Meanwhile in Beijing…

Lost amid the deluge of western media coverage of the upcoming US presidential election on November 6 has been an equally if not more important event, beginning on November 8, when the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China convenes in Beijing to elect a new Central Committee and replace seven of the nine members of the current Politburo, who are due to retire and/or stand down. These include the current President of People’s Republic – Hu Jintao.

His successor is likely to be the current vice president, Xi Jinping, who is seen as close to the military and is likely to adopt a more robust stance when it comes to dealing with the West than the moderate one taken by Jintao. This will likely manifest most over the issue of US support for Taiwan, when it comes to heightening tension with Japan over the territorial rights to a group of islands in the East China Sea (Senkaku Islands in Japan and Diaoyu Islands in China) but also when it comes to US policy towards the Middle East, from which China derives around 40 percent of its oil.

The key difference in global terms between the significance of the US presidential election and the imminent leadership reorganisation in China is the difference between the political and economic crisis engulfing a declining power, the United States, and the growing political and economic strength of its emergent rival to the East, China.

China’s economic growth over the past three decades has been simply staggering, averaging around 10 percent year on year. Though its growth has dipped and is predicted to end 2012 at around 7.7%, the success of the People’s Republic in weathering the global recession to the extent it has continues to confound economists in the West.

A key factor in China’s continued economic growth even as global markets for its exports, in particular the US, have contracted sharply, is the boost to domestic demand as a consequence of the rapid urbanisation that has seen millions migrate from the countryside into the city. Meeting the concomitant increased need for jobs has presented the current leadership with one of the biggest challenges any Chinese government has faced since it opened up its economy in the late 1970s. It has gone some way to meeting this challenge, as well as stimulating its economy, with a raft of major infrastructure projects, taking advantage of its unique position within the global economy of being deposit rich as a consequence of an economic model that has hitherto placed a priority on saving over consumption.

Strict controls over the convertibility of the renminbi has lent further stability to China’s economy, acting as a firewall against the sudden and often sharp fluctuations suffered by convertible currencies.

For the US – a declining economic power relative to China, though still some way ahead in terms of overall GDP – China’s sharp increase in military spending in recent years, needed to protect its accumulating global interests and economic alliances, is undoubtedly a major source of concern. This strategic threat to US hegemony is reflected in a staggering US defence budget of over $1 trillion in 2012. Compare this to China’s 2012 defence budget of $106.4 billion (which constitutes an 11.2 percent increase from 2011). To put this disparity in even greater context, the US defence budget constitutes 46.5 percent of the entire world’s military budget, whilst China’s constitutes around 7 percent. Regardless, Romney’s pledge to increase US defence spending by 2 trillion dollars over the next ten years if elected president is located in the mounting worry within a section of the US political and security establishment over China’s increased military spending.

China’s role as the world’s major creditor to the US, to the tune of $1.2 trillion (2011), in effect funding US domestic consumption, is one half of the reason why the relationship between both countries will remain a mutually dependent at least in the short term, despite being adversaries. For China, its main priority lies in continuing to ensure the viability of US domestic consumption in order to maintain the US as its largest export market, though in recent years it has placed more emphasis on regional markets.

It is predicted that China’s GDP will have caught up with the US by 2018, though US GDP per capita will still remain considerably higher. However, based on current projections, China’s GDP per capita is predicted to outstrip that of the US by 2030.

Western critics of China have long pointed to the lack of democratic and political rights enjoyed by its citizens. But this reflects the paucity of understanding in the West when it comes to the distinct development of Chinese culture and its fractured history. The relationship between the state and society in China is much different to its western counterpart. In China the state is seen as sacrosanct, with a premium placed on unity over the ability to change course through the election of a new government every few years and thus risk instability.

The ‘century of humiliation’ by which China’s subjugation at the hands of the western and Japanese colonialism is known, beginning with the Opium Wars of the mid-nineteenth century and ending with the Chinese Revolution in 1949, remains indelibly imprinted on Chinese mass consciousness, with the aforementioned national sovereignty exalted above any other factor in the life of the nation as a result.

Whatever the outcome of the US presidential election on November 6 is, events in Beijing on November 8 will undoubtedly prove of equal if not more significance for a southern hemisphere that has long suffered as a consequence of the unipolarity enjoyed by Washington.

54 comments on “Meanwhile in Beijing…

  1. jack ford on said:

    Martin Jacques’ book When China Rules the World makes a very plausible case that China is going to rise to power sooner than many people think.

    The US economy is massively in debt and its status as the number one superpower depends on the dollar’s role as the world reserve currency. The dollar’s status largely depends on the fact that global oil markets are priced in dollars and this remains the case because the US military dominates the Middle East and the world’s sea lanes.

    China’s Achilles heel is that it depends on oil imports that can be interdicted by the US Navy.

    As China’s economy grows so will its military power.

    America’s cheerleaders claim that China doesn’t do innovation the way the US does and that America will pioneer the next generation of new technology such as nanotech and biotech and that this will enable its economy to bounce back and maintain American military supremacy.

    This is complacent. It would be racist to deny that China is capable of producing scientists and engineers every bit as innovate as Americans and there will be more of them. China will have universities to match the Ivy League in the new century.

    At some point China will be a military match for the United States. When that happens the dollar will cease to be the world reserve currency if not before.

    If I were Palestinian or Iranian I would be praying to Allah for a Chinese victory over the Yankees.

  2. jack ford on said:

    That said China lacks democracy and without it the Chinese ruling class are able to exploit workers brutally. If there were a democratic revolution in China and free trade unions all socialists could wholeheartedly support Chinese victory over the Americans when the time comes.

    If China becomes number one without becoming democratic the prestige of democracy will decline across the South and authoritarian horrors like Saudi Arabia will be happy to become client states of the new Chinese Empire especially as their new boss will not even pretend to care about human rights.

    Meet the new boss even worse than the old boss?

  3. Socialist Resistance has organised ‘China’s Rise: Strength and Fragility’ a Book launch and discussion at Birkbeck College, Lecture Theatre 532 Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HX, Saturday 17 November, 11am-5pm with Au Loong Yu, Principal author of China’s Rise and labour activist in Hong Kong, Anna Chen, Poet and radio presenter
    Pierre Rousset, Author of chapter on Maoism and writer on Asian social and national liberation movements and Tim Pringle, Lecturer in labour, social movements and development, SOAS. There are Sessions on ‘Why is China bureaucratic capitalist’ and ‘Struggle in China today’, workshops on ‘How the crisis affects China’ and ‘The legacy of the Chinese revolution’. For more info see http://www.socialistresistance.org

  4. Jellytot on said:

    @1If I were Palestinian or Iranian I would be praying to Allah for a Chinese victory over the Yankees.

    Ignoring the bizarre syntax of the above sentence, I don’t think China wants a victory over anybody. China doesn’t see world affairs in such Eurocentric terms. If America is indeed in decline then China wants to nurture and peacefully facilitate that decline based upon the “The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence”

    Those five principles are:

    Mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity
    Mutual non-aggression
    Non-interference in each other’s internal affairs
    Equality and mutual benefit
    Peaceful coexistence

  5. #6 ahhh, that’s nice.

    Actually, I’m trying to work out what it is that’s bizarre about the syntax of the sentence you quote. Seems like a perfectly good conditional to me.

  6. Jellytot on said:

    @7

    Posts #1 and #2 come across to me as written in an agitprop style by somebody with a superficial and rather ersatz grasp of global politics. The sentence in question seems to ignore the Palestinians who are Christian and talks about China as if it was the Boston Red Sox.

  7. Whatever the historical specificities of China, you would support the right of socialists who oppose the present state to organise freely and independently….wouldn’t you?

    After all, ruling elites often make appeals to history to justify their privileged self-reproduction. That isn’t sufficient reason to repress opposition.

  8. Gant: you would support the right of socialists who oppose the present state to organise freely and independently….wouldn’t you?

    Socialists are organising freely in China. They’re on the Politburo.

    Gant: After all, ruling elites often make appeals to history to justify their privileged self-reproduction. That isn’t sufficient reason to repress opposition.

    Ruling elites are also the product of history. They don’t appear out of thin air. The ruling elite in this country has been in place far longer than the Chinese equivalent, which is the product of a revolution that took place in 1949.

    Socialists in this country haven’t had much success in replacing its own ‘elite’ never mind China’s.

    The idea that every government in every country is automatically the enemy of socialists by virtue of the fact it’s a government strikes me as closer to anarchism than socialism.

  9. prianikoff on said:

    Xi Jinping represents the continuity of the current leadership of the CCP.
    i.e. the wing of the party that was purged during the Cultural Revolution and then regained power under Deng Xiaoping.

    His father was sent to a factory and then arrested in 1968. Xi himself went to work in the countryside, gradually occupying various party posts in the post Mao era, as the “rightists” regained power.

    These included being Secretary of the Central Military Commission. This body has always been subordinate to the Politburo, which Xi finally joined in 2007.
    Having been Party Secretary in Shanghai was probably the part of his CV most crucial to his elevation.

    In other words, he’s been groomed for power by the existing leadership and will be a safe pair of hands.
    Candidates likely to encourage populist campaigns for the redistribution of wealth, or a radical change in foreign policy will have been vetted in advance.
    The murky affair of Bo Xilai and his wife and Bo’s expulsion from the CCP showed this.

  10. Something you missed out John in your attempts to portray ongoing imperialism against China: the current massive US/Japanese naval exercises.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/06/world/asia/us-and-japan-begin-huge-military-drill-minus-key-part.html

    John: ‘Western critics of China have long pointed to the lack of democratic and political rights enjoyed by its citizens. But this reflects the paucity of understanding in the West when it comes to the distinct development of Chinese culture and its fractured history’.

    I heard an apologist for Saudi Arabia using a similar argument – hinging in that instance on talk of ‘Islamic consensus’ – on the radio the other day.

    There is, of course, some justification for the central point of this article: the dynamism of what is becoming the world’s biggest capitalist economy, that of China. A particular variant of capitalism no doubt, but capitalism none the less.

    However, it would be nice to hear some balance through, amongst other things, mention of the staggering levels of inequality in China, the numerous labour struggles, the endemic corruption, the very real political repression. What is rather quaint is that John and others on SU continue to think China is ‘socialist’ in some way, when it’s a word rarely used by its leaders meeting in Beijing. Instead, nationalism is sustaining ideological cover – in which intermittent sabre rattling over Taiwan and elsewhere plays well.

  11. #10 John, that response begs more questions than it answers. Although it wasn’t mine, the question was about socialists who oppose the current state being allowed to organise freely in China. I doubt there’s many of them on the politburo.

    And aside from the fact that clearly those on the politburo are not the only socialists in the CCP, are you basically saying that it is not possible to in fact be a socialist in China if you do not support the current state?

    And do you think that people who call themselves socialists (let alone anyone else) should be allowed to organise freely in China?

    One point I would make on the subject is that no state that defends its own legitimacy will allow those who challenge that legitimacy from within to organise with complete freedom against it as a state. And that includes every western democracy that criticises the PRC for its human rights record, not excluding the USA. The variables are the level of the threat posed and the methods potentially used by the opponents in question and the extent of their connection ti external enemies.

    Personally I think the more political freedom the better, but then I also think (a)the fewer people living in absolute poverty (top marks to China) and the less inequality (not so top marks) the better as well.

  12. John: Socialists are organising freely in China. They’re on the Politburo.

    http://lrp-cofi.org/statements/chinarepression_102712.html

    The international workers’ movement must raise its voice in collective protest against the increasingly repressive measures against the organized left in mainland China. Over the last few years the capitalist class that rules the country in the name of “Communism” has tightened its grip on independent political expression. Of course, in the factories where millions of workers toil under terrible conditions, political dissent and organizing continues to be harshly repressed. But more recently, even legal pro-government publications have faced increasing censorship and have been forced to conform with stringent topic guidelines, and in some cases were even suspended. “Real name” registration is enforced in much of the blogosphere and in the internet cafes; harassment and assaults of journalists, both foreign and domestic, have become the norm; and police raids targeting seemingly unthreatening arts festivals and gay pride events have become almost expected.

  13. prianikoff: Candidates likely to encourage populist campaigns for the redistribution of wealth, … will have been vetted in advance.

    That is an odd claim, given that the existing leadership partnership of Hu and Wen are both on the left of the party, and have indeed delivered fairer distribution of wealth, alngside other socially progressive policies such as the ” Go West” programme.

    However, while I broadly agree with your optimistic assessment that

    prianikoff: In other words, he’s been groomed for power by the existing leadership and will be a safe pair of hands.

    This is not entirely true, I understand that Xi is associated more with the right in econom,ic debates in the party than Hu. However, it is true that there is a broadly collegiate approach, and we are unlikely to see huge changes. In the context of a global economic crisis, the PRC is anyway unlikely to make any bold reconfiguration.

    What is encouraging about Xi is his firm emphasis on anti-corruption, reinforcing the inetrnal authority of the state, and pushing the rule of law are key tasks.

    With regard to foreign policy, I am sure that there will be no change in the policy of non-interference in the affairs of other nations, and much of the heavy lifting of China’s relationships with other developing countries is run by the Ministry of Commerce more than the Foreign ministry, and will therefore respond to economic arguments.

  14. Sam64: intermittent sabre rattling over Taiwan and elsewhere plays well.

    There is absolutely nothing “intermittent” in the PRC’s advocacy of the one China policy regarding Taiwan.

  15. Vanya: And aside from the fact that clearly those on the politburo are not the only socialists in the CCP, are you basically saying that it is not possible to in fact be a socialist in China if you do not support the current state?

    There are of course a number of block parties in addition to the Communist Party who legally operate in the PRC, and enjoy political representation, including the Revolutionary Koumintang, and others.

    There are also a number of prominent “new left” intellectuals, who are not party members, such as Cui Zhiyuan, Gan Yang, Hu Angang, Wang Hui, Wang Shaoguang and others.

    However, what would it mean to “not support the current state”. What social forces could possibly benefit from the overthrow of the current state?

    Any socialist contemplating China must surely recognise that the current state, and the leading role of the Communist party, are the only credible context actually available in the real world for the advancement of social progress.

    As Cui says: “As long as you don’t write that the Communist Party should be overthrown immediately, you can write what you like [in the PRC]“. On this basis, the New Left have had a deep infleunce on social and policy debates both in the CPC and in wider civil society.

  16. The People Will Rise on said:

    @12 and others:

    China is not a capitalist economy. It’s true they don’t have workers’ democracy. But when the land, the banking system, the majority of investment, half the enterprises and the biggest corporations are state-owned, that’s not capitalism.

    That is why the Chinese government was able to intervene against the crisis with a massive investment drive. A similar intervention in Britain would be impossible without first taking a huge proportion of the economy into state hands – resulting in an immense shift in the political balance of forces. That’s unacceptable to our ruling class so we are stuck with austerity.

    The rise of China in relation to the US is one of the most positive developments in the world. All socialists should welcome it.

  17. Vanya: And aside from the fact that clearly those on the politburo are not the only socialists in the CCP, are you basically saying that it is not possible to in fact be a socialist in China if you do not support the current state?

    My response was written partly tongue in cheek, but your question does beg another question of what is meant by being against the current state?

    The western idea of the state as automatically being set against the interests of the majority is not the case when it comes to either China or Cuba. But within that the state is certainly influenced by political currents within the masses. I think there is a tendency, though I don’t include you in this, to regard states such as China and Cuba, governed by one-party, to be absent of political engagement by the mass of the population.

    I think the opposite is true. The level of political engagement in both Cuba and China is far greater than we are used to in the West.

  18. The People Will Rise on said:

    @18:

    “Any socialist contemplating China must surely recognise that the current state, and the leading role of the Communist party, are the only credible context actually available in the real world for the advancement of social progress.”

    Well said Andy, but there is a tiny and very vocal “far left” minority that will never understand real politics.

    If they had had to fight a revolution like the Chinese have done, maybe they’d be less confused.

  19. #20 But to what extent should a socialist state allow people whose political views are opposed either to the dominant political force in the state or to the state itself to organise?

    I ask that question with the proviso that I accept that any state will inevitably defend itself by whatever means necessary (which implies proportionality btw) from those externally and their internal allies who seek to use force to overthrow it.

  20. Andy ‘intermittent sabre rattling’ refers intermittent threats of war, armed invasion.

    The people will rise: Of course the contemporary Chinese economy is capitalist. Did state ownership of large swathes of industry mean that Britain was formerly ‘socialist’? Govt expenditure still accounts for around 43% of GDP, does this mean it’s socialist in some sense? Britain has a NHS (one the CP have looked into copying by the way) does that make it socialist – as Romney if not you would claim? Yes, the Chinese ruling class have adroitly avoided the pit falls of the excesses of liberlisation/finalisation. They have been better placed to ride out the recession through massive state investment and a dynamic export economy, no question about that – as I say, Chinese economic growth, from which hundreds of millions have benefited, is impressive.

    But let’s identify it correctly: the latest in a long line of capitalist tranformations.

  21. GT:
    Socialist Resistance has organised ‘China’s Rise: Strength and Fragility’ a Book launch and discussion at Birkbeck College, Lecture Theatre 532 Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HX, Saturday 17 November, 11am-5pm with Au Loong Yu, Principal author of China’s Rise and labour activist in Hong Kong, Anna Chen, Poet and radio presenter
    Pierre Rousset, Author of chapter on Maoism and writer on Asian social and national liberation movements and Tim Pringle, Lecturer in labour, social movements and development, SOAS. There are Sessions on ‘Why is China bureaucratic capitalist’ and ‘Struggle in China today’, workshops on ‘How the crisis affects China’ and ‘The legacy of the Chinese revolution’. For more info see http://www.socialistresistance.org

    Bureaucratic capitalist – LOL

  22. Re your third paragraph from the end, “Western critics of China have long pointed to the lack of democratic and political rights enjoyed by its citizens. But this reflects the paucity of understanding in the West when it comes to the distinct development of Chinese culture and its fractured history.”

    This smacks of that old canard “Asian values” which official pressure has even smuggled into UN documents. Either human rights are universal or they are not. The Chinese governming elite believe they are not. Socialists believe they are. Talk of “Chinese culture is a smokesreen to occlude repressive practices.

  23. Mike: Either human rights are universal or they are not.

    But this is an abstract formulation, isn’t it? It buys into the false unity that the economic, political and legal establishment exerts itself in attempting to promulgate, one that cuts across the concrete reality of class.

    It also makes the mistake of asserting liberal democracy as the only conduit capable of advancing the human rights in any given society. What exactly is your idea of human rights? Are you saying that because Richard Branson has the same right to vote as someone who’s unemployed then this makes them equal?

    Mike: Socialists believe they are.

    They don’t. The Bolsheviks didn’t believe the Tsar was entitled to the same rights as a worker. The Cuban revolutionary denied the previous ruling and economic elite in Cuba the right to continue exploiting the peasantry…etc, etc.

    Socialism isn’t moralism or Quakerism.

  24. andy newman on said:

    Mike: Either human rights are universal or they are not. The Chinese governming elite believe they are not. Socialists believe they are.

    I think you are confusing socialists with liberals

  25. Martel on said:

    ‘#26 ‘But this is an abstract formulation, isn’t it? It buys into the false unity that the economic, political and legal establishment exerts itself in attempting to promulgate, one that cuts across the concrete reality of class.’

    Universal values are almost always recognised as an abstract by their supporters. Something which may be little more than something good to believe in or a useful principle to adhere to.

    However, your commitment to class is equally as abstract but lacking any modicum of self awareness.

    ‘It also makes the mistake of asserting liberal democracy as the only conduit capable of advancing the human rights in any given society.’

    They do tend to be, as any sustainable human rights commitment tends to be more viable when embedded in law and protected by an independent judiciciary.

    Governments that rule by decree tend to over-rule any committment to human rights pretty quickly when it becomes inconvenient.

    ‘The Bolsheviks didn’t believe the Tsar was entitled to the same rights as a worker.’

    I think very few of the British left define what is socialist by references to Bolshevism.

    ‘Socialism isn’t moralism or Quakerism.’

    I do not know whay you are using ‘moralism’ as some form of insult.

    Socialism, at the heart of it, is a system of ethics.

    #27 ‘I think you are confusing socialists with liberals’

    There should definitely be more of that.

  26. andy newman on said:

    Martel: They do tend to be, as any sustainable human rights commitment tends to be more viable when embedded in law and protected by an independent judiciciary.

    You seem to be confusing liberal democarcy with respect for the rule of law, while the two concepts are not identical by any means.

    Also, we could question from whom the judiciary are supposed to be independent? Surely what is desirable is to have a judiciary committed to upholding both the rule of law and the constitution, not some arbitrary “independence”. Indeed, the most “independent” judiciary would be one that was entirely corrupt and for sale to the highest bidder.

  27. andy newman on said:

    Martel: #27 ‘I think you are confusing socialists with liberals’
    There should definitely be more of that.

    No. Liberals are concerned mainly with legal equaity, socialists recognise that legal equality can still permit huge inequalities of economic and therefore political power.

    they are not the same.

  28. Martel on said:

    ‘Surely what is desirable is to have a judiciary committed to upholding both the rule of law and the constitution’

    It would be hard to disagree with that. However, the independent’ in judiciary tends to emphasis the sepertation from control, or influence, by other branches of government.

    Which is pretty important as, in principle, it protects citizens from unlawful acts by government and allows the citizen confidence in the process of law.

  29. andy newman on said:

    Martel: However, the independent’ in judiciary tends to emphasis the sepertation from control, or influence, by other branches of government.

    which offers no guarantee that the judiciary is independent from political influence, or from ties to particular classes or vested interests.

    I think we can all agree that China’s judiciary is insuficiently independent, and that Chinese society has insuffcient regard for the rule of law.

    Fortunately, incoming President Xi is particularly associated with the desire to improve the rule of law and reduce corruption.

  30. #32 I suspect that the leadership of the CCP probably has a clearer understanding of the importance of the rule of law than the Bolsheviks did.

  31. Jellytot on said:

    @32Fortunately, incoming President Xi is particularly associated with the desire to improve the rule of law and reduce corruption.

    The majority of Chinese tend to accept the CPC’s right to rule as laid out in the constitution, are generally supportive of their government and have no desire to see it overthrown and their nation plunged into the inevitable chaos.

    However, corruption is a massive concern and I hear it constantly lamented. We should all hope President Xi Jingping is successful and I suspect a ‘root and branch’ campaign may be necessary. How the new leadership interact with the ongoing protests, particularly over environmental concerns, will be interesting.

  32. Jellytot: corruption is a massive concern

    Interesting that damage to the Party’s reputation , both at home and abroard, due to corruption was quoted as one of the main issues over which Bo Xilai’s expulsion was confirmed by the central commitee this weekend.

    Also interesting, as an aside, is that Neil Heywood, the man murdered by Bo’s wife has been exposed today as an MI6 agent by the Wal Street Journal

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204846304578090740894694144.html

  33. Martel on said:

    # 32 ‘which offers no guarantee that the judiciary is independent from political influence, or from ties to particular classes or vested interests.’

    No, but commitment to the principle would hopefully entail some commitment to ameliorate this.

    ‘socialists recognise that legal equality can still permit huge inequalities of economic and therefore political power.’

    Yes, but it would be hard to see how any attractive form of society would be built without legal equality, and the just operation of the law, being a pretty important part of this.

    Maybe socialism is liberalism plus rather than in opposition to it.

    I do think that China is moving in the right direction when it comes to building an effective legal system and tackling corruption.

  34. I have noticed in recent months that some right wingers are paying respect to the Chinese way of managing capitalism. I.e through ‘authoritarian’ central control. Now in the West this would mean a corporatist model i think, with the Conrad Blacks of this world holding all the power (not much change then).

    Zizek called this capitalism with Asian values.

    My point is that Zizek is wrong, the way the West will attempt to mirror the Chinese model will be even further away from the Chinese model than the West is currently.

    I.e. China is not as authoritarian as some would have you believe but the right will use this popular notion to claim authoritarianism is the way to go.

  35. prianikoff on said:

    #35 “….the Party’s reputation , both at home and abroard, due to corruption was quoted as one of the main issues over which Bo Xilai’s expulsion was confirmed by the central commitee this weekend.”

    Good to see that the spirit of investigative journalism is still alive here. But when it comes to corruption, it’s what’s happened to Bo Xilai and Gu Kailai that worry me.

    M16 obviously would show interest in any British businessman who had dealings with Politburo members.
    This proves nothing about whether Heywood was an agent, or just a useful source of information for them.
    Nor does it prove that Bo and his wife were aware of the his role.

    What’s been conveniently forgotten is that Bo was a left-populist, who promoted egalitarian social policies when he ran Chongqing.
    He’s also associated with the wrong wing of the Party, reportedly having been a Red Guard in his teens.
    All of which made him popular amongst Leftists in China, but not in the ruling circles of the party.

    There are good reasons to question the official account of Heywood’s death. Certainly, sufficient motives for a state frame-up exist. Heywood was passing information to the British and the party leadership could eliminate Bo and Gu. Three birds with one stone….

    It’s possible that Gu Kailai confessed in exchange for suspension of her death sentence.
    This means that if she doesn’t re-offend over the next two years (i.e. while she’s in prison!), it will be commuted to life. She may even get out within 9 years.

    This is effectively a cat and mouse situation, which allows the authorities to mess with her head for 24 months.
    Imagine the potential for provocation, intimidation and lies on the part of the warders!
    The very fact such a sentence even can exist in China’s legal code is sick enough. But the wider political implications are even more disturbing.

  36. Marko,

    Well it should be easy to refute right-wing arguments of that nature, you simply need to emphasise that it is precisely the level of State direction of the economy, particularly it’s financial sector, that has made the Chinese model work, acting with the collective interest as it’s principal, not individual enrichment as it’s goal (though of course there are plenty of people getting rich).
    And from what I’ve read, it is the state-run enterprises that have better working conditions and better wages than private ones.

  37. Further details of tour by Au Loong-Yu, Hong Kong labour activist/author of China’s rise are Monday 12 November, Brighton, Friends Meeting House, Ship Street, 7.30pm, Tuesday 13 November, Cambridge – 7:30pm Upstairs, CB2 Norfolk Street see http://redgreenforum.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/red-green-forum-presnts-au-loonh-yu.html for more info, Wednesday 14 November 5pm University of Bristol, Bristol Policy Studies common room at 8 Priory Road, Bristol BS8 1TZ, Thursday 15 November, Oxford Town Hall, 7.30pm, Monday 19 November, Manchester, Friends Meeting House, Mount Street (Near the Town Hall). 7pmm Tuesday 20 November, Birmingham, Council House, 7pm., Wednesday 21 November, Leeds Metropolitan University, Broadcasting Place (next to the old Broadcasting House) Woodhouse Lane, Leeds LS2 9EN, 6pm.,Thursday 22 November, Durham, The Peoples Bookshop Third Floor, The Attic Saddlers Yard 70, Saddler Street, DH1 3NP, 6pm.

  38. Louis Proyect on said:

    Why the fuck was my observation that Cuba and China had different modes of production deleted? You fucking Stalinist assholes could have at least had the courtesy to tell me that I was now being censored. Well, who needs this shit-hole anyhow. I’ve got better things to do than waste my time with pinheads like Alfred E. Newman and John Wight.

  39. #8 “The sentence in question seems to ignore the Palestinians who are Christian and talks about China as if it was the Boston Red Sox.”

    That’s semantics, not syntax.

    Might as well have a pointless argument about grammatical pedantry as yet another one about the class nature and dynamic of the Chinese state. At least if the former happened there might be the remote possibility that someone might change their mind.

  40. Louis Proyect: Why the fuck was my observation that Cuba and China had different modes of production deleted? You fucking Stalinist assholes could have at least had the courtesy to tell me that I was now being censored. Well, who needs this shit-hole anyhow. I’ve got better things to do than waste my time with pinheads like Alfred E. Newman and John Wight.

    And once again, the ridiculous fool Louis Proyect has shown why people think he is such a ridiculous fool. One comment gets caught up in the spam filter and off he goes, throwing around accusations.

    The thing is, he’s done this before and was shown up as the fool he is. Anyone can make mistakes, but when one of Proyect’s comments was held by the spam filter, he wrote a whole article about how he had been banned from this site, and included a photo of Andy, calling him a Stalinist (again!)

    And when he was shown to be completely, 100% wrong, he posted a 3 word apology under a false name – and deleted the post, so no one could know he had done it. Stalinist indeed.

    And here he is, doing it again. Mr. Proyect, [... ...] Why do you feel the need to get so angry just cos a comment was considered spam by an automated algorithm? Most people drop us an email to ask, or as someone did a few days ago, make a note in the comments asking us to have a look for the spammed comment.

    You choose instead to attack people who have done you no wrong.

    Anyway, you’ve had plenty of chances to modify your behaviour. You have your own website which you can use to attack people for their lack of purity, their Stalinism, or their weight gain.

    You’ve worn out your welcome here. You had a chance to choose a different way of responding compared to what you did last time, but you chose to attack in exactly the same way.

    We don’t have to offer you a platform [...], so you are now absolved of any responsibility to monitor us, attack us and point out our many, many flaws. We have partners who do that for us very well, thanks.

  41. tony collins,

    Tony, it gves me great pleasure (after all the times you have justifiably and correctly taken me to task for my ocassional rudeness), to point out that your last comment included some remarks contrary to our comments policy. I have amended accordingly

    :)

  42. Ah, I can see what you’ve done there Andy, and of course I defer to your judgement. However, I’d note that I wasn’t actually misusing the language there – I genuinely think it applies to Mr Proyect :D

    Stalinist.

  43. I suspect Martin Jacques is right to see China replacing the US in GDP more quickly than most commentators thought. It is also in striking distance of being reassessed an advanced country rather than a developing one. I have just returned from a month in Shanghai and Beijing. The scale of development is breathtaking. Shanghai is around four times the size of London, Beijing three times. Everywhere high rise developments are soaring and new roadways are being built. There are also significant problems. The country is developing in a hugely uneven manner. The issue of democracy isn’t a moral or abstract debate. You could sense the pressure points when the arbitrary nature of some central planning ran in the opposite direction to the priorities of development. There was a lot of talk of the princelings and their power and a lot of allegations of corruption. Some of the infrastructure was stunning (the high speed train from Beijing to Shanghai). Some was less so (the Beijing traffic, the internet speed, the functioning of the great firewall of China). I was also struck by people’s pride in being Chinese and the sense that they were shedding the sense of being the victims of brutal interventions. My last visit took me to Nanjing and the massacre memorial is both harrowing and moving. For anyone who overestimates the importance of Europe, out of nine hotels the BBC was available in only one. From that end of the telescope the arrogance and self-importance of UK politicians looked comically arrogant. I wouldn’t go along with many of the judgements on this blog, but there is no question that China is closer to eclipsing American power than many people think.

  44. Morning Star reader on said:

    Don’t be fooled by Prianikoff (50). It’s a rare photo of the Provisional International Secretariat of the Revolutionary Workers Struggle League For the Reconstruction of the Fourth International (Lambertist). They’ve got a few members in China, I understand.

  45. Morning Star reader: Don’t be fooled by Prianikoff (50). It’s a rare photo of the Provisional International Secretariat of the Revolutionary Workers Struggle League For the Reconstruction of the Fourth International (Lambertist). They’ve got a few members in China, I understand

    Dont’ be fooled by that devious obfuscator Morning Star reader. Pierre Lambert lives still in the corporeal form of the living dead Lionel Jospin.

  46. Jellytot on said:

    @49The country is developing in a hugely uneven manner.

    I’m pleased that you enjoyed your trip Alan and the scale of development in the big urban centres truly is breathtaking, however, the most interesting and educational part of my last trip there was a visit to a rural village in Hebei province to visit some of my wife’s relatives. The most stark sight (besides noticing the bound feet of the women born before 1949) was comparing the frankly grim looking photos of the village in the 1970′s and 1980′s to the modernisation programmes instigated in the last 20 years; paved roads and a modern medical centre being the most obvious. Many of the villagers I spoke to were in no doubt that the CPC, both at local and national level, were responsible for the development.

  47. #53 Reading your comment made me wonder if there is an up to date account of conditions in Long Bow village which featured in William Hinton’s classic account of the Chinese revolution as it affected a rural community, Fanshen.

    Or in fact if the place still exists as a village.

    Anyone know?

    #51 I sometimes wonder if the Fourth International (Posadist) ever got a response from the central committee of the CPC to their invitation in (I think) 1961 to become their Chinese section.

    And if so, was either the invitation or response the basis for the purported words of the Red Guard to Pu Yi towards the end of the Last Emperor?