The chance of President Chen Shui-bian’s pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) holding on to its ruling party position in the March 22 presidential poll is in serious doubt after his party suffered a major defeat in the January 12 parliamentary election.
On November 20, two unidentified thugs use butchers cleavers to brutally attack Huang Qingnan, an organiser of the Dagongzhe Centre in the south China foreign capital haven of Shenzhen, leaving him seriously injured. The assault came on the heels of the October 11 and November 14 attempts to ransack the workers centre by an unidentified gang, leaving behind extensive property damage.
After more than one-and-a-half decades of constant erosion under Beijings pro-capitalist policies, Chinas public sector has shrunk to less than 40% of the countrys economy, and an even smaller share of industry and services.
On July 29, three leaders of a 29-month factory occupation in the city of Chongqing, in Chinas southwest Sichuan province, were each sentenced to suspended prison sentences of 18 months.
Four days after the October 17-21 17th Congress of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC), the country’s government body dealing with public petitions and complaints — the State Bureau for Letters and Calls (SBLC) — held a national conference to map out new strategies to step-up its role in managing China’s escalating social conflicts.
At its 16th Congress five years ago, the Communist Party of China (CPC) amended its constitution to allow the admission of capitalists to its ranks and to legitimise the swelling number of capitalists already in its membership. Today, 3 million of its total membership of 73 million are capitalists over 4%.
Despite Chinas spectacular GDP growth of nearly 10% per year since 1978 and despite Beijings claim that the country remains on a socialist course in the eight years to 2005, workers wages as a proportion of GDP plunged from 53% to 41.4%.
Class-free analysis seeking to justify Beijings pursuit of capitalism with a human face will likely find a place in the Communist Party of Chinas constitution at the partys 17th congress, which begins on October 15. A scheduled constitutional amendment is expected to be couched in such terms as the pursuit of a socialist harmonious society and a people-centred scientific concept of development, which will be credited as major theoretical developments of CPC general secretary Hu Jintao.
On September 21, the UN General Assembly supported by consensus a decision by the 22-member General Committee not to put Taiwans bid for UN membership on the assemblys agenda. It was the islands 15th application for UN membership in as many years. This year was the first time that the application was made in the name of Taiwan rather than the Republic of China (ROC), signalling a more aggressive independence push by President Chen Shui-bians government.
Since Beijings push to speed-up privatisation in the mid-1990s, left-leaning intellectuals in China have increasingly made use of Dushu (Readings), a monthly discussion magazine, as a platform to challenge this policy direction and Beijings overall pro-capitalist agenda. They highlighted the horrific social consequences of Beijings course and have generated waves of debates on the way forward for China.