Xi Jinping said at the ultra-high specification “National Poverty Eradication Summit”: “98.99 million rural poor people have all been lifted out of poverty under the current standard, 832 poor counties have all been removed, and 128,000 poor villages have all been listed”. “It has created another earthly miracle that stands out in the history books!” “This is the great glory of the Chinese people, the great glory of the Communist Party of China, and the great glory of the Chinese nation.” It goes without saying that this miracle of poverty eradication is, of course, also a victory for Xi Jinping himself.
Low standard of poverty eradication
According to a speech by Liu Yongfu, director of China’s State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, last March, the income standard in 2000 was 4,000 yuan per capita, or about $1.70 per person per day. According to the World Bank’s poverty standard, the absolute poverty standard is less than $1.90 per day, which means that in terms of “absolute poverty,” China’s poverty line is close to but slightly below international standards.
The problem is that the World Bank classifies China as a low- and middle-income country, and the poverty line for low- and middle-income countries is $5.50 per day, which puts the number of people living below the poverty line in China at 373 million, or a quarter of China’s population.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said at a national conference last year that China has “600 million people with low and middle incomes and below, and their average monthly income is only about 1,000 yuan,” meaning that nearly half of China’s population has a per capita income of less than $5.10 a day.
Leaving aside the question of whether this alleged “blood transfusion approach to poverty eradication” is too costly and whether the “campaign approach to poverty eradication” will last, is it too early for Xi Jinping to celebrate his victory with such fanfare?
The super-high profile poverty eradication commendation conference seems to center on the fact that the Communist Party, under Xi Jinping’s leadership, has finally accomplished the task of eradicating poverty in the century and will give a “glorious gift” for the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party’s founding.
Xi Jinping himself did not hide his own merits, as he briefly recalled in his speech at the poverty-eradication ceremony that the CPC “fought the rich and divided the land” and “established a new China” and “created the fundamental political conditions to get rid of poverty. After a brief review of the historical achievements of the CPC in “fighting against the rich and dividing the land” and “establishing a new China” and “creating the fundamental political conditions for poverty eradication”, he quickly turned to “the period since the 18th Party Congress”, that is, since he became the General Secretary of the CPC, and asked the whole Party and the whole country to “march with confidence toward the final victory in the fight against poverty”. “In the next sentence, he begins to count the achievements of his eight years of rule in poverty eradication. The following paragraph is typical of Xi’s style: “I”, “personally”, and “personally”, as he said in his meeting with WHO Secretary-General Tan Desai on January 28, 2020, “I personally commanded and personally deployed” to combat the Epidemic. I am personally in charge and personally deployed” in the fight against the epidemic.
“In the past eight years, I have hosted seven central poverty alleviation symposiums, more than 50 research work on poverty alleviation, visited 14 concentrated contiguous special hardship areas, insisted on seeing the real poverty, insisted on understanding the actual situation of real poverty alleviation, real poverty alleviation, real poverty, face to face with the poor people to talk about Family Life, calculate the detailed accounts, personally feel the great changes brought about by the fight against poverty. I have seen everywhere, the majority of the masses out of poverty with a sincere smile, which is the greatest affirmation of the fight against poverty, is the highest praise for the majority of party members, cadres dedicated to the highest praise, but also the best consolation to the revolutionary ancestors and martyrs.”
With Xi Jinping holding the highest power and heading almost all the core groups, why does he keep emphasizing his leadership role in the first person and using the word “personally” which is generally used to describe the other? This is different from his predecessor’s approach. Is this a demonstration of Xi’s power and greatness, or what?
Fight the rich and divide the land
To add weight to the victory in poverty eradication, Xi Jinping referred to the glorious history of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in “working for the happiness of the people,” with this particularly striking paragraph: “During the New Democratic Revolution, the Party united and led the peasants to ‘fight the landlords and divide the land. During the New Democratic Revolution, the Party united and led the peasants to ‘fight the landlords and divide the land’, to implement ‘the plowman has his own land’, and to help the poor to turn over and be liberated.
In the history of the Communist Party’s founding, Mao Zedong’s era often referred to the “revolution of the poor” and the violent overthrow of the oppressor class through class struggle. However, since the 1980s, in view of the bloody lessons of the Cultural Revolution, CCP leaders seldom mention “class struggle” in their speeches, and the phrase “fight the poor and share the land” has not been “incessant” anymore. This is because it is a bloody history of fighting and robbing people and depriving them of their property.
Analysts have pointed out that the “landlords” referred to by the Communist Party are the elite class of traditional Chinese society, such as landlords, country squires, and scholars. According to scholar Song Yongyi, using official Chinese data, the number of unnatural deaths of landowners in China during the four years of the land reform and crackdown was 4.7 million. Scholar Wu Guoguang points out that the CCP “used land distribution as a means to arouse the hatred of the peasants and establish class antagonism in the countryside, making the masses of poor peasants the class basis for the CCP to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat.” The purpose of the agrarian reform was not the distribution of land; Mao was already planning to recover the collectivization of peasant land when he launched the agrarian reform noted. Scholars consider the land reform movement to be the first cataclysmic event after the establishment of the Chinese Communist Party.
Xi Jinping surprised observers by reverting to such violent language as fighting the landlords and dividing the land at a conference on poverty eradication. On May 12, 2019, at a meeting of the Communist Party’s Politburo, Xi Jinping revisited the violent term “class,” which has been absent since the Cultural Revolution, and demanded that in “consolidate the Party’s class base and mass base” in the Education campaign on the theme of “not forgetting the original intention and remembering the mission.”
Analysts point out that fighting the landlord and dividing the land, class, the masses …… Xi’s language has a very clear Maoist logic.