How did China learn from the mistakes made by the Soviet Union?

Workers Today | March 30, 2022

For thirty years, the Chinese have been scrupulously studying and analyzing the disintegration of a great power, mainly to prevent such a scenario in their homeland. They argue what was the primary cause of the disaster. The crisis of the ruling party was generated by the general socio-economic decline of the USSR, or the degradation of the CPSU, which abandoned its allegiance to Marxism, resulted in the transformation of the entire socialist system and ultimately destroyed the state ,” Zuenko explains to the agency of Russian state communication.

If it were not for the triumph of the October Socialist Revolution in Russia, perhaps in China the Communist Party, an organization that has ruled the Asian country for more than 70 years, would not have appeared on the nation’s political scene.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the political, economic and social situation in China, as in many other countries, developed in a turbulent way, although in 1911, the Xinhai Revolution shook the empire of the Asian nation, giving way to the birth of a republic, the truth is that the new government of Chinese nationalists was unable to unify the country towards the adoption of a common development policy in any of its forms.

In that sense, after that bourgeois revolution, the so-called “era of the militarists” had a historical predominance in China, characterized by chaos and disorder in the nation, a reality that would change over time, after the triumph of the 1917 October Socialist Revolution in Russia, the news of which inspired millions of young Chinese who were eager to learn more about socialism and universal equality of rights and duties for citizens.

In the big Chinese cities, circles of enthusiastic young Marxists appeared, who, guided by the advisers of the ‘Communist International’, helped to organize an informal network of political agitation in the largest country on the Asian continent. In May 1919, there were demonstrations in Peking known as the ‘May Fourth Movement’.

The first group of the Comintern (Communist International) arrived in China in the early 1920s, and a year and a half later the first congress of the Chinese Communist Party was held illegally in the city of Shanghai. Over the ensuing three decades, a vigorous power struggle broke out in China between the Chinese communists, led by their historical leader, Mao Zedong, and the Kuomintang nationalists.

After the end of World War II, the external imperialist threat, particularly from the Japanese invaders, the victory of the CCP in 1949 led to the creation of the People’s Republic of China and the establishment of the second socialist state in Asia, after Vietnam in 1945.

If it were not for the triumph of the October Socialist Revolution in Russia, perhaps in China the Communist Party, an organization that has ruled the Asian country for more than 70 years, would not have appeared on the nation’s political scene.

If the context in which the historical events took place at the end of the 20th century is analyzed in depth, we can reach the conclusion that, if it had not been for the disintegration of the USSR, the People’s Republic of China probably would not have celebrated this 2021 marks the centenary of its Communist Party and the scope of its economic objectives that has underpinned it as a thriving global power.

Specifically, for the Chinese communists, the Soviet communists became both an older brother, whose successes represent an example to follow.

The so-called “collapse” of the Soviet Union was closely followed by the Chinese authorities in Beijing, and therefore the corresponding conclusions were drawn. hence we can ask ourselves: how did the collapse of the Union help the Communist Party of China live a hundred years, and of those, 70 in power?

It should be noted that since its birth the Communist Party of China survived largely thanks to the help of the USSR, however, after the death of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, relations between the two neighbors deteriorated. Mao Zedong directly accused the Soviet leadership of revisionism and in this sense, he launched various political campaigns within China to counter these ideas of ideological diversionism within society.

To the policy of the ‘Great Leap Forward’ and the «Cultural Revolution», as a way of strengthening the foundations in the construction of socialism in its way of interpreting Marxist orthodoxy, that ideological push came to an end only with the death of Mao in 1976.

From then on, a second generation of Chinese communist leaders came to power in the Asian giant, headed by the new general secretary of the party and leader of the reformist and opening-up restructuring towards China’s socialist-oriented market economy, Deng Xiaoping. However, the process of change was not exempt from disputes that broke out between supporters of liberalism and conservatism within the PCCh.

In the framework of Mikhail Gorbachev’s visit in 1989, while he was president of the Soviet Union, after the strengthening of relations between the two socialist countries in the late 1980s, a multitude of young Chinese who were interested in the policy of Perestroika, and the economic experiments imposed by the reformist authorities of the Chinese Republic, led to protests in the streets of the country, in favor of the intensification of the changes.

The most publicized demonstration that year by the international media was the ‘sit-down strike’ in Tiananmen, the country’s main square where a huge photograph of Mao is located. The protest was not authorized by the Chinese government, which used all its resources to dismantle it. At that time, no one could imagine that in a year and a half later the USSR would cease to exist.

For the Communist Party of China, the Tiananmen crisis and the collapse of the Soviet communists, with their social unrest and the growing parade of nationalisms in the various republics of the USSR claiming sovereignty, were triggers that became an important lesson that predetermined largely the future development of the CCP at the head of the largest nation in Asia.

Given the facts, the authorities in Beijing officially reacted with restraint to the events of 1991 in the USSR, for the Chinese political elite and scientists there was only one unequivocal conclusion: perestroika led to an unprecedented catastrophe in the first state. socialist in the history of mankind.

Mikhail Gorbachev is often considered by most people to be the main, though not the only, culprit in the collapse of the USSR and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), as stated by Ria Novosti, Ivan Zuenko, researcher at the Center for Asia-Pacific Studies of the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

For thirty years, the Chinese have been scrupulously studying and analyzing the disintegration of a great power, mainly to prevent such a scenario in their homeland. They argue what was the primary cause of the disaster. The crisis of the ruling party was generated by the general socio-economic decline of the USSR, or the degradation of the CPSU, which abandoned its allegiance to Marxism, resulted in the transformation of the entire socialist system and ultimately destroyed the state ,” Zuenko explains to the agency of Russian state communication.

According to the expert, among the fatal errors highlighted by Chinese analysts are “the weakening of the CPSU due to the separation of the party and the state bureaucracy, corruption and separatism in the periphery. Scientists note Mikhail Gorbachev’s unwillingness to copy the “Chinese model.” “By launching perestroika, he could have taken advantage of a useful experience, but he deliberately ignored China ,” emphasizes the Russian researcher.

Andrei Karneev, director of the School of Oriental Studies of the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs of the Higher School of Economics. Economic Sciences, he remarked for his part, that at the end of the first decade of the 21st century, “the People’s Republic of China, however, faced similar problems: widespread bribery, ineffective state-owned enterprises, an ideological crisis, and separatist sentiments.”

However, the expert assures, on the eve of Xi Jinping’s coming to power in China in 2012, the authorities have once again debated the future of the country’s economic development. “Opinions did not agree mainly on where to go. Either along the path of Western developed countries, or, on the contrary, towards leftist values. This almost led to open controversy, there was a feeling of a rocking ship,” Karneev detailed.

Xi Jinping drew on the Soviet experience when making his first speeches as president of the People’s Republic of China, emphasizing that: when the USSR was falling apart, “nobody came to its defense”, and argued as a possible reason, the unpopularity of the The last Soviet elite at the head of the socialist state, a fact that for the general secretary of the CCP, should be taken as an important lesson, in his words: «the Communist Party of China must not allow this to happen» .

“Xi came with a mission to prevent this process. In the People’s Republic of China, they also believed that the country was losing the values ​​and principles of the CCP, they were being replaced by materialism, hedonism, the desire to earn more in the shortest possible time, both in the villages and in the regions» Karneev points out.

As the Russian expert points out, in conclusion, in recent years, the People’s Republic of China has turned to communist values, arguing that everywhere there are red banners with the slogans “Don’t forget the original principles” 

Newspapers regularly report inspection visits by Xi Jinping and other leaders to difficult regions. The head of state even took all the Politburo members to the museum of the first congress of the Communist Party of China, where they repeated the oath they took upon joining the party.

Karneev told Ria Novosti that it is about adopting “a whole system of measures aimed at restoring the confidence of the masses”, at the same time, the analyst points out, “there is a tendency towards a combination of heroism, which it is imbued with the history of the CCP and the heritage of Chinese antiquity. According to Confucian morality, only one who knows what morality is has the right to rule. Therefore, the current Communist Party, while not wanting to go back to the brightest communist ideas of the last century, firmly clings to the ‘red roots’, he pointed out.

For the People’s Republic of China, the collapse of the Soviet Union is an important lesson, and the policy of Perestroika is a kind of collection of “bad advice”. However, analysts agree that it cannot be said that the Soviet experience that ended with its failure is the main cause that influenced the current course of the CCP. To some extent, this is an example of how reforms should not be carried out.

SOURCE: https://workers.today/how-did-china-learn-from-the-mistakes-made-by-the-soviet-union/

[THIS ARTICLE IS POSTED HERE FOR NON-PROFIT, NON-COMMERCIAL, EDUCATIONAL PURPOSE. THE VIEWS EXPRESSED IN THIS ARTICLE ARE THAT OF ITS AUTHOR(S) AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEW OF THE JOP]

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