You are starting to see a lot of articles in the capitalist press bashing China now, saying their economy is not as good as they say, that it cannot be sustained and that it is headed for crash. They based this on a comparison to other Communist countries, but their economies fell behind far before China’s did. China has sustained Communism under various forms, including presently under market socialism, for 70 years now. That’s as long as the Soviet Union and they strated stagnating a long time before that. China is an example of a smashing success for a Communist country, and the capitalist press is freaking out because that shows that their anti-Communist propaganda has been crap for all of these years, so they are freaking out.
Incidentally, Deng Xiaoping emphatically stated that he was a Communist. Deng’s idea was to create “a rich Communist country.”. In an interview in 2005, a top party official was asked if China was still committed to spreading Communism all over the world.
“Of course,” the minister beamed. “That is the purpose of the Communist country.”
Incidentally, China still has 5-year plans and the whole economy is planned. The business sector has to go along with the plan, and if you do not go along with it, they can confiscate your business. A party committee sits on the board of all large corporations. The government owns every inch of land in China. The state invests an incredible amount in the economy and also overseas where it makes vast investments. This is because some Chinese government companies are very profitable. A number of Chinese government companies are on the list of largest companies in the world.
Capitalists in the US openly complain that they cannot compete with Communist Chinese government corporations, crying that they get subsidies so it’s not fair. So here we have US corporations openly admitting that they can’t compete with Chinese government Communist state-owned companies.
45% of the economy is state owned and it is very profitable. Much of the state sector is owned by small municipalities and this works very well. Further, cities compete against each other. For instance, City A’s steel mill will compete against City B’s steel mill and both will compete against a private sector steel mill, if there is one. Successful enterprises bring in a lot of money to the city, which they use to upgrade the city, which results in more workers moving there, which grows the economy more with more workers and more demand.
There are also still a number of pure Maoist villages in China that are run completely on a Maoist line. Everything is done as it was right out of the Mao era. I understand that they do very well and there is a huge waiting list to move to those villages.
I did a lot of research on China recently and the party is literally everywhere you look and every time you turn around. And the party itself still runs many enterprises all over the country, especially in the rural areas. There are party officials in every village and city and they take a very active role in developing the municipality in every way, including culturally. They have an ear to the ground and are typically very popular in the village.
Also party officials lobby the state to try to solve any urgent problem in the area. The government is always running around the country spending lots of money on public works or on fixing various environmental problems and issues. A lot of the dissertations coming out the universities are on how to deal with this or that societal problem or issue. So instead of leaving it up to the private sector to fix the problems in society and create public works, the government does all of that.
There are 1,000 protests every day in China. Yes there is corruption and government abuse of this or that, but if protests last long enough, the party usually gets alarmed and tries to do something about the problem because they don’t want serious unrest. This is party that does everything it can to serve the people and try to remain popular with the people by giving them as much as they want and doing as much for them as possible.
It’s illegal to be homeless in China. If you end up homeless in China, they will try to put you in a homeless shelter or if they cannot do that, they will send you back to your village because most homeless are rural migrants who moved to the city. The state is now investing a vast amount of money in the rural areas because they have been neglected for a long time. The state still wants to own all the land because they want to keep the rural areas as a secure base where rural migrants to the city can always return if they fail in the city.
The state spends an unbelievable amount of money on public works all over the country all the time. Many projects that in the US have “conclusively proven” to be too costly to be implemented have been done in China in spades. And China’s per capita income in less than 10% of ours.
Most ethnic minorities are still allowed to support their culture and in most cases they are allowed to have education in their native language. In these areas, the native language is co-official with Mandarin. In recent years, the Chinese government has begun to support a lot of the Chinese dialects, of which there are over 2,000 main ones, many of which are actually separate languages. Cantonese is still an official language in Hong Kong and it is widely used in Guangdong. The other major Chinese languages or macrolanguages still have millions of tens of millions of speakers. Lately the Chinese government is telling people they can preserve their dialect as long as they also speak Mandarin. Many schools now have classes in the local dialect.
Cheap medical insurance is available and it covers 85% of costs. State medical centers are still very good. However, if you have a serious medical condition in China, you will quickly run out of money with no recourse. This is a serious problem but it is much better than earlier in the Deng Era when millions were dying from lack of health care. However, they still need to cover everyone. They got away from that when they moved away from Maoism early in the Deng era. In addition, tens of thousands of schools, many of which were built during the Cultural Revolution, were closed. The introduction of a market had a lot of problems in the early days.
A recent good survey done by a Western polling firm found that 87% of the population supported the Communist Party. The excesses of the Mao era, especially the Great Leap and the Cultural Revolution, have been widely discussed and the party has admitted that many errors were made and resolved not to do this again. These excesses are being blamed by the party on what they call “ultra-Leftism.”
The economic model of China is called Market Socialism and a lot of modern day Leftists and even Communists support it and agree that this is the way forward for the left and Communist movement. Like all words, the word Communism has no inherent meaning. It means whatever people who use it say it means. So the definition of Communism can clearly change with the times as Communists update their definitions of what the word means.
China cannot be called capitalist in any way. Their model is far more socialist than anything in any European social democracy. It also goes far beyond the US in the New Deal and of course beyond beyond the social liberalism and its more left analogue in Canada, not to mention beyond social democracy in Australia or New Zealand.
Interestingly, Japan is not a capitalist country. They don’t have neoliberalism. That country does not operate on the capitalist mode of development. Instead the resemblance is, I hate to say, to Nazi Germany. Nazi Germany also did not have a capitalist mode of development. I’m not sure what you call it, but it’s not capitalism. For instance, in Japan, the commanding heights of the economy, including almost all of the banks, is owned by the state.
The state still plans the economy. They plan the economy together with the business community and the state allocates a lot of funds and loans to areas of the economy it wishes to develop. There is probably a similar model in South Korea, which also is not capitalist and instead operates on a series of monopolies that are owned currently by large corporations and the government. The South Korean economy is also planned, and the plan is worked out by the government and the business sector working together.