The first AGM of the Hands off China campaign took place in Southall on Saturday 7 February, and was very successful.
Standing in for Harpal Brar, comrade Keith Bennett chaired the meeting and made the opening remarks, in which he spoke of the significance of Hands off China and its living link with the rich history of China solidarity work that has taken place in Britain since the 1930s. He talked about the extraordinary track record of our patrons (Isabel Crook, Kojo Amoo Gottfried and Avtar Jouhl) and honorary president (Jack Shapiro) in supporting the Chinese revolution. Keith also mentioned how the campaign’s work over the last eight months has been greatly appreciated in China, with the Communist Party of China, the Chinese Embassy, Xinhua and all major Chinese media giving publicity to Hands off China.
Carlos Rule gave a report of the campaign’s work to date, in particular the various public meetings held and propaganda materials distributed. He noted the importance of continuing our China solidarity efforts, as the ever-sharpening imperialist contradictions are likely to lead to a renewed campaign of slander and lies against China from the western press.
Keith read out solidarity messages received from our honorary president, Jack Shapiro, and two of our patrons, Kojo Amoo Gottfried and Isabel Crook, all of whom wished the AGM and the campaign success. A message of support from Xu Bin, First Secretary of the Chinese Embassy, was also read out.
Comrades Zane Carpenter delivered greetings on behalf of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist), on whose initiative the campaign was set up, and Mandeep Dhillon delivered greetings on behalf of the Indian Workers’ Association (Great Britain).
The constitution and aims were approved unanimously, as were the nominees for Chair (Harpal Brar), Secretary (Carlos Rule) and committee members (Deborah Lavin, Mandeep Dhillon, Keith Bennett and Ranjeet Brar).
There was a wide-ranging and useful discussion around activities for the year. Suggestions included a rally to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the PRC, public meetings in universities and elsewhere, film shows and various publications.