Lance Gore

Senior research fellow, East Asian Institute, National University of Singapore

Lance Gore previously taught at several universities in the United States and Australia, and is currently a senior research fellow at the East Asian Institute of National University of Singapore. His recent books include The Chinese Communist Party and China’s Capitalist Revolution: The Political Impact of Market and Chinese Politics Illustrated: The Social, Cultural and Historical Context. His current research is on the new technological revolution. He is working on two books, one examining the post-capitalist trends in the world and the policy and political implications for China, and the other on entrepreneurship in the public sector.

Chinese President Xi Jinping waves at the end of the event marking the 100th founding anniversary of the Communist Party of China, on Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China, 1 July 2021. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

Can the CCP avoid the Stalin curse under Xi Jinping?

Fatal flaws in the Soviet system, or the Stalin curse, led to the eventual demise of communist regimes in Eastern Europe. These systemic flaws had different manifestations at different levels of the system. The current CCP leadership is aware of these problems and has tried hard to avoid travelling down the same path of the Soviet Union, but tinkering with the same Leninist vanguard party is not going to ensure its survival. Instead, a new model of party building is needed to break the Stalin curse.
Two men have their breakfast on the street in an older neighborhood in Shanghai, China on 30 August 2021. Chinese President Xi Jinping chaired a high-level meeting that “reviewed and approved” measures to fight monopolies, battle pollution and shore up strategic reserves, all areas that are crucial to his government’s push to improve the quality of life for the nation’s 1.4 billion people. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

Can China succeed in income distribution reform and get rid of its celebrity economy?

The assets of the top eight tycoons in the world have a combined worth of half the global population, says EAI academic Lance Gore, and the Chinese Communist Party faces a choice: Will China go down the old path of Western advanced capitalism, especially Anglo-American capitalism, and make the same mistakes as them? China has shown resolve in reforming its income distribution issues in various sectors including the entertainment industry. But it is not an easy path as vested interests may still interfere and the people can only rely on the self-purification of the Chinese Communist Party to uphold the regime’s people-centred nature.
A billboard featuring Chinese President Xi Jinping is displayed at a compound in Shanghai, China, on 30 August 2021. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

A new paradigm needed: China cannot achieve 'common prosperity' with Marxism and class struggle

While Marxism failed 30 years ago in the case of the Soviet Union, the Chinese Communist Party of today claims that it owes its success to the “theoretical advantage” of Marxism. However, rather than hanging on to ideological orthodoxy, a revolution of ideologies is needed to steer the building of an inclusive and harmonious society undergoing the fourth industrialisation. In the new paradigm, much thought will need to go into thinking through knotty issues such as the role of the market in socialism, the value of labour in a hi-tech economy and the role that entrepreneurs can play as builders of socialism.
A bolt of lightning crosses the sky as people look at buildings displaying a light show on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing, China, on 30 June 2021. (Noel Celis/AFP)

'Winner takes all' no more: China is ready to build the socialist regulatory state

After observing, learning about and experimenting with selected components of capitalism, China is now ready to govern the market in its own style, to create the society of a new socialist regulatory state while bolstering support for the government. Lance Gore says it holds true, whether in China's history or the imagined fairer future society, that Chinese merchants and capital must see their contributions through the larger lens of society and the nation. That is, the capital market must serve the real economy and develop the productive strength of the nation. Creating the socialist regulatory state is like doing a "delicate dance", and as a new creation, there would be chances of missteps and even mishaps.
People look at images showing Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Museum of the Communist Party of China that was opened ahead of the 100th founding anniversary of the Party in Beijing, China, 25 June 2021. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

'Red peril' or benign power: How different is China's CCP from USSR's CPSU?

Whether the Communist Party of China will escape the fate of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union depends greatly on the extent to which it has rooted out the six major ills that plagued the Soviet system. Only then can it rise smoothly and peacefully to the benefit of the world.
Performers wave national and party flags as they rehearse before the event marking the 100th founding anniversary of the Communist Party of China, at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China, 1 July 2021. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

Rise of China's CCP and demise of USSR's CPSU: A tale of two communist parties

The CCP has much to be proud of on the 100th anniversary of its founding on 1 July. Coincidentally, this year also marks the 30th anniversary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU)’s demise. Chinese leaders have learnt much from the Soviet Union’s experience, not least the importance of a people-centric approach. In fact, the party is undergoing a grand synthesis of its reforms to chart the country’s way forward. However, amid problems such as regional disparities and insatiable expectations, fresh solutions need to be found. The CCP also needs to present a brand new image of itself in the international arena.
Pedestrians walk across a road in front of commuter trams in Hong Kong on 11 May 2021. (Anthony Wallace/AFP)

China's peaceful rise has to start in Hong Kong 

The current upheaval in Hong Kong must be seen for what it is — a clash of two systems, two sets of values and two ways of life. It is a microcosm of the clash China faces with the world, especially the West. How the CCP deals with policies there will determine if it can shake off its “evil” label in international discourse and win approval from the world.
Souvenir plates featuring Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and late communist leader Mao Zedong are seen at a store in Beijing on 2 March 2021. (Greg Baker/AFP)

The CCP’s massive left turn and the post-Xi political landscape of China

In the name of “Never forgetting the founding mission” (不忘初心), CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping engineered a massive regression to communist orthodoxy, resurrecting ideological indoctrination, tightening control of the media and cracking down on freedom of speech. EAI researcher Lance Gore says this sharp swing to the left has surprised and agitated many in the West and led them to confront and contain what seems to be a renewed communist threat. However, he feels that the rationale for Xi’s left turn is misaligned with socioeconomic changes on the ground and the doctrine is thus difficult to sustain. It is in fact more of a generational phenomenon that will come to naught once Xi and his cohort depart from the scene. 
Souvenirs featuring Chinese President Xi Jinping (centre) and late communist leader Mao Zedong (right) are seen at a store in Beijing on 2 March 2021. (Greg Baker/AFP)

China: A good guy or a bad guy?

In the international arena, anti-communism rhetoric is on the rise and the narrative of China as the bad guy is becoming increasingly mainstream. Not only that, the CCP’s return to Red orthodoxy appears to be at odds with the country’s reform in many areas and is adding to misperceptions of China. To truly take national rejuvenation forward and save China from facing unnecessary confrontations internationally, the Communist Party needs to innovate and mould a brand-new socialist image. Can China become the good guy again? Lance Gore finds the answer.