Preliminary stage (of socialism)
From China Digital Space
初级阶段 (chūjí jiēduàn): primary stage (of socialism)
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. Socialism with Chinese characteristics goes hand-in-hand with this ideological concept.
Wen Jiabao penned the article Our Historical Tasks at the Primary Stage of Socialism and Several Issues Concerning China’s Foreign Policy in 2007.
The trouble is, when does the China advance past the “primary stage”? Netizens will quip that police brutality, food safety scandals, and other public mishaps are all just part of the “primary stage of socialism.” Other jokes use the term in other contexts to mock its absurdity:
To all unmarried comrades: Singles' Day is approaching, and on behalf of the Central Group and Group Academy, I would like to address all unmarried comrades: Firstly, Happy Singles' Day! We are currently in the preliminary stage of marriage. Through our twenty-some years of hard work, although we have not realized great accomplishments in meeting many people of the opposite sex, there are many of us...
致所有未婚的同志： 光棍节将至， 我瑾代表群中央群务院 致所有未婚的同志们： 首先，光棍节快乐! 我们正处于结婚时代的初级阶段 经过二十几年的努力 虽然取得了结识众多异性的巨大成就 但是人口众多 人…
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.”