China

Hong Kong: Tactics are up for debate

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Last month we spoke to Hong Kong revolutionary socialist Lam Chi Leung about the mass movement. Following events in the past month, as well as reponses from readers, we caught up with him again.

How is the mood in Hong Kong since Carrie Lam announced the withdrawal of the Extradition Bill on 4 September?

Lam’s announcement was largely a case of striking a pose. As early as mid-June she had halted the legislative change, but she had avoided using the word “withdrawal”. More noteworthy is the fact that she completely refused to accept the remaining four demands of the mass movement (for an independent commission to investigate police violence, the withdrawal of the “riot” designation, the release of arrested protestors, and genuine universal suffrage).

China's revolution at 70: reality trumps myths

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Mao's revolution was not socialist

As China launches its official celebrations marking 70 years since the revolution of 1949, Adrian Budd looks at the longer context of what was a national revolution, far from any vision of communism.

On 1 October China was set to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic. Massive parades are organised, children will sing patriotic songs whose lyrics they have learned by heart but do not understand, military hardware has been polished. The multi-millionaires who run China will admire themselves in their new hand-made suits and dresses.

New sites of struggle in a changing China

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In a sobering and detailed analysis, Kevin Lin speaks to Adrian Budd about the resilience of workers’ struggles in China, despite fierce state repression.

The precarious working and living conditions of the millions of migrant labourers who have moved from rural to urban areas of China over recent decades made the development of an organised labour movement harder. Have the circumstances of these workers become more stable? Is their increased stability helping to develop class consciousness?

Hong Kong’s protests in perspective

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John Smith puts the Hong Kong protests of recent weeks into the broader contexts of Hong Kong’s development over the past few decades, its growing connections with the hugely important Pearl River Delta area and the growth of an increasingly aware, organised and militant Chinese working class.

The 2 million-strong demonstration in Hong Kong on 17 June and the proliferation of smaller demonstrations led by students and student-worker alliances, have been truly exciting.

Rulers make ready for discontent

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The recent centralisation of authority around Xi Jinping, and moves to reinforce conformity within Chinese society, have more to do with preparations to confront a host of emerging economic, social and political issues than the formation of a new cult of personality, writes Adrian Budd.

At the end of February 2018 the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) proposed that the limit of two consecutive terms in office for the state president and vice-president be removed from the country’s constitution. The National People’s Congress, China’s parliament, rubber-stamped the change almost unanimously a few days later. The chief beneficiary of the change is Xi Jinping — state president, CPC leader and head of the armed forces.

Focus on China: Workers and the national question

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Ethnic tensions have flared in China over the past few years, but so has the potential for working class unity against the state.

Writing nearly 150 years ago Karl Marx noted that it was a “precondition for the emancipation of the English working class” that Ireland be freed from British rule as “a nation that enslaves another forges its own chains”. In other words, it was crucial that British workers break from the ideology of their own ruling class and support Irish independence if they were to achieve their own emancipation.

Women and China: what has changed?

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China’s economic success has improved the lives of some workers but also widened the gender and wealth gap. Sally Kincaid looks at what life has been like for women over the past 70 years since the Revolution.

‘No matter how good a woman, she will circle the kitchen stove. No matter how inferior a man, he will travel the world.’ This was a common saying in pre-revolutionary China, as was the answer to someone knocking at the door of a household: “There is no-one home” — there are no men at home.

China: New strains on state capitalism

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Adrian Budd discusses the contradictions in the Chinese economy that might pose a threat to its celebrated — and feared — growth rates.

For three decades discussion of China’s economy has been overwhelmingly positive. Benefitting from what Leon Trotsky called the privileges of backwardness, China’s transformation has been remarkable since the reforms of Maoist state capitalism started under Deng Xiaoping in 1978. Contrary to neoliberal myth, average growth rates of nearly 10 percent a year have been achieved by a combination of state production and state orchestration of private capital.

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