Socialism with Chinese Characteristics: A Guide for Foreigners

China, Demographic

Socialism with Chinese Characteristics: A Guide for Foreigners

Ever since the reform and opening-up from 1978, and especially during the last few decades, China has often been portrayed as an economic and a political hybrid: an officially socialist country which has, under the aegis of its Communist Party and its leaders’ continuing declarations of allegiance to Marxism and building socialism, embraced two key components of capitalist systems: private ownership over the means of production and a market economy. For many, this hybridity is also an insoluble contradiction which, similar to the classical liar paradox, involves a range of mutually invalidating opposites lining up with popular understanding of ‘authentically’ Marxist/socialist/communist economic and political values, practices, etc., and respectively ‘authentically’ capitalist/liberal/neoliberal values, practices, etc.

Read More

 

China’s Quest for Foreign Technology: Beyond Espionage

China, Policies

China’s Quest for Foreign Technology: Beyond Espionage

A 2013 book by Hannas and two other contributors to the present volume focused on the many ways that China gets hold of advanced U.S. technology. Since then, as reported by contributors to this new, deeply researched and sophisticated volume, the Chinese government has vastly increased its technology-acquisition programs, not only in the United States but also in Australia, Japan, South Korea, and Europe.

As before, some Chinese methods are illegal, such as hacking and theft, but many are carried out in the open, including investing in foreign companies, conducting joint research projects with foreign universities and companies, using “talent programs” to bring Chinese and non-Chinese scientists to China, and offering returned scholars venture capital to start businesses. Thousands of university centers, technology-transfer parks, and startup incubators convert the imported technology into products that increase China’s competitiveness, upgrade its military, or strengthen the government’s ability to control society.

Read More

 

Inequalities are shaping how we’re fighting the Pandemic — and how we’ll remember it

Demographic, India, Policies, Society

Inequalities are shaping how we’re fighting the Pandemic — and how we’ll remember it

The first wave of the 1918-19 influenza pandemic did not have much impact in India; it was the second wave that was the most devastating.

It is now thought that 12 million people died in India during the flu pandemic, the equivalent of 4 percent of the population at that time. Most of these deaths were concentrated in a few short months from September to December 1918. This quote is from Punjab’s sanitary commissioner at the time:

The hospitals were choked so it was impossible to remove the dead quickly enough to make room for the dying….; the burning ghats (cremation site) were literally swamped with corpses; the depleted medical service, was incapable of dealing with more than a minute fraction of the sickness requiring attention.

Read More

 

Russia: Frustrating Foreign Wars

Demographic, Russia

Russia: Frustrating Foreign Wars

Russia admits that about a third of its population is living in poverty. Many Russians, and foreign economists, believe the real rate is nearly 70 percent. Russian living standards have suffered continuous disasters since 2013 when the price of the major export (oil and has) fell by more than half and has not recovered. In 2014 Russia declared it was at war with NATO and Ukraine. That resulted in economic sanctions that have gotten worse since then. When the current Russian government took power in 2000 it became very popular by keeping a key campaign promise; to reduce the poverty rate. The poverty rate fell from 29 percent of the population in 2000 to just under 12 percent in 2012.

Read More

 

Dialect and Nationalism in China, 1860–1960

China, Demographic

Dialect and Nationalism in China, 1860–1960

Chinese nationalists who wanted to create a modern nation in the twentieth century had to contend with the dozens of regional forms of spoken Chinese, which they believed hindered the creation of a unified culture. Tam argues that these speech forms are not just dialects but distinct languages, as different from one another as many of the languages spoken in Europe. To solve the problem, modernizers designed a common language based on the vocabulary and pronunciation found in Beijing and claimed that the regional languages were mere offshoots of this main idiom. Mao Zedong’s regime forced all Han people to learn the common language.

Read More

 

The Chinese dreamers vs. the U.S. Hegemon

China, Demographic, Economy, Policies

The Chinese dreamers vs. the U.S. Hegemon

Do China and the U.S. have fundamental goals that constitute a contradiction, that is, goals so profoundly at odds with one another that the goals cannot coexist? Unfortunately, the answer is yes.

Such a contradiction means that one side must abandon its aims if a disastrous conflict is not to ensue. Which country should step back? Is there a moral, ethical or common-sense basis for making that call, a basis on which humankind can readily agree?

What are these contradictory goals?

Read More

 

India’s COVID-19 crisis: A call for people’s unity

Demographic, India

India’s COVID-19 crisis: A call for people’s unity

There is no enmity between the working class people of each country. Rather than being duped by the bourgeoisie into stirring hostilities under the banner of “patriotism,” we should instead unite to mutually resist our capitalist oppressors.

In recent days, the pandemic in India has rapidly deteriorated. Without a doubt, it is India’s working class people who suffer the most.We have always advocated treating our neighbors with kindness, as indicated by the words “世界人民大团结万岁” (“Long Live the Great Unity of the World’s Peoples”) inscribed on the banner atop the Tiananmen gate tower.

So it is perplexing that some of our nation’s pundits took the opportunity to jeer at India in order to flaunt their own superiority.

Read More

 

Identity Politics With Chinese Characteristics

China, Demographic

Identity Politics With Chinese Characteristics

What is China? The answer is less obvious than it seems. Is the vast territory primarily a country, a civilization, or a political construct? Is it an empire or a nation-state? Is it a region with different languages and cultures or a (mostly) homogeneous people in which the great majority are closely connected by common traditions and ancestors?

For most of the past two millennia, the area known today as China was the center of empires. Some of those empires were large, extending into Central Asia, Southeast Asia, the Himalayas, and the northern Pacific. Others were smaller, containing only parts of present-day China. At times, the area was made up of a number of small states competing for influence, in patterns not unlike what existed in Europe after the fall of Rome. But, in general, empire has been the rule rather than the exception.

Read More

 

Destitution, hunger and the lockdown

Demographic, India

Destitution, hunger and the lockdown

ON March 24, 2020, Narendra Modi had announced that the country would go into a lockdown after four hours! This nation-wide lockdown was to last till the end of May, after which there were local lockdowns but not a general one.

It brought acute hardship to millions of the working poor, among whom the migrant workers’ woes received global attention. What was striking about the Indian lockdown was that, in contrast to virtually everywhere else including the U.S. under Trump, no compensation was offered to the people (except paltry amounts to a few specific target groups) for their loss of incomes because of the lockdown. They were pushed into a situation of income loss, destitution and hunger, from which they had not recovered even months after the lifting of the lockdown.

Read More

 

The challenges facing Brazil’s left

Brazil, Demographic

The challenges facing Brazil’s left

For those who follow Brazilian politics, even superficially, it should not be news that the country is living through its biggest crisis since the civic-military dictatorship ended in the 1980s, or even – according to some–in the entire history of the Brazilian Republic since the deposition of Emperor Pedro II in 1889. Brazil is facing tremendous political and social setbacks led by its far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, who has not been formally affiliated with a political party since 2019 but still relies on the social support and approval of the country’s ruling classes and Armed Forces.

If the social consequences of adopting an ultra-neoliberal project weren’t enough already, the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 and the gross mismanagement and negligence in combatting the virus have led to the worst-case social, economic, and health scenarios.

Read More