The strong emphasis on Marxism has been echoed by headlines in recent months. The current economic crisis places in question the faith, previously almost blind in China, in the capitalist system.
On November 11, the Chinese edition of Global Times, China’s best-selling national newspaper, led the front page with a report that a BBC survey in 21 countries had found that a majority of people no longer had confidence in capitalism. (More than 29,000 people in 27 countries were questioned. In only two countries, the United States and Pakistan, did more than one in five people feel that capitalism works well as it stands.)
In a sense, China is emerging from decades of reticence about its political system. On November 13 and 14, immediately before Obama arrived in Beijing, Zheng Bijian, credited as a political adviser to President Hu Jintao, flew to Taiwan to take part for the first time in a seminar on political systems. Zheng was executive vice president of the Party School in the 1990s when Hu was its president.
It was the first time that a very senior Beijing official had agreed to discuss the differences between the political systems in China and Taiwan, which have been a major stumbling block in any potential process of reunification of the island with the mainland. Taiwan is a parliamentary democracy, and China isn’t.