China: End of a Model…Or the Birth of a New One?

by Au Loong Yu

Note: This article has drawn from the author’s two recent essays, “Disposable Labor” and also “Preliminary Report on China’s Going Globe Strategy,” where the author is the leading member of the research team.

  1. Economist, November 15, 2008.
  2. The current official rate of 4 percent is generally considered unreliable. According to the Chinese Academy of Social Science the actual rate is as high as 9.4 percent. Again, this is an underestimation, because it does not count those migrant workers who have returned to their home villages.
  3. This is already exacerbating the problem of insufficient land for everybody in rural areas, hence a section of migrant workers have no retreat at all.
  4. Margaret Pearson, China's New Business Elite, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997), p. 4.
  5. A Brief History of Neoliberalism, (London: Oxford, 2005), Ch. five.
  6. It includes the army. The practice was halted, at least in appearance, in late 1990s, because it posed too great a risk to the very existence of the state. Various reports show that these army runs companies, although being sold off and disconnected from the army, its high level officers still retain indirect control through their cronies.
  7. (Brooklyn, NY: Verso, 2007), pp. 332 and 369.
  8. "China and Socialism, Market Reforms and Class Struggle," Monthly Review, July - August, 2004.
  9. It is a repressed speech but was reported in Hong Kong last year by the former chief of General Administration of Press and Publication, Dao Daozheng. See Ming Pao, October 14, 2008.
  10. Before the Cultural Revolution, the salary difference between the top and the lowest level of cadres was 30 times; after that it was 14 to 19 times. See the author's Tantan Pingjunzhuyi he Daguofan (On Egalitarianism and Daguofan), 1994.
  11. The new leftists try to defend Mao's China by painting a rosy picture of equality in Mao era. Apart from a distortion of facts, the Achilles' heel of their argument lies in the fact that they confine their investigation to the economic side of equality, forgetting that political equality is more fundamental as a criterion in assessing any movement towards the emancipation of labor.
  12. It was the same with Soviet Union. "The Soviet bureaucracy has gone far toward preparing a bourgeoisie restoration …Privileges have only half their worth, if they cannot be transmitted to one's children….The victory of the bureaucracy in this decisive sphere would mean its conversion into a new possessing class." Leon Trotsky Revolution Betrayed (Pathfinder Press, 1974), Chapter 9, pp. 253-4.
  13. See here.
  14. China Economy Quarterly Update, Feb. 2007, World Bank Beijing Office, p. 6.
  15. Tigao laodong baochou, zheli yu chuci fenpei (Raise the compensation of labour, focus on initial distribution), by Wang Lianli, Xianggang Chuanzhen (Hong Kong Fax), published by research department of Citic Pacific, No. 2007-90, p. 8.
  16. Rebalancing China's Economy, He and Kuijs, World Bank China Research paper, no. 7.
  17. The Economists, "A Workers' Manifesto for China", 11 October 2007.
  18. China International Economic Consultants Co. Ltd.
  19. See Preliminary Report on China's Going Global Strategy, Globalization Monitor, 2009.
  20. Beijing Review, February, 2007. (This is the official journal of CCP).
  21. Despite the financial tsunami which put neo-liberalism into question, the State Council has just released its plan to make Shanghai into an international financial centre in 2020, and the prerequisite will be relaxing capital control and making RMB convertible. This is not a sign of building a people's alternative to US- led globalization, nor is Chinese government's call for a new international reserve currency system to replace the dollars. China eyes eastern metropolis for economic boost, March 25, 2009.
  22. See the author's, The Post MFA era and the rise of China (Solidarity, 2005). Interestingly, Arrighi has quoted approvingly in his book this part of the article to prove China's remains socialist, when the theme of the article is arguing the opposite, that despite of the fact that the achievement of land reform as fruit of the revolution largely remains intact, many other revolutionary achievements have been undone and China is unquestionably capitalist. See Arrighi, p. 370.
  23. Except that Korea has been hostile to foreign capital investment all through her industrialization period, which is in glaring contrast to China's experience.
  24. Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine, (NY: Metropolitan Books, 2007), 185.
  25. This March, Wu Bangguo, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, told the Congress that China would never simply copy the system of Western countries or introduce a system of multiple parties holding office in rotation. Nationalist scholars are even more explicit in their disdain of human rights and democracy. Dr. Huang Xiaojing wrote in his essay on the financial crisis that "both China and Russia are more and more convinced that so called democracy and human rights contribute nothing to the stability of the state and its continuous prosperity." Quoted from CITIC Pacific Research Advance, February 19, 2009. Huang was researcher of the well known Economic Institutional Reform Committee in 1980's and is now personnel manager of Mitsui Co. Ltd.
  26. If one enters guanxi in google one will find over a million entries. Books especially on guanxi are also many, and often considered as necessary reading in doing business in China.
  27. The authority was shocked in 2008 when a lone killer, who was harassed by policemen, took revenge by killing 6 policemen, and was applauded by citizens.
  28. Their Charter 2008 explicitly calls for privatization of farm land. For more please see the author's article, A Human Right Charter which Excludes Working People.
  29. For instance, the very well known new leftist, Gan Yang, wrote in Dushu to praise simultaneously the legacy of Confucius, Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, seeing the three as succession of great Chinese culture, that most party cadres are taking care of the lower classes, that it is not true to say that an alliance of elites has consolidated themselves and consciously exclude the poor. See Dushu, June 2007.
  30. The characterization of ACFTU as part of the repressive state apparatus is one thing; what strategy and tactics are adopted by activists towards the ACFTU is another. Although the two issues are related, they are nevertheless separate questions that need different approaches.
  31. The workplace union runs a blog which reports on the event, including the responses of National ACFTU to the workplace union and the Danish union. For English report, please visit Globalization Monitor website.
  32. 16 December, 2007, Xinhua Net.
  33. There is no law that ban strikes. The ban was a defacto ban.