Communism with Chinese characteristics

Socialism with Chinese characteristics

This article is about the term itself and its relationships. For its implementation and effects see Economy of the People's Republic of China and Chinese economic reform.
"Socialism with Chinese characteristics" (, : Jùyǒu Zhōngguó tèsè de shèhuìzhǔyì) is an official term for the economy of the People's Republic of China which as of 2008 consists of the state having ownership of a large fraction of the Chinese economy, while at the same time having all entities participate within a market economy. This is a form of a socialist market economy and differs from market socialism and mixed economy in that while the state retained ownership of large enterprises, it does not use this ownership to intervene to change prices which are set by the market.

John Gittings in The Changing Face of China quotes Deng Xiaoping as stating:

"Planning and market forces are not the essential difference between socialism and capitalism. A planned economy is not the definition of socialism, because there is planning under capitalism; the market economy happens under socialism, too. Planning and market forces are both ways of controlling economic activity.

The PRC government maintains that it has not abandoned Marxism, but has simply developed many of the terms and concepts of Marxist theory to accommodate its new economic system. The ruling Communist Party of China argues that socialism is not incompatible with these economic policies. In current Chinese Communist thinking, the PRC is in the primary stage of socialism, and this redefinition allows the PRC to undertake whatever economic policies are needed to develop into an industrialized nation.

See Chinese economic reform for the history of Socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Marxist theory

According to Technological Determinism & Socialism with Chinese Characteristics:
"new economic development strategy based upon decentralization of control over the state owned enterprise sector, expanded market transactions to replace command and control allocation, dismantling of the rural commune system (completed in 1985), increased use of material incentives in workplaces, and ultimately, upon the modernization of the Chinese economic infrastructure (as well as the military infrastructure). This last aspect of their strategy represents more than a mere objective. Modernization represents the mission of the pragmatists. Deng Xiaoping rejected the Maoist tendency to forswear the technological trappings of the so-called West (including soft technology in the form of social relationships) and embraced the idea that modernity required copying many of the traits of the Western capitalist nations.

In Marxist theory, history progresses through a number of stages from slave society to feudal society to capitalist society to socialist society to communist society. According to the interpretation of this by the Communist Party of China, the revolution of 1949 was an irreversible change from capitalism to socialism and that therefore China is still socialist. However, Maoist organizations, such as the Maoist Internationalist Movement and the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement, claim that China reverted back to capitalism with the arrest of the Gang of Four, in 1976.

Deng Xiaoping

According to Necessary Chinese Illusions:
"Chinese professor Han Deqiang in his paper Chinese Cultural Revolution: Failure and Theoretical Originality examined the demise of communism in China. Han detailed how from its very beginning the communist revolutionary government had been infiltrated by a capitalist faction which had established itself within the bureaucracy. Prominent among the bureaucrats was Deng Xiaoping.

Deng Xiaoping on June 30, 1984 said:

"What is socialism and what is Marxism? We were not quite clear about this in the past. Marxism attaches utmost importance to developing the productive forces. We have said that socialism is the primary stage of communism and that at the advanced stage the principle of from each according to his ability and to each according to his needs will be applied. This calls for highly developed productive forces and an overwhelming abundance of material wealth. Therefore, the fundamental task for the socialist stage is to develop the productive forces. The superiority of the socialist system is demonstrated, in the final analysis, by faster and greater development of those forces than under the capitalist system. As they develop, the people's material and cultural life will constantly improve. One of our shortcomings after the founding of the People's Republic was that we didn't pay enough attention to developing the productive forces. Socialism means eliminating poverty. Pauperism is not socialism, still less communism.

Communist Party of China

Wang Yu on behalf of the Communist Party of China in January 2004 said:
"production stagnated for a long time. There was little improvement in people’s quality of life, and China’s gap with developed economies widened further. All of this made Chinese Communists ask themselves time and again the following questions: Where on earth was the superiority of socialism? Was socialism rich or poor? What is revolution and what was its purpose? The theory of building socialism with Chinese characteristics, which took the development of the productive forces as its fundamental task, came into being amid and as a result of these reflections and reviews.

See also

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