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Preliminary stage (of socialism)

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

The winding road of “socialism with Chinese characteristics.” (Source: Xinhuanet)
China’s current socio-economic state, according to leaders and state media. 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 reformists to demonstrate loyalty to communist ideology while introducing capitalist measures to the centrally-planned economy. Socialism with Chinese characteristics goes hand-in-hand with this ideological concept. Wen Jiabao penned the article “Our Historical Tasks at the Preliminary Stage of Socialism and Several Issues Concerning China’s Foreign Policy” in 2007.

Another old joke is an imagined exchange between the leaders and the people:

“The preliminary stage of socialism is relatively poor; everyone should tighten their belts.”
“First, give us belts.”
社会主义的初级阶段比较贫穷,请大家勒紧腰带过日子。
先给我们腰带。

Many wonder when China will be considered to have passed the “preliminary stage.” Netizens often quip that police brutality, food safety scandals, and other public mishaps are all just part of the “preliminary stage of socialism.” The term is also used in other contexts to mock its absurdity.

Examples:

Sixiangshijiao (@思想视角): Some of us proclaim the great achievements of Reform and Opening-up in China on the one hand, yet hold up two shields on the other hand. One shield is "China's actual conditions," another is "preliminary stage of socialism." Every time you criticize any negative aspect, the two shields will kick in. (September 30, 2014)
我们有些人一边宣扬中国改革开放取得的伟大成就,一边举着两个挡箭牌,一个就是“中国国情”,另一个是“社会主义初级阶段”。凡是你批评任何不好的方面,这两个挡箭牌都能起作用。[Chinese]
* * *
xhyunzhongsanbu (@xh云中散步):Today I saw two quotes that made me pause for quite long. 1. If we don't want constitutionalism, why did we overthrow the Great Qing in the first place? 2. The principle of distribution under preliminary stage of socialism: to each according to his dad.
xh云中散步:今天看到的两句话让我沉默良久。1、如果不要宪政,何必推翻大清。2、社会主义初级阶段的分配原则:按爹分配。[Chinese]
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