china

China – the latest information and some of its history

我们自己奋斗吧

 

china 19 4 14A small example of what the Chinese bureaucracy wants to ensure never happens again, (Lingxi, 20th April 2014)

Mao’s portrait splattered with red paint – Tiananmen Square 1989

(an action that was betrayed by the official student movement, who handed those who did it over to the state, one of whom spent 20 years inside)

A somewhat eclectic collection of bits of information about the situation in China today (going back to 2013), preceded by a theoretical  introduction putting things in context, followed by various links to critical articles. These links don’t only point to the increasing repression there but also to many instances of genuine opposition. It needs to be emphasised that China’s growing totalitarianism is being exported, especially in the form of technology aimed at social control, to democratic forms of capital throughout the world. Though obviously China’s development is specific to China and its history, it is also inextricably linked to the future in much of the rest of the world’s development.

Map of strikes

Intro to the above map

It seems illuminating to preface all this with quotes from “Diagnostic of the future – a forecast”, because it gives some kind of theoretical coherence to an understanding of all the recent developments in China:

The Chinese state is the chief model and proponent of such a system [technocracy], though there have also been frank discussions of such a model in the West. …A technocratic system leaves policy decisions to appointed experts who climb the ranks, ostensibly based on performance; appointments are carried out by the institution itself, as in a university, not by consultation with the public. Most leading members of the Chinese Communist Party, for example, are engineers and other scientists. However, it would be naïve to ignore that they are first and foremost politicians. They simply have to respond to internal power dynamics rather than focusing on performing for the general public….

In recent years, the Chinese state has been arresting, imprisoning, and disappearing billionaires it accuses of corruption, which means acting outside the Party’s control over the market, engaging in alternate or autonomous market planning.

On the geopolitical stage, the Chinese technocratic model has a certain advantage. Country after country and company after company have bowed to Beijing’s demands and stopped recognizing Taiwan as an independent country. Not only is China a major economy, it has a greater ability to leverage access to that economy for political purposes, combining greater centralization with a streamlined strategic approach that repudiates the division of politics and economics.

However, there is a great deal of myth around technocratic governance. You can’t have a purely “scientific” government because “objective interests” is a contradiction in terms. Bare empiricism cannot recognize something as subjective as interests; this is why scientific bodies have to fabricate discreet ideologies masquerading as neutral presentations of fact, since there is no human activity, and certainly no coordinated research and development, without interests. Yet governments are nothing without interests. They are, at their most rudimentary, the concentration of a great deal of resources, power, and capacity for violence with the purpose of fulfilling the interests of a specific group of people. The relationship becomes more complex as governments become more complex, with different types of people developing different interests with regard to the government and with institutions producing subjectivities and therefore molding people’s perceptions of their interests, but the centrality of interests remains, as does the fact that hierarchical power blinds people to everything outside of a very narrow reality, and such insensitivity combined with such great power is a sure recipe for unprecedented stupidity.

One example of this is the Three Gorges Dam, perhaps the greatest construction feat of the 20th Century, and certainly a symbol of the Communist Party’s ability to carry out strategic planning that sacrifices local interests for a perceived greater good. But the dam has caused so many demographic, environmental, and geological problems that they may outweigh the benefits in energy production. The major motivation for building the dam was probably hubris—the state basking in its technocratic power—more than a measured estimation that the dam would be worth it.

Power politics may also play a role in China’s lending crisis. Smaller businesses have a hard time securing loans from China’s established banking system, which has traditionally favored state-owned companies and large or politically connected firms, so these businesses turned to newer peer-to-peer lending platforms, many of which were shut down by the government or otherwise collapsed, causing a huge loss of savings. The problem takes on additional dimensions when one considers how important new businesses have been in the US economy in the past couple decades: think Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook. Arguably, it is only these companies that allow the US to maintain its top spot in the world economy. And while tech start-ups like Didi and Alibaba have been important to Chinese economic growth, and have also succeeded in climbing the ranks to receive vital state support, they have not yet demonstrated the capacity for cutting-edge innovation that would be required of a global leader. Perhaps they can be more accurately perceived as copies of established Western firms that were able to receive financing only after their Western analogues had demonstrated the importance of such companies. If this is accurate, it doesn’t bode well for the ability of Chinese state-capitalism to create a climate that will favor more cutting-edge innovation than Western capitalist states….There is also the question of resistance. The Chinese government is making the bet that it has the technological and military power to quash all resistance movements, permanently. If it is wrong, it risks total political collapse and revolution. Democratic governments enjoy a greater flexibility, because they can deflect dissident movements towards seeking reform, which rejuvenates the system, rather than forcing them to shut up or blow up. …

In fact, the Chinese state makes plenty of claims to democracy, justice, equality, and the common good, every bit as valid as the claims made by Western states. But these claims are validated within a paradigm that is different from the one Western elites use to justify their own imperfections. Chinese democracy draws in roughly equal parts from Leninism and a Confucian science of statecraft. In this model, the CP consults minority parties and interest groups before drafting a consensus position deemed to be in the general interest. This conception doesn’t translate well into a Western liberal paradigm. Western ruling classes cannot be convinced by such a model; they feel threatened by the prospect of Chinese dominance, even as they believe in their own hypocrisy.

The competition between NATO and China is increasingly taking on these cultural overtones. But as geopolitical conflicts between the US, Russia, and China continue to erode existing interstate institutions, the current spats might come to represent a greater shift towards a confrontation between different models of governance on a world scale.

The aforementioned trend, in which multiple countries have changed their diplomatic relations from Taiwan to China, has a significance that extends beyond the fate of the island formerly known as Formosa. Many of the countries that have fallen in line with Beijing’s demands are small Caribbean and Central American countries historically anchored to the US. The fact that they are backing away from US ally Taiwan also symbolizes a certain cooling of their relationship with the US itself. In the emerging system, they have alternatives, and these alternatives erode US dominance, not just in Central America but also in a number of geopolitical hotspots…

If the Chinese state were to become the architect of a new global cycle of accumulation, it would need a system for governing interstate relations compatible with its technocratic model for the state regulation of domestic capitalism. All indications suggest it would seek global stability by explicitly putting state rights over any other kind. This would mean that if Turkey wanted to bulldoze all of Bakur, if Saudi Arabia wanted to virtually enslave its domestic workers, if China wanted to imprison a million Uighurs in concentration camps, that would be their prerogative, and no one else’s business. This is a potentially effective strategy for creating more goodwill and unimpeded economic cooperation between states, with organized military might as the basis for right. It also does not shock us that such a philosophy comes out of the Communist Party, which long ago embraced the Jacobin idea that ends justify means.

The CIA has been intervening in public discourse to warn the world that China wants to replace the US as global superpower. To make this seem like a bad thing, they have to suggest that the world is better off as a US protectorate than as a Chinese protectorate. According to one agent, “I too am optimistic that in the battle for norms and rules and standards of behavior, that the liberal national order is stronger than the repressive standards that the Chinese promulgate. I’m confident others won’t want to subscribe to that.”…

The New York Times describes Chinese debt bondage in Malaysia and lauds the local government for supposedly standing up to the practice. They go so far as to speak of “a new version of colonialism.” There’s nothing inaccurate about this: there has only been one century out of the last twenty (1839-1949) when China wasn’t an active colonial or imperial power with its own brand of ethnic superiority….

China itself is headed to economic disaster. Its stock market is shaking, and the country has massive debt, especially its major companies. China avoided the recession of 2008 with a huge artificial stimulus campaign. Now Party leaders are pushing for a clampdown on riskier lending, but this is leading to a scarcity of credit that is causing economic growth to slow. Take the example of Australia, celebrated because the country hasn’t had a technical recession in 27 years: this has also been in part because of major government spending. But households are slipping more and more into debt and therefore spending less, therefore causing a slowdown in domestic spending, and Australia’s main trade partner is China, where the weakening of the yuan will also hurt the ability of Chinese consumers to buy imported goods such as those coming from Australia. With the economic slowdowns in Turkey and Brazil, where over-investment bubbles are also ready to pop, China is the last strong player standing. If it falls, the economic crash will probably be global, and probably much worse than 2008. All the contradictions of capitalism are converging right now.

To prop up the economy, China is following a similar path to the US: cutting taxes, spending more on infrastructure, and changing the rules so that commercial lenders can put out a greater amount of money in loans in comparison to their actual deposits.

The possibility that China might become the architect of a new global system is not based on economic growth or military power. It doesn’t have to win a war against the US, so long as it has military autonomy in its own corner of the world; all previous global architects won defensive wars against the earlier global leader decades before ascending to the role themselves, and China already did this in the Korean War. Rather, it would have to make itself the center for the organization of global capitalism.”

Chronology of events

(including some comments, many by X, who has made himself familiar with developments in China for many many years)

Please note: due to technical hitches, this page only goes back to the beginning of 2018; the rest of the chronology going back to 2013 has now moved here

 

9/1/19:

China plays the race card against Canada X writes:
“Here’s a laugh: Han supremacists calling out the (presently) more circumspect white supremacists of Canada for having a “double standard.” The Canadians should comply with Chinese demands – and treat Princess Meng the way the Han treat the Uighurs in those “education centers” of theirs, or possibly render to her the kind of justice the Tibetans have experienced. Or perhaps she would instead prefer the treatment meted out to the Falun Gong and be farmed for her internal organs. Yes, we know the elites of the world and their insistence on “rule of law,” and we know this law for what it is: the law of the jungle.”

7/1/19:

Report on factory workers’ struggles in coastal regions

As China threatens Taiwan, it seemed useful to provide some information about naval developments in the region:

Country’s first Chinese-built aircraft carrier launched on 18/5/18  A small selection of various kinds of pieces illustrating the nature of China’s naval power development and contrasting it to the other powers of East Asia. See also this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Izumo-class_helicopter_destroyer

X writes:
“The rise of Chinese naval power has prompted the Japanese to build these two “destroyers” whom anyone with a lick of familiarity with the subject would call straight-up aircraft carriers, although not the kind capable of launching fixed-wing aircraft. With the trials of the new Chinese carrier being conducted right now, the Japanese have committed to building their first (true) aircraft carrier since 1945. No information yet on how large it will be The Izumos are in the 20,000 ton category, and the new Chinese ship is the same size as the US Forestal super-carrier of the late 1950s, just short of 60,000 tons – in other words, the same size as the UK’s new Queen Elizabeth class ships.

See also this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dokdo-class_amphibious_assault_ship  X writes: “Here is another “aircraft carrier by any other name” recently built in East Asia, this one by the South Koreans. The expansion of Chinese naval power has already triggered an arms race.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_active_Japan_Maritime_Self-Defense_Force_ships
X writes:
“A general overview of the Japanese navy. It is interesting to note the comments of the Wiki staff regarding the Maya, Atago and Kongo classes of guided missile destroyers – which the Wiki says more resemble cruisers. Although this is a general trend among the world’s guided-missile destroyers, in the case of these three classes, the names are also associated with previous historical (Imperial Japanese Navy) cruisers and battlecruisers. Also, indicating the relative increase in importance of submarines, the adoption of the names of former Japanese aircraft carriers for the most recent class of submarines is a reflection of their assumption of the role of “capital ships.”

See also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_003_aircraft_carrier
X writes:
“This is the kind of aircraft carrier the PLA is currently aiming for – something that is roughly the equivalent of the US Nimits-class of today in general capabilities and dimensions.”

See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_active_People%27s_Liberation_Army_Navy_ships#Submarines
X:
“Here it is noteworthy that the PLA is consistent with realizing its threats against Taiwan building a large number of amphibious warfare vessels, along with sophisticated destroyers and escort vessels. Also of note is the existence of Chinese ballistic missile submarines.”

From the introduction above:

“The possibility that China might become the architect of a new global system is not based on economic growth or military power. It doesn’t have to win a war against the US, so long as it has military autonomy in its own corner of the world; all previous global architects won defensive wars against the earlier global leader decades before ascending to the role themselves, and China already did this in the Korean War. Rather, it would have to make itself the center for the organization of global capitalism.”

6/1/19:

Report on one of the founders of Hong Kong’s 79-day Occupy movement before he went on trial  X writes: “This allows us a somewhat lengthy look into the mind of a Chinese democrat, and a reminder that the Chinese intelligentsia still has a tendency to succumb to Confucian behavioral norms.”

3/1/19:

Recent developments in censorship  X writes: The fact that compliance with the orders to excise the more than 100,000 sensitive words and their more than 3 million derivatives is costing these scum at a time when buyers are spending less freely, is at least mildly amusing. The idea that the Party’s demands on language are so stringent and cover such an expanse of behavior and history – and the degree to which this is unknown (like June 4th for goodness sake), also shows the effects as mentioned before, of the Party’s clear-cutting of social knowledge. A certain kind of idiocy is being assiduously cultivated and the Maoist ‘workers’ support’ groups (supporting the working class with the ideology of its enslavement) are of course the best illustration of how this hobbles any serious opposition. Thinking outside the box, is, by definition, discouraged…and so there goes technical innovation too, to some extent, and with it the ability to compete with the more “open” capitalism of the West. The inherent structural problems of bureaucratic capitalism recapitulate themselves on a higher plane.”

31/12/18:

Economy in crisis? ….as the world’s second-largest economy experiences its worst downturn since the 2008 global financial crisis…. China faces not just a slowing economy but also a protracted trade war with the US, a pile of debt that threatens the world economy along with the Chinese financial system, and a populace demanding better environmental, labour, and health protections. Next year, China’s leaders face some of the most difficult policy decisions they have had to make in years. Analysts say they are confronting a choice between pushing headline growth through Beijing’s traditional levers of infrastructure spending funded by debt, or painful reforms that lower financial risk but raise the possibility of unemployment, and ultimately social instability. Officially, China’s economy is humming along. Economic growth is expected to slow to 6.3% next year, after reaching 6.6% in 2018. The economy expanded by 6.5% in the third quarter, the country’s slowest quarter since 2009. Yet economic indicators from auto sales to manufacturing activity are all flashing red. In November, growth in China’s manufacturing sector stalled for the first time in more than two years. Annual auto sales in the world’s largest car market are on track to contract for the first time since 1990. Chinese stocks, more a measure of confidence than the real economy, have been some of the worst performing this year, losing $2tn (£1.58tn) in value. Factories have dismissed workers months early for the Chinese New Year holiday in February. Real estate, one of the few areas in which regular Chinese people can invest, has also suffered, causing developers to slash prices…”

List of 2018’s censored words and phrases

28/12/18:

More on moronic Maoists

26/12/18:

Article on how well-known veteran dissidents are “touristed” “Recently, the Beijing police took my brother sightseeing again. Nine days, two guards, chauffeured tours through a national park that’s a World Heritage site, visits to Taoist temples and to the Three Gorges, expenses fully covered, all courtesy of the Ministry of Public Security. The point was to get him out of town during the 2018 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, held in early September. The capital had to be in a state of perfect order; no trace of trouble was permissible. And Zha Jianguo, a veteran democracy activist, is considered a professional troublemaker…”

Maoist gets arrested on his way to the 125th birthday party of his God  X writes:A real sign of the malignant stupidity of the times. When critical discourse is silenced, this is what happens. Don’t these stupid fuckers have any idea what happened to students and others who started “Marxist study groups” during the Mao era? The same bloody thing! To think the most savage counterrevolutionary ideology that ever was (and please correct me if I’m wrong, but is there any other ideology you know of that goaded people into eating each other?) is somehow revolutionary takes a sustained and determined ignorance that is truly jaw-dropping. This is how far the students of China have sunk. Again, what is needed is a demonstration demanding that the repression cease because Marxist ideology is no threat to Xi Jinping thought, the State or bureaucratic capitalism. This is an interreligious squabble that the CCP wants to treat as an existential threat: a virtuous circle of bureaucratic revalorization then; the repression against the Chinese Maoists, gives the anti-intellectual anti-proletarian ideology of Maoism the patina of “oppositional thought,” while the inevitable journey of the the young Maoists into the bureaucracy eventually gives new life-blood to the bureaucratic class.”

Report on #MeToo student & supporter of Jasic workers struggle who disappeared in August and whose whereabouts are still unknown

20/12/18:

The Chinese bureaucracy’s model of social control goes global  “One of the most striking aspects of Xi Jinping’s “New Era” is the rapid externalization of systems and policies previously only applied, for the most part, domestically. This external activism is of course a reflection of the CCP’s new effort to utilize the “historic window of opportunity” in international relations, identified by Xi as one of the defining characteristics of the “New Era.” The advancement of the PRC’s global interests, in particular through Xi’s ‘Belt and Road’ and other geopolitical initiatives, includes the extraterritorial expansion of social control mechanisms once mostly reserved to the PRC. These mechanisms comprise cooptive and coercive tactics: work and repression, both intensified under Xi….The CCP’s Leninist model of governance applies several basic mechanisms to maximize control over a vast population by a small “vanguard” without the explicit consent of the governed masses. The model is onion-shaped, made up of three concentric layers of governance. The tools to control these three realms are, to echo a Maoist simile, “three magic weapons” (三大法宝): Party building, armed struggle (succeeded by state violence) and cooptation tactics (the United Front). The inner realm is the Party itself, the “vanguard” of China’s working class, the Chinese people and the Chinese “nation” (民族), controlled by the party discipline imposed by its core leadership. Resuming a trend often encountered in Communist history, Xi as the Party’s “Core” (核心) has been consolidated as a potentially perpetual dictator. Party discipline is mostly enforced through extra-legal bodies, notably the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI, 中央纪律检查委员会), prominent in Xi’s “anti-corruption” campaign. When these instruments are not deemed sufficient and  discipline loosens, the Party is brought under control again with periodic purges. Individual Party members enjoy various privileges and certain career paths are only open to them, but at the same time are bound by strict Party discipline that subjects them to more direct control by the Core than any other social group.”

“Thou shalt have no other religions before me” says the god-king Xi  X writes: “Interesting, but not surprising, that unauthorized “house churches” come in for the worst of it. There have been a number of cases where the communism of house churches such as the “Jesus Family” very clearly demonstrates how different communism can be from the totalitarian state capitalism of the “communist ” party.”

19/12/18:

How dissidents are being ‘mentally-illed’ “A tense to be reckoned with for all us teachers of languages: the “involuntary passive.” It is no surprise to see its roots in Maoism or to see these roots running unbroken to the present. This is the authentic expression of the opposition, not the unconsciously self-parodic militantism of the neo-Maoists. China is an example of a place where Authority has turned all of politics into an irradiated zone.”

18/12/18:

Google steps back from its Big Brother collaboration with the Chinese bureaucracy  X writes: The main point being that were it not for the principled individuals within the company who exposed the machinations of the Google techno-authoritarians, this would be unknown to us yet as anything more than the certainty that developments of this kind are expressions of core capitalist values and should be expected by all those who have an inkling of how the system works. The other half of the subject matter covered in this article illustrates the degree to which capital has become entangled with the business of legitimizing authoritarianism…openly, on a contractual basis…the pigs looking in the mirror (to borrow from Orwell) are beginning to realize that it was not a mirror after all; they were simply looking through a piece of transparent glass at each other.

16/12/18:

China, Jiangsu: 1000s of striking brewery workers clash with cops   Workers at a major brewery in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu faced off with police and security guards over the weekend after thousands went on strike over pay and conditions. Thousands of workers at the Yanghe Brewery in Jiangsu’s Suqian city tried to storm management headquarters on Sunday, but were headed off by dozens of police and security personnel, who shut the gates to stop them. Video footage of the confrontation showed hundreds of mostly female workers clad in white coats and hats running for the gates, but being overtaken by personnel in uniforms. The Shenzhen-listed brewery promised to hike wages in a statement on Sunday evening after reaching a negotiated settlement with workers. … the strike at a major local employer had made Suqian city leaders very nervous, and that they had imposed an information blackout on online news or content related to the protests. …A Yanghe Brewery worker who gave only a surname, Liao, said police have now locked down the Yanghe Brewery site, and are preventing workers from entering or leaving. He said the strike had been sparked by what workers said were unreasonable demands of the work force, including a production target of 8,000 cases per nine-hour working shift, which he said was “extreme,” and was accompanied by no additional pay….Liao said management at the factory were also flouting health and safety regulations, including depriving workers of rest breaks. “The strike isn’t over; we’re not back at work yet … there are about two or three thousand of us”…The strike began on Dec. 15 in a bid to protest “the disparity between rich and poor,” and to “defend the rights of thousands of people,” a statement from the workers posted to social media said. It said the dispute is more than a decade old, with bosses making large fortunes from the factory while exploiting generation after generation of its workers.”

14/12/18:

The would-be totalitarian vice clamps down even on weak (ie artistic and only implicit) criticism of an aspect of their brave new world  X writes: “The self-contradictory nature of the bureaucratic capitalist project is more sharply visible than elsewhere when it comes to the production of cultural values.”

7/12/18:

85-year-old grandmother of dissident arrested

3/12/18: 

China: report on truckdrivers’ strike   Several major cities and provinces in China have banned trucks with dangerously high exhaust emissions in a bid to tackle air pollution during the winter months. A notice issued by the Jiangsu provincial government, for example, identified diesel trucks as the major cause of air pollution in the region and said that tough restrictions on China 3 and China 4 standard diesel trucks were necessary in order to defend the blue sky. While many drivers agree that measures have to be taken to combat air pollution, they point out that the new measures place all the burden on them, with no assistance offered by the government. After the bans were introduced in November, drivers experienced a sharp drop in income and were quick to respond by staging strikes and protests in several different cities…

28/11/18:

Report on China’s influence on the USA X writes: “I notice with regret the names of Orville Schell (who once spoke to me appreciatively of the “No More Emperors” poster when we met mutual friend J W) and Elizabeth Economy, who ought to have taken a more critical attitude far earlier, based on what they knew and published long ago.”

Report on how China is abducting Uighurs with Australian citizenship to be taken to the camps

25/11/18:

Report on threats to academic critic of China in New Zealand  Here also and here

23/11/18:

Terror capitalism in the Uyghur areas

22/11/18:

Disappearance of a Leader (to be accompanied by this) X writes: All the evil stupidities of Maoist “culture” and authoritarian psychology seem to be returning in this mirror-image opposition to the official hero-worship of Xi. It is amazing how the anti-authoritarian implications of feminism are ignored in this pathetic idolization of vangaurd bureaucrats. It is time we asked “where are the actual Chinese revolutionaries while this pseudo-revolutionary shit-show is going on?” They are unlikely to be sticking their heads out now; we must look for them if they exist, because these avant-garde bureaucrats are certainly not them. …authoritarian behavioral norms  (always, but increasingly so now) have infiltrated the ideas and norms of those seeking to overthrow the existing order now … in spades.”

21/11/18:

Report on The Ministry of Truth’s latest memory hole actions “Regarding involving , all websites and new media must not interview, report, comment, or reprint without unified arrangements…. the party frets that veterans’ complaints will put off new recruits at a time when it is busily trying to raise their calibre. It fears that veterans’ protests will harm the morale of those serving now—especially of police or soldiers who are asked to help contain them. “

20/11/18:

Brave Pioneer for Workers’ Rights (sic)

X writes: “Check the wooden prose and the uncritical identification of the greatest mass-murderer of proletarians in history with something “revolutionary.” And we’re supposed to be enthusiastic about this shit? This is just the revalorization of bureaucratic power.” 

16/11/18:

Review critical of Maoist myths in  book on China X writes: “Even with the feeble critical ammunition at his disposal Friedman makes a number of telling points. But of course we can see huge opportunities this limited critical perspective neglects.”

Report on resistance to the recent disappearance of students

11/11/18:

More labour activists amongst China’s student population are “disappeared”   See this on the Jasic workers’ struggle

10/11/18:

A report showing the mentality of those amongst China’s civil servants chosen to manipulate and terrify Uighur population

8/11/18:

Interpol resigns itself to the arrest of its boss by Chinese authorities  Now obviously I don’t care about this guy at all but it seems extraordinary that  this has  received very little  publicity compared, for example, with the murder of the Saudi Arabian journalist. Doesn’t this indicate something truly “alarming and new”, and at an international level –  ie the enormous power China wields amongst the international bourgeoisie such that even a head of Interpol could “disappear”, and that his wife gets anonymous threats, whilst the secretary general of Interpol says “There’s no reason for me to suspect that anything was forced or wrong”. (see Interpol president “disappears” in Hong Kong here and here).

7/11/18:

Workers suffering from black lung disease get a face full of  pepper spray

6/11/18:

China arresting Chinese who speak to Western journalists about China’s repression of Uyghur Muslims 

Xinjiang “security” costs rose by 213% in 2017

Yet another new technological development useful for the state  “Chinese authorities have begun deploying a new surveillance tool: “gait recognition” software that uses people’s body shapes and how they walk to identify them, even when their faces are hidden from cameras….Gait analysis can’t be fooled by simply limping, walking with splayed feet or hunching over, because we’re analyzing all the features of an entire body…Shi Shusi, a Chinese columnist and commentator, says it’s unsurprising that the technology is catching on in China faster than the rest of the world because of Beijing’s emphasis on social control. “Using biometric recognition to maintain social stability and manage society is an unstoppable trend,” he said. “It’s great business.” X writes: “Just to note that the statement “Using biometric recognition to maintain social stability and manage society is an unstoppable trend” and the immediate addition that it is “great business” rather succinctly expresses the merging into a single identity of commercially-motivated totalitarianism (monitoring employee/consumer behavior) and politically-motivated totalitarianism.”  But, like all “great business”, this is  hyped up with lots of advertising of its perfection so as to sell it: “gait” is hardly like a face or iris or fingerprint. It may be that “you are totally unique in the way you walk” (though personally I doubt it), but actors know full well that walks can be altered and not just by limping. This is more a way of terrifying people with the invincibility of the state than a genuine expression of its apparent invincibility, as well as a marketing ploy.

Interview with a professor on his latest book about China: ‘The Perfect Dictatorship” Whilst this is informative, some of what the guy says  is very much a product of an ivory tower separation from reality when it comes to looking at democracies – eg this bit of nonsense: “…now China is one of the most unequal societies in the world. And I think this is part of the reason for the dictatorship, because these are realities that could not be maintained under a democratic system ––the combination of very heavy taxes and very inferior services.[my emphasis] Equally, his comparison of “Marxist internationalism” under Mao and “Chinese nationalism” under Xi ignores the reality of this previous “internationalist” discourse, which in practice had nothing internationalist about it (eg Mao’s deal with Nixon in 1972) – but always aimed at an “internationalism” useful for the Chinese nation.

5/11/18:

Report on crackdown on student discussion groups etc. Two Nanjing University students were assaulted this week for protesting against administrators’ refusal to recognize a Marxist student group. The incident is the latest in a series of events that highlight the further erosion of on college campuses nationwide. In August, students from Nanjing University, Peking University, and Renmin University were detained after they traveled to Shenzhen to support worker efforts to form a union at Jasic Technology factory. Student participants from Renmin University were punished for their activism, with authorities putting students on blacklists and ordering protesters to be sent home.” See this on the Jasic workers’ struggle

Report on taxi drivers’ strike

3/11/18:

Anti-China art exhibition in Hong Kong closed following threats from Beijing  This is certainly not to defend the ideology and practice  of “art”, but to illustrate how the bureaucracy’s hierarchical censorship is extending itself to the supposedly more ‘open’ Hong Kong area.

2/11/18:

As Camps Expand in Xinjiang, Dispossession Breeds Discontent   “….the crackdown in Xinjiang is part of a broader regressive move toward repression throughout China under Xi Jinping; “What we are witnessing, in short, is not a continuation of China’s oppressive status quo but the onset of something alarming and new” 

1/11/18:

Chinese internet censorship exported throughout world  Report on 65 countries finds global internet freedom has declined for eighth consecutive year. Chinese officials have briefed 36 of the nations assessed on controlling information”

31/10/18:

Closure of last Hong Kong bookshop selling books banned on mainland

26/10/18:

Big Brother is Watching….Big Brother “A nationwide “early warning system” is collecting data on government officials to predict delinquency….“Total Coverage” Monitoring of Public Officials at All Levels:

    • Monitor records of public officials’ cell phone, computer and online activities; emails and chats sent and received; bank, credit, and online transactions; commuting and travel; ID registration…
    • Collect and report online commentary involving public officials in real time.
    • Implement full coverage of public officials both online and offline, during and outside of “9-to-5.”
    • “Pinpoint corruption” with early warning of possible work-related crimes through analysis of officials’ activities…”

 

Liars losing themselves in the labyrinth of lies Xi is conceited and refuses to listen to second opinions. He has chosen to live in an isolated space, surrounded by flatterers. He has no idea what is going on in the real world.” X writes:The liars have lied so much that within the circumscribed universe of the acceptable bureaucratic truth, contact with the real world has been broken to the point where the factuality no longer exists to make rational, objectively based decisions….The saturation point of ideology.

24/10/18:

Report on State spies posted in Uighur homes & villages “…The village children spotted the outsiders quickly. They heard their attempted greetings in the local language, saw the gleaming Chinese flags and round face of Mao Zedong pinned to their chests, and knew just how to respond. “I love China,” the children shouted urgently, “I love Xi Jinping.”…Much reporting has focused on the unprecedented scale and penetration of the surveillance technology deployed to carry out this campaign and on the ways China’s government has pressured other countries to assist in the work of forcibly repatriating Uighurs living abroad. But less attention has been paid to the mobilization of more than a million Chinese civilians (most members of the Han ethnic majority) to aid the military and police in their campaign by occupying the homes of the region’s Uighurs and other Muslim minorities, and undertaking programs of indoctrination and surveillance, while presenting themselves as older siblings of the men and women they might then decide to consign to the camps….the big brothers and sisters feared the Uighurs might be slippery, that however cheerfully they might open their houses or declare their loyalty to the Chinese nation, beneath their smiles and gestures of wholesome secularism there might lurk darker allegiances, uncured attachments to their “diseased” religious ways. But there were simple ways to test for this kind of thing. One could offer a host a cigarette or a sip of beer; a hand could be extended in greeting to a little sibling of the opposite gender, staying alert for signs of flinching. Or one could go out to the market for some freshly ground meat and propose that the family make dumplings. And then wait and watch to see if the Uighurs would ask what kind of meat was in the bag. All of this was valuable evidence. Everything that could be detected would be recorded, go into notebooks and onto the online forms. Everything would be factored into the recommendations the big sisters and brothers would make about which of their hosts would be allowed to remain at home in their villages, with their children, and which ones should be sent away to have their defects repaired by the state.

The state’s new tools for  Uighur vocational training: education, electrocution, asphyxiation

Transcript of BBC film about Uighur internment camps

22/10/18:

Report on Xi Jiping Thought and non-Xi Jiping Thought Thought Crimes “Just last week, Zhao Siyun of Zhejiang University of Media and Communications received an official reprimand for a speech advocating the ideal of the “public intellectual” who comments on national affairs. Such matters, I assume, are now the sole purview of Xi himself.” There seems to be  a self-contradiction in the demand for  this ideological servitude, since such a stultifying environment means repressing any innovative ideas that could help with the accumulation of capital. Given the endgame of capital, with impending disasters (financial, environmental, etc.)  on the horizon, the only perspective left for many of those in control of statist and monetarist terror is repression repression repression, particularly when authoritarianism is their only reflex. But there’s probably a limit to how far this can help them: an element of recuperative reform is necessary just to make people feel that they have a bit to gain from suggesting ideas to their masters that could be beneficial to them. If the state can’t bend it could easily break. In the 2nd half of the 1960s, in the  Cultural Revolution, ideology reached its explosion point. At that time  there were many Red Guards who, following Mao’s words but not his practice, tried to base their struggle on the Paris Commune, complete with revocable mandated delegates (with the ensuing repression by Mao, trying to reign unintended results of his power struggle within the bureaucracy, some fled to Hong Kong to form the anarchist Minus group; see also this). The same sort of thing that happened with the Red Guards shows at least some slight indication of happening with the Jasic workers’ support group. Perhaps Xi and his buddies think they’ve got it wired this time, because they think they’ve got a qualitative improvement, especially technological, in the means of social control.

22/10/18:

How the people of Xinjiang stopped worrying and learned to love Big Brother

20/10/18:

Death of of Ideology-Salesman   “Hu was a well-known figure in the party’s tightly controlled official media and propaganda system, where many people suffer mental strain from having to repeat the party line rather than reporting on the issues of the day. … “Depression is very common in the media, because the amount of fakery we have to write gets to us psychologically,” she said. “Maybe she felt that she was still a person of conscience. Who knows? It’s complicated.”

18/10/18:

Chinese bureaucracy fiercely defends totalitarian repression  in Xinjiang with newspeak etc. X writes: This has got some funny lines, especially Shelly Zhang’ “don’t forget the non-cultural-genocide bread!”. I believe they missed one opportunity though. In one pic the state has this frightened puppet saying he makes 1300 Yuan a month and sends money home to his family. We have seen reports saying that people were rounded up and sent to the camps for sending money to their families (presumably outside China)…so does this mean that the man in question is going to be there for a second “tour of duty” until he stops sending money home?

17/10/18:

Google CEO defends helping Chinese bureaucracy’s censorhip plans

Notice especially the comment by a former employee about the enthusiasm with which certain members of the Google leadership expound the rationales allowing them to continue working for the genocidal Chinese police state. Also notable is the opposition still within the company.

The monitoring of Uyghurs

Key fact: only non-Uyghurs are allowed to study the Uyghur language

16/10/18:

Live-streamer Detained for “Insult” to National Anthem

15/10/18:

The history & leaders behind the Xinjiang policy

12/10/16:

Activists critical of vaccine scandal disappear

11/10/18:

China gives legal gloss to mass imprisonment of Uighurs

7/10/18:

Pingdu: riot of war vets over health and pension benefits (report from 11/12/18)The government refused to confirm the Pingdu riot at the time and censored reports about it on the Internet. The official Xinhua News Agency reported that around 60 people among the 300 who gathered assaulted officers and smashed a police van and three civilian vehicles using axe handles and fire extinguishers. A total of 34 policemen and others were injured during the disturbance, it said.

2/10/18:

China changes Arab-sounding river’s name

30/9/18:

Signs of China

28/9/18:

Islamic countries protest Xinjiang crisis

Discussion on the Jasic workers struggles and its supporters (from an email list, dating from late August to late September 2018)

25/9/18:

Hong Kong Bans Pro-independence Party  More hereand here

X writes:

Right after the fuckers opened the high-speed rail line from the mainland so they can run heaps of pigs into the city at a moments notice – the same way they sent (some of the) soldiers into Beijing in 1989. More on the high speed railway line opening ceremony

 

22/9/18:

State to limit the debt that state-owned enterprises can take on

Google hushing workers on Chinese search engine

Not much difference between the surveillance the Chinese state imposes on its citizens and that which Google imposes on its workers.

20/9/18: 

Popular Chinese film star “disappears” “Fan has not been seen in public or made any public statements since 1 July when she visited a children’s hospital in Shanghai. An article in the official Securities Daily in August said she had been “placed under control and will accept legal judgement”. The story was quickly removed, and any mentions of it were scrubbed from Chinese social media along with Fan’s name. Companies and brands have distanced themselves from her. Her fiancé, another Chinese actor, has erased all photos or mentions of Fan this year from his profile on Weibo. A cameo by Feng Xiaogang, a director Fan works with, was cut from a Chinese film screened in Beijing on Sunday.” This seems extraordinary, a delirious result of despotism so paranoid & rigid that it can’t even bear a non-political focus of people’s focus, however passive. I doubt Stalin or Hitler would have dreamt this one up.

Police Detain Vaccine Victims & Family Members to Stop Rallies During China-Africa Forum in Beijing

19/9/18:

Totalitarianism: a letter to fellow China analysts

Trends in workers’ struggles 2015 – 2017

How police databases sort out China’s citizens

X: The microstructure of a totalitarianism which has married its archaic ideological roots (the Marxism-Leninism some conservative activists persist in thinking is, at this very late day and age, “radical”) to cutting-edge information storage and sharing, with omnipresent surveillance technology, to produce the truest expression of the totalitarian ethos today.

15/9/18:

War on Muslim Uighurs poses  dilemma for the west

12/9/18:

Report on film about strikes in China

10/9/18:

Details about Xinjiang camps

6/9/18:

China’s Little-Noticed ‘New Police Law’ Gives Vastly Expanded Legal Powers to Public Security Apparatus

4/9/18:

Workers fighting class war not trade war

X:

Note from the photo – the old monster who launched the world’s most comprehensive speed-up and then persecuted the people who patched up the economy after it all went wrong is still featured as a “workers’ icon”. Pathetic. It’s no good for the workers and intelligentsia creating an allegedly “new political language for the world’s largest working class” if it still brandishes the iconography of red fascism.

3/9/18:

China: report on increased state repression of strikes “The harsh police response to the ongoing Jasic Technology workers’ campaign in Shenzhen seems to coincide with a recent surge in swift police intervention to dissolve workers’ collective actions in the past month, and this new phenomenon is not geographically confined to Shenzhen or Guangdong province. Between July and August 2018, CLB’s Strike Map recorded 12 cases of police intervention out of 279 workers’ collective actions; meanwhile, between January and June, police intervened in a total of 17 cases out of 907. Arrests quickly spiked from 1.8% in six months -or at an average of 0.3% per month- to 4.3% in just one month.” See also entries on this site for 24th, 23rd & 15th August 2018. And discussion on Jasic workers strike above (below 28/9/18).

1/9/18:

China, Hunan province: 30 cops injured as parents resist transfer of kids to private boarding schools 30 officers wounded in clashes involving hundreds of people outside the Leiyang public security bureau headquarters in Hunan province…The incident was triggered by a provincial order to cut class sizes at schools in the city’s stretched education system to a maximum of 66 pupils by relocating all fifth and sixth graders to a private campus. The teachers would be transferred with the pupils and no extra fees would be charged but the children would have to live in dormitories during the week….The change would affect nearly 10,000 pupils who are due to start the new school year on Monday…In online posts that have since been deleted ,parents complained that some dormitories were unfinished and smells in the newly refurbished buildings raised concerns about indoor pollutants. On Saturday, some parents mounted protests at their schools in central Leiyang, blocked a national highway and demonstrated outside the Leiyang government offices. Police detained five people and cleared the road …demonstrators mounted another protest outside the city’s public security bureau headquarters to demand the release of the five detainees…… protesters threw water bottles, bricks, fireworks and petrol bottles at government officials and police officers, wounding the 30 officers and damaging the police building and vehicles…the clashes were brought under control early Sunday morning…“What led to it was not just education policies but discontent with local governance”…Beijing-based political commentator Hu Xingdou said parents had mounted similar protests in other parts of the country in the last two years and this incident showed how easy social unrest could erupt over mishandling of a seemingly small issue. “Local governments have to face the challenge because they are the ones dealing with residents and face the consequences of social unrest, especially in the social media age and when society is in transition,” Hu said. “Discontent can snowball and turn into big protests. Local authorities must improve governance from simply imposing blocks, such as deleting online postings, to … governing in accordance with the law.”

30/8/18:

UN calls for sanctions against Uighur camps

24/8/18:

China, Shenzhen: over 50 support group students and workers have their rooms broken into by SWAT police and are dragged away, location unknown  See entries for 23/8/18 and 15/8/18 below. And 3/9/18 above.

23/8/18:

Hundreds of thousands displaced as Shenzhen ‘upgrades’ its urban villages

21/8/18:

Economics Professor Expelled for ‘Politically Harmful’ Expressions

20/8/18:

Report on Uighur concentration camps…and here also

X writes:

More flotsam rises to the surface as evidence of Chinese genocide in their western provinces (the ones they promised self-governance when they were Long Marching through that same countryside in the late 1930s, one might recall). You expected this – but to find complicity in this gargantuan state crime by the NBA (that’s right, the US National Basketball Association!!!), is thoroughly stunning, and to find them clamming up when asked about it…perhaps the sporting associations just need to clarify their relationship with bully culture just a little bit more…

17/8/18:

Student activists involved in Jasic workers struggle

Some resistance to Google’s collaboration with totalitarian state and this

google china

15/8/18:

China, Shenzhen: report on factory struggles and repression of independent trade unions More here and here. For latest twitter updates on labour conflict there, see the following Chinese twitter accounts:
https://twitter.com/2b0bKXcWuXpoNbb (Support Group Twitter); https://twitter.com/yuexinmutian (Support Group Organizer Yue Xin’s Twitter). And this:
https://twitter.com/olRbaEHNMNWLwWj

 

X (a contact) wrote about this report from 10/8/18 of old guard Maoists supporting this struggle“The militant reformist wing of the bureaucratic class. The avant-garde of recuperation, a faction of which let itself be used by Xi Jinping himself, not so very long ago. Flagrantly opportunistic.” The development of trade unions invariably tends towards the development of a bureaucracy from within (as opposed to bureaucracy imposed from outside). Nevertheless it’s important to distinguish between  how these unions develop in formally democratic countries like the UK or France and those that develop in far more overtly autocratic countries like China. In the former they tend towards a repetition of something close to 200 years of labour struggles with all their contradictions yet this time quickly arriving at banality: absolute collaboration with the ruling society. However in countries where non- statist unions are illegal, things are more complex and not as predictable. Which is not to ignore how such organisations could develop; after all, trade unions were originally forbidden in dictatorial countries like South Africa under apartheid. The current president started as a union organiser for the miners in the early 1980s and yet later lead to him ordering the massacre of miners at Marikana in August 2012, and is now one of Africa’s richest men, worth over half a billion dollars. Not saying that the same trajectory will play out in  China at all, just that it’s naive to not  be cautious about even independent trade unions as a vehicle for independent struggle.

14/8/18:

Chinese bureaucracy denounces criticism of prison camps

10/8/18:

1000s of Chinese muslims demonstrate against mosque-destruction

8/8/18:

Ve haf vays of making you patriotic

7/8/18:

Weird censorship – Disney movie “Christopher Robin” banned

Rulers welcome Google back to China

6/8/18:

More on Uighur concentration concentration concentration camps

4/8/18:

Dissident artist’s studio destroyed  Not so much a  critique of art, more a way of reducing art to anything that flatters the elite.

2/8/18:

Dissident arrested during TV interview

1/8/18:

Liberal intellectual fears about totalitarianism Obviously nothing radical about it but indicative of the growing anxieties about growing repression.

Me Too in China

Google’s  China project made clear

31/7/18:

More on the repression of Uighurs in Xinjiang  

X: Some memorable euphemisms for being sent to the camps: he’s “gone back to Xinjiang” – if he lived in some other part of China. He’s been placed “behind the black gate,” or “he’s got another home” now….

China’s looming endgame environment

30/7/18:

Repression in Tibet

X writes: Note that Tibetans still have to deal with a higher ratio of cops to people than the Uighurs. Now the “Han” [I put this in inverted commas because, contrary to the dominant ideology, Han is no more an ethnic category than “Tudor” or “Windsor”] overlords forbid any initiative for the promotion of local language and culture, or for the protection of the local environment whatsoever. So these genocidal vermin are what the UK has selected to run a huge nuclear power plant in Britain, and no one says that the gov’t of the UK is complicit in crimes against humanity… 

27/7/18:

String Of Sexual Assault Accusations Ignites Me Too Movement In China

The Public Interest World Needs a Feminist Education 

26/7/18:

More on China’s politically correct language & censorship

25/7/18:

Criminal Arrests in Xinjiang Account for 21% of China’s Total in 2017 

19/7/18:

More on China’s Newspeak

6/7/18:

China’s repressive influence extends to Nottingham, UK

5/7/18:

On increasing repression

2/7/18:

China’s increasing military role in Africa 

28/6/18:

Report on the use of drones that look like doves used for surveillance in the Xinjiang area 

See also this on the use, in other parts of the world, of birds to attack these drones (and here also)

27/6/18:

China’s social credit system extends way beyond its borders 

26/6/18:

Large Army Veteran Protests in China Pose Problems for State

21/6/18:

Online activists trying to attack China’s online censorship

16/6/18:

How China censors the net by making sure there’s too much information 

4/6/18:

On 29th anniversary of Tiananmen Square massacre, some questions 

27/5/18:

US moves to ban Chinese surveillance equipment 

24/5/18:

Yet more on Chinese Newspeak 

21/5/18:

More censorship

18/5/18:

Story about doctor who criticised private pharmaceutical company’s snake oil medicine being imprisoned and how mention of his PTSD is censored 

17/5/18:

Uighur camps report

13/5/18:

Chinese officials stationed in Uighur homes

2/5/18:

On the Chinese state propaganda machine’s falsification of the misery of Ethiopian workers working in a Chinese shoe factory 

30/4/18:

New Law Criminalizes Slander of Historical Heroes 21/4/18:

China censors humour app  More detailed report here   At least the article in China Change about Neihan Duanzi is somewhat encouraging, although the parallel they draw between the sloppy corruption of the Egyptian forces of repression and the near-Singaporean level of “squeaky clean” police state competence one is likely to encounter in China may preclude an “Arab Spring”-type outcome – especially since the regime of Xi Jinping has already had the dress-rehearsal of the “Jasmine” movement to practice-up on.

20/4/18:

Report on a vile little shit who hoped to cash in on extraditing Chinese dissident from US  Impalement is too good for him: he’s beyond the pale

13/4/18:

Scary use of facial recognition cameras  Chinese police have used facial recognition technology to locate and arrest a man who was among a crowd of 60,000 concert goers…China has a huge surveillance network of over 170 million CCTV cameras.

report on sanitation workers’ strike

5/4/18:

More weird censorship

4/4/18:

China: state represses internet chat groups

2/3/18:

State brings in “Minority Report”-type predictive policing

28/2/18:

Censorship reaches insane proportions

9/2/18:

Parody of Chinese bureaucracy’s Newspeak

5/2/18:

Uyghur commits suicide under threat of re-education camp

26/1/18:

China: as 120,000 Uyghurs are forced into “re-education camps the intensification of totalitarian social control  spreads beyond China A contact writes: “The poison spreads. … a very long time ago (1964-1965) there was, on the ground-breaking and often quite excellent science-fiction series “Outer Limits” an episode titled “O.B.I.T.” In it a spying technology at a highly secret US government department is used to check on individuals at any time the operator choses. Anxieties about infidelity and other kinds of disloyalty drive operators to destroy the fabric of their lives and finally, to murder. An investigation is held and the creator of the technology, a character who looks remarkably like Edward Teller [creator of the H-bomb], is revealed to be an alien who says this technology, now that it has been released and has metastasized, will undermine human solidarity destroy its institutions and render the planet ripe for invasion. It’s been decades since I’ve seen it, but revisiting that territory might yield some further ideas, metaphors, possible agitational means of mobilizing the public imagination, etc., to augment the critiques we might already have.”

18/1/18:

China, Xinjiang: another report on the development of the totalitarian state

2/1/18:

Chinese state bans reporting of Iranian protests

Due to technical problems, this Chronology continues here

List of various riots 2007 – 2017

(much of it in French)

Various radical articles

recent struggles in china (october 2016)

riots in china (June – September 2011)

Mao is the hour yet again? (Intro to the MINUS Group and Joao Bernardo)

Social Struggles in China by Joao Bernardo (1976)

The Four Modernisations. Life in the Countryside and Peasants Discontent. The MINUS Group ( Lee Yu See & others)

Women and Sex in China. Rebellion of Educated Youth. The MINUS Group (Flora Chan )

Chinese Takeaway or a slow boat back from China: Western Maoism (1978) (Phil Mailer & the Wise brothers)

A Radical Group in Hong Kong (1978) – Ken Knabb (about the Minus group)

The Explosion Point of Ideology in China (1967) – The Situationist International

The class struggle in bureaucratic China – pages 372 to 391 (1958) –   Pierre Brune of Socialisme ou Barbarie

Notes on Communisation and the Great Leap Backwards (from here ):

It seems ironic that the word “communisation” so beloved by those who think of it as the key to the treasure trove of diamond-tipped theory is a word that was often used during Mao’s attempt at highly intensive primitive capital accumulation – “The Great leap Forward” (1958-61). The fact that Roland Simon, whose parodies of “theory” originated the current use of the buzzword “communisation”, has used the term in a similar manner to those who used it during the Great Leap Forward (Into Disaster) – i.e. as the process whereby the proletariat, or at least those who think they represent proletarian desires, forces its perspectives on the rest of the population – makes it worthwhile looking a bit at this period of history…

At the very very least (ie according to Chinese government statistics) 15 million died, with others estimating the famine as causing up to 43 million, though one man (Franz Dikotter) recntly estimated it as at least 45 million. The probable figure is round about 35 million. The man in charge of agriculture at that time was Tan Zhenlin, who in 1958 said, “Communisation is the communist revolution”. What he meant was collectivisation – forcing the peasantry into communes: The People’s Communisation Movement. http://mt.china-papers.com/2/?p=207808 . The Peitaiho Resolution of 1958 called for “communisation”. Chapter 6 of “Eating Bitterness: New Perspectives on China’s Great Leap Forward and Famine” is called “An Introduction to the ABCs of Communization: A Case Study of Macheng County”. At this time there were expressions such as “the spirit of communisation” and “the wind of communisation”. The “wind of communisation” seems more appropriate, as it’s all wind, but sadly, an ill wind that blows nobody good.

Theoretically, communisation meant forcing the merging of small collectives into huge communes, involving the immediate breaking down of the separation between production units, the abolition of property, wages and individual land patches. In practice this meant squads of Communist Party cadres went round smashing up peasant cottages, burning down villages, confiscating all peasant tools and cooking utensils. Peasants were forced into collective slave labour camps. Any independent means to collect, store or even prepare food was taken away and the cadres imposed a monopoly of food supply in the communal dining halls, used as a weapon of social control. Those who didn’t co-operate were deliberately starved to death. In Henan, for instance, from the winter of 1959 to the spring of 1960, at least one million people starved to death – 12.5% of the population.
Dikotter writes in “Mao’s Great Famine” (Bloomsbury, London, 2010): “…Tan Zhenlin, in charge of agriculture, toured the provinces to galvanise the local leadership. He shared Mao’s vision of a communist cornucopia in which farmers dined on delicacies like swallows’ nests , wore silk, satin and furs and lived in skyscrapers with piped water and television. Every county would have an airport. Tan even explained how China had managed to leave the Soveit Union in the dust: “Some comrades will wonder how we manage to be so fast, since the Soviet Union is still practising socialism instead of communism. The difference is that we have a “continuous revolution”. The Soviet Union doesn’t have one, or follows it loosely…Communisation is the communist revolution!”. In fact, the function of this brutal primitive capital accumulation was to force the peasantry into proletarianisation, working on industrial projects or in factories merely to avoid starvation. In this way, over a far shorter period of time from that of the enclosures to the 19th centruy industries of Victorian England, China was able to develop a modern economy so as to eventually compete on the world market and to sustain the class privileges of the Communist Party.

Further reading:
China’s Economic Reforms by Lin Wei and Arnold Chao (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1982)
Village China Under Socialism and Reform: a micro-history 1948-2008 by Huaiyin Li
Tombstone: The Great Chinese Famine, 1958-1962 by Yan Jisheng (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux
Mao’s Crusade: Politics and Policy Implementation in China’s Great Leap Forward by Alfred L.Chan (OUP, New York, 2001) (for “communisation”, check out especially pages 68-82)
The Chinese Communes by E.Zurcher (1962)

My thanks to Z for all this information and much of the content of this.

Recently leaked internal minutes from a discussion of a speech delivered by Xi Jinping to the Central Party School in 2010, prior to his ascendency to PRC President and CCP General Secretary reveal the following about the Great Leap Forwards:

” …the difficult period from 1959-61, if you officially told the commoners that our Party was in control during this period we’d be responsible for the starvation of 38 million and countless of villages, how dreadful! Even more Chinese people than the Japanese killed, even more efficiently, easily, and without losing soldiers. If the common people learned this truth they would rebel against us. Therefore, we say that Party history has a bottom line, and that crossing this line is a break of the rules and must be punished. This is the meaning of Comrade Xi Jinping’s address. ”

From here:
https://chinadigitaltimes.net/2018/01/translation-party-history-people-cant-told/

A brief personal anecdote about a visit by Chairman Hua (Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party from October 1976 to June 1981) to Marx’s grave in Highgate Cemetery in 1980:

Marx’s grave is a Stalinist monstrosity, put there by the so-called “Communist” Party in 1956, the same year that the red fascists of Moscow sent in their tanks to crush the workers’ councils that had erupted in Hungary. Before that the grave had a small tombstone largely indistinguishable from any of the others.

I went there one very rainy night in 1980 at about 2a.m. – a few hours before Chairman Hua (head of the state capitalist country called Red China who’d arrived shortly before to have amicable talks with Thatcher) was due to place a wreath on this ugly tomb. It has “Philosophers have merely interpreted the world in various ways, the point however is to change it” chiseled into it. With a friend I spray-painted, amongst other things, over this inscription – “Leninists have merely re-organised capitalism in various ways; the point, however, is to slit their miserable throats”. Later, in the evening, I read about the visit in The Evening Standard, where they wrote something like “Previously Marx’s grave has been covered with graffiti, but today it was spotless.” I was furious – we’d got soaking wet for nothing. So, the next night, I returned on my own and stole Hua’s wreath – which turned out to be about 250 roses stuck on some wire pinned into something like a tyre (and in fact, it hadn’t been spotless – there were still some signs of the spray-painting). For a week or so my flat was adorned with these roses covering almost every inch of it… And now the repulsive middle class snotty-nosed Friends of Highgate Cemetry charge people to visit; Friends of Death, more like it…Friends of the commodification of everything. “The wealth of those societies in which the capitalist mode of production prevails, presents itself as an immense accumulation of commodities” – first sentence from Capital.

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2 Responses to china
  1. Guessing you may well have seen this, but if not, I remember this interview having some interesting stuff in: http://chuangcn.org/journal/two/an-adequate-state/

  2. […] be pretty heavily UK-centric, so look elsewhere for reflections on recent events in Haiti, Iran, China or […]

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