Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Communism in China

Rate this topic


Recommended Posts

La times article

Very interesting. Leave it to the LA times to have an article on their start page about "preserving communism." It's actually an interesting read, it's right out of Atlas Shrugged. A small town in China decides to go 100% communist again, they take back all private property and everything then becomes "free." Everyone gets 3 pounds of meat a week, a free wedding, and a free funeral.

After that you're screwed... dancing, pop music, private property, is all banned and labeled "excessive living." What's really aggravating is that the author describes the town as kind of a quaint old bunch of Chinese people trying to make their idealistic dream a reality.

He only mentions in passing that the factories they operate have been loosing capacity every year, their product sales are dropping off and if the town goes bankrupt everyone will be stranded without a penny since no one owns any property.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A lot of factory towns like that are money losing but are financed by increasing loans from the state-owned banks. Occasionally, the bank will stop lending money, or a party official or the current managers will sell/scrap the assets and pocket the money. Sometimes the local officials/managers have forced the employees to "invest" their life savings in the factory, then declare it bankrupt. There are plenty of sad stories like this in China over the past ten years. The factories in the LA Times article is probably living on borrowed time and money.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is despicable (but not unexpected) that the LA Times would paint that story in a positive light.

That little village seems to be the perfect metaphor for communist countries on the whole: set up an oppressive dictatorship, sustain it by relying on Capitalism, and then praise how wonderful communism is. Stolen concept anyone?

The only encouraging bit about that article is that the last paragraph, where it describes Chinese tourists to the village as being horrified and realizing that the village's system is "too far removed from reality."

Can we get ARI to buy a B-52 and start leaflet-bombing China? :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Can we get ARI to buy a B-52 and start leaflet-bombing China?  :)

You might have better success (and less chances of being blown to bits) if you leaflet-bomb over the Internet. Meanwhile, I'm still waiting for our first Chinese member.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am Chinese. Born and raised in mainland China under Communism. I am now a US citizen and value Ayn Rand's philosophy very much.

Has any of Rand's fictions been translated and published in China?


This topic has been something of interest to me lately. What would you say is the view of the average Chinese person toward the United States? Do you have an opinion on the likelihood for reform in China within the next 20 years?

I am curious because I see the govt of mainland China as becoming increasingly at odds with the United States, approaching another Cold War. China's president Hu Jintao and v.p. Zeng Qinghong were covered in an article in (Newsweek?) last year where they are undergoing efforts to convince the Chinese people that Communism is basically just historical Chinese culture translated into politics.

Add on the recent consolidations of power within the Jintao government, and China's cozy dealings with Mexico and Canada, and you have reasons for American concern.

I have also seen a disturbing trend among American progressives becoming vocal apologists for China. One socialist acquaintance of mine told me that he likes China because it does not suffer the effects of the failures of capitalism, (such as welfare bums and ghettos) :) . China seems to be becoming the most favored nation for Americans that hate their own country.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


That's undeserved. I used to be just one of the many Chinese students who came to US to study and then stayed.

I have a Feb 1st deadline to meet and can only be very brief for now.

Yes, average Chinese people LOVE the freedom, the better living standard, and the opportunitie in US. That's why we came here in the first place. But English is a big hassel though... :)

I've become very unfamiliar with the politics in China now. But the recent Party tune (Re. revitalizing Communism) is quite disturbing. It would be a step back.

I think for Americans, you (or we?!) need to clearly seperate Chinese people and its government or CCP. I still support doing business with Chinese companies - foreign investiments and hard working people have made lives of many Chinese so much better.

But China is still governed by the same Party established by Mao. In my eyes, the CCP government is not a legitimate government representing Chinese people. While we deal with it, we should never forget what they've done before and what they still are capable of doing now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Communism was in many ways consistent with Chinese culture. My wife is from China, and on our first date, just after she had finished reading Atlas Shrugged, I asked her what was the primary philosophical cause of Communism there. Her answer at the time was "Confucius." Communism never arrives by accident. In the years since, I continued to try to gain a better understanding of Chinese culture. It is full of contradictions and there are many individual exceptions, but after many years I satisfied myself with how its culture tied to its history.

Also, your socialist friend is very poorly informed about China. There are lots of beggars, and hordes of people who are essentially peasants serving their local party boss, being exploited much in the way socialists claim that capitalists would. China's forms of pseudo-capitalism (e.g. poisonous knock-off drugs and food, people-selling, government-run- sweatshops, massive corruption in the financial, construction and property industries, pull-peddling) involve things that both Capitalists and socialists dislike.

A couple of years ago in a small town, the Communist Party bosses put 8 year old kids to work making firecrackers to "earn" their pitiful "free" state education. Then the school blew up, killing lots of kids, and the party pretty much covered it up, blaming the incident on the village idiot. If that had happened in a capitalist country, this would have been on the front pages of newspapers for weeks, and the left would have started a movement behind it. Instead the world yawned, Beijing paid off the peasant families, the Chinese press semi-covered it up, and the case was closed with a tearful "mistakes were made" speech by a senior leader who never said exactly what these mistakes were or who made them. What story could make clearer the fact that it is the communist Party that is "exploiting the people" in China?

Some months ago I posted an essay about China in this forum. It combines business/economics/cultural analysis. It's not "Objectivist" but I included some philosophical/historical points that I think would be meaningful to Objectivists. The "terracotta warrior" theme is disposable, imposed upon the students by a professor who demanded that kind of "thematic" background. There were a few items I disagreed with provided by my classmates, but I edited out most of them.

I'm trying to attach a link to the essay here:


Incidentally, to answer an earlier question, Ayn Rand is known to a few people in China, but unless there's been a recent change, not many. I stumbled across a Chinese professor now in Canada who read Ayn Rand's works and published a summary in a Chinese literary journal. Here's part of a correspondence he sent me:


I came across Ayn Rand's works around 1987, when various, at times radical

and subversive, theories, philosophy, concepts, ideas and values from the West

were "invading" (or being introduced to) China - which, in a sense, led to the

1989 Tiananmen Incident. As China was intellectually more open, academically

freer, economically capitalized and privatized, politically somewhat

de-centralized, and ideologically and morally disintegrated, a young

generation of "intellectuals" was trying to make sense of the chaotic reality

by looking deeper into the Western experience of history, modernity, and

postmodern conditions.

I read Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Virtue of Selfishness." I was

fascinated with her interpretation of moral issues. I thought it would inspire

lots of Chinese who were being torn between traditional, Confucian, and

Communist moral standards (basically collectivism and altruism), and the new

reality of capitalism (individualism).

I translated "The Virtue of Selfishness" into Chinese, and wrote an

introduction to Ayn Rand and her works to an editor from a prestigious

state-run publishing house, who was very interested. Unfortunately, the 1989

Incident took place, which put the publishing process on hold. From 1989 to

1992, political and ideological control was tightened. Then China joined the

international copyright club. This meant there was no way for the translation

to be published.

As far as I know, Ayn Rand is known to very few people or a small circle in

China, a country that is now dominated by popular culture. I'm not sure

whether the younger generation is even interested in philosophy..."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

labrat -

Thank you for your response.

I meant no offense to people who emigrate from China. I have met a few people from China and Taiwan, and I am very impressed with the work ethic and values they have. I have noticed that people who immigrate from less free nations often value the United States much more highly than the native born. (Ayn Rand was a good example of that).

I'm glad you discovered Ayn Rand. Your English is actually pretty good. Best luck with your classes.

A. West-

Thanks for the information. I was not aware of your earlier article.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

China scares me, as an American. From the viewpoint of an ethno-centric competitor.

I have two cousins who were adopted from china; orphans who were the unfortunate but forgettable byproduct of the "moral" communist system. One of the girls has a tattoo of a tea leaf on her back, which is a reminder to her that her parents geniunly loved her, but were forced to give her up. and holy hell, are they talented. Talented as in the 6 year old already knows how to play the violin and claims her favorite subject is Math. Talented as in the 9 year old is at the top of her class academically and the top athlete in her soccor team. There is no doubt in my mind that these two little girls will grow up to be the next generation's Dagny Taggarts. Whenever I have the pleasure of being in their company, I feel like Eddie Willers in the company of John Galt and Hank Rearden.

If China ever awakens as a fully Capitalist system, the West beware, they will bestride the world like a colossus.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

China scares me, as an American. From the viewpoint of an ethno-centric competitor.


If China ever awakens as a fully Capitalist system, the West beware, they will bestride the world like a colossus.

Tortured One,

Aren't you excited by the prospect of China becoming a "fully Capitalist system". That would be a good thing for everybody. We only stand to benefit from having more intelligent, productive people who are free to produce and trade values with us. The more John Galts there are, the better off we'll all be.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey, you guys are too flattering! I have a kid now. He is a mix and he appears just as silly as others. ;) .

A lot of Chinese kids become high achievers early on because of the pressures from parents and family- by tradition, Chineses always place great hopes in their Children. "Expecting son to become dragon!"

I don't believe for a second that American kids are any inferior intellectually than Chinese or any other kids from other cultures. Perhaps they just need to work a little bit harder.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thats a great work ethic you have Labrat. I wished more Americans placed that kind of emphasis on their children. Alas, the only thing many kids in America have is the NCAA dream. I think environment has more to do with it, because I know parents who place a tremendous emphasis on grades, but MTV tells them to place an emphasis on parties. Mainstream Kantian Nihilism is destroying this country (Perhaps I am a bit disillusioned because I just got back from my business law class... boy if you ever wanted to see the consequence of Kant in action, study law)

I agree with your assertion in that I don't believe for a second that any race is inferior to any other (which is why I call the BS on my friends when they try to make philosophical statements like "Everyone is a racist to some extent.") Maybe my family just got lucky in the child selection process? ;) Seriously, being around those two are the closest I have ever come to developing an inferiority complex. But I have read way to much Nietszche and Rand to let that thought process develop. ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Chinese in the West are likely to be the best from China. My wife was driven to be the best in her elementary school, so she could get into a good high school, to be the best in her high school to get into a top university (People's University), and then to be the best in her department, in order to get a scholarship to a US university, which 12 years ago was one of the few tickets out of China. One positive aspect of China's ancient and current bureaucratic structure was the ability of people to move up by doing well on tests (though the method of education was bad - rote memorization of floating abstractions). This is a big reason Chinese parents push their kids so hard. One cultural downside to this is that the emphasis is "to be better than everyone else" rather than "be the best you can be." My wife has been adjusting her subconscious orientation from the former to the latter since being introduced to Objectivism.

Anyway, my wife's family was starving when she was a kid, and she and her sister both worked like crazy, with virtually no resources, to achieve educational and professional success in China then the U.S. At least in my wife's case, she has nothing but contempt for any lazy poor person in the U.S. who would demand a moral claim on our money, particularly considering that even in inner cities the standard of living and opportunities are 100 times what she started out with, and that they are making the decision to throw their lives away.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Communism was in many ways consistent with Chinese culture.

My deadline be damned. I can not agree with this. Communism was imported to China in the early 20th century. Many CCP founders have "studied" communism in France, Germany or Britain. Mao aslo comtemplated of going abroad. Additionally CCP draw a lot of inspirations from Soviet Union as how Communism should be practiced.

Traditional Chinese culture is not more (or less) compatible with Communism, comparing with others, IMHO. Confucianism emphasizes on stiff social and family orders that are very much at odds with Communism. Hey, there was even a "Criticising Confuciuanism" movement initiated by Mao in the early 1970s in China.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

At least in my wife's case, she has nothing but contempt for any lazy poor person in the U.S. who would demand a moral claim on our money, particularly considering that even in inner cities the standard of living and opportunities are 100 times what she started out with, and that they are making the decision to throw their lives away.

I feel exactly the same.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Anyway, my wife's family was starving when she was a kid, and she and her sister both worked like crazy, with virtually no resources, to achieve educational and professional success in China then the U.S. At least in my wife's case, she has nothing but contempt for any lazy poor person in the U.S. who would demand a moral claim on our money, particularly considering that even in inner cities the standard of living and opportunities are 100 times what she started out with, and that they are making the decision to throw their lives away.

what a beautiful story, A.West. I guess some people have had freedom and prosperity for so long they lose perspective of what's important. I would value her opinion over some rich literati's any day of the year.

give my highest regards to your wife.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


On whether Chinese culture paved the way for Communism, In my paper, I noted some features of philosophic systems that I think helped set the table. Here is the briefest outline of my thoughts on this:

Confucianism - I think this boosted the ethical regard for collectivism and duty, and thinking of oneself in relation to others. There was also a Confucian scorn for merchants and profit.

Taoism - contibuted a false alternative of pseudo-individualism, and epistemologically reveled in the acceptance of contradictions, which I believe set the stage for dialectic theory, and a low respect for Aristotelian - type logic inthe culture.

Legalism - though a dead philosophy, the first emperor created an apparatus of repression, dictatorship and statism that never really went away. The Chinese culture has never abandoned the ethical mandate to serve the state/emperor.

I think your perspective is on the particulars of Communism as practiced in China and how they conflict with specific Chinese cultural practices. I agree there are conflicts there. My perspective is on the Chinese culture's big picture compatibility with collectivist movements and their ethical/epistemological underpinnings. Similarly, while Communism in Russia violated and broke with traditional Russian practices and customs, it was not inconsistent with Russian culture overall. Which is why I think Ayn Rand would have left for America even if the revolution never happened.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mr. West,

Sorry I was unable to follow up on this sooner. Also I can’t open the link to your article. I wonder can you send me an email with your article attached? I’d appreciate that very much!

I actually can’t stop thinking about what you’ve said that “Communism was in many ways consistent with Chinese culture”. Emotionally I can’t accept it but I need to rationalize my reasons.

First, the ideology of socialism and communism could not have arisen from a Chinese culture. For 2000 years, China has always been an autocratic country where the Emperor had the absolute supreme power over all his subjects and people pledged ultimate loyalty to the emperors, especially the good emperors, and there were quite a few of them in history. I don’t think this can be considered collectivism or altruism.

The rise of socialism and communism in the West followed French Revolution and Industrial Revolution. I’d consider it an aberration from the Enlightenment movement that is based on false premises. But nevertheless, it is a side product of Western’s democratic and Enlightenment movement that still prevails today.

In the later 19 century, China fell from a once most advance and powerful country in the world to be defeated by Westerners in every aspect and became a semi-Feudal semi-colonial country. In the early 20 century, after China was forced to open its door, many Chinese intellectuals look to the Western humanities to find out why China had fallen behind, and why the once barbaric West had suddenly became so strong. They took the idea of democracy and unfortunately also socialism. For whatever reason capitalism did not appear to be popular then. Perhaps it was partially because that China was a predominantly agricultural country, and partially because of the unfavorable general impression of the colonialists’ practice at the time. The anti-colonialist sentiment was very strong among China’s intellectuals in the early 20 century. Certainly patriotism was considered morally above individualism and capitalism. While China was trying to break from its old culture, which was deemed no longer suited for its advance, it unfortunately turned to the socialism.

Therefore I still don't think the traditional Chinese culture in any way is more compatible with Communism than the Western cultures. The rise of Communism in China has its historical roots, but not the cultural roots.

Although historically China’s intellectuals did shun merchants and commerce, in the pop culture, “fa cai” or “getting rich” has always been the most popular good-wishes that people say to each other and hoped for themselves. Next week will be Chinese New Year. If you go to any Chinese shop, you will see all the New Year goodies with wordings like “Have savings year after year!” “Wish you get rich in New Year!” printed on them. In the Communist China, we used to think that these kinds of things were extremely vulgar and un-revolutionary. But now I’ve already got myself a “Money collecting bucket” and I’d like to say to you all “Get rich in the New Year!”

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Labrat, though I disagree with your assertions that Emperor worship isn't a form of collectivism, I see where you are coming from when you say Socialism and communism aren't original chinese ideas. Those actually have their roots in Kant and Plato.

But the point A.West was trying to make is that your culture has an unfortunate history of collectivism, AKA Emperor worship, so was more receptive to Communism than others. Many cultures have bad habits which go back a long way. Spain and the old Spanish colonies, for example, have their roots in Hapsburg mercantilism, which is why Spain remains one of the more economically weaker powers of Europe, and why most of South America remains mired in poverty. The South American countries were also very receptive to communism and welfare statism.

By contrast, Britain and her colonies have had a history of free will, and generally resisted the lure of Communism. Though that love for free will is slowly eroding, it will be up to us to preserve that.

I am actually of the opinion that one day China may be able to evolve into a system more Capitalistic than any nation before it. I think every nation has that potential. Trust me, I am not a racist. :thumbsup:

But remember what Ayn Rand once said: Those who fight for the future live in it today.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

China is either becoming more capitalistic, or its just being more pragmatic for the short term of course. The communist themselves have admited that communism has failed. They are now just plain old post-modernist that don't stand for anything.

If you dont believe me read these interesting quotes, from the linked article below. Its old but sill applies.

“In previous years Chinese communist ideology has abandoned its economic ideology as, “…unable” to produce the standard of living desired for the Chinese people,” as the Communist Party put it. ”

“‘The Communist Party of China is trying to find a philosophical underpinning for Jiang Zemin Thought and has been trawling through Europe’s Postmodern Marxist tracts for inspiration.’”

“In his speech marking the Communist Party’s 80th anniversary this year…,” “He surprised his audience when he said there was no fixed truth or meaning even in Marxist texts such as the Communist Manifesto.”

“The denial that there is any eternal or scientific truth embodied in the writings of Marx,Lenin, Stalin, Mao or even Deng Xiaoping, resembles the path pioneered by the generation of

1960’s Marxist philosophers in Europe.”

“Mr. Jiang said there was now just ‘a scientific thinking system’ created by the great Marxists.Marxism is reduced to a method of analysis, not a programme of political action.” “Freed from any

binding commitments other than raising living standards, the Communist Party has now undermined

its own rationale for a Leninist dictatorship.”

“A year ago, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences organized a two-day international symposium which brought together 80 foreign and domestic philosophers from Australia, Britain, Germany,Italy and Japan to look at the new Marxist philosophy.” “The father of the school of deconstruction, French academic Jacques Derrida, is on a lecture tour of China after the visitin April of Germany’s leading Marxist philosopher, Jurgen Habermas.”

Read this, for more examples…


All in all, I still consider China a threat and I don't think we should trade with them...AT ALL.

What will we do when they think that capitalism isn't "practical"anymore and revert to their old ways.

How do you deal with post-modernists?

Edited by Al Kufr
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...