Strengthening relations between communist parties and celebrating the 200th anniversary of Marx’s birth next year were among the topics discussed at a bilateral meeting in London this week between a deputation from the International Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and officers of the Communist Party of Britain.

Ahead of his party's 19th congress, CPC deputy director general Zhou Rongguo outlined the key priorities for the coming period. These are to move the focus of economic development from a labour-intensive model to one based on innovation, sustainable ecologically, better coordinated between town and countryside, open to the world and whose benefits are shared equally among all the people of China.

Mr Zhou said that progress had been made over the past period in asserting the rule of law, fighting corruption. prioritising the environment and promoting a harmonious society.  A key priority currently, he declared, was to promote peace and economic development internationally and to oppose militarisation. He also warned that the current stance of NATO was not in the interests of the peoples of either the United States or China.

For the Communist Party of Britain, general secretary Robert Griffiths briefed the Chinese delegation on current developments in the trade union and labour movement, on his party’s stance on the EU and the importance assigned to the peace movement.  He welcomed the commitment to work for closer coordination among Communist parties as a force for peace and social justice and to prioritise a deeper understanding of Marxism, especially among young people.

'We discussed a number of fruitful initiatives to develop international relations further between communist parties, trades unions and the forces of the left', CPB international secretary John Foster remarked after meeting the CPC delegation, which is also attending the Labour Party conference in Brighton this week.

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