Nina in Xinjiang: ‘We are moved by the confidence and joy of your children’

The transformative effect of a visit to China on a communist teacher from Britain.

Meeting children who are being educated in socialist values that give them a strong sense of identity and shared humanity was an extremely emotional experience for our party delegates to Xinjiang, one of whom is a teacher and the other a youth worker. What they saw there stood in stark contrast with the alienation and criminally under-developed state of so many of our own children today, products of a broken educational system and a decaying and decadent society. The inscription under this statue, which stands outside the school, reads: ‘Education is the key to unlocking the 21st century.’

The following speech was delivered by CPGB-ML vice-chair Nina Kosta (who is also a teacher) in Ürümqi, capital of the Xinjiang autonomous region of China, where she and others were visiting on a tour organised by the Communist Party of China (CPC).


When we first arrived in Xinjiang, we had only a theoretical understanding of its geostrategic and cultural significance. Echoes of its mythical past as a caravan trade junction mingled with my historical knowledge, as someone of Greek origin, recalling that the eastern Romans and their capital Constantinople were part of the Silk Road network through trade agreements and cultural exchanges.

As communists, we came with an awareness that US-led Nato imperialism has been targeting Xinjiang, spreading venomous lies about repression of the Uyghurs and the banning of islamic education and religion to stir hatred and social divisions.

However, through the dedicated and visionary approach of your foreign policy, and the impeccable efficiency and humanity of your foreign affairs staff, who guided us on this trip, I can confidently say that I am leaving completely transformed, enlightened and utterly charmed by the lived experiences and sensory delights.

A humane, socialist approach to nation-building and cultural respect

I now have a concrete understanding of the miracle unfolding in this region, characterised by an advanced economy built by the Communist Party of China and shared by all 56 ethnic groups living in harmony here. I now understand why imperialists target Xinjiang with their propaganda.

I fully grasp how you have chosen to let the happiness of your own people provide all the evidence needed to passionately share the truth and defend the beauties and virtues of your nation and all its people against malign capitalist slanders.

My expertise in pedagogy and social inclusion gave me a lens through which to perceive and be amazed by the authentic integration and honouring of cultural diversity that I witnessed in Xinjiang.

I experienced firsthand, on numerous occasions, the embodiment of the highest humanist values of empathy, comradeship and collective spirit. Every time I heard people describe their efforts at creating a harmonious and prosperous society, they used the pronoun ‘we’, encapsulated in the phrase “we are building”.

It is not an exaggeration to say that what I saw in the cities and developing rural areas of Xinjiang sets the standard for a new stage of civilization and shared humanity. No society in the west can compare with these levels of genuine human connection, communication and equality in human exchanges that your people are capable of.

This is not only due to the special, legendary cultural attributes of the Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Tatars, Mongols and others, but most crucially because of the socialist society that preserves and protects these values, allowing them to flourish.

Socialist values in education create healthy and confident children

This was evident in the flourishing children we saw at the 11th Primary School of Kashi. We were deeply moved by witnessing your happy children in the safety of their school thrive in their warmth, emotional intelligence, respect for their teachers and openness towards us as visiting foreigners.

They approached us with such confidence and kinaesthetic awareness, looking us in the eyes, smiling, dancing with us and teaching us a new common language of connection. I have never seen prouder people: proud in their sense of belonging and oneness with their nation and their land.

It painfully reminds us that our own people are deprived of such feelings because alienating capitalist relations, commodification and economic dependence have destroyed all chances of belonging and pride, leaving us fragmented and in disharmony with one another.

I can now leave Xinjiang equipped to counter anyone who attacks the achievements of your society simply because they cannot match them. Your achievements, rooted in communist principles, showcase the effectiveness of state-led planning and collective ownership in driving industrialisation and lifting millions out of poverty.

We share in those achievements as communists. We are proud of you and share in your people’s history.

Socialism emphasises our common history and shared humanity

Having experienced the simple, happy lives full of hospitality and dignity of the Uyghur families we visited, I now also realise how much ‘east’ exists in what we see as ‘the west’; how many traditions we share, and how much central Asian culture exists in my own language and customs.

Your people have shown us this, your land has taught us this, and now your land feels like our land, your people feel like our own people.

The Belt and Road initiative is reigniting in the present the ancient links between the Silk Road civilisations and will undoubtedly reconnect east Asia with the Mediterranean in new creative exchanges of goods, ideas and technologies.

So we leave with Xinjiang in our hearts and an urgent need to share with the world the truth about its wealth and development, the prosperity and access to quality of life that it strives to offer to all its citizens.

Workers in Britain need to know that such equal access to quality social welfare, education and culture exists in China, so they can stand up to their warmongering ruling class, demand it and build it for themselves.

I leave with a deeper understanding of Xi Jinping’s concept of what it means to have a shared history and build a shared future for humanity. I wish my comrades back home could see and feel what I feel and take heart in their struggle to make this shared world a reality.

We have a long struggle ahead of us. As we fight for our survival and daily existence in Britain, we might forget the sunshine and grapes of Turpan, the heat of Ürümqi and the taste of horse milk in Nalat. But we will not forget how we saw your party cadres serve the people, inquire after them and attend to their needs.

We want to serve our people, we want them to live in harmony with the world, and there is indeed a world for us to win. So let every single one of us in this delegation spread the message of cooperation with China, of its different peoples not as commodified fragments in a market for profit but as a unified whole whose national integrity forms the basis for internationalism and solidarity with the working people in other nations.

Like the hexagon-shaped city centre in Yining, with its six different sections spreading out from a united core, united in our willingness to defend China, let every delegate and our different organisations do their best to organise people in our country so we can defend, win and share in the heritage of humanity that China has so well preserved. Let us spread the hope we saw thriving here in Xinjiang.

Thank you for this transformative trip and the materialist education and dialectical insight into socialist development in the 21st century. You can count on my party and our readiness to work together for a world without exploitation and individualist gain, to leap forward to happiness and fulfilment for all, not just for a few.

Our dedication to this common future is strengthened by yours and our work will continue with renewed vigour.