Friday, May 18, 2007

China's " New Left"

There is a rising New Left in China opposing the calls for capitalist democracy from the West, and the vast inequality created by China's rapid development and industrialization. The social and economic divide between the rural provinces and urban metropolises is increasing with wealth being polarized in small enclaves surrounding big cities. The environmental consequences of haphazard urban sprawl are also causing staggering levels of pollution of air and water sources.

One critic of Chinese government policy is Wang Hui an editor of a leading Chinese intellectual journal. Wang participated in the 1989 protests in Tiananmen Square. He advocates a Chinese social alternative to the neo-liberal market economy. He remarks in an interview the nature of the situation in rural China today,

"Local officials used their arbitrary power to become successful entrepreneurs at the expense of the rural populations they were meant to serve, and had joined up with real estate speculators to seize collectively owned land from peasants."

Wang Hui and other intellectuals are trying to remind their government of it's obligation to the peasants and workers of Chinese society. The Chinese government continues to repress many left-wing voices of descent even as activist and intellectuals in rural provinces have pressured the government into instituting recent anti-corruption and social welfare reforms. As the most populated country in the world, a restless rural poor and urban slum population is a threat to the stability of China and by extension the global economy. In the future, leaders of the CPC will have to honor the calls for social and economic justice among its’ marginalized and poor masses, which could possibly move the party in a leftward direction and open the government to democratization.

The coming Beijing Olympics in 2008 could provide a showcase for leftist voices of dissent of a magnitude not seen since the protests of 1989. Such a demonstration would be a symbol of resistance to China’s current economic model of development, and bring the world’s attention to a less attractive side of capital Globalization.

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