Written by Frank Li
According to the International Monetary Fund, China just overtook the U.S. as the world’s largest economy. What a remarkable achievement for China! Note that in 1980 America’s economy ($2.8 trillion) was nearly 14 times China’s ($202 billion).
Yet, many Americans still refer to China as “communist China”. Maybe communism isn’t that bad, then? Maybe China is not communist? What’s the truth? Here it is: today, China is more capitalistic than America in many ways, even per Steve Wynn!
Why, then, do so many Americans keep calling China “communist China”? Three main reasons:
Hostility! Especially America’s mainstream media and some politicians, who are, hopefully, not ignorant!
Force of habit, the only excusable reason!
Some basic reasoning:
Do you agree that China has made huge advances over the past three and a half decades? Surely!
Do you believe that has anything to do with communism? Hardly!
Why “communist China”, then?
If a misnomer is repeated enough times, will it become the truth? Of course not!
1. What is China, anyway?
The most appropriate description of today’s China is “state capitalism”. Capitalism is the best thing that has ever happened to mankind. State capitalism is the best thing that has ever happened to China!
China calls itself “a socialist country with its own characteristics”.
2. Is China a socialist country?
Yes, it is! A good country requires both capitalism (e.g. industrialization and productivity) and socialism (e.g. a safety net). The challenge is to balance between the two. Overall, China has a better balance than America. For more, read my next publication: The Role of Government.
3. Does China have a one-party system?
Yes, China does have a one-party system. The ruling party is called the CPC (Communist Party of China)
4. Isn’t the CPC communist?
No, not anymore! Here are two simple analogies:
1949-1976: The CPC operated like the Democratic Party in America, with the extreme left only! Hell on earth? Yes!
1978-present: The CPC operates like the Republican Party in America, without the extreme right (i.e. neo-cons)! Heaven on earth? Not really, but much better than hell!
5. Why doesn’t the CPC change its name?
What is the benefit? Besides, change to what - the DPC (Democratic Party of China)?
Not only can’t the CPC easily change its name, it must stick, theoretically, to communism and Marxism (although Leninism is gone)! Why? Legitimacy! The CPC cannot denounce its own reason for being, nor the founder of the People’s Republic of China: Mao Zedong!
Practically, it governs with little communism! Still wondering why China calls itself “a socialist country with its own characteristics”? It’s whatever the CPC wants it to be. For example, the CPC treats human rights and democracy as collateral, unnecessary baggage when compared to what’s best for the country.
Fortunately for China, what the CPC wants largely coincides with China’s best interests! Is it coincidental or is it the outcome of a highly functioning system? The latter of course! China’s political system, also known as “a dictatorship without a dictator”, has worked out remarkably well over the past three and a half decades, with no end in sight. For more, read: Towards an Ideal Form of Government.
Stop calling China "communist China"! It's misleading! It's brainwashing! It is as out-of-date and foolish as calling America a country of murderers (for killing American Indians)!