China’s Socialist Revolution 2.0

N.B Chyoi / October 11, 2021

Chinese President Xi Jingping at CCP’s 100 anniversary poster

In late 2012, when Xi Jinping became the leader of the Communist Party and declared that only socialism could protect China, it was side-lined as it could not be applied at present due to the market-powered economy. But putting forth the new action plan, Xi’s determination is clear in making China a socialist nation.

The new action plan includes crackdowns on internet companies, profit education, web-based gaming and property market surplus, adding it to the proclamation of Common Prosperity. This shows Xi’s determination in making China a socialist nation. Mao Zedong, China’s most powerful leader, has put an end to term limits in 2018 by pushing to make a mini “revolution”, restraining the excesses of capitalism, and keeping away the negative lifestyle impact of the West.

The Chinese Communist Party tightened its hold on education. In the new school year that began in September, Chinese students in elementary, middle, and high schools will be required to study “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era”. The next provision by the CCP was to target the entertainment sector and limit the scope of the property sector.

The Chinese government, to some extent, has started putting the Communist back in the Communist Party. Despite this communist system, there is a massive gap between China’s richest and the poorest people. Under this system, targeting tax evasion by the wealthy sector makes more sense and makes education more equitable by banning the private tutoring companies. The ongoing crackdown on the country’s tech giants could also be seen as part of the plan. Mr Xi also seems to believe that, along with the wealth redistribution aspects of the communist path, thrusting the Party back into most aspects of daily life will be the only realistic way for achieving what needs to be done.

Xi stated that the goal of achieving a moderately prosperous society by 2020 had entered its “final stage,” where education and anti-poverty measures would be the focus. Xi defined the period from 2020 to 2035 as a phase to realize modernized socialism for the country and also a time to expand the middle-class sector and narrow the wealth gap to create a more harmonious society.

The timing of these reforms reflects the confidence, that China is capable of solving its problems through its own hybrid system, instead of taking reference from the model of the West, whose shortcomings (from managing the COVID-19 to the chaos of the U.S. election and the withdrawal from Afghanistan) are repeatedly depicted as evidence of systemic decay in China. The country also did well against the fight with COVID-19. Xi is determined and sure of making a balance between government and markets and between power and capital.

The danger arises when the possibility of unpredictability and political risk for capital arises and the country is not able to resist reaching out its visible hand. The Hong Kong market, where several Chinese tech companies targeted by the crackdown were recorded, had lost more than $600 billion in value, with investors facing issues due to new regulations had to look into old speeches for clues as to what may be coming further. Xi also shows confidence that he will be able to afford to alienate elites who fall on the unsafe side of his regulations, as he makes his case stronger for a third five-year term as there is no strong competition.

Former President Mao wanted to free people from the ill-treatment of capital, destroy private ownership and defeat American imperialism. Xi’s consolidation of control enabled this summer’s reforms since taking on his office: He unleashed a huge anti-corruption campaign, eliminated the space for public dissent, and also reasserted Communist Party power with himself being at the “core” across all aspects of the society.

N.B Chyoi is a Kachin lawyer and geopolitical analyst focusing especially on Burma, India and China.

The opinion expressed here is the author’s own, and does not represent the editorial policy of The Kachin Post.