Socialism

Students take part in an evacuation drill in a primary school in Kunming, Yunnan province, China, 11 May 2022. (CNS)

China wants to create a new democratic system. Is that possible?

Domestic and external pressures compel China to face the issue of democracy. With growing affluence and diversity in the population, the government needs to find a way to incorporate various views that goes beyond the Mao-era “mass line”. In forging a new path, the Chinese Communist Party is feeling its way around bringing about a socialist neo-democracy, or what has been verbalised as “whole-process people’s democracy”. But what stands in the way of putting thought into action?
Burnt cars are pictured through the glass of a damaged car in Saltivka neighbourhood, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kharkiv, Ukraine, 10 May 2022. (Ricardo Moraes/Reuters)

Russia-Ukraine war has triggered another split in China-US relations

Economics professor Zhu Ying observes that since US-China relations reached their high point after former President Trump's visit to Beijing in 2017, China-US relations have seen three splits, each driven by the trade war, the pandemic and the war in Ukraine respectively. Amid tense relations and set identities that have been formed, one can only hope that the US and China do not stumble into a hot war.
Former Hong Kong chief secretary for administration John Lee, speaks to media after Central People's Government approves his resignation, in Hong Kong, China, 8 April 2022. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

Can John Lee be that all-round leader that Hong Kong needs?

Former police officer John Lee has stepped down as chief secretary for administration to run for Hong Kong chief executive after Carrie Lam announced that she will not be running for a second term. As the only candidate approved by Beijing, can Lee live up to the central government's expectations, as well as those of the Hong Kong people? Commentator Chip Tsao ponders Hong Kong's future.
Police block Red Square ahead of a planned unsanctioned protest against Russia's invasion of Ukraine in central Moscow, Russia, on 24 February 2022. (Alexander Nemenov/AFP)

The importance of Russia in China's foreign relations

Russian academic Andrey Vinogradov surveys Russia-China relations from a historical perspective, concluding that despite past divergences in ideology, their relationship is a longstanding one built on pragmatism and strategic utility. Most significantly, in furthering its own interests, Russia is inadvertently acting as a foil for China amid increasingly tense US-China relations. In the current international milieu, it can even be said that an existential inseparability of Russian and Chinese security is being formed.
Chinese paramilitary policemen keep watch while people visit Yu Garden in Shanghai, China, on 15 February 2022. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

China needs to work towards a new socialism

China is tottering between capitalism and old socialism in its pursuit of “socialism with Chinese characteristics”, says Lance Gore. Instead of further entrenching a system that feeds nationalism in the name of socialism, it would do well to update to a new socialism in which the concept of employment, wealth and happiness are redefined to better take advantage of the new technological revolution. But is China ready?
The Chinese national flag is raised during the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games, at the National Stadium, also known as the Bird's Nest, in Beijing, China, on 4 February 2022. (Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP)

Can socialist China change society's value orientation and triumph over the ills of capitalism?

An overhaul in its social value orientation is needed if China is to tackle the pressures on employment and social structures that the digital economy, artificial intelligence and smart automation will bring. Essentially, it should root out casino capitalism and the related social ills of “winner takes all”, “get rich quick”, “lying flat” and envy that have seeped into society. The Chinese Communist Party is making an effort but it will not be easy to abandon a purely material approach and prize other values that will raise the quality of life and elevate a civilisation.
A man takes a photo of a screen broadcasting Chinese President Xi Jinping delivering his New Year speech, at a restaurant in Beijing, China, on 31 December 2021. (Jade Gao/AFP)

Is Chinese socialism superior?

Although the Chinese Communist Party believes in the great future of socialism, the basic contradictions of socialism that caused the demise of the Soviet Union are yet to be fully resolved in China, says Lance Gore. As a matter of fact, President Xi Jinping’s mantra of “returning to the party’s original mission” is inadvertently resurrecting some of the same problems that bedevilled classic communism.
People walk along at financial district of Lujiazui in Shanghai, China, 15 October 2021. (Aly Song/Reuters)

How China's 'poor' ultra-rich can truly become world-class entrepreneurs

Deng Qingbo finds that those who have “grown rich first” during China’s initial period of reform and opening up, and who have grown rich a second time by consolidating their holdings, now find themselves locked in an endless pursuit of wealth with no clear direction to better themselves. He thinks it is high time that they “grow wealthy for the third time” in the spiritual sense, and give back to society by developing a truly influential and well-respected corporate culture. It works out well that this would be in line with China’s “common prosperity” goals.
China supporters wave the national flag during the 2022 Qatar World Cup Asian Qualifiers football match between Saudi Arabia and China, at the King Abdullah Sport City Stadium in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on 12 October 2021. (AFP)

War of words: China and the US tussle for speaking rights on democracy

Ahead of the US Summit for Democracy this week to which it is not invited, China has been aggressively taking the floor to explain its own brand of democracy and ensure that it is not isolated from the conversation. It has released a white paper elaborating on China’s “whole-process people’s democracy” and a report on the state of democracy in the US. Underlying its proactive behaviour is a great anxiety that this is yet another means of containing China. Zaobao correspondents Edwin Ong and Chen Jing examine China's rhetoric on democracy and seek views from the experts.