As China’s economy runs into trouble, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General-Secretary Xi Jinping is taking brutal measures to centralise and retain political power. He is harking China back to Mao’s radical-socialist era and now it seems that private property is the latest target of Xi Jinping’s repressive measures. The hospitality sector including hotels and lodges seems to be the target of Communist China’s latest crackdown on private property.
According to an NTD report, private property confiscation has struck China again. Police and urban management staff seized property worth million US dollars in the Pingyao county in Northern China. A notice from the local authorities announced that the confiscation spree was a part of Socialist transformation, which was followed by arbitrary confiscation of properties of more than 200 families.
The notice by local authorities describes private properties with rental space as objects of Socialist transformation, and such properties belonged to the State. Therefore, the Communist State can forcibly take over these properties, seal them and violently dispossess the real owners. Private Chinese businesses and investors are already passing through a bearish phase and the ‘Socialist transformation’ might prove to be the final straw.
With the latest crackdown on private property, Xi Jinping is bringing the People’s Republic of China to its brutal, Communist roots. Private property has always been a contentious issue in the Communist Republic, as Mao Zedong detested the very idea of private ownership, and his perception of dealing with the menace of private property was simple- kill the land-owning bourgeoisie and take over their properties, which were mostly agricultural estates at that time.
Mao Zedong’s regime had identified tens of millions of “rightists” or class-enemies who were then subjected to systematic torture, harassment, abuse, killings and State confiscation of property. Mao was successful in achieving his primary goal- the institution of private property was abolished by 1956.
But soon the Communist Republic realised the perils associated with killing rich people and usurping their property, as China descended into destitution and misery. And therefore, private property started becoming more acceptable with former CCP General-Secretary Deng Xiaoping’s opening up of the Chinese economy. In 1999, Xiaoping’s successor Jiang Zemin formally reversed the abolition of private property. A Constitutional Amendment even promised government protection “for the legal interests and rights of the private economy.”
However, the Maoist streak remained a factor within the Chinese Communist psyche. Till 2001, private business owners were not allowed to join the CCP, and till very recently entrepreneurs were seen with suspicion even if they were allowed to join the Communist Party. Also, while the CCP did promise government protection to private property-owners, there is still no remedy against State seizure of private property that remains a major concern among businessmen in the Communist country.
When Xi Jinping stormed to power himself in 2013, he did not crack down on private property. In fact, even today he does promise that private businesses will be allowed to prosper. But the latest crackdown on private property comes amidst a conundrum that Xi Jinping is facing. Jinping has two choices- whether to power China’s economic growth and become a popular figure like Deng Xiaoping or become a Communist hard-liner and a populist figure like Mao Zedong.
Xi Jinping’s dissenters believe that he is neither Mao nor Xiaoping. And it seems that Xi Jinping has chosen to be a Mao than being a Xiaoping, more as a matter of compulsion than ideology. Jinping knows he cannot revive the Chinese economy if he wants because the present geopolitical equations will not allow him to sustain China’s exports-based economy for long.
No major power in the world, including India, the US or the European Union wants to build strong trading ties with Beijing. In fact, the democratic world is shifting global supply chains away from China and the Chinese economy is going to run into more and more trouble. Some of the biggest Chinese corporate giants like Huawei and Tencent are heading towards an unprecedented collapse.
Even small Chinese manufacturers are actually dependent on the exports industry and therefore Beijing’s fallout with the Western world will ultimately bring down the entire Chinese economy. A ‘magical rebound’ isn’t really going to happen and Xi Jinping needs to do something in order to fulfil his ambitions of going down in Chinese history as a tall leader. He knows he cannot make China an economic powerhouse or a real superpower, and therefore he is trying to become a Communist hardliner.
Xi Jinping is giving China a real Red turn in face of a crippling economic downfall, and therefore China’s private property-owners now head towards a Mao-like classist purge.