Where is China going?

Thank you, Greg Butterfield, for posting Richard Becker's perceptive talk on China.

Since the 1930s, global capitalism has strengthened itself by commandeering marxist ideas, benefiting from Keynesian economics, and social democratic programs in many advance economies. Yet it was not a strategy to surrender capitalism to socialism. In America, FDR's New Deal was a collection of marxist measures to save American capitalism from its structural faults. China, to preserve socialism within the context of undeniable material advantage achieved by a new financial capitalism invigorated by socialist trimmings and a new economic imperialism known euphemistically as globalization, is forced to adopt counter strategies to employ the wealth creating efficiencies of capitalist processes to advance socialist construction out of historical poverty.

The key questions concerning the correctness of these strategies are ones of control and direction. Chinese revolutionary strategies historically and at this juncture in history have been and is anchored three interrelated lines: 1) To maximize economic construction, growth and production via all available methods according to material, scientific and objective analysis of factual conditions and results (During Mao's time, positive interaction with the West was foreclosed by American embargo policies); 2) To strengthen the political leadership of the CPC to focus on the general aim of advancing toward socialism; 3) to contribute to world socialism through a multi-dimensional foreign policy that effective deals with the complexity and historical trends of global politics.

Under these strategies, China has boldly made use of market efficiency and capitalist devices as transitional processes to eliminate historical poverty left by Western imperialism, while being fully vigilant of the need to keep such programs as transitional servants to advancing overall policies of social construction. China definitively rejects Western democracy, either as a necessary condition for economic construction, or as a mode of government appropriate for building socialism. Dictatorship of the proletariat remains firmly the guiding political principle and the leadership of the Communist Party the only appropriate political structure. No faction in Chinese politics, left, right or center, denies the verity of the adherence to the Four Cardinal Principles: 1) keeping to the socialist road; 2) upholding the people's democratic dictatorship; 3) leadership by the Communist Party; and 4) Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought (the integration of the theory of Marxism-Leninism with the practice of the Chinese revolution.)

In foreign relations, China aims to utilize all options of geopolitical alliances to move the world toward a socialist peace in a multi-polar world.

To present an accurate picture against incessant hostile disinformation, Jiang Zemin's report delivered at the 15th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on September 12, 1997, states:

"Our conclusion drawn from the great changes over the past century is as follows: Only the Communist Party of China can lead the Chinese people in achieving victories of national independence, the people's liberation and socialism, pioneering the road of building socialism with Chinese characteristics, rejuvenating the nation, making the country prosperous and strong and improving the people's well-being. ........"

"As the new century is approaching, we are faced with grim challenges and, more significantly, we are confronted with unprecedented favorable conditions and excellent opportunities. We must be soberly aware that international competition is becoming increasingly acute, that the economic, scientific and technological gap between China and the developed countries has brought great pressure to bear on us, and that we ourselves still have many difficulties. In the meantime, we must be well aware of the following factors:

First, peace and development have become the main themes of the present era. The pattern of the world is changing toward multipolarity. It is possible to secure a peaceful international environment for a fairly long period of time. The worldwide scientific and technological revolution is forging ahead by leaps and bounds, and the economy has continued to grow. This has provided favorable external conditions for us.

Second, considerable overall national strength has been built up in China since the founding of the People's Republic, especially over the recent period of nearly 20 years. The reform and opening up have brought about favorable structural conditions for the modernization drive, created broad market demands and sources of funds, and given fuller play to the new creativity of the people in their hundreds of millions.

Third, what is more important is that our Party has established the basic theory and basic line of building socialism with Chinese characteristics which have proved to be correct in practice. These are conditions we enjoy today, but we totally or partially lacked in the past. ........"

"The Fourteenth Congress made three policy decisions of far-reaching significance.

One, seize opportunities to speed up development;

two, define the establishment of a socialist market economy as the goal of economic restructuring in China; and

three, establish the guiding position of Deng Xiaoping's theory of building socialism with Chinese characteristics in the whole Party.

Acting in the spirit of the Fourteenth Congress, the Central Committee convened seven plenary sessions to adopt programs and plans regarding a series of major issues which have a vital bearing on the overall situation, such as the establishment of a socialist market economy, the strengthening of Party building, the formulation of the Outline of the Ninth Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2010, and the development of socialist culture and ethics.

Over the past five years, the work of the whole Party has been highlighted in the all-round implementation of the Party's basic theory and basic line, the conscientious enforcement of the important policy decisions of the Fourteenth Congress, the formulation of and adherence to the basic principle of "seizing the current opportunity to deepen the reform and open China wider to the outside world, promoting development and maintaining stability", and the fostering of both material progress and cultural and ethical progress. China's productive forces, overall national strength and living standards reached a new level. ......"

"We are fully aware that there are still quite a few problems and difficulties on the road ahead, and that there are also shortcomings and defects in our work. The following are the main ones: The quality and efficiency of the national economy as a whole remain fairly low, the irrational economic structure still poses a rather outstanding problem, and especially part of the state-owned enterprises lack vitality. The work style of the Party and the government, the current social conduct and public security still fall short of the expectations of the people; corruption, extravagance and waste and other undesirable phenomena are still spreading and growing; and bureaucratic style of work, formalism and deception constitute serious problems. Things have yet to be straightened out in the matter of income and distribution, uneven regional development is obvious, and part of the urban and rural residents still live in poor circumstances. Population growth and economic development have caused great strains on resources and the environment. We must pay great attention to these problems and solve them in a down-to-earth way. ....."

"The Chinese Communist Party attaches great importance to the guiding role of theory. Since the Chinese people found Marxism-Leninism, the Chinese revolution has taken on an entirely new look. The integration of Marxism-Leninism with China's reality has experienced two historic leaps, resulting in two great theories. The result of the first leap was a correct theory, a body of correct principles and a summary of experience that have been confirmed in the practice of the Chinese revolution and construction. Its principal founder being Mao Zedong, our Party has called it Mao Zedong Thought. The result of the second leap was the theory of building socialism with Chinese characteristics. Its principal founder being Deng Xiaoping, our Party has called it Deng Xiaoping Theory. These two great theories so achieved are the crystallization of the practical experience and collective wisdom of the Party and the people. ......."

"Ever since it was founded, our Party has taken Marxism-Leninism as its guiding ideology. After the Zunyi Meeting and the Yan'an Rectification, the Party decided at its Seventh Congress to take Mao Zedong Thought -- the integration of the theory of Marxism-Leninism with the practice of the Chinese revolution - as its guiding ideology. This historic decision was based on a summary of the experience of 24 years after the founding of the Party.

On the basis of the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee and the Twelfth, Thirteenth and especially Fourteenth Congresses of the Party, the Central Committee has proposed that the Party, at its Fifteenth Congress, establish Deng Xiaoping Theory as its guiding ideology by stipulating in its Constitution that the Chinese Communist Party takes Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory as its guide to action. This historic decision has been made by our Party after nearly 20 years of successful practice of the reform, opening up and the socialist modernization drive. It shows the determination and conviction of the central collective leadership and the whole Party to bring about an all-round advancement of the cause of building socialism with Chinese characteristics initiated by Deng Xiaoping to the new century. It also reflects the common understanding and aspirations of the people of the whole country. ........."

"Socialism is the primary stage of communism and China is in the primary stage of socialism, that is, the stage of underdevelopment. In this large Eastern country, it is a great victory for us to take the socialist road after a period of New Democracy. But, at the time when China entered socialism, it lagged far behind the developed countries in terms of the level of development of the productive forces. We are, therefore, destined to go through a rather long primary stage of socialism. During this stage we shall accomplish industrialization and the socialization, market-orientation and modernization of the economy. This is a historical stage we cannot jump over.

It is the first time in the history of Marxism that the scientific concept of the primary stage of socialism is specified in a party's program. When talking about building socialism in the primary stage, Deng Xiaoping especially emphasized: "Ours is an entirely new endeavor, one that was never mentioned by Marx, never undertaken by our predecessors and never attempted by any other socialist country. So there are no precedents for us to learn from. We can only learn from practice, feeling our way as we go. ........"

"That is to say, if we really want to build socialism in China, we should proceed in everything we do only from the actual situation of the primary stage of socialism, and not from our subjective desire, nor from this or that kind of foreign models, nor from the dogmatic interpretations of some theses in Marxist works, nor from certain erroneous viewpoints imposed on Marxism. ........"

"The primary stage of socialism is a historical stage in which we shall gradually put an end to underdevelopment and realize socialist modernization by and large.

It is a stage in which an agricultural country, where people engaged in agriculture take up a very large proportion of the population and mainly rely on manual labor, will gradually turn into an industrial country where non-agricultural people constitute the majority and which embraces modern agriculture and service trade.

It is a stage in which a society with the natural and semi-natural economy making up a very large proportion of the whole will gradually turn into one with a fairly developed market-oriented economy.

It is a stage in which a society with illiterate and semi-literate people making up a very large proportion of the population and with backward science, technology, education and culture will turn step by step into one with fairly developed science, technology, education and culture.

It is a stage in which a society with poverty-stricken people making up a very large proportion of the population and the people having a low standard of living will gradually become one where the whole people are well-off.

It is a stage in which a society with very uneven economic and cultural development between regions will become one in which the gap will be gradually narrowed, with some regions becoming developed first.

It is a stage in which, by introducing reforms and exploring new ways, we will establish and improve a socialist market economy, a political system of socialist democracy and other systems that are relatively mature and full of vitality.

It is a stage in which the great number of people will firmly foster the common ideal of building socialism with Chinese characteristics, make unremitting efforts to overcome difficulties, build the country with industry and thrift and promote cultural and ethical progress as well as material progress.

It is a stage in which we will gradually narrow the gap between our level and the advanced world standard and bring about a great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on the basis of socialism.

It will take at least a century to complete this historical process. It will take a much longer period of time to consolidate and develop the socialist system, and it will require persistent struggle by many generations, a dozen or even several dozens. ........."

"In the primary stage of socialism, it is of the utmost importance to balance reform, development and stability and to maintain a stable political environment and public order. Without stability, nothing could be achieved.

We must uphold the leadership by the Party and the people's democratic dictatorship. We should promote material progress and cultural and ethical progress, attaching equal importance to both. We must eliminate all factors jeopardizing stability, oppose bourgeois liberalization and guard against the infiltrative, subversive and splittist activities of the international and domestic hostile forces. We must balance the intensity of reform, the speed of development and people's ability to sustain them, promoting reform and development amid social and political stability and securing social and political stability through reform and development. ......."

"....... the whole Party must firmly adhere to the Party's basic line for the primary stage of socialism and, in the great practice of building socialism with Chinese characteristics, combine the central task of economic development with the two basic points -- adherence to the Four Cardinal Principles [keeping to the socialist road and upholding the people's democratic dictatorship, leadership by the Communist Party, and Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought -- Tr.], and the reform and opening up. ........"

"Building socialist politics with Chinese characteristics means ruling the country by law and developing socialist democracy under the leadership of the Communist Party of China and with the people as the masters of the country. To do this, we should uphold and improve the people's democratic dictatorship led by the working class and based on the worker-peasant alliance; we should uphold and improve the system of people's congresses, the system of multi-party cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the Communist Party and the system of regional national autonomy; and we should promote democracy, improve the legal system and build a socialist country ruled by law. We should create a political situation in which we have social stability, a clean and efficient government and unity, harmony and liveliness among the people of all our nationalities. ........"

Now, the CPC does not always achieve it stated goals and sometimes even fails to adhere to its declared paths. The reason for this is that, as pointed out in Jiang Zemin's report: "there are no precedents for us to learn from. We can only learn from practice, feeling our way as we go." It is a good sign that China readjusts its regulations and operational policies every 6 months or so, because it is clear indication that the pragmatic learning process from operational errors is fully operative.

China welcomes vigorous debate and constructive criticism within the CPC, in the government, among experts and intellectuals, among the general public, and from the international circle of comrades and friends. Yet China must guard against hostile disinformation, misguided attacks and vicious "peaceful evolution" infiltration.

Henry C.K. Liu