Socialism

A farmer picks ears of rice left over by a paddy harvester as the region experiences a drought outside Jiujiang city, Jiangxi province, China, 27 August 2022. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

Chinese netizens debate: Should China abandon the market economy for a ‘people-oriented’ economy?

Chinese agricultural economist Wen Tiejun has landed in hot water after proposing the concept of a “people-oriented” economy. Critics believe that this is moving away from China’s reform and opening up, while others see the benefits towards common prosperity. Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan tells us more about the maelstrom of controversy ahead of the 20th Party Congress.
A Chinese flag flutters near people lining up to get tested at a makeshift nucleic acid testing site, amid the Covid-19 outbreak in Beijing, China, 18 May 2022. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

Can capitalists ever feel at ease in socialist China?

The Chinese Communist Party has yet to resolve in theory and in practice two great issues: the ever widening rich-poor divide and the question of capitalists’ place in a socialist market economy. This is why the slogan "common prosperity" caused widespread panic across the private sector when it was first put forth. How will the authorities prove that “the rich will never be robbed in order to help the poor”?
A screen displays a CCTV state media news broadcast showing Chinese President Xi Jinping addressing world leaders at the G20 meeting in Rome via video link at a shopping mall in Beijing, China, 31 October 2021. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

Xi Jinping's misguided return to ideology

East Asian Institute senior research fellow Lance Gore argues that two contexts made Xi’s resurrection of ideological orthodoxy almost inevitable — Leninist party rule and China’s rise on the global stage. But Xi’s return to ideology may be to China’s detriment, as it could reverse achievements of the reform and opening up era, and also set China on a collision course with Western liberal democracies.
A Chinese flag flutters near people lining up to get tested at a makeshift nucleic acid testing site, amid Covid-19 outbreak in Beijing, China, 18 May 2022. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

Why Xi Jinping's bold experiments with socialism are commendable

While China’s market-based socialism with Chinese characteristics has lifted many out of poverty, creating the Chinese miracle, the ills of abiding by the “laws of the market” should be tackled and reined in. In the ever-evolving model of new socialism, a mechanism needs to be established that can raise and maintain a good standard of living in the absence of economic growth. This is so that people can transcend the pursuit of the material and live their lives with meaning and purpose.
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?