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China’s rejuvenation and the path of Marxism

(People's Daily Online)    16:06, May 09, 2018

Seldom in China’s history could a foreign scholar leave as powerful an impact on the nation’s political landscape as Karl Marx. The thinker’s epoch-making analyses of history, especially those on political economy, continue to shine in the modern era, spurring a rise in the world’s most populous country.

Karl Marx (File photo)

During a grand gathering in Beijing to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Karl Marx last week, Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, reiterated China’s adherence to Marxism, proving that a man who died 135 years ago can still have remarkable relevance today.

Born on May 5, 1818, Marx was largely ignored in academic circles during his own lifetime, but his social, economic and political ideas gained rapid acceptance after his death in 1883. His theories, which deal with the volatility and shape of capitalism, have become the CPC’s founding ideology.

Since the CPC's birth, it has combined the fundamental principles of Marxism with the reality of Chinese revolution and construction, transforming the Chinese nation from "the sick man of East Asia" to one who has stood up, by uniting and leading the people through long-term struggle.

"This tremendous transformation serves as cast iron proof that only through socialism can we save China," Xi said.

Since reform and opening up, the CPC has combined the fundamental principles of Marxism with the reality of China's reform and opening up, and the nation who stood up has grown rich.

A series of events have been conducted to celebrate Marx’s 200th birthday in China. A statue of Marx, donated by China, was erected in his hometown Trier, Germany, while many of his works have been translated and compiled for Chinese readers.

The 200th birthday of Marx is not only a memorial for a great thinker, but also a look back on China’s opening and reform since the 1970s, experts noted, adding that China has proven the feasibility of Marxism through practice.

“Forty years after Opening Up to the world, China has made remarkable social and economic achievements. One of the most important secrets for its success is the adherence to Marxist standpoint, ideas and methodologies, which will further promote China’s influence worldwide,” Su Wei, a professor at the Party School of the CPC Chongqing Municipal Committee, told People’s Daily Online.

Old theories’ modern relevance

“New technologies are now reshaping our world. Both capitalism and socialism with Chinese characteristics are now facing unprecedented historical changes, 21st century Marxism is needed to reveal the new law of historical development, as well as better promoting global economy and development,” said Su.

“Marxism is not a changeless doctrine, but a theory that advances with the times,” Su added.

Under the guidance of modern Chinese Marxism, the CPC plans to basically realize socialist modernization in the first stage from 2020 to 2035, before developing China into a “great modern socialist country” that is “prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful” after another 15 years.

Experts have said that modern Marxism is also expected to encourage China to further embrace globalization and international cooperation, as well as tackling the rising trade protectionism and isolation in the Western World.

“The Communist Manifesto has long revealed the inexorable trend of globalization. For centuries, economic globalization was led by the western world, who wish to keep the unreasonable old order and their dominance, while such resistance will be proven vain by modern Marxism,” said Su.

Su’s opinion is shared by many of his foreign counterparts. Ben Fine, an economics professor at the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London, told Xinhua that what Marx put forward over 100 years ago still has far-reaching impact, while Hans Van Duysen, chairman of the Belgium-China Association, pointed out that despite the world entering a new modern era, Marxism is not out of date and the West must reflect on its own crises.

“For westerners, Marx’s analysis of capitalism is worth studying,” said Fine.

“China has no plan to export its ideology. It’s time to drop the biased cold war mentality and cooperate to promote the welfare of all humankind despite ideological differences, just like Xi mentioned in a community with a shared future for mankind,” Su noted. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Bianji, Hongyu)

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