China

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.

From a situation where there was universal healthcare for the whole population, China has become one of the most unequal countries in the world when it come to access to healthcare. The answer to the growing healthcare problems that the leaders of the so-called Communist Party have come up with is more private healthcare!

The scandal of adulterated milk in China continues to spread. Initially they tried to say it was one company and one top manager, and then they discovered that 22 companies were applying the same criminal practices. At least four babies have died as a result and 50,000 made ill. It is not this or that individual that is to blame. It is the profit motive!

The recent tainted milk scandal in China is widening, as more and more irregularities are uncovered. With the introduction of the market come “market methods”, even if this means putting at risk children’s lives.

Millions of workers in China are "illegal" in their own country; they are the migrant workers without a permit to leave the rural areas. But the poverty of their condition forces them into the cities where they are terribly exploited.

A brief comment on the different historical periods China has been through since the early 20th Century, from the founding of the Chinese Communist Party by genuine Marxists to the present-day transition to capitalism.

Western bourgeois commentators have shed crocodile tears over the plight of the Tibetan people. But interestingly apart from a lot of talk they are doing very little. China is too important a trading partner to upset the cart too much. Here we look at the historical background to the situation in Tibet and how it relates to the growing contradictions within Chinese society as a whole.

Tibet erupted in ethnic based rioting over the past few days. Undoubtedly there is some outside interference, but this alone cannot explain what is going on. At the root of the problem is the uneven spread of wealth, which has been made worse by the introduction of market economics, compounding the feeling of national oppression of the Tibetans.

The largest human migration in the world gets under way every Chinese New Year, as China's 120 million strong army of migrant workers make their annual trip home. This year heavy snows led to railways and roads being overburdened and transport bottlenecks wreaked sudden nationwide chaos.

Although the dismantling of the old state owned planned economy was an enormous reactionary step backwards and Marxists are utterly opposed to it, there is one positive element in the process: the creation of the largest proletariat in the world. The development of capitalism in China brings with it class contradictions that are preparing a new revolutionary upheaval in Chinese society. Once this massive Chinese proletariat moves decisively it will shake the whole world.

Deng’s early “reforms” initiated in the late 1970s were aimed at improving efficiency in the economy. But once the Chinese bureaucracy had embarked down the road of capitalist incentives the whole process had a logic of its own, sucking China more and more down the road of capitalist restoration. This did not happen all in one go. There were several key turning points which are analysed here.

From a Marxist point of view the 1949 Chinese Revolution, in spite of its bureaucratic deformations, was the second most important event in human history after the Russian Revolution. It led to the abolition of landlordism and capitalism and the end of imperialist domination. Now, however, capitalism dominates in China. How did this happen? Here we present Part One of a document approved by this year’s world congress of the International Marxist Tendency which looks at events from the revolution up to the end of the Mao era.

The march towards capitalism is not a simple straightforward process. There are opposition voices within the bureaucracy, but more importantly capitalist development has created a massive working class and this is now being expressed in the growing level of strikes.

State planning has broken down in China, but the state still plays a key role in providing capital investment and in nurturing major Chinese corporations whose role is to compete with the foreign multinationals and guarantee that important economic interests remain in Chinese hands.

Nearly thirty years have passed since Deng first introduced his “market reforms”. What started as an attempt to stimulate growth within a planned economy has ended up by establishing capitalist relations in the Chinese economy. How did all this happen and where is China going today?