Surging people’s protest in China


Inevitable consequence of ruthless oppression by a capitalist-imperialist regime after counter-revolution

China is in turmoil. Waves of protests across cities like Urumqi, Beijing, Shanghai, and Wuhan and across more than 100 Chinese universities had surged forth on 26 November last against strict Covid measures in China. Millions have been affected by nearly three years of mass testing, quarantines, and clamp lockdowns. Zero Covid policy has been proving too much for the people. They are not allowed to leave their homes; many are not getting the most essential items including food.
The present agitation has been sparked by a deadly fire incident at a multistoried building in Xinjiang that took away ten precious lives besides causing burn wounds to many others, as residents could not escape owing to locked entrances. Public protests of various dimensions had been staged by students from at least 79 universities across 15 provinces of China. Students’ frustration over the gloomy economic outlook and associated grim job prospects is evident. The agitators held blank white papers to express their discontent, sent a strong message of ‘‘enough is enough’’ to the government. Some have, however, gone as far as calling for President Xi Jinping to step down. One young woman protester was heard saying: ‘If we dare not speak out because we are afraid of being arrested, I think our people will be disappointed with us. As a student at Tsinghua University, I will regret it for the rest of my life!’ One protester in Shanghai told the media that it is the first time that such a large-scale dissent has burst forth in China. The government appears to have drastically underestimated the growing discontent towards the zero-Covid approach, a policy inextricably linked to President Xi who recently pledged there would be no swerving from it. Huge police force has been deployed and a rising number of arrests are being made. Even armoured tanks are rolling on the streets. But then, under pressure of movement, the Chinese authorities have been compelled to withdraw lockdown.

Is the dissent only against stringent Covid measures?
Apparently, the protests reflect the public fatigue and outrage against the stringent Covid -19 policy that has restricted the movements of people in the past three years. Yet, why did the Chinese people knowing full well the danger of resurgence of Covid 19, demand restoration of normal life? Because, for long, much before Covid 19 broke out, they have been in utter distress in every sphere of life. Rise in prices, job loss, unemployment, unfair labour practices, unbound misery in peasants’ life, growing poverty and inequality, spurt in crime and corruption, atrocities against women and all such malaises and aberrations have been the hallmark of capitalist China today. Chinese economic growth is slowing and like many other imperialist-capitalist countries, it is also in recession. When the Covid virus was first detected at Wuhan, known as the global industrial hub, the Chinese authorities did not take any preventive step.
Rather, it was criminal on their part to suppress the fact lest the foreign industries located in Wuhan as well as transportation of finished goods and other material to various countries from Wuhan port should come to a halt, inflicting a severe blow to Chinese capitalist economy. Such a despicable move of the Chinese authorities also exposed Chinese people to a great risk being infected with Covid virus. Afterwards, when it came to light that the pandemic was spreading fast in the country, the Chinese authorities did impose lockdown. In that lockdown, the sufferings of the workers, peasants and other sections of the people increased manifold. The lockdown gave the bulk of China’s population a bitter taste of fascist autocracy. In some cases, factory workers have been treated in a way that makes Oliver Twist’s trials look like a luxury holiday. So there has been accumulation of wrath and grievances against the policies of the Chinese government for quite some time. So, when the authorities again declared a lockdown, people burst forth in protest movement defying the coercive machinery of the state.

Can such people’s outburst be a mark of advancing socialism?
But can such people’s outburst be expected in socialism where people’s growing needs are met by a planned economy under dictatorship of the proletariat, standard of life is uplifted with passage of time and people happily give labour because they are imbued with ideal that labour creates civilization, and the working class historically has emerged as the vanguard of social progress by leading anti-capitalist revolution and consolidating socialism. No one appropriates others’ labour in socialism and the gap between the rich and poor goes on decreasing. In fact, after Chinese Revolution under the leadership of great Mao Zedong, a severely backward country, almost lurking in abject feudal darkness, began to flourish in every respect as if it was touched by a magic wand. People’s happiness and fondness for socialist reconstruction were vividly manifest on their brightened faces. One can have a gleaning of this golden era of socialist China in the famous works of the foreign journalists like Felix Greene, Edgar Snow, Mariatti and others who were flabbergasted to find how China, an opium-addict abjectly poor country, could turn so soon into a highly developed country with progress in every sphere of human development. This magical progress was possible because laws of socialism were operating there in a systematic way under the stewardship of great Mao Zedong.

Magnificent Cultural Revolution to stem counter-revolutionary rots
Mao Zedong, a great Marxist authority as he was, could sense that after usurpation of power by the revisionist Khrushchevite leadership in Soviet Union, the wheels of socialist progress were reversed there. Similar tendencies were germinating in China also. In fact, some erstwhile stalwarts of Chinese Communist Party (CPC) were degenerating fast to embrace revisionist thoughts. That indeed posed a danger before socialist China. Stressing on the necessity to intensify class struggle in socialism in order to protect it from counter-revolutionary attack and pave the way towards eventual attainment of classless communist society, great Lenin was categorical in his saying that ‘‘the transition from Capitalism to Communism represents an entire historical epoch. Until this Epoch has terminated, the exploiters invariably cherish the hope of restoration, and this hope is converted into attempts of restoration.’’… ‘‘The bourgeoisie, whose resistance is increased tenfold by its overthrow… the class struggle waged by overthrown Exploiters against victorious vanguard of the Exploited, i.e. the Proletariat, has become incomparably more bitter. And it cannot be otherwise in the case of revolution, unless the concept is replaced by reformist illusions.’’…‘‘…class struggle, which, after the overthrow of the rule of capital, after the destruction of the bourgeois state, after the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat, does not disappear, but only changes its form, becoming, in many respects, bitter.’’ (Lenin, Greetings to the Viennese Workers, Collected Works, Vol. 24, p. 31). Elaborating further, great Stalin also reiterated that ‘‘The more the socialist system and the socialist economy will be strengthened and consolidated, the more sharpened will be the class struggle.’’ (Problems of Leninism)
As their student, Mao Zedong had no hesitation in saying that ‘‘there are two ‘‘swords’’: one is Lenin and the other Stalin. The sword of Stalin has now been discarded by the Russians… We Chinese have not thrown it away… Unlike some people who have tried to defame and destroy Stalin, we are acting in accordance with objective reality.’’ He also warned about possibility of establishment of capitalism through counter-revolution if revisionist line was pursued, overtly or covertly by the capitalist-roaders if there was a slack in intensifying class struggle in the ideological-cultural spheres. In his words: ‘‘do classes exist in socialist countries? Does class struggle exist? We can now affirm that classes do exist in socialist countries and that class struggle undoubtedly exists….because of the existence of bourgeois remnants internationally, because the petit-bourgeoisie exists and continually generates a bourgeoisie, therefore the classes which have been overthrown within the country will continue to exist for a long time to come and may even attempt restoration… Otherwise a country like ours can still move towards its opposite. …If our children’s generation go in for revisionism and move towards their opposite, so that although they still nominally have socialism, it is in fact capitalism.’’ (Speech in 1962)
So, when he could make out that the counter-revolutionary forces were consolidating their strength and roping in even some leading persons of CPC as well as Chinese government, he launched the historic Cultural Revolution in 1966 involving not only the party but the entire masses of people with a view to preventing the danger of capitalist counter-revolution by intensifying class struggle in the realm of ideology and culture. Mao took a great risk by encouraging open polemics over ideological differences involving not only the party, government and state but the entire people and thereby deducing correct Marxist line and approach that was found to be eluding. It stirred not only the socialist China but the entire world. The tremendous drive and momentum and boundless wisdom of the working people manifested in the Cultural Revolution far exceeded the imagination of the revisionist-reformist leaders. Many including a host of so called leftists dumped criticism on Mao Zedong for this ‘adventurous’ step. But only one voice, that is of Comrade Shibdas Ghosh, Founder General Secretary of the SUCI(C) and an outstanding Marxist leader and thinker of the era, hailed this Cultural Revolution as magnificent. At the same time, as a fraternal party, he also drew attention to a few shortcomings of this Revolution in ideological and political fields with a view to strengthening Mao leadership and proletarian internationalism.

Capitalist-roaders reversed the process after Mao’s demise
Unfortunately, great Mao could not complete the entire process of Cultural Revolution as he passed away on 9 September 1976, a month after Comrade Shibdas Ghosh breathed his last. In absence of Mao Zedong, the weavers of counter-revolutionary intrigue like Deng Xiaoping, whom Mao termed capitalist-roader, later christened Chinese Khrushchev, rode to power with the backing of the counter-revolutionary and reactionary forces, both within and outside China. He began the reversal process under the garb of providing socialism ‘a human face’, openly advocated in favour of private capital and later even commenting that ‘‘It is glorious to be rich’’. He also said—‘‘It doesn’t matter whether a cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice’’ meaning that as long as the economy develops, it is immaterial whether laws of socialism or capitalism are followed. He thus openly contradicted Mao Zedong’s famous words—‘‘Politics in command’’—by which Mao wanted to emphasize that socialist rules must guide economic development, and any other path, if espoused for, would be suicidal.
But as the wrong line was adopted by Deng leadership, the inevitable tragedy did happen. As a culmination of cult of modern revisionism in economic, political, social and cultural spheres of the degenerated CPC and Chinese government who abandoned pursuance of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought, socialism was under grave threat. Capitalist-roader Deng leadership had floated a slogan of ‘‘Chinese style of socialism’’ in 1978 to camouflage augury of the process of establishing capitalism by dismantling socialism. Right to private property, private ownership of the means of production as well as right to profit had been restored. Commune system has been totally dismantled. Thus, private property in agriculture had been reintroduced by totally dismantling commune system and bringing in contract and lease systems. Special Economic Zones were set up as enclaves of unbridled loot and plunder for the imperialists. Stock markets were established, bourgeois consumerism and rotten cultural thoughts were being encouraged. The doors were opened to the capitalists for unrestricted entry in the CPC. Thousands of revolutionaries who were true followers of Mao Zedong thought were removed from the liberation army and the party. Simultaneously those expelled during great Cultural Revolution for anti-revolution and anti-party activities were rehabilitated in the party. Through all these steps, counter-revolution was completed under camouflage of socialist phrase mongering by allowing bourgeois liberalism to swamp the party as well as social-cultural-educational spheres of the country. Thus capitalism was established. Similarly, last vestiges of dictatorship of the proletariat had been wiped out and instead a one party bourgeois dictatorial rule, which is tantamount to fascist dictatorship, had come into force in China. Our Party after examining all the pros and cons and developments, came to the conclusion in 2004 that counter-revolution in China was complete.
And from then onwards, all features of dying capitalism, all the evils, malaises and aberrations of decadent moribund capitalism are writ large on the face of China which not merely remained a capitalist country but has become a formidable imperialist power. China Direct Investment Abroad (FDI or finance capital) expanded by US$ 40.2 billion in September 2022. China is reportedly reaching out to the world through the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’. This belt, in fact, is a fastening buckle of imperialist economic oppression. It is also making effort to create a sphere of influence of its own.
But to befool not only their own countrymen but the toiling masses of the entire world, the Chinse counter-revolutionary capitalist leadership still carry the signboard of communism. They also feign to respect Mao Zedong, because he is still held in high esteem by the Chinese people. Unfortunately, many pseudo-communists and some left-leaning parties and groups, both in our country as well as other countries, are also deceived by these cunning overtures and believe that socialism still persists in China. And this has come handy for the Western imperialists headed by US imperialism to propagate that what is happening in China marks the murky face of socialism.

Festering sores of capitalism are surfacing with all virulence
A cursory glance at some facts compiled from various media reports and surveys would be revealing about capitalism ruling in China. Deng leadership once was boasting of economic growth. But whose growth it was? Surely not of common people but of oligarchs like Jack Ma. The present Chinese leadership even claimed to have eradicated poverty in 2021. But that is a travesty of truth. Poverty is swelling. Between 80 and 90 percent of Chinese people are categorized as poor as per criterion prescribed by World Bank. When a peasant woman in a poor village north of the Yellow River in Shandong province was asked by a surveyor how often she had meat or eggs, ‘‘Never,’’ she said. Is her 14 year old daughter in school? ‘‘No.’’ Does her 8-year-old son have any toys? Her answer was, ‘‘None.’’ Almost 150.8 million Chinese people are malnourished. Why this swelling number of poor? Because like any other imperialist-capitalist country, the gap between the rich and the poor is growing fast. The richest 10 percent of China’s population owns nearly 70 percent of total household wealth. Since the 1990s, a good number of the bureaucrats belonging to the Party, which through rapid degeneration has become a typical bourgeois party with a ‘communist’ signboard, had started becoming capitalists by buying up the remnants of state owned enterprises for a song. And with this bourgeoisie in command, the production relation also assumed the labour-capital character which presupposes ruthless exploitation of labour by the capitalist owners of the means of production for maximization of profit. Chinese workers who had once experienced the boon of socialism under the leadership of great Mao Zedong, started facing abuses that include unpaid wages, wages below contract pay (after deduction of various fees, deposits, and ‘‘fines’’), unsafe working conditions, brutally long working hours, and involuntary confinement. Child labour is also pronounced in China today. In a documentary film titled China Blue, one could see employees of the blue jean factory working for pennies an hour, less than the minimum wage, and often forced to work overtime— even overnight—to meet shipping deadlines. Thus, it can be seen that the much-trumpetted growth of imperialist China was achieved on the backs of workers, particularly those migrating from inland provinces to special economic zones on the coast. These migrant workers face lower wages, longer hours, no access to social services or benefits, and open discrimination. This is just like the conditions for immigrant workers elsewhere.
Rising prices are making life more difficult for working people and dragging down their living standards. China’s consumer prices rose in September 2022 at their fastest pace in more than two years, reported the National Bureau of Statistics. China’s ‘‘factory gate’’ prices—a measure of what manufacturers charge wholesalers for products is growing at the fastest rate. Demand amongst consumers has weakened too for household goods, clothing, and food due to rising prices. Like all imperialist-capitalist powers, practice of artificially boosting demand through credit-driven economy is in operation in capitalist China.
Excessive taxation, local corruption and declining services are problems faced by many people in the Chinese countryside. The cost of food, fertilizer and seeds has risen so much that the earning of the farmers is dipping. Describing a remote village in Anhui Province, two reporters had written so a few years back: ‘‘This is a village of empty rooms, children left behind and frail grandparents who struggle to hold it all together. Most of the able-bodied adults have left the hamlet of rutted, muddy roads and drought-withered fields of corn. The parents have migrated to the big cities for work and their young children stay with grandparents, great-grandparents or any other relatives. Researchers estimate that at least 58 million—nearly a quarter of the nation’s children and almost a third of its rural children—are growing up without one or both of their parents. This is the harrowing spectacle of rural China.
Unemployment is soaring. In July 2022, the youth jobless rate hit a record of 19.9%. And, with 11.58 million students due to graduate into the job market next year, these students’ prospects are not looking bright.
In socialism, a strong programme involving the development of health services in towns and rural areas and emphasizing the growth of preventive healthcare, was put in place. Now in capitalist China, the supply and demand for health care is predicated on people’s ability to pay. As the majority of the health care facilities are historically based in towns and cities, this has produced a further skewing of resources towards those areas where incomes are greater, or where widespread insurance cover exists. Patients need to bear a sizeable part of the cost of prescribed drugs.
Despite all claims of expanding education, cost of education in China is becoming increasingly unfair to the poor. If one adds to the inequalities in buildings, books, and teachers, and the greater availability of private tutoring and extracurricular activities, the gulf between students in large cities and rural belts as well as small provinces is huge. By 1999 the number of private institutions had reached 1,270—outnumbered public institutions by three to four hundred. Enrollment in private educational institutions to over one million, giving China one of the largest private higher education sectors in the world.
News of slavery, torture, human trafficking, and children imprisoned in conditions ‘‘worse than dog kennels’’ has exploded like a bomb in China. Hundreds of millions have watched the shocking, heart-rending television footage of dazed, mistreated, half-starved slaves as they emerged from captivity. Corruption has been a central issue for public discussion. While the marriage between power and money is a growing concern, Present Chinese President Xi Jinping himself admitted in September last that corruption in the country remains severe and complicated. In 2021, around 5.03 million incidents of crime were recorded in China.
Beggars in China are reportedly seen in large numbers near tourist places and subway stations. Criminal gangs in the Guangdong industry hub of Dongguan have been enslaving large numbers of physically disabled children, and forcing them to work as beggars on the street. Likewise, prostitution has become a roaring trade. Flourishing prostitution. Prostitutes are found in five-star hotels, karaoke’s, entertainment centres, dance halls, boxing clubs, beauty parlours, hairdressers, barbershops, saunas, bathhouses, massage parlours, nightclubs and on the streets. In one survey, 10 percent of men admitted having paid for sex with a prostitute. By one count there are around 1 million full-time prostitutes in China and perhaps 8 to 10 million more that sometimes accept money and gifts for sex.

Precarious condition of women
Just after victory of people’s democratic revolution in China in 1949, women under the People’s Republic of China had gained constitutional rights equal to those of men as well as increased mobility and higher than ever social and economic status. They were aided by the banning of arranged marriages and concubinage and, in the mid-1950s, Chairman Mao, while commenting on a report about tripling of productivity in a village where it was decided to pay women the same number of ‘work points’ as men, declared that ‘women hold up half the sky.’ But that China has ceased to exist. Now, every 7.4 seconds, a woman in China faces domestic violence. About one in four women in China are said to have endured domestic abuse. It has been estimated that an average of more than 80,000 rape cases occur in China each year. In recent years, rape cases have represented about 15% of all criminal cases. Nearly 30 million Chinese children could have been victims of sexual assault, researchers say. Few cases ever make it to court because of social stigma and lack of awareness.
From what has been stated briefly above, it is evident that aberrations and malaises which are essential features of dying capitalism, have made deep inroads in imperialist China. Howsoever is the effort on the part of the Chinese authorities to hide the reality from the global people, the fire of discontent and dissent could not be doused. It bears recall that when the Tiananmen Square protests followed by brutal crackdown on the protesters took place in June 1989, our Party guided by Marxism-Leninism-Shibdas Ghosh Thought had categorically stated that ‘‘the incident came as a rude shock to the revolutionaries and progressive people of the world. The students’ agitation that had burst forth in Beijing and other places voiced many grievances accumulated in social life there, particularly the burning issues like inflation, price rise, corruption etc. which were the products of a long practice of revisionist policies pursued by the then Deng leadership.
It was not difficult to understand that the reactionary forces, both internal and external, were making use of the situation to carry through their design of counter-revolution by capturing political power and eventually overthrowing the socialist system of China’’. We had appealed to the whole Chinese party and people of China ‘‘to take concrete lessons from those painful happenings, have unshakable faith in Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought, launch vigorous struggle against revisionism and restore authority of the great leader Mao Zedong steadfastly adhering to the path of continued class struggle under the dictatorship of the proletariat which was the real guarantee of socialism in China’’. But hardly any heed was paid to that earlier.

People need to rise up again to bring back socialism
What socialism can really deliver had been amply demonstrated in Soviet Union under the stewardship of great Stalin and in China under great Mao Zedong. Now the people of both the countries are realizing what they have lost. So, the recent people’s outbursts throughout the length and breadth of China are thus not just against Covid 19 restrictions. Untold exploitation and growing sufferings have led people on the streets.
It is also a fact that the rulers of imperialist China at the initial stage of Covid 19 did not take positive steps to stop its spread, rather kept Wuhan open for world-wide business transactions in the imperialist interest. Now the rulers have been strangulating the country in the name of containing Covid 19. Added to this there are widespread agitations against capitalist onslaughts from all directions. The growing anger at the prolonged zero-Covid lockdowns has added to an undercurrent of unrest at deteriorating economic conditions which have led to growing unemployment and a waning belief among young people in Chinese Premier Xi Jinping’s nationalistic ‘‘China Dream’’—a euphemism for more and more economic and political concentration in the hands of the imperialist state as a mark of tightening grip of fascist autocracy. It is heartening to see the oppressed people of China rising against capitalist onslaught. What is needed is to channelize these movements along right track based on Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought as well as the teachings of Comrade Shibdas Ghosh who had further elaborated, developed, enriched this noble ideology and brought its understanding to a new height. Then and then only they in due course would be able to overthrow the present regime of capitalism in the country and bring back socialism thereby ending the nightmare they are having today.

(Source: Journal of Public Health Medicine 02-04-96, Foreign Affairs 2001, China Labour watch 22-08-01, Monthly Review–July-August 2004, Monthly Review November 2005, Socialistworld 06-07-07, The Guardian-22-07-2007, Xinhua 16-12-07, Red Lights: The Lives of Sex Workers in Postsocialist China by Tiantian Zheng , University of Minnesota Press, 2009, Freedom Socialist Party December bulletin 2013, China Insider-20-03-14, China Daily 20-03-14, The Chinese Health Care System, by Hai Fang, Peking University, April 2016,International Tag 31-10-18, South China Morning Post 11-05-19, 21-01-21, BBC 15-04-19, 28-02-21, 24-06-22, 26-11-22, 27-11-22, World Bank 01-04-22,, July 2022, Forbes 26-07-22, China story 19-09-22, CNBC-13-10-22, The Conversation 29-11-22, Global Times 01-12-22, July-September 2022)

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