China

During the revolutionary events in Egypt, the Chinese authorities displayed extreme nervousness, increasing the police presence on the streets and clamping down on the Internet, where references to the Egyptian Revolution were banned. Why should the rulers of China be so worried about events taking place in distant countries?

In this second part of Jeppe Druedahl's contribution to the discussion on China, he explains how initially the Chinese bureaucracy, after the death of Mao, introduced market methods as a means of stimulating production within a planned economy. However, over time the capitalist methods began to dominate and the relation between the plan and the market were overturned. Quantity was transformed into quality, and capitalism has come to dominate. [part one]

Does the development of China on a capitalist basis deny the theory of permanent revolution? Does it mean that capitalism on a world scale has a new lease of life? What was China under Mao? In this first part of a two part article, which we publish as a contribution to the discussion, Jeppe Druedahl looks at these and other questions and draws lessons from the development of the Soviet Union after the revolution and under the Stalinist bureaucracy.

The workers at the Foshan Honda plant in China won a 35% wage increase after taking strike action which started on May 17. The agreement, which was reached on June 4, represents an average monthly pay rise of 500 yuan. A regular front-line worker whose wages were 1544 yuan before, will see his wages increased to 2044 yuan after the pay rise - a raise of 32.4%. The intern employees, who represent a large part of the workforce and have played a key role in the strike but receive much lower wages, will get a raise of 634 yuan from the current rate of 900 - a raise of more than 70%.

When the process of capitalist restoration in China started, some 30 years ago, Deng Xiaping issued the slogan “to get rich is glorious” and he added “let some get rich first”. And some have certainly gotten themselves obscenely rich.

In August a strike broke out in the Hunan Coal Industry Group against demands the bosses were posing as part of the preparations for privatisation of the mines.

The drive to consolidate capitalism in China has provoked deep industrial unrest amongst the country’s working class. In the last few weeks we have witnessed violent workers’ struggles against the privatisation of two steel mills.

The idea that China could somehow escape the effects of the worldwide crisis of capitalism - i.e. decoupling ‑ was an illusion that some leaders in China had fostered. Now we see how the integration of the Chinese economy into the world market brings with it all the contradictions of capitalism, first among them recession and growing unemployment.

China's urbanization process has reached a critical juncture, inequality between town and country is producing explosive revolts surrounding the cities. The problem of how to contain these revolts is at the core of policy making and is reflected in conflicts inside the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party.