What’s ‘communist’ about the Communist Party of China?
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Since the death of Mao Zedong in 1976, the Communist Party of China (CCP) has been vexed by a simple question: What is it fighting for? As the country began to adopt market reforms in the 1980s and 1990s, CCP theorists were forced into contortions providing ideological justifications for policies that appeared overtly capitalist. Deng Xiaoping’s concept of “Socialism with Chinese characteristics” came to be seen as a theoretical fig leaf rather than a description of an egalitarian economic system, and by the 2000s, a consensus emerged that the CCP had completely abandoned any pretense of pursuing the Marxist vision it purported to hold. With the rise of Xi Jinping, however, the Party talks with renewed vigor about Marxism-Leninism and the goal of achieving actual, existing socialism. Has the CCP re-discovered communism? In this talk, CSIS Freeman Chair in China Studies Jude Blanchette will discuss the abandoned and existing legacies of Mao Zedong, Marxism-Leninism, and the CCP’s vision of socialism.