For China’s New Left, Old Values

The Washington Post takes a look at the critics of China’s reform policies:

Although Chairman Mao continues to be revered here as the visionary who founded the country and transformed it into a world power, the Communist Party has broken from many of his ideals through market-based reforms over the past three decades.

Not everyone has been supportive of this shift, and a nostalgia for the old days has increased amid the global financial crisis. The most influential critics, known collectively as the New Left, are not like the dissidents or political exiles of a previous generation. They are not calling for an overthrow of the Communist regime. Their recommendations and criticisms are, instead, based on a belief that state power can redress the injustices created by free markets, privatization and globalization. Their views are also characterized by a fierce nationalism and criticism of the West.

Although the New Left has been publishing position papers in journals and on the Internet since the 1990s, the global financial crisis has brought the group’s leading figures into the spotlight as never before. Their rise comes as the Communist Party, which has held absolute power since 1949, faces growing discontent over unemployment, contaminated infant formula that has sickened more than 300,000 babies, shoddy construction that led to the collapse of thousands of school buildings during last year’s Sichuan earthquake and corruption among public officials at all levels.


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