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When A ‘Capitalist’ Praised Marx

He is relevant even 200 years after his birth. He is still very much alive. Speaking at an event in Beijing on the 200th birth anniversary of Karl Marx on May 5, Chinese President Xi Jinping said that Marxism is most powerful because it is science.
It is quite natural that the leader of a Communist Party will praise Marx and his theories. However, President Xi is a different person and China is a different country. According to critics, the Asian giant emerged as the world’s second-largest economy only after it adopted the ‘free market economy’ in the late 1980s. They are of the opinion that China left the ‘Marxist path’ long ago.

The president, himself, advocates the liberal or capitalist economy at the global stage. During his recent trip to Europe, President Xi highlighted China’s capitalism-fuelled economic miracle, insisting that Beijing was ready to capture the Western market. However, he expressed a completely different view in Beijing’s ‘Great Hall of the People’ on May 5, saying that Marx’s ideology “shines with the brilliant light of truth“. Commenting on Marxism, the Chinese president further said that it’s a “powerful ideological weapon for us to understand the world, grasp the law, seek the truth and change the world”.
Political analysts explain that Xi has been under tremendous pressure since March 2018, when the party-controlled National People’s Congress passed a set of constitutional amendments, including removal of term limits for the president. According to analysts, many members of the Communist Party of China are yet to accept the president’s emergence as the supreme leader. They are not openly discussing the issue, but President Xi feels the heat. In such a situation, he made an attempt to influence the younger generation with Marx’s ideology during a programme – titled “Marx was correct” – which was telecast live by the government-run television channel.

President Xi

But, is it possible for the president to influence youths in that way? In October 1999, Marx had topped a BBC News Online poll to find the greatest thinker of the millennium. The 19th century writer won the vote with a clear margin, pushing Albert Einstein into second place. The top 10 included two philosophers – Immanuel Kant and Rene Descartes – and 20th century scientist Stephen Hawking. However, there was no discussion on Marx (and Marxism) in China in the last two decades. In fact, the youths have witnessed the growth of ‘capitalism’ in China. And now, President Xi has decided to teach the younger generation ‘Marx’.
Interestingly, the Communist Party of China backs the president’s decision, as it has no other option, but to go to Marx for refuge (after advocating market economy for the last four decades).

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