[WSMDiscuss] (Fwd) Xi Jinping's Chinese Communist Party power - contrary interpretations (compilation from Ho-fung Hung, Yaqiu Wang, Pierre Rousset, Vijay Prashad and Tings Chak, Au Loong-Yu, John Pilger)

Patrick Bond pbond at mail.ngo.za
Sun Oct 30 17:46:52 CET 2022


  China Under Xi Jinping: From Human Rights Concerns to
  “Inter-Capitalist Competition” with U.S.

October 25, 2022

https://www.democracynow.org/2022/10/25/china_president_xi_jinping_third_term

  *
    Yaqiu Wang <https://www.democracynow.org/appearances/yaqiu_wang>
    senior China researcher at Human Rights Watch.
  *
    Ho-fung Hung <https://www.democracynow.org/appearances/ho_fung_hung>
    professor of political economy and sociology at Johns Hopkins
    University.

------------------------------------------------------------------------


          Links

  * "Clash of Empires: From ‘Chimerica’ to the ‘New Cold War’”
    <https://www.cambridge.org/core/elements/abs/clash-of-empires/12211AC3B8957E8DE6C7F26998EB50C3>
  * "The China Boom: Why China Will Not Rule the World”
    <https://cup.columbia.edu/book/the-china-boom/9780231164191>
  * Ho-fung Hung on Twitter <https://twitter.com/hofunghung>
  * Yaqiu Wang on Twitter <https://twitter.com/Yaqiu>

Chinese President Xi Jinping has begun a historic third term, cementing 
his place as the country’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong. The 
Chinese Communist Party confirmed Xi’s third five-year term at a party 
congress in Beijing this week, elevating more Xi allies to top roles and 
demoting some who were seen as potential rivals. Under Xi, China has 
taken a much stronger role in economic management, as well as a “zero 
COVID” policy that has imposed severe restrictions in an effort to 
control outbreaks during the pandemic. He has also overseen a growing 
surveillance state to silence dissent and target ethnic minorities 
including Uyghurs. “In the past 10 years since Xi came to power, the 
horrendous human rights violations Xi Jinping committed was just 
striking. And now he’s going to have another five years at least,” says 
Yaqiu Wang, senior China researcher at Human Rights Watch. We also speak 
with Johns Hopkins University professor Ho-fung Hung, who says 
characterizing the U.S.-China rivalry as a “new Cold War” is misleading, 
saying the countries are instead engaged in an “inter-capitalist 
competition” over economic dominance within China and elsewhere in the 
world.

------------------------------------------------------------------------


          Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

*AMY GOODMAN:* This is /Democracy Now!/, Democracynow.org 
<https://www.democracynow.org>, the War and Peace Report. I’m Amy 
Goodman. We begin today’s show looking at China where Xi Jinping has 
begun a historic third term as head of the Chinese Communist Party. The 
decision came over the weekend during the Party’s congress which is held 
every five years. There was also a major shakeup of the seven member 
Politburo Standing Committee which is China’s most powerful political 
body. China’s premier Li Keqiang, longtime rival to Xi, was demoted 
while four Xi loyalists were promoted. The Party’s top official in 
Shanghai, Li Qiang, appears set to become China’s new premier. He is a 
close ally of Xi. He oversaw the harsh COVID crackdown in Shanghai that 
lasted months.

Perhaps the most dramatic moment of the Chinese Communist Party’s 
Congress came when former President Hu Jintao was abruptly escorted out 
of the closing ceremony. He had been sitting right next to Xi Jinping 
when two men came to escort him from his seat. Some analysts speculated 
the move was an assertion of Xi’s dominance. Chinese state media later 
said it was because the former leader was not feeling well.

We turn now to look more closely at the future of China as Xi Jinping 
begins a third term. Under Xi, China has continued a decades-long effort 
to eradicate extreme poverty. Some 800 million people have been lifted 
out of poverty over the past four decades in what UN Secretary General 
António Guterres has called “the greatest anti-poverty achievement in 
history.” But Xi has also overseen a growing surveillance state to 
silence dissent and target ethnic minorities, including the Uyghurs. And 
Xi’s third term comes at a time of growing tension between the U.S. and 
China over Taiwan and other issues.

We go now to two guests. Yaqiu Wang is Senior China Researcher at Human 
Rights Watch. She is in New York. And in Baltimore, Maryland, we are 
joined by Ho-fung Hung, Professor of Political Economy and Sociology at 
Johns Hopkins University. His books include /Clash of Empires: From 
'Chimerica' to the 'New Cold War'/ and /The China Boom: Why China Will 
Not Rule the World/. We welcome you both to /Democracy Now!/ Thanks so 
much for joining us. Professor Ho-fung Hung, let’s begin with you. Talk 
about the significance of what happened this weekend. Talk about who Xi 
Jinping is and how his policies have changed over the years.

*HO-FUNG HUNG:* My pleasure to be here. Thank you. What happened over 
the weekend is very significant, though we actually expected it to come 
for a while, because in 2018 Xi Jinping managed to abolish the two 
five-year term limit of the Chinese presidents. That is kind of a term 
limit that Deng Xiaoping led to impose in the Chinese Constitution in 
the 1980s, because after the Cultural Revolution, Deng and the Communist 
Party leaders think that it is not good to have lifelong leader; it is 
good to have check and balance within the party. Xi Jinping managed to 
take away this term limit, so that not like his predecessors, Hu Jintao 
and Jiang Zemin, who each served two five-year terms as president of 
China, Xi can now theoretically serve unlimited term, until he dies, and 
he can be a lifelong leader of China.

This kind of abolition of the term limit as a legacy of the Deng 
Xiaoping era is significant. It was done in 2018 but people didn’t 
believe that all the party elite will let him actually do it to have 
another, the third, five-year term, but he managed to do it. He has just 
proven over the weekend that he managed to do it. Not only that, but 
also he managed to put all of his own loyalties, absolute loyalties, in 
the Politburo Standing Committee. So the people from other factions, for 
example, some people who [inaudible] to be in the Politburo Standing 
Committee or the Politburo who belong to the Hu Jintao, the previous 
president faction, were not there. So it seems that in the next five 
years at least, Xi Jinping will establish his own absolute personal 
control of everything in China without much check and balance within the 
party.

*AMY GOODMAN:* Talk about what happened this weekend. Do you think that 
was deliberately staged to remove the former leader sitting next to Xi 
Jinping, as a message that he was consolidating his power? Or in fact do 
you think it is what China said, what the government said, that he 
wasn’t feeling well?

*HO-FUNG HUNG:* In these kind of carefully choreographed rituals of the 
Communist Party, it is unimaginable that this is kind of an accident or 
incident that is totally out of nowhere. Of course there is a 
possibility that he actually felt unwell, but now more video footage 
emerged from the Spanish and the Singaporean TV showing what happened 
before former President Hu Jintao was escorted away from the Congress, 
and it didn’t seem like he is unwell at all. It appears in the video 
footage that he tried to open a folder with some documents and Li 
Zhanshu, who is sitting next to him, tried to prevent him from looking 
at the document and seized the folder, and then Xi Jinping called 
somebody to come and take him away. Initially, he appeared to be 
reluctant to leave. Then the guards and the person behind Hu Jintao 
seems to be using some kind of force to take him away and then he 
eventually left the Congress reluctantly. After he decided to leave, and 
he walked quite fast, and then he can walk on his own, and it didn’t 
seem to me that he is actually really feeling unwell. I don’t think it 
is the real reason that he left.

Then, why Xi Jinping called somebody to escort him or even really 
forcefully take him away from the Congress? I think Xi Jinping’s move is 
carefully considered and calculated to show that he can do whatever he 
wants, and he can even take out a former president from the Congress in 
front of the camera. Of course people are speculating, and I think it is 
reasonable to suppose so, that Hu Jintao might not be very happy about 
the so-called election result of the Politburo and the Politburo 
Standing Committee without any of his loyalties there, and Xi Jinping 
might worry that he might give a face or not raising hands or not 
clapping hands in the final section, so it is a possibility that Xi 
Jinping deliberately asked somebody to take him out to prevent this 
embarrassment.

*AMY GOODMAN:* Yaqiu Wang of Human Rights Watch, your response to what 
has taken place and the significance of Xi Jinping beginning this 
historic third term?

*YAQIU WANG:* Well, I think we expected this to happen because in 2018, 
the term limit for the president was eliminated, but it was still a very 
depressing moment because it became a fact. I talked to friends and 
families back in China; people were depressed. Because in the past ten 
years since Xi came to power, the horrendous human rights violations Xi 
committed was just striking. And now he’s going to have another five 
years, at least. I think people are expecting things can go worse, so 
people were quite depressed. At the same time, people now are very angry 
with the zero-COVID policy. People are protesting in China. A guy in 
Beijing posted a banner on a bridge and people responded to that. So on 
the one hand, I see people are unhappy and depressed. On the other hand, 
I see people are waking up, and they want to say, “I want freedom. I 
want human rights. I want to decide how I am governed by my government.”

*AMY GOODMAN:* Professor Ho-fung Hung, Xi’s human rights record, what 
that means and your assessment of his role and the effect he has had on 
the Chinese people? And your response to the U.N. Secretary-General 
António Guterres talking about this what he called monumental taking 
on—largest anti-poverty program in history?

*HO-FUNG HUNG:* Definitely Xi Jinping, like his predecessor Hu Jintao, 
is kind of a brutal repressor of human rights. It’s not that human 
rights violations started with Xi Jinping. Actually in the Jiang Zemin 
era, in the Hu Jintao era, we already see a lot of crackdowns in the Han 
majority area and also the non-Han minority regions. But Xi just raised 
it to a new level as we now are very much aware of. What happened to the 
Uyghurs in Xinjiang, it is happening under Xi Jinping’s watch.

So in terms of the repression of human rights, the Communist Party, 
whether it is collective leadership or it is a one-man dictatorship, it 
has been pretty much the same. What Xi Jinping brought in something new 
compared to the Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin era is that he even cracked 
down brutally on his allies, his other elite within the Communist Party. 
Because after Xi Jinping became the president, he launched an 
anti-corruption campaign. Then many elites, even senior officials and 
private business people, disappeared or mysteriously commit suicide or 
taken to jail under the name of anticorruption campaign. Maybe people 
would see that it is not exactly anti-corruption campaign; it is more 
like a purge. In China nowadays, not only dissidents and minorities are 
afraid, but also some elites and middle-class.

Also Xi Jinping doubled down on expanding the state sectors, state 
companies, and making private companies and foreign companies’ life more 
difficult in making money in China and keeping their wealth and 
jeopardizing their private property as well. In the next five years at 
the very least, this kind of draconian policy that I’d call some kind of 
a North Koreanization of China politics and economy, is going to double 
down and is going to get even worse.

*AMY GOODMAN:* Yaqiu Wang, the significance of Li Qiang? A longtime 
rival to Xi, he is demoted, while his loyalist Li Qiang looks like he is 
about to be China’s new premier. You mentioned the crackdown in Shanghai 
but talk about the significance of the COVID crackdown, what it actually 
felt and looked like in this massive city.

*YAQIU WANG:* It lasted from April to June, for two months that a city 
of 20 million people are confined to their homes. As a result, people 
had huge difficulties to have food delivered to them and access to 
hospitals. I’ve heard stories from people whose parents had a heart 
attack or other emergency and they could not leave their apartment 
complex, or even if they managed to leave their apartment complex, they 
couldn’t actually get into the hospital. So there are people who died as 
a result of the lack of access to hospital facilities. Then there were 
the people who had no food. Then there were the people who lost their 
jobs and they couldn’t pay to get food delivered. So the human rights 
violations associated with this draconian lockdown was massive. Then it 
ended, and the people say Li Qiang, the Party secretary of Shanghai, is 
ultimately responsible for this, and now this guy was promoted. So we 
can see Xi is rewarding people who were loyal to his policy rather than 
rewarding people who are good for the public.

*AMY GOODMAN:* Professor Ho-fung Hung, relations with China are, if not 
at an all-time low, extremely bad right now. I am wondering if you can 
comment on what is taking place. In one of the pieces you wrote, you 
said the dynamics of U.S.-China rivalry is an inter-imperial rivalry 
driven by inter-capitalist competition. Competition for the world market 
could soon turn into intensifying clashes of spheres of influence and 
even war. So you’re not talking about the difference of ideologies. In 
fact you’re talking about a similar capitalist ideology.

*HO-FUNG HUNG:* Yes, indeed. I myself am not not quite supportive of the 
framing of the U.S.-China rivalry as a new Cold War. It is a catchphrase 
used a lot of time nowadays, indicating that the difference between 
China and U.S. is fundamentally ideological and political. I think of 
course that this difference is real. It’s very true; there’s a large 
difference. But it is not a necessary and sufficient conditions that 
lead to this rivalry between the U.S. and China today. Because right 
after the 1989 massacre, human rights is already a huge concern about 
China in the discussion in the U.S., and many people are already very 
unhappy about what is going on in China with regard to human rights. And 
Tibet, Xinjiang. It is an old problem, in the 1990s, but in the 1990s, 
U.S.-China relations get more and more harmonious regardless of this 
human rights difference and political system difference.

What is different now in comparison to the 1990s and 2000s is that back 
in the 1990s and 2000s, transnational corporations, American 
corporations, they are very happy making money in China. They have a 
good time in China, and so they don’t care about human rights, they 
don’t care about labor rights, they don’t care about all kind of 
political difference between U.S. and China. But so far as they are 
making big money, they are finding it very profitable in China, so they 
lobby the U.S. government, the U.S. Congress, to have a more amicable 
and harmonious relation with China. Whenever there is a concern about 
labor rights, human rights violation in China, in the Congress, they 
will lobby against those bills, in the 1990s and 2000s. So the U.S. 
corporations have been kind of ambassadors of the Chinese government to 
soften U.S. policy on China, even though geopolitically and in terms of 
human rights, political system, and ideology, there is already a vast 
difference.

What happened around 2010 is that the China economy started to lose 
steam. Their economic pie no longer expanded that fast. Then the U.S. 
corporation market share in China started to stagnate or even decline, 
because the Chinese government is helping the Chinese state enterprise 
and Chinese private enterprise to expand the market share in China and 
around the world in the Belt and Road countries, at the expense of U.S. 
corporations. So it is the turning point.

U.S. corporations rarely individually voiced their concerns about this 
business environment in China. Of course there’s also other problems 
like intellectual property theft and unfair competition and unfair 
enforcement of regulations, so on and so forth. They don’t voice this 
concern individually but in the survey, the anonymous survey conducted 
by for example American Chamber of Commerce in China, and US-China 
Business Council and all these kinds of business associations in the 
U.S. all show the American business in China situation is deteriorating. 
They are looking for diversifying their investment, and they are no 
longer eager to lobby in the names of Chinese interests.

This is why the geopolitical difference between U.S. and China, human 
rights and political difference between U.S. and China can now prevail 
and influence largely the direction of U.S.-China policy. Fundamentally, 
it is a kind of inter-capitalist competition between U.S. corporations 
and China corporations in the Chinese market and in the Belt and Road 
and all the developing countries’ markets that lead to this 
deterioration of U.S.-China relations.

*AMY GOODMAN:* I wanted to go to the flashpoint, Taiwan. During his 
opening address at the Communist Party Congress, Xi Jinping lauded his 
government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, addressed the economy, 
China’s military and foreign policy. He also praised Beijing’s crackdown 
on Hong Kong, claiming Hong Kong shifted from chaos to governance. 
President Xi also addressed the issue of Taiwan, which has become this 
flashpoint between China and the U.S.

    *PRESIDENT XI JINPING:* [translated] The resolution of the Taiwan
    issue is a matter for the Chinese ourselves to decide. We insist on
    striving for the prospect of peaceful reunification with the
    greatest sincerity and with the greatest effort. However, we are not
    committed to abandoning the use of force and we reserve the option
    of taking all necessary measures.

*AMY GOODMAN:* Yaqiu Wang, your response?

*YAQIU WANG:* I think yes, it is obvious that there’s more aggressive 
rhetoric coming from the Chinese government on the Taiwan issue, and I 
know people in Taiwan are nervous. But at the same time, I see people in 
Taiwan, they are very protective of the freedom, of the human rights 
they have, and they organize themselves together and they want to 
maintain that freedom. They are alert of the situation and they are 
active in pushing back the kind of pressure coming from China. Also I’m 
seeing that governments around the world including the U.S. government 
are also doing more to support the vibrant democracy in Taiwan. So yes, 
China has become more aggressive, there is more hostile rhetoric. But at 
the same time, I also see more pushback from Taiwan and the democracies 
around the world.

*AMY GOODMAN:* Professor Ho-fung Hung, your response?

*HO-FUNG HUNG:* Yes, actually I think there are two sides of the 
question. On the one hand, China is closing closer to using military 
force to forcefully take Taiwan, on the one hand because the Zero-COVID 
policy, and many things it did, that Beijing did, over Hong Kong, show 
that it is no longer a regime that prioritize economic growth and 
economic prosperity. They prioritize national security and control, 
absolute control of the Communists Party. Even when it comes to 
sacrificing the economy, they will do it. So on that regard, that 
Beijing has less restraint when it decides to attack Taiwan.

But on the other hand, I think the immediate military threat is not 
there yet. Because you look at, for example, Russia’s military action 
against, invasion against Ukraine, there is a path, from the Russian 
foreign intervention and overseas military deployment in Georgia in 
2008, Syria, and also Ukraine in 2014. So these dictators’ logic is that 
they try a smaller-scale intervention, and if they succeed, they get 
more confident, more confident, and then full-scale invasion.

And you look at China; if the leadership is still rational, they will 
look back to their military history and they will find that the last 
time China fought a war overseas was 1979 against Vietnam. And the last 
time China actually have a serious military mobilization of its 
military, of its army, is 1989, which is against its own people. So 
China has not actually used the military against any overseas target for 
decades, so I don’t think it will easily jump from zero to an all-out 
invasion of Taiwan.

But I think that Beijing might try to talk up the military rhetoric, the 
threat, and also might even do some limited military action to take some 
outlying islands of Taiwan, or some South China Sea Taiwan now 
controlled by the Taiwan government, as a kind of a threat, or even a 
partial blockade of Taiwan, to create a kind of tense situation to 
influence the Taiwan election, to influence what Taiwan people might 
want to elect for. If Beijing managed to get some of its allies or even 
its agents elected in Taiwan through election, then the pro-Beijing 
government can sign agreement with Beijing and do a lot of things that 
U.S. cannot find a reason to intervene or to deter.

But I’m confident that the Taiwan people is very clear what is going on 
and they have a will and they have the capacity to defend their vibrant 
democracy, which is kind of a miracle, and it is why Beijing finds that 
Taiwan is a thorn on its back, because it is an ethnic Chinese 
democracy, and a liberal society which is very vibrant. It shows that 
actually democracy can work in Chinese society, which actually 
contradicts Beijing’s propaganda that actually democracy is not suitable 
for Chinese people. So I am confident that the Taiwan people will have 
the will and capacity and alertness to defend itself.

*AMY GOODMAN:* Ho-fung Hung, we want to thank you for being with us, 
Sociology Professor at Johns Hopkins University. And thank you so much 
to Yaqiu Wang of Human Rights Watch.

***


  Twentieth Congress of the Chinese Communist Party: the tipping point

Friday 28 October 2022, by Pierre Rousset 
<https://internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?auteur52>

The 20th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party represents a very 
symbolic tipping point: the predicted break with the political order 
established at the turn of the 1980s and 1990s under the aegis of Deng 
Xiaoping has now been consummated. Xi Jinping has granted himself 
personal power unprecedented in the history of contemporary China.

The tipping point can also be understood in a more general sense. Under 
his previous terms of office, Xi Jinping’s China benefited from 
exceptionally favourable conditions for its growth and international 
expansion, to become the second biggest world power, far ahead of 
Russia. That is changing. It was at the heart of the market 
globalization that is flatlining today and is not recovering from the 
blow of the Covid-19 pandemic. Out-of-control inflation and financial 
instability raise fears of a full-blown recession. The United States is 
back in the Asia-Pacific after a long period of impotence in this 
region. The inter-imperialist conflict is sharpening on all terrains, 
including that of high technology (semiconductors). In this context, 
internal tensions are becoming increasingly difficult to manage.

Nothing indicates, at the end of the 20th Congress, that Xi Jinping has 
taken the measure of the problems, while he is busy consolidating his 
grip on the state. The ability of the regime to steer economic 
development has long been an important asset in China’s take-off. 
However, the new political regime shaped by Xi now risks proving to be a 
dangerous handicap.


      Internal monolithism

Deng Xiaoping’s reforms initiated in the 1980s and 1990s aimed to engage 
post-Maoist China on the capitalist road by ensuring the 
“bourgeoisification” of a section of the bureaucracy and, on the other 
hand, by providing the country with a stable political regime, for the 
benefit of the elites. Collegial functioning at each level of leadership 
and the regular renewal of governing bodies would, /inter alia/, prevent 
the concentration of power in the hands of one man.

During his first two terms, Xi Jinping worked to establish a governance 
that was opposed on every point to that which Deng had promoted [1 
<https://internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article7862#nb1>]. The 20th 
Congress of the CCP was an opportunity to complete what can be called a 
political counterrevolution in capitalist China. Xi is beginning his 
third term as head of the CCP, whereas previously no one could remain in 
office for more than two successive five-year terms. While placing his 
relatives in key positions, Deng was content to be chairman of the 
Central Military Commission. Xi is chairman of the commission, party 
secretary-general and president of the People’s Republic.

With seven members, the Politburo Standing Committee is the core of 
power within the CCP. It traditionally had to incorporate a minimum of 
factional pluralism and the designated successor to the Secretary 
General. The question of succession does not arise, since Xi intends to 
ensure other mandates – he now wears the habit of a triple Number 1 for 
life.

Li Keqiang sat (without weight) on the standing committee as Prime 
Minister. He has not been renewed. He is close to Hu Jintao, the 
previous general secretary of the CP – the same Hu who was (apparently 
without his consent) pulled from the podium by two men in black during 
the closing session of the congress – a rather strange sight in a 
ceremony where everything is meticulously organized. Moreover, Xi wants 
to marginalize in the country’s governance the administration (another 
counter-reform) that Li embodied. Although the party’s pre-eminence had 
previously been assured, the plurality of centres of authority gave 
flexibility to the system and allowed the people to address more than 
one interlocutor. The authority of the party must henceforth be exclusive.

Xi Jinping’s main rivals have been asked to retire and are not being 
reappointed to the new 205-member central committee, which has been 
renewed at 65 percent. Usually, the age limit for election to a party 
leadership is set at 68 (Xi is 69 and is preparing to live for many more 
years at the head of the CP). Wang Yang (67) was nevertheless ousted 
despite being chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative 
Conference (a body composed of “democratic parties”, i.e., categorical 
fronts of the CCP, which allows informal exchanges); For Beijing 
watchers, he was considered too liberal economically.

However, we must be careful not to rationalize factional conflicts 
within the party apparatus too much. These are often struggles over 
power rather than orientation. Or at least we must avoid raising them to 
a confrontation between “reformists” (Li Keqiang, Wang Yang and so on) 
and “conservatives”, expecting the former to fight the latter. The hopes 
placed in Deng Xiaoping to democratize the country for the benefit of 
the population proved dramatically illusory with the bloody repression 
of social movements in 1989. Since then, three blocs have formed around 
General Secretaries Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping. None ever 
questioned the dictatorship of the party over society or considered the 
possibility of an organized political opposition, even if the first two 
could tolerate individual dissent [2 
<https://internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article7862#nb2>].

Xi’s peculiarity is to have purged the rival cliques or factions, as he 
purged the army and the secret services. The 20th Congress was an 
opportunity to complete his stranglehold on the party-state apparatus.


      The liegemen

The list of the seven new members of the Politburo Standing Committee 
shows how personal loyalty to Xi is what matters most to reach the holy 
of holies. In addition to Xi Jinping, it includes, in order of protocol:

*Li Qiang* (63 years old). Party secretary in Shanghai, a metropolis 
that has been the springboard for many national careers, he enters for 
the first time. Particularity: it was under his authority that the 
especially brutal and rigid implementation of the Zero Covid policy had 
disastrous economic consequences and provoked strong popular resistance. 
A notorious incompetent, but no matter, he is a familiar companion of Xi 
(he was with him in 2004-2007 in the province of Zhejiang of which Xi 
was then the boss).

*Zhao Leji* (65 years old). A linchpin of the police state that has put 
its powers at the service of Xi. He headed the party’s main 
anti-corruption watchdog, the Central Commission for Discipline 
Inspection, and headed the Organization Department, which oversees the 
appointment of all senior officials.

*Wang Huning* (67 years old). A former academic, he is Xi Jinping’s 
chief ideologue, his advisor on ideology, propaganda and international 
politics. A follower of “neo-authoritarianism”, he advocated a strong 
and centralized state to counter foreign influence and opposed the 
principle of collective leadership (defended by Deng).

*Cai Qi* (66 years old). Party secretary in Beijing, his entry into the 
standing committee came as a surprise to Beijing watchers. He was a 
leading advocate of Xi’s “Zero Covid» policy and oversaw the 2022 Winter 
Olympics.

*Ding Xuexiang* (60 years old). Little known to the public. Xi Jinping’s 
confidant, he was his political secretary in 2007 when the latter led 
the party in Shanghai and followed him, becoming private secretary and 
gatekeeper when he took over as head of the country.

*Li Xi* (66 years old). A long-time member of Xi’s inner circle. He rose 
through the ranks of the party in various provinces. He is now party 
leader in Guangdong (where Canton, Guangzhou is located), being 
responsible for the development of the Greater Bay Area, Xi’s master 
plan for an economic power that integrates nine Chinese cities with Hong 
Kong and Macau.

When it comes to personal power, Xi Jinping is often described as a new 
Mao Zedong. This is a misreading. Not only do they belong to two 
different historical eras, but the team that came to power in the CCP in 
1935, during the great retreat of the Long March, was not made up of 
liegemen, far from it. Mao was able to bring together proven cadres, 
strong personalities, often at the head of army corps, from various 
backgrounds. Several of them had even opposed him in the multiple 
factional battles that had torn the CCP apart.


      Constitutional enthronement

Constitutional changes have been introduced to further elevate the 
personal status of Xi Jinping and his “thought”. The congress approved 
amendments, including the “Two Establishments” and the “Two Safeguards,” 
aimed at placing Xi at the heart of the party and his political thought 
as the underlying ideology. Criticizing Xi or questioning the validity 
of his speech becomes an attack on the Constitution!

Xi’s cult of personality has reached delusional heights, like Mao’s at 
the dawn of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1969). The resolution adopted 
at the November 2021 plenary meeting of the Central Committee already 
affirmed, concerning Xi, that the present times represented “the most 
magnificent epic in the history of the Chinese nation over millennia,” 
with “socialism with Chinese characteristics [having] entered a new era” 
since he came to power. That his “thought is the quintessence of Chinese 
culture and soul” and his presence at the “heart” of the party “is of 
decisive importance (...) to promoting the historical process of the 
great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”

At the origin of Mao’s cult was the desire to oppose a Chinese authority 
to the cult of Stalin, which was used to regiment the Communist 
International, but once one has such a weapon in his hands, one also 
uses it to settle scores or strengthen his hand in factional struggles, 
whether they have a political content (they often did have at the time) 
or not. As for “thought”, Xi’s is not a continuation of Mao’s. Although 
he never managed to learn a foreign language and did not travel as so 
many Asian revolutionaries did, Mao read what he found in translation, 
and was exposed to multiple intellectual, Chinese, regional or Western 
influences. His official works are rather boring, but many internal 
party documents were made public during the Cultural Revolution and are 
much livelier. Not being a sinologist, I hesitate to venture into this 
field, but some consider that he had a conception of history imbued with 
Taoism; he was always convinced that societies evolve only under the 
impact of their internal contradictions and therefore of social 
struggles. Invoking contradictions can obviously lead to better or 
worse, as illustrated by the story of the Great Helmsman.


      Masculinism

The Standing Committee of the Political Bureau did not include any 
women; this remains the case. However, since 1997, there was always one 
in the PB (and even two, for a short time). A quota system had been 
established requiring the presence of at least one cadre at all lower 
levels of leadership, which contributed to a small but steady flow of 
female candidates.

Today, the Politburo (24 members) is entirely male, Sun Chunlan, known 
as the Covid Tsar, was neither re-elected nor replaced. According to 
“Guardian” journalist Emma Graham-Harrison, in more than 70 years, she 
was one of only three women to have risen so far in the party apparatus 
on the basis of her own activity, without being the wife of a powerful 
man or a “propaganda tool”! [3 
<https://internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article7862#nb3>] However, 
it was rumoured that another woman would be integrated into the 
Politburo (the names of two candidates were circulating). On a list of 
205 members of the new voting central committee made public on 22 
October, there were only 11 women.

The CCP has nearly a hundred million members, but less than a third are 
women, and this proportion declines at every stage of the hierarchy. 
When Xi Jinping began to systematically crack down on civil society 
organizations, he specifically targeted feminists who yet posed no 
danger. In general, Xi’s hardening of power is accompanied by a truly 
reactionary evolution on so-called social issues. To increase the 
declining fertility rate, he exerts pressure on young people who 
resisted his injunctions. Under these conditions, it is feared that 
reproductive rights will one day be called into question. As 
Graham-Harrison concludes, quoting a lecturer “One thing that is safe to 
say is that without women leadership, women’s issues will be 
underrepresented.”


      Problems remain

Xi Jinping has been re-elected but the problems facing his regime remain.

Two figures illustrate the extent of the socio-economic transformations 
during the previous period:

- China and the United States account for more than half of the world’s 
billionaires, with 1,058 for China (32.8% of the world total) and 696 
for the United States (21.6%) [4 
<https://internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article7862#nb4>].
- The same applies to companies in the Fortune Global 500 (2020). In the 
lead, China with 124 companies (24.8% of the total) followed by the 
United States with 121 companies (24.2%). [5 
<https://internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article7862#nb5>].

China’s internal economic dynamism is exhausted if we believe the 
following data, partly taken from an article by journalist Helen 
Davidson. [6 <https://internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article7862#nb6>]

- /A fall in gross domestic product growth/. After doubling from 2012 to 
2021, growth is slowing sharply to the point that, for the first time in 
thirty years, it has been lower than that of the Asia-Pacific region.
- /Social inequalities/. During the same period, according to World Bank 
figures, gross national income per capita also doubled to $11,890 in 
2021. Last year, the CCP said it had eradicated absolute poverty in the 
country. Nevertheless, income inequality remains high and the Covid 
outbreak has had many implications for Chinese workers, especially those 
migrating to cities far from their home villages. As the level of social 
protection is very low, households are led to save as much as possible. 
The structural unemployment rate has exceeded 5% since 2019. According 
to the National Bureau of Statistics, in 2019 it reached the record 
level of 19.9% for the 16-24 age group.
- /The crisis of the real estate market/. The real estate sector has 
captured a large part of investment. According to economist 
Mary-Françoise Renard, in the strict sense, it represents 14% of GDP, 
but 30% if we include the sectors concerned upstream (cement or steel 
for example) and downstream (decoration, furniture). [7 
<https://internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article7862#nb7>] There is 
a great deal of interdependence between these sectors, which weakens 
them in the event of difficulties. That is precisely what is happening 
today. Urbanization and the need to own property in order to marry have 
stimulated demand, but also encouraged speculation and overproduction. 
The housing crisis has profound social consequences: many people have 
invested their savings in buying apartments that may never be built or 
in new cities that will remain phantoms. It is affecting the entire 
financial sector and a debt crisis is looming. The national government 
or local governments sometimes intervene massively to prevent the 
bankruptcy of developers, but this does not solve anything in substance.
- /The demographic crisis/ is taking shape in China, as in much of East 
Asia. Despite all its efforts, the government has not succeeded in 
reversing the downward trend in birth rates. By 2021, it fell to its 
lowest level in 61 years, with young people denouncing the high cost of 
living, unequal gender roles, stagnating career prospects and a lack of 
maternity services. Fewer and fewer people are getting married every year.


      Inter-imperialist conflicts

Joe Biden’s Asian refocusing and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are bad 
news for Xi Jinping. It is not possible to elaborate on this issue in 
the context of this article, but the period of triumphalist expansion of 
Chinese power seems to be over. Xi has failed to get Putin to bend his 
hard-line policy which risks having significant consequences for Chinese 
influence in Eastern and Western Europe.

The Philippines, after the return to power of the Marcos clan, is 
strengthening its ties with Washington. In the South Pacific, Beijing 
had signed a strategic agreement in the Solomon Islands – they 
nevertheless joined the so-called “American Partnership for the Pacific” 
initiative on 20 September in which fifteen states in the region are 
already participating, including the Cook Islands and Papua New 
Guinea [8 <https://internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article7862#nb8>].

Despite considerable investment, China is unable to catch up in the key 
area of high-end semiconductors. Joe Biden is now doing everything to 
prevent him from acquiring or developing certain advanced technologies. 
However, the degree of interdependence of economies remains such that 
the Sino-US “rift» is not self-evident. The transnational companies of 
the Western bloc take a very dim view of the strengthening of the 
political control exercised by Beijing on investment, but do not want to 
reduce their profits by relocating their production to the United States 
as Biden demands.

Xi Jinping has broken all channels of cooperation with Washington, 
including on health and climate change – areas that should escape the 
logic of confrontation between powers. His “thought” does not go so far 
as to assimilate two of the major crises threatening our world.

  * *twentieth-congress-of-the-chinese-communist-party-the_a7862-2.pdf*
    (PDF - 937.7 kb)
    <https://internationalviewpoint.org/IMG/pdf/twentieth-congress-of-the-chinese-communist-party-the_a7862-2.pdf>

    Extraction PDF [->article7862]


    Footnotes

[1 <https://internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article7862#nh1>] See 
Pierre Rousset, Xi Jinping: from one-party dictatorship to one-clique 
dictatorship, 17 October 2022. ESSF:
https://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article64494 
<https://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article64494>

[2 <https://internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article7862#nh2>] Thanks 
to Au Loong-yu for his input on this issue… among others. See on IVP 
One-Man Show Disrupted by a Nobody 
<https://internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article7861>.

[3 <https://internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article7862#nh3>] Emma 
Graham-Harrison, “Women pushed even further from power in Xi Jinping’s 
China”, 23 October 2022, /The Guardian/. This chapter on masculinism 
draws heavily on this article.

[4 <https://internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article7862#nh4>] 
https://newpol.org/russia-an-imperialist-power-or-a-non-hegemonic-empire-in-gestation-a-reply-to-the-argentinean-economist-claudio-katz-an-essay-with-8-tables/ 
<https://newpol.org/russia-an-imperialist-power-or-a-non-hegemonic-empire-in-gestation-a-reply-to-the-argentinean-economist-claudio-katz-an-essay-with-8-tables/>

[5 <https://internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article7862#nh5>] 
Fortune Global 500 (2020). Op. cit.

[6 <https://internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article7862#nh6>] 
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/oct/14/chinas-communist-party-congress-everything-you-need-to-know 
<https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/oct/14/chinas-communist-party-congress-everything-you-need-to-know>

[7 <https://internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article7862#nh7>] 
https://theconversation.com/xx-congres-du-pcc-le-modele-economique-chinois-est-il-compatible-avec-les-ambitions-de-puissance-et-de-modernite-192694 
<https://theconversation.com/xx-congres-du-pcc-le-modele-economique-chinois-est-il-compatible-avec-les-ambitions-de-puissance-et-de-modernite-192694>

[8 <https://internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article7862#nh8>] 
Pierre-Antoine Donnet, “Taïwan : les tensions entre Chine et États-Unis 
se radicalisent”, 10 octobre 2022, Asialyst :
https://asialyst.com/fr/2022/10/05/tensions-chine-etats-unis-taiwan-radicalisent/ 
<https://asialyst.com/fr/2022/10/05/tensions-chine-etats-unis-taiwan-radicalisent/>

***


  Xi Jinping: from one-party dictatorship to one-clique dictatorship

All the versions of this article: [English] [français 
<https://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article64355>]

Monday 17 October 2022, by ROUSSET Pierre 
<https://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?auteur2>

The 20^th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party opened on October 16. 
By being re-elected for a third term, he will break with the norm 
established since the 1980s and complet what can be called a political 
counter-revolution. Under his reign, the centralization of power reached 
unprecedented heights, but his triumph should not mask the dead ends of 
his policies. The country is going through a latent regime crisis, while 
the global situation is becoming dangerously unstable, with a 
combination of geostrategic tensions, climate and ecological crises, 
financial disorders and the threat of a global recession. There are 
serious doubts that Xi, a lone autocrat, will be able to cope.

Contents

  * A political counter-revolution
    <https://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article64494#outil_sommaire_0>
  * The dictatorship of a clique
    <https://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article64494#outil_sommaire_1>

The CCP congress is convened every five years, in the fall. Today, it 
brings together 2296 delegates - the overwhelming majority of whom are 
men - who have been carefully selected. Initially scheduled for 
November, it is finally being held a month earlier, which indicates that 
all the essential decisions have already been taken by Xi Jinping.

The congress will ratify the composition of the next Central Committee 
(currently 200 voting members and 170 substitutes). The CC will ratify 
the composition of the Political Bureau (currently 25 members), which 
will ratify the composition of the Standing Committee (currently 7 
members), the latter being the real heart of power. It can be assumed 
that most of the appointments have already been made, especially for the 
smaller bodies.

The congress was opened by a long speech by Xi Jinping, which Beijing 
watchers are beginning to decipher word by word. For the most part, Xi 
Jinping seems anxious to justify his previous policy choices, including 
the crackdown on Hong Kong, against the commitments made by his 
predecessors, and to announce that they will be maintained - from his 
anti-Covid policy (whose political, social and economic cost is 
nonetheless great) to his martial posture on Taiwan [1 
<https://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article64494#nb1>]. In this 
regard, it should be noted that he has not raised his voice for the time 
being and that we remain in a sort of status quo, without prejudging 
what he may announce between now and the end of the congress [2 
<https://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article64494#nb2>].

While the current financial disorder threatens to provoke a devastating 
global economic recession [3 
<https://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article64494#nb3>], Xi 
Jinping has cut all ties with the United States, which prohibits any 
coordination of monetary policies, just as he displays total 
indifference to the dramatic acceleration of the global climate and 
ecological crisis.

The meeting of the 20^th CCP Congress is an opportunity to take stock of 
the ten years of Xi Jinping’s rule, but this article will focus mostly 
on two specific issues.

• *The first concerns the nature of the change of /political regime/ 
implemented by Xi Jinping.*

Under the patronage of Deng Xiaoping, a /political/ regime, original for 
China, had been formalized in 1982, when he was paving the way for 
capitalist development, namely a social counter-revolution. This reform 
introduced a collegial mode of functioning for the CCP leadership bodies 
at all levels to avoid the monopolization of power by one man and the 
revival of a personality cult. One of the main clauses was the 
limitation of the terms of office for the leadership of the party and 
the country to two five-year terms, i.e., a maximum of ten consecutive 
years. This clause had been respected by Jiang Zemin (1993-2003) and Hu 
Jintao (2003-2013) - and it is the clause that Xi Jinping is going to 
violate at the 20^th Congress by being elected for a third consecutive 
term. His project is becoming a reality.

Xi set out to dismantle piece by piece the political order implemented 
under the aegis of Deng, in order to establish another that is 
essentially its opposite. This is why, even if there is continuity of 
the (capitalist) social regime, one can speak of a political 
counter-revolution, the full extent of which must be taken into account. 
It concerns the overall governance of the country and has the 
consequence of giving Xi Jinping a personal power unprecedented in the 
history of modern China, even if his hold on society is less than he 
would like.

• *The second is the nature of the changes that have affected the CCP 
from Mao to Xi.*

/Nominal/ continuity hides major discontinuities in the history of the 
ruling CCP, and Xi is not a new Mao. This should be obvious. When Mao 
Zedong’s authority was challenged after the costly failure of the Great 
Leap Forward (1959) and he wanted to re-establish it, he called on the 
youth to rebel against the supposed proponents of a return to capitalism 
within the state apparatus, initiating the Cultural Revolution 
(1966-1969) and opening a huge Pandora’s box, with all the 
contradictions at work in society coming to light.

Can we imagine Xi Jinping (or Stalin) doing the same?

There is nothing stranger than to see a regime or a party described as 
“communist” by mainstream analysts, whatever its social base, the 
economic regime it defends or fights for, its history. How is a country 
that plays a key role in the dynamics of globalized capitalism 
(contemporary China) communist? In what way is a hereditary dynasty (the 
North Korean regime) that has Juche as its ideology Marxist?

Mao and Xi belong to two different eras. The first was a major player in 
the long revolutionary wave that began in 1917; the second was a man of 
the apparatus who played on the internal rivalries within the CCP to 
gain power in the long counter-revolutionary wave that began in the 
1980s. Mao Zedong gained pre-eminence within the CCP by rallying around 
him cadres from various backgrounds, steeped in the fire of the social 
and military struggles of the Chinese revolution. Xi Jinping selects top 
men, at his service.

Let us review these two questions in more detail.


      <https://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article64494#outil_sommaire>A
      political counter-revolution

*The background*

The Maoist regime entered a terminal crisis during the Cultural 
Revolution (1966-1969), at the height of which the party and the 
administration disintegrated [4 
<https://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article64494#nb4>], with Mao 
having to resort to the army to restore “order”, including against his 
own supporters. Let us date the political death of the original Maoism 
to 1969, some seven years before the death of the Great Helmsman 
(probably preceded by a period of senility).

Power was temporarily seized by the Gang of Four (1973-1976), whose 
retrograde, hyper and stupidly bureaucratic rule created the conditions 
for a later comeback of cadres who had been marginalized, repressed, 
tortured and imprisoned. Two of the party’s top leaders did not survive: 
Liu Shaoqi and Peng Dehuai, who died in detention. Few of them 
maintained a certain continuity of state authority during this dark 
period, such as Zhou Enlai, whose role was key, particularly on the 
international stage.

In 1978, one of the survivors of the 1966-1976 decade and one of the key 
historical leaders of the Chinese revolution, Deng Xiaoping, regained 
ascendancy in the party. He initiated reforms that paved the way for 
capitalist development. He helped to give China a “post-Maoist” 
political system (his 1982 reform), and in 1989 he helped (after some 
hesitation, it seems) to crush the June Fourth Movement in Beijing and 
in many other parts of the country. This counter-revolutionary “moment” 
has gone down in history as the “Tiananmen Square Massacre”, but this is 
too restrictive and misleading a name, given the geographical and social 
scale of the repression and its objective: to break down popular 
resistance to reform [5 
<https://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article64494#nb5>].

Deng was not a democrat, which Xi Jinping will obviously not reproach 
him for, but he learned from the crisis that had plunged China into 
chaos and sought to establish safeguards to ensure that it would not 
happen again by curbing personal ambitions and ensuring the collegiality 
of the functioning of the governing bodies at every level. Since Xi was 
himself the son of a CCP leader, Xi Zhongxun, who was sent to the 
countryside for “re-education” during the Cultural Revolution 
(accompanied by his offspring), some hoped that he would approve of his 
elder brother. Not at all. He had nothing against personal power, as 
long as it was his own.

*A radical change in the political system*

• The renewal of the leadership every five years allows successive 
generations to get into them. After the establishment of a “post-Maoist” 
order, the two most powerful historical leaders appointed the general 
secretaries: Deng Xiaoping appointed Jiang Zemin and Chen Yun appointed 
Hu Jintao. After their deaths, the next generation lacked the authority 
to do the same. Hu convened a conclave of 400 senior officials in 2007 
to endorse his foal, but Jiang reportedly scuttled his undertaking, 
paving the way for Xi Jinping [6 
<https://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article64494#nb6>]. Thus, Xi 
Jinping was chosen as general secretary. From now on, he “sorts out” the 
cadres as much as possible from the beginning of the renewal process. 
The holy of holies, the Standing Committee, has come under his close 
control; the question of succession is obviously not an issue, since he 
will succeed himself.

• Deng Xiaoping had placed his close relatives in key positions, but 
avoided holding multiple offices, being himself only chairman of the 
Central Military Commission. Xi Jinping is General Secretary of the 
party, Chairman of the Central Military Commission and President of the 
People’s Republic of China (PRC). The winning triplet to ensure his 
personal power. It is possible that, on top of everything, the 20^th 
Congress will reinstate the title of party chairman (Mao’s, which Deng 
had abolished) [7 
<https://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article64494#nb7>].

• Xi imposed a constitutional reform in 1978 that lifted all 
restrictions on the length of terms of office. He can thus, if he wishes 
(which is clearly the case at present!) and if he keeps control of the 
apparatus (he does everything to) become president for life.

In 1978, one of the survivors of the 1966-1976 decade and one of the 
main historical leaders of the Chinese revolution, Deng Xiaoping, 
regained ascendancy in the party. He initiated reforms that paved the 
way for capitalist development. He helped to give China a “post-Maoist” 
political system (his 1982 reform), and in 1989 he helped (after some 
hesitation, it seems) to crush the June Fourth Movement in Beijing and 
in many other parts of the country. This counter-revolutionary “moment” 
has gone down in history as the “Tiananmen Square Massacre”, but this is 
too restrictive and misleading a name, given the geographical and social 
scale of the repression and its objective: to break down popular 
resistance to reform [8 
<https://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article64494#nb8>].

Deng was not a democrat, which Xi Jinping will obviously not reproach 
him for, but he learned from the crisis that had plunged China into 
chaos and sought to establish safeguards to ensure that it would not 
happen again by curbing personal ambitions and ensuring the collegiality 
of the functioning of the governing bodies at every level. Since Xi was 
himself the son of a CCP leader, Xi Zhongxun, who was sent to the 
countryside for “re-education” during the Cultural Revolution 
(accompanied by his offspring), some hoped that he would approve of his 
elder brother. Not at all. He had nothing against personal power, as 
long as it was his own.

  “Uncle Xi” is developing an unbridled cult of personality that has 
little to envy to the delirious personality of Mao of the Cultural 
Revolution, using the means offered by a particularly developed system 
of social control (with the injunction to read his works daily). At the 
previous congress, in 2012, the official status recognized to his 
“thought” had remained a notch below that of Mao. Five years later, he 
probably wants to see it raised a good notch above his illustrious 
predecessor.

The tone was set a year ago at the November 2021 plenary meeting of the 
Central Committee. The resolution it adopted states that the present 
times represent “the most magnificent epic in the history of the Chinese 
nation over millennia”, “Chinese-style socialism [having] entered a new 
era” since the accession to power of Xi, whose “thought is the 
quintessence of Chinese culture and soul” and whose presence at the 
“heart” of the party “is of decisive importance ... in promoting the 
historical process of the great renewal of the Chinese nation” (AFP 
translation).

We have known in the past the “Mao Zedong Thought” or the “theory” of 
Deng Xiaoping, we must now learn the “Thought on socialism with Chinese 
characteristics for a new era of Xi”. In Chinese: 
习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想 - Xi Jin Ping Xin Shi Dai Zhong Guo Te Se 
She Hui Zhu Yi Si Xiang -, and in abbreviated form: ’XJPXSDZGTSSHZYSX’. 
Good luck! As Long Ling notes [9 
<https://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article64494#nb9>], whether 
or not Xi surpassed his predecessors in the quality of his theory, he 
certainly surpassed them in the number of characters needed to describe it.

• At the 19^th CCP Congress (2017), Xi modified the overall governance 
of the country, previously shared between the party, the government and 
regional administrations, and the army. Although the party, at the heart 
of the state, retained a monopoly on political control, this system 
ensured flexibility in the management of day-to-day affairs in a 
continent-size country and allowed citizens to appeal to several 
authorities.

According to Xi, the party had to become the sole channel of governance 
in China, “down to the remotest village”. The army and the secret 
service have been purged in favor of those closest to him. He wants to 
avoid the formation of local or regional autonomous powers in in a 
country with pronounced regionalisms, even if it means sending a leader 
who does not speak Cantonese to Guangzhou [10 
<https://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article64494#nb10>].


      <https://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article64494#outil_sommaire>The
      dictatorship of a clique: Xi is not a new Mao

Xi Jinping’s project is to replace the one-party dictatorship with the 
one-clique dictatorship. The will to control is more than the 
orientation in the background of all his decisions. The term clique can 
therefore be used to refer to Xi’s leadership, which is made up of 
loyalists, of liegemen.

Personal power, cult of personality... The analogy is tempting: Xi would 
be the new Mao. He is in fact something else. Both do not belong to the 
same historical period: the long revolutionary wave initiated in 1917 
for Mao, the long counter-revolutionary wave initiated in the 1980s for 
Xi. Mao Zedong gained pre-eminence in the CCP in the heat of the social 
and military struggles of the Chinese revolution. Xi Jinping is an 
appachick who took advantage of internal rivalries within the CCP to 
become the supreme leader. As for the leadership team assembled in 1935 
by Mao, it was not made up of liegemen, far from it. Then, there was no 
“Maoist faction” powerful enough to impose itself. Mao succeeded in 
rallying around him leaders with a history and base of their own - and 
in so doing, he became and was recognized as the first among them.

The reason such a regrouping of key cadres occurred was that it 
addressed a central issue: to break the subordination of the CCP to 
Moscow - a subordination that had led to disaster in 1927 and the 
following years. The Communist International had become the channel of 
subordination of its national sections, and the cult of Stalin was its 
ideological cement. Within the CCP, the Wang Ming faction was Moscow’s 
agent. At the origin of what became the cult of Mao Zedong’s 
personality, there was the will to oppose a Chinese authority of thought 
and action to the Soviet “big brother”. This also served him, of course, 
to settle scores and carry out purges when he wished. Nevertheless, the 
leadership of the CCP (political and military) was composed of strong 
personalities, and without taking this into account, we can understand 
nothing of the forms that the crisis of the Maoist regime took, and then 
of the ability that Deng Xiaoping showed to take over after the fall of 
the Gang of Four and the death of Mao.

At the risk of being long, I will repeat here a presentation I made in 
2008 [11 <https://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article64494#nb11>] 
of the members of the Maoist leadership. It probably needs to be 
updated, but it allows us to measure the distance that separates the 
world of the Chinese revolution from that of Xi Jinping. These 
biographies also show that the fighting history of the cadres does not 
preclude their bureaucratization, once victory has been achieved; but 
this question goes beyond the scope of this article.

*Chen Yi* (1901-1972). Born in Sichuan, son of a magistrate. He arrived 
in France in 1919 and worked as a stevedore, dishwasher and then as a 
worker at Michelin. In 1921, he joined the Socialist Youth, before being 
expelled from the country. Back in China, he joined the CCP in 1923 and, 
in 1925, worked in the political department of the Huangpu (Wangpoha) 
Military Academy, under the direction of Zhou Enlai. He took part in the 
Nanchang insurrection (1927), then commanded with Zhu De the rearguard 
of the army of He Long and Ye Ting, before joining the bases of 
Jinggangshan. He supported Mao in the factional struggles of the 1930s, 
but did not take part in the Long March, organizing until 1937 the 
resistance in the areas evacuated by the bulk of the Communist forces. 
In 1938, he commanded the 4^th New Army which established a regional 
base in Central China. He became a member of the Central Committee of 
the CCP in 1945 (and of the Political Bureau in 1956). During the 
1945-1949 civil war, he led one of the main units of the People’s 
Liberation Army and became mayor of the Shanghai metropolitan area. He 
is one of the ten Marshals. Close to Zhou Enlai, he became Minister of 
Foreign Affairs in 1958. He was violently attacked during the Cultural 
Revolution (1967), probably ill, and faded away before his death. He was 
rehabilitated in 1972.

*Chen Yun* (1900-1995). Born in Jiangsu, near Shanghai. From a working 
class family, he joined the CCP in 1924. A trade union activist during 
the 1925-1927 revolution, he joined the Jiangxi Red Zone after the 
defeat, where he was in charge of social affairs. He joined the 
political bureau in 1934 before being sent to the USSR for two years. 
Back in Yan’an in 1938, he was in charge of the organization, then of 
economic issues. He participated in the defense of important regions in 
central China and Manchuria. He became Vice Premier in 1949 and was 
responsible for the reconstruction and development of the country. 
Minister of Commerce, he came into conflict with Mao on economic 
policies. In 1957, he was half disgraced and subjected to political 
attacks during the Cultural Revolution. He did not reappear in the 
foreground until 1978, following the reascension of Deng Xiaoping.

*Deng Xiaoping* (1904-1997). Originally from Sichuan, from a family of 
landowners, he went to France (1920-1926) where he was a worker-student 
and joined the League of Socialist Youth, then (in 1923) the CCP. He 
passed through Moscow before returning to China. Clandestine in Shanghai 
after the counter-revolution of 1927, he joined the Jiangxi base where 
he supported the Maoist faction. Following the Long March, he became a 
political commissar in the Army Group commanded by Lin Biao, then in the 
Division commanded by Liu Bocheng, with whom he remained until the 1949 
victory. First one of the main leaders of Southwest China, he was 
appointed Vice Premier in 1952. He joined the Political Bureau in 1955, 
then became one of the six members of its Standing Committee when it was 
created in 1956. He opposed Mao from the failure of the Great Leap 
Forward. He was, from the beginning, one of the first victims of the 
Cultural Revolution. However, he reappeared in 1973 and, with the 
support of Zhou Enlai, became a member of the Standing Committee of the 
PB in 1975. In 1978, he initiated the economic reforms that would 
ultimately pave the way for new capitalist development.

*Dong Biwu* (1886-1975). He was born in Hubei, from a cultured family, 
but without landed wealth. During the revolution of 1911, he joined the 
army and the Sun Yatsen’s Sworn League. He took part in the May 4^th 
Movement in Shanghai in 1919. He became a Marxist and was one of the 
founding members of the CCP (1921). He joined the trade union movement, 
then the peasant movement in Hubei. Throughout these years, he 
repeatedly carried out clandestine work in the army. He had to flee 
after the counter-revolution of 1927 and went to Moscow (1928-1932). 
Back in China, he joined the Jiangxi bases where he was appointed 
director of the Red Army Academy. After the Long March, he directed the 
Party School. During the anti-Japanese resistance, he was in charge of 
relations with other political movements and, in 1945, took part in the 
(aborted) peace negotiations, travelling to the United States in this 
context. He joined the political bureau and chaired the committee that 
defined the institutions of the future People’s Republic, of which he 
was Vice President in 1959-1975. He held important positions in the CCP. 
With the image of the “Elder” that he has carried since the founding of 
the CCP, he is one of the few personalities to embody the continuity of 
the state during the Cultural Revolution. He joined the Standing 
Committee of the PB in 1973.

*Lin Biao* (1907-1971). The youngest of the ten Chinese Marshals. 
Originally from Hubei, from a rural petty bourgeois background. He 
joined the Communist Youth in 1925 (in the party in 1927). As a student 
activist, he entered the Huangpu (Whampoa) Military Academy and, as a 
brilliant officer, took part in the Northern Expedition, then in the 
Nanchang Uprising. He retreated with Zhu De to the Jinggangshan maquis 
in 1928, where he met Mao. He commanded the vanguard of the 
revolutionary troops during the Long March. Wounded in 1938, he was 
treated in the USSR until his return to China in 1942. He was elected to 
the Central Committee in 1945, then commanded the Communist forces in 
Manchuria, establishing himself as one of the main military leaders of 
the party. After the victory, he no longer played a leading role until 
he was appointed Minister of Defense in 1959. Allied to Mao Zedong, he 
was the heir apparent in the wake of the Cultural Revolution (1969). 
However, he fell victim to the factional struggles that continued to 
tear the CCP leadership apart and died in 1971 under obscure circumstances.

*Liu Bocheng* (1892-1986). Known as the “one-eyed dragon”, one of the 
ten Marshals. Originally from Sichuan, son of a travelling musician. 
Joined the Republican Army in 1911 and lost an eye in battle. Joined the 
CP in 1926. Served in the nationalist armies of the Guomindang, then 
participated in the leadership of the Nanchang insurrection with He Long 
and Ye Ting. He attended the Frunze Military Academy in the USSR and 
joined the Jiangxi base in 1930 where he defended “professional” 
conceptions of military strategy against Mao, but joined the latter in 
1935 during the Long March. Became, after 1937, one of the main 
commanders of the Red Army with Lin Biao and He Long. One of the ten 
Marshals of 1955. Joined the CCP Central Committee in 1945 and the 
Political Bureau in 1956. Perhaps because of his age and declining 
health (he became blind), he did not fall victim to the factional 
struggles of 1959-1976 and remained until 1980 one of the 
vice-presidents of the army. He probably remained close to Deng Xiaoping 
who was political commissar of the army corps he commanded in 1937.

*Liu Shaoqi* (1898-1969). Born in Hunan, son of a schoolmaster. He 
joined politics in 1920 and went to study in Moscow in 1921-22, where he 
joined the CCP. Back in China, he directed the trade union activity in 
the mines of Anyuan, then, from 1925, he worked for the development of 
trade unions in Shanghai. Elected to the Central Committee after the 
counter-revolution of 1927, he went underground and worked in Shanghai, 
Manchuria and North China. In 1932, he had to withdraw to Jiangxi and 
took part in the Long March, before returning to North China to resume 
his clandestine activities. In 1941, he became political commissar of 
the New Fourth Army, then joined Yan’an in 1942 as part of the 
“rectification movement” led by Mao. In 1945, he was the number 2 of the 
party. He became Vice-Chairman of the government in 1949. After the 
failure of the Great Leap Forward, he replaced Mao as Chairman of the 
People’s Republic. He then worked with Deng Xiaoping. He became one of 
the main defendants of the Cultural Revolution in 1967, was expelled 
from the party in 1968 and died in prison following ill treatment. He 
was officially rehabilitated only in 1980.

*Peng Dehuai* (1898-1974). Originally from Hunan, from a rather poor 
peasant background with which he broke away at the age of eleven, 
wandering, “uprooted”, living from odd jobs. He led a peasant uprising 
in 1916. He joined the army, took part in a plot against the provincial 
governor, joined the Guomindang army of Sun Yatsen. As an officer, he 
joined the guerrillas and the CCP in 1928 in Jingganshan. He led one of 
the two main communist forces in Hunan, then opposed Mao on military 
policy, but joined the latter in 1935. Commander of the Red Army 
alongside Zhu De until 1949, then of the army corps engaged in the 
Korean War until 1953. One of the ten Marshals. He participated in the 
negotiations with the USSR. He opposed Mao during the Great Leap 
Forward. In disgrace, he was one of the leaders victims of the Cultural 
Revolution; arrested in 1966, tortured by Red Guards in 1967, he died in 
detention a decade later. He was rehabilitated in 1978.

*Zhou Enlai* (1898-1976). He was born in Jiangsu to a family of notables 
from Zhejiang and from a wealthy “mandarin” background. He studied in 
Japan, then participated in the May 4^th Movement of 1919. Arrested in 
1920, he spent a hundred days in detention, then went to France where he 
joined the communist movement (early 1921). He developed the European 
branch of the CCP. Upon his return to China (1924), he held important 
positions in the Canton region where he directed the political section 
of the Huangpu (Whampoa) Military Academy of the Guomindang. In 1925 he 
married Deng Yinchao. One of the leaders of the Shanghai workers’ 
uprising in 1927, he escaped the bloody repression that followed the 
entry of Chiang Kai-shek’s forces into the metropolis. He participated 
in the Nanchang uprising. He was a member of the CCP leadership without 
interruption from 1927 to 1976 and embodied, beyond the fractional 
crises, the continuity of the party, then of the party-state. He worked 
with the leaders favored by Moscow and opposed Mao in Jiangxi. He joined 
Mao in 1935. He played an important role in the negotiations between 
Chinese political forces during the anti-Japanese war and in contacts 
with intellectual and foreign circles. Prime Minister from 1949 and in 
charge of Foreign Affairs (1949-1958), he also led the negotiations with 
Moscow after the 1949 victory. He was one of the central figures at the 
Bandung Conference (1955). He saved Chinese diplomacy during the 
Cultural Revolution, then prepared the normalization of relations with 
Washington (Nixon’s visit to Beijing in 1972). On the domestic front, he 
played a very important role as a “stabilizer”. He favored the return to 
power of Deng Xiaoping.

*Zhu De* (1886-1976). The first of the ten Marshals of 1955. Originally 
from Sichuan, from a family of ruined peasants. Sent to study at great 
sacrifice, he broke with his family when he chose to enter the army out 
of nationalism instead of using his diploma to find a good job. Second 
lieutenant in 1911, he participated in the Republican Revolution. After 
many vicissitudes, in 1922, as a 36 year old general and opium addict 
coming out of a detoxification treatment, he went to France, then met 
Zhou Enlai in Berlin. After three years of militancy in Germany, he 
returned to China via Moscow. Having resumed his military career, he 
prepared the Nanchang insurrection in 1927. In 1928, he ended up with 
Mao in Jinggangshang where the Fourth Red Army was created and 
participated in the foundation of the Jiangxi Soviet Republic. He was 
commander-in-chief of the army and remained so until 1954. He married 
Kang Keqing in 1929. Vice-president of the government from 1949 and of 
the People’s Republic in 1954-1959. Although he defended Peng Dehuai in 
1959 and opposed Mao during the Cultural Revolution (he was denounced by 
the Red Guards), he did not suffer the same persecution as other 
leaders, probably because of his historical prestige.

***

Xi Jinping’s re-election as head of the party and the Central Military 
Commission, and his re-election next year as President of the People’s 
Republic, will not solve any of the problems facing the country and its 
regime - and there are many, both domestically and internationally.

Xi Jinping has benefited from a historic “window of opportunity” when 
the United States was unable to make its strategic shift to Asia, and 
the two countries, though rivals, were still cooperating in the global 
arena. He took full advantage of this, completing the process initiated 
by his predecessors, with China establishing itself as the second world 
power.

This window of opportunity has closed. The conditions that made China’s 
spectacular growth possible are, to a decisive extent at least, no 
longer present. We have, in fact, entered an unprecedented period. The 
political system in which Xi Jinping has voluntarily locked himself in 
makes him even more incapable than his peers in the world of 
understanding the nature and depth of these changes - the fact that he 
has broken off all collaboration with Washington on the issue of global 
warming speaks volumes!

There is little chance that the aftermath of the 20^th CCP Congress will 
bring any good news.

*Pierre Rousset*

------------------------------------------------------------------------


    P.S.

• Translation DeepL (free) and Pierre Rousset.


    Footnotes

[1 <https://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article64494#nh1>] Helen 
Davidson et Emma Graham-Harrison, 16 October 2022, The Guardian :
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/oct/16/xi-jinping-speech-opens-china-communist-party-congresss 
<https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/oct/16/xi-jinping-speech-opens-china-communist-party-congresss>
Available on ESSF (article 64339), Xi Jinping opens Chinese Communist 
party congress with warning for Taiwan :
https://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article64339 
<https://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article64339>

[2 <https://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article64494#nh2>] Brian 
Hoie, 17 October 2022, New Bloom :
https://newbloommag.net/2022/10/17/20th-national-congress-tw/ 
<https://newbloommag.net/2022/10/17/20th-national-congress-tw/>
Available on ESSF (article 64354), China : Few surprises in 20^th CCP 
National Congress on Taiwan by Xi :
https://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article64354 
<https://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article64354>

[3 <https://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article64494#nh3>] Adam 
Tooze, 4 October 2022, /New York Times/.

[4 <https://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article64494#nh4>] The 
Cultural Revolution is a very complex “event”, which combined spaces of 
freedom for the youth and traumatic violence. We cannot return to it here.

[5 <https://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article64494#nh5>] Pierre 
Rousset, 2 juin 2014, ESSF (article 32086), L’occupation de la place 
Tiananmen à Pékin et la répression du « Mouvement du 4 juin » 1989 en 
Chine (The occupation of Tiananmen Square in Beijing and the repression 
of the 1989 “June 4^th Movement” in China):
https://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article32086 
<https://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article32086>

[6 <https://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article64494#nh6>] Thanks 
to Au Loong-yu for allowing me to correct the initial version of this 
paragraph... and for the many insights I owe him.

[7 <https://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article64494#nh7>] This 
has not been the case.

[8 <https://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article64494#nh8>] Pierre 
Rousset, June 2, 2014, ESSF (article 32086), L’occupation de la place 
Tiananmen à Pékin et la répression du « Mouvement du 4 juin » 1989 en 
Chine <https://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article32086> (The 
Occupation of Tiananmen Square in Beijing and the Repression of the 1989 
“June Fourth Movement” in China(:
https://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article32086 
<https://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article32086>

[9 <https://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article64494#nh9>] In the 
introduction to his article in the London Review of Books (October 2022)

[10 <https://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article64494#nh10>] Many 
languages are spoken in China. There are even several Chinese languages 
(including Cantonese and Mandarin) with a unified written version 
(formed by sinograms, characters) in mainland China. Orally, they are 
nevertheless very different (having for example a different number of 
tones) to the point that they may not be understandable in relation to 
each other.

[11 <https://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article64494#nh11>] 
Pierre Rousset, 18 août 2008, ESSF (article 24655), La Chine du XX^e 
siècle en révolutions – III – Annexe 1 : six coups de projecteur 
<https://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article24655> (Twentieth 
Century China in Revolutions - III - Appendix 1: six highlights):
https://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article24655 
<https://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article24655>
This article also includes a note on anarchism in Asia, a presentation 
of Chinese Trotskyist figures and six female cadres of the CCP.

***

https://www.counterpunch.org/2022/10/28/chinas-path-to-socialist-modernization/

October 28, 2022


  China’s Path to Socialist Modernization
  <https://www.counterpunch.org/2022/10/28/chinas-path-to-socialist-modernization/>

by Vijay Prashad and Tings Chak 
<https://www.counterpunch.org/author/vijay-prashad-and-tings-chak/>

Photograph Source: Hou Bo – Public Domain

The Communist Party of China (CPC) held its 20th National Congress from 
October 16 to October 22, 2022. Every five years, the delegates of the 
CPC’s 96 million members meet to elect its top leaders and to set the 
future direction for the party. One of the main themes of the congress 
this year was “rejuvenation” of the country through “a Chinese path to 
modernization.” In his report to the congress, Xi Jinping, the CPC’s 
general secretary, sketched out the way forward to build China “into a 
modern socialist country.”

Most of the Western media commentary about the congress ignored the 
actual words that were said in Beijing, opting instead to make wild 
speculations about the deliberations in the party (including about the 
sudden departure of former Chinese President Hu Jintao from the Great 
Hall of the People during the closing session of the congress, who left 
because he was feeling ill). Much could have been gained from listening 
to what people said during the National Congress instead of putting 
words in their mouths.

Socialist Modernization

When the Communist Party took power in China in 1949, the country was 
the 11th poorest country in the world. For the first time since the 
“century of humiliation” that began with the British wars on China from 
1839 onward, China has developed into a major power with the social 
situation of the Chinese people having greatly improved from their 
condition in 1949. A short walk away from the Great Hall of the People, 
where the congress was held, is the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall, which 
reminds people of the immense achievement of the Chinese Revolution of 
1949 and its impact on Chinese society.

Xi Jinping became the general secretary of the CPC at the 18th National 
Congress in 2012 and was elected president of the People’s Republic of 
China in March 2013. Since then, the country has gone through 
significant changes. Economically, China’s GDP has almost doubled to 
become the world’s second-largest economy, growing from 58.8 trillion 
yuan in 2013 to 114.37 trillion yuan in 2021, and its GDP expanded at a 
rate of 6.6 percent per year during the same period. Meanwhile, the 
country’s per capita GDP almost doubled between 2013 and 2021, with 
China approaching the high-income country bracket. In terms of the world 
economy, China’s GDP was 18.5 percent of the global total in 2021, and 
the country was responsible for 30 percent of world economic growth from 
2013 to 2021. China also manufactured 30 percent of the world’s goods in 
2021, up from more than 20 percent in 2012. This adds to the decades of 
historically unprecedented growth rate of 9.8 percent per yearfrom 1978 
to 2014 since the launching of economic reform in China in 1978. These 
economic achievements are historic and did not come without their set of 
challenges and consequences.

While delivering the report at the opening of this congress, Xi spoke 
about the situation that the Chinese people faced a decade ago: “Great 
achievements had been secured in reform, opening up, and socialist 
modernization… At the same time, however, a number of prominent issues 
and problems—some of which had been building for years and others which 
were just emerging—demanded urgent action.” He went on to talk about the 
“slide toward weak, hollow, and watered-down party leadership,” pointing 
out that “money worship, hedonism, egocentricity, and historical 
nihilism” were the deep-seated problems in a development process that 
was “imbalanced, uncoordinated, and unsustainable.” These are 
significant self-criticisms made by the man who has led the country for 
the past decade.

Corruption

A decade ago, in his speech at the 18th CPC National Congress, outgoing 
Secretary General Hu Jintao mentioned the word “corruption” several 
times. “If we fail to handle this issue well,” he warned, “it could 
prove fatal to the party, and even cause the collapse of the party and 
the fall of the state.” Xi Jinping’s first task after taking over as 
general secretary of the CPC was to tackle this issue. In his inaugural 
speech as the party head in 2013, Xi said he was committed to “the 
fighting of tigers and flies at the same time,” referring to the 
corruption that had spread from the high echelons down to the grassroots 
level within the party and the government. The party launched 
“eight-point” rules for its members in December 2012, to limit practices 
such as inconsequential meetings and extravagant receptions for official 
visits, and advocated “diligence and thrift.”

Meanwhile, a year after the launch of the “mass line campaign” by Xi’s 
administration in June 2013, official meetings were reduced by 25 
percent in comparison to the period before the campaign, 160,000 
“phantom staff” were removed from the government payroll, and 2,580 
“unnecessary” official building projects were stopped. Over the past 
decade, from November 2012 to April 2022, nearly 4.4 million cases 
involving 4.7 million officials were investigated in the fight against 
corruption. Party members have been investigated. In the first half of 
this year alone, 24 senior officials were investigated for corruption, 
and former ministers, provincial governors, and presidents of the 
biggest state-owned banks have been expelled from the party and given 
harsh sentences, including life imprisonment.

Hu Jintao’s comments and Xi Jinping’s actions reflected concerns that 
during the period of high growth after 1978, CPC members grew 
increasingly detached from the people. During the first months of his 
presidency, Xi launched the “mass line campaign” to bring the party 
closer to the grassroots. As part of the “targeted poverty alleviation” 
campaign launched in 2014, 800,000 party cadres were sent to survey and 
visit 128,000 villages as part of this project. In 2020, despite the 
COVID-19 pandemic, China successfully eradicated extreme poverty, 
contributing to 76 percent of the global reduction in poverty till 
October 2015.

Beyond the party’s self-correction, Xi’s strong words and actions 
against the corrupt “flies and tigers” contributed to the Chinese 
people’s confidence in the government. According to a 2020 research 
paper by Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance 
and Innovation, the overall satisfaction with the government’s 
performance was 93.1 percent in 2016, seeing the most significant growth 
in the more underdeveloped regions in the countryside. This rise of 
confidence in rural areas resulted from increased social services, trust 
in local officials, and the campaign against poverty.

Right Side of History

At the 20th Congress, Xi Jinping reflected on the history of 
colonialism—including China’s “century of humiliation”—and the 
implications this would have for China going forward. “In pursuing 
modernization,” Xi said, “China will not tread the old path of war, 
colonization, and plunder taken by some countries. That brutal and 
blood-stained path of enrichment at the expense of others caused great 
suffering for the people of developing countries. We will stand firmly 
on the right side of history and on the side of human progress.”

Chinese officials routinely tell us that their country is not interested 
in seeking dominance in the world. What China would like to do is to 
collaborate with other countries to try and solve humanity’s dilemmas. 
The Belt and Road Initiative, for instance, was launched in 2013 with 
the purpose of “win-win” cooperation and development and has thus far 
built much-needed infrastructure with investment and construction 
contracts totaling $1 trillion in almost 150 countries. China’s interest 
in tackling the climate catastrophe is evidenced by its planting of a 
quarter of the world’s new forests over the past decade and in becoming 
a world leader in renewable energy investment and electric vehicle 
production. On the public health side, China adopted a COVID-19 policy 
that prioritizes lives over profit, donated 325 million doses of 
vaccines, and saved millions of lives as a result of this. As a result 
of its initiatives in the public health sector, the average life 
expectancy of Chinese people was 77.93 years in 2020 and reached 78.2 
years in 2021, and for the first time, surpassed life expectancy in the 
United States—77 years in 2020 and 76.1 in 2021—making this drop “the 
biggest two-year decline in life expectancy since 1921-1923.”

China’s communists do not see these events without putting them in the 
context of the long process undertaken by the government toward 
achieving and ensuring their social development. In 27 years, China will 
celebrate the centenary of its revolution. In 1997, then-President of 
China Jiang Zemin spoke about the two centenary goals—the 100-year 
markers following the founding of the Communist Party (1921) and the 
Chinese Revolution (1949)—that “underwrite all China’s long-term 
economic planning programs and contemporary macroeconomic policy 
agendas.” At that time, the focus was on growth rates. In 2017, Xi 
Jinping shifted the emphasis of these goals to the “three tough 
battles”: to defuse major financial risks, to eradicate poverty, and to 
control pollution. This new congress has gone beyond those “tough 
battles” to protect Chinese sovereignty and to expand the dignity of the 
Chinese people.

This article was produced by Globetrotter.

Vijay Prashad is an Indian historian, editor, and journalist. He is a 
writing fellow and chief correspondent at Globetrotter. He is an editor 
of LeftWord Books and the director of Tricontinental: Institute for 
Social Research. He is a senior non-resident fellow at Chongyang 
Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China. He has 
written more than 20 books, including The Darker Nations and The Poorer 
Nations. His latest books are Struggle Makes Us Human: Learning from 
Movements for Socialism and (with Noam Chomsky) The Withdrawal: Iraq, 
Libya, Afghanistan, and the Fragility of U.S. Power. Tings Chak is the 
art director and a researcher at Tricontinental: Institute for Social 
Research and lead author of the study “Serve the People: The Eradication 
of Extreme Poverty in China.” She is also a member of Dongsheng, an 
international collective of researchers interested in Chinese politics 
and society.

***


  One-Man Show Disrupted by a Nobody

On the 20th Congress of the CCP

Wednesday 26 October 2022, by Au Loong-Yu 
<https://internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?auteur436>

Tweet <https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?button_hashtag=ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw>

Xi Jinping officially got his third term, which further consolidates his 
absolute power over the party and the nation. The list of the newly 
“elected” members of the central committee shows that his supporters 
dominate the body.

What was dramatic was that halfway through of the last day of the 
congress Hu Jintao, the former president of the country, was seen 
unwillingly led away to the exit of the hall, leaving a lot of puzzles 
behind. The BBC reports 
<https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-63358627> that:

    The two most likely reasons for his departure are that it was either
    part of China’s power politics on full display, with a leader
    representing a former time being symbolically removed, or that Hu
    Jintao has serious health problems…. However, if he was led away at
    the end because of ill-health, why did this happen so suddenly? Why
    in front of the cameras? Was it an emergency?

On Monday 24th, a further news update 
<https://www.channelnewsasia.com/asia/hu-jintao-what-happened-former-president-escorted-out-congress-cna-video-3023251> 
showed that before Hu Jintao was led away, his files were taken away by 
Li Zhanshu, the former member of the Standing Committee of the 
Polibureau. When Hu tried to take back his files Xi Jinping called 
someone to his side and talked to the latter. Soon Hu was escorted away. 
This showed that the official explanation for Hu being escorted out of 
the hall was because he was unwell was untrue.


      Reform from above always a myth

Certain liberal/neo-liberal dissidents, domestically or abroad, once 
argued that there was a struggle between the “reformist faction” and 
“conservative faction” within the CCP and put their hope of change on 
the former. Although without much proof, they put their hope in this or 
that party leader, for instance, Hu Jintao, only to be bitterly 
disappointed afterward.

After Xi Jinping took power in 2012, some continued to seek salvation in 
the premier Li Keqiang, but Li exhibited no signs of fighting against 
Xi. Despite this, when the Taiwan newspaper United Daily News reported 
<https://pincong.rocks/article/id-44255__sort_key-agree_count__sort-DESC> 
in this August (soon withdrawn) about a supposed “insider’s news” that 
while Xi would get his third term as president of the country and also 
as chairman of its Military Commission, Li would be promoted to the post 
of party secretary. This suspicious report again raised hope among many, 
but soon got disappointed again.

At least since 1989, we see no circumstantial evidences that serious 
political factions have formed within the party leadership. Political 
factions would require a more coherent ideology or agreement over basic 
principles. In contrast, there have always been cliques around 
individual leaders, and because of this there must have been differences 
in approaches, but these are not political factions, at least not yet. 
Cliques fight among themselves for power or over certain decisions yet 
to be made.

There have been three most powerful cliques since 1989, each grouped 
around a successive top leader; Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping. 
It seems that, however, they have no serious difference over one basic 
principle among themselves – the party must tighten its screws over the 
whole nation further in its rapid rising up, even if some of them, in 
different periods, might opt for a slightly more dovish version.

Whereas the two predecessors of Xi might tolerate, in practice, 
individual dissidents (as long as they are not very well known), Xi’s 
more hawkish approach went so far as to ban this as well. Regardless the 
small differences, all three share a consensus of never allowing an 
organized opposition to exist, either realistically or potentially, 
because this is the first prerequisite of their Orwellian state.


      Xi’s red gene and his blue blood cronies

Xi’s third term does signify new development however. The congress 
passed the Resolution on Party Constitution amendments according to 
which “the congress resolved that another amendment, which enshrined 
“developing fighting spirit, strengthening fighting ability”, be added 
to the constitution. The resolution further elaborated the point saying:

    By adding this point, it would encourage the whole Party’s
    historical self-confidence…and helps to pass down its red genes.

The term “passing down the party’s red genes” had already been used 
multiple times in the past ten years by the party or Xi himself. This 
congress reiterating the same term signifies a dangerous trend, since 
2012, is now finally consolidated by Xi’s third term – the “second red 
generation” taking over all power by building an autocracy around Xi.

Xi began his first term in an unfavourable situation compared to his 
predecessors. Both Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao were appointed as top 
leader by two very powerful leaders, namely, Deng Xiaoping and Chen Yun, 
in that order (with Chen nominating Jiang and Deng, Hu). It is this 
which earned Jiang and then Hu the CCP’s style of “legitimacy” – being 
blessed by Deng or Chen.

Xi, in contrast, was selected as Hu’s successor, for the first time, by 
400 top party leaders in 2007 because by then both Deng and Chen were 
long dead. According to a Japanese reporter from the Asahi Shimbun (well 
known for its connection to insiders news in China), Hu invented this 
CCP-styled “election” with his agenda to get Li Keqiang elected as top 
leader, but was sabotaged by Jiang Zemin who got enough votes for Xi 
instead. Jiang’s success was based on Xi’s special advantage over Li 
however – Xi is the “second red generation”, hence genzhengmiaohong 
(which basically means “blue blood”), while Li is not.

How far this is true is unclear, but what we do know is that after the 
fall of the Berlin wall the most reactionary old leading cadres had 
tried very hard to pass their power to their children, with the pretext 
that only this measure could enable the party to survive in a period 
when the Soviet bloc was collapsing, claiming the “children of the 
revolutionary cadres would never betray their parents”. Their plan 
worked quite successfully.

In 2007 the “second red generation” and their cronies (themselves not 
necessarily blue blood) first succeeded in transforming themselves into 
a “revolutionary aristocracy” and “kingmakers”. Since 2018 they further 
succeeded in overthrowing the rule laid down by Deng Xiaoping that the 
top leader of the nation could only serve two terms.

With the 2022 party congress they, through Xi’s dictatorship, are now 
able to grasp all power in the country, at the expense of other ruling 
cliques. If there is one single moment which symbolises this event, it 
would be the moment when ex-President Hu Jintao was shown the door of 
the congress hall, unceremoniously bundled out by officials.

Forget about all illusions of “gradual reform from within the 
establishment”. Xi will only further deepen and refine the Orwellian 
state. From his perspective, this is even more necessary now the economy 
is encountering serious problems. Any democratic transformation has to 
come from the toiling classes. Yet, with such a level of state control 
it is very difficult for social protest to rise up and to sustain 
itself. The severe lockdown under Covid pandemic which resulted in 
widespread violation of basic human rights (like locking up people in 
their own homes), and the fear of repression in general, has also 
created a very depressed mood across Chinese society.


      Peng’s one man protest

But this Congress will go down in history forever with a single person 
protest as its backdrop,. It was another and earlier moment which 
symbolizes the people’s hatred against Xi and his red gene buddies. On 
the morning of 13 October, Peng Zaizhou, or Peng Lifa, staged a one-man 
protest at the Sitong bridge in Beijing (see report 
<https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/oct/14/we-all-saw-it-anti-xi-jinping-protest-electrifies-chinese-internet>). 
He is reportedly a science and technological worker.

He hung two banners over the bridge, one with the words “We want food, 
not PCR tests. We want freedom, not lockdowns. We want respect, not 
lies. We want reform, not a Cultural Revolution. We want a vote, not a 
leader. We want to be citizens, not slaves,” The second banner was even 
more radical, calling for “boycott of schools, strikes to oust the 
dictator, traitor Xi Jinping.” He called for a day of action on 16 
October. Nothing happened on that day, rather he was arrested on the day 
of his protest.

On top of hanging banners he also posted a detailed “action program” and 
a “toolkit” for political actions. He called for a “non-violent and 
popular colour revolution” – not to topple the CCP regime but to oust Xi 
Jinping. His ambition was that a reformed government would do the 
following:
• introduce party democracy to allow the election of party leaders
• implement (national wide) universal suffrage
• restrict the power of the government
• lift the ban on organisation political parties
• disclose officials’ personal assets and saving
• protect the market economy

Peng makes reference to Liu Xiaobo and his “Charter 08 
<https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2009/01/15/chinas-charter-08/>”, 
showing he is following in the footstep of Liu’s liberal programme. What 
is different from Liu is that the latter was never been keen on 
agitating for strikes and widespread social protests. In general, after 
the crackdown on the 1989 democratic movement, both the liberal and the 
“new left”, although bitterly opposing each other, shared the common 
ground of rejecting the working people as the agent of social change 
altogether. Instead they saw social protest as dangerous in general so 
reform must come only through the party. This leads both sides to see 
themselves as merely lobbyists of the CCP.

Liu was a bit different because he went on to publicly campaign for a 
liberal/neo-liberal transformation (prioritising “market reform” over 
the struggle for democracy however) and because of this he was jailed 
and later died in prison. Liu had not publicly agitated for national 
strike to bring down the top party leader – this difference between the 
two men makes Peng quite special.

Calling for strikes and public attacks on the top leader are very 
serious crimes in China. Demanding the disclosure of officials’ personal 
assets is also a slap on the face for Xi – he was just boosting his 
“overwhelming victory” on eradicating corruption to the Congress. Peng’s 
demand for the disclosure of officials’ personal assets would expose 
Xi’s hypocrisy – isn’t this measure a more efficient way of getting rid 
of corruption than executing corrupt officials?


      Voices from below

Peng himself must have prepared for the worst to come to him when he 
started his plan of action that day. But what is worth attention is not 
only this brave act. Once the pictures of his banner was posted in 
social media (the only outlet where the public could voice out now, even 
if they only last a very short period of time), it was echoed by many 
netizens. Soon the support for him was further spread to Hong Kong and 
other parts of the world, where college students, especially those 
Chinese overseas students, began to reposting Peng’s banners.

All these actions of re-posting Peng’s slogans ended in a few days. 
Below are three online posts from people on the Mainland that are 
worthwhile quoting at length:

*Qianfenghugang*:

    This valiant effort is excellent, but not many people will response
    to his call and take to the streets….I am now studying in a college,
    people around me do nothing but focus on their lessons provided by
    the communist bandit university, and play online games when they are
    free. Take the lock down in the campus as an example, they are
    frustrated by the lock down, but no one came out to protest. People
    who did that, or just sending letters to the president of the
    university’s email address (to complain), would be punished….

    The communist bandits use examination as a measure to control the
    students there – who do not have much free time to concern about the
    social events. People may break the campus regulation, or act
    against the counsellors there, but the campus and the counsellors
    have the power to punish them as well…… I am not interested in the
    curriculum, and I hate the campus’s highly repressive way of
    management, and every day I have been thinking of all kinds of
    things in relation to China. If ever there are people willing to
    mobilise and charge, , against the tower offline (acting against the
    authorities in real life – Au), I will come out in support of them.

*Piaoliushe:*

    He (Peng) is not the first person…. to demand freedom. Several
    months ago there were big charges against the tower in Shanghai,
    Zhejiang, Yiwu and Wuhan. They were all eventually brought under
    control, but these will not be the last. The rapid economic downturn
    is visible, and the instability entails expensive cost to maintain
    stability, and there is always an upper limit to this kind of
    spending. For those who want to resist, do so. For those who do not
    have the courage to resist, they can at least tangping (literally
    “lying flat”, a popular counter culture in relation to the official
    ideology, for instance boycotting the life style of working hard to
    climb up the social ladder—Au), refuse to comply, decline to consume
    and to work hard, refuse to get married and have children, so as to
    accelerate the collapse of this rotten society.

*Fameidebaozi:*

    I am in despair about people like Li Keqiang (former premier) and
    Wang Yang (former member of the Standing Committee of the
    Politbureau). Surely we should not have cherished any stupid hope in
    anyone inside the Communist party in the first place. Anyone wants
    change must bleed oneself to do it…….. My previous stupid idea is
    simply a joke.


      A reactionary clique promoting ‘modernisation’

Xi boasts of his success over controlling the Covid pandemic and vows to 
continue his zero Covid policy. It is true that Covid is under control. 
The party is good at delivering results if by results you mean imposing 
control – it is a control freak. It has perfected its tools of social 
and political control since 1949, and they have now been upgraded to a 
21st century digital version.

Yet it also faces a dilemma. Its commitment to industrialisation and 
modernisation allows it to significantly improving its grip over the 
country and enrich itself from this. But on the other hand the same 
process is raising the cultural level of the country, empowering people 
to communicate immediately over great distances, allowing a bigger 
proportion of people to be increasingly aware of the crimes of the 
party. Since the lockdown over Covid even the middle class is beginning 
to question the legitimacy of the party.

Another dilemma the party now faces is that its modernisation project is 
led by a ruling clique which still carries strong pre-modern political 
culture – an incredibly arrogant top leader and slavish conformism for 
all those under him (of course never a “she”). This constitutes the best 
recipe for making great mistakes.

Take the lockdown policy as an example. Xi’s success in 2021 has long 
turned sour. Lockdown should only be the first step in dealing with a 
pandemic. It is meant to buy time for the invention and mass production 
of an effective vaccine, and to earn the trust of the public. In these 
two endeavours Xi failed miserably. Managing a modern society without 
unnecessary pain and social cost is much more complicated than imposing 
control, but the former is something that Xi is ignorant of.

Now his overdoing of the lockdown has resulted in the backlashes of 
widespread discontent, no wonder Peng’s first slogan “we want food, not 
PCR tests” won the heart of many people.

A second backlash is that when more and more countries have been opening 
up after vaccinating a great majority of the population, China still 
closes its door. The fact is that the domestically produced vaccine does 
not work well, and people do not trust the party. Even if Beijing 
chooses to open up China in the future this could be dangerous to 
people’s health. On the other hand, continuing a zero Covid policy will 
further hit the economy hard. But Xi and his “second red generation” 
continues to believe in their omniscient. Precisely because of this, 
China is now entering the most dangerous period.

/Au Loong-Yu is a leading global justice campaigner in Hong Kong. He is 
currently editor of China Labor Net and also has a column in Inmedia. He 
is the author of /China’s rise: strength and fragility/ and the 
forthcoming /Hong Kong in revolt: the protest movement and the future of 
China/./

***

https://thethaiger.com/china/the-coming-war-on-china


  The Coming War on China

Monday, October 24, 2022 18:07
Bob Scott <https://thethaiger.com/author/scott>


As *President Xi Jinping* secured an unprecedented third term as Chinese 
Communist Party (CCP) leader yesterday *The Coming War on China* draws 
ever closer, predicts award-winning journalist *John Pilger.*

In Pilger’s thought-provoking documentary, The Coming War on China, he 
notes the United States, backed by Western mainstream media (MSM), has 
been “beating the drums of war and the world has been primed to regard 
China as a new enemy.”

But why does the US regard China as an enemy? According to the 
documentary, economic jealousy. The Chinese do capitalism better than 
the West. China is beating the US at their own game because they don’t 
let the business sector run the country the way business runs the West.

Eric Li, entrepreneur and social scientist, said…

The Coming War on China | News by Thaiger

“One myth I think really needs to be dispelled is that somehow China’s 
aiming to replace America and gonna run the world. First of all, the 
Chinese are not that stupid. The West, with its Christian roots, are 
about converting other people to their beliefs. The Chinese are not 
about that. I’m not degrading the Western culture. I’m just pointing out 
the inherent nature, the DNA’s of two different cultures. The Chinese 
<https://www.definitions.net/definition/Chinese> 2000 years ago built 
the Great Wall to keep the barbarians out, not to invade them.”

The Coming War on China | News by Thaiger

John Pilger

Pilger, an Australian journalist, documentary maker, and BAFTA winner, 
points out that since China opened up to the West in 1979 and embraced 
some parts of capitalism it has lifted more than 300 million people out 
of poverty.

Shanghai pre-Covid-19 was a prosperous international city still run by 
the Communists, at least in name. The truth, Pilger says, China has 
matched America at its own great game of capitalism and that is 
unforgivable.

“America was now threatened by the emergence of a vast image of itself,” 
Pilger said.

Eric Li adds…

“In China, there are a lot of problems. But at the moment, the Chinese, 
the party-state, has proven an extraordinary ability to change. In 
America, you can change political parties but you can’t change the policies.

“In China, you cannot change the party but you can change policies. For 
over 70 years, China has been run by one single party yet the political 
changes that have taken place in China these past 70 years have been 
wider and broader and greater than probably any other major country in 
modern memory.

“So, in that time, China ceased to be communist. China is a market 
economy. It’s a vibrant market economy but it is not a capitalist 
country. Here’s why.

“There’s no way a group of billionaires could control the party bureau 
as billionaires control American policymaking. So in China, you have a 
vibrant market economy but capital does not rise above political 
authority. Capital does not have enshrined rights. In America, capital, 
the interest of capital and capital itself has risen above the American 
nation.

“The political authority cannot check the power of capital. That’s why 
America is a capitalist country but China’s not. China’s objectives are 
modest compared with their weight. They’re not trying to run the world. 
They’re not even trying to run the Asian-Pacific. I think they want to 
keep America from dominating the Asian-Pacific.

“So they have what they believe is their rightful place in the 
Asian-Pacific, because of all civilizations and all the history on their 
side, so their objectives are really modest compared with their capacity.”

The Coming War on China | News by Thaiger

Hundreds of US military bases surround China in the South China Sea.

The documentary highlights US’ ambition to provoke a war with China. 
They invest trillions of dollars into the nation’s military programme 
and they need to justify it, so they need an enemy. That enemy is now 
China, and the excuse they make is Taiwan.

The US obsesses over China invading the province without evidence. And 
yet, the One-China policy of Taiwan as a province and part of the 
Chinese mainland was recognized by the United Nations General Assembly 
Resolution in 1971. Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China 
in 1949, 181 countries have established diplomatic relations with China 
on the One-China policy. *The US is one of those nations 
<https://thethaiger.com/china/biden-recognises-one-china-policy-and-not-taiwan-independence>*.

Pilger believes there has been a century-long fear, suspicion, and 
unfounded hatred of China by the US. US businessmen had their 
concessions in Shanghai in the late 19^th century and early 20^th 
century where they became very rich largely on the back of drugs, in 
particular, opium. But they were driven out of China by the Communists 
in 1949 and the US has never forgiven them.

Yet Chairman Mao Zedong reached out to the US five years before he drove 
Westerners out of China in 1949. And he continued to reach out for years 
after.

Mao sent this secret message to Washington. He said…

“China must industrialize. This can only be done by free enterprise. 
Chinese and American interests fit together economically and politically.

“America need not fear that we will not be cooperative. We cannot risk 
crossing America. We cannot risk any conflict.”

Mao received no reply.

Pilger reports Mao was looking to be a friend of the US from the beginning.

Mao says, I will go meet Franklin Roosevelt in the White House. Mao 
reaches out in 1950 to Harry Truman. The US diplomats who carried these 
messages were condemned as Communists and traitors.

According to the documentary, the catalyst for the recent alarm was 
China reclaiming territory in the South China Sea to build airstrips on 
disputed islands that had been condemned by an international tribunal.

It became a flashpoint between the US and China. But what isn’t 
highlighted in MSM is the amount of US military bases armed with 
warships, missiles, and bombers, in places such as the Marshall Islands, 
surrounding China in the South China Sea, the Pacific Ocean, Australia, 
and beyond.

James Bradley, the author of the China Mirage, said…

“If you could look out of the tallest building in Beijing and looked out 
into the South China Sea you would see warships.

“The US is at war with China on the ground and in the air. The winner of 
the Nobel Peace Prize, former President Barack Obama, committed to 
trillions of dollars to our nuclear arsenal. He committed trillions of 
future dollars to war in space and we need an enemy for all this money 
and China’s the perfect enemy.”

image

Pilger notes that the Japanese island of Okinawa is occupied by 32 
military installations. From there, the US attacked Korea, Vietnam, 
Cambodia, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

Okinawa is the front line of a beckoning war with China. The US has 
several military bases on the island. During the Cold War, the US 
secretly installed nuclear weapons at this launch pad in Okinawa. Most 
of them were aimed at China.

Likewise, Jeju Island is a world heritage site. The government of South 
Korea declared it an island of world peace. But on this island of peace 
lies one of the most provocative military bases in the world has been 
built less than 400 miles from Shanghai. Like Okinawa and the Marshall 
Islands, this is America’s frontline in its so-called “Pivot to Asia.”

Pilger concludes…

“The US is an empire that never speaks its name. It has 4,000 military 
bases, with 1,000 spread across every continent. From these bases, the 
US operates a secret army in 147 countries.

“By speaking out, they deliver a warning to all of us. Can we really 
afford to be silent?”



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