[Marxism] [Fwd: Re: [PEN-L] China and socialism]

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Aug 3 11:56:14 MDT 2004

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [PEN-L] China and socialism
Date: Tue, 3 Aug 2004 13:41:28 -0500
From: Jonathan Lassen <jjlassen at CHINASTUDYGROUP.ORG>
Reply-To: PEN-L list <PEN-L at SUS.CSUCHICO.EDU>
References: <20040803102204.32984.qmail at web41808.mail.yahoo.com> 
     <410F96D0.4050906 at panix.com>

Thanks LP for posting the review of Hart-Landsberg and Burkett's long MR
piece. I just picked up a copy yesterday, and have been looking it over.
I've got my own little quibbles with it (not enough emphasis on rural
China, which I think is desperately important right now, they lump
pre-1976 China together as 'Maoist' China, etc.), but personally I think
it's a very welcome and timely piece. I hope it continues to spark
debate and interest.

Many of the (reposted) digs against Hart-Landsberg and Burkett seem
wildly off the mark. The duo are mainly concerned about people using
China as a progressive model of development. Few in the US do, but I
think there is a growing sense in other parts of the world that China
offers a viable alternative to neoliberalism. Particularly when China
works together with Brazil and other countries in the Group of 77.
Stiglitz seems to be in this category, and you'll find lots of this in
UN orgs and other wonky progressive orgs.

To counter this, Hart-Landsberg and Burkett try to show how bad things
are in China for the working class. It's not the whole story, but it's
hard to deny, and it's only going to get worse. I think we should be
getting ready for this debate. When these kind of news stories - see
below - appear (and we're only hearing about this one because one of the
villagers was able to get to the internet), perhaps we should pause and
look a bit closer at what's going on. The way that these contradictions
are either displaced, resolved, or sublated will have, IMO, a
wide-reaching influence on how the 21st Century plays out, just as they
did last century.


   Villagers vow to fight on in face of police assault
—Joint owners want to overturn the sale of 150 hectares worth 40 million
   SCMP | 3 aug

Villagers in Henan province vowed to continue their fight for justice
after police intervened at the weekend to quell their protest over land
sales, leaving several people injured and four detained.

"What we ask for is simple: return our land and punish the corrupt
village officials," said a villager surnamed Liu, whose mother was
injured in the raid and was being treated yesterday for gunshot wounds.

Mr Liu, 22, said the district government had sent about 400 officials to
Shijiahe village in Zhengzhou city to try to stop the villagers from

About 600 police "armed with tear gas, shotguns, dogs and electric
batons" raided the village last Saturday looking for the organisers of
protests against land sales approved by village head Liu Guo-zhao. At
least 30 people were injured and four detained in the incident, Mr Liu
said. "Most of the injured cannot even afford to go to hospital."

Villagers strongly opposed the land deal, which involved 150 hectares of
farmland worth up to 40 million yuan and owned by more than 6,000 of
them, Mr Liu said.

They had protested since June and sent their petitions to the city and
provincial governments but had not received any response.

A district government team went to the village about three weeks ago
after villagers threatened to hold a protest in Beijing.

"The incident police raid happened on the same day the team had promised
to release an investigation result," Mr Liu said. "The team disappeared
from the village before the police arrived."

He said local government representatives had visited his mother, one of
the four still in hospital.

"It was merely a show. They did not even bother to visit the other
victims who were in other wards," he said. "They tried to give my mother
1,000 yuan for medical care, but we refused to accept it because we knew
their real intention was to stop us from petitioning any further. My
mother said, 'We don't need your money now. Let us wait until the
problem is resolved'."

Mr Liu, who works in Zhengzhou, posted a report of the incident and his
mobile phone number on an overseas Chinese website on Sunday. He said
yesterday that internet police had phoned him and he dared not return
home for fear of further police harassment.

An official from the Huiji district government publicity department
confirmed that a group of officials had been sent to Shijiahe village to
deal with the dispute.

"Most of our staff from the relevant departments are in the village
now," he said. "They have been working on the dispute ever since it
started. The incident is still under investigation ... and things are
going in the right direction."

The official denied a report that the village head had been placed in
shuanggui, a disciplinary measure outside the regular legal system under
which party members are detained and interrogated.

A Zhengzhou city government spokeswoman said the fact that no local
media had covered the story proved the sensitivity of the case.

"We cannot give any comment, not because it is a secret; we need time to
clarify the facts," she said.



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