NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING

  • Latest News
  • Pitch a Story
  • Work with a Journalist
  • Join the Blog Squad
  • Afghanistan
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Baltimore
  • Canada
  • Egypt
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • Middle East
  • Russia
  • Economy
  • Environment
  • Health Care
  • Military
  • Occupy
  • Organize This
  • Reality Asserts Itself
  • US Politics
  • Socialism vs Capitalism in China


    Minqi Li: Vice President Xi is expected to become President at a time when a serious debate has emerged in the party -   February 19, 2012
    Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here

    Audio

    Share to Facebook Share to Twitter




    This is where I am able to find out what is actually developing across the world. Thank you TRNN! - Stan Estus
    Log in and tell us why you support TRNN

    Bio

    Minqi Li is an associate professor of economics at the University of Utah. He is the author of The Rise of China and the Demise of the Capitalist World Economy (Pluto Press, 2009) and the editor of Red China Website (a leading Chinese leftist website).  Minqi Li has published many articles in the filed of political economy, the Chinese economy, global capitalist crisis, peak oil, and climate change.

    Transcript

    Socialism vs Capitalism in ChinaPAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay in Washington.

    And in Washington on Tuesday, President Obama met with Vice President Xi of China, who's expected to be the next leader, leader of the Communist Party, and the next president of China. But most of the press has been commenting that not much is known about Vice President Xi.

    Now joining us to talk about the vice president and what's happening inside Chinese Communist Party is Minqi Li. Minqi is an associate professor at the University of Utah specializing in political economy, world systems, and the Chinese economy. He was a political prisoner in China from 1990 to 1992. He's author of the book After Neoliberalism: Empire, Social Democracy, or Socialism? And he joins us from Salt Lake City. Thanks for joining us, Minqi.

    MINQI LI, ASSOCIATE PROF. ECONOMICS, UNIV. UTAH: Thank you.

    JAY: So what do you know about the vice president? And what—do we expect any changes in terms of the course of the Chinese Communist Party? What's happening in the party and in terms of political circles outside of it, especially in a situation where we might be on the verge of another major global recession? European economy is—still seems to be ready to unravel. So talk to us about the debate that's happening in Beijing.

    LI: Well, this—Vice President Xi's visit in the U.S. takes place at a critical moment in term of what is going on within China. And Xi, of course, is widely expected to replace Hu Jintao to become the next general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, as well as the next president of People's Republic. And then this transition will determine not only China's next leadership; potentially could also determine China's future direction in term of economic and political development in the next decade—and, in fact, intense debate that is now taking place within the Chinese Communist Party, with the party right wing [incompr.] further movement in the direction of free market capitalism. And on the other hand, it appears that a left wing has emerged within the party that is trying to some extent to adjust China's current direction towards capitalism, and even to some extent make some reversal.

    JAY: Reversal meaning increase, rebuild the public sector and some of the elements of socialism.

    LI: In that way, yes.

    JAY: And do we have any sense were Vice President Xi is in all of this?

    LI: It's not clear at this point. Xi, of course, is the son of a veteran revolutionary, Xi Zhongxun, who participated in the Chinese revolution with Mao Zedung. And then the experience of Xi Zhongxun, and then his son Xi Jinping, has been complicated one. On the one hand, Xi Zhongxun is believed to be among those party leaders who were purged during the Cultural Revolution. So for that reason he might have resentments against Mao Zedung. And on the other hand, because he belonged to this first generation revolutionary—and so it might be the case that they, the Xi family, disagree with China's current direction of capitalist reform.

    And as far as Xi Jinping himself is concerned, on the one hand, before he was promoted to the current position, he was the party's secretary of the Zhejiang province, where he led the economic development by promoting private enterprises. So in that way you might say he could be someone who was in favor of capitalist reform. But on the other hand, he had maintained close relationships with many children of the first generation revolutionary and has shown some support of the Chongqing experiment, the experiment in the southwestern city of Chongqing, which promoted more social spending, crackdown on organized crime, that is favored by the left but is opposed by the right.

    JAY: Now, is there anyone that's particularly associated in the party as being of the left that's at a leadership level?

    LI: Well, it is widely believed Bo Xilai, the party secretary in the city of Chongqing, is leading this left turn of the party. However, just before—a few days before Xi's visit to the U.S., the local police chief of the Chongqing city, for unknown reasons, entered into the U.S. consulate in Chengdu and stayed there for one day. And then the real reason behind that is still unclear, but there has been speculation that this incident could undermine the political prospect of Bo Xilai, the left leader in the party.

    JAY: And there are suggestions that that's all tied up with some kind of local corruption scandal, is there not? And I guess it's not clear where this is all going to go.

    LI: Yeah, that's part of the speculation. And then some others have speculated that it might be part of the conspiracy of the right wing in the party.

    JAY: To actually go after this left-wing leader. Now, is this division between what you're describing as left and right a division of those who want to develop—or some form of kind of socialist framework? Or is it a little bit more like a division we see in the West, sort of, between austerity types and Keynesians?

    LI: Well, it's the—of course this—you might want to compare this Chinese division between the left and right to—some way to what is going on in the West, although in the Western case we know that even the social democrats have basically become only moderate neoliberals. On the other hand, in the Chinese case, because China has got this socialist legacy—so even moderate change in the left direction could potentially lead to farther change more in the socialist or left development that could alarm the right wing.

    JAY: Now, the recent sort of scandal, you could say, with the coming to international attention of what's happening at Foxconn, the enormous electronics manufacturer, which among other things works for Apple—but this is not just an Apple situation, and actually not just a Foxconn situation—but when you see the terrible working conditions and the violation of Chinese law—. You know, this is still supposed to be—I mean, they call themselves a workers party, the Chinese Communist Party. Is there any reflection of this in the struggle that—you know, how do you have such horrible working conditions and claim to be still a communist party?

    LI: Well, that is, again, part of a debate that is going on within China now. The fact that Foxconn could enjoy this kind of brutal exploitation of the workers and then benefit from that suggest the capitalists like Foxconn have been enjoying the collaboration of many of the local and the provincial officials. In fact, related to the current debate within the party, the right wing is promoting this Guangdong model. So Guangdong is this southern province that has been pioneering this export-led capitalist growth where companies like Foxconn have prospered. And so a key question right now has to do with whether the Guangdong model or the Chongqing model is going to be favored by the next leadership of the Communist Party.

    JAY: And again, do we have any idea where the vice president, Xi, is on this? He seems not to speak a lot publicly, in the sense that even you who follows this stuff so closely kind of have to speculate about where he stands on things.

    LI: Well, I guess part of the implicit rule for the Chinese leadership is that if you speak too publicly about your position, that will dramatically reduce your own chance of being promoted. But on the other hand, now there is wide recognition that China's current social and economic model cannot be sustained much longer, both because China could no longer rely upon the export-led growth model—therefore China will have to find alternative ways to promote effective demand—and because rising social equality could potentially lead to huge political instability. And, therefore, in these kind of circumstances it's necessary for China to search for an alternative mode of development, and ideally that will lead to more redistribution that will favor the great majority of Chinese people. That will in turn make China's development more sustainable.

    JAY: Now, is there any debate (I guess there must be some, but how intense is it?) to allow legitimate, independent unions? I mean, it doesn't seem that you're going to have any real possibility of enforcement of Chinese laws in places like Foxconn unless the workers have some more right to organize unions and defend themselves. What's—how is the debate on that issue going?

    LI: To some extent there have been discussions about that. But in the Chinese context, on the one hand, it's not just a question about labor laws. As you said earlier, China has already got many labor laws. But the question is that they are not being enforced. So unless the central government is serious about that, then could have—really push the local governments to enforce existing labor laws, additional labor laws probably would not help.

    JAY: And as I say, what's happening in terms of organizing independent unions? For example, if independent unions do get started in certain places—if I understand correctly, it used to be it was very possible that workers could wind up being arrested, or threatened, at any rate, lose their jobs. I mean, is that still happening?

    LI: Well, [incompr.] I guess arrest is happening less these days, I mean, arrest by the police. But if serious workers protest taking place—and then, of course, the bosses would still call in the police as a way to repress workers. Then of course the strike leaders could still be threatened by losing their jobs. And so in many ways it depends on what is taking place on the ground, what is taking place in the term of actual organizing capacity of the workers against the ability for the capitalists to use their own social influence.

    JAY: And how does this—is there a trend within the party—is it possible to speak up in the party about this kind of issue? Are there advocates for workers, you know, this kind of workers rights or independent unions? Can they speak publicly about this in the party? Is there any sense of it?

    LI: Well, there's—the debate is probably taking place in implicit ways. So part of the right-wing strategy right now is that they also talk about the Chinese economy is suffering from imbalances. But they are arguing that the solution to that is to redistribute income from the government to the capitalists. They are calling for more tax cut for the capitalists. And, of course, if this strategy is indeed implemented, it will further undermine the public sector. While the left-wing is in favor of redistribution from the capitalists to the workers. So in the coming month or years, we will know which side will prevail in this intra-party debate.

    JAY: And outside the party, is there signs of these workers protests taking on more political form?

    LI: Not yet. What is going on is that the workers in the capitalist sector, the new capitalist sector, when they are organizing struggles for higher wage, better working conditions—so primarily it's still economic struggle. And on the other hand, you might argue that the state sector workers, or the old state sector workers, as they are organizing struggle against privatization—and over the past few years, that have got a growing political character, especially when that is in combination with more and more mass-based pro-Maoist movement.

    JAY: And just finally, how significant is that mass-based pro-Maoist movement?

    LI: It in fact has become quite significant. It has become something that is comparable to the Occupy Wall Street movement that is taking place in the U.S., except in the Chinese case, in fact, it's taking place on larger scales, involving possibly hundreds of thousands of people across the whole country, and more regularly every year, twice, on the birthday of Mao Zedung and on the day when Mao Zedung passed away.

    JAY: And is—I keep saying finally, but this is too interesting not to ask another question. So is this kind of nostalgia for going back to the past? Or is this an idea that China needs to go into some new form, but of socialism and sort of the original ideals, if not the way it actually worked out?

    LI: Well, it certainly has to do with nostalgia to some degree, but then I think it's more a protest of China's current economic social model and China's current direction of development, and then calling for the benefits of economic growth to be shared more evenly. So in that way it reflects people's desire for more direction in the socialist form.

    JAY: Alright. Thanks very much for joining us, Minqi.

    LI: Thank you very much.

    JAY: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

    End

    DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


    Comments

    Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

    Comments


    Latest Stories


    The Resegregation of American Schools
    The Modern History of Venezuela, Why Still So Much Crime? - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (7/9)
    What Role Has Russia Played in Eastern Ukraine?
    Can Johns Hopkins Afford to Pay A Living Wage? (2/2)
    University Sit-In Targets World's Largest Private Coal Company
    The Modern History of Venezuela and the Need for a Post-Oil Economy - Edgardo Lander on RAI (6/9)
    Can Johns Hopkins Afford to Pay A Living Wage? (1/2)
    One Percent of Environmentalists Killings Lead to Convictions
    Investigation Finds Former Ukraine President Not Responsible For Sniper Attack on Protestors
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1973 to the Caracazo Massacre - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (3/9)
    Ukraine Transitional Gov't Moves Militarily To Reclaim Seized Buildings
    IPCC Report Flawed By Narrow Focus on Carbon Emissions
    The Modern History of Venezuela: The Bolivarian Revolution - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (5/9)
    Obama Signs Directives to Reduce the Gender Wage Gap
    Eastern Ukraine Lacks Political Representation in Kiev
    Demystifying the Role of Mitigation in the Most Recent IPCC Report
    Hypersurveillance State Won't Prevent Another Boston Marathon Bombing
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1973 to the Caracazo Massacre - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (3/9)
    Univ. of Maine Faculty Reinstated After Students Protest Against Cuts
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1908 to 1973 - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (2/9)
    IMF Will Address Global Inequality, Says Managing Director Christine Lagarde
    Raising Big Banks' Leverage Ratio Good, But Not Nearly Enough
    TRNN Replay: Austerity Road to 19th Century
    Has Palestinian Maneuvering Revived Peace Talks?
    Late Jackson Mayor Lumumba's Son Wins Primary to Replace His Father, Runoff Election Ahead
    Quebecers Reject PQ and Elect a Liberal Government Representing Big Business
    TRNN Debate: Decriminalization vs. Legalization
    The Beginning of the Chavez Era - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (4/9)
    "Off With His Head": Court Upholds Obama's Power to Kill
    Workers at Nation's Top Hospital Strike For Fair Wages
    From Exile to Radicalization in Venezuela - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (1/9)
    Rwanda 20 Years Later: Genocide, Western Plunder of Congo, and President Kagame
    Ukrainian Protesters in the East Demand More Autonomy From Kiev Government
    Hunger Strikers Demand President Obama Halt His Record 2 Million Deportations
    Indian Parliamentary Elections - A Primer With Vijay Prashad
    West Looks to Carve Up Ukraine & Privatize Industries Held by Kleptocrats
    Where Are Israeli-Palestinian Peace Negotiations Headed?
    The Multiple Kingdoms of Saudi Arabia (5/5)
    Do the Afghan Presidential Elections Signify Progress?
    Republican Presidential Hopefuls Pay Homage to Billionaire Casino Tycoon Sheldon Adelson
    Will Extremist Lieberman Become Israel's Next Prime Minister?
    Why do the Saudis Want the US to Attack Iran? (4/5)
    Immigrant Advocates and Families Tell President Obama 'Not One More'
    Elections, Pipelines, and Protests - The Canada Panel
    Chris Hedges on "Israel's War on American Universities"
    Baltimore Residents Decry Lack of Affordable Housing
    Yellen Talks the Talk But Will She Walk the Walk?
    Hopkins Hospital Workers Speak Out against "Poverty Wages"
    Will Venezuela's New Floating Exchange Rate Curb Inflation?
    The European Central Bank's War on Wages is Pushing Europe's Economy to the Brink
    Supreme Court Decision Opens Floodgates for More Campaign Cash
    Charles Keating, the Financier Behind the Savings and Loan Scandal, Dies at 90
    Saudi Arabia and the al-Qaeda Monster (3/5)
    Maryland Residents Voice Opposition to Natural Gas Fracking Export Facility
    Supreme Court Ruling Gives Wealthy Individuals More Influence Over Elections
    What are the Saudis Afraid Of? - Madawi Al-Rasheed (2/5)
    Baltimore's MICA Adjunct Professors Set to Vote on Unionization
    Boycott of Israel Moving to Next Level?
    Hypocrisy Dressed Up as "Realism" Justifies American Alliance with Saudi Dictatorship
    Immigration Reform in the Shadows of Cesar Chavez's Legacy
    Leaked Senate Report Shows Use of Torture As "Ineffective"
    UN Report Says Climate Change Will Threaten Food Production Worldwide
    The Hypocrisy of US Calling for Enforcement of International Law
    How the Ecuadorian Economy Grew in a Global Recession
    'Shadows of Liberty' Trailer
    Kristina Borjesson on Why CBS Shut Down Her investigation into Flight 800 (2/8)
    Glen Ford on Racism in the American Media (3/8)
    Paul Jay on What Drives Corporate Media and What Drive The Real News (4/8)
    Creating a New Media Paradigm After Citizens United (5/8)
    Should The Left Engage with the Mainstream Media? (6/8)
    What Is the Financial Backing For The Real News? (7/8)
    Standing up to Character Assassination (8/8)
    Oligarchs, Fascists and the People's Protest in Ukraine
    TRNN Debate: Is Obamacare In the Interest of Workers?
    Too-Big-To-Fail Advantage Remains Intact For Big Banks
    Obama and the Saudi Agenda
    TRNN Replay: Investigating the Saudi Government's 9/11 Connection and the Path to Disilliusionment - Sen. Graham on Reality Asserts Itself pt 1
    The Iraq War's Real Legacy
    Petitions with 100,000+ Signatures Call for Snowden's Passport to be Reinstated
    We Need to Harness People Power - Andy Shallal on Reality Asserts Itself (4/4)
    BC Pipeline Fight and Quebec Elections - The Canada Panel
    Jonathan Schell - 1943-2014: Board Member of TRNN on Why We Need The Real News
    Teachers on Strike from the UK to Argentina
    Connecticut Poised to Become First State with $10.10 Minimum Wage
    Oil Spill Threatens Wildlife and Local Economy
    DC School Test Scores Up, But Poor Black Kids Are Doing Worse - Andy Shallal on RAI (3/4)
    Obama's Proposal To End NSA Bulk Data Collection Won't Protect Privacy
    How Google, Apple & The Biggest Tech Companies Colluded to Fix Workers' Wages
    An American Should be One that Questions Their Government - Andy Shallal on RAI (2/4)
    What's Driving Putin & Obama's Posturing on Ukraine?
    Hundreds of Students & Faculty Occupy College Campus to Fight Cuts to Public Higher Ed
    Due Process 'Impossible' In Harsh Death Sentencing Of Over 500 Muslim Brotherhood Members
    Has Anglo-American Capitalism Run Out of Steam?
    Being the "Other" in America - Andy Shallal on Reality Asserts Itself (1/4)
    TRNN Debate: Should Baltimore 'Ban The Box'?
    How Fallujah Became the Iraqi Government's New Battleground
    Why I Decided to Blow the Whistle on the NSA
    NASA Climate Predictions Show Serious Threat To Humanity
    Professor Who Teaches Israel-Palestine Conflict Accuses College of Violating His Academic Freedom
    CIA and NSA Wrongdoing Requires Independent Investigation, Says Former Church Committee Staff
    Are Tuition Breaks Enough To Combat High Student Debt And Low Graduation Rates?
    Industries Across the U.S. Are Stealing Wages From Their Lowest Paid Workers
    Who In Ukraine Will Benefit From An IMF Bailout?
    NSA Recording All International Calls From U.S.
    Israel "Making Lives Miserable" for Africans, Hoping They 'Self-Deport' (2/2)
    BP Gets Green Light to Drill in Gulf, But Has Safety Improved?
    Residents Still Not Drinking Tap Water Two Months After West Virginia Spill (1/2)
    Libya's Descent Into Turmoil Three Years After NATO Intervention
    From Pipelines to Peladeau - Canadian Report
    Israel "Making Lives Miserable" for Africans, Hoping They 'Self-Deport' (1/2)
    Congressional Progressive Caucus Budget Strikes Back Against Austerity
    Libya Three Years Later - Chaos and Partition
    Why Was Gaddafi Overthrown?
    Should Ukraine and West Accept De Facto Crimea Joining Russia? (2/2)
    Tony Benn Saw Socialism as the Culmination of Democratization
    Why Didn't Bush/Cheney Attack Iran and Can Obama Make and Sell a Deal? - Gareth Porter on Reality Asserts Itself (3/3)
    After Late Mayor Lumumba is Laid to Rest, What's Next for Jackson, Mississippi? (2/2)
    Crimea Referendum: Self Determination or Big Power Manipulation? (1/2)
    Sen. Graham: President Must Side with Openness About CIA and 9/11
    Manufacturing a Narrative for War - Gareth Porter on Reality Asserts Itself (2/3)
    Protesters Hit the Streets of Brooklyn to Demand $15 Minimum Wage
    Hammer: 'Moral Bankruptcy' Behind Massive GM Recall
    White House Withholds Thousands of Documents from Senate CIA Probe
    I Grew Up Believing in Time Magazine's Version of America - Gareth Porter on RAI (1/3)
    Western European Banks Vulnerable to Ukrainian Sovereign Debt Crisis
    TRNN Debate: What's Driving Inflation in Venezuela? (2/2)
    CIA vs. Senate: Who Is Obama Protecting?
    Will Tipped Workers Get Excluded Again From Minimum Wage Hike?
    TRNN Debate: What's Driving Inflation in Venezuela? (1/2)
    After Late Mayor Lumumba is Laid to Rest, What's Next for Jackson, Mississippi?(1/2)
    TRNN Replay: A Look at Who's Poised to Become No.2 at the Fed
    How Right-Wing Nationalism Rose to Influence in Ukraine (2/2)
    Netanyahu Attacks Boycott As Campaign Enters New Phase
    Moving Towards a Police State - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (7/7)
    Fighting Reagan's Secret, Illegal Wars - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (6/7)
    Puerto Rican Independence Movement and Cuba Further Radicalized Me - Michael Ratner on RAI (5/7)
    The Butcher of Attica - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (4/7)
    MLK and a Radicalizing Moment in American History - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (3/7)

    RealNewsNetwork.com, Real News Network, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of IWT.TV inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and Real News Network.

    All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network.  Click here for more

    Problems with this site? Please let us know

    Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting