Sunday, November 22, 2009

Maoists terrorists: China comrade

CITHARA PAUL


New Delhi, Nov. 21: A senior Chinese communist party official has equated Maoists with terrorists, going far beyond the sterile labels usually used by Beijing.

“Maoism is nothing but terrorism. The Maoists should never expect any financial, political or military support from China,’’ Ai Ping of the Communist Party of China (CPC) told The Telegraph today.

“We in China never use the term Maoism in our political parlance. Marxism is our source and Mao just adapted it to the Chinese situation. Mao himself has never approved of the term ‘Maoism’,’’ said Ai, who is the director-general of the CPC’s Bureau 1 that advises Beijing on its South and East Asia policies.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the “International Meeting of the Communist and Workers Party” in New Delhi.

Reminded that the CPC had described the Naxalbari uprising as a peal of spring thunder that had crashed over India, Ping said: “That was 40 or more years ago.”

CPC mouthpiece People’s Daily had said in 1967 that the Naxalites had “done the absolutely correct thing” by adopting Mao’s revolutionary line. An editorial in the newspaper had said “a single spark can start a prairie fire” and that “a great storm of revolutionary armed struggle will eventually sweep across the length and breadth of India’’.

But, as Ai said, “China has changed a lot’’ since those days. “Our focus has changed from class struggle to economic development. We strongly believe that the market plays an important role in redistribution (of wealth),” he said.

Is the CPC aware of the confrontation between the mainstream Marxist parties in India and the Maoists?

“We have been told that 70 comrades have been killed by the Maoists so far. It is not the right thing to do,’’ Ai said.

But what about the Maoist claim that they are fighting in the cause of the most deprived? “They might be, but they are behaving just like terrorists,” Ai said.

China has rarely used such blunt words to describe the Maoists. In Nepal, when the Maoists were a guerrilla force, Beijing had confined itself to labelling the then rebels “anti-state forces misusing Mao’s name”.

Asked about the allegation that Beijing was supplying arms to the Maoists, he said it was nothing but a “gross misunderstanding”.

Message to Marxists

Ai had a piece of advice for the mainstream Indian Left, too: “The US has a huge market and a very strong financial sector which we cannot afford to neglect. We must learn to deal with the US. The US does have hegemonic tendencies, but we don’t need to keep calling it imperialist always.”

Ai said it was wrong to underestimate the importance of the market.

“We must take reforms and opening-up as the driving force to promote all-round economic, political, cultural and social development. It is imperative to push forward economic and political reform to motivate the entire population for greater enthusiasm, initiative and creativity to realise social equity and justice and fill the country with vitality,’’ he said.

But he insisted it was wrong to say that China had deviated from the socialist path. “We are not pursuing capitalism. The CPC has always upheld Marxism as our fundamental guiding ideology. But we have adapted the basic tenets of Marxism to Chinese realities of the times to build a new road to socialism.”

On the border spat over Arunachal Pradesh, Ai said top-level leaders of both countries should try to solve the issue at the earliest.

Differentiating between India and China, he said modern India was a product of colonial rule while modern China came into existence through a revolution. “The new China does not accept unequal treaties signed by previous rulers. So both countries should start afresh. We must re-negotiate,” he said.

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