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Socialism with Chinese characteristics or ascendancy of capitalism in China?

By Harsh Thakor 

Today even under Xi Jinpeng professing ‘Socialism with Chinese Characteristics’, China is masking itself as a Socialist state or disguising it’s capitalist nature. No doubt, it is a more progressive state or economy than other third world countries, with the state administering the market economy, and citizens enjoying more benefits in all spheres of life.Post-1978 the Chinese State completely undid or reversed the policies from 1949-1978.All positive features o China today had their seeds planted in the steps taken in the Maoist era. Since 1978.China reverted all the Socialist methods, like dismantling the communes an promoting profit oriented production by inviting American Special Economic Zones.
There is powerful debate about whether today China is capitalist or Socialist State. No doubt it is not classically capitalist like the Western Democracies and it’s socialist modernisation road was more progressive than Western capitalism. .However even if state controlled it is market forces that determine the economy, which has paved way for mushrooming of billionaires.
China is a country that places strong embargos or curtailment on the freedom of speech, especially with regard to censoring revolutionary ideas. After the death of Mao Zedong, China became a bourgeois state. China is definitely not a bourgeois democracy, but, it is also not quite a fascist state of the Nazi type. It’s practice could be categorised as “soft fascism”. Here, the people are mostly not convicted unless and until they rebel to change the social system. No publications are allowed which try to educate and organize the people in organising a revolutionary movement. The Internet is severely censored, as are foreign publications, films, etc. Even mild reformist criticism of the ruling class and its policies is usually suppressed.
Today like Cuba, in certain ways, particularly citizen’s welfare, we must defend China, from the lies or conspiracy of the Western media, but still must expose in essence, it’s social –imperialist nature.

Super long working hours and strong working intensity

The working conditions of contemporary Chinese workers are very poor .Workers are generally faced with such dilemmas as long working hours and strong work intensity, being often in arrears with wages and being underpaid, insufficient social welfare, insufficient security of working environment, and illegal layoffs.
The standard working hours stipulated by Chinese laws are 8 hours per day, an average of no more than 44 hours per week, and at least one day off per week. However, according to the investigation of data, the working hours of most wage posts far prolong 44 hours. For example, according to the statistics of the National Bureau of Statistics in July 2018, the average weekly working hours of Chinese enterprise employees in that month were 46 hours. (Including those bureaucratic wastes that do nothing).
Wages are often low with wage arrears, a routine feature. As far as we know, the construction workers whose wages are most seriously in arrears. Most labour disputes in China are caused by wage arrears. In the context of the COVID-19, wage arrears in China can be seen everywhere. There are too many cases of salary arrears, so we can’t cite them one by one. Wage arrears are more likely to ignite the spark of the workers’ movement.
On May 28, 2020, Li Keqiang, then Premier of the State Council, publicly said at the press conference of the Third Session of the 13th National People’s Congress: “The average monthly income of 600 million people with low and middle income and below is about 1000 yuan.” In response to the outside world, the spokesman of the National Bureau of Statistics said, “The monthly per capita income of 600 million people is 1000 yuan, which can be verified by the national household income and expenditure and living conditions survey data.” Private organizations have also investigated the problem of low wages. For example, according to the judgment of a private survey organization, if the minimum wage should be 40% of the average wage, it is suggested that the monthly minimum wage in Guangdong Province in 2019 should be 3728 yuan in Guangzhou, 2331 yuan in Dongguan, and 2588 yuan in Huizhou, while the minimum wage in the fourth tier cities like Heyuan is 2298 yuan — while the actual minimum wage in these four places is only 2100 yuan, 1720 yuan, 1550 yuan, and 1410 yuan respectively.

Social Welfare

According to the data of the National Bureau of Statistics, in 2020, the basic endowment insurance for employees will only cover about 71% of urban employees, and only 47% of employees will have unemployment insurance.. The current social security model in China is the intergenerational compensation system, that is, the social security provided to the elderly in the same period with the tax paid by the young.
On April 10, 2019, the report released by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences showed that the current balance of the basic endowment insurance fund for urban enterprise employees in China would be negative for the first time by 2028, after which the endowment insurance fund reserve would decline rapidly and the accumulated balance might be exhausted around 2035. It can be understood that China’s current social security model — intergenerational compensation system — has a tendency to collapse in contemporary China, where the aging population is deepening. This is one of the important reasons why the Chinese revisionist party has repeatedly enforced the birth restriction. The reason for the insufficient welfare of social security is that many enterprises fail to pay social security for their employees in accordance with the law. In order to attract investment, the reactionary government indulged in many illegal acts related to enterprises.
In March 2019, the reactionary authorities officially announced that the payment proportion of pension insurance units had decreased from 20% to 16%. This transferred part of the pressure that the capitalist should bear to the employees. In 2020, under the pretext of the impact of the epidemic, the Chinese revisionist party will allow enterprises to exempt from paying social security premiums. This policy idea is the same as reducing the social security payment rate of enterprises. When facing the choice between two, they chose to give up the interests of workers and protect the interests of capitalists.

Insufficient safety of production environment

Production safety is supposed to penetrate the whole production process, but the authorities do not give priority to this field of production safety. Although many documents emphasize production safety, this kind of production safety only exists in on paper. Here are some examples that have been obvious this year. On February 18, 2022, an explosion accident occurred in Huaye Foundry in Huidong County, Huizhou City, Guangdong Province, causing 3 deaths, 2 serious injuries and 13 minor injuries. On February 25, 2022, a roof collapse accident occurred in Sanhe Shunxun Coal Mine, Longchang Town, Zhenfeng County, Qianxinan Prefecture, Guizhou Province, killing 14 people. On March 2, 2022, a coal and gas outburst accident occurred in Limin Coal Mine, Qingzhen City, Guiyang City, Guizhou Province, killing 8 people. These are just a few serious cases. Such things are happening with a very high frequency. We can probably receive information about production safety accidents every few days.

Illegal layoffs

Many types of illegal layoffs were tacitly given sanction by the reactionary authorities. It is also important to point out that the current situation of the working people is deteriorating under the wrong and extreme epidemic prevention policy of the Chinese revisionist party. In areas where the epidemic is grave, many factories have become redundant, and workers have almost no source of wages. Not only the factory workers are facing such difficulties, but also many takeout workers living in urban villages are seriously affected. These takeout workers have to take a quilt with them to sleep in the street because they are afraid that the village will be closed down and they can no longer feed themselves and their families. Some workers engaged in shelter construction were found infected after the project was completed, but the Chinese revisionist party just wanted to let these workers leave quickly, and did not provide any medical support to these workers.
Under the wrong and extreme epidemic prevention policy, some factories in high-risk areas did not stop working, and workers were ordered to continue working but could not do a good job of protection, resulting in continuous infection of workers. These infected workers are trapped in the park without effective treatment. Faced with such abominable working conditions, many friends spontaneously resisted. However, the people who bravely fought for the rights of the working class were victimised by Chinese government. For example, Chen Guojiang, the leader of the collective rights protection event of the “Take away Knights Alliance”, was suddenly arrested by the Chinese revisionist party in February 2021 and released about a year after being imprisoned, but was warned not to carry out similar activities; Famous activists Huang Xueqin and Wang Jianbing were also arrested by the Chinese revisionist party in September 2021 in a surprise attack, and they are still in prison; In 2018, the people who helped the Jiashi Workers’ Movement were also arrested, and their whereabouts are still unknown. 
Most factories in China today can be called “sweatshops which is the outcome of privatization. In the era of Mao Zedong, the factory strictly abided by the provisions of the “Angang Constitution” — “cadres participate in labour, workers participate in management, reform unreasonable rules and regulations, and combine workers, leading cadres and technicians”. Under the guidance of Angang’s Constitution, the factories in Mao Zedong’s era not only had high status of workers, but also had high enthusiasm for production, which was conducive to the progress of production technology. The advanced factory system like the Ansteel Constitution only exists in the socialist society. Since the restoration of capitalism, the Constitution of Angang has also been eradicated. With the abolishment of the Angang Constitution and the restoration of the “one leader system”, workers lost their rights in the Mao era and were naturally slaughtered in the factory.
Since the restoration of capitalism in China, the domestic workers’ strikes and other collective actions ignited one after another. The vast majority of these strikes and collective action incidents are spontaneous. According to incomplete statistics, there were more than 14000 such incidents in the decade from 2011 to 2021. Some of these strikes are led by Maoists, some by bourgeois liberals.
During the May Day 2018, tower crane workers at construction sites all over China went on strike in turn. Since April 25, 2018, the labour movement has taken place in Chongqing, Fujian, Gansu, Guangxi, Guizhou, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Shandong, Shanxi, Sichuan and other provinces. The main appeal of tower crane workers is that tower crane workers are high-risk workers, demanding higher wages, compensation for overtime and improvement of working conditions.
Strikes are illegal in the Constitution of the moderate revisionist party, so the Chinese revisionist party has the revisionist “legal basis” for suppressing worker strikes. While being brutally suppressed, these workers were stigmatized as “colluding with foreign forces”, which is a common practice. The mass struggle in China, including the workers’ movement, the peasants’ movement and other mass economic and political struggles, will almost always be labelled as “foreign forces” by the Central Repair Authority. The Chinese revisionist party deceives the Chinese people with such lies. The result of the nationwide tower crane strike was that the authorities made some compromises and the situation of tower crane workers was improved.

View of Westerners

Many Westerners believe that doctrinal titles and words are used to cover China’s authoritarian capitalist nature like '21st Century Marxism' .or ‘Xi Thought is the continuation of Mao Zedong Thought’. “China accelerated its amazing development process of the last 50 years by sometimes defining its system of governance as ‘socialism with Chinese characteristics,’ which was a coded way of expressing its participation at home and internationally in the capitalist world economy guided by a perspective usually described as ‘neoliberal globalisation’,” says Richard Falk, a leading expert on international relations.
“Such an identity was underscored by Chinese membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO), widely accepted as an institutional body entrusted with overseeing and promoting neoliberalism. It is common for economists to describe China after the policy reforms associated with Deng Xiaoping in 1991 as a ‘socialist market economy’.”
While the CCP uses various authoritarian measures to control the world’s largest population, its survival cannot only be explained by authoritarianism as it has usually been portrayed in the Western world, according to Falk.
Quoting ‘China's state has always played a core role in development, over time prioritization of growth has shifted to a variant of state capitalism best described as, “party-state capitalism,” which emphasizes risk management and leadership by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Rather than reflecting long-held intentions of the CCP, the transition to party-state capitalism emerged from reactions to perceived threats and problems, some domestic and some external.’

Chinese Maoism

Maoists are on the increase (especially young people aged 15 to over 20), and anti capitalism sentiment is growing. However, on the whole, the total number of Maoists is very small. China’s “new left” refers to the trend of thought that was born in the 1990s and is different from the traditional Marxism Leninism (Marxism Leninism Maoism), so it is called the “new left”. Their goal is to cultivate the western “democratic freedom” trend of thought and its “criticism” of traditional views, After the counter revolutionary coup in 1976 in the last century, those who were stood loyal to Chairman Mao’s revolutionary line in the Chinese party and government were severely punished.. After that, the so-called leftist ideologies spread only when some rebels who missed Chairman Mao and escaped the purge secretly publicized socialist theory through legitimate magazines and pretended to support Deng Xiaoping Theory, but in the system openly were critical of private ownership and western liberalism. Nevertheless, these magazines were closed in 2001 because they opposed Jiang’s so-called “Three Represents”. Later, they created similar websites on the Internet. On the other hand, in order to crush the resurgent Maoism, the revisionists secretly propagated their refurnished or distorted “Maoism” to confuse the masses. Its basic content is to portray Chairman Mao as a national hero rather than a great communist leader, to describe American imperialism and the so-called Western ideology as the number one enemy, and obliterate Chairman Mao’s socialist revolutionary theory.
Along with the revival of Maoism, there are deviationist thoughts like “anarchism”, “Trotskyism”, “cultural Marxism”, and “Luxemburgism”. Its basic view is to oppose the vanguard leading the masses to struggle and propagate spontaneity, which is essentially a reflection of petty bourgeois liberalism, Many people hold this idea that there are “leftists” at the top of the moderate amendment party, or the moderate amendment party may turn left. The work of the Maoists in China has just started the organization has contacted some revolutionaries, unified their ideas, and eliminated opportunism and unreliable people, which is a small step in progress.
There may be few Maoist organizations, but they are at the formative stage, far from the Party building stage. Quoting a Maoist leader “I am ashamed that our Chinese comrades’ work falls far behind the expectations of the world’s revolutionary people. We are in a very difficult situation, and a little carelessness will lead to the defeat of the reactionary enemy. We hope that in the future we can work hard to win the victory of the proletarian revolution at an early date.”
The Maoist forces have undertaken done some practical work to win the support of the masses, but members basically act in their personal identities, rarely in the name of the organization, because it is easy to expose their identities when acting in the name of the organization. They irregularly carry out social surveys on the working class, give some common sense legal guidance to workers who need to safeguard their rights, distribute leaflets and post leaflets. The content of the leaflet includes an analysis of the current society, as well as information about the contemporary international communist movement90% of the members are teenagers to twenties there are no very old comrades or Red Guards veterans in our organization. (These people are generally the targets of key persecution and surveillance.)
Having started groundwork in recent times, the mass base of the Maoist forces is still very weak, and only a few progressive students can understand and support their ideas, which is still in a very embryonic stage. Just like in the early days of the Bolshevik movement in history, the activists were all intellectuals, and we are striving for a change to the main body of workers.
A major weakness has been that in most of the democratic movements have had Capitalist Western democratic Orientation, like last November-December protesters chanted the slogans ‘No to nucleic acid test and yes to food; no to blockade and yes to freedom; no to lies and yes to dignity; no to Cultural Revolution and yes to reform; no to dictatorship and yes to votes; no to slavery and yes to citizenship.’ The protesters’ demands echoed those of the Tiananmen Square protesters three decades earlier.
Maoists have to make a departure from conventional methods and devise new forms of organisation in accordance to changes in the digital age in production an machinery. Still the Great proletarian Cultural Revolution methods are relevant, but peoples war as path is outdated and even conventional communist party vanguard party concept has to be revised. Unlike the 1949 revolution which was rural based, the current revolution would be urban based.
A most important outcome will be whether a revolt would take place within the People’s Liberation Army which had it’s. roots in Maoist ideology.  A major review has to be undertaken on why the Cultural Revolution failed and the reason for a major people’s movement oriented with Maoism has not crystallised for over four decades.
Harsh Thakor is a freelance journalist who has studied liberation movements’ .Thanks information from an interview with Chinese Maoists in Beir Bua Resistance Reports in Bearbua.medium as well as East Asia Forum



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