Modern-day Maoists worry Chinese authorities

[the following is from an article which appeared in the French press (see the entire article at


A group of Maoists commemorating the 35th anniversary of Mao Zedong’s death in the northern Chinese city of Taiyuan was violently broken up by police. Chinese authorities have no patience for these Mao-lovers, who seem to have forgotten the former communist leader’s authoritarian streak and retained only the idyllic vision of a fairer society. One Chinese Maoist gives us his account.The unrest occurred on September 9, when several dozen Maoists gathered in Taiyuan, chanted revolutionary slogans and delivered inflammatory speeches based on Mao’s Little Red Book. At the end of the demonstration, police tried to arrest the leader of the movement. Other protesters rallied to protect him, shouting “Long live Chairman Mao!” Nine people were arrested, but the organiser managed to escape. Most participants were active members of the website “Utopia”, the biggest leftist forum on the Chinese Web.

For this new generation of Maoists, the Chinese Communist Party has betrayed their leader’s roots by succumbing to capitalism and world trade. As a result foreign companies have been allowed to run amok in China, exploiting the country’s low-paid workers and wreaking havoc on the environment. In today’s China, where disparities between groups are rapidly growing, Maoists are attracting an ever-growing following among the poor and working classes, which have been hard hit by unemployment and inflation. Their growing popularity, however, has also drawn the wrath of local authorities……………………………

“A small group of people controls the country and exploits the rest of the population”Hua Quiao was born in 1972 and lives in Shanghai. He’s a Maoist photographer and activist, and blogs for the website Utopia. Although members of Utopia usually avoid speaking to the foreign press, he agreed to speak to us through an interpreter.

“I’m a Maoist, and I feel both leftist and socially conservative. Utopia, the website I write for, owns a bookstore in Beijing. That’s sort of our headquarters. But our ideology is very controversial in modern-day China, and it’s often simpler and safer for us to communicate online.

Today, the structure of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) isn’t the same as what it was under Mao. Before, most members were peasants and workers, now they’re all bureaucrats. Just as Karl Marx had predicted, China’s society is breaking up into different classes. One small group of about 3,000 Chinese leaders and several dozen foreign entrepreneurs, controls the country and exploits the rest of the population. The Maoists want to return to a real Communist party, not one that exploits the working class.

“Some associate Maoism with a difficult period of our country’s history”

Before his death, Mao predicted that capitalism would make a comeback in the country. That’s exactly what happened. Nevertheless, some members of the CCP [such as Bo Xilai, the leader of the communist party in the province of Chongqing] are once again leaning more toward the left. Of course, some still associate Maoism with a difficult period of our country’s history.

“Capitalism poses many problems, especially in terms of social equality”

Nevertheless, the results of 30 years of ‘reform’ and opening up the world markets [ a shift begun in the 1980s by one of Mao’s successors, Deng Xiaoping], are mixed at best. Yes, living standards have improved for some, and people have more freedom. But the gap between the rich and the poor widens every day. I experienced China coming onto the world market in the 1980s, and entering the World Trade Organisation in 2000. My conclusion is that capitalism poses many problems, especially in terms of social equaliy.

Today, people use Mao’s teachings and theories to express their discontent against the government. That’s what irritates authorities, and they remain very wary of our movement. [According to another of our Observers in China, the CCP uses Mao’s image to serve its own purposes, but when Maoists refer to him to express their discontent, they are immediately silenced]. Mao didn’t deliver the solutions to all of our socio-economic problems. These solutions must come from confrontation and debate different political forces. Only a multi-party system will allow our country to move forward.

There are many small informal political groups these days, but they’re not allowed to be parties so to speak of. They communicate and spread their ideas on the Web, sometimes on the field. Some even form alliances. I know that Shanghai police closely monitor members of these groups on a daily basis.

I personally created a virtual political group : ‘The party of the Chinese Revolution’. I’ve been contacted several times by police, but so far it hasn’t gone any further. I signed Liu Xiabao’s Charter 08 for democratic reform because I agree with most of his principles. Of course, some Maoists are opposed to a multi-party system. But I think the core principles of our ideology are based on human rights, freedom and expression and democracy. We will head in that direction”.

3 thoughts on “Modern-day Maoists worry Chinese authorities

  1. Hu Qiuao has been called a “Maoist photographer” by the writer of this article posted above despite the fact that Hu admitted to having signed Liu Xiaobo’s Charter 08 modelled along the Czeckoslavakia ’68 Charter which is basically an open call for open capitalist restoration without any socialist pretensions. This writer sure knew how to choose the right “leftist” to interview to give a rightist twist to what may be construed as a report on the Maoist left in China. Great reporting cum interviewing acrobatics isn’t this is?

  2. benito,
    your comment is on point; the article which was posted came from the bourgeois French press and showed a certain anti-Maoist bias and slander in the article. But because the article was an important and rare report on Chinese government suppression of an overtly Maoist event, it deserved attention from internationalists. It was not meant to be a “report on the Maoist left in China”, only a report on the official suppression of Maoists. For a report on the Maoist left in China, see our earlier post at — Frontlines ed.

  3. According to an article entitled “The Post-Mao Chinese Left: Navigating the Recent Debates” — by Xu Zhun — which was posted on Sanhati website on 16 July 2011, a debate is raging among various Maoist left websites in China. The website Xu seemed to mention most — Utopia (Wuyouzhixiang in Chinese) — is founded and run by a new generation of intellectuals such as Han Deqiang who began turning left as US imperialism became more nakedly aggressive especially after its blatant invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. Han and many such new left converts among intellectuals tend to favor working within the current CCP set up to put “China back on the socialist road”. Utopia website tends to support Bo Xilai’s “Changhong Dahei” or “Praise red & Destroy black” program and is tolerated by ruling party authorities aligned with Bo’s line of action but it also carries articles by people who advocate turning another spontaneous popular uprising such as the June 1989 uprising in Beijing into a workers and peasants uprising to overthrow capitalism in China along the line of what the working class had done in Czarist Russia during the Bolshevik Revolution in October 1917. The URL for Utopia is .

    However, there are lesser known but more radical leftist websites such as “Jiefangqudetian” (literally meaning Sky of Liberated Area that carries a banner artwork reminiscent of the Yanan era) which has been very bold in criticizing Deng Xiao Ping’s reformist line. On 21 February 2010, it even dared to post an article entitled “How Long is He (referring to Deng XP) Going to be so Shameless (in lying to the people)?” to denounce Deng by name and photo for selling China very cheaply to the global capitalist rulers especially to U.S. capitalists and betraying the socialist revolution. In an article dated 9 April 2011, a contributor to “Jiefangqudetian” wrote a eulogy to honor Jiang Qing and salute the courage of leftists from various sectors in Beijing for daring to openly hold a memorial in front of her grave. This contributor uses the name Song Li and identifies himself as a worker from the Mao era. The URL for “Jiefangqudetian” is .

    Earlier on 5 February 2011, another Maoist left website – “Maozedongwangzai (literally meaning Mao Zedong excerpts or selections website)” – posted an article bearing the title “Jiang Qing should be Given a Positive Evaluation”. If leftists who dare to openly call for restoring the revolutionary credentials of Jiang Qing were to successfully regroup and recover the ideological ground they have lost since the rightist millitary coup in October 1976 which decapitated the Maoist left in China, they might be able to swing the debate in favor of breaking decisively with the current CCP if push comes to shaft or at the very least, they would have no qualms in arousing and mobilizing the working people of China for another proletarian cultural revolution to overthrow revisionist party authorities. The URL for “Maozedongwangzai” is .

    Another well-known Maoist left website, “Maozedongqizhiwang (literally meaning Mao website excerpts or selections)” posted a very hard-hitting article – dated 19 January 2011 – that was written by a person using the name Hongriyuchu (literally meaning red sun about to rise) who compared and contrasted the historical betrayal of the 1919 revolution in Germany by SDP revisionists with the historical success of the Bolshevik party in spearheading the October 1917 Revolution in Russia. The writer was implicitly putting out a call for a timely and decisive break with the current revisionist party in China to expedite the formation of an MLM party capable of leading an armed socialist revolution in the foreseeable future following in the historical footsteps of the Bolshevik Party in 1917. The URL for “Maozedongqizhiwang” is .

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