Marxists

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 woman rides a bicycle along a street in Beijing, China, on 6 April 2022. (Jade Gao/AFP)

Why China's 'peaceful rise' will be particularly difficult

EAI academic Lance Gore notes that China’s “peaceful rise” is a particular hard sell because it involves the rise of a major heterogeneous civilisational power, which is different from the mere transfer of hegemony between states from the same civilisation. Thus China needs to work on gaining acceptance from the international community by conveying the merits of its civilisational traits and avoiding pitfalls such as a reversion to cultural dead wood or failed Marxist orthodoxy.
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.
China Customs officers raise a Chinese flag during a rehearsal for a flag-raising ceremony along the Bund past buildings in the Lujiazui Financial District at sunrise in Shanghai, China, on 4 January 2022. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

The Chinese ruling party needs a new pact with the people to forge a more humane and self-confident nation

Lance Gore notes the transitional nature of the third historical resolution passed by the Communist Party of China (CPC) recently. It kept Pandora’s box closed, leaving issues of history unresolved. Will the CPC use a fourth historical resolution to build a pact with the people to forge a vibrant, humane, self-confident nation on the world stage?
Visitors pose for a picture in front of a national flag sculpture at the Museum of the Communist Party of China in Beijing on 11 November 2021. (Noel Celis/AFP)

How the CPC plans to seize the democracy narrative

The Communist Party of China has just passed a resolution on the party’s achievements over its 100-year history, the third of such resolutions. Zaobao’s associate editor Han Yong Hong notes that the resolution seeks to turn the page on the past and pave the way for the party’s leadership guided by “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era”. This includes building a governance framework based on Marxist ideology, and creating a society that supports “whole-process people’s democracy” or “Chinese-style democracy”. Will China be able to beat the West at their own game by seizing the democracy narrative?
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.
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.