Wen’s visit: Tories grovel and the “left” is silent

June 27, 2011 at 8:06 pm (apologists and collaborators, capitalism, China, Human rights, Jim D, stalinism, strange situations, Tory scum)

“There is no trade-off in our relationship. It is not about either discussing trade or human rights. Britain and China have such a strong and developed relationship We have a dialogue that covers all these issues and nothing is off limits in the discussion we have…we are different countries, we have different histories, different stages of development. We should show each other respect. But we’re very clear that political and economic development should go hand in hand, one supports the other.”

-David Cameron.

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao with British Prime Minister David Cameron where they are attending a summit meeting, London: David Cameron 'to raise human rights' with China

Cameron, it seems, did very politely raise the unfortunate little issue of so-called “human rights” with Mr Wen during the Chinese premier’s visit to these shores. But, naturally, he didn’t want to make too much of a fuss, what with £1.4 million worth of trade agreements on the table and the prospect of doubling two-way trade between the UK and China by 2015. Not to mention the prospect of the British poultry market being allowed to export to China and a deal for the supply of UK pigs for China being agreed.
Meanwhile in my home town of Brummagem, Mr Wen visited the MG plant at Longbridge and unveiled the new MG6C Magnette model at the factory that is now owned by the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation – the only business he visited during his stay in the UK. Brum Council’s (Lib Dem) deputy leader Paul Tilsely could scarcely contain himself: “The Chinese Premier flew into Birmingham Airport, he stayed at the Hyatt hotel in the city and he visited the MG plant which is a great coup for Birmingham.”
Former CBI boss and ex-trade minister Digby Jones put things more bluntly: “What we must do is accentuate [sic] to China and its different companies over the next 25 years that if it wants to invest in Europe, it should invest in Britain, and if it wants to invest in Britain, it should invest in Birmingham and the wider West Midlands. It means that we must ensure  that the Chinese premier understands that our communications are good in Birmingham, and also understands we have a stable political environment, and that we have a tradition of making things, which is something that nthe Chinese can dip into”, he told the Birmingham Post.
Well, that’s all hunky-dory, then, isn’t it? You’d never guess that Wen Jiabao is the leader of a country that for years has consistently been in the bottom dozen or so states when it comes to human rights, as monitored by NGO’s and human rights organisations. Political, religious and trade union rights are all viciously restricted (at least 14 workers at the Foxconn plant have commited suicide due to conditions there) , there is no free press, physical violence by the state towards journalists and bloggers is harsh and seems to be getting worse. Ethnic minorities are persecuted: Uigar bloggers and journalists were, in 2010, sentenced to long prison terms after unfair trials and, of course, Tibet is still denied independence or even any degree of devolution. Freedom of movement is heavily restricted under the Hukou system that has been compared to ‘apartheid’ in its effects on rural workers, while the One-Child policy (though releaxed in 2002) continues to lead to forced abortions, female infanticide and forced sterilisations. China executes more people each year than the rest of the world combined.
So although the Tories and the capitalists were brown-nosing Mr Wen, naturally the Left and the Anti-War movement were out protesting?
Were they, fuck!
The only protests were small events at Longbridge and in London organised by the Falun Gong religious sect and the Free Tibet campaign. No-one from the organised left attended.
How different it would have been if instead of Mr Wen, the visitor had been, say, Benjamin Netanyahu.


  1. lost said,

    i dont want to make excuses for the organised left in britain but i do wonder whether large sections of it are still sufferring the “political fall out”from their own previous apologetics for the stalinist regimes,no kind of convuluted intellectualism or distorted marxism can make up for the fact that china was only briefly a revolutionary,workers regime.

    it is yet another rabid authoritarian regime that now fully mobilises capitalism into whatever distorted society it has been for too long.despite the repression it is however clear from websites like Chinastrike(is that the right name?)that indicate that workers will resist and refuse to stay silent.

    apart from the Free Tibet campaign perhaps those of us who see it for what it is might begin to organise education,proipoganda and solidarity with our brothers and sisters in china.it remaisn true that workers have nothing to lose but their chains and that workers have no country but the whol world.not even fabrications of marx should prevent us using our own judgement to see it for what it is-oppression and exploitation,alongside workers on the move and in struggle.

    im sorry that ill health prevented me being there but who else would want to organise for the long haul is welcome to get in touch

  2. maxdunbar said,

    Denis MacShane has challenged Cameron in the Hoc several times on this.

    Shorter Wen press conference: ‘Hello Dave. Shut up about Ai Weiwei. Here are some pandas.’

  3. Geoff Collier said,

    Lost; when was the brief period that China was a “revolutionary, workers regime”. And what does it mean?

  4. lost said,

    in response to geoff collier-in bending overbackwards to not be sectarian ive undoubtedly too soft.my limited recollection is that the 1949 revolutionary forces were based on more peasants than workers in an unhealthy alliance with other forces.the party soon substituted for the class and the mao zedong leadership for workers leadership.so the straight answer is”for less than a fleeting moment”.i apologise for my innacuracy though it still makes one point for me-how attached we can be to inferior appearances set against the reality.and how difficult it is to think clearly,sharply,independently in making the better world we deserve.

    none of thisd excuses the silence of the left.

    we need to make solidarity in playing an active part in our duture.it is that class struggle in which we forge and temper our ideas and our future.we dont just carry the capitalism from which the new is born into our future,but we need to take charge of our own future now.socialism is not just for the future it is now.and it needs to be fully internationalist.

    all those who do should do the determining and the deciding.we can leave neither wen nor cameron to decide our fate for not a single moment longer

  5. Pinkie said,

    So where were the massed ranks of the AWL in all this, then, James?

    Sure, criticise ‘the left’ for their indifference to this visit, but self-criticism seems notably absent.

  6. Jim Denham said,

    The point I was making was that the left, including the AWL, didn’t even know about the protests. The difference between the AWL and most of the rest of the left is that they *would* have turned up had they known. That doesn’t mean that our absence is simply OK, or that questions shouldn’t be asked (of the AWL).

  7. lost said,

    how can the organised left fail to have known about the wen-visit.i know we dont trust it but as this very column points out at various times we are stuck with it,and learning to comprehend critically.this visit has been in the news for at least several days.with all the new technologies surely even a token demonstration would have been better than none.

    for what its worth,my excuse is my disability and ill health,so i try to do what i can in other ways.

  8. lost said,

    more stupidity from me im afraid-the it i was referring to is the established press,tv and media-who carried the story about the wen visit in advance.how can the left have missed it?

  9. charliethechulo said,

    Of course, sections of the so-called “left” still rather admire the Chinese ruling class:


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