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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Red Review #90 -- International Left and Labour News

With news from France, Greece, Bulgaria, India, Belgium, Honduras, Sri Lanka, the UK and elsewhere.

We have also republished in full the statement by the South African Communist Party denouncing the imperialist bias of the ICC as well as Comrade Xi Jinping's statement on March 20.

French workers rally in protest against Macron's forcing through of pension "reforms", Draguignan, France March 16 -- Image via the CGT on Twitter

March 9:

Leftist and anti-fascist groups in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia are protesting the city council’s decision to relocate the Monument to the Soviet Army to the Museum of Socialist Art. Right-wing parties hold the majority in the city council.

On Thursday, March 9, activists from the Bulgarian Anti-Fascist Union, along with hundreds of activists from the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and its youth union, formed a human chain to defend the monument. Subsequently, people also demonstrated in front of the offices of the Sofia municipality.

On Thursday, the Sofia city council—dominated by the conservative Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB)—voted in favor of relocating the monument from the city to the Museum of Socialist Art. Councilors from the BSP opposed this move. Several groups have decided to move to court to challenge the city council’s decision, as the monument is protected by several national and international agreements. Meanwhile, caretaker Prime Minister Galab Donev has reportedly said that it is better to further look into the matter only after the general elections scheduled for April 2, once greater consensus is reached.

March 12:

The Workers’ Party of Belgium (PTB-PVDA) has demanded that the coalition government in the country legally extend the time period stipulated for abortion from within 12 weeks to within 18 weeks from conception. On Sunday, March 12, the PTB called on the government to reconsider a bill for reforming abortion laws that had been proposed by several parliamentary parties earlier. The PTB also asked that the six-day mandatory counseling for pregnant women who wanted abortions be abolished, and that sanctions against women who decide to abort after the legally stipulated 12 weeks after conception be removed.

Abortion has been legal in Belgium since April 1990. However, the law stipulates that abortions are only allowed within a maximum of 12 weeks from conception. Late abortions are only permitted in cases of severe complications to the mother’s health or fetal defects. According to the PTB, “701 Belgian women traveled to the Netherlands in 2020 and 2021 to have an abortion because in Belgium it is only allowed up to 12 weeks. They have to pay 1,000 euros (US$ 1,072) and they risk sanctions in Belgium.”

On March 11, Dr Sofie Merckx, MP from the PTB, cited a recent scientific expert report, stating that “abortion should be allowed up to 18 weeks, the mandatory six-day thinking period should be abolished and women should no longer be penalized. This is what we’ve been asking for years! But the government is blocking the dossier when there is a wide majority in parliament to pass the proposal. Now that the experts are clear, it’s time to act, it’s about time to amend our 30+ year old law! My Body, My Choice.”

March 14:

Workers in the public health services—including hospitals, psychiatry, nursing facilities, and emergency services—in various German cities began a two-day warning strike on Tuesday, March 14, demanding fair contracts, an increase in wages, and more staff and resources. Representing the health workers on strike, the Ver.di union has demanded a 10.5% increase in wages—at least 500 Euros (US$ 532)—for the workers.

According to reports, around 8,500 people demonstrated in front of the Town Hall in Hanover on Tuesday as part of the strike. The underfunded public health system in Germany, pushed to the brink by COVID-19, faces another round of crises in these times of soaring inflation.

The German government, led by Chancellor Olaf Scholz, has, however, not heeded the demands of workers even as it has sent funds, arms, and ammunition to Ukraine. Citing the annual report by the Federal Statistical Office, Ver.di has said that “real wages have fallen in the country for the third year in a row. Even though wages have gone up compared to the previous year, inflation will be more than double that in 2022, nearly 8%.”

Honduras has announced plans to establish relations with the People’s Republic of China, in yet another blow to Taiwan. The move was announced by leftist president Xiomara Castro on Tuesday, March 14 on Twitter. Castro stated that she instructed her foreign minister to begin negotiations with Beijing, in a move that would implicitly cut ties with the self-proclaimed Republic of China (ROC), based in Taiwan.

“I have instructed [foreign minister Eduardo Enrique Reina] to manage the opening of official relations with the People’s Republic of China, as a sign of my determination to comply with the Government Plan and expand the borders freely in concert with the nations of the world,” Castro tweeted.

Castro had indicated over the course of her presidential campaign that she planned to establish relations with China. After she took over the presidency in 2022, riding on the back of an emphatic electoral victory, Castro’s administration enacted the Government Plan which included establishing diplomatic ties with the PRC.

“We will seek to establish the most cordial and friendly diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China and with the communities of Asian and African countries that want to interact with us,” read the Government Plan.

March 15:

On Wednesday, March 15, more than 40 trade unions in Sri Lanka called for a nationwide strike against the increased taxes imposed in the country as a precondition for a bailout by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Responding to the unions’ strike call, thousands of workers from the public sector— including railways, hospitals, schools, and ports—observed a complete shutdown. Rejecting the sharp increase in income tax and electricity charges, the workers said that no state intimidation (that previously banned all strikes under emergency laws) could stop them from supporting trade union actions in the country.

“Today, people across the state have taken to streets to protest against the oppressive and anti-people policies of the Ranil Wickremesinghe administration,” Wasantha Samarasinghe, a trade union leader, was quoted as saying by the South China Morning Post.

The ANC on Wednesday reaffirmed its cordial relations with the Communist Party of China when President Cyril Ramaphosa reiterated South Africa’s support of the non-aligned foreign policy position taken by the Asian country on the Russia-Ukraine war.

Despite SA facing heavy criticism from, among others, the United States, for taking a non-aligned foreign policy position on the war, Ramaphosa said: “South Africa applauds China’s principled foreign policy posture.”

Trade unions, left parties, and civil society organizations in the UK have denounced the Spring Budget 2023, delivered by Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt on Wednesday, March 15. The Chancellor and the Tory party have claimed that the Budget sets forth a growth plan for the country that will help avoid recession and halve the soaring inflation this year. However, trade unions have condemned that it fails to tackle the ongoing public sector pay disputes and neglects the overwhelming demand for an increase in wages at par with inflation.

It has been further criticized on the grounds that it calls for an increase in the UK’s defense spending to 2.25% of the GDP, and promised £11 billion (USD 13.26 billion) to the defense budget over the next five years.

Hundreds of thousands of workers affiliated to various trade unions continued their strikes, demonstrations, and pickets on Wednesday, protesting the fall in real wages and demanding pay restoration. Workers on strike hailed from unions such as the National Education Union (NEU), University and Colleges Union (UCU), Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union, the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT), the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), Junior Doctors, and others.

Hundreds of Amazon workers and trade unionists gathered outside Amazon’s Coventry distribution on Wednesday as a historic weeklong strike hits the halfway point.

Over 500 GMB members are on strike demanding a decent cost-of-living raise and angered by Amazon’s 50 pence per hour pay rise. “It’s sickening that Amazon workers in Coventry will earn just 8 pence above minimum wage in April 2023,“ said Amanda Gearing, GMB Senior Organiser. This rally is an opportunity for people to stand shoulder to shoulder with Amazon workers taking on one of the globes wealthiest companies. Amazon bosses can stop this industrial action by doing the right thing and negotiating a proper pay rise with workers.”

March 16:

Tens of thousands took to the streets in cities across Greece answering the call of labour unions, student unions, Communists and other left groups for a general strike on March 16 as part of the ongoing mobilizations after the horrific train disaster that killed 57 people on February 28.

There had been mass protests in Athens and other major cities several times previously in March including on March 5, 8 and 12.

For the second time in two weeks, on March 16, thousands of workers in all sectors and workplaces across the country said “Today we Strike”. With their mass participation they stopped production in industries, factories, ports and transport. They stopped services, stood against the strike-breaking attempts of the employers and they gave an answer to the miserable provocation of the government that the day before yesterday was falsely propagating that “the strike in the public sector is illegal”.

French unions and Left political parties are calling for further strikes and mobilizations after the French government of Emmanuel Macron resorted to an undemocratic constitutional maneuver to push through its deeply unpopular pension "reforms".

The proposed changes would, among other attacks on workers, raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 while also raising the number of years of work it takes to qualify for a pension. Since being announced it has proven deeply unpopular with the people of France. Opinion polls show that it is opposed by around two-thirds of the population and the government has faced waves of massive protests and strikes that have it on the defensive.

Hundreds of thousands have taken to the streets on several occasions including as recently as March 7-8.

After the government announced its intention to bypass parliament, where Macron's party does not hold a majority, to force passage of the legislation using article 49.3 of the constitution there were spontaneous demonstrations in Paris and other cities across the country.

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union is accusing three former union executives of unjustly awarding contracts to certain associates in exchange for financial kickbacks to enrich themselves.

The union is seeking $24-million in damages for the alleged wrongdoing by the three executives and numerous entities tied to them.

The allegations have yet to be proven in court and no statements of defence have been filed by the accused.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in Ontario Superior Court, is the latest in a series of legal actions the union’s new leadership has pursued since taking office, in an attempt to scrutinize exactly how the union’s money has been used over the past decade.

OPSEU is one of Canada’s largest public sector unions, and has more than 180,000 members. The union’s main source of revenue is union dues paid by these members.

The First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba and President of the Republic, Miguel Díaz-Canel endorsed on Wednesday China's Global Civilization Initiative.

In his Twitter profile, the dignitary details that the initiative was proposed by his counterpart Xi Jinping in the context of the second High-Level Dialogue between the Communist Party of China (CPC) and Political Parties of the World.

At the opening of the event, the CCP Secretary also emphasized that tolerance, coexistence, exchanges and mutual learning among different civilizations play an irreplaceable role in advancing the modernization process of humanity.

The machine will churn no more. Nearly 80 years of top-down one-party rule in the United Auto Workers are coming to an end. Reformer Shawn Fain is set to be the winner in the runoff for the UAW presidency.

As of Thursday night, Fain had a 505-vote edge, 69,386 to 68,881, over incumbent Ray Curry of the Administration Caucus. Curry was appointed by the union’s executive board in 2021. There are around 600 unresolved challenged ballots. (This story will be updated with the final vote tally when we have it.)

“By now, the writing is on the wall: change is coming to the UAW,” said Fain. “You, the members, have already made history in this election, and we’re just getting started. It’s a new day in the UAW.”

It’s a stunning upset in one of the nation’s most storied unions. Once Fain’s victory is conclusive— after remaining challenged ballots are counted—he will join Secretary-Treasurer Margaret Mock, who ran on the Members United slate and won outright in the first round, and a majority of the International Executive Board, giving reformers control of the direction of the union. The UAW Members United slate won every race it challenged—a clear rebuke to the old guard.

March 17:

Giorgia Meloni, Italy’s prime minister and leader of a party with neo-fascist origins, was greeted during a speech in Rimini with some delegates singing the protest song at her arrival. Meloni was speaking during a convention of the three main Italian unions, CGIL, CISL, and UIL when some unionists sang the song and left the hall with their fists raised. Bella Ciao originated among the hardships of female paddy field workers in the late 19th century and became the anthem of the Italian resistance movement by partisans opposing fascism in the second world war. It has since become a hymn of freedom and resistance

THOUSANDS of anti-racist protesters demonstrated across the country at the weekend against Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s Illegal Migration Bill and the racism it feeds.

The demonstrations against racism and bigotry of all kinds were organised by Stand Up to Racism (SUTR), and the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC), drawing support and speakers from across organised labour, as well as charities and organisations supporting refugees here and abroad.

In London, 12,000 protesters marched on Downing Street, taking their clear message that “No human being is illegal” to the heart of government, as the Tories drive forward controversial legislation that will leave refugees who have travelled to this country by “irregular” routes to be automatically ineligible to claim asylum.

The crash of a US MQ-9 drone after an encounter with a Russian fighter jet near Crimea is a dangerous development and warns of the grave consequences of our country’s involvement in imperialist interventions and wars.

The MQ-9 drones have been brought to Larissa by the USA and take off from there to spy on a wider region —including the region where the imperialist war in Ukraine is being waged. Together with the expansion of the US military bases in our country and the transfer of materiel to the imperialist slaughterhouse of war, they pose enormous risks to our people, particularly in the face of the expected escalation of the imperialist war, where new weapons are being added and there is serious threat of nuclear destruction.

The responsibility for this situation and the deeper involvement of the country in the war lies with the government of New Democracy and all the parties (SYRIZA, PASOK, etc.) that supported those choices, such as the so-called strategic alliance with the USA that enhanced the US-NATO presence in our country.

The only way to strengthen the struggle against imperialist war, for the closure of the bases of death and the disengagement of the country from NATO and the EU, with the people holding the reins of power, is to strengthen the KKE in all manner of ways, including voting for it in the upcoming elections.

On 17/03/23, a delegation of the International Relations Section of the CC of the KKE, led by the Party’s MEP Lefteris Nikolaou-Alavanos, made a demarche to the Polish Embassy in Athens, protesting against the escalation of the criminalization of communist ideology and action by the Polish government through the vehicle of the recent revision of the Criminal Code, which is due to be activated in the coming months.

Chanting slogans such as 'Neither in Greece nor in Poland can threats scare us, hands off the communists' and 'Solidarity with the struggle of the peoples, no to the persecution of communists', the delegation denounced the anti-communist new Criminal Code, which provides for prison sentences even for the possession of a book or a poster from the era of the construction of socialism in the country, and expressed its full solidarity with the Communist Party of Poland.

The delegation posted a memorandum at the entrance to the Embassy stating the following: “We hereby express our strongest protest to the Polish government for the escalation of the criminalization of the communist ideology and action through the vehicle of the recent revision of the Criminal Code, which is due to be activated in the coming months.

This new, even more reactionary Criminal Code is to be added to the years-long persecution of the Communist Party of Poland, whose members are facing trials for having committed the ‘crime’ of publishing a newspaper. University professors are being prosecuted for conducting Marxist seminars at universities, demonstrators are being prosecuted for wearing a shirt bearing the picture of Lenin, etc.

According to the changes in the new Criminal Code, any person who, among other things, ‘publicly promotes’ or ‘produces, records or imports, possesses, sells, offers, stores, keeps, presents, transfers or displays in printed, electronic or any other form communist symbols and ideas’ shall be punished with up to three years’ imprisonment.

The above means that practically anyone in possession of a book, a poster, or a historical film, even from the very history of Poland in the 20th century, is potentially guilty and may face prison sentences.

The Communist Party of Greece expresses its full solidarity with the Communist Party of Poland. It supports the right to free and unhindered political expression and action of communists and other radical militants in Poland. It condemns the unhistorical equation of communism with Nazism-fascism by the Polish government and other EU member states, with the backing of the EU. It demands that the Polish authorities should immediately stop all persecution against the communists and withdraw the unacceptable and anti-communist new Criminal Code. It also demands that all anti-communist laws and provisions that prohibit the actions of communists and violate the basic people’s freedoms in Poland be repealed”.

March 18:

March 19:

March 20:

Unions in Pakistan's Punjab province, including IndustriALL affiliates, have successfully negotiated a 28 per cent raise in the minimum wage for workers employed across 102 industries in the province.

The province of Punjab revised the minimum wage from PKR25,000 (US$88) to PKR32,000 (US$113) for unskilled work after the provincial minimum wage board, comprising of government representatives, employers, and trade unions, met in Islamabad on 20 March. The revised minimum wage will come into effect immediately after the Governor of Punjab gives his assent.

With a population of over 100 million, the Punjab province has approximately 10 million industrial workers employed across 102 sectors, including textile, chemical, and mines, to whom the wage revision would be applied. The wages of semi-skilled, skilled, and highly skilled workers will also be raised, reaching PKR35,000 (US$124).

On 20/03, thousands of people participated in militant demonstrations in the centre of Athens and other cities, denouncing the bill of the New Democracy government that promotes the further commercialization and privatization of water. This is an escalation of the implementation of the EU guidelines that all bourgeois governments have been serving for the past 20 years. The mass demonstrations have shown that the people and the youth, through their unions and mass organizations, are strengthening the struggle against the policy of profit; a policy dictating another crime, i.e. the further commercialization of water, which will burden the workers with new risks and more worries.

Unite the union announced today (Monday 20 March) that major oil and gas operators in the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) face a ‘tsunami’ of industrial unrest within weeks as around 1400 offshore workers across five companies demand a better deal on jobs, pay and conditions.

Unite, whose members will take action at companies enjoying record-busting profits, predicts that platforms and offshore installations will be brought to a ‘standstill’ due to the specialised roles its members undertake.

The action will hit major oil and gas operators including BP, CNRI, EnQuest, Harbour, Ithaca, Shell and Total.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Oil and gas companies have been given free rein to enjoy massive windfall profits in the North Sea; drilling concessions are effectively licences to print money.

“1400 offshore workers are now set to take strike action against these employers who are raking it but refusing to give them a fair share of the pie. This will create a tsunami of industrial unrest in the offshore sector.

“Unite will support these members every step of the way in their fight for better jobs, pay and conditions.”

South African Communist Party

SACP denounces imperialist bias by the International Criminal Court

Full text:

Saturday, 18 March 2023: The South African Communist Party (SACP) categorically denounces the unacceptable conduct by the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC has proven itself to be a supra-national institution at the service of imperialist states under their hegemony. This bias clearly shows why other states have not even bothered to be part of the ICC at all and why others have had to consider terminating being part of it.

March 2023 marks 20 years since the imperialist United States, as usual automatically supported by former colonial powers from Europe, invaded Iraq. The ICC ignored this, other invasions and conflicts sowed, fuelled and sponsored by the United States-led imperialist forces, and their consequences.

In justifying their invasion of Iraq, the imperialist forces used what arguably became a big and costly lie of the decade. Through their speeches, presentations, media houses, news agencies, and “independent” “experts” and “analysts”, to name but a few, the United States-led imperialist forces spread the propaganda that Iraq developed and had stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction.

Using the big lie, the United States-led imperialist forces invaded Iraq on 20 March 2003, also occupying it, with no less than 130,000 troops, for approximately nine years. The invasion resulted in the killing of over 100,000 Iraqi civilians, with a massive destruction of Iraq. Joe Biden, the current United States President, voted to allow the invasion of Iraq. He was the chairperson of the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Twenty years later, the ICC has not issued a single warrant of arrest for or prosecuted any United States or European president, prime minister, or monarch as head of state, for the cruelty against people that they have committed not only in Iraq but also in other parts of the world, Africa and the Middle East included. The history of the ICC shows now firmly that it takes the side of the United States-led imperialist forces or those these imperialist forces support in conflict situations. To this extent, the ICC functions like the United States-led imperialist forces’ judicial-styled political instrument in their pursuit of their interests and agendas.

Meanwhile, in a month that marks the 20th anniversary of the historical injustice of the invasion of Iraq by the United States-led imperialist forces, the ICC issued arrest warrants for Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, and Maria Lvova-Belova, Commissioner for Children’s Rights in the Office of the President of Russia, on allegations relating to the United States-dominated NATO-provoked war in Ukraine.

In Africa, the case of Laurent Gbagbo, Ivory Coast President from 2000 until his unjust arrest in April 2011 by politically biased forces supported by the imperialist French troops, and his unjust incarceration until 2019, will go down in history as part of the ICC’s legacy of bias underpinned primarily by imperialist interests in what appeared merely as a domestic conflict. Gbagbo’s arrest and incarceration for eight years under the auspices of the ICC occurred with no evidence. Ivory Coast’s former minister of youth development, Charles Blé Goudé, who was also arrested, faced the same injustice.

The SACP calls on the world anti-imperialist movement to strengthen and intensify the struggle against imperialism, inclusive of the unjust role played by the ICC and its imperialist underpinned bias in world affairs.

Our Party acknowledges the contribution made in the just, anti-imperialist struggle by the revolutionary and progressive forces of Europe and the United States, who have nailed their colours to the mast in the imperialist centres by openly opposing and organising against their states-driven imperialism, imperialist agendas, narrow nationalism and associated stances.

Together, the working-class and other revolutionary and progressive strata of society should forge a world peace movement towards a just, peaceful and better world for all.

Forging Ahead to Open a New Chapter of China-Russia Friendship, Cooperation and Common Development - Xi Jinping President of the People’s Republic of China, March 20

Full text:

At the invitation of President Vladimir Putin, I will soon pay a state visit to the Russian Federation. Russia was the first country I visited after I was elected President ten years ago. Over the past decade, I have made eight visits to Russia. I came each time with high expectations and returned with fruitful results, opening a new chapter for China-Russia relations together with President Putin.

China and Russia are each other’s biggest neighbor and comprehensive strategic partner of coordination. We are both major countries in the world and permanent members of the UN Security Council. Both countries uphold an independent foreign policy and see our relationship as a high priority in our diplomacy.

There is a clear historical logic and strong internal driving force for the growth of China-Russia relations. Over the past ten years, we have come a long way in our wide-ranging cooperation and made significant strides into the new era.

— High-level interactions have played a key strategic role in leading China-Russia relations. We have established a whole set of mechanisms for high-level interactions and multi-faceted cooperation which provide important systemic and institutional safeguards for the growth of the bilateral ties. Over the years, I have maintained a close working relationship with President Putin. We have met 40 times on bilateral and international occasions. Together we have drawn the blueprint for the bilateral relations and cooperation in various fields, and have had timely communication on major international and regional issues of mutual interest, providing firm stewardship for the sustained, sound and stable growth of China-Russia relations.

— Our two sides have cemented political mutual trust and fostered a new model of major-country relations. Guided by a vision of lasting friendship and win-win cooperation, China and Russia are committed to no-alliance, no-confrontation and not targeting any third party in developing our ties. We firmly support each other in following a development path suited to our respective national realities and support each other’s development and rejuvenation. The bilateral relationship has grown more mature and resilient. It is brimming with new dynamism and vitality, setting a fine example for developing a new model of major-country relations featuring mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation. 

— Our two sides have put in place an all-round and multi-tiered cooperation framework. Thanks to the joint efforts of both sides, China-Russia trade exceeded US$190 billion last year, up by 116 percent from ten years ago. China has been Russia’s largest trading partner for 13 years running. We have seen steady increase in our two-way investment. Our cooperation on major projects in such fields as energy, aviation, space and connectivity is moving forward steadily. Our collaboration in scientific and technological innovation, cross-border e-commerce and other emerging areas is showing a strong momentum. Our cooperation at the sub-national level is also booming. All this has brought tangible benefits to both the Chinese and the Russian peoples and provided unceasing driving force for our respective development and rejuvenation. 

— Our two sides have acted on the vision of lasting friendship and steadily strengthened our traditional friendship. On the occasion of commemorating the 20th anniversary of the China-Russia Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation, President Putin and I announced the extension of the Treaty and added new dimensions to it. Our two sides have held eight “theme years” at the national level and continued to write new chapters for China-Russia friendship and cooperation. Our two peoples have stood by and rooted for each other in the fight against COVID, which once again proves that “a friend in need is a friend indeed”.  

— Our two sides have had close coordination on the international stage and fulfilled our responsibilities as major countries. China and Russia are firmly committed to safeguarding the UN-centered international system, the international order underpinned by international law, and the basic norms of international relations based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. We have stayed in close communication and coordination in the UN, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, BRICS, the G20 and other multilateral mechanisms, and worked together for a multi-polar world and greater democracy in international relations. We have been active in practicing true multilateralism, promoting the common values of humanity, and championing the building of a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind.

Looking back on the extraordinary journey of China-Russia relations over the past 70 years and more, we feel strongly that our relationship has not reached easily where it is today, and that our friendship is growing steadily and must be cherished by us all. China and Russia have found a right path of state-to-state interactions. This is essential for the relationship to stand the test of changing international circumstances, a lesson borne out by both history and reality.

My upcoming visit to Russia will be a journey of friendship, cooperation and peace. I look forward to working with President Putin to jointly adopt a new vision, a new blueprint and new measures for the growth of China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination in the years to come.

To this end, our two sides need to enhance coordination and planning. As we focus on our respective cause of development and rejuvenation, we should get creative in our thinking, create new opportunities and inject new impetus. It is important that we increase mutual trust and bring out the potential of bilateral cooperation to keep China-Russia relations at a high level.

Our two sides need to raise both the quality and quantity of investment and economic cooperation and step up policy coordination to create favorable conditions for the high-quality development of our investment cooperation. We need to boost two-way trade, foster more convergence of interests and areas of cooperation, and promote the complementary and synchronized development of traditional trade and emerging areas of cooperation. We need to make sustained efforts to synergize the Belt and Road Initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union, so as to provide more institutional support for bilateral and regional cooperation.

Our two sides need to step up people-to-people and cultural exchanges and ensure the success of China-Russia Years of Sports Exchange. We should make good use of the sub-national cooperation mechanisms to facilitate more interactions between sister provinces/states and cities. We should encourage personnel exchanges and push for the resumption of tourism cooperation. We should make available better summer camps, jointly-run schools and other programs to steadily enhance the mutual understanding and friendship between our peoples, especially between the youth.

The world today is going through profound changes unseen in a century. The historical trend of peace, development and win-win cooperation is unstoppable. The prevailing trends of world multi-polarity, economic globalization and greater democracy in international relations are irreversible. On the other hand, our world is confronted with complex and intertwined traditional and non-traditional security challenges, damaging acts of hegemony, domination and bullying, and long and tortuous global economic recovery. Countries around the world are deeply concerned and eager to find a cooperative way out of the crisis.

In March 2013, when speaking at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, I observed that countries are linked with and dependent on one another at a level never seen before, and that mankind, living in the same global village, have increasingly emerged as a community with a shared future in which everyone’s interests are closely entwined. Since then, I have proposed the Belt and Road Initiative, the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative, and the Global Civilization Initiative on different occasions. All these have enriched our vision for a community with a shared future for mankind and provided practical pathways toward it. They are part of China’s response to the changes of the world, of our times, and of the historic trajectory.

Through these ten years, the common values of humanity -- peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom -- have taken deeper roots in the heart of the people. An open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world with lasting peace, universal security and common prosperity has become the shared aspiration of more and more countries. The international community has recognized that no country is superior to others, no model of governance is universal, and no single country should dictate the international order. The common interest of all humankind is in a world that is united and peaceful, rather than divided and volatile.

Since last year, there has been an all-round escalation of the Ukraine crisis. China has all along upheld an objective and impartial position based on the merits of the issue, and actively promoted peace talks. I have put forth several proposals, i.e., observing the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, respect of the legitimate security concerns of all countries, supporting all efforts conducive to the peaceful settlement of the crisis, and ensuring the stability of global industrial and supply chains. They have become China’s fundamental principles for addressing the Ukraine crisis.

Not long ago, we released China’s Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis, which takes into account the legitimate concerns of all parties and reflects the broadest common understanding of the international community on the crisis. It has been constructive in mitigating the spillovers of the crisis and facilitating its political settlement. There is no simple solution to a complex issue. We believe that as long as all parties embrace the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and pursue equal-footed, rational and results-oriented dialogue and consultation, they will find a reasonable way to resolve the crisis as well as a broad path toward a world of lasting peace and common security.

To run the world’s affairs well, one must first and foremost run its own affairs well. The Chinese people, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, are striving in unity to advance the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts through the Chinese path to modernization. Chinese modernization is characterized by the following features: it is the modernization of a huge population, the modernization of common prosperity for all, the modernization of material and cultural-ethical advancement, the modernization of harmony between humanity and nature, and the modernization of peaceful development. These distinctive Chinese features are the crystallization of our practices and explorations over the years, and reflect our profound understanding of international experience. Going forward, we will steadfastly advance the cause of Chinese modernization, strive to realize high-quality development, and expand high-standard opening up. I believe that this will bring new development opportunities to Russia and all countries in the world.

Just as every new year starts with spring, every success starts with actions. We have every reason to expect that China and Russia, as fellow travelers on the journey of development and rejuvenation, will make new and greater contributions to human advancement.


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