09-01-2023: In an act of outrageous, even racist, discrimination, around a dozen predominantly Western governments have placed Covid restrictions on travellers entering their country from the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Most of these measures include a demand for proof of a negative Covid test prior to departure, with some demanding this within two days prior to entry. Such countries currently include: the USA, Britain, France, Australia, India, Canada, Japan, Italy, Spain, Malaysia, Taiwan, South Korea and Morocco. The government of Sweden, which currently holds the rotating EU (European Union) presidency, has stated that it will push for the EU to have a common policy of Covid entry restrictions to all those travelling from the Chinese mainland. These moves are blatant, have nothing to do with public health, and are once again a means of ramping up political provocations.
One reason cited for the new travel restrictions on Chinese people is the alleged lack of information being provided by the PRC on the latest “Covid variants”, supposedly derived from the Omicron. Yet the overtly political nature of the announced government restrictions were highlighted in Australia. There, the federal Chief Medical Officer, Professor Paul Kelly, explicitly advised the Australian Labor Party (ALP) government against the need for Covid restrictions on travellers from China. Mr Kelly, in a letter written on December 31, 2022, wrote that there was not a “sufficient public health rationale” for such moves. The next day, the Anthony Albanese led ALP government imposed the very Covid restrictions on Chinese people the Chief Medical Officer disagreed with. Even the World Health Organisation (WHO) jumped on the anti-China bandwagon. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Gebreyesus commented that in the absence of comprehensive information on the new variants coming from the PRC, it is “understandable” that some countries are acting in a way which they believe may protect their populations.
Mao Ning, a spokesperson for the PRC Foreign Ministry, stated that the curbs on Chinese travellers are unreasonable and lacking in any scientific basis. This is very true – but it is also exceedingly hypocritical coming from a spokesperson for the PRC political leadership, ultimately bound up with the Communist Party of China (CPC). The CPC was the most ardent imposer of Covid restrictions from the beginning, with its brutal lockdowns arguably being replicated by the West. Now, after the CPC has more or less been forced to abandon its draconian “Zero-Covid” policy with the aid of some protests, the West is taking the opportunity to sink the boot in once again against its primary adversary.
The Covid narrative, from the start, made no sense from the point of view of public health, science or rational precautions. When viewed from a lens of economics and finance, it makes a lot of sense. “Covid-19” was more about the largest transfer of wealth from the majority to a tiny handful of billionaires. The capitalist system is in crisis and was ironically falling way behind the predominantly state-owned socialistic economy of the PRC. The Western ruling classes chose to wage a horrific civil war against “its own” working class, to attempt a “Great Reset” of its floundering socio-economic system. Whether or not the SARS-CoV-2 virus and its alleged variants exist, there is not now, and never was a “pandemic”. It was rather a gigantic political cover for the unprecedented political repression which was needed to stifle a working-class fightback which may have otherwise ensued against economic shutdowns, the abolition of the most elementary democratic and civil rights, the crushing of many small businesses and the hurling of millions of workers out of employment.
CPC was with most of the agenda
The most pernicious aspect of the Covid fraud were the vaccine mandates, which have now been lifted in many, but not all, workplaces. It is now apparent that the mRNA Covid vaccines are dangerous and potentially deadly, and that the Western ruling classes were attempting a partial genocide through their wide-scale rollout. In the US, life expectancy has decreased by almost three years, which can almost certainly be attributed to the Covid injections. In fact, life expectancy has fallen in 27 out of 29 countries since the onset of what was a lockdown mania in early 2020. Unsurprisingly, the mainstream media blames this on Covid itself, rather than the billions of shots forced into the arms of many workers who did not want them, but relented in order to stay employed. In the West, a vast and sustained political movement for “freedom” resisted this state backed diabolical agenda.
In the PRC, despite the CPC avidly enforcing the Covid storyline, vaccine mandates were never able to be implemented. The one time they were attempted, in Beijing in July 2022, the CPC were forced to withdraw them within 48 hours due to a public outcry. Despite ongoing Western propaganda about totalitarianism in China, in this instance the CPC was forced to accept the Chinese public’s view that vaccine mandates are themselves illegal. Compare this to the West, where an unknown number of workers who refused to be coerced into taking an untested substance were in many cases terminated from employment, and otherwise excluded from large parts of society.
It is true that Chinese workers accepted other parts of the Covid narrative at the behest of the CPC – but only to a certain point. The CPC drove the absurd Zero-Covid policy too far, even when it became obvious that lockdowns themselves were counter-productive and even physically and mentally dangerous. The onerous and utterly meaningless PCR testing was becoming too invasive to bear. In response, some scattered protests broke out in November last year. The Western corporate media immediately jumped on them to claim that the protests were the largest in China since the Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing in 1989. This of course reflected the hopes and aims of the Western ruling classes, irrespective of reality. They seek regime change in Beijing, which indeed they first attempted in June 1989 – even though at that time there were some participants with legitimate concerns.
Anti-lockdown freedom protests
The anti-lockdown protests in China in November 2022, though they may have been relatively small, comprised both an entirely legitimate protest against torturous lockdowns (some people were risking starvation by not being able to leave home) and a treacherous pro-Western, pro-imperialist element which would not blink at collaborating with Washington to depose the People’s Republic. The Western corporate media seized on a few individuals, especially in Shanghai, who were shouting slogans such as “Xi Jinping step down, Communist Party step down!”. These protestors appeared to be a very small minority amongst the protests in China, but it was in “solidarity” with these right-wing elements that vigils in the West were held in London, Paris, Tokyo and Sydney. These vigils were organised by anti-socialist ex-pat dissidents, who seek the end of the bureaucratically deformed workers’ state in the PRC, and the return of untrammeled capitalist exploitation and imperialist plunder.
One of the triggers for the Chinese anti-lockdown freedom protests may well have been a fire in an apartment building in Urumqi in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), where apparently up to 10 people perished. It was reported that firefighting vehicles could not access the building in time to save those trapped inside due to lockdowns, though the government denied this was the case. Whether or not this is true, it is undeniable that lockdowns physically endanger those trapped inside, to say nothing of the mental deterioration it inevitably inflicts on children and adults. They cause much more physical damage than anything a trifling cold and flu virus would do even if it was circulating. Lockdowns in the West were imposed to deliberately crush parts of the economy so that big finance capital could scoop up the remains AND to shock the working class into not even conceiving a thought of resisting state power. Thankfully, many “freedom fighters” in the West fought them regardless.
The strong and predominantly state-owned socialistic economy in the PRC was surging ahead in leaps and bounds, and it had no need to be even partially shut down to attempt a “re-set”. The fact that it was is reflective of Stalinism, not “socialism” and certainly not “communism”. Stalinism above all seeks to contain the gains of its own socialist revolution strictly within the national borders of its own country. This is impossible, but the Stalinist CPC attempts it nevertheless. Sometimes this means defending the PRC as a bureaucratically deformed workers state, sometimes it means defending itself against the encroaches of imperialism – even if this can at times lead to military confrontation. Sometimes this means increasing the wages and standard of living of its own working class. But sometimes, the political conditions may mean that the Stalinist CPC feels a need to impose horrific and crushing restrictions on its own proletariat – even if this risks a political backlash.
Some of the Chinese anti-lockdown freedom protestors brandished blank A4 sheets of paper to symbolise the censorship imposed on those who speak out against some of the actions of the CPC. While it is true that the CPC leadership does practice political censorship to an extent, it is not in the form that Western anti-socialist antagonists imagine. On Chinese social media, there is constantly criticism of the government and the CPC, and no doubt elsewhere in society. However, when such criticism becomes acts of organising to subvert or undermine the local or central government, only then will the CPC intervene, perhaps with censorship or perhaps with other means. Where such subversion covertly or overtly receives support from imperialist governments or their agents such as NGOs, again the CPC may move to suppress such action. The CPC has the right and the duty to ensure that imperialism does not intervene against the workers’ state – however deformed – and workers internationally should not stand in the way of the suppression of pro-Western “dissidents”.
Proletarian political revolution ?
At the same time, the PRC urgently does require a proletarian political revolution. The program of proletarian political revolution was pioneered by Red Army leader and Russian revolutionary LD Trotsky. During the 1930s, Trotsky called for a proletarian political revolution in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) to oust the ultra-conservative rule of Stalin and the right-wing of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which had consolidated its power through the expulsion of Trotsky and the Left Opposition – to say nothing of the physical purges of thousands former Bolshevik party members. The USSR at that time was a degenerated workers’ state, i.e., it was once a healthy proletarian state, but had suffered a political counter-revolution led by Stalin, Bukharin, Tomsky, Rykov and others beginning in 1924. As if to confirm this prognosis, Trotsky himself was assassinated by a Stalinist agent in 1940 – and Stalinist misrule eventually led to capitalist counter-revolution in 1991. This would scarcely have occurred had there been a proletarian political revolution and the restoration of workers’ democracy and the Soviets themselves.
Genuine Trotskyists extend the call for a proletarian political revolution to the remaining deformed workers’ states today – especially the PRC. “Deformed” indicates that the PRC was bureaucratically deformed from its inception, i.e., it was not one which was once healthy and then degenerated through a political counter-revolution as occurred in the USSR. This has to do with both Stalinist leadership of the 1949 socialist revolution and the fact that the CPC at the time was largely peasant based, rather than anchored in the Chinese proletariat. The terror Covid repression imposed by the CPC is again another confirmation of the critical need for proletarian political revolution in the PRC today. That is, Stalinist leadership needs to be swept away and replaced by all pro-socialist political tendencies who are committed to maintaining the gains of the 1949 revolution – state owned land, infrastructure, banks, telecommunications etc., and a planned economy.
It is preposterous to suggest that a few anti-lockdown freedom protests in the PRC constituted, or could have led to, a proletarian political revolution. In reality, the protests in November 2022 were neither a demand to overthrow the PRC state nor were they a proletarian political revolution. The protests were specific to demanding that brutal lockdowns and nonsensical PCR testing end immediately. This is what workers internationally can unconditionally support – while steadfastly opposing the handful of pro-imperialist elements seeking to capitalise. And in fact, this is what the protests achieved. The protests, along with the years long pent up and legitimate anger against Covid repression in the PRC, forced the CPC to abandon “Zero-Covid”. Stalinism, even with state power, has its limits and is not invincible. The duel between the bureaucracy and the working-class remains.
We insist that a proletarian political revolution in the PRC (or in Vietnam, Cuba etc.) must have a leadership which is at least dedicated to preserving the gains of its revolution, and ideally linked to an internationalist perspective. It cannot occur working alongside those who serve Western imperialism directly or indirectly, and it must challenge the bureaucracy’s monopoly on “Leninism”. It may not yet involve a fully formed vanguard party, but neither can it emerge out of largely unconscious and spontaneous protests. What is required is the Marxism of Lenin and Trotsky, not Stalin or Mao. In the meantime, workers internationally should demand: Lift the Covid ban on travellers from China! Lift all Covid restrictions permanently! No lockdowns – ever again! No vaccine mandates – ever again!
 wwwyahoo.com/china-covid-protests-live-anti-124014210.html?guccounter=1 (04-01-2022)
Photo credit: http://www.scmp.com