By Liu Zhiqin Source: Global Times Published: 2018-5-9
There were two meetings that took place in Beijing on May 4, 2018. One was a meeting to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birthday of Karl Marx. The other was a smaller meeting held by a delegation of high-ranking US trade officials with their Chinese counterparts.
The two meetings represented two totally different objects and subjects.
At the "big meeting," several thousand people gathered in the Great Hall of the People, and President Xi Jinping delivered a speech calling on the nation to follow and firmly abide by the theories of Marxism in developing the economy. Xi stressed during his speech that Marxism offered the guidelines for the Chinese revolution and the course toward socialism, and he emphasized that China will uphold Marxism to find the solutions for all challenges, at home and abroad.
Everybody knows that the core of Marxism is to criticize the "brutal capitalist system." Millions of people listened to Xi`s speech and were refreshed to hear about Marx`s views of capitalism.
Meanwhile, the "small meeting" was busy telling people what capitalism is by its nature and what it means for developing countries.
According to some US media reports, the US trade delegation offered "suggestions" to the Chinese side: first, that China should reduce its trade surplus with the US by $200 billion within two years; second, that the US government had the right to ban Chinese investors from taking over tech companies in the US; and third, that China should not take any actions to oppose or retaliate against the US or its companies. It`s hard to believe that such shameless, greedy and arrogant requests were really made by the US delegation, which claimed to be interested in "fair trade."
It reminded many Chinese people of the Opium Wars, which started in 1839. Western capitalist nations forced China to open its market to them through various forms of cheating and blackmail. Nowadays, the US wants to demolish all barriers to China`s market.
Some people said that the "small meeting" was actually a good way of teaching younger generations to see the nature of capitalism and the tricks that are sometimes played. It also proved the validity of Marx`s theories about capitalism. Furthermore, it showed that China has been absolutely right in the choices it has made about how to develop the domestic economy.
We will never forget that China was forced to pay so-called punishment fees of as much as 20 billion grams of silver to Western nations during the Opium War.
And today the US is trying to punish China again with higher tariffs and trade deficit demands. This is the US` idea of "fairness"?
In a sense we might be grateful to President Donald Trump for showing the true face of the US and its version of capitalism. The US has gone beyond protectionism. The tactics it is using are more like a kind of "trade terrorism." They are waging war against the international trade order.
From the two meetings, we can easily see what the two countries are doing.
China is developing its "new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics" and the US is pursuing an "old type of capitalism with American characteristics." But everyone understands well that China`s socialism has been successful due to its practice of complying with the theories of Marx.
China and the US should take constructive measures to set up a unified market that could be more effective than a free trade agreement. Within such a unified market, both China and the US could trade all technologies and commodities freely.
All frictions and disputes between the two nations can be solved by taking sincere, reasonable, rational and practical measures.
Maybe we should suggest to President Trump that he could learn something from Marxism, and even from China, so that both sides could find common ground to jointly build a shared future and a global market.
The author is a senior fellow with the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.