The Guardian November 17, 1999


Fidel Castro on China

In an event in Havana marking the 50th anniversary of the founding of 
the People's Republic of China, President Fidel Castro expressed the view 
that all of China's development, as reflected in its current economy and 
society, is the result of the application of Marxist ideas. Castro 
highlighted the assistance China has given Cuba and humanity in 
general.

According to the Cuban leader, China's achievements came about thanks to 
"Marxist doctrine, scientific socialism, the revolution of the poor, by the 
poor and for the poor".

In an improvised speech, virtually at the end of the colourful ceremony, 
Fidel stressed that it was a moment of great historical significance.

"It was really very satisfying", he said, "to hear the Chinese ambassador 
reaffirming in his speech here that those successes were made possible 
because of a political ideology, a political science, that of Marxism-
Leninism, complemented by Mao Zedong's significant theoretical 
contributions  theoretical contributions to the political struggle, to 
the revolutionary struggle  and subsequently Deng Xiaoping's theoretical 
and practical contributions."

Growth

Fidel affirmed that the hard-working spirit of the Chinese people was a 
significant factor in those advances, with a theory and through a 
revolution that has brought about profound social changes, "a genuine and 
exemplary revolution when one analyses it at its roots".

The Cuban President also noted the 9.8 percent growth sustained by China 
for 21 years, unprecedented in the history of any human society.

China experienced famine upon famine under the domination of the feudal 
lords and capitalists, always allied to the dominant colonial powers, when 
its population was only 400-500 million, whereas today, with triple that 
population, it has eradicated hunger forever.

It has also been capable of producing 40 percent of the eggs consumed in 
the world, 490 million tonnes of grains and many other similar figures.

A great service to the world

Fidel went on to say that China has lent an exceptional service to the 
world, particularly from 1998 onwards, during the crisis that commenced in 
South-East Asia and led to a similar, extremely profound crisis in Japan, 
the second largest economic power in the world.

After that the crisis extended to Russia, seriously affected US stockmarket 
prices and directly threatened Latin America's economy.

"China had to make an enormous economic sacrifice, without which nothing 
could have halted the crisis. The world was trembling, the whole world! 
Both the Third World and the industrialised world were trembling at the 
thought that in order to protect its exports and economic growth, China 
would, with good reason, devalue the yuan.

"But it did not do so, and the acknowledgment merited by the People's 
Republic of China for that service has not been very forthcoming."

The Cuban President recalled that China attained representation on the 
Security Council of the UN, "to which it had a right, according to all the 
agreements made after World War II", only in 1971, when it had become 
impossible for the US to resist world public opinion, "and the growing 
support [for China] of an increasing number of UN member states, given that 
during that period many countries in Africa and other parts of the world 
had gained their independence.

"Today, that Third World which supported China so well has a friend on the 
Security Council."

Korea: a nuclear danger

Fidel returned to the years of the economic blockade of China and the time 
when US troops, under General MacArthur's command, intervened in the 
conflict in Korea, a country which was divided and which has remained 
divided. MacArthur's forces reached the Chinese border.

Shortly after the end of their war of liberation, no less than one million 
Chinese volunteers had to take up arms and join in a counter-offensive 
alongside the Korean people, inflicting a huge defeat on the US troops.

"Within the United States, there were more than a few proponents of 
attacking beyond the Chinese border, in the desperation of defeat, because 
the Chinese soldiers were advancing, in spite of the enormous difference in 
military equipment, until they reached the point where the line is still 
maintained. A tremendous battle.

"Subsequently, the economic blockade continued and later the US 
imperialists intervened in Vietnam, unleashing their genocidal war, and 
then China expressed its solidarity with the people of Vietnam.

"During that period, two countries, China and the Soviet Union, supplied 
arms and gave political support to the Vietnamese who, fighting heroically, 
won their victory in the 1970s.

The Cuban President noted that the United States was suffering defeat after 
defeat during that period. The lessons of Korea and Vietnam were 
significant.

He pointed out that "in the wake of all the blows it was receiving in many 
places", the US realised that the harsh economic blockade of China that it 
maintained for 28 years was unsustainable.

"It was unsustainable not only from the point of view of law, political 
principles, the UN Charter and all the rest, but also unsustainable from 
the point of view of its economic interests; China constituted a vast 
potential market and it couldn't do without that market", he noted.

One country  two systems

"Those [in China] who served the reactionary forces and the US imperialists 
at the end of World War II", Fidel noted, "were crushingly, roundly and 
irreversibly defeated, and took refuge on the little island of Taiwan, 
which is an integral part of Chinese territory.

"What is really happening today is that, while they talk of the existence 
of a single China, the United States and other Western countries are 
supplying the separatist government on the island with the most modern and 
sophisticated weapons and feeding the movement against China's integrity.

"The Chinese understood that they had to be patient, until the day arrived 
when the West and the world had no other alternative than to recognise the 
right of the People's Republic of China to the reintegration of Hong Kong, 
that little piece of their territory seized from them in colonial wars."

The Chinese have an ideology to facilitate this process: the principle of 
one country and two systems. "The people of Hong Kong were promised that 
the existing economic and social system would remain intact, as well as its 
institutions, but under Chinese sovereignty.

"This has also been offered to Taiwan, in an even broader context."

Fidel called on nations to respect other countries' territorial integrity, 
pointing out that this is not the moment for disintegrating countries.

"You can see the disaster that disintegration brought to the former 
countries of the Soviet Union, a disintegration allowing anyone  
basically the United States  to come running to invest and establish its 
hegemony, its domination and its possession of the basic resources of those 
former republics, mainly natural gas and petroleum, in which some of them 
are very rich, as well as in other minerals.

"Listening to the [Chinese] ambassador's words", Fidel said, "I really felt 
a deep satisfaction and felt very happy to attend this event  even though 
I had absolutely no intention of speaking.

"When he expressed that phrase `Socialism or Death', and when he added that 
`Venceremos!' he was stating something of which we are totally convinced.

"That's why I felt so moved", the Cuban President confided, "listening to 
The Internationale, endorsed by what was said here, provided with 
the exact information given here to demonstrate that only socialism can 
solve the world's problems."

* * *
Granma International, Abridged.

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