?"What is "Socialism with Chinese Characteristics

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Speaking to the people and party members at the 19th national congress of Communist Party of China (CPC), President and General Secretary of the CPC, Xie Jinping, addressed the people and party members: "Keep the flag of socialism with Chinese characteristics high ... try for the great victory of socialism with Chinese features in a new era". "Socialism is on the brink of a transition to a new era, and this is a historical milestone in China's development," he added. The term "Socialism with Chinese Characteristics" is repeated until the end of Xie Jinping's speech. What is "socialism with Chinese characteristics"? Why "socialism" is being conditioned with "Chinese Characteristics" phrase here in China? Since when, and with consideration of which circumstances and difficulties, this condition is tied to socialism? What is its differences with Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels's socialism? And how "socialism with Chinese characteristics" is justified according to Marx and Engels's socialism, theoretically? These questions are going to be answered in this article.

"Socialism with Chinese Characteristics" begins with Deng Xiaoping. Xiaoping (1904-1997), after the death of Mao Tsetung (founder and leader of the People's Republic of China), led the country from 1978 to 1989. Unlike Mao, whom "ideology" was central and prioritized to, Xiaoping put the "economy" at the top of his leadership priorities and made reforms in the economic and socio-political sectors. One of those reforms was promulgation of "open-door politics" in relation to capitalist countries. As an internal policy, he measured to modernize the country's agriculture, industry, science and technology. These measures put China on a new path of development; which modern China, as second largest economy in the world, is the result. Because of these activities and measures, Xiaoping is now referred to as "the architect of reform in China," or " the one who changed the course of Chinese history." Deng Xiaoping resigned the Leadership/power after he ordered firing on protesting students in Tiananmen Square (in April 17, 1989), stayed at home and died in 1997.

After Deng Xiaoping, these reforms developed and spread. Chinese writers enumerate at least three characteristics for "Socialism with Chinese Characteristics":

  1. Combination of public ownership with the market economy with the dominance of public ownership: In fact, this combination is a situational response to eliminate the needs of public ownership through the market economy and also to reinforce the production ability of the country. China needed and needs this combination for its modernization, development of the socialist market economy, self-sufficiency and ultimately having ability to compete with others in the world markets.
  2. Open-door policy toward the outside world: This policy is considered necessary for China transition from various stages of socialism (which is said, is at its earliest stages). Because On the one hand, China thinks about self-sufficiency and ending the bases of dependence on others; and On the other hand, this self-sufficiency and development of socialist economy, has a close relationship with global peace and peaceful relations of China with other countries in the world. This characteristic is interwoven with one another characteristic of "Socialism with Chinese Characteristics":
  3. Peaceful coexistence: The term "peaceful coexistence" was initially introduced by the leaders of the Soviet Communist Party, especially Nikita Khrushchev, during the Cold War era. Khrushchev believed that the conflicting economic and political structures of the world could have "peaceful coexistence". At that time, this interpretation was raised in relation to the contradictory economic and political structures of the Eastern block of communist-socialist and Western capitalist block. Therefore, the "peaceful coexistence" in China and "Socialism with Chinese Characteristics" is also rooted in the Cold War era, which for the first time was raised by Khrushchev. Today, "peaceful coexistence" is recognized as one of the characteristics of the model of "Socialism with Chinese Characteristics." The strategic goal of "peaceful co-existence" in the political-economic objectives of China is to use capitalist products to strengthen and expand the socialist structure. It is believed that through use of the scientific and technological achievements of the capitalist world and also through the exportation of its productive goods abroad (often capitalist countries), China is, in fact, taking significant steps towards the development of the socialist world that leads to the transition of China from the various stages of socialism and approximate it to the ideal and desirable socialism.

Socialism, from the point of view of its founders, particularly Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, is the developed stage of capitalism. In other words, as the nucleus of capitalism existed in the context of Feudal system contradictions, eventually grew out of feudalism and became a relatively dominant global system, socialism will also grow out of the capitalism as a result of its internal contradictions- after capitalism reaches its stage of maturity and evolution. But socialist China, in the twentieth century, was not a country that had undergone capitalism: it was a semi-colonial and semi-feudal backward society, which- contrary to the hypothesis of founders of socialism- suddenly turned to socialism. Economically, China was backward and poor, and culturally, degenerate. Thus "Socialism with Chinese Characteristics" is a model for a semi-feudal and semi-colonial backward country. This model of socialism is in the face of Marx's and Engels's socialism: due to their different origins. That is why, the socialist structure in this country must have its own characteristics, so that can survive in its special historically circumstances: premature birth.

It is noteworthy that these characteristics will be considered as long as socialism in this country transit from an early and undesirable stage of socialism to a more progressive and desirable stage (as Karl Marx desired). In fact, the Chinese Communist Party and Chinese Socialist authors believe that Socialist China is now in the initial stage of transition, which will, of course, be a long period, but anyway, the only way to achieve a desirable socialism, is to pass these early stages.




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