Anonymous said: In all honesty, I'm quite confused by the communism in China... did it really ruin China? Some actually disagree with this notion claiming that if it wasn't for communism, China would still be poor and won't be as prosperous as it is now. Yes, the government is corrupt but what government isn't? At least they contribute to the country's development unlike with other countries where almost all their officials are thieves milking its country for profit.
…I can tell you it most definitely did ruin China. More people died in the Great Chinese Famine caused by disastrous Communist agricultural policies than under the Japanese imperialism during World War 2. The China you see today is where it is PRECISELY because the less ideological Party members like Deng Xiaoping realised economic Communism couldn’t work and basically tossed it out to embrace the free market. China would have been SO MUCH better without the horrible upheaval in the 1950s-1970s where MILLIONS died due to political witch hunts or famines under Mao’s reign. Deng himself and other more pragmatic members of the Communist party were jailed or accused of being “bourgeois”. He fortunately managed to win a power struggle in the 1970s, and so his reform of China prevailed.
Yes, capitalism in China has problems but compared to the extreme poverty, food shortages and illiteracy by the end of Mao’s disastrous reign, Chinese people have had their standard of living improved precisely because they stopped adhering to Communism economically. China in the 1960s in the midst of all that chaos was akin to North Korea during its own 1990s famine. China, the world’s second largest economy, the emerging superpower today- is where it is PRECISELY because it abandoned Communism economically. Economically, its form of capitalism is still more imperfect as it’s not fully balanced with socialist principles like worker’s rights, pensions, government regulations as it is in developed countries. As it is, the authoritarianism of its government is also still limiting China’s potential. A lot of Chinese environmentalists, for example, have been jailed and harassed by officials for trying to raise awareness about pollution, which is a serious problem there.
And…uh the thing is a lot of Chinese officials are indeed still thieves milking the country for profit. There’s been a lot of slavish praising of the “Chinese system” by Western economists, which is what may have affected your perceptions. And I roll my eyes whenever I read some Western economist gushing about it. Why? Because they’re so privileged that they don’t see the human cost this is exerting on China. Compared to the US, China has severely damaged its environment in many places. You should see the smog readings in Beijing. Or the lack of worker’s rights and protections in factories where people have to sort poisonous electronic waste with their BARE HANDS. The US government is frustrating, yes, but that is usually much less compared to what Chinese citizens have to deal with. You guys in the so-called “ageing, less dynamic Western countries” are seriously DEFINITELY better off. The Yangtze river, for example, has become so polluted by MNCs because provincial officials don’t care as they only care about the money and promotions it’ll bring them. A lot of netizens have been using the Internet to expose the corruption of officials. This kind of economic growth is not going to be sustainable.
A lot of those Western economists praising China’s system do it totally blind to the fact that it comes at the cost of a lot of Chinese people themselves. And it’s the legacy of Communism- that China is still politically authoritarian that is causing this. Because as imperfect as democracy is, you have power. You have the power to at least elect people who represent your interests and fight for your rights. Your government wouldn’t be able to completely ignore you.
My great grandparents were from China. When I post all of these, it’s not to say China is totally bad and the West is good in a condescending way. I recognise the Opium Wars was British imperialism that really exploited China. But the Communist Party has to own what happened after WW2. This is a country with enormous potential, but it is undeniable it has A LOT of problems hindering that. The way China’s economy grew in the last 30 years was at breakneck speed. Imagine US economic growth from 1850 till 2000 condensed into 30 years. That’s basically what happened- going from a primary rural, agrarian country to an industrial one where the majority of people live in cities. Imagine America in the 1920s with Prohibition, gangs, crime. That’s similar to many parts of China nowadays. Because that kind of rapid growth brings with it severe socio-economic dislocations that is responsible for all of these problems. An authoritarian system without a built-in feedback loop of a free press and democracy only worsens these problems.
Hong Kong isn’t mainland China, but IMO all this unrest whether by Hong Kongers and mainland Chinese is a product of the same disease- an authoritarian system that lacks accountability. The continued authoritarianism of the government leads to outbursts of unrests because things never get addressed, or they try to suppress political opinions instead of actual dealing with their grievances.