Many people hold the mistaken idea that, although China has a communist government, its citizens, however, are clearly capitalist-oriented people who could not care less about Marx, Lenin, or Mao. Of course, this is in direct contradiction to what you see in everyday China. Students do not only study Marxism, Leninism, and Maoism from cradle to the grave, but they swallow every bit of propaganda shoved down their throats and thrown at their ears, from history to economics. One of the reasons most people do not see this is that most people are utterly ignorant of Chinese economics and history. And also, we have had our own propaganda menu, which included a fine selection of Keynesian economics seasoned with some Marxist interpretation of history.
But the fact remains that Chinese people are not capitalist.
Getting rich is not at odds with socialism or communism. In fact, communism is supposed to be able to help the poor and make every each one of us equally rich. Socialism is, just like capitalism, about money –it just holds a totally different idea of human nature: for socialism, we are not naturally inclined to share and, thus, we should be forced to.
Socialism –and communism– is based on the idea that the State has to take your money to share it fairly with others for the common good. Of course, there are other important aspects of communism, from censorship to taxation to public ownership of the means of production.
Chinese people enjoy all these advantages –censorship, taxation, lack of real private property, and so on–, but they do not seem to share the idea that the state has to take from them to share it fairly for the common good. Why is it so? Has their pure communism been tainted by the obnoxious pest of capitalism and money?
Let´s answer this question with some recent and not-so-recent news from China. Last summer a couple was attacked by a “Chinese samurai” in Peking. You can watch the video of the aftermath here: people took pictures and videos of the girl, who basically bled to death at the spot while his boyfriend –a foreigner– tried to stop the bleeding. And the killer was just behind them, playing with his sword in the opening. No one came to help the couple, and no one dared to stop the killer. Or they just didn´t care.
Same with the famous Shanghai airport incident, where a kid stabbed his own mother and no one gave a shit –well, yeah, a foreigner did. This is everyday China. If you fall on the ground, be advised to do it far from anyone –otherwise they will insult you for bumping into them. Or run away like prostitutes in a police raid.
So, honestly, how do you expect such people to care about the common good?
As it happens, socialists may be right for once.