Sunday, May 09, 2004

Typical Grauniad Stupidity

Only in the Grauniad can one come across an article supposedly meant for a "mainstream" audience in which the China of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution is painted as some sort of golden era of workers' rights, as opposed to the "ruthless" capitalism the oppressed masses must endure today:

Overworked, underpaid and about to lose his job, Huang Zungkun must wonder how the socialist revolution in China ended up creating one of the world's most ruthlessly capitalist states.

Not that he has any time for reflection. Like many of the 100 million workers who have powered China's spectacular economic growth, Huang spent his days from dawn to dusk on a construction site for less than 30p an hour.

But - just as typically - the 37-year-old carpenter was laid off, victim of a labour market so overflowing that employers wait months to pay wages, ignore safety regulations and discard workers at will.

In a sign of the transformation that has enriched - and unbalanced - the world's most populous nation, Huang's last day at work was May Day, once a celebration of the peasant movement that propelled the Communists to power in 1949.

This month, president Hu Jintao visited a factory to praise 'model workers' for their contribution to China's development. But the party's roots are increasingly belied by a divided society closer to Engels's reports of sweatshop industrialisation in 19th-century Britain than Mao's vision of a proletarian utopia.


Every revision of the constitution since the start of free-market reforms 25 years ago has shifted the balance to capital. In 1982, the right to strike disappeared on the grounds that everyone was employed by the state, which represented the people.

Aaaaargh! This is just so braindead I don't even know where to begin! Does the fool who wrote this article think the days when tens of millions of Chinese starved to death while working value-destroying "jobs" was some sort of heaven-on-earth or something? No doubt the years of famine under Chairman Mao had all the "balance" that today's China is supposedly lacking. As for the "sweatshop industrialisation" set up as a contrast to "Mao's vision of a proletarian utopia", perhaps we ought to look at how things really were under the Chairman's watch, rather than what his "vision" of how they ought to be was?

The Jonathan Watts character who authored this piece of crap is so lacking in historical perspective, and is so obviously working overtime to portray today's China in the worst light in comparison to an idyllic communist past that never existed, that I have to wonder if he isn't a fully-paid up member of the Chinese Communist Party. Hell, I bet he's a more genuine believer in the glories of communism than the mass of Chinese communists, if only because they, unlike useless Western idiots like him, have actually had to live through the damn thing. If Mr. Watts imagines that the "right" to strike was anything other than theoretical in pre-Deng China, I'm sure there are any number of veterans of China's "re-education" camps who will be quick to disabuse him of such notions. The fact of the matter is that all the supposed measures to which desperate workers are supposedly being forced to resort would have been unthinkable in the days when the Chinese secret police could round up hundreds of thousands on the turn of a dime.