Communist Party USA

  Earlier this year, China announced that it had eliminated extreme poverty in late 2020. How this remarkable achievement came about was the topic of a CPUSA webinar held on September 26. “China: From Hunger and Famine to Feeding Everyone” featured Shen Ning, chief of the North American Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) International Department; Norman Markowitz, professor at Rutgers University; Dr. Luo Xiaoping, a sociologist from North China Electric Power University; and Tings Chak, a writer from Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research. The webinar began with a broad overview of Chinese history to provide context for China’s achievement. Norman Markowitz explained that Imperial China, though feudal, was a very advanced society and at one point one of the wealthiest countries in the world. But under the Qing Dynasty, which ruled from 1644 to 1912, China began to decline. The Qing was soon targeted by imperialist powers, culminating in imperialist wars of aggression and the start of many unequal treaties that China was forced to sign at the point of a gun. These treaties saw massive profits surrendered in “reparations” to the imperialists. Entire regions of China were stolen such as Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan by Great Britain, Portugal, and Japan respectively. Imperial China fell during the Xinhai revolution of 1911, followed by the Warlord era that saw China divided, the United Front period when the allied Chinese Nationalists (Kuomintang) and the Communists forced out the warlord regime (often called the Beiyang Republic), the betrayal of the Communists by the Kuomintang, the start of World War II, which really began in China, and the fall of the Kuomintang government in 1949. After outlining China’s history, Markowitz, a member of the CPUSA, said that we have a lot to learn from China’s poverty alleviation, noting that President Johnson’s War on Poverty failed to tackle many of the systemic problems of poverty that are inherent to capitalism. Markowitz stated that each country must seek its own road to socialism, and just as China seeks to build socialism with Chinese characteristics, American Communists must seek to build socialism with American characteristics based on our own national conditions. But despite our different national conditions, both American and Chinese communists are united and linked by the struggle for socialism. Shen Ning began her remarks by thanking Markowitz for his overview of history and stating that “we are the luckiest generation in Chinese history,” echoing the feelings of many Chinese people who belong to a generation that does not know the war or suffering of older generations. Shen then delved into the specifics of the poverty alleviation program, one which saw the population living in extreme poverty dropping from 99 million at the end of 2012 to 5.5 million by late 2019; by November of 2020, that number would be zero. All 128,00 impoverished villages and 832 officially designated poor counties got rid of poverty. Living standards for the poor have increased dramatically; per capita disposable income of the rural poor increased from 6,079 RMB (939.41 USD) in 2013 to 12,588 RMB (1,945.26 USD) by 2020. Poor households now have adequate food, housing, and clothing all year round as well as better access to education. Shen told the audience that there are no longer dropouts in school due to financial difficulties. Basic medical insurance now covers over 99% of the population. New infrastructure such as highways and railways are brought to the villages, as well as improved electricity, plumbing, and communications. Ninety-eight percent of poor villagers now have access to fiber-optic communication systems. All of this increased the flow of movement, goods,…

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China: From hunger and famine to feeding everyone