10/29/2021, 16.18
CHINA
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Maoist activist freed, but Xi leaves no room for his left-wing challengers

by Li Qiang

The authorities arrested Wu Lijie for the 2018 protests at the Jasic plant. Chai Xiaoming, editor of the Maoist website Red Reference, remains in prison. Ma Houzhi also stays prison – he tried to register the Maoist Communist Party of China. On the eve of the Party’s 6th Plenum, Xi does not tolerate any challenges to his power, from either left or right.

Beijing (AsiaNews) – The authorities released a Maoist activist jailed three years ago for supporting labour protests at a factory owned by Jasic Technology company, Radio Free Asia reported.

Wu Lijie (also known as Wu Yishan) was released from prison on 22 October. However, several observers note that the release of the editor of the Maoist Red Flag Network does not mean that the leaders of the Communist Party of China (CPC) want to give room to the left-wing opposition to Xi Jinping.

Wu was targeted by the communist regime over a 2012 article in which he urged peasants and workers to put into practice Marxist doctrine and rise up against oppression.

Between July 2018 and January 2019, 44 people were arrested or disappeared, including Wu, for disrupting public order at Jasic Technology's Shenzhen plant, Guangdong.

They included Maoist-inspired students and workers who wanted to set up an independent trade union within the factory.

Jasic is a publicly traded group that according to demonstrators treated its employees "like slaves".

According to the Hong Kong-based China Labour Bulletin, 603 strikes and 314 workplace accidents were reported in China in the past six months, mainly over back wages.

Independent trade unions were banned in China after the 1989 Tiananmen protests, when an alliance between students and workers led to the formation of independent trade unions. Their actions ended in a military crackdown and the Tiananmen Square massacre.

Trade union members were arrested in connection with the protests at Jasic plant and convicted in a secret trial. Some of them had been convicted previously for trying to establish independent trade unions. In April 2020, the authorities released five of them.

however, a well-known member of the Maoist wing of the Communist Party, Chai Xiaoming is still held in a detention centre in Nanjing (Jiangsu).

State security police arrested Chai, the former editor of the Red Reference website in March 2019, after he published an article calling for a different path to modernise China (from Xi's).

Ahead of the celebrations marking the centenary of the CPC, on 1 July, the authorities arrested other prominent Maoists, including 77-year-old dissident Ma Houzhi.

A former academic, Ma wanted to register the Chinese Maoist Communist Party, challenging the ban on political parties other than the CPC.

Xi now has to contend with the Party’s right-wing faction, whose goal is to maintain the system of economic liberalisation launched by Deng Xiaoping in the late 1970s and strengthened since 1992.

Pro-market elements within the CPC are critical of the "shared prosperity" agenda promoted by President Xi, who touts it as an attempt to force large (private) businesses to share their growing wealth with the less privileged strata of society.

They see this as a Maoist expedient to weaken those entrepreneurs who could threaten the power of the supreme leader with their economic strength.

The 6th Plenum of the 19th Central Committee of the Party will be held between 8 and 11 November, which will focus on the major achievements of the CPC in its century of life and outline its future direction under the leadership of Xi.

The Chinese president does not allow challenges to his power, whether they come from the right or from the left.

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