The Chinese Communist Party

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The Chinese Communist Party

Minqi Li Says It's Not About Ideology; It's About the Material Interests of the Elite

WASHINGTON - Professor, former political prisoner and political economist Minqi Li states there is a consensus in China's ruling elite and party leadership that the country should move ahead in terms of capitalist development, neo-liberalism, and globalization, as well as international development without challenging American hegemony.

Despite the efforts to address social conflicts under the new administration of Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao, Li states it has not changed the overall consensus. "By removing taxes on the peasants, by increasing some expenditures on rural healthcare and education, although by no means enough, in my opinion."

Li believes the leaders are keeping the future ambiguous, while continuing to pursue their own interests. "Maybe because after 1989 they were convinced capitalism was in fact superior to socialism, that may be part of the reason. And partly, so many things have changed in China, so it's no longer just about ideology; it's also about real material interests, I'm talking about the real material interests for the ruling elites themselves."

Although there has been mass resistance throughout the country and spontaneous protests from urban workers in rural areas against land privatization, Li says there is currently no unified public movement against neo-liberalism in China. "If China's social conflicts, environmental problems, economic problems continue to develop, and if China could not maintain its current record on growth 10 to 20 years from now, then these accumulated problems would be very serious by then."

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