china 2017 – 2013

Continuation of Chronology from here

26/12/17:

China: statement by dissident after being sentenced to 8 years for “subversion” “…he told the court,  immediately after the sentence was announced, that “I thank the Communist Party for conferring me this high honor [subversion]. I will not forget my original aspiration, and will roll up my sleeves and work harder.” His remarks were a play on the official words of Xi Jinping; observers found it remarkable that a man who had just received such a harsh sentence would have the sense of humor, and guts, to do so…”…being given the honorable label of one who “subverts state power” is the highest form of affirmation for a citizen. It’s proof that the citizen wasn’t an accomplice or a slave, and that at the very least he went out and defended, and fought…..

23/12/17:

China: surveillance state spreading from Xinjiang across whole country The system, developed under former Tibet Party secretary Chen Quanguo, offers a glimpse of the likely future elsewhere in China, and perhaps beyond. Security checkpoints with identification scanners guard the train station and roads in and out of town. Facial scanners track comings and goings at hotels, shopping malls and banks. Police use hand-held devices to search smartphones for encrypted chat apps, politically charged videos and other suspect content. To fill up with gas, drivers must first swipe their ID cards and stare into a camera….They constantly take lessons from the high-pressure rule they apply in Xinjiang and implement them in the east…What happens in Xinjiang has bearing on the fate of all Chinese people.”

13/12/17:

China, Xinjiang: yet another report on the development of state totalitarianism – the state collecting DNA from all residents between 12 & 65 See also this “DNA and blood types are being collected through a free annual physical exams program called Physicals for All. It is unclear if the participants of the physicals are informed of the authorities’ intention to collect, store, or use sensitive DNA data. “Xinjiang authorities should rename their physical exams project ‘Privacy Violations for All,’ as informed consent and real choice does not seem to be part of these programs,” said Sophie Richardson, China director. “The mandatory databanking of a whole population’s biodata, including DNA, is a gross violation of international human rights norms, and it’s even more disturbing if it is done surreptitiously, under the guise of a free health care program.” See reports on News of Opposition from  27/10/17, 21/10/17 & 14/10/17 and also “the myths of dna…”

3/12/17:

China: another report on opposition to evictions of migrant workers (see entry for 28/11/17)

28/11/17:

China, Beijing: report on brutal evictions of migrant workers and repression of solidarity actions with them “…part of a broader plan to modernize, beautify and gentrify the Chinese capital as a showcase for the Communist Party.”

14/11/17:

The People’s Republic of the Disappeared “Residential Surveillance at a Designated Location (RSDL) is China’s attempt to mask its systematic use of enforced disappearances of human rights defenders behind the veneer of the rule of law. Under RSDL, the state can take anyone, deny them access to a lawyer, and refuse the outside world any information about their fate or whereabouts for up to six months. The state Prosecutor is even denied the right to visit the victim or provide oversight against maltreatment. Torture is common. There is no legal review or appeal. Once inside RSDL, you simply disappear….”

27/10/17:

China: another report on the development of state surveillance strategy and techniques Authorities are collaborating with iFlytek, a Chinese company that produces 80 percent of all speech recognition technology in the country, to develop a pilot surveillance system that can automatically identify targeted voices in phone conversations….The Chinese government has been collecting the voice patterns of tens of thousands of people …The collection of voice biometrics is part of the Chinese government’s drive to form a “multi-modal” biometric portrait of individuals and to gather ever more data about citizens. This voice biometric data is linked in police databases to the person’s identification number, which in turn can then be linked to a person’s other biometric and personal information on file, including their ethnicity, home address, and even their hotel records…Government reports in the media claim that Automatic Speaker Recognition forensics have been used to match voice patterns to solve cases involving … counter-terrorism and “stability maintenance”
More about the  Chinese state’s intensification of surveillance technology and techniques here. “KASHGAR, China.This is a city where growing a beard can get you reported to the police. So can inviting too many people to your wedding, or naming your child Muhammad or Medina. Driving or taking a bus to a neighboring town, you’d hit checkpoints where armed police officers might search your phone for banned apps like Facebook or Twitter, and scroll through your text messages to see if you had used any religious language. You would be particularly worried about making phone calls to friends and family abroad. Hours later, you might find police officers knocking at your door and asking questions that make you suspect they were listening in the whole time….” See also reports for 21/10/17 & 14/10/17 below.

A contact writes: “This is more than the “infrastructure of authoritarianism”. This is the construction of a comprehensive, truly totalitarian police state whose ambition is to reduce everything outside the control of the CCP to zero. As is pointed out in the article, the logic which directs this mega-project in which corporate China is willing partnering, is none other than the logic of the capitalist marketplace, whose totalitarian logic the Chinese State, has recognized as such. The cool rationality by which the Chinese bureaucratic capitalists use the complementary systems of old-style Leninoid monitoring and surveillance (“a good Communist is also a good Chekist” – which is why a good revolutionist will kill them unhesitatingly) is coupled with the tracking and sorting of the advanced consumer “service net” to produce an air-tight maximum security state, presents an interesting contrast to the gaseous gibberish about “free markets” and other swill that we hear given vent by the sages of Silicon Valley, as they justify the piecemeal assembly of a exactly parallel construction here, a construction whose potential will not go unnoticed in future “national emergencies”. This is the end for anyone who had any lingering hopes that Chinese “civil society” could overcome totalitarian bureaucratic capitalism with (for the moment) Chinese characteristics. It is also a warning that such developments in the West are not far off. We have little time left.” However, to tone down a bit this vision of absolute totalitarianism, it should be made clear that one of the strategies of the state – for a long time – has been  to make people think that the state is like a materialist God – it knows and controls everything. Its presentation of itself is intended to instil absolute resignation because, of  course, “you can’t beat the system” (as a widely-distributed ad warning against fare-dodging on the tube put it – in London in the 1980s!). Although the means available to it is vast, petrification –  terror and submission –  in the face of it all is what the rulers want above all, as if the technological means of absolute control at the disposal of the state is perfect, regardless of how much, in fact, it is.

21/10/17:

China, Xinjiang: another report on intensified surveillance methods Under Party Chief Chen Quanguo, a hardliner who was credited for quelling a wave of unrest in Tibet, is emerging as a “perfect police state,”…The ubiquity of government in Xinjiang affects the most prosaic aspects of daily life…. D., a stylish young Uighur woman in Turkey, said that even keeping in touch with her grandmother, who lives in a small Xinjiang village, had become impossible. Whenever D. called her grandmother, police would barge in hours later, demanding the elderly woman phone D. back while they were in the room.… China’s government has invested billions of renminbi into top-of-the-line surveillance technology for Xinjiang, from cameras at petrol stations to surveillance drones that patrol the border.… Security has become a big business opportunity for hundreds of companies, mostly Chinese, seeking to profit from the demand for surveillance equipment in Xinjiang…. China is pouring money into its budget for surveillance. ,,,its investment in information technology transfer, computer services, and software will quintuple this year from 2013….Other equipment, like high-resolution cameras and facial recognition technology, is ubiquitous. …China has become one of the earliest adopters and developers of facial recognition technology. The wide adoption of such technology in public spaces ranging from shopping centers to university dormitories has created convenience for many but also raised concerns about privacy and safetyXinjiang residents are forced to install surveillance apps on their mobile phones.” See also entry for 14/10/17   below.

A contact wrote:

“Remember in days long gone by when Sanguinetti could comment on the condition of Italy as the contemporary “laboratory of counterrevolution”? This distinction has moved elsewhere now, but in Xinjiang what we see is a laboratory of absolute, genocidal repression, with “revolution” nowhere on the horizon. A social vista of complete hopelessness. As with other empires, we can expect the experimental means of counterinsurgency on the periphery to eventually become the mainstream policies of the center. Given that China has opted at the recent Party Congress to resort to ideological regimentation and terror as official policy – the same way that the Russian elite has gone into a close alliance with the Russian Orthodox Church for an ersatz version of “divine rights of kings”, or the Americans sitting at the wheels of the State have now committed themselves to a war against science in terms of policy and a war against rationality in terms of ethos – we can see an emerging reliance of the great regimes on irrational constructs to shore up the public support on which they rely, betting that a narrow but fanatical base is better than a larger more passive one, or is perhaps that only one is possible. After all, considered rationally, there is no real way forward with these great empires that will not increase the misery to the human population and danger to the planet. The only way forward is to follow the road of irrationality in a kind of triumph of the political will that will inevitably lead to a greater crisis but will provide momentary opportunity.”

A friend wrote:

Two very good texts undermining the paralysing apparatus of fear erected by Big Brother

´Worse, in any attempt to institute a real-life Panopticon uncertainty works both ways. The prisoners may never know when they’re being watched, but neither can the guards ever be certain what the prisoners are getting up to in their unobserved moments. The natural response is to monitor as much activity as possible at all times. In the digital age this urge manifests itself in the massive data harvesting programs carried out by the NSA and other intelligence and law enforcement agencies. Sadly for them however, while capturing and storing data is easy, data by itself is not information. The NSA’s enormous capability to intercept data has not been matched by any corresponding ability to analyze it, much less to act on whatever information is extracted. Data mining has shown some promise in keeping track of known suspects, but has been nearly useless at uncovering new ones. The forces of order are therefore left to wrestle with unmanageable masses of data on people who are little threat to them, while those harboring nefarious intent can slip beneath the radar merely by taking some basic precautions.´

https://isiw.noblogs.org/post/2014/09/29/two-pieces-on-surveillance/

14/10/17:

China, Xinjiang: report on new forms of state surveillance “Since 2014, as part of a nationwide crackdown on terrorism, the Uyghur Autonomous Region has seen a host of new restrictions over many facets of everyday life–from internet controls that surpass those in the rest of China to bans on any outward displays of Islamic religious belief, including the wearing of beards and veils or the use of qurans or prayer mats… As far away as Shenzhen, hotels have been ordered not to accept guests from the predominately Muslim Uyghur ethnic minority group. Party leaders in one Xinjiang county have been ordered to send 40% of the population to reeducation through labor camps for exhibiting signs of “religious extremism,” according to a report from Radio Free Asia. A new order, issued by neighborhood organizations, requires some Xinjiang residents to get all household knives stamped with an identifying QR code. One such order, issued in September, reads: …According to the demands of present stability maintenance work, all neighborhood households’ cutting tools with blades exceeding 10 centimeters must have QR codes embossed on them. Scrap knives must be handed in for safekeeping. Pass this message on.”

1/7/17:

China: 3 reports on intensified state surveillance, including 2 on the  profoundly rebellious region of  Xinjiang – here, here,  & here “The Chinese Ministry of Public Security—its national police force—and other agencies called in 2015 for the creation of an “omnipresent, completely connected, always on and fully controllable” nationwide video-surveillance network as a public-safety imperative. In a policy statement, the agencies included “facial comparison” in a list of techniques to be used to improve surveillance networks.”…and here:” residents in a district of Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, are being required to install the Jingwang (净网, literally “web-cleaning”) surveillance app on their cellphones. Authorities are reportedly conducting spot-checks to ensure that residents are complying with the directive.”

11/5/17:

China, Guangdong: incinerator project scrapped after demonstrations, mass strikes and closures of schools (video)… 2 reports on increased state controls and surveillance in China. This one includes surveillance of those living outside China. “The proposal states intelligence agencies could “collect and process” information on foreigners and Chinese citizens and conduct work outside the country’s borders. …In April, authorities in Beijing began offering cash rewards of up to 500,000 yuan ($72,500) for citizens who turn in foreign spies. The proposed law allows for rewards for “major contributions” to intelligence activities to be offered nationwide.” Whereas this one is specifically about the Xinjiang region: China Expected to Expand DNA Collection in Xinjiang… public security authorities are laying groundwork for the mass collection of biometric data in the Xinjiang region…The purchases of DNA testing equipment in Xinjiang were confirmed by an official at the regional Public Security Bureau. … In Xinjiang’s Sheche County, suppliers were being sought for voiceprint collection systems and 3-D portrait systems…If used at full capacity, the new equipment could be used to profile up to 10,000 DNA samples a day and several million a year…The scale of the purchases raises “a legitimate concern that Chinese authorities could be planning to DNA profile a large fraction, or even all” of the Uighur people in Xinjiang…Since it started collecting DNA profiles in 1989, China has amassed the unique genetic information on more than 40 million people, constituting the world’s largest DNA database”. For an analysis of the myths surrounding DNA see this.

27/4/17:

China, Guangxi: clashes with cops as local state tries to demolish homes to make way for haughty-culture exhibition “…the police were using pepper spray, police dogs and batons to attack protesters…the government had tried sending in demolition teams to raze village homes in Yongning on Thursday, running into determined opposition when they got to Liang village. The government sent in an estimated 1,000 riot police and other security personnel to deal with the protests, which brought around 6,000 protesters out onto the street…Villagers were also shown trying to hold off the police with rocks and flagpoles, while women and children were among those beaten. Liang village is now encircled by police checkpoints, and no vehicles are allowed to move through freely, local residents said.” Video of cops being beaten back and more here “One villager posted on Weibo along with photos of bloody villagers: “The voice of the whole village says: first settle then demolish! First settle then demolish! First settle then demolish! But they ignored it, sent eight public buses and [a number of] police cars without license plates to the village to make trouble – they won’t even let children and elderly people go! Many children were beaten by electric batons…”

11/4/17:

China, Inner Mongolia: farmers and herders in clashes with cops during protests against insurance rip-off10/12/16:

China, Chengdu: heavy repression of mild protest against toxic pollution 

8/11/16:

8/8/16:

China, Lianyungang: several thousand residents protest planned French nuclear waste processing facility 

7/7/16:

China : Walmart workers launch wildcat strikes across China

3/7/16:

China, Lubu: government offices attacked as massive protest against plans for highly toxic incinerator  hots up “…the Lubu town administration had suddenly halted plans for the construction. Residents expressed their anger believing the announcement to be temporary and a tactical move to diffuse unrest.”

25/6/16:

China: riot cops violently suppress demo against waste incinerator ” the riot police moved to clear the road, indiscriminately attacking the crowds with truncheons and fire hoses, according to locals. In a day-long battle that dragged on until about 11 p.m., the civilians responded by pelting the police with eggs and water bottles.”

21/4/16:

China, Zhejiang: heavy clashes with state over incinerator construction More than 1,000 police officers deployed to the scene clashed with protesters, leaving scores injured or taken away after the most serious round of confrontations late Thursday…Despite the government announcing a halt to the incinerator project, some protesters carried on and broke through a police cordon and entered the county government premises, where police used water cannon, tear gas and pepper spray to disperse the crowd…  Video clips and photographs posted online showed violent clashes between police and protesters, vandalized cars, and individual protesters with blood over their bodies and faces or with broken fingers.”…Daleks join China’s police force 

14/3/16:

China, Heilongjiang: 1000s of unemployed miners clash with copsmore heremainstream report on workers unrest … and another

8/2/16:

China, Hong Kong: fly pitchers resist state’s eviction  policy – riots and clashes throughout the night
“During the clashes, police fired live gunshots into the air, wielded batons and hand-held water cannons and used pepper spray as protesters overturned and set alight rubbish bins and other debris, shattered car windows and threw stones at the police. …During the night, at least 24 people were arrested, while 44 policemen and members of the press were reportedly injured. It was not immediately known how many protesters were injured. As traffic started to resume in the early hours of Tuesday morning, many crossroads remained blocked by police and protesters cordons, and some fires continued burning unabated.” Video here: https://nz.travel.yahoo.com/video/watch/30773621/riot-police-protesters-clash-over-hong-kong-street-vendors/

More video:  http://edition.cnn.com/2016/02/08/asia/hong-kong-riots-shots-fired/ (video)

10/1/16:

China:  strikes and protests in China for 2015 double that of 2014Hangzhou: state organises an innovative method of securing safe train journeys
And anyone disagreeing with the official reason for this will be subject to re-education classes [SF]

6/1/16:

China, Guangxi: police riot & roadblock

China (Gansu): riots after girl’s suicide because of shoplifting accusation by well-connected businessman; mayor beaten up
“The incident drew a crowd of around 1,000 local people who protested outside the supermarket, overturning police cars and beating up Jinchang’s mayor Zhang Yinghua…Armed police were dispatched to disperse the crowd, sparking clashes with local people…”When they saw military vehicles driving to the scene, the people assembled there got angry, and a group of them stood in front of one vehicle, blocking its path,” a local business owner surnamed Song said. He said the crowd had begun gathering outside the supermarket on Tuesday, and swelled again to its peak of several thousand on Wednesday after being dispersed the day before….The municipal authorities had dispatched some 1,000 riot police to the scene, prompting protesters to throw things at them, attack them, and overturn their vehicles. “There was fighting, and some people overturned police vehicles, because the crowd was really very angry,” Song said…They detained around a dozen people … and [the crowd] pretty much smashed up all of the police vehicles,” A Cai said. “I saw 10 or more vehicles with broken glass.”

China has had a 13-fold increase in labor disputes and protests in the last 5 years – http://qz.com/580553/china-is-cracking-down-on-labor-rights-ngos-in-its-worlds-factory-with-a-state-media-smear-campaign/

10/12/15:

China (Wuhan): clashes with state over waste dump
“The demonstrators overturned a police car and scuffled with officers…Four residents told Reuters by telephone that the protests had been going on for at least four days”

29/11/15:

China, Guangdong: heavy clashes between villagers and state over waste incinerator “Over 1,000 police were dispatched after a mass protest began in the city of Shantou, in the east of Guangdong. Some police vehicles were burned by protesters…On Saturday residents of the city’s Chaoyang district heard a police warning that they were about to enter their village. In response, many villagers gathered and blocked the road using gas cylinders. The following day, police advanced into the village, which became the scene of violent clashes as demonstrators smashed police vehicles and threw rocks and stones at riot police. The villagers had been striking for two weeks and students had also been boycotting classes for a week in an attempt to prevent construction of the incinerator from going ahead.” More here: “…more than 1,000 police in the Chaoyang District of Shantou City, Guangdong Province fired tear gas and high-pressure water hoses at protesters from eleven villages in Jinzao township. Dozens of villagers were arrested, and a police car and earth excavator were burned by the villagers….altogether 11 villages and more than 10,000 people at the end of October 2015 again began resisting the construction of a large-scale waste disposal power plant in their village. Their protest is ongoing. According to the villagers, peasants in the 11 villages have been on strike for half a month, protecting their villages day and night against government invasion. Six middle and primary schools in the 11 villages have been boycotting classes for 10 days. During this time a large number of villagers who have demonstrated and posted information on the Internet have been arrested. Villager “Blockhead” commented online: “Six middle and primary schools have been boycotting classes for 10 days. Farmers haven’t gone to the fields to work for more than half a month. They’re standing guard day and night to prevent the township government invading the village. This conflict has been going on for two years. Until now no media has reported accurately on this issue…. The police were temporarily beaten back by the villagers…. A police vehicle transporting a water cannon was burned….A SWAT vehicle was burned by the village defenders and the riot police withdrew. It’s not stubborn resistance but protecting our homes. If the waste disposal power generating plant is built, our home will be ruined and the people will die….” The villagers’ protest was still in progress on the evening of Sunday November 29, 2015. All the roads into the village were blocked by the police. Most of the information the villagers had posted to the Internet had been deleted.”

gaungdong 2

guangdong nov 15Shantou, Guangdong

 17/10/15:

China, Guangxi: 3rd or 4th day of residents clashing with cops in movement against privatisation of beach though construction of pier

13/10/15:

China, Guangdong: further protests against waste incinerators; clashes with cops

10/10/15:

China, Guangdong: riot over incinerator““How will we survive breathing in noxious smoke?” an employee of a small Internet firm told Reuters by telephone on Tuesday.  “Yesterday night, the police have already beaten a lot of people, and arrested more,” added the woman….Photographs posted online…showed protesters pinning a police officer to the ground, and flames engulfing an overturned car. Three vehicles were damaged”

6/10/15:

China: report showing big increase in strikes and worker protests in third quarter of the year

9/9/15:

China, Hong Kong: new “Occupy” as minibus drivers block traffic protesting driving ticket fines

hong kong minbus drivers

24/7/15:

China, Taiwan, Taipei: students occupy office of Minister of EducationScaling ladders, the activists slipped by police and stormed the ministry building late on Thursday evening. According to the police, 18 activists subsequently barricaded themselves inside Minister of Education Wu Se-hwa’s office, using furniture to block the door. By about 1 a.m., police had succeeded in expelling the students, some of whom had their hands tied behind their backs with plastic restraints. In total, 33 persons were arrested, including 24 students—11 of them under the age of 18. …Reporters at the site complained they were prevented from doing their work.Footage provided by one of the journalists who was taken away (he was released in the afternoon on NT$10,000 bail) shows police using strobe lights to prevent him from taking photographs, while other officers are pulling at him and are heard saying, “No one asked you to come to cover the story.”

3/7/15:

China: report of strikes reaching record numbers (almost as high for first 6 months as whole of last year) Another report here.

30/6/15:

China, Hebei: sit-in blockade and clashes against waste-generated plant

18/6/15:

China, Hunan: 100s storm po-lice station in dispute over woman’s death“…hundreds of local residents stormed the local police station, blocked a road, and flattened the tires of a police vehicle, preventing the police officers from leaving, the statements said. Early Friday morning, the crowd threw rocks and stones and sprayed pepper water at the police that tried to make a forced exit, the county government said.”

9/6/15:

China, Guangxi: gemstone workers clash with cops over forced relocation to high-rent area etc. Residents protested against this factory about its pollution and the noise – forcing the company to relocate to an area where landlords took advantage of the increased demand for accommodation to hike up the rents, one of the reasons for the workers’ protests. Just judging from this (without knowing anything more) it’s not hard to see in some way some of the contradictions of fighting aspects of this society without any connection with the totality of misery, and the false conflict of interests between workers and local residents that inevitably develops within such limited perspectives. See also this, for some interesting facts about labour unrest in China“In the first five months of 2015, there were triple the number of labour strikes as in the same period in 2014, according to data from the Hong Kong-based China Labour Bulletin, while mass protests by workers against layoffs are on the rise.”

8/6/15:

China, Jiangxi: clashes with cops over work-related death of young man“Chinese industry is plagued by lax safety standards and routinely sees major workplace accidents, with an estimated 57,000 people killed in 269,000 accidents in the first 11 months of 2014, according to government figures.”

31/5/15:

China, Taiwan, Taipei: laundry workers occupy China Airlines site as they go on official strike

16/5/15:

China, Linshui: thousands battle riot cops in movement demanding railway construction (more here)

8/4/15:

China, Guangdong: primary school pupils participate in continuing uprising against incinerator(see entry for 6/4/15) “Primary school children boycotted class in Langtang township near Guangdong’s Yunfu city on Wednesday, joining a continuing protest by thousands of residents over plans to build a waste incinerator plant near their homes, residents said. Tensions remained high in the township amid ongoing police detentions by night and a growing security presence on local streets, they said….”[The class boycott] has gone on for two days now,” a Langtang resident surnamed Wu told RFA, adding that security in the surrounding towns and villages remains tight….”Today, there is a police guard surrounding several villages.”…”The government told us that if we left the cement factory, they would release them half an hour afterwards, but they still haven’t released them, even after we left,” he said. …”There are an extra 1,000 police in the township now, and more than 20 police vehicles at the cement factory,” Zhang said….According to local people, dozens of people were injured and detained in clashes between police and protesters on Monday, after riot police used batons to attack the crowd, including children….Environmental activist Chen Faqing, commenting on a recent fire at a petrochemical plant in the southeastern province of Fujian, said air pollution is a form of chronic suicide for China. “Habitual and long-term exposure to air pollution can have a huge effect on all the organs of the body, especially harmful gases, which can be absorbed through the capillaries, and cause cancer,” Chen said.
“These harmful gases can take 50-200 years to disappear from the air we breathe,” Chen said. “It’s not just a question of a few years.” The fire, which caused a massive blast on Tuesday at the Tenglong Aromatic Hydrocarbon (Zhangzhou) Co. on Fujian’s Gulei peninsula, rekindled once more on Wednesday morning, before being extinguished once again by rescue crews, official media reported. Worsening levels of air and water pollution, as well as disputes over the effects of heavy metals from mining and industry have sparked a growing wave of mass public protests linked to environmental protection in recent years.”
See also this(from a totally reformist position), on strikes and other forms of resistance in China

6/4/15:

China, Guangdong: police station vandalised as tens of thousands rise up against incinerator project“Following the armed suppression of a protest against the building of an incinerator, tens of thousands of villagers in Luoding in southern China’s Guangdong province took to the streets…with iron bars and sticks in hand, descending on the police station. They vandalized the property and smashed squad cars while police officers stood in formation and watched. Villagers told the press that the concrete plant has been burning waste every day for the last two years, severely polluting the surrounding environment.” ….Inner Mongolia: riot cops crush 3 week protest against chemical refinery pollution; 1 person killedTensions have been rising in Inner Mongolia in recent months, as herders protest pollution and land grabs by mining and mineral resources industries, the mainstay of the region’s economy. Herders say that their grasslands and livestock have been poisoned and that little compensation has been paid for losses and land seizures. Villagers said more than 2,000 riot police officers were deployed over the weekend near Daqintala village in Naiman county in the eastern part of Inner Mongolia, to break up a protest involving about 1,000 locals over pollution originating from the Naiman Chemical Refinery Zone….the government issued a notice saying it would respond to the villagers’ demands, carry out environmental testing and stop the companies from operating until the villagers were satisfied. However, on Saturday afternoon, people blocking the industrial park were “cleared up forcibly” and dispersed…. Protesters later regrouped to block a road …Video and photographs posted on social media and on the SMHRIC Web site showed large numbers of riot police, carrying shields and batons, blocking a highway and chasing protesters away. On Monday, the government issued a notice ordering the industrial park to shut down and telling the companies in it that they would be relocated. It also said people who had “blocked roads, smashed up cars, stirred up trouble and made up rumors” would be held legally responsible….Villagers wrote on social media and told SMHRIC that they were defending their rights to their grazing land and to clean air and water. One wrote that they have complained about the pollution for years and that the local government had frequently promised to fix the problem but had never done so. Others told Radio Free Asia that the government had responded to previous protests by closing the refinery complex and then reopening it within weeks. The complex has been in existence for more than a decade, but the pollution has intensified since 2012…“Every day when we wake up in early morning, the smell of the chemical plant would drift by…There are fruit trees in several villages around here, but the trees have all died. The water discharged from the plant is all red and goes straight underground, without treatment. People in many villages dare not drink the tap water or water from the well because the underground water has been so polluted….An increasing number of villagers have become sick, and the miscarriage rate is soaring among pregnant women here…Our livestock is being poisoned to death, and crops and vegetables are inedible.”…sporadic protests still occur almost every day.”

3/4/15:

China, Guangdong: protesters against corruption invade station, stop trains“Some villagers did invade the high-speed railway station and sit on the tracks”…More than 40 villagers ran onto the railway station platform after tearing down fencing around the station…The railway sit-in comes after months of complaints from Mashan residents over alleged corrupt practices by their local officials linked to local property deals, village finances, housing allocation and access to water resources.”

20/3/15:

China, Guizhou: say what you will school dinners make you ill – school students riot against poisonous food“Thousands of disgruntled students smashed up their high school campus in the southwestern Chinese province of Guizhou in the early hours of Friday morning after an outbreak of food poisoning made hundreds of them sick. Students at Guizhou’s Puding County No. 1 High School ran riot through their dormitories, smashing windows and prompting China’s ruling Communist Party county leaders to rush to the school to deal with the incident. ….Social media posts said 3,000 students at the high school’s Hengshui campus near Guizhou’s Anshun city had also staged large-scale protests after more than 400 students became ill. “The local authorities sent in large numbers of police and have locked down the whole area,” one tweet said. “But the police are just standing around and keeping watch; they didn’t dare to intervene to stop the students.” During the protests, some of the students had smashed windows in the school canteen and in their dormitory buildings in protest at the poor food quality at the school, social media user @yuni said….The tweet said protesting students were also angry over high fees and frequent use of out-of-date foods in the canteen. “The dormitories are tofu buildings, and there are huge safety issues,” @yuni wrote, suggesting they were poorly constructed and unstable.”

2/3/15:

China, Hong Kong: new clashes with cops

26/12/14:

China, Hong Kong: more clashes

23/12/14:

China, Hong Kong: cops use tear gas against continuing protests by several hundred people

 

2/12/14:

China, Hong Kong: protesters reject leaders’ call to surrender

1/12/14:

China, Hong Kong: clashes with cops escalate

25/11/14:
5/11/14:

China, Guangdong:  riot by students  over food quality and other things “More than 3,000 students rampaged through buildings at the Guangdong Provincial Economics and Trade Technical College in response to what they said was poor management on the part of college leadership and unfair restrictions on their eating habits. They smashed windows in the controversial on-campus store and the canteen as well computer equipment in college offices, according to online and eyewitness accounts.”
18/10/14:
China, Hong Kong: heavy cop tactics used against protestors “…the latest clashes came after activists had issued calls on social media for protesters to expand barricades and take over another intersection in Mong Kok. “This is a worrying trend for authorities, where protesters are almost using a flashmob tactic,” he said. “It is very difficult for them to control.” Pictures from the scene of the scuffles showed some protesters wearing helmets, masks and foam pads.”
15/10/14:
13/10/14:
China, Guizhou: over 10,000 go on strike or leave their classes to protest against county government’s expropriation of large areas of land at low prices under false pretenses; 2 dead ” Witnesses said vehicles in the square were all smashed and that police officers attacked protesters.One of the witnesses said the overwhelming number of police, water cannon and police dogs made the square look like a war zone. The number of injured strained the capacity of local hospitals and some patients had to be transferred to other hospitals nearby.Protesters who rushed to the hospital to confirm reports that two people had died were attacked and arrested; the building was locked down for an hour before the bodies and the protesters disappeared” (more here)
10/10/14:
6/10/14:
China, Hong Kong: as the movement prepares (possbily) for a massive repression, various scum show up valid contradictions in the movement “Charles Powell, who served as private secretary to then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher when Britain agreed to return Hong Kong to China, said … “The position about elections has been clear since the law was published in 1991 and I don’t believe for one moment that Chinese are going to change that basic position …Hong Kong has always been part of China…We rented for a while and we didn’t introduce democracy,” …Singapore’s Foreign Minister Kasiviswanathan Shanmugam said …They have intentionally ignored a fact that Hong Kong had never implemented a democratic system under the British rule for some 150 years, he said, adding that Beijing’s plan has granted Hong Kong much more democratic space than what Hong Kongers got in the times of British-ruled Hong Kong….Jeff Bader, who ran Obama’s first term White House East Asia policy, told the Washington Post that for Beijing, there is no room for compromise on issues such as Chinese stability and the leadership of the Communist Party of China. He also mentioned that millions of Hong Kongers will not support or tolerate the protest that grinds the city to halt for days.The negative impact of Occupy Central includes a bit of a brain drain, Bader predicted.” All of which is another way of saying that unless movements to change things make links with other proletarians and develop an expliciltly global anti-capitalist class war perspective, they will be defeated anyway and will have hardly learn much from such a defeat. Undoubtedly movements that do  make links with other proletarians and develop an expliciltly global anti-capitalist class war perspective will also be crushed, but they will find out a lot more, and develop a great deal more possibilities of global solidarity, both of which could help future movements. Sadly, over the next 5 or 10 years people are going to have to learn from the strengths and weakenesses of previous social movements  to change the world spanning 200 years, and to develop the networks of solidarity increasingly repressed by the post WWll development of the spectacle, merely to arrive at banality. Playing the good citizen, as in the censorship of basic proletarian slogans shown below, will hardly endear these protesters to their potential allies.fuck-the-police-or-not hkprotesters erasing graffiti, because they think sex with cops is perverse
3/10/14:
China, Hong Kong: as the movement seems, though maybe only temporarily, to be moving backwards into a reliance on negotiations between leaders and would-be leadersthis long interesting text from people who seem to  know their stuff appears (though, I admit, I’ve read less than half of it so far)whilst the state-manipulated attacks on demonstrators has lead to the end of the talks with the government, on the level of ideas and critiques, people seem to be more disarmed than 200 years ago, ideologies of “democracy” colonising their brains29/9/14:China, Hong Kong: more secondary schools go out on strike as vale of tear gas envelops citystudents accuse “occupy central” of hijacking their movementHK be realisticSo nice to see such a neatly and correctly handwritten version of this old slogan from 46 years ago – sadly, only 1 of these women looks enthusiastic about it. No surprise –  so far  this is no May ’68. The old slogan is pertinent – but not yet pertinent to the current ideologies in Hong Kong.  The slogan used there (and, I must emphathise again – so neatly and correctly written!) is clearly  contradicted by a boringly possible demand submissive to our masters’ notion of what’s realistic – a demand for something capitalism could grant. A more “democratic” form of bourgeois election than that proposed by the current alliance of the Hong Kong elite with the mainland CP bureaucracy might feasibly be granted if it suited the various interests as well as helped suppress any independent elements developing within the movement there. Sure, this might  admittedly also involve  a potentially explosive  resolution of the conflicts of interest going on within and between the different capitalist camps: some are even talking of potentially changing the situation to what happened in Ukraine, even though the histories and ideologies are relatively very different…Clearly the conflict between pro-US and pro-Communist Party bureaucratic interests involves them assessing the danger of things getting out of control. Insofar as what goes on there is of concern to those wanting some global independent opposition, it’s obviously worth attempting to look behind the spectacular facade of opposing interests and try to work out what’s going on. For instance, check out this contemptuous pro-bureaucracy report here, which nevertheless mentions some pertinent contradictions.

See also here“Occupy Central and the pan-Democrats have intervened in a bid to ensure that the protests remain limited to the narrow demand for open chief executive elections. They represent layers of the corporate elite and upper middle classes who fear that Hong Kong’s position as a major Asian financial center and their own interests will be undermined by Beijing’s control over the former British colony….As part of its “pivot to Asia”, the Obama administration signaled that it intended to step up the pressure on “human rights” in Hong Kong with the appointment last year of veteran diplomatic Clifford Hart as the new US consul. In his first public statements,…There are undoubtedly close links between the US and sections of the Occupy Movement and the pan-Democrats…. leaked emails between prominent media tycoon Jimmy Lai and his top aide Mark Simon revealed that he had supplied funds to the Occupy Movement and several pan-Democrats. Simon, a former US naval analyst, had been the head of the Hong Kong branch of Republicans Abroad and organized meetings with leading US figures. In May, Lai reportedly met with prominent neo-con and former deputy defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz. At the same time, the Occupy Movement and pan-Democrats are concerned that the protests not become the focus for the broader social demands of the working class. The social gulf between rich and poor in Hong Kong is particularly marked. A small wealthy elite of billionaires and multi-millionaires lives in luxury while a fifth of Hong Kong’s population is below the poverty line. Income tax and corporate tax rates are among the lowest in the world. Welfare measures are virtually non-existent…. a tearful Occupy Movement founder Benny Tai had expressed concerns that “the situation was getting out of control.” It is a concern that all sections of Hong Kong’s ruling elite share — both pro-Beijing and “pro-democratic.””

And thisabout the Big Four audit accountancy firms is interesting: “The audit firms, who between them had global revenues last year of £66.3bn and employ more than 700,000 people worldwide, joined the fray by placing adverts in three Chinese-language newspapers criticising Occupy Central, which has suggested it will stage a sit-in to block traffic in Hong Kong’s business district as part of its campaign. The advert said: “We hereby announce that we are opposed to this movement, and are concerned that ‘Occupy Central’ would have negative and long-lasting impact on the rule of law, the society and the economy of Hong Kong. We hope that the disagreements could be resolved through negotiation and dialogue instead.””

 Whilst this expression of business interest implies a fear that the state could provoke excessive opposition by being too heavy-handed: “WHAT is worse for big business in Hong Kong: street protests, or the tear gas fired to disperse the protesters? That is the uncomfortable question now confronting Hong Kong’s button-down business community, which has co-existed relatively peacefully with the city’s Communist Party overlords since the handover to Chinese rule in 1997…. For now, the protests are an inconvenience, but they are surely not enough to force a major Western company – or even a Chinese state-owned company – to seek a new headquarters, especially in an age when most employees can probably operate from home indefinitely. Hong Kong’s political and financial advantages are too great to be overshadowed by barricaded subway stops and college students blocking downtown arteries. But the same cannot be said of a city that responds to peaceful student protests with tear gas….Hong Kong’s handling of the protests…suggests a government that lacks the competence to do what other world cities do regularly: peacefully manage a student protest.If Hong Kong’s business community hopes to preserve what is unique about their city….they need to be just as vocal about the negative consequences of assaulting unarmed students as they have been about threats to shut down the central business district. It’s time for them to reaffirm how a world-class business city should behave under duress.”

But of course, the main thing is to write our slogans neatly and correctly!!! “Be realistic – demand impeccable handwriting!”

28/9/14:

China, Hong Kong: “If today I don’t stand out, I will hate myself in future…Even if I get a criminal record, it will be a glorious one.”

HK police van

27/9/14:

China, Hong Kong: “Occupy Central” reschedules  The implicit aim of this movement, regardless of it’s ideology of “demockracy”, is dictatorship of the bourgeoisie (local and multinational) as against dictatorship of the Chinese Communist Party bureaucracy. Whether the momentum goes beyond these false (externally defined) choices is, for the moment, largely futile speculation. But there are signs that things are – at least a bit –  getting out of control of the professional activists of “Occupy Central” (e.g. the latest intensification of conflict, with the breaking into the main government compound, and the boycott of secondary school classes, has forced “Occupy Central” to re-schedule their long-planned occupation). Nevertheless, if there’s to be no sell-out or re-organisation of current misery or worse, independent forms of action have to also develop independent content, independent ideas that contest the ideologies that make such movements “respectable”. See also This Riot Is Not In Ferguson, It Is In Hong Kong “The police have used disproportionate force to stop the legitimate actions of the students and that should be condemned,” said Benny Tai, one of the three main organizers of the pro-democracy Occupy Central movement.” – implying that proportionate force would be fine,  being the force this guy would probably claim he’d use if developments were to see him in charge of the filth.

26/9/14:

China, Hong Kong: interesting development, boring demand, as 12 year old pupils boycott classes (more here and here

13/9/14:

China, Guangdong: 1000s in spontaneous march against incinerator; clashes with cops

19/8/14:

China, Tibet: cops arrest all over 12-year-old males in order to prevent protests against imprisonment of elder, after firing on demonstrators

2/7/14:

China, Hong Kong: 500 arrested after sit-in

1/7/14:

China, Hong Kong: clashes with cops on demo demanding “real democracy” (whatever that means)

10/6/14:

China, Shenzhen: another wildcat strike over non-payment of benefits

8/6/14:

China,  Guangzhou: red light district riot “social media sites showed several police vehicles lying on their sides after having been flipped.”

23/5/14:

China, Foshan: blind justice “ANGRY passers-by who saw a group of security guards assaulting and chasing away some blind buskers reacted by burning police vehicles and a fire engine”

13/5/14:

China, Zhatong: man killed by state thugs in clashes over authority’s land grab “Photos of the scene posted to social media and later deleted showed a body wrapped in a white shroud, surrounded by protesters carrying red banners…“The Taiping village government has beaten up the villagers of [Zhaoyang’s] Fuqiang village,” the banners read.“Our leaders are dominating the people, occupying their farmland, illegally detaining villagers who petition,” they said.“Give us back the land that is legally ours,” the banners said.A Taiping resident surnamed Wang said the standoff had been going on for around three weeks before flaring into violence. Villagers had been taking it in turns to maintain the blockade, with dozens of people sitting in at any given time, he said.“There have been clashes in recent days, as the government has brought in police and chengguan [urban management officials] to move them away,” Wang said.“One person died and several more were injured,” he said. The clashes came after the government tried to begin work on a planned commercial district on local farmland, Wang added.

10/5/14:

China, Hangzhou: incinerator protest leads to 3 dead; riot follows killings….apparent victory for protesters (more here and here)

hangzhou protests

25/4/14:

China: shoe factory strikes – heavy pressure forces majority of workforce back…more herevideo of interview with sympathetic “experts”

22/4/18:

China: 10s of thousands of striking shoe workers reject bosses’ latest offerAddidas moves some production away

21/4/18:

China:  shoe strike spreads from Guandong to Jiangxi 

20/4/14:

China, Lingxi: as thousands protest, 5 “quasi-police officials” are beaten by protesters after officials beat street vendor and passer-by taking photos of incident…more here“When a bystander, 36 year-old Mr. Huang, came to the woman’s aid by filming the confrontation, he was reportedly attacked by cops with a hammer and began to vomit blood before dying on the way to hospital.,,,After word spread on social media about what had just happened, a huge mob of citizens arrived to surround the Chengguan officers, who attempted to hide in their van. “Kill them, kill them!” chanted the mob as the officers were savagely beaten with bats, bricks and stones, leaving them bloodied and unconscious.,,,Angry onlookers deflated the van’s tires, while others smashed windows and doors with bricks, rocks, and wooden sticks. The men were dragged out of the van and beaten senseless by the mob,” reports Epoch Times.…When an ambulance arrived to provide medical treatment, the mob tipped over the vehicle. Some reports state the the five cops were killed, but state media later claimed, “Two of the injured remained in a critical condition while a further three who suffered minor wounds received treatment.”

china 19 4 14

19/4/14:

China: number of strikes up almost a third on same period last year “This is going to be a very tough year for employers in China,” said Lesli Ligorner, Shanghai-based partner at Simmons & Simmons. “There will be more strife and strikes. It’s only going to continue.”

18/4/14:

China: more workers join shoe factory strikes, as cops “haul away ” workers on demo

15/4/14:

China, Gaobu: over 30,000 on strike at Nike and Converse shoe factory “The industrial unrest at Yue Yuen Industrial (Holdings), now stretching to around ten days and sparking sporadic scuffles with police, has centered on issues including unpaid social insurance, improper labor contracts and low wages. Workers have demanded improved social insurance payments, a pay rise and more equitable contracts.”

30/3/14:

China: heavy confrontations with cops over polluting chemical factory…. reports of several people killed

10/3/14:

China:  wildcat strike at IBM continues “Chen, a striking IBM factory worker, said “the union exists in name only. It’s useless.”  Reading between the lines of this report in a business journal, it seems to be subtly hinting that some “genuine” unions be formed so as to recuperate independent struggles. If I remember correctly, Loren Goldner a few years back said that he thought that China might be heading towards a massive strike wave like in Poland in 1980-81, awaiting only a Chinese-style “Solidarity”/Lech Walesa to recuperate the movement back into even worse neoliberal policies. We shall see….

4/1/14:

China: off-the-back-of-a-lorry orange disorder faces the peelers

15/12/13:

China, Kashgar: riot in Muslim area presented as “terrorism” by the state; 2 cops & 14 rioters killed

16/10/13:

China: riot cops sent to flooded areas after protesters attack government building, removing the party slogan “Serve the people” (more here)

13/7/13:

China: apparent victory for anti-nuclear protesters

12/7/13:

China: rare anti-nuclear protest

20/6/13:

China: parents and pupils riot against invigilators –“We want fairness. There is no fairness if you do not let us cheat.”

10/6/13:

China: strikes almost double what they were last year

4/6/13:

China: relatives riot after fire kills 120

8/5/13:

China: cops injured in shopping mall protest

23/4/13:

China, Xinjiang: attack on police HQ leads to 21 deaths  – including 15 cops and govt officials

18/4/13:

China, Hong Kong: port strike widens as strikers pitch tents outside company’s 70-storey building (more here)

12/4/13:

China, Fenghuang : riot cops repress protest against new tourist fee to go into old town

31/3/13:

China, Hong Kong: contractor’s office stormed during dock strike, as strikers do a sleep-in at the docks

 28/3/13:

China, Hong Kong: clash with guards as dockers start sit-in strike demanding 20% wage increase

21/3/13:

China: Residents of Taipei’s Huaguang (華光) community gather at Ministry of Justice with loads of rubble protesting ministry’s forced demolition of homes

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.

cropped-delinquent-book-title-e1355336242477-300x285

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