Monday, September 14, 2015

China cautiously optimistic over Corbyn victory

China appears cautiously optimistic following Jeremy Corbyn's victory in the Labour leadership battle.

The left wing politician might prove to be far closer to China given his stance on a number of issues.

Corbyn, one article in a Chinese publication noted, was opposed to the "development of a US-Asia pacific strategy to promote tensions with China."

Right wing politicians were constantly engaged in "China bashing" whilst attempting to develop good business relations with China at the same time, the article said. However, the article also suggested that "left wing political forces frequently took up fake 'human rights' rhetoric of anti-China currents and had more conflictual relations with China."

While the article was written by a foreign contributor, it will have been vetted as are all articles published in China's state controlled media. And although it was only a single voice - much of China's media simply reported Corbyn's win without comment - the article does at least show that China is looking closely at Britain's political changes.

There is one aspect about Corbyn's politics which may interest China. The Communist Party of China claims to operate under the principles of Marxism-Leninism ideas and Corbyn is on the record as having said that he admired the founder of Communist ideology Karl Marx.

Speaking to the BBC political commentator Andrew Marr earlier this year, the Islington North MP said, "Marx obviously analysed what was happening in a quite brilliant way and the philosophy around Marx is fascinating." [Full interview via YouTube / on Marx via YouTube]. 

"He was essentially a fascinating figure … from whom we can learn a great deal," Corbyn said during a lengthy interview. However, he was seen by much of the media as having dodged the question [Express / Daily Mail].

Whether or not Corbyn admits his Communist sympathies, he is nonetheless seen as leaning towards the far left.

His election is thus seen as having killed off New Labour and, in the opinion of many UK papers, sent the party back to the dark ages. Indeed the Labour government of the 1970s is inextricably linked with strikes, industrial action and overspending on public services.

But while China, the far left and unions might be upbeat concerning Corbyn's leadership victory, his chances in a future general election are far from certain.

As the South China Morning Post observed Jeremy Corbyn's biggest task as Labour leader will be persuading voters that a Karl Marx fan can be prime minister.

tvnewswatch, London, UK

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