The year 2021 marks the fiftieth anniversary of one of the most important geopolitical events of the 20th century. United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2,758 was passed on October 25, 1971, recognizing the People’s Republic of China as “China’s only legitimate representative at the United Nations” and removing “Chiang Kai-shek’s representatives” from the Organization of United Nations. It was not just a bureaucratic issue where one representation was exchanged for another. There is a story to be told.
The 1949 Revolution brought the Communists led by Mao Tse Tung to power in China. The defeated took refuge on the island of Taiwan, self-declaring the province as the “Republic of China”. The Republic of China was one of the 51 founding countries of the United Nations (UN) and a member of the Security Council. This status quo has not changed for over 25 years due to escalating tensions between China and the United States — from the Korean War to Chinese support against imperialist aggression against Vietnam.
On the whole, the admission of the People’s Republic of China as the sole representative of the Chinese people to the UN was not just a victory for the Chinese Communists. It was the victory of a republic that emerged from the greatest anti-colonial revolt in history and, as such, for a long time it was the main reference of the liberation movements in Asia, Africa and Latin America. In other words, the seat occupied by the People’s Republic of China at the UN is loaded with symbolism that goes far beyond the legitimacy of the Beijing government. It is the legitimacy of a government that supported, and supports, the most progressive causes of common interest to the peoples on the periphery of the system.
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The main hallmark of Chinese participation in the UN is precisely that of a spokesperson for the interests of the broadest aspirations of the oppressed peoples of the world. An example of this was the speech given by Deng Xiaoping on the occasion of the Sixth Special Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations held on April 6, 1974. It was one of the most profound speeches given in the history of the UN. Deng Xiaoping noted in this speech that China should clearly declare to the world that “China is not a superpower, nor will it ever try to be. in the world, and everywhere subjecting others to its intimidation, aggression and exploitation, the people of the world should identify it as social-imperialism, expose it, oppose it and work together with the Chinese people to overthrow it. it” (1).
These are strong words coming from what was recognized as one of the greatest statesmen of the 20th century. China’s form of action at the UN is marked by coherence and defense of values that are very dear not only to the country, but to the peoples of the world in general. The historic motto of Chinese diplomacy of “peace and development” has never been more important. In a world where the tendency towards imperialist violence tends to increase, the presence of a great country like China has never been more necessary to counteract the irrationality and aggressiveness of US imperialism. The challenges posed to humanity are not consistent with hegemonic, arrogant and even racist postures and attitudes. Yes, US imperialism is not only an aggressive power, but racism is also one of its most reactionary manifestations.
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Wise forms the words of Chinese leader Xi Jinping. Unlike imperialist leader Joe Biden who repeatedly made clear in his speech the leading role the United States must play in the world, Xi Jinping demarcated, saying: “Recent developments in the international situation show, once again, that military intervention and the so-called democratic transformation only do harm. We need to defend peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom, which are the common values of humanity. And reject the practice of forming small circles or zero-sum games” (2).
Never in history has the Chinese presence at the UN and in the world been so necessary. Humanity will win!
Elias Jabbour, professor at the Faculty of Economic Sciences of the State University of Rio de Janeiro (FCE-UERJ). Article produced in collaboration with China Media Group.
(1) Speech By Chairman of the Delegation of the People’s Republic of China, Deng Xiaoping, At the Special Session of the UN General Assembly. Available at: https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/deng-xiaoping/1974/04/10.htm
(2) Chinese President Xi Jinping UN General Assembly 2021 Speech Transcript. Available at: https://www.rev.com/blog/transcripts/chinese-president-xi-jinping-un-general-assembly-2021-speech-transcript
Edition: Thales Schmidt