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Chinese have long supported African American's struggle for equality

By Chen Weihua | | Updated: 2016-07-11 05:50
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The Chinese have supported African Americans' struggle for equality at least as early as the 1960s under Chairman Mao Zedong. On Aug 8, 1963, Mao issued a declaration in support of African Americans' just struggle against racial discrimination. On Apr 16, 1968, 12 days after the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr, Mao wrote a second declaration in support of African Americans' struggle. A special stamp was also issued on May 31 that year for Mao's statement.

In May, 1959, Mao met with visiting African-American civil rights leader W.E.B. Du Bois. On China's National Day celebration on Oct 1, 1966, Robert Williams, another civil rights leader and a revolutionary, was invited to speak at Tiananmen Rostrum, with Mao standing at his side. In 1971, then Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai met in Beijing with Huey Newton, leader of the Black Panther Party.

"This is the era of Mao Zedong, the era of world revolution and the Afro-American's struggle for liberation is a part of an invincible world-wide movement. Chairman Mao was the first world leader to elevate our people's struggle to the fold of the world revolution," Williams said in 1967, as quoted in the article Black Like Mao: Red China and Black Revolution by Robin DG Kelley and Betsy Esch in 1999.

In the article, the authors described how Mao's theory inspired African-American leaders in the 1960s and '70s, resulting in the many Maoist organizations.

"Here Maoists have much in common with some very old black biblical traditions. After all, if little David can take Goliath with just a slingshot, certainly a 'single spark can start a prairie fire'," the authors concluded, quoting Mao.

Unfortunately, many of the facts cited in Mao's 1963 and 1968 statements are still true to a large extent, such as in wages, wealth distribution, education and incarceration rates. While racial segregation is illegal today, a large part of the US neighborhoods and schools still look segregated.

A Pew Center survey released on June 27 showed that blacks and whites are worlds apart on views of race and inequality.

The poll found an overwhelming 88 percent of blacks saying the US needs to continue making changes for blacks to have equal rights with whites, and 43 percent doubt that such changes will ever occur. Meanwhile, only 53 percent of whites say the country still has work to do for blacks to achieve equal rights.

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