In the postwar world, Stalin and the Soviet Union wielded greater power over Mao Zedong’s new communist China. Today, following China’s rise as an economic superpower and Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, it is Beijing that has the upper hand – and on whom Russia’s future depends. When Xi Jinping arrived in Moscow for a three-day visit in March 2023, he was greeted with elaborate ceremony and deference. With Russia cut off from the West, China now supplies 40 per cent of its imports, a proportion that will only grow. The leaders are united, too, in their fight against the US for global dominance – but there are tensions and limits within that alliance.
In this magazine cover story, the New Statesman’s global affairs editor Katie Stallard looks at the parallels with the Sino-Soviet alliance of the 1950s, and the two countries’ shared and sometimes violent history, from the first official Russian expedition to Beijing in 1618 to today’s alignment. She hears from others on why their explicitly anti-US world-view has an appeal in the Global South, particularly in Africa. Will the relationship survive China’s growing economic and diplomatic supremacy? And how dangerous is it for the rest of the world?
Written and read by Katie Stallard.
This article was originally published on newstatesman.com on 19 April 2023. You can read the text version here.
If you enjoyed this episode, you may also enjoy The strange death of moderate conservatism.
How to listen to Audio Long Reads
1. In podcast apps
Audio Long Reads is available to listen on all major podcast players, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, YouTube and more.
Either click the links above to open in your preferred player, or open the podcast app on your device and search for “Audio Long Reads”.
Follow or subscribe in your podcast app to receive new episodes as soon as they publish.
2. On the New Statesman website
The podcast is also available to listen right here on the New Statesman website. Bookmark https://www.newstatesman.com/podcasts/audio-long-reads, where we will publish new episodes every Saturday morning.
3. On your smart speaker
If you have an Amazon Echo, Google Home or Apple HomePod, ask it to “play the latest episode of Audio Long Reads from the New Statesman”.
The command will also work on other smart devices equipped with Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri.