Neo-Liberal Capitalists Strengthen Control of Chinese Communist Party

Neo-Liberal Capitalists Strengthen Control of Chinese Communist Party


PAUL JAY: Welcome to The Real News Network.
I’m Paul Jay in Baltimore. And welcome to what will become a regular series of interviews
about events unfolding in China. Now joining us is Professor Minqi Li. He’s
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 the author of After Neoliberalism: Empire, Social Democracy, or Socialism? Thanks very
much for joining us, Minqi. MINQI LI: Thank you, Paul. JAY: So the leadership is transitioning. There’s
a crisis of sorts. Who’s who, and what’s happening? LI: Well, basically, after so many years–let’s
say three decades–of capitalist transition in China, various social and economic contradiction
have accumulated. So, in this context, there has been a debate within the Chinese leadership
about the future direction of China, so whether China is going to continue on the path of
neoliberal capitalism, or instead there’s going to be some serious social reform, there’s
going to be some redistribution of income to correct the rising inequality. But it now
appears that the side that is in favor of neoliberal capitalism has won decisively. JAY: Now, why do you say that? LI: Well, as we–probably everyone is aware
of that, that is, Bo Xilai now has been purged, and not only from the party leadership, but
also expelled from the party. JAY: Alright. Give–for people that aren’t
following the story, just give us a little background. LI: Well, Bo Xilai, he was party secretary
of the city of Chongqing, the largest city in southwest China. So while he was the party
secretary in Chongqing, he promoted some limited social reform, including the crackdown on
organized crime and the supply of social housing to ordinary people, which benefited the lower
social classes in the local area. But apparently his limited reform has undermined
the interests of not only the organized crime, but also the capitalist group associated with
that, and possibly some higher-up Chinese elites that have connection with the local
organized crime in Chongqing. And it now looks like because of that he has been punished. JAY: Now, this is a view that supports him.
But the official view is that his wife was involved in murdering somebody and that he
and his wife in fact were involved in some kind of corruption scandal. What is the truth
of all of this, as far as you know? LI: Well, apparently, all of the information
about this point originated from the Chinese government, and entire legal processes have
been quite dubious. And neither he, Bo Xilai himself, nor his wife has been given opportunity
to openly defend themselves. And so we probably won’t know the truth, the various details,
for years, and possibly for longer, until we have the right political conditions. JAY: So whether there’s truth or not to both
sides–and perhaps both sides have been dipping into the corruption pool, I suppose. But what
you’re saying is there’s something more profound going on here, which is this debate about
the future of China. And this involves, then, more people than just the players we’re talking
about. How much, you could say, demand is there from the population for a different
path? LI: Let’s say after so many years of capitalist
development–and this rising inequality now is
widely failed by different social layers.
So not only the state sector working class that suffered from layoffs in the 1990s, but
also now because of this rising inequality, it also starts to undermine the economic interests
of the urban middle class, who could not afford the very expensive housing in the cities and
who could not afford the kind of style consumption they desire to have. And moreover, whereas we know that the Chinese
capitalist model is dependent on the exploitation of cheap labor for exports, but now, with
this, the new, rising second generation of migrant workers, they could no longer tolerate
the very intense exploitation as the first generation of migrant workers. So, as a result,
we started to see more and more strikes, and we start to see more and more the so-called
mass incidents in China. And recently there was one that happened in the city of Qidong
in the Jiangsu province. And there was one more that happened in Shifang in Sichuan province.
And both involved tens of thousand people, and with the local government under the heavy
attack of the masses. JAY: Now, there’s also been continued conflict
at the Foxconn factory that makes Apple iPhones, amongst other things. What’s happening there? LI: Well, in the case of Foxconn, my understanding
is that because, on the one hand, the Foxconn follow these Taiwanese-style measurement,
which had very harsh treatment of workers with their so-called military-style management,
and so that make many workers intolerable, and then, moreover, now, with the global capitalist
crisis–so the prospect of Chinese export have become more difficult, so the profit
margin for Foxconn has been reduced to very, very small. So in this context, it’s very,
very easy for the conflicts between the capital and labor to become very intense. JAY: And in terms of this debate about where
China is headed, is there room within the Chinese Communist Party to openly debate this
neoliberal capitalist model or not? LI: It appears that the party now has taken
the position it’s going to shut off any debate on this question. So, in the Chinese context,
the official expression is that reform and openness is not open to debate, and anything
in the language of the Chinese prime minister, Wen Jiabao, any attempt to debate reform and
openness would represent a dead end, an attempt to go back to the Cultural Revolution. JAY: And what’s happening now in terms of
the Chinese economy? You know, we hear reports of slowing down. I mean, you know, we–in
a previous interview, you had talked about how a lot of growth was based on a construction
bubble that wasn’t really backed up by demand, increased demand amongst the people. Is that
starting to assert itself now? LI: It definitely starts asserting itself.
But my own view is that given the current Chinese government’s fiscal conditions, given
their capacity, they might still be able to postpone the crisis by three or five years.
But definitely within the immediate term–and I do think that the Chinese economy is potentially
facing a major crisis. JAY: Alright. Thanks very much for joining
us, Minqi. LI: Thank you. JAY: And thank you for joining us on The Real
News Network.

81 Comments on "Neo-Liberal Capitalists Strengthen Control of Chinese Communist Party"


  1. Fascist love fascists, what else is new. This neo-con BS utterly depresses me. Calling todays China anything but a fascist nation is a lie. (And I love the chinese people and want good things for them!!) The way they treat their workers would make Karl Marx roll in his grave.

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  2. I still think China is engaging in a huge 50 year trick, like Mao did, only longer, getting all the capitalists to reveal themselves so as to eventually weed them out and have left the more evolved members of their society. Growth capitalism cannot work in a country of billions and limited resources, nor anywhere else for that matter.

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  3. The current "Pro-Western" Chinese elite is really pissing off the Chinese people, these are not people who the Chinese population like, and the anger is building, once it reach a certain point, the "Pro-West" elites are going to get whats coming to them. All the white dick suckers from China needs to be taken out.

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  4. Worth bearing in mind that anybody who is opposed to state regulation of financial markets is NOT neo-liberal – that is classical liberalism. Neo-liberalism demands that financial market structures are regulated by a strong state

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  5. They need small government (libertarian socialism) and have the workers control the means of production through workers cooperatives instead of the state.

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  6. We agree on the socialism part. How about their communist party actually act like what they proclaim to be and help their people??

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  7. Because they are all corrupt statist capitalist dogs. I do not think that will happen, They need a second revolution. Though i fear if that would to happen, it would be a revolution for a complete capitalist nation.

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  8. Yeah, I fear you're right. And I do mean fear, because people will suffer horribly when it happens. 🙁

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  9. Capitialism with a PRC flag is still capitialism, China must get bad to socialism and the only the workers and peasants can do this, just as they did before.

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  10. If only people could see you could have small government with socialism…But its like that's ignored and they keep repeating "socialism is big government" over and over

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  11. i give china significant credit for having the largest exodus from poverty the world has ever seen. unfortunately, we still have things like this [and much else] dogging progress all the way.

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  12. Looking at the current massive surpluses and monetary reserves on chinese government i dont think it is possible to have a crisis in a soon or at least for 10 YEARS

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  13. Exodus from poverty? Through what, slavery? Are people better off stuck working in these horrible conditions, barely getting fed and clothed? Are they supposed to be grateful their masters are willing to give them that little much? Are we supposed to think living in bunk beds is something that's OK and acceptable as the standard norm now???

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  14. Uh no. More than 300 million people have gone from starving in africa dirt hut poor to having a house, heat, electricity, water, telephone and not worrying about starving. And many of them got it from doing factory work you'd find appalling. And they are improving still.

    Whats important is if people's lot in life is improving. Their is, yours likely isn't. So don't be so pompous.

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  15. I honestly wish even 50% of progressives were actually as scientific and logical thinking as they claim they are.

    I also wish at least 50% of conservatives had the all around compassion they claimed they did.

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  16. China is becoming LESS communist and more capitalist. The ultimate power in china is held not by corporations or banks, but by the gov. That would make them communist/socialist. They aren't even really communist anymore either.

    If you like the Chinese ppl, why if they are doing better every year (and we aren't) are you criticizing them?

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  17. So that we may Roast him alive over hot coals for the hundreds of millions of people he has murdered. Rinse and repeat.

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  18. It seems that many fools in the west still believe in their peevish modern ideologies and whining about Marxism and Liberalism when it comes to China, while in fact Legalism and Confucianism hold sway in China and like China they will become the destroyers of these peevish modern teachings pretty much the same way China will defeat the USA, using the no less ancient war philosophy of Sun Tzu and of course the tremendous stupidity of the USA itself and of its free-trade nonsense.

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  19. Why is it dumbfucks still try to understand fucking everything in terms of "socialist" or "free market". (Left-Right, Progressive-Conservative, Communism-Capitalism etc etc etc) The world is to fucking complex to be reduced to a struggle between "socialism" and "the market". Dumber yet, attaching democracy and human rights to the umbrella term the market and of course police state to socialism. Pinochet's Chile was a free market police state.

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  20. Yup, I feel like we're on the same page (Unless I'm seriously reading you wrong which I do have a tendency to do sometimes). I just hate the way the terminology gets twisted. The chinese aren't communists anymore! If they ever were? I like to think it's wise to practice moderation in one's political views – communism equals libertarianism in my world view. Both are extreme viewpoints that will not work in reality. That's why I'm a socialist.

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  21. Yup, you make a great point. It doesn't get discussed enough just how complex the world and politics actually are. Hell, I'm practically obsessively interested in it but still get confused all the time about who I should trust, etc.

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  22. Hm. The dichotomy of interests of those who have and those who don't is essential to understanding a lot of what happens in the world. Throwing up your hands and saying "it's all terribly complex and cannot be understood" doesn't seem helpful. Stating what the other dimensions of ideology and the topologies of power are is more so.

    The means of production are controlled by speculators. Jobs are not created, the resources that require jobs are owned. That no-one else could do it is propaganda.

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  23. So what happens if those outside the control of the International Jewish Cabal start up their own YouTube news channel? Do they find they're too stupid to do so?

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  24. That's the point of a lot of propaganda: to make you think there's a debate when there isn't. Here are some tips: 1) both sides don't do it 2) taking the average of the viewpoints you encounter does not make you a moderate 3) don't trust a reporter who only gives what "each side" said and no context for statements 4) money and power always distort your view whatever your professed ideology 5) never accept "it's too complex" or "I don't have time to explain" as an answer. At they could least try.

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  25. Kakistocracies? Not really. At the moment we have the smart evil people in charge. The crazy and dumb evil people are worse (hat tip to Jonathan Schwarz of tinyrevolution com circa 2006 ). That said, some of the crazies are running some of the large tyrannies (e.g. Koch Industries, at $100bn revenue, roughly the size of the 60th nation by GDP).

    (suggestions of better comparators of company to country economic size welcome)

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  26. Their economy is doing better. Some of the people are doing better. Many are still in grinding poverty, terrible third world conditions. Development is uneven in China (hell, it's a big place). Many are dying or being maimed horribly in mining accidents, from poisoning by the industrial processes they scrape a living from and so on. The economy getting bigger won't fix that, as the 18/19th C showed. Regulation and labour standards will, and those come from and by the people, not the privileged.

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  27. And Adam Smith was wrong about the "invisible hand" of patriotism of capitalists preventing capital flight to places like, well, China. It's time to get past the ideas and arguments of the 19th Century (and the failed notions of the late 20th Century such as "the end of history").

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  28. The problem isn't the size of governments/companies, it's how well regulated they are by the people. State and commercial secrecy, for instance, work against that, and that can quite readily exist in small governments. Consider a government comprised exclusively of a secret police force, for instance. It would only have a few thousand employees, but their influence would be deeply malignant. It is the nature (i.e. constitution), not the size of an institution that matters.

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  29. Insisting on worker rights is hardly pompous. Or are you content to be dragged down to 19th century conditions? Perhaps you think it will do the plebs good, improve their morals and don't expect it to happen to you. Of course it could, in reality, as the high-wire rises. Do you feel lucky?

    Do you really think this is the only possible way that conditions in China can improve? Or that the worsening of conditions in the countries with good labour laws is unrelated to the way it has happened?

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  30. It's not about purity or primacy of ideological essence. It's about power, fear and the profit motive. The fear of worker empowerment amongst the US capitalist leadership created this situation. The desire for a quick buck sustained it. The desire of the SE Asian countries not to get screwed by speculators as in the 90s created the Clinton neo-stability of the 90s and the Bush financial boom of 00s. Hatred of govt mortgaged the US under every Republican administration for 30 years.

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  31. Was development even in ANY 1st world country? Did it happen NEARLY as quickly?

    Between the end of the US civil war and the 1930's the death rate for pretty much EVERYTHING in the US shrank dramatically. So yes, when people have more money unsurprisingly they buy/find safer means to do things.

    You'd be terrible at coaching kids btw. One kid goes from F- to C+ and another from A+ to B- and you criticize the first kid for still not having proper grammar.

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  32. He certainly did not have the courage or the brains to get rid of those who twisted his work. His dreams don't last a generation before turning into nightmares.

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  33. As I stated to you before, ignoring unprecedented historical gains, while grandstanding death is indeed pompous. China's death rate is DRAMATICALLY lowering while the US is slowly rising.

    But suggesting their current trajectory is awful and requires change is both pompous and ignorant. If you witnessed at least a couple years where it was stagnant you could start to make a claim, why would you change something rocketing in the right direction?

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  34. Much like those I mentioned. I'd ask, though, why that would be the responsibility of a journalist who wrote a few books, which is pretty much what Marx was? He did condemn and criticise some of those who came afterwards, as anyone with an opinion would. However, he died in 1883, so I'm wondering which "nightmares" you're thinking he should have condemned. Pol Pot, Stalin and Lenin were of the 20th C, don't forget.

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  35. Technically a corporation, as a legal entity, could not exist without laws, and thus a government. Are you advocating no laws or government at all? If so, what do we have other than might makes right? How is this an improvement over the current situation? What is a "natural limit of power"? Do you believe in the myth of the self regulating meta system, i.e. gaia, ecology and neoclassical economics? Why? How can anyone be liable without law? How can factional banking be outlawed without law?

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  36. Not to me.

    I don't think you mean "pompous", either. That doesn't really make sense. Even momentarily conceding your point, how does making invalid statistical claims about two nations betray an over inflated sense of self importance?

    Hold on, the fact it's improving for some doesn't mean it's improving for everyone. This is just basic scepticism. Your overly sunny appraisal seems naive. Why do you object to people even questioning it? Why are you so invested? Perhaps that's self answering.

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  37. OK, but how can there be no limit on employment under any circumstances? It doesn't make sense. The limit is 100%

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  38. These are not children. They are not individuals (one of the primary fallacies of neoclassical economics is treating groups as individuals). They are large populations of people. The analogy does not work.
    1. Each population has a distribution of grades
    2. Because of capital transfer and job market connectivity, the grades for the two populations are forced into a zero-sum system
    3. The state of the economy is the aggregate of all production, not the state of all people. The 2 are v. different

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  39. If you're inferring it could have happened with different central planning then no.
    If you're inferring it could have had harsh labor laws, then absolutely no.

    For the latter, see the effect the chinese economic zones, and it's radically obvious.

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  40. "peak" employment is the assumption of the maximum number of ppl who can work under a specific circumstances.

    In other words, we don't count 40% of the ppl who could work if they could be employed for what are now considered remedial jobs.

    Peak employment is always far below population.

    I'm not suggesting put every baby and old senior to work either. I'm simply differentiating between and an assumption and actual real world numbers.

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  41. It's simple pragmatism. You have a system that is far exceeding traditional standards of performance. And it's worth radically changing? Thats a recipe for disaster if I've ever heard one.

    Again if conditions start to flat-line you can start to talk about such things. But when you are part of a country which is likely failing economically suggesting another country which is vastly outpacing in success rate "should be more like us". It's sounds a bit conceited.

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  42. "They (people/humans) are not individuals" That would fail a classical logic test. They are also a group of ppl. They are both.

    2. Zero sum? If you don't understand wealth creation that should be challenged before anything else.

    3. I never implied the two were the same thing. Its simply one was used to justify the other. Sack production for sake of the ppl, why? when increased production is leading to happier, healthier ppl?

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  43. Sorry pompous, meaning arrogant, self important, grand.

    We are doing such a great job in our failing country, perhaps this country doing much better than us should be more like us. After all since we could only be doing things the best way why look to someone else out preforming us to do things better.
    THEY should be more like us, WE should not be more like them.

    Yes, I think pompous fits the bill.

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  44. How about a retraction Of his incredibly corruptible ideas? How about all the morons who propagate it without any substantive changes that would protect the people from abuse?

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  45. As long as the military protected them, they would keep power. You are tight, the People should regulate the government not the other way around. Problem is with the existence of big corporations, they can manipulate the government with money I.E corporatism.The right libertarians think that would not happen under their believes

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  46. All centralized power is evil. We either have to live in a society where we are all equal and live in harmony with the earth or we burn civilization to the ground. There is no choice. We will either get our shit together or all die.

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  47. Well, I did not say "Can not be understood", I did say "can not be reduced to". And it is true. If you try to reduce the world to Left vs Right, you will never understand it.

    People want an easy answer, that is why they pay attention to empty phrases like "Obamacare" and "Communist Cuba". And that is why simple minded buffoons are so successful in politics. It is not about having the solutions, it is about sounding like you do, by reducing the complexity and then trade insults.

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  48. @ukeuwatch: Nope, as the English did invade China in order to enforce the free-trade nonsense and to be allowed to build railroads there and alone giving the railway technique to the Chinese was enough to make the world fall; but you are right: The foolish Americans did destroy their industry and allowed China to control the raw materials and the transportation ways too; but the times of worker empowerment are long passed as Emperor Deng has forbidden it.

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  49. @ukeuwatch: While during the reign of Emperor Mao the workers were allowed to attend demonstrations and shout stupid Marxist slogans but Deng has put them back to work and so China recovered from the devastation of internal strife and foreign invasions, which had plagued it ever since the Opium War; and of course since China has a government, while the USA and its vassals only have corporate puppets in charge its rise and victory are inevitable, as corporation can’t govern at all.

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  50. The revisionist history continues. Mao "put" nearly the entire population to work on farming. The result? The greatest famine the world has ever known.

    Deng was the first one to allow farmers to keep anything above their quota and trade it. Those areas started turning around nearly instantly. Deng set up the economic "capitalist" zones as experiments THOSE areas boomed like nothing else. I'm not a huge fan of his, but every capitalist/free market thing he did succeeded wildly.

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  51. @sirellyn: Yes and no, as Emperor Mao did indeed attempt the usual Marxist collectivism in agriculture with the usual disastrous results but he also commanded the Chinese framers to build furnaces for steel production and that caused even greater havoc; but you are much deceived about Emperor Deng, whom did indeed allow private economics but kept the Chinese state in full power, which still does direct, oversee and design the economic development of China.

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  52. @sirellyn: And this makes China so dangerous, while the Western states are plagued by the short sighted share holder value nonsense, China is able to plan and develop itself in long turns and so has reached already goals, which not even Mao dared to dream about; like surpassing England in industrial production; because no Chinese statesman could ever imagine that the USA and its vassals would be that stupid thus to allow and aid the rise of China and its economy.

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  53. As I stated, I'm not a fan of Deng. For most the argument is capitalism makes things worse, Marxism makes things better.

    When pressed with real life, any little examples of capitalist changes tend to make things better (and add up positively), while small Marxist changes neither have the same result and is insisted must be installed completely and "perfectly" to work.

    China with only some capitalist improvements has rocketed forward. Goes to efficacy.

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  54. @sirellyn: But you are aware that the very idea of capitalism is nothing but the Marxist delusion about economics? As Marxism was forged on commandment of the Baron, in order to aid his quest for world conquest and it did help him to struck Russia down that it may never rise again, but the Chinese were too though for it and Deng did overcome it at last. This maybe due to Confucius who told the Chinese that things can only be improved by small steps and so they didn’t believe in revolution.

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  55. Perhaps. I simply hope China and all other countries prosper and grow.

    I simply find it hypocritical when many from countries with suffering or failing economies suggest doing more stuff "like them." to an economy that's already wildly improving above their own.

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  56. Lol at teh fact the party is called the 'communist party' when it uses a Hypercapitalist economic policy.

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  57. China is a corporatistfascist ultra-plutocratic authoritarian police state..it's oppression at the highest degree..

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  58. @sirellyn: While I wish of course the contrary as I can’t eat with sticks and am not in the mood the learn Chinese at all; but still the victory of China seems to be unstoppable already and so the whole question is only academic.

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  59. @sirellyn: Nope; as I don’t seriously think that China would for example allow India to grow to a serious rival but cut it off in time and so with the rest. In China I know all the particulars of vice so grafted that, when they shall be opened, black America will seem as pure as snow, and the poor world esteem it as a lamb, being compared with China’s confineless harms.

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  60. @sirellyn: I grant the USA bloody, luxurious, avaricious, false, deceitful, sudden, malicious, smacking of every sin that has a name; but China has a stanchless avarice that, were it king, it should cut off the nobles for their lands, desire his jewels and this other's house: and Chinas more-having would be as a sauce to make it hunger more; that China should forge quarrels unjust against the good and loyal, destroying them for wealth.

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