Saturday, January 21, 2006

Apparently, Hu Jintao vows to "revive" Marxism by pouring 100-200m RMB into it. This surely has something to do with Liu Guoguang's lambast against neo-liberal economics, mentioned in an earlier post. But why does Hu Jintao go along with it? There are several possible explanations. First, Hu wants to appease revolutionary elders by reviving Marxism, but most of the hardcore Marxists are dead, and the remaining few, like Deng Liqun, aren't all that powerful. The recently retired leadership, with the possible exception of Li Peng, is not really that Marxist. Second, he wants to signal a true departure from the Three Represents, a departure from Marxism trumpeted by his predecessor. But why, if that's the case, doesn't he go along with some kind of "people first" ideology, which is apparently what Wen is pushing for in the State Council? It's different from the Three Represents and does not sound like Hu is turning back the clock.

Finally, although I don't like simple explanations, I think in this case the revival of Marxism reflects Hu's true preference. Hu, having been raised at the zenith of Chinese communism in the 50s and 60s, truly believes in the power of Marxist-Leninism to guide China. His trumpeting of Marxism is not a sign of power insecurity, as previous hypotheses would suggest, but a sign of his security. He is now finally able to pursue that which he desires, but I am afraid the consequences won't be that desirable for China. For one, academic freedom, especially in economics departments, will be curtailed. While it will give stronger justification for Wen's welfare policies, it might also lead to more restrictive policies toward foreign capital.


Friday, January 20, 2006
Millions pledged to revive Marxism

CARY HUANG in Beijing

After more than two decades of capitalist market reforms, Communist Party leaders have pledged "unlimited" funds for reviving Marxism on the mainland.

Sources say the programme will also involve turning the country into the global centre for studying the ideology.

Economic reforms have seen the mainland grow richer by abandoning Karl Marx's economic ideas, but President and party general secretary Hu Jintao told a Politburo meeting in November that Marxism was still applicable to the mainland.

Leaders are also keen to fill the ideological void that has emerged in a more prosperous China, and the Communist Party believes the answer lies in the ideology that gave birth to it.

During a recent meeting of the Politburo, members agreed to give sufficient financial support to a project to study and reinforce the foundations of Marxism.

Beijing will summon 3,000 top Marxist theorists and academics from across the country to the capital to compile 100 to 150 Marxism textbooks, with each work requiring contributions from at least 20 to 30 scholars.

Between 100 million and 200 million yuan has been earmarked for the programme, with more than 1 million yuan to be allocated to funding the compilation of each textbook. The project would also see a massive investment of human and financial resources go towards building more research institutes, training more theorists and producing more academic papers, the sources said.

Li Changchun , a member of the Politburo Standing Committee and the party's chief official in charge of ideology, told a meeting of propaganda officials and theorists on Monday that the leadership saw the project as instrumental to solving various issues facing the country and had given it "unlimited" support.

Last year, the Marxism Theory Research and Construction Project was launched to modernise the communist ideology.

The sources said that support from the Politburo, the secretariat of the party's Central Committee and its publicity department had ensured that hundreds of millions of yuan was earmarked for the Marxism revival campaign.

All university students are required to attend Marxism classes. Secondary school graduates are also required to sit a national examination on Marxism before university enrolment.

Another programme, also involving the allocation of millions of yuan, will see a group of leading scholars brought together to produce about 100 works of global influence and translate them into several foreign languages. There are also plans to produce new translations of foreign Marxist literature on the mainland.

To promote academic exchanges, the government has also approved funding for academic institutions to host several international seminars on Marxism.

The Academy of Marxism at Shanghai's Finance and Economics University will host an international seminar in the city on April 1, and the newly established Academy of Marxism at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a top central government think-tank, will host another next year.

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