Roland Boer: We need to talk more about China’s socialist democracy

We are pleased to publish this original article by Roland Boer (Professor of Marxist Philosophy at Dalian University of Technology, China, and author of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics: A Guide for Foreigners (Springer, 2021)). The article provides the reader with a very valuable introduction to China’s socialist democratic system, a topic about which there is widespread ignorance in the West.

We need to talk more – much more – about China’s socialist democratic system. Why? There are many reasons, but the main reason is that we should not let the criticisms of China from the small number of “Western” countries set the agenda. So let me propose the following thesis: China’s socialist democratic system is already quite mature and superior to any other democratic system. Actually, this is not my proposition, but that of a host of Chinese specialists. They are very clear that China’s socialist democratic system is already showing its latent quality. Obviously, we need to know much more about how this system works and how it is constantly improving.

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China and Vietnam vow to promote their shared socialist path

We are pleased to reproduce this account in CGTN of the recent phone conversation between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Nguyen Phu Trong, general secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam’s (CPV) Central Committee. Both leaders emphasised that communist party-led rule and the development of the socialist system is the core of the two countries’ shared interests.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Nguyen Phu Trong, general secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam’s (CPV) Central Committee, on Friday renewed their pledge to promote the socialist course of both countries, during a phone conversation.

President Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, said China and Vietnam, as socialist neighbors, share a community of destiny with strategic significance, and have a lot of common interests and concerns given the complex situation brought by the combination of the once-in-a-century world changes and COVID-19 pandemic.

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Elias Jabbour: Socialist China is the last frontier between reason and barbarism

This speech by Elias Jabbour (Adjunct Professor of Economics, Rio de Janeiro State University) at the recent launch of Through Pluripolarity to Socialism usefully describes the current state of international relations, the global trajectory towards socialism, and the vanguard role of the People’s Republic of China.

First of all, I would like to thank the organizers of this Manifesto for the invitation to be here with you today. Thank you for the opportunity to be part of a document which summarizes not only the fundamental contradictions of our epoch, but mainly the solutions towards pluripolarity and socialism. This Manifesto not only demonstrates the defense of socialist experiences, but also shows to the world that we don’t deny the history of the international communist movement. On the contrary. We are proud of our history. The Soviet Union was responsible, for the first time in history, for giving women equality before the law.

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A century of struggle: the glorious achievements and historic contributions of the Communist Party of China

This reflection on the history of the CPC, written by Qu Qingshan – Director of the Central Institute of Party History and Literature of the CPC Central Committee – was originally published in Qiushi. It provides an overview of each generation of leadership of the CPC (under Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping) and describes how they each feed in to an overall trajectory towards an advanced socialism and national rejuvenation. It highlights the party’s clear position that Marxism must continue to provide the ideological base of its work: “If we deviate from Chinese socialism, all our previous efforts will go up in smoke”.

As General Secretary Xi Jinping has said, the past century has witnessed the Communist Party of China (CPC) work with devotion in pursuit of its founding mission, blaze new trails while enduring bitter hardships, and strive toward a brighter future. Since its founding in 1921, the CPC has surmounted one obstacle after another and achieved victory after victory by relying closely on the people. In this ancient land of China, it has brought about epic milestones in the history of human development and made groundbreaking contributions to the Chinese nation. 

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Xi Jinping: Understanding the new development stage, applying the new development philosophy, and creating a new development dynamic

We are republishing this important speech by Xi Jinping, made at a seminar for provincial and ministerial level officials on studying and implementing the guiding principles of the Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee, on 11 January 2021. It summarises the transition taking place in China, from ‘building a moderately prosperous society in all respects’ (achieved with the eradication of extreme poverty last year) to building – by the middle of this century – a ‘great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful’. The English translation of the speech originally appeared in Qiushi Journal.

Since the Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) held in October 2020, all regions and departments have yielded positive results from their hard work to study, publicize, and apply the guiding principles from the Session in line with the Central Committee’s requirements. During this special seminar, the Central Committee hopes that we will gain an accurate understanding of the new stage of development through extensive discussions and exchanges of experience, with a view to fully implementing the new development philosophy, accelerating our efforts to create a new development dynamic, and promoting high-quality development during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025). Doing so will see us setting the stage for building a modern socialist country in all respects. 

I have spoken of the importance of studying and applying the guiding principles of the Fifth Plenary Session both at the Session itself and on many other occasions, such as meetings of the Central Committee Political Bureau and its Standing Committee, the Central Economic Work Conference, and the Central Rural Work Conference. Today, I would like to focus on the following four subjects.

First, we need to have an accurate understanding of the new stage of development.

An accurate understanding of the historical stage that the cause of our Party and people has entered is essential for defining the central task of the current period and setting the guidelines, principles, and policies for our work. This is an important practice our Party has used to move from victory to victory in leading China’s revolution, development, and reform.

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Report on CPC’s mission, contributions lauded overseas

This article by Chen Weihua and Chen Yingqun in China Daily about the recently-released report, The CPC: Its Mission and Contributions, includes comments made by Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez. A fuller analysis of the document can be read here.

Experts worldwide hailed a key publication shedding light on the Communist Party of China’s mission and contributions as “powerful” and “inspiring”, saying it has outlined the successes of the first century of the Party’s history and charted the route in the coming decades.

The report, titled “The CPC: Its Mission and Contributions”, was released by the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee on Thursday, expounding on the Party’s mission and contributions.

The document stressed that the CPC is a political party that seeks happiness for the people and progress for humanity, and “achieving national rejuvenation is the historic mission of the CPC”.

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Summary of ‘The CPC: Its Mission and Contributions’

Written by Carlos Martinez for Friends of Socialist China. The article has been translated into Dutch by our friends at ChinaSquare.

On 26 August 2021, the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee released an important document, entitled ‘The CPC: Its Mission and Contributions’. The publication, consisting in its English translation of over 28,000 words, clearly represents a wide-ranging discussion within the CPC, reflecting on its contributions of the last hundred years and its goals and challenges for the future.


The document emphasises the basic continuity at the heart of the CPC’s mission. Since its founding in July 1921, the CPC has devoted itself to the project of building socialism, establishing China’s sovereignty, creating a better life for the population, and contributing to a peaceful and prosperous future for humanity.

Although the CPC has gone through many phases – including the first united front with the Guomindang (1925-27), the establishment of the first revolutionary base areas, the Long March, leading the war against Japanese occupation, the civil war from 1946-49, the early decades of socialist construction, and the period of reform and opening up from 1978 – it has stuck resolutely to its core mission and principles. It has remained grounded in the needs and aspirations of the people, and that is one of the key reasons for its success.

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Mick Kelly: 100 years of the Communist Party of China

This essay on the CPC’s centenary by Mick Kelly (member of the Standing Committee of the Central Committee of Freedom Road Socialist Organization) first appeared in the book ‘A Century of the Communist Party of China, Statements from 100 Foreign Communists’, published by the Contemporary China Publishing House. It first appeared online on FightBack News.

This July 2021 marks a world historic occasion, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC). It is an event of real significance for progressives, revolutionaries, and communists the world over, including those of us in the United States. China’s rich experience in defeating Western and Japanese imperialism, eliminating feudalism, and constructing a socialist society is of interest to all who hope for and are working for a bright future.

The Chinese people once had three immense mountains on their backs – imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat capitalism. The CPC lead the Chinese people in removing these burdens. Old China, beset by the plague of foreign imperialists, warlords, and the land-owning class of parasites, was a nightmare of starvation and subjugation. It was a society unable to save itself, and helpless in the face of adversity.

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Socialism before shareholders: China reins in big tech’s unchecked power

This important article by CJ Atkins, originally published on 25 August 2021 in People’s World, discusses the reasons for the recent wave of government regulation in China.

Shareholders beware, socialism is back.

That’s the warning being sounded by stock market analysts and financial advisors to anyone parking their money in Chinese tech stocks. Behind the investor panic is a stepped-up regulatory campaign by the Communist Party of China that aims to combat inequality, lower living costs for working families, impose order on often chaotic markets, and prevent monopoly control over key sectors of China’s economy.

President Xi Jinping told the world in July that China’s leaders were determined to “safeguard social fairness and justice and resolve the imbalances and inadequacies in development” to solve what he called “the most pressing difficulties and problems that are of great concern to the people.”

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Common prosperity and the nature of China’s modernization

We are republishing this interview with Han Wenxiu, deputy head of the Office of the Central Commission for Financial and Economic Affairs, on the nature of China’s modernization. It was originally published on the website of the State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China.

Xinhua News Agency:

All countries are pursuing modernization, and the CPC has achieved its First Centenary Goal and put forward the Second Centenary Goal focusing on modernization. What are the characteristics of China’s modernization and how does China achieve modernization under the leadership of the CPC? Thank you. 

Han Wenxiu:

I will answer these questions. To achieve modernization is a persistent goal of generations of the CPC members. The goal from building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, to achieving basic modernization, and then to building a great modern socialist country in every dimension is the top-level design and strategic planning of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core. The type of modernization we are pursuing is “Chinese-style modernization” which has the following important characteristics:

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Socialism or barbarism: contrasting approaches to Covid-19

The following comment on the contrasting approaches of capitalism and socialism to Covid-19 by Friends of Socialist China co-editor Keith Bennett was originally published in abbreviated form by China Youth Daily.

Ever since the Covid-19 virus was first detected in Wuhan there have been consistent attempts to politicise the issue by certain Western powers and political forces in the West on anti-China, anti-communist and racist bases.

Decent people and the overwhelming majority of countries in the world felt sympathy and solidarity with China and with the Chinese people as they courageously battled a then unknown virus and dealt with the situation in an exemplary way that put human life first and also assumed a model attitude of international responsibility, identifying the coronavirus and sequencing its genome in record time and immediately sharing this with the entire international community, not only through the recognised international channels, but even by publishing it on the internet, thereby making it freely available to all scientists and researchers.

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Video: No Great wall – the continuities of the Chinese Revolution

The Communist Party of China (CPC) was formed a century ago, in July 1921. From that time up to the present day, it has led the Chinese Revolution – a revolution to eliminate feudalism, to regain China’s national sovereignty, to end foreign domination of China, to build socialism, to create a better life for the Chinese people, and to contribute to a peaceful and prosperous future for humanity.

In this video lecture, Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez argues that, while the Chinese Revolution has taken numerous twists and turns, and while the CPC leadership has adopted different strategies at different times, there is a common thread running through modern Chinese history: of the CPC dedicating itself to navigating a path to socialism, development and independence, improving the lot of the Chinese people, and contributing to a peaceful and prosperous future for humanity.

The video is based on the essay No Great Wall: on the continuities of the Chinese Revolution.

Richard Wolff on China’s rise to global prominence

We are republishing this very interesting interview with Marxist economist Richard Wolff in Beijing Review, in which he discusses the reasons behind China’s economic success and the motivations for the US-led New Cold War.

On CPC-induced synergy 

The first book I ever read about China was The Good Earth by Pearl Buck, presenting the stories of poverty and suffering across the Chinese countryside in the early 20th century. What she described in the book actually didn’t take place too long ago, but when you look at what China has achieved over the past years and then compare it to what Buck wrote about, it makes for an incredible feat.

Since 1949, when the communist revolution succeeded, U.S. foreign aid did not go to China because the latter was a socialist country. U.S. foreign aid was, however, dispatched to every other Third World country across Asia, Africa and Latin America. Nevertheless, China has done better economically than every other country that did receive the assistance.

What does that tell us about getting aid from the West? It’s not the path to economic growth, it never was. The reality is that the path to economic growth was not to take aid from the West, but to rely on yourself. The Soviet Union once helped China, before the 1960s, but in general, the Chinese achieved it mostly by themselves. That’s a very powerful message all over the world. 

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Jenny Clegg reflects on a hundred years of the CPC

The following is the text of a speech given by British author, academic and campaigner Jenny Clegg at a recent webinar hosted by the Morning Star and Friends of Socialist China to celebrate the centenary of the CPC. Jenny discusses China’s unique contributions to Marxism, as well as outlining the history of the revolution and analysing the reasons for its continuing successes.

The story of how the CPC, founded in secret by just a handful of people, grew into an organisation of some 95 million members is truly remarkable.

It is a story that goes together with that of China’s transformation from the ‘Sick Man of Asia’ into the world’s second largest economy.  It is the Party that provided the political architecture that has made this possible. 

Taking stock at 100 years means looking not only at China’s achievements but also what this has meant – and means – for the world.

The CPC’s story is one of twists and turns, of tenacity against adversity, retreating when retreat was necessary but also daring to seize the time when the opportunity arose.  What has given the CPC its strength, its courage to face reality, to learn from mistakes, was and is Marxism.  For the CPC, Marxism is not a dogma, but a set of tools applied concretely to solve China’s problems.

The key to the success of the Revolution in 1949 lay mainly in the Party’s ability to mobilise the people effectively both around national and around class goals.  For this it drew on Marxist class analysis to devise a revolutionary strategy of shared benefit so as to unite all who could be united in the common goals of ending foreign domination and building the nation.

Fundamental here was land reform which gained the CPC the support of hundreds of millions of peasants  – they participated in its mass organisations, they joined the Party itself, they carried out and conformed with its policies, and they gave material support in paying taxes and enlisting in its armies.  

China’s contribution to the defeat of worldwide fascism in 1945 is often overlooked in the West.  It was Communist resistance together with the Nationalist armies that kept Japanese troops bogged down in China so that the Soviets could concentrate all their forces against the Nazis on the Western front.  This cost up to 20 million Chinese lives.  Nor is it widely understood that China the first country to end colonial rule as the Allies agreed to give up the Unequal Treaties in 1943.  China was to be one of the four founding members of the United Nations and the CPC was present at the occasion.

This example of how the Chinese people, led by a Communist Party, gained liberation in 1949 shone a bright light for colonised people around the world. Its experience of people’s war, revolution and the transformation of rural society was to be the inspiration for national liberation movements in many different countries in the years to come.

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What did we learn from CPC’s 100th anniversary? Leadership matters

We are republishing this article by Friends of Socialist China co-editor Danny Haiphong, which originally appeared on CGTN on 5 June 2021.

Popular enthusiasm was evident across China for more than a month leading up to President Xi Jinping’s speech at a gathering marking the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Americans gathered three days later to celebrate the founding of the United States over two centuries ago. To build excitement for the holiday, the White House published on social media that the cost of a cookout had fallen $0.16 in 2021. The announcement predictably failed to garner a rousing applause on social media as Xi Jinping’s speech received from the Chinese people.

As the U.S. continues to assume a dangerously aggressive posture towards China, there is a lesson to be learned from the differences in the two celebrations: leadership matters.

The United States is currently experiencing a crisis of leadership. Historic inequalities and the empowerment of corporate shareholders have led to stagnation in all facets of the society. Racism continues to expose Black Americans to disproportionate rates of poverty, police violence, incarceration as well poor outcomes across all social indicators after centuries of enslavement and Jim Crow terror. Native Americans remain dispossessed of their lands and have yet to receive justice for the myriad of disasters caused by settler colonialism. The majority of workers in the United States across all racial groups cannot afford a $400 emergency.

The U.S. political leadership has doubled down on the status quo rather than adapt to the needs of the people. Instead of following through on widely supported policies such as universal healthcare, student debt relief and a living wage, the Biden administration has increased the military budget. Instead of reducing the prison population, the Biden administration has increased weapons transfers from the Pentagon to local police departments.

It should come as no surprise that U.S. presidents struggle to maintain favorability ratings above 45 percent while Congress generally hovers at around half of such support. Change is hard to come by, even when such change is desired by most of the population and is required to preserve human life itself in the case of the COVID-19 pandemic.

China does not have such a problem. The Communist Party of China (CPC) maintains popular support because adaptation is a key pillar of its governance model. Many in the U.S. and the West have been taught that the CPC does not allow criticism, both inside and outside of the organization. This is categorically false.

The CPC started with just about 50 members in 1921. CPC leaders such as Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai engaged in countless debates as the Party navigated often deadly encounters with warlords and aggressive foreign forces. This led the CPC to adapt from an urban-based organizing model to one focused on the more populous countryside, a change that was crucial in ending China’s “century of humiliation” once and for all.

Adaptation continued to be a theme following the CPC-led revolution that founded the People’s Republic of China in 1949. Over the course of the last 72 years, the CPC has continuously implemented reforms and acknowledged mistakes in the process of socialist construction. Early successes in socialist development failed to shake off absolute poverty. The CPC responded by introducing reforms to rapidly develop and open the economy. Rapid market-oriented growth produced new challenges such as political corruption and uneven development. The CPC has addressed these challenges by renewing its focus on party discipline and strengthening its leadership over the nation’s poverty alleviation campaign.

The achievements gained from the CPC’s ability to adapt cannot be understated. China has become a world leader in renewable energy and advanced technology. Extreme poverty has been eliminated and living standards continue to improve for every sector of the society. The CPC has demonstrated the capacity to both successfully preserve human life in the fight against COVID-19 and extend solidarity to countless nations in their own fight against the virus. It is for these reasons and more that the CPC enjoys a growing membership of 95 million and an approval rating well above 90 percent.

Political leadership reflects the legitimacy of a given society’s model of development. U.S. officials claim to represent “democracy” even though elections are largely dictated by a wealthy minority. The U.S. model of neoliberal capitalism, characterized by racial antagonism and military aggression, is losing legitimacy with large segments of the population. More than 60 percent of people support a third-party alternative to the two major parties and large numbers of young adults want a more egalitarian society. By contrast, young adults make up one-third of the CPC – a number that continues to grow.

It is clear that the people of China have chosen their preferred leadership. The same cannot be said in the United States.

A century of the Communist Party of China: Reform and opening up — the great betrayal?

We are republishing this article by Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez, which originally appeared in the Morning Star on 2 July 2021. It is the fifth in a series of articles about the history of the Communist Party of China, which celebrated its centenary on 1 July 2021.

From 1978, the post-Mao Chinese leadership embarked on a process of “reform and opening up” — gradually introducing market mechanisms to the economy, allowing elements of private property, and encouraging investment from the capitalist world.

This programme posited that, while China had established a socialist society, it would remain for some time in the primary stage of socialism, during which period it was necessary to develop a socialist market economy — combining planning, the development of a mixed economy and the profit motive — with a view to maximising the development of the productive forces.

Deng Xiaoping, who had been one of the most prominent targets of the Cultural Revolution and who had risen to become de facto leader of the CPC from 1978, theorised reform and opening up in the following terms: “The fundamental task for the socialist stage is to develop the productive forces.

“The superiority of the socialist system is demonstrated, in the final analysis, by faster and greater development of those forces than under the capitalist system.

“As they develop, the people’s material and cultural life will constantly improve… Socialism means eliminating poverty. Pauperism is not socialism, still less communism.”

Was this the moment the CPC gave up on its commitment to Marxism? Such is the belief of many.

Continue reading A century of the Communist Party of China: Reform and opening up — the great betrayal?

Video: A hundred years on the path to socialism – celebrating the centenary of the CPC

This webinar was held on Zoom on 3 July 2021, organised by the Morning Star with the support of Friends of Socialist China.

The speakers were:

  • Li Jingjing, Chinese journalist
  • Robert Griffiths, general secretary of the Communist Party of Britain
  • Ian Goodrum, Senior editor and columnist, China Daily
  • Nixie Lam, Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong
  • Lam Chun Sing, chair, Federation of Hong Kong and Kowloon Labour Unions
  • Jenny Clegg, author, researcher and China specialist
  • Keith Bennett, Co-editor, Friends of Socialist China
  • Chair: Ben Chacko, editor Morning Star

All the speeches were excellent. You can view the video on YouTube (embedded below).

The Communist Party of China is a Marxist party

A key message from Xi Jinping’s speech on the centenary of the CPC: the CPC is a Marxist party, and China’s success is proof of the enduring validity of Marxism.

Marxism is the fundamental guiding ideology upon which our party and country are founded; it is the very soul of our party and the banner under which it strives. The Communist Party of China upholds the basic tenets of Marxism and the principle of seeking truth from facts. At the fundamental level, the capability of our party and the strengths of socialism with Chinese characteristics are attributable to the fact that Marxism works.

Xi Jinping, 1 July 2021

Reasons to support the Communist Party of China (CPC) on its 100th anniversary

By Danny Haiphong and Carlos Martinez

China is led by a communist party, with Marxism as its guiding ideology. In the period since the foundation of the PRC in 1949, the Chinese people have experienced an unprecedented and extraordinary improvement in their living standards and level of human development. The social and economic position of women has improved beyond recognition, along with the rights and conditions of ethnic and religious minorities. In spite of all this, support for China within much of the Western left is a somewhat marginal position.

This article, written to coincide with the centenary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC), provides a brief overview of why we believe anyone considering themselves to be a socialist should support the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Poverty alleviation and improvement in living standards

In its 72 years of existence, the People’s Republic of China has accomplished more in the realm of poverty alleviation than any nation in history. China in 1949 was one of the poorest countries in the world, with a life expectancy of 36 years (9 years lower than the global average). Its GDP constituted 0.3 percent of global GDP. Malnutrition, illiteracy and homelessness were rife; millions died every year for lack of food. Population numbers had remained static between 400 and 500 million for a hundred years.

During the first three decades of socialist construction, feudalism was eliminated, comprehensive land reform carried out, and basic medical services were set up throughout the country. However, although the basic problem of feeding the population was solved – and famines had become a thing of the past – hundreds of millions of people in the countryside still endured harsh conditions.

Since the launch of reform and opening up in 1978, the number of people in China living in internationally-defined absolute poverty has fallen from 850 million to zero. And although market reforms have resulted in high levels of inequality, the inverse correlation between wealth and poverty has been broken – life for ordinary workers and peasants has continuously improved, at a remarkable rate and over an extended period.

China’s average life expectancy is now 77 years (4 years higher than the global average) and its per capita GDP over 10,000 USD. Its GDP constitutes 18 percent of global GDP. The entire population (of 1.4 billion) has secure access to food, shelter, clothing, education and healthcare. By any measure, this progress is extraordinary and historically unprecedented. Anyone considering themselves socialist should appreciate the far-reaching significance of these steps forward in wiping out poverty and improving the living standards of the Chinese people.

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