Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Emily Keppler

Counter-Revolution is Official Policy of Chinese State

First Published: Unite!, Vol. 6, No. 17, September 15, 1980.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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If any lingering doubts remained about who rules China, and with what aim, they have been erased. By the closing of the 5th National People’s Congress, which opened its two-week session on August 30, it was clear that the counter-revolutionary program of the Chinese bourgeoisie to transform China into an imperialist superpower is the official policy of the Chinese state.

The program of capitalist revitalization of China, known as the Four Modernizations (of agriculture, industry, science/technology and national defense) was first advanced as a solution to the economic and political crises in China in 1964. But throughout the factional warfare of the cultural revolution years, the plan lay dormant. Then in 1975, at the 4th National People’s Congress, the Four Modernizations were reintroduced. Now 3,000 delegates to the 5th National People’s Congress have ratified a fleshed-out plan, applying it to all spheres of Chinese society, and put the proper leaders in place. A “new generation of practical-minded administrators”, headed by Zhao Ziyang, who replaced Hua Guofeng as Premier, was confirmed by the Congress. Zhao has risen to fame as the man who worked capitalist “economic miracles” with a program of decentralization and free enterprise in the Sichuan province of China.

In reality, the Congress ratified a course long ago charted by the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC). The roots of this policy can be traced back before the revolution, when Mao Zedong unsuccessfully courted U.S. imperialist aid during the civil war. For a time, it appeared that China would take the socialist road. But evidence soon began to mount that this was an illusion.

In an increasingly brazen manner, the revisionist leadership of the Chinese party and state have paraded their anti-socialist, anti-proletarian policies around the globe. Chinese delegations in Italy have lauded NATO and urged strengthening of the U.S. warmongering alliance. In Brazil, they have conducted “satisfactory talks to promote ties and close collaboration” with the Brazilian fascists. In Strausbourg they have praised the “United Europe” of the monopolies, and in Japan, they have promoted Japanese militarism and the fascist Tokyo-Peking-Washington military axis. All are the logical outcome of a foreign policy which recognized the fascist junta in Chile, defended the Shah of Iran, and welcomed arch-imperialist Richard Nixon to Peking.

The “new generation” of Chinese leaders has gone begging for loans and credits at the doorstep of every major western imperialist power, conducted foreign diplomacy aimed at regional hegemony in eastern Asia, and begun to stockpile weapons, all the while turning against the struggles of the peoples for national liberation and socialism.

To achieve superpower status and accomplish the dream of the old and new bourgeoisie in China, it is necessary to develop an advanced capitalist economy, a modern army equipped with nuclear bombs, and capture spheres of influence for markets and capital investment. It is with the aim of achieving these objectives as rapidly as possible that the Chinese bourgeoisie has developed its domestic and foreign policy. The centerpiece of the plan, at this time, is the Sino-American alliance: the total accommodation to U.S. imperialism.

Economic “Reform”

The dreams of the Chinese revisionists will not be easily realized. The years of political chaos, international isolation and China’s still-backward economy are significant obstacles. A mixed economy, part capitalist and partly composed of socialist features such as the collectivization of agriculture, has existed for many years. The means of production were never placed in the hands of the working class, and gradually the remnants of socialist planning have been obliterated.

The 8-year industrial modernization plan unfurled by Hua Guo feng in 1978 called for herculian leaps forward. That plan has already been revised and a more moderate 3-year plan adopted at the 11th Plenum of the Central Committee of the CPC. New guidelines call for a “restructuring and readjustment”, and both production and investment targets were dramatically curtailed.

This new “restructuring and readjustment” of the Chinese economy is being conducted through a series of economic “reforms.” These “reforms” include decentralization, competition among enterprises, the development of a capital goods market independent of state control and the linking of all worker bonuses and fringe benefits directly or indirectly to profit margins, all anchored by a massive influx of foreign capital investment. “Self-administration”, of the long-admired Titoite type, has been extended to 80% of all the enterprises in China. These enterprises can now determine the price of their product, set workers’ wages, and secure their own raw materials and markets. In addition, they can directly negotiate with foreign imperialist investors. Attempts are underway to create monopoly trusts through the merging of various enterprises.

Chinese economists frankly admit that these new “structural reorganizations” mean that approximately 50,000 marginal enterprises (that is, non-profitable enterprises) will go under and be eliminated. This will lead to greater unemployment, already estimated at 20 million. In 1979, China had an inflation rate of 5.4% and price hikes were leveled by the government and resulted from independent action by individual enterprises. As well, competition and conflict between enterprises is reportedly occurring, as a result of haggling over domestic markets.

If the working class had political power in China, inflation, unemployment and internal competition would not exist, nor would it need to exist to fulfill the material and social needs of the population. Today, 30 years since liberation, Chinese agriculture remains at a primitive level. By 1977 the per capita grain availability was no better than 20 years ago. Shortages are increasingly common, and thus in 1980, China will import tons of wheat from the U.S. The living conditions of the majority of China’s peasants are very poor. During the winter of 1979, tens of thousands of peasants walked to Peking and camped outside the homes of party leaders to protest their poverty. French journalists in China at the time described many protesters as “sick, on crutches, dressed in rags, wretchedly poverty stricken.”

“Stability and Unity”

While the Chinese revisionists’ “reforms” will further the development of capitalism in China, they lead directly to increased impoverishment of the Chinese working class and peasantry. The attacks against the living standards of the Chinese people, combined with the already existing backwardness and poverty, will bring forward inevitable class conflicts and clashes. In 1979, China saw a wave of peasant protests, student demonstrations and actions by soldiers and contract laborers seeking work. In China’s cities, there is an increased presence of the army, and growing authority is being granted to public security forces.

Linked to these campaigns is an ideological campaign in China which has jokingly been called “The Great Leap Backwards.” An outright promotion of old religious beliefs is official policy. Associations for the study of religion have sprung up in Peking. A new Chinese-language bible was reprinted last year, the first since the cultural revolution, and Peking authorities are negotiating for the return of the Dali Lama to Tibet.

Chinese leaders have adopted the Malthusian bourgeois view that overpopulation causes poverty, and one-child families are now the rule in China. Couples who question forced birth control face serious threat, including denial of income and educational services.

On the cultural front, bourgeois ideas are spreading in great profusion. In a speech earlier this year, Deng Xiaoping said that the slogan “literature and art belong to politics” should be discontinued. The Sino-American alliance includes cultural and educational exchanges, and the imperialist way of life is being spread in China, bringing the ills of capitalist decadence. A fascination for U.S. trends and lifestyles has been apparent in China for some time.

Appropriately, the Chinese revisionists have launched a simultaneous official campaign against the public recognition of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin, removing their portraits from public places.

Militarization of the Economy

China’s modernization drive includes revamping the military. In 1979, China’s defense minister stated that Chinese army tactics, organization and leadership fail to meet the requirements of modern warfare. Thus the Four Modernizations include a plan for militarization of the Chinese economy. Today 40% of the nation’s budget is allocated to military spending. China has gone a buying spree of western military hardware. In 1978, agreements were signed with France to purchase telecommunications, nuclear science and space technology. That same year, the Chinese revisionists bought 600 anti-tank missiles from West Germany. In January, 1979, U.S. formal recognition of China opened the door for the sale of military equipment. Since then, the U.S. has sold China several categories of military hardware. This year the Chinese leaders have arranged for $600 million in military equipment, including nuclear technology from Brazil.

Warmongering Foreign Policy

China’s foreign policy is relatively straightforward: rely on U.S. imperialism and its allies for economic and military aid and political support; orchestrate a “united front” against the Soviet Union; forge alliances with the developing countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America primarily on the basis of bourgeois nationalism, and most important, fan the flames of world war.

China has chosen alliance with U.S. imperialism for pragmatic reasons. The U.S. is the most capable of providing China the all round assistance required to carry out its imperialist modernization program. China has created a front in opposition to the U.S.S.R., as it represents a military threat at this time. This has been achieved over more than a decade by spreading the illusion of U.S. inferiority to the Soviet Union. China seeks to create its own alliances, a “third world” bloc, befitting the global presence of a new superpower. And, China fans the flames of world war, pitting its two main rivals – the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. – against each other in a contest that will, the Chinese revisionists hope, leave imperialist China an unrivaled world contender.

The boldness, speed and relative ease with which the “new generation” of Chinese leaders has consolidated its control over the Chinese party and state and launched China on the road of a predatory, warmongering, social-imperialist “modernization”, reflect the reality of people’s China since 1949. That reality is that China, never consolidated a Marxist-Leninist party to lead the country, never consolidated the dictatorship of the proletariat, never expropriated the bourgeoisie and defeated it as a class, and never successfully embarked on the road of socialist construction.

Rather than relying on Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong and the Chinese leadership relied instead on the various eclectic and revisionist theories of “Mao Zedong Thought” which rejected the historical experience of Lenin and Stalin, concocting instead a “Chinese road to socialism” that borrowed revolutionary and counter-revolutionary ideas alike. Thus People’s China was set adrift, like a ship without a rudder, unable to chart the turbulent waters of revolutionary upheavals, unable to successfully advance after the victory over Japanese and foreign imperialism which liberated the country from colonial rule.

The consolidation of Chinese revisionism as a major counterrevolutionary trend, and the existence of China as a social-imperialist power, represent new and grave dangers to the peoples of the world. With the typical arrogance of a chauvinist superpower, China today engages in intrigues, foments armed conflicts and exacerbates the contradictions between its main rivals – the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. – not only prophesying, but promoting a new imperialist world war. The Chinese revisionists are willing to sacrifice the lives of untold hundreds of millions, to achieve their dream of unrivaled world power.

Lenin once wrote: “If we were really driving workers and peasants to war, that would be a crime. All our politics and propaganda, however, are directed toward putting an end to war and in no way toward driving nations to war. Experience has shown very clearly that the socialist revolution is the only way out of eternal warfare.”

There is no starker condemnation of the completely reactionary nature of Chinese revisionism.