[Marxism] RE: Discussing China and the National Question

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Jun 19 07:53:52 MDT 2004

Calvin Broadbent wrote:
> "socialism doesn't work". The London Guardian recently carried (27
> May 2004) an extraordinary article entitled: "Chinese Lesson in How
> to Put Food in the Mouths of Millions: World Applause for Beijing's
> Record Achievement in Creating and Spreading Wealth".

This is the same newspaper that quoted the happy peasant on the 3 Gorges 
Dam as saying: "I may float over my old home every day, but I never 
think about it. What's the point? We can't change anything. And besides, 
life is better now. We have a new home, more space and more money. The 
dam has been good for us."

I think there are more useful resources on China today, starting with 
Critical Asian Studies, which used to be called Bulletin of Concerned 
Asian Studies. These are radical and Marxist academics who came of age 
during the 1960s. They are at: "http://www.bcasnet.org/". Unfortunately 
not many of their articles are archived online, but it is worth looking 
for in a good library.

There is also the China Study Group, which brings together Western 
radicals like John Gulick who used to post here and Chinese Marxists, 
most of whom seem to retain Maoist sympathies. Here's an excerpt from an 
article by Han Dongping titled "Rural Reforms and the Future of Rural 

During the collective era, the cost of rural administration was shared 
by the central government and rural population. Today, the 
administration cost was mostly born by farmers. By shifting the blame on 
the township government for the woes of the rural population, the 
central government may have escaped being the target of the anger of 
rural population for the near future. But in the long run, this is a 
very dangerous game of playing with fire. At this point, everybody in 
China are convinced that township government leaders are corrupt and 
they are the cause of our rural problems. But in fact, the real problems 
should be lay squarely on the Central Government's shoulder. It has 
taken money from the farmers, but has failed to invest in the 
countryside in the last twenty years. On the one hand, the amount of 
money the government extract from the rural areas have been on the rise 
dramatically. Tax burden has been rising, and everything the government 
has been selling to the countryside, from electricity to chemical 
fertilizers, and pesticides have been on the rise, plus extravagant 
fines for birth control violations. On the other hand, the government 
expenditure on education, on health care and social organizations are 
declining in the last twenty years. Township governments throughout 
China are financially in trouble, and they could not meet the financial 
challenges without the Central Government's help, and they have no other 
way but to get money from the rural population to finance their 
operations. The hundred and thousand confrontations between township 
government and rural population is only one indicator, which allegedly 
led Qiao Shi, the former political bureau member, to say that Chinese 
people were on the verge of rebellion under the duress of official 
oppression. If the current trend continued, the trouble will not be the 
township government's alone, it will be central government's trouble as 
much as the local government's trouble. It will be the trouble for all 
the Chinese people. Everybody has a right to care about this problem.

full: http://www.chinastudygroup.org/index.php?type=article&id=81

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