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.