In his first post-election speech from his Banigala residence, Imran Khan once again eulogised the Chinese model for the elimination of poverty in Pakistan. But it’s not just him who is impressed by China’s high growth rates and alleged poverty alleviation. Several right wing populist leaders from Turkey’s Tayyip Erdogan to Narendra Modi in India have followed it. While the corporate media lauds the massive reduction in poverty, it conceals the fact that the deprivation and social unrest in this relative poverty has in many ways exasperated the economic, social and psychological torment for the vast majority of Chinese citizens. The historical irony is that the ‘miraculous rise’ of China as a capitalist economic giant and super power was based on the social and economic transformation brought by the 1949 revolution under Mao. During and after the long march and the revolution, landed estates were expropriated and land was distributed amongst the landless peasantry. This gave great impetus to the Chinese economic and social development. But the decisive step that transformed China from a beleaguered society into a powerful country was the expropriation of imperialist and national capital, economy and industry. The health, education and vocational skills of the Chinese working class were developed on the basis of a planned economy. The average growth rate in China from 1949 to 1978 was 9.2 percent, one of the highest in the world. However with feudal lords and capitalists in the top echelons of PTI’s leadership, Imran Khan will not dare to touch the existing capitalist and feudal relations that have set this rot in Pakistan. With the edifice of his economic development based on job creation through Direct Foreign Investment, imperialist assets that are flagrantly exploiting and plundering Pakistan’s labour and resources are impervious under capitalism. China has the most inequality in the world, after South Africa The Chinese revolution, however, was not based on the workers democratic control and management of economy and society. Instead of Marxist Internationalism, on which the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 under Lenin and Trotsky’s leadership was based, the Chinese revolution was based on its caricature; National Socialism. Hence economic stagnation and social crisis was inevitable within a single state. These crises lead to the pro-capitalist wing of the Chinese Communist Party to emerge under Deng Xiao Ping’s leadership. In 1962 Mao had incarcerated Deng for instigating capitalist restoration in the party. China’s counter revolutionary process of capitalist restoration started after the demise of Mao Ze Tung and Chou en Lai when Deng Xiao Ping took power through an intra-party coup in 1978. The Chinese bureaucratic elite sold off this formidable advantage of planned economy to the imperialists to enrich themselves through capitalist restoration. As Deng Xiao Peng himself put it: “to get rich is glorious.” Deng allowed private sector to operate their businesses under tight regulation of the state. Special economic zones were established along China’s eastern coast for attracting foreign investments. Due to these counter reforms China has gone from being a country with a planned economy opposed to capitalism to one with property rights, profits and free market competition. Today the Shanghai Stock Exchange is the third largest in the world by market capitalisation. Markets for goods and services are dominant in China. Already about 95 percent of consumer goods’ prices are market determined. Chambers of Commerce exists in all large cities of China. This however does not mean that China can become a ‘normal’ or a ‘healthy’ capitalist economy because it arose in the epoch of world capitalist decline. President Xi Jinping at last November’s party congress enshrined “Socialism with Chinese Characteristics” into the constitution yet again. This is a sign of fear on the part of the regime as the penetration of corporate capital is creating contradictions and social conflicts in China that can unravel beyond the state’s control. It’s not an accident that China is perhaps the only country that spends more on internal security than external defence. The uneven Chinese economy crashed from a growth rate of about 14 percent in 2007 to 6.8 percent in 2016. The gigantic investments of the state in domestic and foreign projects like the ‘One Belt One Road’ that includes CPEC are desperate attempts by the Chinese aristocracy under Xi for the revival of its growth rates through Keynesianist policies of state intervention’s credit financing. Chinese debt has soared to more than 300 percent of its GDP. Despite its spectacular economic growth there has been an intensification of exploitation and a growing disparity between rich and poor, rural and urban, inland and coastal areas. Sixty-six percent of poverty is in rural areas. Even in urban areas workers live in wretched accommodation, suffer long commutes and work long hours. China has the most inequality in the world after South Africa. Nearly 500 million Chinese people live on less than $2 a day. At least 920 million people in China live below 5 dollars a day. There is also a huge discontent and feeling of deprivation amongst national minorities from Tibet to Xinjiang. Migrant workers within China cities are maltreated and discriminated against. There is mass outrage against grabs by gangster property speculators, often connected with the Communist Party or the Peoples Liberation Army, a major stakeholder in economic affairs. State brutality is intense. To dissipate simmering discontent, Xi Jinping started a crack-down against corruption incarcerating some high-ranking party officials. If the Chinese capitalist economy could not bring mass prosperity even with the social and physical infrastructural basis already laid by the 1949 revolution, how could this capitalist model help Pakistan? Imran Khan has hyped up illusions of development and prosperity, mainly in the erratic middle classes. These will shatter sooner rather than later. All parties dominating the present political suprastructure have capitalist economic ideologies representing sections of the ruling elite. To end this nightmare of deprivation, poverty and suffocation the toiling masses shall have to rise up. The writer is the editor of Asian Marxist Review and International Secretary of Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign. He can be reached at [email protected] Published in Daily Times, August 6th 2018.