The XuZhou Bombing: China's Choice Between Socialism and Barbarism

On the afternoon of Thursday, June 15th local time, an explosion ravaged a nursery in XuZhou city, Jiangsu Province, causing massive deaths, injuries, and damages. The latest official police reports states that 8 people have died and 65 were injured, although many Chinese netizens suspect that this is an understated figure given the photos that were leaked to Chinese internet at the onset of the explosion, which were later removed at the direction of the government.

The capricious way that the ruling so-called Chinese “Communist” Party (CCP) authorities handled the tragedy also drew attention. Almost immediately after the explosion transpired, the police claimed that it was caused by malfunctioning gas cylinders. But in the very next day the police disclosed that the explosion was an attack carried out by a 22-year-old man “who suffered from neurological disorders and took a leave from school while working odd jobs in the area.” It is claimed that this individual, who is only known by his last name Xu, manufactured the bomb in his own residence. He reportedly died onsite after detonating the bomb.

Along with this disclosure the police announced the investigation to be closed, which inspired many to ask how a young man was able to procure materials that could produce such a powerful bomb. More suspiciously, since June 16th all discussions and reports on the internet that are not sanctioned by official reports have been blocked. Many believe that the CCP’s Publicity Department, a high-level state organ overseen by the central bureaucrats in Beijing, is directly involved in controlling the discussion and reporting around the attack.

Regardless of whether there is more to the attack than what has been reported, by it self the bombing only adds to the mounting evidence that China’s capitalist society is unraveling at an accelerating pace. Despite the all-encompassing totalitarian surveillance measures by the CCP to control information and suppress dissent, particularly when it comes to the Internet, dramatic events still erupt throughout the rising imperialist country that purportedly implements “socialism with Chinese characteristics” I.e. Capitalist market economy without its inherent contradictions.

The reality is the exact opposite of this vision: China’s capitalism is no less brutal, exploitative, and contradictory than its western counterparts, who in many areas actually collaborate with the ruling class of China on the exploitation of the Chinese working class. Like its peers all over the world, China’s capitalist economy too is heading into crisis despite its rapid growth in the 2000’s. The continuous slowdown of growth, which hit new lows as indicated by figures published in April this year, is also accompanied by a national debt that grew to 164% of its GDP. While the CCP mediates the occasional crashes and downturns with massive public spending on infrastructure, effectiveness in improving the life quality of the masses of which remain questionable, the shadow of austerity still looms in the years ahead.

For example, China News Service, one of the state-operated media sneered by many as outlets of “eternal good news,” reported on a paper published by multiple university academics which illustrates that between 2000-2015, the income of national health insurance fund grew by 19.75% and expenditure grew by 21.43% annually, and further projects that by 2029 the Urban Employees Basical Medical Insurance (URBMI) funds will break even, and by 2034 will go into deficit. The paper goes on to conclude that such a deficit could be delayed by the gradual “reforms in Tripartite of Medical Care, Drug Industry and Medical Security and enhanced scrutiny of medical activities.” Such formulations are conspicuously similar to the languages used by the IMF and EU bureaucrats who demand austerity.

What are already concrete to the workers and youth of China are the declining job prospects, worsening work conditions, lengthening unpaid work time, increasing privatization, rampant wage withholding, corruption, pressures of aging population, and other thousand and one horrors under capitalism. Wages for new graduates in 2017 have fallen by 16% compared to last year, and the latest overall wage increase was the smallest in the past 8 years, at 5%.

The ferment caused by the crisis of capitalism, coupled with the CCP’s brutal suppression of democratic rights to organize independent political activities, rallies, and independent unions, stunted channels that could be used by members of the working class to express their discontent and defend themselves. In this unbearable state, it is no wonder that individual cases of horrific acts were committed despite the massive police state.

angry workersOne disturbing trend that seems to be repeating in China is the mounting instances of deranged individuals taking lives of children. The XuZhou bombing only came a month after a ghastly incident of a Shandong bus driver, who was deprived of his overtime and night shift allowances, arsoned a school bus full of Chinese and Korean students between the ages of three and six, killing 12 people and disfiguring a surviving teacher. In recent times, mass stabbings in schools or in public also became disconcertingly frequent all over China. For the regions with substantial religious and ethnic minorities, the CCP’s Procrustean suppression of their customs lead to acts such as self-immolation of Tibetan monks, or the growth of reactionary Islamist terrorist activities in Xinjiang.

Yet, had there been a mass working class party based on genuinely democratic, Marxist program that fights capitalism and the CCP bureaucracy for a real transformation into socialism, these individuals would have probably been given a healthy and progressive avenue to express their discontent, which are rooted from very concrete problems in China’s capitalist society. The absence of such a party is first and foremost the result of the CCP’s relentless suppression of workers’ democratic rights on capitalism’s behalf. Xi Jinping’s gang as well as their capitalist cohorts bear the lion's share of responsibility for making a society where some people turn to unconscionable treacheries to express their overflowing anger.

There exists a large vacuum where a genuine mass worker’s party could grow. This massive potential and the workers’ willingness to fight against the establishment is seen in the unprecedented cases of labour disputes, as well as electrifying cases of mass movements exemplified by the mass demonstration against polluting chemical factories in Shanghai of 2015, the city-wide coal miners’ strike in Heilongjiang, the renewed uprising of Wukan villagers, and the attempted nation-wide Walmart workers’ strike of 2016, not to mention the countless unreported cases of struggle. The only element lacking is a revolutionary organisation that can unite all these militant sections of the working class, which then can appeal to the broader layer of the workers, peasants, and oppressed nationalities in China to form a mass socialist party that can confidently resist assaults from the CCP and capitalists. The struggle against the elements of barbarism which develops in the declining period of Capitalism, can only be waged by a revolutionary movement which will provide an outlet for the anger and desperation of the masses as well as overthrowing the system which causes them.