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Albanese’s visit to China – a different China from the one Whitlam visited in 1973

Written by: Ned K. on 11 November 2023


(Above: Albanese and Xi Jinping   Photo source: Twitter)

Recently Prime Minister Albanese visited China and met with the Chinese Communist Party's leader Xi Jinping. Albanese and his government know they have a problem. Their political and military allegiance is with US imperialism and this has deepened through its commitment to AUKUS, nuclear submarines and an expansion of US military bases of one form or another in Australia. US imperialism's main target is China. The problem for Albanese and his government is that China also remains Australia's major trading partner and is likely to remain so for many years to come. 

Albanese came away from his visit to China all smiles in the hope that China's tariffs on Australian products will be lifted. He also trotted out the same mantra of previous Prime Ministers about their concern about "human rights" violations in China, a few days after China would have noted that Australia abstained on the UN vote for an immediate Ceasefire in Gaza!

Albanese's visit to China came 50 years since Prime Minister Whitlam's visit to China in 1973 which was a landmark visit because Australia recognised the People's Republic of China before the US did so. Albanese in his visit was hoping to repair trade relations between the two countries and paint a picture of himself as following in the footsteps of Whitlam as far as relations with China goes.

However, there are some important differences regarding the relationship between Australia and China in 1973 and in 2023 and also the relationship between Australia and the USA.

In 1973 when Whitlam visited China, China was starting to emerge from the Cultural Revolution and was still on the path to building a socialist country with the ruling CCP under the leadership of Mao Zedong. In 1973, Whitlam made murmurs about whether it was in Australia's interests to have the US-owned Pine Gap and other military bases in Australia. The CIA was meddling in Australia's internal affairs and the US embassy in Australia was openly concerned about Whitlam's murmurs.

In 2023 when Albanese visited China, China was no longer on the path to building a socialist country, but challenging US imperialism as the world's number one capitalist economic system "with Chinese characteristics". President Biden of the USA and US imperialism's mouthpiece in the media in Australia, the Murdoch Press, were impressed with Albanese's total commitment to AUKUS and the USA's use of Australia as a military base from which to launch attacks on China when required. 

China in 2023 has expanded economically like previous imperialist powers with a very visible and wealthy capitalist class of private and state-owned corporations and individual company directors. 

Evidence of Chinese capitalist expansion sometimes hits the news headlines such as the Chinese company operating the Port of Darwin, a few hundred kilometres away from large US military bases in Australia! 

There are other forms of Chinese capitalist expansion into Australia that Chairman Mao and Whitlam, when they met in 1973, would never have imagined! An example of this was tucked away in a report in the Australian Financial Review on Wednesday 8 November 2023. The reporting article was headed "Chinese buyers use private jets to swoop in on Toorak mansions".

The report said that a real estate agent in Melbourne, Mr Bragilevsky, "facilitated $135 million of real estate deals in Toorak in the past 6 months and all these buyers were Chinese". One of the buyers from China was Xin Zhang who bought a Toorak mansion for $21.5 million. Another Chinese client, a Mr Jin Du, the chief executive of a clothing manufacturer, bought a mansion on fashionable Whernside Avenue Toorak for $33.5 million. 
Mr Bragilevsky said "the Chinese will pay over the odds for single dwellings. These will serve as the family home with their children attending prestige schools like Scotch College"!

The Albanese government can see that it needs China as a trade partner for its own electoral survival but that it must continue to kow-tow to US imperialism or face the same or similar fate as the Whitlam government - a semi coup orchestrated by USA.

There is an alternative for an Australian government. That is to have trust in the people of Australia to back Australia having an independent foreign policy and removal of all foreign power owned military bases in Australia. 


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