In Albania's Third Five Year Plan, China promised a loan of $125 million to build twenty-five chemical, electrical and metallurgical plants called for under the Plan. However, the nation had a difficult transition period, because Chinese technicians were of a lower quality than Soviet ones and the distance between the two nations, plus the poor relations Albania had with its neighbors, further complicated matters. Unlike Yugoslavia or the U.S.S.R., China had the least influence economically on Albania during Hoxha's leadership. The previous fifteen years (1946–1961) had at least 50% of the economy under foreign commerce. By the time the 1976 Constitution prohibited foreign debt, aid and investments, Albania had basically become self-sufficient although it was lacking in modern technology. Ideologically, Hoxha found Mao's initial views to be in line with Marxism-Leninism. Mao condemned Nikita Khrushchev's allegedrevisionism and was also critical of Yugoslavia. Aid given from China was interest-free and did not have to be repaid until Albania could afford to do so. China never intervened in what Albania's economic output should be, and Chinese technicians worked for the same wages as Albanian workers, unlike Soviet technicians who sometimes made more than three times the pay of Hoxha. Albanian newspapers were reprinted in Chinese newspapers and read on Chinese radio. Finally, Albania led the movement to give the People's Republic of China a seat in the UN, an effort made successful in 1971 and thus replacing the Republic of China's seat.
During this period, Albania became the second largest producer of chromium in the world, which was considered an important export for Albania. Strategically, the Adriatic Sea was also attractive to China, and the Chinese leadership had hoped to gain more allies in Eastern Europe with the help of Albania, although this failed. Zhou Enlai visited Albania in January 1964. On 9 January, "The 1964 Sino-Albanian Joint Statement" was signed in Tirana.
Both [Albania and China] hold that the relations between socialist countries are international relations of a new type. Relations between socialist countries, big or small, economically more developed or less developed, must be based on the principles of complete equality, respect for territorial sovereignty and independence, and non-interference in each other's internal affairs, and must also be based on the principles of mutual assistance in accordance with proletarian internationalism. It is necessary to oppose great-nation chauvinism and national egoism in relations between socialist countries. It is absolutely impermissible to impose the will of one country upon another, or to impair the independence, sovereignty and interests of the people, of a fraternal country on the pretext of 'aid' or 'international division of labour.'—Treaty Text
Like Albania, China defended the "purity" of Marxism by attacking both "US imperialism" as well as "Soviet and Yugoslav revisionism", both equally as part of a "dual adversary" theory. Yugoslavia was viewed as a "special detachment of U.S. imperialism" and a "saboteur against world revolution." These views however began to change in China, which was one of the major issues Albania had with the alliance. Also unlike Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union, the Sino-Albanian alliance lacked "...an organizational structure for regular consultations and policy coordination, and was characterized by an informal relationship conducted on an ad hoc basis." Mao made a speech on 3 November 1966 which claimed that Albania was the only Marxist-Leninist state in Europe and that "an attack on Albania will have to reckon with great People's China. If the U.S. imperialists, the modern Soviet revisionists or any of their lackeys dare to touch Albania in the slightest, nothing lies ahead for them but a complete, shameful and memorable defeat." Likewise, Hoxha stated that "You may rest assured, comrades, that come what may in the world at large, our two parties and our two peoples will certainly remain together. They will fight together and they will win together."
China entered into a four-year period of relative diplomatic isolation following the Cultural Revolution and at this point relations between China and Albania reached their zenith. On 20 August 1968, the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia was condemned by Albania, as was the Brezhnev doctrine. Albania then officially withdrew from the Warsaw Pact on 5 September. Relations with China began to deteriorate on 15 July 1971, when United States' President Richard Nixon agreed to visit China to meet with Zhou Enlai. Hoxha felt betrayed and the government was in a state of shock. On August 6 a letter was sent from the Central Committee of the Albanian Party of Labour to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, calling Nixon a "frenzied anti-Communist."
We trust you will understand the reason for the delay in our reply. This was because your decision came as a surprise to us and was taken without any preliminary consultation between us on this question, so that we would be able to express and thrash out our opinions. This, we think, could have been useful, because preliminary consultations, between close friends, determined co-fighters against imperialism and revisionism, are useful and necessary, and especially so, when steps which, in our opinion, have a major international effect and repercussion are taken. ...Considering the Communist Party of China as a sister party and our closest co-fighter, we have never hidden our views from it. That is why on this major problem which you put before us, we inform you that we consider your decision to receive Nixon in Beijing as incorrect and undesirable, and we do not approve or support it. It will also be our opinion that Nixon's announced visit to China will not be understood or approved of by the peoples, the revolutionaries and the communists of different countries.—Enver Hoxha
The result was a 1971 message from the Chinese leadership stating that Albania could not depend on an indefinite flow of further Chinese aid and in 1972 Albania was advised to "curb its expectations about further Chinese contributions to its economic development." By 1973, Hoxha wrote in his diary Reflections on China that the Chinese leaders:
...have cut off their contacts with us, and the contacts which they maintain are merely formal diplomatic ones. Albania is no longer the 'faithful, special friend'...They are maintaining the economic agreements though with delays, but it is quite obvious that their 'initial ardor' has died.—Enver Hoxha
In response, trade with COMECON (although trade with the Soviet Union was still blocked) and Yugoslavia grew. Trade with Third World nations was $0.5 million in 1973, but $8.3 million in 1974. Trade rose from 0.1% to 1.6%. Following Mao's death on 9 September 1976, Hoxha remained optimistic about Sino-Albanian relations, but in August 1977,Hua Guofeng, the new leader of China, stated that Mao's Three Worlds Theory would become official foreign policy. Hoxha viewed this as a way for China to justify having the U.S. as the "secondary enemy" while viewing the Soviet Union as the main one, thus allowing China to trade with the U.S. "...the Chinese plan of the 'third world' is a major diabolical plan, with the aim that China should become another superpower, precisely by placing itself at the head of the 'third world' and 'non-aligned world.'" From 30 August – 7 September 1977, Tito visited Beijing and was welcomed by the Chinese leadership. At this point, the Albanian Party of Labour had declared that China was now a revisionist state akin to the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, and that Albania was the only Marxist-Leninist state on earth.
The Chinese leaders are acting like the leaders of a 'great state.' They think, 'The Albanians fell out with the Soviet Union because they had us, and if they fall with us, too, they will go back to the Soviets,' therefore they say, 'Either with us or the Soviets, it is all the same, the Albanians are done for.' But to hell with them! We shall fight against all this trash, because we are Albanian Marxist-Leninists and on our correct course we shall always triumph!—Enver Hoxha
On 13 July 1978, China announced that it was cutting off all aid to Albania. For the first time in modern history, Albania did not have an ally.
Certain clauses in the 1976 constitution effectively circumscribed the exercise of political liberties that the government interpreted as contrary to the established order. In addition, the government denied the population access to information other than that disseminated by the government-controlled media. Internally, the Sigurimi followed the repressive methods of the NKVD, MGB, KGB, and the East German Stasi. "Its activities permeated Albanian society to the extent that every third citizen had either served time in labour camps or had been interrogated by Sigurimi officers." To eliminate dissent, the government imprisoned thousands in forced-labour camps or executed them for crimes such as alleged treachery or for disrupting the proletarian dictatorship. Travel abroad was forbidden after 1968 to all but those on official business. Western European culture was looked upon with deep suspicion, resulting in arrests and in bans on unauthorised foreign material. Art was made to reflect the styles of socialist realism. Beards were banned as unhygienic and to curb the influence of Islam(many Imams and Babas had beards) and the Orthodox faith.
The justice system regularly degenerated into show trials. "...[The defendant] was not permitted to question the witnesses and that, although he was permitted to state his objections to certain aspects of the case, his objections were dismissed by the prosecutor who said, 'Sit down and be quiet. We know better than you.'" In order to lessen the threat of political dissidents and other exiles, relatives of the accused were often arrested, ostracised, and accused of being "enemies of the people".
Torture was often used to obtain confessions:
One émigré, for example, testified to being bound by his hands and legs for one and a half months, and beaten with a belt, fists, or boots for periods of two to three hours every two or three days. Another was detained in a cell one meter by eight meters large in the local police station and kept in solitary confinement for a five-day period punctuated by two beating sessions until he signed a confession, he was taken to Sigurimi headquarters, where he was again tortured and questioned, despite his prior confession, until his three-day trial. Still another witness was confined for more than a year in a three-meter square cell underground. During this time, he was interrogated at irregular intervals and subjected to various forms of physical and psychological torture. He was chained to a chair, beaten, and subjected to electrical shocks. He was shown a bullet that was supposedly meant for him and told that car engines starting within his earshot were driving victims to their executions, the next of which would be his.
"There were six institutions for political prisoners and fourteen labour camps where political prisoners and common criminals worked together. It has been estimated that there were approximately 32,000 people imprisoned in Albania in 1985."
Article 47 of the Albanian Criminal Code stated that to "escape outside the state, as well as refusal to return to the Fatherland by a person who has been sent to serve or has been permitted temporarily to go outside the state" is a crime of treason which is punishable by a minimum sentence of ten years or even death.
An electrically-wired metal fence stands 600 meters to one kilometer from the actual border. Anyone touching the fence not only risks electrocution, but also sets off alarm bells and lights which alert guards stationed at approximately one-kilometer intervals along the fence. Two meters of soil on either side of the fence are cleared in order to check for footprints of escapees and infiltrators. The area between the fence and the actual border is seeded with booby traps such as coils of wire, noise makers consisting of thin pieces of metal strips on top of two wooden slats with stones in a tin container which rattle if stepped on, and flares that are triggered by contact, thus illuminating would-be escapees during the night.
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|Criticism of religion|
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|Criticism of religion|
Albania, being a predominantly Muslim European country, largely due to Turkish influence in the region, had, like the Ottoman Empire, identified religion with ethnicity. In the Ottoman Empire, Muslims were viewed as "Turks," Eastern Orthodox Christians were viewed as Greeks and Catholics were viewed as "Latins." Hoxha believed this was a serious issue, feeling that it both fueled Greek separatists inNorth Epirus and also divided the nation in general. The Agrarian Reform Law of 1945 confiscated much of the church's property in the country. Catholics were the earliest religious community to be targeted, since the Vatican was seen as being an agent of Fascism andanti-Communism. In 1946 the Jesuit Order and in 1947 the Franciscans were banned. Decree No. 743 (On Religion) sought anational church and forbade religious leaders from associating with foreign powers.
The Party focused on atheist education in schools. This tactic was effective, primarily due to the high birthrate policy encouraged after the war. During holy periods such as Ramadan or Lent, many forbidden foods (dairy products, meat, etc.) were distributed in schools and factories, and people who refused to eat those foods were denounced. Starting on 6 February 1967, the Party began a new offensive against religion. Hoxha, who had declared a "Cultural and Ideological Revolution" after being partly inspired by China's Cultural Revolution, encouraged communist students and workers to use more forceful tactics to promote atheism, although violence was initially condemned.
According to Hoxha, the surge in anti-religious activity began with the youth. The result of this "spontaneous, unprovoked movement" was the closing of all 2,169 churches and mosques in Albania. State atheism became official policy, and Albania was declared the world's first atheist state. Religiously-based town and city names were changed, as well as personal names. During this period religiously-based names were also made illegal. The Dictionary of People's Names, published in 1982, contained 3,000 approved, secular names. In 1992, Monsignor Dias, the Papal Nuncio for Albania appointed by Pope John Paul II, said that of the three hundred Catholic priests present in Albania prior to the Communists coming to power, only thirty survived. All religious practice and clergymen were outlawed and those religious figures who refused to give up their positions were arrested or forced into hiding.
Enver Hoxha had declared during the anti-religious campaign that "the only religion of Albania is Albanianism," a quotation from the poem O moj Shqypni ("O Albania") by the 19th-century Albanian writer Pashko Vasa.
Muzafer Korkuti one of the dominant figures in post-war Albanian archaeology and now Director of the institute of Archaeology in Tirana said this in an interview of 10 July 2002:
"Archaeology is part of the politics which the party in power has and this was understood better than anything else by Enver Hoxha. Folklore and archaeology were respected because they are the indicators of the nation, and a party that shows respect to national identity is listened to by other people; good or bad as this may be. Enver Hoxha did this as did Hitler. In Germany in the 1930s there was an increase in Balkan studies and languages and this too was all part of nationalism."
Efforts were focused on an Illyrian-Albanian continuity issue and on appropriating Ancient Greek history as Albanian.
An Illyrian origin of the Albanians (without denying Pelasgian roots) continued to play a significant role in Albanian nationalism,resulting in a revival of given names supposedly of "Illyrian" origin, at the expense of given names associated with Christianity. At first, Albanian nationalist writers opted for the Pelasgians as the forefathers of the Albanians, but as this form of nationalism flourished in Albania under Enver Hoxha, the Pelasgians became a secondary element to the Illyrian theory of Albanian origins, which could claim some support in scholarship. The Illyrian descent theory soon became one of the pillars of Albanian nationalism, especially because it could provide some evidence of continuity of an Albanian presence both in Kosovo and in southern Albania, i.e., areas that were subject to ethnic conflicts between Albanians, Serbs and Greeks. Under the government of Enver Hoxha, an autochthonousethnogenesis was promoted and physical anthropologists tried to demonstrate that Albanians were different from any other Indo-European populations, a theory now disproved. Communist-era Albanian archaeologists claimed that ancient Greek poleis, gods, ideas, culture and prominent personalities were wholly Illyrian (example Pyrrhus of Epirus and the region of Epirus). They claimed that the Illyrians were the most ancient people in the Balkans and greatly extended the age of the Illyrian language. This is continued in post-communist Albania and has spread to Kosovo. These nationalist theories have survived largely intact into the present day.