China: Ruling party faces tough test

New socialist quarterly launched

Shehui Zhuyi

China faces a tumultuous and unstable 2009, with its ‘economic miracle’ a thing of the past. In the last year, 670,000 small to medium-sized enterprises have gone bankrupt and unemployment has soared into the sky with the laying off of at least ten million workers. In the last few years the magnitude of mass protests in mainland China has been building up, and in the next period we may witness the coalescing together of various strands of discontent into a unified mass movement – rural protests over illegal land seizure and official corruption, workers’ strikes and occupations of factories, students’ demonstrations over environmental destruction and the angry uprisings of ethnic minorities who are denied their national rights. Many commentators say this year can see the ruling Communist Party (communist in name only) facing its toughest tests since the mass democracy movement of 1989.

The appearance of a new, socialist magazine in China is therefore very timely. It marks an important step for genuine Marxism and Trotskyism. The beginning of the year 2009 sees the launching of ‘Shehui Zhuyi’ (The Socialist). It is being produced by supporters and co-thinkers of the website and will be quarterly to start with. The magazine focuses on giving a Marxist analysis of contemporary developments in China as well as international working class struggle. It also features theoretical and historical articles.

The first issue of the magazine, 32 pages, includes articles by Chen Lizhi on China’s current economic crisis, Hong Yi on problems facing female workers in China, Zheng Zhi on the hotel workers’ struggle in Tianjin, Kevin Simpson on the Israel-Palestine conflict and André Ferrari on the class struggle in Latin America.

China is, as readers are aware, a one-party dictatorship, meaning socialists and other oppositional currents cannot campaign openly. Recently, the government has cracked down on internet sites and also arrested several figures linked to the ‘Charter 08’ manifesto. This document, now with over 7,000 signatures, calls for an end to one-party rule and for basic civil liberties – things that socialists also fight for (many ‘charter 08’ signatories, however, are liberals who favour a faster pace of capitalist ‘economic reform’).

Given the scale of state repression in China, ‘Shehui Zhuyi’ cannot be sold and distributed openly. The new magazine will therefore be distributed online. It can be downloaded and printed locally, in small numbers, for spreading in local areas, universities, schools etc.

‘Shehui Zhuyi’ is available in PDF format from We hope this magazine will fill a very important role in the struggle to achieve genuine democratic socialism in China. Supporters and well wishers can also buy a copy of ‘Shehui Zhuyi’ using the paypal page on The cost outside China including postage is 3 pounds or 4.50 US dollars.

Special financial appeal to all readers of

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January 2009