China is not responsible for the barbarism that the European Union and the United States practice in the world but it is obvious that it is acting as an imperialist power towards Brazil
By Jones Manoel*
During recent decades Chinese diplomacy has adapted the principles of the Non-Aligned Movement. China affirms that it will not interfere in the internal affairs of other nations; it defends a multi-polar world; it criticizes unilateralism and its hegemony; supports peaceful solutions for conflicts; defends peace; and respects the sovereignty of other nations. As far as I know, there is no material, concrete proof to doubt that these principals guide Chinese foreign policy. This political line means, among other things, that China tries to hold good relations with any country (with some conditionalities, such as recognizing the People’s Republic as the sole government of China), independent of their political and economic system and geopolitical actions. This is why China tries to keep good relations with countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia, the Palestine Authority and Israel, Greece and Cyprus, Pakistan and India.
This strategy is objectively guided by Chinese national interests. The Chinese say, for example, that they will not promote coups to favor their business interests. At the same time, if a country’s ruling class wants to sell something and it is in the interest of the Chinese to buy, they will buy it. The CPC is the same party that negotiated with Ciro Gomes about a National Development Project in 2018 and maintains strategic and fundamental partnerships with the Cuban Communist Party and the Venezuelan PSUV while working to build a relationship with Brazilian Vice President Mourão and the Chicago Boys under Finance Minister Paulo Guedes. China’s long-term goals at the moment are to overthrow the dollar as the currency of preference for world reserves, establish partnerships with all the countries of the world and to shift the world’s financial, commercial and technological and cultural circuits to the Asian axis under the command of the Chinese Dragon.
Considering these goals objectively, it is obvious that China is acting as an imperialist power towards Brazil. I don’t think China is imperialist in the sense that its foreign policy is based on colonialism, militarism and the command of the internal affairs of other countries. China is not responsible for the barbarism that the European Union and the United States practice in the world. At the same time, however, imperialism, at least in its Leninist sense, means a world capitalist system in a monopoly phase where the global economic chain is rooted in capital exports, concretely establishing control over dependent, semi-colonial economies and colonies. It may be helpful, though confusing, to speak of “reproduction of dependency without neocolonialism,” while analyzing the Chines model.
One thing is irrefutable, however. Chinese capital, whether public or “private”, is increasing its control over the Brazilian economy. If Bolsonaro’s goal of selling Eletrobras, the Postal Service and Petrobras to the Chinese is fulfilled, Chinese control over our economy will deepen even further. This relationship takes the typical core-periphery form. There are, of course, major political differences. As far as we know, China, unlike the US, IMF and World Bank, does not impose austerity adjustments and conditionalities, nor is it controlling major state apparatus. But the core-periphery relationship has been configured.
The political consequences of this are obvious. It is fundamental that, without falling into sinophobia, we fight the privatization, denationalization and surrender of our wealth to Chinese capital. At the same time, it is important to realize that, if there is peoples’ revolt and a radical change of direction in Brazil, China, even if damaged in some interests, will potentially be one of our main partners in terms of things like credit, technology transfer and consumer markets.
It is impossible to block out the sun with a sieve. China exclusively pursues its own national interests. This can’t be disguised in the name of sympathy with the Chinese project. At the same time it is inconsequential leftism to claim that China, Brazil and the rest of the world have the same geopolitical interests as the European Union and the United States.
*Jones Manoel is a historian and member of the Partido Communista Brasileiro (PCB)
This article originally appeared in Disparada, was translated from Portuguese by Brian Mier, and can be read in its orginal form here.
If you value the work Brasil Wire does, please help keep us running with a donation. Our editorial independence relies on our readers support.