Book Review: THE NEW CHINA PLAYBOOK
Written by: Duncan B. on 30 January 2024
Nearly every day there are articles in the newspapers about China’s economy. These are some recent examples from the Melbourne Age.
Fading giant: Why China is facing a difficult future. (Nov 9); Weakened China badly needs a truce with the West (Nov 10); China’s tech billionaires bleed as Biden inflicts pain (Nov 22); China’s green surge could be watershed for the world (Nov 23); China’s financial cancer spreads and sounds alarm bells (Nov 28); Stay of execution for Chinese property giant (Dec 6); China put on notice as it tries to repair its economic mess (Dec 7); The Chinese tians making a killing, but far from home (Dec 20); Beijing shifts gears to avoid fate that trapped Japan (Jan 16); China hits it growth target, but no one’s impressed with data (Jan 19); Red Sea crisis is a serious risk to Beijing’s economic interests (Jan 20); China’s $9 trillion problem won’t be solved by quick fix (Jan25); Warning for investors over China’s market woes (Jan 27).
How do we work through this overload of sometimes contradictory information about China?
The New China Playbook by Keyu Jin may help. The author is an associate professor of economics at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She was born in China and educated in China and abroad.
Keyu Jin was born in 1982, making her a member of the first generation of Chinese born in the era of Deng Xiao Ping’s economic reforms which started in 1978. She writes, (p23), “I was born into this era of China’s modern economic transformation and experienced its life-changing effects firsthand.”
On page 283 she writes, “The miracle of China over the past four decades is not the nation’s record-breaking span of dizzying GDP growth, but the unimaginable transformation that has taken place for hundreds of millions of Chinese and their children within a single lifetime. This was true for my family and for most families we knew.”
In The New China Playbook Keyu Jin traces the development of China’s economy and the transformation of Chinese society from 1978 when Deng Xiao Ping’s reforms started, to the present day. There have been many negative features accompanying this transformation such as environmental degradation and pollution, massive waste of resources, extremes of income differences, property speculation and corruption. (Of course these were a feature of the development of capitalism in England and the USA in the nineteenth century.)
On the positive side there has been a large growth in GDP, the considerable improvements in the Chinese peoples’ lives as described by the author and the incredible growth in technology in China. Keyu Jin is a supporter of the current state of affairs in China, to the point of being coming across as an apologist for the Chinese government and its policies.
While The New China Playbook is useful to help us understand what is happening in China, as Marxist-Leninists, we must be aware of our Party’s position on China. In 1978, Deng Xiao Ping steered China onto the capitalist road, ultimately leading to the imperialist power that we know today.
The CPA (M-L) position on China is explained in the booklet Explaining China. How a Socialist Country Took the Capitalist Road to Social-Imperialism, and other publications such as the Australian Communist.
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