China: signs of ultra-leftist support to maoists of india and nepal

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[Though already somewhat out of date, this article lists several pro-Maoist websites

in China. However, most of the links no longer work. –]


Guest Column by D. S. Rajan, Oct 5, 2005

Ultra-leftist elements in the People's Republic of China (PRC), claiming absolute loyalty to the late leader Mao Zedong and firmly against the regime's reformist course both at home and abroad, may have become an insignificant factor in the country's politics now, but what is intriguing is that the present Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leadership has more or less chosen to tolerate their dissent. 

The present Government has so far shown no intentions to impose a ban on the activities of such elements in contrast to the crackdown being carried out in the case of pro-democracy groups within the country.   The only possible explanation to the above could be the CCP's realization of the importance of Mao's name, irrespective of the times, to its legitimacy as a ruling party and its feeling in that context that any action against die-hard Mao followers, apparently enjoying the indirect backing of some veteran, but still influential, cadres, could turn out to be counter-productive. 
Party Chief Hu Jintao himself has come out with a strong defence of Mao, unprecedented since the 1981 official verdict on the late Chairman in a key Party document. "Mao is a matter of pride for the CCP, the Chinese people and the entire Chinese race. Whatever the time and whatever the circumstances, we must always hold up the great banner of Mao Zedong thought", said Hu at the 110th birth anniversary of the leader (Beijing, December 26, 2003).   
The "Mao Zedong Flag  Net Executive Council" (located at No.10/405, Zhen Guang Lu, Dong Cheng District, Beijing), led  by Sun Yongren, presently Standing Committee member, China Historical Materialism Study Institute, is  one such Mao-loyalist organizations in China, which is freely operating without any official or Party interference. Set up in the Year 2003, this Chinese language registered website " <> ", of which Sun is the Executive Councilor, is regularly expressing views questioning the official domestic and international policies, for e.g., opposing Deng's line of  allowing some people to get rich first criticizing  privatization efforts in China, publicizing  demands from former Foreign Ministry cadres for giving  a blow to US-Japan military alliance against China, carrying comments against Xinhua, Central TV etc for their negative projection of Mao and   arguing for China's support to revolutionary world movements. It is also spearheading a campaign to declare Mao's birthday (December 26) as a national holiday. Among the Party veterans whom the site quotes in support are Deng Liqun, who was once powerful Party Propaganda Chief and several surviving old revolutionaries. This net was also instrumental in organizing the commemoration ceremony of

Mao's 29th death anniversary (Beijing, September 9, 2005) attended among others by Mao's daughter Li Min.

It is the international line of the Maoflag group which is of special interest. In particular, it firmly supports the Communist Party of India (Maoist) (CPI-Maoist) and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (CPN-Maoist). A Chinese language article by Zhang Zheng in the Maoflag website (April 3, 2005) cited reasons to conclude that "the Indian Government can not succeed in suppressing the armed revolution of India's Maoists".
Another article (September 14, 2005) favourably viewed the decision taken by the CPN-(Maoist) leader Prachanda for a ceasefire in Nepal. The Maoflag group website gives publicity to a good number of other Mao-loyalist Chinese language websites, thus indicating the existing nexus among all of them. Among the latter, the <>  (Guoji Gong Yun or International Communist Movement), is prominent. 
This site is more vociferous than the Maoflag group in supporting the Maoist parties in India and Nepal.   The International Communist Movement site  took note of the birth of the CPI-Maoist in October 2004 with a  detailed report (September 14,2005) on the subject, accompanied by the full text  of that Party's report in English, containing information on the CPI ML-MCC  merger process, the nature of the epoch( threat from imperialism, feudalism and comprador bureaucratic capitalism; Indian expansionism great security threat in South Asia; People's War advancing in Andhra, Jharkhand, Bihar, Dandakaranya and the adjoining parts); coordination with other World Maoist Parties like those  in  Peru, the Philippines and Turkey; Five Political Documents adopted; Party Programme (New Democratic revolution through protracted People's war); Strategy and Tactics (Establishing base areas, forming an United People's Guerilla army) and the new Party Constitution. Another article in the same website (September 27, 2005) criticized the "repression" in West Bengal of CPI-ML (PW) workers and asked for "strengthening of a revolutionary movement" in that state against the ruling CPI-M.
The above mentioned Chinese language website is equally emphatic in its support for the CPN-Maoist. It highlighted (June 5, 2004) the publication of a book captioned "Problems and Prospects of Revolution in Nepal", a collection of articles by Prachanda and other CPN-Maoist leaders. A write-up in the site (June 6, 2004) on "Introduction to the CPN-Maoist policies", was in the nature of informing the Chinese population about the growth of that Party in Nepal. Significant observations were made in the site (March 27, 2005) by a scholar of the Department of International Relations, Beijing University. Quoting analysts, he projected the view that contrary to common perceptions, the CPN-Maoist does not fall in the category of a world terrorist movement which needs to be fought and that instead, the Maoists in Nepal are a product of the country's poverty. As evidence that the site is in a position to receive regular on-the-spot reports from Nepal, a series of dispatches on `Revolution in Nepal' is being carried by it (the 22nd   such dispatch has appeared on September 14, 2005). The dispatches   have given an open support to the "People's War" line of the CPN-Maoists under the `inspiration of Mao Zedong Thought'. The illegal `re-arrest' of a Maoist leader K.C.Krishna in Nepal was criticized in the latest item of the website (September 26, 2005).
"China and the World" is a Mao-loyalist e-journal (Chinese language) set up in 1996; this is being brought out by another one of the websites ( <> ), being given publicity by the officially-tolerated Maoflag group. A speciality of this site seems to be its boldness in criticizing the CCP's international policies. A signed article in its issue (May 10, 2005) commented in particular on the CCP's line towards Nepal Maoists. It predicted   a `certain victory' for the CPN-Maoist, joined issue with the CCP and the PRC Government for their line of abandoning the `Revolution in Nepal'. The article charged "This line amounts to showing red flag against red flag and is a betrayal of the CCP's declared policy of supporting the people of the world in defeating the US aggressors and their running dogs. Why an armed revolution can not end in victory in Nepal when the same had been successful in Russia, China, Korea, Cuba and Vietnam? Why only China can hold aloft the Mao banner, why not other countries like Nepal can do so?" It condemned the arrests by the Tibet Police on charges of arms smuggling of two CPN Maoist cadres against whom prosecution cases were launched in October 2003 in the Rikaze (Shigatse, Tibet) court, resulting in their imprisonment.  The CCP does not officially recognize the CPI-Maoist and the CPN-Maoist. It does not even mention the two Maoist parties by name. Specifically in the case of CPN-Maoist, Beijing calls that Party as an "anti-Government armed group". So called Maoists in Nepal "misuse the name of Chairman Mao, which impairs the image of the great leader of China and could serve as an excuse for the international anti-China forces to create troubles", said the Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Wu Congyong in 2002.
When the Royal Nepal Army Chief Pyar Jung Thapa visited China in July 2005, Beijing agreed to provide military help to Kathmandu in subduing the Maoists, according to reports. Notwithstanding such official positions, from what has been brought out above, a Chinese tendency may have become visible, seeing the CPN-Maoist in somewhat benevolent terms (no outright condemnation, not as a terrorist force and only as an anti-government outfit). This raises a question – Are the Chinese keeping their options open to deal with a CPN- Maoist which may in future capture power in Nepal?   The Chinese would certainly deny any official connection with the ultra-leftist websites which have openly come out in support of Maoists in India and Nepal (for that matter the Maoist groups in other parts of the world also). But will they succeed in removing the suspicions that have arisen?
(The Writer is Research Fellow in the Observer Research Foundation, Chennai Chapter, India. He was earlier Director, Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India, and New Delhi.)

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