At 70, China lost the socialist shell for its capitalist yolk

At 70, China lost the socialist shell for its capitalist yolk

Foreign Affairs
Reading Time: 20 minutes

The People’s Republic of China will step into its 70 years of existence on 1st October 2019. It’s the second country ruled by a communist party to have survived for 70 years. The Soviet Union collapsed in its 74th year, while other smaller socialist countries of eastern Europe didn’t survive for more than four decades. 

On 1st October 1949, Mao Zedong, the iconic communist leader, the revolutionary ideologue of the Chinese revolution, declared the foundation of the People’s Republic of China from Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, which ushered the semi-colonial and semi-feudal China into a new dawn of independence and within 20 years, it became the powerful bastion of socialism in the world under Mao and the Communist Party of China (CPC).

Following Mao’s principle of simple living, shunning largesse and extravaganza, China has so far only organised the official celebration of its foundation day with military grandeur once in a decade. On the occasion of its 70th anniversary, the present rulers of the People’s Republic of China and its guiding force, the CPC under Xi Jinping’s leadership, will participate in a show of strength and economic superiority to the world, albeit in a better condition than the crisis-ridden Soviet Union in 1987. 

Today, in its 70th year, China has lost the socialist character that Mao and his revolutionary comrades struggled to build throughout their lives. The capitalist roaders within the CPC, who usurped power in 1976, have transformed China into a capitalist state. Under the garb of the fancy slogan of building “socialism with Chinese characteristics”, China is now ruled by a gang of oligarch capitalists and usurers who have enslaved the working class and pulled it down from the ruler’s seat to a chasm of utmost despair and gloom. 

Through filthy debauchery of Marxist-Leninist ideology, the blending of capitalism with socialism, these gangs of criminals have reversed each and every victory that the Chinese working class and the people had won between 1949 to 1969. They surrendered China to imperialist forces and turned its people into slaves of imperialism. 

As the Chinese rulers, the CPC leadership and a bunch of their ardent followers around the world, including the phoney communists who once sang paeans of Nikita Khruschev’s brand of politics, will celebrate this occasion, the imperialist forces of the west and its reactionary vassals in the east will collectively oppose this occasion and spew venom against the idea of People’s Republic of China. While one camp wants to continue the capitalist exploitation and corrupt rule wearing the communist cloak to befool the masses, the other camp wants to turn China officially into a capitalist country, purging the socialist nomenclature and hangover.

It’s quite important to do a concrete and detailed analysis of the Chinese revolution, the formation of the People’s Republic of China and, of course, the restoration of capitalism to understand what’s the present situation of China. This analysis must be done from a Marxist-Leninist standpoint so that one can use facts to seek and establish the truth.

The Chinese revolution and its impact on the world

The Chinese revolution was a first-of-its-type of communist party-led revolution in a semi-colonial and semi-feudal state where neither capitalism developed like the west nor the proletariat class had an existence like any developed capitalist state. 

Due to the domination of imperialism on pre-revolutionary China, free capitalism couldn’t develop and, thus, the Chinese capitalists have been of comprador character; they have been a collaborator of foreign capital like the capitalists of any other colonial or semi-colonial countries. The national bourgeoisie, who were late entrants, though had a nationalistic spirit, yet, they couldn’t withstand the imperialists alone, without the support of the Chinese people.

This lack of development of capitalism and smaller size of the industrial organised proletariat, the Chinese revolution couldn’t follow the path of the October Revolution of Russia, which became a standard template for global communists since Lenin founded the first state of the working class in the world. 

After facing several setbacks since its foundation, the CPC found a new lease of life when Mao became its Chairman in the mid-1930s and started formulating a new line for the Chinese revolution. For the first time, Mao showed the importance of the landless and poor peasantry in a semi-feudal society and organised them to fulfil the void created by the absence of an organised working class. 

The guerilla wars against the Chiang Kaishek-led reactionary Kuomintang regime and defeating it repeatedly by relying on the peasantry and surviving in a severe blockade, Mao turned the wheels of history when he led thousands of Red Army soldiers in the historic Long March, fighting the Kuomintang and then defeated the Japanese militarist-fascists by forming a united front with Chiang himself.

Defeating Japan was a watershed moment in the history of China, which never won any battle against imperialist powers despite being a large country vis-a-vis the aggressors. The victory of China against the Japanese in 1945, played a crucial role in the defeat of fascism in the eastern theatre of the Second World War. The Chinese people also won their much-lost self-pride and could stand up against the attempt by the US imperialism and its allies to establish hegemony over China through Chiang. 

Under Mao’s visionary leadership and strong military acumen, the Kuomintang, backed by the US imperialists, were defeated and China was finally freed from the clutches of imperialism and feudalism in 1949. The victory of China opened a new possibility for the countless colonies, semi-colonies and neo-colonies of Asia-Africa and Latin America to take a step closer towards their liberation by following the general strategy of the Chinese revolution, which focused on encircling cities through the countryside and finally seizing it, which Mao called the theory of People’s War. 

As an international impact of the Chinese revolution, within 20 years of its liberation, the flames of the People’s War spread to numerous countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America, and countries like Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia won their victory by defeating the gargantuan US imperialism. The people of Africa woke up, the people of the Arab world woke up and the people of Latin America took to arms against the US imperialism, inspired by the Chinese experience.

The threat from within

When Joseph V Stalin died in 1953, the Soviet Union was at the peak of its post-war socialist construction and made remarkable progress in combating the US imperialist threat from outside. However, the Soviet Union, under Stalin, couldn’t do much to prevent a restoration of capitalism from within. 

A coup d’état by Khrushchev and his partners deposed the pro-Stalin communists from power and purged their followers from all ranks throughout the Soviet Union. When he hosted the XXth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) in 1956 at Moscow, where he delivered his notorious “secret speech” against Stalin and started the incessant series of character assassination of the great Marxist leader by mudslinging and malicious propaganda, which still continues, Khrushchev had already established capitalism in the Soviet Union and had changed its colour. 

This sudden swing of the CPSU and its anti-Stalin slanders divided the world communist movement into two antagonistic halves. On the one hand, stood the Khrushchevite parties and politicians, who unequivocally joined the cacophony of blaming Stalin and praising the post-Stalin Soviet Union, while on the other hand, stood the communists led by Mao and the CPC, which unapologetically carried out an ideological crusade to expose the fallacy of Khruschev’s doctrine of “peaceful coexistence”, “peaceful transition” and his anti-Stalin slanders.

The Great Debate, as the polemic between the Chinese communists and the CPSU, exposed how capitalism can be restored in a socialist society from within if there is no ideological struggle against revisionism. The Sino-Soviet split separated the revolutionary communists led by Mao from the phoney communists led by Khrushchev & Co. The ideological struggle soon changed into rivalry, as the Soviet Union joined hands with the US imperialism in countering the influence of Mao and his Red China globally. 

Moscow even instigated the reactionary Indian ruling class, in association with the US and the Zionist Israel, to wage a war against China in lieu of economic aid. India’s ignominious defeat, and the embarrassment of the US imperialism in the battlefield of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, became major setbacks for the Soviet Union. It tried, along with the US imperialism, to topple Mao and his close associates from power using pawns within the CPC. 

China’s internal Khrushchevs had tried a lot to topple Mao’s revolutionary rule and restore capitalism, however, Mao understood and apprehended the threat well and dealt with it uncompromisingly. Under him, through the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR), the Chinese proletariat and the revolutionary youth overthrew the notorious Liu Shaoqi gang that usurped power in the Eighth National Congress of the CPC. 

The GPCR began after Mao gave the clarion call of “Bombard the headquarters” aiming the Liu-led bourgeoisie headquarters. Mao’s call aroused the masses, encouraged them to struggle against the capitalist-roaders. The revolutionary communists, tempered in the flames of class struggle under the working class’s leadership, not only seized power by ousting the capitalist roaders and defeated their bankrupt ideology, they fought to create a new kind of socialist consciousness to remould the people and the nation. 

Mao and his close associate-cum-heir apparent Lin Biao played a crucial role in leading the GPCR against the Liu-led headquarters. At the same time, the publication of Lin’s Long Live the Victory of People’s War, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese people against the Japanese in 1965 brought a new general strategy of revolution for the people of Asia-Africa and Latin America, which negated Khrushchev’s theory of “peaceful transition to socialism”. 

The Ninth National Congress of the CPC, which was organised from 1-24 April 1969 — 50 years ago — in Beijing, categorically laid the theoretical foundation of Mao Zedong’s theory of continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat, following Lenin’s teachings. Lin’s Report to the Ninth National Congress of the CPC became a guidebook to understand the new era, which Lin showed, following Mao’s teachings, has opened a crisis floodgate for imperialism and social-imperialism. Lin’s report showed how capitalist restoration can take place within socialism and how it can be combated by intensifying ideological struggle against the bourgeoisie thoughts. 

Even though Mao and Lin won the first phase of the GPCR and reestablished the dictatorship of the proletariat, the core of socialism, the peril of a capitalist restoration loomed large over China and, therefore, Mao reiterated that not one, but 10 cultural revolutions would be required to thwart such an attempt. Yet, the temporary victory swayed the communists into a celebratory mode and they ignored the greater peril. 

The de-crimsoning of China

Left out of the race to succeed Mao, Zhou Enlai, a man who sailed in all storms and remained everyone’s ally across the left and right spectrum of the Chinese politics, opened a secret front against Lin. He, along with the help of Lin’s detractors within the CPC’s Politburo, hatched a conspiracy, which led to the murder of Lin on 9 September 1971 and during the Tenth National Congress of the CPC held in April 1973, which was presided by Zhou and, contrary to the Ninth National Congress, was held in utmost secrecy and without video recording, Lin was condemned and stamped as a traitor and capitalist-roader.

Zhou usurped power, encircled Mao and rehabilitated Deng Xiaoping — a notorious capitalist-roader purged during the GPCR for his association with Liu —  and helped him with aggrandisement. It was Deng who established capitalism in post-Mao China. Zhou not only purged the followers of Mao and Lin from all committees, but he also used Mao’s wife Jiang Qing and her associates like Wang Hongwen, Zhang Chunqiao, and Yao Wenyuan to carry out his and Deng’s vitriol against Lin to discard his political line, which spoke about continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat and to continue opposing the US imperialism and Soviet social-imperialism equally.

By 1973, the Zhou-Deng gang promoted the Three World’s Theory and paved the way for Sino-US friendship by claiming that the Soviet Union was a bigger threat than the US. Mao, captive at the hands of Zhou-Deng clique on the one hand, and troubled by the Jiang-Wang-Zhang-Yao clique, on the other, fought a relentless battle against both camps but frailing health took a toll and he died on 9 September 1976. Soon after his death, in October 1976, Jiang-Wang-Zhang-Yao clique — labelled as the Gang of Four — was arrested and deposed by Hua Guofeng, Deng’s prop.

Rising within the CPC as a sycophant of Mao, who neither actually believed in what Mao taught nor practised them, Hua merely showed his loyalty to Mao to rise to power after Zhou’s death. Mao’s ill-health made Hua the man who called the shots and he gradually usurped power after Mao’s death. In October 1976, when he deposed the so-called Gang of Four, blaming them of anarchy and conspiracy, he was hailed by Deng and his gang of capitalist-roaders. 

Hua used Maoist rhetoric to hoodwink the Chinese people tempered in the flames of the GPCR, but also ensured that the GPCR itself is liquidated through peddling spurious ideology. Hua was instrumental in bashing and vilifying both Lin and the Gang of Four but remained moderately critical about Liu. Though he kept reiterating the principle of continuing revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat, he worked hard to restore pre-GPCR arrangements within the CPC and extolled himself as Mao’s equal.

Deng and his gang were restless for power. They ridiculed Hua’s slogan “Whatever Chairman Mao said, we will say and whatever Chairman Mao did, we will do” as “the Two Whatevers“. They soon forced Hua to give up power, following the Eleventh National Congress of the CPC. Though Hua had state, party and military power in his grip, he couldn’t prevent his fall engineered by Deng. 

The restoration of capitalism

The Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee of the CPC, held in Beijing from 18-22 December 1978, Deng, without any official position as strong as Hua or others, exerted his influence on the party, state and military, and became the supreme leader of China, the pioneer of capitalist restoration after his boss Liu. 

This plenary session formally ended the GPCR, criticised Mao, and opened up the Chinese economy to the market, especially to foreign capital, a model which would be followed 15 years later throughout the neo and semi-colonial world of Asia-Africa and Latin America. 

Though the plenary session nakedly adopted Liu’s line by rehabilitating the vassal of imperialism posthumously and opened a barrage of volley fire against Mao by attacking Lin and the Gang of Four, it didn’t repudiate Mao directly. 

It was only in the Sixth Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee of the CPC in 1981 that Mao was openly attacked, ridiculed and discarded, though the party retained his thought in its preamble as the guiding ideological foundation after Marxism-Leninism. 

The Dengists even went to the extent to claim that Mao’s thoughts are not Mao’s alone but a crystallisation of the collective wisdom of the first generation of the CPC, with Mao as their core. The same leitmotif is used by the CPC to discard Mao’s personal contribution and leadership in the Chinese revolution.

Taking potshots at Mao in the Resolution on certain questions in the history of our party since the founding of the People’s Republic of China (adopted by the Sixth Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee of the CPC on 27 June 1981), the Dengists said that the whole GPCR was an error, a crime and Mao deviated from Mao Zedong Thought, which wasn’t his but the collective wisdom of the first generation leadership. 

Deng and his lackeys attacked the core principle of continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat, which adheres to what Lenin taught — once deposed, the bourgeoisie becomes far more powerful than before and as a united class, it tries to restore its rule with international support more vigorously than before. 

The Dengists in the Sixth Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee of the CPC, after wiping out the entire opposition within the party and outside, called the Leninist theory an error and claimed that there remains no contradiction between the deposed bourgeoisie and the proletariat after establishing socialism and hence the principal contradiction shifts to the material aspirations of the Chinese people versus the development of the productive forces. This boiled down to the capitalist line of expanding the production without remoulding the proletariat or without grasping the essence of the revolution. 

The CPC not only denounced Mao, his Leninist line of continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat, but also took China one step back and said it’s still in an early stage of socialism and thus, its state will be a people’s democratic dictatorship, which was a replica of Khrushchev’s “people’s dictatorship”. The capitalist-roaders under Deng categorically used the ill-founded logic to push for liberalisation and opening up of China to the imperialist world and become one of the favourite destinations for the US capital.

Since 1981, China experienced rapid growth of capitalism. Becoming rich was not a taboo but was encouraged by the CPC. The public sector industries were gradually privatised, private and foreign capital was allowed full access to the Chinese market and resources, while the workers’ rights were snatched away. 

By the end of the 1980s, when the Soviet Union was collapsing due to the utmost failure of Khrushchevite politics to retain the mask of socialism on a social-imperialist state and stagnation of the economy due to the contradiction between the economic base and the political superstructure, China had successfully carried out its own privatisation drive, albeit, with the CPC’s authority over the political space. 

The CPC dissolved collective farms, forcing marginal farmers and poor peasants to migrate to cities as unorganised workers. The state-owned industries were privatised and the government helped capitalists to use their wealth and connections to build a strong fortune. China also liberalised foreign investment in China, making it a hot destination for the US and other western corporations.

Any dissent against the Dengist regime was brutally crushed. The Maoists have been stamped as the principal enemy of the Dengists since 1978 and the same policy continues until now. The massive protest demonstration by students and youth in 1989 at Tiananmen Square irked Deng and his coterie, who anticipated a GPCR-type rebellion and crushed it using brute military power. Hundreds of protesters were killed and their bodies were disposed of by the CPC. Until now, the CPC denies committing a massacre and absolves Deng and his sycophants of any such act.

The rise of Xi Jinping

Xi Jinping’s rise in Chinese politics is closely connected with the Chinese leadership’s and the ruling Chinese bourgeoisie’ attempt to muzzle dissent and curb the growth of pro-Maoist sentiments, which got a thrust due to the anomaly in income and wealth distribution in the post-Mao China. Not only the wealth gap increased in China since 1978, but the country also suffered uneven development as the coastal, highly-industrialised regions became richer while the vast hinterland kept lurching due to a pro-market government’s apathy.

The growing wealth gap, privatisation of everything, shrinking democratic space, and the forceful eviction of peasants in the countryside sparked political unrest in China since 2007, which gradually gave rise to a new school of Maoists who started organising the Chinese workers, peasants, students and youth. By 2010, this movement started blistering at an epidemic proportion, while the Chinese leaders under Hu Jintao kept blowing the klaxon of their purported achievements in pulling people out of poverty and developing China to stop it. Their efforts failed. The Chinese leaders understood the need for a strong tyrant who can curb dissent and pulverize the opposition.

In their attempt to woo the Chinese people and hoodwink them, several Chinese politicians had adopted Maoist rhetoric and rituals to tap on the mood of the Chinese people and their everlasting love and respect for Mao. Using Mao as a subterfuge, Bo Xilai, a former Politburo member, and Xi Jinping entered a bitter power struggle, first time after Hua’s ouster in 1978.

During this struggle, both shunned Mao’s politics of continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat, his internationalism, his adherence to the teachings of Marxism-Leninism for obvious reasons and focused only on the so-called crusade against corruption and immorality, hiding the fact that both of these are capitalist byproducts. Later, Bo was jailed on a murder charge, while Xi became the party’s leader and the president of China by manoeuvring properly.

Under Xi’s rule, the Chinese capitalists tightened their grip further on the Chinese state and wealth gap increased manifold. While China kept boasting about development, the real productive forces languished. The people’s discontent grew manifold and Mao became the weapon for Xi and his gang to dupe the people, albeit, badmouthing the GPCR at each occasion. Despite much efforts by Xi and his comrades to catapult the Chinese economy and face the global crisis of imperialism smartly, China had to suffer economic saturation as per the law of capitalism and it intensified class antagonisms within China.

The Chinese workers and the student-youth organisations united under different Maoist banners and started promoting the ideology of the GPCR. Xi, scared by the growing discontent within China, the provocation by the CIA in Hong Kong, Macau and at the frontiers with India, elevated himself to the position of a supreme leader by doing away with the limit of two-terms that Deng had set for his successors in order to avoid antagonisms. 

Not only usurping total control of the Chinese state and growing beyond the party using great Han chauvinism, occasional Marxist rhetoric and the unconditional support offered by the Chinese bourgeoisie, Xi also made his so-called thoughts a guiding ideology of the party, which makes him the second person after Mao to have a thought named after them inscribed in the CPC Constitution.

Xi, the self-styled Brezhnev of China, is taking down China through the annals of capitalist history. The economic crisis that China is mired in is a structural crisis of the capitalist mode of production and the principal enemies of the Chinese people, the comprador bourgeoisie, the bureaucratic capital and foreign corporations are plundering China’s labour and resources while brutally suppressing the people of the country. 

The fallacy of western myopic Marxists

A large-section of anti-establishment organisations and individuals of Europe and North America consider China as a socialist and anti-imperialist ally out of their wrong or utter opportunistic interpretation of Marxism-Leninism or the development of modern Chinese history. Just waving a crimson banner can’t make a state socialist, and just competing with the US and its allies — not confronting them ideologically, politically or diplomatically — isn’t anti-imperialism.

There is a saying that between 1978 and 2018, the Chinese state, following Deng’s capitalist path of “market socialism”, lifted 700m Chinese out of poverty. There are also assertions that the private sector of China is dominated by the public sector, and that the corporates are taxed! These arguments are offered on the question of China still being a socialist country. 

Those who deny the capitalist restoration in China has a myopic and one-sided understanding of the Chinese revolution and the journey of the People’s Republic of China in the last 70 years. They gulp the propaganda of the CPC and its sycophants and keep promoting the concept of so-called socialism with Chinese characteristics, which is as harmful as any western capitalist system. 

The dependence on the internet for understanding China when internet censorship in China doesn’t allow the people’s views to be expressed renders these so-called Marxists with a wrong notion about China’s present state. They build castles of wind using their fanciful imagination and discombobulates the goal of a scientific socialist society.

A socialist state’s job is not merely lifting out people from the abyss of poverty. Almost all forces, capitalists and socialists, talk about poverty alleviation and place data to support their fact. China claims that it has lifted 700 million people out of poverty in the last 40 years. In that case, it has nearly uplifted 17.5 million people every year out of poverty. It also claims that it has addressed the issue of the wealth gap and is trying to build a harmonious society.

These are baseless assertions. Firstly, the Chinese state is saying that it catapulted a section of the people from poverty and helped them survive. If that’s the case then what has been its goal? To lift people out of poverty or as a Marxist attack the source of poverty and change the situation altogether? What has been the criteria according to which the Chinese state is claiming that 700 million people were lifted from poverty? What’s the basis on which it calculates that 88.3% of people lived in dire poverty in 1981 vis-a-vis 0.7% in 2015? Does that mean the Chinese state has curbed inequality in wealth distribution and profiteering from the exploitation of labour by the handful of capitalists and their corporations? 

No, the Chinese state doesn’t mean that. Poverty alleviation isn’t the task of a Marxist socialist state. The transformation of the society from one where means of production are owned by a handful of the population to one, where its ownership lies exclusively with the society led by the state of the proletariat class is the task and immediate goal of any Marxist socialist government. No one would drive a car to show their new sunglasses are hot!

A Marxist socialist state will not merely work to pull people out of poverty but fight the root cause of poverty, which is the accumulation of wealth in the hands of the few. It will not glorify “becoming rich honestly”, as no one can “honestly” become rich without appropriating the labour of others. That’s the ABC of Marxism. One can’t have a poverty-free society as long as there are classes, accumulation of wealth in the hands of the few and the ownership of the means of production belongs to the few as well.

In China, the agenda of alleviation of poverty through the development of the productive forces by opening up and so-called modernisation is actually an explicit way to say that it’s capitalism that’s actually alleviating poverty according to its own criteria, while at the same time, promoting the most brutal suppression of working class’s and peasantry’s rights, by aggravating the wealth gap and widening rural-urban gap. 

The Dengist apologists still vouch for China’s blooming socialism though data shows that out of total 18,097,682 enterprises in China in 2018, only 325,800 or 1.80% of enterprises are state-owned, 249,946 or 1.38% are jointly owned by the state and the private sector, while 16,204,143 enterprises or 89.53% are privately-owned. 

Foreign capital, excluding that from Hong Kong and Macau, directly owns 136,997 enterprises or 0.75% from which they take away capital to offshore locations. This profit transfer isn’t even returning entirely to China for re-investment, forget developing the productive forces. The public healthcare system is gradually failing despite a marginal increase in the GDP allocation. Due to rapid privatisation, public healthcare is virtually non-existent in rural China, worst than the UK that being a capitalist country still runs the NHS. Education itself is turned into a commodity by the state that’s allowing more private capital in education at all levels and thereby making it dearer for the poor and the exploited classes. 

Even if, by a miracle, Xi seizes the control of the private companies, which the so-called neo-Marxists claim to be subservient to the state, then, too, it won’t bring socialism to China as the state will still remain under the control of the capitalist-roader counter-revolutionaries. The Khrushchevs aren’t harbingers of revolution under any context. Unless the state is owned, ruled and controlled by the proletariat class, with support from the people, any state-owned enterprise will only benefit the classes that control the state. 

It’s a wrong notion to think that a mere rule by a party fashioned as a communist party would make a society socialist. A socialist society can truly be formed in the Marxist-Leninist way when the working class, the wealth-producing class, the value-producing class, rules the society by destroying the capitalist production relations and by establishing its ownership over the means of production through its own state and vanguard organisation called the communist party. Neither the present CPC nor Xi matches the criteria.

Though Xi can replicate Mao’s styles and rhetoric to keep himself relevant in a country where the contradiction between the base and the superstructure has grown manifold, he can’t turn China into a socialist society or do justice to the cause of the revolution by returning to the basics — learning and creatively applying Mao Zedong’s Thought — followed by adherence to the policy of continuing the revolution under the proletarian dictatorship.

The social-imperialist state?

On the other side of the fence, the modern Maoists, mostly aligned with the politics of Peruvian guerilla leader called Gonzalo, believe that China has turned into a social-imperialist state since its conflict with Vietnam in the late 1970s. They don’t see the notorious role played by the Soviet Union to spark a prairie flame by instigating the Vietnamese against the Chinese. They rightly call the restoration of capitalism from 1976 onwards a counter-revolutionary act and rightly categorise Chinese mode of production as capitalist, however, they also ignore the fact that China can’t become a social-imperialist state like Russia, which was an imperialist state before the Bolshevik Revolution. 

The Chinese capital has grown with the help of special economic areas that Deng classified for the growth of capitalist mode of production on a pilot basis. The entire growth of the Chinese capitalist economy has been due to foreign capital investment, technology and, of course, export-oriented manufacturing. Unlike the growth of the American, Russian, British or Japanese imperialism, China didn’t go through the usual process of capitalist revolution, rather one under the communist party (New Democratic revolution), which took the nation towards socialism.

Without foreign capital, technology and investments, the Chinese bourgeoisie will be in deep problem. The present US-China trade war is exposing the vulnerability of the Chinese ruling class in the globalised world order.

China has been investing money in Asia-Africa and Latin American countries to secure a supply line of essential minerals, oil and presence of trading infrastructure in these countries. From the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to the control over the Maldives or the African economies, China is expanding its influence to profiteer as an aspiring imperialist power. However, it still misses a vital part of imperialism — war — which, according to the Leninist theory, is the essential character of imperialism, ie monopoly and finance capital.

Until China aggresses another country, like what the Soviet Union did to Czechoslovakia in 1968 and Afghanistan in 1979, and colonises it militarily, exerts its influence and brings violent changes in the country to establish its hegemony, it will be too early to call China a social-imperialist state. Though many neo-Marxists will argue that the imperialists have changed their tactics in recent times to hoodwink people with soft-colonisation, or IMF-World Bank-led colonisation, they ignore or pay no attention to the ongoing military conflicts that imperialism unleashed in the last two decades, from Afghanistan, Iraq to Libya, Ukraine and Syria

Without war, China can’t win colonies and neo-colonies occupied by the US and the west, and because the Chinese people, who still carry the legacy of the GPCR and oppose any form of imperialistic hegemony, can threaten to overthrow the renegade CPC leaders if they pursue a dirty war, which can lead to a major civil war, the Chinese bourgeoisie and the ruling clique will desist from going to war unless it’s absolutely defensive or strategic, ie to help an ally under compulsion. Considering their own isolated position in the global political arena, Russia and China avoid military confrontation or any attempt to fuel tension in global affairs. This isn’t the character of a rising imperialist power.

If in the future, China garners the strength to colonise new semi and neo-colonies using military prowess, then it will not only began a new world war but also unleash a people’s war in its interior, waged by the revolutionary communists against the renegade leadership and its lackeys. As Mao said, either a war will bring the revolution or the revolution will end the war.

The future

Chinese leaders don’t talk about Marxism-Leninism except for places where they are compelled to utter a word or two. Mao and the GPCR are relegated as enemies and generations born after 1976 have been categorically brainwashed to abhor them. The mere mention of the GPCR creates panic among the CPC leadership, and with the failure of the capitalist model, whose saturation and gradual downfall, visible in China’s falling GDP, has punctured the growth story, the chances of a GPCR-style people’s revolutionary struggle starting has grown manifold. 

Though discussing GPCR is banned in China, unless one is critical of it, like the Soviet people revering Stalin and his rule even during the hardest censorship imposed on them during the post-Stalin era, the majority of Chinese peasants and workers still count Mao’s era and the GPCR, which threw the powerful bourgeoisie from the echelons of power, as a positive thing. By emulating Mao’s style and some rhetoric, Xi may try to temporarily hoodwink the people, it’s a fact that the growing discontent of the Chinese people will explode against the tyrannical rule of the Dengists and their sycophants.

On the 70th year of the People’s Republic of China, Xi may display his arsenal of weapons and military grandeur, but he will be disturbed by the very idea that the communists can use this very arsenal, these very soldiers to retake what was snatched away from the people in 1976. Mao predicted in the late 1960s that it will take a long time to finally find out which among the two — socialism or capitalism — will win in China and he laid his hope on the people. It’s true that the Chinese people, the working class and the peasantry, are bogged down under the weight of an ebullient middle-class and bourgeoisie, yet, they were in a far worse situation 100 years ago. It was only the correct ideological and organisational leadership by Mao and the CPC that they were able to create history 70 years ago. It’s time that the Chinese people return back to the same struggle to restore socialism, overthrow capitalism and continue the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat to realise the vision with which Mao founded the People’s Republic of China 70 years ago.

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