between the Chinese workers state and imperialism, the Chinese bureaucracy has continued its policy of concessions to the imperialists. Thus, it supports the “war on terror”, the sanctions against Iran and the campaign for the nuclear disarmament of North Korea. Nonetheless, China is surrounded today by a whole system of US military bases. Along with North Korea, it is on the Pentagon’s list as a potential target of a nuclear first strike by the US, while the US programme of National Missile Defense has the strategic goal of neutralising China’s modest nuclear capacities. Japan and the US are cooperating militarily, subordinating their rivalry to their common hostility to the workers states in Asia. We are in favour of China and North Korea developing, testing and producing nuclear weapons to defend themselves against British, US and Japanese imperialism.

As in the former Soviet Union, capitalist counterrevolution in China would have to triumph in the political arena, in the conquest of state power; it cannot take place simply through a quantitative extension of the private sector, whether domestic or foreign. Moreover, the large and growing private sector created by the market reforms, including foreign companies, is predominantly light industry. Meanwhile core elements of the economy such as heavy industry — steel, non-ferrous metals, heavy machinery production, telecommunications, energy, petrochemicals — remain concentrated in state-owned companies, which are strategic. State ownership of land has prevented the development of a layer of rich large landowners dominating the rural areas. State control over the financial system has so far been able to protect the People’s Republic of China from the manoeuvres of speculative capital, which have ruined the economy in so many capitalist neocolonies.

The fate of China, the most populous country on earth, where the bourgeoisie was expropriated by the 1949 Revolution, is of strategic importance to all the workers of the world, who must be won to the understanding that it must defend China against imperialism and internal counterrevolution. In Britain, the central obstacle to this revolutionary consciousness is the Labourite programme of class collaboration with the “democratic” bourgeoisie at home while promoting counterrevolution in the remaining workers states under cover of “human rights” and “democracy”.

In opposition to this, we uphold the Trotskyist programme for the unconditional military defence of China and the other deformed workers states of North Korea, Cuba and Vietnam against imperialism and internal counterrevolution. We also fight for proletarian political revolution to oust the parasitic bureaucracy. Ultimately, only a political revolution in China can lead to the rule of workers and peasants soviets, and only the extension of the Chinese Revolution internationally can ensure the defence and development of its gains. Our defence of the deformed workers states is integral to our programme for proletarian socialist revolution against the capitalist ruling classes internationally. The International Communist League (Fourth Internationalist) is dedicated to building a revolutionary internationalist workers party. As a section of the ICL, the Spartacist League/Britain is fighting to build a party committed to the revolutionary overthrow of British imperialism and establishing a federation of workers republics in the British Isles.

Taaffeites: handmaidens of counterrevolution

The imperialist campaign for “democratic” counterrevolution in China is echoed by the majority of the Labourite left, as can be seen in their support for the “Free Tibet” cause, which originated with the machinations of the American CIA and other imperialist forces intent on fomenting capitalist counterrevolution in China. A case in point is Peter Taaffe’s Committee for a Workers International (CWI), known in Britain as the Socialist Party, which supports the recent anti-Communist riots in Tibet. Calling for Tibet’s “right to independence”, the CWI solidarises with the supposed “radical layers” among Tibetan youth as against the “conciliatory approach” of the Dalai Lama, while admitting that “national independence on a capitalist basis can in no way solve the problems of the impoverished masses” (China Worker online, 18 March). As we note in our article (see page 5) the Taaffeites are enemies of the Chinese deformed workers state who are willing to consign the Tibetan masses to the return of the Lamaocracy.

The CWI is currently conducting a debate about the class nature of China in which all the participants agree that, with the market reforms, the bureaucracy has restored capitalism in China. They merely disagree over whether it is “fully” capitalist yet. One contribution posted on the CWI’s Chinese-English website says:

“Capitalism in China has been recreated under the tutelage of the Stalinist ruling party, in close interaction with overseas capitalism through the process of globalisation. The Chinese capitalist class is extremely dependent on this state, primarily to protect it from the working class, and for this reason its democratic ambitions — and desire for regime change — are almost non-existent.”

—“China at the Crossroads”, China Worker online, 24 May 2007

CWI leader Peter Taaffe says China “has been engaged in an almost 30-year long process of restoring capitalism” but although it is travelling “in the direction of a full capitalist economy”, China “has not arrived at this situation yet” (“Has capitalism been fully restored?”, 22 March 2007). Another contribution titled “China’s capitalist counterrevolution” by Vincent Kolo in Socialism Today (December 2007-January 2008) says: “Which is the ruling economic class in China today? With the destruction of the planned economy it is no longer the working class. A section of the former Maoist bureaucracy has converted itself through the ‘reform process’ into a property owning class.”

The CWI’s attempt to portray China as capitalist is but a “theoretical” rationale for a long-standing policy of supporting the forces of “bourgeois-democratic” counterrevolution in the degenerated and deformed workers states. In the name of “democracy” the Taaffe organisation supported imperialist-backed, anti-Communist forces such as Polish Solidarność in the 1980s. In 1991 in Moscow they stood on the barricades with Boris Yeltsin’s forces of counterrevolution. It didn’t matter that the Taaffeites formally held that these countries were workers states governed by Stalinist regimes. The bottom line is that this social-democratic organisation’s programme is counterposed to defence of the workers states.

Taaffe asserts that the Chinese regime has been “at pains to avoid the ‘big bang’ return to capitalism witnessed in Russia in the early 1990s”. This is a denial that capitalist counterrevolution would have to triumph at the political level and destroy the Chinese workers state. In fact, for capitalism to triumph and smash the workers states, first in Eastern Europe and then the Soviet Union between 1989 and 1992, the Stalinist governments had to be replaced with imperialist-backed, anti-Communist regimes. In every case, the militaries were reconstituted, their officer corps purged of pro-socialist individuals; Boris Yeltsin banned the Communist Party and anti-Communist witch hunts raged through those societies (and still do).

We of the ICL fought tooth and nail against the forces of counterrevolution in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. When a proletarian political revolution began to develop in the DDR in 1989, we mobilised all the forces of our international organisation to intervene there. We fought against capitalist counterrevolution, and for the revolutionary reunification of Germany, ie for proletarian political revolution to oust the Stalinist bureaucracy in the DDR and for social revolution in West Germany to overthrow the rule of the bourgeoisie, for a red Germany of workers councils. We called for the formation of workers and soldiers councils, in order to organise the working class as a class for itself, as a contender for political rule. Against illusions that the ruling Stalinist SED-PDS could be reformed, we fought to build a new egalitarian Leninist party.

The potential for a proletarian political revolution in the DDR was expressed on 3 January 1990 in the pro-socialist, united-front rally against the fascist desecration of the Soviet war memorial at Berlin-Treptow and in defence of the workers states in the DDR and the Soviet Union, which we initiated and which was taken up by the SED-PDS. In front of more than 250,000 demonstrators, we Trotskyists called for political revolution and warned against the social-democratic SPD as the Trojan horse for counterrevolution. The Taaffeites at that time were both organisationally and politically part of the SPD.

In Moscow in 1991 when Boris Yeltsin seized power in a countercoup, our comrades mass distributed a leaflet titled: “Soviet Workers: Defeat Yeltsin-Bush Counterrevolution!” We fought for unconditional military defence of the Soviet Union and the Eastern European deformed workers states against imperialist attack and counterrevolution from within, while fighting for proletarian political revolution to oust the parasitic Stalinist bureaucracies and replace them with regimes based on workers democracy and revolutionary internationalism.
China shows graphic footage of Xinjiang militant attacks
25 Jun 2014
(Reuters) - Chinese state television on Tuesday showed dramatic footage of what the government calls terror attacks by Islamist militants from the far western region of Xinjiang, as it steps up its propaganda campaign to counter an upsurge in violence.

The images, shown on CCTV's English-language channel as part of a program on the threat China says it faces in Xinjiang, include surveillance camera footage of an attack at the north end of Beijing's Tiananmen Square last October.

Five people were killed and 40 hurt when a car plowed into a crowd and burst into flames. The dead included three people in the car identified by authorities as Islamists from Xinjiang.

In the color footage, not shown before in such detail, the car speeds through the crowd, smashing into pedestrians, as a black flag with what looks like Arabic lettering flies out the left-hand side. The back of the vehicle is then shown on fire.

"The tourists didn't stand a chance," the narrator says.

The footage was also provided to Reuters by China's State Council Information Office, the Cabinet's news arm.

Later on, its shows what it says is a video made by the militants before the attack, wearing black bandanas, praying, burning a Chinese flag and spitting on an American flag. An elderly woman shouts "God is Great".

"The group pledged to launch a holy war. Inspired by their misreading of Islam, they filmed themselves calling for Jihad," the CCTV narrator says. China sentenced three people to death last week for their role in planning the attack.

Xinjiang is the home of Muslim Uighurs who speak a Turkic language. China has blamed previous attacks on Islamists it says seek to establish an independent state called East Turkestan.

Exiled Uighur groups and human rights activists say the government's repressive policies in Xinjiang, including restrictions on religious practices, have provoked unrest, allegations denied by Beijing.

China says the main group responsible for attacks in Xinjiang is the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), though many foreign experts doubt it exists as the coherent, well-organized group portrayed by Beijing.

CCTV said the group spreads its message in China via the Internet, with much of its material, including manuals on making bombs, uploaded in Turkey.

CCTV said that one of the videos it showed was of ETIM members training in the Gobi Desert in China, and pointed to similarities between ETIM videos and those made by al Qaeda.

Other footage included people setting fire to a police station and a man being hacked at with a long knife.

China has released such images before, notably during anti-Chinese riots in Tibet in 2008, as it addresses a foreign audience and tries to win over critics of its human rights record to show the country faces a real public security problem.

Around 200 people have died in attacks blamed on Xinjiang militants in China in the last year or so, and the authorities have launched a campaign to stop the unrest, detaining hundreds and executing a dozen others.