China

In the depths of the 2008 crisis, Beijing rescued world capitalism. The fiscal stimulus they carried out was the largest in world history, at over £500bn. Had it not been for this stimulus, and the global demand it created for raw materials and other goods China needed as a result, the financial crisis would have been an all-out depression. The crisis unfolding before our eyes is far more serious than that of ten years ago. Yet this time, China will not be able to rescue the world, let alone its own economy.

The latest outbreak of coronavirus has caused the biggest wave of stock market losses since 2008, wiping $5tn off share values worldwide. Markets are worried that the virus will have a serious impact on an already weak world economy. These fears are not unfounded.

The spread of coronavirus throughout China is beginning to have serious political repercussions for the regime. The masses' anger found a flashpoint when the doctor who originally warned of the epidemic (and was hushed up by the CCP) passed away from the virus. The situation is a pressure cooker, and Xi Jinping is struggling to keep the lid down. 

The Coronavirus outbreak in China is critical. According to official figures, there are 5,997 confirmed cases across the country so far, with the vast majority of them in Wuhan: the provincial capital of Hubei Province. However, nine other provinces have reported over 100 confirmed cases, most of which are in the industrial provinces of Zhejiang and Guangdong. The disease has spread beyond China’s borders, from Thailand to its south, to Australia and the USA.

In this talk from last year's Revolution Festival in London, Daniel Morley (writer for Socialist Appeal) looks back at the events leading up to the 1949 Chinese Revolution, explaining why the revolution played out as it did, and discussing the process that has unfolded since: from revolution to Tiananmen to capitalism.

The movement that has shaken Hong Kong to its foundations shows few signs of losing steam. It has entered 2020 with a mass protest of up to 1 million people on New Year’s day, proving that it has retained the support of the majority of the population despite all the storm and stress of the past six months.

Last weekend, amidst a wave of protests that has raged on for over half a year following the Extradition Bill introduced by Chief Executive Carrie Lam, Hong Kong held its regularly scheduled district council election. This typically low-interest, low-turnout affair was turned into an effective referendum on the Hong Kong masses’ opinion towards Beijing in light of recent events. It concluded with a landslide victory for the anti-Beijing bloc of politicians, with the highest turnout since Hong Kong’s return to China. But what is needed is a clear way forward based on class struggle politics.

In August, the expected yield for ten-year Treasury notes fell below the yield for two-year notes for the first time since 2007, with the 30-year bond yield also reaching a new low. The “yield curve” tracks the yield to investors who purchase shares in government debt to be paid back over various time horizons. The national debt accrues as the US Treasury sells Treasury securities in exchange for cash used to finance the government.

China’s National Day, which marks the anniversary of Mao’s proclamation of the People’s Republic of China on 1 October, is always full of pageantry and displays of military strength. But for the 70th anniversary, Xi Jinping pulled out all the stops. The military parade was China’s biggest ever, with new, supersonic unmanned drones and nuclear missiles proudly on display. The message was loud and clear: as Xi himself said, “no force can shake the status of this great nation”.

The Sunday 8 September protest threatens to lead the movement in Hong Kong in a reactionary, openly pro-US imperialist direction. This is extremely dangerous for the movement and must be firmly and unequivocally rejected.

The mass movement in Hong Kong has just won its key demand – the withdrawal of the hated extradition bill that would allow anyone the Beijing government suspects of criminality to be extradited to the mainland. But none of the other four demands, such as for an independent investigation into police brutality, have been won.

Stock markets have experienced a roller-coaster ride over the past two months, as Trump’s erratic trade policy has brought the world economy to the brink of recession. In the latest move, Trump yet again partially postponed the introduction of new tariffs, which he announced two weeks ago. This temporary reprieve will do little to solve the conflict.

Hong Kong’s earthshaking protest movement is entering its second month. Despite increasing pressure from Beijing and the Carrie Lam government, the movement still grows in militancy. It is graduating from bourgeois liberal methods towards the method of class struggle. In many ways, when Carrie Lam emerged from days of obscurity to respond to the general strike, she was right to say that the Hong Kong movement is heading towards a “path of no return.”

Hong Kong’s mass movement against the Chinese state’s attempt to control the territory has been spurred forward by the whip of counterrevolution. On Sunday 21 July, as protestors returned home from demonstrating, around 50 thugs dressed in all-white burst onto a subway train and indiscriminately attacked passengers with poles and other blunt objects. Although the attackers were anonymous and the assault appeared arbitrary, the message was received loud and clear – as was the intention: do not dare challenge the Hong Kong government and its masters in Beijing.

On 16 June, only a week after the last, million-strong march that took place in Hong Kong, a second mass protest occurred. According to the leading organisers of the Civil Human Rights Front, as many as two million people joined the march yesterday. Judging from the images and figures available, as well as what I’ve seen, it is entirely credible that this protest is larger than that of the previous Sunday.

Today, hundreds of thousands of Hong Kongers marched in militant defiance of the ‘extradition bill’ that would grant China the power to take anyone in Hong Kong into custody on the mainland. Only three days earlier, Sunday 9 June, saw what may be the biggest demonstration in Hong Kong’s history. According to organisers, one million marched through the city’s humid streets, meaning one-in-seven Hong Kongers demonstrated!

We are publishing the text of a leaflet produced by a sympathiser of the IMT in Taiwan and aimed at the students there, which explains what the Tiananmen movement in 1989 was about, how it was destroyed and what workers and students in both China and Taiwan should be working towards today.

Thirty years ago, the world’s largest-ever student movement was brought to a violent close by the so-called People’s Liberation Army. For about six weeks, hundreds of thousands, and at one point over a million, students, workers, Communist Party members and Beijing residents had flooded into and occupied Tiananmen Square, the same place from which forty years earlier Mao had proclaimed the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

"When China wakes up, she will shake the world." This famous prediction of Napoleon has been confirmed by history. Particularly in the last 20 years, China has become an economic power of primary importance that objectively threatens the world leadership of the United States.