Labor Unrest Leads to Anti-Maoist Raids, Increased Marxist Rhetoric

Straight out of an Ayn Rand novel, last week a the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Human and Social Affairs last week said that private enterprises should allow workers to participate in democratic management of companies. By itself maybe nothing, China is officially a Marxist country. Yet it came a week after a blog post by a Mr. Wu that set the Chinese Internet on fire. That post said the government should merge with private companies to better fight the U.S. in the trade war. It also said that "China's private sector has 'basically fulfilled its task of assisting the state-owned economy in achieving its rapid development.'" In China, I often heard that the country was opening up to allow for rapid development, but would then close/turn socialist again. Capitalism was the boot-loader for advanced socialism. Without technical expertise and capital, China could never compete with the capitalist West. Once it had those skills, it could then "turn off" capitalism and go back to being a communist country.

However, maybe the Marxist rhetoric is only designed to cut off growing labor disputes and the rise of student-supported labor movements. In August, the government raided Maoist websites for supporting the efforts of a group working against Jasic.

Occam's razor says the Marxist rhetoric is aimed at reducing support for labor movements. Rising labor tensions created an opening for Maoists and the government is slamming it shut. It's not entirely optimistic since labor tensions will only grow when the full effect of the trade dispute hits over the next six months, but it's not the end of China's capitalist experiment. The pessimistic take is that Mr. Wu's blog post is a trial balloon and real policies will follow. Increased state ownership is a bad sign for future growth. Even if you think China has hit upon a successful model of state capitalism, the U.S. would eventually sever all economic relations with a China that has no clearly delineated private economy and demand its allies do the same.

Sina: 人社部副部长:民企要以职工为本 让职工参与企业管理
On September 19, the reporter learned from the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security that Vice Minister of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security Qiu Xiaoping said at the recent National Conference on Deepening the Democratic Management of Private Enterprises and Enhancing the Endogenous Dynamics of Innovation and Development. Private enterprises must adhere to the main body status of employees, and be staff-oriented, so that employees can enjoy full democratic rights, participate in enterprise management, and share the fruits of enterprise development.

"Strengthening democratic management of enterprises is an important measure to build a harmonious labor relationship with Chinese characteristics." Qiu Xiaoping said at this meeting that socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era, and that private enterprises are facing new development environments and development tasks. All types of enterprises, including private enterprises, are required to further change their development concepts. Through deepening democratic management, we will promote the joint construction of employees and enterprises, create benefits, share benefits, share risks, and maximize the enthusiasm,c reativity and initiative of employees.

Qiu Xiaoping said that to promote the democratic management of private enterprises, we must persist in strengthening the party's leadership, adhere to the main body status of employees, and insist on strengthening institutional guarantees. He said that only by serving the staff, allowing employees to enjoy full democratic rights, participating in enterprise management and sharing the fruits of enterprise development can inspire employees' enthusiasm and creativity, and achieve win-win development between enterprises and employees. Only by perfecting the democratic management system of enterprises and relying on institutional norms and carrying out work can we ensure the long-term and sustainable development of democratic management of enterprises and ensure that they do not go through the field or form.

Qiu Xiaoping requested that the human and social departments at all levels should strengthen close cooperation with the trade unions and the Federation of Industry and Commerce, participate in the open coordination mechanism of factory affairs, support the trade unions to play an overall coordination role, and perform the functional duties of the human and social departments. Strengthening the democratic management of enterprises as an important part of the work of coordinating the tripartite mechanism of labor relations, strengthening the coordination and coordination of the three parties, forming a joint force to deepen the democratic management of private enterprises, build harmonious labor relations, and promote the healthy development of enterprises.
This ode to Karl Marx comes a few weeks after raids on workers who tried to form a union, plus the students and online websites that supported them.

RFA: China Raids Maoist Websites, Detains Editors Who Supported Jasic Labor Movement
Authorities in the Chinese capital have raided two leftist websites in the wake of a Maoist-supported labor movement in the southern province of Guangdong, detaining at least eight members of staff, RFA has learned.

Chen Hongtao, editor-in-chief of the Red Reference website confirmed to RFA that their offices in Beijing's Fangshan district had been raided at around the same time that some 50 supporters of the labor movement at Jasic Technology in Guangdong's Shenzhen city were bundled onto buses and held in detention.

...Another source who asked to remain anonymous said further arrests had been carried out in Guangdong province, in what appeared to be a nationwide, coordinated police operation targeting leftist supporters of the Jasic workers' campaign for an independent trade union.
SCMP: China’s labour relations have entered a dangerous new phase, as shown by attacks on Jasic workers and activists
A group of workers at Jasic Technology in Shenzhen have been protesting about inhumane conditions, unfair dismissal and harassment. Matters came to a head when they attempted to organise a factory-level trade union in July.

They are facing severe repressive measures by the authorities, with over 60 workers and supporters detained. Four workers were formally arrested on September 3 and four supporters and an NGO worker are under criminal detention.
Taiwan News: Peking University Marxist group shut down for supporting workers
The snub comes after a number of students from the university's Marxist Society in August turned out at the Jasic factory in the Pingshan District of Shenzhen City to support workers in their bid to create a democratic trade union, reported HKFP. After students from Peking University and three other top universities gave speeches, presented peaceful demonstrations and posted open letters on social media in support of the workers, police raided the guesthouse where they were staying and arrested at least 40 students, reported the Financial Times.

Among those arrested included Peking University Marxist Society member Zhan Zhenzhen, who had previously investigated working conditions for low-paid workers at the university. This fall semester, the society, which says its focus is labor rights, was denied support from the university's department of Marxism to back their application for registration, with no explanation, according to the report.
As for Mr. Wu's blogpost, here's Minxin Pei in Nikkei: The mysterious Mr Wu and the growing threat to China's private companies
China's social media have been abuzz with worried commentaries since Wu Xiaoping, a self-claimed "veteran in China's financial sector," posted a blog on Sept. 11 boldly claiming that China's private sector has "basically fulfilled its task of assisting the state-owned economy in achieving its rapid development."

As a result, Wu went on to say, "China's private sector should not blindly expand. A new form of more concentrated, unified, and scaled-up economy of mixed ownership ... may gain a greater share."

The main reason given by Wu for merging China's private sector into the state-owned sector is that this is the only way to respond to America-led Western containment against China and fight back against U.S. President Donald Trump in the trade war.

"If we fail to concentrate the power of the state but instead allow the market to dictate and move toward a path of complete economic liberalization, China's economic and social reform and opening would face unimaginable pressure and resistance, and the advantages and results we have gained could be gradually lost."

...Chinese entrepreneurs are not being paranoid. After Wu's blog post ignited a firestorm in the Chinese cyberspace, no senior Chinese officials publicly criticized it or said anything to calm shattered nerves. Tellingly, China's much-vaunted cyber censors, who normally purge anything deemed subversive with ruthless efficiency, did nothing to stop the dissemination of Wu's inflammatory post.
If Mixin Pei paints an accurate picture of entrepreneurs' concern with that post, we will soon find out if there are any holes in China's capital controls.

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