Marxists

A woman takes a picture along the moat outside the Forbidden City in Beijing, China, on 21 November 2023. (Wang Zhao/AFP)

Where is China now?

Only by absorbing the essence of modern civilisation can they rise above it, and only by standing on the peak of Western civilisation can they go on to the next level, says East Asian Institute senior research fellow Lance Gore. When one scans the terrain of Chinese public opinion and even academia, we see that very little remains of the constructive mentality once prevalent from the late Qing dynasty onwards — i.e., the spirit of humbly learning from the West for self-strengthening. Instead, we see "cultural self-confidence" that is not substantiated by proper analysis. Furthermore, political reform cannot always revolve around the consolidation of the ruling party’s position, and not make plans with the long-term interests of the Chinese people in mind.
People cross a street in front of a large propaganda poster in Shanghai, China, 10 April 2023. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Why is China struggling with identity politics both within and outside the nation?

Currently, deglobalisation and efforts to decouple from China benefit no one. Not only that, identity politics, with ideology at its core, fuels Western nations’ foolish ways of achieving a pyrrhic victory. To deal with this, the CCP’s utmost priority is to avoid being constrained by others’ definitions and to present a new image of socialism with Chinese characteristics. But is China ready to do this?
People walk past photos of Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Museum of the Communist Party of China in Beijing, China, on 3 March 2023. (Greg Baker/AFP)

Can China move away from a 'small society mentality' and build a sustainable big society?

Capitalist and socialist societies are faced with the same universal conflict between power and self-interest on the one hand, and fairness and justice on the other. As socialism seeks to reclaim the “better angels of our nature”, as mentioned by former US President Abraham Lincoln, the contemporary mass society that results may be a worthy alternative to a democratic system on the point of collapse. But can China achieve this goal?
Alibaba founder Jack Ma visits Hangzhou Yungu School in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China in this handout picture released on 27 March 2023. (Hangzhou Yungu School/Handout via Reuters)

Jack Ma has returned but Chinese entrepreneurs will still have a hard time

Jack Ma’s recent return to China has made waves and offers some hope for the revival of the entrepreneur class in China. But this group of people have never shaken off their dual identity as entrepreneur-capitalists. With the rise of a group of diehards romanticising the glory of past eras, entrepreneurs, and in turn the development of China’s market economy, face obstacles.
Members of the People's Armed Police stand guard near the Bund in Shanghai, China, on 28 February 2023. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

CCP's official ideology may be hampering China's rise

Despite the CCP’s efforts at arriving at new answers with socialism with Chinese characteristics, fundamental issues since Deng Xiaoping’s time and new issues of this era have not been solved. Maybe it is time to recognise that ideology for party governance may not be the best fit for national governance, says EAI senior research fellow Lance Gore. Instead, what is more effective could be constant innovation and seeking common understanding with the people in adherence with common human values.
This photo taken on 31 January 2023 shows people walking under lanterns at a street in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, China. (AFP)

What is China’s 'new era'? [Part 2]

Lance Gore explains why navigating China’s “new era” requires out-of-the-box thinking on managing the knowledge economy, such as redefining employment and value beyond the capitalist labour market, and managing the uneven distribution of creativity and innovation. Moreover, the country needs to be wary of a reversion to large-scale centralisation of power and rule by the voice of one.
A woman takes a picture next a tree decorated with paper lanterns at the entrance of a park in Beijing, China, on 26 January 2023. (Wang Zhao/AFP)

What is China’s 'new era'? [Part 1]

EAI senior research fellow Lance Gore explains why the sudden reversal of globalisation, constant turbulence due to global developments and the fragmentation of international relations are some very real coordinates of China’s "new era". In response, apt and concrete policies along the socialism axis can be devised to meet the challenges.
A security personnel keeps watch next to a Chinese Communist Party flag before the new Politburo Standing Committee members meet the media following the 20th Party Congress of the Communist Party of China, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, 23 October 2022. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

Can the CCP truly serve the people?

Recent protests against the Covid restrictions show that the CCP’s mantra of “serving the people” is a double-edged sword. The platitude lends ideological ammunition and justification for people to retaliate, and may also give far leftists fodder for accusing the party of abandoning their original mission. Rather than a nameless “the people” which can be manipulated politically, perhaps it is time to think of the people as each and every person whose rights need to be safeguarded.
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”?