Word of the Week: Primary Stage of Socialism

The  comes from China Digital Space’s Grass-Mud Horse Lexicon, a glossary of terms created by Chinese netizens and frequently encountered in online political discussions. These are the words of China’s online “resistance discourse,” used to mock and subvert the official language around censorship and political correctness.

初级阶段 (chūjí jiēduàn): primary stage of socialism

The winding road of “socialism with Chinese characteristics.”

The “primary stage of socialism” is a rhetorical device which allows for a redefinition of orthodox Marxist theory, enabling the government to undertake whatever economic policies are needed to develop into an industrialized nation. It permits the reform faction to demonstrate loyalty to Chinese communist ideology while introducing capitalist measures to the centrally-planned economy. A related term is the famous phrase “socialism with Chinese characteristics,” which describes capitalism in the P.R.C.

Wen Jiabao penned the article Our Historical Tasks at the Primary Stage of Socialism and Several Issues Concerning China’s Foreign Policy in 2007.

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