The most significant component of Chinese Communist Party’s (CPC) Centenary Celebration held on July 1 2021 was the hour-long speech of Xi Jinping, the “core leader”, delivered to the crowd of thousands assembled in Tiananmen Square in a celebratory atmosphere. In his address Xi, as General Secretary of CPC standing ahead of its 25-member Politburo, President of China (the term-limit of which was removed through the 2018 Constitutional Amendment by NPC) and supreme leader of the Armed Forces, called on the members of the CPC to draw strength from the party's history and strive for “China's modernisation and national rejuvenation”. Among other things, the crucial highlights of Xi’s speech were an unequivocal praise of the model of “socialism with Chinese characteristics” (so assiduously brought up by CPC since the time of Deng Xiaoping in the post-Mao period) which according to him enabled “China to transform itself from a highly centralised planned economy to a socialist market economy brimming with vitality, and from a country that was largely isolated to one that is open to the outside world across the board”, “national rejuvenation” (a theme consistently upheld by Xi since his ascension in 2012) based on a “strong military” to “guarantee the security of the nation” as a “historical inevitability”, accomplishment of “the first centenary goal in 2021” of eliminating poverty, a task undertaken since the 2012 Congress (an already achieved goal during his tenure), a firm resolve to mobilise towards “the second centenary goal in 2049” (centenary of People’s Republic of China) by transforming it “into a great modern socialist country in all respects” based on a further “acceleration of the modernisation of national defence and the armed forces so as to achieve the target of “complete military modernisation” by 2035, and above all a warning to the rival powers that “no one should underestimate the resolve, the will, and the ability of the Chinese people to defend their national sovereignty and territorial integrity”.
Exactly one week before (i.e., on June 25) when rehearsals of the upcoming formal celebration were taking place in Beijing’s central Tiananmen Square which was barricaded and closed to the public, China's State Council Information Office had issued a white paper entitled "China's Political Party System: Cooperation and Consultation," elaborating on the distinctive characteristics and strengths of the country's political system, including a highlight on the advantages of the CPC's path in terms of confidence and governance ability. The white paper claimed the political system as the product of a combination of Marxist political party theory and China's reality, which is able to realize the universality of interest representation and guarantee the effectiveness of national governance. On the same day, at a press briefing on the white paper, vice minister of the United Front Work Department of CPC Central Committee Xu Yousheng said that China's achievements prove that China's political party system is the "best cat to catch mice" (revealingly echoing the famous quote from Deng Xiaoping when he initiated the process of “four modernisations”: "It doesn't matter whether a cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice." Further, while mentioning China's party system as a "great contribution of political civilization of mankind"), i.e., the most effective tool capable of accomplishing neoliberal development. Xu also stressed that “the world's political party system is diverse, and there is not and cannot be a universal model”. Meanwhile, global corporate media continue with their hate-campaigns on what they call the “disastrous political campaigns” in the early years of Communist rule on the one hand and, showering eulogy on China’s rise to “market reforms” during the neoliberal period that have created the world’s second-largest economy, with a superpower status rivalled only by the United States, on the other. At the same time, many self-professed communist parties which still uphold China as their role model, have extended their wholehearted greetings to CPC on this auspicious occasion. A typical example is that of the CPI (M), which has fully appreciated China’s success in dealing with the current political-economic issues counterpoising it to “International finance capital-led imperialist neoliberal globalisation showing its total bankruptcy in providing any solution”, as if China is resisting neoliberal-corporatisation.
A Brief History
The Communist Party of China (CPC) founded mainly by the initiatives of two revolutionaries, Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhao, with the help of the Far Eastern Bureau of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and Far Eastern Secretariat of the Communist International in July 1921 has turned 100 during the month of July 2021. Mao Zedong was among the 12 delegates who attended the founding meet held in Shanghai. During both the first phase of CPC from the 1920s to 1949 when Chinese Revolution was successfully completed liberating the country from feudalism and imperialism, and the second phase from 1949 to the 1970s during which the fulfilment of revolutionary and democratic tasks was proceeding, Mao Zedong was at the helm ideologically and politically guiding the Communist Party. Thus, during this long period spanning 1920s to 1970s, in spite of shifting trends of rightist obstruction and leftist deviation, Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought remained as the guiding ideology of CPC.
Chinese Revolution of 1949 that broke the imperialist hierarchy inherited from the colonial world order on the one hand, and demolished internal feudal bastion on the other, was an exceptional world historic event having no parallels. After 1949, China traversed a unique path of social, economic and cultural transformation that brought about unparalleled changes in people’s lives. Collectivisation of agriculture, ensuring people’s needs, raising production through appropriate scientific and technological intervention, overcoming malnutrition and illiteracy, integration of manual and mental work, construction of factories and workplaces near farms and schools, comprehensive expansion of health and education, etc., all under proper integration with the commune system, state-led advances in scientific research and higher-professional education, development of heavy industry and provision of a whole set of social and economic services, and in similar other fields, Chinese experience was unparalleled during the quarter century of socialist transformation that abruptly ended in the seventies. Committees of peasants and workers controlled their workplaces while peoples’ movements together with intellectuals undertook social and cultural requirements. One of the major roles of the army was aiding the people in their dwelling and workplaces. To be precise, the self-reliant commune system, ‘the iron rice bowl of socialism’ that China built up during the quarter century of socialist transformation ensured food, housing, health education and employment to all.
During this period of socialist construction, the CPC undertook many political interventions through social and cultural revolutions with a view to transform the relations of production, revolutionise the superstructure and expand democracy for the people exposing and dealing with bureaucratic tendencies in the Party. Revolutionary committees of party cadres at appropriate levels, technical experts and peoples’ communes were involved in this process. For instance, taking in to account the glaring issues involved in the accepted ‘mainstream development paradigm’ that came to be as conceptualised in the idea of “catching up with the West” that got recognition in Soviet Union, Mao brought out his revealing proposal on “On The Ten Major Relationships” in the 1950s such as: 1. The Relationship between heavy industry on the one hand and light industry and agriculture on the other; 2. The relationship between industry in the coastal regions and industry in the interior; 3. The relationship between economic construction and defence construction; 4. The relationship between the state, the units of production and the producers; 5. The relationship between central and local authorities; 6. The relationship between the Han nationality and the minority nationalities; 7. The relationship between party and non-party; 8. The relationship between revolution and counter-revolution; 9. The relationship between right and wrong; and 10. The relationship between China and other countries. Though rudimentary, the conceptualisation on “The Ten Major Relationships” put forward by Mao was capable of challenging the mainstream capitalist development paradigm and to deduce effective strategies for advancing along the road of transition to socialism.
And much before this, in 1950, to avoid a repetition of the mistakes in Soviet Union, Mao had raised the question of streamlining state apparatus and reducing military and administrative expenditures as fundamental prerequisites for achieving a “better financial and economic situation”. Mao was very critical of the manner in which peasants were “squeezed” in Soviet Union in the guise of industrialisation and development. At a time when peasant agriculture at a global level is confronting the biggest existential threat today as a result of the onslaught from corporate capital, the observation made by Mao 70 years ago on sustaining agriculture is relevant even now. And regarding the building up of people’s political power at the local level, Mao said: “ We must not follow the example of the Soviet Union in concentrating everything in the hands of the central authorities shackling the local authorities and denying them the right to independent action.” While appealing to the people to firmly reject the decadent bourgeois systems and ideologies of foreign countries, Mao pursued a dialectical approach of “learning the advanced sciences and technologies” and adopting whatever scientific from foreign countries. He opined: “Neither the indiscriminate rejection of everything foreign, whether scientific, technological or cultural, nor the indiscriminate imitation of everything foreign...has anything in common with the Marxist attitude…” – a perspective that Mao upheld even in CPC’s relation with the Comintern from the very beginning. However, though aware of the deviations in Soviet Union, the CPC led by Mao was always in the forefront of acknowledging the great achievements made by the first socialist country under Lenin and Stalin and was quick to defend Soviet Union against anti-communist propaganda by imperialist centres.
But with the ascendancy of Khrushchevian revisionism that, along with a vicious campaign against Stalin, put forward many prognoses such as “weakened imperialism”, “civilized imperialism”, “disappearance of colonialism” and theorised on “peaceful transition” from capitalism to socialism along with the apolitical prognosis of economic development as the principal task of national liberation movements abandoning class struggle against imperialism, etc., the socialist camp faced a grave setback. In this context, through its polemics against the Soviet leadership called Great Debate of the 1960s that laid down the General Line of the International Communist Movement, the CPC led by Mao Tsetung systematically exposed capitalist restoration in Soviet Union and put forward the general approach towards the neocolonial phase of imperialism. Situating neocolonialism as the new phase of imperialism which is a “more pernicious and sinister form of colonialism” led by US imperialism in the postwar period, the CPC went on characterising the revisionist Soviet leadership as “apologists of neocolonialism”, and explained how social imperialism (socialism in words and imperialism in deeds) converges with bourgeois ideology and practice. Meanwhile from 1956 onward, led by Liu Shao Chi, rightist trends with unilateral emphasis on “productive forces” came to the fore within CPC too, and in the inner-party struggle that followed often saw Mao holding a position of a minority within the Party even as he continued his effort for “an integration of the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism with the concrete practice of the Chinese revolution”.
It was in this context, and in view of the emerging internal and external threats, that Mao upholding mass line launched the Cultural Revolution to unleash the revolutionary democratic power of the politicised masses for carrying forward socialist advancement and thus to ward off a repetition of the capitalist restoration in China. Cultural Revolution that began in 1966, in brief, was a vigorous political struggle against the capitalist tendencies and bureaucratic corruption by raising the class consciousness of the people and revolutionalise the superstructure along with increase in production through transforming production relations. However, as already noted by Marxist-Leninists, struggle against rightist deviation led to the emergence of left sectarian tendencies including even intolerances committed on scholars and cultural activists. Taking advantage of the fierce inner-party struggle, rightist forces even penetrated into the armed forces curtailing people’s initiatives and mass movements. Meanwhile, Lin Biao, who was keeping a low profile after his military initiatives in the 1940s, came forward and took on a leading role in the late 1960s with his adventurist positions.
These domestic repercussions had their international ramifications too. The CPC’s formulation on neocolonialism and analysis of the the postwar phase of imperialism that unravelled the neocolonial strategy and tactics employed by both US imperialism and Soviet social imperialism which were inspiring to proletariat and oppressed peoples of the world, could not be carried forward in the proper perspective. The ascendancy of left sectarian line led by Lin Biao that interpreted “imperialism heading for total collapse and socialism advancing towards world-wide victory,” was a camouflaged acknowledgement of the prognosis of “weakened imperialism” already put forward by Khrushchevian revisionism in the 1950s. And the erroneous conceptualization of “Soviet social imperialism” as a bigger evil than American imperialism also got acceptance among the left adventurists at a global level. This approach including a host of retrograde moves had its concrete manifestation in July 1971 when Henry Kissinger made his secret visit to Beijing to prepare Richard Nixon’s head-of-state visit to China in February 1972. The “theory of three worlds” which Deng Xiaoping put forward at his UN General Assembly Speech on April 10, 1974 that suggested “Soviet social imperialism” as more dangerous than US imperialism that altogether disoriented both the task of the international proletariat and national liberation movements was the logical corollary of this rightist deviation garbed in sectarianism. With this, the whole understanding on neocolonialism evolved by CPC as part of its erstwhile critique of Soviet revisionism was also thrown into the dustbin. It was also helpful to US-led imperialism that was facing one of the biggest postwar crises during the early seventies to reorient the neocolonial accumulation process altogether throwing away the welfare mask and resorting to naked global plunder through embracing neoliberalism.
In the meanwhile, with the 10th Congress of CPC in 1973, the sectarian trend led by Lin Biao who “waved the red flag to defeat the red flag” being already fallen in 1971, the stage was set for the rehabilitation of the rightist Deng and his cohorts who had to face severe setbacks during the Cultural Revolution and against whom (the Liu-Deng team) Mao had been consistently carrying his ideological struggle since the 1940s. Taking advantage of the weaknesses of Cultural Revolution, Deng emerged powerful, and colluding with the centrist forces many of whom were elected to the 1973 Central Committee, it was relatively easy for him to mount a counterrevolutionary coup following the death of Mao in 1976, leading to the rehabilitation of all revisionist guards and ushering capitalist restoration in China. After consolidating the reins of power in his hands, from 1978 onward, “socialism with Chinese characteristics” was added to the core ideology of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought fundamentally altering the political-ideological line that CPC was pursuing since 1949.
China’s Capitalist Road
Much has already been written on China’s capitalist transformation during the post-Mao period and hence a detailed analysis is not intended here. Restoration of capitalism meant transformation of the People’s Republic into a state capitalist one led by a Party which transformed itself as bureaucratic bourgeois in character. Revolutionary literature of yester years including writings on Cultural Revolution as well as ideological thinking with a revolutionary orientation were censored and suppressed and many supporters of Mao were persecuted. Workers’ strike and critique of economic policies were dealt with based on the official diktat of “development as an absolute principle”. People’s communes that worked in harmony with state-owned enterprises (SOEs) across China were dismantled and all erstwhile guarantees to food, shelter, health, education and other basic needs were systematically taken away. Along with the catchword “it is glorious to get rich”, Deng’s, already noted oft-quoted dictum, "It doesn't matter whether a cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice," was widely popularised on accounted of its implicit depoliticising mission. As a corollary of this, at the international level, since the 1980s, China altogether abandoned the support and solidarity that PRC had been extending to revolutionary movements and national liberation struggles.
The Chinese political-economic developments since the adoption of the slogan “it is glorious to get rich” and announcement of the so called “four modernisations” have been dramatic. Throughout the 1980s the major focus of CPC and the Chinese regime was to lay the badly needed essential foundations for sustained expansion of capitalism. An effective initial move was the merger/integration of the bureaucratic state with private businesses and orienting state-owned banks toward liberally supporting private businesses. Along with this, from the very beginning, unlike neocolonially dependent countries like India, with its own capability to take independent political-economic decisions, the bureaucratic state of China could enter into various joint ventures between state-owned enterprises and foreign corporate capital and adapt itself to the most modern and state-of-the-art technologies on its own terms. Efforts were also initiated to transform the country as a low-cost export platform making use of China’s inexhaustible source of cheap labour and a number of special economic zones came in to being in many coastal regions of the country. The privatisation strategy got a relative shift since the 1990s, with more focus on FDI inflows. Taking advantage of the cheapest labour, liberal tax and environmental regulations, corporate MNCs and global consultancies quickly made China their favourite destination. This enabled China to become one of the major partners in the neoliberal international division of labour and integrate itself with global finance capital. In conformity with the inherent speculative character of corporate accumulation, real estate, financial markets and other money spinning businesses also flourished in China. To put in brief, thus, from the 1980s, Party-led bureaucratic state of China was transformed into an apparatus committed to safeguard the interests of corporate capital at the expense of workers, peasants and toiling people.
Thus by the turn of the 21st century, China’s bureaucratic state monopoly capitalists had succeeded in building up a number of Chinese monopolies exporting capital to almost a hundred countries (and to more than 125 countries as of 2021). As world’s low-cost production base, China has become successful in capturing proportionately greater share of commodity markets not only in Afro-Asian-Latin American dependent countries, but even in the US itself. At the same time, this Chinese integration with global market has coincided with the emergence of fast moving ‘frontier’ or new generation technologies including digitisation that were practically insignificant in the 20th century. And closely integrated with the bureaucratic state, many MNCs from China have become pioneers in economic innovation and technological application of these technologies to production at a maddening speed. Many Chinese conglomerations like “BAT” (Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent) have reportedly eclipsed or are at par with their US-based counterparts called “Silicon Six” (Google, Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Apple, Microsoft) both at economic and technological levels. In close integration with these digital giants China has become the leading country in pioneering digital currency initiatives that is capable of challenging the hegemony of US dollar as the international currency.
As a manifestation of the capitalist transformation and growth in the share of private sector in country’s GDP which now hovers around 70 percent, wealth concentration and inequality (and the concomitant corruption too) in China have risen to horrific levels often greater than that of the US. According to 2021 Hurun Global Rich List, during the last five years, China has added 490 billionaires (compared to 160 in the US) to be the first country in the world to have 1058 billionaires, more than the combined total of US, India and Germany. In view of this emerging trend, to achieve close integration of the bureaucratic state and corporate capital or the merger between political power and economy, the 16th Party Congress of CPC held in 2002 had resolved to formally extend party membership to corporate CEOs too (the process of inducting wealthy people into the party was initiated by Deng in 1978 itself). Consequently, within two decades, around half of the Chinese billionaires have become members of the higher committees and the proportion of millionaires and billionaires holding membership in the 92 million-member party today is very high compared to the general population.
No doubt, the socio-economic repercussions of the more than four decades of capitalist development are of unparalleled dimensions. One of its conspicuous outcomes has been the prevalence of what is called ‘uneven development’ on account of the abandonment of the principle of ‘walking on two legs’, an aspect highlighted by Mao in his speech on The Ten Major Relationships. Amidst the spectacular GDP over the last four decades, as is obvious, the self-sufficient and self-reliant communes were almost destroyed leading to horrific displacement of the people from agriculture and country-side and being forced to migrate to urban centres and special economic zones to be subjected to extreme forms of slave labour and super-exploitation. Despite the spectacular economic growth, unlike the western imperialist countries where only 2 percent of the working people is employed in agriculture, around 35 percent of the Chinese working people is still subsisting on agriculture whose contribution to GDP has dwindled to around 10 percent. On the other hand, in spite of the lowest wage rate which is the major attraction on the part of both foreign and domestic capital, the Chinese labour absorption rate in industry, similar to other countries, is relatively low. And the tertiary sector, though growing, is not capable enough to absorb the vast ‘reserve army’ of the unemployed. At the same time, speculation, real estate, financial swindles, etc. are flourishing in China and it is also not immune to the intensifying neoliberal crises as its economy is also interwoven with the global commodity and financial markets. All these are accentuating the contradiction between Chinese state monopoly capitalism on the one hand, and working class and broad masses of people on the other.
Imperialism with Chinese Characteristics
Obviously, “socialism with Chinese characteristics” is a convenient camouflage used by the “capitalist roaders” to cover-up the capitalist trajectory of China since the 1980s and its eventual transformation as a leading imperialist power, thereby claiming political legitimacy for hoodwinking not only the people of China but the working class and oppressed peoples of the world too. The same rhetoric of ‘socialism’ was effectively used to deal with the Tiananmen flare-up of the late eighties mainly led by liberal intellectuals, students and dissenting sections within the party who aspired political freedom commensurate with ‘market reforms’ and encouragement given to private capital. And for the western imperialists as well as for imperialist think-tanks and neoliberal ideologues the world over, China’s claim on socialism has become an ideological weapon in their anti-communist propaganda. Meanwhile, based on the laws of motion of capital in the imperialist era as elucidated by Lenin, bureaucratic state monopoly capitalism of Chinas strengthening itself from its growing integration with global market was transforming itself into imperialism. During the late 1990s, the reunification of Hong Kong (1997) and Macao (1999), both being nerve centres of global finance capital, gave further impetus to this process. China’s formal entry in 2001 into WTO, often characterised as the third neo-colonial pillar together with IMF and World Bank, extended it more manoeuvrability in imperialist market and finance capital. By the time of the world economic crisis of 2008, China had become the biggest commodity exporter and was on its way to become the largest capital exporter at par with the US. Along with its active participation in US-led neocolonial political-economic institutions, today, imperialist China is leading several institutions, groupings and initiatives such as Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), BRICS including New Development Bank (NDB), Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), etc., Despite its rhetoric on “socialism”, completely repudiating Marx’s perspective on military spending as “non-productive waste of part of the social product”, in tandem with its growing imperialist status, during 2000 and 2020 Chinese military spending galloped by 20 times reaching around $260 billion second to US. In the fields of war and space technologies including missiles, bombers, aircraft carriers, etc., Chinese advancement is at par with that of US.
Today, China’s capital export, transforming many countries such as Pakistan, Iran, Sri Lanka, etc., as heavily dependent on Chinese capital investment, crossing the borders of Asia, has penetrated to the entire African continent and parts of Europe, is now spreading even to Latin America. While Italy has become part of BRI, disregarding US diktats in NATO, both Germany and France have come forward for broad-based EU-China economic and trade relations. Relegating both US and EU imperialists to the background, Chinese imperialism with its advanced technologies have already become the biggest capital exporter to Africa including the establishment of military bases in countries like Djibouti. The decade since the 2008 World Economic and Financial Crisis followed by the Pandemic saw massive Chinese corporate capital penetration under the camouflage of “development aid” to ports, railroads, roads, pipelines and telecommunications. Quite logically, together with intense plunder of Africa’s precious natural resources and raw materials and super-exploitation of labour, this Chinese neocolonial penetration is also resulting in ruination of the peasantry, unemployment and mass poverty. CPC‘s “Made in China 2025” initiative that envisages a relative alteration from China’s role as a cheap-labour economy to a technology intensive producer and capital exporter also aims at grabbing a greater share in global capital market from its imperialist rivals, especially the US.
Western Notions of Capitalist/Imperialism versus China
A striking aspect to be noted here is that mechanical/western notions of class/property relations and corporate governance do not fit in with the privatisation/corporatisation process in China. The most crucial point is that China being an erstwhile socialist country was delinked from the postwar laws of motion or logic of finance capital during the quarter century from 1949 to mid-1970s. Hence it had the opportunity to evolve a fundamentally different and independent political-economic trajectory till its capitalist restoration in the post-Mao period. As such, rather than a stereo-typed or mechanical analysis that is incapable of unravelling China’s capitalist path and eventual transformation to imperialism, what requires is an analysis of Chinese capitalism/imperialism according to concrete conditions. Moreover, Chinese capitalist roaders and bureaucratic bourgeoisie have learned lessons from the altogether disintegration of the Party itself in Soviet Union. Therefore, since the beginning of its capitalist transformation effectively utilising the industrial and technological base already laid down during the socialist period, the party bureaucracy’s strict supervision was strictly enforced for unleashing the privatisation process, at all levels. Its handling of the Tiananmen unrest was also possible due to this. As such, to ensure constant and strict surveillance, party units or party cells are functioning in almost all business enterprises irrespective of domestic or foreign. Presence of appropriate party representative in the board meetings of companies is the accepted norm, and the decision to give party membership to corporate CEOs is connected with this. Even Walmart, world’s biggest US-based MNC which a few years back was having more than 70 percent of its procurement from China, and which never allowed even unions in its US stores, had to allow party cells in its Chinese stores. Thus there is no compromise on enforcing the bureaucratic-bourgeois state dictatorship on the unhindered corporatisation flourishing in China.
Under Xi Jinping this trend of bureaucratic streamlining of private corporate sector has strengthened further. For instance the high profile Jack Ma of Alibaba (whose e-commerce empire at one time was estimated as bigger than that of the US and EU combined) who until recently was the acclaimed “global face” of corporate China, has suddenly fallen from grace, and being dropped from public view, for the last eight months there is no information on him. Meanwhile, according to reports, the Chinese “regulators” have embarked on “rectification” on account of his outspokenness and public criticism of the bureaucratic financial regulations and reluctance to follow them. This has resulted in a sudden downturn in the fortunes of Ma and as reported shares of Alibaba have slumped around 30 percent since November 2020. Reports also mention on the warnings issued to more than a dozen technology companies to comply with financial regulations now supervised by the People's Bank of China.
However, this does not in any way construe to mean any reversal of the corporate wealth accumulation process in China that is proceeding at a fast pace. What took place has been a removal of the hurdles that stand in the way of an appropriate blending of China’s powerful bureaucratic state regime and private corporate capital that is successfully fulfilling the “success story” of Chinese imperialism. The latest addition of Xi Jinping Thought to the core ideology of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought is intended to accomplish this task. In fact, this new formulation is the antithesis of the ideological-political line pursued under Mao during 1949-76. In the meanwhile, presidential term-limit and so called ‘collective leadership’ that have been there were being taken away by Xi, which liberal analysts are interpreting as a move away from “Deng era” to “Mao era”. This makes little sense in the socialist direction since its aim is to promote an image of ‘socialism’ by appeasing the degenerated and depoliticised ‘left’ even as an all-out agenda of bureaucratisation, corporatisation and militarisation and, above all, an assertive role of Chinese imperialism at the global level are in store, which is evident from Xi’s speech, as noted in the Introduction of this article.
Some of Our Comrades who read the article: “China’s Concentration Camps for Uyghurs: In China’s Own Words” in the Liberation (organ of CPI (ML) Liberation) September issue, have asked, Has Liberation changed its stand on China? what is its present stand? Yes, as far as we know, its basic stand on China has not changed from its earlier stand “China is a puzzle”! Even its 2017 International Document state:” In our 9th Congress we had commented on China’s drift away from “any meaningful progress towards socialism,” and noted “the conspicuous absence of the essential emancipatory vision of a revolutionary social transformation – one that reduces social disparities and elevates the basic masses from a position of mere recipients of benefits from a state power standing above them, to one of real rulers of the land.” This situation continues without any change for the better; in fact disturbing reports from China suggest that living and working conditions of the people have further deteriorated, and suppression of their struggles has intensified. The 19th Congress of the CPC has not made any attempt at course-correction with regard to its handling of key issues such as working class and feminist protests, and nationality movements in the Tibet and Xinjiang regions. China’s treatment of its Muslim minority population is also a cause for concern. The growing extension of the surveillance state and the introduction of the ‘social credit’ system to rate the ‘trustworthiness’ of citizens clearly have dangerous implications for the rights and welfare of the people.
“China has made a visible break with its former policy of maintaining a low profile in terms of intervention in international affairs, increasing its foreign policy footprint in various parts of the world including a military base away from home. This assertiveness has been accompanied by the abolition of term limits on the presidency, opening up the possibility for the current President Xi Jingping to hold his position for an unlimited period. While this increased assertiveness augurs well as a potentially countervailing force against US hegemony towards a more multi-polar world, we must carefully observe and assess the implications of China’s increased foreign policy engagement in specific cases.
“BRICS never lived up to its potential to promote multi-polarity either against unilateral political domination by the US or the economic stranglehold of IMF-World Bank-WTO. Even within BRICS there is very little development of economic cooperation among the member countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa). ….” It amounts to saying, China is a socialist state, but with many shortcomings! It is almost a repetition of its stand on Soviet Union taken by its 4th Party Congress in 1987 after abandoning the CPI(ML) 8th Congress stand that it has transformed in to a social imperialist state, ‘preaching socialism, but practicing capitalism’. In effect, it took the stand that Soviet Union continues to be a socialist state, and upheld Gorbachov’s Glassnost and Perestroika as an effort to strengthen its socialist base and to democratize the superstructure! It was a stand similar to that of CPI(M). Its leadership explained: “As we pointed out in our Fourth Party Congress held in 1987, our mistakes did not lie in criticising the essential degeneration of socialism during the Brezhnevian period in Soviet Russia but in altogether negating the possibilities of change from within the Party and the system themselves.
“We, however, continued to criticise the superpower status of the Soviet Union and pinpointed Gorbachev’s policy of painting imperialism in rosy colours… However, we must continue to have a positive evaluation of glasnost and perestroika in the Soviet Union, and support the Soviet Union’s measures directed towards disarmament and world peace.”
But just one year after this evaluation, when the East European peoples democracies started taking open capitalist positions after throwing out the communist party governments and in 1991 Soviet Union itself disintegrated in to open capitalist states, abandoning their pseudo-socialist phrase-mongering, the Liberation leadership had to come out with the following justification: “…To defend the socialist Soviet Union from imperialist aggression a huge nuclear arsenal was built up. Achieving military parity with the USA, and even surpassing it, had become the sole motto of the socialist state… Socialist democracy was given the go by, no dissidence of any sort was tolerated and, in return, people were served the illusions of ‘developed socialism’, ‘primary stage of communism’ and of a superpower syndrome often reminiscent of the great Russian chauvinism. Under cover of all this, a communist party and a regime grew which was detached from the masses and was corrupt and degenerate.
“The socialist economic base could not sustain this superpower structure for long and the Soviet Union was already sitting on a volcano by the middle of the ’80s. Gorbachev initiated reforms to salvage the situation, but it was already too late. His perestroika and glasnost brought far-reaching changes in Eastern Europe, kindled national aspirations within Soviet Union and unleashed a host of social forces within the Soviet society and soon a pole emerged around Yeltsin demanding full-fledged restoration of capitalism”. Even after committing such a serious mistake by deviating from the evaluation of the developments taking place in these countries by the CPI(ML)’s 8th Congress, Liberation continued its confused stand towards China. In continuation to the inner party struggle during Mao’s time, when the capitalist roaders led by Deng Tsiaoping usurped power through a military coup following Mao’s death in 1976, and started capitalist transforming China to an imperialist power by launching Four Modernizations in 1978, though by 1985 almost all the Marxist-Leninist forces all over the world recognized this fact and started calling it a social imperialist state. Still Liberation and a section of the UCCRI(ML) led by DV Rao, continued to evaluate it as socialist country like CPI and CPI(M)! Throwing away Mao’s teaching, “Grasp Revolution, Promote Production”, even when the Dengists started demolishing everything that was done for socialist transition during Mao’s time, the People’s Communes, the self-reliant development based on providing food, housing, healthcare, education and employment to all as top priority, ecological protection, the Cultural Revolution launched for transforming the decadent feudal, capitalist thinking, which will destroy the socialist base being constructed, to socialist thinking, creating new renaissance, socio-cultural-egalitarian values, and resorted to extraction of surplus value from workers at unprecedented levels to provide cheapest labour to attract the leading MNCs in the world to invest in China for producing cheapest possible manufactured goods in order to capture the world market, to intensifying the inter-imperialist contradiction with US imperialism for world hegemony, to border conflicts with neighbouring countries instead of taking initiative to resolve them peacefully, even if the other side reacted antagonistically, upholding the spirit of proletarian internationalism, to arrogant stands aggravating the standoff in South China sea, on the border with India and in numerous other issues like suppressing the national and religious minorities, the Liberation leadership did not think it necessary to change its evaluation of China.
But, it is quite natural that questions are asked if abruptly it comes out with such a strong criticism against China for its suppression of the Muslim minorities in Urghur, without changing its evaluation of China still. It is quite clear that it is not Marxist-Leninist compulsions which are leading them to it. Then, why do they come out with such an article on Uyghur suppression, even when it is not ready for criticizing it for abandoning the socialist path and embracing the capitalist path, which is the basic reason for all these basic deviations? But the reason is very clear. It is afraid of changing its opportunist evaluation of China taken during the time of its former general secretary!
But, at the same time it knows very well that what is China doing to Muslim minorities in Uyghur and nearby regions cannot be pushed under the carpet by saying these are all Xenophobic propaganda of the US and its friends. So, even China is forced to come out with a White Paper accepting some of these criticisms, justifying them as a process of “re-education’! Re-education at such a huge level, organizing massive concentration camps! Its own cadres from the minorities and its Muslim supporters will naturally ask: how can you still support China and call it socialist when it is resorting to such fascist suppression of Uyghur people? Its opportunist line of supporting China which is suppressing the Muslims will have adverse impact among the minority voters in the coming Bihar elections where it has heavy stakes.
Already many of its cadres and followers are leaving it for taking the opportunist line of claiming to uphold Naxalbari Uprising and Charu Majumdar and at the same time joining the CPI(M) Left Front, rejecting the fact that Naxalbari Uprising took place and CPI(ML) was formed as a result of the fierce ideological struggle against revisionist CPI and neo-revisionist CPI(M), who had abandoned the path of revolution and embraced parliamentary cretinism and apologists of neo-colonialism? So, while continuing with opportunist justifications for calling China still socialist, it has come out with a strong criticism of Chinese actions in organizing concentration camps for Uyghurs to save the situation, with the following justification: “In fact, it is important that if rightwing discourse is attacking China, a consistent Left must assess and critique China’s policies from a firmly Marxist vantage point. Even at the height of the Cold War, the CPIML made its own independent assessments and critiques of the Soviet Union from a Marxist perspective, rather than taking stances based on Cold War camps. The CPIML also opposed the Tiananmen Square massacre”!
But such justifications will not convince comrades who are familiar with the opportunist line it pursued compromising earlier with Soviet social imperialism, and now with Chinese social imperialism, and the degeneration of Liberation from the Communist Revolutionary camp to the camp of social democrats by fighting against whom the Naxalbari Uprising took place. They can easily see through the hollowness of this article, which we are reproducing below fully, which is highly critical of China for its suppressive policy towards the minorities in general and against the Uyghurs in particular, throwing millions of them in to concentration camps. n
China’s Concentration Camps for Uyghurs:
In China’s Own Words
(Reproduced from Liberation, September 2020)
In the past few years, there are increasingly disturbing reports about China’s internment camps for Uyghurs in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region of China. There have been many credible academic studies as well as journalistic reports documenting the systemic incarceration of an entire nationality/ethnicity, in the name of a “war on terror.” China, and Chinese media, have claimed that these reports are distortions by the “western media” and “western nations” interested in discrediting China.
Information on the issue tends to be from ideologically polarised sources. So, like so many issues in today’s world, there is a tendency to take positions based on ideological camps rather than facts. Every report in the BBC, New York Times or Washington Post can be dismissed as “fake news” and “Western propaganda”, while likewise any report from Xinhua or Global Times can be called “Chinese propaganda”.
How should we, on the communist, Marxist Leninist Left in India and the world, view the matter? Marxists have to look at any matter from the perspective of facts and the highest principles of the rights of people and of oppressed communities. No one should choose to believe or disbelieve facts, or support or oppose oppression, based on “camps” in the global world order. There is no doubt that the US and its allies have vested interests in isolating China; and also in spreading a variety of racially motivated Sinophobic material, which has many takers in India. But that cannot mean that those who are firmly opposed to any such US/NATO agenda, make no independent assessment/criticism of China’s policies and its treatment of dissenters, minorities and oppressed nationalities. In fact, it is important that if rightwing discourse is attacking China, a consistent Left must assess and critique China’s policies from a firmly Marxist vantage point. Even at the height of the Cold War, the CPIML made its own independent assessments and critiques of the Soviet Union from a Marxist perspective, rather than taking stances based on Cold War camps. The CPIML also opposed the Tiananmen Square massacre. We pointed out that facts simply did not support the claim that the protesting students were all part of a rightwing pro capitalist plot, and that regardless, nothing could justify the massacre of protesting students. In August 2009, Liberation carried a piece by Arindam Sen titled ‘Mao Zedong Thought and Ethnic Clashes in Xinjiang’, outlining the Chinese State’s divergence from Mao’s “emphasis on opposing Han chauvinism” in dealing with contradictions with minority nationalities.
On the current situation of the Uyghurs in China, Liberation attempts to separate the wheat from the chaff, by closely and critically reading China’s own official public White Paper on their Uyghur policy; and their official responses to leaked documents and other reports in various news outlets. We scrutinise these official positions and responses of the Chinese state and ruling regime, to see if they match up to the principles of upholding the rights of people and oppressed communities that we on the Left demand from any regime. So, does China’s policy towards the Uyghur people stand up to such scrutiny?
China’s 2019 White Paper on Uyghurs
After a period of denying all reports of the existence of internment camps for Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region, China changed course, and decided not only to admit the existence of the camps but to justify and even boast of these camps as a successful model of fighting “terrorism.” In March 2019, The State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China published a white paper titled “The Fight Against Terrorism and Extremism and Human Rights Protection in Xinjiang”. This position paper can be accessed on the official website of the Chinese Government.
This paper begins with a long discourse on “terrorism”, and stating that since the 1990s, and especially in the wake of the September 9/11 terror attack in the US, separatist forces aiming to establish Xinjiang as “East Turkestan” separate from China, have been indulging in terrorist activities there. The paper cites several of these instances.
Marxist Leninist principles demand that we try to identify and address the material and political basis for militancy, rather than blaming it on “outside” forces or on “religious extremists.” For instance, we remind our fellow Indians that the Indian State cannot be allowed to get away with the claim that militancy in the Kashmir Valley is a product purely of Pakistani interference or “Islamic extremism”. There are genuine political grievances that the Kashmiri people have: and militancy is primarily a product of the refusal of the Indian State to admit or address those grievances. For militancy in Kashmir, Manipur, or Nagaland, there are historical and political grievances at root, compounded by Indian State’s brutal and repressive policy of treating entire communities in these regions as potentially “terrorist”. The Chinese Government’s paper on Uyghurs does exactly the same as what the Indian State does: blame militancy on “outside interference” and “religious extremists”. Our August 2009 piece analysed the issued underlying Uyghur resentment and alienation. Why does the Chinese state not reflect on their own failings in addressing the root political issues, and failure to win the confidence and support of the people in the Xinjiang province?
It is also interesting that while the Chinese State blames all criticism of its Uyghur policy on “Western capitalist propaganda”, its own policy document echoes the US, NATO “War on Terror” propaganda and policy (a fountainhead of Islamophobic state sponsored violence), complete with the invocation of 9/11 as a watershed moment.
Policing a Community In The Name of “Preventing” Crime
Across the world, from Black communities in the US to India’s policy in Kashmir, Manipur, Nagaland, and Bastar, repressive states have labelled entire communities as prone to “crime” or “terror”, to justify intrusive surveillance and state terror against people of those communities, based on their identity not on crimes committed by them. “Salwa Judum” in Bastar is one instance, where the Indian State justified acting to displace and imprison entire adivasi villages, in the name of “preventing Maoist terror”.
The White Paper makes it clear that the Chinese State does much the same: treating the entire Uyghur population as prone to religious extremism and terrorism, and justifying mass incarceration of Uyghurs in “re-education camps” in the name of “preventing” terrorism.
A UAPA on Steroids
So what is the legal basis for the Chinese State to send vast numbers of Uyghur people to such camps? What is the legal basis for judging that an Uyghur individual is in need of “reeducation”? The Counterterrorism Law of the People’s Republic of China attempts to cover its own back by stating that no one should be targeted on the basic of any specific religion or ethnic identity. But this is how the Government White Paper describes the scope of the law under which persons can be sent by “people’s courts” to the “deradicalisation” centres: “In the course of counterterrorism and de-radicalization, the local government forbids any organization or individual from using religion to split the country, spread religious extremism, incite ethnic hatred, undermine ethnic unity, disturb social order, harm citizens’ physical or mental health, hinder the implementation of the country’s administrative, judicial, educational and cultural systems, or harm national security, national interests, public interests and civil rights and interests. It prevents ill-intentioned people from using religion or religious activities to create disorder or commit crimes.”
Nearly every word in this paragraph is vague and open to arbitrary and subjective interpretation by the State. For instance, there is no clarity on how the law distinguishes spreading religious faith from “spreading religious extremism.” If a religious preacher advocates abstaining from alcohol, for example, is he spreading faith or extremism? If an Uyghur person speaks about Han Chinese majoritarian domination, or imposition of the Mandarin language, is he or she guilty of “undermining ethnic unity” or “disturbing the social order”? If an Uyghur person wears a beard, or observe a fast during Ramzan, are they hindering “implementation of the country’s cultural systems”? How does the State distinguish “ill-intentioned people” from “well-intentioned” ones?
All in all, the Counterterrorism Law of the People’s Republic of China is like India’s draconian UAPA (or its predecessors POTA and TADA) on steroids: a handy tool which empowers the State to surveil and criminalise the most innocent and ordinary of actions, especially if the said actions are committed by a religious minority or ideological dissenter.
Imposition of Mandarin Chinese Language
As Indians, we are acutely aware of the sensitivities and sensibilities of various nationalities and ethnicities regarding language. We are also aware of how India’s fascists seek to impose homogeneity in the name of “Hindi” linguistic and “Hindu” religious supremacy. India has witnessed and continues to witness mass protests — in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Assam, Karnataka, for example — against the imposition of Hindi.
Likewise, for the Uyghurs and other minority ethnicities in the Xinjiang region, language is a key, precious and sensitive part of their identity. Imposition of Mandarin Chinese (the language of the Han Chinese that constitute the majority in China) is resented, and seen, understandably as an attempt to erase Uyghur culture and identity.
The White Paper repeatedly states that the Xinjiang people’s weak command over the Mandarin Chinese language makes them less capable of telling right from wrong, illegal from legal. The vocabulary of the White Paper implies that the Uyghur people are uncivilised and childlike: and need to be civilised by being taught Mandarin Chinese and the rule of law.
The White Paper is peppered by a disturbing number of references to how “rural residents in Xinjiang” have a tendency to become criminals because they “are weak in the use of standard spoken and written Chinese language, slow in acquiring modern knowledge, and have poor communication skills”, and thus “such people are more inclined to be incited or coerced into criminality by terrorist and extremist forces.” Perhaps what is most disturbing about reading this White Paper is that it is a document China has made available in the public domain. The Chinese State feels no qualms or hesitation about declaring such racist stereotypes as its official policy! This policy terming the speakers of ethnic minorities’ own languages as “slow”, non “modern”, and “poor in communication skills”, and therefore prone to crime, is reminiscent of the Criminal Tribes Act in colonial India. Reading these passages, there is no doubt that the Chinese State’s official policy seeks to humiliate and criminalise the language, culture, and entire communities of Uyghur people.
Note: Chinese State policy openly sees knowledge of Mandarin Chinese as a test of patriotism. To put this in perspective: If the Modi regime were, in an official policy document, to declare knowledge of Hindi to be a test of patriotism, (and conversely, a lack of knowledge of Hindi as a proof of lack of intelligence and criminal/terrorist potential) it would easily be recognised and resisted as a fascist policy of enforced homegenisation.
Mass Displacement/Forced Labour?
The White Paper refers repeatedly to “transfer employment” as a job policy for the Xinjiang region: it speaks of “implementing the plan of transfer employment for 100,000 laborers in southern Xinjiang in three years (2018-2020)”; “having realized the transfer employment of 75,000 people”; and “transferring 8.305 million surplus rural labourers for employment in Xinjiang from 2016 to 2018.” What exactly does “transfer employment” mean? Do the labourers have any choice in the matter of where they choose to work, and whether or not they would like to “transfer”? There have been reports of China relocating thousands of Uighurs from Xinjiang in western China to factories across the country where they work “under conditions that strongly suggest forced labour,” producing for a variety of global brands including Apple, Nike, Amazon, Samsung, Zara, H&M, Microsoft, Mercedes-Benz, and Uniqlo.
Is this policy of “transfer employment” forced labour? This question can only be decided by the Uighur workers themselves, if they could answer in an environment free of fear of loss of liberty. All we can say, based on the official documents and statements of the Chinese State, is that such an environment certainly does not exist.
Does China Deny The Authenticity of Leaked Documents?
Now, we come to the documents leaked, reportedly by someone from within the Chinese regime, to the New York Times newspaper in November 2019.
The first thing we at Liberation did was to check whether China questioned the authenticity of the documents. The answer is: No.
A report titled “Western media report on Xinjiang lacks morality”, the Global Times (the international version of the Chinese Community Party’s People’s Daily newspaper) dated 17 November 2019, wrote that “The New York Times disclosed more than 400 pages of “leaked files” from Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and maliciously attacked China’s governance in Xinjiang.” The use of the word “disclosed” suggests that the Chinese State and CPC are not denying the authenticity of the documents.
The same report merely blames the critical analysis of the said documents by the NYT, on “Western public opinion used their value system to criticize the vocational education and training centers in Xinjiang.”
This very notion of a “Western value system” which is distinct from an Eastern one is a racist and colonial trope, embraced and regurgitated by rightwing ideologues in both the supposed “East” and “West”. The Indian far right, for instance, denounces Marxism and communism itself as a “Western value system”.
The report, after claiming that Xinjiang cities are now free of terror and crime, asks a question: “How many people in the world will oppose such changes in their own cities and prefer to live in a so-called democratic and free society where extremism prevails and terrorism is rampant?” Repressive regimes across the world (including that of India in Kashmir) justify restrictions on liberties and democracy as a necessary sacrifice in exchange for “safety”, “welfare” and “development”. We may recall the Right to Privacy verdict in India which rightly observed that “The refrain that the poor need no civil and political rights and are concerned only with economic well-being has been utilised though history to wreak the most egregious violations of human rights. Above all, it must be realised that it is the right to question, the right to scrutinize and the right to dissent which enables an informed citizenry to scrutinize the actions of government.”
In the voice of the Global Times, the Chinese State effectively admits that Xinjiang under their rule is neither democratic nor free. But if you hold democracy and freedom to be vital components of any substantive safety, welfare, and development, the Chinese State dismisses you as being an advocate of a “Western value system”!
Note that the Chinese State does not claim to be upholding a socialist value system as opposed to a capitalist or imperialist one. That is a relief, since any socialist value system should by definition have higher standards of democracy, human rights, freedom, and civil liberties than the ones held by bourgeois capitalist democracies.
The Thought Police
The leaked documents read as though they are pages from a dystopian novel like Orwell’s 1984.
Students returning to Xinjiang from campuses in other parts of China for summer holidays are dismayed to find their parents, grandparents, or other relatives missing. The documents lay down instructions and a detailed Question and Answer script for local government officials, explaining the protocol for responding to the students’ anguished questions.
The first thing that strikes one, is that the documents repeatedly refer to the camps as “concentrated education and training school students”. Naturally, this is a translation from Chinese into English: but China has not claimed there is anything wrong with the translation. So, it seems clear that China in its internal documents effectively admits to holding Uyghur people in “concentration camps”.
The Q&A script makes it very clear that the persons are being detained in camps without having committed any crime at all. For instance, in reply to the question “Did they commit a crime? Will they be convicted?”, the scripted reply is: “They haven’t committed a crime and won’t be convicted.”
But the script repeatedly uses the dehumanising language of lack of “health”, “infection”, “virus”, “disease” and “malignant tumour” to describe the condition of the incarcerated Uyghur persons: “It is just that their thinking has been infected by unhealthy thoughts, and if they don’t quickly receive education and correction, they’ll become a major active threat to society and to your family. It’s very hard to totally eradicate viruses in thinking in just a short time. It needs to be dealt with like detox for drug addicts.”
The script warns the students that their own conduct can affect the amount of time for which their relatives are detained: “family members, including you, must abide by the state’s laws and rules, and not believe or spread rumors, and take an active part in collective life. Only then can you add points for your family member, and after a period of assessment they can leave the school if they meet course completion standards.”
The script also indicates that the camps are no less than prisons. In reply to the question “Can my family members ask for leave to visit me?”, the script offers the reply: “This is strict, regulated and concentrated training behind closed doors....In general, leave won’t be granted while they’re in training and study. If you want to see your family member, we can arrange for you to see them through video.”
The documents also prescribe strict surveillance and censorship of the students and their social media posts, and “direct thought guidance” to indoctrinate these students, warning that “Returning students from other parts of China have widespread social ties across the entire country. The moment they issue incorrect opinions on WeChat, Weibo and other social media platforms, the impact is widespread and difficult to eradicate.” It is clear from this that the Chinese State is the Thought Police which decides which opinions are “incorrect”, and which openly and unashamedly claims the authority to tell students what to think.
The documents’ claims that they are providing “jobs” and “vocational training” to improve the lives of the incarcerated persons is undermined by the fact that many detainees had careers as scholars, civil servants and entertainers, and are being detained as punishment for their “incorrect thoughts”.
“He refused to round up everyone who should be rounded up”. The documents leaked to NYT revealed that in August 2016, a hard-liner named Chen was transferred from Tibet to govern Xinjiang. Chen issued an order to “Round up everyone who should be rounded up.” This vague order made it clear that the criteria for being “rounded up” were entirely arbitrary. One official Wang, who ordered the release of more than 7,000 camp inmates, was punished by being “detained, stripped of power and prosecuted.” His confession, in which he wrote (presumably under duress) that “Without approval and on my own initiative, I broke the rules,” was publicly read out to officials in Xinjiang. But the real reason for his punishment was hidden in a secret internal report which was among the leaked documents. The report said that “He refused to round up everyone who should be rounded up”: a phrase that could have come straight from the pen of Orwell. (The New York Times article on the leaked documents can be read in Indian Express)
Islamophobia and Double Standards
Remember when Trump instituted the “Muslim Ban”, banning immigrants or refugees from certain Muslim majority countries, associating those countries with terrorism? That policy was rightly protested for its Islamophobia and racism. The Chinese State’s documents display a similar Islamophobia. The Q&A script cites a question frequently asked by students about their incarcerated relatives: why were Xinjiang residents being detained in camps for travelling to two dozen Muslim majority countries (including Turkey and Saudi Arabia) using passports issued by the Chinese State? The reply: “Because they have visited countries where religious extremism is very serious and they may have come under its influence, the dangers are immense as soon as the buds of religious extremism appear. That’s why it’s really necessary to put them through legal-system education and patriotic education after they return.” The Global Times report cited above states that some areas in southern Xinjiang are sensitive to chaos and terror because they “are bordered by Pakistan and Afghanistan.”
The double standards and hypocrisy of the US when it comes to attacking China on the question of Islamophobia, civil rights, racism, and detention/ internment camps is obvious. But the hypocrisy and double standards of countries like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey in supporting China’s Uyghur policy are also glaringly obvious.
Among the more than 50 countries that have signed onto a letter endorsing Chinese “governance” in Xinjiang, are the same Pakistan and Saudi Arabia that Chinese State documents associate with terror and religious extremism. So, Uyghur persons are persecuted for visiting Pakistan and Saudi Arabia: yet Pakistan and Saudi Arabia support this persecution. Turkey under Erdogan is busy repatriating Uyghur refugees to China to face certain imprisonment and possible death, using the underhand means of first allowing them to be extradited to a third country. Pakistan and Turkey are very loud on the violation of human rights of the people of Kashmir by the Indian State. Why are they silent and complicit in the violation of human rights of the Uyghur people by the Chinese State?
We do not have to look further than China’s own documents and its own propaganda organs to recognise that the Chinese State is holding vast numbers of Uyghurs in concentration camps, subjecting the entire Uyghur community both inside and outside the camps to forced indoctrination, surveillance and censorship, and attempting to erase the identity and culture of the Uyghur people. China has been touting its Xinjiang model as a successful model of “counterterrorism” which the world should adopt. Certainly, Narendra Modi and his fascist regime in India, would be happy to adopt China’s Xinjiang model for Kashmir, and for minorities and dissenters in the whole of India, lock, stock, and
The present rulers of China have turned this former socialist country to an imperialist country colluding and contending with US imperialism for world hegemony. They are trying to reduce Mao to just an icon appearing in the currency only. But, they or anyone else cannot obliterate his great contributions to lead the people of this very feudal semi-colony to successful completion of the democratic revolution and many steps towards the socialist transformation, applying the tenets of Marxism-Leninism according to the concrete conditions of China. During those tumultuous days, when capitalist roaders had already succeeded to usurp power in Soviet Union, Mao repeatedly pointed out to the comrades that if making revolution and capturing political power is a one kilometre march, continuing socialist transformation and serving the world revolution by throwing out the imperialist system and all hues of its lackeys is like a thousand kilometres march!
During the peak of the Cultural Revolution, when the struggle against the capitalist roaders within the party could succeed at least up to removing them from their positions of power, as the Lin Biao line which was left in form, but right in essence, emerged and strengthened with the support of the armed forces, Mao had even talked about “going back to Chinkang Mountains once again” in 1967 to continue the struggle against all hues of capitalist roaders. He explained the importance of the cultural revolution, the importance of the struggle at the realm of ideas and culture, as an essential part of class struggle, more so after the capture of political power, as the defeated forces shall be trying hard to return to power more ferociously by usurping the leadership of the communist party itself through the capitalist roaders within the party and turning it in to an instrument of counter-revolution,
It is the greatness of Mao that, though he did not go to Chinkang Mountains as he had contemplated once, he continued the struggle against the left sectarian, and then the centrist forces and again against the capitalist roaders mobilizing the revolutionary forces, continuing the class struggle against all alien lines. In 1976 beginning, he led his last struggle exposing Deng Tsiaoping and his followers who tried to usurp power using the uncertainty created following the death of Prime Minister Chou Enlai, and once again threw out Deng from all positions of power. But, by this time the capitalist roaders’ influence inside the party, army and administration had increased considerably, and soon after Mao’s death they usurped power eliminating or suppressing the socialist roaders.
Presently, even after the international communist movement has suffered very severe setbacks, many among the communist parties or groups refused to learn from Mao who continued the class struggle till his last days, in spite of getting reduced to minority from the 8th Congress in 1956 itself, and even when he was seriously sick during the last years. He once asked the comrades: you are making revolution and still you do not know where revisionists are! He continued: they are right inside the party! All through his life while applying Marxism-Leninism according to the concrete conditions of China and giving valuable contributions during that process, he had uncompromisingly struggled against both right and left deviations consistently. Let us learn from Mao and advance our revolutionary work according to the concrete international and Indian situation today. That is the best way of remembering him!