Civil liberties in the West declining — People’s Daily – China’s latest political and current affairs news


A summary of the top news in Chinese politics and current affairs for August 7, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina newsletter, a convenient package of China’s business, political, and cultural news delivered to your inbox for free. Subscribe here.

The August 6 edition of the Party’s house newspaper the People’s Daily included a full-page spread (in Chinese) comprising three opinion pieces under the headline “New characteristics appear in the crisis of contemporary capitalism.”

  • The major article on the page is titled “Western countries’ Democratic rights and civil liberties in Western countries continue to decline.” It uses a Marxist approach to explain the rise of Donald Trump, and attacks liberal political values such as the separation of powers, which it says constrains the power of the government so that it “cannot make important decisions on major economic and social issues.”
  • A piece titled “Economic development and improvement in people’s livelihood in Western countries is sluggish” argues against excessive privatization and lax government controls on markets.
  • The third piece, titled “The crisis in capitalist society is intensifying,” says that Marx and Engels predicted the current crisis in the West, as social crises in capitalist countries are ubiquitous and unavoidable.

The Communist Party frequently uses the People’s Daily to signal policy shifts. Does this full-page spread of Marxism indicate a return to more doctrinaire ideology in China?

Probably not. 

Just like Xi Jinping’s speech to the world about the benefits of globalization at the World Economic Forum in January 2017 (see Kaiser Kuo’s report from Davos), the People’s Daily spread on Marxism aimed at Party members is one way of reaffirming that the Communist Party is legitimate, large, and in charge.

 On social media, many users were unimpressed with the People’s Daily’s view on the West:  One popular comment reads (in Chinese): “The eunuchs are talking again about the harmful effects of sex on the human body! (太监又在说性生活对身体的危害啦!tàijiàn yòu zài shuō xìng shēnghuó duì shēntǐ de wéihài la!)