nachfolgend dokumentiert ein Statement der League for the Revolutionary Party:
Protest the Repression of the Left in China!
The international workers’ movement must raise its voice in collective protest against the increasingly repressive measures against the organized left in mainland China. Over the last few years the capitalist class that rules the country in the name of “Communism” has tightened its grip on independent political expression. Of course, in the factories where millions of workers toil under terrible conditions, political dissent and organizing continues to be harshly repressed. But more recently, even legal pro-government publications have faced increasing censorship and have been forced to conform with stringent topic guidelines, and in some cases were even suspended. “Real name” registration is enforced in much of the blogosphere and in the internet cafes; harassment and assaults of journalists, both foreign and domestic, have become the norm; and police raids targeting seemingly unthreatening arts festivals and gay pride events have become almost expected.
After the uprising of the Arab masses throughout the Middle East and North Africa that began eighteen months ago, and particularly since the Bo Xilai scandal unfolded in China earlier this year, the regime has launched a more systematic campaign of repression against left-wing and labor activists in particular. Largely ignored and barely tolerated in the last few decades, the left has most recently become a target of denunciation by the state-run media.
Among the specific acts of state persecution:
- Early last year a supporter of the Committee for a Workers International (CWI), Zhang Shujie, was arrested and threatened with a 10-year prison sentence for “crimes related to state security,” and was pressured to act as an informant and gather information on his own and other leftist organizations. According to his account in China Worker, he was able to maneuver his way to Hong Kong, where his comrades and other supporters were able to get him out to Sweden; he has just been granted asylum there. Other leftists of the Revolutionary Party of China who intervened in the Shanghai truckers strike were also arrested and detained for lengthy periods.
- The arrest and conviction this spring of Gu Kailai, the wife of ousted party boss Bo Xilai, on charges of murdering British citizen and Bo family associate Neil Heywood, set off a political transition crisis before the Communist Party’s 18th Party Congress. Bo’s “Chongqing model” was seen by many on the “New Left” in China as the leftist alternative to liberal reformers such as Wang Yang of Guangdong province, and he was widely supported by various neo-Maoist organizations. After Bo was removed from his important posts this spring, the state also moved to block the websites of most neo-Maoist organizations, including that of the publication Utopia, fearing that they would mobilize in his support.
- A range of leftist organizations had also organized around the “Occupy” movement on the mainland as well as Hong Kong and Taiwan, prompting a new wave of censorship on the internet and a string of anti-leftist tirades in the state-run media (see our article “Occupy” Movement Rattles Chinese Rulers). The Global Times engaged in Stalinist historical falsification and slandered the movement as leading to “bloody terrorist attacks.”
- Utopia co-founder Han Deqiang was denounced at length in the state media for slapping an 80-year old man twice in the face during the demonstrations against Japan concerning the Diaoyu Islands dispute in September. Han called him a “traitor” for mocking their chants in support of Mao Zedong. The CCP official newspaper Peoples Daily has now called for his arrest, and CCTV hosts such as Bai Yansong have chimed in with lengthy monologues directed primarily against the left.
- Han’s violent reaction provided a convenient pretext for the government to not only campaign against him, but to also prepare the ground for even harsher measures against leftists and labor activists of all political stripes. We say: Hands off Han Deqiang and Utopia – the police that brutalize people everyday have no right to repress the left! At the same time, we denounce Han’s thuggish behavior: in the struggle to free themselves from exploitation and oppression, the workers and oppressed need the broadest possible freedom to debate ideas. Such indiscriminate violence gives a taste of what such “leaders” and organizations have in store for other leftists who don’t share their quasi-religious worship of Mao Zedong, should they expand their influence and power base.
Why Are the Chinese Rulers Targeting the Left?
Discontent is mounting in Chinese society, reaching levels that Communist Party leaders consider dangerous. The working class is growing and feeling its strength, as evidenced by the increasing number of strikes and other working-class protests. Peasants are continually rebelling against Party corruption in the countryside. This discontent, in part a result of the “rising expectations” that accompany the growing economy, is also a reaction to the rapidly expanding inequality in a society already torn by class divisions.
Even where the government has mobilized campaigns that seek to divert the growing political and social tensions into nationalist and chauvinist channels – including the recent anti-Japanese demonstrations, there is danger of these protests becoming more than what the rulers bargained for. The official rhetoric against resurgent Japanese militarism and the unusually strident editorials and speeches against the U.S.’s attempt at strategic encirclement of China struck a deep chord among the masses. They rightly feel that their miserable wages and conditions of life are linked to China’s history of oppression at the hands of Western and Japanese capitalism. Such a groundswell of popular rage is not simply fodder for Chinese imperialist ambitions; it can also expose and threaten the deep links underneath between the imperialists and the Chinese rulers.
While the far left in China is relatively small and disparate, living an mostly underground existence, it has a potential reach way out of proportion to its current size. Already involved in some of the important labor disputes, the left could see its influence grow rapidly, given the rising levels of struggle against poverty and oppression.
China’s rulers are turning to repression because they do not have much capacity to co-opt struggles with reforms. They have made fantastic profits in recent years, but their prominent place in the world economy is based on their control of the world’s greatest supply of cheap labor – they cannot afford to allow China’s workers to improve their wages and living standards much. Moreover, the cost of funding the expansion of a middle class and labor aristocracy broad enough to offer stable support is beyond their means in this nation of well over a billion people. Protecting the profits of capitalists in China, foreign and Chinese, demands an iron fist or repression.
The coming years will likely see an explosion of working-class struggle in China that matches the scope of the nation’s economic expansion over recent decades. It is vital that a genuinely revolutionary socialist party be built among China’s workers to lead that struggle, beginning with the masses’ most immediate democratic and economic concerns, all the way to the conquest of state power. A genuine revolutionary workers’ state in China would use the nation’s greatly expanded industrial capacity to provide a decent life for all rather than the profits of a few, and an expanding realm of personal freedom and cultural expression. Such a revolution will be a mighty step toward the overthrow of capitalism everywhere and the building of a genuinely communist society of peace, freedom and abundance.