BEIJING—The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) is no longer a concern of the 90-year-old and 80-million member Communist Party of China (CPC), according to a top party official.
Shen Beili, director general of the international department of the Bureau of Southeast and South Asian Affairs of the CPC Central Committee, has described as “zero” the Chinese ruling party’s ties with its Philippine counterpart.
Shen told a group of visiting Asian and African journalists—including this reporter—taking part in a two-week media program sponsored by the People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of the CPC, that the party’s relations with the CPP “have been severed since the 1980s.”
“The CPC and the CPP used to have relations in the 1960s and 1970s. But in the 1980s, we made adjustments in our party policies and our relations were severed,” she recalled.
Shen emphasized that “as long as our counterpart groups in other countries (like the CPP) are banned or considered illegal by their host governments, then we cannot have normal party-to-party relations.”
Asked if they were willing to reestablish ties with the CPP, Shen said “only if the party is considered legal by its host government.”
The 90-year-old CPC has “good relations” with mainstream political parties in the Philippines, like the LiberalParty, President Benigno Aquino III’s political group, as well as the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats, Nationalist People’s Coalition, Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino, and the Partido ng Masang Pilipino, Shen pointed out.
“We have good relations with political parties that promote people-to-people contacts, not overthrow governments … We make friends not just with left-leaning groups but also with groups with other ideologies. But not with illegal parties,” she said.
The CPC has “party exchanges” with over 600 political organizations in 166 countries worldwide, including 160 in Asia, 110 in Africa 170 in Europe, and 150 in North and South America, among others.
According to Shen, “these exchanges aim to make the CPC a key to China’s overall development. They also enable the party and its leaders acquire a worldwide perspective.”
At the same time, Shen said “the nation’s interests should come first, while the ruling party’s interests should be in line and should serve China’s interests as a whole.”
In July, the CPP finally broke its silence on the tensions between the Philippines and China over the Spratly Islands as it lashed out at Beijing’s “arrogance” for refusing to recognize the claims of other nations and refusing to engage in multilateral talks with other claimant-countries.
In a statement, the Maoist rebel group also blamed the Aquino administration for fomenting the conflict through what it called “undiplomatic and agitative statements” against China.
The CPP devoted much of its statement to its usual tirade against the United States for allegedly taking advantage of the conflict to promote its “imperialist” interests in the West Philippine Sea (or South China Sea).
The CPP, however, did not comment on China’s growing military might and its muscle-flexing stance in the disputed waters.